* Posts by Mike Richards

4000 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

Mike Richards
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Re: £875 per household per year!

'The Antarctic ice-mass is increasing. It is at near record highs.'

That is not inconsistent with a warming planet. Warmer air and a weaker vortex allows moist air to blow over East Antarctica and fall as snow.

The Zwally study you are probably referencing (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses) has issues highlighted by the author which are often lost in the noise. Zwally's data only covers part of Antarctica and it only goes up to 2008. Zwally found that ice was accumulating in East Antarctica as predicted, but Zwally also pointed out that loss of ice in the West and the Peninsula was accelerating and would outstrip accumulation within the next two decades.

Zwally's study also conflicts with other NASA data from the GRACE satellite which measures the mass of Antarctica. That shows a clear trend of mass loss at a rate of 125Gta. So far, Zwally is an outlier in the data which suggests Antarctica is net losing mass.

https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/land-ice/

'Polar bear numbers are increasing.'

Possibly, but it's probably due to the cessation of hunting of polar bears rather than purely natural causes. Even the people who study polar bears admit there are huge uncertainties over their numbers and the health of populations:

http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/population-map.html

http://www.sej.org/publications/alaska-and-hawaii/magic-number-a-sketchy-fact-about-polar-bears-keeps-goingand-going-an

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Mike Richards
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Re: £875 per household per year!

Actually it is you with the weak position. Satellite measurements are not the most accurate since satellites do not directly measure atmospheric temperature, rather they measure microwave radiation emitted by oxygen in a range of wavelengths which are then converted to temperature using various statistical methods.

There are multiple microwave temperature datasets obtained by multiple satellites with differing sensors and using multiple statistical methods upon which differing corrections have been applied. However, once the datasets are correlated the consensus is that there has been an overall warming of the troposphere since the mid-20th Century and a cooling of the lower stratosphere due to ozone depletion and an increase in water vapour due to higher temperatures in the underlying troposphere.

This satellite interpretation is supported by radiosonde data which is especially accurate for the Northern Hemisphere outside of the tropics. However, uncertainties in the correlation and lack of radiosonde data for the tropics and Southern Hemisphere mean that the rate of temperature change is uncertain. The best estimate is the lower troposphere is warming 0.12 - 0.135C per decade compared to 0.161C per decade for the surface.

Here are some links:

http://www.remss.com/measurements/upper-air-temperature

https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter02_FINAL.pdf

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/309/5740/1548

https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/tmlw0602.pdf

Tropospheric data here - go knock yourself out, but don't forget to write down your method:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/weather-balloon/radiosonde-atmospheric-temperature-products-accessing-climate

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Mike Richards
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But they can't be left too long 'in soak' because Magnox corrodes under water.

All spent fuel is initially cooled underwater before it is either sent for reprocessing (usually on flask trains which contain big steel tanks of water), or moved to permanent dry storage usually on site.

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Blighty's buying another 17 F-35s, confirms the American government

Mike Richards
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Upvote for the book recommendation (which was adapted into the BBC FOUR series 'Jet' which regularly haunts the schedules).

It's hard to work out if Sandys, Healey, BOAC or BEA did more damage to the British aerospace industries. The outright cancellation or crippling through malice and indecision of machines like the SR-177, TSR2, Britannia, V-1000, VC10 and DH-121 borders on the treasonous.

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Mike Richards
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Re: F-35A - the Widowmaker

IIRC - the Starfighter came equipped with a hefty payload of bribes to ensure the Luftwaffe didn't buy the Sanders Roe fighter.

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Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

Mike Richards
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Re: Slightly complicated...

You are bailed on charges, not on whether you actually committed the offence.

Assange jumped bail, he is alleged to broken the law and faces up to a year in prison followed by either extradition to the US if they want him, or forcible removal from the UK as his presence is not in the public interest.

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Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

Mike Richards
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Not the Computer Misuse Act? (Trust me - you won't believe the twist).

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UK Tory party pledges 'digital' charter, wants Verify to back online gov

Mike Richards
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In related news

The government's secret public consultation on encryption ends tomorrow. You still have time to tell the Home Office where to stick its keys:

https://www.openrightsgroup.org/press/releases/2017/secret-consultations-have-no-place-in-open-government

You can mail the Home Office consultation at:

investigatorypowers@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

(They'd really rather you didn't - especially if you know more about encryption than the Home Secretary*)

* You know more about encryption than the Home Secretary.

