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* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

PRISM leaker strands hacks on booze-free flight

Mike Richards

Iceland

It'd be great if a tiny nation of Vikings blew a collective raspberry at the security state; they have a tremendous track record of being delightfully awkward to major powers. So if they're even thinking about it - skál!

Sadly, Iceland doesn't have a great record of granting people asylum. Snowden's best bet is if the Alþingi votes to grant him citizenship - as it did with Bobby Fischer. That is probably less likely than a few months ago now that Iceland has two centre-right parties in government both of which are more pro-America than the previous administration.

I fully expect the Americans will be putting a lot of pressure on Reykjavík - just in case. But it might be time for the Icelanders to renew those cryptic rumours that Russian and Chinese companies are interested in leasing facilities at the ex-US Airforce base at Keflavík.

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Snowden: 'Hey, Assange, any more room on Ecuador's sofa?'

Mike Richards

Re: Oh no he isn't...

Lester is wearing a trenchcoat and fedora combination fetchingly accessorised with a Groucho Marx false moustache and Google Glass combo and a copy of Pravda with cut-out eye holes.

Has anyone checked the IcelandAir check-in desk yet?

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Cuba bound? Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong

Mike Richards

Good luck to him

Meanwhile here on the right-hand bank of the Atlantic.

Has any UK politician dared pipe up to ask what the hell is going on with the intelligence agencies of the UK and US rifling through our communications? Or would that mean the terrorists have won?

We have come to a fine thing when our best hope is that the German government and the ECHR will uphold our rights. Shows what utter bollocks Cameron's talk of a 'British Bill of Rights' was.

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Anons: We milked Norks dry of missile secrets, now we'll spaff it online

Mike Richards

Finally

We'll learn what size milk bottle the North Koreans hold their rockets in.

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Top Norks bone up on Hitler

Mike Richards

I don't have a pair of tongs to hand...

...so I won't be flicking through Mein Kampf any time soon, but doesn't Hitler spend a lot of time talking about the supposed inferiority of the 'Mongoloid' races?

I'd be more worried if the Dear Dipstick was issuing copies of 'Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles for Dummies'.

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NORKS harbouring 3,000-strong cyber army, claims Seoul

Mike Richards

Three thousand hackers

One clapped out Compaq between them.

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I, for one, welcome our GIANT TITANIUM INSECT OVERLORDS

Mike Richards

Terrific

Just what Australia needed - bigger bugs.

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Hey, wannabe Murdochs, yet more chances to run your own telly station

Mike Richards

What's more exciting

Mold TV or just mould?

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Boffins find evidence Atlantic Ocean has started closing

Mike Richards

Re: Indian plate surely?

The African collision is responsible for everything from the Atlas Mountains through the Alps and Carpathians to the massive deformation of the Aegean Sea. Further East it is Arabia which is crunching into Europe along the Zagros. Until recently (say 30My) Arabia was part of Africa, but it has now become a separate plate by the emplacement of the Afar Mantle Plume under the Southern Red Sea where a new constructive margin has formed.

The Himalaya are the result of India whacking into Eurasia at 20cm pa (nice analogy of yours by the way).

Mantle currents don't seem to directly drive continental movements. Much more important are vertical displacements - such as dynamic uplift of continents over hot Mantle plumes which cause material to slide sideways towards lower elevations (such as is happening in the African Rift, the Western United States and Central China), and, at the other end of the process, the subduction of dense material into the Mantle which drags ocean crust after it.

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Mike Richards

Re: Can this be so?

Pangaea was just the latest in a series of supercontinents. It was made by assembling Gondwana (pedant note: you don't need the 'land' since Gondwana means 'land of the Gonds') which is a borderline supercontinent of its own as well as Laurentia, Baltica and Siberia.

Before that there was Pannotia around the 0.6Gy mark which is associated with the Pan African Orogeny that created the modern African continent, that followed the surprisingly long-lived Rodinia (1.25-0.75Gy) that contained pretty much everything apart from the Kalahari and the Congo craton.

Prior to that things get a bit hazier because the magnetic records of rocks have largely been overprinted by later orogenies. The Columbia (Nuna) supercontinent around 1.8-1.5Gy is highly likely to have existed - odd place - eastern India docked to where California would be and Australia neighbours with Canada.

