3344 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
Re: Douglas Aviation
Maybe Douglas was good, but McDonnell Douglas produced the notorious DC10 - a plane which had a fatal design flaw in its cargo door (which opened outwards). The door blew open in flight on at least two occasions in early service, on one occasion the plane was brought back safely, on the other, in 1974, over 300 people died near Paris. Then there was the bad design of the hydraulic lines in the tail which meant that all of them could be lost (as happened at Sioux City in 1989).
The DC10 was eventually almost fixed, but it didn't really ever compete against the 747/767/777.
The reason you don't find so many elderly Boeings is that they've been forced out of service by ever more stringent noise regulations at most Western airports - hence the 707 and 727 are pretty much extinct. Comparing Boeing airliners to the DC3 is pretty unfair - the DC3 was replaced as a front-line airliner in the middle of the 1950s and those that soldiered on work far less hard than modern airliners in much more benign circumstances. There are plenty of 40 year old Boeings still in everyday service.
Problems with ICBMs
Is that they pop up on radars of countries like China, Russia, India and Pakistan making them all nervous that they're about to be wiped out in a thermonuclear barbecue.
Some of these countries have such poor command and control systems that the threshold for them to launch their own missiles at the enemy du jour is very low. By the time they realise the American missile was actually heading somewhere else, they've inadvertently started a nuclear war.
Which would be a bad thing.
This was the reason the Pentagon recently shelved plans to refit Trident missiles with conventional warheads.
A hypersonic bomber (how Gerry Anderson is that???) won't risk us all developing body cancer when Hillary Clinton's successor decides to bomb a random country in Central Asia.
Nappy-wearing psychopaths need not apply.
I've got an N95 and I'm baffled by the rapturous comments it seems to attract from (if it were an Apple product would be called) fanbois.
The N95's build quality is pretty indifferent for a phone that was released at the £600 mark (how many people have commented on the shock news a fairly elderly handset costs less than a new one?)
The N95 was released unfit for market; its software stability was only fixed in the latest (PC only) software update. The call quality is only so-so, WiFi reception is frankly shocking, but is immeasurably better than the 20 minute lock-on, if you're lucky, GPS.
But most of all, the reason the N95 isn't a terribly good phone is that it has an appalling, illogical user interface. Options are buried who knows how many levels deep behind a sluggish interface that is accessed through a key layout designed for a phone ten years ago.
I've spent time with the iPhone and it is a better smart(ish) phone than the N95. Not because of its technology, but because the thing actually works in a timely intuitive manner.
And, yes, I will get one.
Buy shares in Taser!
It's the Labour Party conference next week and the last thing the Cabinet wants are inconvenient questions from the delegates. Organisers can now relax in the certain knowledge that a spot of light tasering will stop anyone introducing democracy into the proceedings.
How Condi could help
She could rescind Order 17 of the Coalition Provisional Authority that prevents Iraqis from suing contractors in domestic courts or even putting them on trial.
We know the Americans won't extradite suspects to international or foreign courts, and there's no obvious way Iraqis could get justice in the American court system, so the CPA law has to be struck down.
But I won't hold my breath.
Re: They want free Microsoft money
It's worth pointing out that Microsoft has denied making any payment to Paramount for their support of HD DVD.
I think people are over-stressing Microsoft's commitment to HD DVD, after all they've had plenty of time to incorporate it into the XBox 360 and failed to do so. Why would they miss the opportunity to grab a huge new market for their preferred format?
Unless of course HD DVD isn't Microsoft's chosen technology. It might just be a transitional relatively low risk technology whilst they get their XBox Live Video Store ready for worldwide rollout. At that point Microsoft owns the codecs, the player software, the network and the playback device.
If anything it's in Microsoft's interest to see Blu Ray and HD DVD beat one another to pulp.
PC World know they're wrong on this one - not because of Linux, but because of the consumer's rights under the Sale of Goods Act which uses a legal term called 'strict liability' - essentially, PC World have to prove that there was no manufacturing defect with the machine.
The consequences for a company found to breach SoGA are deliciously many, varied and nasty.
If you have trouble with a product breaking or being defective, take it back to the retailer (with whom you have the contract - not the manufacturer), if they object, mention SoGA and trading standards.
I just got a out of warranty Toshiba TV repaired gratis because of a manufacturing fault with the HDMI card. Toshiba, unlike PC World, were completely professional about the whole situation.
What is it with governments wanting to inspire people?
According to politicians, the Millennium Dome would whip Britain into a 21st Century frenzy something like Friday night in ancient Babylon.
The same people told us the Queen's Golden Jubilee would result in such levels of inspiration we'd all have to lie down afterwards.
Come the 2012 publicly-funded East End drugfest we're expecting to be awash in a tsunami of soft-focus inspiration.
