Feeds

* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Met Office: Global warming sceptics 'have heads in sand'

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@Anonymous John

'So? The thermometer was invented during the Little Ice Age. We've no record of temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period.'

Absolutely correct - apart from the evidence obtained from pollen, varves, ice cores, oxygen isotopes, insect remains, soils, crop residues...

0
0

Has the war on terror scored a virtual victory?

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'Amateur spooks put willies up Al-Qaeda'

I'm pretty sure that sort of thing is what's got Al-Qaeda so upset in the first place.

0
0

UK.gov IDs identity vendors

Mike Richards
Silver badge

EDS!

Yes, oh yes!

With those three letters we know the project is surely doomed.

And nice to see IBM finally living up to its image in the original Apple Mac ad.

0
0

Gov seeks UK nuclear competition for EDF

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Uh oh

One of the problems with the original British programme was that costs were made much higher by our inability to roll out a programme of building identical reactors sharing common technology; rather we kept 'improving' them so each one was practically a bespoke piece of engineering.

Would it be too much to expect the government to order the companies building our new plants to insist on a common design?

0
0

Miracle airship tech sustained by DARPA pork trickle

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Another solution

Which was proposed for the original Hindenberg when that was going to be inflated with helium following the R101 design.

There would be two sets of gas bags, large doughnut shaped ones containing the helium lifting gas, and smaller cylindrical bags embedded in the helium bags containing hydrogen 'anti-ballast'. As the airship burned fuel it would become lighter. Cheap hydrogen would be vented from the bags, reducing lift and returning the vessel to trim.

The plan was abandoned when the US refused to sell helium to Nazi Germany and the Hindenberg was redesigned as a cheaper hydrogen ship.

0
0

What's the cost of global warming?

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Mitsubishi electric car to get Iceland test run in 2009

Mike Richards
Silver badge

£1.68 for a cup of coffee

Sounds like a bargain compared to most of London.

0
0

Apple fans besieged by iPhone Trojan and iTunes attack

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'...creates an opportunity to crash browser applications'

Safari needs help to crash regularly?

0
0

Democratic rep fathered alleged Palin hacker

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Surprised she uses a computer

After all it was invented after the 13th Century and doesn't get a mention in Leviticus.

0
0

ePassport tests put biometrics through their paces

Mike Richards
Silver badge

This is fantastic news - for passport companies

If they keep changing the biometrics every couple of years, they'll soon get into the IT mindset of forcing you to upgrade your passport regularly or be deemed a security risk and be doomed to stay in this crappy country.

'Sorry luv, you're passport's only the Wombat Edition with facial, fingerprint, retina and earlobe analysis. We're only allowing Bushbaby Xtreme with arse-reading on the plane today. Good news though, we're offering a special upgrade price of just £500 and a free cavity search.'

0
0

500,000 oppose Red Arrows Olympic ban

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Red Arrows planes

How old are they now? Won't every other country in the World just piss themselves laughing that we'd be flying such relics?

0
0

No uranium for Russia, say Oz MPs

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@Anonymous Coward - Non-proliferation treaty

Building mini-nukes does not violate the NNPT.

The US is still within the treaty - just. So far the US and the other declared nuclear powers have not abided by the Second Pillar of the NNPT to work towards final multilateral disarmament.

The US is arguably in violation of Articles I and II of the NNPT by continuing to deploy nuclear weapons in non-nuclear NATO countries and modifying these countries weapons systems to use nuclear weapons. There is also a question over the US's sharing of weapons designs and materials such as tritium with the UK and French weapons programmes. The UK may have violated it in the past by supplying the UK with plutonium diverted from our civilian reprocessing plant.

All of the original three signatories - the US, USSR (whose responsibilities were assumed by Russia) and UK have probably been in violation of public statements not to target non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons. The US certainly targeted North Korea, Russia has recently threatened to target Poland and the UK has said it will nuke anyone who uses WMD on British citizens. This is not a violation of the NNPT per-se as the statements were made outside of the treaty.

On another front the Bush administration has recently signed a civilian nuclear technology transfer with India which is not a signatory to the NNPT. It was agreed that India had not proliferated weapons knowledge and was in desperate need of nuclear energy so an exemption was made in the NNPT by the IAEA to allow the treaty to go through. IIRC it has still not been ratified by Congress, so it's possible the situation might change.

