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* Posts by John Smith 19

9434 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Cyberspies blast Icefog into US targets' backdoors

John Smith 19
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Meh

So disable Java, make damm sure you know what Java software is runningon your PC

Or at least your IT dept does.

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Army spaffed MILLIONS up the wall on flawed Capita online recruiting system - report

John Smith 19
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Joke

Minister "We've just hired Capita for the work."

Staff "And now we are f**ked"

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John Smith 19
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@NeilMc

Be very careful what you wish for.

IIRC Monster did the new version of the Universal Jobmatch job seekers website.

It's s**t according to knowledgeable sources.

But it did cost DWP about £17m.

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John Smith 19
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@R69

"The bigger questino is for the MOD to answer - can they genuinely say that recruitment was going to cost them £1.3 billion over 10 years...if so that is outrageous."

Easy.

Like every other MoD (according to the MoD at least) system their requirements are totally unique and completely unsolvable by any sort of off the shelf package.

And then of course there are those 23000 odd procurement bods in Bristol. You've got to wonder how many of them had a hand writing the procurement document

And of course let's not forget the old £140k --> over 10 years ---> huge IT con-sultancy can be "trusted" to have the financial resources to handle a job that's so big.

Stir up this great big steaming pile and serve in large portions to the British taxpayer.

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Open source project gives cars the Ikea treatment

John Smith 19
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OSVehicle.

Built by OSCorp?

I fear this could end badly.

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Boffins: Antarctic glacier in irreversible decline, will raise sea levels by 1cm

John Smith 19
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Well done to going out and getting some actual observations.

But I hope they've mapped the under surface as well, bearing in mind how things changed when another glacier started sliding about.

And I hope this will be incorporated into models ASAP.

Now what regions are 1cm above sea level?

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Tesla is on fire! Model S car sales are red hot – just like their chargers (yow)

John Smith 19
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Re: Has potential but too expensive

"EPS is negative, forward P/E >100, Price/Book >30, PEG >10 so, to be kind, it's overpriced regardless of what they sold last quarter. Both Apple and Ford are more stable investments with better financials and both currently pay dividends.

For the Tesla touters who would like to point out that Tesla is up 625% over the last 5 years, kindly note that Apple isn't far behind at 550% and Ford tops both at 635%."

Nice summation.

BTW is Ford on it's 2nd or 3rd US government bailout because they can't manage to make enough cars that USians want to own at prices they want to pay.

I forget.

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John Smith 19
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Holmes

Re: More rushed to market nightmares

"The facts are that three Tesla vehicle fires have been reported, all following a collision. So the [US] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether there's a problem. It may find that there is and it may find that there isn't."

So I think the takeway fact from this is don't have a collision when you're in a vehicle.

Any vehicle.

Who saw that one coming?

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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

John Smith 19
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Happy

Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

"Nah. The highly skilled and extremely motivated folks at the TSA are all fully aware that *any* bomb has curly wires leading to the explosives and a red LED count-down display."

I think you've just given me an idea for my next screen saver.

Naturally all it does when it hits zero is to re cycle back to whatever it was set to.

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John Smith 19
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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

"If you open it up, the insides look enough like a home made bomb to scare the crap out of any TSA agent..."

And then they will sit on you.

And you won't like that.

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Use strong passwords and install antivirus, mmkay? UK.gov pushes awareness campaign

John Smith 19
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@NightFox

"But this isn't really aimed at the typical Reg reader is it? This might be "noddy" stuff, but if all my friends and relatives actually understood and followed it I'd have a lot less of my life wasted cleaning up their infected laptops and explaining why they keep getting all these rude emails and need to cancel their credit card"

Correct.

I like the fact it does not require a)Squillions of £ of advertising and b) Several new laws and a Statutory Instrument (the Dark Lords favorite device) to implement.

People see the Mission Impossible antics but 99%of the time it's the simple (stupid) stuff that's not done that f**ks most people up.

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THOUSANDS of UK.gov Win XP PCs to face April hacker storm... including boxes at TAXMAN, NHS

John Smith 19
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AC@10:49

"Ultimately it's not that big a deal if the PC's are never allowed on the internet (and restricted environments generally are not), and the multiple layers of firewalls are all configured properly."

Wasn't the "multiple layers of firewalls" not being configured properly that let McKinnon into the DoD?

