Do remember not to run the escape tunnel too deep either. Unless you want to wind up fried on the underground tracks. Or squashed. Or both...
4799 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
In Space, No-one Can Hear You Fart!
Re: Not very inflaty
Yeah, but you've got to go outside and put the thing in a giant bowl of water, so you can find where the leak is first...
Re: Not very inflaty
The skin is multi-layered, and therefore quite thick. And this is only a test module. Bigelow Space have got either one or two (can't remember) already in orbit themselves, for testing purposes. But this is only a little one to go on the ISS. Remember it was only a portion of the cargo in a normal Dragon re-supply launch, where as the full-sized beastie will want a launch all to itself.
Weight is the issue. You can't make the walls of a metal spacecraft thicker without dramatically increasing the weight. So everything in space is pretty bloody flimsy. At which point, you're going to be working with composite materials anyway, so why not use something flexible and expandable. That means you can get something the right size to stick on the top of a rocket that'll expand a bit in space. The gains might not be huge, but you're still doing better than you otherwise would have been - and your living space is no longer limited to the diameter of your rockets.
Inflating your walls - and them thus being thicker (even if now less dense) is also an advantage in improving both radiation and impact protection. There are also gels that can be applied that expand on exposure to air - so if you apply these in the right place, punctures below a certain size will be self-healing. Maybe not enough to save the habitat, but enough to save the astronauts inside it, who can seal the airlock and bugger off to a different bit of the station. They can then either write the habitat off (and replace it), or fetch the puncture repair kit and go space walking.
And what is wrong with astronauts having a nice play on a bouncy castle... IN SPAAAAAAACE!
I for one would love a go on a spouncy castle. Particularly if I can have space icecream. Talking of which, do NASA also produce space candyfloss?
In fact, I propose a piece of important scientific research. I wish to investigate the effects of a huge sugar-rush on humans exposed to microgravity. I suggest myself as the first guineapig. I propose that I be sent to the ISS with an entire Dragon or Progress capsule full of fizzy cola bottles, foam bananas, christmas cake, space dust, wine gums, jelly babies etc. Better include a few sick bags as well...
I'm gay, and so is my wife...
Re: These 10 Reasons Are Why Your Clickbait Site Might Be F**&ed
Surely the headline should be: 140 Million Reasons Not to Act Like Total Bellends
Re: provide Nokia with the basis for some excellent phones
But shippable & good/desirable aren't the same and you need willing buyers as well as a shipping product.
I think Microsoft have managed "good" twice in the world of mobiles. Desirable not so much...
Windows Mobile 5 was good, back in 2004. It wasn't wonderful and you mostly needed a stylus, though you could peck through making phonecalls with your finger. You had barely acceptable emaill, OKish satnav and a reasonable phone, in one package with reasonable battery life. I seem to remember they were up to 50% smartphone share, as a disappointed Sony Ericsson P800 owner (UIQ Symbian that was imcompatible with Nokia's Series 60 Symbian) I'd played with both sides a bit. We had some O2 XDAs (or similar) for work.
MS just failed to update it. Was it crap management, disinterest, or the desperate attempt to get Vista to market consuming all their programming and management resources? Or a combination? Or had Gates been pushing mobile, and Ballmer didn't care as much, so it died in the transition? Anyway, they were singularly unprepared for the dawn of the iPhone and the arrival of lots of devices with capacitative screens. No sylus any longer, and a much, much nicer UI required. It took 2 YEARS for Windows Mobile 6, which was a no-man's land that they'd already announced was a quick-and-dirty update to be replaced by the incompatible Win Pho 7.
That was nice, but incomplete. I bought it, because I got an OK smartphone for £120, when the cheapest usable Android was about £200 for last year's model that was no longer receiving updates. And my HTC Wildfire was a shit slow processor and crap memory in a beautifully designed case, and required reboots a couple of times a week, and Android 2.2 was sometimes quite flakey.
