169 posts • joined 28 Apr 2008
AFAIK a fatwa is just an instruction. The famous one regarding Salman Rusdie was an instruction for the faithful to kill him, but this one is apparently just an instruction not to go to Mars.
"in their defence the GPS manufacturers were apparently a little lazy, and didn't keep within their band - hence the interference"
That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation. GPS is a weak signal that transmits *within* it's alloted band. The receivers have to be sensitive, so can't use very selective front-end filters. That's OK because the bands either side were *supposed* to be space to earth bands for other services, therefore they wouldn't interfere with GPS receivers. Now, along comes Lightsquared trying to bounce the FCC into allowing them to run earth-based transmitters in the adjacent band with *much* higher local signal levels. The GPS manufactuers worked within the parameters they were given, and it has become a supremely successful service on that basis. I don't see how you can fault them. It's all on Lightsquared's crazy business plan, which should have been strangled at birth.
Re: 5 minutes to midnight?
I think I'll opt for sex with the barmaid instead. It'll definitely be a case of coitus interruptus a bit later though!
The going rate for scapegoats is quite good now!
I doubt even he could rescue the timescales, as they will be driven by physical limits, such as duct space, fibre supplies, staff who know what they are doing, etc, etc. Therefore when he fails he will be ceremonially slaughtered at some future time, given a quiet slide into some sinecure and a decent pension wedge. Meanwhile he has a nice salary to ease the pain of attempting to do an impossible job with a government minister sniping at him.
The service offering appears to be similar to that from XM Radio in the US, but that is delivered by satellite. I guess no-one was able to put together a viable business plan for a Euro-wide XM lookalike. Even the US one has had its problems. Nevetheless I've used XM in hire cars & with friends on one or two US trips, and it works well, even in the middle of Yellowstone Park where mobile coverage is all but nonexistent. Perhaps the dense mobile coverage in Europe makes it more viable, but it really needs a good multicast infrastructure over 3G/4G to make the economics work.
Sounds like he's decided to pull out his last few remaining teeth:(
ESA TV vs NASA TV style
I watched the launch on the net, plus some of the canned guff they showed beforehand. I must confess I far prefer the rather more minimalist NASA TV style, with a "just the facts, Ma'am" approach. The ESA commentators felt they had to fill the silence all the time, and the beforehand guff looked rather like the work of a wannabe Jean-Luc Godard. A bit like 'Noddy launches a Satellite' instead of an Open University production.
CCTV was much more impressive covering the Chinese moon landing too.
Re: If the rollout down here is anything to go by
"No, down here they're rolling out to random villages and ignoring the towns with businesses crying out for it"
?? Isn't this supposed to be support for *rural* broadband? Having said that, around here BT seem to be upgrading the cabinets in our small towns that they weren't prepared to pay to do themselves, rather than concentrating on the villages which is what I naïvely supposed was the point of the exercise.
Governments will never take a financial risk that is obvious as such to the electorate, and, as taxpayers, should we really expect anything different? The best way government can help is to set the legislative & policy landscape such that private capital finds it easier to support innovation like this, and for innovators to find the private capital. But Labour really doesn't like that idea. There is a reason why VCs in the UK (if there are any that really deserve the term) are so much less obvious than VCs in the US.
Re: 80k km apogee?
For info, NASA's GMAT mission planning program suite has this exact GEO mission as one of its included example scripts. http://gmat.gsfc.nasa.gov/
80k km apogee?
GEO is about 42k km radius, so I wonder why they overshoot it like that. Perhaps it means less delta-V requirement on the satellite motor to raise perigee.
GTO is highly ellptical with the apogee up close to the GEO altitude and the perigee only around the altitude of Low Earth Orbit. An extra motor on the satellite fires around apogee to bring the perigee up and circularise the orbit. It also often changes the inclination by a few degrees to bring it right over the equator.
Wintel irrelevance == x86 irrelevance
The domination of the Wintel desktop is the only thing that's keeping x86 alive. It was a crap architecture from the off, and all the hoops Intel have jumped through to try to improve it would have been better spent by junking it early and coming up with something new. The problem with that was - they came up with Itanium...
That could have been an interesting idea but the execution was terrible.
IMHO it was very sad that DEC came up with one of the best CPU architectures ever (Alpha) just at the point when they were going bust for other reasons. Intel should have bought the IP and the designers from DEC and run with that but by that time they were far too heavily invested in x86 both financially and intellectually.
Re: What a silly thing to do
Exactly. NASA get far more bang for the buck with the unmanned probe programme they already have. Tito ought to go & read Cervantes instead of Robert Heinlein.
It looks like the first part of the flight is a full-on spin. I wonder if it comes out of that automatically or whether a spin recovery action is required (AFAIR full opposite rudder, elevators forward until spin stops then centre rudder & pull out of dive). Fortunately it's not a flat spin...
