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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2569 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice start to the weekend

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FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: I'm three terrorists at least!

At least you aren't illiterate as well

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A better measure...

Height to girth, or chest to belly girth ratios are dimensionless and MUCH better for that reason.

The BMI based on a power of 2.5 might be better, but why not the power of three that simple geometry suggests? There may be empirical or statistical reasons for the power of 2.5, but it does look a bit like some people do not want to admit how totally stupid the power of 2.0 was and switch to 3.0 directly. After all, if I simply scale a short, skinny athlete by 10% in all directions, his weight should go up by a factor of 1.331, keeping his body fat percentages, height to girth ratios, etc identical. Thus, I feel 2.5 is a compromise, rather than entirely reasonable. Even if some fit was made to empirical data, I am deeply suspicious that the result would be 2.5 exactly, right between the traditional value and the one suggested by geometry.

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Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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To paraphrase Marvin

I get a headache trying to think down at the level of those storytellers (prhase used without prejudice).

The "quality of that story reminds me of a snoopy cartoon, where snoopy gets a rejection letter for a story he has submitted, together with a rejection for the next story he might want to submit.

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Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Let me get this straight

So one objective is to take somebody's selfies and cat videos and drop them down a deep, dark hole on the moon.

Sounds like an excellent plan

More seriously, if that's what it takes to get even a little more funding into space research, I can live with that

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YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Simon will be recharging the cattle-prod

"Some sysadmins will go to extremes to secure a network, viewing it (wrongly) as their property."

What do you mean WRONGLY?

>KZZZEERRT!!!<

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Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Slack

Using free wifi for a security update? Call me paranoid, but I have seen so many security issues in fre wifi that I only use it for non-sensitive stuff (like browsing the Reg)

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Parkinson's Law, or the Pursuit of Progress

Is one of my favourites. Excellent guidelines on how to understand bureaucracy. For superb moral guidelines I find the Discworld series offers a lot, like the definition of sin by mistress E. Weatherwax:

"Easy, it's treating people like things!"

It is more fun to read than the bible, and does not threaten you with eternal punishment.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: The Bible

If we are going to play the numbers' game, the Ikea catalogue would beat the bible in terms of numbers printed and number of different language translations. I would not count it as a contender for this list, however.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: The bible is a book ?

And not 666, as some might have believed

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SUPER-JAMMY Philae comet probe got down WITHOUT harpoons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great work despite the glitches. I will certainly raise a glass.

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FIRST for HUMANITY: Fridge-size PROBOT headed for COMET TOUCHDOWN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Wonderful stuff from ESA

Hope they pull it off. Will raise a glass of "distilled beer" (the single malt variety) if they do (and drink a consolation one if they don't)

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That 'TECH-FREE' Nophone? It was already out years ago

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: John's phone.

Don't be silly, that one seems to work!

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CATACLYSMIC Sun BELCH causes hour-long RADIO BLACKOUT in SPAAACE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

It is an amazing sunspot, and some massive flares going on

Finally managed some quality time looking at that spot. Missed the flare, but the images I did manage weren't half bad, both in H-alpha and white light detail

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Forget the $2499 5K iMac – today we reveal Apple's most expensive computer to date

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Never had an Apple 1 but we did work on an Apple II for a while (with Motorola 68000 board to do the heavy lifting). We actually did image analysis on that piece of kit. I think the Apple II is much more of a Ford-T equivalent (though not fully) than the Apple 1 (though many other machines would be contenders, like the IBM PC, the ZX Spectrum or ZX80/81, and a host of others). The Apple II was produced in much larger numbers, and had the expansion slots which allowed third parties to add stuff. THAT was an important step (not so much that the expansion slots were there, but much more that they were open to all). The IBM PC took that to another level again. Expansion slots were a way to stave off obsolescence (for a few months more ;-)), and to increase flexibility.

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DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Tried and True

Nice one! I now have this vision of malware popping up a message:

Unsupported Windows Version! To run Steal All My Credentials (SAMC) V 7.0 and above you must upgrade to Windows 7.0 Service Pack 1, at minimum. SAMC V7 will now terminate, we apologize for the inconvenience

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Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Another thumbs up for a badge.

