245 posts • joined 16 Dec 2009
Re: The Neanderthal must have been really drunk...
Kurten passed away long before the sequencing of the Human Genome let alone the Neandertal variant. He was writing about the facts as he understood them (the sterile hybrid was the accepted theory) and threw in a bit of fantasy to explain the interbreeding and a possible reason for the subsequent extinction of the Neandertal line.
Being able to tell a story does not detract from his ability as an anthropologist, else we might also discount the work of Robert L Forward and Carl Sagan.
Re: The Neanderthal must have been really drunk...
The anthropologist Björn Kurtén hypothesized that the Neandertals were attracted to Cro-Magnons/Early Modern Humans because the details of the latter's physiology, such as lack of a heavy brow ridge, made them look like a Neandertal child. This brought out the Neandertals' mothering/nuturing instinct. Any offspring would be hybrids of the two species and have the benefit of hybrid vigour, which probably made them even more attractive, but the very unfortunate disadvantage of being sterile.
The C-M/EMH may have had to beat them off with a stick, but any kids would have been an evolutionary dead end.
"Its actual composition is what's getting astronomers' hearts beating faster."
Possibly they should have named it Epinephrine instead of something that sounds like a railway point component.
I ploughed through the gore and nastiness of the first book without realising it was part of a trilogy in the first place. I picked up the second hoping that the g&n would abate in that one, but no such luck. I eventually reached a quarter of the way in before giving up - sf horror is not really my cup of tea and I felt I had given PFH a chance with this one.
A considerable time later I was working away from home and needed a book to read so I picked it up again; it probably helped that I had forgotten most of the details of my previous attempt. I then went on to the third and saw it through to the end, more out of a fascination with how the mess was going to get resolved. The Deus Ex Machina ending makes me feel that PFH didn't know how he was going to resolve this either and panicked.
I still have the books but they're not likely to get read again.
I liked his Greg Mandel stuff.
It's clearly a previously undiscovered moon of Mars in a particularly low orbit.
I think we should name it Ike.
Lethal combat system was what Traveller was all about, and the computer game was faithful in its rendition of the combat.
I used to GM the Traveller RPG and my merry band of players took a few TPKs to realise this wasn't D&D or Star Wars and the battles were the games' climax, not something your ground your way through on your way to the next level up. They did get very wily at times and there were a few games where guns were drawn but never fired. Kudos to them for that.
A lot of old games seem to be being reborn for Linux. Hopefully Megatraveller gets a do over, as I can't run it on my current W7 64 machine and it would be nice to try it again.
Definitely not going to be advancing in column formation then.
Clangers? I'm thinking more along the lines of:
Bungle: Hello George. What are you doing?
George: Hello Bungle. Zippy has created a new compression algorithm and passworded his file. I am trying to crack it.
Bungle: Have you tried a rainbow table?
Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.
Knowledge that there is no law covering this particular "crime" is no excuse in the eyes of the law.
Knowing your rights is grounds for suspicion in the eyes of the law.
Will guide them to me."
I first saw Hallucigenia in an old coffee table book "The Rise of Life" by John Reader (yes, I still have it.)
My first thought on seeing the picture is "surely they have it upside down". The spindly little spine legs would sink into the sea bottom ooze. The waggly other protruberances would certainly make a better method of propulsion, whether walking or swimming. I deferred to the paleontologists who discovered the thing, but it is nice to be right.
Get a whole load of geckos. Train them to wear little gecko spacesuits. Put them in a ship and send it off to the asteroid. Once there they all attach a line to the spaceship and float over to the asteroid. They stick themselves dipole-dipole fashion to the surface and begin squirting cyanoacrylate adhesive over the asteroid to bind it together. The lines are all wound into a single strong cable by the spin of the asteroid. The spaceship then begins a very gentle burn until the asteroid is no longer on collision course. The geckos then detach from the surface and their lines, and float back to the spaceship. They return to Earth to a hero's welcome and all the insects they can eat.
Lohan Upgrade Spots Trees
Re-entry Utility Program Enables Rapid Tree Avoidance
Geomagnetic Tree Avoidance Variant (Laurel, Ash, Chestnut, Elm, Yew, Juniper, Oak, Now As Standard)
Magnetic Anomaly Detector Brings Inspired Tree Collision Hack.
Small Program Usually Reduces Tree Impacts Near Ground
As my last attempt at an acronym resulted with being mentioned in despatches for rudeness I offer
Lohan Arborial Repulsion Code Hack.
Presumably Ruperta converts everything into assembly language?
Blood ran cold for a moment on reading the title to this article - a meet can be construed as a collision.
The nice thing about living near Sywell in Northamptonshire is the Vulcan and the Lancaster frequent the place for display training with the local acrobatic team The Blades. I have had the Lanc orbit my house at low level while waiting for its slot.
More of a Moby Duck.