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Mike Richards
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ID for voting

There's also a mention in the manifesto of requiring ID to vote.

Bearing in mind there is the poorest people don't have driving licenses and many do not have passports - what is this ID going to be?

Am I being paranoid in thinking the Home Office has disinterred an ID card 'consultation' document from the same crypt where they keep former Home Secretaries and is bringing it lurching back to life?

Or is it a good old American-style disenfranchisement exercise where you make it practically impossible for the wrong sort of people to vote?

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Bloke charged under UK terror law for refusing to cough up passwords

Mike Richards
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Re: Device with multiple partitions

And in this context because the magic word 'terrorism' has been invoked, he could be charged under RIPA Subsection 5A which has a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for each offence.

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Train station's giant screens showed web smut at peak hour

Mike Richards
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Re: No wonder Thomas is smiling.

Of course he is, he's got a man inside him working up quite a sweat.

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

Mike Richards
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Re: Lawyers

18 months?

Bliss! If only Sony were nearly as diligent.

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Mike Richards
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So does GCHQ have zero days stockpiled?

Perhaps Omand could address the question of the morality of security services sitting on piles of zero days for critical software and allowing large parts of the world's economy to go unprotected - when they could fix it.

So long as security services know about critical weaknesses and don't inform software companies they can't claim to be keeping us safe.

But Omand won't say anything because we never comment on security matters - apart from when they want to comment on security matters.

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Japanese researchers spin up toilet paper gyroscopes for science

Mike Richards
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Another thing to worry about

Please wait, your toilet is being upgraded to the latest in defecation experiences...

Nearly there....

PLEASE WAIT, PLEASE - oh dear.

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Mike Richards
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It'll be The Computer Misuse Act 1990, Section 3ZA - 'Unauthorised acts causing, or creating risk of, serious damage.'

Punishments are up to 14 years in prison, or a fine, or both. Offenders can be sentenced to life imprisonment where their actions endanger human welfare or national security.

But first you have to catch the buggers.

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America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

Mike Richards
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Worth checking your insurance

If you do have to go to The Land of the FreeTM (terms and exceptions apply), and want to take a laptop, it might be worth looking at your insurance as many policies exclude items such as laptops or cameras which are checked in the hold, or they cap compensation at such a miserly amount it won't cover the costs of a new machine.

Throwing a cheap, still-in-the-shrinkwrap Chromebook into your checked bag might be the only way you can work Yankside nowadays.

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Mike Richards
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Re: It is 'that wall' in disguise

I... am... not... jealous...

Seriously, that sounds like an amazing trip. Have a blast (oops that probably tripped the terrorismometer).

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Mike Richards
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Fine

But we'd better reciprocate with a ban on flights to the UK to let Americans know just how inconvenient it is going to be.

And whilst we're about it, can we start mandatory fingerprinting of Americans on arrival and exposing them to intrusive questioning by hostile, barely-literate uniformed jobsworths at the border?

If it's good enough for us visiting their country, they can have a taste of it coming this way. IIRC they wailed and gnashed their teeth when Brasil imposed exactly the same entry procedures as were used in America.

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The radio environment is noisy – so use the noise as a carrier for signals

Mike Richards
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Re: Disney

But it will have a twerking Ursula the Sea Witch.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Disney

Disney is already heavily invested in RFID and the like through their 'MagicBands' which are issued at themeparks and can do things like act as tickets, help create an optimised itinerary and identify diners to waiters. This seems like an obvious next step into their cuddly Orwellian future.

https://www.wired.com/2015/03/disney-magicband/

Also, for anyone interested in CGI, display technologies or animatronics, Disney Research puts a lot of different cutting-edge stuff on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyResearchHub

(The virtual clown makeup is the stuff of nightmares):

https://youtu.be/Ilgu3aFCphs

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Spend your paper £5 notes NOW: No longer legal tender after today

Mike Richards
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Oil - made from animals?

