* Posts by rh587

305 posts • joined 23 Mar 2011

Page:

Don't shoot the Messenger: NASA's suicide probe to punch hole in Mercury

rh587
Bronze badge
Joke

Borrowed!?

"so NASA borrowed a new type of flat radio aerial from the US military and used that instead."

I hope the military aren't expecting to get that back...

4
0

Boffins brew up FIRST CUPPA in SPAAACE using wireless energy (well, sort of)

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: energy for cloud-cuckoo land

"Since microwaves will boil water, cloud cover could get interesting."

Lots of remote-sensing satellites already use microwave band instruments precisely because they can see through cloud (unlike IR).

You just need to select your frequency with care.

0
0

UK spaceport, phase two: Now where do we PUT the bleeding thing?

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: "no UK Government ever spends any money west of Bristol"

"Well, not strictly true.

You've got Plymouth Dockyards, RNAS Yeovilton, and the UK Hydrographic Office which are directly MOD or MOD trading funds, so west of Bristol is too broad."

And the Met Office in Exeter.

But yes, the M5 runs out at Exeter. Cornwall is basically just pasties (nom) and traffic jams (in summer).

2
0

Murky online paedo retreat: The Nether explores the fantasy-reality divide

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: "We all accept"

"with the best (or worst) will in the world, neither you nor your wife are going to remotely resemble 10-year old children, despite whatever makeup or facelifts you indulge in."

But you accept that the activity itself is a fundamentally legal (if tasteless - depending on your POV) partnership between two consenting adults?

So what you're trying (and struggling) to say is that with significantly more convincing (digital) costumes, the ethics of the activity change?

Perhaps you might like to put forward arguments in support of that (entirely reasonable) position, rather than simply spouting "child abuse bad".

Because yeah, duh. But we're not discussing child abuse.

7
0
rh587
Bronze badge

"So.......if we accept the premise of this play, Gary Glitter should have been found "not guilty" in his first trial as his possession of kiddie-porn photos was likely to prevent him from carrying out real life attacks."

No.... because the porn in itself depicted unacceptable child abuse, and we follow the logic that the supply is (in part) linked with demand and therefore the consumer is an accessory to the abuse.

If Glitter's porn had consisted solely of Lisa Simpson being subjected to animated incest then his conviction might be more tenuous, since no harm was done to any living person.

And so it is in the scenario posed by The Nether - no harm has been done to a child, and no harm will be done to a child, because the entire meeting is a digitally-augmented roleplay game between consenting adults.

The question you should be asking yourself is that - in the knowledge that consenting adults do engage for instance in daddy/daughter role-play (apparently that's a thing) - is a digitally enhanced extension of that - entirely legal - activity ethically different?

"The basic premise of the plays argument is wrong: habituation to a certain practice, even if simulated, makes it more likely that the practice will be repeated in real life. Not less. Repetition breeds acceptance and familiarity: if it didn't, then what would be the point of aircraft / tank / battlefield simulators?"

It's not the premise of the play, it's the question the play is asking. In that respect, it cannot be "wrong".

Moreover, your references to simulators are hopelesly misplaced. Spending time in a simulator does breed familiarity, but does not mean that (e.g. if you simulate firing your tank cannon) you are more likely to do it in real life. In actuality it means you are more likely to use that cannon efficiently and effectively if you have need to use it. It doesn't mean that the moment you are deployed you will go blowing the place up firing shots everywhere. It simply means you'll be well equipped to use that equipment when you need it.

"If some deviant practices kiddie porn in private, its more likely to make him accept carrying out the real thing. Not less."

Two things.

1. Cite your sources. Such claims require evidence. There is a whole section of criminal psychology which would disagree with you.

2. When did "porn" become a verb? What does "to practice porn" mean?*

* Don't answer, I don't want to know.

This play tries to create a discussion where no discussion is needed. In our society abuse of children is not acceptable.

Indeed it is not. But at no point in the play does it actually try to argue that abuse of children is acceptable. All activities are between consenting adults wearing digital costumes. People engage in roleplay now, so is roleplay with a more convincing costume ethically different? I'm inclined to accept that it might be. But not because of any argument that you have put forth in your drivellous rant.

15
0

Elon Musk plans to plonk urban Hyperloop subsonic tube on California

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: About 4-to-1

Considering in most countries the number of start-ups that make it past their second year without going bust is 50-1, 4-1 is a fairly god-like ratio.

Anyway, let us know when you've built up your own billion dollar car company and are launching services to the ISS...

9
2

Big Brother in SPAACE: Mars One picks first 100 morons to suffocate, er, settle on Red Planet

rh587
Bronze badge

The MIT Paper gamed it out?

The MIT paper opened with this statement in the abstract:

"That being said, the ISRU technology required to produce nitrogen, oxygen, and water on the surface of Mars is at a relatively low Technology Readiness Level (TRL), so such findings are preliminary at best."

Which is them saying "you can't do it tomorrow, but if the technology is developed it might work". They even recognise that such technological development and demonstration is included in the Mars One plan.

The proposed launch date is 2024 - 9 years away.

In 1960, the technology required to carry humans to the moon, down to the surface and back was also at a "relatively low Technology Readiness Level (TRL)".

But sure enough, in 1969 Neil Armstrong landed (probably, if it wasn't all on a sound stage).

Heck, the iPad 1 was only released in September 2010 - less than 5 years ago. Look at how the world has changed since then. The way we work, the way we communicate. The world's moving fast.

Obviously

I don't think this is actually going to happen. Endemol are not going to bankroll this to the tune of $4.5bn, and they haven't the resource to put together a Project Apollo-level R&D effort to get the pieces in place in time.

I do however object to a paper that describes the technology as merely immature (along with raising concerns over certain points of mission architecture) being presented as evidence that the whole thing is doomed to failure.

I think Elon and SpaceX are more likely to actually make it happen, but lets not write this whole thing off as impossible. It is possible. It's just really difficult, and quite expensive.