And that was an organisation that make annoying people it's business.

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John Smith 19
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Re: IE8?

"Migrating from XP to 7 makes sense when you are a MS-shop, but why IE8?

Why not use the chance to at least go to IE9 or later?"

Because you've probably bought the whole MS package and run all you server systems on IIS and your developers coded lots of MS specific stuff and now you can't get rid of the crap.

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Haswell micro: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing desktop PC

John Smith 19
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Re: Far too expensive

"Jedidiah, I am in the whitebox building business. The market share for highpower, upgradable computers is almost non-existent. The desktops people still do buy are smaller off-the-shelf units that they basically use to obsess over their Facebook & Twitter accounts and maybe do a little web browsing and email. Laptops outsell desktops and have for several years. People buy laptops from me just to sit them on a table and never move them just because they take up less space. "

One small point.

I'm a touch typist.

Most laptops have pretty rubbish keyboards for what I do.

And they always will have.

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Sinclair’s 1984 big shot at business: The QL is 30 years old

John Smith 19
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Keep in mind these are PLA's, *not* ASICs

(ULA is specifically Ferranti) The sort of thing you laid out by marking connections between the transistors in the array.

Almost impossible to imagine now.

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Virgin Galactic's supersonic space ship in 71,000-ft record smash

John Smith 19
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Meh

Re: Nice to see....

"You can see that the system is called a 'De-Thermaliser', and is precisely the same as the Virgin Design."

Not so surprising.

WK2/SS2 was Burt Rutan 's last design and I guess he started aircraft modelling around the late 40's.

All that is old is new....

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John Smith 19
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Joke

M3 at most and sub orbital but imagine the kudos

Of the highest fastest (and first) jumper wearing beardie in the world.

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John Smith 19
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Happy

Re: Research

"There must be some research that can be done in 5 minutes of zero g. "

Actually quite a lot of research is done on sub orbital vehicles.

They are called "sounding" rockets. They can 5-20 minutes of near zero g but with a takeoff pulling possibly 18gs.

Quite a lot of researchers would pay for SS2 flights if they could have one of the crew twiddle some of the knobs as well.

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John Smith 19
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WTF?

Re: Skylon

"More likely the UK will license the IP, rather than try to build its own space program from scratch, I think. Unless, of course, there's a joint play with Australia (who have the land and the money)."

Reaction Engines Ltd is a private company.

"The UK" by which I think you mean the British Government neither own the IP nor provide more than 25% of the funding.

They will therefor do nothing with the IP as they do not own it.

REL plans to sell Skylons. If you want one it's yours if you have a)About one billlllion dollars to spend and b)Not on the UN "bad boys" list.

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Cicada 3301: The web's toughest and most creepy crypto-puzzle is BACK

John Smith 19
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Begin your journey

It will set you free....

Anyone remember how that journey ended?

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Europe MPs: Time to change our data-sharing policy with US firms

John Smith 19
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If they have THE PATRIOT Act (or equivalent) don't trust them.

Anything else is just BS.

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

Re: Ban dragnet surveillance data for use in domestic law enforcement

"The compelling reason for dragnet surveillance is that it is a necessary tool against attacks from terrorists and rogue states. "

No. That's what's called a justification.

It's underlying reason is simple.

The people in charge are data fetishists.

They do it because they can. Because the MIPS and the storage are cheap enough that they can now spy on everyone in case they "threaten" in some nebulous, undefined way the fetishists world view of what is "right."

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John Smith 19
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Re: Oh Dear ...

"- thereby showing complete contempt for democracy and using the EU as little more than a tool for politicians to evade personal responsibility for pushing through laws that they have trouble justifying at home ('it's not our fault - the EU made us do it!!!')"

That would be the British Home Office drafted EU directive supposedly written in response to the Madrid train bombing (which the Spanish, who've fought ETA for decades) wanted no part of.

In reality the EU has acted more as a brake on surveillance compared to the UK than the UK govt (whoever's in power at the time) has ever been.

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Target's database raided, 70 MILLION US shoppers at risk of ID theft

John Smith 19
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Will happen again as well.

Face it till the CTO/CEO does jail time this will simply be part of their "cost of doing business."

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Boffins claim battery BREAKTHROUGH – with rhubarb-like molecule

John Smith 19
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1.3A/cm^2

That sounds pretty impressive.

