* Posts by Mike Richards

3605 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Did the Vatican suppress hidden 'Galileo Cryptogram'?

Mike Richards

@ Joe Zeff

Absolutely.

Until we have evidence that Galileo described Neptune as a planet, then the first person to observe *and recognise it as such* was Johann Galle in 1846. We still credit William Herschel with discovering Uranus even though it had been recorded in observations as far back at the late 17th Century, but always marked as a star.

0
0

Pig flu promises holidays for all

Mike Richards

Tough choice...

Which is the more appalling prospect - swine 'flu or watching cricket for a couple of weeks?

Isn't lassa fever an option?

0
0

Samsung N310 netbook

Mike Richards

Oh and I thought it was going to be bouncy

All those big rounded corners and bright colours had me hoping they'd designed a neoprene or silicone covered netbook that could take a tumble. A ruggedised model would go towards justifying that price.

But as J 3 says above, wake me up when there's something new...

...you know radical stuff like higher resolutions or more than 1Gb RAM, or a browser that thinks it's an operating system ;)

0
0

Asus F70SL

Mike Richards

4kg?

And it seems to be mostly made of plastic. Have they stuffed half a brick in there or something?

0
0

Amazon cuts cost of Kindle

Mike Richards

@ ChrisInBelgium

'Just bought 'Digital Fortress' by Dan Brown for € 7.50 - with free delivery. '

In the name of sanity - WHY????

0
0

Google's vanity OS is Microsoft's dream

Mike Richards

@Paul Coen

'And software. Telling someone "Hey, stop using Photoshop Elements and use this thing called 'GIMP' instead" gets you funny looks. The stupid name is half of it, of course, a common problem with many open source packages.'

One reason not to use GIMP for photographs is that it is still limited to 8-bit TIFF. After finally getting photographers to start using RAW, it'd be a huge backward step to ask them to start using an inferior piece of software.

And the name's shite as well.

0
0

New boffinry: North Atlantic could be massive CO2 sink

Mike Richards

Ummm... this has been tried

It wasn't that long ago that an iron fertilisation experiment was tried in the Antarctic Ocean which is also iron deficient.

The phytoplankton bloom - and are almost immediately gobbled up by exploding populations of zooplankton which feed fish... This keeps the majority of the carbon in the upper part of the water where it can re-enter the atmosphere rather than sinking it to the ocean sediments where you want it.

http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/lohafex_provides_new_insights_on_plankton_ecology_only_small_amounts_of_atmospheric_carbon_dioxide/?cHash=1c5720d7a1

The only new thing here is that the North Atlantic is poorer in dissolved iron than we thought.

Mind you if the Icelanders are clever they'll fertilise the oceans, get more plankton, which are gobbled up by copepods, which are then snacked on by capelin which go on to feed minke whales - which are delicious and best served rare with a portion of guilt on the side.

0
0

Enertia e-bike wheeled into shops

Mike Richards

Kind of pretty - but...

...the styling makes it look like my Dyson's long-lost cousin.

0
0

Too thick to boil an egg? Buy 'em preboiled

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'What I just love is all that pre-packaged pre-cooked food that comes with lovely bright pictures on the packaging and the printed phrase "Serving suggestion". Which sounds like some kind of a recipe, but is in fact usually just a euphemism for "Rip off the lid and slap it on a plate."'

Believe it or not, it's a legal get-out; by putting 'serving suggestion' next to a picture of a delicious egg with buttered soldiers they protect themselves from morons who might sue them expecting to find spread and the Light Infantry inside the carton.

1
0
Mike Richards

Hopefully...

These will be placed alongside the pre-peeled oranges (no really) and bottled water, so the terminally stupid don't have to wander too far from the carers.

0
0

Vulture Central unleashes RegPad™

Mike Richards

Hold on- where is she?

Everyone knows the reason the Eee was so successful was that the Reg only ever featured the netbook with it's beach-loving best friend.