Work foisted an iPhone on me, which was OK. But I've got an iPad for apps, and so when that died (our batch of 5s had all failed within 30 months - 2 with 2 years - and 2 were replaced under warranty before that!), I tried Win Pho 8.
So MS scrambled, rather painfully slowly to Win Pho 8, a year late, which was pretty damned good. A bit of polish and some apps were all it needed. But two years later Win Pho 10 still isn't ready.
They got to 10% marketshare in Europe. There was potential for improvement. But not enough resoureces, either marketing or OS programming, have ever been committed. Management seem to care just enough to waste billions, without doing enough to actually succeed. And this has been consistent now for over a decade. Androids at the £100 are now fine to excellent, and Nokia/MS only had one top-of-the-line phone that was truly outstanding, with a super camera, and barely marketed it. Plus MS were too cheapskate to license or buy the tech off Nokia, and so lost any chance of a unique top-of-the-range phone, so no obscene profits for them. While Apple and Samsung can happily charge £500 for flagship phones that probably make them twice as much profit as tablets, where prices have actually fallen, using identical parts.
It's a shame. At least, when I go back to Android, I'll be able to customise it. I resent having to work to get a decent phone UI, but on the plus side I'll have the use of a decent App Store. Sadly the advantage of a company that cares about keeping the software up to date is wasted, as Google commit the resources, but then fail to force the manufacturers to actually distribute the updates.
Re: sometimes I'm easily pleased
I'm still on Windows Phone 8. And so far avoiding upgrading. Incidentally, to be fair to Orlowski, he's been a fan of Win Phone, but been consistently rude about 10 as well.
I'm happy at the value end though. I don't believe in spending north of £400 on a phone. I want something cheap and cheerful, that works well, with decent battery life. Apps are for the tablet. For me it's a phone first, with texts, email, calendar and sat-nav in that order. I sometimes use it for the internet, but I'd much rather tether my iPad. My Mum really likes hers too. I've recommended Droids to most other people that have asked, or iPhone if that floats their boat.
But Microsoft just don't seem to be properly arsed. It's like they've bought into the idea for the last 15 years that they need to be big in mobile, they've made enough effort to be big players (they had half the "smartphone" market in 2004), and as soon as they get something half decent out there - they just stop working on it. For all the upgrade nagging, Windows 10 is nice. 7 was great. 8.1 would have been good too - if only they'd spent the effort on hitting us over the head with Metro on the desktop on Win Phone instead, then it and Win Phone 8 might have been brilliant.
But again, they're failing to bring out nice new handsets - and not bothering to put the final polish on Win Pho 10. And they'll deserve to fail. I'll be sad. And I guess my next phone will be a Droid. Which is fine, but I'm not a huge fan. I do lust after a Galaxy Note, but I don't believe in spending over £200 on a handset.
Re: Chinese Manufacturers
So are lots of Samsung's. But that's not the point. The interesting thing is that Chinese companies are doing their own design and marketing.
Being the outsourced manufacturing destination of choice is not a long-term strategy for the Chinese economy. Their wages have gone up, and so they're now facing competition from elsewhere. Those jobs won't all disappear overnight though, they just need to start moving up the value-chain, if they want China's economy to keep on improving.
Re: How crackable are alien languages?
No one's ever hacked my accounts:
I'm happy, as long as it works with IE4...
Yeah, but they'll be able to sell their mobile phone video to You've Been Framed for £200. There's a silver lining to every cloud...
I'd be amazed if Apple have a monopoly. If you don't actually have a monopoly, you can't be accused of abusing it.
There was a brief period when I thought Apple might get into trouble, because the iPhone was so powerful in the smartphone world, and the iPad completely dominated tablets.
Again, there was a period when iTunes was an effective monopoly in music downloads. But with Amazon, Google and others in that space, as well as the music streaming services, I'd be amazed if they still are.
