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* Posts by Andy The Hat

193 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010

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NASA's MAVEN enters Mars orbit to sniff its gas

Andy The Hat

Sniff - I smell "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator"

Wasn't it an "Illudium pu-38 Intergallactic Space Modulator"? Or are you deliberately trying to make the Martians appear less technically advanced thereby less of a threat when we find them? Do you know something we don't? Do you wear dark glasses and a black suit?

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Andy The Hat

Hello Canberra ... <ssssssssh> ... come in Canberra ... <shhhhhhhh>

Just for once, perhaps on an April 1st insertion date, let's have the report that they were unable to make radio contact for some time but did receive a somewhat recognisable Jeff Wayne-esque audio stream ...

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Apple's warrant canary riddle: Cock-up, conspiracy, or anti-Google point-scoring

Andy The Hat

You're in a mine and have a big, bouncy, young canary that sings so loudly it hurts everyone's ears. The mine owners are unhappy as it costs them money when the canary signals ...

The senior miner, wanting more profit from his workforce, decides to "ease their pain" and swap the canary for a older bird, that's quiet, has a touch of narcolepsy and looks peaky at the best of times. Fewer signals, less down time, management happy.

Hasn't changing Apple's canary simply consigned it to a dead canary sketch? It moved ... no it didn't ... it's just resting ...

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Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight

Andy The Hat

"... a small heater running off a ..."

How much spare Ah capacity do you now have? Must be enough without exceeding the "I've given ye all she's got Cap'n" capacity limit?

On the other hand, trying to add further Ah may exceed the physical constraint "she canna take it Cap'n".

Further low temperature battery/servo testing required I feel.

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SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

Andy The Hat

Silly question, but if they hate the Ruskies so much, why haven't the US cloned the engines yet? Cheaper, stable supply ...

Ok, "Boing" would probably get the supply contract so at least it'd be a stable supply ...

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First Irish boy band U2. Now Apple pushes ANOTHER thing into iPhones, iPods, iPads

Andy The Hat

"" iOS 8 can automatically filter, straighten and crop snaps,"

<pedant>Really? The *operating system* can do that? More likely bundled apps that come *with* the OD, but not the OS itself.</pedant>"

I vaguely remember when a dominant company "integrated" systems into its os to block out competitors ... err ... I meant "improve the user's interractive experience". Many years later, the court cases were more or less cooked and the apps were no longer insisted upon, just forced down the users' throats with the blessings of some very rich lawyers.

Isn't Apple tip-toeing along the same tightrope here ... are they abusing market position and blocking out competition?

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SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

Andy The Hat

Old? Young'uns don't know what's hit 'em. 40Mb hard dives? Pah! We had 30Mb on 14" multi-platter winchester cartridges ...

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Slough isn't fit for humans now, says Amazon. We're going to Shoreditch

Andy The Hat

How great it is to have all those new jobs in Shoreditch, look how many jobs Amazon create!

But how sad it is for all the poor workers in Slough.

Were there any "sweeteners" on offer I wonder as the ground rent must be massive compared to Slough ...

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Microsoft tells judge: Hold us in contempt of court, we're NOT giving user emails to US govt

Andy The Hat

It's ok, all the UK taxpayers' personal information is shipped over to the US where it is 'held securely' so the US can look at it without any of this 'overseas' malarky ...

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Hawking: Higgs boson in a BIG particle punisher could DESTROY UNIVERSE

Andy The Hat

"... clobbered to death by a manmade virus or even aliens."

I'm glad it was probably just me who misread this as 'marmalade virus' - the very thought of being shredded ... perhaps by an 'even alien' ... brrr ... chill and spine interfacing time ...

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Dodgy Norton update borks UNDEAD XP systems

Andy The Hat

I find it quite sad to read this. Norton utilities used to be *the* thing to have (I still have Peter Norton's excellent book on Dos somewhere ...) The very early Norton AV product was good too. As soon as it was rolled and bloated into the full 'Symantec' branded product (as someone said, about 2007 ish) that was the time to bail ...

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Our Vulture 2 rocket spaceplane crammed with MORE POWER

Andy The Hat

Sod the battery alternatives - the decision looks as if it's been made for good reasons.

My concern now is trim - getting the weight distribution correct with those concentrated masses needs lots of careful work before you end up building the highest flying, remotely monitored catherine wheel ever ... Good luck!

