* Posts by Mike Richards

3587 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Jupiter spacecraft mounted atop bloody big rocket

Mike Richards

Debt ceiling

A dodgy bloke with a fag hanging from his lip comes round and clamps the rocket.

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Mike Richards

Good point

And the engines on this beast happen to be Russian, originally developed for the N1 super rocket of the 1960s.

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UK Govt refuses to ban shale gas 'fracking'

Mike Richards

Thank-you Conservatives

The UK government encouraged companies to drill our side North Sea as quickly as they could with the result that the UK sector is the fastest oil producing region ever brought on stream. It is also now the one declining the fastest.

But for a while it was nice, all that money covered up the collapse of our manufacturing industry and paid for millions to be put on to long term benefits.

The Norwegians sensibly decided to manage their oil production through Statoil with the government pension pot taking the proceeds. The result being that not only does Norway still have lots of oil under the sea, but it is sitting on half a TRILLION dollars of assets that will keep on generating income when the wells run dry.

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US Navy orders laser machine guns

Mike Richards

Anyone noticed?

It was about the time BAE became heavily involved in selling weapons to the Americans that the US economy went tits up?

Just saying...

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Russia: 'We'll dump the ISS into the sea after 2020'

Mike Richards

That's a big job

Where do you start?

The ISS is in an inclined orbit, geostationary requires one aligned with the equator. Changing inclination is a big job,

About half of the energy used to lift a kilo to geostationary orbit is used getting it into low orbit, the remainder is used in the transfer to the higher orbit. So take whatever energy its been to assemble the ISS and double it.

You'd then have to contend with the fact the ISS would lie outside the inner Van Allen Belt and would be exposed to more radiation and necessitate its crews being exposed to a healthy dose of whatever the Sun coughed up a few days ago.

And finally, we don't have any manned vessels that can get there.

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Mike Richards

Fox News

I didn't know they reported on science and engineering for fear of upsetting their core demographic who are not quite ready for the breaking news that the Earth isn't flat, isn't six thousand years old, wasn't made by God and isn't centred around Sarah Palin.

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LOHAN: She's low orbit and helium assisted

Mike Richards

It should definitely be inspired by the lovely Ms. Lohan

And come without any undercarriage.

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Apple Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Part Two

Mike Richards

It's a nice OS, but there's still so much wrong

There are the atrocities of the Address Book and iCal whose interfaces are utterly broken by the insistence on copying real world alternatives.

Finder is still a dog. The left-hand pane listing foldings and drives is much harder to read now it has been stripped of all colour and contrast. And they still haven't fixed the basics of how data is presented in the Finder, the appearance of folder contents is still entirely random - will it be a list? a set of icons, a preview - who knows? That's the excitement / frustration of Mac OS.

And then there are the wretched animations that can't be switched off. Windows zooming out of nothing circa mid 1980s GEM and the drives me to distraction bunny-hop of a new Mail message window.

I wish Apple would get some real interface designers to work on their products rather than the kiddies who knocked up this monster.

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Winklevoss twins' new Facebook lawsuit rejected by judge

Mike Richards

End this already

If the Winklevosses keep this up much longer they will achieve the near impossible and turn Mark Zuckerberg into a sympathetic figure.

Guys, you got $65 million for having an idea and nothing more. I call that a pretty good payment. Now go off and play in your boats.

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Beeb to fund ad-mungous Local TV for local people

Mike Richards

Funding

Why isn't Jeremy Hunt's best friend at BSkyB being tapped to help fund the service from his massive tax-free income?

Oh right, I forgot, Jeremy will need a job when his glittering ministerial career comes to an end.

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Mike Richards

Seriously?

As ITV's regional news areas get ever larger (The West now reaches from the Isles of Scilly to somewhere near Gloucester), to offset the cost of programming, Jeremy Hunt is trying to reverse the process by sucking money out of the BBC. He really is a useless spoonerism isn't he?

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Murdoch parliamentary pandemonium: Shock snap

Mike Richards

Not sure it's genuine

James Murdoch looks less plasticky in the photo than in real life.

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Mike Richards

That makes it so much clearer

With no Optimus Prime on hand, of course security was a joke

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Speaking Clock to celebrate diamond anniversary on Sunday

Mike Richards

They should celebrate

Get Brian Blessed to do the time - no telephone necessary.

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Adobe releases lengthy list of Apple Lion woes

Mike Richards

Makes a change

It's usually Adobe Update that dies a horrible painful death rendering all my Adobe apps useless. It's nice to see they've made individual applications flaky this time round.

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'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'

Mike Richards

Depends how you measure it

'How much has the average global temperature risen in the past two decades?'

Roughly 0.25 - 0.3 C since 1990.

Here's a good capsule summary with lots of plots:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

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Mike Richards

Mars and Venus

You won't be too surprised to know that temperature records for both planet are patchy.

