* Posts by Martin Budden

2454 posts • joined 27 Apr 2007

Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Martin Budden

Re: Domed to failure

Mars will need an extra dome as a place to send the worst of its criminals (e.g. people who steal a loaf of bread, a very serious crime in any developing society). This dome will be located in the part of Mars which has the most deadly conditions, and is not claimed by any other nations (except the local Martians who have lived there since forever but they don't count). This dome won't legalise same-sex marriage until long after every other dome has done so. It will also have the best stretches of sand on the planet, so we can forgive everything else. It will be called Marstralia.

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Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Martin Budden

As always, law enforcement is a step behind criminal ingenuity. It has always been this way, and always will, because that is the nature of opportunity vs regulation.

Even so, incarceration is and always has been a bloody big disincentive.

Nothing new to see here, move along.

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Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Martin Budden

Re: Smooth as silk?

The ballistic glide between boost and re-entry would be smooth as silk, but the bits at either end would more than make up for a spot of turbulence.

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Martin Budden
Thumb Up

Elon has all the best names.

Raptor, BFR, Moonbase Alpha... all so very cool!

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Martin Budden

Re: Dear Mr Musk - we're doomed

We should be worried (but not by phones).

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Boffins: 68 exoplanets in prime locations to SPY on humanity on Earth

Martin Budden

@Lee D Re: Fait accompli, mate

"The planets and systems you're looking at are billions of years old."

Many of the exoplanets we've found are less than 100 light years away, none are billions of light years away. We are looking at them as they were towards the end of the last century, i.e. within my lifetime. Some are only 4 or 5 light years away.

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Uh oh, scientists know how those diamonds got in Uranus, and they're telling everyone!

Martin Budden

Re: The answer to the question.

A nugget of purest Green!

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Ten spacecraft – from Venus Express to Voyager 2 – all tracked same solar flare

Martin Budden

Re: CME's? we've heard of them ...

Car electrics are unaffected by direct-hit lightning strikes, maybe they'll be ok with CMEs? Just wondering.

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Talk about cutting-edge technology! Boffins fire world's sharpest laser

Martin Budden

beard-seconds

@dbtx

I just wasted far too much time on the page you linked to!

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Shoebox-sized satellites made by civs win trip on NASA's newest rocket

Martin Budden

Re: For the boffin's sake I hope they have a backup plan.

NASA won't fund a single launch organisation. It will fund multiple different organisations, at least two and very possibly three. It's got something to do with eggs and baskets.

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Nukes tests caused space weather, say NASA boffins

Martin Budden

Re: Fallout

You want to know what kills *LOTS* of people via man-made airborne contaminants? Coal-fired power stations.

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Warm, wet, mysterious... sound familiar? Ah, yes, you've heard of this second Neptune, too

Martin Budden

Re: To a first approximation

"...or should that be plankton?"

Depends how fast the current is moving. Even a whale is plankton if the current is strong enough that the whale can't swim against it.

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New MH370 analysis again says we looked in the wrong places

Martin Budden

The same place 92 times? That's incredible! Do you live on the moon?

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Pack your bags! NASA spots SEVEN nearby Earth-sized alien worlds

Martin Budden

Re: 44 million years to get there at the speed of a standard jet aircraft

Aaaaaages. And that's just the wait for three to arrive together.

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Martin Budden

Tidal locking bothers me.

Those planets must be rather uncomfortable, with one cooked side and one frigid side and craaazy winds.

We keep finding earth-sized planets in the goldilocks zone around various dwarf stars but they are necessarily always close to their star and therefore tidally locked. I think our best chance of finding alien life will be on planets orbiting larger stars, so that the planets are orbiting far enough out to be spinning. Unfortunately those ones are not so easy to spot.

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Martin Budden

Re: Tides and stuff

Pretty sure our magnetic field is also important, I wonder if any of these planets* have magnetic fields?

*not actually planets according to the official definition.

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Gulp! Drones dodge spray from California's gaping moist glory hole

Martin Budden

Re: It does resemble a bumhole...

When my 9 year old saw the video he said "woah, that looks like an ominous butthole".

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NASA spunks $127m on SSL-powered robot to refuel satellites in space

Martin Budden

Re: Fuel for thought.

"Power isn't a problem if you have enough solar panels..."

