* Posts by Mike Richards

3602 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Ancient lost continent discovered lounging on Mauritian beach

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

3
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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?

0
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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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HYPERSONIC METEOR smashes into Russia, injuring hundreds

Mike Richards

Re: On the seismograph

The 6.6. is quite interesting as it's in a region where the plate boundary between the Eurasian and North American plate isn't well understood.

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Mike Richards

Nitpicking...

'Up to 500 people are believed to be injured after a meteorite blazed through the sky'

That would be a meteor blazing through the sky from which meteorites might have been recovered.

I now return you to the scheduled iOS versus Apple flamewar.

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Forget wireless power for phones - Korea's doing it for BUSES

Mike Richards

One day we'll wake up

To find someone's nicked the M25 for copper.

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Which volcanoes impacted ancient climate? Sulphur tells the story

Mike Richards

Re: The chances of it discriminating accurately between 535 and 541

The 535 event is intriguing because it is even larger in magnitude and area than the 1816 'Year without a summer' caused by Mount Tambora. Reports of incredibly cold winters, crop failure and dry sulfurous fogs extend from Northern Europe to China, the Middle East and South America.

A volcano is the most likely cause, but one at high latitudes (such as those in Iceland) would be unlikely to affect the Southern Hemisphere, so efforts have previously concentrated on suitably monstrous mountains in the tropics including Rabaul (New Guinea (erupting right now)) and Lake Ilopango (El Salvador). To cause the drop in temperatures it would have to be a VEI 7 eruption - think ten Pinatubos or one-thousand Eyjafjallajökulls. Last year there was also a suggestion it might have been caused by a devastating, eruption of Krakatau previously dated to 416 from Javanese historical records. There is however little geological evidence at Krakatau of an eruption in the mid-6th Century.

Going back to Iceland, if they can find a sulfur spike in a core from the Greenland cap (which can be pretty easily dated to individual years) which has a sulfur isotope imbalance they can ascribe it to a large event in Iceland at a fixed time. Most Icelandic eruptions don't inject much sulfur into the stratosphere, so for the isotopes to be buggered it would have to be a big one along the lines of the VEI 6 Eldgjá and Laki eruptions of 934 and 1783 respectively - neither of which did much good to the environment.

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NASA melts mysterious 'metal Martian flower' myth

Mike Richards

Re: I'm no nutter (well, maybe) but...

'im no geologist but im guessing this happens over periods of hundreds of thousands of years.'

Yep. or as a geologist would say 'almost instantly'.

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Rogue Squadron: Unit of X-wings Kickstarts in response to Death Star

Mike Richards

Many.

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Montana TV warns of ZOMBIE ATTACK in epic prank hack

Mike Richards

Are we sure this is a spoof?

Does anyone know *anyone* in Montana?

It'd be the perfect spot for the dead to rise from their graves and establish their empire without being noticed until they'd taken over the ICBM silos.

2
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Playmobil punts bank-heist set to wide-eyed kiddies

Mike Richards

Re: Tut tut, elReg, please do your research.

Sweden, Luxembourg, France, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Romania?

I wonder if that donkey was eligible for Airmiles.

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Mike Richards

Pressure groups

They always have such stupid names 'Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime'

Like there's a Communities For Gun and Knife Crime lobby group somewhere.

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Pope resigns months after launching social networking effort

Mike Richards

Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

Rupert Murdoch is not only a Catholic, he is a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

As is Jimmy Savile.

Clearly the entrance requirements might need tightening up.

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Mike Richards

Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

'He's lasted 7 years. In industry, what CEO presiding over falling customer numbers, reduced income, and general staff dissatisfaction, would have lasted so long? Especially as his recipe for fixing the problems as "OK, let's do things like we did last century. Or preferably the one before."'

We have all been wondering what it would take for Ballmer to step down from Microsoft.

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Curiosity photographs mysterious metal object on Martian rock

Mike Richards

I remember this

'You are in a 20-foot depression floored with bare dirt. Set into the dirt is a strong steel grate mounted in concrete. A dry streambed leads into the depression.

The grate is locked.'

>

Use the key! Use the key!

