19 posts • joined Tuesday 16th March 2010 14:56 GMT
Re: Dot Matrix Printers
Obligatory link to Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers:
Threads was set in Sheffield. The War Game was set in Kent.
Regarding civil defence, there *was* some preparation in the early 1950s, but the initial enthusiasm had declined by the end of the decade; the last month of my father's National Service were spent on a CD training course that (from his recollection) was mostly about rescuing people from buildings that had collapsed post-attack. The CD Corps itself was wound up by the Wilson government in 1968.
"[the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Martlesham Heath] witnessed the first flights of the Spitfire and the Hurricane."
Not quite. The first flight of the Spitfire prototype (K5054) took place at Eastleigh Aerodrome, now better known as Southampton International Airport. The first flight of the Hurricane prototype (K5083) took place at Brooklands Aerodrome.
The RAF trials for both aircraft took place at RAF Martlesham Heath, but they were far from being first flights.
Nothing new about this
The idea of using both food and excreta as radiation shielding for long duration space flights is nothing new; the Boeing Integrated Manned Interplantery Spacecraft proposal from 1968 made exactly the same recommendation.
I could live with the poor quality aerial photography, the woeful POI data (I've found businesses shown in Southampton that are actually based in Nottingham), the wacky road colouring (motorways should be blue, ffs!), the lack of motorway junction numbers, the missing features (streams, footpaths) and the lack of Street View, just about.
However, when you're selling the new Maps app on its turn-by-turn navigation, it really shouldn't be sending you the wrong way down one-way streets, or directing you to impassable junctions (it will happily tell you to turn right from York Street in Bath onto Stall Street - good luck with the bollards, the pedestrians and the oncoming cars).
Re: modern day "jobs for the boys"
ODI is a continuation of work that began under the Labour government; at Southampton, we've been working with the Cabinet Office on open public sector information since 2006, if not earlier. Much of the work planned for ODI had previously been planned for the ill-fated Web Science Institute. WSI had been promised funding to the tune of £30M by the Labour government ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/22/semantic_web_tbl/ ), but that was withdrawn by the incoming coalition ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/25/farewell_institute_of_web_science/ ).
Does that count as "friendship and support to the regime"?
OP misses the point
"There’s also talk of W3C participation, something the taxpayer already got for free thanks to the fact TBL is actually the standards group’s director."
I believe that you've misunderstood both the nature of the W3C and the role of W3C Director. TimBL's involvement with ODI doesn't give it a free ride with respect to participation in W3C activities; as Director, he assesses consensus within the Consortium, but it's the members (ie. member organisations) of W3C that have the vote.
Re: Distraction tactics
I've been working with Nigel Shadbolt for a little over a decade - he's a pragmatist.
Damned straight. We've just had the first quarter's readings for the water meter that was installed before Christmas. The result: our family of four uses around 150 litres per day *in total*, and that's with a newborn in cloth nappies.
As far as I recall (from the last time I was in a meeting with him), he also has a MacBook Pro, albeit one suitably plastered with stickers.
This is pretty much the definition of a non-story. Can't the Reg do any better than this?
You misunderstand academic publishing
It's an ACM paper (or rather, SIGMOD is an ACM conference). The ACM doesn't publish academic papers for the love of it, but as a source of revenue to support the organisation. At my institution, we subscribe to the ACM Digital Library (£££, but still less than subscribing to something like Elsevier's Science Direct).
Like it or not, the majority of the peer-reviewed academic literature is not free to access. Yes, open access journals and author/institutional self-archiving are making some inroads, but it's still completely acceptable for an article on the Reg to be linking to the *canonical* version of an academic paper.
There's a lot of it about
I had occasion to work from home recently (lots of exam papers to mark, fewer students disturbing me than if I marked them in my office) and received three such calls in a four day period. Now, my wife kept her surname when we married, and the phone line is in her name, so being addressed as "Mr <her_name>" is normally a good indication that I'm about to be scammed.
I doff my hat to those people who say theyve managed to keep the scammers on the line for as long as twenty minutes or half an hour; my best time was eleven minutes (strategy: calm, concerned and clueless) before I gave in and pointed out that a) I have a PhD in computer science, b) there's no way I'm going to install a random piece of software, and c) I know when someone is trying to scam me. They got quite abusive last time, but the effect of being called a 'fucking motherfucker' in a thick Indian accent is more comical than alarming.
Perhaps I could get a better score if I gave them free rein of a suitably sandboxed honeypot computer?
Some of us use nappies that are both reusable *and* biodegradable on our children. We even buy nappies second-hand.
Cloth nappies were good enough for me when I was a kid, and they're good enough for my kids.
Don't mistake the politician's blurb for the research that's being funded
The principal investigator on the grant (David Payne) has a world-leading track record in photonics, having been behind the development of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_amplifier">erbium-doped fibre amplifier</a> (look at the references at the bottom of that Wikipedia article). Without optical amplifiers, undersea cables would be more expensive and less reliable, so his contribution to the basic technology that underpins the global telecommunications network (including the Internet) is substantial.
Call this a squandering of taxpayers' money if you want, but this is the sort of investment in basic R&D that's essential to the future economic wellbeing of the UK.
(declaration: I'm a lecturer in the same department as Payne, but not one of his direct colleagues)
This doesn't just resemble the X-20 Dynasoar - see also the European Hermes spaceplane and the Russian Kliper:
It must be convenient...
...to be able to throw all these inconvenient reminders of life before the coalition into the memory hole.
The first stage of the Soyuz-U (and most other rockets derived from the R-7) consists of four strap-on boosters (each with a single RD-107 engine) around the second stage core (with a single RD-108 engine). The RD-107 and RD-108 engines have four fixed combustion chambers apiece, but are considered to be single engines because they each have a single pair of turbopumps feeding RP-1 and liquid oxygen to the combustion chambers. In addition, the RD-107 has two gimballed verniers, while the RD-108 has four.
So, depending on how you count it, a Soyuz-U either has five engines firing at launch, or thirty-two thrust chambers.
"A hysterical academic, Lilian Edwards"
Nice bit of belittling there - I wonder if you would have said the same of a male academic?
Does the Reg's editorial policy condone this sort of overt sexist posturing?
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