* Posts by Mike Richards

3608 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

UK inks space research deal with Russia

Mike Richards

'UK Russia Year of Space 2011'

You're right, that sucks.

Why not Spacesmash or Stargasm?

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Westboro Baptist Church taunts Anonymous over supposed attack plan

Mike Richards

WBC: '3rd party penetration testing'

[childish snigger]

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Huawei to gift underground coverage to London

Mike Richards

China

Helping develop the economy of yet another backward nation I see.

Anyone prepared to bet on the length of time (to the nearest minute) between the service being turned on and an iPhone being shoved down its user's throat?

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South African dam sluices 609 elephants per second

Mike Richards

Delightful image

Of elephants lounging in inner tubes going 'wheeeeeeeee!' as they sail down-river.

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Mike Richards

Mississippi surely?

Time is measured in Mississippis.

Which means the Orange River was discharging 609 elephants per Mississippi.

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Oz news team pays homage to Carry On

Mike Richards

ITV are you watching?

This sort of banter is clearly what they need to revive viewing figures for 'Daybreak'.

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20-tonne space truck heads for ISS

Mike Richards

Don't be silly

Sir Clive never advanced space science so they can't name a ship after him.

On the other hand Wallace and Gromit flew to the Moon.

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NO-SH*T CURE FOR BALDNESS discovered by accident

Mike Richards

Alternatively

It will give every man worried about their attractiveness to women a full head of hair and a lovely hairy back.

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Mike Richards

Ironically

The Salk Institute will probably become richer and better known through this discovery than it was for developing the cure for polio.

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RIM boss: 'Our PlayBook shames the You Know What'

Mike Richards

'What makes the PlayBook great'

'is that it supports real-time multitasking with symmetric multiprocessing.'

The sound you hear is Cupertino laughing. If this is RIM's strategy they are doomed to irrelevance. Selling products is about telling people how great life is when you own it - what you can do - not how it is done. Apple is where it is today by making the technology almost entirely invisible to the user.

And let's not think for one minute that RIM have a tablet - they've demoed a tablet, but that's a long way from getting millions of them out into the marketplace. They're late to a game whose schedule is being dictated by Apple and Google, each of which can bury RIM in money. If they delay launching the tablet it much longer RIM will forgotten in the hype for iPad 2 and the first practical Android. Try to wait out that media cycle and their tablet will be old hat before it even hits the market.

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Airport face-scanning robots switched off

Mike Richards

But... but... but...

David Blunkett told me that biometrics were infallible. My universe is broken.

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Dinky Florida machine 'could whup world No 1 computer's ass'

Mike Richards

Reconfigurable computers

I reckon they're like the Infinite Improbability Drive and work best when provided with a *really* hot cup of tea.

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Gov will pay £2.25m compo to ID card suppliers

Mike Richards

Why yes he does

In 2007, David Blunkett registered he had a financial interest in a Texan company called Entrust which was bidding for work on the British card:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/mar/25/uk.idcards

Blinky also seems to be having memory problems:

'Blunkett seeks 'end to ID cards'

'Former Home Secretary David Blunkett says the government should scrap plans to introduce ID cards for all in favour of mandatory biometric passports.'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8022791.stm

But look on the bright side, Shagger Blunkett was being spied on by News International at the same time he was being paid to write his column for 'The Sun'. Apparently he's outraged by the intrusion on his privacy.

Personally I feel sorry for the dog.

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Virgin tempts Brits with fee-free TiVo

Mike Richards

Paying for the EPG

TiVo's business has been to either charge a monthly fee, or charge a much larger one-off 'lifetime'* fee for the same information.

* of the device, not you.

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Man matches machine in Jeopardy! showdown

Mike Richards

Any chance of adding some information to the article?

What I learned from this article:

The questions got harder and the computer failed to answer them.

What I didn't learn:

What any of these questions and answers actually were.

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Wooden spaceship descends into Moscow sandpit

Mike Richards

'isolated, cold, and starved for affection'

Sounds like boarding school.

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One third of Russians say Sun revolves round Earth

Mike Richards

I don't think we should laugh

Britain is about to get its first 'free school' backed by the "Everyday Champions' Church in Nottinghamshire which teaches creationism. Because Michael Gove thinks parents always know best, his legislation allows these schools to ignore the national curriculum.

At least the Russians can blame the poor state of education on the complete collapse of the communist economy. We're going to raise a new generation of idiots by deliberate policy.

There are also some frankly terrifying statistics about belief in creationism and refusal to accept evolution as fact amongst UK medical students from Islamic backgrounds.

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Channel Five reborn as Channel Five

Mike Richards

Five has news????

It's a little known fact but the televisual car crash that is 'Live from Studio Five' is classified as part of Five's news broadcasting. For anyone who's missed it, or has blindingly fast reactions with a remote; it makes 'The One Show' look like 'Newsnight'.

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Mike Richards

Sorry

All Channel Five's money has gone on a brand new series of 'Hitler's Gardens' which will be followed by an entire season of Steven Seagal movies - forever.

