* Posts by Mike Richards

3595 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Woolwich beheading sparks call to REVIVE UK Snoopers' Charter

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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Løvefïlm signs hit beards’n’berserkers series Vikings

Mike Richards

Hilarious (and gory)

Yep, this is high-quality junk television. Wobbly accents galore, far too pretty a cast and the same air of authenticity that the same team brought to The Tudors. Well worth catching.

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'Ring of fire' eclipse to burn Australia

Mike Richards

Re: Don't want a Ring of Fire?

On a sort of related topic - has anyone heard from Lester recently? I check the seismographs, but nothing obvious in Spain.

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Don't use Google+? Tough, Google Glass will inject it INTO YOUR EYES

Mike Richards

Re: meh...

You have so much more faith in humanity than me.

And it will get worse when they are available for prescription lenses because there is no way glasses wearers will carry around another pair of (expensive) lenses for the times when Glass is a social faux pas (that is most of the time).

Glass is pretty much doomed the moment the MPAA finds out it is possible to take a flaky, shaky recording of some of a movie in a cinema - the lawyers will have a field day. And in Google versus Hollywood I find it hard to pick who I'd like to lose more.

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Russian geologist claims finding chunks of Tunguska Event invader

Mike Richards

Well said.

Seriously - a geologist not producing thin sections is nearly as bad form as them forgetting to leave their hammer at home. Extraterrestrial or impact quartz would be immediately obvious under polarised light.

Why do so many bad papers come out of august Russian scientific organisations these days?

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Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week

Mike Richards

Re: Pathetic Journalism

I must admit I've missed all the naked fat people in San Francisco.

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Mike Richards

It's their political agenda we should be worried about

Wilson also said:

'The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized are: To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest.'

The word global is pretty worrying. Most of us are pretty happy to live in countries where people don't have ready access to firearms. Wilson and his weird friends seem to think that's wrong.

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Scramjet X-51 finally goes to HYPER SPEED above Pacific

Mike Richards

Come on Skylon

Let's show the Americans how to do hypersonics properly.

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The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ

Mike Richards

Re: International treaty vs national law

'If I am correct, an International treaty beats a national law.'

Treaties are enacted by Acts of Parliament. Under what passes for our constitution it is generally held that no Parliament can bind its successors, so a second Act could be passed to revoke the treaty. There's some disagreement over whether certain acts are 'entrenched' and cannot be simply overturned - the European Communities Act being the most commonly mentioned.

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37,000-machine study finds most reliable Windows PC is a Mac

Mike Richards

Re: Flawed but...

'It's a surprise that decent quality hardware is more reliable?'

It can't just be that, after all the Lenovo scored at the bottom of the table; traditionally they've been every bit as well-built as Macs.

Although, as the article suggests, perhaps its the extra software they insist we need that's doing it - my last X-series came with a mountain of bloatware that kept finding ways back on to the system everytime it needed an update from Big-L.

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Oz volcano's lava lake spills from crater

Mike Richards

Re: I think walruses are from the northern hemisphere

With chips please.

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Mike Richards

This earlier image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ISS018-E-038182_lrg.jpg seems to show the volcano's structure better.

The shadow line at bottom right shows a breached caldera rim with glaciers flowing off to the left. The resurgent cone of Mawson Peak partially fills the caldera. The dark spot at the centre would appear to be the active crater.

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Mike Richards

'I did hear once that the long version of the name is supposedly locals having a laugh, the volcano is Ejya, the glacier is Ejyafyallajokul, but the news carried on using the long name, so not sure if this is apocryphal'

The glacier is Eyjafjallajökull (literally the glacier on the mountain overlooking the (Westman) Islands). The south side of the massif on which the glacier is perched containing the volcano is Eyjafjöll proper, but most Icelanders call the whole thing Eyjafjallajökull - unlike the rest of us they don't seem to have problems round about the thirteenth syllable.

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Mike Richards

Krakatau.

The earliest mention of Krakatoa is a misspelling in a telegraph message conveyed to the British press.

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Mike Richards

Lava lakes are very rare and there are only four persistent lava lakes on Earth (Nyragongo, Erta Ale, Erebus and Kilauea), so it is quite possible the lava lake has drained back into the volcano and this is erupting through a vent at or around the crater rim. Bearing in mind just where Big Ben is located and the low risk it presents, I doubt any geologists will be hot-footing it there to take a better look.

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Mike Richards

2 volcanoes

Australia has two active volcanoes. The nearby McDonald Islands had a series of eruptions between 1992 and 2005.

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NASA boffins: Space 'scope JUST missed dead Cold War spy sat

Mike Richards

Re: Units.

Coconut?

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UK.gov's love affair with ID cards: Curse or farce?

Mike Richards

No ePub?

Other eBook readers are available.

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One of the world's oldest experiments crawls towards a fall

Mike Richards

Re: A long time but...

