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* Posts by Bilby

51 posts • joined 20 Nov 2008

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

Bilby

Re: Not all collisions are high speed

The minimum speed for a meteor is about 11.2km/sec. Any rock that is scarcely moving relative to Earth will accelerate to at least that speed due solely to gravity - essentially that is the speed to which an object will accelerate if dropped from a stationary position (relative to Earth) at an infinite height.

It isn't possible for a meteor to fall to Earth any slower than that; a 'couple of thousand mph' is an order of magnitude slower than the lowest possible speed. Faster speeds are, of course, quite possible.

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Asteroids as powerful as NUCLEAR BOMBS strike Earth TWICE YEARLY

Bilby

Re: The odds are not too shabby

Two per century, eh? Well we have already had Chelyabinsk, so if NASA could just steer a meteorite onto a collision course with somewhere urban that we won't mind losing - I vote for Canberra - that will be our quota, and we can stop worrying until 2100...

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Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

Bilby

Re: Compulsory voting in Australia

I don't know why you think that - it is, sadly, not true.

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Google flu-finding service diagnosed with 'big data hubris'

Bilby

Re: They need a man-cold de-dupe program

Almost 40% of sick days are on Monday or Friday. It is scandalous.

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Bilby

So the allotment owners are horrified...

...at being forced to accept an extra 0.1 sq m?

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Bilby

Re: Here's more sensible analysis...

Well having reviewed as much as I can of the data, and trying to ignore as much as I can of the bullshit generated internally in the media, here is my currently favoured hypothesis (based in large part on what Chris Goodfellow was saying on his Google+ page) - most of which fits the few known facts, and none of which requires anything currently known to be impossible:-

There were two 'events', separating the flight into three phases.

Phase 1: Normal, routine take-off and climb out of KL. Having reached cruise altitude (about FL350), the aircraft settles into cruise mode, and as they depart the Malaysian ATC zone, the First Officer says 'goodnight' to the Malaysian controller.

Event 1: A severe event occurs which disables a large fraction of the aircraft's electronics. A fire, structural failure, meteorite impact, or similar - there are plenty of things that can go bad, killing the electronics but not causing the plane to crash immediately. Perhaps an oxygen tank ruptures and takes out a cable bus under the cockpit. Whatever it was, either the event itself, or the aircrew's response to it, results in the loss of transponder and VHF (a fire might lead the crew to pull a number of circuit breakers, for example).

Phase 2: The captain is an experienced local pilot. He decides that rather than turn back to KL, which is a busy airport on the other side of some high terrain (and bearing in mind that he cannot raise ATC to have a slot cleared for his aircraft to land), he will head for the slightly closer, larger, and far less busy airport at Pulau Langkawi. He knows that airport, and he knows the area; but with much of the avionics shot, and flying at night, he keeps the navigation a simple as possible, turning left and crossing the Malay peninsula somewhat North of the target airfield, at the point where the terrain is at its lowest, and knowing that even if he can't locate the airport electronically, he can simply follow the coast south once he reaches the Strait of Malacca, until he sees the runway lights. Unbeknownst to the pilots, they are tracked some of the way by military radar; however none of the radar operators are aware that a civillian aircraft is missing at this point, and so no particular notice is taken at the time.

Event 2: Having reached the straits, the pilot attempts his Southerly turn; but at that point, something else goes wrong. Perhaps weakened by the earlier incident, the cabin pressurization falls to the point where the crew succumb to hypoxia; perhaps the control systems for the aircraft go the same way as the R/F gear and simply stop working; but the aircraft, now no longer under the control of its crew, becomes stuck on a southerly heading.

Phase 3: With all on board deceased, incapacitated, or (less plausibly) simply unable to do anything to influence the heading of the aircraft, it flies on into the night, until it runs out of fuel. The Satcom transceiver, the only remaining functional comms gear on the aircraft (which will work as long as it has power, even if no signals can be sent from the cockpit to the transceiver) continues its hourly handshake 'ping' with the INMARSAT bird at 64E, the last 'ping' coming shortly before the crash, at a point on the Southern 'arc' currently under investigation by SAR.

Of course, there are lots of other possibilities; but at this stage, none fit the known facts as well as the above, with a minimum of speculative additional 'facts' not currently in evidence.