Luckily, when you collect lots of old satellites you get to keep all their solar panels :-)

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Cargo capsule goes AWOL, explodes on its way to Space Station

Martin Budden

Re: Not sure I want to go on the ISS

A biscuit tin?

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Watch: SpaceX finally lands Falcon rocket on robo-barge in one piece

Martin Budden

Windy

The white tops on the waves tell me it was pretty windy out there when the landing happened, so the smoothness of the landing is a superb result. Well done SpaceX.

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Sick burn, brah: SpaceX test fires rockets for SES bird launch this week

Martin Budden

And of course if one engine fails on the way up the satellite should still get there but the water landing will probably be scrubbed (i.e. the first stage will just ditch) because of the extra fuel needed to fly with just 8 remaining engines. All of which is fine by me, it's great to see such a flexible system with built-in redundancy.

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NASA boffin wants FRIKKIN LASERS to propel lightsails

Martin Budden
Joke

Re: @DAM (was: "photons may lack mass")

Light, by definition, is not at rest.

It is after you turn the switch off at bed time.

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Martin Budden

Re: Starwisps

Great question. I think the answer might be something along these lines:

The detached outer parts of the sail are angled to reflect the light *inwards* and back at the central part, which means the force on the outer parts is both forwards and outwards to the sides. The outwards forces don't move the craft because the outer parts of the sail are attached to each other and are merely tensioned by the outwards forces.

The central parts of the sail push the craft directly backwards.

So, add up all the forces, and we get slightly more backwards force from the central part than forwards force from the outer parts, with the difference giving tension to the outer parts. The craft decelerates.

Someone please tell me (politely) if I've completely stuffed this up, as I'm no expert!

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Martin Budden

Re: Satellites

Avoid intense backscatter by making the sail a very shallow bowl shape (convex towards us) so that the reflected light spreads out as it comes back.

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China 'evacuates' 9,000 around monster radio 'scope

Martin Budden
Headmaster

Re: how many bottles of wine fit in a double decker bus

Around 26,250,000,000 liters which comes to about 10,488 Olympic-sized swimming pools...

...or just one Olympic-sized swimming pool, if it's a really deep one.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Martin Budden

Re: Sounds great !

Original post downvoted because literally millions of small two-seaters have already been sold to happy customers all over the world. Not everyone wants a "standard size car".

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Easter Islanders didn't commit 'ecocide' after all, says archaeologist

Martin Budden
Coat

Re: "...primitive (sic) Jeremy Clarksons..."

Jeremy Clarkson is just as much of a valuable '(inter)National Treasure' as Stephen Fry; just operating on an entirely different plane.

Don't be silly, everyone knows Clarkson operates in an entirely different car.

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CSIRO says it hasn't sacked the LIGO mirror-makers

Martin Budden
Unhappy

Re: what else do you expect of

Australian politics is certainly in a mess.

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How to build a plane that never needs to land

Martin Budden
FAIL

Re: Much more useful when batteries improve

Hooray! I had thought I might be the only one who had sat down and worked out that replacing the UK's car fleet with electric cars would require an approximate doubling of the UK's power generation and distribution infrastructure.

@Neil Barnes Not only would it need the doubling of the power available but it would require that power to be available 24/7/365 - something that renewable power is unable to do (wind generate with no wind and solar doesn't cut it at night) Another thing is that the power would have to be so cheap otherwise people could not afford to use it - again something renewable energy isn't.

There is no need to double power station output or upgrade the distribution network. This is how it will work: solar panels on the house roof, Powerwall battery in the garage, charge your electric car overnight while you sleep. (On the rare occasions you need to drive more than 400km in one day you can use a fast-charge station at lunchtime). As for pricing: solar panels + Powerwall will pay for themselves in a decade at current prices so they are already financially viable, and pricing will improve further as the tech is refined.

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Scariest climate change prediction yet: More time to eat plane food

Martin Budden

Re: A suggestion for those worried about all that extra time, fuel, CO2, ...

"A similar but much more ambitious strategy has worked out very well in Hong Kong."

I was on holiday there a couple of weeks ago. Although I do miss the excitement of landing at the old airport, the new airport is very impressive. What makes the new airport work so well is the excellent express train into Kowloon & Hong Kong Island*, and the big fast road as well. Basically they've thought very carefully about transport infrastructure and they've spent big as required.

