* Posts by Mike Richards

3615 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Iranian TV claims royals ordered Ofcom to ban it

Mike Richards

RT

They also have more than the minimum number of tottilicious presenters displaying equal amounts of cleavage and knowledge of borscht production in the TransCaucasus.

And have you ever tried watching CCTV's English language news? If it wasn't for the Day Today graphics it's like a time warp back to the days of Vremya (Вре́мя). Lots of marching soldiers and footage of tractor factories.

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Energy minister gives grudging nuke endorsement

Mike Richards

And don't forget

Nuclear is still uneconomic after the taxpayer assumes all the disposal and insurance underwriting costs. Goodness only knows what it would be like if the nuclear industry had to pick up its own costs.

A minister who gave the nuclear industry a ringing endorsement after its relentless failures to bring projects in on time and on budget would be a minister who hadn't read his brief. And judging by the former flag bearer for the whole nuclear industry: Olkiluoto 3 in Finland; we're in for a whole raft of substandard construction, cost overruns (now 50% over budget) and delays (at least 3 years). Strange how the nuclear business has gone so quiet over Finland.

Nice to see the old thorium chestnut again. It's been a while since that brand of snake oil was given a good marketing. There isn't a single thorium reactor operating in the world. There isn't a licensed thorium design in the world. There isn't a prototype thorium reactor operating in the world. Nor is there a reprocessing plant to deal with the thorium cycle, nor even an international agreement to regulate the mountains of highly fissile U-233 which would be produced.

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Gigantic KRAKEN fingered in prehistoric murder mystery

Mike Richards

Beaks

Squid are very poorly preserved in the fossil record as it is, and something this big would be extremely rare anyway, so the chance of finding a beak is practically zero. As a similar comparison, there are no more than six spinosaur skeletons known in the whole world - and that managed to get a starring role in the REALLY bad Jurassic Park sequel.

And to the author; squid and octopuses (the preferred plural) are not only in different orders, but different superorders and shouldn't be used interchangeably - at least not unless the recipe says so.

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Valve chief says Apple will own your living room

Mike Richards

So...

That would be a next gen Apple TV then?

Enable the app store for the Apple TV and perhaps sell controllers (although Apple would probably prefer if we all stumped up for iPod Touches, iPads or iPhones) and they could have a console that would paint Nintendo's next-gen Wii into a corner.

Not one for the hardcore gamer, but good enough for the casual and family market.

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ISPs end PM's web smut block dream

Mike Richards

My experience with school filters is that the children see breaking the filter as a demonstration of their skills.

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Mike Richards

We could use this to kill off the Daily Mail

The aim of the scheme is to prevent children seeing sexualised content. It is backed by the Nation's Nanny, the Daily Mail.

If you ever visit the Mail's site (preferably manipulating your mouse using a barge pole), you'll see that they have a standard page layout of scandal on the left, slappers on the right. Most of the sleb stories feature people in bikinis or underwear. Which has to count as a sexualised image.

So we should all complain to our ISPs and demand they block access to the Mail.

(In the process ensuring a generation can grow up without knowing the horror of Melanie Phillips)

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RIM stands, staggers, falls again

Mike Richards

If it makes you feel better

Apple's MobileMe has come out in sympathy.

Mail has been up and down like a whore's drawers all day.

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Sony asks for 1.6m LCD TVs to be returned

Mike Richards

UK page

Is at:

http://support.sony-europe.com/tvhc/hotnews/hotnews.aspx?site=odw_en_GB&f=inspection_programme

But the links to the service centres and the contact details you'll need to get your TV fixed, are, (typically for Sony), not working right now.

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Mike Richards

Get a grip Sony

Last week they shipped their top-end camera which had been in development for three years with incompatible firmware. Today it's sub-standard components in television. Last month it was PSN...

...is anyone in charge of quality control at Sony?

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Hundreds of websites share usernames sans permission

Mike Richards

WSJ eh?

I find it utterly shocking that a paper owned by NewsCorp has a lax policy on private data.

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Nanotubes, sulfur expand battery storage

Mike Richards

Blame the chemists

Sulfur is the correct, internationally-agreed spelling for element 16. To quote the mad-book:

'IUPAC adopted the spelling sulfur in 1990, as did the Royal Society of Chemistry Nomenclature Committee in 1992.[43] The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for England and Wales recommended its use in 2000,[44] and it now appears in GCSE exams.[45] The Oxford Dictionaries note that "In chemistry... the -f- spelling is now the standard form in all related words in the field in both British and US contexts"[46]'

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur#Spelling_and_etymology)

If it makes you happier, it's a one-all draw as the internationally agreed spelling for element 13 is 'aluminium'.

