* Posts by hugo tyson

323 posts • joined 20 Apr 2007

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

hugo tyson
WTF?

Re: <pendantry>

Pendantry? Should be bloody well hung...

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IWF shares 'hash list' with web giants to flush out child sex abuse images online

hugo tyson
Go

Re: Am I being a bit thick here

I think that if you change one bit, it is impossible that the signature/hash will not change. With a proper sig/hash/crypto, if you change any single bit of the input, an unpredictable (to an attacker) 50% of the bits in the hash will change (invert).

If you change 2 bits, same as changing 1 then another, 50% change, then some proportion p, whose mean is 1/2, of those change back and proportion 1-p of the others change: making on average a 50% change in all - repeat by changing another bit: so by recursion, any change in the input including complete replacement (whatever that means) changes, on average, half the bits in the output.

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RBS sticks it to customers once again as IT woes continue

hugo tyson

Re: Should be shutting down soon

I haven't had any problems with my banking in over 30 years either. With NatWest. Just FWIW. The last "major cock up" didn't affect everyone, and nor is this one. Put another way, every last company has some customers who have experienced a horror story, and who swear that after switching all was roses...

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: The new common-as-muck hybrid

hugo tyson

Re: A lot I could live with...

I must say I think it's good that we are getting both kinds: those which flaunt design and are uniquely identifiable as EVs, for those who want that, and also the way to the mass market, making EVs *not* remarkable but commonplace, by making it just one variant of an ordinary car.

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hugo tyson
Go

"Charge it" button

Surely the button to force it to eat petrol to charge the battery is for when you are a few miles from entering a ZEV zone or some such, ie. London, and you forgot to use the "keep it full" button for the first part of the journey. Or when all the charging points at the services you planned to use are full, also on the edge of a ZEV zone?

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SpaceX Dragon crew capsule in 'CHUTE ABORT drama – don't panic, no one died

hugo tyson

The Shuttle was indeed intended to be its own escape capsule

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_abort_modes details lots of cunning plans; but they all address a detected component failure - nothing's available to deal with an actual explosion or other gross mechanical failure.

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

hugo tyson
Mushroom

Misplaced caution?

I agree it looks like a 100Hz ticker reaching 2^31 and going negative. But I think (without going off into comp.risks) there might be something else going on.

Problematic code can fail at overflow one of two ways: looping forever (very bad) or exiting prematurely (softer). It's not hard to get it right, of course, but if, say, the API changes (!) after you wrote your timer code or something like that it can end up wrong. So, for ultra-cautious safety-critical stuff, how do you make sure? You add asserts. Lots of asserts. Sounds like that's what we have here, as it goes into a fail-"safe" shutdown.

Problem is, if your code would do the soft failure - premature exit from the loop - then the assert makes it less reliable. Because what would otherwise be a single spurious shorter timeout, perhaps no worse than noise in whatever it is you're measuring/updating periodically, perhaps completely harmless, the assert failure turns into a complete shutdown.

In other words, assert - and thus shutdown - if you see insanity in your inputs, or detect an actual failure signal, for example. Asserting for anything less might help find bugs if you test it enough, but when deployed, you want something weaker, that logs an unexpected condition, but doesn't panic the system. IMHO.

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hugo tyson
Coat

Avro Vulcan

You're right, Vulcans weren't fly-by-wire at all; it's pushrods and levers, but the large force to move the control surfaces is electro-hydraulic: each PFC actuator is a self-contained unit taking 200V AC electric power in, to hydraulic pump, to hydraulic piston making a large force on the external hardware - but controlled by a mechanical lever input. The mixing of elevator and aileron signalling to the elevons, and the artificial feel is all (electric-powered) mechanical. Essentially it uses electric instead of hydraulic power to do all the power-assisting, but the control connections are very traditional linkages.

Not sure, but I think the batteries were only 28V for running other control systems, not enough to power the PFCs, enough to operate the RAT or AAPU to work around generator or bus failures.

