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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1446 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Battle of the US super-soldier robot suits hots up with XOS 2.0

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

Actually...

You'd be surprised how hard it is to set fire to petrol, and especially diesel. Shoot a car in the petrol tank and it makes a hole, hollywood explosions notwithstanding. Shoot a l-ion battery and it is almost guaranteed to go bang. That's the difference.

Petrol is volatile when it's in a gaseous form, but in a liquid form it's relatively non-volatile. That's one of the reasons it's so great as a fuel, as it can be stored in a relatively safe form that has a very high energy density. As long as the future exoskeleton has a nice high impact non-metallic tank to sore the fuel in it'll be safer than lugging around a pack of batteries that have a not insignificant chance of spontaneously exploding.

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Moses' parting of the Red Sea: New sim explains whole thing

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

To the wiki!

Roger, though I'm sure relying in wikipedia is seen in the same vein as having a faith around here, I did check before I posted. 65 mph is within the range of a category 1 hurricane for the north atlantic according to the wiki page on the subject. Now maybe they got the table wrong but, nevertheless, "only" 65mph (or 63 - me make typo) is more than a "stiff breeze". It's the sort of wind that pulls trees out of the ground. You'd have trouble walking down the road in it, never mind across a recently exposed mudpit in a river delta, carrying all your wordly posessions while egyptians on chariots chase you.

And @ac: no, don't be silly. If science could prove a biblical account christians the world over would rejoice in it and call it a new era of understanding as two factions finally find common ground.

Actually science and faith don't have to be opposed to each other. All the greatest scientists of the past were deists at the very least, an usually quite prominent in their particular faith and it's only the whole evolution thing that has really created a problem - but that's due to a historical fluke, of certain people in the generation prior to Darwin time seeing what was then the nascent theory of evolution as a means to abolish all sorts of established social mores, not just limited to faith. Darwin, a christian himself when he began writing the Origin of the Species, was shocked at the ferocity of the rejection of his ideas by the church and gave up his faith, but that rejection came because the church couldn't see past the actions of other, earlier proto-evolutionists who had used the idea of evolution as a weapon to attack the church; christians believed he was going to do the same thing and rejected him outright. Without that, christianity could easily have come to an accommodation with evolutionary theory because, at the base of things, it doesn't actually rule out the existence of God but merely changes and expands our understanding of how stuff happened.

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Graham Dawson
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Speaking as a christian...

... surely the biggest miracle in this scenario is that several hundred thousand people would be able to walk across a mud-flat in "only" 65 mph winds given that they're "only" the same wind-speeds you'd find in a category 1 hurricane.

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UK passes buck on Europe's cookie law with copy-paste proposal

Graham Dawson
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Er...

Directives from the Commission *are* "EU law." The commission issues directives after they've been assembled by the Council of Ministers relevant to the particular area covered by the directive. Directives are routinely issued as regulatory directives that bypass the national legislatures entirely, however they still have to issue a number of legislative directives that must then be implemented by the national legislatures as well. The point being, though, that the legislation is issued by the commission as a directive. in truth there is no "EU law". It's all directives.

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Netizens now Facebook more than they Google

Graham Dawson
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@eq

Yes it is. An adjective is a word who's primary syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun to provide more information about it, which is what an attributive does. The clue is that it can also be predicative. A sausage factory isn't sausage (the attributive noun "sausage" can't be predicative), but a fail boat is fail (the attributive adjective "fail" can also be predicative, like "smart" - that boat is smart. That is a smart boat).

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Graham Dawson
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@ac

Oh get over yourself you twit. I was trying to explain why it's stupid to bash American english and I went with a simplified historical narrative to do so. If I'd put in every caveat and historical tidbit (american English deriving new words from native languages, British english taking words wholesale from modern German etcetera ad nauseum ad infinitum) I would have been writing all night. You've managed to grab the wrong end of the stick so effectively that you're in a different tree.

