* Posts by Brian Morrison

813 posts • joined 4 Feb 2008

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Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Brian Morrison

Re: A "Pocket" Bomber

A Lancaster could just about carry a 22.000lb Grand Slam (with the wings in a gentle curve due to the weight) but the Vulcan was properly stressed to carry 21,000lb. The design bomb load for the Lanc was actually 14,000lb and that not all hanging on one bomb carrier.

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Brian Morrison

Re: Britains weapons designs

That was the Green Grass warhead used in the Yellow Sun bomb body that was called Violet Club in this combination. It was never tested and was regarded as unsafe because the amount of fissile material was greater than a critical mass and had the thin-walled shell of Plutonium been crushed it could have gone critical. The steel balls (not actually lead shot) weighed almost half a ton and filled the hollow Pu sphere to prevent accidental crushing. Only 5 were made.

Nearly all of the late 50s/early 60s air-dropped nukes in the UK arsenal were interim weapons, in some of the slightly later weapons the cores were stored in lead pits in the ground inside small buildings with roofs shaped so that they threw a similar shadow to a tree. Before flight the weapon had to have the core carried out and inserted into the weapon inside the bomb bay.

Remember that the Hiroshima Little Boy bomb could go critical if filled with water, it had a cadmium rod inserted for safety which was removed before being dropped, but even that might not have been enough if the aircraft carrying it had gone off the end of the runway into the sea on takeoff.

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Use snooped data in court? Nah, says UK.gov - folk might be cleared

Brian Morrison

Quite a shame that David Davis didn't beat Cameron to the Conservative party leadership.

He would get my vote every time if I were able to vote for him.

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Time to face the Apple Music: Spotify looks worried, and rightly so

Brian Morrison

Re: Not interested

I thought the great thing about these streaming services was that they have *all* the music there is, or a close approximation to that anyway.

For the cost of the subscription they charge I would be pretty miffed if more than 1 in 200 of the things I want to listen to isn't there. Otherwise I might just as well load my phone with music I've ripped from CDs.

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Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim

Brian Morrison

Re: There's the problem...

Warnings are often inhibited during take-off to avoid the crew being expected to take action when they should be getting airborne and ensuring that they stay above V2, minimum safety speed. Once this is achieved they can they deal with the emergency/warnings and decide on their next course of action.

In this case the initial problem was that the 3 engines would not respond to a reduction in power demand, in the process of trying to arrest the rapid ascent/acceleration flight idle was selected and this then allowed the protection mechanism to engage and refuse to provide more power when commanded. By the time it became clear that the engines couldn't deliver more power there was not enough time to shut down and feather the 3 that were broken while having enough altitude and manoeuvre capability to reach the runway. The power lines were not likely to be easily visible from the air, once they committed to a forced landing any attempt to miss them would probably have resulted in an even heavier arrival and more structural damage.

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Brian Morrison

To some extent yes, but there is also the desire to keep some good engineering people in employment and maintain the ability to build this sort of thing again when needed in the not too distant future.

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Brian Morrison

Re: "trying to fly on one engine would make the aircraft very difficult to control or land safely."

Maybe, maybe not.

The problem is that if the engines were at flight idle then the propellers would be at low pitch and thus very draggy, so with 3 engines in this condition and the one fully functional engine furthest from the fuselage and hence generating quite a bit of yaw control would have been pretty difficult and the sink rate would probably have been pretty high too. Add in an obstacle, and one that can ignite spilled fuel very easily and you get the result from May.

Very sad, and another example of how complex systems can do bizarre things that can't be diagnosed in the short time available. Maybe a better outcome would have required immediate shutdown and feathering of the failed engines, but the need to make that decision may not have been apparent to the crew until too late.

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O2 craps itself on national Blighty holiday as cabinet minister moans: 'Oi, sort it out!'

Brian Morrison

There are a number of HLRs which hold account information and authentication keys. If one of these fails then a proportion of users will lose access to the network. The HLR in use depends on the SIM card, I forget which digit in the 16 determines it.

Looks like both of you had 1 SIM covered by the failing auth mechanisms.

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RAF Eurofighter gets a Battle of Britain makeover

Brian Morrison

Re: Secret Technology

The Hurricane fuel system consists of two main tanks in the wing roots and a "gravity" tank or header tank between the engine and cockpit. The latter was neither armoured nor self-sealing which made it very easy to rupture and ignite. It did have the ability to continue to feed fuel to the engine in the event that the fuel pumps failed i.e. fed by means of gravity.

Many of Archie McIndoe's "guinea pigs" for post-burn plastic surgery were Hurricane pilots, it wasn't an ideal design feature.

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Factory reset memory wipe FAILS in 500 MEELLION Android mobes

Brian Morrison

Re: Huh?

