* Posts by Andy The Hat

414 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010

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Mercury to transit Sun: Viewer discretion advised

Andy The Hat
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It's dangerous?

Yes you do need a small telescope to see this event and at least 60x magnification therefore:

Yes it's potentially dangerous.

Yes you could potentially be blinded.

Yes you could be knocked down by a bus tomorrow.

But no, none of this 'dangerous stuff' will happen with a bit of care and common sense. Safe solar viewing info is all over the web and both white light solar filters and the *correct* filter medium to make diy filters are available quite widely. No need for anything expensive - £20 will get you enough "Baader Solar Film 5.0" and cornflake packets to make several filters and you can use the filter all summer ...

Watching stuff on a screen is never as interesting as seeing it happening in front of you.

If you're worried then NASA is a great option but it need not be dangerous to watch it live yourself.

Be sensible, be safe, enjoy it.

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Come get your free Opera VPN (and bring along something to read)

Andy The Hat
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Severe slow down?

Sorry, silly me, for a minute I thought the slowest said 43Mb throughput!

... haahaahaa ... haaaahaaa hee

Doctor Doctor! I think I've just developed rural broadband hysteria ...

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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

Andy The Hat
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and to go to the logical extreme ...

At present in the UK we are giving chickens more and more space whilst, at the the very same time, building houses for humans that are smaller and smaller. Anyone care for a sweepstake as to when the two figures will converge (not including those working for Romanian gang-masters who already live in terrible conditions with 6 square meters or less)?

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Andy The Hat
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Re: omitted

In the UK the regs say free range is about 2500 birds per hectare (which they should have free access to). That's 4square meters per bird ... if your A4 is that size I pity your photocopier budget!

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Academic network Janet clobbered with DDoS attacks – again

Andy The Hat
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Valid excuse?

"I can't hand in my dissertation due an extended DDOS barring access to the wider interweb and thus my research materials"

Never had that in my day ... best we could do was 'I didn't have time to complete as there wasn't terminal access available for the VAX at 2am - everyone was playing Rogue, drinking beer and listening to Pink Floyd.'

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Europe's biggest radiotelescope in fast-burst-finding upgrade

Andy The Hat
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"Top"

Call yourself a physicist and use the phrase 'top half of the planet' ...?

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ESA decupboards asteroid-dusting brush-o-matic

Andy The Hat
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Reg measurements?

"A few 0.001mm"?

Perhaps 'a few microns' would be more appropriate?

Or, to use standard units in a really annoying way, 'up to a hundred times smaller than the thickness of a human hair'?

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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

Andy The Hat
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Re: They are generally pretty good

"The other issue is the I/O points. It is far to easy to short circuit them which can cause it to reboot."

Oh dear ... anyone care to enter a sweepstake on how long it will take one kid in a class of thirty to work out how to draw pencil lines between the I/O terminals ...?

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Andy The Hat
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And the first programme is ...?

"Micro:Bit Live!" perhaps?

Welcome to an hour of prime time BBC1, plugging it in, uploading code then ... pause ... will it work? ... pause to annoy the audience with naff drum rolls ... then 'oh look "Hello World" scrolling on some LEDs'.

'In the next programme we'll demonstrate how to wrap a parcel and set up an account on eBay.'

This programme will also be repeated on BBC1 then available on BBC1HD, BBC2, BBC2HD, BBC News24, iPlayer, UKTV Gold, Dave, DaveJaVu ...

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Snowden WAS the Feds' quarry in Lavabit case, redaction blunder reveals

Andy The Hat
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Re: Trumped up

Not convinced Trump will be any worse - he'll just look more obviously bad because he actually says what most hide in the background.

You have to accept that the politics of the western world is not run by elected leaders. They may have one finger on a steering wheel and another desperately clawing finger on a handbrake lever but the 'democratic' juggernaut of the establishment is controlled by unelected, faceless individuals and groups and powered by the whims of finance, power, religion and historical influence.

I have to believe most leaders are elected with an idealised socio-economic belief but that rapidly decays into reiteration of the same old economic and power mantras fed to them by the fat controllers.