If you want to dominate the World, the RegPad will also need its own nubile handler. Have you seen if Paris is available for photos and fondling?

0
0

Phorm confirms TalkTalk fail

Mike Richards

'15 markets worldwide'

So that'd be China, North Korea, Iran, Belarus...

0
0

Counter terror cops prep for recession funding squeeze

Mike Richards

'soon be reduced to "substantial"'

Does anyone ever expect the terrorometer to fall to 'normal'? Just like the Department of Homeland Security has never bother setting the threat level to blue or green.

If things look dodgy for the police budget, expect them to leak a few stories about 'active plots', 'imminent threats' and 'intelligence sources' in the sympathetic parts of the media. Then they'll announce the threat level has been raised to 'trouser filling' as a precaution against Al Qaeda unleashing radioactive badgers on the Tube and the money will come flooding in.

0
0

BCC calls recession bottom

Mike Richards

But what shape bottom is it?

(Oh do stop sniggering!)

Is it a U, a V, a W or an L?

0
0

BT abandons Phorm

Mike Richards

Huh?

From the BT Spokesdroid: 'we don't have immediate plans to deploy Webwise today.'

Clearly they're not excluding the devious possibility of having long-term plans to deploy Webwise today.

Oh well, can't cry. Anything that's bad for the likes of Patricia Hewitt and Norman Lamont has to be good for us.

0
0

Lunar orbiter beams back first Moon snaps

Mike Richards

LROC resolution

Is 50cm per pixel (http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/EPO/LROC/lroc.php?pg=specifications)

And the LMs won't be slightly different from the surface, they will be blindingly different - the lunar surface is very dark, they are covered in reflective mylar; they will also be casting shadows. Depending on the angle of the Sun it should also be reasonably easy to see the trails left by the lunar rovers and hopefully also by the Soviet Lunokhods.

Whether we can find Al Shepard's Apollo 14 golf ball is another question.

0
0
Mike Richards

'suggesting a craggy and inhospitable surface'

With no atmosphere and a - 233C to +123C temperature variation I think it's more than 'suggesting' it's inhospitable.

0
0

Australia's 'answer to the velociraptor' unveiled

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward and @ Spielberg while I'm about it

'He doubled the size of the raptors to make them look impressive.'

He did, then the palaeontologists went and uncovered Utahraptor which stood up to 2m tall and is best described as combined the cuddly nature of the great white shark with the contents of Gordon Ramsey's knife rack.

0
0

US sinks $0.5bn into electromagnetic aircraft-throwers

Mike Richards

Ship names

The only thing that will boost morale on the USS Gerald R Ford is that they won't be crewing the USS George W Bush.

0
0

'First-ever' flight of robotic ornithopter announced

Mike Richards

@ Frank Bough

'What does the 'thopter design offer over a rotary wing alternative?'

The opportunity to acquire bags of DARPA funding.

0
0

Hollywood prepares to battle Asteroids

Mike Richards

Nic Cage on line one...

...apparently he's up for the lead role in my musical remake of 'Pong' also starring the late Peter Lorre as the evil 'bat on the right'.

0
0

UK DVD sales plunge...

Mike Richards

@DVD

I particularly enjoy the UK DVDs where the media company hasn't even bothered to change the copyright warning and still threatens me with the warm rubber gloves of the FBI and a huge dollar fine.

0
0

Mrs Slocombe's pussy vanishes from Twitter

Mike Richards

Mollie Sugden

I naively assumed she'd died years ago - after all you didn't see her at all after the Queen Mother died.

Coincidence???

0
0

Marie Curie voted top female boffin

Mike Richards

@ Pete 2

'However if you asked the same MitS to name any 2 male scientists, I would expect the overwhelming answer to be Einstein, followed after along pause by "that guy in the wheelchair? yooooo know - wassis name?".'

Davros????

0
0

Bing slips into bed with Twitter

Mike Richards

Erm...

They're working under the assumption that indexing Twitter comments will make for a BETTER search engine???