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Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

Bilby

Re: Something to crow about...

Nah, RPN is too much of a nuisance for FORTH to be worth crowing about. Frankly, I haven't used it at all myself since 1988.

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Dutch oven overcooked in World Solar Challenge

Bilby

The penalty wasn't for the competing vehicle doing something wrong

...according to the article, it was for one of their support cars breaking the speed limit.

Presumably the support crews have packing up to do after their car has set off, and then want to get to the next checkpoint and set up well before their sunshine-mobile arrives. This means going faster then their entry in the race - so breaking the 130kph limit might seem like a good plan, up until the point where you get caught and your team is penalized.

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They don't recognise us as HUMAN: Disability groups want CAPTCHAs killed

Bilby

It is a bad choice of question anyway; most people incorrectly believe the answer is 'Yellow'; but in fact the sun is white. Indeed, the sun defines white. This is easy to test; take a white piece of paper and shine a coloured light on it, and it appears to be the colour of the light you exposed it to. Now, take it out into the sunshine. What colour does it look?

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NSW contemplates smart licenses

Bilby

Re: Bigger issues first

Interestingly, in Australia, vehicles do already display an 'insurance disk' (All right, State and Territory registration stickers are oblong rather than round, so not a disk per se). CTP insurance is billed as part of the rego, and displaying a valid rego sticker in Aus DOES indicate that the vehicle is covered by compulsory third-party insurance.

CTP only covers third-party personal injury, and not property damage, but it applies to the vehicle not the driver - although it is invalidated if the driver is unlicenced.

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Fukushima powerplant owner forced to cough teleconference vids

Bilby

Re: "Anyone would think..."

All of which is completely true, but not a point of difference from other means of generating electricity.

The key differences between the nuclear power industry idiots and the coal power industry idiots are that the coal power industry idiots are allowed to hide in the shadows, with zero attention paid by the media to the deaths and serious injuries they cause; while the nuclear power industry idiots are subjected to massive and unremitting scrutiny every time one of their workforce breaks a fingernail, or a member of the public is exposed to a dose of radiation equivalent to having a CAT scan.

On the whole, I would rather ALL industries were held to the high standards applied to nuclear power - it wouldn't prevent all industrial deaths and injuries, but it would massively reduce their number and frequency.

The reason that "Modern designs use passive cooling and don't have this problem", is that the people in charge of commissioning those designs are fully aware of what happens to them if they don't take safety very seriously indeed, and take appropriate steps to protect (as far as possible) the idiots from the consequences of their idiocy.

If only the same were true of other electricity generation schemes.

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Lithe British youngsters prioritise fun over privacy and security

Bilby
Headmaster

Re: People who've been around the block a few times...

>I am not saying your wrong

Very glad to hear that, as what you should be saying is "you're wrong".

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'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

Bilby

Re: Astonishing

>RBS is very ITIL focused

Ahh, you have hit the nail on the head. From Wikipedia:

"ITIL describes procedures, tasks and checklists that are not organization-specific, used by an organization for establishing a minimum level of competency."

Managers who think that achieving a "minimum level of competency" is sufficient should not be allowed to play with systems that require an above-average level of competency; and managers who think that their specific complex organization is best operated by using "procedures, tasks and checklists that are not organization-specific" should not be allowed to run a lemonade stand.

The fundamental problem is that there are people in positions of power who think that 'management' is a basic skill in and of itself, which can be applied successfully to running anything, from lemonade stands to multinational banking houses.

The "Lack of experience" problem started at the top, and the feeling in boardrooms around the world today is "We don't need detailed knowledge of our corporation's systems, so why should we pay through the nose for staff who do? Let's write down the instructions on a checklist and give them to someone in a poverty-stricken hell-hole like Hyderabad, Mumbai or Edinburgh, who will step through them for $17,000 pa and no benefits."

What could possibly go wrong?

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Bilby

Re: Investment in the backbone?

So the long-term solution to a problem caused by replacing experienced people with inexperienced people, is to replace the current, experienced executives - who are now as full of information on the perils of employing inexperienced staff as the dog that peed on the third rail - with new, shiny, fresh out of their MBAs executives who will repeat the same errors made by their forebears?

