* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

London Olympics ticket grab ends with website wobbles

Mike Richards

'Basically it turns into a protracted version of "Deal or No Deal"'

Ooooh as if the Olympics weren't gruesome enough with the likes of Tessa Jowell and Seb Coe, now you've thrown Noel Edmonds into the mix.

0
0

2011 Ford Focus

Mike Richards

Nice car

Just a shame Ford has continued to row back from the radical styling of the original Focus towards something much more mainstream.

2
0

Five amazing computers for under £100

Mike Richards

Huge fan of the Z88

I probably wrote a couple of million words in my time on that machine. You're quite right, it really was way ahead of its time in being truly portable, incredibly frugal with power and (unusually for a Sinclair) extremely robust.

I wonder where mine is? I think I'd better go hunting through the cupboards tonight.

1
0

Microsoft inks Nokia deal with phones set to fly in 2012

Mike Richards

Flying Nokia phones

Have previously only been sighted in Naomi Campbell's household.

It didn't end well.

0
0

Lasers set to replace spark plugs in car engines

Mike Richards

Benzine

Is a mixture of hydrocarbons obtained by distilling crude oil. It also goes by the names petroleum ether, petroleum spirits or naphtha.

Benzene may be a minor consituent of benzine, though for all sorts of reasons you'd prefer if it wasn't.

1
0
Mike Richards

'Squeeze, bang pew pew, blow, suck'

Oh Paris - is it you?

0
0
Mike Richards

Lasers

Okay, this is a great application. But why am I still waiting for dental lasers to replace drills? This was promised when John Craven helmed the mighty 'Newsround' and still nothing.

0
0

Hubble celebrates 21st with gorgeous galactic 'rose' snap

Mike Richards

Longer Sundays?

If you've ever been to Wales you'd know just how long Sunday can last.

1
0

iPhones secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements

Mike Richards

Encrypt my backup

The data on the phone is plaintext.

1
0

Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars'

Mike Richards

Don't forget what he does in his spare time

http://www.teslamotors.com/

He must be having a blast developing the future.

5
1

Watchdog sniffs Rihanna's 'gently thrusting buttocks'

Mike Richards

Wrong complaint

Had ofcom investigated the god-awful singing then I feel the complaints might have been upheld.

5
0

Scientists reveal eight-legged Jurassic beast

Mike Richards

The Reg has already covered this

A while back Lewis used science to prove that spiders in Greenland would soon qualify for the congestion charge:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/07/armoured_spiders_out_of_greenland/

0
0

High Court squashes Digital Economy Act challenge

Mike Richards

'When, following the DEA implementation, profits don't soar.'

They'll demand more from Vaizey and Hunt - stiffer fines, more interceptions, fees for using the Internet / buying a blank disk / buying a music player - honestly there is no end to the creative parts of the media industry (apart from actually creating good material). We'll hear more heart-bleeding stories about artists living in poverty and the trillions lost each year through privacy and once again the government will roll over to the media business.

If they stopped treating their customers quite so badly it might help. New Blu-Ray, popped it in - ten trailers none of which were for the same demographic as the movie I wanted to watch, then when I got to the movie itself, an unskippable advert for Maltesers.

Last week when travelling abroad I wanted to buy an eBook for the flight home. Waterstones refused to deliver the book to a computer located outside of the UK even though I had logged in to my own account and provided the correct CVS number on my card. One sale lost.

0
0

Kindle beats Apple's closed book on choice

Mike Richards

It's down to choice

By the time the iBooks app came to the UK Kindle was already well established on iPad. Those of us with iPads took a look at iBooks when it was first released, saw the horrifying prices and piss-poor selection and have never looked again.

I don't own a Kindle (I have a Sony Reader), but the whole Kindle ecosystem is brilliantly thought through and Amazon deserve their success.

1
0

Citroën lifts lid on looming diesel hybrid

Mike Richards

French design

Why is it the famous French flair for design seems to elude them when it comes to building cars? The tech is nice, the body is horrid.