2
0

How's your F-ITCH-bit? Surge gizmo sparks rash of complaints, watchdog's attention

rh587
Bronze badge

"So Fitbit has designed a product to be worn by people who exercise... which does bad things when combined with *sweat*?"

They do recommend you remove it whilst showering, and to allow the skin to breath. I'm not quite sure why people expect to be able to wear anything 24/7 with no ill-effects. The Force did genuinely cause an allergic reaction, but wearing any band 24/7 will leave you with some sort of friction/contact sore regardless of how much it cost, much like bed sores from lying in one place constantly.

I have the next one down (Charge HR), and did develop a small red mark where the Heart Rate sensor presses against the skin, but that was only after I'd worn it a week (including to sleep), only removing it for showers. I just had a couple of days off, only putting it on when I actually went for a run. You're not exactly losing out on a whole lot of data if you take it off for a few hours whilst you're sat at your desk.

1
0

French plod can BAN access to any website – NO court order needed

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: If a website is really so bad...

"How will le plod ban access to web sites not hosted on French soil ? Scan all of cyberspace for pages displaying the banned IP addresses and threaten to close down their site owner's local French embassies? Send the paras ?"

Probably have Telcos do what BT did to block the Pirate Bay - which was to change the record on their default DNS service to point at their own page telling you not to be naughty.

Changed my computer's default DNS to 8.8.8.8 and presto, magically reappeared ...for downloading linux distros and such...

1
0

NASA greenlights SpaceX and Boeing to carry crew to ISS in 2017

rh587
Bronze badge

"Just a question of what the astronauts say - tried, tested, and quite reliable Russian tech versus unpredictable and explody US tech.

OK, so the private US ventures have come a long way, but carrying astronauts? Real, expensive, meat bags?"

SpaceX are already establishing a reputation as having one of the most reliable launch platforms on the market. Give it another 18 months of the same and I can't see any astronauts would have any problems climbing into Dragon.

Falcon 9 has lost precisely one payload. And that was a secondary payload that they lost not because they couldn't technically do it, but because the primary payload owners declined authority for an additional second-stage burn. Since astronauts are always a primary payload, that's a 100% success rate.

Show me another launch platform with that record.

6
0

David Cameron: I'm off to the US to get my bro Barack to ban crypto – report

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: ya right

"It's pretty much a given that he's out. The question is which omnicidal moron we install in his place."

A given? Is it? Lots of people seem to complaining about Cameron, but they're not all clamouring to vote for Milliband either. Realistically, if it's another coalition it's going to be Dave or Ed in as the senior partner, and I wouldn't stake money on it being Ed.

All depends - at the end of the day - on how successfully the SNP split the Labour vote, UKIP split the Tory vote and what happens with the disaffected LibDem vote.

3
1

Drone in NEAR-MISS with passenger jet at Heathrow airport

rh587
Bronze badge

"How big would it have to be to be a significant danger to an Airbus? (Bigger than a goose?)"

Some of the media have hyped it as a near-fatal accident, which I thought was overegging it a bit. Aircraft are designed to deal with minor collisions (birds, etc), so it's unlikely to have been at any risk of downing the aircraft.

That said, airports spend significant money having people run around scaring birds and doing their best to eliminate the risk of FOD and bird strikes. They don't need people flying bird-sized aircraft back into their airspace after they've finished scaring off the animals who genuinely can't be expected to respect restricted airspace.

A drone may not down an aircraft, but it'll force a turn-back if it goes through an engine, and who's going to pick up the tab for either a multi-million pound rebuild or an all-new engine?

2
0

Jacking up firearms fees will cost SMEs £3.5 MILLION. Thanks, Plod

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: No sympathy

"(seriously, what's up with that? Are the Reg's editorial staff all keen shooters?)"

Gareth is.

Also, in my experience, shooting clubs seem to be disproportionately filled with engineers (of both mechanical and electronic bent), computer scientists, tradesmen - anyone who likes problem solving or fiddling with intricate mechanical stuff. I recall my uni rifle club at one stage had a committee consisting of an aerospace engineer, an electronic engineer, an ocean scientist, two chemists, a medical student and a single, solitary humanities student. That was representative of the club as a whole, and is something I have noticed in other non-university rifle clubs.

I imagine there are probably quite a lot of people on El Reg who shoot or have shot in the past.

4
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: No sympathy

"the public is subsidising gun-owners. Who generally tend to be people like the landed gentry and others who are far better-off than most of us."

Bullplop.

My current club has 200+ members, of which the vast majority are engineers, tradespeople, retirees, along with some juniors. My last club had 100 members and was much the same.

I don't dispute that every country estate has a gun room, which may contain some fairly valuable firearms, but that is in no way representative of the UK's shooting community.

The rest of us are regular joes, farmers (for whom a firearm is a tool of work, no different to a tractor - not a recreational article), etc, etc. Not spending our weekend with Lord Grantham shooting Grouse with a £100k pair of Purdeys.

"After all, most guns are used for no better purpose than blasting birds out of the sky so chinless wonders can pretend they're wonderful "sportsmen" just because they've slaughtered a bit of wildlife."

Well, most of the 10million airguns in the UK are for target shooting or back-garden tin-can plinking.

Of the couple of million or so rifles and shotguns, the overwhelming majority are for target shooting, clay pigeon shooting, or pest control - not driven game bird or deer stalking.

Of course deer stalking is a perfectly legitimate activity too - in the absence of a top-level predator such as wolves, population control falls to us (deer herds controlled by famine and disease are not a pretty thing to behold).

3
0

Under the Iron Sea: YES, tech and science could SAVE the planet

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Iron is not enough

"I have always undestood that phosphorus in some soluble form was a limiting element."

Sorry, but your understanding is limited. My Ocean Science lecturers universally defined Iron as the usual limiting nutrient, though in areas Phosphorous may also be limiting, or may be the next limiting nutrient once Iron has been supplied. It may also be that you only need to add a little iron for it to not be limiting, and each area needs a tailored cocktail to get the bets results.