I'll also note that it is better than metal ions.

But yes it's v0.1 tech.

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Intel bungs PC on an SD: Tiny computer for Internet of Things and wearables

John Smith 19
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Coat

Has to be said.

The don't show the PSU brick it needs to run.

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Kepler data yields Earth-mass 'gas giant'

John Smith 19
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Once againt the universe shows how odd it can be.

Was anyone even looking for a "gas dwarf?"

I doubt it.

but well done for finding it.

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Antarctic ice shelf melt 'lowest EVER recorded, global warming is NOT eroding it'

John Smith 19
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IT Angle

Idea for a future article???

All these general circulation models are complex, need lots of MIPS, run on big systems, have complex architectures (with various underlying assumptions) and written in various languages.

Sounds like a great IT topic for an IT website, does it not?

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John Smith 19
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Well done to the British Antartic Survey

Thumbs up for field research over another simulation.

Here's the thing. Proper science goes where the evidence takes it. The results are what the results are regardless of what people think of them.

Anything else is religion.

And my hope these new results get incorporated into climate models ASAP.

I wonder if any model has delivered a 15 year plateau in temperature. Because if not then all models are conceptually flawed. If anyone does show the plateau its designers should shout it from the rooftops.

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Snowden docs: NSA building encryption-cracking quantum computer

John Smith 19
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Happy

Re: OMFG, spy agency does spying

"And in a world where ANYONE can be a threat?"

And of course that includes you.

As you're reading this an under strength blood vessel in your brain has just ruptured randomly and you are in fact dying.

Still alive? Never mind there's always the rest of your life for me to be right. Better lie in bed and not breath or exert yourself too much and it should be all right.

Or

In the words of Mary Schaefer, former NASA flight engineer who watched several test pilots die over her career.

"Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to live in the real world."

So either kill yourself or grow some and live with it.

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John Smith 19
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WTF?

Re: Anyone remember "Freedom is the right to be uncomfortable."

"One powerful atomic explosion about 50 miles over South Dakota would probably create an EM pulse that knocks out the entire US, lots of Canada, and probably a chunk of Mexico as well, suddenly and near-completely."

Because (of course) a) no intelligence agency would spot someone trying to buy a black market nuke?

or B) That someone was buying up the ingredients for a)A basement nuke and b)A basement launcher for it.

All these fantasies require a person or group who is undetectable by any other means but is stupid enough to communicate electronically.

When you articulate the scenario that total 24/7/365 lifetime surveillance is meant to counter it just sounds dumb. IRL Osama Bin Laden ducked the entire US spy system for 10 years by not using electronic comms.

Real US terrorists (I'm presuming you're a Merkin) turn out to be white males who use engine oil and ammonium nitrate and pressure cookers and (surprise surprise) all that NSA wire tapping either did not spot them or was not bothered about them.

Or how about the 33 mass shootings in 30 years in the US, Nothing more than a few handguns with long magazines, a few (probably still semi auto, as the nut job lacked the skill to convert to full auto) "assault rifles" add a school or a packed fast food shop and hey presto instant fame.

Amazing what a "lone gunman" can do is it not?

The threat the system supposedly safeguards you from is bulls**t.

The real threats you are likely to face it does nothing to protect you from.

You're scared. Buy a bullet resistant vest, don't smoke and wear sun screen. All will do you more good in the long run.

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John Smith 19
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Meh

Re: @ Mike Moyle

So TL:DR version of what you're saying.

I'd rather have all my privacy taken away from me by my government that someone else's.

Or for the really condensed version.

America Uber Alles.

Let me suggest another view.

No one Uber Alles.

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John Smith 19
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FAIL

Re: Anyone remember "Freedom is the right to be uncomfortable."

"I don't know. A nuke outta nowhere, a superplague, or a vast EMP blast may just be SO scary we can't imagine it: the THOUGHT is scarier than mundane slavery because the reality would make DEATH seem a better alternative. And that's not even going into divine cataclysm like a big asteroid impact."

You're either a troll or one of those people barricades themselves in their house and tapes up all the doors to stop "germs" getting in.

At least Woody Allen was neurotic in an amusing way.

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John Smith 19
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Re: OMFG, spy agency does spying

No.

Intelligence officers gather intelligence about the intentions and capabilities of organizations or countries that are actual threats to their country.

