back to article Pompey boffin bags €1.3m off EU for dark matter research – shame a no-deal Brexit looks more and more likely

A University of Portsmouth researcher has won a €1.3m grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to continue his investigation into dark matter and its role in the universe's first seconds of existence. Dr Florian Beutler works at the university's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation. The money will fund his experiments …

  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    In other words like the rest of us who dont own a hedge fund or get paid £1000 per hour to be a corporate shill (sorry "consultant"), Brexit will f*ck this right up.

    Gawd help any of those PHd's and post-docs if they are of European nationality - they'll probably end up with pre-settled status like half the current poor sods.

  2. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    They will then be contacted by UK Research and Innovation and told what steps they have to take to access the funds if the UK leaves without a deal.

    I believe the steps require bending over and preparing for insertion.

    Or alternatively moving to the continent...

    (I wish i was joking....)

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      I was going to say something about the requirement being a loyalty oath to the World King and his new Dominion, but I think your assessment still has traction.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        I spoke too soon: it looks like the World King is about to be deposed. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

    2. Mephistro Silver badge
      Devil

      "to access the funds if the UK leaves without a deal"

      They'll be provided with a kit containing the following:

      - A black jumpsuit complete with a dark mask.

      - Plans of the EU building where the funds are kept, including patrol schedules.

      - A thermal lance.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Although the UK government has promised to match any funding gained before Brexit, academics still worry about the details and how quickly and easily they will be able to draw down funds."

    Academics are totally right to be *very* worried. Even with a deal, post-Brexit, the UK gov. will have so much issue on its plate that the last of their worries will be a handful of astro-boffins, I tell ya !

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      When the service sector is depleted UK will depend on a supply of monetisable science coming out of research.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        And there'll be bugger-all of that.

      2. iron Silver badge

        UK gov wouldn't understand how to monetise research if you hit them over the head with it.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Have the promised matching funds been written on the side of a bus?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        The side of a bus would be about the right size for the cheque they'd need to write to make good on all their promises.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      It's okay, guys, they promised.

      When has the UK government not delivered on a promise ?

      Oh, wait . . .

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for him

    Most EU collaborative grants are already being refused if a UK based researcher is involved, due to Brexit.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Good for him

      Not yet as I understand it from (ex) colleagues, but any project that has the UK as the primary or which is reliant on the Uk for a core part of the project is being looked at very heard. EU based collaborators are also treating invitations to UK centric proposals with care.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Good for him

      Definitely not true. My university announced six such grants have been approved for our researchers just last week. Of course we hope they now decide to stay with the university.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Good for him

        Grants for individual researchers are pretty safe.

        The ones that require access to UK facilities/funding I would be a little more concerned about

    3. Filippo

      Re: Good for him

      Well, yeah. I mean, looking really hard at any UK collaboration is the sensible thing to do, given that there's a good chance they'll get tossed out of the window in less than two months. It's not being "evil", it's just common sense in the face of utter uncertainty.

      If things were clear and settled, even if they were clear and settled on no deal, businesses and organizations would be able to plan accordingly. But as things stand now, entering any kind of long-term commitment to anything in the UK is really difficult.

  5. don't you hate it when you lose your account

    Toilet paper

    So if the land of my birth crashes out do I also have to stockpile dark energy as well as toilet paper?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Toilet paper

      Well, it would make the toilet paper stretch a bit further...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Toilet paper

        Stretching toilet paper isn't a good idea.

  6. David Lester

    One Slight Correction...

    Because this H2020 funding is for science from the ERC -- and is therefore an individual grant -- Dr Beutler is at liberty to take his €1.3 million to any EU institution he chooses. This is unlike the H2020 funding from FET which is awarded to an Institution, such as Portsmouth University.

    This makes researchers with ERC grants very attractive on the international market: they come with their own funding!

    Good for Dr Beutler; not so good for Portsmouth and UK Science more generally.

    (I have been awarded both ERC and FET funding in the past.)

