* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Nuclear synthi-jetfuel plants wanted for US Afghan bases

Mike Richards

One small problem so far...

...small reactors have almost always used highly enriched uranium as their fuel. Some even use bomb grade uranium. Even the more modern designs which use c. 20% enrichment are a serious proliferation risk as it is much easier to go from 20 -> 90% U235 than from natural uranium to 20% enrichment.

I'd like to know DARPA's plan of safeguarding nuclear materials if an American base equipped with a nuclear thunderbox came under sustained attack and was likely to fall to the enemy. It's not like you can haul a hot reactor out of harm's way.

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Italian toads predicted L'Aquila earthquake

Mike Richards

'gravity waves'

Is the BBC claiming that seismologists have detected something that cosmologists are still looking for, or are they, (as I suspect), making things up?

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Greenpeace labels Dell 'a bloody marketing machine'

Mike Richards

PVC

Left alone PVC is pretty much the safest stuff on the planet.

Burning it without scrubbing the fumes is seriously unhealthy as it releases chlorine compounds into the atmosphere. Some studies have linked PVC incineration with elevated levels of dioxins in nearby soil - although the evidence is less clear-cut than some environmentalists make out.

Vinyl chloride monomer is known to cause liver and bone damage as well as an almost unrivalled range of cancers. Fortunately modern PVC plants have tightened up their emissions and rates of liver cancer in particular amongst workers and those living nearby are almost indistinguishable from the population as a whole.

PVC can be nasty when it is softened using phthalate plasticisers. This used to be very common in products like children's toys, and baby's bottles. The phthalates can leach into the body either directly or when picked up by fatty substances (such as milk). Phthalates are known gender benders and cause infertility in even limited amounts. Some of them are also known carcinogens.

Most Western manufacturers have banned certain phthalates - especially diethylhexyl phthalate - from toys, although they are used in other PVC products where ingestion is unlikely - but they will most likely still eventually enter the environment as the products are disposed of.

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Carphone Warehouse splits with self

Mike Richards

Best Buy

Watch 'Chuck' - their Nerd Herd is a pretty accurate send-up of Best Buy employees.

BB's a bit like Curry's with transAtlantic lack of self-awareness.

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Child safety tsar demands faster action

Mike Richards

Safeguarding WiFi

Well if the MandyBill gets through Parliament that'll be solved. There won't be a public WiFi network in the country once companies realise they'll be liable for everything passing over their airwaves.

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Radio lobby 'hides' 2m analogue receiver sales

Mike Richards

Hmmmm

How many cars come with DAB already installed? My guess is that most cars still come with FM radios thrown in to make them look better value and that these sets are never upgraded during the life of the vehicle.

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Is iFlorist the greatest website in the universe, ever?

Mike Richards

Come on Reg - go all Which? on us

Order some lovely flowers for the even lovelier Moderatrix (or Lester) and see what happens, then write your own review.

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Dell Mini 10

Mike Richards

No more netbooks for me

I've discovered the Lenovo X100e. 11.6" display, enough grunt under the hood to run 720p videos, the usual ThinkPad construction (although it is plastic) and a quite magnificent keyboard. So it's £400 - but that extra £100 buys you a whole lot more functionality than any netbook on the market for very little extra weight.

I'd recommend that the Reg review team get one in and take a look-see; if only to save a couple of souls from the increasingly depressing netbook market.

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Vast 'Cloud 9' sky-wedding balloon destroyed in Vegas prang

Mike Richards

Make it better

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Aerial petting zoo!

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The Pirate Party is the shape of things to come

Mike Richards

And copyright isn't the only IP law

Short copyrights would not necessarily harm companies (the original Statute of Anne which kicked this off was a 14 year period with the option to renew once only for a further 14 years if the original author was still alive)

But copyright is not the only protection creators have on their products. Trademarks don't expire so long as you continue to use them. The oft-repeated case of Mickey Mouse and copyright law is a complete red herring (one spun successfully by Disney I might add).