Judean Peoples' Front
Internecine warfare is always more satisfying than confronting the common foe. Because it's usually easier.
"Currently, it seems that Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the way to go".
Definitely, but it's going to be several years before practical & economic designs for both large & small Thorium reactors are available. So we're stuck with a generation of PWRs to be built. As a stopgap we also need enough gas-fired plant on stream to get us through the next decade.
Colour me unimpressed
In the average, they might just have a point, but for some of us it's just a complete wind-up. I've got ADSL2, not even 2+. Until recently it was over 4Mbit/sec mostly, but it's recently dropped to about half that, as the SNR margin has vastly increased - not sure why yet. Our line is direct off the exchange 2.5km away so 'superfast' fibre kit is pointless over that distance. There is a cabinet 150m away but there seems to be zero chance of getting connected to it, even if they ever put a fibre cabinet there. Our County Council has a deal with BT using the Govt's (our!) cash, but the first results seem to be fibreing up the remaining cabinets in the local towns where it really ought to be BT funding that, rather than sorting out the really rural parts.
Re: Don't worry!
I can tell you exactly where it'll hit - not NY or DC, but Yellowstone Lake. 2 Ameriapocalyptos for the price of one. Those survivalists in Idaho will definitely be in the wrong place!
Viscous gloop isn't going to be that great as a coolant. The viscosity just slows down the convection needed to carry the heat away. You need a thin liquid, or even better, a thin low boiling point liquid with a large latent heat of vaporisation. In that case the liquid boils on the hot components. That technology has been used for decades for high-power thermionic valves.
Cisco would probably want some control over that, since it's the base OS of their big routers.
Re: Not unlike real gold
"It's the best heat conductor/diffuser around too. Apparently a solid gold frying pan is the best way to fry an egg"
Copper is better (~400 W/m.K versus 318 W/m.K) and silver is even better than that (~430). However, for real egg-frying goodness, you need the ACME *Diamond* pan (>1000 W/m.K).
Google/Wikipedia is your/my friend here.
Flight profile after release?
Have you designed this yet or is it still a secret?
Re: The UK's position
One of the problems is that, over decades, leap seconds will need to be added more often as the earth is slowly slowing, and the standard second is actually derived from the earth rotation rate sometime in the 19th century. However I think it is stupid to address this problem now. We can leave it to the boffins a century or so hence. Meantme there is Y2038 to get through...
Re: For a few dollars more....
A Fistful of Travellers Cheques is the training video...
Same launch point?
Or is that a function of the wind forecast on the day?
Looks like the ghost of James Jesus Angleton stalks the halls of Langley again, and Ft Meade.
Re: Clever or stupid?
There are written down procedures for destroying classified stuff, which is presumably what the Govt would treat it as. Those are effectively written on Tablets of Stone with the Blood of Sacrificed Virgins, so have to be observed TO THE LETTER, however stupid this is in a particular case.
Re: The physics of lava lamps are complex
That's probably why, in a General Studies session at my old school (back in the 60s), the art teacher made some irritatingly dismissive remarks about lava lamps. That's probably the point when I decided that arty people have nothing useful to say and subsequent experience has only reinforced that view.
Yes, but your absolute position could be anywhere within the ~10m GPS error ellipsoid if INS slaves off GPS initially. INS systems on aircraft can be initialised on the ground to the exact aircraft location, which is painted on the hard stand or a signpost where it parks.
The clue is in the K
Kinematic. It works on the move. Standard surveying techniques using GPS work best with fixed stations occupying a site for a while. You can get millimetre accuracy doing that & track continental plate movement. RTK, as has been said, has been around for a long time but at silly prices. Some early 'Consumer' GPS receivers would give raw carrier phase output and, with the right software, would give quite good results. I played around with a Garmin receiver and RINEX files from the Ordnance Some years ago. Unfortunately most consumer GPSs have now lost that facility, probably for market differentiation reasons. However, RTK needs better receivers to allow to track the carrier phase without phase slips whilst on the move. If this crew have cracked the cost issues for doing that then this could be quite interesting. It still needs a local fixed reference station on a known site (to the millimetre) to work properly though.
Companies have a fiduciary duty to endeavour to maximise return to shareholders, so it makes sense for them to spend some effort on minimising (legally) their tax liabilities. In this case company law and the aspirations of government to maximise tax revenue are in conflict.
As Eric Schmidt said, if legislators don't like the current legal tax arrangements it's within their remit to change the law. And to do that rather than posturing and grandstanding in parliamentary committees.
