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* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Kettering to London: 18 hours by rail, bus and pack mule

Mike Richards
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Has anyone noticed...

...that since they finished upgrading the WCML there has been more disruption because they're constantly digging it up again?

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Google blames cheeseburgers for destroying the planet

Mike Richards
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Alternative suggestion

If my computer is using more power than Google does to answer my query, the obvious energy-saving solution is to switch off my computer.

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Tesco tills go titsup

Mike Richards
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Still not working

When I went to one of the biggest Tesco's in the country this evening, so it looks like it might be something more complicated than flicking the power switch.

Isn't today the day they were planning a huge new relaunch of their Clubcard loyalty scheme? So that's worked out about as well as a Gordon Brown relaunch.

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NASA sticks to 2010 shuttle retirement

Mike Richards
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@Simon

"...a little shocked that it will take the programme $87m to not fly shuttles in 2012. Sounds like a bargain."

They'll be decommissioning the hardware and removing anything dangerous or likely to deteriorate before shipping the airframes to three lucky museums.

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Carphone Warehouse buys Tiscali UK

Mike Richards
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At last!

It's what you've been waiting for - two shit companies in one place!

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2060: Humvee-sized, bulletproof meat-eating spiders attack

Mike Richards
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Easy solution

We train them to enjoy the taste of refrigerator-sized immortal jellyfish and finally answer the immortal question of which phylum is the hardest.

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Renault intros e-MPV

Mike Richards
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Makes a great little delivery vehicle

That range and relatively quick recharge should make this an ideal delivery vehicle for city centre businesses like caterers, florists and the like. Finding a good niche for 'leccies will be key to getting them accepted. Hoping to compete with the petrol family car is a non-starter (ahem) right now bearing in mind the limitations of the technology.

Does anyone remember a Channel 4 series about 10 years ago called 'Better by Design' which got a couple of industrial designers, Richard Seymour & Dick Powell, to redesign the Norwegian Pivco electric car? They had the brilliant idea of turning it into a tiny delivery vehicle with interchangeable back sections that could be swapped as and when needed to carry different loads. Of course, as in all these things, the company saw the idea, loved it and then decided to stick with the original layout.

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New Kindle: Wider, but still no broadsheet

Mike Richards
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Keyboard

I really like the Kindle's addition of a keyboard. If this device is to succeed in the educational market then its crucial that users can annotate their books without having to also carry a notepad or computer. The current eInk screens don't allow for onscreen keyboards unless another overlay is put over the top like on the Iliad - but IMHO that makes for a poorer quality display and a thicker, heavier device.

A physical keyboard is the only way to go and the Kindle 2's looks like a nice compromise between usability and thinness of the whole device.

Now when's it coming over here?

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Conservative US shock-jock to sue Wacky Jacqui

Mike Richards
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Who to pick?

Can't they both lose?

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'Lunatic' Smith doubles ID card costs for Mancunians

Mike Richards
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You'd have thought...

...from its history that IBM wouldn't want to get involved in the compulsory registration of citizens all over again.

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Virgin Media pilots 200Mbit service

Mike Richards
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Brilliant Beardie future

Capped *AND* Phormed - sounds unmissable.

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Ron Howard accuses Pope of scuppering Dan Brown movie

Mike Richards
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Dan Brown

Wasn't 'Angels and Demons' written BEFORE 'The Da Vinci Code'? Which means Dan Brown was still developing his powers as an author, so it's unlikely we'll see the later novel's 'extraordinary' prose, 'astonishing' plot and 'thrilling' character development.

But I reckon it will still read like he had the wikipedia guide to Rome open in front of him.

At a wild guess:

'Langdon walked across St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.

'It was only then, as he perused the menu in a family-owned trattatoria that he saw the reflected image of the lesbian assassin nun wielding the cold fusion assault rifle.'*

Word to Ron Howard and Tom Hanks - you gave us 'Apollo 13' for crissakes - why are you making this shite???

* If anyone has a couple of million burning a hole in their pocket I am willing to write the rest of my screenplay - complete with the lesbian assassin nun, the cold fusion assault rifle, prominent placement of the product of your choice (Coca Cola, Pepsi, the Shroud of Turin you name it, I'll cram it in between the roof-top car chase and the CGI sidekick), Dolph Lundgren and/or Jean Claude van Damme in a dirty green vest as the mitteleuropean action hero who dies a gory death at the hands of the Provisional wing of the Salvation Army, and a huge, deeply satisfying climactic explosion which will have me venerated by hearing specialists for years to come. Think Michael Bay without the taste and restraint but with gothic chanting on the soundtrack.