Or for that matter, any device in the Android/iOS/WinPhone camps. Blackberry are probably the most secure horse in the race, and they were not absolved from risk with the Heartbleed/Poodle/Freak attacks on crypto.

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Brian Morrison

Re: Simple solution

That's what the thermite option is for...

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'Logjam' crypto bug could be how the NSA cracked VPNs

Brian Morrison

Re: Or they could...

The simple answer is that encrypting links by default helps to defeat all sorts of nefarious activity.

We're where we are because the early internet was never designed to be secure and it's taken a long time to realise how much risk this has opened everyone up to.

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Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

Brian Morrison

Re: Old trick that

These sorts of problems have been around for decades, often because the receivers do not have any image rejection and/or are simple super-regens that can be desensed from a considerable distance with not a great deal of power. It was a little better when car remotes were on 418MHz (but not perfect, I was once able to accidentally jam someone's car alarm remote in the work car park with 10W of 434MHz Tx from about 20m away), now they're mostly in the 433.05-434.79MHz range then all it takes is a perfectly legal radio amateur and the really bad designs fall over very easily.

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Airbus warns of software bug in A400M transport planes

Brian Morrison

Re: Under "wraps"? Seems odd....

Actually one of the data recorders has been sent to L3 in Florida (the manufacturer) because they have had some problems with downloading due to lack of compatibility of the systems used to do this in Europe.

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Last flying Avro Vulcan, XH558, prepares for her swan song

Brian Morrison

Re: It's wonderful, but...

Yes, it was always going to be difficult with a small stock of engines, particularly since 2 of them were effectively written off when some non-standard moisture absorbing packs in the inlet ducts got left in before a departure and were ingested.

It's for the best that 558 is retired now, if you read the accident report on the Lightning T5 that crashed in South Africa then you will see the effect of insufficient experienced ground engineering staff leading to in flight failure and the death of the pilot.

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Look out, law abiding folk: UK’s Counter-Extremism Bill slithers into view

Brian Morrison

And all with a small majority instead of the large-ish one they had in coalition...

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Brian Morrison

Re: Shy Tory

I was asked, but declined, to take part in the exit poll. It was done with a ballot sheet that was then to be detached and folded before being placed in an exit poll box.

Even the person asking individual electors to take part would not know how they marked this 'ballot' so no need to be 'shy'...

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Brian Morrison

Re: "Shy Tories"

Not 'proper' PR please, the only way of implementing it that I'm aware of is the party list approach where the party, rather than the electorate, decides which of the candidates will be elected.

AV is probably the best approach for a general election, it's the simplest way of allowing a second choice for your vote without descending into the madness of STV.

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Google TUGS Nexus 7-INCHER from its online store

Brian Morrison

Re: Knew this would happen...

Yes, the 7 in the name refers to the screen size rather than a specific model.

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Got a big day planned in 15 BEELLLION years? You need this clock

Brian Morrison

Re: Obligatory Terry Pratchet reference

They mutht have Igorth...

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BT fixes home hub drop-out glitch ONE YEAR after denying flaw existed

Brian Morrison

Although you could, if you have passed the minimum contract term, migrate your FTTC to someone who doesn't cap Fibre 1 service. An example of an ISP that provides this is Zen, there are probably others.

If you have Fibre 2 from Zen (at 78Mbps) then they state that their own infrastructure guarantees 40Mbps throughput, although it can be higher if there is spare capacity. Zen has PoPs all over the UK so they take their customers' backhaul data out of the BT network as early as they can. In my case this is at the main exchange in the area which is a few miles away, the fibre to my cabinet doesn't go anywhere near my actual exchange with the twisted pair copper line.

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Fight back against illegal GCHQ spying with PAPERWORK!

Brian Morrison

Re: Paperwork comes with costs

While I completely agree with you, I should point out that the whole point of law is that compliance should be to the letter of it, complying with the spirit will lead to over or under-compliance and to further bad drafting of new law.

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Warning: Using encrypted email in Spain? Do not pass go, go directly to jail

Brian Morrison

Re: Get a grip...

If there is sufficient hard information that allows such actions under the supervision of a judge or magistrate that's fine, but doing it because "I don't like the way his eyes slant in a bit" is not an acceptable method. Nor is "He encrypts his email"

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Brian Morrison

Re: Cameron can go do one

Yeth!

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David Cameron: I'm off to the US to get my bro Barack to ban crypto – report

Brian Morrison

Re: @AC "11 mins" whatever that means, ElReg (was:Whatever.)

It's not the encryption that's the weak link. If your data is somewhere that it is accessible then it is vulnerable no matter what you do and the protections of the protocol used to access it are useless unless they are known only by you.