Whilst there have been repeated suggestions that petroleum might have an abiogenic origin, including by famous scientists such as Dmitri Mendeleev and Thomas Gold; the widespread presence of porphyrins in petroleum suggests the vast majority of Earth's oil comes from algae and zooplankton. There are tiny amounts of hydrocarbons here on Earth that may have been formed by processes such as serpentinisation or the decomposition of carbonates, none have unequivocally been proven to be abiogenic.

That doesn't exclude petroleum-like compounds forming on Titan and elsewhere in the Solar System through abiogenic processes such as UV polymerisation of methane. And of course, the discovery of methane plumes in the Martian atmosphere is most probably due to serpentinisation of a warm, olivine-rich Mantle by water and carbon dioxide.

The term 'fossil fuel' dates from the 1759 when it was used in reference to the novel process of smelting iron using coal (which occasionally contains obvious plant matter), so it long predates marketing.

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Curiosity Rover's drill is ill. But chill: we can dig Martian sand instead of rocking hard

Mike Richards
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Re: Ingenuity at work

Definitely a tip of the hat to the JPL boffins, although I'm quite mystified how they're quite so brilliant without having access to a shed, strong tea and a good pipe.

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China's first large passenger jet makes maiden flight

Mike Richards
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Re: Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

And the Embraear 195.

At one point I would have thought the Sukhoi Superjet could have been a contender, but they seem to have gone quiet since they had a crash in Indonesia during a demonstration flight.

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Apple leaks new thinner, lighter iPad ... revenues

Mike Richards
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Re: Other Products group ... boosted revenues by 31 per cent

I guess that's where Apple's highly-lucrative dongles division hangs out.

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How would you pronounce 'Cyxtera'?

Mike Richards
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Re: Loon pants!

They may look like 70s purple loon pants but those are smart internet-of-things 24/7/365 adaptive cloud connected multi core wearable loon pants - available now for just $999! (monthly service fee applies)

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Mike Richards
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Re: Six-terra

The BP redesign from shield to flower and back to slightly-different shield wonders why it was forgotten quite so soon.

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SpaceX spin-out plans to put virtual machines in orbit

Mike Richards
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Just guessing

But you can't play Crysis on it.

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Reg reader offered £999,998 train ticket from Cambridge to Horley

Mike Richards
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I'm convinced

This is just a ploy by rail companies to make their other fares look more reasonable.

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Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

Mike Richards
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Re: There's a great deal

'Some may also wonder why the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority are piffling around with self driving cars. Perhaps they'd be be better off doing some serious work to provide us with cheap and secure electrical power?'

With us falling out of Euratom as a side-effect of Brexit, we won't be partners in ITER and many of the jobs at Culham will go overseas - perhaps UKAEA is going to set up a minicab business?

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Mike Richards
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Hopefully they can use at least part of the M25

To practice their parking skills.

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As you stare at the dead British Airways website, remember the hundreds of tech staff it laid off

Mike Richards
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Re: I realise it's simplistic but....

I'm waiting for British Airways to officially become just BA so it can lose that tedious 'British' bit - the same way that British Petroleum became plain old BP and British Telecom metamorphosed into BT.

That way they can get rid of all their expensive British workforce, headquarter somewhere sunny that just happens to have low taxes and rake in even more money for selling a third-rate service as a premium product.

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BT's spam blocker IDs accident claims as top nuisance call

Mike Richards
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Their call-blocking DECT phones are pretty good. My parents were targeted after the TalkTalk hack, I got them a BT8600, cancelled TalkTalk and their lives are much quieter.

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Boeing 737 turns 50

Mike Richards
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Clever design

Joe Sutter (who went on to design the 747) talks a bit about the 737 in his book.

Boeing wanted to avoid the stability problems associated with rear engines and high tails on planes like the Caravelle and BAC 1-11. So Sutter put the engines right under the wings rather that at the back or on pylons - which lightened the fuselage allowing for six across seating (the DC-9 only had five across), meant less noise and vibration in flight, more rear cabin space, shorter landing gear and easier maintenance at ground level.

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Aviation regulator flies in face of UK.gov ban, says electronics should be stowed in cabin. Duh

Mike Richards
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Why do you want to know - citizen?

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Mike Richards
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Re: Cabin security isn't about safety

Don't knock the giant Toblerone.

