* Posts by MajorTom

90 posts • joined 22 Aug 2009

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Aussie bloaters gorging on junk food 'each and every day'

MajorTom

Re: 'religious stretching'

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition...

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World-beating TWO-QUADRILLION-WATT LASER fired by boffins

MajorTom

Re: You'll recall from school that a watt is a joule per second

Right, so Watts x Seconds gives you Joules, as in the article.

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べーコンはどこですか? demands post-pub nosh fan

MajorTom

Scosh

If we're bringing in Japanese, then we should recall that a smidge is equivalent to a scosh.

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Did climate change scare off vegan dinos for millions of years? 'Yes'

MajorTom

What I got from this was that some creatures need a very stable environment in order to thrive. Wonder if humans are on that list.

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Taming the Thames – The place that plugged London's Great Stink

MajorTom

God I love these articles.

And I don't even live in the UK.

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NASA probe sent to faraway planet finds DWARF world instead: Pics

MajorTom

Re: Lets see....

Sounds like Larry Niven's "The Coldest Place" IIRC.

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Bone-tastic boffins' breakthrough BRINGS BACK BRONTOSAURUS

MajorTom

Re: now for Pluto!

Just a random thought...adding back Pluto and its brethren (Ceres, Makemake, Eris, et. al.) then going in order from the sun, Pluto becomes the 10th planet...therefore "Planet X." Pretty cool.

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NASA: We're gonna rip up an ASTEROID and make it ORBIT the MOON

MajorTom

This ARM Mission...

Is straight from Kerbal Space Program. (Or was it the other way around?)

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Lost WHITE CITY of the MONKEY GOD found after 500 years

MajorTom

Re: Yeah man

If you let loose your pyramid, won't it wander until it eventually makes its way out of the jungle?

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Tiger Moth: Old school flying without all those pesky flaps, brakes and instruments

MajorTom

Fabulous article for a Saturday morning!

I felt like I was sitting in the cockpit. What joy.

Also...that airspeed indicator photo was spot on.

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The new Falcon Heavy: MOST POWERFUL ROCKET since the Apollo moonshots

MajorTom

Re: A question about your units

Just over 1/2 a Saturn V.

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NINETY new DOOM ASTEROIDS found in 2014

MajorTom

Did they move?

When I first glanced at the screenshot from the old Asteroids game I thought I saw them slowly moving in random directions. My mind must have provided some imaginary animation.

Thanks for reminding me of the good times from 30+ years ago!

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FERTILISER DOOM warning! PESKY humans set to WIPE selves out AGAIN

MajorTom

Re: LERN TWO PHUQUEING SPEL!! LOL

Vlad's reply was perfect. But in case it went over your head, AC, remember this is a British IT news site, and the Brits and USAnians spell words differently. Beware the language barrier:

fertiliser / fertilizer

colour / color

licence / license

etc.

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LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!

MajorTom

Now you're talking

At last, El Reg comes to my part of the world. Perhaps I can help! To wit:

1. I've got a Cesaroni J engine (might be 3G) that's yours for the asking, and the usual adapters for fitting different dia. vehicles. Only hitch is that I'm up in Seattle. Can't get these at Walmart, but the courier delivery guy did drop it off at my house, only after I promised over the phone to lie to his boss and say I was physically present when he dropped off (this hazardous material). So yes it's relatively easy to ship these in US of A.

2. My folks live in New Mexico, unfortunately, way up in Santa Fe. But they have lots of friends and might find you a place to stay down in Las Cruces. How many of you will there be?

3. Why bother with the Caribbean after the flight? You've got one of the most interesting places in the USA to explore. For starters, White Sands missile range is close by, as is Alamogordo. Both have missile or space museums... Then there's El Paso TX, go to the ('murican) Taco Bell there, it's surreal... If you time your visit right you might even get to visit the Trinity Site.

Cheers-

Tom

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

MajorTom

KSP Angle

Squad ought to update the Mun to include caves and pits. As if driving on the Mun (or landing) isn't difficult enough already.

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Sensation: Chinese Jade Rabbit FOUND ON MOON

MajorTom

Re: A bit of perspective needed

The point is, they're training a new generation of rocket scientists / program managers / engineers how to fly spacecraft. Doesn't matter that this has been done before, you need to start with a smaller scale project.

They're being very methodical, more tortoise than hare ("Rabbit" notwithstanding).

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

MajorTom

Stanene...nice woody sound.

Tin*...too tinny.

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Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

MajorTom

Re: LOX no bagel

Yes, L iquid OX ygen.

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India's Martian MOM leaves the nest

MajorTom

Re: A 22-minute burn?

If they could burn all that fuel quickly and be on their way in one go, I'm sure they'd do it.