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Albuquerque shopper samples free man oysters

Mike Richards

'...That eatng pineapple improves the taste whilst spicy food has the exact oppisite effect...'

What? of Greek yogurt?

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It's official: Nokia bets on Microsoft for smartphones

Mike Richards

Clearly in the minority here

But my thought was that a phone with the build quality of the top end Nokias running Mobile 7 would actually be pretty damn sweet.

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Mysterious crypto-book dated to 15th century

Mike Richards

Entropy

That's a good question made more complex by the problem that no one can agree on the number of characters in the Voynich alphabet, whether some are distinct characters, whether they are accented or ligands. Using the most commonly agreed number of characters, then the entropy comes in lower than most languages and certainly lower than any European languages. The text is very repetitive. If it is plaintext of prose then the only known language that comes close is Polynesian.

So those naked women gambolling across the vellum might just be beautiful sun-kissed, long-limbed, raven-haired, bronzed...[going for a lie down now]

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Rare metals found in Cornish tin mine

Mike Richards

Wouldn't be the first time they went back to the tips

During the late part of World War I many Cornish tips were mined for wolframite as Allied gunmakers tried to compete with the super-hard tungsten alloys being used in German guns. Cornish miners had known about wolframite for decades and loathed the stuff because it was hard to separate from cassiterite (tin oxide) and was impossible to smelt. So when they found it, they dumped it.

But some of this is hardly news, silver and gold were regularly recovered from Cornish mines. Indium is news (if only because industrial uses only came along after the heyday of the mines) - but in retrospect not that surprising, it's much quicker to list the elements that can't be found in Cornish ores, AFAIK it is still the most mineralogically diverse region in the World.

[Sighs fondly thinking of all those hazy summer days spent looking for uranium minerals]

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Mike Richards

It's a byproduct

The indium will be a byproduct of cassiterite mining. Tin will make or break the mine, and prices for that have rocketed of late, so the indium is very much the icing on the cake. It's a long time since I did the geology of South Crofty but they may also extract small amounts of copper, silver and tungsten alongside tin.

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UK.gov shreds last ID scheme hard drives

Mike Richards

Missed opportunity

I would have invited David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Jacqui Smith and Meg Hillier along to help me feed disks into the crusher, and enjoy their tears.

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No 'tipping point' for Arctic sea ice - latest science

Mike Richards

Growth in Antarctic sea ice

Now, now Lewis, you know that's a red herring.

Left as it is in your article a casual reader might think the growth in seasonal sea ice around Antarctica is due to a cooling ocean. In fact, it's quite the opposite; the ocean around Antarctica has warmed by about 0.5C in the last thirty years.

Warmer water evaporates more and produces more precipitation around the margins of the continent which dilutes the cool surface water and produces a highly stratified ocean. Heat can't circulate up from deeper, warmer, more saline water, encouraging the growth of a thin layer of ice. Antarctic sea ice is also much less important to the Earth's energy balance than that in the Arctic. Since we have been exploring the region around Antarctica, there have been almost no years where sea ice has not melted in early summer allowing the Sun to warm the surface of the ocean.

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TERRORISTS IN SUBMARINES menace the Free World!

Mike Richards

Why would terrorists want to blow up an oil rig?

When BP and Halliburton are quite capable of doing it for themselves.

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Apple under threat from ... Windows tablets

Mike Richards

Microsoft have to be brutal to survive

They'll have to make a highly restrictive specification for these tablets and make vendors stick to them. How many buttons, where they go, what sort of things are allowed and what aren't. Otherwise they'll end up with hundreds of wildly differing devices offerings different experiences for users. All these devices will have to behave in exactly the same way or customers will get scared away. They've done something similar for Windows Mobile 7 and the handsets and the software are excellent.

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Labour forum leaks email addresses

Mike Richards

On the upside

Labour's security flaws have moved on somewhat from the time when they invited you to email them your credit card number.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/04/18/labour_party_in_web_security/

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Council dives into crematorium-heated pool

Mike Richards

Congratulations to Unison

For managing to crowbar a political point into any discussion.

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Six... budget Blu-ray Disc players

Mike Richards

Thanks

I'll start saving.

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Mike Richards

Region free BD?

Has anyone seen a region free player for Blu-Ray disks or know which ones can be easily de-regioned?

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Super-thin materials could POWER our WORLD

Mike Richards

Blame the chemists

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry standardised the spelling as sulfur in 1990; the Royal Society and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority followed suit in the UK in 1992 and 2000 respectively.

But in case you're feeling bad, it's a draw; element 13 is officially aluminium; despite what the left bankers say.

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Ofcom okays Derren Brown psychic-baiting

Mike Richards

One question remains

Didn't Mr. Power's spirit guide tell him what Ofcom was going to say?

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Sir Elton outs iPad 2 release date

Mike Richards

Reg might read el Reg

He might just have seen speculation about fondleslab 2.0 on this esteemed organ.

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Stroppy Belgian students in Ryanair mutiny

Mike Richards

If RyanAir want to get their own back

They could always divert the flight to a tiny, ill-equipped airport in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from the intended destination - oh hold on.

