* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2683 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

NASA prods sleeping New Horizons spacecraft: Wakey, wakey, Pluto's calling

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Thumbs up to NASA

Great news. Looking forward to the results, and my eldest son will be chuffed the closest encounter is on his birthday.

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BOFH: Santa, bloody Santa

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice one. It has a nice recursive feel to it.

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Orion BELTS UP: Space shuttle wannabe preps again for test flight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "fuel valve that refused to close properly"

At least the valve is not sulking in basements, as our elevators have been doing lately. Should never have gone for the Sirius Cybernetics model

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Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: RCA? Pah. Young 'uns know nothing

And from the left field comes the Elan Enterprise 128. I still have fond memories of the little joy-sticky thing with the at least half-decent full size keyboard, and a WHOPPING 128 kB of RAM. Even managed to program a discrete Fourier transform on it. It worked, ...., if you were very patient. Won't claim it was better than any other out there, but it shared several features with the Spectrum: Z80 processor, and only appeared WAY after the promised date. What was very nice is that like the Acorn Atom and Electron (we used many of those in the labs) you got the entire schematic, and many ports were properly buffered, so you could add your own external devices without risk of frying the computer.

Regarding this project: More keys might of course be added if they exceed their target by a sufficient margin

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Orion: To Mars, the Moon and beyond... but first, a TEST FLIGHT through Van Allen belt

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Of course it can fly

About 1% better than this half brick I have here

On a more serious note: I do not care about the political reasons for the project, if it can get people deeper into space, I am all for it. Maybe it's nostalgia for my days as a kid stuck to the TV screen watching all Apollo-related programmes, but more likely its just that I applaud all serious exploration of space.

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Hominid ancestors beat humans to the drinks cabinet, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Maybe the history of drinking has a similar three-phase pattern as warfare, which has the Retaliation (I am going to kill you because you killed my brother), Anticipation (I am going to kill you because I killed your brother) and Diplomacy (I am going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it) phases. Here we have

Avoidance: Don't eat that fallen fruit, it will make you drunk for a week!

Tolerance: Do eat that fruit, it won't make you drunk for a week

Binging: Let's brew our own stuff so we can get drunk for a week again

Raises glass and doffs hat to Douglas Adams

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Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Hard surface

No, they were expecting the Spanish inquisition, or were they?

I'll get me coat

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BOFH: Everyone deserves a little DOWNTIME

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Did anyone notice the small surge of acceleration

"There is a God after all"

Yes, he is called Simon

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Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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My wife bought a Samsung, I have almost exclusively had (cheaper) HTCs which I found very usable since my first Desire. After seeing all the bloatware on the Samsung, I steered well clear and got my first higher-end phone: the One M-8. Love it.

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Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

Here on the continent I prefer to get my beer from Belgium. Where's that Westmalle Tripel?

Next time I am in the US I will certainly try some of the micro-brewery beers I have heard good reports of.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

He must be several tera-furlongs out of his skull

“As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees,” Hansraj writes.

Having studied astronomy and physics, let me assert:

The scientific unit of force is NOT pounds!!

If you do not use SI units in science writing at least have the decency to convert to more accepted units like the Norris (so moving from 1.2 Norris to 2.67 Norris).

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ESA's spaceplane cleared for lift-off in February 2015

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: "land on conventional runways"

Nah, bankers don't do fiddling small change like six million dollars

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bryndzové halušky

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: How could it not be good?

Especially if the bacon is fried such that it contains enough BCBs (according to the Samuel Vimes school of gastronomy)

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NASA revisits Europa with modern image-processing software

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very interesting image. It is stunning how well modern mosaicing software works compared to the older stuff. I use those methods a lot in lunar (33 pane mosaic here) and solar (31 pane mosaic) imaging. Different deconvolution techniques really help as well.

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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
Silver badge
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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Coat

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
Silver badge
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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Coat

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
Silver badge
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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