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British games company says it owns the idea of space marines

Mike Richards

Other Games Workshop trademarks

Include: Orc, Goblin, Undead, Codex, Inferno, Inquisitor, Marauder, Dwarf, Elves, Terra, Mars, Armageddon, Halfling and Ogre.

In a way you have to admire them for their brass necks.

1
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Apple serves up 25 BEEELLIONTH iTunes download

Mike Richards

14,000 years of Coldplay

That's the lift music in Hell.

8
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The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

Mike Richards

Re: BAE 89% on budget --- after being paid for features that are not delivered

Is the MoD/BAE definition of 'on budget' along the same lines as First Great Western's definition of 'on time'?

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Mike Richards

Re: Eh?

@TheBigYin 'Also, why wasn't the feckin' thing nuclear?'

Oh Jesus, can you imagine how much BAE would shaft us for a nuclear carrier?

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Mike Richards

Re: It's this bit that worries me the most:

The folks in the MoD are all planning their move to BAE, so it's in their interests to send work BAE's way and to fatten them up nicely.

Remember the carrier contract when the government next says we have to lay off thousands of soldiers, police, NHS workers and the like - for 'austerity'.

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NASA deep space probe sends back video of 'Comet of the Century'

Mike Richards

Re: Was anybody else...

It really needed a theramin soundtrack.

8
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Solar undercuts coal in New Mexico

Mike Richards

Re: We've had wind and solar power, like forever.

No it didn't. The Industrial Revolution got going with water power. Coal came later.

1
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Mike Richards

Re: El Reg need better researchers...

Montana gets about 60% of its power by burning local coal which comes in huge, flat beds and is very low cost. Another third comes from hydropower.

2
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Google's Glasses: The tech with specs appeal?

Mike Richards

Re: To sum the article...

'Still its friday, so might find time for some fermented vegetable products.'

Is it my turn to buy the sauerkraut already?

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Mike Richards

Re: What's needed is ......

That's not a headband - it's a bandana!

1980s action hero approved.

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Oh, Sony, you big tease: Mystery PlayStation reveal date set

Mike Richards

Biggest question

Has to be 'what will Sony do to shoot itself in its foot this time round?'

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Space Shuttle Columbia disaster remembered 10 years on

Mike Richards

Re: Killed by numeric overflow?

CRATER was the wrong tool. It was designed to predict ice damage during the time between the main engines fired and take-off and for analysing post-flight damage. It was never intended to provide information about impacts in-flight. Unfortunately, NASA didn't have an in-flight tool to help them come to a decision, so CRATER was the best they had and it predicted serious damage to the wing.

However, CRATER's authors at Boeing recommended ignoring the program's results. The designers knew that CRATER predicted more damage from small ice impacts (which it was designed to calculate) than were found after the Shuttle returned to Earth. They extrapolated this to mean that the software would make even grievous errors when it was asked to predict the impact of an object six-hundred times larger and of a lower density.

Independently the designers of the tiles were confident the more dense inner surface of the tiles would be safe against the impact of a low-density piece of foam.

When these two opinions were combined it sounded almost rational that there wasn't a problem that couldn't be fixed between flights.

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Mike Richards

Re: Killed by numeric overflow?

Atlantis was almost destroyed in a similar foam-shedding incident on STS-27. In that case they got the Shuttle home, but they were very lucky that the damage hadn't hit the leading edge of the wing. But in places the tiles had been destroyed and it was bare metal.

It was kept very quiet for a long time because the mission was a DoD flight, but Astronaut Mike Mullane gives a huge amount of detail in the utterly brilliant "Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut".

More info and super scary photos of the damage here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-27

2
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LOHAN teases with quick flash of spaceplane

Mike Richards

Re: says

'Looks like someone has been channelling Chesley Bonestell.'

Or Wile E Coyote.

0
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The Oric-1 is 30

Mike Richards

Is it really 30 years ago

That I was being told to go outside and play in the sun when I'd rather be playing Level 9 adventures on an Oric 1?

4
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Climate shocker: Carry on as we are until 2050, planet will be FINE

Mike Richards

It'll be interesting to see the detailed reviews of this research, especially the validity of the modelling which the researchers admit is relatively simple. Any review might take some time as they have used a heavily statistical approach using Bayesian probabilities, the values of which are always open to argument - but hey this is computer modelling - what's new?