There are some field experiments at Rothamsted which go back to the 1840s.

And of course Britain's ongoing experiment of the American colonies seems to be going nicely after more than 250 years. There is even some evidence you will soon be able to get a decent cup of tea on the other side of the Atlantic.

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Mike Richards

Re: Glass is not a liquid

Or indeed the Earth's Mantle which is a solid so far as an earthquake is concerned, but loses heat through fluid convection.

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Brits on benefits: 'Dole office site only works on PCs over 10 YEARS OLD'

Mike Richards

Re: Do you know anyone on benefits? No, didn't think so

Because you might have bought your smartphone or iMac a while back but found yourself disabled, with a chronic illness or unemployed. I know it's hard to believe in the current Wirtschaftswunder, but people lose their jobs and are entitled to benefits.

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Another negative climate feedback: Warmer plants cool the planet

Mike Richards

Re: Also, don't forget

Average heat from the Sun 340W/m2; from the Earth's interior 0.09W/m2.

The Earth radiates an enormous amount of heat, but it is utterly dwarfed by the mind-buggering amount of energy arriving from the Sun.

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Mike Richards

Re: Fossil fuels are being used faster than they are being discovered

There's a difference between total fossil fuel reserves and economic fossil fuel reserves. The new reserves are almost all at the very high end of the price spectrum and would have been completely uneconomic even ten years ago. We have adapted to a world where oil costs $75-100 a barrel, we might be prepared to go even higher.

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Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Mike Richards

Re: I think we should all email them the link to the picture of the cock on Mars

Are you proposing to put Iain Duncan Smith on Mars?

I'm good for a tenner.

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Fried-egg sarnies kick off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

Mike Richards

'So, I'm in business, but one question remains: will the challenge prove harder on me or on my local bar owners, who greeted the news I'd be off the booze for a week with a mixture of disbelief and dismay.'

Well that's killed off the last part of the Spanish economy.

This isn't an elaborate scheme to have soft-hearted Reg readers bombard you with food parcels is it?

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Pirate Party wins seats in Icelandic election

Mike Richards

Re: What exactly do they think they are going to change?

Birgitta has experience in politics as she was elected in the previous general election. She led the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative's work with the Alþingi to introduce constitutional protections for human rights regarding the media, especially protecting whistleblowers. Not just WikiLeaks, but in Icelandic society as a whole, where tight interconnections between families and businesses allowed politicians and bankers to run riot in the runup to the crash. A large chunk of her work was agreed with all of the parties in the parliament which is generally more consensual than the nightmare at Westminster.

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Climate-cooling effect 'stronger than volcanoes' is looking solid

Mike Richards

Re: So in other words (warning, Heretical thinking within)

'Given that it survived the creation of the moon (assuming that impact theory is correct) and the Chixculub (sp?) extinction impact and still balanced itself back out, who'da thunkit.'

The Earth survived just fine. The dominant lifeforms (or organic molecules) didn't come out of it quite so well.

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Reddit: So very sorry for naming innocent man as Boston bomber

Mike Richards

Re: Call me sceptical if you will, but...

In America, celebrity 'I'm sorry's are usually followed by 'God has forgiven me, so why can't you?'

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New poll says Assange could win Australian Senate seat

Mike Richards

Re: The power of memes

'At the right moment, an accomplice can distract the guards by driving up in a flatbed truck bearing a cat playing a piano.'

Oh for that to happen, not just because the sight of the Home Secretary explaining that to the Commons would never get old, but for the gloriously po-faced Crimewatch reconstruction that would follow.

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Angry Birds fire back: Vulture cousins menace UK city's mobiles

Mike Richards

If it's that bad

Don't Vodafone have any of those temporary phone masts that are put up in disaster areas?

Judging by the state of the O2 network round here, there's a hell of a lot of peregrine falcons nesting nearby.

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Flexible flywheel offers cheap energy storage

Mike Richards

Re: You want to know if it'll work?

Didn't British Rail used to have some electric locomotives that used flywheels to carry them over gaps in the conductor? Or am I imagining something much cooler?

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Wales slams Amazon over lack of Kindle support

Mike Richards

Re: The problem with WRITTEN Welsh is...

The article mentions books being available in Cornish. Well that language is even more fragmented and marginal than Welsh.

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Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes

Mike Richards

One undeniably good thing

She met Mikhail Gorbachev in 1984 before he became Premier of the Soviet Union. They spoke, got on and she saw he was different from his predecessors. She persuaded President Reagan that this was someone the West could do business with. The rest followed. That's a huge achievement on her part.

She was also the first senior politician (and a scientist at that) to point out that pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was not a good thing.

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

Mike Richards

Re: you forgot!

And plastic - just like Paris H.

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US Navy blasts drones with ship-mounted LASER CANNON

Mike Richards

Unanswered question

Does it make a really, really cool noise?

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