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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2490 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

The iPHONE 5 UNDERMINES western DEMOCRACY: 5 reasons why

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

People doing irrational things with money?

Shocking

Makes you wonder what fashion is all about

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Sony focuses on full-frame snappers with tasty tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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SLT?

Does this not mean that the amounts of light reaching both the viewfinder and the sensor is cut roughly in half? In dim light, this would be a drawback. Though we do not need a bright viewfinder to focus any more, framing an image nicely in dim light might be a problem. Less light hitting the sensor lower the signal-to-noise ratio.

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Facebook wunderkind admits share price Zuck-up on stage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "Facebook's troubled float onto Nasdaq was "not the first up and down that we ever had"."

Facebook floated? I thought it sank?

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Dreaded redback spider's NEMESIS: Forgotten Captain Cook wasps

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:

"X X X X

Good on yer, Mate!"

Thanks!

But unfortunately, my name is Michael, not Bruce

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:

Some of the sheep

Or maybe that was another place which just happened to be very, um, Australian?

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LOHAN straps on satellite comms capability

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Cheers to them!

Anyone who contributes to LOHAN deserves a pint!

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Dutch unleash intelligent robot bins: No ID, no rubbish

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

May I welcome

our intelligent rubbish-bin overlords?

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Swedish cops contain fermented herring menace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Sounds even worse than durian fruit

Eating durian fruit has been described as being like eating the food of the gods with your head over an open sewer.

Normally I am quite happy to try local dishes, but some local dishes are local for a very simple reason: nobody else in their right mind would consider eating it. Alternatively, the locals are masochists on a diet (to quote Arthur Dent speaking to a nutrimatic machine). I think I will give this Swedish "delicacy" a pass.

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Airbus predicts catapult takeoffs and formation flying by 2050

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Catapults

Darn, my kids would have loved a high G catapult take-off, judging by the sizes of their respective grins the first time they took of in an airliner (cries of "COOL!!!" clearly communicated to other passengers it was their first time). A really high G take off would have had them hooked.

A low-G catapult would leave them very disappointed.

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Judge: Apple not liable for dropped, broken iPhone screens

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Should that not be iDiot

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'll get me coat

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Edgy penguins test-fly Ubuntu's Quantal Quetzal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Linux

Re: am I a luddite ?

I think it is quite an irony that Unity is so divisive. Clearly people either like it or hate it.

I have never used it (we use KDE at work, and therefore I use it at home just to have the same environment), so have no opinion on its merits (or lack thereof).

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Climate denier bloggers sniff out new conspiracy

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

Must resist, must resist!..... Cannot resist

Just because you are paranoid, does not mean they are not out to get you

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DARPA builds faster-than-Usain-Bolt Cheetah robot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Run, Run AWAY! Really fast, OR

Just run fast enough to exhaust the thing's battery, or invest heavily in tripwires

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ENCODE’s ‘junk DNA’ claims spark biological bunfight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: As one DNA strand...

Nice one, wanted to get a new keyboard anyway

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IBM's z12 mainframe engine makes each clock count

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I have to wonder

Could you fry an egg on those chips? I like mine with crispy bacon (and "sunny side up", as they say in the US).

Oh bloody hell, I am hungry now.

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NASA captures mind-bogglingly gorgeous solar video

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Awesome

Really awesome images and video. There was a load of activity on September 1 and 2, as seen through my little H-alpha scope (our first-year students had a look and were very impressed). It is of course typical that the best fireworks took place when it was clouded over over here.

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Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Blame

I do not see it as a problem that Linux has made it to roughly 1% of the desktop. One percent of all desktops is still a huge number of machines, and apparently many people are happy with it. Transit vans are are a minute proportion of all cars sold, but that does not mean the Transit van is not considered a roaring success. The same could be said about Porsches and Ferraris. Seen like this there is no need to blame anyone.

It does of course pay to see if you can do better. In my book that means: Do not break APIs! If you need to change something, do it in the form of new functionality, but do not change old system calls, unless you are absolutely certain that there is no legacy code that needs it out there (not much chance of that, is there?). That at least is what we try to teach our students.

Linux is very good at certain things, for certain people. These people are neither superior or inferior to others, they just need, or like to use a different toolbox. End of story as far as I am concerned.

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'Immortal cancer' found in Australia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Reverse the polarity of the Neutron flow.

Beware what you wish form, you might get it.

I have this image of an ageing, degenerating brain, and a mind bereft of all joy, in a perfectly healthy body, which stubbornly refuses to die. As brain cells tend not to divide, and are typically not replenished (which may or may not be an adaptation linked to our long memory, and intellectual abilities), I doubt whether it would benefit from the same rejuvenation treatment as the rest of the body.