Buying them is my preflight ritual - safe in the knowledge that I will be able to eat something on the plane; and in the event of the plane crashing, use it to beat one of my fellow passengers to death if there's a fight for the last gin bottle.

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The beast is back: Reborn ekranoplan heads for the Arctic

Mike Richards
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Going round corners

How do you steer one of these beasts? I assume banking is out because you'll put your wingtip into the ocean, so do you change the thrust on some of the engines?

And if we can have these back, why not spring for the Gyrodyne?

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'No deal better than bad deal' approach to Brexit 'unsubstantiated'

Mike Richards
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Re: For Queen, Country and St George!

You're not meant to be thinking about Brexit today. Theresa has decided that the national conversation will be about [spins wheels] - Easter eggs.

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WWW daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee stands up for end-to-end crypto

Mike Richards
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Sir Tim versus Amber Rudd

Either a high-minded debate on BBC1 or a cage fight.

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Boeing details 'Deep Space Gateway' for Mars mission staging

Mike Richards
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Boeing: SEND MORE MONEY NOW STOP

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D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Mike Richards
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Re: Can't Stop the Encryption

See Amber Rudd's speech. I mean I understand every word, but I don't have a fucking clue what she was talking about.

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Mike Richards
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Do you have a stack on buzzword-emblazoned Powerpoint slides on how cloud-based machine-learning big-data heuristics can blah... blah... blah..? Are your salesmen equipped with suitably expensive Swiss watches and lavish entertainment accounts? Are you related to any members of the Cabinet? Have you donated lots of money through back channels to the Conservatives?

If you've answered 'no' to any of the questions above then sorry, you don't have a government-sanctioned 'interest' in this issue.

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Mike Richards
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It's almost making me nostalgic for the days when Jack Straw would pipe up about the wonders of key escrow and all those wonderfully interchangeable Home Office ministers like Andy Burnham and Meg Hillier were never off our televisions explaining how biometric ID cards were completely unbeatable and not at all a privacy issue.

It's good to see the Home Office still hasn't the faintest.

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Boeing and Airbus fly new planes for first time

Mike Richards
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Re: 787

It's something I found surprising, but after all these years in which all of our airliner production disappeared and our companies were merged out of existence, Britain is still the second largest producer of aviation technology in the world.

So yay us! And let's hope Airbus doesn't decide to relocate in two years time.

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Mike Richards
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Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

Don't forget, the aircraft builders don't stipulate the interior layouts (they don't even make the seats), the crunching of passengers behind the wing is all down to airliners racing to the bottom.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Yes, they look beautiful

So far they have $33 million which is probably enough to test that the paint doesn't come off.

I'd like to see something delta-shaped blast through the sky, but anything with Branson attached is nine parts hype to one part reality.

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Mike Richards
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If you're ever in the Seattle area

Do take a trip to Everett to visit the Boeing assembly plant. It is utterly jaw-dropping to go into a building and see three brand-new 747s at various stages of completion (all three for South Korea was I was there last month), then go a bit further along and see a line of 777s rolling slowly towards completion, and next to them, a seemingly endless line of ANA 787s.

Well worth a morning of anyone's time - and there's even a little gift shop.

Oh and you aren't allowed to take cameras or mobile phones into the building, which is a shame, but understandable.

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Mike Richards
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'five metres longer than the 787-9 and can therefore pack in about 38 extra passengers in Boeing's recommended configurations.'

Or about 70 in British Airways new 'densified' (yep, an actual word used in cold blood by BA) configurations. Anyone who has previously 'enjoyed' BA's 3-3-3 cattle class will doubtless be thrilled that the company is now refitting long-haul aircraft - beginning with 777s - to 3-4-3 at the back of the plane.

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Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly

Mike Richards
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Re: There have been planes like this before.

The F35 is the white elephant by which all future white elephants will be measured.

Concorde looks like an economic whim by comparison. Hell, the Space Shuttle looks like good value for money.

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Mike Richards
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Boeing

I do rather wonder if we'd be in the same mess if the DoD had gone with Boeing's design, or if it is all the additional requirements added since the fly-off that are to blame for this fiasco.

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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

Mike Richards
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Why Telford never used the eminently more sensible brontosauri is a mystery lost to time.

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