Does that include you? Are you a threat to the security of the United States?

Probably not. But the NSA does not care if you are any more.

These people are gathering information on everyone.

For no other reason than because they can

This no longer makes them an intelligence agency.

This makes them a group of state sponsored peeping toms.

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

Anyone remember "Freedom is the right to be uncomfortable."

And in the worst case dead.

Who are they really "protecting" by this lust for total survaillance?

Freedom? As long as you don't question anything or deviate from the party line.

Democracy? Doesn't seem like it.

Privacy? F**k no.

Surveillance without cause --> Imprisonment without trial.

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Can you trust accounting software numbers?

John Smith 19
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"There isn't any software on the planet that doesn't have bugs, so don't act so surprised - it sounds like they are (erroneously) rounding some numbers too early in the calculation"

I'm ware of that.

But this is really basic core functionality.

You expect trouble with the bells and whistles (or mail merge as it's known in Word IIRC) but core stuff?

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John Smith 19
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Re: If you're worried about this...

I've reported it.

It bothers me but what I'm trying to find out is wheather its SOP for all accounting packages (I'm really having trouble believing that) or specific to this system.

What I can say is that I know as a fact that it happens with one package on one OS.

Does it happen on others?

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Boffins build sticky-limbed lizard-bots to tend spacecraft

John Smith 19
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Meh

v 0.1 tech I think

Clever, but let's not get too excited?

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Private space truck ready for ISS trip as soon as NEXT WEEK

John Smith 19
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Unhappy

Re: Engines

"It seems to have about as much in common with the original Soyuz as the Atlas 5 has with the original Atlas. I.E. "they're both rockets with the same name.""

It's pretty loose, although I think the Delta IV is worse. Obviously they were using the term "evolved" in the sense that we are evolved from something like a large rat.

Oops. The Russians have been talking about restarting NK33 production but they also seem to have developed a new engine (the RD193) as a backup plan.

Russianspaceweb reports there were about 80 NK33's made. Obviously an NK33 restart would benefit OSC

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John Smith 19
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Re: COTS is about commercial competition...

"Orbital is a much smaller company than SpaceX, with a MUCH smaller capital-generating investor-group. "

Smaller than Elon Musk and a couple of VC houses?

"Undoubtedly, they were swayed by the chance when NASA 'removed the failed RK configuration' and proposed transfer of the setup to Orbital. Orbital did NOT come up with the hardware, but they did successfully manage the project, including revamp of their Wallops Island (Virginia) launch area."

Yes Orbitals expected first actual payload launch to ISS within 4 months of 1st launch is impressive.

"NASA's offer (including accelerated timeline) did come before Orbital's BOD accepted."

I presume you mean the offered contract for transport services before the Board accepted taking on the new launcher development.

So essential NASA said "Here's $1.8Bn if you can build a rocket for this much" and the board said "Yes" and then said "Now where do get a rocket design"

" This was not like Orbital answered an RFP with original research. Orbital should be credited with good project management, so far. They really aren't anywhere near as big as SpaceX, though."

Yes I'd say few companies can work the supplier directory or contractor paperwork for their size quite like Orbital.

But according to both the FT and Wikipedia I'd say they were pretty evenly matched. Both $1.x Bn revenue, both 3-4000 employees (actually I think OSC is bigger in there). There profit after tax is about $68m IE about 5.2% of gross and I can't say how that compares to Spacex because no one knows.

This is no David & Goliath contest either way round. I've always thought OSC is well into the whole govt contractor game as they do so many weapons systems and target drone systems.

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John Smith 19
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Boffin

A few points.

The Merlin 1D has a T/W > than 150:1 (Spacex seem a bit coy about how much greater). However the AJ26 still holds the Isp crown.

IIRC the Russians said there's somewhere between 50 and 75 engines in the warehouse in Russia. How seriously Orbital wants to pursue Antares (yes that is the correct spelling for this LV) will depend on what they plan to do about this limit.

OSC claim they want to offer something in the Delta II size that ULA seem to have abandoned. It was popular, launched for about 4 decades with continuing upgrades and was pretty reliable IE a lot more engines needed than in the warehouse. time will tell if they are serious or if they are govt con-tractor who takes the money and runs. IIRC the NK33 is a oxidzer rich staged combustion engine and may use unfamiliar alloys and possibly interior coatings which would take time to reproduce in the US.