0
0

Chrysler plans electric car production model

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Ooooh I take back everything I said about the Chevvy Volt

This really is ugly. It's like a chromed banana-flavoured rollerskate.

Whatever happened to the Chrysler designers who came up with cars like Batman's weekend getaway car - the Atlantic concept?

http://www.kudzumonthly.com/kudzu/jan03/Atlantic.html

0
0

Media standard backers attempt Apple-less solo run

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Ahem!

"DECE is taking the lessons learned from the successful 'buy once, play anywhere' experience that we enjoy with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray..."

That'd be region-coded, copy-protected DVD and Blu-ray 'buy once, play anywhere' experience then?

0
0

US Congress votes for some offshore oil relaxations

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Matt Bryant

'Which of course completely ignores the fact that Chinese and African demands for fuel - which are currently driving the oil shortage - will have risen at a much faster rate, and will have increased the worldwide demand exponentially, or did you think they're just going to stop using fuel because Obama will ask them nicely if he gets to be Prez?'

No, I was pointing out that any extra oil from the US offshore fields will do nothing to improve American energy security.

With over 1 million wells drilled, North America is a mature region for oil and gas exploration and the potential for huge new reserves are very small. Proven reserves are around 21 billion barrels (sounds a lot, but it's only 3 years of total US demand).

If you add the Federal Outer Continental Shelf, the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, and the Bakken Formation in North-Dakota/Montana you can get up to 134 billion barrels of TECHNICALLY recoverable crude. However, technically recoverable does not mean it will be ECONOMICALLY recoverable, nor does it discuss the RATE that oil can be recovered from those resources. So a good portion of US oil will never be as cheap as competing sources from the Middle East, Nigeria or Central and South America. And then you're into markets - will the US legislate to exclude cheaper oil from their markets.

'or stimulating US companies to produce oil from oil-shale'

Ah that old canard - oil shale. Shale oil was supposedly economic when oil was above $50ppb, and yet it is still not being recovered. And why is that? Geography. To make one barrel of shale oil on the surface you need anything between one and five barrels of water. The majority of US shale deposits lie in the Green River Formation in the Rocky Mountains. The Green River is a tributary of the Colorado, a river which is already over-committed for other uses - such as keeping people alive.

Sub-surface retorting is an alternative, but it is a potentially huge hazard to ground water quality (see above). All methods of making shale oil produce large amounts of CO2 and SO2 and create vast quantities of waste material. So it's actually even less clean than coal.

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

Bush on the ball as ever

"At a time when American families are in need of genuine relief from the effects of high fuel prices, this bill purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development,"

Which means - assuming they find any substantial fields, the first trickle of new oil coming ashore sometime around 2015. By which time American demand for crude will have grown so much and US onshore production fallen so far, they'll be importing even more oil.

0
0

Royal Society says goodbye to creationism row vicar

Mike Richards
Silver badge

The problem with Reiss' idea is...

...he was trying to address the problem of kids not believing in evolution because they come from the closed-minded part of the readership of the Bumper Book of Fairy Stories.

He thought that a science teacher could say 'no, creationism is wrong because...' and win over his audience. When in fact, if you ever try talking to these people, you won't get anywhere - they believe it absolutely. The Creation is in the Bible, end of story, now let's go stone some gays and people who wear two kinds of cloth. The whole class would be given over to discussing the Great Flood when the 9/10 kids who are normal could have been learning about really exciting things like genetics, finches or Pangaea.

There's one answer to this. You teach evolution. It is compulsory. If someone doesn't believe in it or doesn't want to study it they fail the class. No loss to science there, they can join Sarah Palin and the population of Kansas back in the 13th Century.

If it upsets 'faith' - screw them, they can turn the other cheek.

* It is - TWICE! Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 and Genesis 2:4 - 2:25. Despite coming one after the other and being the Word of God (TM), they can't even agree on basic things like what happened in what order or even how long it took. Mind you, I've had plumbers like that.

0
0

GM shows off production electric car

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Duncan Ellis

'An American Car I Actually Want '

Well there's always the Mustang designed with only the finest neolithic engineering, but oh that sound!

