* Posts by stuartnz

200 posts • joined 26 Sep 2009

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Astroboffins eyeball MONSTER GAS HALO hugging Andromeda Galaxy

stuartnz

Re: 2,538,000 light years apart

There is another way to parse that sentence. "the expansive globe of gas stretches about a million light-years from (Andromeda), the nearest significant galaxy to Earth." The galaxy was already mentioned by name earlier, so omitting its name from this sentence did not compromise clarity.

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stuartnz

Re: Explanations

" does that mean the observed area of our sky compared to our moon" - this was the only way I could make sense of that "100 times the size of the moon" comment. I struggled with the phrase, but decided that it was unlikely to mean our moon is 10,000 light-years across, so plumped for the explanation you suggested here.

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Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

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Who is the fastest-selling phone maker of ALL TIME? Samsung? Apple? No, it's Xiaomi

stuartnz
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"Xiaomi" - where to buy

AWFUL puns aside, now that Samsung has ditched expandable storage and replaceable batteries, the 2 features I loved most about my former S3 and current S5, I'm REALLY hoping Xiaomi will expand online sales to Oceania. Specifically, Aotearoa, so that impecunious Upworlders can get phones with good spec.s at even better prices.

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Google wants Marvin the Paranoid Android's personality in the cloud

stuartnz
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Sounds Ghastly

It is. It all is.

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Wanna quote tweets without manual faff? HAVE AT IT, sez Twitter

stuartnz
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Just to be contrary

I like it, a lot. It fills a clear and useful purpose. Well done Twitter I say.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

stuartnz

Re: Hmmm...

Small Gods is still my favourite. The least laugh out loud funny for me, but the most thoughtful and interesting.

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stuartnz
Unhappy

Time to re-read

There's a certain brutal aptness to the fact that smallcaps DEATH is one of my favourite characters ever. I'd love to raise a glass in his honour, but since I have hyper-intolerance to alcohol, I'll settle for re-reading the Death arc, again. And making sure to be extra nice to the neighbourhood cats, since I'm sure Blinky's rider will be in a FOUL mood after this particular hourglass ran out.

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Boffin: Use my bionic breakthrough for good, and not super cyborgs

stuartnz

An inflationary universe

When I first read this, I flashed back to childhood memories of watching Steve Austin. Then I laughed and laughed and laughed - we may indeed "have the technology", perhaps now "we can rebuild him" , but $6 million dollars?! The poor guy would barely get a bionic fingernail for that! :D

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Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

stuartnz

Re: The original and best?

Often imitated, never matched. If he has gone home, it may not be long before Curiosity commits suicide, like the cop's spaceship on Magrathea.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

stuartnz

Re: I reckon that I have something...

I heartily endorse your view, of the film, but one good thing did come out of Avatar: One of my favourite movie reviews ever

http://io9.com/5576076/m-night-shyamalan-finally-made-a-comedy

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MYSTERY RADIO SIGNAL picked up from BEYOND our GALAXY

stuartnz

Space is big, my brain just ain't

" it put out energy equivalent to the Sun's daily output in a few milliseconds" I can't even begin to pretend to grasp this sort of number. Perhaps if it were stated in El Reg standard units?

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Fujitsu: Slide your fingertip through our ring piece and show mice the finger

stuartnz
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Nothing sinister about this at all

And I mean that literally - the design as shown does not seem very friendly to left-handers. I hope they will release one that can be used on either hand.

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NORKS? Pffft. Infosec bods BLAME disgruntled insiders for savage Sony hack

stuartnz

Re: to massacre the language!

There is not now, nor ever has been, anything ungrammatical about the so-called "split infinitive" in English. Prescriptivist pedants in love with trying to impose Latin grammar on English invented the "rule" a couple of centuries ago, out of thin air and their own imagination. Ask any REAL linguist, or read up on the subject. You could start here:

http://www.grammar.com/split-infinitives-2/ or here http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/grammar/splitinf.html

Of course, I may be rashly assuming you're interested in knowing how English ACTUALLY works.