Scary thought that.

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Global strategic maple syrup reserves hit in Canadian mega-heist

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Burn the heretics!!

In Quebec you should not just try the beer. I have VERY fond memories of the food in Quebec City when I was there. Really, really, really very good indeed. I'll toast to the thought of returning there and having an 'Assiette du Pecheur"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Burn the heretics!!

Actually, I find that a properly made galette (buckwheat pancake, Bretonne style) with crispy fried bacon and maple syrup works very well. It is a culinary version of the Dutch "spekpannenkoek" (bacon pancake) which is usually served with treacle. Despite the reputation of Dutch "cuisine" in general, the spekpannenkoek can be really nice.

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Elon Musk says he's planning a 'supersonic, electric hover jetplane'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Love the audacity and vision of this guy. Exciting stuff combined with a good business sense.

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Now Apple wants Samsung S III, Galaxy Notes off the shelves too

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Go

Hmm, popcorn

I'll have another carton

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Bruce Willis didn't Buy Hard: His girls can't inherit his iTunes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Is that the sound....

"Besides, what child actually wants to be able to listen to their parents' music collection?"

It is all a matter of indoctrination: I've got my kids headbanging to "Smoke on the Water", so now they are looking up other Deep Purple stuff on the web.

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Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I agree very much (as I did in my post to the previous article) that the patent system needs repair, and the key is proper examination of patents. I know a patent (US patent 5,533,051, an analysis is given here) was awarded for a means and method to compress any string of bits without loss of information (even it's own output). Anyone with half a brain can see that this is (ahem) patently false, as repeated application of the method to any finite bit string would result in a zero bit string, which mysteriously should still contain all the information of the original. I remember commenting at the time that the process might be correct for certain types of music, because they contain no discernible information anyway (the precise type of music for which this holds may differ between people).

Had this patent been examined properly, it would never have been awarded. The same holds for quite a few others (though fortunately very few are as stupid as the one abive). Having said that, there are plenty of inventions that thoroughly deserve protection, and the patent system, if properly implemented can provide that.

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Curiosity parks for a day, looks back in wonder

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

He could have been writing Vogon poetry in Morse code, but then maybe there is a treaty against that.

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War-Droid: Smartphone app 'that could CALL IN drone strikes'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Ultimate app for the viligante?

or for those with a "disproportionate response" sign in their front yard

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The dead reanimates as HP ships Open webOS beta

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I liked the look of WebOS when it came out (as a long time Tungsten T3 user, I liked many things Palm). I did not rush in and get a Pre or TouchPad, but I still like many of the ideas behind WebOS. I fear that this latest release may be too little, too late for WebOS however. I hope I am wrong.

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Boffins create super-muscular 'Hulk' mice: Humans next

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

But...

do they turn green when angry?

At least they do not have David Banner's clothing bill

Mine is the one with the Marvel comics in the pocket

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So, just what is the ultimate bacon sarnie?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A prize for the best should be called:

Bit of a mouthful I will admit, but then so is a good bacon sarnie!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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A prize for the best should be called:

The Sir Samuel Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, Duke of Ankh's Annual Bacon Sarnie Award

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Facebook co-founder Moskovitz scrambles to offload his shares

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: optional & untitled

20$ for the servers? Doesn't it cost more to dump them these days?

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Robot rover Curiosity sets out on first long Mars trip

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmmm

If the former, does I hope it doesn't develop a pain in all the diodes down its left side.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Why so slow?

"Because the mighty nuclear power plant produces a whole 100W of power, so it isn't rushing anywhere. And the rocket blast might have uncovered something interesting."

Precisely, no need to overclock the on-board computer

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'FIRST ever' Linux, Mac OS X-only password sniffing Trojan spotted

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Simple explanation for non-windows focus:

The authors of this malware have all the complete set of passwords for windows boxes

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Mars rover will.i.am 'cast: A depressing day for space and technology

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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STEAM

I for one would much rather have the A stand for Arts rather than Accountancy.

Just my 2p

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Open source author pulls code after GPL abuse

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Free Beer License

I prefer to release under the Free Beer License, or my preferred derivative, the more lenient Free Beverage License, which allows the licensee to specify his or her preferred beverage (12 year old or older single malt will do nicely)

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Why the Apple-Samsung verdict is good for you, your kids and tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Patents are valuable if they protect something truly innovative. In the US, the USPTO does a particularly bad job of sifting out the duds, that is the core problem. The USPTO lets past many patently false claims, or things for which prior art clearly exists. They then assume that the patent holders will fight over it in court. In Europe, the situation is very different, and the investigation into prior art is much more thorough (as it should be). This prevents the need for fighting over the validity of the patent in court. That also means such well-researched patent offer better protection to inventors with smaller pockets to pay legal fees.

