Even the best contraception is only 95% effective. She can't beat those odds forever.
3635 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007
Even the best contraception is only 95% effective. She can't beat those odds forever.
'...NASA don't do things efficiently. It took them 30 years to realise the Shuttle was the "wrong way around*". Well... that's not true. They *KNEW* it was the wrong way around, but it was a good excuse to pour time, effort and money into some really cool engineering.'
Blaming NASA for the Shuttle is completely wrong. The Shuttle was a compromise between those in the Nixon administration which looking for a follow-on to Apollo, but for a fraction of the cost; and those in the USAF who were looking for a combo orbital bomber and space truck. By the time the Shuttle was approved, the Saturn line had already been closed and there was no alternative way of getting man into space without asking the Soviets.
The original Shuttle plan of the 1960s called for a reusable booster carrying a piggybacked orbiter, all liquid fuelled; to serve a giant space station akin to the one in 2001 which would be in charge of constructing the monstrous Mars missions. The recession of the late 1960s, rampant inflation and the war in Vietnam killed off the Mars mission then the space station. All that was left was the Shuttle, and that on a dramatically reduced budget.
USAF called the shots and dictated the size of the payload bay and the need for a winged glider that could return to base anywhere in the US after making a single polar orbit. Nixon and Congress killed the reusable component by hacking the budget so that the External Tank would be discarded and cheaper reusable solid-rocket boosters substituted for liquid-fuelled boosters.
NASA designed the Shuttle to fit its vastly diminished budget (and blew that as well). It was a botched job - a brilliant botch - but the failure of the Shuttle lies in politics not in the incredible engineering of the machines. It's worth pointing out that no other country has yet replicated many of the Shuttle's features and that the Soviet Buran orbiter was far from finished when it made its single, even more expensive flight.
It's worth remembering that these machines won't be flown on the missions, just used to simulate parts of the flight equipment.
The Constellation programme is still much less lavishly funded as a share of GDP than Apollo ever was; it is also far more sophisticated, being partially reusable and intended for far longer duration flights.
There simply isn't the money even in America's budget to try the 'throw everything and see what sticks' approach of the 1960s. It's worth remembering the Saturn V that took man to the Moon wasn't the only program involved - there were also Ranger, Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter doing the reconaissance, Gemini proving most of the techniques needed to fly to the Moon and the Saturn IB launcher as an intermediate technology.
Apollo was rushed, fatally so with the fire of Apollo 1 and the flight of Apollo 8 around the Moon was a huge risk undertaken to avoid the humiliation of a Soviet Zond being the first manned mission to make that journey (Zond itself was canned when its booster cracked). The Saturn V was a beast to fly and nearly shook itself to pieces on early flights and there is always the near disaster of Apollo 13 in the back of NASA's mind. They're not going to take the same risks again.
If anyone is interested in this, I can't recommend 'In the Shadow of the Moon' and 'From the Earth to the Moon' highly enough. The first is a series of interviews with many of the Apollo astronauts, the second dramatic reconstructions of the Apollo missions.
No, not this half-baked lunacy - I want to join DARPA and be paid obscene amounts of money for coming up with half-baked lunacy of my own.
The TiVo drive is a piece of piss to replace. Unscrew the box and unplug the old one, or better still, mount the new drive alongside the existing HD. Restart the machine, it'll notice the new drive and guide you through the setup.
Since no one has even come close to TiVo's user interface, season passes or suggested programming yet and Sony are notorious for user interfaces from hell; I'll be hanging on to my trusty TiVo for a bit longer.
And hope that the recent European licencing of TiVo software means we'll soon have a new generation of these awesome boxes.
Not forgetting if you join the Tesco scheme but then have second thoughts, you can stop using Clubcard. At which point Tesco has to destroy your data.
Sadly, even being dead won't get you off the Blunkettbase.
Are actually the last two entries left in BT Total Broadband Technical Support's Bumper Book of Excuses as to why my ADSL connection is so shite.
One unanswered question - does this mean Air France still hasn't fitted secure doors to the cockpits, or, are Air France pilots doing a Gallic shrug to basic safety?