  7. Rupert Fiennes Silver badge

    Really?

    Dear John

    You might want to correct this. It appears the ERC has no issues funding projects in...gasp, non-EU countries!

    https://erc.europa.eu/projects-figures/erc-funded-projects/results?f%5B0%5D=country%3AIsrael&f%5B1%5D=country%3ASwitzerland&f%5B2%5D=country%3ATurkey&f%5B3%5D=country%3AIceland

    Now, Iceland and Turkey are hardly research giants, but Switzerland and Israel are. Has anyone told them how their research funding is about to be cut? I suspect the answer is no :-)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      They have an agreement. It seems Johnson and Cummings have decided that an agreement is not important for the UK, so that means there will be no money for UK research projects.

      Also, they have decided people don't need to know what will happen after Brexit either.

      1. SundogUK

        Re: Really?

        "Also, they have decided people don't need to know what will happen after Brexit either."

        Bollocks. They are talking about 'contingency' plans, in case of what MIGHT happen. Not WILL.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Really?

      Now, Iceland and Turkey are hardly research giants, but Switzerland and Israel are. Has anyone told them how their research funding is about to be cut? I suspect the answer is no :-)

      "Switzerland’s exile from EU research is a cautionary tale for the UK" - for a few years Switzerland was booted out of H2020 and Erasmus+.

  8. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "Although the UK government has promised to match any funding gained before Brexit"

    I'd love to know where the UK Government has found all this money it's currently promising to spend. I know Boris promised Sajid Javid would provide a budget update this week, maybe the magic beanstalk is in fruit.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      They can always print it. That's a strategy which has worked out so well for various countries in the past.

      Wheelbarrows make handy wallets.

    2. Rupert Fiennes Silver badge

      I think you know where

      https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7886

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: I think you know where

        @Rupert Fiennes

        Probably also handy that only one set of public servants get hold of the money instead of here and the EU before 'returning' some of it

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sajid Javid

      For a moment I didn't have my glasses on, and somewhat confusedly read that as "Squid Javid"; which has a nice ring to it. It's a shame he's not in charge of Fisheries. :-)

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Sajid Javid

        "Squid Javid"

        According to his website https://www.sajidjavid.com/about-sajid he worked for Chase Manhattan and later at Deutsche Bank.

        Now, they are both Investment Banks, of whose ilk Goldman Sachs were famously described as "The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity..."

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8146240/Goldman-Sachs-in-quotes-from-Vampire-Squid-to-Fabulous-Fab.html

    4. unimaginative

      As we are net contributors to the EU the answer is pretty obvious.

      The government pretty much does have a magic money tree - it can borrow cheap, and it can print money.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        The government pretty much does have a magic money tree - it can borrow cheap, and it can print money.

        That's also part of the problem with the EU, ie ECB and QE. So it's been busily printing Euros to prop up Germany.. I mean stimulate the economy. Which demonstrably hasn't really worked, but has left the EU holding an enormous amount of debt.

        Sans-EU, the UK will be able to decide where to invest, and have additional policy levers, ie tax & VAT treatment for R&D etc. So we could end up with a situation where there's more money, and lower costs.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Are you saying the UK can't decide where to invest and doesn't have tax policy leavers now?

          I think it's more of a case of won't, not can't.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            I think it's more of a case of won't, not can't.

            It can be a bit of both. So take high energy physics. Oddly, experiments in that field tend to rack up collosal energy bills. Currently, UK has to charge VAT on those and EU rules make it hard to reduce VAT, or zero-rate stuff. Then of course there's EU energy policy making that electricity more expensive and less reliable anyway.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge
              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Your bedtime read:

                What has EU climate and energy policy done for the UK?

                Given the UK one of the worst blackouts since the 1970s? But 'Green' energy is very much back to the future. Y'know, replacing windmills with steam power, that whole industrial revolution thing...