Surely a better solution is to fire no-one, but to re-hire (at great expense) as many of the experienced staff they originally sacked as they can find, while slashing the remuneration of the responsible parties, but keeping them in-house now that they have learned this rather expensive lesson?

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Renewables good for 80 per cent of US demand by 2050

Bilby

Re: Don't forget...

Windscale was not a nuclear power plant; it was a plutionium manufacturing facility, producing the raw material for bombs. It was also amongst the worlds first nuclear facilities of any kind; including it in a risk analysis for twenty-first century power generation plants is like including Stephenson's Rocket in a risk analysis of the French TGV system.

Oh, and it is still called Windscale. Sellafield is the umbrella term for the various adjacent (but separate) nuclear facilities, notably Windscale, (a Bomb-making plant closed in the 1950s after a fire); Calder Hall, (a power generation and plutonium making facility decommissioned in 2003 after 47 years of operation); and THORP, (a reprocessing plant turning spent fuel into new fuel).

You don't hear about Windscale much these days, because it hasn't been in use for over half a century - but it is still called Windscale.

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Bilby

"Nuclear power is a wonderful idea until you realize that to power a world population of 15 billion at U.S. levels of consumptive energy waste, over 200,000 nuclear reactors would need to be constructed world wide."

World population will likely never exceed about 12 billion, and the fraction of that population who will use power at the crazy rate currently seen in the USA will likely remain very small - indeed, it could well fall, as even Americans will realize that they are better off using power efficiently than they are paying for more electricity than they really need.

"300 in Iraq alone."

Iraq has nothing to do with anything here; but even if we imagine a wildly unlikely future in which Iraq uses the same per-capita energy as today's USofA, we find that we are imagining a world in which they have the technical expertise to do so without difficulty.

"Currently the world has around 450 of them, and 4 have blown up over the last 50 years. Roughly 1 percent."

Really? One blew up in the Ukraine, because it was a poor early design abused by its operators; one blew up in Japan because it was a poor early design hit by a huge tsunami, having been built in a poorly chosen location. I don't know what the other two you are referring to could be; Three Mile Island is the only other incident that springs to mind, but it would be completely wrong to describe that incident as 'blown up' - except perhaps in the phrase "An incident causing no fatalities that has been blown up out of all proportion by the media"; a phrase that would also apply to Fukushima.

"With 200,000 reactors we should expect to see around 40 of them blow up every year."

But only if we were really, really bad at maths, and decided to extrapolate in a straight line for no good reason.

"No thanx. I'll continue to reduce my consumption thank you."

No-one is suggesting you should do otherwise; it makes good sense to do more than one thing to approach this problem. Replacing the current technology with one that is a couple of orders of magnitude safer and cleaner than coal does, however, seem like a wise companion to reduction of consumption.

At the end of the day, the question of whether nuclear power is 'safe' or 'clean' in some absolute sense is irrelevant; what matters is that it is demonstrably far safer and cleaner than the current coal-burning technology. If fission power was invented today, without all the historical baggage from the cold war, those calling for carbon footprint reduction would be clamouring to have coal power plants replaced by nuclear plants as soon as possible. It would save lives, and reduce not only carbon pollution, but also sulphur, particulates and even radiological pollution too.

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Bilby

Take your pick, tree-huggers -

You can oppose carbon dioxide emissions, or you can oppose nuclear power plants.

If you do both, you are opposing the continued existence of human civilization.

Of course, some people are explicitly opposed to the continued existence of human civilization; but even amongst the hard-core greenies, these are a minority. I hope.

Why do people like NREL waste time, money and resources on studies that prove* we can have low carbon electricity without nuclear baseload power? Could it be that the anti-nuclear lobby painted themselves into a corner during the cold war, and demonized fission power to the point that they no longer even think before saying "No thanks!"?

*As long as we don't mind paying vastly more, and it not working sometimes, and as long as we develop some brand new technologies that have yet to leave the drawing-board

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No one watches TV, Nielsen, and you know it

Bilby

Less is more

It doesn't matter how many minutes per hour of TV are devoted to advertisements - the total spend on TV advertising will remain roughly constant. In Australia, we have loads of slots on sale - so they are cheap, and Max Annoying can afford to make a ten second movie of himself standing in front of his dodgy used car lot screaming at me about how great this week's deals are.

