* Posts by Mike Richards

3782 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Nuclear power station sensors are literally shouting their readings at each other

Mike Richards
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Tremendous idea

And it doesn't need to say much - pretty much everything can be reduced to 'Everything's fine', 'Uh oh' or 'Bugger!'

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How Lexmark's patent fight to crush an ink reseller will affect us all

Mike Richards
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Re: Um...so Lexmark's long term plan...

I'm sure the ultimate plan for these companies to get out of the business of actually making stuff which is messy and expensive and gradually move into the shiny, air-conditioned world of entirely living off patent portfolios.

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Government to sling extra £4.7bn at R&D in bid to Brexit-proof Britain

Mike Richards
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A shame about all the R&D funded by the EU that we're going to be locked out of thanks to Brexit. The EU demonstrated to the Swiss that no freedom of movement means no substantial involvement in pan-European projects.

And we still don't know how existing R&D - such as ITER - will continue post-Brexit as in many cases, the UK is a member through its EU membership. We will need to reapply for entry which could take months or years, during which highly-skilled jobs and researchers are going to look elsewhere.

Still, we get our bendy bananas back.

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Search for MH370 called off after new theory about resting place is ruled out

Mike Richards
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Re: Commercial Aircraft Locations

Excellent point - this and AF447 make the case for continuous data. It needn't even be huge amounts of bandwidth - just a 'I'm here' would be a huge improvement on the current situation where a plane largely goes silent for long stretches of its flight.

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BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

Mike Richards
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Re: Don't get annoyed - have some fun!

Great idea!

But should it be porn or the finer details of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act?

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British military laser death ray cannon contract still awarded, MoD confirms

Mike Richards
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Re: The Usual UK Government Leaches Reinventing the Wheel

'Instead of enriching the usual financial freeloaders, why doesn't the UK government do a deal with it's 'best friend' nation (allegedly the US of A) and buy some of the work the US government has already paid for?'

Because BAE is the greatest make-work scheme this country has ever come up with.

Every few years they threaten to move jobs abroad unless the government gives them billions to develop an all-British* rival to something the Yanks already have. The government, terrified of being seen to be running anything other than an international superpower in the eyes of the Daily Telegraph immediately coughs up whatever ludicrous amount of money is required.

A few years later, roughly about the time the product is meant to be finished, BAE ask for more money muttering something about the hull being built upside down or the wrong number of wings being fitted to the fuselage.

Inevitably, at some point the government will either change its mind and decide that they want the project to work on a submarine rather than a helicopter, or there will be a change of government entirely and it takes a couple of years for the new lot to be sufficiently wined and dined to be accommodating to BAE's wishes.

This process is repeated for many years as jobs are quietly moved abroad until BAE unleash their latest turkey on the poor sods who will actually have to get it to work. Round about this time, we learn we've been pointing the wrong weapons at the wrong enemy all along and have to start all over again - with catered lunches.

* apart from all the foreign bits they'll need to make it work.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Say what? Speak louder; I can't hear you!

If it doesn't go 'pew! pew! pew!' I'll want my money back.

And some squaddie training that obliges them to shout 'Exterminate!' will be nice too.

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Mike Richards
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Re: FFS

Be glad they didn't use 'bleeding edge' in a defence announcement.

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China to Donald Trump: Twitter diplomacy 'undesirable'

Mike Richards
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We've got four years of this?

Alternatively:

I'm trying to work out if six months of this followed by a blinding white flash and all my skin melting off is a worse outcome

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NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

Mike Richards
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Re: Lucy?

Meteoritic iron is usually <250ppm carbon, so I'd expect Psyche to follow suit and be carbon poor. It'll be interesting to see if it does differ markedly from meteoritic iron though which are almost exclusively iron/nickel alloy and if it instead more resembles the Earth's Core.

We're pretty certain that the bulk of the Earth's Core is also iron/nickel, but its density is lower than we'd expect if pure alloy, so there must be other elements dissolved in the alloy. The best candidates are sulfur, oxygen or silicon. Various makeups have been suggested for the Core including 1% or so of FeO or up to 8% FeS. Perhaps Psyche will have a similar chemistry.

