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* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Deep beneath MELTING ANTARCTIC ice: A huge active VOLCANO

Mike Richards
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Re: Ooops. Can you say "Tipping point"?

'Iceland isn't a hotspot. Iceland is the result of the plates pulling apart. *big* difference.'

Huge difference, but Iceland's activity is driven by a hotspot - in fact its the dynamic uplift of low-density, upwelling Mantle under NE-Iceland that helps keep the island elevated above sea level. The Mid Atlantic Ridge North and South of Iceland, and indeed the section along the Reykjanes Peninsula is much less productive than the region associated with the hotspot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland_hotspot if you doubt me.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Ooops. Can you say "Tipping point"?

Indeed Laki is the worst recorded eruption in modern Icelandic history but it was subaerial rather than subglacial. Of the two, I think I prefer the ones under the ice.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Ooops. Can you say "Tipping point"?

It does sound like a hotspot, but that doesn't mean it's nothing to worry about. It all rather depends if this is an elderly hotspot like the one under Hawaii which on average produces something like 0.1km3 of magma every year (a not inconsiderable 270 million tonnes) on average, or if it is a young plume which could produce between ten and one hundred times as much magma.

Iceland is a good analogue for this with several very active volcanoes under major icecaps including Katla under the Mýrdalsjökull and Bárðarbunga (so should be a band name) and Grímsvötn under Vatnajökull. Eruptions are fairly regular and tend to have only local effects in the form of massive glacial floods called jökulhlaups; but the bigger eruptions - such as Katla in 1918 and Grímsvötn in 2011 can produce massive ash clouds.

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'FELSIC materials' find on MARS could rewrite Red Planet's history

Mike Richards
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Slight correction

''A felsic igneous rock, granite is normally formed on earth as the result of volcanic activity and other tectonic phenomena. ''

Granite is not the result of volcanic activity. It is a plutonic rock formed at depth; it can be created by fractionating a more primitive magma, or, it can be created by depressurising deeply-buried crustal rocks.

Without a surface mission it will be hard to say if the rocks are indeed granite and have been exposed by erosion or faulting; or if they are corresponding felsic volcanic rocks that were erupted on to the surface. If the latter, it will be interesting, as it is a new rock type for Mars and it will imply magma was in existence long enough at relatively shallow depths to undergo fractionation. Similar felsic eruptions occur here on Earth, such as the Öræfajökull in Iceland, which has produced the amazing rhyolite and obsidian landscape of Landmannalaugur despite being source by quite primitive Mantle-derived basalts.

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Mike Richards
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Re: "lacks plat techtonics"

'AFAIK the only way that happens is if Mars is solid all the way through.'

Not at all. The Earth is solid with the exception of the Outer Core - but it convects. Venus doesn't have plate tectonics because it has an enormously thick, strong lithosphere; but its density and size suggests it *should* have a convecting interior.

Mars did have primitive plate tectonics. It shows magnetic striping similar to that on the Earth's ocean floors and the Valles Marineris is a tectonic boundary. The mystery is why plate tectonics did not develop as fully on Mars as they have on Earth. By the time we know tectonics were going on Earth (there is still some debate about them in the first 600Ma of the Earth's history), Mars's interior would have been hot enough to support tectonism, but many of the features we associate with tectonics on Earth are absent on Mars.

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India's Martian MOM lays another perfect orbital egg

Mike Richards
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Re: No chucking!

As in many things, the Soviets got their first. The theory of gravitational assists was published in the USSR in - incredibly - 1925 and was first implemented by Luna 3.

But NASA has to get the record - Cassini has done something like one hundred slingshots around the Saturn system.

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What a plot of nonsense: Ten Master master plan FAILS

Mike Richards
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'threatening to open the many tiny holes in the skin of space'

Long time since I saw it, but wasn't the devilishly beard-stroking plan to *close* the holes, making the Universe a closed thermodynamic system in which entropy would continue to increase?

We could do with a bit more thermodynamic doohickies in the new season rather than the 'it'll all be all right if I wave my sonic and everyone loves one another' bollocks.

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Google Earth SHOCK: ZERO point ZERO ZERO SIX of world forests disappear each year

Mike Richards
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The survey doesn't say which of those forests are low biodiversity monoculture for pulp or palm oil replacing ancient forest with high biodiversity. So there is still a crisis in the world's forests.

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Bitcoin mining rig firm claims $3m revenue in just FOUR DAYS

Mike Richards
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Quite a clever company

Their current machines drive up the difficulty of mining and make themselves obsolete. So as long as the Swedes can keep cranking out faster miners they're minted.

