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* Posts by MondoMan

394 posts • joined 8 May 2007

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Toyota to launch hydrogen (ie, NATURAL GAS) powered fuel cell hybrid

MondoMan
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Apollo recollections a bit off...

[fuel cells] "even provided some fizzy drinking water as a by-product of powering the Apollo landers"

Actually, the landers (LEMs or LMs) themselves were all-battery. The fuel cells in the Apollo Service Module (the big cylindrical engine-bearing stage beneath the conical Command Module) did provide potable water, but this being an American spacecraft, the water was still, without any carbonation added to make it "fizzy".

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Boffins train robots to pull apart LCD screens – without breaking them

MondoMan
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Re: not so hazardous IMHO

Again, mythic images wouldn't seem to be evidence. I didn't see any chemicals or burning used by the robots here; in any case, hanging out over a smoky old tire fire is likely to be by far worse for third world child recyclers than the small amounts of not-so-toxic stuff in the electronic components. Do you have any evidence that the electronic components themselves are causing any health problems (as opposed to the tire/dung fires and so forth)?

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MondoMan
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not so hazardous IMHO

Is there any actual evidence that "disassemblers" are being exposed to dangerous levels of substances through their activities? Just about all of it should be harmless unless you breath it in as fumes, use it to flavor your happy hour beverage, or ingest it as part of snack time.

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Billionaire's pet DRAGON SPLASHES DOWN off Pacific Coast

MondoMan
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Reilly

(Ace of Spies)

:)

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Hardened Hydrazine the source of Galileo satnav FAIL

MondoMan
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Joke

Black Eye Peas in spaaaaaace?

Fergat = Fergie + Fregat?

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U2? 81 million Apple iThing-strokers know a place where the Beats have no shame

MondoMan
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Unhappy

Where's the "there" here?

So, did anyone else have trouble finding an actual story here?

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Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco

MondoMan
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Re: About recording calls.

@AC - actually, the laws (and thus the notification requirements) vary from state to state inside the US, and it gets even more complicated when the two parties to the call are physically in different states!

In some cases, no notification is necessary; in some cases, just one party has to consent, and in others, both parties have to consent.

As for the story author's suggestion that one record one's calls, from what I understand in this case, it's the alleged calls between Comcast and PWC about the accountant's job that are at issue, and the lawsuit against Comcast is intended to gain access to recordings of such calls via the discovery process.

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Antarctic ice at ALL TIME RECORD HIGH: We have more to learn, says boffin

MondoMan
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FAIL

@hemidude - Review your math before trying physics again

Currently, atmospheric CO2 is very close to 400 ppm = 400 parts per million = 0.4 parts per thousand = 0.04 parts per hundred = 0.04 percent.

Yet, you claim CO2 is 0.4% of the atmosphere. Since you're off by 10x on this easily-checked fact, readers will be unlikely to take your other claims seriously.

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Estonia to offer 'e-resident' status to world+dog

MondoMan
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Re: Estonian "ultra" nationalism

As you appear to be poorly informed about ethnic Estonians and the 20th-century history of the Baltics, you may wish to consider some additional sources of information.

"The Singing Revolution" (a movie) is an evocative history from the Estonian perspective of the events leading to the fall of the Soviet empire.

"Controversial History" is a Latvian film telling of WWII-era events in Latvia in the words of three inhabitants of Latvia at the time -- an ethnic Latvian, a Jew, and an ethnic Russian.

"The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence" by Anatol Lieven, the descendent of exiled Baltic Germans who reported from Russia and the Baltics during the last years of the Soviet Union.

I'd also caution against interpreting symbols of the past without asking about them or doing your own research (for example, Baltic "Waffen" SS military units were frontline units fighting the communists, unlike what we in the West think of as the common image of "SS" soldiers).

Finally, I'll note that some of the largest, most secure culture in Europe seem to have many "post-nationalistic" members, especially among the young. Perhaps what you consider "ultra" nationalism is only "ultra" in comparison to the lack of significant nationalism among many today?