0
0

Apple releases bumper patch batch

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Hud Dunlap

'Apple will always let me know about something new in iTunes but won't e-mail me about a critical security update. I check it every day but then again I am paranoid.'

Why don't you just set Software Update to check daily and forget about it?

0
0

Chinese manned spaceshot set for 25 September

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Spacewalk

On only their third mission? That's a pretty impressive level of development. The Soviets only attempted it on their eighth manned mission, the US on their ninth. Even allowing for technology transfer from the Russians, it's clear that the Chinese are very confident about their hardware and their crews.

0
0

Phorm: Our business is fine, honest

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ David Hicks

'What sane customer would want this?'

Ah BT are ahead of you there. First they change the name to 'WebWise' and don't refer to Phorm anywhere in their documentation; then they sell it to customers on the grounds that it'll improve their security. And we all know how people act when they're told their security is under threat unless they conform.

0
0

Mitsubishi eyes Middle Earth for 'early' electric car roll-out

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Matthew Terrell

'They just need to make a decent family type car. It's can't be that hard....'

You'll be wanting the Chevvy Volt then - a plug-in hybrid which if you're a regular commuter will let you spend most of your time tootling around on electric power, but gives you the extended range and performance of a small (1.4l) petrol engine. When you get home, plug it in to the household supply and recharge it overnight.

Due Yankside late 2010; likely to be built in Europe by Vauxhall or Opel the year after.

http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/

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

Looks horrible (like almost all American cars) though.

0
0

Northrop offer supersonic robot stealth raygun cyber-bomber

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Anonymous coward

'If the WTC floors collapsed in a 'pancake' fashion; how does that account for the collapse of the building's steel core? '

In both cases the core was severely damaged by the impact. The WTC's core was also not capable of supporting the entire weight of the structure, a good deal of the vertical load in the buildings were handled by the exterior vertical steel columns. With both sets of supports damaged the building collapsed pancake fashion, the lower part of the core crushing down on itself like a soda can under your boot.

0
0

UK launches major road signage review

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Get rid of...

...the brown signs identifying 'places of interest' which have spread like wildfire across the country, and the bright-yellow signs pointing to new housing developments which are a new infestation in these parts.

0
0

Robot airliner anti-missile escorts proposed

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Another airline tax?

So after charging extra for fuel, baggage, e-check-in, insurance, credit cards, airport improvements and wheelchairs; the airline will be able to add a £5000 drone charge to every £1 flight to Oslo.

Of course if you fly RyanAir you just get a paperplane reading 'Come get me ya bastards!' towed behind the 737.

0
0

Hurricane Ike snuffs out Galveston webcam

Mike Richards
Silver badge

If you haven't read it

Erik Larsen's book about the 1900 hurricane which utterly destroyed Galveston, 'Isaac's Storm', is a fantastic read. (While you're shopping for it at Amazon, also take the time to pick up 'Devil in the White City' from the same author).

0
0

Japanese call on deities to discipline wayward PCs

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Christopher Martin

You might want to consider the religion in question.

Shinto has a central tenet that ALL objects, whether animate or inanimate have a soul known as a kami. (If you travel in Japan you will see shrines to kami almost everywhere - at rocks, ancient trees, hot springs and so on). If you build an object, it possesses a kami, and depending on how you build it, the kami will either be good or bad; which has actually influenced Japanese product design.

Because objects are thought to have a spirit, there is a long history of building things with the highest quality components and a perfect finish; also, how they look is thought to influence the mood of the kami - so the arrangement of the front radiator and lights on a Japanese cars often form a smily 'face', and so on...

So this ceremony might not protect a PC, but it does fit in seamlessly with the idea of appeasing and protecting a computer's kami.

0
0

Ray Winstone joins Mel Gibson at the Edge of Darkness

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Hmmm - Mel Gibson does 'Edge of Darkness'

Well we all know his thoughts on conspiracies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Gibson_DUI_incident#Arrest_and_leaked_report

So is this feature going to end up as 'The Protocols of Zion' with added plutonium?

0
0

Sony PRS-505 Reader e-book

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Love it - but...

