3558 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
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?
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.
'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.
@ James 85
'I am constantly amazed that, when information is so pervasively, easily and immediately available, people check facts and other information presented to them so infrequently.'
The media are particularly bad at this because they're all terrified of being 'scooped' by a rival if they were to spend time checking the veracity of a story. Better to get it out there, reap the publicity and if it should be wrong, ah well print a retraction in five weeks later headed 'Correction' in 4 point type on Page 97 underneath the tide times.
NASA budget and @Ebeneezer Wanktrollop
It's worth remembering that in the 1960s NASA's share of the Federal Budget peaked at over 5.5% almost all of which was devoted to Apollo, today it gets little over 0.5% to support the Shuttle, the ISS, develop new lunar programmes AND it's unmanned work. In equivalent cash terms, NASA today gets about half of what it was getting during the 1960s.
@ Ebeneezer Wanktrollop (love the name)
'They sent people to the moon 40 odd years ago but can't even replicate the technology they had then using modern manufacturing processes - it's just a bloody rocket! Update the computer systems to current PC spec - not that you need to as it ran fine back then - what's the problem??? It is after all, fuel and plastic and metal plus no R&D because you've already done it once - COPY IT!!!'
If only they had been given that option. Constellation was told to reuse as much Shuttle technology as possible. NASA could easily commission more Saturn Vs - the blueprints are all there; it's that there's no money to set up the production lines once again.
To be fair Constellation is a little more advanced than Apollo as it envisions long-duration lunar visits and repurposing the rockets for most launches rather than the single-purpose Saturn V. In many ways it's the same philosophy the USSR had with their N1 Moon rocket - oh and that didn't work either.
Just a moment...
'...agree to let the Saudis build more Eurofighters themselves...'
Does Saudi Arabia have any aircraft plants? Can someone explain this please? (Preferably an explanation that doesn't end up saying we've just given the proud hosts of the next violent Islamic revolution the capability to build fighters).
Oh and another thing. What exactly is the Eurofighter obsolete against? I mean apart from the US, France and a little cottage industry in Sweden does anyone make modern fighter aircraft any more?
@ Fragula The Furry @ Ginger
@ Fragula The Furry
Don't worry, it's not the first time we've done this, humans are pretty good at hitting the Moon now.
The Soviet Union started it (so blame them) with Luna 2 in 1959 and continued smashing stuff (sometimes deliberately) into the Moon for about the next ten years.
The US then deliberately crashed the Ranger probes into the Moon - filming all the way - look for the videos on YouTube - they're awesome:
(You can do the Space 1999 theme tune if you like)
During the Apollo missions, the discarded upper stages of the Lunar Modules for Apollo 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 were all crashed into the Moon to study the internal structure of the Moon. they would have crashed anyway because it's pretty much impossible to maintain an orbit around the Moon because of its lumpy gravity. Crashing them at a known time allowed the geologists to work out just how much energy was involved.
And just to top that, the SIVB third stage of the Saturn V was crashed into the Moon for Apollos 13 - 17 officially in an attempt to locate the boundary of the Moon's core, but I suspect mainly because it was going to make a really big bang.
It's 50cm with good lighting. It's been tasked to return images of all the landing sites - not just Apollo, but also Surveyor and the Soviet Luna/Lunokhod sites.
British one looks a bit rubbish to be honest
That looks like it was made on Scrapheap Challenge from an old fizzy drinks bottle and some discarded floorboards. Meanwhile, the Israeli one has a swoopy touch of the Gerry Anderson to it, no wonder it's selling so well. I wonder if it comes with an F.A.B. theme tune?
If we're going to spend all this money on killware can at least some of the funds go towards making it look as good as the stuff that used to feature in 'Eagle' and 'Look and Learn'* like the TSR-2 and the Advanced Passenger Train**?
* Did anyone ever buy 'Look and Learn' or was it only available in your dentist's waiting room?