2 spaces per level for me. Tabs mean any significantly nested code just disappears off the RHS of my screen or, worse, gets wrapped by the editor. I put the opening curly on the same line as the 'if' and the closing curly in the column below the 'i'. 1-statement blocks don't need curlys. Statements in the block are indented. Works for me, but feel free to flame or downvote.
I was sceptical at first, but reading the article, this looks very interesting. An antenna noise temp of 40 millikelvins is not to be sniffed at!
Subeditor, hallo?! yoo-hoo!
GPS transmitters? They are way above us, and in the spoofers' kit, not in the ship's kit. I read El Reg for *accurate* reportage & interesting comment. Please maintain standards.
Re: There haven't been state pension funds for decades
Apparently (in the UK at least), the state pension was conceived as an insurance scheme that was designed only to provide for the minority of people who just happened to survive to 65. With hindsight it surprises me that the govt didn't increase the state pension age much sooner. The usual political pusillanimity in the face of unpleasant policy decisions I suppose. As a baby-boomer myself I guess I'm a net beneficiary, but I don't think I'll be doing much SKIing, as I can see my kids will need a lot of it, and no doubt the govt will eventually tighten the screw on us because they'll have to, pusillanimity or no.
Overly 'negative' forecasts
This is probably an institutional bias in forecasters, since a significant amount of their output is for situations where it is important to know the potential 'worst' outcome rather than the most likely outcome. Think forecasts for pilots, and the classic one, the forecasts for the D-Day landings. Complaints in the press of 'getting it wrong' don't help either as it's less heinous to forecast rain when it turns out to be sunny than the other way round (unless you are a farmer in certain seasons, but the bigger farmers pay for specific forecasts, with probabilities and more detail anyway).
Is 'mobile' really more important than broadcast?
The subtext here seems to be to get all services as far as possible onto 'broadband' and satellite (until a sun belch kills them all), so they can re-use the frequencies. There are too many off-the-net users (caravanners, migrant workers, etc) and users who will never have fibre-to-the-home. I agree that closing FM radio in favour of DAB is a seriously stupid idea. If DAB is going to get anywhere, it needs to catch up with coding technology in the same way that TV has with DVB-T2/S2 and H.264 (and soon H.265).
Re: I've always wondered...
It wouldn't make sense economically as the turbine needs the full fall from the top. So you would need a completely separate set of up-pumping shafts to do it in stages.
Re: eco friendly
The delta-V to get it into the sun would be enormous. Probably easier to head for a gas giant. If they have the capability to generate enough delta-V, then they could do a Pioneer & get out into the Galaxy.
More likely they would orient the spacecraft to put the thrust vector in the required direction. In near-earth orbits this can be done by magnetic reaction against the earth's field. Reaction wheels could be used further out in space.
Nice bit of Derrida-esque buzzword bingo there. ESA should call bullshit, but sadly they won't as the cost of a kg or so into LEO is cheaper for them than the flak they would otherwise get:(
Any proposal that canned terrestrial broadcasting in favour of satellite would have to provide for those situations where satellite is not practical, for whatever reason. Assuming IP will solve all problems is a non-starter. My house (in a distinctly rural setting) would need at least 100Mbit/sec downstream to cope with the peak full HD viewing/recording requirement, and I certainly wouldn't put up with iPlayer-like performance.
Re: Ah those were the days..
I wrote comms software for RSX-11S, including a device driver, back in the 80s. That whole structured overlay concept in RSX-11M to be able to run bigger programs was fairly mind-boggling. Luckily I never had to get to grips with it in anger. Thank <deity> for VM these days. I learned a lot about embedded software and general software design on that job.
Re: £10K cap per household?
Not heard of a multiswitch? Standard equipment these days in blocks of flats to distribute sat signals. Some of them will even do two or 3 sats (9/13 input jobbies).
Wot, no Sheridan Smith?
Missed your first candidate call, otherwise I would have suggested her. Lot of no-hopers in that list though. You can immediately chuck out the ones with no Equity card. However, in the absence of Ms Smith, I think Rhys Ifans playing his Howard Marks character would be suitably counter-cultural.
Re: Interface (Verb)
Odd that the EJ200 is specific to the Eurofighter. Usually jet engines have a wider range of use cases. I would have expected some kind of common interface API to the engine management unit, with a specific set of control algorithms for the Eurofighter which can be reprogrammed for other kit. But then I'm a software & networking guy so I tend to think in those terms.
Re: Too many moving parts...
Didn't you know? It's actually Swiss farmers who are driving all this stuff. IPv6 wouldn't have happened without their reps on the IETF...
Fighter pilots already know this
Information Overload. I can see this becoming app-heavy so it takes all your concentration. Of course, if the app turns your car into an Autonomous Googlemobile, then you can quite happily play the latest incarnation of GTA:Sin City or whatever whilst travelling.
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