Certainly when I was studying this stuff it was established that it worked quite well, but the cost of actually processing and shipping that iron out there off-set most of the carbon sequestration that took place, which rendered the whole effort somewhat pointless.

Of course if suitable seeding material can be sourced as a waste product of some other processing going on anyway, and it doesn't take much carbon to transport it from it's source to the coast (and sail out to sea), then that changes the equation rather dramatically.

Of course care needs to be taken. Just because an area appears relatively barren of life does not mean it is not supporting certain niche species, and using it as a dumping ground to sequester carbon could - in excess - cause major environmental issues if we continuously bloom areas which should naturally be clear water.

0
0

Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Sir!

"I have to say I'm quite surprised they didn't go with a SWATH ship - its whole point is that it is as immune to rough seas as one can possibly get in the 21st century - and the layout seems to naturally fit the requirement for a wide, flat vessel"

True. You could custom-build a very stable SWATH. But I'm guessing this is just a stopgap until he can prove he can do it safely and then move recovery operations onto land.

Consequently I very much doubt that barge was built for SpaceX - it's probably just a second-hand commercial barge that they bolted some hefty station-keeping gear on and a big landing deck.

1
0

My HOUSE used to be a PUB: How to save the UK high street

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: With you on this

"My own local council seems to think spending £1-2m quid every few years on laying a new surface on the high street will solve the problem."

Similar story here - our council spent a vast sum resurfacing the town's large Pay & Display. Two months later, 40% of that tarmac was torn up by the developers who had bought a chunk of it to build fairly crap infill housing.

As part of the town's redevelopment they also sold a chunk to a new supermarket who have arrived (who won't go anywhere without controlling their own parking). That parking is now ANPRd for customers only. Unlike a different local town (with a more competent council and thriving high street) where the supermarket car park is Pay and Display (with refund on your ticket in store for customers), which means people can use it as general parking if they want. In our town however, it's for the store only, even though it's right next to the high street - they don't want you popping across to the local greengrocer. Barstewards (that's malicious barstewards in the supermarket, incompetent barstewards in the council).

In this respect our planners failed utterly (compared with their sensible refusal to have our pub converted), allowing the superstore and developers to walk all over them without stipulating a stringent set of conditions like the next town along did (and which has embraced the presence of a supermarket but in a manner that is friendly to the town centre).

3
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Doing my bit

The pub (a Free House) in our local village closed, primarily because the owners had managed to hack off pretty much everyone within a 5 mile radius, despite doing superb food. They desperately tried to get planning permission to convert to residential but were refused. After about 5 years it reopened, with the wildly successful young bartender from the pub in the next village behind the bar. He created a great atmosphere and people flooded in.

After 6 months his place was taken by the old couple - turns out he hadn't taken it over, they'd just paid him a pretty penny to "consult" for 6 months and get it running into a going concern for them.

Having struggled on for 12 months they're now closing down. Again. Because she's a racist, homophobic harpie and he has the personality of a sponge They were idiots not to sell it 12 months ago as a profitable going concern. Instead they've taken a resurrected pub and run it into the ground.

I am eternally grateful to the planners for refusing them planning permission to convert the property. Once that stops being a pub and becomes a house it will never go back. But if that couple finally get a clue and flock off, we might actually get a pub worth drinking in. Were it not for the planners, the village would be solely comprised of houses and the church. At least we still have a pub. On and Off.

The village shop has been converted - because there's a big Tesco barely 2 miles away, so that was never going to remain sustainable. But there's no other pub - just that one.

It's sustainable and there's a market and demand for it - we would support it, except the owners are not cut out for the pub trade. Or indeed any sort of customer-facing retail position anywhere.

10
0

The late 2014 Apple Mac Mini: The best (and worst) of both worlds

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Laptop

"I don't think it runs a laptop CPU. At least the 2012 one doesn't.

It also doesn't use laptop RAM or laptop hard disk (from what little I know about laptop parts) given that you can fit a standard desktop SATA SSD."

The 2012 Mac Minis did indeed come with Mobile CPUs, Laptop RAM and 2.5" HDDs - easily replaceable with 2.5" SATA SSDs.

The current one comes with a -U series Haswell, which is classed as Mobile, and - in the Fusion Drive configuration - a 2.5" HDD tucked underneath the PCIe Flash stick.

They're quite right, it's a laptop without a screen or peripherals. it used to be quite a modular laptop where you could slot in a second 2.5" drive next to the stock one, change it for an SSD or add your own RAM. Now you can change out the PCIe flash and whatever sits in the SATA bay, but that's it.

6
0

Dead pilot named in tragic Virgin Galactic spaceship crash

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: RB's real interest isn't space, that's just a bonus.

One news article said they'd burned (no pun intended) through most of their $400m from Aabar Investments and Virgin Group are now funding day-to-day operations. I imagine Aabar are hoping Branson will carry on piling Virgin's money into it so that they eventually see a return on their investment rather than just pulling the plug and calling it a bad job, as will the New Mexico State government who have poured $200m into Spaceport America specifically to attract the likes of Virgin Galactic, and who will not want one of their highest profile tenants to be packing up and calling it a day.

On the plus side, latest news reports are suggesting it was an errant feathering of flight controls rather than the rocket motor going boom, which suggests that it's an error in the flight software rather than a fundamental design or engineering problem which is going to send them back to the drawing board.

It's worrying that there's an error in there at all given the strict standards that such software is supposed to be written to, but initial reports would suggest there isn't fundamental flaw in the airframe or motor design that would require a total redesign of the package (and render the partially-complete VSS Voyager vehicle obsolete).

2
0

Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'

rh587
Bronze badge

Yeah, I thought that. Who's proud of their sexuality? "I'm proud to be straight/gay/bisexual" kind of suggests you consider it to be superior to the others, rather than simply different, which is not quite what "Equality" movements are about.