** Though to be fair, most British weapons *work* as well as the APT, they just don't look as cool.
Not the biggest problem Be needs to address
After three or four months of absolutely faultless service from Be, I'm now getting three or four messages a week from them saying my Internet service will be unavailable from midnight through to about six am. Each time I am told it's for necessary improvements and this is the last time it will happen. So far these improvements have only be noticeable by their absence.
Any other Be customers getting these interruptions?
'Confused - why is there a potential for needing to remove excess hydrogen? Not possible just to fill 'er up and seal the tank?'
The LH2 in the external tank is at -252C. Despite having four tonnes of mind-buggeringly good insulation on the tanks, the fuel is still warming up and about 1/2 kilo of liquid hydrogen boils off every hour. If this was allowed to accumulate in the tank it would overpressurise and things would get nasty for a small part of coastal Florida.
A small amount of hydrogen gas is used to pressurise the tank so that fuel can flow to the engines, but the excess is released through a valve and back along an umbilical line to where it can be safely discharged. The umbilical is mounted in the intertank area of the ET which is the ribbed section about two thirds of the way from the bottom.
There's a similar system in place for the liquid oxygen tank which makes up the nosecone of the ET. There, excess gas is vented from the very tip of the tank through a device called the Beanie Cap. You can see it swing free of the Shuttle about two minutes before launch.
If I were SouthWest I'd sue
RyanAir's business model is based on the Texan airline SouthWest which flies some truly terrifyingly brightly-coloured planes across most of the US. Cheap and cheerful - with an emphasis on the cheerful. Compared to every other domestic airline in the US, SouthWest is a breath of fresh air - nice, clean planes, great staff and reasonable fares.
RyanAir on the other hand...
Oh and another huge thumbs up for Eire O'Flot ;)
The General Atomics Avenger
There's something called the General Atomics Avenger??? I don't know what it does, how much it costs or even what colour it is. I WANT ONE!!!
'doesn't plan to make carrying the cards compulsory'
Uh that's not a change of policy. The existing legislation says that it will not be compulsory to carry the card, but it will be compulsory to register with the database. IIRC Charles Clarke proposed that compulsion might be included in the next Labour manifesto, but that hasn't been mentioned since he was kicked out of the Home Office.
So this sounds like spin to me.
So it's either 'The Thing' or Tom Baker's Doctor bowel-looseningly scary Krynoid.
I'm sure something very similar menaced Jon Pertwee's Doctor when I was a kid. You can defeat them with a sonic screwdriver.
You just know...
...one of those is going to play a prominent part in ending the career of a movie supervillain.
Sometimes I wonder if the Reg is entirely accurate
Small meteorites shed almost all their velocity in the upper atmosphere and hit the ground at only a few hundred kilometres an hour maximum - enough to give a nasty whack, but not enough to excite Michael Bay.
And as for the red hot bit - sorry, witness evidence suggests that meteorites are rarely more than warm when they arrive. They've been sitting in the cold of deep space for the last few billion years. The meteorite is protected from the frictional heat by the ablation of the outer layer, so relatively little heat gets to penetrate the rock itself. One scientist who picked up a fresh meteorite compared its temperature to a baked potato - too hot to hold, but not so hot that it would cause a serious burn.
Still, hit by a meteorite eh? That's a good excuse for skipping PE!
I'm satisfied with their explanation
Huawei is clearly a good company.
How do I know?
Simple. You showed a photo of their headquarters. If they were evil and hell-bent on global domination they'd be based in a volcano and keep pet sharks.
@ Bounty @ Greg Fleming
'So what is it? Too cold or too hot.'
The answer is - it depends.
On a small planet that cools quickly, or where there isn't enough tidal massaging to keep it turning over; CO2 comes out of volcanoes, reacts with the surface rocks to form carbonates and gets locked away forever. No CO2, no greenhouse effect, the surface of the planet begins to cool, eventually taking water vapour out of the atmosphere - increasing the cooling, and you end up with a Mars.