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Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: OTT

Agreed, just about the last thing I want to watch when I do have time to watch a film is something like "Transformers". Each to his own, of course, I just do not seem to get the hang of films with more explosions than dialogue (not that I mind the odd explosion, hence the icon)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Neat technology, nicely reviewed. Given my living room (and other expensive technological hobbies) not for me, alas, but interesting from the point of audio technology nonetheless. After working on phased-array data from radio astronomy for whole-sky imaging, I cannot help thinking that the ultimate solution must be a phased array of tiny speakers all around you, and the recording must be done by a similar phased array of microphones. That could record and recreate the sound field (similar to light-field recording by certain advanced cameras). Totally over the top of course, but a man can dream.

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Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: What...the...fuck....

I get this feeling that somebody out there has got themselves a white Persian cat.

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Ancient Brits 'set wealthy man's FANCY CHARIOT on FIRE' – boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: When archeologists aren't quite sure

Very true. In the "Cave of the Shaman" in southern France there are many carvings on the wall depicting women with exagerated figures (T & A), and a man (definitely a man, no chance to mistake him for a woman, especially in braille, as Terry Pratchett might put it) with a HUGE erection. The local guide explaied this probably had to do with fertility rituals. She was not amused by my alternative theory that this might have been the local communal men's room, and these were just the usual graffiti you might expect from adolescent men (of all ages).

The burnt chariot might have belonged to a much hated landlord

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Top Gear iron age? Intruiging

so was this the iron age Stig's helmet?

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Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Religion or Extortion

Maybe they are Yen Buddhists, the ones who recognise that money is the root of all evil, and so want to save us all from its seductive effects by selflessly hoarding as much of it as possible, at great personal risk to their own salvation.

Doffs hat to Terry Pratchett

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

The announcement makes me wonder

Will it blend?

OK, OK, I am leaving

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Here we go again..

A life-support system running windows gives a whole new dimension to the term blue screen of death.

Sorry, couldn't resist, shooting fish in a barrel time again, it seems

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Supercomputers: The Next Generation – Cray puts burst buffer tech, Intel Haswell inside

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Permission to drool, please?

Lovely computerssss, my preciousssss.

Sorry, sorry, I have taken my little pills, won't happen again. Now where was that advice form to send to our HPC centre for suggestions what to buy as the next big supercomputer.

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Anti-Facebook Ello: Here's why we're still in beta. SPAMGASM!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It will be very hard to promote any paid-for service now users are so used to have their social network for "free" (free as in beer, not free as in not-having-everything-you do-or-click-on-analysed-and-sold). Any "free" item will have to be paid for either from ad income or from selling analytic results, or both.

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'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Triassic Park

Don't let anybody in Hollywood get the idea of 3D printed archeosaurs living in a park.

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Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I can see plenty of jobs for 32 x 32 cores with masses of RAM (just mopped up some drool after reading the specs), but unfortunately not all in DB territory. DB acceleration has much the same pros and cons as any specialist accelerator (like a GPU). Great for some tasks, suck big time on others. I must wait and see how these processors would perform on the tasks we have in mind.

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: it makes sense

Is this why I have often felt like saying

THERE'S BEER IN THEM THERE HILLS!!!!

when in Belgium?

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Indian MOM just LOVES it on Mars, tweets fave holiday snap

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Methane?

"Since most politicians talk out of their arse, I would expect their "hot air" to have a high methane content."

But only in such quantities that it cannot be extracted usefully, I fear

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Methane?

It can be both, althoug most politicians produce more hot air than methane

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Well done MOM!

Great work from that team, great effort for very little cost (comparatively speaking, of course, I gather it boils down to less than a cup of tea for each person in India).

I'll raise a glass to them this evening (and it won't be tea)

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US team claims PARIS paper plane launch crown

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Pilot?