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eBay driving world's tomb raiders out of business, says prof

Mike Richards
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'Genuine death mask of King Tut'

$1.99 + $400million shipping from China.

It really wasn't until I saw that it was in Beijing that I cottoned on it might not be real.

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Amazon big-screen Kindle sails this week

Mike Richards
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@ Robert E A Harvey

'I think the publishing houses need to get together and agree a portable format for all ebooks if they don't want to hand control of their business over to Amazon & Sony.'

There is an agreed standard called ePub which is supported on most current eBook readers and reader software. In a complete break with the rest of the company Sony support it on their readers and it works very well.

Amazon do not support ePub and tie you into the Kindle infrastructure.

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China launches DNA database to track trafficked kids

Mike Richards
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Bloody Chinese copying our ideas again

Not satisfied with knocking off iPhones and Wiis, the Chinese are now emulating our own splendid security-mad government. Next they'll be having unelected leaders and suppressing dissent - oh - right...

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DHS tests bomb-proof CCTV by blowing up bus

Mike Richards
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Awesome

We can all die, but the instruments of the surveillance state are immortal.

I'm so happy to live in such wonderful times.

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Fujitsu LifeBook P8020

Mike Richards
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Rival to the Sony VAIO TT???

This machine is priced in a market alongside the two style icons of the laptop market - the VAIO TT and the MacBook Pro - it's hard to see why anyone would choose the Fujitsu. Hell, even Dell's latest consumer laptops are more attractive.

In terms of size, if you want a small screened laptop I guess this compares with the TT, but that's about it. The bottom of this machine looks thicker than the whole of the TT and as for the styling - well there isn't any. And is that really a VGA out on premium-priced laptop???

As for the MBP, Apple's specs are better, and well - let's face it, it's the best looking laptop out there.

I'd go for a Dell over this thing and pocket the difference.

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Pudsey Bear refused UK passport

Mike Richards
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'bring the IPS into disrepute'

No, electronic borders, passport and ID card system will bring the IPS into disrepute.

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Honda executes 180° turn on plug-in e-cars

Mike Richards
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Erm...

This story comes out now - a couple of weeks after Honda started advertising the hybrid Insight on British TV?

Makes me think Honda might have been working on this for quite some time.

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Pig plague 2.0: Can't spell 'pandemic' without 'panic'

Mike Richards
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Twixt two stools

Okay there's no need for hysteria - yet (possibly). But...

It's worth remembering that this is the virus that caused the 1918-19 pandemic and it has shown itself to be capable of human -> human transmission. What is absolutely crucial is finding out how deadly it is. At the moment the figures from Mexico City suggest a relatively high level of mortality, whereas it's produced relatively minor symptoms elsewhere. What we need to know is how many infections there have been in Mexico and if the deaths are in excess to normal 'flu. Of course there's an outside possibility there are two forms going around.

And even if this is a relatively benign virus, it is clearly capable of spreading through the human population. It will continue to mutate and reassort as it passes through humans and pigs (and possibly birds), which means we're getting yet another warning that pandemic 'flu is a real threat - how many more warnings do we need before we start planning for them?

BTW. Whales can catch the 'flu virus - can you imagine how much snot they produce???

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Swine flu apocalypse: Batten down the hatches

Mike Richards
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Look on the bright side

The 1918 - 19 pandemic was preceded five to six months earlier by a similar disease which had a relatively low mortality in humans but was extremely dangerous to pigs.

There's still plenty of time to panic.

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London cops trial 'leccy patrol cars

Mike Richards
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Starskey and Hutch colours please

But I doubt the battery will be powerful enough for it to crash through a pile of empty cardboard boxes.

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Toshiba Tecra M10 14in notebook

Mike Richards
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*cough*

'Sure stiff is better than floppy, but one-handed operation is better than two.'

Lines like that make Reg reviews things of beauty.

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Supersonic stealth jumpjet passes hover thrust test

Mike Richards
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@ Peter Gant

'From this future point ONLY VTOL aircraft and helicopters will be able to use the carriers.'

After this week's budget I wouldn't be surprised if the carriers were canned by the next government of whatever colour.

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General Atomics unwraps new, Stealth(y) robot war-jet

Mike Richards
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General Atomics

Best company name ever.

They also designed the batshit-crazy ocean liner-sized Orion spacecraft powered by small nuclear bombs - which for some reason never got approval.

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Ballmer disses Oracle's decision to buy Sun

Mike Richards
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@ Michael Philbey

Technically Balmer is correct when he says Microsoft doesn't own hardware companies. They do the design of products and subcontract the whole process of making the boxes to companies like Flextronics.

But by that measure Apple isn't a hardware company either.