If the planet gets too hot - from being too close to the sun, there's no chance of surface oceans as it boils into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and taking with it one of the big carbon sinks for dissolved CO2. Over a certain temperature, the carbonates in the crust also start to release CO2, the greenhouse effect goes crazy bad and you have Venus.
'Not strictly a prerequisite to organic life. Other solvents (e.g. ammonia) work just as well if you've evolved swimming in them.'
True to an extent, although apart from ammonia being a nasty chemical capable of tearing apart proteins; it's also liquid at such low temperatures that chemical reactions run really slowly - so even if we did meet an alien lifeform that smelt like a blocked toilet, it'd be a painfully slow conversation - a bit like IMing over BT Total Broadband (see I got an IT angle) - the good news is that you could probably run away from it.
@ 'the spectacularly refined chap' @ Anonymous Coward
'Since all those elements are known and they still haven't got around to naming it why is this news all of a sudden? IUPAC have suddenly decided that it is an element when that fact was not in dispute anyway?'
Although the element was actually synthesised in 1996 and repeated in 2000; the results of the decay of the daughter isotope were incompatible with one another. A third experiment in 2004 confirmed the original experiment; since then its been a matter of straightening things out the decay series.
'So it's possible to create a new element in laboratory conditions with a miniscule life expectancy. And it gets an entry in the periodic table? It seems outrageously artificial.'
Depends what you mean by 'artificial'; if you mean this element could never naturally exist at any time in any place in the Universe, then it is clearly natural. If you mean 'never observed on Earth before now' then it is artificial.
Nuclear boffins have models for the nuclei of atoms which suggest that superheavy elements way beyond the current periodic table might be much more stable than other 'manmade' elements with half lives that could be hours, days, years or even geological periods. So it's a long slog looking for the Island of Stability which may or may not exist.
@ Anonymous Coward
'I always wondered how they take "everything" out ... memories of the chem engineers coming from a lab in which they'd decaffeinated coke. They all vowed never to touch the stuff after seeing how its done - wish they'd elaborated, the mind boggles!!'
They probably used dichloromethane (methylene chloride) which is also used as paint stripper, degreaser or dry cleaning fluid. It's been linked to eye damage, hepatitis and a delightfully wide range of cancers. Ironically it became popular because the previous decaffeinating agent - benzene - was considered too poisonous. Most commercial decaffeination now use hot water in something ominously called 'the Swiss Process', a few outfits use supercritical carbon dioxide which is much less exciting than it sounds.
Well colour me awe-struck
'ravening, self-mothered pseudohydrozoan immortal Dr Who jellyfish clone vampire blobomination horror-swarm'
Just wow. Possibly the finest use of the English language in history.
Fascinating insight into the Reg readership
When it comes to artificial sweeteners, the average Reg reader has a body like a temple. No unnatural substance will pass their lips. If we have a discussion on the banning of smoking in pubs, the average Reg reader must have lungs dripping with coal tar and breath that can knock a camel dead at fifty paces.
To continue our studies; what's the Register audience's consensus view on the yumminess or otherwise of súrsaðir hrútspungar (and don't tell me that's not a bugger to type)? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Þorramatur)
@ Rod MacLean
'Seriously though, how can Mercury's gravitational tug pull Mars towards the Earth? This seems like abject fantasy and needs more explaination. Mercury is tiny (in cosmic terms all the planets are tiny) surely the gravity of the sun will hold it more or less in place...?'
It's all down to orbital resonances - how many times Mercury goes round the Sun compared to other planets. Mercury sits in a very - okay - relatively elliptical orbit, the perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) itself progresses around the Sun. Jupiter has a less elongated orbit, but that too has a progressing perihelion. Left long enough, these perihelions begin to align; Mercury *could* find itself receiving an extra tug from Jupiter at the same point in its orbit, which gradually evolves the orbit into an extreme ellipse taking it out into the region of Venus.
If Mercury's orbit is that disrupted, it begins to create new resonances with Mars' orbit; one scenario being that Mars itself goes into a more elliptical orbit whose perihelion is in the vicinity of Earth.