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Cave scrawls prove Neanderthals were AT LEAST as talented as modern artists

Andy The Hat

Perhaps it's just me, but I don't think it's art at all. It actually looks like the preliminary sketch for a building on Grand Designs ... a straight walled (almost), minimalist, cave-friendly structure with an entrance cave and 7 rooms off a central cave-atrium. Obviously the plans for the second floor were removed by the idiots digging ... Mineralisation? That was an example of possible cave-wall covering, and if they look hard enough there'll probably be evidence of sample moss scatter-cushions put there by Mrs Ugg and scratches indicating Mr Ugg's spear sharpening room

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Gov.uk's broadband boast: Superfast fibre piped to 1 million Brits

Andy The Hat

A brilliant store designer put up a Morrisons in my town. To make things super-fast they put in 8 self service tills. Great, a 'fast pipe'! Unfortunately there's only room for a bag or two in the outfeed and, with two rows of 4 tills positioned 2.5 trolley-widths apart, customer A has to wait until person C and D with trollies clear because person A can't get their trolley through a gap narrower than three trollies. Meanwhile the queue backs up although there are free tills ... Brilliantly fast on paper, crap in practice as all the customers block the pipe ....

Now I've apparently got access to 'super fast broadband' along with 10K other customers ... how fast are BT's rural pipes? Is that the sund of clashing of trollies and delayed customers in the air? Negotiated, theoretical bandwidth is one thing, actual throughput is a completely different animal. Even at 50:1 contention ratio things will bottleneck.

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Andy The Hat

Re: Encouraging piracy?

" "You can download feature length films faster..."

So the primary economic benefit to the UK of super-fast broadband he's quoting is... the facilitation of piracy?"

You (you) miss the point. If you (HM Govt thieving gits) can get user A (gullible) to pay for their broadband installation, pay for their bandwidth and put up with hesitation and buffering of video when 20 other users hook up to the same 'superfast' 2Mb feed, then you can sell off the TV broadcast spectrum for oodles of cash ...

Let's look at the benefits:-

dosh for selling the spectrum,

dosh for sucking money from individuals by selling them broadband (via tax and lovely consultancy jobs in the IT industry after the politicians are politicians),

dosh as you've just pandered to the US with total control of the feed via DRM,

dosh as you can insist that since all PCs are capable of picking up 'live video feed' they must have a licence

dosh because of that old chestnut of central control and monitoring of an individuals communications for both 'snooping' and, more lucratively, the sale/implimentation of personalised advertising/spam/information.

As soon as the 'broadcast' is taken out of tv the 'cost' ramp to the individual and society will start ... and those on high make money ...

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London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

Andy The Hat

*Unless* the 'official' of FAST (aka 'private individual') was present as the person making the complaint, I believe he had no right to be present or know beforehand of the action taking place. The individual can probably use that in his defence as part of an 'illegally executed warrant'.

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POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage

Andy The Hat

EFI firmware update

Great, another one in the eye for the idiocy of firmware that can be updated anyone without suitable controls ...

When will the first 'efi update' scam that scribbles to the firmware be released?

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Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage

Andy The Hat

But what caused the excessive load?

They still haven't really said where the excessive load came from - a failure internal to the system or something like a DoS external to it ...

If it was an internal failure it's unlikely that both systems (geographically seperate hot mirrors) would fail at the same time - unless there's a fundamental bug in the (replicated) system? The who point of their system redundancy (as I understand) is to kill one system if the other fails which they could obviously not do which infers the caching is not a redundant system ...

All this suggests to me the failure could have been triggered very close to the external gateways which again suggests external influences rather than internal ones.

Would the BBC tell us if they could be crippled by a DoS attack?

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Andy The Hat

Increase in fuel consumption

For AndrueC,

it looks like LECP and MAGROL expriments suck a load of fuel - presumably for orientation and stabilisation purposes. That's probably why they only do them intermittently.

The real question is whether the fuel is actually used to power the Bic biro auto-wind robot for the data tape ...

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Doctor Who season eight scripts leak online

Andy The Hat

"I for one will just wait to see the thing on TV"

I wish I felt the same. There'll be a cyberman (who's come back from the dead), a dalek (who's come back from the dead), the Master who's ... well you get the idea.The characters and sets will all have expensive GGI thrown at them to make it look as if someone has thrown expensive CGI at them and at a guess, it'll all happen in London with some obnoxious female 'cokerney' wimpering incessantly. But at least it'll all turn out nice and cuddly for the Christmas episode to offset the huge depression caused by the nasty death on Eastenders.