0
0

Spanish boffins develop bat-like sonar-vision superpower

Mike Richards
Coat

Hmmm

"Two hours per day [of clicking practice] for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you"

But long before then you'll be taken away to a nice soft room where all the coats have extra-long sleeves.

Mine's the one with the extra-long sleeves - thanks.

0
0

Kingdom of Sweden dragged into Reg smut-basket

Mike Richards

How the Reg should respond

Is that this site is the main Swedish news outlet in the UK. Never before have the British public been so well informed about the rich variety of Konungariket Sverige - and its seismic cows, faecal lagoons and pineapple mashing.

Meanwhile, in Sweden: 'Swedish docs cleared over misplaced colon' (http://www.thelocal.se/20392/20090701/)

0
0

Home Office ditches compulsory ID card trial

Mike Richards

Bit worried about how readily people will comply

On Saturday I helped at a big event where the public were each given a wristband containing an RFID chip. The organisers wanted to know how people moved around the various venues, how long they spent at each one and so on; so each building had an RFID reader at the entrance to which people could touch their wristbands.

There was no element of compulsion, no prizes to be won by taking part, and you could simply walk past the reader without being scanned. The only thing was a 'it'd be nice if you could...' from the people doing the registrations.

I'd say over 90% of the public happily swiped their wristbands and some actually got upset when the PoS software reading the tags didn't register their presence.

I asked - almost none of them knew why the tags were being used, what the technology behind the tags could be, none of them had asked how long their data would be retained or what data would be recorded and for what purpose. When you told them that this sort of technology could build up a detailed profile of their movements and that it could be read covertly - THEN they started getting worried about the implications.

So as long as the government can keep spinning the 'benefits' of this white elephant there's a good chance most people will sign up for their numbers.

Depressing.

0
0

Ashdown's missile dump security panel puts women to flight

Mike Richards

@Anonymous Coward

'Is it just me or does the idea of an island nation without a navy seem completely idiotic?'

Works for Iceland.

But then they don't go round the World insisting they're a serious military and economic power.

0
0

Japanese airport trials 'personal mobility vehicles'

Mike Richards

Mod time...

Who's going to be first to turn it into a Davros wagon for the Home Secretary. I mean if we're going to be ruled by power-mad dangerous lunatics, they should at least look like power-mad dangerous lunatics.

0
0

Stop ID cards, says Scottish minister

Mike Richards

"the card would produce £6bn net economic benefit to the UK"

That's over 30 years - anyone willing to work out how much money could be accrued in interest if the cost of ID cards was invested?

0
0

Buzz Aldrin weighs into NASA

Mike Richards

@ Mayhem

'Russia went with Earth orbit rendezvous, and focussed on putting up a space station in local orbit before going anywhere else. Funnily enough, Mir lasted twice as long as Skylab, and russian tech is a fairly fundamental part of the ISS, especially since a progress visit costs a fraction of what a shuttle visit does.'

Except they didn't. The USSR originally planned an Earth orbit rendezvous with a 50 tonne payload; but when it was clear the US was moving ahead with its Gemini missions, the Soviet's realised they didn't have enough expertise in EOR and switched to a direct ascent on a bigger rocket which became the N1 L3.

Their space station programme was never part of the Soviet lunar programme and really only got going when it became clear the US would be the first country to put a man on the Moon. Salyut 1 wasn't launched until 1971 and then its size was limited by the amount of mass a Proton could put into orbit. It was far less capable than Skylab. As for Mir lasting longer than Skylab that's only because the US Shuttle programme was so late in making its first flight. A decision had been made in the late 1960s that no more Saturn Ibs would be built, so by the time of Skylab 4 there was only one spare launcher in inventory. The plan had been the Shuttle would be the only way to get Americans into space. There were advanced plans to boost the orbit of Skylab and refurbish it for missions, but in 1979 the station smashed into Australia, two years before the first Shuttle launch.

0
0

Girls Aloud net obscenity case falls at first hurdle

Mike Richards

Our moral guardians

The Daily Star???