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Graham Dawson
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@JaitcH

American English is a dialect of English that split off in the mid 18th century, or thereabouts and it retains much of the character of English from that period. There are far fewer words (English didn't really start looting vocabulary until the 19th century, when we had all those Imperial holdings and such) and it has a much looser grammar. Back then nouns and verbs could be interchanged (and adjectivised) with relative ease; English, like every other language, has plenty of verbs that are derived from nouns, and nouns derived from verbs. The difference is that, in the intervening period, British English began deriving new verbs and nouns by adopting them wholesale from foreign languages as we took over large chunks of the planet, whilst American English retained the concept of deriving verbs, nouns and adjectives from within its existing vocabulary. As it adopted new vocabulary the act of derivation from within continued, turning nouns into verbs (hover -> hoovering; google -> to google) and both into adjectives (to fail -> a fail -> the fail boat).

Both languages still do this, but American English does it much more obviously because it's still essentially 18th century in character. This is just how languages work.

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Clegg's taking away Your Freedom

Graham Dawson
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@scorchio

Skeksis?

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Wikileaks caught up in Swedish police raids

Graham Dawson
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Flame

Oi!

It's Umeå! That little circle isn't just for decoration, you know.

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'Larry and Sergey's HTML5 balls drained my resources'

Graham Dawson
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Erm...

It's no big deal, just use a text-only browser.

Actually, it works fine for me in FF on Kubuntu. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong. :)

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Death by iPod: beware the zombie trance

Graham Dawson
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Pedestrians do daft stuff, so what?

What annoys me isn't pedestrians who wander around in their ipod zombie trances, it's when they think they can get behind the wheel of a car and do the same thing. I've lost count of the number of times I've narrowly avoided uncertain death only to find that the driver of the other car had these loud music-making devices crammed in their ears and were busy fiddling with them at 40 mph. In a 30 zone. Darwin doesn't kick in here because they would survive whilst killing off other, possibly smarter individuals.

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Apple states tax take on UK iPod pricing

Graham Dawson
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Switzerland? Really?

You might want to tell the Swiss that they're an EU member. Last I checked they weren't aware of it.

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AMD to dump ATI brand

Graham Dawson
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Remember where brand names started.

Brand names are emphasised because they were originally created as a way to generate trust in quality. The first branded goods were sealed and branded to show that they hadn't been adulterated, and it quickly became known that a brand-name product was more likely to be trustworthy, consistent and of a higher quality than unbranded equivalents.

Yes modern brand names are less likely to indicate that but, nevertheless, branding is still a marker of something. Brand names signify a recognisable level of quality.

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NASA seeks soundtrack for final shuttle mission

Graham Dawson
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Begin the count...

It's a shame they aren't taking suggestions of existing songs that they haven't played.

Styx - Come Sail Away would be an excellent send-off methinks. (they climbed aboard their starship and holy frig they were aliens!)

Of course if they allowed the public to suggest these things there'd be no end of demands for Rick Astley and Final Countdown...

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Linux kernel purged of five-year-old root access bug

Graham Dawson
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Lets be fair though?

Your typical home-user wouldn't have the nous to keep their computer in a state that would allow it to run for months at a time without a reboot. Partly because they load every piece of malware they can get their hands on and partly because windows still suffers from bit rot and will tend to become crap after a while just from continued use.

The point is twofold: Linux distros don't, as a rule, require a reboot every time an update is applied (and if you're running a live kernel patcher like ksplice they may never need one), and they are less vulnerable to maintenance neglect - that is, you don't have to keep cleaning them in order to maintain reasonable performance. They just work, to coin a phrase.

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Graham Dawson
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True!

Every time I'm required to reboot my machine for some reason I laugh and laugh and laugh...

I haven't laughed for about six months.

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Facebook Places - why, and why not

Graham Dawson
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Eh?

Better than WRITING like they're in BENEATH a STEEL sky.

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Perseid meteors - brace for endazzlement

Graham Dawson
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Joke

Clear skies then.

What, you think they'll get it right?

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Elon Musk plans new Mars rockets bigger than Saturn Vs

Graham Dawson
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I do indeed mean fission.

I blame global warming.

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Graham Dawson
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Wrong!

Fusion doesn't burn rocks. Burning is a chemical reaction, not a nuclear reaction. And plutonium isn't a rock.

...

I know, I know...

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Graham Dawson
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Boffin

Nope

Shekels were also a measure of weight. One shekel is 11.3 grams or 0.4 ounces. The kikar was 60 mannehs, or 3600 shekels. The reason shekels are associated with money is because they were convenient amounts of gold to make coins from.

