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* Posts by Stanislaw

46 posts • joined 2 Aug 2010

Google Maps adds all UK public transport timetables

Stanislaw
Go

Re: Cockfosters?

Sorry I missed the start. Engineering work on the Central Line.

We'll probably need a ruling on this, but I think Ossi needs to re-evaluate his move as I believe he may be straddling, which would render all subsequent moves void.

Unless you're all in Nidd, of course.

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Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco

Stanislaw

Re: This fits within the definition of engineering

at least you didn't vaporize an entire crew of astronauts because of a problem you'd been explicitly warned about

Yup, a tragic example of politics overriding engineering.

On the other hand, one thing that always deeply impressed me about NASA was that they already had in place their systems - such as the Flight Director polling all the various stations prior to making a major decision like launch/no launch, or of having only one person allowed to talk to the spacecraft - before the first Mercury flights. It all sounds obvious in hindsight but someone, somewhere had to think of all this stuff and then write the manuals. That's proper systems engineering, is that.

So, SPB: on the next live stream I want to hear Lester "Kranz" Haines polling each of his minions and securing a "Go!" from each before leaving hold of the balloon!

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Nipper rolls up at nursery with 48 wraps of HEROIN

Stanislaw
Coat

Re: *Glassine, to be precise,

On the contrary - philately with get you nowhere.

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Mars rover Curiosity snaps 'pale blue dot' image of Earth, Moon

Stanislaw
Thumb Up

Backatcha

I have often looked up at Mars in the night sky. Kinda cool to think it was looking back at me the other day.

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Ancient carving of 'first human-built holy place' = Primitive Vulture Central

Stanislaw
Pint

Louis Vuitton?

Surely not. Those are clearly primitive beer tankards, laid ceremonially on their sides to indicate that the ritual emptying of their contents is complete.

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Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

Stanislaw
WTF?

What were they thinking?

The whole Windows 8 adventure thoroughly perplexes me.

We all love touchscreens on our mobile devices cos they're great for the odd email or a bit of web browsing. Nobody (who's sane) expects to do much serious work on these devices. So why on Earth MS thought we'd all like to do our word processing, spreadsheets, computational fluid dynamics and so on through a touchscreen is entirely beyond me.

But then I'm not a highly trained, highly paid, top exec in the software industry. Just a guy who uses a PC every day.

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Why 2014 might just be the year of the Google Chromebook

Stanislaw
Happy

"Netbooks done properly: Cheap, the right size and without Windows"

So, like they were meant to be then? Before some idiot turned them all into small laptops? My cup runneth over.

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1

Space Station bags extra 10yrs of life as SOLAR STORM scrubs resupply

Stanislaw

Re: Oh crap.

"The ISS is a useless PR stunt. It does nothing to advance space exploration"

A little harsh perhaps, although I see your point - the ISS is a very cut-down version of what was originally meant to happen. However, building the space station has provided various space agencies with vast amounts of data on how to build very large structures in orbit and many hundreds of hours data on space walks. This is important information for anyone planning to go further afield.

Additionally, the resupply contracts have got private enterprise interested in space and that's the really crucial point - I suspect the reason we're not exploring the solar system is that until now, there's been no money to be made up there.

So yes, the direct contribution of the ISS to space exploration has been limited but, as is often the case with this sort of programme, the spin-offs have been good news.

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Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

Stanislaw

Re: Cool..but also oddly disturbing

Nicho makes an important point. Life != intelligence. There's been life on Earth for 3.5 billion years but H. sapiens only appeared 200,000 years ago.

It's also important to note that conditions suitable for life != life. It's true that life on Earth began pretty much as soon as conditions were right, but for all we know this is the only place in the universe where that happened.

However, I'm optimistic that the galaxy is actually teeming with life. Hopefully some of it has better TV than us too.

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NASA planning Curiosity v2.0 for Mars touchdown in 2020

Stanislaw
Unhappy

Won't somebody think of the middle-aged?

Jolly nice that they're going to build on the technical success of Curiosity (too early to pronounce on the scientific success), but...

"... another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."

So that'll be about ten years after the Chinese then. I'll be almost 70. Looks like I'm never going to get that holiday on Mars promised to me by my Wonder Book Of Science when I was eight and a half.