0
0

Blighty's Skylon spaceplane faces key tech test in June

Mike Richards

Also looks like

Max Faget's original DC3 design for the Shuttle orbiter which would have sat on top of an even larger winged booster. They'd have weighed nearly 2000 tonnes all up and taken off and landed horizontally. The DC3 would have had 11 SSMEs on the booster and another 2 on the orbiter.

It was canned once the USAF demanded a large cross-range ability and forced NASA to adopt a delta wing design. But in sheer Gerryandersonatiude it takes some beating - this might just be it.

But hold on - a 0.5mm shell on this beast - how robust would it be to bird strikes and the like?

1
0

The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow

Mike Richards

Good idea, but

His sister Kylie would have been even better.

5
0

RAF Eurofighters make devastating attack – on Parliament

Mike Richards

'Typhoon was built to a specified requirement.'

You're quite right - that requirement was the Cold War.

3
1

Dixons' best chance? Quit the UK and move to Sweden

Mike Richards

What have the poor Swedes done to deserve that?

I think it's the UK's unstated policy to piss off the nordic countries one by one. Having had a couple of year's fun at the Icelander's expense it's time to turn on the Swedes (the Norwegians will be left until last as we need their oil and gas), flatpack furniture and Dolph Lundgren movies not so much.

0
0

Nissan Leaf electric car

Mike Richards

Sounds like the Tesla S is almost there

The base model will have a 260 km range with other models having 370 and 480 km ranges. Charging times will be 3 to 5 hours, depending on the battery capacity with a 45-minute QuickCharge will be possible when connected to a 480 V outlet.

And it looks gorgeous, sort of when Mrs. Jaguar loved Mr. Mondeo very much indeed...

http://www.teslamotors.com/models

0
0

DARPA aims to make renewable power practical at last

Mike Richards

Antimatter?

As you said yourself - this is DARPA. You aren't thinking crazy enough.

They'll store solar power as biomass in giant hydroponic gardens fertilised by squaddie crap. The plants will then be fed to the genetically modified cyborg slugs which in turn will be consumed by the flesh devouring killer droids.

1
0

Android, Steve Jobs, and Apple's '90%' tablet share

Mike Richards

There's a lot of room at the bottom

But is there any money to be made in flogging ultra-cheap tablets? Or are most of the Android developers going to be competing with one another for the lowest cost, lowest margin part of the market - a place where there is precious little scope for innovation or to distinguish your product against those of your competitors.

Apple will be delighted to see the Android market spending its energy competing against itself. And I expect Google will one day follow Apple and Microsoft in having 'favoured' partners who are willing to develop a more premium product in order to offer something different and exciting.

1
0

Russian Vostok capsule sells for $2.9m

Mike Richards

A shame

That Russia is still selling off its incredible history as a space pioneer rather than using it to inspire the next generation of Russian engineers.

0
0

US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame

Mike Richards

Fashion tips

The pirate about town of tomorrow who wants to be noticed but not overdone can't fail to impress in this outfit inspired by a Christmas turkey. He's modelling a fashionable ensemble of Bacofoil pants and hoodie charmingly offset by these risque welding goggles. Trust me it'll be 'hello sailor' on the yardarm tonight.

2
0

Icelandic todger museum acquires human hampton

Mike Richards

Yes of course it is

You should probably make a proper expedition to the museums of Northern Iceland - because if you get as far as Hólmavík in the NorthWest you can go and visit the Witchcraft Museum and see their most prized exhibit - a pair of necropants.

What are necropants? I hear you cry.

Well they're for finding gold. To prepare your necropants you have to make an agreement with a friend that he (and it must be a he as you'll see shortly) will help you in the next life. Your friend must then die of natural causes and be buried. Shortly after he's been interred you dig up his body and skin his lower half to make a pair of trousers. Put on your fashionable new pair of strides and place a piece of gold in the erm - handily provided pouch and you will be guided to treasure.

Before satellite TV, I'm sure this must have passed many a long winter's evening on the edge of the Arctic.

2
0

Dutch astronaut unleashes 155 mph 'Superbus'

Mike Richards

It's just missing one thing

A hen party.

