* Posts by Mike Richards

3608 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

BBC adopts El Reg units

Mike Richards

You must have scary lawyers

Because it's now back to cubic metres.

1
0

BT ad banned for 'misleading' customers over broadband speeds

Mike Richards

I've been looking forward to the ad

Where following his conviction for downloading high speed porn using BT's network, the undead corpse of Maureen Lipmann's Beattie strangles the daft bint with a modem cable.

It's a feel-good comedy. Hello Hollywood?

0
0

Skeletal scanner would ID terrorists from 50 meters

Mike Richards

Not as far fetched as you might think

'So only terrorists and pedophiles have unique bone structures??'

Latest research (Morris, Fox et. al. (2001)) suggests that paedophiles have 'have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me.'

11
1

Secret X-37B space plane lost by sat-spotters for 2 weeks

Mike Richards

Shuttle polar orbit

The reason the Shuttle never flew out of Vandenberg was because Challenger exploded.

The Air Force had already been getting cold feet over the Shuttle's poor record of getting into space on schedule, Challenger was the final nail in the coffin.

As you said, polar orbits required extra oomph! to get into space; the USAF would have required ultra-light SRBs to make this possible. These would have been even more prone to joint failure than those used on Challenger, so there was no way the programme could continue. Instead the USAF went back to Titan IV rockets which came with their own set of problems:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqlgUuYQU30&feature=related

Of course, if the USAF hadn't insisted on cross-range capability for the Shuttle, then NASA could have had a simpler, lighter, less fragile machine to do their work and the manned space programme probably wouldn't be in the mess it is now.

4
0

Ball player gets Beaver ban after drunken naked tasering

Mike Richards

Come on someone has to say it

Footballer?

Oh you mean AMERICAN football.

Bless.

2
0

LucasFilm sets lawyers on Jedi nameswipers

Mike Richards

'pretend religion'?

I'd love a definition of how a pretend religion differs from any other.

21
0

Cops cuff armed white supremacist in banana costume

Mike Richards

Not just Playmobil

It kinda needs animating to the glorious soundtrack of Yackety Sax.

0
0

Black helicopters circle 'Welsh Roswell'

Mike Richards

Earth lights

There's another scientific explanation that the lights on the mountain were produced by the same geological stresses that created the earthquake on the Bala Lineament.

The phenomena is known as earth lights which although they've been recorded on film and are generally acknowledged as real, remain unexplained. They've been reported around the World during other earthquake episodes, but there's precious little research into them. The best two explanations are either quartz-rich rocks being crushed in the fault producing huge amounts of piezoelectricity, or disturbances to the Earth's magnetic field.

http://www.isfep.com/FF_EQ_SSE_2003.pdf

http://inamidst.com/lights/earthquake (photos)

IIRC there's quite a history of strange lights in that part of the world, with a near epidemic of sightings in the first few years of the 20th Century.

0
0
Mike Richards

Meteorites don't smell of iron

Yep, I've played with meteorites of all types and whilst they are insanely cool, they don't smell of sulfur. In fact they don't smell at all.

There's a remote possibility that a freshly fallen meteorite might have a flinty smell from its passage through the atmosphere when the surface would have burned off; but even that seems unlikely as people who've actually been there to see a meteorite land generally report that they're cold or only just warm.

0
0

Iran unveils 'robot bomber'

Mike Richards

Erm...

'israel and australia have nukes supplied by their "friends" in the U.S.'

Ummm...

Israel's bomb was home grown, although not without a lot of help from the French (the Dimona reactor and the reprocessing plant) and Britain (plutonium and lithium 6).

But the bit I'm trying to work out is - Australia? Apart from the British blowing up large chunks of the Outback, Australia has never had nuclear weapons.

As you point out (I think) Iran is perfectly within its rights under NPT to have a civil programme, mine uranium, perform enrichment and even reprocess plutonium. It does not have the right to militarise any part of that system. Unfortunately the NPT is pretty much toothless.

8
0

DARPA orders VTOL robots for 'covert payload placement'

Mike Richards

First paragraph joy

It was almost like Humph had become a defence correspondent.

