* Posts by Mike Richards

3615 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

National Identity Card holding chumps have buyer's remorse

Mike Richards

If they'd been forced to get a card...

...then I'd have some sympathy for them, but not when the cards were always voluntary for British citizens. They chose to get one full knowing that two of the three main parties (including one that was always ahead in the opinion polls) were committed to scrapping the cards.

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Enormous 1km ice-cube machine fashioned at South Pole

Mike Richards

Call Tom Baker now

Many of my childhood nightmares featured a certain green seed pod discovered by overly curious scientists drilling into the Antarctic ice cap.

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Daily Express social network pwned by slew of smut

Mike Richards

The most terrible thought...

Daily Express readers getting it on.

[shudder]

Besides, apart from the spelling mistakes what difference is there in the content on those pages and that provided by Dirty Desmond through his Northern and Shell porn empire?

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'Porn lock' heralds death of WikiLeaks, internet, democracy, universe

Mike Richards

But it's a good idea

We should pressure the Daily Mail to take the lead. Rather than demanding the government do something, the Mail should see how many of the grotesques who buy the paper actually subscribe to its 1950's net-curtained view of world.

They could guarantee that there will be no porn, a Queen's head on every page, payments in Pounds sterling only, absolutely no blacks, gays or Irish, and lots of bulletin boards where people can fume, fulminate and exude generally toxic levels of moral superiority over the state of the country.

And the rest of us can add their domain name to our black lists.

Everyone wins.

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Mike Richards

'Vaizey is, however, not stupid'

Now, now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

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Missile defence FAIL: US 'kill vehicle' space weapon flunks test

Mike Richards

If only they would go back to the drawing board

But they've sunk so much money into this project that it won't be killed by anything short of a Congressional veto, holy water and a stake through the heart. Bearing in mind the Republicans are entirely loopy about missile defence there is precisely zero chance of anyone sitting down and saying 'this is a crappy idea, why don't we...?'

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BA flights website grounded by snow

Mike Richards

'World's Favourite Airline'

I'm pretty sure they stopped using that slogan a few years ago, mainly on the grounds that their crapulent service, ramshackle aircraft and enthusiastic refusal to follow something so simple as a timetable was opening them up for legal action.

If I didn't have quite so many Air Miles with them I'd gladly never use BA again.

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Gawker tech boss admits site security was crap

Mike Richards

What you Pay Is What You Get (WYPIWYG)

Unless you're in government when you pay several hundred times more than what you get.

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Apple iPad vs... the rest

Mike Richards

Dell Streak anyone?

Has anyone played with this machine, or is there a good reason I've never actually seen one outside of the O2 store?

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Prosecutors kick Phorm case upstairs

Mike Richards

To show good faith

Is there any chance we can extradite the BT and Phorm boards to the US as hostages whilst Julian Assange appeals his case? Then we can honestly say we deal harshly with people who don't resPect private data AND have a national feel good moment.

If we can throw BT and ex Labour minister Patricia Hewitt into the deal as a sweetener it'd make my day.

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New spaceplane proposed for NASA station crew contract

Mike Richards

Let's just hope

Orbital can build rockets better than they Photoshop - there's a nasty reflection cockup going on there.

@LINCARD1000

Yep, you're thinking of the USAF X20 DynaSoar program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-20_Dyna-Soar

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Police probe British Anonymous activists

Mike Richards

Ah but you're forgetting

Anonymous targeted the BPI who like nothing more than being portrayed as victims. I imagine no effort will be spared to ensure the music industry doesn't go without its seasonal LearJets.

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Yahoo! search! stuffed! with! FILTH!

Mike Richards

Is Yahoo! really doing that badly?

'no matter what initial search term was first requested.'

'The xxx image was served up around 200,000 times in the space of around 30 minutes'

Are Yahoo! really only handling 200,000 searches in 30 minutes? They might as well close the doors right now.

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Zuckerberg beats Assange to claim Person of the Year™

Mike Richards

Scary!

That cover photo is absolutely terrifying. Once glimpse of it and it tears at your soul, nips straight through the uncanny valley and goes to the land of WTF?

I'm not sure if it's the lighting to blame, the lens or that Mark Zuckerberg is just plain freaky looking.

