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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2575 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Did NASA probe detect a KILLER GAMMA-RAY burst in Andromeda?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Off-axis in this context means outside the centre of the field of view of the instrument. Raw brightness data from many instruments need correction for contamination from nearby bright sources.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: NASA have changed their mind

Pity

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: That could mean a VERY bright supernova in visible light

I do not doubt that (in the words of sir Patrick Moore) this will have "all the crackpots crawling out of the woodwork". A type 1a in M31 would be about magnitude 5, but that would not cause a GRB-like event. I would expect this to be brighter (although much depends on extinction by dust)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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That could mean a VERY bright supernova in visible light

Naked eye most likely. I'll be getting out the bins the moment the clouds clear (not likely at the moment), but supernovae last quite a while, so we should get to see it.

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Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: When I were a lad

LUXURY!

We would have LOVED to have a hoop, people with hoops were posh.

All WE had was a broken twig, but we were happy!

</Yorkshire accent>

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Slood?

sorry, I'll get me coat

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Print dialogs

Or printers that do not refuse to print a black and white document just because the yellow ink has run out (again!). Funnily enough, some Linux printer drivers will allow B&W printing, whereas the windows version won't

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Beautiful balloon burst caught on camera

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Wonderful footage and images

One to show my kids for sure

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CERN: Build terabit networks or the Higgs gets it!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Alternatively

You need to realise that 1 PB/s is 0.02% of what is detected. 99.8 or so % is discarded on detectors "boards" already, before it hits the first cable.

Very true.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Alternatively

True, as a scientist you do not like throwing away anything, but with projects like LOFAR, SKA, and the like there is little other option. One trick in the case of LHC-like is to store the detected tracks in a parametric way rather than storing every point that made up the track. That makes a big difference. Might we miss things? Certainly, can we store all the data for later reuse? Not at the moment.

You really want to be able to do both. Processing faster to get the information from the data and store every bit quickly.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alternatively

They need faster data reduction methods. We are actually working on much faster processing methods to extract the information from the raw data, so the raw data need not all be stored before processing. They do use preprocessing methods for reducing storage now, but existing methods do not scale well, so for ever faster data rates better, lower complexity algorithms are needed.

Not that I would mind kit with the specs they want. I want that too. And not to run Crysis!

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Facebook wants to LISTEN IN on the songs and vids playing in YOUR living room

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I would let them listen to an endless tape with Marvin's autobiography

That should do it.

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Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It's not going to scale up to wildfire size

NUKE THE FIRE FROM ORBIT

It's the only way to be sure

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine is the one with the Aliens DVD in the pocket

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Scientists capture DEATH STAR in VIOLENT EXPLOSION

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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First-rate boffinry!

Really interesting stuff.

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fetch us a ..... SHRUBBERY!!!!!

I nice one.

And not to expensive!

NI!

sorry, couldn't resist, mine is the one with the Holy Grail DVD in the pocket

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Screen too small?

I actually rather like my 13" laptop (16:10 ratio, rather than 16:9). I am looking to replace it by a 13-14", no bigger. I am also very happy with my 10" ASUS transformer pad. That seems to be a MUCH better format for a tablet/laptoplet(or notebooklet) than this offering from MS, and gives me 15-16 hours of use (with less grunt, but I get that from my laptop. I do not mind having two or three devices, but maybe I am weird (i.e. not the category the marketeers are interested in)

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Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice one again

Had not heard of this one. Very interesting read. Looking forward to the rest of the series

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FINGERS CROSSED: Apple and Samsung said to be hammering out settlement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Or...

Maybe a beancounter worked out that the cost in lawyers' fees was outstripping the amount of cash to be gained from a victory

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Uncivil engineering: US society skewers self-published science

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: What happens-

ArXiv is an example. Some journals do not allow you to publish with them if it has been released previously (even some bone-headed reviewers have difficulty with it), but many just see it as an "author accepted" form that is OK.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Copyright transfer forms come in different forms

When you publish with any scientific publisher you almost always have to sign a copyright transfer agreement. Many publishers simply use this as a means to clear themselves of copyright infringement charges, because you have to declare that the material is your own, and you have the right to sign over the copyright to them. Any extraneous material must be covered with a separate permission from the holders (which is never a problem, because the holders are only too happy that their material is being used, and that therefore they are cited).