*A nice feature when departing is that you can check in your bags and collect your boarding pass at the central station on Hong Kong Island, thereby avoiding check in queues at the airport itself.

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London seeks trials of Google's robo-cars

Martin Budden
FAIL

Re: There won't be any driverless cars for a long time.

The driverless cars (at least for anothe 20-30 years) will require a licenced driver fully capable and able to control the vehicle at all times when needed.

Nope. Google has already managed to persuade the US government that the computer can be classified as the car's driver: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/09/google-computers-self-driving-cars-human

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Martin Budden

Re: There won't be any driverless cars for a long time.

20-30 years? From the time driverless cars get the green light (pun intended) it will be 5 years max until the requirement for a licensed human back-up driver is removed.

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Norks stabilise non-threatening space speck ... for about five minutes

Martin Budden
Coat

Re: Dirty bomb

It's called "off site storage."

It's certainly a whole level above cloud storage.

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Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

Martin Budden

Re: 'precision docking of oil tankers, as well as navigation'

I'll show you my planet and you show me your dead king. Oh wait... you can't.

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Martin Budden

Re: 'precision docking of oil tankers, as well as navigation'

it's on the order of 13,000 feet. About a foot per ns. It'd be a pretty poor navigation system that depends on absolute time, as opposed to relative.

It'd be a pretty poor navigation system that depends on 1/6th of a dead king's armspan as a unit.

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LIGO boffins set to reveal grav-wave corker

Martin Budden

obligatory

Don't forget to read the mouse-over text: xkcd

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CSIRO says it's not firing scientists, it's re-balancing

Martin Budden

Re: So it continues...

It is sad that it has come to this but I can't blame you.

(I can blame the Govt.)

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Martin Budden

Re: The produced the wrong answers

Except that climate science is far from finished therefore the scientists have not "put themselves out of a job": they are being sacked (replaced) purely because government policy is to ignore climate change and support big business.

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

Martin Budden

Re: RIBrsiq

It would be nice if authors could be bothered to reply "thanks mate" after I've gone to the effort of using the Tips & Corrections link. Usually I don't get any indication of whether it has even been read, and that makes me less inclined to use the link in the future.

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Boeing's X-Wing 737 makes first flight

Martin Budden
Joke

infinite improvements

The winglets help reduce wasteful wingtip vortices. But I'm concerned about the tips of the winglets: there is nothing there preventing them having their own little vortices. The winglets need wingletlets, and the wingletlets need wingletletlets, etc. A branching fractal wing.

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BOFH: I want no memory of this pointless conversation. Alcohol please

Martin Budden
Joke

Pint Maths

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first orders a beer, the second orders half a beer, the third orders a quarter of a beer and so on. After a few orders the bartender pours two beers and says, “you fellas ought to know your limits.”

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Martin Budden
Coat

5-4-3-2-1

-5

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Samsung trolls Google, adds adblockers to phones

Martin Budden

Layers and layers of libraries, scripting languages etc. might be fast and convenient for developers, but they're wrecking the end user experience.

As a developer I totally agree with you. I remember the days when web page file size was all-important, now nobody seems to care. Most of my fellow developers have the attitude that it's more convenient to just bung in the MegaAwesome library which has a function for that tiny little thing you need to do because it's easier to add multimegabytes of bloat which will never be used than spending three minutes writing and testing a few lines of js. Madness. Now where's me false teeth and pipe?

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The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

Martin Budden

@Turtle

"healthy skepticism" means considering both sides of the argument, and all research & evidence, with an open mind. LP was a cherry-picker: he was anything but open-minded.

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Baikonur hosts satellite laser comms node launch

Martin Budden

Re: Best of luck with launch and deployment

It worked.

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Martin Budden
Paris Hilton

Re: huh

And leaving your back door wide open.

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I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Martin Budden
Go

Humans

There is a good telly series called Humans. Watch it if you haven't already.

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Curiosity Rover eyes Mars' creeping dunes

Martin Budden

horizontal cracks

What's with the horizontal cracks in the dune face? Something must be helping the particles stick/clump together otherwise the cracks would immediately fill in.

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SpaceX makes rocket science look easy: Falcon 9 passes tests

Martin Budden

Re: Where did it land?

More specifically, it landed on a pad next (ish) to the one it launched from.

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Martin Budden
Coat

Re: Pretty soon....

"Imagine the tip."

Most rockets are either pointy or rounded.

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