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Astronauts in the US election: No, NOBODY is voting from space

Stanislaw

Re: "[...]a routine support mission to the ISS."

Indeed. I seem to remember Reagan et al declared US spaceflight to be "routine" shortly before Challenger's last flight.

0
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LucasArts' Dark Forces

Stanislaw
Happy

Genuinely...

... the best FPS I have ever played.

The graphics are naturally primitive by current standards but for the time they were really good, and what it now lacks visually it even now makes up for in terms of sheer fun. There's a mission progression that actually makes proper logical sense, a coherent plot (unusual for anything Star Wars), intricate levels - some of which require proper problem solving to complete, a real sense of "you're on your own now" in not being able to save progress during a mission, and while the weapons may in themselves be a pretty standard assemblage, there is huge scope for using them creatively to get past the next baddie. It's a shame that as the visuals have improved in more recent FPS, many of these elements seem to have been left out.

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iPhone queue ‘superficial and pretentious’ says queuing fangirl

Stanislaw
Pint

Re: Yawn...

@ Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

Your proposition concerning the infinitude and consequent indivisibility of human idiocy is an exquisitely handsome example of the genre, and I salute it thus!

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Stanislaw
Headmaster

Re: Yawn...

"there are less obsessive compulsives in Oz"

Should be, "there are fewer obsessive compulsives in Oz"

Pardon me, I have to go and shout at the pigeons in the park now.

18
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Scientists find safer way to store hydrogen

Stanislaw

Re: @AC 08:35

>> Sigh. Such a patronising response.

>Deliberately so. Because frankly you're not thinking it through.

Thought so. It smacked of green preaching. However it's my turn now - at least I'm not doing it anonymously - may I point out how muddled your thinking is?

Your solution to the problem of a battery car's short range and long recharge time is to have a second car. Fair enough...

... until you realise that if you're going to have two cars anyway it would always make more sense to buy two hybrids. Same purchase price and you end up with two cars capable of long range, ie better value for your money. The running costs wouldn't be that different given the way the price of electricity is going & the frequency with which you have to recharge a battery.

Nope, there's no good practical or economic argument for a battery car even if they are shiny and new and cutting edge and kind to the environment and everything. If you only have one car, you're stuffed for long range travel. If you have two cars, you get better value for your hard earned with a pair of hybrids (or diesels, or whatever).

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Stanislaw

@AC 08:35

>(Please re-read that so it sinks in, not everything in the world is designed specifically for you.)

Sigh. Such a patronising response.

These people who commute a short distance every day and for whom a battery car would be ideal - we never take days out? We never go on holiday? We never visit Auntie Jean in Truro for the weekend? We never, ever have an emergency while the car is charging up?

Yes, we could hire something for extra-commuting activities but why should we? Having spent all that money on a car, isn't it reasonable to think it should be able to cope with nearly all one's transport requirements (trips to Ikea excepted maybe)?

Battery cars are - in principle - a very, very good solution for short commutes. school runs etc. But for actual family use, they're not a practical means of transport.

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Stanislaw

Re: True Cost/Efficiency

You need to look at it not purely from an energy efficiency standpoint, but also from one of practicality.

It takes a couple of minutes to brim my car's fuel tank and then it has a range of about 450 miles. It takes an overnight charge of a battery car to give you a range in the region of 100 miles - so to drive from Manchester to London could easily take two or three days. If a battery-powered car could be produced that gave 450 miles from a three-minute charge, I'd be right there in the queue to buy one. I'm not convinced it's going to happen though.

The fuel cell, whilst certainly less energy-efficient overall, appears to be a more promising line of development from a practicality point of view, offering the possibility of a high-density fuel source that might be safe enough for the likes of us to handle.

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Black helicopters circle Street View car crash

Stanislaw

Not conclusive, but...

The car has an Indian registration plate, yet appears to be left-hand drive (dashboard cowling just visible in a couple of the stills).

India drives on the left - presumably as a result of the British colonial past - and all new cars there are required to be right-hand drive at registration.

Not completely conclusive, as there are ways it could happen, but Occam's Razor suggests fakery.