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MondoMan
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Re: Beneficial tax laws

Re: President Ilves

I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk by President Ilves -- if you hear him in a more natural smaller group setting (not a press conference!), it quickly becomes clear that he's got an impish personality. That's certainly refreshing when compared with the typical politician (especially those from larger countries). BTW, he was born in Sweden after the war as the child of refugees from Stalin's takeover of Estonia, and later grew up in the US.

Those who hear only the history told by the Soviet colonists and their descendents are sadly likely to have only as good an understanding of Estonia as would visitors to India in the late 1960s listening only to the history told by British colonists and their descendents.

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MondoMan
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Re: Some confusion?

Just checked a Latvian registrar, and they've got .ee at about 50 euros w/VAT, while .lv is going for about 12 euros; other non-.ee domains are similarly low-priced. There does seem to be something going on there; not sure what.

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MondoMan
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Re: Some confusion?

As the article notes, the Estonians are hoping to make the application process available at their diplomatic outposts by the end of 2015.

For those who haven't been paying much attention to Estonia, it's one of the most e-friendly countries in the (pretty much) developed world. From the time of the restoration of its independence in 1991, its development has been surprisingly non-corrupt, competent, forward-thinking and welcoming the outside world. Of course, you must like a flat landscape covered with forests and bogs to live there!

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Sun of a beach! Java biz founder loses battle to keep his shore private

MondoMan
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Re: I wonder...

I seem to remember something about "up to the high tide line", so wait until low tide.

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Google grand fromage Eric Schmidt: Backing climate denier lobby a 'mistake'

MondoMan
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Re: Rik's request for rebuttal

Thanks for your (IHMO!) better-reasoned response, Rik. You make some good points.

Perhaps our biggest difference is in the sense of urgency necessary, for example in making the energy-source transition that you mention. I look at the IPCC literature review and see "maybe something bad will happen, maybe it won't, but either way significant bad stuff won't happen until the end of the century or later". I also look at the current state of the health and lifestyle of the world's population (not just the developed world) and see that cutting their access to cheap energy will lead to substantial mortality and morbidity among people *alive today*. That is, switching to more expensive energy today in poorly- to partially-developed countries (including China, India, etc) will lead to more illness and death today.

Given that, I'd rather help the people alive today and invest in more research to (a) figure out how current trends in emissions will affect the world 4 generations from now, within a factor of 2, and to (b) figure out how to provide the developing world with lower-carbon-emitting energy as cheap as gas and coal.

As a relevant side note, my informed guess at "waiting too long" is in the 50-75 year range; presumably yours is closer to 5-10 years?

Also, regarding "climate disruption" currently being underway (presumably you are referring to hurricane counts, droughts, and other damaging conditions), check out the IPCC AR5. IIRC, there's yet no scientific evidence that such are increasing in number or intensity. Certainly, for e.g. waterfront damage the dollar values have been rising over recent decades, but that's due to more and more-expensive things being built close to the water, not to more frequent or intense weather conditions.

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MondoMan
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Re: Rik's request for rebuttal

Rik, you claim " Even climate skeptics/deniers/whatever admit that the majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is real, human-caused, and a reason to take strong action – and yet they demand absolute certainty from the science before taking any effective action."

However, your premises are flawed. Here's one example: the IPCC AR5 uses climate expert judgment to conclude that "Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence),..." The ECS value is roughly the expected increase in global surface temps once we have doubled the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 level, likely sometime in the the 22nd century. We are already about 40% of the way to this doubling, and so have already experienced some human-caused warming. The IPCC experts are highly confident that additional warming over the next 100-150 years will be roughly 0.6C (ECS at 1.5C) or 1.8C(ECS at 4.5C), or somewhere in between.

You claim that's a "reason to take strong action". I agree that if the ECS is 4.5C, then having roughly 2C extra warming over the next 100-150 years is reason to take substantial action. However, if the ECS is 1.5C, and we can expect 0.6C of extra warming over the next 100-150 years, we likely won't notice anything amiss. So that's reason *not* to take substantial action.