So complete electrical failure left all the controls locked. Not good at all, especially for the 3 guys in the back. :-(

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Microsoft: It's TRUE, you'll get Android and iOS apps in WINDOWS

hugo tyson
Facepalm

Fair point

.... but Java was originally intended to be an ANDF, remember? How these pages were filled with mockery as managers insisted on Java for mainframe projects an other inappropriate targets because it was trendy!

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Health & Safety is the responsibility of Connor's long-suffering girlfriend

hugo tyson
FAIL

It's all about liability

We have to do stupid "how to sit on a chair" training. OK, it's supposed to be "how to set up your workstation" meaning monitor, mouse, keyboard. It's designed so that any moron can pass by picking the middle one of the answers. "Do you set your chair a) too low b) middle c) too high" but in pictures. It's designed to take a certain time by making you mouse over things to see popups for a certain time before you can press "next". The only thing it does is relieve the employer of liability for your bad back or RSI. It's utterly utterly pointless.

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Man asks internet for $1k for pebbles. INTERNET SAYS YES

hugo tyson
Joke

Gotta be nuts!

http://www.screwfix.com/p/hex-nuts-a2-stainless-steel-m20-pack-of-10/38163

There, much cheaper...

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Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to REAL photography?

hugo tyson
Happy

Re: Whence the next generation of professional photographers?

Tee hee. But those people are happy with those pics! Let them have their fun!

The existence of appallingly inept amateurs does not imply the non-existence of acceptably competent amateurs.

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hugo tyson
Flame

Whence the next generation of professional photographers?

We don't need a next generation of professional photographers. Image data is no longer a scarce resource, and people look at pictures on tablets, or occasionally laptops. Print magazines are dying. Glossy catalogs too.

It's like asking "where will the next generation of hand-thrown clay potters come from?"

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Yes, Samaritans, the law DOES apply to you. Even if you mean well

hugo tyson

It's the processing that makes the data subject to the Act, no?

Sure, all the input is public. But if a company googles your name then does analysis (automated or not) to separate the several individuals with that name, and builds a profile of you, then uses that to make statements - true or not - about you available to some or many or all other individuals, then that analysis is subject to Data Protection under the Act, surely?

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Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

hugo tyson

Strangers....

But isn't the fear of "walking alone down a dark street" also down to the guns thing?

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Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

hugo tyson
FAIL

Troubled Cambridge Micro Maker....

....Acorn Computers found itself in the same situation when its net worth was less than the value of its ARM shares. At that point they had an EGM and decided just to give the shareholders the ARM shares instead and call it a day, selling off various teams to BroadCom et al. Methinks the same comments about them not really knowing what to do with any money they might make, or indeed what to do at all, applied there also.

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Huawei buys Cambridge Internet of Things pioneer Neul

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

hugo tyson
Coat

Sums

" I’d used 62 miles (100km) of range by doing 25 miles (40km) "

I think your logic is wrong. What it says is that continuing to drive *like that* you would only have 51 miles left. Your driving style reduced the overall range to about 65% of what it could be. Original prediction was 113 miles. After driving a bit, the prediction for the total available was 51 remaining, plus the 25 you already did gives 76 miles total available range for your driving, about 65%.

Possibly, depending on how fast the car learns your style, you could have driven "vigorously" for 2 miles and cut the predicted range from 111 miles to 74. Doesn't mean you used up 37 miles in going only 2.

Not saying this is any good, mind, just the implication that you used 62 miles of predicted range in 25 miles distance is not valid.

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Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles

hugo tyson
Coat

Cloud-based services company for businesses

So they'll give up on operating systems, and end up a cloud/server-based services company for businesses, implementing your email/messaging, document/content creation/management/sharing, databases, planning tools, .... and... nothing for people outside of work?

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

hugo tyson

Re: The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

I saw an article named "CSRmesh non-NDA presentation" somewhere whose content matched what the Reg was talking about, so I guess they were given that. I don't know if it's generally available, looks like not.

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hugo tyson

Re: The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

Though 15 bits for DeviceID and 15 for GroupID is just a convention - you could potentially have 63k devices and 2k groups, for example. Point is the IDs live in the same 16-bit space.

