* Posts by Graham Dawson

1740 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Test burn on recycled SpaceX rocket shows almost all systems are go

Graham Dawson
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Except they aren't selling the rockets, they're selling use of them.

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Graham Dawson
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Webbing would not guarantee a stable stop. In order for it to not be destroyed by the rocket exhaust the engine would have to cut out quite some distance above it, in the range of tens of metres or more, which means a long unpowered drop toward a hard surface and a net that will be much more likely to fail than a controlled landing. Rocket goes crack, knackered components, fuel everywhere, big boom.

To make the net robust enough to catch the rocket without tearing apart you'd have to make it of some highly elastic material that still has a very high tensile strength, which means you're then dropping your rocket several tens of metres onto a giant trampoline, which will guarantee that your rocket begins to ascend with the wrong parts pointing toward the sky and descend shortly afterwards in an unpredictable location. So, even if the net holds, you have something taller than a house and full of volatile fuel flinging itself about in random directions and making an uncontrolled landing. Assuming it doesn't explode, the engines will almost certainly be damaged beyond repair by the impact.

Your docking clamp idea suffers the same problems of height and heat and adds a shitton of unnecessary complexity as well, not to mention time and fuel use. The rocket would have to come to a stop to be grabbed by the clamp, which means it would have to hover in place, using more fuel than a controlled landing and obviating the clamp's entire purpose - if you can hover the rocket, you can land the rocket, and that means you don't need the clamp. The reason why it has to hover is simple: if the rocket is still moving, it will impart energy to the clamp, by which I mean it will damage a complex piece of machinery. That adds repair time. It adds risk. There's also the very likely outcome of the clamp damaging the rocket, which more than likely results in - again - a big boom, at which point you've not only lost your engines, but you've also destroyed your docking clamp and have to rebuild it.

This is all assuming you're on a stable surface too. On the barge, you'd either have that big net swinging around like a trebuchet or you'd have the clamp waving about like a gigantic bat just waiting to slap the returning stage out of the sky.

So that's why.

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Apple's anti-malware Gatekeeper still useless: Security bloke reveals lingering holes

Graham Dawson
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Re: "It's their choice and they choose not to, fair enough."

Yes, actually, they do. Usually it's written along the lines of "X had yet to respond to requests for information at the time of publication", or words to that effect. It informs the reader that the article is incomplete and may be updated or may be followed if X ever decides to call back.

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2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you

Graham Dawson
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As you're leading us to infer, Nokia's attempt at a linuxy phone failed more due to marketing and internal divisional conflicts than anything about the quality of the device.

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Hillary Clinton says for crypto 'maybe the back door is the wrong door'

Graham Dawson
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Coat

<insert something about criminals going in through the wide open windows here>

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SpaceX launch is a go for Sunday after successful static fire completed

Graham Dawson
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Re: Routine Disasters

They use RP-1, essentially kerosene, which is also used in the first stage of Soyuz, the Delta family of rockets, Atlas and Zenit, and was used on the Saturn V first stage as well. It's pretty much the standard rocket fuel. The nazis used ethanol.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Star Wars Special Editions

Graham Dawson
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Re: @Voland's right hand ....you might as well put Jar Jar Binks in charge."

More than anything it was people saying "No george, that's stupid" in the originals that made them so great.

the first Star Wars as written was tight as an orphan's belt. The pacing was nearly perfect, at least partly in thanks to editors who told Lucas where he could stick his opinions. Nobody can do that now; he's too powerful. Nobody says no to him.

Without fail, practically every scene that was added to the remasters killed the pacing stone dead. Lucas has no idea about pacing, which is obvious from watching the prequels, which are a complete mess of meandering, go-nowhere scenes and pointless spectacle.

But that's George for you. He thought people liked Star Wars for the spectacle of its special effects, which brought him to blows with Irvin Kershner, who reckoned that telling a strong story about well-rounded characters was the key to success. Given that Kershner is the mind that brought us Empire and Lucas the one that brought us the CGI-laden farce that was the prequels, I think it's clear who was right.

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Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him

Graham Dawson
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@sabroni Re: Curious

the problem isn't that they've made the haystack bigger - you can still find a needle in an arbitrarily large haystack if you think and maybe use a magnet. The problem is that, by designating everyone as a potential suspect at all times, they've replaced the hay with needles and are now trying to find one needle amongst millions.

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NZ unfurls proposed new flag

Graham Dawson
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Re: Research

Off can mean deactivated, functionally an equivalent of death. La petite mort?

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Quite nice

We've still got the HMS Victory in drydock. She could probably be made seaworthy again without too much fuss.

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Microsoft drops dogma, open-sources Chakra JavaScript engine

Graham Dawson
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Think they'll try competing with node. js?

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Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Graham Dawson
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Re: Ah

3rd edition was probably the last good one.I still have my colonel schaefer's last chancers veteran unit lurking around here, a couple of cadian squads and a pair of leman russ, all done up in desert camo. I was pretty proud of that lot.