Interesting point. They clearly don't have enough room for a playmonaut, although they may have had place for a legomonaut (does not look like they had, however)

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GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I thought I had come to the right place for an argument

but I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I went to a Jesuit school, and had frankly exhilarating discussions on life, the universe and everything with the (very few) priests who taught religious education. They greatly encouraged our setting up an astronomy club, and I was in my turn honoured to be invited to a (voluntary) extra class on "religious and philosophical matters" as one Jesuit put it. He said he knew I was an atheist, and that I had very good arguments, so wanted me on board "because I like people to think about their beliefs," as he put it. Hats off to the attitude of respectfully differing in opinion of those particular priests.

Hats off too to the scientists behind both BICEP2 and the follow up. Science is about presenting your findings, warts and all, and to encourage others to scrutinize your work. You should not fear losing face because you might be found out to be wrong. Most of the time, all you produce is not the next piece of the puzzle, but a glimpse of what the next piece might look like.

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Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

Re: The Russians are still the best evidence...

Given the spate of downvotes I see on even the most innocuous comments, I can only conclude:

Houston, we have a conspiracy theorist!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: about that International "Space" Station...

The ISS is real, I have seen it with my binoculars (solar panels visible), but then maybe I am part of the conspiracy too (wish NASA would pay me, in that case).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Good effort but alas

nVidia will not convince the conspiracy theorists, because none are so deaf as those who do not want to hear.

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Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Am I the only one...

I have started to use it in moderation, and found it quite OK. There are some useful groups on it, and I do not get bombarded with loads of idiocy. I also like to post the odd solar image on it. Not a Facebook or Twitter user, but I find G+ tolerable.

To make it more geeky, they should have called it Google++, of course, but that plan might have offended g++ users.

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Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Well deserving of an Ig Nobel prize!

Isn't that a BLT without the L and T? Very relevant in the context, nobody has tried lettuce to stop nosebleeds. Or tomatoes.

Roughly. It is a Blt sandwich. the subliminal lt are a vain attempt to keep Sybil happy

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Well deserving of an Ig Nobel prize!

Not only does it work, but it smells nice and therefore is also good for the appetite

I mean, I am getting hungry just reading about it. Hmm, a Vimes Special BLT sandwich with a pint of Winkles Old Peculiar, just the ticket

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Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very interesting read. The unknown source might be something other than dark matter, but whatever it is, it is new (unless it is Dr Who reversing the polarity of the neutron flow)

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Pedantry alert

Vielen dank!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Headmaster

Pedantry alert

Given that "Panzer" (short for "Panzer Kampfwagen") is German for tank, Panzer tank sounds a bit over the top. I bit like river Avon, actually.

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Boffins: Searching for ALIENS is like looking for PIZZA among students

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Has anybody worked out

the spectral characteristics of superintelligent shades of the colour blue yet?

I'll get me coat. The one with the HHGTTG radio play casette tapes in the pocket (yes I am that old)

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Sun's MASSIVE solar storm belch to light up Earth's skies

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Might get some aurora activity here. Will be watching for it.

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Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: That side-on picture of the phone looks just like...

"I thought the thing looks remarkably like a Galaxy."

Nah, most galaxies are more elliptical or sport nice spiral arms, you rarely see any remotely rectangular ones (although the Small Magellanic Cloud is a bit rectangular).

I'll get me coat. The one with "Turn Left at Orion" in the pocket please

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TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting story

However coral trout != trout. They are hardly related (OK, both are fish), and I would certainly not prepare them in the same way. Both are delicous, however.

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What the BLOCK? Microsoft to gobble Minecraft-maker 'for $2bn'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Headmaster

Re: It was fun while it lasted.

It's death knell (as in bells ringing to announce death), not death nail. I think you are confused with a nail in the coffin.

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NASA said a 60ft space alien menacing Earth wouldn't harm us: Tell THAT to Nicaragua

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: 107,200

Actually, you need to calculate the relative velocity of 2014 RC with respect to Earth. According to NASA this figure is 10.95 km/s. Assuming the mystery object was traveling in the same orbit, it would be a "mere" 512,460 km behind 2014 RC. They could be related of course (if they share the same orbit, they almost certainly share the same origin).

I think the most telling bit is that nobody spotted the lights in the sky. An impact like this comes from a very bright meteor, so if somebody was sitting on their veranda and heard the explosion, they would have seen it with their eyes closed.

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