But as the second poster pointed out, it's hard to see how these calculations can be at all accurate given our limited knowledge of the planets' orbits over the long term.
According to today's Indy...
McKinnon is supported in his fight by...
You know, the same tw*t who was the Home Secretary that signed the lop-sided extradition treaty in the first place.
@ Ian Ferguson @ Lionel Baden
'I'm not clear what research benefit this gives over watching a natural meteor crash into the moon.'
Believe it or not, telescopes aren't regularly pointed at the Moon. With a space craft impact you can know the exact time of the impact and point your instruments at it, you know the trajectory and mass of the impactor, so you can work out things like the amount of energy delivered to the lunar surface; and if you then see the crater, you know a lot about the make-up of the lunar surface which allows you to estimate the size of naturally occurring craters. If you're lucky you can also measure the plume and see if it contains any unexpected substances.
Sadly the Apollo era seismic network on the Moon was switched off long ago to save money. That used to provide really useful data about the rate of impacts, the relative size of impactors and the internal structure of the Moon.
'i thought the idea of orbiting something had a little to do with going around an object not trying to go through it'
The probe is at the end of its life and will have probably exhausted any remaining fuel. Lunar gravity is remarkably 'lumpy' and its very hard to keep a ship in a stable low orbit for any length of time. Lunar gravity isn't smooth because of the huge mass concentrations around the large impact basins on the near side. Their precise cause is unclear, in part it is down to the very dense basalt that fills them (making them dark when seen from Earth); but it is also likely that the interface between the light lunar Crust and denser Mantle is closer to the surface below the mascons.
@ Anonymous Coward
'Just remember that Hitler was elected by a free and democratic election...'
And people then said they voted Nazi, not because they agreed with its anti-semitism, but because they agreed with its economic policies, promise of stability and excellent local organisation. Weimar voters may not have voted for the extermination of Jews and other minorities, but by turning a blind eye to the Nazis racism they made it possible.
People may have voted BNP because they promised to make sure the bins were emptied, or like in my area, were the only ones who put leaflets through the door, but they can't possibly claim to be ignorant of the BNP's deeper motives. People who voted BNP actively support racism - let's not make excuses for them.
@ Anonymous Coward
'Whereas 7.1% of Swedes are a bunch of freeloaders?'
Careful, now they've remembered their pirate ancestry they'll be stocking up on surströmming, ABBA compilations and pointing their IKEA flatpack long boats towards Britain's East Coast in the hope of going back to Göteborg with a pile of danegeld and some lovely English girls.
What the Swedes don't realise is that they will be facing the only people on earth more blonde, more tanned and with a greater capacity for alcohol than themselves.
The poor bastards won't stand a chance.
Quick skim read
Suggests that 747s are more environmentally friendly for urban transport than little trains. I cannot wait to see one of them rolling down the North Circular.
Oh this is going to be fun
My experience of Adobe products is that they make perhaps the worst updating software in the World.
Inevitably you need to update the updater. It takes pretty much forever to get the file no matter how fast your connection. You start the updater updater - at which point you have to quit the application you've been trying to use.
It installs. Then you try to run the new version of the updater which lists a dozen different patches. You find the one with the lowest version date, it downloads (slowly), starts running, then complains this update isn't compatible with the existing version of the application.
So you exit the updater, go to the Adobe site, battle your way through layer upon layer of nonsense to get files whose names seem to be plucked from the thin air. Download those - and it's still only an hour since you fired up the original application.
Run the installer which works for a while, the progress bar gets about half way - and then it freezes - for hours. Quit the updater and try to run it again - oh but it can't because the update has been applied!
Too much trouble. I need to do some work. Start the original application again, the updater fires up to say there are patches which need to be applied - including the one you supposedly just installed. At which point you kill the updater and disable it from ever running again figuring that having a broken version of the application vulnerable to attack is much less stressful than trying to do things Adobe's way.
Oh and that's on a Mac, god only knows if it manages to be worse on Windows, but I find it hard to believe Adobe could resist additional laughs by buggering around with the Registry.