Further back there is Kenorland which seems to be associated with diamonds and iron formations between 2.7Gy and 2.0Gy, and the hazy Ur that work in South Africa and Australia suggests might date as far back as 3.6Gy. But at that point the geology is getting seriously buggered and whilst it is possible to work out the sort of processes that were going on (a mix of modern subduction and weird buckling of continents), it's almost impossible to relate the continental fragments to one another.

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Mike Richards

Subduction doesn't mean the ocean is closing, only that some of the oceanic lithosphere has become cold enough and old enough to lose most of its bouyancy. The Atlantic will only be in trouble once its spreading ridge is subducted; a similar thing has happened the East Pacific Rise under the Western United States which is why the ground there is - stretchy.

The Atlantic is going to more closely resemble the Indian ocean which is still opening and doing a splendid job of (amongst other things) building the Himalayas, but there is active subduction of its crust at Makran under Pakistan, under the Indonesian Arc and in and around Vanuatu. There's also a region to the South of New Zealand, the Macquarie Fault Zone, where subduction appears to be starting, much like what is going on under Portugal right now.

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Mike Richards

'That's bad news for Portugal and even for Britain, which Dr Duarte thinks will eventually become part of the subduction zone. '

Bad news? Bad news? Clearly the author isn't a geologist. This is amazing news - Cornwall is going to get volcanoes!

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Reg hack prepares to live off wondergloop Soylent

Mike Richards

Re: I'm buying

To eat or throw at the hordes of the undead?

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Desperate Venezuelans wiped clean of bog roll

Mike Richards

Re: "a cache of 2,500 rolls of the stuff"

'For 1% of my profits, would anybody care to suggest a name for my device?'

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the new hypoallegenic R-Swipe.

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NSA PRISM-gate: Relax, GCHQ spooks 'keep us safe', says Cameron

Mike Richards

Will the government (and the Opposition) tell us if they are happy with the NSA trawling our data and are they okay about British companies using US-based IT services for their business?

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Waving an Eye-of-Sauron pulsating mock cock? STOP IMMEDIATELY

Mike Richards

"Please unplug and stop using the product immediately,"

Yourself and then unplug the Dildo of Death.

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All major UK ISPs prepping network-level porn 'n' violence filters

Mike Richards

Easy solution if the government is serious

To promote their own free ISP offering a 'service' filtered to buggery that is untroubled by illegal torrents, mad mullahs and anything pink and wobbly (perhaps excepting blancmange).

And let's see how many people sign up.

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Mike Richards

Well that'll make the Daily Mail happy.

At least for five minutes - until a case comes along when it's revealed the perpetrator was within half a mile of a sleeping computer that *could* easily have been hacked by Eastern European migrants to display non-Associated Newspapers approved titillation - and then they'll be off again.

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So, who ought to be the next Doctor Who? It's up to YOU...

Mike Richards

David Bowie

And he could fix the music at the same time.

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Mike Richards

Lester

I'm sure it's only modesty that is stopping Lester from putting his own name forward, so can I nominate him. This man has been to the back of beyond (Rockall), touched the edge of space, sampled strange new foodstuffs and even has his own adorable donkey sidekick.

Lester Haines for the Doctor, sonic screwdriver and a crafty rollup at the ready.

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Culture Sec: You - Google. Where's the off switch for all this filth?

Mike Richards

Lee Rigby murder

As far as I know no one has yet linked the Internet to this horrible crime - so I'd very much appreciate it if politicians stopped using this poor man's death to further their own ambitions. His family are being used as political, ideological and religious punchbags when they just need time to mourn.

Absolutely sick of it.

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Albert Einstein brings cheese and clean pyjamas to space station

Mike Richards

Re: "...treats such as peanut butter..."

When is Sweden sending up its next astronaut - zero G surströmming anyone?

From the dawn of YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcnfEVqNdoA

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BSkyB-owned BE slams into traffic pile-up over 'unlimited' broadband lie

Mike Richards

Re: Good company though

Another ex-BEer here. I switched over to Xilo and haven't had a problem. Customer support is top notch if you do need to call them.

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Cameron eyes 'non legislative options' for more spook snoop powers

Mike Richards

Re: Scaremongering clap trap of a man on his Ibiza holidays

Well said. And by the sounds of it, the Intelligence services knew plenty about the accused but still didn't do anything. The only way this law would help is if a future terrorist updates their Facebook status to 'Off murdering innocent civilians'

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Mike Richards

Re: simples

'can't introduce a new law to get what you want? Just interpret the current law as you see fit, job done! '

And when the law is struck down by the courts you can blame the judges. It's a win-win-win for the oooh-isn't-the-internet-terrible? people over at the Mail.