So the patent system itself is not broken in my opinion. The the current implementation is bug ridden and badly in need of updates.

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RIP Neil Armstrong: The reluctant American hero

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I remember well

that in the queen's birthday parade in my home town in Groningen, the Netherlands, in 1970, so many boys were dressed as astronauts. I was one of them. Nothing trumped astronaut for cool as a kid. I am glad my kids got a glimmer of that excitement as they followed the exploits of Andre Kuipers in the ISS. They are now also considering astronaut as a career.

May there forever be nerdy engineers to follow in those famous footsteps on the moon, and beyond. Let's raise a glass to that.

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Huawei, ZTE hit with ITC patent probe

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Patriot Scientific Corporation?

How can the US government fail to heed their "throaty call"? That would be unpatriotic, wouldn't it?

Their case may well have merit, but it does seem their name is chosen with future litigation in mind, especially against foreign firms, rather than with any "patriot science" (whatever that may be) being carried out.

Me cynical?

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Neil Armstrong dies aged 82

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: He would

I have never had the privilege to meet the man, but aged seven I did successfully nag my parents to let me see the fuzzy image of Neil Armstrong stepping off that ladder. It was one of the things that set me off in a career of science (first astronomy, now computer science). I have seen many interviews with the man, and always appreciated his modesty. I will not miss Neil Armstrong at a personal level, because we never met. The personal loss is that of his family and friends. However, at this point it is fitting to express what a role model he was, both professionally, and as a human being. As his family stated to the press:

"The next time you look up and see the Moon smiling down at you,give it a wink and think of Neil".

That is the best monument to a modest, but great man.

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Police mistake reveals plan for Assange's Embassy capture

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Big Brother

SS20?

Is it just me, or is than not the most sensible way to codename a police unit?

I trust it does not stand for Schutz-Staffel 20, but it is a codename like that is bound to cause comment, post WW-II, and certainly in these times when people accuse the government of setting up a police state.

Just my 2p

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Boffins confirm sunspot-weather link

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Correlation and Causation?

Yes there are: low sunspot activity means a weaker solar magnetic field, which leads to more cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere, which leads to more ionized particles, which leads to more clouds (as ionized particles are condensation kernels which seed clouds), which leads to higher reflectance of the earth, which leads to lower temperatures. Quite a series of steps, but there is supporting evidence.

Statistically there have been many studies linking the Maunder Minimum to a "little ice age". I read a paper by Danish astronomers in about 1990, showing a 98% correlation between sunspot activity and temperature on earth over a period of about 150 years. Of course, this is correlation, not causation, but it is a very strong correlation indeed. Besides, I would hesitate yo suggest that temperatures on earth cause an increase in solar activity ;-).

Assuming the changes on the sun do not affect climate in any way is saying the main energy source of all earthly weather has no effect on the weather. However, saying the sun is the only cause behind climate change, and pollution has no effect at all is over-simplification as well.

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Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Pierogi versus patatas revolconas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Great artery-clogging food

Now for some clootie dumplings with slumpie

and extra butter of course

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Red hot chilli peppers floor Bristol shoplifter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Flame

You can't fence that merchandise, it's too hot!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Flames, well, obvious, init?

I will stick to my home-made sambal setan (devil sauce) made from Madame Jeanette peppers, some vegetable oil, a bit of salt and vinegar, and a dash of sesame oil.

Nice and fruity

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Akihabara unplugged: Tokyo's electric town falls flat

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I was in Akibahara in 2001, and it was very much geek paradise then. Did not buy any electronics, I was too busy not losing 25 science students in the maze that was then Akibahara. I did get an eyepiece for my scope at the time. I also remember the "German Beer Cellar" they had in Ginza street, with waitresses in German dirndl dress. Weird (but they had good beer).

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Investor pulls out of Facebook, pumps cash into pork-printing joint

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Someone print me a burger

Cannot be worse than the alleged burgers sold in some dives

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LOHAN sets clock ticking for explosive climax

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Cool, very cool indeed

Best of luck with the tests

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REVEALED: Everything Everywhere new 4G logo ... a SNAIL?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Could be an ammonite

And they are extinct. Not just six foot under and pushing up the daisies, but many, many strata below.

Makes as much sense as the other explanations

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Curiosity spins its wheels and shoots up the Martian landscape

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: African or a European Brontosaurus?

And do they migrate?

Mine is the one with the Holy Grail DVD in the pocket

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Interesting spectrographic output...

Calcium is a relatively common element in space (as are most even elements before iron).

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