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Murdoch stands between your kids and filth with BSkyB network-level SHIELD

Mike Richards
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Always ask for Uncle Rupes Personally Approved Jubblies

I'm sure Murdoch was heartbroken at blocking access to free titillation, so upset in fact he's offering his own Sun-brand phwoah! behind a teensie-weensie paywall.

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Mixed bag of motors lifts India's budget Mars shot

Mike Richards
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India's space programme has brought real benefits to the country in terms of improved resource monitoring, weather forecasting, mineral prospecting and telecommunications. Building those satellites and space probes employs thousands of the brightest people in the world, helps create a thriving high tech business and inspires the next generation of kids to improve their prospects.

Good luck to them.

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Ten top stories from New Who

Mike Richards
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He's not bad in the new Thor movie.

Though it would have benefitted from him saying 'Fantastic!' as he trashes Greenwich; and perhaps the Doctor popping up - saving London is his job isn't it? Can't leave it to Aussies...

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Mike Richards
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There hasn't been a really good Cyberman story since [controversially] 'The Invasion'. Apart from the sheer joy of pancaking Adric into a dinosaur, even 'Earthshock' isn't much cop.

You can quickly whittle down the bad episodes in the new Who - just get rid of the ones where there's a happy ending brought about by the power of love and any one where the sonic screwdriver develops yet another miraculous power.

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'Daddy, can I use the BLACK iPAD?': Life with the Surface Pro 2

Mike Richards
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Good point,

Xerox used to spend a small fortune reminding the public to talk about photocopying rather than Xeroxing a document - not to much avail.

If the word iPad becomes genericised to the extent that even crappy tablets are called iPads then it is Apple that has the real problem disassociating its product from the junk.

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Boffins agree: YES we have had an atmospheric warming pause

Mike Richards
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So there was a pause in atmospheric warming

But the oceans have continued to warm. And they're absorbing in more than 90% of the trapped heat.

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Doctor Who nicked my plot and all I got was a mention in this lousy feature

Mike Richards
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Robots of Death

Is of course entirely brilliant and it uses several Agatha Christie novels as its basis - Murder on the Orient Express, The Naked Sun and most obviously, Ten Little Indians.

There are also nods to Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson and Karel Capeck - and somehow it all still works.

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Mike Richards
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'The Seeds of Doom' not only cribbed gleefully from 'The Thing from Another Planet' but then went and lifted chunks of the classic 'Avengers' story: 'The Man Eater of Surrey Green' including a carnivorous plant on the loose in suburbia, a slightly mad old lady and a killer chauffeur.

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Horny lovers FOSSILISED in steamy RUMPY-PUMPY session 156m yrs ago

Mike Richards
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Did the earth move for you?

With 33 examples of fossilised fooking already known when can geologists get their hands on an absolutely filthy palaeontology textbook?

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Tesla shares dip as Elon Musk admits electrocar firm ran out of juice

Mike Richards
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Re: A third Tesla went up in flames this week

There were 287,000 vehicle fires in the US in 2010.

http://tkolb.net/FireReports/US_VehFirTrePat2003-2007.pdf

Now the question is, is there a common fault with the S-Type that makes it susceptible to fires, or are these being caused by external factors (such as the one that hit a massive chunk of metal at speed)?

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Staying power: The small screen spans of the eleven Doctor Whos

Mike Richards
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No, no, no infographics and diagrams are different things. A diagram tells you something useful and is occasionally pretty. An infographic is pretty and only rarely tells you anything at all apart from arts graduates shouldn't be allowed near a computer.

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We've invented the FONBLET, says Samsung

Mike Richards
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Re: Used by the beautiful, famous or especially athletic.

They're using the strategy used by the fashion business.

If you use the same fondleslab as someone famous for being famous then some of their glamour will rub off on you (in a nice way, not a slightly sweaty moderately disgusting sort of rubbing).

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Does 'Star Wars' casting call hint at DEATH of LUKE SKYWALKER?

Mike Richards
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Calling beautiful people

You too could have the onscreen charisma to be the next Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen.

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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Mike Richards
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Is one of the 404 methods a gas bill?

Because nothing is a more authoritative identity document than a recent utility bill.

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Ten top stories from Classic Doctor Who

Mike Richards
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Web of Fear

I forgot to mention this one, but the recent iTunes release of the recovered tapes is absolutely brilliant. Unlike a lot of six partners, this one really doesn't flag. Well worth a look.