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Mike Richards

'Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert - a long-standing opponent of May's proposals - was told by the prime minister that it was not "helpful to refer to taking action on communications data as a snoopers' charter".'

Not helpful, but certainly accurate.

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Review: Philips Hue network enabled multicolour lightbulbs

Mike Richards

Ceiling

That's a quite magnificent piece of artexing there. Probably laden with asbestos, but a work of art in its own right.

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Mars Express' 10th birthday celebrated with Martian atlas

Mike Richards

Re: NASA and 'finding' Beagle 2...

I had a chat with one of the amazing blokes at Astrium who built Beagle and they were down to shaving fractions of a gram from the design by the end. They wanted a transmitter that would broadcast for the the whole ejection from ME to landing, but they just couldn't get the mass.

But yes, the UK as always tried to do things on a shoestring, that mass was available on ME so it was worth Colin Pillinger's team having a go. Had it worked it would have been awesome.

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Kinky? You're mentally healthier than 'vanilla' bonkers

Mike Richards

Re: Standard Stats jargon, but do they understand?

That is where faults tend to [riding] crop up.

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Sacred islet Rockall defeats Brit adventurer

Mike Richards

Re: Where's your sense of British history

I was thinking circus cannon...

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EVE Online OFFLINE: Wannabe Capt Kirks clobbered in cluster-ruck

Mike Richards

Re: Gold farmers?

'EVE takes its economy seriously.'

Very seriously. They employ a full time economist to fine tune their models.

The Central Bank of Iceland could have probably done with someone doing the same.

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New EXPLICIT pics support notion of moist, welcoming past for Mars

Mike Richards

Re: @nuked

The grains in lahar deposits are only occasionally sorted and it would be very unusual for lahars to be interspersed with fine grained sandy deposits; whilst it is quite common in rivers.

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CRUNCH: 'Drunk' chap cuffed in high-speed car nookie prang rumpus

Mike Richards

What species of cactus?

For his sake I hope it wasn't a jumping cholla with the detaching spines.

Seconding the request for a Playmobil recreation. If it helps, New Mexico isn't *THAT* far (in astronomical terms) from Nevada which contains Area 51 where they're bound to be keeping Optimus Prime.

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Woolwich beheading sparks call to REVIVE UK Snoopers' Charter

Mike Richards

Re: The police already knew about these guys

John Reid serves on the board of G4S, he stands to do very well from more security legislation.

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Mike Richards

I had quite forgotten

Just how unpleasant and individual John Reid is. So his intervention has done one good thing.

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Ed Miliband brands Google's UK tax avoidance 'WRONG'

Mike Richards

Re: Extraordinary lengths

'Called a Dutch Sandwich.'

Whatever you do, don't do an image search for that.

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WW II U-boat attacks prompt new US response

Mike Richards

Re: Fun fact

Isn't it close to where they want to build Boris Island?

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Irish deputy PM: You want more tax from Apple? Your problem, not ours

Mike Richards

Re: I got an interesting idea

That'd be the same Bono who moved U2's business to the Netherlands so he could reduce his tax bill?

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BT Tower is just a relic? Wrong: It relays 18,000hrs of telly daily

Mike Richards

Re: AM I the only.....

'when Charles was committed to silicon heaven it was like a death in the family, he is probably frolicking with all the calculators!'

Is that where Roombas come from?

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Mike Richards

Re: "resembling a gigantic Star Trek gadget"

The then brand-new Post Office Tower (as I will always call it) starred in the Doctor Who story, The War Machines - where it hosted an evil supercomputer. Hold on... Joe wasn't allowed into some parts of the building.

I bloody love that tower. For something quite so big it does hide itself quite well at street level, you only get the occasional glimpse until you're really quite close and then it is towering over you.

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Space dogs and Dragons: A brief history of reentry tech

Mike Richards

Paraglider and helicopters

At one point the Gemini capsule was going to return to Earth under a paraglider:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jub8y6WSI8M

and very early on, Apollo looked at using rotor blades to perform a landing rather than a splashdown.

