* Posts by Mike Richards

3779 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Hi, um, hello, US tech giants. Mind, um, mind adding backdoors to that crypto? – UK govt

Mike Richards
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This proposal must be proof positive that Cameron is working for the Chinese government.

I hope someone asks him how his clever friends in the City have responded to this level of encryption buggery on their whizzo financial transactions.

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UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

Mike Richards
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Re: I'm sure that this will be just like RIPA

One estimate is that the police are already making one metadata request every two minutes. Under Darth May's proposals that can only increase. How many jihadi kiddie fiddlers does the Home Office think there are?

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Mike Richards
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How is the data stored?

Is there anything in the legislation that says how ISPs have to store the data?

Does it have to be a live database that Plod/News International can access at the click of a mouse, or could they store everything about their customers on a pile of C90s in a damp cellar behind a locked door whose key hasn't been seen since Darren in IT left to become a Shoreditch barista?

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MPs launch 'TalkTalk' inquiry over security of personal data online

Mike Richards
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This might be hilarious

We get to see the technical grasp of the Cultural Committee as they forensically examine Dido over all aspects of computer security.

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Licence to snoop: Ipso facto, crypto embargo? Draft Investigatory Powers bill lands

Mike Richards
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Re: The Tories are now, officially, Bond Villains.

'It should be a piece of piss to get this bill knocked back. But will they?'

Of course not, the Tories who don't want the state interfering in things that matter are gagging to impose this law. Labour's shadow Home Secretary is Andy bloody Burnham who tried to drive ID cards on to the statute book.

Anyone who stands up against this bill will be portrayed as a Friend of Saville (by the people who protected Jimmy Saville for so many years) or a wannabe jihadi.

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Cash injection fuels SABRE spaceplane engine

Mike Richards
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Re: responsible for awarding and overseeing the contracts

You left out the stage where BAE uses the British taxpayer money to buy a foreign defence contractor and quietly siphon jobs from the UK to the US.

But apart from that, spot on.

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Here's how TalkTalk ducked and dived over THAT gigantic hack

Mike Richards
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Re: Why Is Dido Harding Still in a Job?

It's odd that the government hasn't made a bigger thing about the TalkTalk hack - after all, it is one of the largest leaks of personal information in the UK that hasn't been managed by the government, and they're always telling us about the threat of all things cyber.

Could it be that they don't want to draw attention to the incompetent Dido Harding being a colleague of Cameron's at Oxford PPE, a Tory peer and married to John Penrose MP Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, and assistant government whip?

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Top cops demand access to the UK's entire web browsing history

Mike Richards
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Re: HMRC and councils to have access too

After that, how long before everyone's browsing history is also shared with Feargul Sharkey and the creeps at the BPI?

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Mike Richards
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Re: Will be struck down ....

The government sees no need for supervision of police access to this data, it will be abused. So it's more than likely we'll see a repeat of the corrupt coppers who were happy to feed celebrity and crime stories to the News of the Screws finding other publications willing to pay for Internet histories of the unfortunate/rich/powerful/stupid.

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Mike Richards
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Berry explained the police's desire to The Times by saying "We want to police by consent..."

"...but then we thought - fuck it, let's just force them to hand over the data."

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Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

Mike Richards
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Re: More pork for the taking

Heres a sobering thought - even if it goes to $150 billion, it'll be pocket change compared to the F-35 programme.

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'Govt will not pass laws to ban encryption' – Baroness Shields

Mike Richards
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Not banning encryption doesn't mean the government won't try to ban usable encryption.

If Cameron and the monsters in the Home Office had their way we'd be lucky to be left with ROT13.

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TalkTalk incident management: A timeline

Mike Richards
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TalkTalk is still recommending users change their passwords - but has still not resurrected the system to let them do so.

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TalkTalk attack: UK digi minister recommends security badges for websites

Mike Richards
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TalkTalk is hilariously allowing customers to exit their contract without paying a penalty as 'a gesture of goodwill' - so long as the customer can prove their finances were compromised as a consequence of the hack. Clearly Dido (£4 million pay packet last year) is worried about a mass exit of people who don't think TalkTalk is capable of managing a whelk stall let alone personal information.

