* Posts by Mike Richards

3873 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

81's 99 in 17: Still a lotta love for the TI‑99/4A – TI's forgotten classic

Mike Richards
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Was it really so short lived?

I was convinced this machine remained a fixture throughout the 1980s - it seemed to be in every Argos catalogue for year after year after year...

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LUNAR-CY! SpaceX announces a Moon trip-for-two it'll inevitably miss the deadline on

Mike Richards
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I wonder who the two are?

My guess is that the lucky pair are Larry Ellison and Paris Hilton.

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Radioactive leak riddle: Now Team America sniffs Europe's skies for iodine isotope source

Mike Richards
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Re: Not the best choice

Well you just drop it on the buggers.

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SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

Mike Richards
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Re: It's like the 1950s all over again @Mike Richards

I bow to your superior Century 21 knowledge. I always wondered how they got Thunderbird 1 back under the swimming pool, but reckoned they kept a whacking great crane out the back.

I'm with you on wanting to know more how these amazing programmes were put together. Some of them still look glorious today and they inspired so much cool stuff - how many British engineers and scientists got into their subjects because of Gerry Anderson? How many movies were only made possible by their expertise - 2001, Alien, Empire Strikes Bank? The problem with the current future is that it's not nearly as exciting and sleek as we were promised (although, to be fair, it seems a lot less fragile and less likely to blow up).

Currently I'm trying to resist the pull of a 22" long Eagle model that's available for an eyewatering sum of money. I don't know where I'd put it, or even if I could make and paint it without at least one trip to casualty, but it is *the* Gerry Anderson creation of my childhood - elegant, functional and prone to exploding at inopportune moments...

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Mike Richards
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It's like the 1950s all over again

In the 50's rockets were always going to land tail first - look at Tintin's rocket to the Moon or Destination Moon. Even Apollo toyed with trying to put a rocket down in their 'direct ascent' plans as did the Soviets with the LK-700.

Then we laughed that this was wildly impractical, it was going to be nearly impossible to land something that fragile on its end - hell even Thunderbird 1 landed horizontally! So we ended up with splashdowns, disposable rockets and the LM before deciding that wings were really the way forward.

And now SpaceX is landing these things almost routinely.

But we will only live in the future when someone builds and flies a Space 1999 Eagle.

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Jun-OH-NO! NASA's Jupiter probe in busted helium-valve drama

Mike Richards
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Re: Well, crap....

Hopefully the electronics will last the extended duration of the mission. If there's one thing JPL have a track record on it's making tough little critters that far exceed their intended lifetime. So fingers crossed.

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US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

Mike Richards
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Re: The Wall

Meanwhile in the Home Office, a mandarin's eyes have just popped open and he's started to smile...

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Mike Richards
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I wonder if Congress realises

that America has a tourist industry?

Getting in to Trumpistan is already a deeply unpleasant experience due to a combination of inadequate border staff and what staff they do have apparently graduating summa cum laude from the Rosa Klebb Charm School.

And they want to make it worse still.

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F-Secure buys industrial control security firm

Mike Richards
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Most important question

Are those delicious Jammy Dodgers being made in the photograph?

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Laser beam sky mirage cannon can spy on enemies and generate Star Trek-style shields

Mike Richards
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Someone, somewhere in the Pentagon is salivating and writing BAE an enormous cheque right now.

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Mike Richards
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Re: Timely advice

Certain airports in the US seem to have particularly unpleasant immigration officers - JFK and Orlando are notorious (BA even used to give warnings about how awkward immigration could be at Orlando). Those on the West Coast are generally more friendly.

At least they used to be, and I hope so, I have to visit Seattle in three weeks, and there's little worse than a pain-in-the-ass immigration officer when it's oh-god-oh-clock in the small hours of the morning according to your body clock.

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Finally, a use for your mobile phone: Snapping ALIEN signal blurts

Mike Richards
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I've got a better chance of picking up a FRB than getting 4G on the O2 network.

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Apple: Don't panic, but your Mac can be pwned via GarageBand .bands

Mike Richards
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Re: Excuse me?