Even if MM's copyright expired tomorrow, Disney would still have all the rights to the character because MM is trademarked. Disney would lose the exclusive right to redistribute archival MM as copyright expired on the movies (they make negligible amounts anyway), but the company would still be the only ones able to make new MM materials or licence the wretched rat's image.

Let's go back to 14 year copyright terms, one renewal, none of this nonsense about 'x years after death' - there's no justifiable reason why the law should guarantee the great, great grandchildren of an author an unearned source of income.

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Phorm turns up in Brazil

Mike Richards

"we are now active in almost every other major internet market worldwide."

Excluding North America and the EU.

Maybe they've got the lucrative Chinese intrusive profiling market sewn up now Google.cn is no more.

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Biometric harvest network can handle just 700k a year

Mike Richards

Post Offices

Where are they going to put the biometric enrollment facility? Replace the passport photo machine or get rid of the shelves holding all the cigarettes?

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US Navy plans self-building floating fortresses

Mike Richards

'ice-crete'

Close, it was called Pykecrete after its inventor Geoffrey Pyke. It was a mixture of wood pulp and water which was then frozen into blocks that took ages to melt. The pulp not only made it harder to melt, but made it less brittle. There's even a story that Pyke demonstrated its durability by shooting a block of the stuff in front of some top brass. The bullet not only failed to penetrate the Pykecrete, it ricocheted off and injured an American officer.

Churchill and Mountbatten were huge fans of the idea, and it even got a Codename - Habbakuk - which not only sounds like the noise you make when choking, but its even all Biblical and apocalyptic: "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told to you.” Which as a mission statement, is pretty awesome.

A small plant was set up in Canada (home not only of lots of trees, but truly ball-busting cold) and a demonstration pykecrete barge was built. It survived several summers before actually melting.

Habbakuk itself was cancelled when long range bombers were available and the German Navy pretty much abandoned the Atlantic war.

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MIT boffins on track of portable 60-watt seawater desalinator

Mike Richards

Safe to say

These guys are about to become stupidly rich just as soon as the Pentagon can find the chequebook.

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Mike Richards

Mmmm

Sounds like the water in Santa Barbara.

Which, for one of the richest places on Earth, is particularly squalid. Hard enough you can practically stand a spoon upright in it. Distinctly salty and with the refreshing aftertaste of the local oilfields.

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Train rebrand costs us dear

Mike Richards

First Group

Ah they of the pukeulent fuscia, purple and navy blue livery that disfigures so much of our transport system.

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Google Nexus One

Mike Richards

Just my ha'pennyworth

Nice phone, but Cafe Fanny - priceless!

(Keep it up Reg, I am so your target audience)

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Man could face prison over six second 'extreme porn' clip

Mike Richards

If only it were so

We've had a couple of wars, an ongoing risk from terrorism, an energy crisis and financial collapse and a hundred other more important things - and this lot *still* found time to pass this sort of legislation as well as banning squirrel trafficking and DIY nuclear explosions.

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Facebook stands up to UK.gov's cyberbullying

Mike Richards

Panic buttons

A fucking huge one on the Home Office site would be a good start. It should be used to alert people every time whichever reactionary tit is Home Secretary this week or one of the myriad Home Office titettes like Meg Hillier says something stupid.

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Mike Richards

Better solution

Everyone friends Alan Johnson (or whichever jerk is left in charge of the Home Office next). Then the Home Secretary can look after them when they go online.

If anyone gets hurt in any way, it will be Alan's fault and no one will want to play Farmville with him ever again.

More seriously - what is it with this country and self-appointed net guardians who seem to exist completely outside of the legal framework? We've already got the Internet Watch Foundation which appear to have unlimited powers to come over all Mary Whitehouse without the inconvenience of being restrained by any laws, now there's CEOP (which I'd never heard of) trying to nanny us back to the stone age.