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Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

stuartnz

Re: How about getting written text translation right first?

IMO that very much depends on the language. I find Google Translate not bad for most Eurpoean languages, and it's Hindi isn't awful, but try it on Korean and the limits of machine translation are made painfully obvious - the results come out sounding like something the dawrf from Twin Peaks would say when he was trippier than usual.

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stuartnz
Mushroom

Bloody warmongers

So, the Babel fish reference means that it's actually MICROSOFT who "by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation."? Actually, that sounds about right.

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Apple knob refusenik Sir Jony Ive handed award - for talking BOLLOCKS

stuartnz
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A rare moment of honesty?

I tried clicking on the "send corrections" link, but absolutely nothing happened, so I'm assuming this is what he really DID say - very candid of him, I think:

"“custom-design chip that integrates mangy sub-systems into one remarkably compact module, which is then encapsulated to protect the electronics”."

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NASA 'nauts have a go on Star Trek replicator IN SPAAAAACE (sort of)

stuartnz
Alert

Did someone say tea?

Any replicator in space is honour-bound to produce only "something almost but not quite entirely unlike tea", surely?

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Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search

stuartnz
Linux

Time to duck and cover?

I have decided to make duckduckgo both my homepage and default search engine in FF and Chrome to see how it goes. I know that many here have been fans for a while, and it was El Reg who introduced me to it a couple of years ago. Now that Google seems intent on becoming the N$A, I figured it can't hurt to try an alternative. I'm glad I'm not in the States though, because I'd hate to lumped with Yahoo! as my default, as a matter of principle, no matter how trivially easy changing it is (Penguin icon since it's an aquatic bird)

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LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

stuartnz

Re: Very meh ....

Have another "me too" Replaceable batteries and expandable storage are why I've stuck with Samsung. I'm looking forward to Cyanogen or Omega Lollipop soon, and then my S5 will definitely continue to be more attractive than this Nexus. Hopefully by the time I'm ready to upgrade, Xioami or Huawei will be offering those same must-have features in their top-end phones and phablets.

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DODGY THRUSTER won't stop PHILAE hurtling toward COMET SHOWDOWN

stuartnz

Re: Approved standards

The article's about a comet, but you're a star for linking to the unit converter, thank you!

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GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

stuartnz

Re: LHC Reboot

<someone had to say it> "they'll finally cross the streams" And then all Hell will REALLY break loose.

< /someone had to say it>

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Australia Post goes a little bit grey with parcel forwarding service

stuartnz
Unhappy

When Vulture South was established, its alleged purpose was to cover relevant news from Aus and NZ, but I don't remember any coverage when NZ Post started doing this a couple of years ago. Being left off infographics has become routine, now even El Reg has forgotten we exist? I would shuffle right off this mortal coil, except apparently we're not actually ON it to begin with.

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Auditors find encrypted chat client TextSecure is secure

stuartnz

Re: Simpsons?

They all got hired as consultants for the NSA.

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Virgin's SpaceShipTwo crashes in Mojave Desert during test flight

stuartnz

A different perspective

And one I enjoyed reading - not something I say often about a Wired article:

Space Tourism Isn’t Worth Dying For

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/virgin-galactic-boondoggle/

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Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

stuartnz
Mushroom

Explosive Economisation

I remember posting here when Orbital won the contract bemused by their receiving quite a lot more money than Space X for significantly fewer missions and overall load capacity. Now it's all become clear - some Dilbert was very conscientiously following through on a directive to get more bang for the buck.

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Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home

stuartnz

So, in 18 months or so, we can look forward to celebrating it breaking the one light-day mark? All that way down the road and still no chemist in sight!