For Venus, well we really have a very primitive understanding of the Venusian atmosphere and how it circulates heat. It is about 100 times the mass of the Earth, so we do know it holds a huge amount of heat and changes very slowly. A Japanese probe which would have performed long term measurements of the atmosphere failed to enter Venusian orbit in 2010. At the moment there are no probes planned to do that task.

We have better records for Mars going back to Viking in the mid 1970s. On a planet wide scale the atmosphere has cooled noticeably since Viking which arrived at the end of a long period of planet-scaled dust storms. The storms served to warm the atmosphere and probably pushed temperature above trend.

There was a large retreat of the Southern Polar ice cap on Mars from 2001 to (IIRC) 2005, but this was not seen elsewhere on the planet. It is thought this was a regional effect caused by dark dust being carried from equatorial regions towards the pole. The dust absorbed heat and melted the ice. But even this is uncertain as the Southern Cap is very thin, some years it disappears entirely, others it persists.

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Mike Richards

It's not volcanoes

'The fact is that there are 13 active volcanoes at this time, spewing out millions of tons of acknowledged greenhouse gases and dust and no one is tying this recent hot spell to that primary contributing factor.'

That'd be because none of the eruptions going on right now are large enough to have a significant warming or cooling effect I expect. I don't think there's been an eruption over VEI 5 for nearly 20 years and no overall increase in the number of eruptions in that period, so there doesn't even seem to be a correlation (let alone a causation) between them and recent global temperature trends.

Volcanoes 0.3 Gt CO2 pa. Humans 29 Gt CO2 pa.

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Mike Richards

Some proof of that

Almost every climate story on the BBC involves Nigel Lawson being dragged up to claim he's not denying anthropogenic climate change, but...

The toxic old scrote is nearly as ignorant about science as he is about his forte of economics, but he appears to be given some credibility thanks being ennobled.

If the BBC could actually find some credible scientists who had problems with climate change science then it might not be quite so as infuriating.

But strangely, they seem to be few and far between.

Odd that.

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Hubble detects new Plutonian moon

Mike Richards

Ooooh good call

We should rename the whole Plutonian system with Rupert at the centre orbited by James, Rebekah, Andy and Call Me Dave.

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Mike Richards

Pluto jnr. obviously

Since the planet is obviously named after the Disney character ;)

Going classical on astronomy's ass; perhaps Alecto, daughter of Pluto (the god, not the dog)?

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Apple ups Mac Mini spec, lowers price

Mike Richards

Alternatively

Take the bottom model, DON'T put Windows 7 on it and you have a very nice Media PC.

This is a tempting upgrade to my G4 Mac Mini which has been a faithful EyeTV, VLC media box for some time now.

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LulzSec say they'll release big Murdoch email archive

Mike Richards

Terrific

Now NotW can claim any undesirable email might have been tampered with.

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RUPERT MURDOCH HIT BY PIE

Mike Richards

Surprise

I'd have thought that if anyone would be throwing punches today it would be Rebekah Brooks.

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X2 triplex super-chopper in final flight

Mike Richards

Fairey vanished

Thanks to the unique way in which the British government has always managed to bugger up our industries, in 1960 Fairey was forcibly merged with Westland along with Saunders-Roe and the helicopter division of Bristol Aeroplane.

Westland not only had their own helicopter designs but licensed technology from the Americans. The rotodyne was dead in their hands, but they held all the IP.

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DARPA project seeks immortality, suspended animation

Mike Richards

Cross squaddies with jellyfish

They're already immortal.

Problem solved.

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Energy scavenger eats leftover wireless signals

Mike Richards

No! Don't do it!

It's hard enough getting a decent signal on an iPhone without people leeching the signal.

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CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment

Mike Richards

Alternatively

Couldn't the message just be read as 'publish the results in as accessible way as possible, the interpretation will come later'?

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AMD says Xbox 720 graphics to be good as Avatar

Mike Richards

The graphics will be great

The games however will be exactly the same as the current generation.

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Segway death blamed on good manners

Mike Richards

Antigravity

'Doesn't fall down' = antigravity.

Well it does in my Wile E Coyote Beginners Book of Physics Fun.

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Parmo v poutine: Your cut-out-and-keep pdf guide

Mike Richards

Half sheep's head please

in a viking deathmatch against the almighty surströmming sandwich.

with chips.

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US forced to redesign secret weapon after cyber breach

Mike Richards

Apparently

It's some crazy balloon, rocket spy thing.

They don't know who stole the plans, but the criminal mastermind goes by the name 'L'Ester' and is currently hiding at his secret volcano lair / donkey sanctuary deep in the Spanish mountains where he is designing a deep fat fried weapon of mass destruction.

A special operations unit made up from slightly shop-soiled supermodels is being formed to extradite him back to Guantanamo Bay where he will be chased by large spiders harvested from German supermarkets to the sound of Icelandic elf songs.