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First 'cryovolcano' discovered on Titan, ice moon of Saturn

Mike Richards

Might not be liquid coming up

The material coming to the surface might be a plastic form of ice rather than liquid water. It would only melt when pressure is released, such as when the surface fractures. At that point you'd get an eruption containing liquid, solid and gas, but there'd never be a persistent pool of water.

The Earth is very similar, except it is plastic rock that moves towards the surface in the Mantle rather than ice.

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Robo stealth bomber piggybacks on NASA's shuttle jumbo

Mike Richards

The UK

The Jaguar wasn't even the first time the UK made that mistake. As long ago as 1957, the Sandys Report said that British defence could be guaranteed by a mix of ICBMs and anti-aircraft missiles. The result was that a whole generation of world-beating technology was consigned to the scrapheap.

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Txt tax would wipe out half UK deficit, claims union baron

Mike Richards

Actually

'Was it really necessary to demonstrate that unionists (and socialists or communists) do not have the slightest grasp of how economics work?'

I think our current situation is largely down to the fact that economists do not have the slightest grasp of how economics work.

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PayPal banned WikiLeaks after US gov intervention

Mike Richards

US government papers

Under section 105 of the Copyright Act are not covered by copyright.

BTW. If you like your irony full fat, you can currently use your Mastercard or Visa card to buy a copy of the leaked documents in Kindle format from Amazon:

http://amzn.to/hmxY8Z

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Mike Richards

Kind of wonder why PayPal employ lawyers

If their response to a notice from the government is a simple 'Okay'. You'd have thought the legal department's first response would have been 'and which law exactly are WikiLeak breaking?' if only so PayPal would have something concrete to tell WikiLeaks if the organisation protested their delisting.

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Mastercard downed by Anon-Assange-fans

Mike Richards

In related news...

...you can still use Mastercard to donate to the Ku Klux Klan and the British National Party. (But please don't).

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New NASA model: Doubled CO2 means just 1.64°C warming

Mike Richards

...and dinosaurs

My plan is to reintroduce dinosaurs on the grounds they're likely to love crunching up delicious cockroaches and are uniquely adapted to high global temperatures. Cynics might say T-Rex is highly unlikely to have obtained many calories from bugs, but I think they should be brought back because they look great on T-shirts.

Mad? It's not madness - it's science! Now if you need me, I'll be at my secret volcano lair trying to crack the Earth like an egg.

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Blighty's kids nosedive down global reading, maths rankings

Mike Richards

Doesn't explain everything

A lot of Asian countries use extremely didactic learning techniques with relatively little emphasis on comprehending what students learn. If anything they are even more strongly geared towards passing exams.

In Britain it is (god and I sound like should be reading the Mail here) that we've stopped teaching basics and cut back on the amount of time students spend doing stuff. Grammar, creative writing, algebra and geometry (let alone calculus) seem to have been completely sidelined whilst subjects like Chemistry, Biology and Physics are almost unrecognisable because of the fear that someone might do something terrible with the xylene*

* which I assume is now banned on the grounds that it can be dangerously fun to use.

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Judge puts Assange behind bars ahead of extradition hearing

Mike Richards

Bail

It's an alleged sexual offence so bail would be unlikely in any case, but since he's not a UK citizen bail might have been refused since it wouldn't have a fixed address here.

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Alan Sugar's 'cockup braindead in call centre clueless' BT row

Mike Richards

It's not Sir Alan

It's Darth Sugar.

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ASSANGE ARRESTED in London - in court later today

Mike Richards

You know how bad things are

when we're no longer sure that Sweden can be trusted in this case.

WikiLeaks has caused huge embarrassment for the Swedes, the leaked cables show that their policy of being a neutral player in the Baltic is no such thing. The current Swedish government have got plenty of interest in seeing this prosecuted with extreme prejudice.

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Minister 'C*nt' promises £50m to get fabtastic fibre for all

Mike Richards

Jeremy Hunt

Let's face it, when you see him you do have to wonder why the midwife only gave him the one slap.

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Final mission of shuttle Discovery postponed until February

Mike Richards

Agreed

They really should get someone in who knows how to use Artex.

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SpaceX's Dragon poised to go orbital

Mike Richards

At last we now know

Why PayPal fees are so high. I must have paid for at least the first stage of that thing.

Still, credit where credit is due, Elon Musk is now having a hell of a fun time - building leccy cars and space rockets for a living.