I think this is their key paper:

http://folk.uio.no/gunnarmy/paper/aldrin_env_2012.pdf

Maths fans will love it.

1
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Hackers on anti-Egypt spree bury Egyptology journal in the sand

Mike Richards

Re: Huh?

Generally Egyptians are incredibly proud of their heritage, but some Muslims have problems with it being an amazingly successful polytheistic civilisation that celebrated the human body. Sadly some of these people are senior politicians in the Salafist parties. So far none of them have called for the destruction of archaeological remains, but there have been calls for statues and inscriptions to be covered in wax. This is part of a general attack on Egyptian culture where writers and journalists are coming under increasing attack.

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Mobes, web filth 'PORNIFYING' our kids, warns top Labour MP

Mike Richards

Re: Open challenge to Diane Abbott

Abbott's speech might have ben prompted by a Channel 4 News investigation late last year which showed that one of the biggest problems is children using SMS and MMS to send inappropriate content or to bully one another. Some of the interviewees had pretty disturbing stories of being bombarded by unpleasant messages or photos of other kids genitals but were too scared or embarrassed to take the matter up with their phone company, parents or teachers.

The other point in the article about sexualised clothing is nothing to do with blaming women for dressing inappropriately when they're attacked; its to do with selling one body image and one way of behaving - one that is nothing to do with childhood. You have to wonder what goes through the minds of clothing designers and retailers who produce lines that might as well be called Little Miss Streetwalker. I'm pretty sure I'd want them nowhere near my children.

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Review: Infiniti M35h hybrid sports saloon

Mike Richards

Re: A pretty car...

It's not pretty - but it's a lot better looking than Nissan's other cars which all seem to have more than a bit of amphibian in their genome. The Juke in particular could be used to scare children.

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Greedy Sky admits: We crippled broadband with TOO MANY users

Mike Richards

'One user of the ADSL service went public to report that his or her download speeds dropped to 2Mbps:'

2Mbps? Where do I sign up?

12
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Game over for Atari? One life left as biz files for bankruptcy protection

Mike Richards

'Was this Atari even remotely anything to do with the old Atari? or was it just a brand purchased and slapped on substandard junk to sell it just like Commodore.'

Sadly there's little if anything left of the original Atari.

The company has been sliced and diced repeatedly by asset-strippers.

Up until 1984 it was a real pioneer with a huge research division doing things like high-speed networking, computer music and interactive learning environments. When Warner Bros sold it, they split Atari down the middle into a games division (Atari Games) and one for hardware (Atari Computer).

The games people did pretty well for a while and eventually ended up being taken up by NAMCO. Atari Computer was always underfunded and its ST computers couldn't keep up with the developing PC, and the consoles couldn't match Sega or Nintendo, so Atari Computer was eventually sold for a pittance to a joystick manufacturer. They in turn sold the brand and IP on to Hasbro for something like $5 million. Hasbro then got taken over by Infogrames Entertainment SA.

Inforgrames renamed their existing GT Interactive division as Infogrames Inc and then as Atari SA which they've used to publish both new games and old titles under the Atari name.

It's just a name, but it's sad to see Atari in this situation once again. I suspect the name will go to yet another owner who cares little or nothing for its history of innovation.

2
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Inside the new climate row as Mystic Met Office goes cool on warming

Mike Richards

Re: The meme that there has been no warming in 16 years is false

I assume Andrew has also read this peer-reviewed paper (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0375960112010389) which demonstrates that over 90% of the Earth's heat imbalance is being stored in the oceans rather than going to warm the surface. Surface temperatures might be rising only very slightly, but the Earth as a whole is warming strongly.

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'Doomsday' asteroid Apophis more massive than first thought

Mike Richards

Re: Bye Bruce...

I'm a bit worried by this news. Bruce is going to be (say it quietly) really old by the time this monster comes to wreak Michael Bay style havoc on Hollywood.

So shouldn't we pop him in the freezer to keep him fresh for the inevitable (and entirely logical) drill-a-hole-an-bung-in-a-nuke shuttle mission that will save mankind to the sound of Aerosmith? A quick spell alongside the oven chips will also have the beneficial side effect of stopping him making movies.

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