3570 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
Re: Who's next to visit the ISS?
But what happens if they just ring the bell at the docking point?
The ISS 'nauts will simply turn the lights off, and hide behind the sofa. Just in case it's the Jehovah's Witnesses...
Re: Oh crap.
One of the reasons the ISS got funding, was that it was a way for US government to help the Russians keep some of their space infrastructure intact, after the Cold War. For example, I rember reading in the Economist back in the late 90s, that Iran were offering $1m a year (tax free) to any senior Russian rocket scientist to come and help with their missile program. I guess that was a way to sell it to Congress, who've mostly been sceptical of space stuff. A large part of what got Man to the Moon was probably Lyndon Johnson grabbing people by the bollocks in darkened rooms...
So there's the 'No Bucks, No Buck Rogers' thing, that suggests you might struggle to get funding for manned spaceflight without some other reason. Space is not a universally popular project to spend cash on amongst either voters or politicians.
Add to that the international co-operation thing, which has got the Russians, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Japanese and others all working together - which may well turn out to be the biggest legacy of the ISS in the end. It also makes it harder for any one country's politicians to cancel the program.
Then we come to the even sillier part of your argument. The idea that we can just go off exploring space without having done the groundwork (if you'll pardon the pun) first. If you don't do spaceflight as a series of small steps, you get people kiilled. Often you kill people even doing it that way. Any flight to Mars would be an almost certain death sentence now. We still need advances in radiation shielding, space medicine, re-cycling, life-support and engines. All of those areas are being studied on the ISS, in one way or another. They only just got the wee-recylcing space-toilet working last year, you don't piss around with that sort of thing on a trip to Mars without testing. And while it got tested on Earth, it still broke down in space and had to get fixed. When your water recycling breaks down halfway through a 2 year trip to Mars, don't come crying to me...
There is science going on at the ISS. More than at the start too. As they're now spending less time on building it. But then I'd argue that building a huge structure in orbit is science.
Then we have the fact that most previous attempts to keep a permanent human presence in orbit have nearly failed horribly. Mir had a series of near disasters, the Skylab program was worse, the Soviets had various stations going on in the 80s, that I know less about. So it's not like manned orbit is fully understood yet, and we can just say 'done', and go on to the next bit.
Finally it's worth mentioning commercial spacefight. What will keep us in space is money. Again, it's back to 'No Bucks, No Buck Rogers'! Governments have infinite pressure on them to spend taxpayer's cash on stuff, and not all taxpayers want space. Some really, violently hate it. That's no sound basis for long-term projects. 2 things will get long-term investment in space going, warfare or commercial success. Let's hope for the latter. It could be that there'll be a new global armsrace in space, and that will certainly get the budget flowing, and we could end up with a permanent military presence up there - space fighters and satellite weapons ahoy! Or (depressingly maybe 'and') we might get permanent orbiting factories, asteroid mining and space tourism. That still looks a long way off, but the ISS has given us our first commercial outfit with an earth-returnable spaceship. OK, SpaceX haven't got it man-rated yet, but it's designed to be. It's also supposedly designed to land on the Moon or Mars.
What better manned spaceflght option has there been, other than the ISS, in the last twenty years?
That's still vital research. When you're halfway back from Mars and your primary cooling pump goes, you're going to need to know how to change it out for the spare. And you'd ideally like to have experience of replacing a spare from cold storage for a couple of years too - because that's an area that's not really been tested before.
Much better to get as many of your fuck-ups as possible over and done with in low earch orbit, with an escape capsule on hand to get you back to Earth pronto, should the need arise.
Re: Optimistic +1
So who's the serial downvoting, obvious rhubarb fanboi on this thread then?
Like with the iPhone/Android thing, I'm ambivalent. I've had nice rhubarb desserts, mostly when smothered in sugar and custard, but mostly it's been stringiness, slimeyness and bitterness covered in yummy custard...
