* Posts by Andrew Newstead

277 posts • joined 11 Sep 2008

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Revealed: The billionaire baron who’ll ride Elon’s thrusting erection to the Moon and back

Andrew Newstead

Re: SpaceX is known for blowing past its deadlines

Er, no actually. I'm fascinated by the landings of the first stages, can't get enough of that.

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Andrew Newstead

Re: Typical Muskery

I think there has been some design, something is actually being built in Los Angeles.

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The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt

Andrew Newstead

Hope for us yet!

It's stories like these that give me hope for us as a species. Coming up with incredible missions of discovery and keeping them going and fixing things on the other side of the Solar System as problems happen in the most inhospitable environments possible, absolutely inspiring!

I remember seeing Dr Garry Hunt on the Sky at Night and Horizons and I always felt proud that we had a Brit on the project.

Thanks Dr Hunt for what you did, you kept a late teen/young twenty something fascinated for years and thanks El Reg for bring this interview to us, much appreciated.

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Abracadabra! Tales of unexpected sysadmagic and dabbling in dark arts

Andrew Newstead

I don't know, I've had a few willing to go the 12 rounds with me.

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Andrew Newstead

I had one like that when I was techying at a teacher training college. An arts lecturer (8-D) was always having problems with his machine that never seemed to manifest themselves when I got there. He was convinced it my "Aura" that fixed the fault, we put it down to "finger trouble".

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Now you can tell someone to literally go f--k themselves over the internet: Remote-control mock-cock patent dies

Andrew Newstead

Re: Oh, doughnuts!

WD 40?

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Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Andrew Newstead

Re: User-generated obfuscation

That's the pig pen cypher, originally used as a Masonic code.

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Andrew Newstead

Puts it on the correct side for Japanese (and Brit, and Aus...) drivers.

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Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust

Andrew Newstead

Re: So... uhm...

That's the idea.

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Andrew Newstead

Re: So... uhm...

No, they are only claiming ownership of the materials that they spent the money on to retrieve and bring back to Earth. If you go and collect your own samples then that is a different matter.

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Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Andrew Newstead

Re: Surprise Sighting

That one was going up to the air museum at east Fortune, near Edinburgh The one at Filton was flown in..

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Sysadmin wiped two servers, left the country to escape the shame

Andrew Newstead

Started learning my more serious computing with a Sinclair QL (when they were being sold cheap at Dixons). The first lesson with a QL was backup everything because the microdrives were finicky as hell!

I ended up having 3 or more copies of everything I was using. Still paranoid even now.

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Prof Stephen Hawking's ashes will be interred alongside Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin

Andrew Newstead

Re: Britain's highest honour?

It has been said that Hawking was offered a knighthood but turned it down as a protest over the state of funding in UK science at the time.

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Seen from spaaaaace: Boffins check world's oceans for plastic

Andrew Newstead

Doomwatch!

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Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you

Andrew Newstead

Just up the road...

Thanks for this article. I live just to the west of this in Derby. A thing that you might be interested to know is that Derby also has a good industrial museum as well as Nottingham. Situated in the old Silk Mill building, considered to be the first factory in the world! Well worth a visit.

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Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

Andrew Newstead

Re: Speaking of carbon paper...

I keep some stashed away for model making projects, It's damn useful for tracing patterns onto sheet plastic.

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Fender's 'smart' guitar amp has no Bluetooth pairing controls

Andrew Newstead

Forget Rickrolling the artist, do the stadium!

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A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again

Andrew Newstead

Observing for your self

A simple bit of astronomy and travel can show you the Earth has a curved surface. Spot the pole star in your sky, note where it is in relation to the northern horizon. Travel a fair distance south and make the same observation again and see if it changes. If you are in the northern hemisphere then the the pole star will get closer to the northern horizon and on the equator the pole star will be on the horizon and will disappear over the horizon as you travel further south. This can only happen if the surface of the planet is curved.

And before you ask, yes I have carried out this test when I went on holiday from the UK to Crete a few years ago ago and got a definite change in position of the star patterns. If you accurately measure the angles involved you would be able to calculate using some simple trig the actual diameter of the Earth.

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Supermicro is, like, totally harnessing green energy sources to churn out servers, dude

Andrew Newstead

Re: coal gas

Ah the natural gas conversion. That was help start me down the electronics path. The fitters doing the conversions had lots of cable and battery holders they were scrapping off, every lad (and it was lads) in the street ended up with boxes of kit which we used to cobble up all sorts of circuits. The shocker circuits using some of the old transformers were fun...

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SpaceX delivers classified 'Zuma' payload into orbit

Andrew Newstead

Re: Mars Orbit?

As I understand it there will be no circularisation burn, just lobbing the Car into a Holman transfer.

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Andrew Newstead

Mars Orbit?

Come on Reg, you should know better! The Tesla roadster is not being sent into orbit around Mars, it is being launched into a solar orbit that goes out as far as Mars' orbit around the Sun.

Everyone is getting this wrong!

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Apple embraces El Reg! iOS 11 is now biting the hand that types IT

Andrew Newstead

Re: What do you expect?