Rather than a grudging gesture of goodwill, TalkTalk should be begging customers not to sue them for the damage and distress caused by their incompetence and be engaging in a recreational firing o their senior staff who have allowed not one, not two, but three major data breaches in the last year without apparently learning anything.

In an ideal world, the whole wretched company would be destroyed because of this, but they'll get away with a fine (if it is anything less than the maximum £500k it will show how broken the DPA is), and the CEO will probably ooze on to another equally well remunerated job to fit in between being a Tory peer in the HoL.

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The Register's resident space boffin: All you need to know about the Pluto mission

Mike Richards
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Re: 'Young ' surface

There's very little atmosphere on Pluto, frozen out it would form a thin frosting across the planet rather than obscuring some stonkingly big geology.

It's a shame New Horizons didn't carry a magnetometer as that would have probably detected any magnetosphere driven by a convecting interior.

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Mike Richards
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Triton

'Active geysers of nitrogen had been found on Neptune’s moon Triton in 1989, but the source of heat for that was thought to be tides.'

I'm pretty sure the consensus is that Tritonian geysers are driven by solar warming of a dark layer under the translucent nitrogen crust since they cluster close to the moon's subsolar point in the mid-southern hemisphere. The energy needed to perform the large scale reworking of Triton's crust is almost certainly tidal, the moon has plenty of tidal energy from its retrograde orbit around Neptune.

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What makes our planet's clouds? Tiny INVISIBLE CREATURES. True story

Mike Richards
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Re: Global warming help?

More phytoplankton in the water would be a bad thing. They might take up some additional carbon from the atmosphere and create more clouds - but - they'd kill the oceans in the process.

When the plankton decay their bodies are consumed by oxygen-metabolising bacteria. Which is fine in a normal, ventilated ocean. However, as plankton populations increase and oceans warm, you run into a hard limit on the availability of oxygen. Not just that more is being consumed, but also that warmer surface waters hold less oxygen, but that there is less overturning and mixing of oxygenated surface waters because of increased temperature driven stratification. In high latitudes where most deep sea ventilation takes place you get a double hit from increased temperatures driving greater productivity and fresher waters from ice melt refusing to overturn.

As oxygen levels fall in deeper waters, conditions favour sulfur metabolising bacteria whose byproduct is hydrogen sulfide - highly toxic to bottom-dwelling communities, and who have the effect of allowing phosphorus and nitrogen to remain in the water column rather than being trapped in sediments. These two elements allow for increased productivity which keeps pushing oxygen levels to the floor.

These are called euxenic conditions which are like the eutrophied ponds you find at this time of year, they are are nowadays found in restricted bodies of water such as strongly stratified lakes, fjords and the Black Sea; but the geological record shows a very strong correlation between global euxenia, high temperatures (from delta 18-O) and high carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans (from CCD reconstructions and 12-C/13-C). The last big one was during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum when it appears a good part of the world's oceans were anoxic at depth and in places euxenia may have reached the surface creating dead zones for larger organisms.

There's some approachable papers here if you'd like to know the details:

Diaz, R. J. and Rosenberg, R. (2008) ‘Spreading dead zones and consequences for marine ecosystems’, Science, 321(5891), pp. 926–929.

Meyer, K. M. and Kump, L. R. (2008) ‘Oceanic Euxinia in Earth History: Causes and Consequences’, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 36(1), pp. 251–288.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Original Research?

Except in this case we can firmly say 'the journo done it', the original CLAW paper is referenced in the new work.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Original Research?

You're quite right, it's corroboration of the CLAW hypothesis dating back to 1987:

Charlson, R. J., Lovelock, J. E., Andreae, M. O. and Warren, S. G. (1987) ‘Oceanic phytoplankton, atmospheric sulphur, cloud albedo and climate’, Nature, 326(6114), pp. 655–661.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v326/n6114/abs/326655a0.html

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Natural geothermal heat under Antarctic ice: 'Surprisingly HIGH'

Mike Richards
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Re: It puzzles me too

Except volcanism can't explain the thinning and collapse of the floating ice sheets around West Antarctica. Warmer ocean currents can however.