Re: "a meth lab comprising a small torch, batteries and other items",
That 3 pack of LED torches I bought from B&Q the other day, which came with 9 batteries, was just for personal use. Honest!
Why doesn't anyone believe me?
I don't believe anybody has said that. Most people's argument, to Blu-ray, 3D and 4K has tended to be, 'Sorry I only just upgraded to the last thing, and I'm not in the market for upgrading, as this is good enough.
VHS was rubbish, in the same way that tape was for music. The physical media got damaged with use. The jump from CRT tellies to flat, widescreen panels - and from VHS to DVD was great. Peronsonally I can barely see the difference between DVD and Blu-ray - and I've not noticed any jump in quality from CD music to SACD/Blu-ray either, although that could be down to not having had a chance to play with really good sound equipment recently.
CD is good enough, until I've got several grand to spare on audio kit, it's probably impossible to notice. I've got pretty good ears (I've mixed live music) - but rubbish eyesight. So I have to be careful about commenting on picture quality.
Even the people I know who really like HD, and have gone Blu-ray and decent tellies, have had to admit that there's not a huge difference though. They can see a difference, and they're happy to shell out the extra cash. But I very much doubt that 4K is going to be worth it, until you start to talk about monstrous sized TVs, where HD will start to look very low resolution. I've got a 50" TV in my medium-sized flat, and it looks huge. Any bigger would be ridiculous. So in order to upgrade to 4K, you'll probably need a new telly, a new player (yet to be released) and a new house...
Re: More corporate welfare please.
No they didn't. By the time transition happened, you could just plug a £20 box into said telly, and it carried on working fine.
Re: How about a better frame rate?
I'm not sure about doubling the frame rate though. They did this for the last Hobbit film (along with doubling the length in order to numb as many bums as humanly possible), and audience reaction was not good. Many people thought it made it look funny, and didn't like the effect.
Apparently it looked like cheap video camera footage. I didn't see it in 48 fps myself, so have no idea what the problem was, or whether it was an effect of the heavy use of CGI, or something else. It could just be a perception thing though. The first Blu-ray I saw was The Watchmen, a friend was desperate to show off his new HD toys. I thought it looked really odd, not helped by the film being very cartoony (and not very good). It seemed sort of over-sharpened. But I've not got the eyesight to be able to make a valid comment either way.
Re: What goes on in the Facebook/Twitter hive mind?
My limited research suggests that, "I'm rockin' a ham 'n pickle sandwich! LOL!!" Is a more-or-less representative sample.
On the other hand, there's usually some quality casual racism to be had on Facebook - along with people talking about how great homeopathy is, and reiki massage. Those seem to be the people my brother gets into arguments with anyway.
Where do Youtube comment denizens rank in relation?
I can't remember if it was an xkcd joke, or somewhere else, but there were a list of near-impossible challenges. One of which was to post something on Youtube that was so moronic that everyone would realise it was meant to be a joke.
Compteting with Yahoo! Answers isn't hard. My 2 year old nephew gives more coherent answers than it does. Heaven knows how it ends up so high on Google's search rankings, given the piss-poor nature of the so-called 'answers' when you accidentally click on the link.
Re: Sounds like a fringe use case?
Samsung have various Galaxy Notes now, with 5", 6", 7", 10" and possibly 8" screens. The smallest two being the phones - I can't remember if they have a Note version of their 8" tablet.
My friend has the Note 2 (the measly 5" one), and I must say I like it a lot. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Samsung's take on Android. I need to have a long play with a modern Android tablet, as the only recent 'Droid I've had a lot time with is that Note 2. I'd love to know if stock Android, post version 4, is worth having - for when it comes to replacing my iPad.
Re: Sounds like a fringe use case?
Tablet weight is very important - that is why the iPad Air is a big improvement. If I remember a Macbook Air is less than 1.1kg and this device is getting up towards that weight.