Tribalism. History is full of examples of humanities' tendency for forming antagonistic cliques around concepts or physical items claiming their superiority, this is just another one.

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OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering

Andrew Newstead

Same reason we build hi-rise buildings, to get more accomodation into a smaller footprint. In this case Apple frees up space to fit the larger battery needed for the display.

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Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Andrew Newstead

Re: Tension, apprehension, And dissension have begun.

"Tenser said the Tensor" - damn, I'm not going to get that out of my mind for the rest of the day...

Must re-read The Demolished Man again soon.

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Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

Andrew Newstead

Re: scaling up is the answer?

Not to mention that the Moon is quite rich in Thorium.

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Astroboffins spot tiniest star yet – we guess you could call it... small fry

Andrew Newstead

Hmmm...

Any large black monoliths spotted?

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Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

Andrew Newstead

The impression shows an "X-plane" proposal to demonstrate the technology.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

Andrew Newstead

Re: Slot loaders

I had one like that, except my one year old stuck a malted milk biscuit in the FDD of my old Mac 8600. That definitely needed a new drive...

Andrew

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Opportunity rover gets bored of spot it's explored since 2014

Andrew Newstead

Re: This article needs some translation to english

Er, the European Space Agency is not part of the EU. It is a separate organisation and not all EU countries are involved and a few non EU countries are. The UKs membership is not affected by Brexit.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Andrew Newstead

Re: Hmm...

Have you seen the price of dog food recently?

Regards

A dog owner.

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Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales

Andrew Newstead

Re: Yeah, duh...

The 5 and SE are also a reasonable fit for my hand - or am I holding it wrong...

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International Space Station celebrates 18th birthday in true style – by setting trash on fire

Andrew Newstead

velocity and space

A comment on the problem of matching velocities in orbit and living space on a Soyuz.

It's true that there are trajectories that allow a Soyuz to rendezvous with the ISS quickly ( a few hours) but these depend on the relative positions of the station and the launch site at launch. Sometimes these paths are not available and so there has to be a period of "catching up" in orbit, the Soyuz makes orbital changes that will allow it to gain on the station and then match orbit for docking. Things could be done faster but the Soyuz doesn't carry sufficient propellant to allow this and still have enough for a deorbit burn at the end of the mission.

Regarding the living space of the Soyuz, yes it is tight but it does have an orbital module attached, effectively a spare room. This more than doubles the living space of the Soyuz spacecraft compared to just the re-entry module on it's own and can be closed off from the re-entry module so giving a degree of privacy if needed. I believe the toilet facilities are in the orbital module. This module is usually full of cargo on the way up and is packed with rubbish for the return flight, as the module is jettisoned before re-entry and burns up in the atmosphere.

Hope this helps.

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Pluto has massive underground oceans, say astro-boffins

Andrew Newstead

Re: Past and present

Hold on, this is not an assertion but one of two different theories that have been offered to explain the observed data from New Horizons.

Your observations about the conditions on Pluto may indeed be correct, but there is evidence of the movement of the Sputnik Planitia within recent geological timescales. That and the visual absence of cratering on the surface of the Planitia, which is accepted as evidence of the activity of some sort of process that has recently (geologically speaking again) reshaped the area, leaving a smooth surface.

Some sort of activity is happening out there, that is apparent, and that implies a source of energy to drive it. This is just an attempt to explain that, not proof.

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Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

Andrew Newstead

Re: Shirley

Does wonders on motorbike chains.

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'Flying Bum's' first flight was a gas, gas, gas

Andrew Newstead

Re: International Rescue - Is that You?

No.

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Captain Piccard's planet-orbiting solar aircraft in warped drive drama

Andrew Newstead

Re: No, it's not

Re the electric Hi-bypass fan, Rolls-Royce are investigating just this idea in relation to an hybrid propulsion system, with Airbus. In this approach a gas turbine powered generator produces electricity which is used by the electric fans.

Whether this actually comes about is another question.

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Blighty will have a whopping 24 F-35B jets by 2023 – MoD minister

Andrew Newstead

Re: Pound falls

Not necessarily, don't forget that these will sel in dollars. At the moment that means we will get good money for them. Rolls-Royce is doing well because of the fall of the pound.

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

Andrew Newstead

Anyone remember..

Norsefire?

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Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

Andrew Newstead

Re: Excellent

A bit of myth this. Protestantism was already underway in Europe due to the writings of Luther and Calvin as a reaction to the excesses of the Catholic Church at that time. In Britain this thinking was already gaining credibility before Henry jumped on it and formed the Anglican Church (which is not that different to the Catholic Church). The total break with Rome came with the Elizabethan Religious Settlement.

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

Andrew Newstead

History tells us...

I seem to remember that we didn't need encrypted digital communication methods for most of the cold war, World War 2, or the rest of recorded history come to that. Remove Crypto from mobile phones, internet, etc. and the bad guys will just go back to methods which don't rely on electronic communications, such as couriers (assuming they haven't already...).