But, a bigger engine might not have been available, or they chose a small one (that burns fuel more slowly) to save weight. With advance planning, it's really no big deal to make many small burns to increase the size of your orbit.

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Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

MajorTom

Re: OK, so...

Exactly, it's like predicting the weather. A commenter above mentioned "120km" as the altitude of doom. True. But sometimes it's a bit higher, say, 130km, depending on atmospheric conditions. Which we don't know exactly at all points of the atmosphere at all times. Hence, you just can't know where a gradually decaying, circular orbit will come down.

Far better to do a big burn at the end of the sat's life, to target the orbit to intersect the Earth at a safe spot.

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Who here needs to explain things to ELEPHANTS?

MajorTom

Pointy

My retriever not only points her nose at things she wants us to know about, she uses her eyes to point to what she wants. Look at the food item she wants, look at us, roll her eyes back at the snack... until we get the point.

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NASA: Humanity has finally reached into INTERSTELLAR SPACE

MajorTom

Re: Doing really well according to the news bulletin I just heard on the radio

>>They said it had left the galaxy.

I just can't stop chuckling at that.

>> Actual speed is about 80 kips, or about 2.5x faster than a pocket calculator.

If it left the galaxy, then its actual speed is in excess of Warp 6.

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Flying in the US? Remember to leave your hand grenades at home

MajorTom

Reminds me...

In 1999, leaving Seattle in late November, I remember seeing a bunch of dodgy-looking people stepping off the little subway train on their way into the exit of the airport while I was boarding the same train to get to the terminal. One young lady was very clearly carrying a (probably dummy) metal grenade, and she had just stepped off an airplane. I suppose she was one of the WTO protesters gathering for the "battle in Seattle."

What stuck in my mind was that she had apparently been allowed to carry this on an airplane.

Interestingly, on my way from Japan to the US in about 1990, I had nearly had an iron bell (more a windchime) confiscated because it was about the same size and color as a grenade. I had to beg the security guy to let me keep my souvenir.

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Swiss space plane to launch robotic orbital debris destroyer

MajorTom

Two thoughts

If there's a risk of colliding the cleaner sat with the target, then just setup the approach direction so this collision would at least slow down the target...and contribute to its de-orbiting.

Alternative technology idea for the Swiss: orbit a large, yellow rectangular bit of material to get in the way of orbiting satellite targets. The target sat would hit the material and slow down, leaving a hole in the material. After a while it would resemble...

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The Solar System's second-largest volcano found hiding on Earth

MajorTom

Re: East?

It's west of Hawaii.

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Myst: 20 years of point-and-click adventuring

MajorTom

I remember it well

I enjoyed Myst. It ran well on my PC, and I remember many pleasant hours spent solving the puzzles, with help from my brother (who in turn learned clues from his friends).

Fast-forward about 6 years, after my move to the Seattle area I learned the design team (Cyan) was from Washington State, and their Myst island had been inspired by one of the San Juan islands.

I've visited the spot by boat a few times (it's wonderful) and think about Myst when I do. The pictures here don't do it adequate credit:

http://www.sailingthesanjuans.com/2013/07/cypress-head-campground.html

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Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics

MajorTom

Re: Human Brain 1000000x more powerful than a computer

Yes, but it took me just a few seconds to squint at your math problem and come up with 3.8, which is within 1/2 of 1% of the correct answer. Human brain does well with comparing sizes of things.

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Highway from HELL: Volcano tears through 35km of crust in WEEKS

MajorTom

Re: I have one comment.

What time? 6.29AM EST or 7.29AM EDT? We're on daylight savings time don't you know.

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Confirmed: Bezos' salvaged Saturn rocket belonged to Apollo 11

MajorTom

@Al - fuel toxicity

The F1 engines in the Saturn V burned Liquid oxygen and RP-1 aka kerosene...basically jet fuel. So the exhaust was no more toxic than what you breathe at an airport.

LOX/RP-1 is nowhere near as toxic as the hypergolic fuel combos used by the Gemini's Titan II (pre-Apollo but only just), and by the Chinese space program even today for their Shenzhou manned missions. But after 44 years in the sea, I can't imagine any traces of the fuel would be left regardless of what type it was.

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US Marine Corps misses target, finds and bombs Nemo

MajorTom

Re: Related information - German tourists

Would you be taking your boxed lunch before or after the war?

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Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

MajorTom

Dates

John Smith 19:

"9/11/01 was thirteen years ago."

12 years ago?

Steve Davies 3:

"Don't you mean 11th September 2001

Using the proper date format."

Interesting, I always though the attackers on that day chose the date "9/11" because it's the phone number Americans dial to get emergency services, 9-1-1, so that the date would be more memorable. So in this case the "correction" wouldn't be needed. Or I just missed the joke.

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MSX: The Japanese are coming! The Japanese are coming!