No more Pioneer plasmas
A real shame, a friend blew £3k on a Kuro plasma and it is just about the most awesome TV ever. It's about the same shape and size as the Monolith from 2001 and its blacks are even blacker. I don't know why they pulled out of the plasma market when they were so far ahead of the opposition.
Ummmm someone's not been checking their comparisons
'braving pressures greater than 1,000 times that at Earth’s surface, or "crushing forces similar to those on the surface of Venus"'
The pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench *IS* about 100 MegaPascals (really big French mathematicians), but the surface pressure on Venus is only (HAH!) 9.3 MegaPascals.
This sort of confusion would be avoided if the World switched to a sensible measure of pressure we could all understand such as the force generated by 1 metric Wales balanced on a double-decker bus.
I like this idea
But rather than a rota can't we just appoint the Moderatrix as Dictator? Tough on crime, tough on the causes of inappropriate postings.
'1) They weren't shipped with the console at launch. No sane developer is going to risk ruining a game's potential appeal to the public at large by making it only playable by those who've purchased a bonus (and potentially expensive) gadget.'
A hard disk wasn't shipped with all XBox 360s, but owning one has become almost compulsory. Those folks who didn't have a drive originally have been picking them up as it becomes clear the 360 is nigh-on useless without them.
Which brings me on to...
Wii Fit has been topping the British charts for months now, it is only now available in-store without pre-ordering. That's a major financial outlay on top of the price of the Wii and it only works with a single game. Yet hundreds of thousands have been sold.
So it does look like people will buy peripherals if they are compelling enough.
Don't overlook that evil witch Beverley Hughes is also stepping down from Parliament for 'personal reasons'. She helped whip up the hysteria over Chris Morris' 'Paedogeddon' programme calling it 'unbelievably sick' and only later admitted that she had not watched the programme and had no intention of doing so. She was a sort of early warning of New Labour's attitude towards anyone who rocked the status quo - we should have paid more attention.
Oh and Tom Watson, co-conspirator in the Drapergate Number 10 email smears is also going. Now is it too much to hope Tony McNulty will do the decent thing and leave us all alone?
@ Tony Paulazzo
'Let's just hope and pray that whoever replaces her is less Shadow like and more Vorlon.'
You mean unintelligible and dresses in a shower curtain? Is that a cry for Anne 'shackle 'em' Widdecombe to become Home Secretary?
'no matter how bad the next chump is in the position it cannot possibly be worse than this terrible piece of crap. I couldn't be happy with this news.'
You just don't say those sort of things. It's a bit like steering your copper bottomed boat full of nitroglycerine through a storm off the Scillies seeing the map by the light of a lit match.
If Blunkett's back in the Cabinet on Monday I'll hold you responsible.
There are also big plans to build server farms at Keflavik in Iceland.
It's rarely more than 23C outside, so the cooling is minimised; and Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic power company has offered 20 year guarantees on power pricing. (Not to mention all that power is carbon-free). Landsvirkjun have also said that all future big power projects will either be for server farms or for solar silicon production; shifting away from aluminium smelting which has been their biggest customer so far. For the Icelanders that'd be a big benefit since aluminium is a commodity whose price fluctuates crazily with the state of the World economy.
There's also plenty of opportunity to use Iceland's geographic position between the US and Europe as a way of shifting load from one side of the Pond to the other as the day passes.
Shame about the tits-up economy really.
Installed Windows on my Linux netbook
I've got the Aspire One and the bundled version of Linux was a nightmare to keep up-to-date. Essential software patches were not available via the official updater MONTHS after they have been released. The only way to keep the machine up-to-date was to hit the command line and do everything by hand (and often finding new incompatibilities as you went).
For Joe Public this is simply too much hassle. Microsoft, after having so much practice, have got a simple way of updating applications.
If the netbook manufacturers had been serious about Linux they would have shipped something that combined Linux's security with a usable update procedure.
And that's my excuse.
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