There are lots of things he can be proud of:

- Proud that he is part of a society in which he can openly live his chosen lifestyle without being beaten up, chemically castrated or removed from his position as CEO of a business

- Proud that he has overcome any misgivings and fears over "officially" coming out

- Proud of those around him who have accepted it without question

But proud of being gay? Not really.

I'm proud of you Tim. Not for being gay, but for being sufficiently comfortable with yourself to be open and honest about it. Or I would be, if I could muster myself up enough to care about which way people swing in this day and age.

12
2

KRAKKOOOM! Space Station supply mission in PODULE PRANG EXPLOSION CHAOS

rh587
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: Russian conspiracy?

Russians? No, I expect the gatehouse are busy checking the visitor logs for any contractors coming on site by the name of "Noel Smuk" or similar... speaking of which, who was that yacht registered to!?

1
0

Reg hacks see the woods or the trees In the Forest of the Night

rh587
Bronze badge

Not sure it needs to be darker. Just go back to basics. The stand out episode of this season for me has been Listen - good old monsters-under-the-bed creepiness.

Not dark or adult, just a common fear of the dark.

That said, I do wonder why they are showing what is ostensibly a family show (and really quite light a breezy with no especially gruesome or dark bits) at 8.30pm. What happened to Who being 7pm Prime Time viewing?

0
0

'It's NOT a fishing expedition', say police over random spot checks on gun owners

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: For better or for worse, there are a large number of target shooters who are in their dotage.

"My understanding was that anyone who kept guns at home were open for random spot checks to make sure everything was still secure"

I was advised when I was first granted my certificate that they did not do spot checks - Random or otherwise.

There is no provision for them either in Law or in the Home Office Guidance. If some Force Areas have been doing Random Spot Checks then it's been without the (official) sanctioning of the Home Office and with the good will of certificate holders (or they've managed to convince their Certificate Holders that this is a thing they have the power to do and noone has challenged them on it or actually looked it up).

Obviously if they have good reason to think you're actually doing something illegal, various Powers can be enacted, just the same as if they have reason to think you have a grow in your loft or are making illegal firearms on the lathe in your shed.

But Random Spot Checks should not be a thing - they're all whinging and bitching about how underfunded and overworked they are. They don't have time or resource to do Random Spot Checks. The Home Office Framework doesn't call for them, therefore they shouldn't be doing them at the expense of other duties (like renewing people's certificates in under 4 months when the HO reckon they should be able to do it in 2).

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: "ask to see warrant card"

Why would they smash your windows? Presumably you'd have to open them anyway to talk and exchange said warrant card...

The Police do actually need good reason to damage shit, especially now your passenger can be filming them with their phone. If you calmly make a reasonable request, like "Prove you're a Police Officer", they can't really be seen to refuse that unless there are mitigating circumstances.

In a riot or a violent arrest, you're not going to be checking their details. During a routine traffic stop or when they are on your doorstep, you have time to do so.

You do need to pick your moment though. Clearly in some circumstances you may receive shorter thrift than others. But if they're stood on your doorstep (and haven't busted the door down), then they're on your property and are playing by your rules until such a time as they can legitimately claim a power of entry.

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

No. There are conditions that require you to take reasonable steps to ensure their security. Breaching those conditions is an offence.

If the Police have reason to believe you are breaching any of your conditions, then various powers of entry would apply to allow them to secure and preserve evidence of a crime. This is nothing new.

When I was first granted a Certificate, my Firearms Enquiries Officer (FEO) specifically told me they did not do spot checks - random or otherwise. Any routine visits to do with paperwork would be by appointment.

If for some reason they did have cause to stop by - lets say another local shooter had been burgled and it looked like it was a targetted burglary specifically for the guns, then the Police might be popping round local Certificate Holders to warn them - if they couldn't get hold of you whilst they were on their way, then it may indeed end up being an "unannounced" visit.

In such a case (which has never happened, so far), he advised me to take their Warranr Cards, leave them locked outside and call the local station to confirm their identities and the legitimacy of their business. He said they would have no problem waiting for me to satisfy myself they were genuine.

This changes things very slightly in that they may now plan an unannounced visit if they have reason to be concerned about your security, but they still can't do random spot checks - and if you think that a visit is that, then it needs reporting to an NGB so it can be stamped on tout suite. Depending on the circumstances you may or may not turn them away.

If their opening line is "we're here to see your guns, let us in, we're the Police", then shut the door in their faces.

If they offer some poor excuse for an explanation, then maybe let them in for the sake of 5 minutes of your time (having independently verified their identities), but with the knowledge you are unconvinced - and then lodge their details with your NGB and complain to your Chief Constable.

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Legal process

"What happened to the Police presenting their case to a Judge or Magistrate and seeking a Warrant. Currently, only HMRC Officials are allowed to enter your house without a Warrant. The Police may enter with the Customs Official to provide support and protection, but the Customs Official must enter first."

Whut. The Police may trespass and indeed force entry to a property if they believe life is at imminent risk, or an offence is being committed or about to be committed. If an officer hears screams coming from a flat that sound like someone's being raped or murdered, he does not need a warrant to break the door down and investigate.

PACE also allows for arrests and property searches to secure and preserve evidence.

I'm sure there are other powers of entry that do not need a warrant, but the examples above are sufficient to prove the point.

I'd have thought if anything, HMRC Officials would need a warrant, as presumably if they've arrived at your door it's following an investigation, which would mean they have time to go and secure paperwork - unlike a Police officer stood outside a door listening to a Domestic going on inside! But IANAL, so I don't know the niceties of what HMRC can and can't do - beyond snipping a lump off my payslip every month!

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: The police should not choose the limits of their own power

"Refusing eh? That's suspicious... now I can enforce a search!"

The difference here is unlike young vagabond, most shooters are a member of some organisation - BASC, CPSA, NRA, NSRA. That membership includes substantial legal insurance cover, and those bodies retain heavy-hitting London law firms for exactly such occasions.