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hugo tyson
Boffin

The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

The QR code/UUID is only used during installation. After that the device has a 15-bit local ID, and a network key which was distributed securely during installation. Messages are signed and encrypted using that key. Up to 32k devices can share a network key and so interwork without additional bridging or gateway sorts of things.

So you can't control your neighbour's lights.

The QR code is used to handle the race condition when you and your neighbour are both installing a new light bulb at the same time - to keep you from accidentally acquiring control of each other's. And so you can tell which of your several exciting new devices is which as you give them IDs and set them up.

Group IDs are also 15-bit; each device can also belong to multiple groups and so respond to commands addressed to eg. "all kitchen lights" "all lights" "downstairs" &c &c. So long as they share the same network key.

The reportage about 64k groups each containing 64k devices, making 4bn, is, um, confused. With separate network keys, there can be billions of distinct mesh networks worldwide, each with up to 32k devices, without them interfering with one another.

Aside: the "advertising channels" name has nothing to do with pushing marketing messages, though many companies are looking at doing indoor location/proximity via BLE ads, and then layering push messaging on top of that using a separate server connection made by the supermarket-loyalty-card-app or equivalent.

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'Disruptive innovation' is nonsense? Not ALWAYS, actually

hugo tyson
FAIL

Re: Too much law

I agree it's too much law, but it's not only/mainly patent law. It's regulatory capture, intentional or not.

For example motorcycles with roofs, seatbelts and roll cage (and weather protection) still requiring a helmet; taxis versus Uber; new "cars" which should be light and efficient being required to be as over-equipped with airbags and electronics and ABS, ASC,... as old fashioned heavy metal + oil ones. Construction laws making new building materials, power schemes, heating systems... infeasible.

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

hugo tyson

Re: Politics of Envy

I think there's a certain level of inequality that society *requires* otherwise, as a later poster said, why bother striving in any of the various meanings of the word. Reward for effort towards common goals - ie. work, the common goals being "the economy continues" and "you don't rely on the state completely" must be selectively available.

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iOS 8 to PROBE your GUTS and your HOME

hugo tyson

Re: Why did I read that as

Me too. Showing my age?

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Boeing CEO says no more 'moonshots' after 787 Dreamliner ordeal

hugo tyson

Re: @Dan

Electrical flight systems (instead of hydraulic): Avro Vulcan, B.1 1956; B.2 1960.

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Cuffing darknet-dwelling cyberscum is tricky. We'll 'disrupt' crims instead, warns top cop

hugo tyson
Go

Good - the goal is to keep us safe, not prosecutions

Since governments have become obsessed with (bogus) metrics, it seems to me that too often people think the police's purpose is to prosecute villains; they get metrics about "must get so many prosecutions for this crime or that crime".

It isn't.

It's to prevent the crime in the first place. If that fails, and OK, it inevitably must for some people, some crimes, *then* they must prosecute. But the world is a better place, and the population happier, if the crimes didn't occur in the first place.

That's why we bother to lock our doors and cars.

So it seems entirely sensible to do what this article says they will; prevention is better than retroactive punishment. The punishment part is only useful beforehand if it actually deters; its effect of preventing recurrence is secondary, surely? We'd all rather not have been burgled/hit/whatever in the first place.

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Voice-babble-over-Wi-Fi lands in Europe – take that, mobe masties

hugo tyson
Coat

Isn't this a...

...Rabbit phone?

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Lost treasure of Atari REVEALED

hugo tyson
Joke

Re: Apple Lisa next?

First we need to recover the Acorn Electrons. Can we get them back in time for Xmas this time?

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Teen girl arrested with 70-year-old man's four inch weapon inside her

hugo tyson
Joke

Re: At least it wasn't a .357 Magnum

It would have melted by now....

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Japan plans SEVEN satellite launches to supercharge GPS

hugo tyson
Coat

Re: Is there a rocket scientist in the house?

Looks like they're putting 4 SVs in inclined nominally-circular geosynchronous orbits. An inclined geosynch orbit, ie. not parallel to the equator, "nods" when seen from the ground - it stays with you (approximately) in longitude but goes up and down (N and S) in latitude symmetrically about 0degN.