Come on El Reg, get your crack investigators on the job. A Playmobil reconstruction of what could have ensued if Naomi Campbell had got into the cockpit wouldn't go amiss either.
If anyone sent a message to, or received a message from, the White House between those dates, can they please send a copy of those messages back to the White House?
Say between 13:00 and 14:00 EST today. That shouldn't cause any problems. Well no more problems than simultaneously flushing all the toilets in the Pentagon.
One thing we should introduce over here (as well as PR, fixed term Parliaments, a single written constitution, proper separation of the legislature, executive and judiciary - really I could go on) are transparent ballot boxes. As it stands, voters have no way of knowing if the box they're putting their ballot into has been pre-stuffed. After the various postal voting scandals of the last few years the electorate cannot be expected to trust the politicians and the electoral authorities further than they can spit.
Oh and getting rid of numbered ballots that can be tracked back to individual voters would be a major step forward for British democracy.
...does this denial of Cliff mean that there are some positive aspects to fascism?
Still this year is looking like a class bit of Eurovision - what with Dunstin:
Is when Price Drop TV HD will be launched?
That alone will make HD worthwhile. 24 hours 7 days a week of unmentionable tat being flogged with the same desperate enthusiasm seen in Hitler's Bunker around May Day 1945.
And you know it's coming...
One for the experts here. Is Sun just following SGI down the path to irrelevance? Both companies prospered when they could dominate a market with specialised hardware and software, but the commodity Intel boxes have pretty much eaten the market. Does Sun have a future in the hardware market?
Good Phorm have taken the trouble to register their trademark and have used the little R symbol. This gives them quite a lot of protection under the law - with one proviso (see below)
Bad Phorm have chosen to use the weaker TM on their logo. Anyone who wants to assert a trademark can include the TM. It does not need to be registered and no money changes hands. HOWEVER in exchange for being cheap, courts are unlikely to be sympathetic when that trademark comes into conflict with a registered mark.
There's an obvious risk of confusion - 'Phorm' is not a word in the dictionary (which is one defence out of the window - you could start a company called Apple and still be protected) and both companies are in the Internet business (which would be a problem if your Apple startup was a computer company).
If I was Good Phorm, I'd love to know how Bad Phorm can claim to have independently hit upon their logo design - right down to the font. That takes coincidence too far.
So the name and the logo of Bad Phorm could, and should, be seen as a case of 'passing off'.
Actually Good Phorm *MUST* defend their trademark. If they choose not to do so in this case, their mark is in danger of become genericised, in which case *anyone* can use it. Good Phorm need to talk to their lawyers as a matter of urgency and get them issue a cease and desist order against Bad Phorm ordering them withdraw their logo and cease trading under that name.
Bad Phorm can claim an innocent error, even blame their designers who may be liable for any costs of infringement. In any case it'd make sense for them to withdraw the logo and the name as they'd almost certainly lose in court.
And if Good Phorm they need money, I'm willing to throw in a £20 to the Register defence fund.
The 360 is just starting to make a profit. However, it is coming up to 3 years old and is starting to show its limitations in turns of pop-up and texturing. There is probably more to be squeezed out of it, but somewhere in Microsoft they must be looking at a third generation XBox.
Adding Blu-ray to 360 will increase costs, decrease profits and divert resources from the replacement whilst doing nothing to address the real issues of the 360 - it's going to look increasingly antiquated as developers get to grips with the PS3.
Finally, would anyone want to watch a Blu-ray movie with the 360 bellowing away? Mine came back from being fixed for the RRoD and it is noticeably noisier, so much so that it is impossible to watch a HD-DVD that hasn't been made by Michael Bay.
Yes folks, the Earth has been much warmer and much colder in the past. BUT the climate change concerns are not so much about absolute temperatures - after all we're a long way away from the subtropical Arctic of the Mesozoic - but the speed of change which *IS* abnormal. Typically, the geological record shows gradual swings between hot and cold, not the recent surge which appears be without a geological foundation.
And for those who point out the very warm periods of the past, at those times there was easy access to the polar regions for warm water currents bringing equatorial warmth to high latitudes. Since Antarctica slipped under the South Pole and the effective closure of the Arctic Ocean this is no longer the case. Our polar regions and the deep oceans are colder than at almost any time in geological history.