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LG insider points to Apple OLED notebook

Mike Richards
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Must be true

I've just order a MacBook Pro - me spending money on any product inevitable results in either the company going spectacularly broke or upgrading the whole range.

If anyone would like Aston Martin to release a new range of cars, please get in contact with me and bring £100,000 in used non-sequential notes.

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Branson mothership bottom smacked in 'touch & go' incident

Mike Richards
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Touch and gos

I once had the privilege of being shown round Edwards Airforce Base by a retired USAF pilot. Amongst all the awesomeness, I got to watch a B1-B doing repeated touch and gos. Apparently it was a regularly administered punishment for pilots who had flunked a landing.

Beautiful plane and it made one hell of a noise when taking off again.

As for this story. It's a non-story in many ways, these sort of issues are regularly found when prototypes are flown for the first time. It's hardly a problem to worry about. After all to take just one example the very first 747 had problems with its flaps and with wing flutter during the test flights; despite that, Boeing produced one of the most awesome pieces of machinery ever designed.

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It's US vs Europe as world e-car plug standard race nears end

Mike Richards
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Surely...

USB charging is the only way to go? ;)

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Interstellar Bebo spamgasm targeted at 'water world'

Mike Richards
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'blobominations'

The most awesome word yet. I intend to use it wherever possible.

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Start-up Bee pledges 'affordable' British e-car

Mike Richards
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Hmmm

Well I'd hate to piss on anyone's parade, but when was the last time this country produced any piece of high tech that could compete with the Japanese, Americans and Germans?

I'd love to think Britain was going to be a leader in this trade, but I still remember how breathless journos told us that we were going to lead the world in aviation, rail, pharmaceuticals, GM, computers, space... but somehow we ended up selling cheap Korean phones and insurance to one another to make things meet.

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Half of 10 year olds now mobile connected

Mike Richards
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Parents

Are these the same parents who demand that mobile phone masts be kept away from their precious little snowflakes at all costs?

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The Pirate Bay loads cannon with official appeal

Mike Richards
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"If you get on a bus you've got to pay. And I think it's fair you should pay your ticket."

Doesn't Paul McCartney qualify for a free bus pass?

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US parkies in 'burrow-buster' marmot detonation campaign

Mike Richards
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Waiting for the first news story

Involving an airliner crash caused by one of its turbines ingesting a low-flying marmot.

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UK dons dunce hat on copyright law

Mike Richards
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'The UK was the only country to be given an overall 'F' score by the report. '

So we still did well enough to study chemisty at A-level?

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Which zoo animals like artificial sweeteners: Facts at last

Mike Richards
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Good news...

...for diabetic pandas.

And was there an obesity timebomb ticking in the Alpine meerkat population?

Next up - what flavour crisps do blue whales prefer?

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Microsoft Office for Mac fix falls at first hurdle

Mike Richards
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Fix for the Monolingual problem

I've had this problem with Office 2008 since day 1 and there is a fix which always works for me (including the latest update). It needs a text editor and nerves of steel, but little else.

1: First of all, get the update from the Mactopia site at http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.mspx - you'll need to root around for the actual update as the featured 'latest' update is for Office 2004. Well done Microsoft.

2: Open the DMG file and drag the installer file on to the Desktop.

3: Go to the Desktop, right-click the installer file and choose [Show Package Contents].

4: Navigate down to Update/Contents/Resources/ and open the file package_updatable in your favourite text editor. You may be prompted if you want to make the file editable, say Yes.

5: Find the line 'found_valid_version=False'

6: Change 'False' to 'True'

7: Delete all the text below that line as far as the line 'if not found_valid_version:' BUT DO NOT DELETE THIS LINE.

8: Save the file.

9: Rerun the installer.

HTH.

But why the Microsoft Office installer is so shite? Sorry can't help you there.

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Phorm director advises UK.gov broadband minister

Mike Richards
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Are we meant to believe...

...that Carter (as minister thingy) and Meek (in his taxpayer day job) have never once discussed Phorm in any way?

Really?

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'Let me use poo-flinging Roman siege engine against burglars'

Mike Richards
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Bloody hell...

...if you'd said Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris had gone on a three month tequila bender and came up with this when coming down from a peyote high I would have believed you.

But this is real???? The man's a national treasure:

'One of the girls, Theresa, achieved the World Record for riding a motorcycle through the longest tunnel of fire – shortly before setting fire to Joe’s sales kiosk by pouring petrol instead of fat into the donut machine.'

Best web page ever.

If he can't shower crims with shit, is he up to do the House of Commons?

