* Posts by Mike Richards

3608 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

How to make boots on Mars affordable - One way trips

Mike Richards

Clearly...

...this is the Reg's next project after PARIS.

Come to think of it, Lester has gone very quiet of late - could he and our very favourite celebutante be about to colonise the Red Planet using nothing more than some bendy straws, gaffer tape and assorted plastic playthings?

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Facebook set to unveil 'Gmail killer'

Mike Richards

Non-Facebook users

Bearing in mind the company's erm - unconventional - approach to respecting consumer privacy. I'm not sure I want *anything* to do with anyone who has a Facebook email account. I don't use Facebook and I don't want anything to do with them. But if I reply to an email sent from one of their accounts; I'd fully expect them to start mining it, acquiring and misusing information about me.

So I'll be adding a general Facebook email address rule to my blacklist.

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3D printers, one-dimensional enemies

Mike Richards

Cory Doctorow

Wrote a short story called Printcrime about how the authorities are just going to love 3D printing:

http://craphound.com/?p=573

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Pussy-slurping: You think you understand it, BUT YOU DON'T

Mike Richards

Trademark it quickly Lewis

Hands up everyone who wants to see Lewis and Lester pitch a paper and bendy straw Pussy Slurper(TM) on 'Dragons' Den'.

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Global warming is actually good for rainforests, say boffins

Mike Richards

Misleading headline

Warmer temperatures might be good for rainforests, but the important bit is how long did it take for those temperatures to become established, and did rainfall patterns match those expected from the current warming?

One thing we do know from pollen cores is that the Amazon has repeatedly dried out in the past and been replaced by savannah-like landscapes dominated by grasses. The climate models suggest the Amazon is going to become more dominated by a wet and dry season which would encourage the die-off of trees.

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Plods scrap crap stealth spy blimp

Mike Richards

Incredible

Who'd have thought the cloud deck in Manchester was ever much above head-height?

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Falklands hero Marine: Save the Harrier, scrap the Tornado

Mike Richards

What I'd like to see

Is Lewis give a quick run through some countries he thinks are doing things right vis a vis their militaries. Obviously none are a precise match for the UK, but it'd be interesting to know if the Germans, Swedes and the like are doing better and spending less.

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Mike Richards

US assistance

It's reasonably well known the US provided the UK with Sidewinder missiles and satellite pictures of the area.

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Lincs authority lets schools decide on Pagan lessons

Mike Richards

Awesome

I really hope the practical work involves constructing a wicker man in woodwork classes.

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Reg hacks crawl from London to Brighton

Mike Richards

Ah I think I know what's wrong

You seem to have bought the model of Crestmobile that has an espresso maker rather than an engine under the bonnet.

Honestly - that thing's an engine? And I thought miniaturisation was a new thing, this must have been built by elves - incompetent elves I grant you, but elves all the same.

BTW. Is it just me who suspects that Lester has realised that 'Top Gear' is a bit (and this is something the Crestmobile could only dream of) 'over the hill' and is setting himself up as chief purveyor of daring japes and tomfoolery to the nation? Think about it - Playmobil in space and an unreliable car race. Next, a daring crossing of Lake Baikal on an amphibious traction engine!

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US Army's new $0.5bn British airship will fly 'mid-next summer'

Mike Richards

LZ129 wasn't the last

The Hindenberg had a later sister ship, the LZ130, the second Graf Zeppelin; the LZ131 was also under construction when war broke out and Zeppelin switched to aircraft production.

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PARIS joins the 17-mile-high club

Mike Richards

Awesome - and what of the Playmobilnaut

The brave toy who mounted PARIS and took her to heaven and back hasn't yet been seen in public. Surely there's a juicy kiss and tell story to be told?

More seriously, if you're not appallingly attached to the little piece of plastic - how about running a fund-raising competition - say a tenner a ticket - to win the pilot. All money to the charity (preferably registered) of your choice or to the LOHAN construction project.