Thus, the IPCC AR5 itself gives such a broad range of "likely" outcomes, from essentially nothing noticeable to substantial effects, that it's useless for making policy decisions. Skeptics such as myself aren't asking for absolute certainty -- we're asking for the range of substantiated predictions to be narrowed from the current unhelpful "zero to big" range. If climate science had its act together, it would have focused its funding and research effort to narrow down key policy-relevant values such as the ECS. As it is, the likely ECS range doesn't seem to have been narrowed much in the past 30 years(!) and there seems to be a growing divergence between ECS values calculated from real-world observations and those inferred from GCM models.

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MondoMan
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Re: the OED and dictionary sophistry

Your argument that not everyone who uses the 'denier' epithet for their political opponents means to evoke Holocaust denial is true, but it also applies to use of the n-word (which also has a dictionary definition that seems quite innocuous).

My point is simply that educated audiences associate Holocaust denial with the word "denier", as they associate racist insult with the n-word. Those who respect the Holocaust (or abhor racism) will make the small effort to select an alternate epithet rather than using "denier" or the n-word.

Examples abound of climate policy activists using the "denier" term and explicitly acknowledging and welcoming its association with Holocaust denial. If you're interested, I can provide examples. Suggestions for alternate epithets are also available upon request. :)

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MondoMan
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Unhappy

A tabloid, yes, but still a shameful title

Using the term "denier" instead of any of a variety of equally pejorative terms just cheapens the Holocaust.

(I realize RC likely had no role in this poor choice of words)

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Yahoo! Made! $8bn! In! One! Day! And! You'll! Easily! Guess! How!

MondoMan
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"Shares in Yahoo! are trading at $40.93, well less than half the price of Alibaba"

Which is meaningless without also mentioning the total number of shares of each...

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Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality

MondoMan
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Re: Smack on the wrist then!

More like a "volunteer vacation" crossing the border into south-eastern Ukraine...

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Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years

MondoMan
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Yes, and quite distant from what is normally considered "Silicon Valley". The 'rents, who live on the Midpeninsula in a single-story wood-framed house, were not awakened by it.

Hopefully, no touring bicyclists in Napa will be inconvenienced; then again, perhaps someone was filming a remake of View to a Kill...

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I’ve never paid for it in my life... we are talking Wi-Fi, right?

MondoMan
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WTF?

Re: must be a Europe thing?

There's a strange sort of stratification in the US where the lower-to-middle end hotel chains supply one or both of free WiFi and free wired ethernet, while their "betters" (the places with room service and bellboys) charge extra for connections, for parking, for in-room safes, and perhaps even for non-drop faucets!

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

MondoMan
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Meh

Re: Mavericks @Khaptain

Actually, Mavericks is off Half Moon Bay in Northern (really central) California, about halfway between Palo Alto and San Francisco, but over the hills on the coast: quoth the Wiki "Mavericks is a surfing location in Northern California. It is located approximately 2 miles from shore outside Pillar Point Harbor, just north of the town of Half Moon Bay at the village of Princeton-by-the-Sea."

I recently shared a table at a Palo Alto Starbucks with a pair of young surfer/coders who had hair way too short for dreads and didn't say "man" at all during the half hour I was there. A few "dude!"'s were heard, but they were actually having a very earnest and intelligent conversation about potential fiance relationships as they typed on their Macbooks. Scottish accents would have ruined the mood...

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Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away

MondoMan
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The Charge of the Light Brigade?

Sounds like a lot of excellent old-style paleontological analysis. But, then there's this:

"Most gene-based studies suggest that arthropods and velvet worms are closely related to each other; however, our results indicate that arthropods are actually closer to water bears, or tardigrades, ..."

Their results use "cladistic analysis", which is basically creating a family tree by counting up matching features, then putting individuals with the most shared features closest together. The problem with this is, of course, that it's the human analyst who decides what's a feature and what's not. One analyst may count all hair on an organism as a single feature, while her compatriot counts scalp hair, facial hair, leg hair, nose hair, and ear hair(!) each as a separate feature. Since there's no objective *amount* of difference between features, the analysis is skewed by the choice of features.