Coat? - Mines the one with the John le Carre book in the pocket.

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Norks uses ballistic missile to launch silent 'satellite'

Andrew Newstead

Re: hmm

Difficult, the beast is in a polar orbit and neither the Americans or the Russians are set up to launch manned spacecraft to polar orbit.

However, it probably doesn't matter as the Americans (and probably the Russians too) have the capability of photographing the satellite from the ground and so, more than likely, have images of the satellite already.

http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2015-05-11

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Andrew Newstead

Unfortunately it doesn't have sufficient propellant to make the required orbital change. The space plane is in a roughly equatorial orbit and the Norks satellite in in a polar one. the space place would have to be launched into a polar orbit to intercept.

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Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

Andrew Newstead

Re: I visted here in 1988

Did they tell you the story about the visiting Prof who kept setting off the detectors - on the way in!

Turns out he has a tiny piece of something radioactive caught in the turn up of his trousers that had been dropped back in his lab at Harwell...

Whoops!

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Andrew Newstead

I visted here in 1988

In the late eighties they actually did run tours around Dounreay. My wife and I visited in 88 and spent the morning being shown around with a party of about 20 public, grups and kids. It was a fascinating day. We were shown around the hot lab facilities with 7 or 8 inches of lead glass between us and chunks of Uranium and Plutonium, remote manipulators being used. We even went into the Reactor building (the second one, not the golf ball) and stood on top of the reactor, which was not running at the time.

A very memorable day!

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Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

Andrew Newstead

Not quite right about Bruneville

A few points.

The raiding party (about 150 men) was dropped into St Bruneville and taken off by sea. The raid was a spectacular success with the Paras holding off any kind of counter attack while the techies stripped the Radar set of most of it important black boxes and the antenna, all of which was brought back to Blightie for analysis.

What they found from this led to jamming techniques being developed for the bombers and helped to set up a decoy for the D Day landings

Andrew (something of a military history buff)

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NASA books space shuttle delivery truck

Andrew Newstead

Re: Awful

Hmmm - a couple of points need addressing here, I'll start with the last one, why should NASA want such a beast that can glide and land on a runway. The capsule method has been admitted to have quite a rough landing and this has caused concern that some of the more fragile payloads that need returning from the ISS will be damaged or destroyed on landing. The aerodynamic glide and landing has been shown (100 + space shuttle landings) to be very gentle and is considered to be more acceptable for fragile cargo. Also the cargo will be accessible much more quickly after landing because the vehicle will return to well equipped facility (usually the launch site).

Referring to the lifting body shape. This has been regarded as the best form of aerodynamic reentry vehicle since the sixties. As the body of the vehicle has the wing shape it is possible to pack the mechanisms of the craft into the vehicle much more efficiently than you would with the space shuttle. The shuttle's wings did indeed incur a mass penalty but this is not the case with a full lifting body design. The fins on the lifting body are not too much about lift, more directional control.

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Bigger than Higgs? Boffins see hints of bulbous new Boson

Andrew Newstead

Re: Boffins

Amen to that brother!

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Space fans eye launch of Lego Saturn V

Andrew Newstead

Re: I'd have that

They certainly have! New tooling for the Apollo CSM to make it the correct diameter and a Skylab version with the Skylab fairing (no Skylab unfortunately, but does keep the Apollo bits). Mat Irvine, ex BBC model maker and a prominent figure in the space modelling community (yes, there is one) consulted for Airfix on the new parts.

And yes, I would have one of these Lego jobs like a shot!

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Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

Andrew Newstead

A few comments

I've read the above with interest but I wonder if many commentards have actually read the reports and releases that have been circulated in the last few days. A few points I have picked up on.

1. The aircraft is not being seen as a big tech driver (in the same way as F35). The thinking is that USAF "really" needs these and doesn't want a big development holdup developing new tech.

2. The aircraft is being designed so that new tech can be added later, as it is developed. They are calling this an "open architecture", a "black box" aeroplane (not a particularly new trick, this is how the Tornado GR1 became the Tornado GR4).

3. Northrop apparantly got this gig based on the work done on two previous projects, The B2 stealth bomber and a very secret recce drone that seems to be in operation. Don't know much about the drone (obviously...) but the tech developed for the B2 would obviously be applicable without much change.

4. USAF has put a lot of effort and resource in up front during the competition between Northrop and Boeing/Lockheed to ensure the proposals would be mature enough to proceed to the next stage without compomising the aims of the project, a new bomber aircraft within the stated budget.

5. The individual flyaway cost of the aircraft is aimmed at being less that than that of the B2, whether it makes it of not is a moot point of course.

For reference;

http://aviationweek.com/defense/lrs-b-why-northrop-grumman-won-next-us-bomber?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20151028_AW-05_970&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1&utm_rid=CPEN1000001529824&utm_campaign=4155&utm_medium=email&elq2=f7479ce6bf80427eb8b8ba998f6da578

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Crash this beauty? James Bond's concept DB10 Aston debuts in Spectre

Andrew Newstead

Re: I'm no expert but..

Brittan-Norman Islander

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