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And now - new stealth jumpjet makes first hover landing

Mike Richards

Must be time

if the plane is working properly for the government to cancel the carriers. Of course Labour won't scrap them because they're needed to bribe the electorate in Scotland, but have the Conservatives committed to buying two white elephants?

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LHC boffins crank beams to 3.5 TeV redline

Mike Richards

Does this mean someone's going to have to paint a new red line?

I seriously hope the top boffin actually got to utter the words 'MORE POWER!'

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Blunkett: 'The dog howls when I whip out my ID card!'

Mike Richards

US VISIT program

The US requires you to provide ten fingerprints and a digital photo at the point of entry. They do not require you to carry that info, every address you've ever lived at and your inside leg measurement on a piece of plastic.

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Game developer's lost electric buggy FOUND ON MOON

Mike Richards

Mars Rovers

7.8km for Spirit, 19.3km (ongoing) for Opportunity.

It's worth remembering that Lunokhod was not an autonomous vehicle. With the exception of some tilt sensors, it was driven remotely from a control centre in the Crimea - the 2 second delay was just about bearable for its drivers.

One of the purposes of the Lunokhods was to place accurate laser reflectors on the Moon that would be used to measure changes in the distance to the Moon as its orbit continues to spiral outwards. Lunokhod 1's reflector apparently worked for a while but hasn't been seen for a very long time. If anyone is interested, Number 1 lasted 11 months, but only went 10km.

One correction to the original article. The Soviets used Lunar Orbiter photos for navigation and landing site identification, not Apollo.

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Minister: Banks should give ID cards to people with no money

Mike Richards

This is going to end well

As soon as people with no access to banking are given it with the encouragement of the government, you can guarantee that some oik in a nasty shiny suit will develop a 'product' that gives them access to stupid levels of credit, encourage them to get horribly into debt and kick off yet another cycle of boom and bust.

And it'd be foolish to think the banks won't do it - they did it before with self-certified mortgages, 125% loan to value mortgages and subprime deals - it ended horribly and what was the pay-back? They got bailed out by the taxpayer. there's simply no risk being a banker, the government will always cover your losses.

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Peer 1 Hosting puts up for Reg space mission

Mike Richards

That's the best idea ever

I demand that Paris and Lester jointly cut the bit of string using one of those giant pairs of scissors you probably can't take on to airliners.

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UK net 'more resilient' than other EU states

Mike Richards

Real reason we're safer

The government's IT systems are so broken not even hackers can get them to do anything.

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Sony PlayStation Move: your questions answered

Mike Richards

Late 2010?

Then I guess Natal is going to wipe it off the face of the planet.

Agree with the folks above, this is a pitiful copy of the Wiimote/Nunchuk that isn't core to the PS3 in the same way as the Wii is built around the Wiimote. It's going to be here nearly four years after the Wii and it seems to do very little extra. I reckon there will be a few games at launch and then it will quietly die a death.

Put this alongside Natal in a game store and it's not going to look good. Put this and a PS3 against a Wii and people will only see the price difference and wonder what's so good about it.

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Body of James Brown disappears from family tomb

Mike Richards
Coat

Alternatively

The more awesome (and entirely reasonable) solution is that even now a zombie James Brown is stalking America! He's 'Doing it to Death' and 'Living in America'.

The spangly one with 'Make It Funky' on the back please.

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Sarah Palin to testify in email hack trial

Mike Richards

This could be awesome

Sarah Palin under oath being asked to explain her knowledge of security and IT.

Is this going to be televised?

If not, can we have it dramatised with Britain's newly-discovered not-terribly-bright, badly briefed, screeching, right wing, nutcase - Carol Vorderman in the lead role?

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Daily Mail commentard out-tw*ts the Tw*t-O-Tron

Mike Richards

Gets worse

If you think Mail comments are bad, you should flick through the letters page to the Daily Express. It's hair-raising stuff, sort of a Völkischer Beobachter for retards with the likes of Richard Madeley and Anne Widdecombe standing in for the Goebbels family - only without the easy going charm.