In the UK (at least, back in the good old days when I lived over there, and beer was less than a pound a pint), there were strict limits on the ads per hour; and only one channel allowed to have them at all. This did not significantly reduce the revenue to be had by selling TV ads; oh no. The revenue was simply concentrated in a smaller space, and as a result, it was essential to advertisers that they made better ads - even if they were more expensive - with the result that Rutger Hauer sold us Guiness without screaming at us (even though it could cost more than a pound a pint).

The proliferation of TV channels, coupled with the insanely large proportion of all that airtime that is devoted to advertising in Australia leads to vast numbers of cheap, crappy ads that no-one cares about. It is simple inflation - increase the supply, and the value plummets.

Of course, if any one channel or network tries to improve the value of their advertising slots by reducing the number available, the other networks will happily grab their share of the loot. The only solution would be for the government to impose a legal constraint, limiting advertising time per hour across all channels. I am prepared to bet that not only would such a constraint not reduce the networks' revenue, but that it would actually result in better penetration of those ads that were still broadcast. Even Mr Annoying would benefit - he could spend his advertising budget on radio, billboards and other media that might actually reach his potential customers, instead of wasting it on TV slots that everyone fast-forwards through, and which benefit no-one but the sales droids at the TV networks.

Of course I won't be holding my breath waiting for this to happen.

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Mad Apple patent: Cloneware to convince trackers you don't like porn

Bilby

In unrelated news...

...in response to a recent report compiled by the Bureau of Statistics, the Prime Minister today announced that there will be a special budgetary provision this year of $2.6 Trillion for basket-weaving societies and related hobbies. "This grant is an essential part of our government's commitment to ensuring that this previously under-funded pastime receives the support it deserves, and that Australian Working Families demand", she said, "In stark contrast to the paucity of basket-weaving support provided by the previous coalition government. While this should in no way be seen as a cynical grab for votes from the large, but hitherto unknown, Australian basket-weaving community, I will point out that Mr Abbott has made no basket-weaving policy announcements at all in the past five years, and voters should understand that his party would instead waste this money on football, pubs and casinos - pastimes which our research shows to be highly unpopular with the Australian public".

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Climate scientists see 'tipping point' ahead

Bilby

Hyperbole much?

"The paper reports that if fertility rates remain at the rate they were at from 2005 to 2010, population projections for 2100 top off at a staggering 27 billion."

Yeah. And if my new puppy continues to put on weight at his current rate, he will be the size of my house in five years time.

According to less panicky sources, "By 2100 there is an 80% chance that global population will number between 6.2 and 11.1 billion"; and a 95% confidence that the population will be below 13 billion.

http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/world-population-projections-iiasa-probabilistic

The most likely peak population for planet Earth is around 9 billion people, sometime in the middle of this century, tailing off slowly to about eight and a half billion by 2100.

Any study that starts with such a blatant piece of inaccuracy, with no obvious motive other than to instill panic and fear, needs to be taken with a very large grain of salt. Either these guys haven't done their homework, or they are deliberately attempting to misinform their readers. Neither possibility fills me with confidence in the value of their conclusions.

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Oz has to go nuclear, says Adelaide U scientist

Bilby
Thumb Up

Coffee is served...

...Ahhh, the smell of freshly ground beans finally wafts across the nation. It has only been bleeding obvious that nuclear power is the best option in Australia for about half a century, so I doubt that it will take much more than another fifty years for our overlords in Canberra to wake up and catch a whiff of their impending lattes.

Of course, nuclear isn't perfectly safe; there are around 0.04 deaths per TWh for this type of electricity generation. That figure does compare favourably to the 161 deaths/TWh worldwide for Coal fired generation though. Still, given that coal is only 4,000 times as deadly as nuclear, I can understand why people always mention safety as a concern when considering replacing coal with nuke power. Oh, wait, no I can't.