If you manage to store data in a form where it really can't be decrypted or the protections bypassed then it's clear that you really have something to hide and you will be threatened badly by the players in the game if they deem it important enough.

Standing up to the power that a state can command is really difficult, it's almost certainly not worth it if you need to be able to set foot in most Western countries.

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Samsung BlackBerry gobble DENIED: We're not for sale to Sammy – execs

Brian Morrison

It's a wind up...

...it seems that Kevin at Crackberry made a joke about John Chen, a contract and an S-pen to sign it with in a Las Vegas hotel room and someone perhaps took it seriously.

Reports are that John Chen is quite unamused about it.

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Lollipop licked: KitKat still king in Android land

Brian Morrison

Re: Not all Nexuses (Nexii?)

On the other hand I would prefer that my Nexus 7 LTE doesn't crash several (or more) times per day like my Nexus 5 due to the annoying screen memory leak so I am quite content to wait for a while.

I am reasonably happy with Lollipop in many respects, but it's been a big change from Kitkat and will take a point release or two to round of the rough corners it was born with (ouch!)

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Fedora 21: Linux fans will LOVE it - after the install woes

Brian Morrison

Re: Minimal install

I'm really happy with it, feels a lot more slick than F20 did.

My only problem was that fedup wouldn't get as far as actually running the update, fixed that by using fedora-upgrade instead.

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Brian Morrison

Re: Why install when it's going to be obsolete in a few months?

You could take that approach but, with a couple of minor exceptions which took at most a couple of hours to fix, I have been using Fedora since about FC3 or 4 and upgrading it along the way. It's good enough for what I do with it (everything at home) and I see no reason to change.

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Snowden files show NSA's AURORAGOLD pwned 70% of world's mobe networks

Brian Morrison

Re: tom dial @chris lively

To be honest Matt, I am unsurprised by these sorts of decision. The real question we should be asking is "Are the laws that underlie these powers reasonable where the ability to compromise communications of those in legitimate surveillance also means that all those communications from people that are not targets of surveillance should remain entirely obscured and not made vulnerable as a consequence of legitimate operations?". That's a much more pertinent question to my mind.

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Legendary Brit physicist Stephen Hawking gets full Intel comms refresh

Brian Morrison

Re: "Intel integrated technology British predictive text company SwiftKey"?

The article includes the missing "from" that comes after technology, perhaps El Reg have edited it since your comment but in any case it now makes sense to me.

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Randall Munroe: The root nerd talks to The Register

Brian Morrison

Re: Ring

But is he an acrobat?

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Blade Runner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it

Brian Morrison

Re: If they re-do the bit where Daryl Hannah

Slightly prissy comment there...

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Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Brian Morrison

Re: Oil system?

And yet the Concorde hydraulic system, using enormously expensive M2V fluid, managed not to leak despite some joints being of a sliding type and operating at 4,000psi.

Tornados have thrust reversers, which is why the fin always gets sooty.

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Brian Morrison

Re: No...

Yes, it's the idler gear for reverse together with the corresponding main and layshaft gears that are straight cut.

Straight cut gears also led to the demise of Bristol Britannia prototype G-ALRX that was crash landed on the Severn mud flats after the straight cut reduction gear started vibration at the natural tooth frequency and broke up, the engine accelerated with no load and the resulting turbine failure set fire to the oil tank in the wing.

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Brian Morrison

Re: Car Hacking

A friend of mine has a couple of Meteor engines in one of his garages, one is totally knackered (holes in every piece of crankcase mainly) but the other is a runner. So one fine day he decided to start it just to see what happened.

The engine has not exhaust stubs, or indeed anything much, but he thought that with the aid of a 12V battery he could probably get it to turn over and fire. Well, actually no he couldn't, the battery voltage is just too low so nothing much happened. But the trying meant that a fair bit of fuel ended up in the float chambers, induction manifold and, well, just about everywhere really.

Another friend arrived, and as these things do it transpired that he couldn't wait to get his car battery out and put it in series with the original. This was duly done. The starter was engaged, the engine fired, and ran for about 15 seconds. During this time it made a massive amount of noise, emitted 2 foot long flames out of the exhausts, blew stuff around the garage and damn nearly deafended the pair of them.

Bloody good fun! Bit they were almost into cacking territory...

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UK cops: Give us ONE journo's phone records. Vodafone: Take the WHOLE damn database!

Brian Morrison

Re: Rebecca Brooks

Yes, although it seems that some evidence involving her that could have been used didn't surface in time.

But the double jeopardy rule has gone, so maybe there is scope for future action.

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Brian Morrison

Re: We need the tainted evidence laws of civilized countries

Exactly this!

While the data may not have been obtained through a criminal act (it may just have been negligent) it seems extraordinary that anything obtained by accident can still be processed and used.