The weight thing is interesting. I had a tablet PC back in 2008 - old school HP with swivelly keboard. That was too heavy at about 1.2 kg and a 12" screen. But half the price of the slate ones, and still nice to use for reasonable periods. What you couldn't do was plausibly use it as an ebook reader - it was too much after about an hour.
Then I got an iPad. Which was very nice for long periods of use. But the screen is a tiny bit too small, as you do have to zoom quite a few pages (so I'll agree with Samsung on that one). Not a problem I had on my old 12" widescreen HP. That had a stylus too, which I thought was brilliant, but I seem to be in a minority on that opinion.
I'm tempted by the new iPad Air, becuase that weight difference is quite big. But then I could have a 7" 'Droid for £150 - and I'm not really tempted by that, as I think 7" is too small. So I'd perfectly happily keep roughly the same weight as my current iPad 3, for an 11" screen and a stylus. That's quite tempting. But I'm not willing to splash the cash on a new iPad Air, just for the weight reduction.
Re: At least he admitted he fluffed his lines
He should maybe stick to making movies.
You are Thomas Malthus, and I claim my £5.
I think you'll find that GM food gives off nucular. No further discussion is therefore required!
We don't appear to have the radiation warning symbol, for some foolish reason. So I'll go for the next best thing.
I guess it's similar to Murphy's Law of Grammar Nazism. If you post to correct someone's grammar or spelling, it approaches certainty that you will make a grammatical or spelling mistake yourself, in your post.
However, I sit corrected.
Not that it's important, but nope, it's silver badges for 1,000 upvotes. Bronze for the 100 posts in a year. Gold badges are only awarded to Nobel Laureates.
It's all in the El Reg House Rules, linked to at the top of the comments box.
If I had $70bn in assets, you can be assured that there would be at least one completely tasteless room, in one of my many homes, where the walls would be made of gold, with a mattress made out of a huge pile of dollar bills, and machines in the roof to pour either money or jewels on my head at the push of a button. And a bath with a champagne tap as well.
On reflection, I'm not sure this post does me any credit whatsoever, and I should probably delete it lest it destroys my political career, or comes back to haunt me when I finally achieve billionairedom...
It's a bronze badge. 'Awarded' for 100 posts in a calendar year.
The gold badges look yellow to me...
I'm not sure his foundation is about starvation. I believe he's been more into medical research and charity than food. Although his foundation does seem to have fingers in many pies, so I'd be entirely unsurprised if it was pro-GM food.
Although his foundation is also a cunning plan to make him the richest man in the world! In that Warren Buffet gave it loads of cash, but Bill's been spending Warren's cash faster than his. Helping to keep him at th top spot...
Buffet wants all his cash spend within 5 years of his death, whereas Gates is more interetested in his being a long term fund that keeps on being used. Different philosophies of giving I guess.
Why use Bitcoin to play online games?
Surely Bitcoin is already an online trading game - with the added option to make, or lose, reasonable amounts of cash. Hardly seems worth involving Zynga really...
It ain't as if it's rocket science or nuffin'?
Why's this so hard?
Simply measure the radio waves the pulsar is emitting and test them. If it's outputting Radio 4, then this is a rational universe, and Einstein was on the money. If' however it's outputting TalkSport - then it's all quantum.
Unless there's a White Van Man theory of cosmology...
But France aren't spying on them. America are.
I really wouldn't suggest you put any money on that at all. Although if France are providing 'technical assistance' over the lifetime of the program, that just means they're sharing the intelligence. i.e. France provide the tech and the intel, Abu Dhabi provide the cash.
Re: New Product
I thought Amonia Flakes sounded more like a breakfast cereal personally...
Re: bad side effect of a generally good thing
Why is it all the politicians' fault? If local people complain every time that new housing (or anything else) is to be built near them - then it's a bit rich to complain about a lack of available housing. Or the cost of infrastructure projects...
I believe this is also a problem in the whole Silicon Valley and Bay Area, erm, area. Lots of nice 'unspoilt' places where people don't want any more houses built near them, but do want people to work for their companies, and serve them coffee.