Some publishers also want exclusive rights to publication, although all I know allow you to use your own work freely in non-commercial publications like e.g. a PhD thesis. Springer in its Lecture Notes in Computer Science requests you not to put your material on-line until one year after publication. It is not a prohibition, but since they ask nicely I tend to comply. IEEE allows you to post your material provided you show a clear copyright statement and state that the material is only provided for quick dissemination of scientific results for research and educational purposes, but not for any commercial use. This is entirely reasonable.

What the ASCE is doing seems a bit harsh, but the authors must read what they are signing. A colleague of mine crosses out any condition he does not like, initials the changes, signs the forms, and sends it in. He has never been challenged on these changes. I suggest all authors in ASCE publications follow that example.

Alternatively, you can publish in open access journals (or use the open access scheme of some journals with hybrid publishing format). Somewhat more expensive, but compared to the cost of doing the research itself it is nothing. You then simply link to the version on the journal's website and everybody can access it.

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BEAM ME UP SCOTTY: Boffins to turn PURE LIGHT into MATTER

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Star Trek Replicators

The only downside of a replicator based on this mechanism is the formation of an anti-hamburger together with your hamburger. It may be a balanced diet, in a manner of speaking, but could lead to explosive indigestion to which the phrase "blast radius" would seem to small (swamp dragons would be jealous)

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'Executed ex' of Norkers' bonkers Kim Jong-un rises FROM THE GRAVE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble

I trust it spells something else when abbreviated in Korean

Deary me, is it that time already?

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Picture special: LOHAN makes fire in the sky at 15,000m

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I love the smell of ammonium perchlorate in the morning

Packs a punch (or two)

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@ magickmark Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

Coffee went everywhere when I read this "In quantum parlance, the "wave function" of the particle is said to "collapse" into a specific state (or flask) due to the act of observing. Incidentally, this is why cats resent people staring at them: the constant collapse of their wave function is a strain on their delicate senses". Worthy of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams.

WAY too much honour, you are making me blush

I might have a spare keyboard somewhere that I could send you

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

Thanks! It's been translated to Czech and Spanish much to my amusement.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

I wonder whether believers in homeopathy ever worry about the "memory of water" theory. It would certainly worry me, if I believed in it, because one of water's persistent memories must be being piss at many times during its existence.

I once wrote a paper on a quantum mechanical theory homeopathy. It got accepted in Annals of Improbable research. A preprint is here.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I can't do that for you, Alistair!

As HAL would say, or as Sirius Cybernetics would have it "Share and Enjoy!!", which does sound better than "Go stick your head in a pig!" but amounts to much the same.

This is my problem with several LaTeX offerings available for Android. All the ones I know require you to be online to actually compile the LaTeX source. Not easy (or affordable if available) somewhere outback in Uganda or the like.

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How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Very nice read

We use Benford's Law in some assignments. I'll point students towards this nice informal introduction. Looking forward to the rest of the articles

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Stop bullying SUPER FAT GODZILLA, urge movie stars

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Americanized Godzilla?

Nah, he's into sumo. Perfectly Japanese

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LA air traffic meltdown: System simply 'RAN OUT OF MEMORY'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: nagative altitudes

Even if the system was designed with a limited altitude range in mind, it still should be able to cope with input outside that range, e.g. by flagging an error in the input. My very first job as a programmer was to write a (half) decent UI for a DOS image processing package written mostly in Pascal. The previous programmer's effort used READ and READLN to get floating point values from the (mainly Dutch) users, which resulted in frequent crashes when users entered 0,23 instead of 0.23. I wrote a simple parser that only assumed it was getting a string of characters, tried to parse it, and flagged syntax and other errors to the user. Not rocket science, but simply going back to basics: does the string of characters entered as input meet the preconditions of the code that is going to use that data, if so, use it, if not, flag an error. This very basic approach ensured that medics could use the program without swearing at the computer several times each day.

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Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are NOT MELTING

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Yes it is!"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

"This is not an argument, this is plain contradiction"

"No it isn't"

"Yes it is!"

.....

Sorry, couldn't resist

Mine is the one with Monty's Encylco Pythonia in the pocket

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We're from the SAME DUST CLOUD, BRO: Boffins find Sun's long-lost sibling

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "...4.5 billion years ago...” Ramirez said. “A lot of things can happen in that amount of time.”