Rosetta Stone is another. I was seriously put out by having to put Flash back on to my machine just to run RS. I'd gone a year without Flash and I hadn't noticed its absence, but now its back and I'm back to endless security fixes.

Just lie down and die!!!

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NORKS fires missile that India reckons it could shoot down in flight

Mike Richards
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Re: Good work India...

It's also doing a cracking job at lifting people out of poverty - of which high tech (including missile programmes and the amazing space programme India has put together) is a key aspect.

Be nice if they cut down on the coal consumption - if only to save their cities' populations - but India is going in the right direction.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Proxy punch-up

India is probably most concerned with shooting down Pakistani Ghauri missiles which use North Korean technology (exchanged for Pakistani uranium centrifuges).

Nice little world isn't it?

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All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

Mike Richards
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This is fine...

...we can just keep track of Russian submarines with our large fleet of patrol aircraft.

Oh right...

Should I just warm up the samovar for our new overlords?

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NASA bakes Venus-proof electronics

Mike Richards
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Great news

It's time to go back and explore the surface of Venus, if only to get a clue as to what the hell is going on (or rather not going on) with that planet's internal heat engine.

Just getting a good look at some rocks would help - do they have any water or has it all been cooked out of the Crust into the atmosphere and then into space. If we can't find water, then perhaps that why there's no plate tectonics since partial melting of the Mantle is much harder. If there is - ummmm....

During the 1990s there were persistent reports that the Russians had a number of partially completed Venera probes waiting for the money to complete them. Since then, not a lot about surface exploration, NASA has proposed Venus In-Situ Explorer and Russia has the Venera-D mission - but neither has been approved as yet.

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Mike Richards
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Re: What NASA should do....

If we want to go to Mars we should also tell him there are leather goddesses on Phobos

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You want WHO?! Reg readers vote Tom Baker for Doctor 13. Of course

Mike Richards
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Don't forget that voice

When *that* voice sounded out at the end of the 50th Anniversary episode - it was like going back to being a small child during the 70s all over again.

Bloody amazing guy - mad as a hatter - and a national treasure.

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Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

Mike Richards
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Re: Welcome to the UK

And a civilian nuclear programme.

And for that matter, a military nuclear programme.

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Mike Richards
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Seeing a Concorde in a hangar has to be one of the saddest sights in technology.

It is still heart-stoppingly beautiful, perfectly proportioned, delicate and brutal at the same time - but it belongs at Mach 2 or those brief moments when it seemed to leap from the runway into the air.

Keeping Concorde still is like putting a cheetah in a cage.

Sorry, don't normally get like this over technology, but Concorde is simultaneously a work of art and a landmark in engineering. We've not even come close since.

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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Mike Richards
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Let's think big

Peter Dinklage for the Doctor!

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Disney shells out $100m in digital animator wage-fixing lawsuit

Mike Richards
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Re: Won't someone think of the poor lawyers?

This seems to be a curse of jobs where employees really love - and live - their work. There's always someone with some talent straight out of college who wants to work in animation or visual effects, so employers know they can get away with paying pittances and demanding ridiculous hours.

And if labour gets too expensive, well there's a new cheaper skilled workforce in Bangalore - it's noticeable how many more Indian fx companies and their employees are appearing in the end-credits of big budget movies in the last few years.

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Netherlands reverts to hand-counted votes to quell security fears

Mike Richards
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Re: I am for pen and paper!

I always wondered if the British government has a warehouse filled with 'just a bit too short' pencils and manky lengths of string.

The British system of casting and counting votes works pretty damned well, the only improvement that could be made cheaply would be to replace the black metal ballot boxes with transparent ones to act as a reassurance against ballot stuffing.

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'Mafia' of ageing scientists, academics and politicos suck at picking tech 'winners'

Mike Richards
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Re: Really?

EADS Astrium, Surrey Satellite technology and Inmarsat for three.

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Mike Richards
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All new science buildings seem to need an atrium.

I can only assume its mandatory to have somewhere nice to hold 'a bit of a do' on the one day when the great and the good come visiting*.

* The staff are rarely invited to these events, and if they are do, the workers are told to stand quietly out of camera view whilst a politician or minor royal lectures them about the economic potential of a scientific concept they only learned about a couple of minutes ago.