The introduction of DNA analysis for use in creating evolutionary family trees has largely overcome this problem. Not only is DNA the actual genetic material specifying the creature's features, but one can often identify similarities between organisms' DNA that don't show in the physical animal (e.g. mutated genes that no longer can produce a gene product), or see that a feature that seems to be present in two animals is in fact encoded by unrelated genes in each, and thus is not an indicator of evolutionary relatedness (e.g. eyes that came about via completely different evolutionary routes).

Of course, if one compares only a tiny portion of the genomes of two animals (perhaps even just one or two genes), the chances of making an error in the evolutionary ordering are greatly increased. I hope that's the situation the paper's author is referring to here, rather than claiming to have overturned a robust DNA-based evolutionary tree.

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MondoMan
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Link to the actual paper

Presumably as a result of strict anti-drug laws forbidding references to hallucigenia, the identity of the actual paper in question was censored from the story. Never fear, here it is:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13576.html

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Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON

MondoMan
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Beg to differ...

"The big advantage private operators like Musk have is that they can take a more relaxed view of human life."

No, the big advantage private operators have is that they're free to build systems from the ground up with operational efficiency in mind. They have no Congress forcing them to buy from cost-plus military contractors, no legacy multi-thousand-person facilities like the Johnson Space Center, no tradition of gold-plated but cost-inefficient design. IIRC, the Dragon's total control center staff is less than a dozen people. If NASA were running commercial air travel, it would still be available only to billionaires and wouldn't yet have made it across the Atlantic or Pacific.

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Silicon Valley royalty royally slammed for 'persistent, troubling deficit' of diversity

MondoMan
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Facepalm

Re: The waaahambulance of the imperfect reality

Probably could have chosen a better word than "whitening"...

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Storm-battered Rockall adventurer recalls 'worst experience of my life'

MondoMan
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1985??

People can still claim bits of land for their countries by landing on them? I thought that went out in the 19th century at the latest.

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Retiring Reg hack explains how bass playing = tech reporting

MondoMan
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Nice goodbye, Rik! Only in Regland does technical and industry knowledge mix so well with something like ska (me, too, for first hearing it in the 80s).

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Hey! Where! are! the! white! women! at!? It's! Yahoo!

MondoMan
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Re: I always write "prefer not to say"

There's always "other - human" or "to Mars" or "Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends".

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MondoMan
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Flame

Is the US second only to apartheid South Africa in its obsession with race?

The dirty little secret of simplistic "race"-based diversity goals in tech -- they're an acceptable way to discriminate against Asians. It's pretty obvious such discrimination is widespread in admissions at many universities, limited only somewhat by laws such as California's Proposition 209. It's sad to see that the 20th century's "Jewish quotas" have given rise to 21st century "Asian quotas".

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Dream job ad appears: Data wrangler for Square Kilometre Array

MondoMan
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Living dangerously?

Is this one of those lone-operator-in-the-boonies jobs where you've got to set your own broken bones after you clear the scorpions off the cot in the medical nook?

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British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

MondoMan
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Re: Boffins disagreeing with each other?

There hasn't been any real scientific debate over AGW itself for over a decade now. We know from overwhelming observable evidence that it's happening and that it's primarily man made.

Since "AGW" is the acronym for "anthropogenic global warming", meaning "man-made global warming", you don't even need any observable evidence to know that it's man-made.

If you were perhaps thinking instead about what part of GW is AGW, you're not in much luck either. The only evidence for that so far depends on the climate models being complete, but they've already shown themselves unable to predict the recent "hiatus" in rising temps, not to mention clouds and other important features of the climate system. The current argument for GW being mostly AGW is "we can't think of any way to model it without AGW," which ironically was just about what the Intelligent Design folks used as their argument.