And it is going to look astonishing, I'm hoping we'll see something like pallasite meteorites which must be some of the most beautiful geological specimens around (with prices to match):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallasite#/media/File:Esquel.jpg

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Climate change bust up: We'll launch our own damn satellites if Trump pulls plug – Gov Brown

Mike Richards
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Not sure about that

Lex Luther was a successful businessman.

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SpaceX delays manned Dragon capsule launch

Mike Richards
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Re: Boeing is still even later

Hopefully we're going to the see the Falcon 9 Heavy next year.

And the SLS flies the year afterwards, presumably as long as Congress keeps shovelling money at it.

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Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

Mike Richards
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Yeah - but...

What is the Pentagon going to do apart from buy the F-35?

Their F-15s and F-18s are at the end of their lives, the F-22 production line has been dismantled - there is only the F-35 sort of available to replace the fleet. This horror show should have been killed ten years ago, but it is too late now and the Pentagon is contracted to pay Lockheed full whack for each and every one of them.

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Icelandic Pirate Party sails away from attempt to form government

Mike Richards
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Re: Nice

It hasn't always been the case. The Icelandic legislature - certainly up until the Kreppa (crash) - was notorious for its links to big business, banks and especially the fishing industry. In such a small country, there's a very high chance that either you are a blood relative to, through marriage, business partner or school friend of someone who would appreciate favours when you get into power.

There has been an unhealthy concentration of power in Iceland, called 'The Octopus'; first amongst fourteen families (most with fortunes built on the fishing quota distribution) and then by three big corporate entities run by just three families. Björgólfur Gudmundsson and his son, Thor Björgólfsson ran the Landsbanki bank (remember IceSave???); Johannes Jonsson and his son, Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson ran Baugur, and Íslandsbanki (later renamed Glitnir); and Lydur Gudmundsson and his brother, Ágúst Gudmundsson who had major shares in the third big bank, Kaupþing.

All of them knew one another very well, all of them had business interests with the other and some of them had borrowed money from their friends' banks to build their businesses. So when one business failed, the hugely leveraged corporations built around them also collapsed and that took down not just one, but all three of the major banks in Iceland.

And who had been running the Central Bank of Iceland that was meant to prevent this sort of thing? One Davíð Oddsson, previously been Prime Minister for the conservative Independence Party. When it was clear his position at the Bank was untenable, a friend appointed him editor of the main newspaper Morgunblaðið despite no journalistic experience. There, with the backing of the paper's owners, he forced huge numbers of resignations, but used that position to attack the coalition government that was trying to put the country's economy back on track after his mismanagement. He did a good job as the coalition lost the next election and - the Independence Party got back into power and started the same old policies again.

Davíð then went for the Presidency, but fortunately he was beaten by the current holder Gudni Johannesson.

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Moscow says writing infrastructure attack code is a thought crime

Mike Richards
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That's going to be a blow to the Russian economy

Trolls and hackers are pretty the entirety of Russia's high-tech sector.

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HMS Illustrious sets sail for scrapyard after last-ditch bid fails

Mike Richards
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Re: I am enough of a naval history buff...

'Bring back Coastguards pattroling the Cornish cliffs.'

And stifle the region's local yet globally-focussed highly entrepreneurial smuggling industry? Come Brexit it might be the only way to get prosecco and iPhones into the country.

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Beardy Branson's space bird spreads its wings

Mike Richards
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Must be tired...

'VSS Unity '

I read that as USS Vanity which seems more in keeping with this project's ambitions.

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HMS Queen Lizzie to carry American jets and sail in support of US foreign policy

Mike Richards
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Re: We'll let you give us your ship...

Can't we rename it the HMS Robert Ross for the duration? I'm sure our American friends will appreciate the gesture of naming a ship after one of the White House's many admirers - ahem...