Finally, re: Gore's appointment of Dr. Hansen. If you were making appointments to scientific posts and not as ignorant as the current incumbent, wouldn't you appoint the most highly-regarded people in the field?
Phorm reminds me of Br'er Fox's tar baby; everything it touches just gets dirty.
So that's TalkTalk and Virgin backing away from Phorm's phragrant offering, leaving just one of the big three still officially onboard. Does anyone think BT can or will extricate themselves from this fiasco?
BT have cashed the cheque for my Data Protection request, so I'm looking forward to their excuse for being unable to tell me if I've been pimped.
Give lollypop ladies rocket launchers.
YouTube hilarity to follow.
Because vultures are so swift and efficient at disposing of carrion there was almost no opportunity for dead animals to rot, attract vermin and contaminate water supplies. Now with fewer vultures, the carcasses are real health hazard and are attracting large numbers of rats and feral dogs - both of which carry seriously nasty diseases like plague and rabies. So the vulture might take a good number of people with it.
Any chance the Reg and its readers could help sponsor some of the work to save the vultures?
Which are much nicer animals than you might think. Surprisingly clean and elegant. (I can only speak first hand about the vultures, I'm much less sure about members of the Register's staff)
There was a plan in the early 19th Century to do similar things to attract the attention of any Martians who might be watching. Huge heliographs, trenches laid out in geometrical formations and filled with burning oil, planting the desert in patterns.
Mr. Wells' book probably didn't help sell those schemes.
Would be if you provided a photo of this one in the company of la technocrumpet française.
(As well as a picture of the Eee with its beach friend for old time's sake)
After all, between being beaten up and radiation sickness 'Edge of Darkness' offers lots of opportunities for Mel's torture weird fetish.
Come on BBC, release a decent DVD transfer to show us how good it really was. The current version really sucks.
Don't have an ID card, can't vote.
Yep, I think New Labour will like this report.
...and I know what it is...
...Jean Claude van Damme as a time-travelling kickboxing cyborg samurai!
If he could also be a werewolf that'd be ace.
There's still time for David Lean wannabe Jonas Bauer to get him onboard, just give Jean Claude a call, I'm sure he'll be free.
...the next time a government minister talks about the security of ID cards, why the police need 42 days to crack strong encryption or the protection they apply to CDs.
Then laughing very hard.
New Labour is sinking in the polls like a luxury liner in the North Atlantic circa 1912. They need to win people back, so they need to win opinion-formers back. How to do that? Why announce an eye-catching initiative that on the surface no one could object to.
This law hands the country over to the Melanie Phillips wing of the Daily Mail.
On electronic goods the additional mark-up is largely down to the longer warranties in the EU.
Two quick questions:
1: Just how thick IS the Register's 'Little Book of Euphemisms'? And;
2: Where can I get a copy?
American ethanol *is* driving up the price of corn. At the moment about 20% of America's entire harvest is going into ethanol plants because the US government offers a subsidy of 51c per gallon on ethanol production - making it more profitable to push the crop that way than send it for export. With the Bush administration constantly upping the demand for ethanol this is going to continue. Whether farmers can increase production to match demand is another matter.
But there is some hope. Almost all of these ethanol plants are fuelled by natural gas - whose price is also spiking upwards, making them ever-less profitable.
The economics of ethanol in the US are so labyrinthine that no one can even be sure they're helping the environment and their contribution to the energy consumption of the country is minuscule. They exist for political reasons only, Iowa; home of the Corn Belt is the largest producer of corn in the World. It also has the first primary election in the US presidential vote. As an episode of 'The West Wing' showed, it is a stupid candidate who goes to Iowa and does not inhale the ethanol.
Even if my sensitive casting of Ross Kemp as Servalan isn't meeting universal approval, can we at least be unanimous on this...
The shape of the Liberator can't be changed in the slightest.
So it'll be Ross Kemp as Servalan and David Jason as Travis.
'Scientologists i met are nicest people on the planet!'
But *which* planet???
...I'm enjoying getting all these disks at less than £6 apiece.
