* Posts by Mike Richards

3595 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

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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MP claims NotW sleuths targeted royals, politicians, Blair

Mike Richards

Delightful isn't it?

The man who wanted to put all of his fellow citizens under near constant surveillance finds himself being spied on by his favourite media mogul.

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Nintendo takes control with next-gen games console

Mike Richards

How many people are still using their Wiis?

The Wii had so much potential, but Nintendo blew it (again) - rehashing the same franchises, and pouring their efforts into attracting the 'casual gamer' that many people simply got fed up waiting for decent challenging content.

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Pixmania users report scam-spam bombardment

Mike Richards

Yep here too

I got the same email today and it came via an account used for Pixmania about four years ago.

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Tory terror changes promise moon on stick

Mike Richards

Hairdressers would be a better choice

'So, bombing anywhere nice this year?'

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Mike Richards

Good point

How do we know they are a success when we don't know how many sites they miss or falsely categorise as bad for our moral health?

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Mike Richards

I can see this working

And so how are you feeling? Just relax now - hmmm - yes - well maybe take a little more gentle exercise a couple of times a week and perhaps stay off the fatty food to see if that settles down. Now I'm just looking at your blood count - yes that looks quite normal, your cholesterol is fine, no sign of diabetes so nothing to worry about there. So how do you feel about the restoration of the caliphate and have you had any problems passing water?

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BBC Freesat tech switch zaps HD channels from 'old' boxes

Mike Richards

'We put this on our blog'

To be fair here, the BBC is blameless it's the set-top box people who might have to start forking out money for disgruntled customers now their boxes are not fit for purpose.

BUT this excuse that a message on a web site amounts to a notification to customers doesn't really stick - but it's catching on with all sorts of companies. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I don't obsessively follow every company I deal with to find out what they're up to.

It's the modern equivalent of putting the note on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

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Play.com pummelled over purported piracy permissiveness

Mike Richards

Call the ICO

If you are in the UK the ICO may have the power to fine them:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/privacy_and_electronic_communications.aspx

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'Great Reversal' as world's forests stage a comeback

Mike Richards

@Zippy the Pinhead

You do know that the vast majority of eruptions at Mauna Loa occur through the flanks rather than from the Mokuʻāweoweo summit caldera, and that the measurements are adjusted for the rate of outgassing from the volcano.

Thought not.

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1000 day wait for Sarah Palin emails nearly over

Mike Richards

Research lexicographers are on standby

These emails will introduce more new words to the English language than any time since Shakespeare was in full flow with Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter. According to boffins we can expect novel grammars, undreamt of phraseologies and perhaps tenses entirely new to English such as the (until now hypothetical) past-future imperfect fifth person.

And that's in one email where she provides the definitive explanation of how Paul Revere's warning to the British allowed General Custer to defeat Lex Luther before the South could bomb Pearl Harbor in order to emancipate the Louisiana Purchase to Adolf Hitler.

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Entire London 2012 Olympics' cultural events database held on Excel

Mike Richards

Is there more than one spreadsheet?

Because if the second is being used for tickets it might explain the crazy ticket allocations.

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Hot bodies get super-slippery when wet

Mike Richards

Why?

Coal doesn't go off and the life of wheat stored under proper conditions is months or even years. Why do these freighters need to go faster?

I think he's also forgetting the realities of the shipping market which is to reduce costs as far as possible by only ever using very old, single hulled bulkers manned by third world crews sailing under flags of convenience. Only a few years ago, one of these monsters was sinking every month and no one in power gave a toss until the MV Derbyshire vanished, but since then, nothing's changed.

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New Sony hack exposes more consumer passwords

Mike Richards

Sony customer advice

If you are a Sony customer and you have not had your confidential information released as yet, could you please give them a call so they can do so immediately. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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Brit rubbish-dump worms in space station science triumph

Mike Richards

Whilst we're on the subjects of beasties from outer space

Any news on the Shuttle Squid?

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WW2 naval dazzle-camo 'could beat Taliban RPGs'

Mike Richards

Daily Mail???

'The Perishers' were in the Mirror when it used to be a newspaper.

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Britain mounted secret 2010 cyberwarfare attack on al-Q

Mike Richards

I rather hope

The spooks are still editing the magazine and dropping in really weird bits of advice - you know - 'have you tried practicing suicide bombing in an uninhabited area just so you know what it feels like'. Then they could add music reviews, a gallery of unusually shaped vegetables, a 'Dear Dierdre' sex advice column and a 'Where's Ayman al-Zawahri?' competition to win £5.

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Tesco pricing cock-up provokes beer stampede

Mike Richards

Legally...

The price on the shelf only constitutes an 'invitation to treat'. When you take the beer mountain to the till you are making an offer to complete the contract at that price. A contract only comes into being when Tesco accepts your offer and you pay (so called 'consideration'). Up until that point the seller or the buyer can pull out of the negotiations, or change the conditions without prejudice, so Tesco are fully within their rights to say there has been a pricing error and the customer has no legal protection.

Although I hope they issued the check-out staff with cattle prods when they tried to explain this.

Mind you, I wonder if anyone got the lower price on the self-service tills?

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Francis Maude goes back 110 years for cybersecurity strategy

Mike Richards

No need for the red flag

We've got BT running our walking pace broadband service.

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What is UltraViolet™ and why should you care?

Mike Richards

I'm going to say this quietly

But Disney are one of the more enlightened DVD distributors. A recent Blu Ray not only came with a DVD, but a download licence through iTunes for only a quid or more than the bare bones DVD. And then, it had the rarest of things - skippable ads and trailers.

Compare that to Momentum who put a completely unstoppable Maltesers ad on their disk.

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El Reg pays by phone – mmmm, free cookies!

Mike Richards

Important question left unanswered

Was it a nice cookie?

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