Then the dropped schaefer's squad before turning it into that generic shitty "penal legion". Basically every change since 3.5 has been one step or several further into the swamp. I gave up pretty quickly, not having the money to afford their rocketing prices, and abandoned the whole thing entirely for greener pastures. Looked back recently, find out they've completely nuked warhammer fantasy and dropped nearly everything that made the 40K world interesting, and realised that I'd got out at a pretty good time.

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WordPress.com ditches PHP for Calypso's JavaScript admin UI

Graham Dawson
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Re: The new WordPress is ditching its PHP code base for JavaScript,

type node.js into your search engine of choice

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Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Graham Dawson
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Re: "News"

They mean that hillary is the democrat equivalent of dick.

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Rdio's collapse another nail in the coffin of the 'digital economy'

Graham Dawson
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Re: As the Specials once sang "What a load of Bo**ocks"

I tried getting a job at my local Aldi once. Non-starter. They were full and expected no vacancies, unlike Tesco and Asda's constantly overturning workforce.

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BlackBerry Priv: Enterprise Android in a snazzy but functional package

Graham Dawson
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Re: Dual SIM

Been over a week and I still can't work out why I got downvotes for this. All I did was give a subjective opinion and then suggest a way people with similar thoughts might be better educated on the subject...

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Dual SIM

I keep seeing this mention of dual sim being a killer feature on a phone but I've honestly never encountered anyone in the wild who uses such a feature. It makes me wonder what sort of fields would favour something like that. Maybe el reg could do a survey?

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GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be 'sovereign cryptographic nation'

Graham Dawson
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@smudge Re: Paging David Cameron

Parse the sentence carefully. There's a change of subject from "the government" to "we". He never addresses the idea that "the government" wants to ban encryption, he only says that GCHQ doesn't want to ban it, presumably because suitably holed encryption is far better for GCHQ than no encryption. No encryption means subjects of interest make use of other, more secure means of communication. Encryption riddled with secret access tunnels means you get enough misplaced trust trust in the existing communication methods to give GCHQ a chance of nabbing someone.

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Linus Torvalds targeted by honeytraps, claims Eric S. Raymond

Graham Dawson
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I have a logitech C170 on my computer. Plugged it in, all worked instantly, even with the complete and utter shitefest that is Skype for Linux.

I don't know why people make such patently false claims like this when they know they're going to be proven wrong. I guess some people can't help themselves.

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Sun of a b... Solar winds blamed for ripping away Mars' atmosphere

Graham Dawson
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Re: Subtitle error

You've also created Trantor mk1.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Might it be an opportunity?

Assuming we were capable of that sort of mega-engineering project (which we will be one day, one hopes), I'm not sure it'd be beneficial as such. You'd end up coating the planet with a lot of ionised hydrogen... that said, the surface of mars is absolutely loaded with oxidised iron and other oxides of various sorts. Blasting them with a hydrogen plasma might actually liberate a fair amount of water. Possibly. I'm mostly pulling ideas out of my butt right now.

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Cash injection fuels SABRE spaceplane engine

Graham Dawson
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@sawatts Re: pull yer finger out

When (if?) it goes into production it will get you to LEO, and as any fule kno, getting to orbit means you're 90% of you way to anywhere, at least in terms of energy expended. So no, a sabre-powered craft probably won't take you directly to Mars, but it doesn't need to. It only needs to deliver you to ship that takes you on the last leg of the journey.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller special: The WHO bacon sarnie of death

Graham Dawson
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They're making that later. Probably around a day.

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Top cops demand access to the UK's entire web browsing history

Graham Dawson
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Obligatory Topical Reference

It's like they watched Spectre and thought "hey that's a pretty good idea!"

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Why was the modem down? Let us count the ways. And phone lines

Graham Dawson
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I remember trying that for a couple of head-to-head games of c&c and red alert. Must have been the last gasp of that particular faff.

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'Cancer-causing bacon would put a real dampner on processed pig sales'

Graham Dawson
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Re: A life without bacon

" Look at the vaccination BS spouted by a certain no-brain celeb as an example."

That's a pretty broad field.

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

Graham Dawson
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Sun's too highbrow, surely? He should try the daily mail.

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German football hero battles Nazi doppelgänger

Graham Dawson
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Re: Who needs this model anyway?

Nah, he's not camp enough.

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Temperature of Hell drops a few degrees – Microsoft emits SSH-for-Windows source code

Graham Dawson
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@anon Re: Good.

You mean "far more than is sensible"?

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BBC bypasses Linux kernel to make streaming videos flow

Graham Dawson
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Re: Didn't microsoft try that?

Jake, you're exactly backwards. MS pushed the graphics heap into the kernel in NT 4.0 in order to boost performance and it stayed there all the way through NT 5.0 and NT 5.1 (which you might know as Windows 2000 and XP). NT 6.0 moved most of the graphics heap out of the kernel and into userspace, but there is still a component running in kernel mode.

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Pixel C: Google has a crack at the fondleslab-with-keyboard game

Graham Dawson
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Microsoft? First? Allow me to point at my old TF101 and scream bullshit.

(this is of course ignoring the old, old "laptop that bends over to pretend to be a tablet but is really just a laptop" concept that MS pushed in the early naughties)

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PIGS IN SPAAAACE: HAMS send porker to 25,927m

Graham Dawson
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It's just a little airborne, it's still good! It's still good!