MajorTom

Girl in the Sony ad

Seiko Matsuda, really popular Japanese celebrity in the 80s. Haven't seen her face since about 1988, thanks for the face from the past.

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Interview: Steve Jackson, role-playing game titan

MajorTom

Digital dice

When Steve mentioned that die-rolling in video games just didn't have the psychological impact of real dice, I figured digital dice...with accelerometers and bluetooth...could be a great addition to such games.

Looks like someone already made a patent for it though:

http://www.google.com/patents/US20090210101

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Cisco and iRobot build videoconferencing robot for remote workers

MajorTom

Everyone should remote in

Have your avatar sit at your desk, go to meetings, visit the toilet...

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Feds use Instagram pic of delicious steak dinner to nab ID thieves

MajorTom

Re: hmm

She made a mis-steak.

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Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

MajorTom

Re: Come in Major Eadon!

Nice song.

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Lego fan constructs Bletchley Park Colossus

MajorTom

Love it

Where can I get an Alan Turing minifigure?

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Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

MajorTom

Re: Musk...

I feel this way too. His career--running his own space program and developing awesome, new-tech cars--is straight from an 11 year old's dream about their own future. And damn it, he's succeeding. He is my inspiration.

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Google's Schmidt calls for 'DELETE from INTERWEBS' button

MajorTom

That's already happening...you wouldn't believe how many kids in my son's elementary school are named "Aiden" and "Preston."

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Scramjet X-51 finally goes to HYPER SPEED above Pacific

MajorTom

Re: Hold on to your hats or better duck altogether

Amazing thread.

We've got erudite rocket science professors giving lectures on how this works and why it matters.

Also a few retards weighing in too.

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Outback geothermal plant goes live

MajorTom

But geothermal also works at night.

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NASA boffins: Space 'scope JUST missed dead Cold War spy sat

MajorTom

Re: Looking at the ion drive and solar sail options

See the recent article in this website about using ground-based lasers to help de-orbit space junk. Perhaps one could use the same system to nudge satellites out of the way of an impending collision. As you say, it takes just a small nudge a few days in advance to do the trick.

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One of the world's oldest experiments crawls towards a fall

MajorTom

Citations please!

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ANCIENT CURSED RING known to TOLKIEN goes on display

MajorTom

Re: Alternatively you could name your servers

>Here they used Pallas, Zeus, and Poseidon. I got some blank stares from the CIT crowd (Philistines, the lot of them ;-) ) when I suggested Offler, Om, and Nuggan

>I'll get me coat!

Ahem, Quezovercoatl. As in, "I'll get me overcoatl."

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Vietnamese high school kids can pass Google interview

MajorTom

Feynman lecturing on Newton's Laws

Regardless of whether I already knew about Newton's Laws before going into university, I would rather learn those laws from Feynman than anyone else. I'd love to hear his take on them, and how they connect to everything (physics, history, etc.). And you don't get Feynman at most high schools.

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Amazon boss salvages Apollo engines from watery grave

MajorTom

Ahem, numbers...

"Nearly 50 years ago" -- Sorry, I was born days after Apollo 11 and I'm not that close to 50...the date range for Saturn V flights was more like 40-45 years ago.

"Plummeted into the sea at 5000 mph" -- The terminal velocity for a spent stage 1 booster would be much closer to 500 mph than 5000.

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Starlight-sifting boffins can now spot ALIEN LIFE LIGHT YEARS AWAY

MajorTom

Like something Sagan wrote about

Seeing the colors and composition of life on a planet, from a great distance...if this technique works, it will be the next best thing to actually hearing aliens with the SETI program. What could be more inspirational to would-be space explorers?

We're opening up a whole new chapter of science, one that astronomers and planetary scientists have been dying to read for as long as those sciences existed.

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Schoolgirl's Hello Kitty catonaut soars to 93,000ft

MajorTom
Thumb Up

Re: beep beep beep beep beep

This is a good idea from the world of high-powered rocketry (engine class H and up). No radios, GPS or other fancy gadgets needed...just start hiking in the direction you saw the parachute descending, and listen for the beeps. Cheap, light, and simple.

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Iran develops working ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Monkey

MajorTom

" at an altitude of 120kms" -- Huh?

Yes, right. Assuming they did orbit at that altitude, that's hardly a stable orbit. Not sure it would even complete one full orbit at that altitude. A proper LEO needs to be 150km or higher, preferably 200km+

And even for a suborbital flight, an adequate heat shield would be needed for the very sharp and intense decel, maybe up to 12 g's?

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SPUDS ON A PLANE! Boeing boosts in-flight Wi-Fi with tater tech

MajorTom

Umm

If the testing period is now just 10 hours, why not use real people instead of potatoes? Just grab 200 loafers from around the halls of Boeing for an extra long meeting, offer donuts and unlimited coffee, no need for taters.

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