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NASA probes seek remnants of lost 'Theia' planet

Mike Richards
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Carl Sagan walks amongst us

'Boffins think the planet-smash theory of lunar formation could explain why the Moon has such a relatively unimpressive iron core, being made up mostly of melted crusty bits smashed off in the possible Earth/Theia pileup and then blobbed together.'

Brilliant, it's the grasp of the precise language of planetary geology that makes it so authoritative. Please make sure all future stories include the word 'billions'.

It's worth adding, had the Moon had a normal origin, it's relatively small size would have precluded it ever getting hot enough for an iron core to differentiate, so you still wouldn't expect things like a planetary magnetic field or active vulcanism.

The collision theory is better supported by doing high precision work on lunar rocks ('hittin' it wiv an 'ammer' in geological parlance); they're very rich in refractory minerals and depleted in volatiles such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and the noble gases.

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IPCC U-turn on Tomlinson CCTV

Mike Richards
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Plod in top gear

Two weeks to ask for CCTV from a major crime scene? And then it seems to have needed Channel 4 to give them a good prod.

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Labour flames whistleblowers in email smear brouhaha

Mike Richards
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Anyone willing to bet

That a FoI request for the original emails will be met by a statement that the system isn't backed up?

And if anyone is still in a gambling mood. Do you think a lot of stuff is going into Number 10's computers' trashcans right now?

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Hair-stripping fungus threatens future of judo and sumo

Mike Richards
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Very worried...

...this fungus is clearly terrifyingly powerful, so strong in fact I have to wonder if it could even beat hirsute Chuck Norris?

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Twitter overrun by weekend of powerful worm attacks

Mike Richards
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Twitter users overwhelmed by flood of pointless messages

Nope, too easy...

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Teens reject Microsoft's Zune

Mike Richards
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One good thing about Zune

The look, feel and usability of the online store is light years ahead of the iTunes store and Zune's interface is much more attractive and usable than the iPod's onboard software. And I say that as an iPhone user.

It's a shame the Zune itself has always seemed 18 months behind the times.

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Who snapped first?

Mike Richards
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CCTV

According to the IPCC none of the CCTV cameras in the area were switched on at the time. And I thought people were being too cynical when they said this would happen.

Incredible isn't it, the heart of the most surveilled city in the world (with the possible exception of downtown Pyongyang) with tens of billions of Pounds worth of property about to be the centre of a huge demo - and no one thinks of putting a tape in the machine?

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Mike Richards
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Sudden silence from the government

Has anyone noticed that New Labour have gone very quiet on this all of a sudden? Especially no one seems to be willing to talk about their 'snap a copper and your nicked' provisions. Will any of them be brave enough to say that this legislation needs to be revoked in order that some measure of confidence in that police can be held accountable?

Also, nice to see the Sun spinning the police line that being drunk (allegedly) is a good enough reason to be clubbed and shoved to the ground. The Met and City of London Police might want to check out Smith v. Leech Brain & Co., [1962] 2 QB 405 and the 'eggshell skull' defence.

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NASA: Clean-air regs, not CO2, are melting the ice cap

Mike Richards
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Not exactly new stuff

Interesting stuff, but 'global dimming' has been known about as a driver of Northern Hemisphere climate change for some time now* and it's been factored into the latest climate models. Also this doesn't explain the simultaneous temperature rises in the Southern Hemisphere where its harder to invoke fewer carbon and sulfur particles in the atmosphere.

There's plenty to worry about with sulfur particles - they not only cause acid rain and affect soil chemistry and crop yields. They are linked to human health problems and would only increase the acidification of the oceans. So we might be able to ward off a warming ciimate only to screw another part of the planet. Not to mention, when they're up there in the atmosphere, there's nothing we can do to get them back if we find they're causing trouble.

* it's even been on the dumbed-down 'Horizon'. (That's the one that was on before they went for broke and decided to have a programme about 'maffs' hosted by Alan Davies. It can't be long before Barbara Windsor is on a quest for the HIggs Boson.

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Ad watchdog gives thumbs up for female TV orgasms

Mike Richards
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"the Reg defense and opera desk"

I like the idea of combining these two areas of human endeavour which belong together every bit as well as spotwelding jelly to a Moon rocket;

but - and like J-Lo, it's a big one...

can the Mighty Reg please make sure that 'defence' is spelled correctly?

Perhaps the Reg's forums moderator and part-time probation officer can be sent to give Joe a very stern talking to? Nothing too harsh, just get him to sit through Götterdämmerung without tearing his ears off.

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BMW opens up to haptic car doors

Mike Richards
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@ breakfast

;)

I've always assumed BMWs are bought on installment plans and every month a new piece is posted to the lucky driver. The indicator lights being the last part to arrive.

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