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Zuckerberg bombshell: Man married to Chinese woman speaks Chinese in China

stuartnz

MSM, Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese or Wu, whatever he was speaking did at least give me the chance to confirm my theory that only certain types of pedantry are approved of here - I made the post in the expectation of getting at least one down vote, and that confidence has been fully vindicated. :)

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stuartnz

Since El Reg is normally a pedant's paradise, I'm surprised that no one has yet asked this question: Why keep calling it Chinese? Presumably what he was speaking was MSM, Modern Standard Mandarin, aka Putonghua, etc. There is no one language called Chinese, and since Mandarin and Cantonese are mutually unintelligble yet use the same writing system (which CAN be called Chinese), calling Mandarin "Chinese" does a disservice to every other member of the Sinitic family of languages.

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Hiss-hiss! GIGANTIC SOLAR FILAMENT snakes around Sun

stuartnz
Alert

What's a mile?

The REAL problem with the measurements given is that they are not in official El Reg units. All this talk of miles and Earths is far too confusing, give me double decker buses and swimming pools, please

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Weekend reads: Douglas Adams' bio in The Frood, The Bone Clocks and Harry Partch, Hobo Composer

stuartnz

Almost, but not quite entirely, unlike

the reaction of the reviewer I, to borrow Arthur's words, "actually quite liked it." I definitely agree that the author tried a bit too hard to write like Adams in the first few pages of the book, but "after a while the style settles down a bit and it begins to tell you things you really need to know". I wasn't looking for an in depth biography, it was the analysis and background to the work that interested me most.

I was somewhat horrified to learn for example, that the towel I bought from ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha on signing up as teen in 1983 (and paying a ridiculous amount for after conversion from sterling, and shipping all the way up here to NZ), was one of only a couple of thousand made. Now I sort of wish it didn't look quite so much like a 30 year old towel!

I think the book achieved what it set out to do, and the author made repeated references to the other biographies available, so that readers looking for a more familiar personal focus could find it elsewhere. I certainly don't regret buying it, and I think most fans would feel the same.

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MOM: CHEAP Mars ship got it right first time. Nice one, India

stuartnz
Facepalm

Re: Go MOM...

That's a given. I'm expecting 40% of the comments on this article to be in that vein, if past comment threads are any guide. Simple, unalloyed compliments for a noteworthy technical accomplishment seem to be as difficult for many commenters here as said achievement was for the ISRO.

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SpaceX blasts a mischief of mice, a 3D printer and a cuddly toy* into SPAAAACE

stuartnz
Alert

Holy Zarquon Singing Fish!

More than a dozen comments, and no one asked if two of those twenty were Frankie and Benji? Are y'all actually waiting for the dolphins to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the "Star Spangled Banner" before acknowledging what it means when MICE start fleeing the planet en masse?

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Look out, SpaceX! Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin boffins tapped for US rocket launches

stuartnz

It must be Thursday

I never could get the hang of Thursday's headlines. I really do love El Reg's deliberately tabloidesque headlines, they often provide a great deal of amusement. This one certainly had plenty of the hyped angst such headlines love, leading off with that "Look out!" then casually mentioning in the very last paragraph that said threat is five years away.

I'm sure that Musk's minions are hard at work already making sure they're ready to mount a viable challenge to Blue Origin's 2019 product line. Seeing how far Space X has come in the last five years makes me think they'll be more than up to the task of providing a competitive alternative in another five.

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Let XKCD's Randall Munroe satisfy your curiosity in this excerpt from his book, What If

stuartnz

Share and Enjoy

I'm loving my Kindle copy. I thought of El Reg when I read his spirited defence of non-SI measurement units, someone should email him the list of this august site's own system. I also bought the audio upgrade for the added fun of hearing Wil Wheaton reading the book. All in all, a very "splendid and worthwhile" e-book, to make an HHGTTG reference, obligatory when talking ebooks, science and humour.

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Flaming drone batteries ground commercial flight before takeoff

stuartnz

Re: Detectors?

This was exactly my reaction. Stupidly killing oneself is one thing, jeopardising the lives of hundreds of others quite another. That they tried to deny it even after the fact made it even worse, for me.