It can certainly be argued that it was that monopoly that made the iPod king. But then very few people buy any MP3 players anymore, it's all done on phones. So that ship has sailed. The monopoly has probably gone, and regulators don't tend to move that quickly. After all, the Microsoft browser monopoly thing came a whole decade too late to save Netscape! IBM successfully did the lawyer dance for the whole 80s, until the US DoJ got bored, and were never convicted. MS got caught due to having written stuff down, and I'd say Google are mostly in trouble because they took the piss. They had a friendly Commission for years, thought they could lobby, delay and bluster their way out of it - and might have got away with it. Except Juncker was about to get "vetoed" by Cameron, and so did a deal with the German press (Axel Springer), who hate Google, and they pressured Merkel into abandoning her support for him. Whether the commission would have been anit-Google anyway is anyone's guess.
You clearly don't understand competition law. The Commission clearly do. Which is why they're doing what they're doing.
Whether they're right or not, is another matter. These things are rarely black-and-white. But most countries have laws against abuse of monopolies, because all economists recognise an abuse of monopolies as bad for the economy. It makes markets less efficient, leads to overpricing and restricts innovation. This is why we have regulators - and mergers of big companies have to be approved by government.
Re: Ruskies robbed!
Surely even after 20 series and a writers strike, even the most desperate of producers for the X Files wouldn't resort to a plot-line about the Eurovision Song Contest being rigged by Aliens or the CIA? Surely that's too dull even for daytime TV...
Re: The Diff
"Its that the western media is an utter disgrace."
Save El Reg, of course
No. The Register is far worse than that.
It's totally Belgium, man.
Re: hold the opinion that Snowden is a traitor,
I certainly agree with you, that Snowden is innocent unless proven guilty. So by that definition he's not a traitor. And not being a court of law, I am in no position to determine whether he's a traitor or not.
My argument wasn't about that. In fact your post supports my argument here. I was saying that a US media source calling him a traitor does not invalidate its credibility. To call him a traitor is clearly a rhetorical device in this context, as they aren't a court of law either. My only argument in this threat is with the ludicrous claim of some equivalence between the faults of the Western media (which are many) and the deliberate design of the Russian media to hide the truth.
In almost every way imaginable, our political system is better than the Russian one. It is best that we concentrate on fixing our own problems, and dial down the preaching to everyone else. But I refuse to put up with this moral relativism crap. So I'll argue against it.
As for Snowden, it's complicated. In my opinion he did a great thing in telling the world about mass data collection. But then he's also released information on US (and UK) legitimate electronic spying on unfriendly foreign powers. The first one of those is whistle-blowing and a good thing. The second is treason. He seems to have released an enormous amount of information, some of which would have been better kept secret. I personally wouldn't call him a traitor - but I also don't approve of everything he's done.
And yet you know about this, because it was reported by a free media!
Proving the point I was making.
The media has biases. But different bits of it have different biases. Which is also self-correcting.
<blockquote.I initially said that you could hold the view point that all media lies and that it should all be ignored.</blockquote>
You could hold that viewpoint. But it would be bollocks. And when the Russian government pay people to espouse that viewpoint it's for malicious reasons. Which efforts we know about partly because of the Western media. I've seen interviews with the people that work there.
Also, there's an important difference between deliberate wrongdoing, and people making mistakes. The Sun didn't deliberately lie about Hillsborough, at least so far as we know. They reported lies told to them by the police. Their reporting of those lies was however horrible, because Kelvin McKenzie is a horrible man. And that was their house style under his editorship. The rest of the press called them out on it. And the market forced them to issue various grovelling apologies. Not that it helped their sales in Liverpool.
Now I'd not particularly trust the Sun. It's not really about news. But I would have a lot more trust in the Guardian, the Times, or even the Telegraph (despite their recent plunge in editorial standards). They have biases, so you need to know what you're reading, but they're more likely to get the facts as correct as they're able, given the pressures of time and budget. And if you read them the next day, they'll have more of a complete picture. They will get stuff wrong, but in the main they are trying to report stuff as it happens.