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Apple Watch sales in death dive after mega launch, claims study

Mike Richards
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Plus one to blend.

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Will rising CO2 damage the world's oceans? NOT SO MUCH – new boffinry

Mike Richards
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Re: The corals in the Great Barrier Reef are 150 million years old

The Great Barrier Reef is 20,000 years old. It is built on an older, (dead) reef that began life about 600,000 years ago.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Not news?

Since you raise the Cretaceous...

There is a marine extinction marked by widespread anoxic deposits at the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary which is linked to high overall temperatures and very high atmospheric carbon dioxide which may have been emitted by a very large upswing in volcanism caused by lithospheric thickening in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

There are also a pair of events in the late Cretaceous that show how sensitive plankton are to temperature. Beginning around 71Ma, surface and deep waters began to cool, at the same time the number of planktonic species rose by more that 40%. Then from 70-69Ma and then again between 66 and 65Ma, ocean temperatures rose at the same time as atmospheric CO2 reached the peak you mentioned. Planktonic species went into decline at the same time. Only to be delivered another whack when something crashed into Mexico.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Not news?

Eutrophication and anoxia are strongly associated in the geological record with high temperatures and high atmospheric CO2. As you point out the surface waters become home to large populations of plankton whose decay removes oxygen from deeper waters as their dead bodies fall to the ocean floor. The result is that deep waters become dominated by sulfate-metabolising bacteria who release hydrogen sulfide and turn the deep ocean euxenic. Material accumulates on the bottom as black, carbon and sulfur-rich muds and shales. In the meantime biodiversity of plankton suffers since most can't survive in unventilated oceans. There's very good fossil evidence for planktonic extinctions during the carbon isotope excursions (and very hot episodes) of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and the Late Pliensbachian/Early Toarcian thermal event in the Early Jurassic.

This is accentuated in greenhouse climates by the warming of surface waters which not only reduces their available oxygen content, but also makes them less likely to overturn and deliver oxygen to deep waters.

As other people point out, acidification is a problem for carbonate-shelled plankton such as coccolithophorids whose populations in the geological record also crash during warm periods.

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Mike Richards
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Re: want a large screen android e-reader

Sounds like the Onyx M96 is what you are looking for:

9.7" screen, Android 4, stylus option:

https://onyx-boox.com/shop/onyx-boox-m96-universe-97-inch-e-ink-pearl-display-e-book-reader-google-play-ivona-text-speech-bluetooth-4-0-low-energy-powered-android-4-0-4/

It seems to have a limited European distribution - like one company in Germany, and the price is a bit higher than you were asking for:

http://ereader-store.de/en/onyx-boox/64-onyx-boox-m96-black.html

Haven't played with it, so it might be brilliant, might be a total Hammond.

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The rare metals debate: Only trace elements of sanity found

Mike Richards
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Re: Aha!@TeeCee

There's one limit on oil production that is insurmountable - how much energy it takes to extract and refine that oil. If it equals or exceeds the amount of energy in that oil, it's not worth using it as fuel.

One thing that's noticeable in recent years is the amount of energy needed to get oil out of the ground has been rocketing. Conventional fields have something like a return of 25:1 - that is you get 25 times as much energy out of the oil as you put into getting it. Unconventional fields like the Canadian tar sands are right down at 5-2.9:1 with shale gas doing a little better at 7.6-6.1:1. The real boondoggle though is corn ethanol at just 1.3:1.

There's probably enough oil, gas and coal to keep us going before the economics force a halt. The big question is can we afford to cook the planet and acidify the oceans rather than looking elsewhere for our energy.

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NASA sending five-metre THERMO-HAMMER to Mars

Mike Richards
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You mean geologists?