                But your report is much like other Green manifestos. Like that chap who wrote about environmental policy, sustainable living* and a healthy, vegan lifestyle.. "My Struggle", I think it was called.. But I digress. So-

                We interviewed 20 experts from business, NGOs, government and academia to ask them how well they think the European Union’s climate and energy policies have performed.

                That's... nice. So a Green lobbying firm produces a report that says all is well, and give more money please! It was I guess a bit sustainable. ie it's interview list includes Tom Burke, but doesn't make it clear if he's representing RTZ (a mining company), UCL or E3G.. Which provided another contributor.

                So basically Green lobbying firm gets 'opinions' from other Green lobbying firms (WWF, Greenpeace, E3G) or a Siemens sales guy to convince people to buy more windmills. So hardly an unbiased report, but that's how the Green Blob works.. A virtuous circle-jerk funded by the taxpayer

                What it doesn't tell you is how to prevent power cuts disrupting research experiments, or just provide say, 60GW of wind power mid-winter when there's one of those anticyclonic spells characterised by cold weather and no wind..

                On the plus side, maybe someday those freaky physicists will get fusion working, or even better, ZPE.. which is just.. weird.

                *Ok, so the 'living' part sadly didn't apply to large sections of that particular population..

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                  You might want to look at fellow commentard Martin an gof's follow-up post which goes over the National Grid report.

                  I'm having trouble finding where to pin the blame on the wind farms and the EU. Note: Hornsey's protection was not configured correctly and has since been adjusted, so this is not a problem with wind farms in general.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    I'm having trouble finding where to pin the blame on the wind farms and the EU. Note: Hornsey's protection was not configured correctly and has since been adjusted, so this is not a problem with wind farms in general.

                    Why weren't the wind farms configured correctly in the first place, especially as this kind of configuration error is pretty much exactly how Australia's blackout happened. But 'renewables' are EU policy, supported by our home-grown vegetables. And strongly supported by lobbying groups like your report. Which ironically included contributions from Orsted/Dong and Siemens, and recommended we build a lot more offshore wind. Who could have predicted that?

                    Or from the NG report-

                    To ensure that, in the event of a loss, the rate of change of frequency does not result in the disconnection of users the ESO can decide to increase the total system inertia (which would slow down changes in frequency) or reduce the size of potential generation and demand losses that could credibly occur. A smaller sized loss will result in a correspondingly smaller RoCoF in low inertia conditions. The optimal approach is to reduce the size of credible system infeed losses on generation, demand or interconnectors. This approach is more cost effective than increasing the level of inertia.

                    So roughly translated.. all 'renewables'* are fundamentally low inertia. Increasing the level of inertia would mean adding say, 1.878GW of battery capacity. Suppliers of said batteries would approve, but it would add huge costs. So NG recommends breaking generation into smaller units, ie if Hornsea were Nx500MW discrete chunks, losing 500MW would be easier to protect/manage.. But that makes wind projects more expensive.

                    And it basically disagrees with your cited report, so who's right, the NG, or the NGO/lobbying shop?

                    Another alternative would of course be to ditch wind, as our ancestors did and focus on low carbon/high inertia generation like nuclear.. But that may require some brave scientists to explain why nuclear power stations don't (and can't) explode & counter decades of Green propaganda.

                    *Drax being an exception, at least until it runs out of trees to burn. Strange how that one's considered Green.

            2. H in The Hague

              "UK has to charge VAT on those and EU rules make it hard to reduce VAT, or zero-rate stuff."

              Don't think so. If I pay a million quid VAT on the tricity for my particle accelerator then that goes into the government's coffers. Should that tricity be zero-rated my project will benefit but the exchequer gets almost a million quid less. So the government has less money to support my project, or yours. Disclaimer: I ain't no accountant.

              Anyway it was interesting to see Take Back Control in action a minute ago. Though perhaps not quite in the way the Hon B Johnson MP had in mind three years ago.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Anyway it was interesting to see Take Back Control in action a minute ago. Though perhaps not quite in the way the Hon B Johnson MP had in mind three years ago.

