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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2490 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Ray-Ban to produce Google Glass data-goggs: Cool - or Tool?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Like the Blues Brothers reference

I now have this mental image of Jake's jilted fiance in the film aiming her rocket launcher using a google glass

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It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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And people wonder why I use LaTeX. Not for everybody, I know, but it works for me.

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IBM Boffins KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, thanks to Twitter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Paris?

Paris Texas, Paris Utah, or the real deal?

OK, geo-tagging and time zone info can help, but an effin' big Eiffel Tower in the picture should give us a hint.

Garçon, l'addition s'il vous plait!

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Stop skiving: Computers can SEE THROUGH your FAKE PAIN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

But it still cannot see

the terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side

We need a Marvin icon

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Bletchley boffins go to battle again: You said WHAT about Colossus?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Can anybody rid us of these turbulent managers?!

For goodness sake, get on with providing service and stop this pointless bickering! If they prove incapable of sorting out their differences, could somebody get the lot of them fired, and replaced by people with more IQ than ego.

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What does people-centric IT mean, anyway?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

People-centric IT?

And there I was thinking IT solutions were designed for semi-evolved simians.

Or nematode worms.

Darn, need to redesign my UI

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Apple to switch HUMAN iPhone-juicer-fiddlers with ROBOTS – report

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Here I am brain the size of a planet and they ask me to make batteries!

call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine's the one with the radio plays in the pocket

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

It's area should be in nanoWales, but the linear size might be in double-decker buses. Or will the humble linguine (unboiled, sea level) suffice?

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Tornado-chasing stealth Batmobile set to invade killer vortices

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Are there any test results?

I assume the construction is mainly metal, creating a good Faraday cage. That should withstand being zapped. Any sensors outside the cage would be in serious trouble, however.

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This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Windows 8.1?

I moved to XP from 2000 after at least SP1 (and dual booted it with SUSE Linux). I manually tweaked security settings (and was fairly paranoid in setting router firewall settings). I found XP useful, but actually prefer Windows 7. For me, Windows 7 is the best version I have used, but then I have little or no experience with the 98, ME, and Vista incarnations (my loss, I know ;-) ).

Win 8 on a new laptop is much less to my liking and I must still get round to setting up the machine to dual boot with Linux. A single try getting round the effing EFI boot loader failed.

I will try upgrading one ancient laptop from XP to Win 7 and failing that make it a full Linux machine.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Re; LeeE Of course it's military...

Regarding the "unclassified" classification, all satellite images gathered by DigitalGlobe and the like must be screened by a government agency before release to the public (by law). Nothing surprising there. I have processed many satellite images (all previously cleared) and in terms of resolution this looks like many commercial images I have seen. I have no clearance (nor feel an urgent need to get one) for military work.

The only higher-resolution remote sensing images I have seen were aerial (not satellite) images taken after the Haiti earthquake. These were 15cm in resolution. More is probably possible, but not needed in most applications, as it only leads to an explosion in data size. For commercial images, this is an important consideration. Many, if not most applications only really need a resolution in the order of 1m which already leads to roughly 150 terapixels of data to cover just the earth's land mass. Moving to 0.25cm you have a 16-fold increase in data size (and processing time if your processing algorithms are O(N), otherwise it is worse). You need a very good business case to justify that.

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BOFH: On the PFY's Scottish estate, no one can hear you scream...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Nice!

"Sending money to Uganda" has a nice ring to it

As a veiled threat for those in the know

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Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Childcatcher

Maybe the cost of filing a patent could be made variable

A fixed component + a DON'T WASTE OUR TIME fine (DWOT-fine) if prior art is found

The latter could be expressed as

DWOT_fine = base_fine * num_hits * age_oldest / rank_first_hit;

with

num_hits = number of hits on prior art in relevant search engines;

rank_first_hit = the rank of the first hit on prior art in a relevant query

age_oldest = age (in years) of first mention of prior art

base_fine = a figure in the order of 1,000,000 $

Alternatively, crowd-source this: publish the application, and have a contest who can find the oldest prior art. The DWOT-fine (computed based on age of oldest prior art, number of valid responses, and speed of first response) is split between the person finding the oldest prior art, and the person giving the first valid response.

THAT would cut back frivolous patent applications

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A sysadmin always comes prepared: Grasp those essential tools

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

What? No cattleprod!!

Indispensable, I would say

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Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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To summarise

We still do not know.

Frustrating for us commentards, but agonizing for the relatives of those on board. Fingers crossed for more information. The sooner the better.