So unlike the case with young vagabond, the exchange would be more like.

"I feel that this is a random visit, not a specific, intelligence led visit. Please provide a clear and reasoned explanation for your visit, in accordance with the Home Office Guidance on this matter. If you are unable to do so, I will be unable to grant access because a real officer would have no problem doing so. If you can't I shall have to doubt your legitimacy. I shall then be calling [NGB's] legal department and passing on your name and collar number, before drafting a formal letter of complaint to your Chief Constable regarding your failure to adhere to the standards laid down by the Home Office, in accordance with the advice I have received from [NGB]. Do you feel lucky... officer?"

Seriously, there are checks and balances here. If you think they're taking the piss - and it looks like Cheshire might be - then hold them to account. Work to rule. They can't revoke certificates if people have done nothing wrong, and refusing access to an individual who claims to be a Police Officer but is not following proper protocol is actually the responsible thing to do in terms of firearm security.

2
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Random Spot Checks

Gareth. - Are those your words or have ACPO actually called these "Random Spot Checks"?

Random Spot Checks would go beyond what the Home Office Guidance recommends and should indeed be challenged fiercely.

But... I've not yet come across a single reference to Random Spot Checks that hasn't been a journalist's words. Not one.

I've not come across a single official source that wavers from the Guidance:

"19.11. Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder’s firearms and shotguns.

...

19.12 It is recognised that there are no new powers of entry for police or police staff when conducting home visits. To mitigate any misunderstanding on the part of the certificate holder the police must provide a clear and reasoned explanation to the certificate holder at the time of the visit."

Emphasis mine.

Cleary, the Unnanounced visits authorised by the official Home Office Guidance are a very, very far cry rom "Random Spot Checks".

0
0

Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home

rh587
Bronze badge

"It took two years to get to Jupiter.

30+ years later, it's still not hit one light-DAY away from us.

...

Sure, it's not got a huge propulsion, but it makes you wonder how you intend to keep something powered and propulsive for decades or even centuries."

But bear in mind it has 16 hydrazine thrusters and it's mission profile called for it to visit Jupiter and Saturn before cruising out of the solar system. The remaining fuel will be carefully rationed on maintaining it's attitude and pointing capability so that it can maintain comms with Earth until it's electrical power runs out - not frittered away on thrust such that the craft has electrical power but has no fuel to orient itself for transmission.

If your goal was inter-stellar travel, then consider that reaching 1% of c requires 85 hours at 1g. That would have you at 3000km/s - far faster than Voyager's 17km/s.

Heck, 1 day at 0.5g would get you to 423km/s, which makes Voyager's 17km/s look decidedly sedate.

Voyager 1 is not going quickly because it's a scientific mission who's job is to coast and see what it sees.

If you actually want to get somewhere, you could do it much, much faster.

The issue is less with fuelling it for decades as much as simply providing enough fuel mass to sustain the necessary acceleration burn (and corresponding deceleration burn at the far end).

This could certainly be done with low-mass craft like Voyager using existing high-specific-impulse ion technology.

It becomes more expensive and difficult when you scale to include life support for organics, etc. As you need a lot of power and a lot of fuel to accelerate those additional kilograms. A couple of planetary slingshots on the way out could help maximise speed relative to fuel consumption, but it wouldn't need to take decades to leave the solar system if you were in a hurry.

It doesn't change the fact however, that space is really, really big, and it would certainly take decades - if not centuries - to do 8 light years to our next nearest star (depending on the craft and mission profile). But not the thousands of millenia it would take Voyager 1.

6
0

Are you a gun owner? Let us in OR ELSE, say Blighty's top cops

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Reason for downvote

I absolutely agree it is not the role of Police to profile non-criminals. Which is exactly what they would be doing if they were running random spot checks.

So it's a good job that's not what they're doing.

In addition to pre-arranged visits they are doing unannounced visits where they have actionable intelligence regarding an individual.

Are you suggesting the Police should ignore actionable intelligence? Surely that IS the role of Police?

I'm far more concerned about the Crimestoppers hotline and the tarring us all as extremists bit.

If the Police get a complaint about an individual I'd far sooner have them investigate (their job, to investigate crimes and suspected crimes), get to the bottom of the matter, and either revoke a certificate if there are valid grounds, or not if the complaint turns out to have no merit than have them simply ignore the next Thomas Hamilton.

0
2
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Hmm

"I thought the same? I assumed they had the power to knock on the door of a registered gun owner and ask to see the firearms and how they are stored?

Surely this is good sense, no?"

They have never done random spot checks.

When my ticket was first granted the FEO went as far as to tell me that, and that I should be immediately suspicious of anyone turning up on my doorstep. He warned there may be odd occasions when it could happen - if say a pattern of local burglaries prompted them to pop around and have a word. They would endeavour to call in advance, but if they hadn't got hold of me beforehand, they would have no problem with me taking their details and waiting outside whilst I called the local station (or these days 101) to confirm their credentials and check that they were on legitimate business.

Whilst they are now doing some specific visits unannounced, I would personally still follow that routine - they don't come in until I'd independently verified their identity. After that I'd probably have no issue letting them in. The Police are not the opposition. At one club I was a member of we had three generations of Police as members (none AFOs, just regular bobbies and shooting ran in the family), as well as a couple of other PCs who shot. Regardless of what the media are trying to whip this into, the average FEO is well aware of what civilian shooting is about and it's in our interest to maintain a mutually co-operative relationship with them, even if their Chief Constables are busy posturing to the media.

2
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Hmm

"It's one of those things though - if you said no, go away, you'd probably end up with a siege forming around you."

Well yes, because they have to have a specific reason to justify an unannounced visit.

If they have a specific concern abut an individual they're not going to accept a "sorry, not right now" and toddle off to the doughnut store.

I mean, they probably will - but they'll be back the next evening. And after you've not been able to find 10 minutes to accommodate them for the third occasion they'll have good reason to believe you are being evasive and come back with a warrant.