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Mike Richards
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Oh that's clever

After Trump's little call with Taipei, the seas around China are going to be - interesting. Now the Americans can test the efficacy of China's anti-ship missiles without losing one of their carriers.

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Woman rescues red pepper Donald Trump from vegetarian chilli

Mike Richards
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It would have been better

If a Trump had been found in a brussel sprout.

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Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

Mike Richards
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"I just ask myself the simple question as to why it is that you can't prevent the texting of sexually explicit images by people under the age of 18, if that's a lock that parents choose to put on a mobile phone contract. Because there is technology that can identify sexually explicit pictures and prevent it being transmitted,"

Don't ask yourself - ask technology experts - oh, right, my mistake...

...ask that nice man/spiv Grant Shapps/Michael Green, I'm sure he has lots of great ideas.

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Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

Mike Richards
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Re: Here's the full list...

I hear even the FSB quakes in fear of the methods used by the Visit Wales csmpaign - like making people visit Wales.

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Mike Richards
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Vice Admiral Prince Andrew Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Fellow of the Royal Society is positively indigestible,

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Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Mike Richards
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Didn't that spend most of its time flying around teetering on the brink of a catastrophe? In that case we already had the DC-10 to do that.

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Who's in Peter's file? Moneybags Thiel hits up Silicon Valley brains to join his Trump think tank

Mike Richards
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That hair

It's on loan from the Donald right?

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Obama awards honours to Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton for computing contributions

Mike Richards
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Admiral Hopper definitely looks like someone you wouldn't mess with.

Congratulations to Margaret Hamilton, I assume everyone has seen this photo of her with the Apollo assembly code?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hamilton_(scientist)#/media/File:Margaret_Hamilton.gif

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Apple admits the iPhone 6 Plus has 'Touch Disease'

Mike Richards
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Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

I had the graphics card on a four year old iMac repaired gratis at an Apple Store because apparently this component had a higher than expected failure rate. So Apple do sometimes do the right thing.

Also worth mentioning that iFixit sound dubious about Apple's explanation that dropping the phone is responsible:

https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/17/apple-will-fix-iphone-6-plus-touch-disease-for-149/

Finally, for anyone in the UK who is affected, you might have a claim for a free fix/replacement under the Consumer Rights Act (replacing the Sale of Goods Act) if your phone fails and you are sure you haven't dropped it. This is in addition to your warranty and requires that Apple shipped an item that was fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. This extends for up to six years after purchase (five in Scotland) but it obviously becomes increasingly hard to prove an intrinsic defect as the item gets older.

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Searching for 'Fatty Kim the Third' banned on Chinese social media

Mike Richards
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Re: Kim Jong Dim Sum

This is crying out for someone with better video editing skills than me to drop his rotund form into the climactic scene from 'Ghostbusters'.

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British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

Mike Richards
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Re: Ascent

Sorry, not going to happen, Royal Assent is always granted on 'the advice of ministers' who are assumed to have the backing of the elected House of Commons, so it would be a massive constitutional crisis if the sovereign were to override the wishes of the Commons.

IIRC, an outright refusal to grant assent hasn't occurred since Queen Anne.

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UK warships to have less firepower than 19th century equivalents as missiles withdrawn

Mike Richards
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Re: A worrying trend?

'and now we have a defence policy designed by the Peace Pledge Union'

Slight correction - we have a defence policy designed to deliver as much taxpayer money as possible to BAe as quickly as possible without expecting anything in return. Truly, it's selfless.

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Mac book, whoa! Apple unveils $300 design tome

Mike Richards
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Don't wait for the second edition

It'll be thinner and you won't be able to open it.

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TalkTalk teen hacker pleads guilty as firm reveals £22m profit jump

Mike Richards
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Christ - that's a bit harsh, no one should be made to use Siri.

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Martian 'ice cauldrons' are prime spot to hunt LGMs, say boffins

Mike Richards
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Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble

One correction to a cool article: Cauldrons are a feature of Icelandic volcanoes, the two most famous being Katla under the Mýrdalsjökull and Grimsvötn under the larger Vatnajökull. There are no active volcanoes in Greenland.

