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* Posts by John Robson

845 posts • joined 19 May 2008

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Sony unwraps Android 3.0 tablet pair

John Robson
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I could break my Sony boycott for that...

Boycotted all things Sony (electronics) since the rootkit fiasco, but that clamshell look schweet

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Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars'

John Robson
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Only if...

The abort system ignored the obvious method (the shuttle itself).

IIRC the latest theory is that the crew component of the shuttle went off on a graceful arc before a fatal collision with the sea.

"According to the Kerwin Report:

The findings are inconclusive. The impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface was so violent that evidence of damage occurring in the seconds which followed the disintegration was masked. Our final conclusions are:

the cause of death of the Challenger astronauts cannot be positively determined;

the forces to which the crew were exposed during Orbiter breakup were probably not sufficient to cause death or serious injury; and

the crew possibly, but not certainly, lost consciousness in the seconds following Orbiter breakup due to in-flight loss of crew module pressure.[13]

Some experts, including one of NASA's lead investigators, Robert Overmyer, believed most if not all of the crew were alive and possibly conscious during the entire descent until impact with the ocean.[17]"

Wikipedia

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Mummy, mummy, there's a nuclear monster!

John Robson
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Clarity.

http://xkcd.com/558/

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iPads mooted for Qantas flight manuals

John Robson
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FAIL

Except...

Fisher did the research, not NASA, and the Russians could easily have suffered major failures from floating grains of graphite.

Now a wax crayon...

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

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Floating Image

John Robson
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Go

Nice

Makes my desk at work a little less boring.

Just need to check all my pictures are SFW

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Hydrogen powered hybrid stratocraft prangs during test flight

John Robson
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solar powered lifting body airships...

could surely survive for months on end (longer if we can ferry up helium canisters -fairly easy to have a big catch plate on top of the airship surely...

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Human heart could power an iPod

John Robson
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Better than a bottle dynamo?

Eccentric cams on a pedal cycle (maybe in the BB) would be a good application, nice discreet powerful "dynamo"

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George Lucas 'very happy' with 3D Phantom Menace

John Robson
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Coat

Hit the screen?

"The Phantom Menace in 3D is due to hit cinema screens on 10 February next year."

Surely due to float in front of cinema screens...

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Network failure closed hospitals to ambulance admissions

John Robson
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Alert

IF?

"A full investigation into the network design and components is being undertaken to verify if there are any design issues to be addressed."

There is clearly a nasty single point of failure here. I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that it isn't the only switch which could have gone pop (as they had to systematically close off the network).

Is this stuff not monitored?

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Artificial leaf produces electricity through photosynthesis

John Robson
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45 Hours continuous operation

So it's useful at the poles then. I rarely get 45 hours continuous sunshine this far south/north.

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iPad 2 tougher than iPad 1. True

John Robson
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Boffin

Erm...

That looked like they put alot more force into the iPad1 screen...

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Chain Reaction finds and plugs security hole that led to fraud

John Robson
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Thumb Up

Hats off to them...

Good response - which is much more important than being invulnerable to start with.

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Judge to music industry: 'Worth trillions? Forget it'

John Robson
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AND

costs against...

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Radioactive Tokyo tapwater HARMS BABIES ... if drunk for a year

John Robson
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Point

The water won't be radioactive (above normal levels) all year.

It's won't have significant levels after a month (assuming that the contamination was a one instance release)

An office worker needs to work 40 hours a week. They may (with flexitime) choose to work more on a Monday and Tuesday, and less on a Thursday and Friday.

That doesn't mean that they've done too much work on Monday, just that they've redistributed their working week.

(Sorry - not a good analogy, but the best I can come up with in zero time)

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Fukushima's toxic legacy: Ignorance and fear

John Robson
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Boffin

Precautionary limits

Main reason the limits are set:

- Precaution.

There isn't a evidence for any risk at levels significantly higher than the legal limits. But, partly due to wild mistrust of anything with the "N" word, we have these very low limits in place.

If I recall correctly, when I was at school it was the case that normal tea bags were actually sufficiently radioactive that technically they should have been dealt with as Medium Level Waste. (Note that I can't currently spot anything to back that claim up - not that I've tried very hard)

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Fukushima: Situation improving all the time

John Robson
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Safe...

As in didn't collapse (except the crane) or suffer significant structural damage from what we can only describe as an $EXPLETIVE big earthquake followed by an $EXPLETIVE big tsunami.

Following that there have been a couple of explosions, and the occasional evacuation for limited time.

Seriously - that's what's good about this place, you can see and predict the dangers which are happening.

If I was outside the plant at the time of the quake/tsunami then I'd likely not care what was going on - I'd be on a cloud with a harp already...

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John Robson
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Because...

irradiating the land you aim to occupy is such a good plan.