2
0

CPS: We won't prosecute over BT/Phorm secret trials

Mike Richards

Agreed

Does this mean a defence of 'I stopped being a serial killer just as soon as someone explained that I had genuinely misunderstood the law.' is now acceptable in court?

16
0

Deep-space travel bad for astronauts' tickers, say boffins

Mike Richards

Hmmmm

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is nothing more than people finding uses for a particle accelerator they just happened to have lying around the place and they're now trying to explain the electricity bill to their bosses.

1
0

Toyota and Microsoft ink e-car deal in a cloud of telematics

Mike Richards

'shoot ahead of what customers want today'

As usual with Microsoft they've come late to the party and are claiming to have invented the future. Much of this is available already on the Nissan LEAF where it is called CARWINGS:

http://www.nissan.co.uk/GB/en/vehicles/electric-vehicles/electric-leaf/leaf/discover/leaf-carwings.html

(sorry about the Flashtastic site)

1
0
Mike Richards

An update is available for your car

Your car will shut down in 30 seconds to complete updating which may take up to an hour. When it restarts you will be asked for your unique Microsoft Serial Number which can be found on the underside of the vehicle's chassis.

4
0

Robo-warship sub hunter: Free DARPA crowdsauce game

Mike Richards

Humpbacks

Can't wait to see ACTUV's strategy for handling amorous whales.

0
0

MythBusters: Savage and Hyneman detonate truthiness

Mike Richards

Rough Science

Became very expensive when the presenters found themselves in demand for other programmes.

'Bang Goes the Theory' is the replacement and it's pretty good fun even if there has been something of a lack of thermite.

0
0

Antarctic meteorite yields exotic new mineral

Mike Richards

Welcome to mineralogy 101

Where, rather than trying to remember cleavage patterns* you spend your time looking up rude mineral names in the index.

Also includes arsenolite, welshite, fukalite, kinoshitolite and my all-time favourite, fornacite.

* so much less interesting than you might think.

3
0

SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket - WORLD'S BIGGEST

Mike Richards

Blueprints

All of the designs for Saturn V exist and can be referred to. The production lines were all closed and the jigs disassembled after the completion of the backup booster for Skylab. It was never used and now hangs out in pieces at various museums. The sobering thought is that most of the people who designed Saturn are either long retired or dead, so a lot of the expertise has gone with them.

6
0

Official: PS3 has more fanboys than the Xbox 360 does

Mike Richards

PS3

Everyone I know who has a PS3 is using it almost exclusively as a Blu-Ray player because they feel they've been stiffed by Sony. The games are frequently more expensive than those on the 360 and rarely as good featuring cruddy frame rates and murky textures. I don't think I've bought a game for mine in nearly a year.

1
0

Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future

Mike Richards
Happy

Not so fast....

Plutonium's toxicity is much less than commonly stated. Long term studies of people who have been exposed to plutonium either in weapons manufacturing, fuel reprocessing and bomb detonations have found no excess deaths due to its toxicity. It is most certainly not the poisonous substance on Earth as Ralph Nader hyped it, it may in fact be less toxic than caffeine.

Plutonium is an alpha emitter, and in theory can produce a wide range of cancers if ingested or inhaled; but once again, long term studies of people exposed to plutonium particles have failed to show a significant risk.

However, plutonium in the environment is a sign that other nasties which are biologically active and have much higher radioactivities are probably also slopping around in the outside world.

The Pu-238 found at two locations at Fukushima is almost certain to have come from the reactor rather than a bomb test because Pu-238 is only likely to have been made in a reactor by one of two processes:

U-235 + n + n -> U-237

U-237 beta decays to Np-237 over a period of days

Np-237 + n -> Np-238

Np-238 beta decays to Pu-238

There is no time in a bomb explosion for significant numbers of intermediate neptunium to be created and to undergo beta decay so Pu-238 is a good indicator of reactor plutonium.

The second method for making Pu-238 is for Pu-239 to be hit by a fast neutron that rather than fissioning the nucleus ejects a second neutron. This can happen in bomb detonations, but it will not create significant amounts of Pu-238 to affect the isotope ratio.

Clearly there is a leak either in the reactor itself or in the spent fuel pond.