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Britain must send its F-35s to Italy for heavy overhauls, decrees US

Mike Richards
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Ah... it all becomes clear now

We use the aircraft carrier to haul these pieces of junk to Italy and bring them back again.

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Trump's torture support could mean the end of GCHQ-NSA relationship

Mike Richards
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'Even laying aside the enormous domestic law and eighth amendment issues this brings up, this will make it impossible for UK intelligence cooperation with the Trump administration across a range of intelligence programs. '

Well officially at least...

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Tesla to charge for road trip 'leccy, promises it will cost less than petrol

Mike Richards
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Re: hint to Tesla owners

Not just that, in time it wouldn't be impossible to use Powerwalls and car batteries to help smooth out peaks in demand on the grid rather than firing up another natural gas-fired station.

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McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

Mike Richards
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That can't be a McDonald's burger

It looks juicy and enticing rather than exhibiting all the texture and taste of a deep-fried drinks coaster.

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'Extra-supermoon' to appear next week

Mike Richards
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The person who coined 'supermoon'

Has a special place up against the wall - right next to the one who came up with 'super volcano'.

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Look out, SpaceX et al – China's Long March-5 rocket blasts off

Mike Richards
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Slight correction

Whilst the boosters burn kerosene and oxygen, the core is fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen, so the Chinese have clearly got the grasp of cryogenic fuels - something the Russians took until the Energia to solve.

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What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

Mike Richards
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Seven - sorry - six - nope - five - errr - four R101s.

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Mike Richards
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You reckon there'll ever be a time when the RAF can get more than one F35 into the air at the same time?

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Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

Mike Richards
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Re: How to stitch it up

I suspect most MPs will vote to save their skins, no matter what their personal opinion on Brexit. They will stand up make vague noises about 'will of the people' and the majesty of democracy and vote whichever way their constituency voted to avoid defeat at the next GE.

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Hypersonic cruise missile scores US$175m DARPA cash

Mike Richards
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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

It'd be nice to go back to Max Faget's completely reusable DC-3 concept for the Space Shuttle which avoided all the problems later introduced by a delta wing design. The final 1960s design used something like 10 SSMEs on the booster, but scramjets would work to haul the orbiter to high altitude.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept

Have you considered asking DARPA for a blank cheque to fund further development? Like do they get upset if it's a REALLY big TV? And what is the role of extended holidays on secluded tropical island paradises in all this?

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20 years to get Amiga Workbench 3.1 update, and only a fortnight to get first patch

Mike Richards
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A4000

Went to look at mine not so long ago to find the battery inside had exploded like John Hurt's chest and left nasty goo all over the motherboard. Needless to say it didn't wake up :(

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Microsoft goes back to the drawing board – literally, with 28" tablet and hockey puck knob

Mike Richards
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Microsoft might just have beaten Apple to the 'wow!'

Microsoft has produced a beautiful piece of design (that hinge alone must be a spectacular piece of design) and even the full-fat version of this, whilst well out of my price range, isn't very much more than a tricked out Mac which doesn't have touchscreen.

And tomorrow Apple is going to do its best to get us all excited about a *slightly* thinner MBP with a row of touchscreen keys.

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Did Apple leak a photo of its new Macbook Pro in an OS update? Our survey says: Yes

Mike Richards
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It's 'courageous' to stop people touch typing.

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'Doubly unacceptable' Swiss vegan forces his way into the army

Mike Richards
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Re: The dear chap....

He'll be expected to polish a pair of black Crocs

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RIP Samsung 'Death Note' 7

Mike Richards
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Alternatively, package them up with a pretty bow as a present to the Dear Leader in the North.

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'My REPLACEMENT Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blew up on plane'

Mike Richards
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But a great money making opportunity for airlines

No phones, tablets, laptops or eBook readers. Oh and sorry you can't use your cordless headphones because they contain a battery - but I can sell you these disposable headphones for £20.

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