I still haven't got it to work with the Waterstones store. Every time I try to put one of their DRMed titles on to the Reader, it crashes and needs a hard reset. Which requires the Reader to be re-activated, and do that too often and - Adobe Digital Editions locks you out. Which means you have to call Adobe to get ADE re-authorised, so far I've been waiting 2 days just to try and find out if my Reader is buggered.

0
0

NASA mulls nuclear Moon reactor

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@Jasmine Strong

Ah TOPAZ - you mean the completely unshielded nuclear reactor fuelled by highly enriched uranium?

Nope, can't see a problem with that?

0
0

'UK's Chernobyl' spam spreads Trojan

Mike Richards
Silver badge

One reactor close to London

Imperial runs the CONSORT reactor at its Silwood Park campus near Ascot. It's only a tiny research reactor and nothing like the RBMK reactors at Chernobyl. So its probably almost entirely unlikely to turn London into a glow-in-the-dark deathzone.

0
0

PA Consulting begs for mercy after data loss axing

Mike Richards
Silver badge

We deeply regret this human failure and apologise unreservedly to the Home Office.

Sounds like they're accepting liability for the breach. That won't help them in court should any of this lost data be used to commit a crime against those people whose details were stored on the card.

And before anyone says that people taking justice into their own hands and beating the living shite out of a con is a good thing: a: vigilantism never is, b: once someone has served their sentence the law says they have paid their debt to society, c: the card also held details of people on drug treatment programmes and some reports said it also had information about informants.

0
0

US boffins develop self cleaning gecko-foot glue

Mike Richards
Silver badge

All this to replace a PostIt note?

They seem to stick to most things, so can't we just cover our latest robo-deathreapers with little pieces of yellow paper?

0
0

Saatchi to promote foreigners' ID cards

Mike Richards
Silver badge

I wish Saatchi would dust off one of their other ads

'Cos New Labour clearly isn't working.

0
0

DR Congo minister liberates imprisoned goats

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Anyone know...

...if the Home Office has made 'being sold illegally' a crime in the UK yet?

If not, they really need get a law on the statute book ASAP to continue New Labour's highly successful new-crime-a-day legislationathon; whose previous hits include 'no illegal egg inspections', 'don't set off a nuclear explosion' and 'it's wrong to sell a grey squirrel don't you know?'. Those jails won't fill themselves up you know.

0
0

Amazon flash mob mauls Spore DRM

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Any advance on three tries? Oh hello Sony!

The Sony/Waterstones eBook store for the Sony PRS Reader allows you to download a title precisely ONCE. All titles are locking into the horrible Adobe Digital Edition software which makes no allowance for backing titles up on to CD or external disk. If your machine dies, ADE goes tits-up or you upgrade to a new machine you've had it.

0
0

Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Everything I know about particle physics I learned in Marvel Comics

Can any Reg-reading particle physicists who might be taking a break from releasing Lovecraftian horrors into this dimension answer this question honestly?

'Do you ever get an overwhelming urge to stand in front of the beam in the hope of getting super powers?'

0
0

Sony e-book reader to debut in UK tomorrow

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Great hardware - oh my god who designed the DRM???

Only works with Windows - bad. But the people at Waterstones should be shot for their DRM policy.

You are allowed to download a title ONCE. After that the DRM kicks in to say the title has already been downloaded and you can't have it again. No matter if the download is corrupt or if your newly DRMed book refuses to open on the Reader. You can't have another copy.

And when you have your book, it's folded into the horrific Adobe Digital Edition plugin for Flash so you can't back it up in the event of a hard disk crash or a move to a new machine.

This is simply not acceptable. I've never used a download service with so many restrictions.

But I have to repeat, the Reader itself is a stunning piece of technology.

0
0

Police quiz BT on secret Phorm trials

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Down, down, down

Looks like Phorm is now trading at around 1/6 of their market peak back when they announced their tie-up with the big three ISPs. It's getting tempting to take out a ruler, draw a straight line through a plot of their share price and work out when their share price will reach zero:

http://www.iii.co.uk/investment/detail%3Fcode%3Dcotn:PHRM.L&it%3Dle

0
0

DNA database costs soar

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Easy, spin our way out of this

When the BBC got a lot of flak for the price of the TV licence they resorted to a slightly desperate campaign telling you how much it worked out to on a daily basis.