The USA and GB both are suffering the leaders wanting 'free and open government and individual privacy' whilst actually pushing through uncontrolled increases in power and actively reducing individual freedoms and privacy. Rightly or wrongly, Snowden actually stood up for his cause and said that the US was contravening its own laws. This has been seen to be fundamentally true yet he is still vilified for it (especially in the US) and is being used as justification to 'legally' reduce democratic freedom and privacy all over the western world ...

Not so much the people 'sleepwalking into a police state' as 'snuggling under the duvet whilst police state is built around them'

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Mighty Soyuz stands proud at Baikonur

Andy The Hat
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Hmmm

And to give a sense of scale, here's Tim Peake and colleagues standing in front of those massive engines.

Unfortunately the humans are what is known as "very close" and the engines can be referred to as "far away". So, for a sense of scale, ignore the picture entirely then consider that the first stage is bigger than a blue whale and the humans are normal human sized (I assume ...)

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Silicon photonics boosted with UK fabrication research

Andy The Hat
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105mW

Correct me if I'm wrong but this is for 'on chip communications' isn't it?

If so, a 105mW laser is damn powerful. I would have thought nW would be more appropriate when considering travel distances of millimetres and at most a few optical switches to negotiate ...

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Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

Andy The Hat
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RRS Ice Ice Breaker ...

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Labour will create FUD and then abstain on UK Snoopers' Charter vote

Andy The Hat
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Opposition?

The job of the opposition is to oppose. Abstinence should not be an option at that level in our democratic system - only by voting against a proposal can it be sent back for revision and resubmitted, by abstaining the opposition is effectively declaring it has no opinion. Disgusting.

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NASA's mighty SLS to burn 1.215 Olympic-sized pools

Andy The Hat
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Re: Puny....

But the Queen Mary II can keep it up for weeks at a time, only limited by the need to stop for refueling (passengers and fuel stores). If that translated to space travel ... cue Wall-E imagery ...

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Monster motor breathes fire in Mississippi

Andy The Hat
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Safest?

The engines have been upgraded with 'new technology' so presumably the 'safest' engines are still the safest in the same way that Windows 8 was the best operating system ever as it was upgraded from Windows 7 using 'new technology' ...

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Ad-slinger Opera adds ad-blocking tech to its browser

Andy The Hat
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Oric 1?

Anyone see the link between a splash of a magazine ad for the 1980's Oric 1 and the story of the new Opera with web ad blocker? Apart from they're both 'ads' as is a billboard on a city roundabout or the latest Screwfix catalogue ...

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State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog

Andy The Hat
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"Default" tariff

Look at it from the company's point of view:

If everyone was switched from the "default" tariff, then there would be no customers on the "default" tariff that you would have to open to other providers- so what is a "default" tariff? The easy answer for the utility company is to provide a "default" tariff', then after a while, and out of the goodness of your hearts, you automatically move the reliable 'default' tariff customers to a marginally better one for being good customers. The result is that the highest cost tariff is more or less preserved along with the income stream, the bad payers and the like are left on the 'default' tariff and get 'the chance' to move to another rubbish deal ... This means nobody really wins apart from the cold-calling bods who get a job, Mr Whitcomb for doing something (however useless) and the companies who look good for 'not having a big customer base on a default tariff'.

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NASA sets the date for Martian robot drilling rig to lift off

Andy The Hat
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"A vacuum leak during low temperature testing ..."

Wouldn't this not be 'damage sustained' but "testing failure" which is the whole point of the low temperature testing?

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Facebook can block folks using pseudonyms in Germany – court

Andy The Hat
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It's even worse than that ...

If this EU privacy ruling applies to Germany/Ireland and Facebook/A.N.Other then it will apply to all EU countries and citizens. That really is worrying.

A company sets up in the country with loosest privacy laws, sells its product throughout Europe then quite legally does whatever it can with the collected data under Slovakian/Slovenian/Cypriot/Luxemburger/EPO/whatever privacy rules with absolutely no regard for the laws of the user's state where the data was collected ... it makes Safe Harbour look like a cuddly duvet of protection ...