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North Korean PDA hits shelves

Mike Richards

Is it true

That the North Korean government is getting advice from Steve Jobs on how to be a real dictator?

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Clive Sinclair unveils 'X-1' battery pedalo bubble-bike

Mike Richards

'deliveries are expected next summer'

If this is a Sinclair delivery time then it'll be closer to 2015 when it will ship alongside the ZX Microdrive.

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Oz journo pokes PARIS

Mike Richards

Great interview

I'm surprised any of it is intelligible bearing in mind both the interviewer and the interviewee have their tongues jammed so firmly in their cheeks.

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Times celebrates disappearing readers

Mike Richards

Not forgetting

Are the sites profitable? On those sorts of numbers I'd guess the answer is a serious no.

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Rocks, hard places and Congo minerals

Mike Richards
Coat

columbo tantalite?

That would be columbite-tantalite, a mixture of two related minerals; columbite ((Fe, Mn)(Nb, Ta)2O6) and tantalite (Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)2O6).

Coat for obvious reasons - 2lb geological hammer in the right pocket.

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PARIS in 89,000 ft climax

Mike Richards

Clearly fake

All the shadows are wrong.

Seriously, well done guys, I look forward to the follow up: PARIS goes down - to the Marianas Trench.

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Enormous Paleozoic flesh-eaters created in lab

Mike Richards

Actually that's not the one that gives me the heebie jeebies

It's Arthropleura that does it for me - a 2-3m long centi/millipede thing which scuttled around in the Upper Carboniferous.

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Daily Mail rails at Street View in women's refuge wrongness

Mike Richards

The question only the Mail can answer

Does using Street View give you cancer?

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Israel to join list of 'adequate' data protection nations

Mike Richards

I'm sure it's going to be all right

After the Dubai murders, the Israeli government promised never to copy the passports of friendly nations ever again.

Just like they promised never to copy the passports of friendly nations ever again in 1987 - after Mossad was caught copying British passports.

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Highest point on the Moon found: Higher than Mount Everest

Mike Richards

Mean spheroid

Generally you calculate the height of features by how much they diverge from the imaginary spheroid that most closely matches the Moon's shape. On the Moon that's a spheroid with an equatorial radius of 1,738.14 km and a polar radius of 1,735.97 km.

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Boffins mount campaign against France's official kilogramme

Mike Richards

Why platinum and iridium

They're pretty unreactive elements so unlikely to accumulate mass by grabbing oxygen atoms from the atmosphere. The iridium is probably there to harden the platinum.

There is a project to calculate the kilogram as the mass of a certain number of atoms of a crystalline substance such as silicon:

http://www.npl.co.uk/engineering-measurements/mass-force-pressure/mass/research/avogadro-project

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PARIS launch tomorrow come hell or high water

Mike Richards

and...

all those who ride in her.... errrrr.... on her.... ummmm..... under her?

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BA slams stupid security checks

Mike Richards

But...

Cameras don't need to be taken out of your bag. Nor do eBook readers.

It's a complete farce and sadly it's spreading. Until now Iceland has been entirely sane about screening passengers, but last week it was shoes off and laptops out at Keflavik.

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Mike Richards

High camp theatre

A couple of weeks ago I was passing through Heathrow's Outer Circle of security hell when the arch went 'bing'. A very polite officer said would I be prepared to be patted down. I said yes. After a good rummage he said he wasn't sure why the machine was going 'ping' so would I accept a body scan.

In the interests of novelty I said yes, so I was taken through to the pervatron. En route I found a couple of things, including a pack of gum and a pack of wet wipes tucked into a pocket and passed them to the security guy. He put them on the table without examining them further, irradiated my produce section and said I was free to go.

But the two objects I took out of my pocket that might have triggered the arch were never rescanned.

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Vanquish

Mike Richards

ARS?

Maximum win for the name alone.