It's time for the Home Office to do the same; now M&S have started using David Jason to do their voiceovers, I'm sure Dervla Kerwin is available:

'Do you know it costs less than 2 pence per day to store the data of a child on the government's database? Peace and security for just 2p? What else can you get for that?'

0
0

ID scheme plans 50,000 cards by April

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Ahhh I'm being a silly bugger

Ahem, re point about about Northern Ireland not being in the United Kingdom. Ummmm yup, I'm wrong, it's not in Great Britain.

I'll go and hit myself over the head with an atlas now.

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

@Anonymous Coward

geography fail said: "Your [sic] talking about England. The UK isn't connected to another landmass like the way you describe, either that or you have exceptionally long legs."

Er ... Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland?

It's worth taking this opportunity to point out that Northern Ireland isn't in the UK.

0
0

Prototype orbital seaplane in Texan blimp-base blast

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Re: Anti Submarine Blimps in Texas?

The U-Boats specifically targeted tankers travelling from the Texan fields to join Atlantic convoys heading for the UK, although they did spend most of their time taking potshots at tankers off the Florida coast where they could be seen silhouetted against the lights of Miami. It was only much later in the war that Florida enacted a lights-out policy and deprived Floridans of the spectacle of going to the beach to watch ships explode.

After World War II blimps continued to be used by the US Navy as anti-submarine and anti-aircraft radar pickets. They were so big the radar could be fitted inside the envelope. And when I say big - I mean REALLY big:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:N_class_blimp.jpg

0
0

IBM, PGP fill Bletchley Park's rattling tin

Mike Richards
Silver badge

@ Jon G @ Steve

BP did apply for a National Lottery grant a few years back but was turned down. They're making another application at the moment.

It's a real contrast to the case of the two Titians that have attracted publicity of late. Their owner wants to sell them and is willing to part with them and allow the pair to become part of the National collection for the trivial sum of £100 million, otherwise they'll go on the open market where they might go for £500 million.

Naturally the great and the good are lobbying furiously for the government, Lottery and uncle Tom Cobbly and All to stump up the money for a pair of paintings that have nothing to do with Britain apart from they ended up here after Johnny Frog got all choppity-chop with his betters.

As for Steve's comment about the luminous Phyllis Starkey MP's majority vanishing - I hope so, I hope so.

0
0

Segway shock army to invade Department of Transport

Mike Richards
Silver badge

No problems with them or cyclists...

...just as long as insurance and number-plating is mandatory.

0
0

Commodore launches little laptop

Mike Richards
Silver badge

If it's a Commodore

It'll be a notebook computer with a HUGE power brick that could warm a house - and a tape drive.

0
0

Apple, O2 to release PAYG iPhones this month

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Reassuringly expensive

Looks like Apple are trying to make sure it doesn't become the sequel to the RAZR chavfone.

0
0

Biometrics exhibit blushes over email snafu

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Not to worry

When the government's biometric fortress is in place it won't be managed by incompetents like Wellcome; it'll be run by organisations such as the Home Office, BT and Capita who have a long, consistent track record of managing personal data,.

0
0

Erotic artist urges spanking for Jacqui Smith

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Can't imagine it without PlayMobil

The sight of Jack Straw and Jacqui Smith bound and gagged needs to be created in El Reg's favourite childrens' toy.

As for it being the most disturbing image possible - n'ah, just think of David Miliband lashed to Hazel Blears; cheek to cheek with only a small meringue between them - now THAT'S scary kinky!

0
0

Blu Christmas coming, format fans forecast

Mike Richards
Silver badge

It's good - but is it *THAT* good?

In my experience, a Blu-ray played from a PS3 over HDMI to 1080p screen has lots of 'fizzing' in the picture like the grain in a poor photo - Sony's 'Casino Royale' is particularly ugly. The companies claim the transfers are good, the whole process is digital, so why are there artefacts that weren't present in the cinema and are missing from the DVD?

Throw in ridiculous prices - £30 in HMV and Zavvi and the region-coding from hell and THAT's why I'm not buying a whole lotta Blu-rays.

0
0