* Posts by Mike Richards

3584 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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?'

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wikileaks publishes encrypted 'insurance' file

Mike Richards

'refutement'???

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

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Futurologist defends 'malevolent dust' warning

Mike Richards

[GRIN]

Russell T Davies is a futurologist???

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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.

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'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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!'

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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]

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UK's Zephyr robo sun-plane in record-buster 2-week flight

Mike Richards

Alternatively...

We could use it to surveillance Scandinavia in the summer months. After all, is it just me who suspects the Swedes are up to something bigger than ruthlessly dominating the flat pack furniture and Eurovision market?

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UK Skylon spaceplane set for engine test in '3-4 years'

Mike Richards

Likes F.A.B. to me

As someone who grew up overdosing on Gerry Anderson programmes, this is what the future is meant to look like.

Ridiculously swoopy exterior - check!

Ludicrous high technogubbins - check!

I want one now.

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MPs call for crackdown on pre-paid credit cards

Mike Richards

god help us all

I bet you these cards are used to buy made-up drugs like cake.

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Hitachi hides Magic Wand vibrator under a bushel

Mike Richards

So informative

I can't wait for the 'Which?' report on this.

It'll probably get better reception than the iPhone as well.

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Raptor over Blighty: Watch the stealth fighter in infrared

Mike Richards

Isn't Typhoon meant to be an air superiority fighter?

In which case it is perfectly reasonable to compare the two planes.

Unless of course BAE have suddenly decided it's an awesome ground attack plane and are busy charging us again to turn Typhoon into a dead dog like the Tornado ground attack variant which was slightly better at killing its crews than Iraqis in Gulf War 1.0

Oh and it looks a bit crap too - compared to the sci-fi swoopiness of the Raptor or even the Russian fighters, it looks all cheap and nasty. Two things Typhoon most certainly isn't.

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Mike Richards

American SST

It's also worth pointing out the US spent as much on their SST as we did on Concorde. We got the most gob-smackingly gorgeous, stunning piece of technology since someone thought of knocking the edge off a piece of flint; They got a plywood model and a huge chip on their shoulder.

It must have been even more embarrassing when they realized the Soviet Union had also got a working SST and they didn't.

Does anyone think over-land supersonic flight would have been banned if the US had an SST of their own?

And I'm not sure how many passengers would have wanted to get on an all titanium Mach 3 jet - the Blackbird's tanks only seal when the airframe gets hot.

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Mike Richards

Hmmm

I wonder how long this American high mindedness will last if the Saudis decide to buy Typhoons; especially when Tel Aviv gets on the phone to say their F15s are getting mighty old...

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Steve Jobs denies Judas Phone antenna problems

Mike Richards

Ah so it wasn't just me

Who thought that was a very strange way to compare two phones. Especially after telling us that AT&T doesn't let on how many calls are dropped.

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Daily Mail promotes 'the new Betamax'

Mike Richards

Can't be long

Before the Mail runs a story that DAB gives you cancer.

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Our Vulture 1 aircraft begins to take shape

Mike Richards

Well done Lewis

Is this a prototype which will be tested to destruction, or the final PARIS?

If the former, please be aware I am available at very short notice for all forms of experimental testing and will bring my own 2lb geological hammer and thermite.

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Underground tunnel complexes FOUND ON MOON

Mike Richards

Not quite

'When the lava cools and solidifies, there is often an open space left above its surface, forming a tunnel.'

The surface of the lava cools rapidly and solidifies to form the hard surface, but the conductivity of basalt is so low the lava in the middle of the flow continues to remain liquid. The molten lava flows downhill under gravity and reappears near the toe of the flow advancing it somewhat. Eventually the supply of new lava from the vent ceases, the remaining lava in the tube drains downhill and you're left with a tube. If you go to Hawaii or Iceland you can walk along some lava tubes and they are very spooky places.

Similar tubes have also recently been spotted on Mars.

On a selenological note - if they're big enough they might make a good place to build a lunar base as the overlying rock will provide some insulation from heat, cold and any meteorites whizzing around.

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iPhone 4 fix to centre on software, negate need for recall

Mike Richards

The bumper doesn't fix the REAL problem

Apple better hope the solution lies in software, because the bumper isn't going to help. Yes it fixes the dropped signal issue - but the real problem for Apple is the growing perception that the company has produced a lemon.

Apple can continue to advertise the phone *as a phone* without bumpers - in which case they're possibly guilty of misleading advertising; or they can run adverts with the phone + bumper showing one of the f'ugliest things I've seen in a long time. Every time you see an iPhone + bumper you're going to think 'ah yes, that's the phone you can't talk on.' And Apple's rivals won't have to try too hard to find their advertising pitches.

If Apple thinks the 'solution' is to cover up their design it's a reasonable question to ask 'why do you pay Jonathan Ive?' There's little point in going to the expense of designing beautiful hardware if it only works when covered up.

