* Posts by Mike Richards

3605 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

BBC testing fix for iPlayer on iPad ... 6 months later

Mike Richards

Audience

I've always assumed there's a huge overlap between the audience for You & Yours and The Daily Mail.

'Today, the hidden peril of doors. Electricity - it sound terrifying, but is it? We investigate further. And at 12:30 we'll have a live studio discussion over the tragic case of Mrs. Volvox who stepped outside at eleven o'clock yesterday evening to find it was dark. What is 'night time' and how do we ban it?'

Mind you, the misery of accidentally tuning into You & Yours is nothing compared to the unspeakable of horror of 'Moneybox Live'.

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Antimatter close to home

Mike Richards

Setting aside the gruesome image that evokes

The Apollo astronauts reported seeing bright flashes in their vision when they were travelling to the Moon and back. It was suggested this was caused by sub-atomic particles trapped in the Van Allen Belts passing through their eyes.

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Mike Richards

Ummmm....

A nice idea, except the Vela Incident took place over the Indian Ocean.

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Mike Richards

[GRIN]

Though it does cause problems for satellites. The ISS has to carry extra radiation shielding for the occasions when it passes through the SAN and the Hubble Space Telescope is shut down for its passage. I'm pretty sure it was also linked to the repeated failures of a number of low-orbit comms sats.

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NASA's Juno roars off to Jupiter

Mike Richards

You're right...

...but it's actually a magnetometer.

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Can you handle LOHAN's substantial globes?

Mike Richards

payload on top

Is that even stable?

Maybe the nearest aerodynamicist can put me right, but wouldn't a weight on top and a weight on the bottom just mean that with the slightest disturbance the balloon rolls over until the two weights are more or less horizontal?

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Mike Richards

That sounds really sensible

The only difficulty with that suggestion is making sure the plane doesn't tumble when it released, but it sounds relatively simple and would avoid too much spin damage on the way up.

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Martian water slides caught on camera (maybe)

Mike Richards

Wind doesn't seem likely

I'm not sure.

These images are from a crater wall in the southern hemisphere pointing north in the summer, so it gets the full heat (hah) of the Martian summer. You'd expect that to produce a convection of air up over the rim of the crater - opposite to the pattern we're seeing here.

Also, when you put the graphic over a 3D terrain, you don't see any of the tell tale swirls that you normally associate with windblown debris, these lines are going straight downhill:

(long URL approaching)

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/multimedia/images/?ImageID=3580&NewsInfo=59C884BFF2B8E0EFC8DB07B94F94BA55AC4A8F9603007CD8CA4D50EBAAD2D883DF99DED8EDD0DF46C0599EE2C2EF940CC2CED306DC461CEBDB1FCDC80B64D73904CAEF4AC312CFCADF0D13D2CED22FC5B6C7ADF9CDE1D1DED5CF8ACA150D4C12D642D29B4C46266CC351DB91C41CA9845C

There's still a chance this could be liquid CO2 seeping out of the permafrost, it would be able to transport material downhill, but it wouldn't leave any tell-tale traces for the orbiter to pick up. But then, liquid CO2 is not normally found in these conditions.

I wonder if ESA can point their Mars Orbiter towards Newton crater any time soon.

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Death haunts government petitions site

Mike Richards

What a shame the NotW is no longer with us

The delicious Rebekah Brooks could have started a whole new 'Death to Paedos' petition had things not gone quite so spectacularly tits up for her and NI.

And a correction to the original article. The government has not promised that any petition which gets 100,000 signatories will be debated, they have said it 'may be debated'.

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Mike Richards

The Daily Mail

'Why is it that the Daily Mail is vociferous in support of penalties for certain crimes, but not so much for others (phone hacking)? '

You have to remember the same deranged moral compass that once had the Mail printing "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" has driven them on to the ideological rocks of the 1950s when everyone loved the Queen, there were no beastly foreigners around, everyone went to church and Europe could still be cut off by fog in the Channel.

There was a death penalty in the 1950s so we need it back. And only nice proper people had telephones back then and they'd never dream of listening to someone else's messages, so why the fuss now?

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NASA Legonauts set for Jupiter voyage

Mike Richards

At a guess

The plastic used by LEGO might not be capable of withstanding the heat, cold and radiation Juno is going to experience.

But I'm with you on wanting a set for myself (LEGO is far too good for children)

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Columbia debris emerges from Texas lake

Mike Richards

Well if you're going to ask

http://santoki.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/bush_golf2.jpg

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Reg readers ponder LOHAN's substantial globes

Mike Richards

We're going to need a bigger balloon

Does the plane need to be directly beneath the balloon? Instead couldn't you have a horizontal boom suspended from the balloon with the plane on one end and a counterweight on the other. Fire the plane up at an angle before the balloon bursts and it should clear the rest of the vehicle.

Either that or dump the balloon entirely and build a bigger rocket to create your very own Dynasoar. The rocket, of course, would have to fuelled with liquid hydrogen for maximum hilarity.

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HTC sues Apple in the UK

Mike Richards

So...

A Californian company is being sued by a Taiwanese company in the UK. Why exactly? For the air miles?

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'Missing heat': Is global warmth vanishing into space?

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Canon EOS 600D 18Mp DSLR

Mike Richards

Stop making them smaller

These cameras are just too small for me - and I don't have huge hands. I've got a Sony A700 which is a pretty old camera now, but it has a nice chunky design, generous grip and enough heft that the lens doesn't unbalance it unduly. I'm looking to replace it, but none of the cheaper dSLRs have the same sort of bulk.

But it looks like the powers that be have decided that if blobby shapes and saggy shoulders are good enough for the British physique, they're good enough for cameras.

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BSkyB hands out £1bn, board backs James Murdoch

Mike Richards

And since they're doing so well

Perhaps they'd like to start paying some tax on their income?

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UK's first Stealth fighter in successful catapult test

Mike Richards

Still going to be expensive

The USMC is only committing to 80 C aircraft which will result in them being more expensive than if the airframes had been made from the finest gold leaf hand-rolled on the thighs of Cuban women and then liberally sprinkled with sapphires. (I have no idea if this is how you go about making an aircraft by the way).

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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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