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Pictures of elite 'Chinese military hacker' published

MondoMan
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Headmaster

Khakis?

I had always thought "khaki" was a tan color, not the dark green color in the photo. That looks like olive drab to me.

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Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi! 3D HOLO-PHONE hinted in Amazon vid

MondoMan
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Black Helicopters

Hints from Amazon's website

There's a link to request a pass for the launch event on June 18th. If you're a developer (as opposed to just an Amazon customer or a media flack), among the questions are:

Describe an innovative way in which you have used gyroscopes, accelerometers, or other device sensors in your app development.

Are you interested in developing apps utilizing a new type of sensor?

Do you have machine learning experience? Please describe.

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Marc Andreessen: Edward Snowden is a 'textbook traitor'

MondoMan
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Big Brother

Re: get over it!

You're just about right, G. The problem is that he didn't just hand over the documents about the likely illegal spying on US citizens and residents, but he handed over everything, including really sensitive secrets such as info about compromising Huawei's internal network and locations of cable taps around the world. Do the latter is traitorous in effect (and has nothing to do with Constitutional rights), so the bottom line is that he's both a patriot and a traitor, with the latter part solely due to his failure to vet what info he made public.

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US citizens want stricter CO2 regulations by two to one – Yale poll

MondoMan
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Facepalm

Re: It is an outright lie.

Then I'm sure you'd be happy to breathe in some botulinum toxin at a 350x lower concentration of 1ppm.

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MondoMan
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Facepalm

Re: About time

Sure hope Sean Lock crossed the Atlantic by swimming, because if he instead flew on a modern jet, he more than used up years of his carbon quota. :)

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MondoMan
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Re: Begging the question

Exactly. However, the way I interpret the results is that the American populace, recognizing the lack of any health benefits from reducing CO2 emissions at coal plants, realize that any such regulation is in practice impossible. Thus, it really means "are you OK with no further cuts in coal plant CO2 emissions?"

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FAA: All systems GO for Virgin Galactic space plane to launch from US

MondoMan
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Pint

Re: Comparison with SpaceX

True, but Burt Rutan is almost as studly a dude as Elon Musk.

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Boeing CEO says no more 'moonshots' after 787 Dreamliner ordeal

MondoMan
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Re: The 787 was a risk-averse management boondoggle

Just because all your software modules are in the same IDE doesn't mean module/module interfaces or the calls using them are suddenly perfect, although it does help with certain classes of errors.

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MondoMan
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Unhappy

The 787 was a risk-averse management boondoggle

Rather than being an Apollo-style moonshot, the 787 was more of a Soviet-style moonshot. The top management at the time (and still today) wanted to hurt the Seattle-area mechanics' (assemblers') union, which had a history of striking (only some of the time because management was trying to screw them over). Thus, they decided to move parts of the 787 work out of the Seattle area, to "partner" companies around the world. As a bonus (management thought), they required the partners to use their own money, not Boeing's, to design their part and build their tooling and factories. What could possibly go wrong with outsourcing big chunks of design and production?

The 787 fiasco was the result. It turns out the partners were nowhere as good as Boeing's in-house Seattle-area staff at design, at assembly quality, and at identifying and solving the early-year assembly teething problems. In fact, IIRC, the Italian partner won't be allowed to work with Boeing again, and wings, the most critical and proprietary part of the design, won't be allowed to be designed by non-Boeing staff ever again.

Vought, a US subcontractor, not only produced delayed structures, but incomplete ones, even after a few years of intensive on-site help from Boeing employees, so in the end Boeing had to buy all the Vought plants and employees doing the Boeing work and bring them in-house to get the work done right.

The 787 was a fiasco because top Boeing management tried to play small ball on a moonshot project. They failed to realize that their scheme reduced shorter-term capital expenditures, but at the cost of vastly increased integration risk -- the risk that the parts wouldn't fit and function properly together once they were put together to form a plane in Seattle. In the end, initial capital savings were overwhelmed by the extra capital, labor, and airline compensation costs of not getting the project done right the first time.