                TBC inaction. Issue's not really what BoJo had in mind, but what the public voted for. So they voted 'Leave', yet we 'Remain'. Bracknell voted 'Leave', and didn't vote for a LibDem MP.. But that's just one constituency being ignored in the name of 'democracy'.

                So now, despite the express wishes of the public, TBC is now determined to given control to the EU. No deal, no leaving. Yet MPs had 3 chances to approve the deal the EU offered, and didn't. They also failed to come up with an alternative deal, and the EU has said May's deal was their best and final offer.

                Which just demonstrates we truly are living in the 'Age of Stupid', and the Remnants (and their cheerleaders) really have no idea how to negotiate from a position of strength. The currently proposed legislation says we can't leave without a deal, so the EU can just keep dragging things out by offering bad deals.

                Good news is Labour may have provided a solution-

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legislative_and_Regulatory_Reform_Act_2006

                So if 'TBC' manage to get their handcuff Bill through in the next couple of days, that Act can be used to repeal it thanks to T.Blair Esq. Might be a few snags around Clause 3, but such is politics..

            3. Justthefacts

              Great example.....

              So, you think that as a society we should be funding very large expensive accelerators?

              I beg to differ. More importantly, some very well respected people in the field also believe that this is a bad direction to fund. Suggest you read Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog

              http://backreaction.blogspot.com

              Very short version - there is no *good* reason to think that it will discover new stuff just re-measure to ever increasing precision things we already know. While the same amount of money could fund hundreds of smaller projects that really should push the boundaries of ignorance.

              It is clear that she herself is very pro-EU in outlook. However, the disease she complains about is culture in search of a particular kind of project funding. Personally, I find her complaints about the state of funding in her discipline mirror exactly the drivers in my own - intended to manipulate funding schemes rather than innovate and test scientific boundaries.

              As I said, read her critiques, she is very clear and well-respected, and compare to the critiques of others in the neurosciences of the EU Human Brain Project.

              At the highest level, science and engineering aren’t about “cost of electricity”. They are more about selecting great questions to investigate, and having people to drive the bus wherever it takes them.

              The Commission consistently picks very large projects to fund with huge admin and coordination overheads. That’s neither coincidence, nor malice, it just mirrors their own organisation. And it simply doesn’t produce either good science or useful output to society.

              1. eldakka Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Great example.....

                Very short version - there is no *good* reason to think that it will discover new stuff just re-measure to ever increasing precision things we already know. While the same amount of money could fund hundreds of smaller projects that really should push the boundaries of ignorance.

                I think you have just hit on an explanation for Boris Johnson and his ilk!

              2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Great example.....

                Very short version - there is no *good* reason to think that it will discover new stuff just re-measure to ever increasing precision things we already know. While the same amount of money could fund hundreds of smaller projects that really should push the boundaries of ignorance.

                Ah, the 'Green New Deal'.. $2.5tn annually, which certainly does push the boundaries. UK's not much better off given our CCA runs at around £40bn. Then there's the UN's 'Climate Fund' that wants $100bn annually. Kinda leaves less for those smaller projects, unless they can work 'Green' into their proposals. Which is one of those challenges when you have policy driven science instead of the reverse.

                But I disagree with some of the fundamental physics bit. There are still uncertainties around the unified physics model, especially figuring out if/how stuff like dark matter might balance equations. Some of that research needs deep pockets, so ends up multi-national. Or we can leave it to India & China to make those discoveries and exploit them.

                Personally, I find her complaints about the state of funding in her discipline mirror exactly the drivers in my own - intended to manipulate funding schemes rather than innovate and test scientific boundaries.

                Agreed, but that's following the money combined with publish or perish. I also have some sympathy towards neuroscience given my undergrad research was trying to use SQUIDs to model nerve impulses* & apply that to prosthetics. Now we have MEGS that make some of that easier. But those, like most high-tech stuff rely on reliable and affordable power.

                *Would have been sooo much easier if $deity had made us digital instead of analogue.

                1. Justthefacts

                  Re: Great example.....

