* Posts by Mike Richards

3587 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Tories may cut Met Office funding

Mike Richards

To Dr. Fox

"There's a very strong case to look at the assets of the MoD and say do these deliver anything for the front line?"

A quick flip through some history books (you can claim them on expenses) suggests that knowing the weather forecast does have some influence on military campaigns.

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ESA proposes ion drive Sun-dodge Mars commsat ploy

Mike Richards

Radio times to Mars

"...the time taken for messages to travel back and forth - already some hours when Earth and Mars are far apart."

No they don't - trip times to Mars vary from just over 3 minutes when Earth is closest to the planet to about 22 minutes when they're on opposite sides of the Sun. Double that for a round trip. If you're being put on hold for 'some hours' when calling Mars you should consider changing your operator.

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Aussie Sex Party in evangelist head-to-head

Mike Richards

'21-day period of fasting and abstinence'

Couldn't they have made that a 210-day period of fasting and abstinence and sort of solved the problem themselves?

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El Reg launches 'Skinny Fit' fashion range

Mike Richards

Very convincing

Although probably a bit too substantial for Ralph Lauren.

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Robot nuclear windjammer to sail patio-gas oceans of Titan

Mike Richards

@ Led boot

'If you're going to the trouble of sending a nuke powered ship all the way out there, why not attach some sort of satelite you can fling into orbit so we can get data back all the time?'

You'd have to slow it from interplanetary velocity which would either need an enormous amount of fuel, or you could try aerobraking in Titan's atmosphere which would be nerve wracking.

As for probes doing more than just sitting there; in 1986 the Soviets put balloons on Vegas 1 and 2 to take readings of the Venusian atmosphere. They confirmed it was pretty bloody nasty.

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Airport rethinks strip-scanner for kids

Mike Richards

"Our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely."

Bollocks - your only interest is forcing people to arrive at the terminal three hours before departure and delaying gate announcements to the last minute to maximise the time passengers spend in the shops* and restaurants.

* Anyone else noticed that airport branches of Dixons are even crappier than the ones in the High Street?

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Subaru set to show stylish hybrid

Mike Richards

Gull wing doors

Maybe useless, but they were on the Mercedes 300 - so they aren't completely evil.

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Office 2004 for Mac granted extended run to appease VBA fans

Mike Richards

Why people stuck with 2004

Was because the latest version of Office for the Mac ignored ALL of the goodness that went into Office 2007 for Windows in favour of releasing an even more lethargic bugtastic product.

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Home Office staff offered early bird ID cards

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'It's just like when John Selwyn Gummer wanted to convince people that beef infected with BSE didn't cause the brain disease CJD in people, and so offered the burger.... to his daughter.'

To be fair to John Selwyn Gummer (and when was the last time you read that combination of words?), eating a BSE-laden burger only resulted in a very slight chance of contracting the disease; whereas getting an ID card guarantees your life will be fucked shortly afterwards.

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Child porn threat to airport's 'virtual strip search' scanners

Mike Richards

@ Filippo

'Wow! The OMGPEDOSAREEVERYWHERE crowd finally comes to clash with the OMGTERRORISTSAREEVERYWHERE crowd. Both have proven able to legislate absurd restrictions of freedom for no actual benefit, based on irrational fear alone. One can only wish they'd kill each other over this issue.'

Of course the real joy of this story is that both groups are running the Home Office. Any chance of getting the Home Secretary to explain the situation? If so, can we have warning, I'll want to set TiVo so that I can enjoy it time and time again.

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Aerial laser gunboat 'burns hole in fender' of moving car

Mike Richards
FAIL

@Anonymous Coward

'6.) France

'The first 4 have or are very close to Nuclear technology.'

Just to let you know, France has a tantalising selection of appalling powerful yet stylish hydrogen warheads that could reduce most of the Lower 48* to a desolate wasteland inhabited solely by cockroaches and a giant mutated Chuck Norris.

* Hawaii's too nice to nuke and Alaska's got polar bears.

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Liquid electrocar batteries could be replaced at pumps

Mike Richards

@ Sean Timarco Baggaley

'Iceland generates more electricity than it can possibly use using geothermal;'

Actually most Icelandic power comes from hydro power; only about 25% is geothermal. But you're right, they have stupid amounts of power to tap and it is insanely cheap (the average Reykjaviker pays about 1/4 as much as a Britain for all the electricity and hot water they can possibly use).