Sorry, should I have said "spoiler alert"?

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Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

Andy The Hat

Why is everyone missing the fact that Google (or any other large data storage facility) can decide whether information is in the 'public interest'? That's a judge's job not that of the Great Firewall of London ...

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Austrian Tor exit relay operator guilty of ferrying child porn

Andy The Hat

Definitely a hot-water situation. Someone could deliberately transmit 'illegal' material through the Tor network between two machines belonging to themselves, monitor the transmission and report the server owner for transmitting it illegally. Fundamentally anyone could target a mark and get their system shut down.

As has been said, this appears an easily defendable case. On the other hand, if upheld, it would have major ramifications for *anyone* running a public facing network. The theoretical ability for a third party to *legally* get an entire infrastructure network shut down (on the simple pretext of retransmission of data via the infrastructure of that company's network) through one illicit act is quite scary.

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NASA's Curiosity rover brought Earth BUG to Mars

Andy The Hat

"On the other hand, there is a pretty cool article on formal verification ("Reasoning and Verification: State of the Art and Current Trends") in "IEEE Intelligent Systems" of January ..."

I would hope that this will eventually come to the fore ...

I studied formal verification methods many years ago and when I went for an interview and asked about verification of software the company said 'we test it extensively'. I believe that to still be the case in nearly, if not all systems today (including military and critical systems.)

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'Sterile neutrinos' re-ignite 'we found dark-stuff' debate

Andy The Hat

"They're also one of the reasons we believe in dark matter ..."

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

They're an observed phenomena which can be explained, using current scientific theories and understanding, by the presence of "dark matter". We no more 'believe in dark matter' than we believe that a duck-billed platypus called Arnold will score the next goal for Brazil.

People believe in God, Yogic Flying, Homeopathic medicines and luck ...

<... What was that? Arnold *is* in the starting 11? ...>

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Higgs boson even MORE likely to actually be Higgs boson - boffins

Andy The Hat

"Although if we do find a deviation from the Standard Model, it is likely to be a very closely related one ..."

... because if it's not closely related we're frelled ...

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Assange™ makes fresh bid for FREEDOM from Scotland Yard's 'physical encirclement'

Andy The Hat

"A large catapult on the roof might work, would be worth watching them try!"

Oh why, oh why did you have to put images of trebuchets and wooden horses smelling mildly of elderberries in my head!!! :-)

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Canada to Google: You can't have your borderless cake and eat it too

Andy The Hat

"Dear Google, following Chinese law, our Chinese judge orders you to remove the following pages from your index worldwide: ..."

Isn't that what they have already done? Such pages, although global in extent, are filtered at China's boundaries, which is technically very similar to what has been asked for in this Canadian case.

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PoW! Academics KO Bitcoin mining mammoths

Andy The Hat

If implementation will be 'within twelve months' what will people be mining then? Surely it won't be economic to mine anything that exists today ...?

Wouldn't this only work when implemented at the point of introduction of yet-another-bit-coin-looky-likey-oops-I've-lost-it currency?

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Urine a goldmine for fuel-cell materials: boffins

Andy The Hat

Does this mean we'll have people open cast mining the laybys and verges of the A1 for golden lemonade bottles?

What we could do is have a "Public Lavatory", charge people a quid to piss in it *and* sell the urine to a factory ... double charging is always economically prudent!

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Venus Express to get final acid bath before crashing to surface

Andy The Hat

sounds more like the astronomical equivalent of doing doughnuts until your tyres burst ...

Six Million Dollar Star Trek episode ...

"She's breaking up, she's breaking up! Pull up pull up!"

"Hold it, hold it ...just a bit more ..."

"But she canna take it cap'n!"

"Oh bugger the antenna's fallen off ..."

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot becoming mere pimple

Andy The Hat

It's obviously due to global warming ...

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BEAM ME UP SCOTTY: Boffins to turn PURE LIGHT into MATTER

Andy The Hat

I have to agree with a couple of other posters. This story is a complete non-entity. A theory was produced many years ago and a bunch of theoretical physicists have theorised that they can produce an experiment to validate the theory. End of story.

If Prof Higgs said "I've discovered the higgs particle by building a theoretical collider in 20 years time" he'd have been laughed out of the funding committee ... and rightly so.

"We may be able to demonstrate a theory by building this piece of hardware to conduct an experiment", fine, that's what thousands of 'boffins' are doing every day without getting publicity for it!