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Dido queen of carnage steps down from TalkTalk

Mike Richards
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Re: Dido's First Job Interview

There's also a lucrative market for massive failures to make a fortune giving after dinner speeches to businesses. So expect to see Dido following in George Osborne and William Hague's well-remunerated footsteps.

Toss in a couple of one day a month non-executive directorships, and an animal charity CEO figleaf and she's nicely set for life.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Hmm.

We need ICO fines that are proportionate to the size of the business that fucked up. A £400k fine is a rounding error for a company as big as TalkTalk. A £4m fine might make them think again about updating their SQL, £40m and they'd start taking information security very seriously indeed.

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Mike Richards
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'Dunstone said he was "excited" at the prospect of spending more time on TalkTalk.'

Quite possibly he's the only person ever to have said that.

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LG's $1,300 5K monitor foiled by Wi-Fi: Screens go blank near hotspots

Mike Richards
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Are the display's corners sufficiently rounded?

And is it thin enough?

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HMS Queen Elizabeth is delayed, Ministry of Defence confesses

Mike Richards
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Re: Who cares

With all that string, wood and canvas they might well be the perfect low-cost stealthy aircraft.

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Free smart fridges! App stores in fountains! Plus more from Canonical man

Mike Richards
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Butterfly net please?

Has Maarten checked if his 'medication as a service' is working recently?

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This bot shorts stocks when Trump tweets (don't fret, the profit is used for good)

Mike Richards
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Re: Not very future-proof...

The first two scenarios might just save the World.

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Don't worry, America: Elon Musk says he'll have a word with Trump

Mike Richards
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Re: Insane

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment allows for it.

'Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.'

Sadly though, Trump's cabinet are weak fools who won't stand up to him and the real power in the WH - Steve Bannon; and, on Capitol Hill, Paul Ryan has yet to evolve a spine.

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Devonians try to drive Dartmoor whisky plan onto rocks

Mike Richards
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Re: Whisky Galore

Quite - thanks to the National Trust, Prince Charles and the second homers who want to keep everything in chocolate box poverty, there's precious little allowed to happen in Cornwall and Devon.

There's already a Cornish whiskey (yes they spell it that way) with the very Cornish name of 'Hicks and Healey'. Haven't tasted it, but I'm sure the radon adds a special something.

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Trump signs 'no privacy for non-Americans' order – what does that mean for rest of us?

Mike Richards
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Re: Trump has become more deranged

I grew up in West Cornwall and thought I was well out of the way if the bomb dropped; but then a leaked target map appeared in the papers and the Soviets were going to take out Cauldrose, St Mawgan, the satellite station at Goonhilly, the cables at Porthcurno, the old chemical weapons site at Nancekuke and the MI6 listening station near Bude then scatter a few other warheads over Cornwall to make sure it was extra glowy all over.

So it was nice of them to share.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Trump has become more deranged

Are discounting the possibility that Melania is an attractive Rosa Klebb just waiting for activation?

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Mike Richards
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Re: Trump has become more deranged

Have the water already boiling when the four minute warning goes off so your egg will be perfectly cooked?

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UK ISPs may be handed cock-blocking powers

Mike Richards
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Doesn't need an amendment

Watch out for the inclusion of statutory instruments which will let ministers redefine the scope of the act almost at will without recourse to Parliament. They're a big favourite of recent governments and so efficient at cutting back on unnecessary democracy.

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Mike Richards
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Re: sigh...

The Mail is at its most magnificently hypocritical when raging at a 'racy' or 'disgusting' scene in a post-watershed BBC programme, an article liberally illustrated by screen grabs of all the naughtiness - and which is available to anyone under the age of 16 if they open a copy of the Mail.

Has the Mail stopped the 'all grown up' swimsuit features of various pubescent children yet? Or do their editorial staff still enjoy photos of teenage girls in bathing suits?

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Trump's FBI boss, Attorney General picks reckon your encryption's getting backdoored

Mike Richards
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Re: Back to MD5, et. al.

There's probably a mountain of Clipper chips buried in the Nevada desert that could be dusted off and fitted to the iPhone 8.

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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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