* Posts by Mike Richards

3645 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

European Space Agency goes for mostly solid Ariane 6

Mike Richards

ESA deep space

ESA still has ExoMars, JUICE and Solar Orbiter in its plans.

And they're funding the SABRE engine that might end up in Skylon.

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Fitbit Flex wristband: What to wear out when wearing yourself out

Mike Richards

Re: Why?

It's slightly more sophisticated (and therefore MUCH more expensive) as it measures levels of activity rather than simply counting steps.

Oh and it comes with a gee-whizz dashboard that you can share with all your Facebook friends and the Twitterati.

What's not to like? (Apart from all of it)

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BBC abandons 3D TV, cites 'disappointing' results

Mike Richards

Weren't the natural history programmes from Sky?

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Hitch climate tax to the ACTUAL CLIMATE, says top economist

Mike Richards

So if we're going to start listing the qualifications of the people...

'Bryony (now Baroness) Worthington (BA, Eng.Lit.)'

The Global Warming Policy Foundation is chaired by Nigel Lawson (graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and headed by Benny Peiser (a social anthropologist). Their talk was given by an economist.

At least the people who think climate change is a problem bothered to bring a scientist.

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US Navy coughs $34.5m for hyper-kill railgun that DOESN'T self-destruct

Mike Richards

Excellent - it's BAE

Anyone want to hazard how much it's going to cost before they finally realise it doesn't work?

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Love in an elevator.... testing mast: The National Lift Tower

Mike Richards

Cardington

Any chance you'll be able to pop over to the rusty awesomeness of the airship sheds at Cardington and do a similarly great article?

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Rest your head against a train window, hear VOICES in your SKULL

Mike Richards

absolute dream for Sky

At last they've got round having to broadcast those irritating programmes between the ad breaks.

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Mike Richards

Re: I quite like the train noises

On many routes around London they've just got to the end of those announcements before beginning the litany of instructions about the next (station) stop offering exciting connections to..., please remember to take all your items, thank-you for being a customer and sorry for any inconvenience cause by the late running of this service. Repeated moments later when the train arrives at the station, then a welcome to the train and they're off again..shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

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D-Wave IS QUANTUM, insist USC scientists

Mike Richards

Is it quantum until you open the box?

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Apple Time Capsule 2013: Next-gen wireless networking, anyone?

Mike Richards

Re: Disk or disks

The TC is an excellent product (once Apple fixed the dodgy capacitors in the first batch) and mine has been very reliable. However, in my experience, Apple's Time Machine backup software isn't the best. I've had corrupted backups on a couple of occasions and no choice but to start all over again.

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What's the difference between GEEKS and NERDS?

Mike Richards

Re: @ Gray Ham - Some equally scientific research ...

Oh thank god - it's not just me swimming in the waters of ignorance over 'Marist Lads'.

And it would be really useful to work out where that splendid British English word - 'boffin' sits on the spectrum.

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Jiggy Pennsylvania couple busted by 25 bike cops

Mike Richards

Re: Cor

On the upside.

For the first time in a long time - no tasering.

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Mike Richards

"There they are, on the first base line," Chitwood said.

Nope, they're definitely beyond first base.

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German engineers demo ROBOT APE

Mike Richards

A metal gorilla

For when a 7ft tall 400lb real ape just isn't enough.

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UK sitting on top of at least 50 years of shale gas – report

Mike Richards

Re: SHOULD Yield - That is NOT what BGS said

Well spotted: you only need to go as far as page 3 of the report to read: 'This large volume of gas has been identified in the shales beneath central Britain, but not enough is yet known to estimate a recovery factor, nor to estimate potential reserves (how much gas may be ultimately produced).'

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Boffins create tabletop ANTIMATTER GUN

Mike Richards

Re: "doesn't actually risk the earth-shattering kaboom of a matter-antimatter annihilation."

It's okay, using nothing more than a simple time machine we can fuel the first interstellar starship with the antimatter it brings back in the future.

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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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