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BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Andy The Hat
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I can foretel the future ...

About six or seven years ago I predicted iplayer would be the tool to commercialise the BBC either by extending the license fee (an "internet license") or by subscription (p-o-d or whatever model) ... It's not often I get it correct but in this case ...

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SpaceX Falcon 9 set for fourth launch attempt

Andy The Hat
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Re: Easy

I'll take your Harriers and raise you to the tune of the 1970's German Starfighter display team low-flying over the crowd with full afterburn ... *#@%!!

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California methane well leak filled a Rose Bowl a day

Andy The Hat
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Rose bowl is not a reasonable unit

As mentioned above, the obviously imperial measurement, the 'Rose Bowl' (stupidly-shaped-football stadium) is marginally bigger than your average gran's 'rose bowl' (yes gran, they're lovely...) This could cause great confusion, especially when considering climatic wobbliness and the granhouse effect (usually very warm unless the gas price vs pension ratio is too high ...)

El Reg must stick to its already well defined standards - The Wembley Stadium, Mellenium Dome or Blue Whale and, on the smaller side of the equation, the bathtub, fruit bowl, kettle or mug (teacups are so pre-decimal!)

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Gosh, what a huge shock. Ofcom shies away from BT Openreach split, calls for reform

Andy The Hat
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It's so exciting ...

I can't wait for those keen telecoms companies to knock on my door offering to run 500m of their own wet string to my house instead of using BT lines and ducts ... I love the smell of flying bacon in the morning ...

Fundamentally, Openreach needs nationalising (ie the infrastructure is secure and owned by the state) and those that use it can fight over customers on the end of the lines. Much like Railtrack and the rail companies because that works well ... sort of. It would mean that when the state says "we're investing in high speed roll out" it would be the state investing in actual infrastucture, not big institutional shareholder's wallets. Oh, sorry I've just found the glaring error in my thread ...

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ISS 'nauts prepare to wrap One Year Mission

Andy The Hat
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Zinnia?

Forgive me for being stupid but I'd suggest a basic requirement for a 'vegetable production system' should be a vegetable of an edible nature? Whilst I admit that growing Zinnias may make a mars mission look pretty, they taste horrible ...

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Helpdesk? I have a software problem. And a GRIZZLY BEAR problem

Andy The Hat
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Colossal Carnivore ...

'... You're in a room full of sleeping bears'

>N

'You are in a wood.'

>LOOK

'Yes, they obviously do.

A bear has woken and emerges from the cave!

Oh that's not pleasant

>LOOK

'No, don't, just don't ...'

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Eurovision Song Contest uncorks 1975 vote shocker: No 'Nul point'!

Andy The Hat
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no nurl pwunt?

Not quite sure how public voting will guarantee neel zero pwunto.

According to Eurotosh there are still about 194 countries in Europe (obviously including Australia and half of Asia) and not all the songs will be up tho their normal, brilliant standard and deserving of marks.

Aha! just worked it out! There'll be internal 'select a candidate' country competitions then regional quarters/semis/finals then continental quarters/semis/finals then the full Euro-thing but only for the final ten teams to guarantee points ... The competition can be stretched out to about six months of abject pain, rake in loads of 'telephone voting by Mr and Mrs Gullible' dosh, and have so many "the winner is ... ... ... ..."

"... ... ... ..."

ffs ... get on with it!

"... ... ... ..."

trailers ...

that everyone will be sick of the hype before it starts ...

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Oz town suffers hairy panic attack

Andy The Hat
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IT angle?

If I wrote a note, attached it to a seed head and let it blow in the wind to the next village I'd probably get higher bandwidth than my broadband?

Proposal: El Reg unit "the tumbleweed": the average amount of information passed on a rural BT line per second?

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Facebook tells Viz to f**k right off

Andy The Hat
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Down votes?

It says something about Viz when there are 3 pages of comments, masses of up votes and only half a dozen or so have down votes ...