Nuclear is significantly safer than solar and wind power - less risk of workers falling from heights - and even if we ignore the developing world's coal mining issues, there are still 15 deaths/TWh from coal power in the US of A (for example); so that is still 375 times the number of deaths from nukes, even when the nuke figure includes the piss-poor Russian death trap design used at Chernobyl.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

Build nuclear power in Australia now. It has been overdue for decades. Bring in some French engineers to help out, if necessary. We have the fuel; we have the technology; we really, really need to stop burning brown coal to power our toasters - it is stupid, polluting, dangerous and seriously out-dated.

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iTunes fanbois outraged by Apple's sex-life quiz probe

Bilby

As security gets tougher to crack, the legitimate user gets more and more likely to destroy it himself, by writing the password/passphrase/answers to security questions/etc. on a post-it stuck on his monitor.

Increasing complexity is a diminishing returns game; the most secure system is therefore somewhere at the simple end of the spectrum. This is doubly true for 'unmonitored' security - the boss might come down on you for writing down your passwords at work, but no-one will know or care if you do the same with your iTunes passwords at home.

The old system was likely more secure than the new one. If you were the only person who knew your password, all was good - until you were required by poor memory and mandatory 'improved' security to have the information needed for your children/spouse/flatmate/etc. to change that password written down next to your computer.

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Elon Musk's private Dragon ship to dock with ISS in Feb

Bilby

Crumbs...

I hope the ISS astronauts are big fans of cheese; if not, SpaceX really ought to consider sending some other foodstuffs as well in their supply runs.

At the very least, they should send up some crackers on the next Progress or ATV delivery, to tide them over until the Dragon capsule can be qualified as 'biscuit rated'.

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'NATO RESTRICTED': The lowest possible classification

Bilby
Headmaster

@ Henry 4 - Thursday 21st July 2011 22:14 GMT:

The Brits were successfully invaded by the Dutch in 1688.

You may not have heard about this, as it is classified above TOP SECRET; in fact it is part of a large body of information so sensitive that HM Government has given it a TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS classification. TOP SECRET is only for those with a 'need to know', but with TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS material, most people don't even have a 'want to know'.

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Making a storage mountain out of a molecule

Bilby
Joke

As Scotty would no doubt point out

you can't have a Diuranium drive. You need Dilithium.

Why not Diuranium? Well "The engines cannae take it", natch.

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Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future

Bilby

How dangerous is it?

If the very low levels of radiation exposure above background currently seen in Tokyo were as dangerous as some media outlets and pressure groups are suggesting, then Belarus, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden and the north and west of the British Isles would be a derelict wasteland piled with corpses. This is not the case (apart from Liverpool), so observational evidence in the 30 odd years since Chernobyl tells us that the effects of low level exposure to radio-caesium or radio-iodine are just not that big a deal.

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Bilby

Plutonium

Wow - They found Plutonium 238 in Japan!

This would be the stuff with the half-life of around 88 years, that is a by-product of Plutonium 239 production from Uranium 238, right? It must be coming from the leaking reactors, because no-one would have let a big lump of Plutonium, (presumably still mixed with fairly large quantities of various impurities) explode in an air-burst above a Japanese city at any time in the past 88 years, spreading bits of itself far and wide would they?

Oh, hang on, what is the name of that place that begins with a 'N'?

FFS.

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Oz gov kicks off censorship review

Bilby

New ratings

The following program is rated 'I', for an immature audience. It may contain celebrity chefs, apparently ordinary people placed in unusual situations, or C grade talent degrading themselves for your titillation. This content is not recommended for viewing by persons over the age of 15, unless accompanied by a child.

The following program is rated 'EA', for excessive advertising. It may contain long commercial breaks, short program segments, or mindless advertorials masquerading as real content. This program is not recommended for viewers who have retained the capacity for rational thought.

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Fukushima on Thursday: Prospects starting to look good

Bilby

@ Disco-Legend-Zeke

"...may I suggest that plants which are built near natural bodies of water have reactor cores and cooling ponds located below the water level so that in an emergency, water can be dumped in by gravity."

If these ponds were below sea level, the tsunami would have scattered their contents over a wide area, which would render subsequent re-filling of the pools with water irrelevant.

Putting the pools on top of the solidly built containment structure does at least protect them from tsunamis.

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Fukushima situation as of Wednesday

Bilby
FAIL

Sellafield, Windscale etc...

Please can we put an end to this pointless slur. Sellafield is the BNFL site housing the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant; the Calder Hall Magnox Power Plant, and the Windscale Plutonium Plant.