Oh FFS, stop the World, I want to get off.

0
0

DARPA: Can we have a one-cabinet petaflop supercomputer?

Mike Richards

Someone's been drinking Kurzweil's Kool-Aid

The assumption that intelligence is just the result of a larger number of FLOPS is a pretty poor one. Still if they're throwing money around I'll be willing to take a swig of the Singularity cult juice.

0
0

Rogue knob could ground space shuttle Atlantis

Mike Richards

Sounds like the problems before Challenger's last flight

If anyone is wondering why they're being so cautious; it's because the Orbiter is incredbly fragile.

The day before Challenger made its final launch in January 1986, NASA had a problem with the orbiter's hatch. When the door closed, a couple of tiny pins should drop into place completing an electrical circuit which confirms the hatch is in place. That day, the pins didn't fall into place. Pressure tests and Mark One eyeball said the hatch was sealed and pressurised, but NASA didn't want to launch without absolute confirmation - they didn't want another Soyuz 11.

So a team was called to the Pad to replace the microswitches, they used a special aluminium tool to hold the hatch in place because they couldn't risk touching the orbiter's protective heatshield. After replacing the microswitches, they tried to remove the tool and found one of the bolts had become jammed. They couldn't use force without damaging the ship, so the only option was to cut the tool away. After a long discussion about potential damage to the orbiter, the risk from stray hydrogen boiling off the ET, they get a drill sent to the pad - the battery is flat from being left in the cold. A replacement was sent and the fix is finally made - but by then winds around the Cape exceeded the threshold for a safe return in the event of a launch failure.

The launch was scrubbed until the next day. The media had a field day that the Shuttle was a dog and made jokes about the staff who'd tried to get it to fly. Meanwhile, that night in Florida was the coldest on record.

So, the failure of one bolt probably lead directly to the explosion that destroyed Challenger.

Which explains why NASA are taking no risks with this one.

0
0

Qantas cancels $3bn Dreamliner order

Mike Richards

@ Andy Barber

'At least it's not a plastic (Aircraft) kit'

If Qantas were to order different planes now, they'd probably go for the A350 which has even more composites than the 787.

0
0

Microsoft's Bing in travel trouble

Mike Richards

Front page looks different, but...

Do a query for flights and the results pages look very similar - especially the selection of gadgets on the left-hand margin - check out the sliders which let you change flight times - odd that two companies would hit on the same solution when a menu is more common.

0
0

Nokia N97

Mike Richards

Design by committee

Oh dear, and this could have been so good.

That keyboard is an atrocity after the ones on the Communicator, but the failitude goes much further, past that pitiful memory, to a place where you wonder if anyone actually bothered to play with the device before sending it to the sweatshops for manufacture.

Include a stylus but don't offer a silo in the phone? That's a lost stylus or one that gets left in the box - so why have a stylus at all?

Why are the icons such a random bunch of shapes, some rounded some not, some bevelled, others flat? It looks like a dogs breakfast even before the whole UI starts going tits up.

And why oh why that strange diagonal button on the bottom left of the front face? Its purpose isn't immediately clear and that stupid shape and orientation makes it harder to find and press.

Like it or loathe it, the iPhone really does show the advantages to having a ruthless approach to every aspect of the design. Sony are finally remembering their design heritage, but Nokia - do they want to go back to making rubber boots?

0
0

Bing zings, but for how long?

Mike Richards

Good for images, bit m'eh otherwise

Is my detailed review.

0
0

Dreamliner first flight delayed yet again

Mike Richards

Could be worse...

Could be DeHavilland Comet bad.

That was out of service for four years between the disasters of the Comet 1 and the roll-out of the incredibly awesome, but far-too-late Comet 4.

0
0

MPs slam 'disgraceful' Type 45 destroyers

Mike Richards

@ Mad Mike

'Over £6b is a lot of money to keep a few Scots in employment!!'

I assume you mean Labour MPs?