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When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

stuartnz

It must be Thursday (here), I never could get the hang of Thursdays (since all the obvious Sirius Cybernetics Corporation references have already been made). Except this one:

Sounds Ghastly.

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Car titans WON'T STEAL our tech, says Musk: DAMNIT, I'll GIVE IT to 'em

stuartnz

To be fair, most of the coverage has been much more of the "enlightened self-interest" type than " aww, altruism" type. It's the "enlightened" bit that's making him so exceptional, and that IS sad. The fact that so few others can grasp the concept that making the pie bigger is good for both piemakers and consumers is an indictment of our times. Also, corporate behaviour in regard to all things IP is so insane today that a quiet statement of moderation really does sound like a breath of fresh, rational, air.

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India's GPS alternative launches second satellite

stuartnz

Good point. At least, it might be, if every other country spending hundreds of millions on space exploration had totally eradicated poverty and social injustice already.

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Artists install Monty Python silly walk signs in Norwegian town

stuartnz

PLEASE tell me this sign is in Piningsfjord.

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

stuartnz

Re: 1.6 vs 1.9?

Thanks, that explains a lot. Obviously the reason that no one can hear you scream in space is because even there you can still be choked by red tape.

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stuartnz

1.6 vs 1.9?

They are contracted for 33% fewer flights, carrying roughly 33% less cargo each time, and yet are getting nearly 20% more money than Space X? Is it just my shaky grasp of maths, or does this sound screwy to anyone else besides me?

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Shivering boffins nail Earth's coldest spot

stuartnz

A misspelling perhaps?

"both of which have enjoyed a balmy -67.8°C in "the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth", as NASA puts it."

Perhaps "barmy" would be more appropriate here? Certainly for the residents, at any rate.

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KILO-MACH SONIC BOOM probed in fireball embers of 1572AD SUPERNOVA

stuartnz

Re: In Space, No-one Can Hear You Explode

Thanks for this! When I read the headline I thought, "Big whoop-de-doo - given the speed of sound in a near-total vacuum, I and my trusty walking stick can still beat Mach 1000 easily" :)

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SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber

stuartnz

Re: It's 0 for 2

Oh yes, I know the SR-71 was definitely a military plane whose photos were intended for a kill wall not a Facebook wall, but it was still nice to be able to pretend otherwise. :)

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stuartnz

Re: Maybe...

An interesting approach - using high-speed impact to kill the malaria virus. (and its host, but omelettes and eggs) :D

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stuartnz
Meh

It's 0 for 2

As impressive as it is, it loses to "the older, more pedestrian" model in two important regards in my authoritatively subjective opinion:

First, it's nowhere near as beautiful - of course no aircraft is, since the SR-71 may be one of the most beautiful machines ever built.

Second: It's intended to carry weapons. I loved that the gorgeous Blackbird only shot photos. It allowed the conscientious objector in me to admire it pretty much guilt-free. Aesthetically and ethically, there's a lot less for me to admire about the SR-72.

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Fresh shift of 'nauts arrives at Space Station, planning torch jaunt

stuartnz

Why an unlit torch? Putin can teach geese to fly and wrestle bears all while discovering priceless archaeological artefacts, surely he could have thumbed his nose at physics and chemistry and invented a torch that would burn in space?

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Fame-hating planets don't need to hang around STARS – boffins

stuartnz
Happy

Because of my cerebral palsy my posts are often riddled with typos, so I almost never comment on those of others, but somehow there is something so fitting to this topic and so very Magrathean about the concept of a "rouge planet" that I had to applaud this serendipitous slip. One hopes that the sea there is exactly the right shade of pink, with plenty of fjords to give its continents a nice baroque feel.

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stuartnz
Thumb Up

MIndbogglingly big

I absolutely LOVED this quote: "“They are very small, each with diameter less than 50 times the distance between the Sun and Neptune" - an object with a *diameter* of up to 200 BILLION kilometres is "very small". As a much, much better Gooner than I once reminded us, "you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's peanuts compared to Space"

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