And I don't actually object to that.... if they have specific intelligence about a specific individual that gives them specific concerns, then I would want them to get to the bottom of the matter. That's what the Police failed to do in the case of Thomas Hamilton, and we can hardly complain about them doing their jobs properly now! And if they try to abuse it, turn them away and call your NGB.

I very much doubt turning them away once would constitute enough good reason to refuse a renewal - the expensive London lawyers retained by people's insurers through their NGB membership would tear that apart.

"You visited my client unannounced. It was not convenient for him to let you in at that moment as he was preparing his young child for bed and you consider this sufficient to revoke a certificate? Did you attempt a second visit, announced or not at a more sociable hour? Did you attempt to follow up with those inquiries? In other words, what has the client done to make themself unsuitable to possess?"

But that wouldn't happen - these are NOT random spot checks - they are triggered by specific intelligence. Which means they have some specific reason to suspect you may be unsuitable. The burden is on you to show good reason (for FACs), the burden is on them to show you are unsuitable. If they cannot do that, the courts will inevitably find in favour of your renewal - and they know it.

1
3
rh587
Bronze badge

"Unfortunately, anyone who legally holds a shotgun/firearm probably wouldn't be best advised to tell the plod to piss off, but the plod can't turn up unannounced and *demand* to inspect your security arrangements or weapons."

Technically they could.

If they had reasonable belief you were not complying with the conditions of your certificate, then they would have a reasonable belief that you were committing an offence - and they have the right under PACE to force entry to secure and preserve evidence.

Apparently people object to the Police asking nicely to come in for a quick chat and would be prefer to be barged out the way as they force their way in!

0
3
rh587
Bronze badge

"The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, meanwhile, seems to have completely changed its position on random spot checks."

Gareth, could you point out - anywhere in the official guidance or law - that says Police are allowed to do random spot checks?

The current guidance states that officers must offer specific reasons why they are visiting. If not, you would be well justified in turning them away (moreover, the Police do not have the resource to randomly spot-check a meaningful percentage of certificate holders on a meaningfully regular basis).

As far as I can tell, BASC have not u-turned at all. Visits to a certificate holder for specific reasons have always been a possibility - they may now be unannounced instead of pre-booked. All the Governing Bodies are advising certificate holders to cooperate with Police, unless they feel that proper procedure (giving of good and specific reasons, etc) has not been followed, in which case to report all details. If indeed the Police chose to abuse these unannounced visits and set up random spot-checking, such a pattern would emerge pretty quickly at national level and I think you would find BASC et al let their lawyers off the leash fairly rapidly.

TL;DR Unannounced != random

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

"Does not say the owners need to be home either. Imagine coming home with the front door smashed in and a post it note from the local constabulary waiting on the post box."

And why would that happen? They have no new right of entry, as every statement has made abundantly clear. They knock on your door and either you're not in, or you are in and let them in, or are in but tell them now's not convenient and send them away.

The Police cannot force entry to your house without a warrant, or unless:

- They believe life is at imminent risk

- An offence is in progress or about to take place

This applies to all offences, whether relating to drugs, firearms, violent crime, handling of stolen goods or burglary-in-progress. The Police already had the power to rock up unannounced and break down your door if they thought, say, you were committing the offence of storing more ammunition than you were permitted to hold on your certificate.

Such an act would probably be considered disproportionate relative to the alleged offence, but they could do it. This new guidance literally offers no new powers.

Such scaremongering is the worst of tripe. These are not random spot checks or any other scary tactic. Where the Police have concerns about an individual and wish to visit them, they may simply now visit unannounced rather than making an appointment. This is not a new class of spot checks that are being introduced.

Far more insidious is the new hotline, which no doubt will be quickly abused by busybodies and jilted ex partners keen to anonymously make malicious reports that their ex was suffering from depression or had been heard to make threats relating to their firearms.

7
7

Police stats inflate the number of guns actually stolen in Blighty

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Shocked

"ok there are a small number of pistols that fall outside of the ban, I wouldn't say many types. Hence why the UK pistol squad have to train abroad, channel Islands I think?"

No, they went to Switzerland. Now they train at a single-figure number of nominated ranges in the UK where their Section 5s are stored.

Then there are the humane dispatch guns that a few vets have who may encounter circumstances where a captive bolt is inappropriate. And of course the growing number of Section 1 long barrelled pistols and revolvers, the Section 7 collectors who occasionally shoot their pistols and machine guns at nominated ranges, and the muzzle-loading and black-powder pistol crowd.

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Shocked

"Using a pistol is not illegal in the UK. Certain types of pistols (I.e semi automatic above .22 calibre and fully automatic) are banned from the general public. There are many types of pistols that are perfectly legal."

Think you're confusing the semi-auto bit with semi-auto rifles above .22rimfire.

To get around the general prohibition on "short firearms" they must be longer than 6cm, and the barrels longer than 30cm. If they are .22 then they can be semi-auto, greater than that not. Very few of the pistols accessible by the general public are really "pistols", bar the criteria that they are fired one handed. LBRs, LBPs and black powder pistols are not quite the same game as a Glock 17 though.

And they're not banned from the general public. Anyone can get a Section 5 permit if you put forward a good enough argument to the home secretary. The bar is just set really, really high. Higher than the "Good Reason" to get a Section 1 Certificate.

British Shooting can nominate 25 elite pistol shooters to keep Section 5 pistols in the UK to train with. A few ex-military and political figures who were involved with NI and against whom credible threats still exist have also been permitted to keep a section 5 firearm for self-defence, along with a few vets and deer stalkers for humane dispatch (usually a revolver with all but two of the cylinders welded up so you can only load two rounds at a time)

* Not defending the current state of affairs. It's a load of bull. But there isn't strictly a ban on owning or using a pistol.

4
0

FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Comey:

"Phone taps solved ONE kidnapping?"

I think what they actually said was only 1 of the 3576 warrants was in relation to a kidnapping case.