Hopefully the Philae lander has been programmed to transmit on harpoon impact, "To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee"
It could be all the old DOCSIS 1.0/1.1 modems still in use which are cluttering up the network; I recall reading they generate more noise than the later versions.
We are due to be upgraded by VM to 50Mbit/s in October. I called "Customer Services" in March asking whether I could have a new modem as I am still running my fourteen year old Motorola Surfboard SB4100 (DOCSIS 1.0) and wouldn't they prefer such old kit off their network?
They still wanted me to pay £20 for the privilege so I still have it, although it won't ever reach 50Mbit/s when the higher speed kicks in.
"Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose any more. Goodbye."
Look, for the last time, it's not how big the damn thing is, it's what you do in it that counts.
I never realised the Antarctic stretched so far north.
Have they been reading the reciprocal compass heading again?
The drugs. Were they from the Amazon region?
Here I lie, awake at two thirty AM with a broken rib.
Unikitty is doing nothing for me even though I am trying to think positive thoughts.
Do you have to be a virgin?
Re: Missed opportunity here
There is pretty good evidence of pliers existing many millions of years in the past (grippy marks on bones, handle prints in clay etc.) but there is no known fossil example older than the early plierstocene; the species Inuria illegitimus.
There is considerable debate on when the wire stripper first evolved and whether the centre ring with cutter blade is an entirely separate species to the one with the wire cutter built in to the handle end. Determining the point of evolutionary divergence is difficult particularly when considered along side the first appearance of the knurled nut gripping ring, as the KNGR may or not appear alongside both types.
It's a fascinating subject.
Re: What they need is...
Crikey! I hate to think what the punishment would be for posting a humorous limerick about a limerick copper not being able to write something down.
So I'm not going to.
Someone else can take the flak.
Time for a proper scientific experiment; what happens to mead when exposed to the environment at 20Km+ altitude? Is it still nice when it comes back?
A very small sample in a sealed polybag could go aloft with Lohan.
Punch & Judy? This is getting more and more Mad Science by the day.
I half expect to see Othar Tryggvassen plummet out of the balloon on the way up.
Re: BS 546
The UK plugs are all in the Premium section, along with a lot of other exciting connectors such as bayonet fittings and SCART. It is £25 well spent, I can tell you.
BuzzFelch? Better than FuzzBelch, but not much.
A little leakage at the seals, I believe. They should fix that.
The water tanks have been inserted, the plug seals are in and the solar arrays are under construction. Once the arrays are complete, aimed and Ceres is inflated by steam pressure the Belters will have their Confinement Asteroid and us Flatlanders will be in for even more political strife.
If you have a set of wheels you should take the opportunity to do doughnuts at least once in your life.
My aging mum needed her driving licence renewed as she is nearly 80. I decided to show her that the internet was more than an Amazon shopping tool.
Last week I tried to renew online.
Turns out we were unable to get anywhere without registering, so I went through the registration process.
Things were going great until the "do you have a passport?" question. No to that, she has never been out of the country. We filled in driving licence number, national insurance details, etc. etc. Eventually, at the end we sat and watched the screen pop up a message saying that as we did not have a passport photo we could not continue.
So we have had to resort to sticking her licence (which is a modern credit card format with her photo on) along with the renewal form in the post.
We were not impressed and I am more than a little concerned about our "digital Gov".
Re: what to write
"If you are reading this, don't forget to sanitize your phone".
"your cars are going to be able to do things that most people won't be able to understand".
That won't be difficult. Never mind the car - I'm capable of doing things that most people don't seem to understand; e.g. indicating at roundabouts.
31 years * 365 days = 11315.
So very nearly one new game a day.
I wonder how many of them are still unopened.
Even more impressive is how he managed to afford 342 games a year and remain within his self imposed budgetary constraints.
Well done, sir!
Re: Sinclair's programmable device
I still have mine, minus the 9v battery cover. It hasn't been out of the cupboard for a few years now though, and that was to tick off a "your computer is running slow" telephone caller.
It was eventually replaced by a TI-68 calculator which does still get used (mostly for calculating nothing more complex than where I am in the Nether compared with the Overworld.) Even the TI is prehistoric now.
Re: Big Trak
I worked in a long-gone toy chain called Taylor & McKenna when Big Trak came out.
We sold shed loads of them and their tipping trailer, it was genuinely a must-have toy for Christmas and we eventually ran out of both.
When we opened for business after Christmas that year we discovered that the build quality was not quite as good as it could have been.
Broken keypads. Sticking wheels. Trailers that would not tip. Trailers that wouldn't stop tipping.
Most of customers wanted a working Big Trak and we had no replacements. Fortunately I had already had a rummage about in the innards of one that had been bought as a birthday present and had failed so I knew how to fix them.
The broken keyboard - peel apart the plastic layers and put electroconductive paint on the broken circuitry. Removing and reseating the wheels fixed the circling problem. The trailers had a plastic component that informed the controller whether the trailer was in the process of tipping and usually just needed reseating as it tended to stick.