Put more than one in similar orbits in similar longitude but different directions of the inclination and you can ensure they take turns in being "up" where you are.

BTW, AIUI real elliptical orbits give a figure-8 path seen from the ground as it leads and lags in longitude as the latitude changes. More eccentricity can make one loop of the '8' much fatter than the other, so you can almost get a straight-up-and-down apparent path for the part you're interested in - ie. over your own territory - with the larger loop happening when the SV is below the horizon from your locale. And/or make the SV spend >50% of the time in your desired half of the world (but not much greater).

Not sure, but I think India and China are also doing this sort of thing for enhanced local coverage.

Again AIUI, these are not only as a WAAS or EGNOS (sp?) but you can of course use timed signals from the extra SVs in your simultaneous equation set for finding position, so long as they send them and you have good enough ephemeris about the sat positions with time.

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

hugo tyson
FAIL

What's the purpose of the computer again?

So you have a CNC machine controlled by a particular computer. You can see it's a computer; it's a separate box(es) and looks just like a computer. IMHO the problem is that people expect to use that computer for things other than controlling the CNC machine, because they think it's a computer not just a controller for the CNC machine. So they add other software; they install updates other than from the manufacturer of the CNC machine. They network it and connect it to other things; they come to depend on it for other functions. All of which compromises its function as a CNC controller.

Maybe it's that distinction that the 20-year capital equipment amortisation world needs to learn?

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Apple vows to add racially diverse EMOJIS after MILEY CYRUS TWITTER outrage

hugo tyson
Joke

Don't tell them about...

...sticking plasters. They seem available for pinkish-cream folks or them smurfs off of Avatar only....

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

hugo tyson
Go

Re: What if it was ditched and sunk intact?

"Switch on the underwater landing lights"

- best line from any film, ever. :-)

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

hugo tyson
Stop

Maplins real purpose...

Very much NSFW:

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/maplin-is-where-men-meet-for-sex-2014013183134

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Fukushima radioactivity a complete non-issue on West Coast: Also for Fukushima locals, in fact

hugo tyson

Re: Sort of

...in statistically-significant excess of those which would have occurred anyhow. (Agreeing with you though)

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Microsoft tries to re-invent GPS with cloudy offloads

hugo tyson
Coat

MS-Assisted

Methinks this is the GPS standard known as MS-Assisted in SUPL where the handset (Mobile Station) tracks the satellites but sends the timings to the server for solution. The more usual mode of operation is MS-Based.... decades old. Possibly their new idea is storing a snapshot of tracking data (or raw data?!) for post-processing when you later geotag your picture or graph your marathon...

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Ker-ching...Er, ZZZWIP: Square-alike mobile swipe type scores $96m

hugo tyson
FAIL

Just make a Bluetooth connection?

So presuming your phone is running their app, with which you were just shopping online, it just connects to a device in the store when you come in range? That device therefore knows who you are &c. and can bother you "appropriately". The connection could be the other way round too of course... your phone could be the peripheral and a central at the till could connect to it. The latter is better for your device's battery life...

No advantage for the customer at all, far as I can see...

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Spock-style gadget can SMELL my PEE! Weird gizmos of CES 2014

hugo tyson
Coat

Netatmo’s June

....for Lensmen!

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Space Station bags extra 10yrs of life as SOLAR STORM scrubs resupply

hugo tyson
Go

Commercial Orbital

I don't think the commercial trucks-to-orbit businesses would exist without the ISS as a pre-existing destination. But they're vital for beginning to live and work and do business in orbit. And that's vital for making the vehicles to go elsewhere, whether for exploration or mining or tourism or what. And that's vital for survival. IMHO. :-)

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TomTom GO 6000 satnav chews on smarties and tablets

hugo tyson
Stop

Plan ahead?

OK, whatever is wrong with stopping for a few minutes to have a look at your map? Maybe even stretch your legs and get some fresh air? People have a weirdly iron resolve never ever to halt no matter how lost.