I wouldn't trust Russia Today at all. They are deliberately setting out to lie to me. That is their purpose.
It's a completely differnet thing. One system is imperfect, but is mainly attempting to disseminate accurate information. With constraints of time and money. It has checks and balances, and often corrects itself when it screws up. The other systems is deliberately designed to conceal and to confuse. In intention, execution and outcome there is no fair comparison between the systems.
Re: The Diff
The Western media isn't a disgrace, because it reports on this stuff. Nobody has ever doubted that WEstern governments have been spying. Stuff like Echelon was in the public domain for years. The press make periodic efforts to find stuff out. When the Snowden stuff got revealed, the Western press covered the story. So what exactly have they done wrong?
They can still hold the opinion that Snowden is a traitor, and cover the story and not do any damage to their credibility. Whereas Russian state media regularly get caught lying, and don't even apologise. They simply deny it and move on, because it's deliberate. Thus you should never trust Russian state media at all. But you can usually trust Western media, a least to some extent. So long as you're in a position to verify their story. If they do make a mistake (or even lie deliberately) it's usually their rivals that catch them at it. So you may not be in possession of the facts immediately, but you'll usually find stuff out relatively quickly.
This equivalence point is utter bollocks.
Remember those timeless hits such as:
"1 in 5 Muslims' Sympathy for Jidadis"
"The Truth" (the infamous front page from The S
We do remember these stories. Which is precisely the point. BIts of the media screwed up. Or you might argue with any story based on a survey, were misleading semi-deliberately. But the other bits of the media reported on the stories, and after a very short time the story was correct. In the case of the guy who was libelled, he got apologies and compensation for the mistake.
A free press (which we broadly have) is not perfect. Neither is it free from error - or sometimes malice. But the individual outlets have commercial rivals to help keep them in check. Rivals who'll point and laugh when they screw up. And we also have police, court and political systems for redress as well. So in the case of the phone hacking scandal the police initially failed, but the Guardian didn't.
That's a free system of checks and balances working. It's not ideal, but tell me a better system? And compare and contrast to Russia, where there are much worse checks and balances, a lot of journalists get murdered and the government frequently puts out propaganda unchallenged.
Re: Pause for thought
Gin and Tonic looks like water when in a water bottle.
What is this "tonic" you speak of...?
Re: Been caught both ways on this one
Ah, the Stalingrad approach.
According to that nice Mr Anthony Beevor, the prudent quartermasters in the Germany 6th army at Stalingrad put asside rations for a snowy? day. They had a feeling that Winter wouldn't be going too well, and they were awfully far away from Germany when the inevitable Russian counterattack came. Lots of units had had to fight surrounded during Jan/Feb 42 - after the Moscow attack broke down. And they were closer to air supply.
What happened once the pocket was formed, was that army HQ took over all the individual units' food, and distributed "fairly". This meant that those who had saved it lost, and those who'd doled out all the food they had got the benefit. Their troops also had a tiny bit more body fat, and so the death rate from starvation was higher in the units with the prudent quartermasters.
Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126
In just one solar system there are truly vast amounts of mineral resources, hydrocarbons and free solar energy kicking around. Even if we can't leave the solar system that's going to become progressively easier to utilise. Of course it might take a while.
But the idea of mining an asteroid for all the goodies to build space stuff, and then living in the hollowed out middle isn't totally insane.
We'll need to solve some materials science problems in order to get people into and out of orbit more easily. But once you can start some kind of production facilites in space, they can help expand themselves, and most of the resources are available to do so.
In 200 years time it might be that enviornmental regulations on Earth make most minining impossible, because it can be done with much less pollution and disruption in space.
Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽
I suspect actually the biggest threat isn't from asteroids, but from the very technology we would develop to repel them. Once we get a better control and footing in space it will lead to a militarization that hasn't yet happened. Id be more worried from a species survival aspect about a future war in which nukes or something nastier pour from orbit onto Earth, Mars and other colonies than about the danger of a single giant asteroid hitting us today.
If we have spaceships able enough to be called military ones - then nukes aren't going to be required for planetary bombardment. You simply drive over to somewhere that's got a source of rock with some metal in it, stick that in your linear accelerator / rail-gun, point it at your target and Kaboom!
After all, assuming you have spaceships, ICBMs suddenly become a damned site easier to intercept from space - but ships in orbit will only be dropping limited numbers of warheads - which might be within the capabilities of even current missile defence systems to deal with.
If you're really feeling particularly militant, you could move an asteroid into the orbital path of a planet - and wait for the bang.
In which case your original argument about asteroids might still stand. You're doing survivable damage, with resources on hand to rebuild with. Or the victor's space marines land and create a new imperial slave-planet.
Re: cold, dry and nasty
Then they're helping to terraform theplace. Doing something useful. Their corpses will also provide excellent materials to create a viable topsoil. If it turns out that the place is too habitable too early, well I sugges that we utilise NASA's recently demonstrated ability to create nuclear powered laser tanks. NASA can charge people to have a go, thinning out the herd, and incidentally make a nice profit to spend on science.
I'm struggling to see any downsides really. This is an almost perfect way to bootsrap the space industry. And ensure this new commercial phase is not as patent-encumbered as the tech industry has turned out to be.
Re: cold, dry and nasty
Elon Musk has stated that he'd like to retire to Mars. So I suspect not.
Well actually he put it rather more pithily. "I'd like to die on Mars, just not on impact".
Re: Friday and there is no
Or his boy-wonder sidekick Youthy McPimpleyface.
That's a bloody bad idea.
The moment that humanity cracks that code, is the time that the aliens know we've deleloped sentient computers, are now a threat, and so it's time to destroy the Earth.
Or it's a practical joke, and designed to send our nascent sentient computers insane. In which case we also lose, as we're stuck on the planet with them - while they deploy all the drones, robots and internet 'o' things crap in an effort to destroy us.
Re: Watergate McGateface
At least the "plebgate" scandal had the redeeming feature that it involved a real gate.
What happens if there's another break-in at the Watergate building by the way? Will we have a Watergategate scandal? Or will the universe simply implode?
What's the collective noun for the group of people who resort to the clichéd 'sheep' epithet?
Actually although the phrase is annoying, it does provide a useful guide to what to ignore. Like a spam filter scoring on words like viagra, my bollocks-filter level is raised by use of such terms as, sheeple, MSM, EUSSR, New World Order (which seems to be making a comeback of late), Zionist media, a recent survey says, etc.
Has anyone else seen the classic German film Das BootyVonBootface?
The problem comes when you can no longer tell the sheep from the Goaty McGoatface...
Re: Oh well, these things happen ...
Clouds aren't shiny. They're fluffy.
If you're flying into a cloud, and you see shiny, that means there's a 747 hiding in it...
Re: When does the Dragon breathe fire?
Can this version of Dragon do that? I thought it was the man-rated Dragon 2 that can do that, which they're due to start testing next year.
Nope. They have chucked rubbish in them before, but mostly that gets burned up in the European, Japanese and Russian delivery vehicles, which can't return.
I presume NASA wanted an equipment return capability because Dragon was the only one of the ISS supply vehicles designed after the shuttle was retired. And that could fulfill this requirement before. There's barely room in Soyuz for the 3 astronauts, let alone any extras.
But they're always doing experiments that require a sample return. So they send baby mice up there, to see how they develop, in comparison to ground-based siblings. Then bring them home, and before they can gloat to their mates about how they're space mice, it's off to the dissection table for everyone.