The Icelandic government in association with Shell and Norsk Hydro already done extensive trials of running buses on hydrogen in Reykjavik, but have decided not to proceed further. Instead they are switching to biogas from sewage - you can recognise the biogas buses by their green roofs. The hydrogen filling station is still visible on Miklabraut as you leave the city for Hveragerði (if you're going that way, do stop off en-route at the entirely awesome geothermal plant at Hellisheiðivirkjun - it's like an Apple store has been dropped on the Moon)

There were plans to start experimenting with converting the Icelandic fishing fleet to hydrogen, but AFAIK they have been put on hold thanks to a few Icelandic billionaires running off with everyone's money.

A more economic prospect for Iceland would be to string a DC cable to the UK and pump their cheap electricity into the National Grid. The current plan by the main power company is to start offering cheap power to companies wanting to run server farms and manufacture solar silicon and to diversify away from the country's dependence on aluminium smelting which has got a bad environmental reputation of late.

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Prehistoric titanic-snake jungles laughed at global warming

Mike Richards

Scratchity

'A common goal of global-warming reduction efforts is to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees, though some say this is unachievable and a rise of at least 4 degrees is inevitable. The well-known Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2007 predicted a rise of 3 degrees by 2100.'

Errrr what's that got to do with the fossil record? No climatologist would tell you that present global temperatures are the highest ever. They would say they are amongst the highest in the current interglacial; but that's it. What they *would* tell you is that the current rate of change is anomalously high and that is likely to cause problems for us in the short term. Like it or not, a good part of the World' population is sensitive to climate change if only because rising sea levels put large amounts of the planet's fertile land under salt water.

And to follow on from 'Anonymous Coward''s excellent points about never extrapolating directly from deep climate records. The biggest reason the late Paleocene was almost unfeasibly warm by modern standards was that both polar regions received large amounts of equatorial heat from oceanic currents. F'rcrissakes, parts of Antarctica had a subtropical climate as late as the Eocene! It was only when Antarctica and Australia separated from one another that the circumpolar currents deprived Antarctica of warmth and it began to accumulate a huge ice cap that helped drive down ocean floor temperatures across the globe. This was made worse as the Arctic became a semi-enclosed region with little or no equatorial currents.

In short, the Eocene was a nice time to live in Greenland so long as you didn't mind the crocodile infestations.

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Zeppelin-borne boffins in Bay Area alien 'extremophile' hunt

Mike Richards

@Nathan Margason

'Many on their earth monitoring programs are redundant since we have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'

Just a thought to shoot down your thought balloon...

...but if NASA is planning missions to look for life on Europa or giant telescopes to look for earthlike planets, wouldn't it help to have an idea what sort of thing they should be looking for? The bugs in the salt ponds around 'Frisco might be detectable in spectra captured by the aircraft. If that's the case, NASA can program their spaceborne sensors to look for similar patterns.

BTW if you haven't seen these salt ponds, they really do look like something from another planet:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38037974@N00/3938430877/

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'Hack Idol' to find top UK cyberwarriors

Mike Richards

I assume...

...the winners be pre-emptively extradited to the US to avoid any unfortunate newspaper campaigns?

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UK Border Agency suspends 'flawed' asylum DNA testing

Mike Richards

@ Adam Salisbury

'Now the folk at NASA have successfully lobbed a couple of spacecraft at the moon can they please lob a coupld at the Home Office in search of any intelligent life whatsoever??'

Bugger that - can't they just crash something into the Home Office?

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Ralph Lauren says sorry for incredible shrinking pelvis

Mike Richards

@ kain preacher

'I DON'T WANT TO SEE RIB CAGES OR SPINE'

To be fair there is no way that woman has a spine.

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Hands on the Sony Vaio X

Mike Richards

VGA?

Come on Sony, we're in the 21st Century now -DVI or Mini DVI please. That thing is HUGE on such a slender bit of loveliness.

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NASA tweaks killer asteroid's trajectory of death

Mike Richards

Probability and @ Richard 81

'the probability of an Earth encounter on April 13, 2036, for Apophis has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million'

When I was at school (in the early Mesozoic), I was taught that probabilities were always to be expressed as fractions.

'You wait 'till they name one Anubis.'

You've already been screwed, it's out there in the Main Asteroid Belt:

http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=1912+Anubis

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Coin-sized nuclear isotope battery minted

Mike Richards

Fire

But how much extra thickness will you need to make these things fireproof? At the moment a burning battery is nasty but not likely to contaminate a large area - with these - eek!

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Welsh yobs clobbered by cross-dressing cage fighters

Mike Richards

Brilliant!

Now I know how we can sneak into that mythical lesbian city in Northern Sweden.

Although only Geordies will be able to wear the mandatory boob tubes in the midst of a Swedish winter.