2
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How one bad algorithm cost traders $440m

Stanislaw
Terminator

Our robot servants are getting more subtle

Clearly they have decided violence is going to be too wasteful. Economics is faster.

Shouldn't this one be filed under Rise Of The Machines?

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SpaceX Dragon, first private ship to the ISS, launched successfully

Stanislaw
Thumb Up

Nice one

Interesting that the range was being called in metric. Is it only NASA-built projects that go into space using feet & inches now? Just askin...

2
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Lasers battle cattle farts!

Stanislaw
Boffin

Re: which end of an apatosaurus

All this farting makes me think it's about time we changed Apatosaurus back to Brontosaurus, since "Thunder lizard" has suddenly become even more appropriate.

... unless they liked to launch one and leave, in which case I guess "Deceptive lizard" would work.

1
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EMC's Project Thunder stuffs Lightning in a box

Stanislaw
Go

Re: Thunder is boxing up

Oh please, please, please let it be called a Thunder Box! Imagine the scene...

"... and we're very proud of the new Thunder Box we've just had installed in the server room..."

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Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

Stanislaw

@ Sabroni (Re: #@Stanislaw)

Ahem. I am a former Oric-1 owner. It may be thirty years ago but I do remember programming it in BASIC, not Forth. You're thinking of the Jupiter Ace.

0
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Stanislaw
Pint

Re: woohoo!

10 PAPER 3: INK 1

20 PRINT CHR$(12);CHR$(10);CHR$(4);

30 FOR I = 1 TO 9

40 PRINT CHR$(27);"N THANK YOU!"

50 NEXT I

60 PRINT CHR$(4);

70 END

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Look back in Ascii: Computing in the 1980s

Stanislaw
Thumb Up

Exidy Sorcerer

Best name for a personal computer ever.

Can't comment on the beast itself as I was about twelve when they went out of production and I was still trying to get the RAM pack to stop wobbling on my ZX80. All I knew was, I wanted a computer called a Sorcerer.

1
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Death Star SUCKS PLASMA FROM SUN in NASA riddle vid

Stanislaw
Headmaster

Re: But seriously...

Tut. Confusing circles with discs again. Extra geometry for you this week.

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Stanislaw
Boffin

Intelligent, but inexperienced...

... you have to think in three dimensions.

1
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Cineworld flaunts '4D' movies

Stanislaw
Coat

Cineworld flaunts '4D' movies

Shouldn't that be "World Of Cine"?

Hello to Jason Isaacs, by the way.

1
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Hubble snaps exploding star's near-fatal weight-loss bid

Stanislaw
Thumb Up

Lawks

That pic on its own is worth the last servicing mission. Nice one.

6
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Acorn King Moir: BBC Micros, Ataris and 'BS' marketing

Stanislaw
Pint

Yes, CC did Impression - and a marvellous thing it was too. I wrote my PhD thesis using it on an Archimedes A410/1 back in 1992. Nobody would believe me when I told them I'd done it using DTP software because the equivalent for the PC was either hugely expensive, or crap, or both.

Those were the days, eh?

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E-book reader sales to boom as prices plunge

Stanislaw
Megaphone

Bah, humbug

When they can sell me one for £20, I'll consider buying. Until then it's dead trees for me.

0
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NASA probe now closer than ANY OTHER spacecraft to Pluto

Stanislaw
Coat

Sorely tempted as I am...

... to make a reference to a "nuclear wessel" (it being powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator), New Horizons can carry neither passengers nor cargo, so it's not a vessel. It's a probe.

Yes, yes. All right. See icon.

0
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European boffins on voyage of discovery to the Earth's core

Stanislaw
Boffin

Careful with that laser, Eugene...

... we don't want to set off a resonance cascade.

0
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ISS and Atlantis crews face 'daunting' box-shifting job

Stanislaw
Megaphone

"Objects have no weight in space :D"

Nope. But they do have mass, of which the tonne is a measurement. Despite being weightless, you still wouldn't want to be squashed against the wall by a large crate moving at any speed.

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Unique imagery of Shuttle docked to ISS released

Stanislaw
Thumb Up

Lawks

Nice to see the ATV there too. Presumably this configuration is about as big as the ISS has ever been or will ever be.

Now, strap on some boosters and let's go explore the solar system, eh?