Similar stuff with fruitflies. Then there's been mini school experiments in Kinder Egg plastic toy pods, and tests on long term exposure to radiation outside the ISS. I'd be surprised if they aren't taking blood samples from the astronauts as well.
Well I suppose we know the Moon is a giant space egg, thanks to that recent BBC documentary.
Which just leaves the question: Where do we find the space bacon?
Re: Two steps forward...
The problem with getting Russia onside is - what if you don't trust them?
Someone on this thread mentioned how Russia has almost no national debt, and compared unfavourably with the US, which has much. But Russia voluntarily reneged on most of its national debt in the 1990s - at a time when they could have paid at least some of it. Thus they can't borrow easily, because nobody trusts them. This is why Greece can borrow on the markets cheaper than Russia, even though Russia has a huge oil income, and Greece is basically bankrupt. But Greece is trusted to at least make an effort to pay back.
Even the Russian government don't trust the Russian government. Which is why so many of the elites keep their money outside the country. Which is one of their many economic problems, because there's only money to invest when the oil price is booming. But they actually need to invest massively in their oil industry now, as much of their kit and wells are from the Soviet era, and need replacing.
Re: Two steps forward...
This is the Russian response to US plans to put an anti-ICBM launch site in Poland
No it's not. That might be their official whine, but that system is not designed to deal with Russian missiles. It's designed to defend Europe from Iranian ones. Russian missiles live in Siberia, and would be fired over the North Pole.
This is part of the system the US have been working on to deal with threats like Iran and North Korea. Which is why they've so far deployed only someothing like 20-odd missiles, to Alaska and Guam. Although the US and Japan both station several Aegis ships around, specifically to deal with North Korean missile threats - as the SM3 can shoot ICBMs in space. Again Russian ones would be going the wrong way, and anyway there are too many of them for one or two ships only able to launch 1 or 2 SM3 at a time.
Obama cancelled the Polish site at one point. To keep the Russians happy. I think it only came back on the agenda after the invasion of Ukraine, though I've forgotten the current status.
You are however correct that the SS18 must have needed an upgrade pretty soon. Trident is expected to be upgraded in the 2030s, and that went operational in the 90s. But it's solid fuelled, so I'd have thought would expect to last longer. Also it goes to sea, but sealed inside a warm sub, whereas the SS18s have to live in Siberia - and I bet their silos aren't all that well heated.
I imagine they text you the voucher, to get round that. Like places now emailing you the voucher, rather than just putting you on a mailing list, with all the other firstname.lastname@example.org ones.
I was approached in Clinton Cards yesterday. I could have 4 cards for the price of 3. Very nice. Tthank you. As I've got about 7 birthdays to go to this month, that's actually quite useful.
Please just give me your mobile number. Huh? My email sure. I've got a spam folder, and an unsubscribe button if your mail is annoying. But nope, you don't get the mobile, so you can call me with pointless crap when I'm busy.
Just getting this from estate agents now, as they've a legit reason to ask for my mobile when booking viewings, but of course I also have to suffer the weekly "courtesy call" to see if I like the look of one of their places, but somehow am too dim to be able to phone them and book a visit.
Re: Adblock on Edge
I dislike the UI of Chrome (and am not a huge fan of Google either). I like Firefox, but it's getting slow and unreliable again. IE is much improved, so I'm considering trying some new ones, including that. I guess Edge is worth a go, but I want proper menus, not everything accessed through one, enormous, un-navigable one.
Just had a look at Edge. Seems quick, but the user interface is no better than Chrome (possibly a bit worse?).
I don't think BT-EE was so much the problem. As BT didn't have their own mobile operator. But Orange and T-Mobile maybe shouldn't have been allowed to happen. That rocketed EE to being by far the biggest provider, and at the time 3 were way behind the big 4, and also EE ended up with a huge monopoly on spectrum. And were then outrageously allowed to launch their 4g service on the virtually free spectrum they had from way back in the 80s/90s - while others didn't have enough to launch and had to wait for the auctions.
