* Posts by Mike Richards

3595 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

NASA's CO2-scan sat set to launch

Mike Richards

oops!

Just blew up before reaching orbit.

Paging Andrew O - we need a carbon conspiracy theory stat.

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North Korea announces missile test sat launch

Mike Richards

Little bit of confusion here...

This wouldn't be the first time North Korea has tried a satellite launch. In 1998 they claimed to have put a satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng, into orbit using a smaller Taepodong-1 derived rocket. For once they weren't entirely lying; it looks like it was a genuine satellite launch, but either the final stage failed to fire or it didn't fire in the right direction, because the satellite was never located in the published orbit; instead its debris was recorded falling across a large swathe of the North Pacific.

Despite evidence to the contrary, the North Korean government claimed that Kwangmyŏngsŏng was orbiting high over the Earth playing back revolutionary songs.

It's entirely possible this test of the Taepodong-2-alike is also a satellite launch attempt. After all, the much better funded and successful Iranian Safir-2 launcher is little more than a rebadged (oh god I hate typing this word) Taepodong-2.

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Comet Lulin poses for NASA's Swift

Mike Richards

Clockwise?

That should be a retrograde orbit.

The majority of comets on trajectories similar to Lulin follow retrograde orbits, and the most famous of all comets, Halley, is also retrograde, so they aren't at all uncommon.

I just want to know if Bruce Willis has been put on standby, or if we can all sleep safely in our beds?

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Hitler ordered Luftwaffe to spare Blackpool

Mike Richards

Seaside landladies

Are you sure they would have fought on our side?

No noise, no coming back late, regulation breakfasts, no running baths outside of hours - sounds like a bunch of fascistic fifth columnists to me.

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Gadget-buying Taliban 5th column in Blighty - shock!

Mike Richards

Remote control of death

You know, I might just be making a stab in the dark here (metaphorically of course); but Pakistan is a country that has developed an intermediate range ballistic missile, uranium enrichment, plutonium separation and a miniaturised boosted fission bomb - it might therefore (conceivably) be sophisticated enough to have also mastered the television remote control.

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Microsoft asks laid-off staff to refund overpaid redundo cash

Mike Richards

@ Richard

Sorry, once you are aware you have been paid in error you are obliged to pay the money back, but you can negotiate the timescale of any repayments.

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Blunkett and ex-CPS chief turn on Home Office

Mike Richards

Oh FFS!

It's Monday morning and I must have fallen down a rabbit hole somewhere where David Blunkett is the guardian of our liberties.

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Father of ID cards moots compulsory passports instead

Mike Richards

Ummm

Only about 80% of Brits have a passport now, so we have to assume 20% never see a need for one because they don't want to go places where the water's funny.

So how can you force people to have a passport if they have no intention of leaving the country?

Or is Blunkett's big idea a return to his beloved model society of East Germany and we'll all need internal passports for travel?

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Forget flying to the stars - try quicker-drying bras

Mike Richards

Bulgarian airbag compliance?

Truly this is a technological zenith, but will it cater for the Jordans of this world?

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Philips prices up 21:9 ratio 'cinema' TV

Mike Richards

@Ben Norris

Post 1950ish movies will fit the screen with almost no black bands.

16.9 TV content *IS* scaled but in a weird way on this new set. The middle of the image is almost untouched with progressively more distortion towards the sides. Theory is, on a set of this side, the distortion goes almost unnoticed by the viewer - although I'm not sure it will work so well with stuff where action takes place towards the sides of the picture.

4.3 IIRC is not scaled in any way and sits in an ocean of blackness.

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Euro-style GM Volt design revealed

Mike Richards

@ Keiran

'I don't think it's possible for any car to look good in white.'

An Aston Martin looks good in any colour. (And for that whol-hearted endorsement of their products I will be willing to accept an Aston in white)

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Hulu's Hollywood overlords force Boxee block

Mike Richards

Hulu is part owned by...

...News International. Who own Fox and Sky...

...meanwhile in the UK; Sky was one of the companies who got the Competition Commission to block the BBC/ITV/Channel 4 Project Kangaroo.

Anyone see a trend here?

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Pro-Heathrow demo challenges Carbon Cult killjoys

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'That aircraft con trails help to reduce global warming by increasing high level cloud that reflects heat.... but then again studies can show anything you want the to.'