Go home Lewis, your work here is done.

0
0

PARIS acquires visual tracking capability

Mike Richards

I'm not worried about Google surveillance anymore...

...but I'm now seriously concerned that Lester has access to a telescope.

[drawing the curtains]

2
0

MOON SHRINKING FAST - shock NASA discovery

Mike Richards

'Geologically recent'

On the Moon, 'recent' means anything after the formation of the Mare (the dark areas seen from Earth) which ended around 1 billion years ago.

The Moon is still seismically active as there are regular moonquakes which come in a variety of flavours. There are deep quakes which can go down to about 700km which seem to be associated with lunar tides, then there are the very shallow weak thermal 'quakes which are kicked off when at lunar dawn when temperatures skyrocket and rocks expand. In between there are shallow 'quakes down to about 30km which are caused by crustal movements. These tend to be bigger - IIRC the biggest measured by Apollo sensors was Richter 5.something. So rocks are definitely moving - why, well that's an interesting question. But it is only creating a tiny fraction of the seismic activity found here on Earth.

There's also some suggestion of intermittent volcanic activity or outgassing. Astronomers regularly report seeing glowing patches of light around certain craters which go by the name of Transient Lunar Phenomena:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transient_lunar_phenomenon

Finally there are similar scarps on Mercury known as rupes. The accepted explanation is that Maercury's surface cooled relatively quickly and became rigid before the underlying Mantle and Core solidified. As the Core and Mantle cooled and contracted, the crust buckled along the rupes.

Nice image here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rupes_discovery.jpg

The scarp is the dark line running almost vertically through the middle of the image cutting through the large crater. It's 2km high.

1
0

Jackal novelist blames NSA for wife's laptop hack

Mike Richards

Don't believe a word of it...

...are we meant to believe he was writing a story for the Daily Express that didn't involve immigrants or Princess Diana?

0
0

Apple iMac 21.5in 2010

Mike Richards

Well said

My parents' iMac needs replacing and Apple really aren't offering an entry level machine any more. Whether it's replaced by a Mini or an iMac it'll be the best part of a thousand quid and they'll end up with a machine much more powerful than they really need.

Surely its time to go back to the small cheap computer that the Mini started off as.

0
0

People have NO BLOODY IDEA about saving energy

Mike Richards

Glass

Glass *might* be more environmentally friendly as a whole than aluminium when you take into account the enormous amounts of energy needed to mine, purify and transport bauxite before you smelt the metal. Bauxite mining is incredibly damaging to the environment as it requires large areas to be strip mined. Quite often this land was either used for raising crops or a virgin environment; afterwards, even if it is restored, its drainage is disrupted and a lot of the biodiversity is shot.

By comparison, glass can usually be made with locally sourced materials - and as posted above, can be reused. The good old-fashioned milk bottle or the deposit scheme on soda bottles are ways of getting bottles back into circulation.

0
0

Croydon Advertiser blows lid on 'sinister' brothel

Mike Richards

Sinister?

Does that mean green lights, dry ice and ominous organ music?

3
0

Electric mass-driver catapults to beat Royal Navy cuts?

Mike Richards

And in a time of spending cuts and an overstretched defence budget...

...you really need to pour more money into unproven defence technologies. Let's face it, sooner or later BAE are going to get involved and the whole thing will end up running late, and either not working or need to be fixed by the Americans. This is (yet another) defence disaster waiting to happen.

Has anyone ever really explained what these carriers are for? Because with the rest of the armed services being hollowed out they come across as nothing more than big, impressive bits of ironmongery we can sail around the world in the hope of impressing someone. But will more likely turn out to be impressive bits of ironmongery we can't afford to sail around the world in the hope of impressing someone.

Surely a fleet of ships like HMS Ocean would be more useful, cheaper and let us throw our toys out of the pram in a major league power sort of way?

Last week the BBC was reporting the MoD is considering cutting back our helicopter squadrons to make ends meet - you know the helicopters we're short of. And this is *before* anyone has worked out how to pay for the Royal Navy's submersible white elephant. The rate we're going the only military action open to us will be to explode a nuke - whether the provocation was a bijou invasion of Blighty or a kid chucking a brick at a squaddie.