It was always called Sellafield; no one changed the name.

Windscale was (and still is) a part of the Sellafield site. It gets mentioned very little in the news these days, as it has not been operational since the fire. It was a reactor for making Plutonium for the UK Nuclear Weapons program, it has never been in any way related to nuclear power generation.

Next door to Windscale on the same site is the Calder Hall power station, which was the worlds first commercial nuclear power station. It ran for several decades with no newsworthy incidents, and is now being decommissioned as it has reached the end of its life.

Still on the same site is THORP, which is the currently active part of the Sellafield family. Here, spent fuel from around the world is cooled, stripped, and reprocessed into new fuel. Again, little attention has been paid to this site by the front pages, as rather tediously, they keep not having serious accidents.

Sellafield is the place, Calder Hall and Windscale are the names of two farms that were purchased by BNFL to build their facilities on.

Windscale is the bit of the facility that had a big accident, that has given the greenies something to frighten their kids with for over 50 years; it was a very early reactor with a number of design flaws, built to make atom bombs at the height of the cold war. But as it is no longer doing anything, no-one refers to it much. Sellafield however is still an active BNFL facility, and it is 100% wrong to call Sellafield 'Windscale', or to say that anyone changed the name.

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Bilby

@AC 16 March 2011 19:55 GMT

"Uranium ore has to be mined too, and that predominantly occurs in astoundingly corrupt dictatorships that don't give a flying fuck about the safety of their workforce."

Like Australia.

Of course, coal is mostly mined in more enlightened places, like China.

I hear that Germany has responded to the situation in Japan by shutting down nuclear power plants pending 'safety inspections'. Given that the necessary increase in coal burning to make up the shortfall will lead to a net increase in the radiation exposure of German citizens, this seems like a remarkably stupid response.

Hopefully the safety review will go something like - "Are we near a subduction fault?" "No" "Check - Start her up again boys".

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Bilby

@ hugo tyson

"If there were no nuclear plant story the media would be very bored with the plain 'quake and tsunami cleanup efforts, don't you think?"

I presume the cleanup hasn't finished in Christchurch, but the news media here in Australia have apparently forgotten all about their earthquake. Perhaps NZ should have invested in a couple of nuclear power stations to keep the media spotlight on their recovery effort.

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America spared Top Gear Mexican quips

Bilby
Headmaster

@ s. pam, 11 Feb 14:28 GMT

"Time for a Nappie for the Americans"

I think you will find that is a Diaper...

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Oz net filter jams up with smut, may be pulled out altogether

Bilby

The plural of "Attorney General"

Is Attournies General. Note also that it contains the letter "U" in Australia, as we are still a British imperial possession, and not yet an official US territory.

/pedantry

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Russia's Cold War raygun air fleet back in operation - reports

Bilby
Happy

В Правде нет известий, в Известиях нет правды

=> There is no information in Pravda, and no truth in Izvestia.

(Pravda and Izvestia are well known Russian newspapers; Pravda means 'Truth' and Izvestia means 'Information').

For those who don't read Russian.

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Australia imposes parental lock for digital TVs

Bilby
Pint

@ AC: How is it that a nation founded by Felons is a bunch of wussies?

We aren't. This nation, founded as a prison, has rules for EVERYTHING. If it isn't mandatory, it is forbidden. That is because the entire Govt since the first fleet has been based on the idea that they are running a jail first, and a nation second.

Fortunately the nation founded by felons (a subset of the one founded as a prison) are NOT 'wussies', and we simply ignore and/or ridicule our Govt, and get on with surfing, BBQs and footy in the sunshine.

If you study Australian Federal and State Law, you will see that we have a totalitarian system. If, on the other hand, you get off your arse, and on a plane, and come and have a look, you will find that (unlike the Poms and the Seppos) we treat the law with the disdain it deserves, and have a bloody good time instead of worrying about the wowsers in Parliament and their crazy schemes to save us from ourselves.

Beer icon, 'cos XXXX does not indicate censorship...

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For sale: Dr No's Scottish bunker complex

Bilby

Not such a strange anomaly...

From the Secret Scotland site... "one very strange anomaly; both the male and female toilets have a urinal."