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Creationist: The Flintstones was an accurate portrayal of Dino-human coexistence

Mike Richards
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Re: God give me strength

'Didn't the Pope make a statement a few years back saying the Bible is not meant to be taken literally? I was sort of hoping, probably in vain, that him saying that may have been the beginning of a shift toward a slightly more enlightened age for religion.'

The Catholic Church has long held that the power of Genesis lies in metaphor rather than being seen as an accurate description of the creation of the Universe. The first official statement on Darwinism was in 1950 which said that the church had no problems reconciling evolution with doctrine, there is no official position on the age of the Universe, only that it is finite, and it must be remembered the Vatican Observatory is a world-class facility with some top researchers in all astronomical fields.

The real issue over Young Earth nonsense is with the small Protestant sects who do cleave to a very literal reading of the Bible.

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Queen's Speech: Snoopers' Charter RETURNS amid 'modernisation' push

Mike Richards
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All of the Labour leader candidates that have come forward are very much New Labour, so you can bet authoritarianism runs in their veins - Cooper has hardly said a word about mass surveillance and went along with DRIP and Burnham was once in charge of the ID card project. The others sound like they're auditioning for Conservative party political broadcasts.

They'll enthusiastically vote for the proposals so that they can't be tarred as being 'soft on crime'. I suspect these proposals will pass with a couple of fig leaf amendments with massive majorities. And then we'll see another toothless incarnation of the Parliamentary committees set up to protect our freedoms that they've merrily put through a shredder.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion

'Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion'

Whether you like it or not.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Time to leave

The Pirate Party is the most popular group of politicians in Iceland right now.

The beer is ruinously expensive though.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Well...

Come on, Labour will only quibble over the fact it doesn't go nearly far enough.

And the Lords will harrumph and then back down because of some piece of nonsense called the Salisbury Convention that they will not block a manifesto commitment no matter how dangerous or insane it is.

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Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

Mike Richards
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Only some are going bust...

...if you've got twenty minutes to spare with the end credits of a modern blockbuster, you'll notice a lot of Indian and Chinese names cropping up in the VFX credits. A lot of the tedious, *relatively* low-value tasks, such as rotoscoping are being outsourced to places like Bangalore, and an increasing number of other parts of the VFX are following them East now that movie companies realise that the stuff coming out of India and China is just as good as can be done in California or London.

The US animation industry has been contracting for some time now, particularly Dreamworks Animation which housed a lot of smaller studios. Dreamworks had wanted to release three full-length animations every year, but as anyone who has endured most their movies knows, that came at the expense of script and animation quality. They've now cut back to just two movies per year, one of which will be a sequel. The result of that has been heavy layoffs of animators and the total closure of Pacific Data Images who had a good claim to being one of the fathers of CGI.

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Sir Jony Ive, chief Apple doodler, promoted – into job he already has

Mike Richards
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Mutley's got a new medal?

I'd have preferred hearing that Apple had a new idea now that 'make it thinner' has been worked to death. And no making the same stuff available in gold and 'space grey' doesn't count.

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ZX Spectrum 'Hobbit' revival sparks developer dispute

Mike Richards
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Sounds like Scott Adams' 'Adventureland' from Adventure International. Available on just about everything in the early 1980s. There's a Java version here:

http://www.freearcade.com/Zplet.jav/Advland.html

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Candlelit vigil planned to honour executed Newcastle cow Bessie

Mike Richards
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You let out the best bit

Where the story went the full Chris Morris:

"Those attending the vigil are asked to wear a cow onesie and bring a candle."

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The yummy mummies' likeable wagon: Nissan Qashqai Tekna

Mike Richards
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Wow!

It's not entirely hideous - has Nissan finally stopped making blobby cars with the look and charm of cane toads?

Now if they can only kill off each and every one of Nissan Jukes (rhymes with pukes), the world will be a better place. It's hard to imagine, but it must have happened, that people go into Nissan dealers and look at the Juke with its bulging lights and strangely inflated lines and say 'YES! That's what I've been looking for all my life.'

