* Posts by Mike Richards

3587 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Rocket boffinry in pictures: Gulp the Devil's venom and light a match

Mike Richards

Re: Kerbal Space Programme....

And Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

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WTF is... the Quantified Self?

Mike Richards

Get up! Go to bed! Go faster! Stop! Eat this! Don't eat that!

Dude - save money and join the Marine Corps.

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Lost CASSiE search moves up a gear

Mike Richards

Can I raise the dread possibility that CASSIE has defected and is even now supplying North Korea with the necessary technology to bombard America with stratospheric Kinder eggs and soft toys?

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Pyongyang Photoshop tomfoolery shows wet Norks, skirts blown up

Mike Richards

Re: Good effort

The UK's best effort is the frankly pitiful faking of James Purnell's presence at a hospital opening:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7018729.stm

Maybe that would read better as 'the faking of the frankly pitiful James Purnell'?

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Roomba dust-bust bot bods one step closer to ROBOBUTLERS

Mike Richards

Well just as long as they can make a Roomba that doesn't have a preternatural attraction for cables. No matter how I arrange them, I can be sure that I'll come home to find a guilty looking robot hiding under the sofa sucking on a mains lead like that scene in Lady and the Tramp.

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Watch the skies: SPACE HEDGEHOG plunges to Earth in Oxfordshire

Mike Richards

It'll be tragically ironic if CASSIE landed on a dual carriageway.

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Reg man goes time travelling at iconic observatory

Mike Richards

Is there a physicist in the house?

Okay MERLIN is a whacking great long line of radio telescopes which thanks to maths way beyond my level lets you pretend you have a dish a couple of hundred kilometres across. So what's better about a virtual dish one square kilometre in size?

Please try to be gentle.

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Japan's rare earth discovery bad news for China's monopoly plans

Mike Richards

Re: China only has a monopoly on willingness to pollute

Lighter REE are more common than the heavy ones such as dysprosium, terbium, europium, and ytterbium. Many of the reserves being brought online in the last couple of years have not added much to the supply of the heavy REE whilst reducing China's grip on the light elements.

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The UK Energy Crisis in 3 simple awareness-raising pictures

Mike Richards

Re: Maybe not quite as bad as it's being painted

'Who knew Trinidad was a player in the Gas industry?'

Trinidad has lots of hydrocarbons; including a groovy asphalt lake and mud volcanoes.

http://www.richard-seaman.com/Travel/TrinidadAndTobago/Trinidad/PitchLake/

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Mike Richards

Re: Gas-based energy policy for a country with no (more) natives reserves?

You mean the 200 trillion cubic feet that may, or may not, actually exist?

Drilling two wells and claiming 200 trillion cubic feet of gas is a good way of propping up a share price; but it is a long way from proving there is actually 200 trillion cubic feet of gas (for which you need hundreds of wells) and even further from proving there is 200 trillion cubic feet (or even a tiny proportion of that) that is economically viable and can be recovered in a reasonable time.

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Mike Richards

This privatised energy market really is delivering isn't it?

They've had decades to build gas storage facilities and instead spunked money and effort on developing credit cards, buying the AA and DynoRod only to sell them off shortly after.

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Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop hailed oddest book title

Mike Richards

'How to avoid huge ships'

Another great title with something of a cult following on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Avoid-Huge-Ships-John-Trimmer/dp/0870334336

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Space probe spies MYSTERY 'Cold Spot' in very fabric of cosmos itself

Mike Richards

Re: Uneven expansion?

Your first explanation.

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Mike Richards

Easy

God's left the fridge door open.

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Dragons' Den badboy's Expansys burns sales, profits up in smoke

Mike Richards

Re: Well, they could try a competitive pricing policy

Selling things with UK plugs and English instructions would also be welcome.

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Paying a TV tax makes you happy - BBC

Mike Richards

Re: money handed to it on a plate

'Don't pensioners get free TV licences?'

I think it's only those 80+.

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Mike Richards

Re: I want to like the BBC

Re: back catalogues.

In most cases it is to do with licensing of music, video or pictures from other rights holders. The BBC licensed them for original broadcast only and they would need to be relicensed. An even worse situation exists for older dramas where they would need to clear the rights with the agents or estates of the performers.

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Review: Sony Xperia Z

Mike Richards

Re: I like the waterproof feature

Agree entirely about covers on charging ports. That was pretty much the one thing Nokia got wrong with the Lumia 800 whose cover was fiddly and fragile.