At the moment you can pick up the Toshiba HD EP30 player for less than £100. It plays HD-DVDs in 1080p, supports Dolby TrueHD and upscales DVDs like a dream. If nothing else, it makes a perfect high-end DVD player and Toshiba are promising support for 8 years - by which time Blu-ray's replacement will probably be in sight.
A pity the more consumer-friendly format had to die to make HD affordable.
I have to agree, Asus can only hurt sales with these constant announcements. Right now, the Eee is in such short supply that they *can* sell all they make, but that will change as they ramp up production and competitors appear.
The Apple approach of 'no comment' until new models appear is better for the bottom line. They can sell old model machines right until the new ones roll off the production lines *AND* surprise customers *AND* reap the free publicity.
'Can we believe any of their claims if they can't even get the speed of the machine right?'
The lower throughput is down to them needing to do a price-check when the Pervatron scanner thinks you're a Sainsbury's own-brand oven-ready badger.
They really need to team up with the US military:
They're looking to make synthetic meat as well.
In a manner of speaking.
Imagine if coppers had these!
'No, that's a Brasilian electrician.'
Now that the Dear Leader has solved the trivial problems of taxation, terrorism, climate change, economic meltdown, and food and energy shortages, he can turn his attention to the big issues.
BTW. Is it just me, or does Andy Burnham look like he's made from plastic?
You could burn down the whole state and still have money left over for a Baptist monster truck rally for that much.
Some of the reports say they pulled 10Gs during their landing.
The nice thing about Soyuz is that it's a very forgiving design. A normal re-entry should use the capsule's shape to develop some lift and reduce the load on the passengers, but if something goes wrong, the ballistic trajectory ensures that they get home in one piece.
The modern Soyuz is a relative of the Soviet Soyuz 7K-L1 probes (with the spooky name Zond) sent around the Moon between 1968 and 1970. These were designed to become the first manned missions to pass behind the Moon beating Apollo 8. At the time the Soviets knew they couldn't beat America to the landing, but they could get some publicity for the missions and test their lunar hardware. However,problems with the capsules and the Proton booster caused the manned program to be cancelled.
One of the problems with Zond was that it had a nasty tendency to make ballistic re-entries in excess of 20Gs.
That'd be nasty.
Zond returned some stunning, and rarely seen, images of the Earth and the Moon, you can see a few of them at:
Does this company come with its own mummy's curse? Everything touched by the name Commodore or Amiga turns to crap.
We really should suggest they take over Phorm's operations.
I really, really like the overdue addition of music to the promotional video - before I heard the soundtrack I doubted the Vulture*, but now - I'm sold.
Do you think the final version will come with the huge spotlight shown in the video? It'll be really useful for when I come home late at night and I've forgotten a flashlight.
* Not you guys obviously.
...would it be too low for American politicians to scupper the BAe turkey deal and then offer the Saudis a deal on F35s or F22s?
Yeah, yeah I know, rhetorical question.
I was expecting it in Playmobilivision
There's a handy rule of thumb that the speed of a chemical reaction doubles for every ten degree increase in temperature. So it'll be interesting to see if people in Alicante are complaining their disks have gone tits-up before the 48 hours expires, and if the frozen inhabitants of Kiruna are smugly watching their disks for a week.
In any case - 48 hours is a lot longer than it takes to rip a copy.
Choose piracy; the ecological choice.
Phorm's share price is a delight to behold. Whilst the FTSE 100 has pretty much moved sideways in the last few months, Phorm is now trading at about 1/3 of where it was in early March. Clearly investors don't have much faith in the brave new world of Webwise.
Long URL approaching:
No lower case? No sans-serif font?
I'd have done it properly for twice as much.
If a British accent in America can get you through the tightest security (and I can confirm it can get you a long long way) it can't be long before all al Qaeda operatives are sporting the finest Dick van Dyke accents.
'If their flight was delayed and their wife was waiting for them at the airport are they still OK with that?'
Spookily, all the airports I've ever used possess strange devices called 'Arrivals Boards' which tell the cognisenti the estimated times a plane will land and even say if the flight has been delayed.
From experience, the people on board a plane are usually the last to know if their flight is going to be late.
Has anyone thought of running the same survey to see if men are more willing to divulge their password for beer?