Ummm no they don't. Contrails actually trap more heat than they reflect.

Ponater, M.; S. Marquart, R. Sausen and U. Schumann (2005). "On contrail climate sensitivity". Geophysical Research Letters 32 (10)

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Swiss boffins build bonkers iPhone-operated electric sportster

Mike Richards

Before driving

Please disable the iPhone's sleep function

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Laptop facial recognition defeated by Photoshop

Mike Richards

But... but... but...

Jacqui Smith told me that biometrics were foolproof.

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ESA gives £6m to Brit spaceplane project

Mike Richards

Ten years to design and build

Fifty more to get planning approval for the necessary runway at Heathrow.

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DARPA seeks self-aware AI robot mega-tanks

Mike Richards

Haven't I seen one of these already?

Trundling over the title credits for Terminator...

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US Navy orders new electric hyper-kill railgun

Mike Richards

@ Rodrigo Valenzuela

'But I still don't get why there are flames and other symptoms associated with chemical explosions. Why?'

One of two possible explanations come to mind:

1: The whatever-the-hell-its-made-of is being heated by friction with the air to a point where it is reacting with oxygen - i.e. burning; or;

2: Industrial Light and Magic were called in to make it a lot more impressive to an audience used to Michael Bay features.

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Too busy to make a jam sandwich? M&S can help

Mike Richards

Any chance of a decent PBJ?

You just can't get the real grape jelly on this side of the Atlantic, and the UK peanut butter isn't right either (okay it doesn't kill you either) to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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AA sniffs out Blighty's best bacon sarnie

Mike Richards

One drawback

I reckon you have to do about 200 miles if you want a decent abcon sandwich, a proper cup of tea and a comfort break.

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NTT DoCoMo shows off futuristic modular phone

Mike Richards

Something's wrong

Billions of Pounds spent by a mobemaker and not one of their designs looks like an iPhone. Couldn't DoCoMo even bring themselves to mention multitouch or an App Store?

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Minister trashes ex-spook chief's liberty warning

Mike Richards

McNulty

Is one of the most repellent politicians out there right now. He has one style - bullying and hectoring. Watch him on Newsnight or Question Time, he rants when he's spoken to and sits there muttering and interrupting other contributors.

And his huge experience of security, let's see - degree in politics, postgrad degree in politics, then went on to be a councillor, then an MP.

He was a nasty piece of shit at the Home Office, he is a nasty piece of shit in his current role and he will continue to be one into the future.

Currently sitting on a 4,000 odd majority, so if there is any justice in the World we'll soon be seeing the back of him.

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Sub-prang panic: Calm down, it happens all the time

Mike Richards

French nukes

The French actually have three missile submarines, Le Triomphant, Téméraire and Vigilant. A fourth, Terrible, is under construction.

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Scots and pilots brace against ID cards

Mike Richards

@ Eponymous Cowherd

Sadly the government's response to Stella Rimmington is all too predictable:

'Dame Stella is entitled to her opinion, but it is worth repeating that Parliament has repeatedly expressed its desire to uphold the government's manifesto commitment to the introduction of biometric identity cards.

'Since Dame Stella's tenure in the security services, the situation has changed dramatically and the government has had to adapt new strategies to deal with - no you must let me finish - we have secret evidence of illegal immigrant Taliban pilots who want to upload our childrens' copyright-free naughty bits on to the Interweb...'

After that Hazel Blears' eyes will start spinning and you'll doze off into a nice sleep.

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Boffins ponder Geordies' lack of winter clothing

Mike Richards

Not just Newcastle

You see teenagers wearing next to nothing on the wintery streets of Scandinavian cities; but the frost / snow / rain / hail (usually at the same time) quickly cull them, so surviving adults walk around dressed properly in dead animals.

Reykjavik has heated pavements - which when you think about it shows a great deal of consideration for the drunks.

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Navy glovepuppets minister in carrier battle against RAF

Mike Richards

Replacing RAF Harriers

Ummmm.... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the RAF flying Harriers on combat missions in Afghanistan? If they want them replaced, the only other plane they've got is the ground-support Tornado which is a: crap, and b: has a turning circle slightly larger than a mountain pass.

Is the RAF actually saying they don't want to fly planes and wants to spend their billions on moustache wax and boot polish? If so, let's close the flyboys down and spend the money on buying Bolivia.