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Mass mind control artist condemns El Reg to obscurity

Mike Richards

Ahhh good old Rush

A man whose never seen a war he didn't like - apart from Vietnam where he couldn't serve because he had to have a cyst removed from his arse.

To this day there's some question over exactly which of the two unpleasant painful excrescences was thrown away and which one got the radio show.

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THE TRUTH on the Californian NASA POISON ALIENS

Mike Richards

Thank-you

An early howler from the Register there - nicely spotted.

Mono Lake itself is actually the site of a number of active volcanoes; one of which on the lake's floor might have erupted as recently as the early 19th Century. It's the northern end of the Mono-Inyo craters chain which are also considered active and are intermittently seismically active.

Mammoth Mountain at the other end of the chain is as you say, another volcanic centre. It's a series of lava domes that came up more than 57,000 years ago. The mountain itself is not thought to be likely to imminently erupt, but again, there has been plenty of activity in and around the mountain. In the 1980s there was a lot of seismic activity around the mountain and increased CO2 flow from underground killed trees on the mountain which did put the USGS on alert.

All of these are associated with the colossal Long Valley Caldera which is the lesser-known sister of Yosemite. It's erupted a number of times in the Holocene, most recently about 60,000 years ago; but its biggest eruption was 760,000 years ago when it poured out an unbelievable 700km3 of white hot foam which fills a good part of the upper Owens Valley. That too is considered active with lots of seismic activity and regular ground deformation as magma slops around deep underground.

It is also a staggeringly beautiful area and well worth renting a car to visit if you're ever in California or Nevada.

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Russia wins World Cup bid in parrot-sickening travesty

Mike Richards

You kind of knew England wasn't going to win

When they gave a speaking role to David Beckham - jesus it was excruciating to listen to him. Then that was followed by Prince William giving a speech with all the verve and tempo of an unsuccessful pitch on 'The Apprentice'

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'ALIEN' LIFE FOUND in California

Mike Richards

Highly unlikely to be a completely different type of life

The discovery appears to be related to work at Mono Lake in California (which is very high on the scale of nought to awesome) where bacteria have evolved to handle high concentrations of arsenic in the water by substituting it for phosphorus.

On Earth any arsenophiles are likely to have once been regular bacteria that found themselves in a place where arsenic is unusually abundant. But what it means is that there might be a place in the Universe where life stumbled upon arsenic before phosphorus purely because it was locally more abundant.

This wouldn't be the first time a radically different biology has been found on Earth - the hydrogen sulfide based ecosystem of thermal vents is a good example - and there too, it was conventional life evolving into a new form because of a local surplus of sulfur.

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Virgin unwraps three-tuner über set-top

Mike Richards

Is the Virgin deal with TiVo exclusive?

I can't get beardie cable in my area, but I'd love to be able to replace my TiVo series 1 with this bit of kit. Hopefully someone else will offer a regular TiVo service for the rest of us.

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Olympians threaten ICANN with lawsuit

Mike Richards

IOC

Don't forget the IOC thinks of itself much more grandly than just a running and jumping club. It has observer status at the United Nations and regularly demands (and gets) major changes to national laws so it can keep raking in the money.

Didn't New Labour change UK law to give police the power to enter your home if you have the temerity to put up a sign saying you think the London 2012 drug fest might not be an entirely good thing?

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EXPLODING GARBAGE TERROR hits Florida

Mike Richards

Slightly more accurately

Just avoid Orlando entirely.

The surroundings are about as attractive as the scum you find on ponds at the height of summer, and it has a climate and smell something like an armpit. Presumably Disneyworld is there so all known hells can co-locate.

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Filthy PCs: The X-rated circus of horrors

Mike Richards

The only upside of smoking

Is that it seems to kill off the creepy crawlies before they can colonise the interior of the computer.

Unless of course that layer of tar is a ghastly lure to wildlife like La Brea:

http://www.tarpits.org/

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The Mac that saved Apple (and Steve Jobs)

Mike Richards

Great introductory computer

I would never have dreamt of buying a computer for my parents before the original iMac came along. But when it appeared, it looked like something they could have in their house. Getting rid of the separate monitor and computer and with it, all those cabled, dumping the unfamiliar floppy disk made the machine much more approachable. All the difficulties were hidden away behind a very tactile surface - all smooth curves moulded in high gloss, brilliantly coloured or textured plastic that resembled the stuff you'd put into toys or even bits of art. With no trailing cables and that useful little handle on the top, it was easy to find a spot for the machine on a regularly sized desk in a spare bedroom.