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El Reg follows World Solar Challenge

Mike Richards

You may be on to something

Remember this traumatic photo of Lester's son???

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/08/paris_helium/

Spangly tops, Australian location - I sense PARIS: The Musical is in the offing.

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Mike Richards

Is Lester on a jolly?

Who's manning mission control and feeding the donkeys then?

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Genetics and technology make Columbus Day a fraud

Mike Richards

Anything between 25 and 40% of Iceland was once forested, mostly with birch. It was felled as you said, not just for timber for construction; but to make room for pasture and to fuel household fires which had to burn year round.

The long planks needed for shipbuilding mostly came from Norway and the UK.

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Mike Richards

Alternatively

Greenland may be a corruption of the Norse 'Gruntland' - 'ground land' a term used to describe shallow inlets in Norse.

Agreed with you about the humour in the Sagas though. Lots of laughs to be had (in between the killing, the misery and the interminable sulking).

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Mike Richards

Wrong boat

That's a longship; Ericson (or Leifr Eiríksson if you want to be accurate) would have used a knarr - a shorter, dumpier, much more sturdy vessel to make the crossing.

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Starbucks extends gratis Wi-Fi to UK

Mike Richards

You came into Starbucks for a coffee?

Interesting.

I assumed they made coffee by applying the principles of homeopathy to warm milk.

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London 2012 Olympics: 17000 athletes, 11000 computers

Mike Richards

Vertical?

Kapoor's piss-poor 'Blackpool Tower come over all wobbly' cast iron eye sore might have been marginally less shite had it been remotely vertical.

As for your 8-year old, does Guantanamo have a kindergarten now?

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Gay-bashing cult plans picket of Steve Jobs funeral

Mike Richards

Agreed.

Unfortunately the Baptist movement has really only paid attention to the books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Revelation. The rest of the Bible's teachings are considered optional.

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Mike Richards

They're not so much a cult as a group of lawyers who provoke people into trying to ban protests and then taking them to court under constitutional law.

It's a scam and sadly it's worked well enough for them to make a living out of it.

The only good news is that they promise to picket all sorts of places (such as the funerals of the murdered kids in Norway) and rarely turn up.

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The iPhone 4S in depth: More than just a vestigial 'S'

Mike Richards

YouTube will doubtless be filled very shortly with videos showing how badly Siri copes with the accents of the Tyne and the Clyde.

I was particularly struck by how much time Apple spent on a feature which they admitted would 'get better' - his Steveness would never have sunk to admitting something was less than perfect.

Anyway, what I'm waiting for is to find out if Apple have actually cracked the massive problem of building a phone which can be held whilst making a phone call. I suspect it'll be better than the 4 but even when you get a good connection it'll still sound like a Cyberman in a bathyscaphe.

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Sony: all new PS3 titles will require PSN Pass for online play

Mike Richards

They could probably work it that opening the package constitutes accepting a non-transferable licence between the original purchaser and Sony. The second-hand purchaser will have no such contract and will have to buy a new one.

But it's one hell of a Sony tax for the privilege of buying one of their 'hmmm this console really isn't anything as good as they promised all those years ago' games. Like a lot of peoples' PS3s, mine has been relegated to the role of an okay Blu-Ray player.

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UK punters happy to pay £3 to top up e-wallets

Mike Richards

But... but... but...

The other side of the street is where the chuggers gather.

Packs of them, clipboards and insincere smiles at the ready waiting to ask if you'd like to set up a direct debit to pay for clean water for an abandoned panda in an unvaccinated minefield.

It's hell on the mean streets I'm telling you. Hell!

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NASA: 'Asteroid armageddon less likely than we feared'

Mike Richards

The lump of iron that carved out Meteor Crater was less than 50m across, the blast was in the 10-20 megatonne range and would have made a whole lot of people very mad indeed (those who weren't been very dead of course). It's the smaller city-busting, ocean front property-drowing rocks we should really worry about.

And the even smaller ones which produce a pocket H-bomb sized explosion when they hit. It'd be nice to think we'd do the necessary checks before pressing the red button if one hit a nuclear-tipped country, but I don't have that much faith.