I think we can do at least as well as the Egyptians did a few thousand years ago when they buried their kings/gods. That would be a legacy ;)

Think about a couple of reinforced concrete pyramids ;) Of course we could also go for deep, deep sea storage, or (when we finally build a space elevator) we could chuck it back at the greatest local nuclear reactor of all - the sun.

Oh, and the minor point that most fission power stations have some quite significant defences (in the form of concrete and steel).

Looking around the area one of the safest places to be was inside the power plant - new information indicates that the tsunami was twice the height of the defence design specification. There have been a handful of "normal" deaths (i.e not related to ionising radiation sources).

The buildings survived rather well - the shutdown was well in progress when the tsunami took out significant amounts of the infrastructure (but still not the buildings)

We should carry on building nuclear reactors as safely as we know how, we should look at non-weapons tech to build safer reactors still. We should look at mini plants (substation sized).

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Microsoft: IE9's web privacy hole? A feature, not a bug

John Robson
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FAIL

Why

What's the point in allowing a second list?

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John Robson
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WTF?

Whitelists == OR

Blacklists == AND

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Fukushima one week on: Situation 'stable', says IAEA

John Robson
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Boffin

required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Better than them (or say the petrochemical plants) being totalled by the quake.

If they'd just vented straight to atmosphere initially, would we have had the hydrogen explosions?

Maybe that's the important bit here - In cases like this we should just vent anything with a half-life below 10 minutes (or above a few trillion years (that's >1000 times the most stable uranium isotope)) direct to the atmosphere.

Or maybe we'll use dedicated, remote, intermediate chambers...

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John Robson
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Sanity

My daily dose.

Although I saw something about Libya on the news today - is there something going on there?

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Sexy eco-bulb wins Design of the Year

John Robson
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Dimmable

And fitting in my existing light fittings.

Else I'm sticking with incandescent - they even contribute to my household heating.

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Site-saving workers evacuated from Japanese reactor disaster

John Robson
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Boffin

Or...

We should look at that <50 fatalities over 40 years and then look at each reactor. We might want to look at their backup systems better, and look at what the design considerations were.

Some may then be retired early.

We should however look at the more modern breed of reactors, and see what we can do about developing non weapons tech power generation from nuclear sources.

I'm remaining massively impressed with the over engineering of these reactors - in the same way that I was impressed that the twin towers stood for over an hour after being hit by a completely unenvisioned* attack. It's not that it's a good thing, but it's not nearly as bad as the petrochemical** fires burning all over the affect areas, nor the general collapse of buildings, destruction from the tsunami...

I am getting somewhat concerned that the world is ignoring the massive crisis occurring outside the gates of these plants.

* They were designed to cope with an unladen, slow 737 (largest plane at the time) searching for the airport - not fully fuel laden, full speed 757s.

** Including the various gas fires from broken gas mains.

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Data-mining technique outs authors of anonymous email

John Robson
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Boffin

Thank you

For finally asking the question that had been floating round my head since the article...

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Fukushima is a triumph for nuke power: Build more reactors now!

John Robson
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WTF?

Chocolate poinsoning

I should be dead then.

I've eaten 4kg in 90 minutes on more than one occasion without any ill effects ($SUPERMARKET had a BOGOF on 2kg bars, I left my self control behind)

I can't imagine than an extra 4kg would be fatal

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Giant 5-year-mission aerial wing-ship to fly in 2011

John Robson
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Boffin

Why "plane shaped"

The concept of a (possibly lift generating body) airship has got to reduce the required power for flight.

Or a lifting delta...

I can't imagine than "long thin straight rigid wing" is absolutely ideal - it just doesn't look it...

Might be limitations to do with required speed to overcome any wind...

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Cute download Firefox, 'treat a cub' vid downed by IE glitch

John Robson
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Badgers

More likely

That the Panda farm is running it?

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Anti-religious campaigners smack down census Jedis

John Robson
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My complaint exactly.

Although I come at from a different angle (evangelical Christian) I agree that there is a world of difference between:

- No religion

- Atheist

An Athiest has a FAITH - albeit a faith that there is nothing.

Not spoken to many antitheists, but wikipedia (all hail) suggests that this is also a faith position.

The honest answer for most people who don't KNOW that their answer is different is "agnostic" or "don't know"

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Spaniards bemoan 'joke' speed limit cut

John Robson
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Alonso?

"This argument is unlikely to cut much ice with F1 driver Fernando Alonso, who was quick to criticise the new limit and warned it was so low that drivers could nod off from boredom, with fatal consequences."

Err - what?

Maybe they shouldn't be on the road if they are within a couple of kph of "dropping off from boredom"

Heaven help them if they ever get to a town, city, corner, traffic jam - anything that requires them to drop their speed by more than a few furlongs per fortnight...