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

Andy The Hat

Aha - I see a correlation and when I grow up I can be a climate scientist!

Sea level rise *is* due to human influences - namely the deposition of 57 olympic pools af water per human pee (probably more for certain stubborn instances of Gt Yarmouth cigars) equating to 10^15 cubic metres of water per day. (Obviously *we* don't flush that much as the cistern would be too big, it's added at the "treatment" plant.)

That's potentially a mean sea-level rise of 2.7m but allowing for the natural actions of the water cycle, some retention due to dodgy prostates, whales having a drink and both Ireland and Manchester being rain magnets, I believe that equates (within the ranges of typical climatologist errors bars) *exactly* to recorded increase in sea level rise over the last few minutes. QED

Nobel Prize for Sewage please!

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ULA says to BLAME SPACEX for Ruski rocket rebuff

Andy The Hat

ULA buys engines from Russia

ULA complains national security is up the proverbial without these engines.

The corollary is that the launch vehicles for spy satellites to spy on Russia rely on the Russians to supply Russian engines.

Am I, and the US administration, totally stupid ... or have I missed something?

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Teardowns confirm $1,500 Google Glass hardware is DIRT CHEAP

Andy The Hat

Re: To be fair...

"Those of you who don't have to wear glasses would be appalled at what we short-sighted people have to pay out."

Indeed - a true story: take one pair of plasic sunglasses costing £2. Hot-press your name on the side (total cost per item including all tooling and packing £1) as you're a 'reputable' fashion designer. Sell them at £60 ...

People obviously paid for the name not the goods. It'll be the same with Google Glazed-over ...

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Andy The Hat

What an utter waste of time!

You can put any price tag you want on a pile of rubbish but it's value is only what someone will pay ... initially, if you can find the muppets, you can get massive profit then reduce the price as the market shrinks until you stabilise at a profit margin that suits your cashflow requirements and the bank.

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Beached whale Symantec watches revenues recede 7%

Andy The Hat

Are their current figures in proportion to the performance drop of the average system on which their products are installed? Haven't touched it for years as it doesn't do a good job ... oh, they just admitted that didn't they ...

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Get BENT: Flexy supercapacitor breaks records

Andy The Hat

Re: 6.3 microwatt-hours per cubic mm

"For comparison, Wikipedia says Li-Ion batteries have an energy density in the range 250-730 Wh/L which equates to 250-730 microwatt-hours per cubic mm. That is, this new stuff is 40-115 times worse than existing technology."

There certainly seems something up with their 'comparable with ..." statement. Perhaps "no where near comparable with ..." is more interesting, or "give us a load of funding because we're using the wonder material graphene which can do everything and we may produce a small capacitor in the future if you give us the dosh".

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Source code for world's first MUD, Essex Uni's MUD1, recovered

Andy The Hat

Optional

Those were the days ... 1986, 1am, bleary eyed, playing MUD on TVI920 terminals at York University, having bounced across at least three DEC platforms to get to Essex with a pint of Scotch Bitter gently oxidising in the glass beside you ...

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BBC hacks – tweet the crap out of the news, cries tech-dazzled Trust

Andy The Hat

A poster suggested 'Stop regurgitating other people news stories and make your own'. That annoys me as the producers spend half the time inventing a story where there isn't one (eg how much tv time was given to 'the reason for the earthquakes in Rutland' this morning? Or the 'road that is being filled with flowers from mourners' when there is abviously a single strip of flowers along the foot of a fence.) It's getting progressively more tabloid headline and markedly less news.

In additional use of Twitter to supplement delivery channels is ok - but how does that equate with the BBC's mandate of non promotion or advertising of commercial organisations? Stinks to me.

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OnePlus One equals 'killer' new mobe running CyanogenMod

Andy The Hat

... but will it make better phone calls or make my thumbs text faster than my nokia 1112?

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Andy The Hat

I'm sorry but am I the only one who thinks this is an utter waste of MY money that could have been spent on hospitals and doctors and no-win-no-fee lawyers' legal aid money to sue the NHS and all that other tosh the media spout?

If a 'british game' gets a tax break why not British umbrellas, British Beef, British shoes, British parsnips, British condoms, British bombers, British pregnancies?

There's a stink in the tax department ... Revolt I say!