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Global perils of dirt, glaciers and lizardocalypse overblown, say boffins

Mike Richards

The Sistla et al. article also says:

'Our results also show that deeper mineral soils are susceptible to coupled biotic–abiotic effects driven by warming over decades. Although increased decomposer activity did not offset increased carbon inputs in the mineral soil, incubation studies suggest that labile carbon limits tundra mineral-soil-decomposer activity19. Thus, although greater carbon availability at depth may initially increase carbon storage, it remains uncertain whether the ecosystem response observed after 20 years of warming reflects a continued trajectory of increased net carbon storage or a transient state in which an activated decomposer system will ultimately outpace carbon inputs. As such, identifying the mechanisms under which warming stimulates and regulates tundra decomposer activity at depth—where the majority of permafrost soil carbon is stored—remains a pressing challenge.'

In short - work in progress.

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Last time CO2 was this high, the world was underwater? NO, actually

Mike Richards

Re: So, that's all right then!

I'd throw in the huge deltas of the World - the Nile, Ganges/Brahmaputra, Indus, Mekong and Mississippi. They're very vulnerable to sea level change, they're densely populated, heavily industrialised, highly reliant on agriculture and fresh ground water. They're already vulnerable to storms and flooding, higher sealevels increase erosion, cause salination and allow storms to penetrate further inland and cause more damage.

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Mike Richards

Re: Really?

(Strangely my first reply never seems to have made it on to the page)

'Very odd that scientists have supposedly ignored this.'

They've not ignored it, they didn't think there were significant changes in elevation on the Eastern Seaboard. The ES is considered a passive margin - that is it is effectively tectonically inert - it is not being actively rifted (like the Red Sea) and being extended; subducted and shortened (like the Pacific coast of South America); or sheared (like California). So geologists have previously treated the Mantle, which is at least 60km deep under the ES, as a rigid block in isostatic equilibrium. As such it was reasonable to assume high terraces and wave cut platforms were the result only of changes in sea level.

However, improved seismic techniques have allowed them to calculate the velocity of waves passing through the Upper Mantle and it is not behaving homogeneously, instead some parts under the ES appear to be less dense suggesting the Upper Mantle under a passive margin is not entirely rigid and may be convecting slowly. This is likely to have surface effects, so some of the wave cut platforms along the ES have been pushed up by deep processes and are not wholly due to higher sea levels.

What Lewis' article neglects to say is that the ES isn't the only evidence of high sea levels 3Mya in the World. It has been the benchmark (ahem) in the past because of its excellent exposure. But there are others. What will need to be done is to try and get a better estimate of the actual magnitude of the rise. This new knowledge has made that much harder.

What I find interesting as a geologist is that the ES gets infrequent massive earthquakes which are poorly understood. This might help clarify the situation somewhat.

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Mike Richards

Re: Old News?

'Since the Earth's crust is acutally floating on the molten core, it gets pushed down.'

The Earth's Crust is floating on the solid Mantle which undergoes ductile deformation and flows away from the loaded crust.

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Boffins find world's oldest virgin water trapped in Earth's crust

Mike Richards

Re: Boffinspeek galore

''Shield', 'terrain' and 'craton' are all pretty much interchangeable (to a five year old geologist)'

Is this a misprint of 'terrane' which is a slice of crust (of any age) which has been docked with another section of crust by subduction or continental collision?

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Mike Richards

Re: Boffinspeek galore

Just a couple of additional points.

Ultramafic eruptions were common in the Archaean (which ended 2.5Gya) although they continued into the Neoproterozoic. There are still some ultramafic eruptions in and around the North West Pacific.

Serpentinite is the product of hydrous metamorphism of ultramafics at low temperatures. You can see some lovely examples at the Lizard in Cornwall where a slice of the ocean crust and the upper Mantle (an ophiolite) has been pushed up over the Cornish slates and shales.

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Murdoch hate sparks mass bitchin', rapid evacuation from O2, BE

Mike Richards

I left

And following discussions on this fair site, set up with Xilo which has been faultless.

BE/Sky continued billing me after telling me they'd discontinued my service and I've been added to all of Sky's mailing and email lists.

I feel sorry for the poor buggers left on what is clearly a sinking ship, customers and BE's excellent support staff.

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Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

Mike Richards

Re: A4

Quite agree.

The new Kobo Aura HD has just about the resolution to let you read a page of A4 if you're prepared to accept small (but very clear) fonts. But something bigger - closer to the old Amazon DX would be ideal.

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Ground control to major strum: ISS's Hadfield sings Space Oddity

Mike Richards

Not really. Apollo couldn't have put the Hubble into orbit, constructed the ISS or launched Cassini.

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