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Bing accused of out-censoring the Great Firewall

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I just hope...

Nothing specific to Microsoft. Many if not most businesses when faced with the choice of conforming to local laws or not doing business don't chose the "not doing business" option.

Nothing personal, it's just business, they say.

Sad, perhaps, but true.

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Monkey steals iPod touch, loses interest in minutes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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OOK!

I think the monkey in question would as easily lose interest in "War and Peace", which to many humans is absolutely riveting.

I asked, the only simian I know who appreciates books, and he said "OOK" so there!

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Keep your quinoa, hipsters: Boffins back healthy slabs of choc

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great news

I'll break open those bars off extra-dark chocolate my kids gave me for my birthday to celebrate in style

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So. Farewell then Steelie Neelie: You were WORSE than USELESS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Once upon a time

Neelie deserved the "Steelie". Maybe she should have clung on to the competition portfolio. I always felt the "digital agenda" portfolio had "FAD" printed over it in large friendly letters

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Brings back memories

I must have an old threepence lying around somewhere, along with a few ha'pence.

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Surf's up near Saturn as boffins spot waves on Titan

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Interesting news, but

It's a bit nippy for surfing, I would say, at −179.2 °C.

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Imagination brings real-time hyper-realistic ray tracing to mobile kit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting, but...

What about the power draw? Important constraint for a mobile device

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Grav waves: Moment when 'father of Big Bang inflation' learns he was RIGHT ALL ALONG

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I suppose he didn't say

"I love it when a plan comes together!"

Great work, and well-deserved bottle of bubbly

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Byzantine Generals co-boffin Lamport bags CompSci's 'Nobel prize'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Well deserved!!

I'll raise a glass to him tonight, most likely a more distilled versio

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WTF is … the multiverse?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

And somewhere in the multiverse

there is a giant star turtle, with four elephants on its back, ....

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It's not just the "regular" firmware

What about all the microcode in most, if not all CISC processors (not sure about modern RISC machines)? In principle it could be doing all sorts of things beyond performing the instruction requested by the given op-code.

Opening up the code for inspection might work, but then you would still need to check the actual product shipped to ensure it adheres to the open specifications.

The problem with paranoia is choosing an appropriate point to stop suspicions, and start trusting. I have no easy answer for that.

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This record-smashing robot solves a Rubik's Cube in 3.253 seconds

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice project

This kind of project is great to get kids enthusiastic for computer science at an early age.

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Think drone delivery is hot air? A BREWERY just proved you wrong

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Nice advert. However, ...

Light beer indeed, maybe with Helium as replacement for CO2

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GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Nah, it read: "We apologise for the inconvenience"

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French novel falls foul of Apple's breast inspectors

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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19th-century attitude

They still have not read "Pornography and Obscenity" by D.H. Lawrence, which he wrote as a response to the outrage he had caused with Lady Chatterley's Lover. Lawrence would never classify the "offending" (to Apple) image as pornography. In his words

"Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it",

which this image, curiously juxtaposing the female body with a knife blade clearly does not do.

The USA apparently have some catching up to do on these issues.

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iOS 7's weak random number generator stuns kernel security – claim

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: SIlly question but...

I would use the Mersenne Twister now, in particular because loads of implementations exist (R, matlab, PHP, Python, GNU Scientific Library, etc). When I implemented the additive (or subtractive) generator (1989) it did not exist, and most if not all languages used the LCG. Knuth's one is a variant of the Lagged Fibonacci generator. Apart from being a better generator than the LCG, if initialized properly, it is much faster, because I only have to do one subtraction, and a conditional addition (if the result of the subtraction is negative, which is a cheap test), as opposed to a multiplication, modulus, and addition for the LCG. Numerical Recipes in C has an implementation (ugly code, but it works). The speed difference on an 8 MHz 80286 (used for image processing) was massive.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: SIlly question but...

That's one solution. I also like the least significant bits of the output of a covered webcam with gain at maximum. Really random bits are easily obtained from noise in the outside world if your device has inputs like cameras and microphones.

For quick and dirty work NOT involving security (but e.g. for Monte-Carlo simulations) I used to use the additive PRNG from Knuth (with 2^55-1 period). This needs 55 seeds in my case, and webcam noise or similar is fine for that. With the development of the Mersenne Twister this subtractive generator is a bit out of date. I gather it is faster (and also faster than the LCG), however.

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Daring danger-drone dives into VOLCANIC eruption – what happens next has to be seen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Best use of a drone I have seen for a long time

Well done!