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Info chief slaps Met on CCTV in pubs

Mike Richards

Best bit in the Guardian article

'Gibson spoke to his MP, Emily Thornberry, whose offices are on the same street. But she said the right of residents not to become victims of crime overrode his concerns. "My priority is the safety of local residents and if a camera at the pub helps, then I think it should be supported."'

From Wikipedia: 'Thornberry was educated at the University of Kent at Canterbury where she studied law, and practised as a barrister specialising in human rights from 1985 to 2005'

On the evidence so far, I don't think she was very good at being a human rights lawyer.

The good news is that the android MP for Islington South and Finsbury is sitting on a majority of only 484.

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Hydrogen motoring too heavy for pundit

Mike Richards

One advantage of hydrogen

Is the time it takes to refuel. Because it's a liquid, refuelling times aren't much more than with good old-fashioned gasoline. Recharging a Tesla is an all-night affair. Now if super and ultra capicitors become a commercial reality perhaps that will change, but until then, hydrogen cars fit our needs better than electric.

But perhaps methanol is the best fuel for the interim - it's liquid, it doesn't need new engines, it can be made from fossil fuels and it has a fabulous octane rating.

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Pilots boycott gov ID cards

Mike Richards

@ bbuckle

'Haven't you heard? Apparently she is constantly accosted by people in the street demanding she speed up the introduction of ID cards.'

Is that the street in London where she has her 'main home', or the street in Redditch where she keeps the hubbie and kids?

Home Office 'Building an Orwellian Society, One Step at a Time' Press release (issue date July 2010).

Further evidence of the effectiveness of identity cards was released today. Following the successful roll-out of identity cards to British pilots, there have been no recorded instances of airline pilots committing acts of terror.

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Brit, French nuke subs collide - fail to 'see' each other

Mike Richards
Joke

Couldn't they...

...have a lookout?

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UK.gov to tap BT as data harvester

Mike Richards
Flame

@ Ben Bradley

'Connect through Sweden... https://www.relakks.com/?cid=gb'

Sweden's government is currently proposing to monitor all cross-border traffic, so that might not work for much longer. However, unlike the UK, the Swedish public have been outraged by the prospect of being snooped on, the government has been hit hard, a senior intelligence official has stood down in protest, and they've even upset their neighbours in Norway.

Over here, business as usual amongst the public - Jaaaade, Posh, Becks, Corrie...

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Amazon pulls Japanese rape simulator from shelves

Mike Richards

Vazoline

Keith Vaz is one of the most unbearably pompous people in that Thamesside gothic monstrosity full of unbearably pompous people. He's never short of something to say about a subject of which he knows nothing. Only this week he leaked a private conversation with Boris Johnson and denounced a movie which he admitted he hadn't see; so getting some publicity on the back of a game which he won't have played is just par for the course.

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Police drop investigation into 'rent-a-Lords'

Mike Richards

Memo to self...

Only commit complicated crimes.

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Satellites crash over Siberia: Iridium bird destroyed

Mike Richards

@ Mark Wills

'It's in space,'

Yes...

'and is weightless,'

Yes...

'therefore has no inertia.'

[Flicks piece of chalk] See me after school and write 'Inertia is a function of mass not of weight.' one-hundred times.

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Jacqui Smith ecstatically ignores more scientific advice

Mike Richards

Don't forget

Professor Nutt was also forced by Whacky-going-on-actively-dangerous Jacqui to make a public apology for his comparison of risks. Not that he'd got the statistics wrong, but because they didn't agree with her own beliefs.

Forward to the glorious Stalinist future!

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ICO tears school CCTV a new peephole

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'won't somebody Think of the children?'

You're confusing teachers with Catholic priests.

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UFO ruled out of wind farm prang

Mike Richards

Where are Mulder and Scully?

Be careful Lester.

You (exclusively) reveal the literally unbelievable evidence by harnessing a mashup between Google Earth and PlayMobil...

Days later, Hans Beck, the beloved creator of everyone's favourite toy is found mysteriously dead aged a mere 79...

Now this palpably false cover story???

Just be careful when walking to the local tonight. In the meantime I'm still working on my theory that the wind turbine was powering an underground Tibetan city occupied by the self-same Nazi zombies that kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.