The only long term solution is a fix that means the bumper is optional - even if you want to make telephone calls; rather than a necessary piece of the kit.

This problem is probably even more serious than Microsoft's 360 failures. Microsoft could at least claim the RRoDs only appeared after prolonged use and that it hadn't appeared in testing. If the WSJ's sources are correct, then Apple had been made aware of shortcomings in the design but chose to ship anyway.

The iPhone 4 - it's a great iPod but a terrible phone.

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Apple spews Judas Phone signal bar 'fix' to world+dog

Mike Richards

Yup

Pick it up and it goes from four bars to 'No-service' in thirty seconds flat.

Kudos to Apple, I'm pretty sure my phone turns into a brick *even faster* after installing this update.

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Mike Richards

UK as well

I'm on O2 and the problem is as bad as ever after the patch.

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Yorks cops charge Segway rider under 1835 road law

Mike Richards

The use of the word 'carriage' is a good one

Because it's not too specific and can be extended to other forms of wheeled transport without requiring the text of the law to be rewritten. It's left to the courts to decide if a mode of transport is a carriage or not. If only more law was written like this (but then I'd prefer Roman Law anyway rather than our system, but that's getting me started...)

Meanwhile.

There's a similar case; Corkery v Carpenter (1950), where a man was found guilty of being drunk in charge of a 'carriage' under the Licensing Act of 1872. The court ruled (and it has been subsequently upheld) that bicycles constitute carriages, so I don't think there's much hope of this case deciding otherwise.

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Mike Richards

Except that's not the way law is written

'I think it should be fairly self-evident that "ride" here means riding some animal, or an animal-drawn vehicle. And I think it's pretty clear even to lawmakers that such things are not motor vehicles. So.'

Had law makers wanted they would have specified animal-drawn vehicles. They did not so we can't make the assumption the law is limited to animal-drawn traffic. The law was drawn up to reduce the risk to pedestrians from ALL non-pedestrian traffic. Vehicles with engines or motors fall under its remit.

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iPhone 4 developers get software update, but will it fix death grip?

Mike Richards

Not quite

From my experience, if you're in a weak signal area the iPhone is not as good as the 3G no matter how you hold it, and if you hold it like a normal human being the signal drops to nothing in a few seconds.

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Apple to shrink MacBook Air

Mike Richards

12" Powerbook

A gem of a machine and it was sad to see it go. Best machine Apple have ever made for travelling, it was small enough to throw into a bag, and unlike most computers, tough enough to survive the tender care of airlines and the TSA.

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UK.gov abandons 2012 rural broadband pledge

Mike Richards

This is disastrous news

It keeps MLF in a job for five more years.

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India to place $11bn order for AIP hi-tech submarines

Mike Richards

Aid

The Chinese have shown that the quickest way out of poverty is to industrialise as quickly as possible and get some of the population rich enough that they can generate demand for more goods. India's trying to do it even faster and to do so through high technologies such as rockets, satellites and IT.

People are being left behind and the Indian government probably should do more to help, but if we can give money to help some of the very poorest people in the World have a life that's halfway worth living, then let's do so.

You know those billions might make up for some of the countless billions the UK stole, embezzled and extorted from the Indians during our time as the resident Imperial power.

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Boeing's 'Phantom Eye' Ford Fusion powered stratocraft

Mike Richards

I like it

It has 'danger' written all over it - quite literally.

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Blighty's stealth robojet rolls out a year late

Mike Richards

Yeah - but

Why aren't we investing that money in things people will actually buy? You know - consumer items or even some lovely high techery to help rebuild our crapped out infrastructure.

As the article says the RAF doesn't want and can't afford Taranis - so if our own forces won't have the thing who are we going to flog it to? We can't expect the Saudis to cough up now BAE has been caught bribing them for their previous crap planes.

BAE has to be the worst company in Britain and one that makes me nostalgic for our crappy nationalised car plants and steelworks. Its products are universally shite, overpriced and never less than laughably late. It's nothing more than a blackmailer - 'keep buying our lousy planes/frigates/submarines/guns or we'll fire the workforce.' Close it down, give the workers a small lottery win apiece, buy American/French/Swedish - and not only would we have stuff that works, we'd be better off.

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Life on Earth gets wiped out every 27 million years, say boffins

Mike Richards

Or even Jack McDevitt's 'Engines of God'

http://www.sfreviews.net/enginesofgod.html

(great book - none of the sequels quite match it)

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Crackdown 2

Mike Richards

Fun but shoddy

It's a blast to play until the glitches kick in. There's a lot of dropped frames when things get busy, the controls get unresponsive and the sound goes to crap. It's not like it's pushing the XBox to it's limits, compared to games like Just Cause 2, it looks quite dated.

If anything the first game is more technologically proficient, it's definitely more varied and a bit prettier.

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