Still haven't invented slood, however

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting

I'll give HD 162826 a wave next time the clouds part and I can do some stargazing

Stellarium is a great (free) tool for finding the star (and much more besides)

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US alliance strengthens LOHAN imaging arsenal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Last Words

If the heroic playmonaut has a sense of history he will say "Pojechali"

Also used when raising a glass in Russia

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Kudos to David Patterson

Really nice to see such generosity

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Quick Q: How many FLOPPIES do I need for 16 MILLION image files?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: 16-page document I was working on last night won’t fit onto a floppy

Still got an 8" floppy lying around somewhere; one from Digital with CP/M 2.0 on it. 128kB capacity, WOW!

And yes, I still have an Iomega Zip drive somewhere.

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Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

One might well argue the USPTO has negative credibility.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: What needs to happen

I have yet to see patents so patently absurd awarded in the Netherlands or indeed the EU. I have one patent to my name, and the process appeared to be quite thorough. There may certainly be the odd one that slipped through (would love to see one), but not the spate of silliness coming out of the USPTO.

Note that the USPTO gets funded based on how many patents it awards not how many it processes. That is a perverse incentive if ever there was one.

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Apple files patent for typo-sensing buttons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Force feedback?

<Aussie accent>

That's not force feedback, proper force feedback is when the button punches you in the face when it thinks you have punched the wrong button! That'll teach ya!

</Aussie accent>

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ARM exec: Forget eight-core smartphone chips, just enjoy a SIX-PACK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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8 cores should also appeal to wizards

or even a wizzard

The one with Interesting Times in the pocket please

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Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Would you eat anything of his?

Sure, no worries! I have had alligator on pizza (seriously) in Quebec City which was very nice, and sheep's brain (rarely used, always fresh) in Indonesia, so bollock pie sounds fine to me

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Brilliant stuff

Great read over breakfast

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Report: Climate change has already hit USA - and time is RUNNING OUT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It seems to me

that quite a bit of global warming is clearly anthropogenic. It is all the hot air emanating from politicians and commentards alike. Most models fail to take that into account

On a serious note, I do not know (i.e. with 100.0000% scientific certainty) whether global warming or climate change is anthropogenic or not. Climate has changed a lot over earth's history, and CO2 levels are quite low at the moment, as compared to the mesozoic era AFAIK. It is also rather cold compared to e.g. the Jurassic. That suited a bunch of big lizards (OK, not really lizards), but not our current society, which has adapted to the current climate. Climate change may therefore disrupt our cosy lifestyle. To me it does not matter so much whether we are to blame. It is more important to see how we can get by, using fewer non-renewable resources, and how we can deal with a potential crisis, preferably without bloodshed. Mankind's performance in the latter case is not stellar, I agree, but maybe we can work things out this time.

Just my tuppence

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: A U-2 you say?

Still haven't ....

I'll get me coat

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Atom, GitHub's code editor based on web tech, goes open source

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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HERESY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"The real sell of Atom is the synthesis of a lot of different things that no one editor does well."

Marches back to the Church of Emacs in a huff

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PEAK APPLE: Mystery upstart to hurl iLord from its throne 'by 2020'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"one that we have never heard of"?

That's a relief, I thought it might be "the one that must not be named"

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Hacktivists hijack BNP Twitter account, crayon over leader Griffin's too

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I think it is wrong to hack pages (freedom of speech and all that), and linking the LGBT community to this honourable gentleman (phrase used without prejudice) might seriously offend members of said LGBT community.

Besides, the honourable gentleman (phrase used without prejudice) is much better at making a fool of himself than any parody could ever manage.

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Scariest NSA revelation yet: Spooks are RUBBISH at CIPHERS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: So to get the job

But they don't have the resumé that was hidden in a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard", and that might (or might not be) the correct one.

Besides, if they know so much about everybody, they already know who is perfect for the job, don't they?

I think my tinfoil hat is on too tight

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So to get the job

do I send in my resume encrypted with a one time pad?

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Apple tips Shiraz down all its techies' throats (that's the rumoured name for OS X 10.10)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: MMM!

Ooh, that bring back memories. Tuscan food (all I tried last summer) takes a lot of beating. Having said that, I had some really nice Shiraz/Syrah wines last time I was in California. Some excellent food too. Not all food in the US is fast or fattening.

Darn, hungry now!

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