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Mike Richards

Reducing crime, disorder and fear

Perhaps Britain's streets would be safer if all towns were to have undercover cage fighters in boob tubes and stilettos patrolling after dark?

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'Stop NASA bombing the Moon!'

Mike Richards

@ M Burns

'If I had a nickel for every spent stage that has hit the moon over the last 40 years, I'd be rich.'

You'd have about $3.50.

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Amazon tosses gelded Kindle at UK readers

Mike Richards

Make or break

Will be the store - the Sony store in the US is superb, their one in the UK through Waterstones is woeful. If Amazon can bring their entire catalogue to the UK then they win the battle even though the hardware is inferior to the competition.

However, I suspect the book companies will force them to restrict the choice just as they have with Sony.

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Star-watchers: Famous moon left half-smeared by dirty ring

Mike Richards

@ Sillyfellow

'The excuse given is that this is an effort to find water deep under lunar surface.'

In which case you'll be horrified to know that we've been smashing things into the Moon since Luna 2 in 1959, including some pretty huge piece of metal such as the 15 tonne final stages of the Saturn V Moon rocket. You'd be amazed to know what you can learn by hitting the Moon hard enough.

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Philips BDP3000 Blu-ray disc player

Mike Richards

PS3

Craig 12 said: 'I'm not a fan of the PS3 as a gaming system, but just as a blu ray/network/media player it's definitely worth the price.'

It makes an excellent Blu-Ray player, but for some unfathomable reason, the PS3 sucks as an upscaling DVD player - the fan runs continuously and there are some weird artifacts on screen when images are moving rapidly or the camera is panning or zooming. I tried watching 'The Illusionist' on the PS3 and had to stop as it was making me nauseous. Put it in a bottom-of-the-market upscaling DVD player and it ran fine.

Now where are the region free Blu-Ray players?

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Beeb unveils new Doctor Who logo

Mike Richards

So far so m'eh

Just one request.

Can they turn the incidental music down from the current setting of 11 and boost the level of the dialogue? I thought my surround sound system had blown up when I tried to listen to DW - then I heard what RTD had written and wished the music could be ever so slightly louder.

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Home Office declines to detail DNA-for-foreigns trial

Mike Richards

Also from the Home Office

There's the e-phrenology scheme which works out an individual's prospective criminality based on mobile phone photos of the bumps on people's heads; citizen's juries where a mob of 'Sun' readers get to pass judgement on petty criminals using a ducking school and a lexicon of very short words; and literally bleeding-edge trials where small animals are sacrificed in front of a mad woman on an unstable platform who goes on to shriek gibberish about the crime. The last one is rumoured to be in trouble - though to be fair Jackie Smith hasn't been quite the same since her husband's ham-fisted exposure with the porn stash.

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Electro/photonic 'Excitonic' cryo-computing breakthrough

Mike Richards

I want one...

...I don't care what it does, anything with 'exciton' on the label does it for me.

And as Big, tattooed Fred pointed out - it's just Kelvin, no degrees, nothing.

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Nation's parents prepare to be vetted

Mike Richards

So...

Ofsted have no problems with schools run by religious maniacs and the shocking standard of [pick any or all of the following] literacy, numeracy, basic science, physical education, history, geography or languages; but woe betide anyone trying to do some babysitting.

Is it possible to pin down the actual date this country became a dystopian joke?

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Microsoft apes Google with chillerless* data center

Mike Richards

@ Dennis Healey

'When will some overpaid consultant come up with the bleeding obvious - put these things in cold parts of the world rather than the Arizona desert.

'At a stroke we could save the Icelandic economy'

Already being done: http://www.verneglobal.com/

And they get points for extra smugness because all their power is renewable.

I hope you haven't spent all that consultancy money ;)

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IBM in £24m battle with UK spooks

Mike Richards

Tessa Jowell?

Isn't it a little rich of the minister in charge of the 2012 bread and circuses farrago to be condemning others for going over budget and failing to deliver?

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Swedish military combustobra: Jubtastic snap

Mike Richards

That is...

...quite possibly the most awesome page on the website.

As for the flag (hell it took me ages to realise there *was* a flag - I was distracted)... US soldiers can be seen wearing 'backwards flags' on the right arms of their uniforms. Army regulations say that the stars always face forwards as if the flag is flying in the breeze.

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Honda develops motorised unicycle

Mike Richards

I want to see

Asimo on a unicycle...

...preferably juggling chickens.

Then we'll know AI has come of age.