6
0

James Cameron to amp up Avatar frame rate

Mike Richards

Done by Douglas Trumbell decades ago

It was called ShowScan and used 70mm film at 60fps. I saw a demo in the 1980s and the illusion of solidity is astonishing.

1
0

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air speakers

Mike Richards

Remote?

Have they improved the remote over the original?

That was an anonymous black on black pebble which was really cheap and nasty to hold and not easy to use without looking at the buttons.

The original works fine with AirPlay if you have an Airport Express - mini TOS from the Airport's optical out to the Zeppelin's optical in. It appears as Airport Express in the drop down menu on iTunes, all you have to do is toggle the Zep until the power light turns green.

0
0

Labour MP debuts fondleslab-assisted Parliament oratory

Mike Richards

Bless!

No doubt it and its contract paid for through expenses.

3
1

Antarctic ice breakup makes ocean absorb more CO2

Mike Richards

What's still unknown

Is how long the phytoplankton lock up the CO2. Once all of the nutrients have been released from the melting ice, the bloom will come to an end and the plankton will die releasing the carbon once again. Likewise if they're eaten, most of that CO2 goes straight back into the atmosphere courtesy of respiration - only a fraction goes into skeletons, muscle and lots and lots of crap.

Some plankton secrete calcium carbonate exoskeletons which can sink to the ocean floor to form what geologists (with their never-knowingly undersold sense of drama) call 'ooze'; which does remove carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, but many do not.

On the upside, phytoplankton produce lots of dimethyl sulfide which is linked to cloud formation over oceans and might act to cool the planet.

Boy, if only this climate malarkey was as simple as a boiling water reactor.

4
0

Praying for meltdown: The media and the nukes

Mike Richards

'The reactors endured a Force 9 earthquake'

No they didn't.

Magnitude 9 was the force at the epicentre of the 'quake. The reactors survived about 100th as much energy.

5
1
Mike Richards

Only some graphite reactors

Gas-cooled reactors don't have void coefficients; in fact the AGR won't melt in the event of a total loss of coolant. What made the RBMK so dangerous is that in normal operations the light water coolant absorbed neutrons so the operators had to keep the control rods way out of the reactor in order to keep enough fissions going on. At Chernobyl, as the coolant boiled away, absorption fell, the number of neutrons in the system increased - causing more reactivity and the reactor ran away.

1
0

Lindsay Lohan ditches her surname

Mike Richards

BRITNEY

Balloon Release Instrumented Tropospheric Navigation and Exploration - Yahoo!

1
0
Mike Richards

Fire up NAOMI

Next Ascender and Orbiter - Manned (sort of) Interactive

It's all the more aptly named if, on re-entry, this one crashed onto a hired help.

9
0

The Professionals set to abseil into cinema

Mike Richards

It's Hollywood

So it's much more likely to be Alan Cummings.

0
0

Nokia talks Pure typographic cobblers

Mike Richards

I hope it's just a glitch in the screengrab

but it looks like the baseline of the 's' in 'Whalesong' is a little too high.

As for Nokia's font, I prefer Microsoft's Segoe UI family as used on Windows Phone 7 - it's incredibly elegant, modern and easy to read.

0
0

Libya fighting shows just how idiotic the Defence Review was

Mike Richards

The water is perfectly safe

It's just ever so slightly less perfectly safe than it was yesterday.

0
1
Mike Richards

One reason to keep the Storm Shadow

It is a brilliant name for a weapon - very Captain Scarlet. By comparison Tomahawk isn't nearly as whooshy sounding.

2
0
Mike Richards

Might be a stupid idea but...

...it can't be worse than those the MoD come up with. How about a nice big double hulled cargo ship with lots of flat deck space (like a container ship). Fit it with LOTS of vertical launch tubes for Tomahawks, some anti missile defended and lots of fire fighting ability. Then cruise up and down the Gulf of Sidra lobbing missiles as needed.

1
0

Your census data will be kept secret - except from MI5, police, courts etc

Mike Richards

Such faith

'After all, those individuals intent on undermining a Parliamentary democracy are unlikely to want to vote in one.'

I'd stake money on someone saying the same in the Weimar Republic.

3
0

Forums