It's way too easy to blame all society's ills on politicians. Sure they're far from perfect, but then in many cases we've trained them to be. If you vote out all the politicians who say they want to raise taxes, but keep voting for the ones who say they'll spend more, you end up in debt.
I saw a survey last week. 48% thought that the economy would be doing worse now, had Labour won the last election. 41% thought that if Labour had won, they would personally be doing better. Huh?!?! I guess that means they think that government cuts need to be made, but hopefully someone else will pay for them (or just bung it on credit).
Stuff the treaty!
The treaty isn't the reason that they shouldn't be mining diamonds in Antarctic mountains! Neither is the environment! The reason they shouldn't be going there is...
Ai Ai Cthulhu Ph'Tagen...
Re: A sense of proportion.
I'm not part of any elite.
Me, I'm mostly harmless...
Re: Sorry! Won't happen again
I've had this same problem ocasionally. It's not really annoyed me much, and I don't mind the odd accidental ad-click - as it makes you guys look good.
However it is a bit cheeky really. On some campaigns you have a background image that fills the two (currently empty) bars, either side of the site. I guess this is one of the reasons you still use fixed-width pages. It often seems to be used to advertise games, so moodily lit sky backgrounds and hairy people with big weapons. [Stop sniggering at the back!]
Anyway, I've not had many problems with it on the desktop. But I often come to this site on my iPad, and it's quite hard to scroll up and down the page, if part of the page is a link. One incautious prod with your finger, and the iPad interprets that as a click, rather than a touch-and-hold to drag the screen. Then whoosh! You find yourself on the ad's website, wondering what happened.
Best phone ever made -- but a bit tricky to surf with.
Depends how big the waves are, and if you've got small enough feet...
Re: "strict", "moderate" and "light".
I want my internet policy set to strict
I don't care what people say about my web surfing. Sticks and stones may break my bones. But whips and chains excite me...
With this technology, the opportunities are endless.
The problem is they're endless opportunities for smut...
I now have the mental image of someone saying "just swallow!" And Mary Poppins comes into shot, singing, 'a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down'.
Re: "We're going to inject you will bull semen Mr Smith"
Yes of course I'm a doctor! Now take your clothes off.
Re: A simple suggestion
In comparison no. Damage costs bugger all. The manpower and road disruption required to replace all copper with fibre over the whole country would be horrific. Why do you think the water companies haven't replaced all those leaky mains yet? It's not just the man-hours, it's all the disruption to roads as well.
There are parts of London where so much has been built, bombed, demolished, rebuilt or just plain moved - that before you can think about replacing infrastructure, you have to find the bloody stuff. I did a job a few years ago, where they couldn't find a 2m diameter sewer. They knew it was around somewhere, but were unable to make a new connection to it, because it was hiding...
Have they cleared the space suits to work, after nearly drowning that Italian guy? Or will it only be Russians allowed to go for walkies?
It's either that, or look in the Yellow Dwarf Pages for a plumber... But I hear the call-out fees are horrific.
Re: That Vegetation Model
Good point that man! Especially as the press release then goes on to talk about taking tree ring samples, in order to check the models.
[insert your own joke here about sampling Treebeard's ring - Ed]
Re: Microsoft Dynamics advert
That's not quite true. Flashblock also dealt with the problem, as it was the Flash ads that were the CPU hogs. Thanks to the mighty O2 and their crapness (or the crapness of their ad agency / or both).
Documents handed over as part of the discovery process in a trial are normally not supposed to be revealed. Often the legal firm aren't even allowed to show them to their own clients, let alone random journalists. That's part of the deal that allows you to be allowed to peek through people's internal emails and design and pricing documents.
Whether Snapchat have then broken the rules and made them fair-game for publishing is beyond my legal knowledge. I'd be surprised if that's the case though, as I'd have thought that would be one for the judge to have to rule on.
