* Posts by Mike Richards

3615 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

'Lion' Apple Mac OS X 10.7: Sneak Preview

Mike Richards

The dogsbreakfastisation of the Mac continues

God I hate these new interfaces. There's no reason to bring an interface designed for a handheld machine to a 29" iMac other than 'because you can'. Likewise, why on earth does a computer calendar need to look like a paper one? Apple seems to have relegated its interface design to the kiddies who used to skin WinAmp.

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El Reg cuts ribbon on new Special Projects Bureau

Mike Richards

What about an elastic band powered car?

First donkey in space. (Burro Rises Into Troposphere Nerds Eulogy (to) Yuri)

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Mike Richards

It might just be me

But whatever you do next must end up really, really annoying the Americans.

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Canada buys Obama's reject Brit choppers for spare parts

Mike Richards

Didn't Canada also buy

Crappy British submarines?

Come on Canada, you should have learned a lesson that we can't do this death tech.

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Gov piles pressure on News Corp in BSkyB bid

Mike Richards

Independent director

Murdoch made similar promises when he took over The Times and broke them within months. He knows Hunt 'n co. won't get in the way of his plans.

Now, when's he going to start paying tax on NI's UK's operations?

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Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

Mike Richards

'I hope you've been training a new Moderatrix?'

Sarah's told us the forums will now be firmly spanked by Jude.

He does not sound like a moderatrix - at least not in my fantasies.

By the way Sarah, if you haven't left yet is there still time to tell you about my fantasies? Sarah? Sarah?

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German vulture detective hits turbulence

Mike Richards

Release the police pelicans

Personally I think the collective noun for vultures should be 'a gluttony'.

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17 flock to see Gordon Ramsay turkey

Mike Richards

'Would you have clicked on this story if it had Dougray Scott in the headline?'

Not a chance, but had you mentioned the moustache himself - PETER BOWLES - that would have been another matter.

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Mike Richards

Good idea

But it must be a children's bedtime book.

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London Olympics shop in Union Jack outrage

Mike Richards

The other way of looking at this

Is that anyone who bought one of these horrors probably has a nice collectable for The Antiques Roadshow'.

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Mike Richards

Did they ever get the clock started again?

The official clock in TrafalgarSquare went tits up on the first day of the countdown. Did they ever get someone along to fit a new battery?

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ISS crew man the lifeboat

Mike Richards

Six people

But I thought Soyuz was only rated for three.

Are they meant to sit in one another's laps for re-entry?

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US Navy invents 'Zero-Power Autonomous' ocean probe

Mike Richards

Not allowed to do it

It would constitute dumping radioactive material into the ocean which is forbidden by international treaty.

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Freedoms Bill: Gov may U-turn on personal data and DNA retention

Mike Richards

Can anyone remember the last sane home secretary?

Anyone?

I think it might have been Ken Clarke sometime in the early Mesozoic, but if not you're probably back at Roy Jenkins.

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Sony goes slim with the Vaio Z laptop

Mike Richards

Huge leap forward from the previous Z

Which had much the same price for an Atom processor.

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600 tonne asteroid in low pass above Falkland Islands - TONIGHT

Mike Richards

It all depends

On the relative speed of the Earth and the impactor, the angle of incidence and the composition of the meteoroid. A head on collision tends to produce so much energy smaller particles are consumed. Grazing trajectories expose the particles to long periods of heating and they vaporise, and icy or carbonaceous material simply can't survive the deceleration through the atmosphere.

For rock and metal, a rule of thumb is that the very small stuff, like dust, survives intact, Things about the size of a grain of sand to a small piece of gravel burn up as a meteor and almost never reach the surface. Up to a metre they tend to burn up a a fireball, bigger ones may produce a meteorite. Above a metre to 10 metres they usually survive intact to the surface, minus whatever is ablated - but they may disintegrate into meteorite showers. Above that to 100m they tend to explosively fragment into pieces because of deceleration stresses, but large amounts of material will hit the surface. Over 100m and the atmosphere is too insubstantial to slow them and they hit with a catastrophic impact.

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Mike Richards

Depends...

...on what it is made from.

The size is an estimate from its brightness - although they might have made some direct radar measurements by now. If the body is made from iron-nickel it will be much brighter than a carbonaceous chondrite which are blacker than coal - so a smaller iron-nickel object will appear as bright as a much larger lump of tarry space goo.

And if it was iron-nickel it would stand a reasonable chance of surviving entry to the atmosphere as they are best able to survive the brutal deceleration intact which does for most stony meteoroids.