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PARIS grounded by whipping wind

Mike Richards

Alan Shepard

Had to go in his silver space suit whilst Freedom 7 was stuck on the pad. But he was only given permission after the people at mission control were sure it wouldn't cause a short circuit and fatal fire.

By the way where was Rui? That image is sadly lacking the air of sultry glamour he brought to earlier photoshoots.

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Mike Richards

And...

...a tasting guide so we can join in at home.

At a guess they're knocking back a precocious little number of 10% rioja and 90% unused aircraft dope.

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Obama consults Steve Jobs on making America great again

Mike Richards

You know - it might be a good idea

For politicians to consult successful businessmen. To find out exactly how Apple came back from the dead to become one of the biggest companies on the NYSE. Steve Jobs might have the vision but he relies on a lot of highly educated people to make it happen. More of that sort of working would give American industry a real boost.

And by comparison, when the last government wanted industrial experience to form policy who did they get? Alan bloody Sugar.

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Dell takes aim at Apple with upmarket pledge

Mike Richards

It's the brand that matters

Dell means one thing to most people - cheap. Trying to take the brand upmarket is a real challenge because it means competing against companies like Apple and Sony that are already pretty damned good at persuading people their goods are worth the money (even if they're patently junk).

If Dell chooses to go upmarket and quit grubbing around in the bargain basement it leaves room for some new companies to come in below them. Dell could find itself in the middle ground of the market where no one really wants to be - not cheap enough to sell in huge quantities, not valued enough to command a premium.

Ditching the name 'Dell' might be a good way forward - or at least spinning off a new brand entirely to cater for people who have money.

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Cameron cocks up UK's defences - and betrays Afghan troops

Mike Richards

Sitting here in Reykjavik...

...I think it's time Britain followed the example of a fellow bankrupt country and put out a contract for its defence. The Icelanders rely on fellow NATO countries for air defence so not only do they not have to worry about lining BAE's profits, their defenders usually only bring the working kit as they don't want to look bad.

Iceland has four small coastguard vessels of its own, and I suspect on past form they're more than a match for Royal Navy frigates.

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Local Spanish press embrace PARIS

Mike Richards

Good point

Rui's slinky little number would have added a certain classiness to the story don't you think? Public relations are everything Lester.

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Mike Richards

'improbable amounts of epoxy and beer'

With the glue as a chaser?

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Dixons risks future of humanity with Star Wars-themed ads

Mike Richards

Tagline

If you want to see stuff from 'A long time ago' and interact with the dead - visit Dixons.

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Cameron: Carriers tomorrow, bombers today

Mike Richards

One carrier or two?

My reading of Cameron's speech was that Carrier One would go into service for three years or so and then either be mothballed or sold abroad (presumably at a massive discount because the purchaser will know we want to be rid of the thing since we can't afford it), so we'd only really ever have one carrier.

It'd be quicker, cheaper and make about as much military sense to paint the Calais car ferry grey and call it a carrier. The Navy could then help fund its own operating costs by running booze cruises.

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Apple squashes unauthorized MacBook battery maker

Mike Richards

Licensing

By the sounds of it, HyperMac hadn't bothered to license the MagSafe design from Apple and that's a clear breach of IP law. Apple are just doing what all companies would do and forcing them to remove the goods from sale.

If HyperMac want to sell MagSafe-compatible devices then they need to get their people to talk to Apple's people and see if the Big Fruit wants to play ball and how much the ball will cost.

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Rooney exits Man U with a few choice words

Mike Richards

I can't be bothered to click

But Fox would have their work cut out to explain Wayne Rooney, Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, wankers, and indeed football, using short words that won't upset their god-fearing, trailer-park friendly audience.

For one of those, the explanation is that wankers and Fox are pretty much synonymous.

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Jobs savages 7-inch tablet competition

Mike Richards

Important word there 'current'

Apple doesn't *currently* have a 7" iPad but its rivals do. So obviously Apple is going to say that the competition sucks.

Apple will keep saying the same right up until the point they're ready to release a 7" tablet of their own.