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Norfolk town's schools first to be heated by burning cattle

Mike Richards

More biofuels

Anyone up for a spot of whaling? Free-range, organic heating fuel and all the corsets you could want.

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Phorm: BT system 'most definitely' online by end of 2009

Mike Richards

Just left BT

And gave them the reason that Phorm was an imposition too far. A couple of days later I got a follow-up to check the MAC code migration was going smoothly and the BT person asked me why I was leaving. So I told them.

'Yes I understand,' she replied, 'you do know a lot of ISPs are going to be doing the same thing?' When I said I did know that and had chosen one without Phorm her reply came as a pleasant surprise. 'Well you've explained it very clearly to me and I can see why you might be upset. I'm osrry we've let you down on this matter.'

My switch should have taken place this afternoon, so hopefully the house hasn't burned down and I have working broadband.

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Scotland to battle grey squirrel invaders

Mike Richards

Credit crunch dining

Rename grey squirrel meat as 'spruce venison' and watch it fly off the shelves at Waitrose.

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US Navy SEALs buy twin-screen laptops, refuse Vista

Mike Richards

Gives a profound insight into future military missions

Either they'll be very short, or come with extremely long extension cords.

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Amazon unveils Kindle 2.0

Mike Richards

Why no ePub?

Just when a standard of sorts is being agreed amongst Book publishers, it's a huge shame that Amazon haven't incorporated ePub support in Kindle 2.0. Right now, Kindle is more of a closed system than SONY!

Let's hope the wireless module can be made compatible with European 3G networks.

Nice looking piece of kit though, very Apple, right down to the product shots.

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Official Amazon Kindle 2 images leak out

Mike Richards

Well it's official

And it's still for the US only and there's no ePub support - possibly the most tied device since the original iPod.

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SGI right at home in red ink

Mike Richards

Oh dear...

I wonder which of the big old names will go first - SGI or Sun? Two companies who were the hottest properties a decade or more ago, now it's hard to see what they're for.

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NASA births cliff-hanging yo-yo bot

Mike Richards

Looks familiar

One of those buggers - except it was about a mile high - menaced Moonbase Alpha in Space 1999 sometime during my childhood.

Lots of stuff blew up.

http://www.space1999.net/catacombs/main/epimg/titim0.html

Mike.

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El Reg pays tribute to father of Playmobil

Mike Richards

Clearly a fake

There's something about those images that doesn't ring true, is it the lighting? nope... is Paris' complexion a little too perfect - surely not.

Aha! It's obvious in retrospect - the supposed President Sarkozy is far too tall next to Gordon Ramsey.

I'm shocked the Register could stoop to faking pictures. I'm withholding my licence fee in protest.

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US Navy spends $12m on electric hypercannon

Mike Richards

Behold the future!

1: Switch-on electro-death cannon;

2: EMP wipes every hard disk on the ship;

3: Reinstall Windows for Warships (Ultimate Edition);

4: Repeat.

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Miliband refuses to release torture documents

Mike Richards

After all what could we do?

So if we'd released intelligence documents showing complicity in torture the Americans would have blocked intelligence collaboration. What could Britain do so the US wouldn't retaliate?

Apart from growing a pair of balls, let's see.

We could close all those 'RAF' bases America has in the UK for gathering electronic data. We could say Fylingdales and Menwith Hill will be closed immediately and scupper National Missile Defense in a stroke, we could end the lease of Diego Garcia and cripple the US in Iraq...

You know, it almost makes me wish Thatcher was still in charge, she tore a strip off Dubya's dad was equivocating over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and reduced Reagan to jelly when he invaded Grenada.

This lot? Well the word 'quisling' keeps coming to mind.

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Jacqui Smith cracks down on gangs via computers, closets

Mike Richards

Banning colours

Any chance the courts can ban red rosettes on otherwise perfectly-normal looking adults? Because if they don't, the next time I see a Labour candidate I might not be responsible for my actions.

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One-tonne 40ft snake prowled superhot prehistoric jungles

Mike Richards

@Anonymous Coware (re: Carbononiferous air)

It's been suggested that oxygen might have been up to 35% of the atmosphere which would put it well above the level where fire becomes a real threat even in the soggiest conditions. But, in the absence of any trapped atmospheric samples from the Carboniferous, this is an extrapolation from modern insect physiognomy.

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