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Rebekah Brooks quits - Murdoch accepts this time

Mike Richards

Hacking - I don't think that word means what you think it means

That lexicographic train has long since left the station.

The word 'hacking' now means any attempt to break into a computerised system no matter how it is done. It joins words like 'nice', 'garble', 'brave' and 'artificial' in having dramatically changed their meaning with time.

Give up, the battle is lost.

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Mike Richards

Second redtop gone in a week

At least there won't be a nasty conflict of interest at Call Me Dave's next dinner party.

It'll be interesting to see where La Brooks pops up next.

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Boffins build JELL-O memory for your brain

Mike Richards

Bah - Jell-O

In Britain we'd have used custard.

Possibly with a layer of jelly and sponge biscuits for the substrate. Soaked in cheap alcohol to mimic the natural state of a British brain.

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Murdochs won't talk to MPs over phone-hacking scandal

Mike Richards

James Murdoch

Born in Wimbledon. He at least was once a British citizen. Anyone know if he ever got round to renouncing it?

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Mike Richards

Feel his collar next time he arrives

I'm sure an imaginative judge could say the Murdochs are persons of interest to a police investigation and put a warrant out for their arrest next time they feel obliged to grace us with their presence.

Alternatively, whilst he's here, Rupert could go down to a police station of his own accord and help the rozzers with their enquiries into just when he found out about the phone hacking allegations and that his son had been paying hush money to victims in contravention of British and American law.

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Mike Richards

Can't they summon him?

Using a chalk pentagram at midnight.

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Official: Pastafarian strainer titfer is religious headgear

Mike Richards

'There is no all-you-can-eat-Burger-King on the dark side of the moon.'

There isn't?????

[puts Moon landing plans* back in the drawer]

* hugely detailed:

1: get to Moon

2: Land

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Amazon's anti-iPad arises 'in October'

Mike Richards

Touchscreen Kindle?

Now that could get me to switch from my Sony 650 Reader - which although lovely tech is hobbled by its need to be tethered to the Waterstone's eBook store. It pains me to say it, but Kindle with touchscreen would be pretty much perfect...

...until the next big thing comes along.

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Mirasol screens? Shouldn't they be out by now?

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Blighty's rocketeers gather for ballistic love-in

Mike Richards

Pure bloody genius

If you wrap it with gaffer tape it will be even stronger.

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Microsoft plans to open 75 retail stores in US

Mike Richards

Huh?

They're opening a store in the middle of Wyoming (largest city Cheyenne - population 60,000), but not in neighbouring Colorado (largest city Denver - population 2.5 million)?

This can only make sense if bison are big Windows users.

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So, LOHAN: What's it to be?

Mike Richards

No room for NAOMI

Navigable Aerostat Observes Much of Iberia.

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German cops hunt HUGE ERECTION-inducing SPIDER

Mike Richards

That only raises more questions

From the article:

'Dr. Nunes said: ‘We found the toxin responsible [for the erections] and performed experiments using hypertensive rats which have severe erectile dysfunction. '

The first question being - how the hell do you know a rat has erectile dysfunction?

And back to spider - ye gods, the last time there was any spider that big it was clamped to Lis Slayden's back.

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Bug-Byte Manic Miner

Mike Richards

Atic Atac!

Pure bloody genius.

It was the one game as a C64 owner I wanted more than any, so I was thrilled when (and correct me if I'm wrong) BugByte released Wizard's Lair for the C64 - a near as dammit clone.

Shame we never got Knights Lore and Sabre Wulf though.

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Mike Richards

C64 Elite

Oh that was just painful.

And any of the Ultimate: Play the Game games for the C64 - the Spectrum got works of art, the C64 got big blocky messes.

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Triceratops horn find supports meteor extinction theory

Mike Richards

Not so

The ages of the rocks are constrained by radioisotopic dating in associated volcanic deposits.

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Mike Richards

It's not proximity that's important

It's continuity.

The deposits in Montana and Wyoming extend across the KT boundary without interruption so it is possible to get a complete sequence of events.

In many other places the end of the Cretaceous is missing or very poorly defined.

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Sunday Times accused of blagging Gordon Brown's records

Mike Richards

Humanity

You have to wonder what sort of a person obtains a sick child's medical records through illegal means and then phones the parents to let them know they're going to see that information splashed across the front of the papers. Rebekah Brooks might not face criminal charges, but she deserves to be reviled every time she appears in public.

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Diary of a cameraman at the last shuttle launch

Mike Richards

Columbia

'The cause of the Columbia Shuttle disaster because they removed insulation from the external fuel tank to save on weight. This allowed ice to build up, which broke off and struck the leading edge of the Shuttles Wing. '

Not quite. The formulation of the foam was changed to reduce its toxicity to workers. This increased the amount of 'popcorning' as trapped gas expanded and blew off chunks of insulation.

The damage to Columbia's wing was done just by insulation, not ice.

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