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Mike Richards
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Ark in Space

As an 8 year old kid when this aired, I can say that I didn't notice the bubble wrap, it was just horrible green goo consuming Noah. And by god it was scary, then a few weeks later it was Davros - AND HE HAD NO EYES, JUST SOCKETS! Not long after that it was the Zygons and a killer Harry Sullivan. A couple of years later giant robot mummies and the utter horror feast that was Brain of Morbius. Followed by the gorgeous, creepy robots in Robots of Death, a walking ventriloquist dummy in Weng Chiang and that bloody skull in Image of the Fendahl. God it was good to be a kid in the 70s.

We even had Spangles.

I really wish someone at the BBC had the courage to commission equally scary stuff these days.

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RED planet, INDIAN mission: Space probe prepares for voyage to Mars orbit

Mike Richards
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Re: PLSV? What rocket is this?

What's seriously impressive is that the Indian Space Agency originally intended MOM to fly on the GSLV rocket, but when that suffered a series of launch failures, they switched to the PLSV.

The GSLV should fly again soon and they'd better get it debugged because it is need to carry the Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter, lander and rover in 2017.

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Horrific FLESH-EATING PLATYPUS once terrorised Australia

Mike Richards
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Someone get SciFi Channel on the phone!

I think I've found a replacement for when shark movies jump the - erm - shark.

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Unsung DEAD WHALE EXPLODER hero, who gave the early internet a purpose, passes away

Mike Richards
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A sad day

This story circulated for years on bulletin boards and Usenet before it became a video sensation. All we had to go on was the original Dave Barry column, which begins:

'I am absolutely not making this incident up; in fact I have it all on videotape. The tape is from a local TV news show in Oregon, which sent a reporter out to cover the removal of a 45-foot, eight-ton dead whale that washed up on the beach. The responsibility for getting rid of the carcass was placed upon the Oregon State Highway Division, apparently on the theory that highways and whales are very similar in the sense of being large objects.

'So anyway, the highway engineers hit upon the plan — remember, I am not making this up — of blowing up the whale with dynamite. The thinking here was that the whale would be blown into small pieces, which would be eaten by sea gulls, and that would be that. A textbook whale removal.

...

http://theexplodingwhale.com/evidence/resources/dave-barry-article/

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We'll build Elon Musk's Hyperloop ... if you lob us ONE-MEELLION dollars

Mike Richards
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Tragically Elon didn't pick up the phone to El Reg

Because I reckon we could have come up with much better names for the company. Who wouldn't want to see CHER* straddling California for the next couple of centuries?

*California Hyperloop Eliminates Railroad

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Google RIPS aside curtain, exposes Nexus 5 phone, KitKat Android 4.4 coupling

Mike Richards
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'Google has also eschewed Apple and Motorola Mobility's fruity color schemes'

Somewhere Nokia sobs in the corner.

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Murdoch: I'm a Jawbone fanboi - and it's going to help me live to 100!

Mike Richards
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Uncle Scrotes should share his jawbone information with the rest of us. Quite a lot of people can't wait for him to stop moving.

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LG G Flex: A new cheeky curvy mobe with a 'SELF-HEALING' bottom

Mike Richards
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Re: Rulers obsolete

And a delightful rocking chair for hamsters.

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Post-PC era? Post-MAC era! OS X Mavericks 'upgrade' ruins iWorks

Mike Richards
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Re: A little confusion here - not as bad as it initially seems

Open an existing 2009 document in the new iWork suite and it immediately saves the document in the new format - using the same filename. Your old file is gone and won't open in 2009. You can't go back without resorting to a Time Machine backup, and exporting from 2013 to 2009 is very hit and miss if you have anything more than a basic project.

And I'm sorry, saying we had to downgrade the software to give the other versions a chance to catch up is a pretty poor one for one of the world's largest IT companies.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Ribboned for your pleasure

'My daughter who is at Uni, is using the new Pages and much prefers it because of the convenience of the iCloud data storage giving her access via mobile. Essay writing is probably a pretty typical style of use case for iWorks and for such non-demanding work '

I think the key phrase there is 'non-demanding'. Pages is a toy, albeit a pretty one. But as soon as you need proper editing features or handling references and bibliographies it is completely out of its depth.

Somehow Apple just managed to make it worse.

After the technicolor dog's breakfast that is the new iOS7 GUI it's hard to see if Apple is even bothering to test stuff before shipping.

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Cameron on EU data protection rules rewrite: 'Hold it so we get it right'

Mike Richards
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Re: The legislation has the word "protection" in it.