0
0
Mike Richards

Why oh why oh why oh why...

...does the BBC... oops sorry wrong rant.

Why don't we just buy some of the scary-as-fuck (that's official Navalese I'll have you know) Visby corvettes from the Swedes? They've got stealth capability and most importantly of all - look awesome*:

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

* Admittedly my defence procurement policy would be grounded mainly on the 'but does it look cool?' principle, but I still reckon I'd come out ahead of the MoD.

0
0

Prof: Global windfarm could power entire human race

Mike Richards

Ummm...

...has a serious energy plan actually ever suggested that the World becomes wholly dependent on wind? I'm pretty sure not, so this is just a straw dog argument.

The research shows that there is an immense amount of wind energy out there and that we'd be stupid not to incorporate it into our energy future which should include wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tide, nuclear and yes - fossil fuels.

0
0

El Reg commentards offered extra iconography

Mike Richards

@ The Original Ash

'Now, how about an RSS feed which includes everything but Odds and Sods? You know... *I.T.* News...!'

No, no, no - a much better idea would be an RSS feed which only contained the Odds & Sods. You know... interesting stuff.

0
0

Transformers helmsman demolishes English language

Mike Richards

I'd have been more concerned...

...if Michael ('Pearl Harbor') Bay wrote grammatically pure, beautiful prose - and yet still directed cinematic dreck like 'Transformers'.

I actually think he's getting worse - not quite Roland ('Universal Soldier') Emmerich bad, but still buttock-clenchingly dreadful.

0
0

Surveillance response 'inadequate', say Lords

Mike Richards

Well that's the Lords signing their death warrant

Acting independently like this is the best way of persuading New Labour to bring about a 100% elected Lords.

Imagine the horror - this government was voted in by about a quarter of the eligible electorate with a crushing majority in the Commons. Had the Lords been elected at the same time there would have been nothing to stop or moderate their illiberal legislation.

0
0

Punters 'confuse' netbooks with notebooks

Mike Richards

Only thing I've had problems with on my Acer Aspire One

Is that it struggles with high definition MKV files; everything else just works nicely. I've even got used to using it as a RAW converter when I'm out and about with a camera. Sure it can run a little slow when crunching a 14 megapixel image, but that's not such a problem.

Okay for my next one I want more RAM so I can keep more tabs open in the browser, a digital video out and a slightly higher res screen.

Apart from that, keep them small, keep them cheap.

0
0

NASA takes stick over feet and inches

Mike Richards

Hmmm - Mel Gibson does 'Edge of Darkness'

NASA has been quite happily lugging European and Japanese payloads into orbit for many years now and the Shuttle regularly works with the ISS (and previously with Mir). All of which are designed in metric.

So what's the problem?

0
0

People just not that into Blu-ray

Mike Richards

Got both - still prefer HD-DVD

No region coding and all players came with a network port as standard in case a firmware update was needed.

A good number of the budget (hah!) Blu-Ray players out there are old models with the older profile and no network port to update the software. They're also glacially slow to use. Apart from the PS3, even the latest Blu-Ray players are pains to use. One or two minutes to get as far as the first screen seem to be standard. Then that screen is the unskippable 'You thieving bastard' copyright warning. After that, I think Disney hold the record in requiring a further TWELVE button presses to get to the main menu.

As for the movies - yes some of them look amazing in Blu-Ray - especially animation; but for the average brain-dead kickboxing cyborg timetraveller movie that's about the limit of my intellectual capacity these days, DVD will do nicely thank you very much.

0
0

Blade Runner house yours for $15m

Mike Richards

@JonB

'Falling Water had structural issues as well didn't it?'

Yup, some of the reinforcement was left out of the concrete cantilevers and they became deformed. It was also unbelievably noisy until double-glazed. FLW - awesome architect, but never buy a flat roof from him.

Oh and the mighty Reg left out 'The Rocketeer' from the house's list of guest appearances.

Now if only I had a spare $15m lying around.

0
0

Forums