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Software bug halts Curiosity: Nuke lab bot in safe mode

Mike Richards

Re: Cursed Sun

It's not been the same since it was taken over by Oracle.

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World's largest solar collection plant opened in Abu Dhabi

Mike Richards

Re: space mirrors etc

You can store the heat of a solar thermal plant in oil, molten salt or supersaturated salty wate and draw the heat from them to keep turbines spinning.

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Elon Musk's 'Grasshopper' hover rocket scores another test success

Mike Richards

Not retro-futuristic enough

Do you think we can persuade Elon Musk to redesign it so as to more closely resemble Thunderbird 3?

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En Garde! Villagers FIGHT OFF FRENCH INVASION MENACE

Mike Richards

Signal strength

To rub things in, they're probably getting a better signal from the French network.

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Era of the Pharaohs: Climate was HOTTER THAN NOW, without CO2

Mike Richards

Re: Elevation changes

Alexandria was a particularly poor choice of Lewis' because sea levels there are very variable caused by (amongst other things), abstraction of fresh water from the aquifers, the compaction of the Nile Delta and especially the area slumping into the Med following the 365CE Cretan earthquake.

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

Mike Richards

Does Brazil (aka. the Home Office's Amazon wishlist) count as Science Fiction?

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Mike Richards

Strange Days

Bit of an underappreciated classic methinks. Directed by Katherine Bigelow who got the rights as part of her divorce settlement with James Cameron who wrote the script. It has dated a bit because they chose to set it in 2000 and the technology seems to involve MiniDiscs; but the idea of people recording their experiences seems somewhat prescient in the era of Google Glass.

The opening POV robbery is a work of genius and it has the amazing Angela Bassett as one of Cameron's strong female roles. There are a couple of incredibly violent scenes, including a rape, which some people might find too much.

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'Million-strong' zombie army devours Raspberry Pi's crunchy base

Mike Richards

Re: Motivation for DDOS attacks.

I'd have guesstimated that 100% of DDoS was down to pure twattery.

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Incoming comet will probably miss Mars, says NASA

Mike Richards

Re: "NASA's current prediction of the comet's path."

There's a better visualisation of the trajectory here:

http://spaceobs.org/en/news/page/2/

As you can see, the comet makes a tight turn around Mars before heading out again.

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Inside Lord Sugar's 'you're fired' YouView bust-up with TV baron

Mike Richards

Was it just me...

...thinking that this is crying out for a Playmobil reconstruction?

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Belgian boffins find colossal meteorite

Mike Richards

Re: Why...

It's a combination of reasons, there is little precipitation in Antarctica so they don't get covered by snow and ice, likewise no vegetation to hide them. Most meteorites are black so they really stand out on the ice. (Similarly, the North African desert is a good meteorite hunting site because the meteorites sit on the surface for thousands of years).

If you're doing a magnetic survey, iron and stony-iron meteorites will be immediately visible to the sensors. Finally, those that do eventually get covered by the ice are transported to ablation zones where the ice sublimes and melts leaving meteorites behind, so you can get enormous concentrations of meteoritic rock at the toe of glaciers.

HTH.

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Official: Sky to buy O2 and BE's home broadband product in £200m deal

Mike Richards

Judging by the reaction on the BE forums you're far from alone, there's a stampede for the exits going on. My 12 month contract expires next week and I won't be renewing.

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Mike Richards

Re: hhhmmmm?

Thanks, it looks like Zen (although their data allowance is miserly), PlusNet or Zilo for me. Anyone use the latter? I hadn't heard of them, but they seem to be quite appealing.

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Mike Richards

'Results in 404 - lol.'

I got a 403 when I followed the link from my email, so maybe it's a countdown?

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Mike Richards

Re: hhhmmmm?

One of the best ISPs has just been taken over by one of the worst (with extra Murdoch badness bonus).

Crap, it's getting really hard to find an ISP that gives a damn these days. Guess I'll have to start hunting all over again as soon as my 12 month BE contract expires, there's no way I'll put up with Sky's miserable service and ownership.

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Texan contends iPod EXPLODED IN HER FACE

Mike Richards

'medical bills of an astronomical "amount in excess of $600.00,"'

$600?

In the US that gets you an X-ray and a pack of aspirin.