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Bold as brass metal thieves disrupt rail, comms, electric

Mike Richards
Happy

It must have been shocking.

Nearly as shocking as your use of the apostrophe.

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NASA snaps Sun in super STEREO

Mike Richards

Coming soon to Sky 3D

The Sun.

(it's an extra fiver a month to get it in HD)

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Motorola Super Bowl ad rips Apple drones

Mike Richards

Second ad

Had they ended it when they reached 'it's time for more choices' they'd have a fantastic teaser that would have got people talking.

As soon as they follow up with 'dual core' and '1080p' they've lost most of the market.

Which is why Apple ads are so effective, there's almost no discussion of the technology, it's all about the experience and emotion of using the product. That makes a connection with the customer. And that's why iPhones and iPads are so successful.

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Russia has 'secret space warplane' to match US X-37B

Mike Richards

Polar orbit Shuttles and Soviet space planes

Were canned for several reasons, none to do with payload. The delays associated with Shuttle launches were unacceptable to the military who wanted a more reliable launcher, so lobbied for, and got, additional Titan IVs. What finally killed the project was Challenger; the Vandenburg launches would have used an even lighter SRB design which would have been even more prone to leakage and disaster. NASA canned the development of the booster.

Whether or not Uragan ever existed (there is plenty of evidence it was no more than a disinformation programme), the Soviet Union certainly flew and recovered a scale-model spaceplane called BOR-4 four times in the 1980s. The BOR project had originally been part of their Spiral spaceplane, when that was cancelled, the half-scale model was used to test materials and re-entry profiles for Buran. So it's nice to see the Americans playing catch-up ;)

http://www.buran-energia.com/bor/bor-desc.php

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NASA hails 'amazing' exoplanetary system

Mike Richards

Well...

...I didn't want to boast.

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Mike Richards

'Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist and a Kepler science team member'

Whoa there!

Following the Neal's ('we're not charlatans, honest') Yard ruling from the ASA, 'scientist' might mean he's got an advanced degree in theoretical yogurt weaving from the University of Creditcard sur Internet.

I'm hoping that Lissauer being described as a 'planetary scientist' means he's sort of a geologist. Geologist may not often need to resort to solving problems with calculus (most geological problems are soluble with a hammer), but must be considered boffins because they're responsible for dinosaurs and volcanoes.

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Twenty-tonne space truck poised for ISS trip

Mike Richards

Surely someone from ESA reads this site

Is there no room in that 7 tonne payload for a Playmobilnaut?

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Sky loses pub footy case

Mike Richards

Waiting for the News International response

Even now the finest minds of the Murdoch press will be trying to retain Sky viewers with a hearts and minds campaign based around a high-minded concept such as 'foreign telly gives you AIDS'.

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Photo loss blogger to Flickr: You're f*cking kidding

Mike Richards

Trashcan

It does seem odd that suspended accounts aren't moved to a trashcan pending deletion. Flickr could send the registered user a notification that there is something suspicious about the account. if they don't respond within (chooses random number) seven days then the account is deleted permanently. If they reply, an arbitration process begins.

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Official: PhD in 'Essential Oils' or 'Natural Toiletries' = 'a Scientist'

Mike Richards

True boffins

I'm also certain that a real boffin has a pipe and performs jaw-dropping breakthroughs in a shed. (This of course rules out Americans from true boffinry)

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Mike Richards

Neal's Yard - charlatans

These are the people who were perfectly happy to sell homeopathic 'remedies' for malaria - a product that offers absolutely no defence against what can be a crippling, or even fatal, condition. Later, they were invited to discuss their products and ethics with possibly the least hostile audience imaginable - Guardian readers - and it all went horribly pear shaped:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/may/26/you-ask-neals-yard-remedies?INTCMP=SRCH

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Murdoch, The Daily, and life without the web

Mike Richards

Not just you

If you listen to Murdoch v.2 you quickly realise he didn't get his position by being best at his job. That's the weakness of NI, too few people being brought in from outside to come up with new ideas. They're wedded to pay-TV and paywalls and really don't have a plan B.

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Apple tosses Sony iBooks rival from iTunes

Mike Richards

Sony eBooks

The idea of an eBook app is nice, but Sony don't have the infrastructure to deliver the same experience as buying through Kindle. With Kindle, if you buy the book on iOS it is also immediately available on your PC, Mac and your Kindle when you get it.

The Sony readers in the UK don't have WiFi and Sony don't even deliver their own content in Britain. So if you bought an eBook on your iPhone, you probably could get it on to your reader when you buy one of their very nice piece of hardware.

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Ten... wireless keyboards

Mike Richards

Mattias Tactile Pro

A fabulous Mac keyboard with microswitches under the keys. I've never been able to type as fast as with this beast, but had to retire it when we moved to an open plan office as the clickity-clackety sound could be heard on the other side of the building.

It's USB with two USB unpowered sockets and weighs a ton. A really nice touch is that all the alternate symbols are also marked on the keyboard, so it's easy to find all those weird accents less fortunate languages insist on using.

You have to hunt them down in the UK, but if you're a Mac user who likes a proper keyboard they're hard to beat.

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