The Mail is a horrible newspaper but it is brilliantly put together to target its audience with the sort of precision the US Air Force can only dream of. The Express is just a sordid pile of hatred and inadequacies with Alan Titchmarsh on the front.

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Florida woman prangs car while shaving her privates

Mike Richards

Seconded

But proof in the form of PlayMobil is the only sort of evidence we accept around here.

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Top exorcist says Satan at work in Vatican

Mike Richards

Indulgences

Yes they still exist in the Catholic church, but it's not been permitted to buy them since the Council of Trent sometime in the 16th Century. They can now only granted by the Apostolic Penitentiary in the Vatican itself.

The production of blank indulgences was one of the first uses of Gutenberg's printing press Beforehand they had to be laboriously written out from beginning to end; along comes the printing press and voila - a whole new market was born.

Just fill in your name, mortal sin and a suitable donation to Christ's Kingdom on Earth and you - yes YOU - could save HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of years in Pergatory. No sin too big or too small! Apply today. The price of eternal salvation may fall as well as rise. Contact your local catamite for details.

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Mike Richards

Oldest excuse in the book

'It wasn't me that did those terrible things; the Devil made me do it!'

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Mike Richards

'That is 3 exorcisms a day, 7 days a week, for about 64 years.'

I don't know how these things work, but perhaps there are loyalty schemes run along the lines of 'excommunicate two creatures from the Pit and we'll throw in a further lost soul absolutely free.' Or maybe he once exorcised a demonic beehive and is counting all the residents?

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Home Sec says 17m ID cards in circulation by 2017

Mike Richards

It's kind of sweet when you think about it

Dear easily bewildered Alan Johnson still thinks he and his crowd are going to be in any position to say what happens to ID cards after a couple more months.

Bless.

Hello Alan, you've got some nice visitors. I SAID do you want a cup of tea? Oh, it's not one of his good days. best keep back and not make any sudden movements, he gets a bit like this close to an election.

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Paris Hilton crowned 'Worst Actress of the Decade'

Mike Richards

Nicholas Cage was robbed!

' Eddie Murphy was similarly crowned worst actor of the last ten years.'

I defy anyone to sit through Nick Cage's 'The Knowing' and not try to make an escape for the exit.

I was 35,000ft over Greenland when I saw it and still wanted to leave.

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'Negatively strange' antihypermatter made out of gold

Mike Richards

New word needed?

'*We would suggest a special name for the quality of negative strangeness. Perhaps "ultramundanity" or "hyper-boringness".'

May I propose 'Bracknell'?

BTW. One thing you left out of this article - does the new stuff confer superpowers?

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Photographers rue Mandy's copyright landgrab

Mike Richards

LibDems

Before voting for them you might want to know about the LibDem's Lord Clement-Jones.

He's busy in the Lords on the Digital Economy Bill and proposed a change which would do good business for lawyers specialising in intellectual property disputes. Essentially he wants a judge to hear any dispute over copyright material that is found on a site, and if the judge rules there's been a dispute, he can order the page or indeed the whole site taken down. No bad? Well think how many copyright disputes there could be over a site like YouTube. You couldn't probably find enough lawyers to represent all the breaches on YouTube alone.

Lord Clement Jones' list of interests includes:

*12(b) Parliamentary lobbying

Partner of DLA Piper (international law firm) and adviser to its global government relations practice.

The member is paid £70,000 in respect of his services as Co-Chairman of DLA Piper’s global government relations practice

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldreg/reg06.htm (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

And who are DLA Piper I hear you ask?

'DLA Piper's Intellectual Property and Technology practice is one of the largest groups of IP lawyers in the world...

'When disputes arise, your commercial objectives are our main concern. Whether you turn to litigation, engage in arbitration or mediation, or employ some other innovative solution to the problem, our IP and Technology group will represent and support you at every stage. '

http://www.dlapiper.com/global/services/detail.aspx?service=53

You'd almost think he was being paid to drum up business for them. Which, when you think about it, he is.