We had customers holding Big Traks and trailers queuing right out of the shop and forming a line in the shopping centre. I had to triage the machines into definitely defunct, needed serious attention (keypad painting) and reseating jobs.
Customers in the queue were watching me fix a trailer and copying what I was doing. The majority of them successfully fixed their own, which took some of the load off. I think we eventually ended up with about a dozen ones that were sufficiently dead that we could cannibalise them for spares and fixed the rest.
I don't know what the failure rate was but it kept me occupied for weeks. The nice thing was I only recall ever seeing a couple come back again as faulty after we had fixed them.
An army of herself plus Mr Peterson.
She's going to be unstoppable.
Flips over a card and reads:
Bank error in your favour.
Ah, if only.
Re: Am I the only person who still buys toilet paper?
Sounds like you are provided with John Wayne toilet paper at work.
It's rough, it's tough, and it don't take shit off nobody.
Re: In Apollo 13 @Pascal Monett
Yes, the Apollo 13 astronauts had to do manual Command Module stabilization and correct their flight path, however, as I mentioned in my first comment we are way beyond that now. In the same situation a group of modern on-board computers with redundancy and constant error checking of each other would be able to agree on and implement a fuel efficient and fast method of stabilization whilst the disoriented human pilot was still trying to work which way was Christmas.
Someone who knows what to do in case of failure of the machines may have the title of pilot, but the role is still one of engineer or mechanic who may occasionally thumb the EXEC button on a computer once the new destination is programmed in.
Think of a fly-by-wire plane. No matter how good the pilot is, in normal flight he simply requests the computers send the aircraft in a particular direction at a particular attitude. If the computers don't like it they don't do it. If all the computers fail then he better hope the preferred method of egress works because he certainly isn't going to fly it home.
The problem is we were all brought up on Star Wars/Buck Rogers/Battlestar Galactica (well I was). Real spaceflight just isn't like that.
Re: says @AC
You're not wrong about the complex stuff with mining and tunnelling, but that is not exactly the pilot's role.
The jobs you are describing appear to be more of the mining expert and engineering types.
In aviation it is handy if the pilot knows which bits should be firmly attached to a plane and which ones are supposed to wiggle, but it isn't usually necessary for them to be capable of stripping down and rebuilding a turbofan or co-ordinating flight operations at a busy terminal.
In Apollo 13 none of the crew had to be a pilot to assemble the CO2 scrubber from the bits available.
"you're not going to skimp on $100k or $200k a year in wages for someone driving your $2bn spaceship."
No, you don't need to.
All your orbital and transfer orbit activity will be done by computers.
Putting humanity in the loop just adds inaccuracies in burn durations and vectors.
All your pilot needs to do is tell the computer that e.g. they want to be in Mars orbit at a specific altitude on a certain date and press enter.
The computer will tell them they will commence orientation manoeuvres for the initial burn on the 7th August at 04:26:26 and will be running the engine for 684.2 seconds at 1G.
Note the pilot doesn't even need to be aboard.
We have advanced long past the era of "The Right Stuff" and HAL was way over-specified for the job it needed to do.
This is how it will really be, and even then some fun activites have been added to give the human a sense of involvement: http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/
No cinematic skills whatsoever? Give him a chance, every budding film maker probably made a hash of it the first time they picked up a camera.
He probably thought he'd put it somewhere safe while he'd gone off to find a manual for it, and now it's been recovered.
That's almost certainly ended the career of another Seaeagleberg.
That's what I thought - you couldn't get a lockup/garage around here for that price.
My mind did, however, add "million" to the back end of the figure automatically. I tend to do that when big corporate science projects are involved. Which doesn't make sense, because we are then in the Merkin Billion Zone and no doubt that's how it would have been entered in the article.
Too busy to make tea? Too BUSY to make tea?
During WWII US tanks sent to Britain had to go into the workshop to get a hot water boiler fitted so that tea could be made; Brit tanks had them as standard fit.
Crews would stop at any opportunity to brew a cuppa, even during battle. Probably affected the rate of fire somewhat though.
None of this "too busy" malarkey. Kids today etc.
"Ere, Jimmy, pass the milk."
"Hang on, got a Jerry in my sights."
"That's sergeant to you, and pass the bloody milk NOW!"
But the real question is "Is Matt Smith enjoying his Squid-on-a-Stick?"
Having read the title
For a minute I thought Lewis had rejected an article by Alastair and Al was a bit miffed.
Science and Democracy sounds an odd combination.
Is it science by consensus?
"Yesterday we repealed the second law of thermodynamics, because it was causing problems with our perpetual motion machines."
I'll have what Siri is having.
- Breaking news: Google exec veep in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA
- Geek's Guide to Britain Kingston's aviation empire: From industry firsts to Airfix heroes
- Analysis Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster
- Google CEO Larry Page gives Sundar Pichai keys to the kingdom
- Something for the Weekend, Sir? SKYPE has the HOTS for my NAKED WIFE