They never said the data they demanded actually helped them solve the case...

19
0

Be nice to the public, PC Plod. Especially if you're trying to stop terrorists

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Sure

No. The process is reasonably robust. If someone is unsafe, boot them off the range. The RO's word is law. They are God. If a qualified RO says "They did x/y/z, this posed a hazard to themselves/other range users/me" then that's it.

No Police Force in the UK will challenge that, because they'd rather be sued for discrimination than investigated for issuing a Firearm Certificate to a nutjob who went on to do BAD THINGS (TM).

Similarly, Club Committees are not required to give a reason when they vote on whether to extend Full Membership to a Probationer.

The usual test is "Are they Dangerous or Disruptive?".

In the case above of the Iranian students, a simple answer is "They did not follow the Range Orders and Safety Procedures they had been instructed in, and were not receptive to remedial training. They therefore posed an unacceptable risk to range safety".

Another story I heard recently was of someone who had a prospective member shown around from a certain, much maligned religious background who asked very loudly why women were allowed to shoot and even then why they weren't required to shoot separately to the men.

Remarkably enough, tossing around sexist comments of that nature is considered disruptive to the club environment. It could get you sacked from a workplace, regardless of ethnic background, therefore it is more than enough to fail the "Dangerous or Disruptive" test.

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: in the UK, there was NO causal link

"Not sure I'd claim that. In fact I'd say that looks like a possible causal link. Only that the causal link shows crime goes down when the perps think the odds of their targets being armed are higher."

Since Self Defence has not been considered a "Good Reason" for the issue of a Firearm Certificate in the UK since the 1960s, I'm broadly confident that when handguns were prohibited in 1997, the subsequent rise in firearm crime was NOTHING to do with the prohibition - people were not carrying around their target pistols holstered in their day to day life. That was illegal then, and had been for decades.

Firearm crime was trending upwards prior to 1997, and continued to do so until 2004/05 when targeted Police Guns & Gangs Operations such as Operations Trafalgar and Trident really hit at the heart of illegal firearms trade, import and usage.

In the US, it is possible such a correlation could be drawn, since people do carry guns around (whether concealed or open) as a form of self defence, and in the wake of a ban on that practice, an increase in armed muggings, robberies or other firearms crime could - in part - be attributed to that change.

But not in the UK. The rise in gun crime following 1997 was not related to the prohibition, it was just black-market business as usual until ENFORCEMENT clamped down on it some years later.

Any claim that there is a causal link constitutes Bad Science and Bullshit Statistics.

0
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: worth noting

Yeah, a legal owner is unlikely to hand in their guns during an amnesty - amnesties are a no-questions-asked opportunity for illegally held firearms to be held in.

If you've got it on your ticket you sell it, or indeed hand it in at a Police station for destruction. There are no questions to be asked - you have a gun, the serial matches the record on your ticket. You get a receipt, ticket written on, and you inform the Licensing Office that you have disposed of the gun. And you file away copies of all that paperwork.

Any FAC-holder who has somehow disposed of firearms and not got their ticket appropriately amended is a numpty. Similarly the Police should have NO excuse for not holding an accurate record, unless the FAC holder has failed to inform them of the transfer - which is a breach of their statutory Certificate conditions.

0
0

'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

rh587
Bronze badge
Pint

Re: Think of the Pig Filth as 'Chuck Yeager'

"The Honourable Members of Parliament. Are there such personages?"

Kate Hoey? She's about it, the little rebel.

Also, Andrew Griffiths (MP for brewing capital Burton-upon-Trent) gets props for chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Beer, the mere existence of which is a cause for celebration.

4
0

Our Vultures peck at new Doctor Who: Exterminate or, er ... carrion?

rh587
Bronze badge

"Rather than engaging new sci-fi, the writers mine the exhausted"

Exactly what I've been thinking. I like Capaldi's Doctor. I just don't like the stories they've chosen to tell about him, with the exception of "Listen". Good old-fashioned monsters-under-the-bed (literally) rather than the sillier end of Sci-Fi.

I'm also conflicted about his hatred of soldiers.

Day of the Doctor offers some insight to the youthful incarnations of Tennant and Smith - trying to live a more innocent life after committing genocide against two species. A guilt which comes to an end with the Day of the Doctor, and now he can move on a little older and wiser - as Capaldi.

One can see why he might dislike soldiery - the Doctor has always had a sneer towards anyone running around with guns and he evidently sees it as the darker side of any species. Capaldi's colder exterior however, is just spilling over into nastiness with his treatment of Danny in The Caretaker, and whilst the Doctor can be cold and calculated in his actions, after 12 incarnations, one can't help but think he's wiser and cleverer than how they have portrayed him.

As for Moffat. He's clearly running out of ideas. That said, at least he plans his way through series though. When the Daleks come back it's because he was forced to let them escape in a previous episode. Not of the RTD silliness where he triumphantly sucks them all into a vortex once and for all... until episode one of the next season when they want them back again and have to concoct some twisted reasoning to allow one or two to have survived. Keep Moffat on as a "Strategic Advisor" to oversee continuity at a season level and get some fresh blood in (yes, I'm aware most episodes have a non-Moffat writer credited, but many, if not most have Moffat credited as a co-writer. Push him back another step, let people write their own episodes rather than co-writing with him, and have him just strategically comment on them).

1
0

OMG!! With nothing but MACHINE TOOLS, STEEL and PARTS you can make a GUN!!

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Guns in America

"I will say, however, that as an American there is one reason why many of us hate AR-15s. The reason is that in 2012, two weeks before Christmas, a mad man killed 20 children with one."

Whilst those events are unspeakably tragic, it's worth bearing in mind that Derrick Bird killed 12 people in Whitehaven using a bolt-action (albeit magazine-fed) hunting rifle.

In the right hands, it makes not a jot of difference whether a gun is Fully-Automatic, Semi-Automatic or Manually Fed.