                  You've misunderstood me. Neither I nor Hossenfelder argue that researching fundamental physics is a waste of money. She argues that beauty of the equations has been a key driver of research [funding], has motivated ever larger accelerators, and hasn't led to any advances in the last thirty-odd years. You miss the huge time-lag: the results reported in the media today are result of fundamental physics done 40-50 years ago. She thinks there are better things to fund within fundamental physics. It's a long argument, read her blog.....

                  Back to topic, there is definitely a purpose to solve the dark matter problem, but it is again classic EU large physics funding model. They decide to fund the spacecraft first, then researchers have to apply for funding by producing a model that is testable using the pre-decided experimental setup. They don't get funded unless their hypothesis is consistent with the instruments built onto the spacecraft.This is not a good way to do science.

                  Note the funding model of previous ESA spacecraft like Exomars or Aeolus, and ask yourself honestly whether you agree with it. In practice, the budget for the spacecraft is infinite. ESA have a fixed annual budget, and run about three science spacecraft programs in parallel . If a program goes over-budget by 3x, then it just takes 12 years instead of 4. Exomars was originally started in 2005 to launch in 2008, currently launch estimated 2020.

                  I have no axe to grind with this particular researchers work; given that the money has been spent on the spacecraft, someone has to crunch the data, and compare it against some model.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Great example.....

                    They decide to fund the spacecraft first, then researchers have to apply for funding by producing a model that is testable using the pre-decided experimental setup. They don't get funded unless their hypothesis is consistent with the instruments built onto the spacecraft.This is not a good way to do science.

                    That's post-normal science for you, or policy driven science. These are the expected results, produce them. Never mind any null hypotheses, those can go unfunded, ignored, or denied later. So pretty much how climatologists science. Went from a quiet academic backwater where people weighed wood to that wood becoming highly precise thermometers capable of justifying trillions of dollars in spending. Scientists would have to be very brave to bite the hands that are feeding it so well.

                    I think the solution should be to try and achieve more neutrality between the bagmen and science, but of course that's a huge political challenge to overcome vested interests, whether those are commercial or academic. As an example, one of my favorite experiments is OCCO-2. A simple orbiting spectrometer tuned to look for CO2 (and oxygen). So one budget figure for DBO, another for analysing and interpreting the data.. or ideally just publish the data, especially if funding was public. In theory, peer-review gates some interpretations and provides QC, in practice, it can (and does) act as a biased gatekeeping function.

                    TL;DR though, post-October 31st, the UK would be able to decide funding priorities.

              3. lglethal Silver badge
                Go

                Re: Great example.....

                I agree with most of what you've writtenexcept for the last paragraph:

                The Commission consistently picks very large projects to fund with huge admin and coordination overheads. That’s neither coincidence, nor malice, it just mirrors their own organisation. And it simply doesn’t produce either good science or useful output to society.

                Large projects quite often produce very large results, CERN has produced amazing science AND useful outputs for society multiple times over the last few decades. ESA, DLR, CNES - all big organisations that suck up lots of the funding, but they produce lots of science as payout.

                ITER currently sucks up huge amounts of funding, but its pushing the boundaries of engineering and if it works it will be a game changer for the energy industry across the planet.

                Funding very large projects and/or very large organisations does not mean that good science/engineering/outputs for society are not produced. they need to be managed properly, so that they are not just reinventing the wheel, but managed properly they can produce things that are truly ground breaking....

                1. Justthefacts

                  Re: Great example.....

                  CERN *did* produce some amazing science last century. But it hasn't done so for thirty years.

                  Since then, it has produced only confirmatory graphs of the Standard Model, plus measuring the Higgs mass, which was predicted in *1970's*. There is no reason to think the proposed CERN upgrade will see anything beyond Standard Model. People invested in the current funding model don't want to hear that, but it is the truth.