Don't mince your words, let us know what you really think about the odious little cockwomble.

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Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

Mike Richards
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Re: No war

I don't remember a huge backlash against the intelligence agencies after previous attacks in the UK.

Huge hatred for the people who did it, but no normal people (obviously the likes of Blair, Straw and Blunkett don't count) were demanding our rights be thrown into the Moulinex on the spurious grounds it would make us safer. If anyone was saying the intelligence services had failed it was the politicians who promptly proceeded to shower them with more money and power.

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Money really does GROW ON TREES say boffins

Mike Richards
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Freshly caffeinated, so here goes.

Eucalyptus trees concentrate gold in their leaves. This has been proven by experimentation and fieldwork. However, all the cool kids have been wanting to perform literal data mining on GA's amazing dataset in the hope that there's gold in them thar bytes.

But it might be cheaper to go into a Eucalyptus forest, snip some leaves and analyse them for gold. Or just follow a koala with a mass spec.

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Obama to Merkel: No Americans are listening to you on this call

Mike Richards
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I wish *we* could hear that conversation - an angry German on line one. Unmissable.

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Phantom Flan flinger: The story of the Elan Enterprise 128

Mike Richards
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I remember the hype

And the delays, and the name changes - and despite it I still wanted one.

Then a year later the Amiga arrived and left pretty much everything else in the dust.

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Bacteria-chomping phages could kill off HOSPITAL SUPERBUGS

Mike Richards
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Re: Good news!

'(Except that the Daily Mail won't have any Superbug of Death stories to 'report' on)'

S'okay all the people surviving bacterial infections means the Mail can run HOSPITAL OVERCROWDING horror stories.

And thanks for confirming this sounded awfully familiar from 'Horizon' - must have been a long time ago because it was a good BBC* 'Horizon'.

* Before Bloody Cox.

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Osborne to China: Keep watching Downton and we'll gloss over Huawei security worries

Mike Richards
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You have to admire the Chinese

And they way they manage to hide their contempt for people like Osborne and Johnson who are so willing to kow-tow to them.

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Island-hopping Beardy Branson: I'm dodging rain, not taxes

Mike Richards
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Course he's not dodging taxes

He's welcoming taxpayers' money to keep Virgin Trains going.

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Murdoch calls for world+dog to 'expose' Google

Mike Richards
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Thanks Rupe

I'd almost forgotten that former Number 10 spindoctor and flame-haired editoratrix (your favourite person in the whole wide world) were on trial for corruption whilst working for your company.

I do hope there will be lots and lots of coverage in the media.

All of the media.

Including your bit - if you can squeeze it in between the tits.

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Video thrilled the radio star: Tracking the history of magnetic tape

Mike Richards
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Great series

Thanks.

Perhaps as a follow-up one on how data is restored from degraded tape? With Patrick Troughton DW in the news I'd love to know how they make old telly sparkle.

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BBC announces plans to spend your cash on digital goodies

Mike Richards
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On a similar note

How did that BBC Micro initiative work out again?

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MI5 boss: Snowden leaks of GCHQ methods HELPED TERRORISTS

Mike Richards
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To quote Mandy Rice-Davies

'He would, wouldn't he?'

If the head of GCHQ said Snowden's revelation of the scale of their unsupervised interceptions had no consequences whatsoever, he'd be hard pressed to explain why it is necessary to continue.

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Printing the Future: See a few of UK’s 6.2 million 3D-printed ‘things’

Mike Richards
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Lost wax?

Could 3D printing be a replacement for the plastic or wax model used to form the mould in the lost wax process? It doesn't have to be durable as it is going to be melted or evaporated before the mould is filled with metal.

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COMET DIAMONDS from SPACE found in Libya's glass desert

Mike Richards
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Not the first cometary material recovered on Earth either

High-flying U2 sample flights have regularly brought back pieces of cometary dust (it's kind of fluffy) from the stratosphere where it can be found amongst meteroids, volcanic ash and the occasional fragment of solid rocket booster exhaust (LOHAN's will be added soon)

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Apple iMac 27-inch 2013: An extra hundred quid for what exactly?

Mike Richards
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Headphone socket

I'd just like a headphone socket that was easy to get to rather than hidden somewhere in the acres of brushed aluminium round the back.

The one upside of losing the optical drive is that there's no longer a DVD slot for me to idly push an SD card into and spend the next few minutes swearing.

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Police constable 1337 stunned by Lego lookalike

Mike Richards
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Re: Amazing. Not.

You left out the Express' darling - St. Diana of Sloane.

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