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Long-memoried boffins re-invent 1950s ferroelectric tech

Graham Dawson
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Re: Ferroelectric Memory

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure lobster sticks to it.

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Windows RT gets new Start menu – but no Cortana or Win 10 apps

Graham Dawson
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Re: Why call it a start menu?

Well. You have to start somewhere.

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You want to DISRUPT my TECH? How about I DISRUPT your FACE?

Graham Dawson
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Re: @TitterYeNot, re Nail Gun.

That would be the Ramset FrameMaster powder-actuated nail gun. It uses a .22 cartridge to fire a nail up to 1200 feet per second.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Fancy a ham and cheese 'dry tree trunk' sarnie?

Graham Dawson
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Re: Why do people like to stay ignorant and keep poisoning themselves?

Don't worry, they'll swap it all around again in another six months.

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Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY

Graham Dawson
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Re: A9 business cards ...

#notallbusinesscards

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Jeep Cherokee 2.2: Capable, comfortable ... but just not very Jeep

Graham Dawson
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the last worthy holder of the name Jeep Cherokee was the Cherokee Classic, from the days before that bloody "trail rated" badge.

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What time is it Oxford Dictionaries? How about almost ‘beer o’clock’

Graham Dawson
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@jake Re: @Graham Dawson (was: English is rubbish...)

The point was that while English is a germanic language and retains a certain germanic character, due to the early involvement of the French and a mingling with the celts - promoting a healthy appetite for new vocabulary - it hasn't resorted to the extreme character lengths of modern high German.

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Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

Re: English is rubbish...

You crack wise, but think of English if it had a wordstogetherstuckform. It would be a speech that greatlongwordenclosestuckmaked each time overgoingfolk had a newcraftwordneed for a notyetfeltthing.

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White Stork mates with ISS, delivers bundles of resupply joy

Graham Dawson
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Re: Dehydrated food

Yep, the food is freeze-dried and vacuum sealed as a preservation method, with the added benefit that it takes up less space in storage.

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Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Graham Dawson
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@wordsmith Re: 10 Year Wager £50

The terms were laid down explicitly.

£50 to a charity of your choice if humans are banned from driving on any existing classification of road anywhere in the UK in the next 10 years.

The bus is still driven by a human on a guided bus lane. All the lane does is guide the bus wheels while the driver accelerates and brakes. The driver is still in control. Humans are not banned from driving on guided bus lanes. Private transport is banned, but only for the same reason that you can't drive a car on a footpath or an off-street bike lane: they were never built for that purpose.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: The end of any driving pleasure

A road that uses induction to charge your car as you drive? Yeah, no... you'd be driving on a giant eddy current brake. Whatever charge you could pick up would be negated by the increased energy required to overcome the electromagnetic field holding you back.

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Amazon UK conditions 'exhausting', claims union

Graham Dawson
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Re: Not totally suprising

they all float down here, AC! They all float! And when you're down here, in the grease and fat running between the kitchen tiles, you'll float too!

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Graham Dawson
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We were all called "colleagues" when I worked at Asda, in some sort of attempt to make everyone seem like one big happy group of equals or something. This was before the Walmart buy-out as well, which means this particular bit of silliness was home-grown.

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EU clears UK to give £50m to SABRE space launcher engine

Graham Dawson
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@x 7

Rafale is the better plane too, built to the particular needs of the French rather than trying to be something for everyone. Sweden built the technologically equivalent Gripen without ever going anywhere near the Eurofighter program and came up with something similar to Rafale, but suited to the needs of the Swedish airforce. I'm not saying the French didn't cheat, but I am saying that they took the knowledge the acquired and turned it to something that was tailored specifically for French needs.

@lars "Please Mr Dawson, either you are a kid without any knowledge of European history or a complete idiot."

Condescend all you want, doesn't change what I said in the least.

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Graham Dawson
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Much as I want to get on a rant about the EU (which has progressively reduced the autonomy of its members to the point that they have to beg for permission to spend their own money)... yay for skylon! SSTO is the dream of space travel. Using an SSTO to get payloads to orbit would dramatically reduce the cost of assembling truly useful interplanetary and even interstellar spacecraft - though the latter would be a long time coming no matter what - and this sort of technology will form a fundamental part of any coherent space-based economy.

And then perhaps one day we can set up our libertarian utopias and socialist paradises away from the petty meddling of the bureaucrats. Or perhaps not... but at least, if Skylon takes off, we can try.

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NASA primed for 9-minute live test of mighty rocket motor

Graham Dawson
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Re: "Brain"

That mirror thing is not due to stupidity, but rather an overabundance of lawyers.

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Sane people, I BEG you: Stop the software defined moronocalypse

Graham Dawson
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Re: Might take a while

It was traditionally the architect. I think that would translate to senior management.

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Apple goes to crapple in stock plunge kerfaffle: $113bn wiped off in days

Graham Dawson
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Re: If Apple were an apple, what kind of apple would Apple be?

McIntosh is the cultivar you're thinking of.

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