Given the facility was built in the '50s, it seems likely that they didn't put in a female toilet at all. There would have been two toilets; one for the officers, the other for the lesser ranks.

It is plausible that, at a later date, the two facilities may have been re-badged as male and female, but no-one bothered re-plumbing.

Lots of military facilities have two or even three male toilets (officers, NCOs, other ranks), plus one, two or three female, depending on the space available and the number of each sex expected to be stationed at the place.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner set for first flight

Bilby
Headmaster

Missions?

"The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane."

Sounds to me like Boeing have been hanging around USAF and NASA for too long. Commercial aircraft are used for 'Flights' or 'Services', but surely not 'Missions'.

BTW, it is an aeroplane, not an airplane; and the comparison is with a range of other systems, so the last word in the sentence should be plural, not singular (I suggest the word 'aircraft' might be appropriate). Also, as the damn thing is meant to fly today, they should have referred to 'previous' rather than 'today's'. Also... Oh stuff it, trying to teach 'Merkins to speak English is just a waste of time and effort.

0
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US immigration dodge is permanent

Bilby
Pint

Non-EU Passport holder

I am an Australian citizen. On arrival in Dublin on a flight from Manchester, I found that of the five or six plane-loads of passengers waiting to go through customs, I was the ONLY person qualified to use the 'Non-EU Passport holders' lane in customs.

The very bored, but very friendly, Irish Customs official looked quite surprised to see me, and was expecting to have to turn me back, as he assumed I was an EU-Passport holding idiot who had gone to the wrong place; he was very happy to have something to do to relieve his boredom.

I have never passed through a busy airport at peak hour so fast; Judging by the length of the queues in the arrivals hall, my fellow passengers were still lining up to get into the country when I had driven into the city, checked in to my hotel, and was sitting in a pub drinking a pint Guinness.

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Tesla Roadster travels 313 miles on single charge

Bilby
Pint

From Alice Springs to...

...the middle of nowhere. Did he push the car the remaining 183 km to Coober Pedy? I reckon that would have been hard work.

Beer, 'cos you would seriously need one after that!

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Prof: Extremists tend to dominate debates

Bilby

@ STurtle Posted Thursday 22nd October 2009 14:59 GMT

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

(attributed to Bertrand Russell)

Why didn't he add "I think..."?

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Wisconsin Tourism Federation wisely rebrands

Bilby

Aids for all

Suddenly and inexplicably changed the name of their shop in the 80's - They sold wheelchairs and mobility devices from a shop in Headingley IIRC

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New gizmo means working electropulse rayguns at last

Bilby

@ Simon B Posted Thursday 17th September 2009 15:54 GMT

"How long before the enemy/criminals have the plans?"

If the plan is to use expendable pilotless drones to deliver this weapon, not long at all.

IIRC during WWII the use of microwave radar sets in aircraft that flew over enemy occupied territory was forbidden for a long, long time, as the magnetrons were virtually indestructible, and any aircraft that failed to make it home was likely to gift the technology to the Germans, even if not much else on the plane survived.

As the centimetric radar was being put to excellent effect in the battle against the U-boats in the North Atlantic, the Royal Navy (and RAF Costal Command) were dead set against letting Bomber Command fit them in their Lancasters, as the Germans would be able to work out why their subs were suddenly vulnerable to aircraft when charging their batteries by snorkel at night (the snorkel and periscope were far too small to be picked up by conventional RADAR, and were practically impossible to see by Mark I Eyeball even in good daylight conditions).

Once the bombers were given the sets, which proved an invaluable navigation and bomb-aiming aid, they were codenamed H2S, because "it stinks that we were not allowed them sooner".

I don't know if the design is much more 'fragile' when made from Mu-metal than it was with the old copper magnetrons, but if they are not, I doubt that they are going to be totally destroyed in a crash, even if a fairly large demolition charge is provided for the purpose.

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Google Maps glitch tags shops with rival phone numbers

Bilby
Unhappy

There is no hope for humanity...