Seriously, has no one at the MoD worked out they can't have everything they want?

4
2

CEOP claims success for Facebook 'panic button'

Mike Richards

What they're saying is...

The button has been pressed 211 times.

Without any evidence or even prosecutions this figure from the endlessly self-promoting Jim Gamble is worthless.

1
0

ASA: You can't say 'f**k'

Mike Richards

Clarification needed

Is it the trailing 'k' that makes f**k offensive to the ASA. If I were to write f*** in my screamingly witty advertising would that be okay?

0
0

Police told terror ads too terrifying offensive

Mike Richards

Clearly the real problem lies in...

...the completely unregulated market in curtains.

For some unfathomable reason it's perfectly acceptable in modern society to go into a shop and spend hundreds of pounds on a set of completely opaque curtains without having to go through a background check or show identity.

I'm glad ACPO have clarified the problem, now we need to know more about this shady operation which goes under the innocent cover name of 'John Lewis'.

The Home Office: Be Safe, Be Suspicious.

2
0

UK set for eBook pricing showdown

Mike Richards

One extra cost of eBooks

Unlike normal books they are VATable. But there's no reason why they should be MORE expensive than regular dead trees.

Oh and why so many typos in eBooks? Things like a 1 where it it should be an l, a 5 in place of an s, strange spacing - are they optically scanning books to turn them into eBooks? And these are on books released in the last five years, so there should be an electronic manuscript somewhere.

0
0
Mike Richards

Typos

Loads of them in books sold through Watersones.

The worst being China Mieville's 'Perdito Street Station' in which whole chunks of the book had been randomly duplicated throughout the text making it effectively unreadable. And their conversion of 'Voices' by Arnaldur Indriðason is poor - okay they're having to deal with Icelandic names and places, but Unicode supports Icelandic characters. The book has them all correct and present, in the eBook they are missing or completely incorrect ones substituted. If I was an author I would be furious at the way my work was being treated.

Waterstones don't want to know about bad conversions, you'll have to fight to get your money back.

So far nothing wrong with Kindle titles, but I've heard of some titles having an eccentric approach to page setting and spelling.

0
0

Independent bigs up the 'Wanky Balls festival'

Mike Richards

Don't knock the Indy

After all they identified el Reg as a hotbed of lesbian Internetitude.

2
0

Moon actually dryer than dem dry bones, say boffins

Mike Richards

It's a simplification

This boils down (ahem) to the fact that so far as rocks are concerned hydrogen is almost always there because they've been in contact with water during their formation. Lunar rocks are almost all igneous rocks that have crystallised from a melt, so if you find hydrogen in the minerals, you know there was water dissolved in the magma. Here on Earth, dissolved water can account for several percent of magma by volume. As magma cools, the water can either be ejected from the solidifying rock, or it can be incorporated by created hydrous minerals such as hornblende, micas and serpentinite.

What's unusual about lunar rocks is that they are almost entirely made up from anhydrous minerals making it very likely there was no water circulating when they were crystallising. The current results have come to a similar conclusion through a different means.

Lack of water on the Moon is quite significant as it helps support a theory that the Moon began life as an extremely hot object - far hotter than would be normal for its size - suggesting it was created by a massive impact on the Earth. It also helps geologists work out the rate the Moon solidified and perhaps if the lunar interior is still molten. Water dissolved into magma dramatically reduces the melting point of the rock. If there isn't any in the lunar Mantle it makes it highly unlikely that the interior contains any molten rock and that makes it even less likely that there is any ongoing, or even (geologically speaking) recent vulcanism.

HTH.

4
0
Mike Richards

Wrong end of the stick

Sorry Lewis, this changes nothing about the possibility of mining ice at the Lunar poles.

This research has nothing to do with asteroidal or cometary water on the Moon; it's to do with primordial composition of the Moon's Mantle where the lunar basalts originated. Essentially they were asking the question 'was water present when the Moon was largely molten?'