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dabs.com says sorry for delivery debacle

Mike Richards

BT in IT-related tits-uppery?

Say it isn't true!

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Dixons reports huge losses of £224m

Mike Richards

Pixmania

I used them twice. The first time was within a few weeks of them setting up and they were absolutely stellar - great price, fast delivery. The second time was a nightmare; you fill in all your details online, do the credit card bit and then they mail you with a scamtastic request for a passport or driving licence impression. Order cancelled, hello John Lewis.

There isn't a bargepole long enough for me to use either company.

If you're ever flying out of the UK, there is some amusement to be had (admittedly not a lot, but when you're at Heathrow you take what little fun you can get) looking at the Dixons duty-free prices and comparing them to Amazon's.

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Mike Richards

Jessops

Quite agree. Their prices are eyewatering in comparison to online stores, but if you have a good one the staff can be brilliant for advice. But when they are bad, they are horrid.

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Harry Potter Web-2.0 'Pottermore' offering unveiled

Mike Richards

You do have to wonder

If JK Rowling has heard of slash-fiction.

As for your prediction of 'within a week' - five minutes tops.

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Comet in bad way after big losses

Mike Richards

The horror stories are true

And Comet are the worst - their cable brand of choice is none other than Monster - purveyors of overpriced crap for years now. My parents were conned into paying £60 for a set of cables when they bought their first LCD TV. It was the devil's own job to get Comet to accept the return - only when we brought the set back to the store and loudly demanded to see the manager about a refund on the grounds of misselling could we get them to see sense.

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ESA to launch suborbital test spaceplane in 2013

Mike Richards

It's back to the future

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes_(spacecraft)

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Alleged LulzSec hacker still inside

Mike Richards

Um....

Just because you may have an unspecified mental illness doesn't mean you are unaware of right and wrong. Should he be charged, it will be for his defence to bring the relevant medical information to the court's attention.

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The KILLER MUTANT FUNGUS in YOUR DISHWASHER

Mike Richards

I thought the cure for fungal infections

Was natural yogurt?

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Mike Richards

Sometimes thermite IS the answer

Thermite - for those stubborn stains when opening the door a crack and lobbing a grenade in just won't do.

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Has UK gov lost the census to Lulzsec?

Mike Richards

Deed poll

All in the name Spartacus.

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Oz alkie gets hammered on hospital hand sanitiser

Mike Richards

Methanol - not a good idea

It's a neurotoxin and easily absorbed through the skin, so it would probably start blinding and killing the hospital staff - this is generally not thought to be a good thing.

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Mike Richards

Surprising

I'm surprised the stuff isn't laced with a healthy dose of Bitrex to make it completely impossible to drink. Most household chemicals are made deliberately bitter to prevent them being drunk by children or alcoholics.

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Peugeot iOn e-car

Mike Richards

That interior is very Amstrad

Shiny plastic things wedged in at random.

And the exterior is a bit of a horror too from the gimpy 'smile' at the front to the standing on tip-toes poise - are the French pathologically unable to design a good looking car?

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Saab fingers BAE over South African fighter deal

Mike Richards

Bofors

The Swedes aren't quite as squeaky clean as you may think when it comes to selling minimalistic and elegant weapons systems:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bofors_Scandal

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30,000 Shreks besmirch BeautifulPeople

Mike Richards

[Thinks]

Mornington Crescent?

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Mike Richards

Sounds like a business opportunity to me

Who's up for founding lumpentrolls.com - the social networking site for those 85% of the British population too hideous to join beautifulpeople.com? At just $20 per month you'd even save money.

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Captain Cyborg: Computers are alive, like bats or cows

Mike Richards

Thanks for the update

Kevin Warwick really is the Geri Halliwell of the computing world isn't he? You're not quite sure why he's famous, you can't remember anything he's ever done and yet he's always with us.

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Apple iMac 27in

Mike Richards

I have one - only one issue

Annoyingly, the Mac only outputs sound through the speakers when headphones aren't connected (although strangely it will use the speakers to make the booting BONG! noise whether or not there's something connected).

The position of the headphone port on the back right next to the other connectors means its unnecessarily fiddly to connect headphones. It'd be much better if they'd been placed on the side (both sides would have been nice).

Apart from that, it's a stunning machine.

Actually make that two issues - the Magic Mouse is horrible to use - thank goodness for my trusty Intellimouse.

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NAME that DONKEY: Bella bests Barbarella

Mike Richards

You're right

Whilst donkeys are definitely the most serious looking of all hoofed animals, that one is clearly pondering something.

Possibly wondering if it'll be involved in the next project launched from the Reg's donkey sanctuary / spaceport.