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Surf's up near Saturn as boffins spot waves on Titan

Andy The Hat

Silly question but what did they use that has a 2cm resolution? I didn't think any orbiter was that good ...

p.s. just read the article

"Four pixels in the images are brighter than one might expect from reflecting sunlight, Barnes reported at the conference. He concluded that they must represent something particularly rough on the surface — a wave or set of waves"

Four pixels? So it could be a lump of ice, a wave, an atmospheric disturbance or the Loch Titan Monster's back breaking the surface ...

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WTF is … the multiverse?

Andy The Hat

"Yeah... it's all fun and games until one morning you see dead pixels in the sky !"

Ha! The only indication of dead pixels would be very dark areas that we couldn't see but we could infer were there ... and, if the pixel was dead because it was electrically short, there would be a hard-to-explain flow of energy in that area ... oops I think I've just explained dark matter, dark energy and the existence of a higher entity ... now to send an email to gimme_a_nobel_prize.com! :-)

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Earth's night-side gets different kinds of neutrinos from day-side

Andy The Hat

I've started eating jam tarts ... anyone noticed a flux change yet? :-)

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Andy The Hat

The neutrino flux changes day/night. Good science, nice result.

Correct conclusion: lower electron neutrino flux at night ...

Reported conclusion: The electron neutrinos change flavour so the flux reduces and we don't detect so many. Theory, no practical experimental evidence, terrible science!

The excess neutrinos, using the same experimental evidence but according to my theory, are absorbed by the fillings of Mr Kipling jam tarts in London, there's just as much evidence! Lots of other less jammy possibilities, including absorption by some mechanism within the Earth but, until they do an experiment showing the increase in flux of the other neutrinos with the corresponding drop in flux of electron neutrinos, their conclusion is not shown by the experimental evidence.

A Level physics score 5 out of 10, results good but mis-interpretation of results resulting in an invalid conclusion based on the available data.

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

Andy The Hat

I wish people would stop blaming the average scrap merchant.

Large scale copper theft is organised and legit scrap merchants never really did touch it.

The cables are cut as an entire bundle (fibre as well), dragged out with a winch onto a drum, the whole lot stuffed into a 40foot container somewhere then shipped out via wherever as 'recycled waste material'. Nobody can tell the difference ... it's probably on the ship next to the container with two Range Rovers and a BMW for someone in Illigitimatostan ...

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'G-WIZ like' object doing 40,000 MPH CRASHES on the MOON

Andy The Hat

Sometimes you just have to love the eononomic drivers behind science ...

We've witnessed a number of small impacts but we saw one, "1", ONE, uno evento (is that spanish enough?) involving an object between 0.6 and 1.4m across. The conclusion therefore is that impacts involving objects of about 1m in size happens 10 times as often as we thought ... I would really like to see the statistical error bars on that single item graph ...

Oh no, such a thing may hit the Earth! Doomed doomed! We must try to spot them ... "Gimme gimme gimme that funding baybeee ..."

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No, pesky lawyers, particle colliders WON'T destroy the Earth

Andy The Hat

... and back to the subject ...

Who are these lawyers and on whos behest are they grinding they lawery axes and preparing to fill their ample wallets?

No laywer *ever* does something for nothing, getting two to work on the same job at the same time would cost at least four times as much (price goes up with the square of the level of bamboozlement provided). In addition they've actually written a letter ... that must already be £10k ... someone's paying ...

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IT'S ALIVE! China's Jade Rabbit rover RETURNS from the DEAD

Andy The Hat

It became a dead rabbit? This assumes it was alive to start with ... Was it artificial life or really alive? That's a silly question, they wouldn't send real bunnies as they taste too nice so it must have been artificial life ... THE CHINESE HAVE DEVELOPED ARTIFICIAL LIFEFORMS - RUN FOR THE HILLS!

But why are the Chinese then sending lagomorphic lifeforms to the moon? Is it that they've run rampant over their fields and are sucking their rivers dry, immune to all that the Chinese artificial-lagomorph exterminator squad could throw at them? Perhaps the cunning Chinese sought to kill the pesky hares by sending them to the moon!

Aha! Dead as the proverbial (but tasty) roast dinner.

But no!

Even now they survive the ravages of the lunar surface ... they're out to get us ... it's only a matter of time before the chino-bunny finds a lunar lander and, to the theme of the A-Team, builds a rocket ship to return himself to the Earth... Beware The War of the Wabbits and narration by Richard Burton! Pom pom pom ... ta de dah, ta de dah ...

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