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Gov axes £35bn Severn Barrage tide-energy scheme

Mike Richards

Nuclear

While it's good to see this White elephant being buried, does anyone seriously believe the figures of the cost of new nuclear being promoted by the reactor vendors? The French books are opaque beyond description so no one really knows what their plants cost. The best comparison is in Finland where their new PWR is both late and way over budget. I'll be astonished if the British government doesn't kick in taxpayer-funded loan guarantees and agree to cover the decommissioning costs. If we're really lucky it'll not be •quite• as bad as Dungeness B.

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MoD braced for painful weight-loss surgery next week

Mike Richards

You're going to need to explain that one

'if you call the US war of independence a draw'

Britain lost its richest North American colonies, lost most of the battles and handed France a new ally - how on earth does that come out as a draw?

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Mike Richards

Meanwhile over at the Gruniad

Their leak has it that the Harrier force is going to be scrapped to save the Tornado, which would leave the new (mostly pointless) carriers even less useful than planned and save much less money.

Well done Biggles.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/oct/15/raf-fight-save-tornado-bombers

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'Squeeze green oil from North Sea by squirting CO2 in' - prof

Mike Richards

Sea water injection

Already done. It's bloody expensive because water is so heavy and because the water has to be purified before injection so it doesn't clog up the reservoir with small particles of grit and microscopic beasties.

CO2 is used because its easier to handle and in the case of most oils, actually makes them less viscous and easier to recover.

What the article doesn't mention is that the Texan CO2 is coming from natural gas wells. Gas companies remove the CO2 before putting it into the pipelines because it dilutes the useful product. It's easy to recover and transport. Capturing it from combustion is a much harder task.

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Margaret Thatcher celebrates 85 years

Mike Richards

There is only one star big enough for this role

Paris - she'll bring the necessary sleb razzamatazz to the story of young Hilda and her life in glamorous interwar Grantham.

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Sony Reader PRS-350 Pocket Edition

Mike Richards

PRS 950

In the US they have the 6" PRS 950 which comes with a WiFi link to the Sony eBook store. It's a really nice piece of kit, but useless over here as it only goes to the US store (which needs a US credit card billing address). Sadly as long as Sony have their link to the Waterstone's store I don't think we'll see the 950.

The PRS 650 big brother to the 350 is a fine reader. In black it makes the screen look even more contrasty.

But yes, unless Sony can make their readers immediately more compelling to newcomers, Amazon will end up owning the market. Call me radical, but it'd help if Sony tried advertising the bloody things. I've lost count how many people have come over and said 'what's that?' and then 'I didn't know these things existed' followed by 'where can I get one?' when I've been out and about with my Reader.

BTW. Thanks for the reminder, I have to charge mine before my day trip to the security checks at Heathrow.

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Apple trade marks 'There's an app for that'

Mike Richards

Erm....

Marketing slogans have been trademarkable for decades. Check out McDonald's for trademarks:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_McDonald's_trademarks

Surprisingly 'Do you want fries with that?' isn't in the list.

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Bruce Willis relaxes as asteroid skims Singapore

Mike Richards

*this* close to geostationary

And it didn't even have the decency to take out a Murdochsat.

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Mike Richards

Not often

The ones that are this size when they landed on Earth started off a lot bigger before they hit the atmosphere. This is just the right size to be smashed to pieces by aerodynamics. That's not to say NONE of it would have impacted, just nothing big enough to take out a city.

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CEOP chief accuses UK.gov of putting kids at risk

Mike Richards

'I have no vested self interest'

and then uses the word 'us' about CEOP throughout his 'please, please let me keep my tabloid friendly job' multimedia appearance. It's a strange way of resigning.

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Branson 'spaceship' successfully falls off mothership

Mike Richards

@ andy gibson

'Actually, with a name like "Buzz" you're fairly likely to remember the second man. Now the name of the third......'

Pete Conrad - do I win a prize?

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