Re: Money money money ( Abba in the background)
It's in the article. His legal team released stuff from the info given to them as part of the disclosure process of the trial. Normally this is a big no-no. I believe Samsung's lawyers are under investigation in one of their various fights with Apple, because someone on the legal team is alleged to have given some info to someone on the board of Samsung - and that info was for outside lawyers only, and not even to be passed to Samsung's counsel, let alone their executive staff.
The judge will have set the specific rules for the case. Breaking those is therefore directly pissing off the judge, and therefore a really stupid thing to do. Although the lawyers are claiming that Snapchat said nasty things about their client to the press, and therefore made certain documents public property by doing so. That sounds like bollocks to me, the sort of barrack room lawyer stuff you get in comment threads online, but then I'm not a lawyer either, so I've no idea how the rules work.
The NSA spies also infiltrated EVE Online. But they all left several days later, crying...
The problem with legal opinions
The problem is that you can usually get a lawyer to dig up some justification for whatever position you wish to take. So you pay the right lawyer, and you get the legal opinion you want. Of course that doesn't cover you for going to court, so you're best to pay for a good leval opinion, or it could cost you...
But before legislation is passed there's no court to take anything to. So you can get legals to opine as much as you want.
This fun and games is added to by the various competing structures that make up the EU. Which often have different aims, and therefore incentive to come up with different legal opinions. I don't think there's any central mechanism to come up with one decisive one that can apply to everyone. At least before legislation is passsed, and therefore before it hits the European Court of Justice.
Hence we have the odd situation at the moment, where the European Commission says that the proposed Financial Transactions Tax (Tobin Tax) is legal, but the Council of Ministers' legal opinion currently is that it breaches the treaties on enhanced cooperation by affecting countries that didn't sign up. They also quote the norms of international tax law, which is even more fun as there's no court to sit in judgement on that, so I guess you can stick to whatever legal opinion you like - and it can never lose.
I don't care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but I'd love to get a grant to study how many lawyers can
be impaled dance on the end of a red hot, razor-sharp spike.
Re: A Canteen?
I should hope it contains more than one.
No. That's how they save on the costs of gym equipment. Going to get lunch (and then back to your desk) should burn more calories than you actually receive from consuming the food...
If they can reach anywhere, their logo shouldn't be an octopus, it should be Mr Tickle.
My favourite Mister Man, due to the fact that in the book he wakes up, and immediately after yawning and stretching a bit, he reaches his enormous arm to the kitchen cupboard, and gets biscuits to eat in bed. This was the best thing imaginable when I was 4. I guess now that I'm an adult, I could just take the biscuit tin to bed with me - but for some strange reason I never do. Even though there's a teasmade on my bedside table, and what could be more perfect than tea and biccies?
Ah yes. Fab. That was it, thanks. They weren't particularly fab in my opinion, more tasteless. But they were rocket shpaed, and surely that's all that matters.
I thought the zoom had the layer of yoghurt-y stuff on the outside, with the hundreds-and-thousands. Must have been a different rocket shaped one.
Or possibly proof that they were just figments of our collective imaginations...
Bah! Yourself. Mr Softee "Zoom" ice lollies are also fakes, created using suggestion and LSD in the water supply. Who'd ever be stupid enough to fall for the idea that milk and water can be served on a stick...
Re: Come on Nokia
Nowhere near good enough! I want to take pictures of Jupiter like that, from where I'm standing now. On my phone. I expect perfection, naturally.
I don't see why that's any more ludicrous than the people videoing The Rolling Stones on their phone, from the back of the stadium...
Re: The only real fulfilment is self-fulfilment
There's one massive flaw with that idea.
When you buy your new drone from Amazon, how will they deliver it to you...?
I can't wait for next week's article: "Why you can't satisfy your wife and I can".
I wonder how the CV section of that particular article would read...
Re: Excellent timing
You tell her that Greedo bid first...
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