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RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

Mike Richards
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Alternative explanation

The budget cuts at the MoD are rather deeper than we think and these guys are actually building a new radar station one kickstarted doohickey at a time.

We'll know if next week they ask for money to buy some little round television screens and a spinny-around dish on a pole, preferably one that gives a reassuring PING! when it spots Ivan (forgive the deeply technical nature of the language).

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All-Russian 'Elbrus' PCs and servers go on sale

Mike Richards
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No, but you'll be able to use its browser to order a computer that can.

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Snoopers' Charter queen Theresa May returns to Home Office brief

Mike Richards
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On the bright side...

...now they've been elected, some bereft of technical knowledge is going to have to explain how the Tories are going to mandate encryption with a backdoor *that can only be used by the 'good' guys*.

That + snoopers charter + 'making Britain the best place to do business online'.

It's been a while, but I think we might be about to experience a tech cock-up that makes Blunkettcards look well thought through.

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Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

Mike Richards
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Re: It isn't supposed to make sense

It was on Blue Peter regularly, so those of us East of Offa's Dyke also got to hear about it.

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Bridge, ship 'n' tunnel – the Brunels' hidden Thames trip

Mike Richards
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Re: Great Eastern

Her top mast is still standing outside Anfield Stadium. Not sure how it got there so long after she was broken up.

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Revealed: The AMAZING technology behind Apple's $1299 Retina MacBooks – a lot of glue

Mike Richards
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Re: What's stopping them...

It is kind of surprising that Apple hasn't yet added a final step of pumping the whole shell full of glue and inserting a (beautifully machined from a solid block of aerospace grade aluminium) cork in the hole.

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Bone-tastic boffins' breakthrough BRINGS BACK BRONTOSAURUS

Mike Richards
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Surprisingly no quote from Ann Elk (Miss) who has a new theory about the brontosaurus.

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Astronomers battle plague of BLADE-WIELDING ROBOTS

Mike Richards
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Re: Methanol

'If only there was a way of creating some sort of invisible fence by some simple means like laying a wire in the ground.'

Or the IR beacons Roomba already uses.

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Euro THERMONUCLEAR REACTOR PROJECT is in TROUBLE

Mike Richards
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Re: Hypocrites

No.

The European Court of Auditor, which is an independent body, signed off EC accounts every year between 2007 and 2013. They certified them as legal, regular and reliable as well as free of material error.

They did criticise an error rate of about 5% in the 2013 budget, but errors are NOT fraud, instead its where EU money is spent without applying the appropriate regulations. And almost all of the errors were caused by national governments, not the EU.

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Apple design don Jony Ive: Build-your-own phone is BOLLOCKS

Mike Richards
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Speaking of abdicating responsibilities

Someone at Apple should have told Sir Jonny that he wasn't an interface designer so we could have avoided the skinny fonted, is that a fucking button or a label? why is that written in red when it's not a warning? car crash that is iOS8.

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BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Mike Richards
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Re: Maybe Toba catastropohe 70,000 years ago was connected to this.

They can't have caused gravitational havoc in the Solar System for the simple reason that the Solar System remains stable. The models used by the authors predict that it had minimal effects on the Oort Cloud which is much closer and much more weakly bound to the Sun than the Earth, so there would have been an utterly neglible effect here on Earth.

Toba erupted because that's what calderas do. It's big, but it's not even in the top ten caldera events known in the geological record let alone the numerous flood basalts out there which make Toba look like a firecracker.

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Mike Richards
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Re: 0.8AU or 0.8 Light Years?

The Oort Cloud is bound to the Sun so its outer limit is considered the edge of the Solar System, that's currently thought to be between 0.8 and 1 light year out, so yep, this was inside the Solar System.

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Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

Mike Richards
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Re: Slightly baffled by aurora comments

Mars has almost no global magnetic field, but there are a number of localised magnetic anomalies on the planet, presumably locked in place when the core solidified. ESA spotted aurorae in 2005 over the southern hemisphere and they seem to be associated with known anomalies.

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