                  I won't address the strengths and weaknesses of ESA, CNES and DLR, except to say that I am sure we will agree that DLR is decent & the strongest of the three. But we should be measuring DLR against either the Fraunhofer Institute or the Max Planck, both of which are engines of innovation. It's actually a really good controlled experiment. Can you explain why DLR is "decent" with a budget of 3.8 bn total, compared to the Fraunhofer (2bn) a world leader? The Fraunhofer consists of 72 institutions working on individual agendas, while the DLR is monolithic and centrally directed. That's it.

                  Check here for the impact of being "in the EU" on research quality.

                  https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2019/engineering-technology

                  Two Swiss and three UK within top 11, while "first EU" not reached until #16. That doesn't look like that the EU research model is a good one.

                  1. lglethal Silver badge

                    Re: Great example.....

                    CERN's output goes far beyond just the particle smashing. I'm surprised you're overlooking that.

                    But on the topic of DLR and Fraunhofer, you are aware that they are designed for two seperate purposes? Fraunhofer is a dedicated Science institute. It hires top scientists and produce great results in very dedicated fields. DLR is a scientists and engineer training institute. That it produces amazing science at the same time is awesome, but it's primary responsibility (and its written into its manifest) is to train Germany's future engineers and scientists (if you ever work with DLR, you will find the average age there to be quite young).

                    So its not exactly a like for like comparison.

                  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

                    Re: Great example.....

                    CERN *did* produce some amazing science last century. But it hasn't done so for thirty years.

                    19,032 publications, 3,646 PhD completed under partial supervision of CERN in the last 10 years, it isn't that bad, is it?

                    https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2019/engineering-technology

                    Ranking made by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company based in London....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry

    You remoaners make me sick. It was exactly to stop this sort of research that I voted leave

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sorry

      I wonder if your down voters heard the whooshing sound? (I didn't up or down vote you as I think the worst choice the REG ever made was to follow the braindead practices of facebook et al).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm sorry

        I haven't up/down voted either way, but may I just point out that a few years back we'd know this was obvious parody, but now, lets just say, they're interesting times we live in. And not in a good way.

        And really, why do you care if someone downvotes on el reg? You don't get paid more or an award for popular posts.

        1. Grikath
          Trollface

          Re: I'm sorry

          Actually .... you did...

          Weekly item: top up/downvoted posts..

          Which I miss tremendously, because the sheer trolling for downvotes on contentuous topics was of epic proportions, a good passtime, and an education for those not yet properly pickled in the thing called "internet". And quite often a better read than the actual article involved.

          Of course, the current generation of thin-skinned snowflakes can't handle 1% of what appeared in the comments section in the day.. Ahhh.... the heady days when being a Commentard meant something.

          Icon for obvious reasons...

  10. adam 40 Bronze badge

    Brexit is made of Dark Energy

    After all it's making the UK move away from Europe.

    Sounds like being in Brexit is an ideal background for this research!

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    Dark energy

    is just the universe's way of getting as far away from Portsmouth as possible

    Its a right dump

    Ps I live here so I should know (current council plan for dealing with air pollution: Charge everyone £8 per day to drive here... then wonder why all the shops are boarded up and no one comes here anymore )

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Dark energy

      @Boris

      Cheer up! The Prince of Wales will be in Portsmouth before the year is out.

      Then again, no catapults on that either - very depressing.

      ---> Have a Beer at The Still & West

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Dark energy

        >The Prince of Wales will be in Portsmouth before the year is out.

        >Then again, no catapults

        Surely we can give him a catapult?

        He is getting on a bit but as the last line of defence a few heirs to the throne with some schoolboy weapons is probably still better than an F35

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Dark energy

          Ah, yes, HMS,not HRH.

          Though HRH would probably approve of catapults - they are environmentally friendly compared to explosive weapons. Don't forget the catapults should be made with wood from sustainably managed organic forests.

  13. DreR7

    They say they are running out of time...

    They say they are running out of time, but time is not only limitless, but it is also relative to space and entropy. So techncally, they are behind time and space but mainly very ordered....

  14. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Black Kettle? Pot's calling.

    "I want my money back!"

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