In reality, if going somewhere new and nontrivial, I plan. Using google maps, and sometimes streetview, virtually "walking" the fiddly bits in advance a couple of times so that when I get there in the car it's already fairly familiar. Being able to recognise a pub or shop or junction heading for eg. a hotel in central Northampton, is massively useful.

All these products seem to be for people who refuse to take any time in advance to make their own lives easier - or are too dumb or lazy to be able usefully to do so. It's all about saving 20 minutes the day before.

But I will concede that online live data is best if there's unexpected congestion; but then if it's really really bad you'll be stationary for long enough to look at that map - and maybe your phablet - anyway....

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Build your OWN Apple iBeacon with a Raspberry Pi

hugo tyson
Go

02 15

I dunno what the 02 is either, but IMHO the 15 is the length of the following data within the manufacturer data field. Presumably 02 is Apple's code for "ibeacon id".

The C5 tx power is a signed 8-bit number, being -59 (decimal) dBm@1m.

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Watch out, MARTIANS: 1.3 tonne INDIAN ROBOT is on its way

hugo tyson
Go

Spending

"some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars. ®"

As usual, like people who complain about research in this country when they need a new bus shelter or the park has litter, doing the division sum shows that not doing the research would make available 1/10 of one meal per needy person, or 0.001 bus-shelters per parish, or similar. No of course I don't have the figures, but that's how it always is when you do get them :-)

Agree we should stop aid to India tho' - or be honest and admit it's a bribe for trade and good relations.

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Hong Kong underground gets pay-by-bonk

hugo tyson

Love my Lobster Card

Exactly, the Oyster card is brilliant and makes getting about in London a pleasure not a fsckin nightmare like it used to be. And it's brilliant because it has limits on what it can spend every day, and so on. Why change anything?

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Tesco's new fondleslab winks at Apple's stealthy NFC assassin iBeacon

hugo tyson

Lots of companies seem to think this sort of thing is a good idea

For example, I've seen this recently pushed out: http://www.shopone.mobi/ (it's a website out there on the internet far as I know; so it can't be a sekrit, can it?) which describes other ideas in the same area.

I'm not pimping it, just offering another perspective and more info for folks... I too remain unconvinced that people will ever use the app in question, but AIUI the main idea is that it replaces your loyalty card and the paper vouchers you get with it. And indeed it may deliver extra vouchers/offers dynamically as you loiter, depending on where you loiter.

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Sofas with a roof and Star Trek seating: The future of office furniture?

hugo tyson
Thumb Down

My eyes!

I just looked at the show's site. But at least it's windows 8 compatible :-)

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Apple named in criminal lawsuit over Premier League–streaming app

hugo tyson
Facepalm

Wrong sue

They should be suing the UK Premier League for selling them something which doesn't exist: exclusivity. Well, doesn't exist in practice, only in the made-up legal things they invented and paid for resp. Can I sell you a legal right to fly like an angel? Sure. Sign here. Can't actually fly? Sue, um, Isaac Newton? Not me, oh no.

Last time this happened it was Sky here and the footy vs a pub who legally bought a European feed.

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'NSA PRISM spies' shake down victims with bogus child-abuse vids claims

hugo tyson
FAIL

New screensaver image

I'm having that for my screensaver.... at work only, of course.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

hugo tyson
Go

Sky Submarines!

That way of controlling buoyancy is exactly what submarines do: suck in and store compressed the lighter-than-outside substance (air resp. helium) and let in the outside neutral substance (water resp. air).

With gasses you can use flexible bags for the buoyant part (instead of open-at-the-bottom tanks) and inflexible bags for the compressed storage (instead of high pressure cylinders). Density of He is 4, density of air is about 30 (molecular mass of N2 + some O2) so you only need squeeze the He to about 8 bar and it's no longer at all buoyant.

Fair enough, subs discard the air when they dive, and use air they stored compressed earlier when they blow tanks; and it vents as it expands as they surface and pressure drops, but.... it's the storage that they have in common.

And yes, it is Thunderbird 2, hurrah!

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Boffin snatches control of colleague's BODY with remote control BRAIN HAT

hugo tyson
Joke

Fantastic.

This is absolutely marvellous. That man in the hat made me write this.

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