... when someone can seriously make a statement like this:

"Some of the Localsearch quality folks recently launched a shiny new algorithm for exactly this purpose. I was really psyched, because a bunch of duplicate businesses got consolidated properly after this change. However, I've been seeing some user feedback in the forum about businesses that are still being lumped together improperly, so it looks like the algorithm needs tinkering. The team is now working on a fix that aims to solve this problem for the users who are hurting, without taking a step backward in terms of our overall quality."

in a business context, without getting laughed out of town.

Is she addressing an audience of retarded three-to-five year olds?

This is the consequence of the collapse of the education system. It is too late to fix it; those kids who left school without a proper education are now the managers making the decisions.

I think she meant:

"We have fixed some flaws in the Localsearch algorithm, and it is now better, but still not perfect. We can see from the continuing complaints that several people are still unhappy, so we are trying to improve the algorithm further. However it is important that we avoid causing new problems while attempting to solve the existing ones"

This is how a grown-up would say the same thing. If I wanted to be talked to as if I was being patronized by a ditsy teenager, I would go and find one.

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German state election exit polls leaked on Twitter

Bilby
Coat

A little bird told me...

"One of the leaky Tweets came from the account of Patrick Rudolph, head of the CDU in the city of Radebeul in Saxony."

Radebeul gives you wiiings... not tweets.

Mine's the one with next year's election results in the pocket...

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NASA review: Forget about boots on Mars by 2030

Bilby

@bandor

"If it's too expensive to send a fully manned mission to mars, perhaps they could compromise a bit and just send a few pieces, like an arm and a leg."

That is the projected cost, not the planned crew profile...

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CIOs get £170k but helpdesk staffers settle for £6/hr

Bilby
FAIL

@ Pete2

"Obviously the more time a talented worker spends working the greater the contributions they will make, hence higher rewards. I had hoped that would have been obvious, and I wouldn't have to spell it out. Apparently not."

This is, in fact, not only not obvious, but totally incorrect.

The best workers (Particularly on IT helpdesks) are the ones who quickly resolve a problem, and are free to move on to the next. The best people can be more effective in two hours than a typical worker is in eight, and than a poor worker is in twelve.

You correctly note that those who put in a twelve hour day are more likely to be promoted than those who put in four or five hours of actual work, spend three or four hours a day drinking coffee and surfing el Reg, and piss off home on time (or even early).

My team of five consists of four people who are good at their jobs, and who go home on time (except during genuine emergencies); plus one who, through their own incompetence, has to work back two or three hours every day, despite having less workload than the rest (because when we finish our work, we help with theirs).

Who will get the promotion? Who SHOULD get the promotion?

Your assessment of the way in which promotions are assigned is touchingly naive, and would no doubt be lovely in an ideal world. Unfortunately the world is much less than ideal, precisely because it is full of fools who actually believe this kind of bullshit - and even think that it is 'obvious'

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NASA orbiter returns first shots of Apollo moon sites

Bilby
Black Helicopters

Conspiracy Theories

http://xkcd.com/258/

Says it all really...

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UK jobs market: Bad but getting worse more slowly

Bilby

@AC 4 June 17:58GMT

You do realise that the Australian Federal government is a Labor (sic) government, as are 7 of the 8 State/Territiory governments down under?

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Users: The weakest link in laptop security

Bilby
Paris Hilton

@Andrew 9 Feb 19:56 GMT

Any password that is difficult (much less impossible) to remember is NOT immensely strong, it is inherently immensely weak.

If users cannot remember their passwords, they will write them down, somewhere totally inappropriate and insecure. Attempting to prevent this behaviour by inducements, punishments, threats, explanations, entreaties, or even physical force are doomed to fail.

If you allow users to have a easily remembered password, this will ALWAYS be more secure than a password which they WILL write down. And then lose. Or keep on a post-it in the laptop bag. You cannot stop the tide from rising. You cannot stop users from behaving in this manner.

The solution is to require a long password (or better, passphrase, or passsentence), which will be easy to remember (no requirement for upper/lower case mixtures, special characters, or numbers); but due to its length, difficult for unauthorised persons to guess. This is not very secure, but it is more secure than ANY alternative.

Security solutions which do not take account of human nature are deeply flawed, and those who are 'shocked' when they fail (cf AC 15:22 GMT above) are guilty of looking at only a subset of the overall problem, and therefore doomed to fail.

Paris, 'cos I would like to know the sentence she requires before granting access...

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