Now they're saying the country needs an inspirational manned space programme.
I don't think I can take any more publicly funded inspiration. It's just depressing me.
But, I could be a whole lot more inspired if the government just gave me thousands of Pounds of inspiration in cash form.
'policeman being hit with a watermelon'
the ad ends on an uplifting note with Paddington being shot dead by the Met as a terrorist threat.
Who's bright idea was it to allow the Swedes sail a warship up the Thames?
The last time that happened they get drunk, indulged in copious recreational theft, set light to the place and took all our beautiful women!
(Though we did get our own back by having their longship clamped in Liverpool)
DVD + HD DVD
Already here (sort of). My HD DVD of '300' has the regular DVD on one side and the HD version on the other. A great idea for homes that have just one HD player and a whole stack of DVD players.
Perhaps the most pressing question about this auction (okay maybe not *THE MOST* pressing, but it's pretty damn pressing all the same) is - why is there a tarantula crawling out of that lady's panties?
At the very least it seems somewhat unwholesome bordering on insanitary with a certain frisson of medical peril involving a trip to A&E, some embarassing questions and a whole lot of antivenom.
Giant venomous spiders can't be *the* secret of sexual seduction can it?
I must admit that neither Ann Summers or I have never considered the romantic prospects of a Valentine's Day bird-eating spider. You never know, in years to come, the a candlelit dinner for two might not be considered complete until the man produces a bunch of tropical arachnids and some crotchless panties for his lady friend.
Private companies, public money
Of course what the government carefully ignores in the question is whether large amounts of public money will be spent on the new nuclear stations - either as direct subsidies for their construction, or soft money in the form of underwriting, insurance and decommissioning costs.
Private nuclear power hasn't got a glittering economic record; the lousy return on investment was as big a reason as TMI for nuclear power falling out of favour in the US. In Britain, where we have no record of nuclear construction for twenty years and where there is unlikely to be long production lines of new reactors, and where there is already plenty of gas fired production, the economics are going to be worse.
Poster on the left
'Shame U didn't get UR passport m8
'Been learnin breaststroke wiv the laydeeeez!
get Home Secretary David Blunkett into all sorts of trouble a while back?
People are quite right that spent fuel can be recycled into new nuclear fuel, spinning out our uranium reserves almost indefinitely, but they're ignoring a couple of facts:
1: reprocessing has proved to be commercially disastrous - if we're going to reprocess fuel we're going to have to accept higher energy costs which eats away at nuclear's competitiveness against renewables. But the biggest problem is:
2: reprocessing produces plutonium. Iran is currently developing reprocessing technology within its IAEA remit, but this is making people nervous. Can we allow a world where any government can produce plutonium on an industrial scale? Or should we only allow certain countries to reprocess? There is no way that the big 5 nuclear powers would allow an international body to control plutonium stocks, so the question looks almost unanswerable.
Come on - have the environmentalists really taken this long to work out that government consultation is cleverly designed to ignore public opinion. After many years of New Labour big-tentery they've honed meaningless consultation into a fine art. It can be done in a number of ways:
1: The consultation is announced on Page 97 of the Dagenham Advertiser buried in the small ads somewhere between 'lovely puppies, very nearly normal, buy them or its a short trip to the canal with a sack' and 'intimate massage, will bring own rubber gloves, TCP and Swarfega'.
2: The consultation is widely announced, but the important public meeting at which the final decision is taken is held on Cup Final afternoon in a small village hall somewhere in Orkney. (Really devious departments slip a few backhanders to the Met Office to make sure the forecasts include suitable travel warnings because of waterspouts and sea serpents)
3: The consultation is widely announced and allows people to answer challenging questions such as:
'Do you support terrorism? YES/NO'
Those who answer NO find themselves waking up to all sorts of new, highly dubious, dreamt up on the back of a fag packet, Magna-Carta busting legislation. Those answering YES find themselves waking up at the sharp end of a police officer's size 14 to the snap of the rubber glove of freedom (this service is also available through the small ads section of the Dagenham Advertiser - just below the puppies).
So quite what FotE and Greenpeace were expecting from the exercise is quite beyond me. Even if it hadn't been held on Rockall, there would have been a bonding activity where members of the public would be greeted by a middle-aged woman who could benefit from Ritalin encouraging them to come up with green power source in 20 minutes without breaking any laws of physics. Anyone who failed would (sadly) be excluded from the consultation exercise. Anyone who managed it would be hustled away by MI6 and their grey alien handlers for a private tour of the local quicklime pit.
Just to warn off the terminally enthusiastic who ignored the talk of waterspouts and found their own way to Rockall; the government can always offer the enticing prospect of meeting the likes of Andy Burnham and Hazel Blears. That thought should have any sane person huddling under the duvet awaiting the rosy glow of New Labour fission.