3
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Sky to show FA Cup match in 3D

Stanislaw
Coat

Come on, The Potters!

... all thirty-three of you!

Red & white stripes. Ta duck.

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MYSTERY of huge Canadian chicken-shed EXPLOSION

Stanislaw
Coat

Clearly...

Someone must have shelled it.

0
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Man pockets $8m running computer fraud ring

Stanislaw
Coat

Point of order

It is impossible to conspire on your own. Strictly speaking you therefore can't really have "co-conspirators" - just "conspirators".

Think of it as an access of an undefined property. Or something.

Yes, yes, yes, all right. I'll get my coat.

1
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'Tree Octopus' proves journos no smarter than 13-year-old Americans

Stanislaw
Boffin

Depends on how the question was asked

Looking at the ppt, it appears mostly to be statements of the bleeding obvious - which leads me to think that there is still a species of academic extant that thinks this stuff is interesting and clever research, and not merely modern life skill that people acquire anyway. That, however, is beside the point.

It would be interesting to know exactly what the students were actually asked to do. The mere fact that 24 out of 25 students recommended the cited web site as a source of information tells us very little. They might have been very well aware that it is a hoax, but if they had been told to produce a report on this tree octopus then the natural thing to do would be to write one, regardless of whether or not they believed that the thing actually exists. The site then becomes a useful tool.

The crucial info we are not given, at least in this ppt, is whether or not the students believed the data on the web site to be true or not. It is entirely consistent that the students would recommend the site without believing a word of it.

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Big stink over Malawi farting ban

Stanislaw

The scene: a courtroom.

Clerk of court (to defendant): You are charged with farting without due care and attention. How do you plead?

Defendant: You get on your knees!

(cymbal crash off-stage)

Prosecutor (to defendant): I put it to you that whoever smelt it, dealt it!

Defence (to Judge): Objection! It is well known that whoever said the rhyme, did the crime.

Judge (to all & sundry): Sustained. The next person to speak is a spanner!

... etc

3
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BBC rebuilds Civilisation in HD

Stanislaw
Thumb Up

Excellent

Never seen Civilisation, despite it cropping up all the time on "best TV series evah" type shows. I shall be very interested to have a look.

More recently, I've been very impressed by the BBC's Ancient Worlds series - six proper university-grade one-hour lectures delivered by a man who had clearly decided his audience were interested in the subject, rather than in seeing men in costumes waving pretend axes about. It was refreshing to have a series that challenged you to keep up, rather than one that moved at the pace of the slowest. A bit more of that wouldn't go amiss.

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Netbooks: notebook evolved - or stunted throwback?

Stanislaw
Stop

"Just a small laptop"

This is precisely the problem - they're not supposed to be just a small laptop, but that's what they ended up as.

I bought one two years ago precisely because it was small, booted in a few seconds, and had no hard disc but a nice sturdy SSD. It has very limited use as a mobile net access machine (nope, I don't want/have no particular need for a smartphone) but that's fine because that's what it's supremely good at.

I will not buy another netbook because the format has been ruined. Practically all of them have HD's & Windows now. Why? Because people think they're "just small laptops". Frankly if you want a small laptop, that's what you should buy - not a netbook which will almost certainly disappoint if you want to use it for general computing.

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Shut up, Spock! – how Battlestar Galactica beat Trek babble

Stanislaw
Unhappy

Yeah...

Shame about the ending though.

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Perseid meteors 'thrill star-gazers'

Stanislaw
Unhappy

Damp squib

Not a good night for Perseid-watching here in the North West of Engerland last night.

Quite a few of us were under water.

How does one apply to work at El Reg's Iberian bureau?

0
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Are plasma TVs killing radio?

Stanislaw
Boffin

That's three questions

Can't help you with (2) or (3) but if you want to hear broadcast science journalism that won't have you screaming obscenities at the ill-informed nitwits who substitute for experts on other media, then Radio 4 is the place to go. Leading Edge and Material World are excellent. Give 'em a try.

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Satnav leaves family stranded in Outback for three days

Stanislaw
FAIL

@AC

I believe it's known as common humanity. We used to have it back in the old days, you know. People helped other people when they got into difficulties - even the stupid ones.

Amazing, isn't it?

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