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Eagles singer wins case against US politico

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

He does, but he isn't required to

The law in the US allows parody as part of fair use. Weird Al is just being courteous, he has no actual obligation to request permission. The fact that he asks does not if any way negate the fact that his parodies fall under fair use, and that his right to make them would be threatened if fair use provisions were taken away (if consent is granted and then later removed because the parody isn't liked any more, for instance).

You should not need to ask in order to parody something. That's a very dark path to walk.

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DfT denies deliberately misleading on speed cam stats

Graham Dawson
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How so?

Given that, from year to year, you can get that much of a change in accident rates through mere chance, it's not a very reliable metric. There is no real comparison, except to say that accident rates at the place where the camera was placed dropped by an amount that is actually within the bounds of statistical error. You can have a 100% change in accident rates on a particular stretch of road from year to year without changing anything, so any claim made for a camera would have to be very, very thoroughly researched and evidenced. So far that hasn't been the case, and what evidence has been presented is usually found lacking on closer examination. As in, they claim one figure and then later claim another.

What about all the places where cameras haven't been placed?

What about accidents that happen just out of the range of the camera?

And what about all the accidents that happen within the bounds of the speed limit? Despite the propaganda the problem isn't speed, it's lack of awareness and distraction caused by too much street furniture - including speed cameras. Bad driving, in other words, to which speed merely adds a little more energy. The number of accidents I've seen happen just before passing a camera are too many to list (and, yes, anecdotal - but they were all caused by people who were, up to that point, driving safely though a little over the proscribed speed, suddenly hitting the brakes in order to avoid getting flashed by the camera with the inevitable result of a rear-end collision).

Speed can increase the damage caused by an accident but speed, by itself, doesn't kill. You can be killed by someone driving at 20 if they hit you right.

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ISS suffers coolant pump failure

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Reverse polarity!

They need to divert power through a secondary conduit and alter the phase flow of the main relay junction before the subatomic harmonising field flow destabilises and DESTROYS EVERYTHING!!

Beam me coat back, Scotty, I need to leave...

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'Death to browsers!' cries Apple mobile-app patent

Graham Dawson
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Troll

We do?

Based on the last few decades I think it's fairer to say that we elect governments in order to relieve ourselves of the burden of making decisions about anything more dangerous than what clothes to wear. Apple and the State are well suited to each other since they both have the same basic drive; control.

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Global warming brings peace and happiness

Graham Dawson
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And that would make them...

... bed wetters at both ends of the time scale?

I know, I know...

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Daily Mail promotes 'the new Betamax'

Graham Dawson
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But...

Will that cause the price of your house to rise or fall?

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Boeing's 'Phantom Eye' Ford Fusion powered stratocraft

Graham Dawson
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A gripe

It's not carbon. It's carbon dioxide. It may seem like a quibble but one is black elemental substance that takes a variety of solid forms and the other is an odourless, colourless gas. Both are absolutely essential for all life on this planet to continue surviving. We could argue forever about the whole glbal warming thing but please, please for the love of GOD please call it by it's proper name. "Carbon" makes people think if sticky black smoke and powdered pencil leads and creates a false image of what is actually being released.

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Google fashions Android dev kit for dummies (from Scratch)

Graham Dawson
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You've obviously never worked in a business environment...

Those fart apps are probably the only thing most middle managers have their super-duper-special smartphones for.

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Robotic cargo spacecraft misses rendezvous with ISS

Graham Dawson
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Don't knock it.

If they are running it on tubes (unlikely, but for the sake of argument) then it'd be a hell of a lot better at surviving in orbit than more modern equipment. Vacuum tubes aren't particularly susceptible to the effects of cosmic rays and solar wind, which can easily bugger up solid-state circuitry and leave a satellite completely non-functional. They're also more tolerant of temperature extremes than solid-state ICs, which would mean they were more capable of surviving the rigours of space flight with relatively less complex cooling equipment.

Just because something is old technology doesn't make it worse in every possible situation. It's often more robust, cheaper, and easier to use.

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Google open-video codec goes experimental

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

So what you're saying is...

...don't compete. Because you might regret it. Nice little codec you got here, shame if anything were to happen to it...

Yeah, that's real friendly that is.

For the record their comparison was with a very old version of VP8.

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Humongous star ejects jumbo jellyfish

Graham Dawson
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Is it me?

... or does the Andromeda galaxy look like the Black Hole from the Disney film of the same name?

In, through... and beyond.