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Don't stare: SHRUNKEN Mercury lost 7km, but only 'cos it's COOLING

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I thought it looked a bit small through my scope

Sorry, time to go home, it appears. Mine is the one with "Turn Left at Orion" in the pocket

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Malaysia Airlines mystery: Click here for the TRUTH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

Or was it really a Boeing 666

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Wackadoo DIYers scissor-kick beatboxer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Won't someone think of the children!

The horror, the horror,....

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Childcatcher

Won't someone think of the children!

</offended mode>

If "death spiral" had been present in the Middle English, I shudder to think what sort of instrument of torture it might have been

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ZEPPELINS to replace Goodyear blimps in American skies

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Zeppelin NT?

Will there be an XP version later

Sorry, couldn't resist

Oh, deary me, looks like it's time to go home already

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Earth's night-side gets different kinds of neutrinos from day-side

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: how many

One of the better whatif.xkcd pages. Thanks for that

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Flying Toaster screen savers return on GitHub

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: here's a challenge:

"There must be a way to keep CPU and GPU load up during idle periods even in this day and age."

There are many indeed. Many have the general form of *@home

Like the idea of the reflections in the toaster too.

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Amazon wants me to WEAR NAPPIES?! But I'm a 40-something MAN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Sung like someone gargling brick-dust

Nice one, really nice one.

Put me in mind of a fellow student living in the same student house as I did, and he was into punk musing of the type in which it sounded like somebody was vomiting violently into a microphone, and somebody else had hung a fireproof mike in an operational afterburner of a jet fighter.

He used to study quietly and conscientiously till midnight, and then put his music on at roughly 120 dB. As he did not hear our complaints I yanked out the appropriate fuse. He complained that that could damage his records; I retorted that that was peanuts to the damage my 5 lb sledgehammer would do next time. I suggested he had a perfectly serviceable set of headphones so he could listen to his music any time without disturbing us. He said the sound quality would suffer. He did not understand why we howled with laughter at that.

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Punch and Judy face Blofeld in LOHAN doomsday box test

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Instead of the piranha pool, you could simply get one of those shoes with the built-in poisoned dagger also favoured by SPECTRE (in From Russia with Love, as I recall).

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Behold, the TITCHY T-REX that prowled the warm Arctic of long ago

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Drop bears? That wasn't Australia

it was just a place that is very, very, ..... well, ... Australian, except that it had few snakes because they were almost all killed by the spiders (according to Dangerous Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Jellyfish, Insects, Spiders, Crustaceans, Grasses, Trees, Mosses and Lichens of Terror Incognita, Volume 29c, Part III).

Nice bar though in Didjabringabeeralong, and I like the way they jailed every prime minister the moment he got himself elected (saves time).

Still, no worries, she'll be right!

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'Amazon has destroyed the unicorn factory' ... How clouds are making sysadmins extinct

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Beware of sysadmins bearing cattleprods

"So you think you can get rid of me, and replace all our kit in the cloud, do you?

Enjoy that elevator ride, mr. CFO"

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O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Friday is Pi Day

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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What, nothing for e?

2.7182818...........?

That does not seem right

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Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Next

They'll make carbon fibre or graphene from biochar. Holding that carbon fibre fishing rod suddenly feels different

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Shift up, Ballmer: Microsoft expands board, makes room for activist investor

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Mason Morfit?

Does he have a white Persian cat? And a headquarters in a volcano?

With a name like that and loads of money, he just has to be bond villain. Of course, Elon Musk has a similar predicament, and he even builds rockets (and other seriously cool stuff that fits straight into a Bond plot).

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What did you see, Elder Galaxies? What made you age so quickly?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I blame bureaucracy

It makes everybody age prematurely.

According to the standard bureaucracy model of the universe, red shift is caused by red tape. Photons lose energy by having to fill out progress reports every 10,000 light years, and quality assurance questionnaires every 10 million light years. Galaxies need planning permissions at a galactic scale. If it is bad enough getting permission for three quarters of a shed, imagine how bad it is going to be to get permission to merge a nascent galaxy with the next-door dwarf.

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Nipper rolls up at nursery with 48 wraps of HEROIN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Parents never listen

He said he wanted a kite, he didn't want to be high as a kite.

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Boffins demo FIVE MICRON internal combustion engine

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

And over in the US

They are prepping the Indiana 500 x 10^-9

On a more serious note: well done those boffins. Even if it finally does not become practical, sometimes you have to build things just because you can

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