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Adobe: crashing 100 million machines not an option

Mike Richards

Great - so that's the threat of apocalyptic crashing solved. Now how about writing a version of Flash that doesn't routinely suck 80% of a processor to display a simple banner advert?

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Does Gove’s webmail policy breach Data Protection Act too?

Mike Richards

Easy answer

It's Michael bloody Gove - of course he's up to no good.

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Mighty trash-bag balloon cluster soars above Nevada

Mike Richards

But give him credit

He scored a great photo of a textbook alluvial fan.

Sorry it's the geologist in me...

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Electric plane-flinger for US and Royal navies doing well

Mike Richards

I find it hard to believe that the Gerald R Ford will be a useless stopgap.

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David Caminer, creator of the first business computer

Mike Richards
Thumb Up

Great book

Although the last chapter is a tragedy as it tells the familiar story of how British high technology companies foundered in the 1960s (our aircraft industry being another example). LEO was forcibly and repeatedly merged with other British computer companies, first becoming English Electric LEO Marconi (EELM) with EE definitely in the driving seat; and eventually, under the guidance of Tony Benn, into the monolithic ICL.

The last LEO 3 machines were retired by the GPO only in 1981. But some ICL mainframes actually emulated LEO in software, so the code might have been run for much longer.

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The Secret of Monkey Island

Mike Richards

Truly were wonderful games

And Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis would have a much better fourth movie than what we got.

As for adventures, I still have a soft spot for the Infocom games. I bought one of Commodore's breathtakingly slow floppy disk drives for my C64 just so I could play 'Zork' - which probably explains my A-level results. They were magnificent pieces of writing - both prose and code; has there ever been a more laugh-out-loud game than 'Leather Goddesses of Phobos'?

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Power cut knocks Miliband off-air mid-speech

Mike Richards

Clearly a cover-up

"My message to the British people is....

[Bzzzt]

"We are emerging from our podules and we will eat your children. Release the Blears!"

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Elon Musk's SpaceX to build 'Grasshopper' hover-rocket

Mike Richards

SRBs

Come with almost no moving parts, very little complex plumbing. It was relatively easy to refurbish them rather than a liquid-fuelled stage. I think the Shuttle is the only liquid fuelled rocket which has been reused and the engines there didn't have the indignity of ending up in the North Atlantic.

The Soviets were going to reuse the four strap-on liquid-fuelled boosters for the Energia rocket; AFAIK it was not done for either the Polyus or Buran launches and the boosters would eventually be redesigned into the disposable Zenit launcher.

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Mike Richards

DC-X

I wish someone would dust off the first rocket to take off and land vertically - the McDonnell Douglas / NASA DC-X. The DC-X first took off (checks Wikipedia) - OH MY GOD - 20 years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_DC-X

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Second-hand E-m@iler spews old emails, passwords

Mike Richards

Colin eh?

So that makes THREE users - Darth Alan himself; his secretary in 'The Apprentice'; the blessed Frances; and now the mysterious Colin.

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Panasonic beckons forth beneficial robot buddies

Mike Richards

Top one

That's GERTY. I'll be very disappointed if it doesn't come with the voice of Kevin Spacey. If it does, I'll just be creeped out.

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Lancs shale to yield '15 years' of gas for UK

Mike Richards

Colour me sceptical

This is a very small formation and they are claiming to have found a reserve 2/3 the size of the colossal Groningen gas field, more than 30 times as large as the Morecambe Bay fields and 10 times the size of *all* the reserves remaining in the UK sector of the North Sea. In each of these cases the reserves are known only by drilling a large number of widely dispersed wells into well-understood formations and long term monitoring. That's not possible here.

What's more, if they got a 20% recovery rate from this field they'd pull up very nearly half as much gas as the USGS reckons is economically recoverable from the *whole* Marcellus Formation in the Eastern United States which is almost the size of England.

I think a lot more work needs to be done before anyone thinks that Blackpool is sitting on a gas fortune. But in the meantime I bet that 200 trillion number is doing wonders for their share price.

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1-in-3,200 chance* that a fiery satellite chunk will hit someone on Friday

Mike Richards

Satellites are harder to predict

The exact time the satellite begins its reentry depends on many factors, but mostly the density of the atmosphere where it is orbiting. Because of heating from solar radiation the atmosphere's density changes over periods of hours and days which can dramatically change the amount of drag being experienced by the satellite.