China has had a spate of nasty knife attacks, with attackers killing 8+ children at a time with bladed weapons.

Much was made of the Washington Beltway Snipers using a Bushmaster (because it's black and scary looking), but for that job - with a modified car, etc - a bolt action would have been as, if not more effective.

The numbers surely are irrelevant. One innocent life lost is too many, and that means (once you have some sensible, basic regulations to make criminal access inconvenient) addressing the person, not the object.

6
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Defending against the government in the US

Indeed. Certain of the lunatic fringe seem to think it would be the general public vs the US military.

Of course, in a civil war - an actual, proper civil war where a country tears itself apart - many serving personnel may well defect - soldiers and airmen have families as well, and they're going to be one side or another. Ergo, far from a well organised military vs a popular militia, it'd be elements of the US military, with their hardware plus new recruits, vs other elements of the US military with their hardware, plus new recruits. Which side counts as the traitors and defectors depends which side you're on.

Your little stash of AR15s starts to look a bit pointless when the local military base is overrun because the guards abandoned their posts to go home and your neighbour is tooling down the street in their looted Humvee sporting a roof-mount .50BMG or TOW launcher.

1
1
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

"In the UK there are no guns because the govt took them away after WWII."

In the UK there are fuckloads of guns.

Couple of million rifles and shotguns - everything from double barrel shotguns for driven game and clays, to bolt-action target rifles, semi auto rifles (in .22lr calibre only), straight-pull AR-15s, the odd .50cal. Historic Machine Guns, held under special Section 7 Licenses for historic and significant firearms (along with "Section 7" Pistols and other goodies that would normally be illegal).

Oh, and an estimated 10 million air rifles and air pistols. But neither Westminster nor the Scottish Government has any idea who actually possesses any of those, which would make it very difficult to enforce licensing or a ban, as Holyrood keeps mooting at various intervals.

2
0
rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Sigh....

"If I saw a non-uniformed person carrying a fire arm I would call the police."

I hope not. The list of scenarios where it's appropriate to call the Police because a non-uniformed individual is in possession of a firearm is actually quite short.

If you see someone carrying an uncovered firearm, then you're probably in the countryside and they're hunting. Hunters, whilst understanding of public ignorance and paranoia, get really fucked off when armed police come tramping over their permission and scare off the rabbits or foxes they were hunting because a dog walker couldn't figure out why someone in the countryside might be shooting in a field. Basically puts an end to the evening's work.

Similarly, a local clay pigeon site has a public footpath running through the car park. Presumably you wouldn't call the police about this hotbed of gun usage if you passed through on a ramble?

Driving along Queen's Road form Bisley in Surrey you'll pass by the back corner of Century Range at the national shooting centre. On a normal weekend you'll see hundreds of people shooting, none of them uniformed!

Granted, if you see someone ambling down the high street with a rifle over their shoulder then that's probably a cause for concern, but interestingly not illegal provided they have good reason to be carrying - such as transporting it to/from a gunsmith. Thanks to our wonderful mish mash of laws, it'd only be illegal to carry an airgun uncovered. Carrying a rifle or shotgun back to the car uncovered may attract attention but isn't actually illegal!

6
3

PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: Dummy

"One concern has been firewall penetration, as NAT provided an additional layer of security by separating the address spaces naturally."

Indeed. Serving stuff to people is dead easy. As we've been upgrading servers we've been asking our bit barn to provision them with IP6 addresses as well as IP4, since every modern server OS can happily handle a dual network stack. Security/NAT isn't an issue - they're public facing web servers, so the security on them is set to be tight whether they're accessible via 4 or 6.

Really, for anything designed to be web facing, then provided it's got a sufficiently non-ancient OS that it runs a dual IP4/6 network stack, it's really just a matter of getting it assigned an IPv6 address (and updating your DNS records).

The key issue is the users. If ISPs actually started assigning IP6 addresses to users and configured their routers (which will all be dual stack anyway) to prefer IP6, it could happen quite quickly. They won't though because though everyone would be bloody confused by the disappearance of their nice 192.168 addresses and the reappearance of these long, confusing IP6 addresses, and many of them could have stuff sat on their network that has gaping security holes either by design (IoT), or bits they set up that they never intended to be accessible from the public internet - RPi home media hubs and the rest. If ISPs flushed a firmware upgrade to their routers (and I don't doubt at least some of them have left backdoors in so they can do that), they could in principle convert all their users to IPv6, but doing so would simultaneously expose billions of unsecured devices that were never supposed to see anything other than a 192.168 or 10.0 address.

As a result, the only people who can actually see our servers over IPv6 are people keen enough to tunnel, or the handful who have actually ahd it natively enabled by their ISP - usually smaller players with fewer customers or the odd business network that's made the jump. Us being on BT in the office means we have to tunnel to check our servers are actually accessible by those means!

2
1

Range Rover to fit trendy new SUV with FRIKKIN' LASER HUDs

rh587
Bronze badge

Re: And who needs a reminder of what gear they are in?

@Dr_N

"Making the same-old stuff, decade-after-decade, is what killed off British ownership of car makers in the first place."

Worked for Porsche... the 911 is beautiful, but it wouldn't kill them to experiment with something radically different once in a while. A sports car. Not the Cayenne *vomits*

I have no objection to the lifestyle end of Land Rover's range. I just find it utterly ludicrous that a company who has built it's history and heritage on go-anywhere utility vehicles will not have a single example of the type in it's range by next year.

There is a market for a modern day version of the Defender. If it was US-legal they would sell them faster than they could make them.

To end up in this situation where there is no Defender and no viable replacement on the cards is utterly bizarre. Their efforts thus far (the DC100) have not fulfilled the requirements of the supposed target market. If they'd said it was a beach buggy lifestyle vehicle then I'd have believed them. Pretending it was a Defender replacement was laughable. Not saying the DC100 was bad, or not a funky product. But it wasn't what they were pitching it as, which is presumably why it's dead.

0
0

Page:

Forums