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DARPA issues call for notions on Starship-for-2111 plan

Mike Richards

Blimey!

'I calculate for 1 tonne moving at 0.1C ( ~40 years) the kinetic energy is ~4.5E17 J . That's equivalent to 14 1000MW power stations for 1 year.'

That's very nearly TWO deep-fried Mars Bars!

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Mike Richards

There's high concept...

...and then there's the vertigo-inducing, ear-popping, nose-bleeding, blood boiling, near orbit world of DARPA concepts.

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Can Big Blue survive another century?

Mike Richards

Bit different

Boeing didn't actively court al Qaeda, they didn't set up aircraft production plants, training and maintenance facilities with the organisation. IBM under Thomas Watson was an active and willing supplier of equipment to the Reich long after the persecution of the Jews turned into outright extermination. They even tried to continue operating in the Reich after Germany declared war on America. Watson was a close friend of the Nazi chiefs and was one of the very few foreigners ever to receive a medal from Hitler.

'IBM and the Holocaust' is a devastating and authoritative book on the subject.

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Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Mike Richards

Greenland

It was five centuries of settlement from the time of Eirīkr Þōrvaldsson through to the final disappearance of the colonies. Even now it is not certain what happened, only that the colonies were abandoned some time in the late 15th Century. it is still uncertain whether they starved to death, were killed in conflicts with the Inuit or whether they returned to Iceland (although the Icelandic records do not mention the return of the Greenlanders).

Greenland in the Norse period was very slightly more appealing than it is now (i.e. not very) and supported a borderline pasture economy which the Vikings brought from Scandinavia. You grew grass, raised animals, produced milk and ate the animals. But it was very, very marginal. Even in the good years the climate was never good enough to grow arable crops, so all grains had to be imported from their other colonies.

As the climate deteriorated, the Norse stuck to their pasture farming which become ever more unsustainable. They never adapted their lifestyle to one better suited to Greenland, so the colonies gradually dwindled until they failed entirely.

Much the same happened in Iceland, but there, conditions were just good enough that pasture farming could be maintained throughout the Middle Ages, but it was a wretchedly poor place right up until the middle of the 20th Century.

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Mike Richards

Bzzzt!

@Anonymous Coward

'The Eric the Red story is a fallacy. It is an impossibility for the Vikings to have set up successful and long term settlements and keep them supplied via sea routes. Therefore the settlements must have been able to sustain themselves with home grown crops and herding animals (abundant evidence for this exists). This is something they could not do today therefore Greenland was more hospitable when the Vikings were there.'

The Norse economy was pasture based. Animals grazed in the wild in the summer whilst hay was grown and fed to them indoors in the winter. You see the same in Iceland - and Greenland today.

All other staples (with the exception of fish) were imported. The Greenland records show this was increasingly infrequent as time went by with many of the Greenland Norse not knowing what simple things like bread were.

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Mike Richards

And the important phrase Mr. Page should have learned at school is..

'Correlation does not imply causation'

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Creationists are infiltrating US geology circles

Mike Richards

Not just rocks

We also have hammers - big hammers

And volcanoes.

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Mike Richards

Why 7?

Was one watching the others go at it?

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Mike Richards

As a geologist...

...I can't see how you could get a GCSE or A-Level in geology, let alone a degree in the subject from an accredited organisation *and* be a creationist.

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Mike Richards

As always...

talk.origins is your sceptical friend:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#flood

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IATA: this iPad could BRING DOWN A PLANE

Mike Richards

Turning off your phone

If you are flying in the US or on an American carrier and do not turn your phone off, you are in violation of an FAA regulation and liable for a $2000 fine.

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Cabinet Office talks to Facebook & co about new ID system

Mike Richards

Face meet palm

Facebook? Just in case I've missed an important news story, is the government proposing to secure our personal information with the same foreign company that relentlessly infringes users' privacy and distributes their information far and wide? Or is there another Facebook out there.

Take a look at Francis Maud, does he look like the sort of person who has the vaguest clue he knows what he's talking about?

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Apple bars WinXP users from iCloud

Mike Richards

We like authors even more

if they contradict themselves within the same article.

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BP world energy review: Chinese coal drives up CO2

Mike Richards

Peak coal

China has to diversify its energy supply incredibly rapidly as it's facing an energy crunch in the next couple of decades. Domestic coal production is expected to peak in the next decade and go into a sharp decline, its oil and gas fields are either approaching, or at, peak production and it's seeing a decline in hydropower reserves because of long-term drought. Couple that to the need to keep 10% growth and the challenges they are facing are immense.

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