Added to which this satellite has probably lost all attitude control so it will be tumbling and experiencing variable amounts of drag, all of which make predictions a bit less - well - predictable.

An asteroid on the other hand approaches the Earth through a vacuum at a relative speed of several to tens of kilometres per second following the laws of Mr. Newton. The atmosphere only has any effect on it during the last few seconds before it carves out a dent on the surface.

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Mathematicians slam UK.gov plans to fund statistics only

Mike Richards

I suppose we should be glad that there are no economic uses for pure and applied mathematics or fluid dynamics. I mean apart from the uses that underpin many of the high value industries we supposedly need to grow the economy.

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Hunt for long-lost Apollo 10 moon lander adrift in space

Mike Richards

Nope definitely a solar orbit

Snoopy's ascent engine was reignited after being let loose from Charlie Brown and allowed to burn until empty. This let NASA test that the engine could be restarted in an emergency. There was enough thrust to inject it into a solar orbit. Had it been put into a lunar orbit it would have crashed by now because of the Moon's irregular gravitational field.

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EU recording copyright extension 'will cost €1bn'

Mike Richards

Sweden

Interesting that Sweden voted against the extension when it is one of the few EU countries whose music business earns more through exports than is spent on imported content.

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Schoolkids learn coding at GCSE level in curriculum trial

Mike Richards

Make it Scratch

A great little language, easy to pick up, it produces great results in very little time for the attention starved youth of today, you can create multimedia projects and games, share them with people on almost all hardware platforms and you get to learn the fundamentals of program design as well as event-driven, multi-threaded programming.

The biggest problem with Scratch is getting kids to stop playing with it.

http://scratch.mit.edu/

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Resistance 3

Mike Richards

;)

Tsk! tsk!

It's Oorah! in the Marines.

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Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray disc set

Mike Richards

Americanisms

Do any Brits say they are 'stoked'?

If they do, I might have died a little inside.

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Feds probe naked Scarlett Johansson outrage

Mike Richards

The police manual says

They're going to take a VERY long time reviewing any images and will probably need the lovely Ms Johansson to disrobe just to ensure they're genuine and not a crude Photoshop job.

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Ballmer: Windows Phone can win third place in mobile!

Mike Richards

That and his ability to survive

Every day that goes by and the question 'why is Steve Ballmer still in charge of Microsoft?' goes unanswered. He's unconvincing as a tech guru, a lousy salesman for the good stuff Microsoft does produce and the company appears to be stagnant.

Time to put a visionary in the public light over at Redmond and get people excited about the very cool stuff Microsoft is developing in its labs.

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Comet can't sell anything, including itself

Mike Richards

They're probably doomed

Because of all the reasons laid out so well above.

But doesn't it seem a little unfair for Comet to fail BEFORE the even-worse Currys is finally consigned to the extended warranty in the sky?

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MPs probe social networks' position following riots

Mike Richards

A use for Twitter?

During the recent riots, the local police force ran an excellent Twitter feed giving up-to-the-minute information about the local situation. I know who live on their own or who are otherwise vulnerable who felt reassured there was timely official news that contrasted with the scary rumours flying around on other social networks.

Cutting that feed off could have made things worse for a lot of people who otherwise didn't have information about what was going on.

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Apple preps MacBook Pro refresh

Mike Richards

Phew - no physical change

I'm glad they're not dumping the optical drive just yet - if there was a 15" machine as thin as the Air in the offing I might get into trouble with my bank manager!

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LOHAN to suck mighty thruster as it goes off, in a shed

Mike Richards

Launcher Engine System Test Environment (Reusable)

That way we can finally see LESTER and LOHAN together as nature intended.

You're not planning on setting this off near the combined mission control / donkey sanctuary are you?

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Twitter contests ad company's 'tweets' trademark

Mike Richards

Twitter is still waiting for a trademark registration for 'tweet' whilst a company built on the back of Twitter has already got theirs approved?

Now either Twitter is hopelessly amateur and didn't think to register tweet until relatively recently, or they employ some slack IP lawyers who haven't been progressing their claim very quickly.

I suppose if we work hard at it, we can genericise 'tweet' and stop Twitter getting their hands on it ever. So time to start replacing 'talk', 'phone', 'message' and 'email' with 'tweet'.

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