But Ofcom were singing the praises of having 4 operators before 3 came into the market. I remember reading a piece years ago about how Ofcom thought our mobile market was superior to the rest of Europe, as many of them only had 2 or 3 operators, and Ofcom didn't want us to go below 4. I guess that's still their thinking?
Re: How can you tell when a user is lying to you?
This came in useful yesterday.
Bit of personal help for a colleague with her Outlook.com. I do the company IT that I don't outsource (i.e. I fix and de-louse the laptops), but this is personal and I've never used Outlook.com. 'The spam folder is eating everything.
OK, she admitted to me that she'd turned the setting back on that puts everything not in the addressbook into Spam. Even though I turned that off last week. She'd googled it, and apparently decided to try it, but that was admitted upfront.
So I said, have you been right-clicking on the good stuff in the spam box, to tell it that it's not spam. "Oh yes." A quick Google from me later, and it appears that Outlook.com may not recognise moving stuff from Spam to inbox as a "this ain't spam" so when done on the mobile there'll be no effect. Checked, have you done this on desktop as well as phone? Oh yes.
OK, then she says, how do you mark it as not spam again? Right click. I don't seem to be able to do that. So I show here, for some reason the menu disappears really quickly. So she's done it. Then I ask, you know you've been saying you've been doing this - but you've just demonstrated you didn't know how to? Have you been clicking stuff isn't spam.
Yes. Honest. I must have just forgotten how to do it. Really? Oh yes. I pause... Really? Are you sure? Oh yes. I think it took 5 minutes to get an admission - and now the problem I couldn't understand is solved. It was amazing how many bemused queries it took from me though.
Re: price and value
I'd love to try Ortolan, but that's outlawed now.
That's OK. So long as no little bird tells on you...
Re: 3 course meal?
I know. They're all quackers...
When my brother was looking for a country pub, one of them did fancy french grub. And they had a duck press. They're sufficiently expensive that it was individually named as part of the fixtures and fittings coming with the lease.
It was the place's signature dish. As I understand it, the waiter brings your roast duck to the table. Carves it, then shoves the carcass in the press. Crushes it, strains the resulting juices, adds a tonne of port, and serves that as the gravy.
I like gravy, but it's not exactly the nicest process that goes into making it. There can be offal, fat, juices from the roasting, other odds and ends, flour... I can't imagine why you'd want to look at it, just before you sit down to eat.
Re: It is aliens
It's giant mutant space jellyfish getting between us and the star. Obviously.
It was probably a low-grade security clearance. Remember that classified secret isn't all that secret. Although in the UK the lowest classification is "restricted", don't know what it is in the US.
When the Manning/Weakileaks stuff came out, it was reported that something like 200,000 people had access to that database. There's no way you can postively vet that many people, so you just have to make sure that there's nothing in there too sensitive, and that you've got decent controls to stop people from dowloading huge chunks of it.
The kind of vetting that you give to people with access to really secret information is quite manpower intensive and takes months to do. It's simply not practical for lower level clearances. Relatives of mine have been postively vetted, and they were sending questionaires round the family (and I'd assume friends and professional contacts) - where they're looking to catch discrepancies that might suggest that lies have been told in the application process. I've also known someone who got a job at the MOD in June, and wasn't allowed to take up his post until October, to give time for his security clearance.
You wouldn't expect her to know anything about it. They're no different from the chuggers, who may be wearing a badge for the charity they're collecting for - but usually know nothing about it.
There's then a choice if the mark complains. You can either try and bluff it, or admit to a total lack of knowledge and just say this is your job. This depends on whether you're an alpha salesdroid, ready to bullshit your way through any objection to bring down the wildebeest - or a beta salesdroid, hoping for that vital sympathy-sale.
Of course, option A is almost bound to fail, as a genuine alpha salesbeast should be doing rather better than credit card sign-ups and chugging in shopping centres.