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GCHQ imposes Whitehall iPhone ban

Graham Dawson
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I noticed that.

Ditched my ipod touch for similar reasons. I was using it more as an internet reader than a music player anyway so a second-hand n810 was far more up my alley.

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New prototype US spy satellite rushed into active use

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Or...

... they could have finally found a useable 3g signal for their O2 phone.

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Aussies face 10 year browsing lock-up

Graham Dawson
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Unhappy

Nah...

They'd just do you for spamming.

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Suspended-animation cold sleep achieved in lab

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

Huh...

I must be permanently on the verge of dying, then. My core body temperature has always been 35.5 or thereabouts. And I've always needed a nice warm rock to lie on before I can really get going in a morning...

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Penguin chief: Linux must 'out fabulous' Apple's iPhone

Graham Dawson
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A N Other Title

"Your iApp isn't rejected on moral grounds - but demographic. Too adolescent. Too down-market."

Unlike all those fart apps?

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Apple lifted 'make web go away' button from open source

Graham Dawson
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Well I stil don't believe it.

S'there!

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Graham Dawson
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Cite?

"But of course, many of those who are currently blithering against Apple also get all hot and bothered against the GPL."

Sorry to be a pain in the arse but I don't believe that.

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Prisoner of iTunes - the iPad file transfer horror

Graham Dawson
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Joey?

I SUSPECT he has been PLAYING Beneath a Steel Sky JUST a LITTLE TOO much.

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Sneaky bin chipping still in the bag for UK.gov

Graham Dawson
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Black Helicopters

Mickey, you are closer than you think.

"one day there will be a directive governing the minutiae of what is written in august journals such as this, and you will be out of a job."

Already being mooted by the toy parliament and probably being drafted by the bureaucracy as we speak.

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Graham Dawson
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And the money for this comes from...

... where? I know it won't be from "recycling" since most of it ends up in landfill anyway (thus incurring an EU-imposed landfill tax - which is why the push for recycling has been so voluble and vigorous to start with) or ends up being stored in huge warehouses while it waits for a slow boat to China. None of which brings in money.

So where does the money come from? I'd have to assume it comes from taxation of some form. This is going to add another cost burden to a state that is already faced with a huge spending deficit.

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ID card scheme barely broke 13,000 mark, minister confirms

Graham Dawson
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Flame

"Card refunds or credit for a future passport application will not be offered."

Good! Anyone stupid enough to sign up for this scam deserves to fwwl the pain of losing their money. Perhaps it will make them a little wiser in future.

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Apple's HTML5 'standards' hype debunked

Graham Dawson
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Oh nooooo...

Anonymous critique is one of the foundations of free speech.

However I quite happily bash apple with my name visible for all to see.

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Intel answers Microsoft's Linux 'noise' with MeeGo show

Graham Dawson
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And don't confuse either...

with market cap. MS is still bigger in terms of size, markets and asset value. Apple just has a big share bubble going at the moment and it'll shrink back somewhat once the new toy smell has faded.

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Queuing for an iPad? Why?

Graham Dawson
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Thumb Up

Android

There us already an Android-on-iPhone project out there. I think it wad evfn reported on el reg a while back. It looks quite nifty - as long ac you don't mind loaning part of your soul to google. :)

I might try it now I've nobbled myself a second-hand n810. It'll give me a nifty project.

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Graham Dawson
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Yet...

For all my own complaints about the iPo/ad (surprisingly enough the inability to watch videos on Cracked finally drove me off the damn thing) at least nobody is forcing people to buy them and removing access to any other sort of computer device.

Yet.

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X-51 hypersonic scramjet test: Flameout at Mach 5?

Graham Dawson
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Er...

Obviously meant as a reply further down. Oops.

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Graham Dawson
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FAIL

Wrong!

Knowing where to put the sensors and knowing what the sensors will say are two very different things. They will have created computer models of the craft before building the real thing, which will have given them an idea of where potential problem sites and useful areas to monitor will be; what it won't tell them is what actually happens there. The sensors will tell them how close their model us to reality. With the new data they can improve the model and use that to inform the next round of physical tests, thus improving the actual machine.

The first time someone looked at Saturn they had no idea what they would see, but they still knew where to look. This is the same principle.

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Windows 3.0 turns 20

Graham Dawson
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What?

Aren't you thinking of your quondam days?

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