And the answer appears to be 'no'. It confirms what has long been suspected - the lunar interior doesn't seem to contain much dissolved water - unlike the Earth. It also helps support the theory that the Moon was formed when something about the size of Mars hit a partially differentiated protoEarth, splashing off a lot of the less-dense, metal poor Mantle and whacked up the temperature to the point that anything with a low vapourisation point was boiled away. Since Apollo brought back lunar samples there's been quite a lot of evidence that the Moon was water-poor and had a high temperature origin, this helps confirm it.

There might well be ice at the poles or at isolated places in the regolith, but that will have arrived later in comets rather than come up from below.

9
0

Apple iPhone app patent claim 'doesn't feel right'

Mike Richards

What's the syringe icon for?

Does it let you use cell phone tringulation, GPS and the iPhone's internal compass to find the nearest dealer?

1
0

Elon Musk plans new Mars rockets bigger than Saturn Vs

Mike Richards

Russians solved that problem

The N1's real problems were down to quality control (one rocket exploded when either welding slag or a loose bolt was sucked into a turbine) - so they fitted filters, and to the computer software controlling the engines - which they gradually debugged.

The N1 was killed by Brezhnev before its fifth test launch which the engineers were confident would work. But America had got to the Moon, the Soviet economy was beginning to stagnate and they needed to find the money to design a rival to the Space Shuttle.

I'd be more worried that they're talking about a new rocket design that can't survive a single engine failure. Saturn could (and did) complete its mission with one engine out. The Shuttle can get to orbit on two main engines (one in the last few minutes of flight). Let's hope they don't think of putting people on top of that one.

Besides, why are we buggering around with rockets at all? Project Orion now please - 6000 tonnes to orbit on the back of 800 nuclear explosions - what's not to like?

2
2

Navy SEALs to deploy armoured dogs in A'stan

Mike Richards

Missing information

How exactly do you train a dog that's prepared to fall out the back of a plane without chewing its handler's arm off?

0
0

Amazon opens UK Kindle store doors to teeming hordes

Mike Richards

Whispersync

Works like a charm - it is a bit freaky the first time you pick up a book on a different device and it's already cued; but then it becomes one of those 'that's brilliant!' things.

0
0

Naomi Campbell admits handling 'blood diamonds'

Mike Richards

What a party

Has anyone ever wondered who drew up the guest list?

'So we've got Mia Farrow - Nelson always liked 'Hannah and Her Sisters', Naomi will add a bit of glamour - so all we need now is a war criminal - is Charles free?'

0
0

iPhone 4 satisfaction high, but lower than iPhone 3GS

Mike Richards

Strange question...

'How frequently have you experienced a 'dropped call' on your iPhone?'

The answer should be a range such as 'once a day', 'once a week', 'one or two times', 'never' that sort of thing. Yet it's reported as a percentage.

Is that meant to be the number of people who have ever had a dropped call or what? Without context that number is meaningless.

Oh and I thought you were joking when I saw the words 'independent research boutique' - you weren't. If you need me, I'll be weeping gently.

0
0

Solar plasma aurora storm ONGOING UPDATE

Mike Richards

Bright over the Atlantic

They were visible on the BA flight I took from Boston last night. People on the left-hand side of the plane had a spectacular view of green and red plasma somewhere near Iceland.

I was on the right-hand side of the plane.

1
0

Terrafugia Transition flying car redesign - first analysis

Mike Richards

Can it tow a caravan?

Because that will cement its position as the most pointless method of transport ever invented.

4
0

Sky faces competition probe over film rights

Mike Richards

HBO isn't the competition in the UK

Sky have bought exclusive access to their catalogue as well.

0
0

Wikileaks publishes encrypted 'insurance' file

Mike Richards

'refutement'???

You *are* Sarah Palin and I claim my $5.

2
1

Futurologist defends 'malevolent dust' warning

Mike Richards

[GRIN]

Russell T Davies is a futurologist???

1
0

US law to neuter libel tourism

Mike Richards

Special sauce

Unlimited damages and a burden of proof on the defendant are the main ingredients. Oh and judges like Justice Eady.