We'd also best stop the BBC discussing evolution because it conflicts with guidance from the Kansas School Board. Clearly the Big Bang is also out since it causes grave offence to believers in invisible beards. However, the evidence of a common human ancestor from mitochondrial DNA can be talked about, just so long as equal time is given to celebrity readings of 'Mein Kampf'.
'Welcome to Britain...'
'...Now just hawk up a loogie for immigration'
Wow! They've actually found a way to make the foetid concrete sarcophagus of Heathrow even less appealing than it is right now.
I just hope they provide a suitable selection of pictures for us to gob at - I'd find it hard to choose between Tony McNulty, Lord Justice Sedley or (Dr.) Gillian McKeith.
Never understood why this was so unpopular
To me the Foleo looked like it might be a replacement for devices like the Psion 5 - ones you could do serious work on without worrying about the battery life.
Devices in that market have pretty much vanished, but many's the time I want something bigger than a smartphone, but less powerful than a laptop.
Am I alone?
Come on folks - get real, this is going to be a German product - designed with typical Teutonic precision and thoroughness for the optimal consumer experience.
When you inadvertantly install the trojan; it will distract you with a breezy Hasselhoffian anthem and shimmer with pictures of pleasingly racially diverse groups of children playing amongst September sunflowers.
Then you'll have to read the EULA (available in five different languages, Braille, sign and mime); agree to have all your personal information sent to the BKA (unless of course you don't want to); click through the compulsory instructions on what to do about recycling the product when it reaches the end of its lifespan (just look for the green dot) and THEN you'll be ready to be subverted.
Mirrors won't protect against a sufficently powerful laser. There's no such thing as a perfect mirror, so the surface would absorb a small amount of the radiation, heat up and eventually blow the booster apart.
How much laser energy you'd need is a matter for someone better qualified in physics; I got bored with the subject just as soon as my GCE teacher, Mr. Sampson, said we couldn't use the cobalt 60 source to develop our own superpowers. No sense of fun that man.
So the Home Office throws millions at another dubious IT project on the same day that the Ministry of Justice (ex. Home Office) quietly suspends the hopeless C-NOMIS project. The expects fully expect that some £244 million of taxpayer's money will have to be written off, including a bumper £50 million cancellation fee to everyone's favourite IT provider: EDS.
So you've spent nine hours crammed into a high-speed veal cart collecting an exciting range of circulatory and respitory diseases; your high-sodium polystyrene meal 'served' by borderline psychopathic cabin crew; trying to fill out the minuscule immigration card all to the soundtrack of seventeen wailing children; only to find your baggage is taking a private tour of some of Eastern Europe's finest airports - and you're *NOT* meant to be feeling hostile towards the people keeping you queuing for another hour?
'If, for example, 10 civilisations, each with a lifespan of 250,000 years, live within radio reach of Earth, the probability that one of them will be detected is about nine per cent.'
Which is about a 8.9% higher probability than me being able to get a decent signal from Virgin cable.
There's still no way of telling how many repeat visitors are not being matched against their previous biometric reading. No match, no problem, go on through sir.
When I visited LA last September the US VISIT system didn't record that I'd been in the US as recently as June. When the immigration officer asked about my previous visit, I said I'd entered via Minneapolis at the end of June - nothing on record. But the system did think I'd been to Washington DC in 2005 - I hadn't.
The guy didn't seem terribly surprised that my current biometrics weren't in the system and that it was throwing up spurious matches. Some reassurance there!
The whole biometrics mantra is security theatre at its finest and Liam Byrne's not clever enough to work this out.
Getting our own back
Just to be bloody awkward about it, can Britain please start fingerprinting Americans when they come here? Sorry USAians, it's your fault.
America is great, but the immigration sucks.
Not content with giving us miniscule green forms containing dozens of tiny hidden checkboxes, and a tricky quiz asking if you've ever been a member of the Nazi Party (but strangely not Al Qaeda), the US has decided we all need to be fingerprinted with a gazillion dollars worth of fingerprint technology and our eyes scanned with a $10 webcam.
It takes forever, the technology is slightly less reliable than a hamster-powered Austin Allegro and it's not exactly the 'Welcome to America' you need after eating ready-salted polystyrene in a British Airways thrombosis-special veal crate.
So we should welcome Americans the same way - but this time with BRITISH technology. The fingerprint scanner will cost even more than the American one, but it will be finished in walnut trimmed green leather, and the webcam will be stuck on with parcel tape.