NASA awarded both transport contracts (which are different to the development contracts to build them in the first place) before any hardware had flown. BTW both OSC and Spacex have trousered substantial chunks of the cash for all their launches, although as OSC has not actually delivered anything to the ISS yet that seems pretty poor value for money. No doubt OSC have good explanation apart from bumping up the dividend payout.

The problem with only 2 launch providers is if one is shown to be fairly rough you'd like to cut them totally, but then the other is in a monopoly position, so you can't really cut either of them.

The ISS is going to be around to 2020 at least and 2028 is looking likely . It's going to need re-supply for a long time to come. At £118k/Kg that makes Atares launched bottled water the most expensive brand on the market. :- ) .

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John Smith 19
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Meh

Re: COTS is about commercial competition...

"SpaceX was given much more time (NOT more money) to deliver."

Actually the original award to OSC was much smaller, due to it being the left over from the Rocketplane Kistler award, something like $170m from Spacex's $250m (presumably the "others" you were referring to) and got a later chunk (IIRC about another $300m for a test flight)

" They were kept in the program even though they missed dates in the 2000s (NASA removed others). Orbital was coerced by NASA to get into COTS at a later date and needed to do accelerated development. That is why Orbital was given more money."

Coerced? I don't think so. I'd say OSC saw a chance to hoover up some spare cash and reckoned they could get the job done by outsourcing the 1st stage to the Russians and the bulk of the payload carrier to the Italians, who did build 1/2 the ISS modules. Amazingly it turns out they were right.

"It turns out that Orbital's Antares rocket, while not human rated, has sufficient payload to put Dragon capsules up into LEO. Interesting..."

At roughly 2.5x the price of the Spacex cost? Not really.

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Now THAT'S a sunroof: Solar-powered family car emerges from Ford labs

John Smith 19
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Re: Concentrator? Why bother?

"If you're going to go to all the trouble of building a shelter with lenses etc, why not just put PV panels on the shelter and then plug in the car? That way any leccy car can use it and when you're not charging cars you can feed the power generated back into the grid?"

Money.

Fresnel concentrators are embossed plastic.

They can be light and cheap.

Otherwise you need to buy a PV panel 8x bigger than the car.

Not light. Not cheap.

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CryptoLocker creeps lure victims with fake Adobe, Microsoft activation codes

John Smith 19
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Unhappy

So what can be done to nobble the Crypto API ?

And is it in normal use for most people but they don't realize it?

I know, that won't help you if your gigs of stuff have turned into unusable rubbish.

But it might help the next person.

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Coming in 2014: Scary super-soldier exoskeleton suits from the US military

John Smith 19
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Unhappy

Usual glitch will be the power requirement

Which will be huge

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Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

John Smith 19
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Go

So discreditied "review" --> time to cancel the Act?

I won't argue the review's conclusions but it sounds iffy based on the methodology.

If you're playing by the Treasury Green Book rules then you need to use the rate (although WTF the Treasury gets a 3.5% rate is beyond me).

The Act was another of Tony Blairs stabs at immortality, along with it a little f**k you to Gordo.

It would seem there are as good a reason to dump it as there were cancelling the National Identity Card Register and other bits of control freakery.

Sounds like a New Years Resolution to me.

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Slurp away, NSA: Mass phone data collection IS legal, rules federal judge

John Smith 19
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Re: Am I missing something?

"'since the data was collected by a third-party'

So, as long as the US government uses third parties they can do what they like?"

Pretty much.

USG says "Mr X get us info on this target."

Mr X gets data.

No one has said anything about breaking into their home, hacking their phone/email/PC/car GPS etc.

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John Smith 19
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@Tom Welsh.

""It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress"."

Sounds like a PhD project to me.

Just a thought.

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Snowden leak journo leaks next leak: NSA, GCHQ dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight

John Smith 19
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Gimp

" obsessed..." "little crevice on the planet where some forms of communication may be taking place"

That's not a security organisation.

That's a data fetishist.

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John Smith 19
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Meh

Re: I just wish they would drop the whole 'terrorism' cover.

"Can you imagine how they could rig any & every election with back doors to the bogus voting machines. OOPPPSS!!!!! Did I actually say that? NO!!!"

Only in those countries stupid enough to use them.

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