New strip based on the Keystone Cops perhaps? Ze Farce Book Polizi and zer Uncontrollable Truncheons? Commandant Zucker the Sucker? If not, I'm sure there will be a plethera of facist knob gags to be had over the next few episodes ...

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US Congress locks and loads three anti-encryption bullets

Andy The Hat
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Perhaps you're missing the point ....

It has to be assumed that the very people that 'they' say 'they' want to snoop on (the naughty terrorists) are the very ones that will ignore any rules on encryption and will communicate using layers of encryption at each end in an attempt to circumvent 'their' ability to read it. Therefore the conclusion has to be that 'they' just want to snoop on legal, law-abiding commercial and private activities for economic and/or political reasons ...

This isn't anything to do with 'terrorism', just political opposition and state-sponsored commercial espionage. It could be considered the latest digital variant of the McCarthyist witch hunts, the desperate push of the political classes to keep their noses in the trough whilst holding on to power ...

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SpaceX breaks capsule 'chute world record

Andy The Hat
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Retire parachutes?

"until space agencies finally retire the tech"

Somehow I wouldn't want to sign the order for 'No, we don't need backup 'chutes any more, our retros are 100% reliable."

Personally, I can't see 'chute retirement in the foreseeable future ... just imagine the Congressional hearing if there was an incident and a private company exec said 'we excluded backup parachutes to save some money and weight." End of contract, end of company.

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Eight budget-friendly 1TB SSD data packers for real people

Andy The Hat
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Error-ette

FWIW the Sammy 850Pro has a TBW of 300TB.

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Brit boffins brew nanotech self-cleaning glass

Andy The Hat
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Resilience

My concern would be how resilient the coating is long term - will it last when abraded with wind-blown dust for instance? Will the greasy imprint of the nutty pigeon 'fall off' my window or will the coating be permanently etched where the impact took place?

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NASA books space shuttle delivery truck

Andy The Hat
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Re: Cool!, looks just like the one that Steve Austin flew in The Six Million Dollar Man...

May look like that but I reckon it's actually John Crichton's module from Farscape ...

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Boffins tentatively fire up grav wave sniffer

Andy The Hat
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Don't you just love it?

Maybe it's gravity fluctuations?

I get downvotes for explicitly mentioning a rumour, but Lester gets upvotes for linking a Graudian story containing a reference to a tweet about a rumour ...

If that's not wierd ...

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Andy The Hat
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too late ?

Rumours abound that gravity waves have already been identified by LIGO.

LISA is a nice tool but may not have a use ... unless the rumours are wrong or LIGO needs independent confirmation of it's findings.

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Intel admits Skylakes can ... ... ... freeze in the middle of work

Andy The Hat
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Re: FFT

Donald Knuth? Haven't heard that name since I was keen!

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Andy The Hat
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FFT

Bugger ... just looked up 'using FFT to multiply large numbers'.

Why oh why do I allow my curiosity get the better of me? It's like mathematical spam - enticing the reader in with promises of mathematical benefits then confuzzles them totally with a random splurge from the symbol font table.

Instead of dangling a fat mathematical worm on a hook can El-Reg in future use such phrases as 'using a method', 'doing a mathematical thing' or 'magically'?

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How to build a real lightsabre

Andy The Hat
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Re: Bah!

"The real problem, the only problem is in slowing down laser blaster rounds so you have time to block them!"

Nope - easy. The blaster rounds are themselves plasma clouds. Therefore there's potentially a decent magnetic interraction between the sword and the round so, fundamentally, Luke, Han etc cheated as they were helped by the force ... err ...

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Andy The Hat
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let me think ...

Normally the ionized compressed gas (air or specific gas) for a plasma cutter is emitted from a simple nozzle and the plasma 'flame' is only an inch or so long.

If instead the gas was emitted at higher pressure via a rapidly rotating shield (much like those flame vortices that suck in air through a rotating mesh) it would tend to propel it forward into something the size and lethalness of a small piece of celery straight out of a beef stew ... :-) Increasing the pressure and the power and hey presto a fully length-controlled plasma sword.