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Space hackers prepare to reactivate antiquated spacecraft

MondoMan
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Angel

Re: Our most famous spacecraft

"The "most famous" plaudits probably go to the ISS, Mir, the Shuttle, Eagle Lander, the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise ..."

Ahh, the Eagle Lander -- at first I thought you meant this:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=space+1999+eagle&qpvt=space+1999+eagle&FORM=IGRE

Then I started reminiscing about the U.F.O. show and its under-appreciated spacecraft -- S.I.D.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=ufo+sid&FORM=HDRSC2

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MondoMan
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Very nice

"One of mankind's most famous spacecraft" is sure pushing it, but overall this is a very cool story and kudos go to the space hackers and crowdfunders on this. Thanks, Iain.

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot becoming mere pimple

MondoMan
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Big Brother

I obey

I had thought it was "at least" 400 years old, but the Register says "about" 400 years old, so I'm falling in line. Fits with the 8000-year-old Earth and all that, you know.

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Giant pop can FOUND ON MOON

MondoMan
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Pint

Re: What about the Apollo missions!?!

Exactly -- have they not heard of the famous Tang?

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

MondoMan
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Headmaster

Re: The Reg has become schizophrenic.

Just a note that the preferred term is now "dissident" rather than "denialist", because of the Holocaust/Nazi undertones of the latter.

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MondoMan
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Re: Aren't clouds where rain and snow come from?

@vogon

"there's been no increase in that rate"

Perhaps you missed the sharply upwards curving graph in the article?

I certainly missed any *sea level* data in that graph; perhaps you can point me to a source for your special X-Ray goggles? :)

No there isn't - see the Wikipedia article on the temperature record.

Really? Wikipedia? That may explain things... :)

~ 800,000 years of available figures for average temperature versus CO2 in the atmosphere also predicts a similar outcome.

OK, so what temp does the 800,000 years predict for 280ppm? for 340ppm? for 400ppm? Is it even technically a function?

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MondoMan
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Re: "Truthy" math

"...the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century," is actually just based on the report writers' personal opinions, and not on any mathematical or statistical calculation"

No - as it it says 'science shows' so via measurements and probability statistics. You are confusing this with 'I think'.

Sorry, you've been deceived as well. Here's the link to the IPCC report. Feel free to post a reference to any "measurements and probability statistics" in it that are used to get "95 percent certainty."

Wow, 5 thumbs down so far, yet nobody has been able to post an example of or reference to a numeric derivation of the "95 percent certainty"??? I'm happy to be corrected, but the hiding behind downthumbies is just gonna make me arrogant :)

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MondoMan
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Re: "Truthy" math

Thanks for the Lovejoy reference, Vogon! Even if it weren't flawed, it's too new for the IPCC or US reports to have included, so I'm still waiting for the stats/math supporting the 95% there.

What I DO like about Lovejoy (great name!) 2014 is that he admits that the current IPCC approach to e.g. "fingerprinting" is all based on models which have known flaws and can't even account for the current "pause" in global surface temps. Thus, he argues that an empirical data-based approach is required, and in this he is exactly right.

In Lovejoy 2014 his source of "empirical" data is multiproxy reconstructions of past temperatures as a source of info on natural variability in the climate. Unfortunately, not only are multiproxy reconstructions known to be flawed in that they report artificially low variability, the three particular reconstructions he uses are known to be flawed in technique and/or by using flawed proxies. Sadly, GIGO.

I will keep him in mind, as I really enjoyed his writing style and approach of attacking the problems that should have been studied starting ten or 15 years ago. If he decides to go in search of multiproxy data worthy of his techniques, I hope he'll consult his fellow Canadian Stephen McIntyre.

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The ULTIMATE space geek accessory: Apollo 15's joystick up for sale

MondoMan
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Re: I'll bet it will be quite stiff

Hey now -- a bit o' radiation cranks up the DNA repair machinery, which fixes other errors, too, so you live longer. Hasn't The Simpsons been an especially long-lived show?

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