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Ancient lost continent discovered lounging on Mauritian beach

Mike Richards

More likely you'll find that someone else on a higher paygrad grabs a bag full of sand and you spend a few years counting zircon grains.

Me? Bitter? Never.

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Mike Richards

Gondwana

The article conflates two supercontinents. Gondwana is the southern fragment of the Pangaea supercontinent, not part of Rodinia.

And Mantle plumes are only thought to be a partial explanation for continental breakup. They also appear to disintegrate when they get too big as the Mantle beneath their interiors becomes increasingly insulated, making them weaker. At the same time, large oceanic plates eventually cool and begin to subduct, pulling the continental plate apart.

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John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the 'net

Mike Richards

Re: Sweeney

'Isn't it ironic that the above was posted anonymously'

Xenu reveals himself in mysterious ways.

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Mike Richards

Re: Psychlos

Their 'bible' is 'Dianetics' which isn't nearly as good read as 'Battlefield Earth' (which is itself a shockingly bad book). You have been warned.

In case you're curious Xenu doesn't pop up in either book. You have to part with the big money to get treated to that story. Or just watch 'South Park'.

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Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

Mike Richards

Re: Sony have dropped the ball

I must be in a tiny minority, but I find the asymmetric angular shapes of the PS2 and PS3 to be bloody ugly. It's only that they're so black that prevents them being a complete eyesore. Much prefer the shape of the original 360.

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Mike Richards

Re: Price...

Commodity bits aren't always the bargain they seem.

Microsoft lost lots of money on the original Xbox hardware because they couldn't control the price of key components such as the CPU, graphics chip and hard disk. Specifying and co-designing their hardware pretty much from the ground-up for the 360 actually saved money in the long term.

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Oklahoma cops rake ashes of 'spontaneous combustion' victim

Mike Richards

Re: I thought this kind of thing had been explained as a 'wick effect'?

Wow! That brings back memories of the early 1980s. The Unexplained I should - erm - explain - not having spontananeously combusted myself.

To bring back another raft of memories, didn't QED do this experiment with a pig carcass wrapped in muslin? My memory isn't what it used to be and it's so very long since BBC1 actually did science programming.

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Mike Richards

It's Oklahoma so

It's either God or the Devil - the catch-all explanation for anything in the MidWest.

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Clarkson: 'I WILL find and KILL the spammers who hacked me'

Mike Richards

Re: OK by me

'Janet Jackson, in the Reliant Stadium, with a wardrobe malfunction.'

Colonel Mustard in the Library with the lead pipe.

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Mike Richards

If I was going to be hunted down by a celebrity assassin

'Former Dr Who actress Karen Gillan, who played Amy Pond in the series, was stung by a similar diet-pushing spambot. She did not respond to the intrusion with threats on the lives of the perpetrators.'

I'd rather it was the lovely Ms. Gillan and not Jeremy Clarkson. It'd have more of an Emma Peel vibe to it that way.

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Nature pulls ‘North Korean radioactivity’ story

Mike Richards

Re: Previous NK tests yeilded zero radioactivity

Fission-derived isotopes were detected after the first test from as far away as Canada, so it was definitely nuclear.

The real question this raises is why is North Korea so bad at making bombs? Every other country has been able to get 12-20kt out of their first nuclear test. NK's first test was 500t, their second 2.4kt, their third might be as much as 7kt.

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BBC: Monster cargo ship delivers '863 million tins of baked beans'

Mike Richards

Very disappointed

They should have said how many Olympic-sized swimming pools could be contained in the ship.

Or would they make it sink?

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Mike Richards

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Alternatively, the BBC was just indulging in some lazy churnalism from the Maersk press release. Check the second photo on the page - it's Times Square:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21432226

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Mega-rotund Dotcom's Mega gobbles up Bitcoin payments

Mike Richards

Re: Bitcoin A-go-go

I see the price of a Bitcoin has nearly doubled in the last month. Anyone like to speculate why?

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Russian boffins race to meteorite crash lake as shard prices go sky-high

Mike Richards

Berlin Wall

For a good few years there was a healthy market in East German concrete to gullible westerners.

If this meteor was indeed a stone rather than iron, there's going to be lots of people paying top sums for any old bit of rock.

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Wikipedia's Gibraltar 'moratorium' - how's it going?

Mike Richards

Re: Interesting...

Never been there, but I've got the impression that Gibraltar is like a Disneyland for Daily Express readers.

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