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'Snowball Earth': Glaciers, ice packs once met at Equator

Mike Richards

Moving rocks

'Tropical rocks from the Sturtian, which have since migrated up to remote northwestern Canada, show unmistakable signs of having been covered in big ice back then.'

More correctly, the rocks haven't migrated. Canada has.

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Mike Richards

Holocene

Is an epoch not an era.

And there's plenty of reasons not to even consider it a real epoch at all. It's shorter than most of the Pleistocene interglacials and there's no reason to think the glaciations have ended. It'd be better if we just considered ourselves living in an ongoing Pleistocene.

Mind you I have some sympathies with those that consider anything after the end of the PreCambian as geological 'drift'.

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Mars Express skims past Phobos

Mike Richards

'Doom laden' more like

Phobos is in a degrading orbit and very soon* it is going to pile into Mars with the force of a million Michael Bay movies.

* Very soon here is in geological terms. About 11 million years give or take a rise and fall of civilisation.

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DARPA to build military App Store, battlefield 3G

Mike Richards

I like the camo skin

You could probably make good money selling iPhone sleeves in a range of camo patterns.

And charge double if you could make each one unique.

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Sony readies revamped netbook

Mike Richards

Whatever happened to Moore's Law?

The specs of the current crop of netbooks isn't that far removed from the original Eee. Only the screens and the bills have got significantly bigger.

2Gb RAM would make many of these machines much more usable for day-to-day use.

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New use found for 'world's most useful tree'

Mike Richards

Boiling

They know water can be purified by boiling.

But they don't have the fuel to do it.

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Climategate hits Westminster: MPs spring a surprise

Mike Richards

Huh?

Why do you choose 15 years as the point to start of your 'no more warming'? It's wrong anyway - NASA have 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004 (in that order) as the warmest years on record,

The MWP was not warmer than the current period, it was drier and it was a localised effect.

Sea ice in the Arctic is thinning and diminishing, it is growing in the Antarctic. That doesn't mean Antarctica is cooling, in fact its warming faster than pretty much anywhere on Earth. It does mean the circulation in the Antarctic Ocean is changing and less heat is being convected to the surface because meltwater is diluting the salinity of the surface layers of the ocean, reducing its density.

So the ice in the Himalayas isn't going as fast as one report says. But the evidence is clear, the vast majority of Himalayan glaciers are retreating.

Yes the climate has always changed, but its rarely been changing as fast as it is now in human history, and we're particularly vulnerable because we already use so much of the available resources whether that's water, agricultural land or areas built close to the sea.

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Mike Richards

Graham Stringer

The guy calls for scientists to be more open yet on every occasion he voted against opening up Parliament to external scrutiny.

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BT blamed for Davina McCall spamcalls

Mike Richards

Lost in Showbusiness

Let's see...

Not funny, terminally unfunny, pointless little carbon sink, buttock-clenchingly unfunny, Irish and yet still unfunny, 'chocolate or cherry?' 'Shotgun please', not that funny actually.

Think of them as a bunch of overpaid Butlins entertainers on wheels.

Is it wrong to wonder if they'll hit a big truck coming the other way?

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Old PS3s locked out of PlayStation Network

Mike Richards

Sony statement

Sony say they now know the cause of the problem and the fix should be along in the next 24 hours.

HOWEVER, they're saying all users of fat PS3s should NOT use their machines until the fix is released as there is a risk of data corruption for trophies and PSN purchases.

Details at: http://www.neowin.net/news/playstation-bug-cripples-quotfatquot-ps3-models-worldwide-2

Astonishingly, this info isn't even on the front page of the Playstation site. Sony's PR people should be taken out and lightly shot.

BTW. Sony's current slogan: 'It Only Does Everything (tm)'

Apart from work.

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DARPA wants military iPhone and Android apps

Mike Richards

Awesome new word

Deathnerd.

I want that on a T-shirt.

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