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Post Office will snap and dab for ID card scheme

Mike Richards

Fabulous

Went to the Post Office last week to send a parcel, took forever to get to the head of the queue and when I was being served the guy behind the desk was clearly following a script - did I want any holiday money? how about one of their low interest credit cards? did I need insurance on my home/car/life/cat? had I heard about their wide range of competitive savings schemes...? I guess 'do you want to have your eyeballs scanned?' is next.

Goodness knows how long it will be served if this becomes commonplace, it'll be quicker to walk a letter to the Orkneys than post it.

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There's water on the Moon, scientists confirm

Mike Richards

Ah the BBC

'The Indian Moon mission was launched late last year but has already stopped working due to a fault'

It worked for 312 days in lunar orbit which is considerably longer than the majority of American and Soviet probes. There's nothing 'only' about the probe's performance.

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UK council forced to swallow dick

Mike Richards

Not sure who's more pathetic...

...the Council for changing the name of a pudding, or the people who have time to write letters expressing their outrage at the change.

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Secret teen hacker army ridiculed

Mike Richards

Biggest implausibility

A factual story appearing in the Sunday Express that doesn't involve Jordan (the Bulgarian airbag stand not the country).

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Mike Richards

'Topless lovelies'

Was the admiral aware of Sweden's top-secret lingerie division and their plans to re-enact the glory days of the Vikings? Boatloads of Scandinavian beauties storming the beaches of Eastern England, elastic twanging - we would have been (deliciously) defenceless without his bazooka nets.

If you'll excuse me, I think I need to go and lie down in a darkened room.

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Labour to push for broadband tax before election

Mike Richards

Taxes never go away

As other people have mentioned this may start at 50p per line, but it'll be seen as a relatively painless way of getting tax, so it'll go up and up.

And will it ever go away? When everyone is connected to digital Britain will they say 'thanks for the money, your bills will go down now', or will the money be diverted into some other slush fund.

There's a recent parallel here. When New Labour passed legislation to introduce digital TV the government made it obligatory for social landlords to convert their properties to digital TV. The cost of upgrading, (which in the case of blocks of flats can run into tens of thousands of Pounds), is passed on to the tenants and cannot be subsidised. Tenants have to pay their share of the cost even if they have no interest in receiving digital services or even don't have a TV.

So you may not want broadband but you're going to end up paying for it to be installed whether it's wanted or not.

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Bridge made of recycled plastic supports 70-ton tank

Mike Richards

Not so worried about UV

Is it flameproof?

If so, can they do a deal to supply Sweden's combat-bras?

Mike.

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Dual-screen Microsoft 'booklet' uncovered

Mike Richards

Reference design?

Could this just be a reference design for hardware manufacturers to use but one that Microsoft itself won't ever manufacture?

Still, it looks impressive, though I wonder how much stamina it will have with so little room for a battery.

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Swedish military bras burst, melt during 'rigorous exercise'

Mike Richards

Where's the Internet video?

And don't fob us off with Playmobil.

This is quite clearly Sweden's ultimate defence. Unlike more immature countries that rely on the threat of thermonuclear megadeath to protect against invasion, the cunning Swedes have worked out that a platoon of special forces striptease babes will bring any invaders to a grinding halt.

It's incredibly brilliant.

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LG GD910 Watch Phone

Mike Richards

It's either the season for surrealist bikes

Or that is one lousy camera lens.

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Harrods web Grotto snowed under

Mike Richards

Mmmm Christmassy

After all, nothing smells more like Christmas than fermenting penguin guano.

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Pull the plug on Pandas, declares BBC man

Mike Richards

What?

'Packham will have to settle for boring humans to death with the latest series of Autumnwatch'

Good god - TV's never boring when Kate Humble's about.

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Baroness Scotland fined for failing to follow own law

Mike Richards

Oh that's okay

She's explained it perfectly:

It's 'an administrative penalty' for a 'technical breach' of the law neither of which are like 'paying a fine for breaking the law' which only apply to people outside of government.

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Mike Richards

Translation service

The Home Office said: “The wider investigation is ongoing.”

The Mighty Reg replied: 'We asked what the last line meant but they were not able to elaborate.'

My translation is that the Home Office said: 'We're trying to find someone outside the Labour Party to blame.'

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Suicide bum-blast bombing startles Saudi prince

Mike Richards

Almost too awesome

'Of course we can only speculate regarding the firing system furnished by the back-alley bomb makers who stood behind the young terrorist.'

That's a masterclass in reportage.

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DARPA seeks orbital wheely-bin plan

Mike Richards

5km of Vapona fly paper in low orbit.

Simple - that'll be $1 billion please.

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