Does Amazon sell 100kW+ generators and EHT step-up transformers? Admittedly I'd still need a small van to carry it all around in but in the absence of a Death Star that shouldn't be an issue in the short term ...

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'Personalised BBC' can algorithmically pander to your prejudices

Andy The Hat
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Do I need a tv license?

Bearing in mind that the requirement for a tv license is the ability to receive live broadcast images, if those images are specific to the viewer and not generally broadcast do I need a license?

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Alert after Intel Skylake chips, mobo sockets 'warp under coolers'

Andy The Hat
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I doubt conventional heatsinking is the problem. It's hanging a massive heatsink off the board when the board is mounted vertically ... the rotational moment is huge so tends to try to rip the top mounts out and press the bottom ones through the board.

Water cooling works well (a Seat Ibitza heater matrix is a good size for near silent cooling :-) ) but some boards are designed such the the airflow cools the surrounding components so a water cooler, whilst great for the processor, is not good for the local area of the board ...

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Open source Gov.UK is 'example of UK soft power'

Andy The Hat
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Ow!

Do you have any idea how confusing and hard it is to say 'remitincludes'?

I had to almost look it up ... :-)

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LHC records biggest bang ever with 1 Peta-electron-volt jolt

Andy The Hat
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Re: Temperature

"I learned purely by observation not to take hearty bites of Pop Tarts (and Hot Pockets and their ilk) because of that kid's agony."

Come come, surely *anything* that resembles molten lava should make even the most numptified numpties dispense with bites and reset to nibble mode ...?

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Andy The Hat
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Re: Very dense and very hot?

... you knew Sarah Palin?

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Robotic arm provides infosec automation for dodgy card readers

Andy The Hat
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A Robot arm ...

Surely mechanical insertion of a card is already done? Heck, they've have robotic rear ends to test car seat integrity for twenty years so surely a simple card inserter to rigorously test the card system should be in use already? By 'robot' I assume they mean a simple gear/slide mechanism to take the card & shove the card, take the card & shove the card ...

The developers really don't do that by hand do they?

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Glowing dust doughnut circles white dwarf

Andy The Hat
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Re: Grammar

You can't be "7 times smaller", you can be 1/7 the size or 7 times larger.

Actually a term coined in the land of US marketing I believe to make something look better than it is ... In the same way that DFS, SCS, Shoddy-Goods-R-Us et al have an 'up to half price' sale where the cost price of a piece of tat is actually half price or above, never below.

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Andy The Hat
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Re: Radii confusion

"The RSun values are the radii of the material, not the distance at which it orbits ( which is not mentioned )."

Many thanks for that - I thought my brain had melted as I tried to imagine an inside out picture ...

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Ex-GCHQ chief: Bulk access to internet comms not same as mass surveillance

Andy The Hat
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Id cards - no thanks! Gimme something worse!

The people were up in arms about ID cards. But how does this superceed ID cards?

Take the average punter. Through mass surveillance it can be easily established what their 'internet footprint' is and how their phone/tablet/pad/laptop is part of that. Every time the device requests a web page, an email is received or perhaps even a cell connection is established, it gets logged in a not-a-database and therefore by inference so does the physical carrier of that device.

Where ID cards were simply a dumb system of 'show on demand', this is the 'smart meter' version of an id card. Walking, talking, browsing ... who, what, when, and where of every 'smart device' owning person in the country at the fingertips of the spooks as and when required.

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New Horizons makes last burn for Kuiper Belt target

Andy The Hat
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3 ... 2 ... 1

... 0! <finger hits big red button> Implement that burn baby!

Has it done it yet?

Err ... don't know, this thing's sooo slow, like trying to talk to a Talk Talk talky droid ...

Time passes ... A dwarf throws an axe, a CP/M emulator crashes ... Everyone goes to bed as there's nothing else to do.

Next morning. Oh goody it did something and it's going somewhere we've never been before! I 'spose we'd better raise some cash before it gets wherever there is ... in the meantime, where's the "Colossal Cave - 2014 MU69 disc with bonus dwarf-axe action" gone ... ?

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