0
0

'Death to browsers!' cries Apple mobile-app patent

Mike Richards

'Polo-necks - available colours: Black only!'

The white version is supposed to be shipping in a few months.

4
0

Boffins authenticate Apple 'Antennagate'

Mike Richards

Correction

'As others have posted, the 4G is a much better phone, overall, than the 3G/GS. It, er, umm, just might not get as good a signal if you hold it a certain way...'

Actually it's a crap phone but a fantastic iPod.

The fanbois (and I think that's the first time I've ever used that phrase), are really getting annoying now. Following Steve's almost apology they've moved on from 'there is no problem' to 'well there might be a problem if you don't have a bumper.'

The closest comparison I can think of is if you bought a sports car but found it was undriveable unless you covered up its beautiful body with that of a Ford Escort. That's where the fanbois (twice!) are right now. Jonathan Ive's designs don't mean squat.

1
1
Mike Richards

All of which is true, but...

...no one seems to be able to explain why Apple didn't discover the problem before launch. Did no one hold the phone - like a phone? did no one try weak signal areas? did no one hold the phone without a bumper.

Apple's testing was not thorough.

2
1

Authentic Navy rum: Yours for £600 a bottle

Mike Richards

Looking forward

To Lewis' tasting test.

I wonder how grumpy he'd get with a few tots of this in him?

C'mon Lester, raid the Reg's kitty - it'll be worth it.

1
0
Mike Richards

How strong?!!!!

My dad got some of this in a swap of ciggies for rum between the Army and the Navy. They kept it in an aluminium bottle - which turned black as soon as it came into contact with the grog. That's a pretty awesome drink.

0
0

ID card astroturf - No2ID beats the truth out of IPS

Mike Richards

Anyone else got this vision?

Of Meg Hillier wandering around the country thrusting her ID card under people's noses saying - 'look! look! it's me! I can prove my identity with one of these!'

5
0

Swiss do lady-friendly iPhone 4 launch

Mike Richards

Clearly this is the real reason for...

...the burkha!

All Swiss geeks can cover themselves in a small tent and queue up for an iPhone safe in the knowledge that if Orange get a little too intrusive as to your gender you can slap a fatwa on them.

1
0

Chilean tarantulas menace Bolton

Mike Richards

These things freak me out

So would a 20 MT thermonuclear explosion centred on Oldhams Estate in Sharples be considered an over-reaction?

3
0

Daily Star is sorry for Grand Theft Auto Raoul Moat blunder

Mike Richards

Looks like a promising future for journalism...

...at the Daily Star's new stablemate - Channel 5.

0
0

Samsung UE46C8000 3D TV

Mike Richards

Cable tidies

It'd be nice if the manufacturers of TVs remembered we all have to put cables into the things and fitted them with some form of cable tidy - if not to neaten the back, to reduce the strain of heavy cables pulling on fragile sockets.

Oh and this set in particular - a start-up noise? Dear god why?

0
0

Before the iPad, there was the Newton

Mike Richards

Not so down on the eMate

Sadly my 2100 is no more, but I was surprised to find the eMate still booted. And it's a clever piece of kit that could have gone places with a little more time and effort on Apple's part. Think about it, a computer designed for kids - a tough polycarbonate case that can survive being dropped, a carry handle, completely solid state, easy to use software, and able to share resources over a network - hmmmm sounds awfully like the OLPC XO-1.

1
0

The Wrath of Jobs' latest victim: Motorola

Mike Richards

No, you've all got it wrong

Haven't you all realised this is a huge problem for the smartphone industry? For years and years now they've been shipping defective handsets that lose signal strength if you foolishly choose to hold them; but no one had noticed.

Except Steve Jobs - he saw there was a problem and in his neverending quest for perfection decided to alert the world. He ordered Apple's unparalleled designers came up a handset that loses signal if you so much look at it; invested in a hugely expensive advertising campaign to promote the 'wrong' way to hold the phone - and look what happened - phone signal strength is headline news!

Success - but are we thanking him for this?

It's only thanks to Steve Jobs that the industry was forced to confront this shameful situation.

[warning post may contain traces of sarcasm]

2
0

Forums