And when they got it, the reaction of my parents was complete acceptance even love of this machine. Many guests to their house were asked 'have you seen our computer?' and they were delighted to show just what it could do.

They're still using, and loving, a G5 iMac which does everything they want quietly, unobtrusively and hasn't given them a single day's trouble. As far as I know, their G3 has found a new home at a friend's house where it chugs away as a second computer.

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ISPs under pressure to control online porn

Mike Richards

Ed Vaizey is thinking of that

I wouldn't be surprised if the odious runt won't try telling us that ending net neutrality will mean porn free surfing (for a price).

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'Mad captain' sole entrant in Vodafone compo

Mike Richards

'Base of pyramid'

As in scheme?

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Payback orders for eBay squaddie

Mike Richards

Feedback

'My BAE frigate came without the advertised weaponry and broke down the first time I sailed it round the block. Would not recommend.'

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Apple throws a wobbly over Steve Jobs dolly

Mike Richards

Replacement

A Steve Balmer doll trampling a city; shake it and it screams 'developers! developers! developers!'

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Tube to get phone coverage by the Olympics

Mike Richards

If people really must telephone on the train

Then there should be a red cast iron telephone box mounted in a separate carriage.

Users will form an orderly queue and follow the instructions provided to talk to the operator. Once they are 'put through' in the modern parlance, and so long as the operator is satisfied that the recipient is not working class, the user will deposit their shilling pieces in the slot and press the A button.

Calls will last no longer than two minutes and must always be terminated with a cheery 'goodbye'.

Failure to obey these common sense rules will result in the automatic release of the box's resident alcoholic.

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Sarah Palin calls for US to stand by North Korea

Mike Richards

Pssst...

'how's that criticism of US companies such as Exxon being guilty of spills in Nigeria '

That's Shell - Anglo-Dutch.

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Mike Richards

You know you're in trouble

When Glenn (cry baby) Beck is the intellectual of the team.

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Plasma space-drive aces efficiency numbers: Set for ISS in 2014

Mike Richards

Lunokhod

'(It will not have escaped the notice of solar-powered Mars rover fans that despite the machines' tremendous longevity they have still not travelled as far as the much shorter-lived Soviet Moon rovers of the 1970s did.)'

It's nothing to do with the amount of power. The Mars rovers haven't travelled as far because their moves have to be calculated and pre-programmed before they go for their next trundle. When they get there, that location is surveyed and the results passed to the team in charge of the next leg. Lunokhod was remote controlled from Earth by humans, so it could be driven further and faster.

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Brits blow millions on over-priced ink

Mike Richards

Vintage lasers

My HP 4MPlus is still chugging along perfectly. About £30 to refill a couple of years ago and still plenty of ink in the toner cartridge. HP must be kicking themselves for making something quite so indestructible.

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US ARMY prepares force of GIGANTIC BOMB RATS

Mike Richards

Thanks for the link

I think that's some Christmas presents for the 'I've got everything' crowd sorted out.

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Unarmed Royal Navy T45 destroyer breaks down mid-Atlantic

Mike Richards

Nice in theory...

...except the nice lady in Bangalore told the captain that they can't proceed until he provides the ship's serial number which is painted in 10 point characters on the ship's bottom.

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Apple I goes for twice the price of an Enigma

Mike Richards

It's all about context

The Apple I founded a hugely successful company and was made in very limited numbers. There's a huge demand for this sort of item which can be directly linked to two named people.

Tens of thousands of Enigmas were made for commercial, government and military use on a factory production line. There are no names associated with the mass manufactured machines and unless it came from a particular individual or location it, in itself isn't very significant. The market isn't short of Enigmas - lots survived.

The Enigma itself is only part of the story - after all Turing's breakthroughs were all made without actually having the machine in question. Had a Bombe survived and come up for auction then it would justify a fantastic valuation as would one of the rare as hens' teeth four-rotor Naval Enigmas.

But if anyone wants to give me an Enigma for Christmas, yeah I won't be disappointed.

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'Phantom Ray' robot warjet to ride atop NASA shuttle-carrier 747

Mike Richards

Can't possibly compete

It doesn't have a sufficiently awesome name to beat the Avenger from a company called General Atomics.

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