If anyone wonders how it is that GCHQ and friends are using bulk intercept data within a strict legal framework, this tells you that while the framework may be strictly adhered to the underlying law is really rather wide and very lax in its approach to privacy.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

Brian Morrison

My Nexus 5 is also somewhat slower under some circumstances. Switching back to the home screen can lead to 2 or 3 seconds before everything appears, especially widgets.

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Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

Brian Morrison

Re: Some People

Which is exactly why some people hated the Firefox awesome bar so much...

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Antares apocalypse: Orbital points finger at turbopump FAIL

Brian Morrison

Re: Turbo pumps

The Engines that came in from the Cold I think it was called.

Most closed-cycle (turbopump exhaust fed into combustion chamber) engines run the turbopump fuel-rich which gives lower pressures and temperatures. The NK33 does the opposite by running the turbopump oxidizer-rich. The result is high specific impulse engines where any kind of small problem with the turbopump operation can lead to the steel casing of the pump melting and burning through in roughly 100ms. The casing is roughly an inch thick piece of very tough hardened steel.

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Brian Morrison

Re: In this case, it's not the technology.

There can be lots of causes of turbopump failure, but the NK33 is particularly vulnerable because to get its high specific impulse it puts O2-rich turbopump exhaust into the combustion chamber. That means that if anything goes wrong with the flow of the very-hot gas/liquid exhaust flow the turbopump casing can burn through in a small fraction of a second leading to catastrophic thrust reduction and probably an explosion of the remaining fuel/oxidizer.

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Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks

Brian Morrison

Re: The country

It's worse than that.

Similar thing happened locally, and being a techy I was asked to explain to the antis all about the benefits of having a base station locally. This was in a pub, fortunately.

I started off by explaining about radio wave propagation. Within a few seconds a lady piped up "But it's a phone, not a radio!" "No, it uses radio to transmit the signals needed to carry the voices" I said. "Oh, so that's why I get the nice lady that sounds just like the one on Radio 4" she said.

I settled for a couple of pints in the end.

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Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android

Brian Morrison

Re: So remind me how these two tally up?

If you have no SSID then the BSSID will be recorded instead.

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'GCHQ's surveillance data gulp is BULKY and WARRANTLESS', human rights groups moan

Brian Morrison

Re: Multiplicative capabilities

"You will not be beaten or murdered for exposing corruption in London city hall"

No, you won't, but you will be maliciously prosecuted for consensual sexual activities which are classed as likely to lead to harm to the genitals by a government expert witness and also be charged with extreme porn offences and have your reputation dragged through the mud and the tabloids. Ask Simon Walsh. His mistake? Questioning City of London police over corruption that he became aware of in his day jobs as a barrister, alderman and magistrate. And those offences were dragged up in forensic detail only after the police failed to find any evidence of him being part of a child porn ring. He was acquitted because fortunately there are people who specialise in protecting the unfortunate against such fishing expeditions.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/12/nick-cohen-simon-walsh-cps-pornography-prosecution

This is the sort of stuff that Kafka wrote about, and it's time it stopped.

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Brian Morrison

Re: Say nothing...

GCHQ spokesman: <waves hand> These are not the legal proceedings you are looking for...

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Brian Morrison

Re: Raise your hand....

Let's not forget that the gubmint is currently trying to remove all 3 of the things we rely on to try and keep some sort of popular control over the state's power.

They are:

1) Trying to limit Human Rights legislation

2) Trying to heavily restrict legal aid

3) Trying to prevent access to Judicial Review

In the latter case the Lords have just voted the government amendments down 3 times but I'm sure the slavering maniacs will be back with more ordure-soaked stupidity soon.

The price of freedom really is eternal vigilance, and even that is no guarantee.

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KRAKKOOOM! Space Station supply mission in PODULE PRANG EXPLOSION CHAOS

Brian Morrison

The 90 degree roll is probably to align the guidance platform to the required trajectory. Saturn and Shuttle did exactly this.

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Brian Morrison

Re: just like the good old days.

The big difference with these NK33 closed cycle engines (like the Rocketdyne F1 and the SSME the turbopump exhaust reenters the combustion chamber) is that they run the turbopump oxidiser rich rather than fuel rich. This is much more efficient, but it has a side-effect that the turbopump casing can burn through very rapidly if something goes wrong. 1" of hardened steel lasts less than 100ms in these cases...

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Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

Brian Morrison

Re: Get a grip people...

I agree that it would be good to get poorly-performing stuff that misrepresents itself as a well-trusted part out of the market, but given the level at which these counterfeit parts live (several layers below the people who put their label on the box) then it's a lot easier said than done.

Causing a work->doesn't work regression is not acceptable, as explained frequently by Linus every new kernel release.

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