After no more than thirty or forty minutes, happy Americans will step out of the dank bowels of Gatwick South to be welcomed by an upside-down Silver Jubilee surplus Union flag, a large banner drawn by local children reading 'WELCOM 2 BRITUN' and a burly minimum-wage guard stretching a latex glove.
'Disappointingly for fans of Armageddon, the NASA asteroid-defence mission included no role for any eccentric oil-drilling experts, nor even any straight-arrow astronauts. '
But can we pack Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck off there anyway?
Not understanding all the sound and fury
iPlayer is an ADDITIONAL service from the BBC; no one has lost anything from its introduction.
All of the BBC's output is still being pumped out on analogue and digital in regular and high definition. Any TV sold in the last few decades can receive BBC broadcasting. TiVo can still record BBC programmes, as can Sky+, EyeTV, a DVD recorder or even a VCR.
I can't get digital in my area and I'd need to borrow Jodrell Bank if I want satellite reception, but I'm not screaming that the BBC is corrupt for providing those options to those who can use the service.
As a Mac I can't use iPlayer - so what?
'Perhaps reasoning that the German “assault rifle” concept couldn’t have been so all-fired clever or the Germans would have won the war*'
The old-fashioned 'not invented here syndrome'.
Strangely the Americans weren't so reticent about all those other dead-end German inventions of World War II - ballistic, cruise and anti-tank missiles; TV-guided bombs, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank guns, nerve gas, swept and delta wings' practical helicopters...
...oh and Fanta.
Wrong way round
The police and New Labour would do better to declare everyone in the UK a criminal (actual or incipient).
We can then be individually crossed off that list and declared innocent after suitable checks are conducted; either by the police using their contacts in the funny handshake brigade, or by the government after suitable financial donations to the Party .
Screw the petrol...
The important phrase here is: "ethanol made from milk".
That's ethanol as in drink.
At last! Milk can shed its cosy childhood image and become a nutritious oblivion juice for adults.
*Can* explosively decompose into nitrogen and oxygen at high temperatures, but that shouldn't have happened here. The reports say this was a cold-flow test of the oxidiser without a fuel source being present present.
So it's more likely to have been a catatrophic failure of a pressure vessel rather than a chemical explosion.
Horrible all the same.
UK HD-DVD drive
If you shop around you can usually find the 360 drive as low as £99; when you throw in the fact the US price is exclusive of sales tax, the prices are more or less comparable. But an official cut would be nice.
It's a shame HD-DVD is lagging, at the moment it is coming without region control and it offers Internet access as standard (unlike the original Blu-ray spec), so it offers greater prospects for interactivity - the '300' disk for instance allows people to re-edit the movie and post their own mash-ups to a central site - a nice idea with plenty of potential.
As for sound quality, my 360 HD-DVD combo sounds just fine.
Folks, it's time for each of us to dig deep and help the literally dozens of pensionable rockers out there who, through no fault of their own, are getting old.
One, let's call him Roger, hasn't had a hit for decades and will soon be unable to afford even a single Lear Jet. Roger's "not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours". Your money could keep him in high performance sports cars for the rest of his life. Is it really so much to ask?
It's heartbreaking that unfair copyright legislation will soon reduce Cliff Richard to a single desert island whilst his American contemporaries can buy entire archipelagoes.
But you, and CliffAid, can help these sad cases. 'Mistletoe and Wine : The Ibiza Dub Remix' is available in all good music shops right now for only £59.99.
CliffAid is a wholly owned subsidiary of Phonographic Performance Limited : enforcing copyright since the early Mesozoic.
Re: 'Who is right - has this concept been proven?'
Not the way described - I'd imagine the biometric data is reduced to a hash value using one of the standard algorithms. That's a one-way process.
However, you are then at the mercy of the security of the hash function - does it genuinely produce unique values for each input? Or is it possible to spoof the hash in a reasonable amount of time so that two different inputs can be forced to produce the same hash?
Blame bin Laden
Personally I'm a little disappointed that the government has missed the opportunity to blame the current flooding on al Qaeda.
In the good old days of John Reid or Mad Mullah Blinkett we would have had tanks (possibly amphibious ones) on the streets (or as I like to think of them - canals) of Gloucester by now.
Whilst the pedants circle
Shouldn't that be a probability of 0.0002 that someone innocently out walking could be struck by a deorbiting Smeg?
If it happens, it'll look lousy on the insurance claim and the poor sod can guarantee something of an afterlife as a humourous footnote in every newspaper in the World.
Well with an attitude like that...
I just hope Heavey RF aren't planning to work on government contracts any time soon. Blindly condemning a technology for not being robust enough, affordable or appropriate won't get them any public contracts.
If Heavey RF want to become a serious player in the competitive world of porkbarrel IT they need to start arguing that the only problem with RFID is that it's not nearly expensive enough.
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