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iPhone 'Death Grip' effect is real, plastic cases don't help

John Robson
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Boffin

Gap important

Because I presume the distance is important - even an extra couple of mm can have a huge effect, most other phones bury their antenna a bit more deeply than the iPhone.

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Traffic-light plague sweeps UK: Safety culture strangles Blighty

John Robson
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WTF?

Facts...

"This might justifiably annoy motorists, as it is they who pay for the streets and roads. So far from helping pay for the infrastructure they use (and destroy, and block up), buses are heavily subsidised: cyclists and pedestrians use the facilities for free. But the roads budget (no more than £15bn annually) is dwarfed by the revenues received by the government from road tax and fuel duty (£46bn as of last year)."

Please correct this drivel:

Road tax does not exist (abolished in the 1930s), VED is based on emissions, so many motor cars pay nothing.

Fuel duty is no more saved to pay for the roads than duty on alcohol is used to build breweries.

The cost to the NHS/Police/Fire service of traffic "incidents" vastly outweighs any contribution from fuel duty etc. Motorists in this country are very nicely subsidised...

Also most cyclists pay more attention to red lights than most motorists. I'm generally horrified at the number of motorists who treat amber or "just red" as green.

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Man pockets $8m running computer fraud ring

John Robson
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WTF?

his take

Was $8m

Let's assume he took 1/2

"more than 250 victims" - let's run with 1600...

That's 1600 people "not noticing a charge of $10k ??!!

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Facebook offers 500 million users SSL crypto

John Robson
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Easy

They know how often you message people or graffiti their "wall", "like" their "status" or any number of other interactions...

And how many photos you are both tagged in...

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Google's cloud printing goes physical

John Robson
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Postscript

My post script printer got it's test page directly from my Android.

There is no need for it to leave my house...

Add a "view as PDF" option to docs mobile and we're sorted.

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Casio touts 'Bluetooth Low Energy' wristwatch with 2 year battery

John Robson
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Lock my PC when I walk away, unlock it when I return...

That's what it's useful for, although I already have several lanyards, so would rather something that clipped onto one of those...

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London's tube demands faster-than-NFC ticketing

John Robson
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Go

500ms is a long time

I like the fact that I don't need to break stride while walking through the gates on the tube - I barely notice them, ticket in, by the time my hand has got to the top of the machine the ticket is out to be grabbed on the way past.

In Sydney their systems take sufficiently long that I had to stop, and that's a pain - the person behind me had to stop, wait for me to go, then step forward and stop...

350ms seems like a better target to me!

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Windows 7 really was some girl's idea, rules ASA

John Robson
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Polotically correct isn't a noun...

so Public Convenience is the only remain option...

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Asus sidesteps tablets, debuts e-reader-cum-jotter

John Robson
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Grenade

Does it have...

A web browser / mail client?

If so then I do want one - although I'd have been happy with e-ink and a greater runtime.

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PARIS joins the 17-mile-high club

John Robson
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Awesome...

I hope Lindsey has a camera in the plane as well though ;)

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iPhone 4: the best built smartphone...

John Robson
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Jobs Halo

Rubber band

Doesn't the iPhone 4 need a rubber band around it to work anyway?

Won't that provide grip? - See it's a feature, not a bug

</sarcasm>

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John Lewis pitches 80-quid colour e-book reader

John Robson
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WTF?

2 or 3 ???

I get through 1 or 2 books a day on holiday...

over 2 weeks that's easily 20 books (i.e. most of anyone's luggage allowance...)

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Oz journo pokes PARIS

John Robson
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Lightweight Ornithopter, High Altitude Nuisance

LOHAN

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Microsoft's IE 8 'most widely used browser', rules ASA

John Robson
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Alert

Isn't that what the monotonies commision are for

It's widely installed because it's foisted on the unsuspecting masses (and government employees)

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PARIS HAS LANDED!!! Epic supra-atmos flight ends

John Robson
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Black Helicopters

Chase car

" G6UIM-9 - info

2010-10-28 11:49:37z

91 km/h 113° alt 851 m

EA/ PARIS Chase Car (APRSIS32)"

91 km/h - on that road?

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Vulture One PARIS spaceplane telemetry LIVE ONLINE

John Robson
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Pint

Erm

Has the chase car crashed, been pulled over by the local police, or just stopped for a pint?

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John Robson
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Looks like it's falling

quite fast

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DARPA fashions miracle robotic attachment from balloon, coffee

John Robson
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Should be fairly gentle

Although I imagine that it would have difficulty lifting a bowling ball

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Facebook pages very much public, even when set as private

John Robson
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Megaphone

No

It's not correct now. A search does not have to be automated to be a search.

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Linux bug bestows attackers with 'superuser' powers

John Robson
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Flame

Queue

Linux isn't secure after all flames...

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iPad tethering does disappearing trick

John Robson
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Any chance

they'll release Android updates for earlier devices - thought not...

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