* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5489 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Obama's intel chief says Russia totally tried to swing it for Trump

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Re: This is getting a bit tiresome

And you don't think there are any valid worries about Russia's various policies at the moment that are worth reporting on?

It comes up in the news, because it's an issue.

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Re: Shit-for-brains

Isn't Bahrian a naval base though, and Qatar where they base a lot of the aircraft? Obviously aircraft are more important for dealing with ISIS than ships. Admittedly there are other bases, but Turkey are not proving the easiest to work with at the moment.

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Russia is struggling to keep its cybercrime groups on a tight leash

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Re: Comparable in intent but not execution

Russia has been arguably braver (choose your own adjective here) to push the envelope of developing an aggressive capability (in this case, not defensive; separate question) which has greater rewards and some risks.

Russia is much poorer. They ranked 12th in the world on nominal GDP last year - smaller than Italy, Canada or South Korea. Although obviously labour costs are lower - so for something manpower intensive they're at much less disadvantage.

There's an ex diplomat that I read sometimes, Charles Crawford. And one of his sayings when talking about Putin's policies is, "chaos is fair". Hadn't realised it was a quote from The Joker until I looked it up.

The idea being the the Soviets lost the Cold War on the economy but if the ex-KGB people running the place can be cleverer, then unleashing chaos knackers everyone equally. But they're willing to take more pain (well inflict on their own citizens who have no choice in the matter), than the West is - and maybe they also bet that they can dance better...

There's a bit of a 1930s feel to the Russian leadership, we didn't lose the Cold War, we were betrayed. The German 1918 "stab in the back" thing again. Because I guess the alternative is admitting that the system they served was both evil, and useless. Even though I doubt many were believing communists, as the KGB even then was plugged into organised crime.

They also profitted from the chaos of the Yeltsin years, so why not again? The same playbook two, making money via criminal gangs, or via exploiting the privatisation of state enterprises - or later stealing those off the people who originally stole them, to entrench their powerbase.

The question is, do they have an objective? Or is more a case of fuck the lot of you, if we can't have everything we want we'll screw it all up for you as well? I suspect they're quite a nihilistic lot. They joined the Communist party in the 70s, when it was already clear to many how badly it was going - but that was the only way to get ahead. And the way to get luxuries (or even neccessities) was corruption and the black market.

So I guess this is just their normal playbook now. And damn the consequences.

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Wowee, it's Samsung's next me-too AI gizmo: The Apple HomePod

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Re: How the world changes

You can get a reasonable system for £200. You can also get something totally awful. If the volume isn't turned up to distortion level, I wonder how many people could actually tell the quality difference in a blind test.

Between a £2k and £20k Hi-Fi, I suspect some audophiles might not be able to tell if they were tested blind - and would then be very annoyed about it.

This is a bit like the Pepsi challenge. More people preferred Pepsi when tasting blind, but more people preferred Coke when they knew what they were getting. The power of marketing winning out over what isn't that huge a difference in taste.

But let me give you a concrete example. I set my Mum's first digital telly up for her. It was widescreen when many terrestrial shows were still in 4:3. She had a Sky box, and so I got that to manage the picture, and not the telly - which did an awful job. They got out of synch somehow.

So she's watching some soap or other when I go round. The Sky box was stretching the 4:3 into widescreen and making it all fat looking, but the telly had then converted it back into 4:3 - but was also in some weird zoom mode - which meant that the picture had been stretched, squashed to a different size, then zoomed - but had black bars on both sides and top and bottom. It looked truly horrible and very weird. I asked Mum how long the telly had been going wrong like this, and why hadn't she asked me to fix it, and she said, "like what?"

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Re: How the world changes

Not everyone cared about HiFi then, just as they don't now. To some extent you have to train yourself to hear the difference. Though obviously some speakers are so awful anyone can tell.

But having done sound for live events, it was amazing how many mistakes you could get away with making where almost nobody would notice - except the other people who've done sound before.

My little £250 Denon CD player and bookshelf speakers system from John Lewis makes an absolutely lovely sound. Sure I could get better, but I'd have to spend much much more money. And I don't think it's worth it. It's like the difference between a good £10 bottle of wine and a really nice £30 bottle. You might be able to taste it, but the more you spend, the harder it gets. And as with the wine, I doubt many people could tell.

Then you get people buying the Sonos speakers, which sound OK and are easy to set up and give you lots of options (if you buy enough of the buggers).

Also I don't know many people who just sit down and listen to music while doing nothing else. In fact I can only think of 4 (and one of those is me). At which point, music is part of the background of your life - and the quality probably becomes less important.

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Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

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Re: Look

It's Buzz Aldrin. And it's his Mars Cycler.

It means you can have a big enough ship to be comfortable for the trip to Mars, which I think takes 3-4 months, instead of 6, and also of course that ship is reusable. So every time it swings by Earth you send it some more food and supplies, and then the astronauts can get on it when it's ready, but do it in a smaller craft that doesn't need so much fuel to match speeds.

It does mean you have to spend longer on Mars though. As Aldrin's plan means the cycler has to come back to Earth after they get off at Mars, and then fly back to them - so I think minimum time on planet is about 7 months. Unless you built two cyclers. Obviously that would allow you to have more supplies as you wouldn't need to carry supplies for the journey back - your on Mars stuff sees you through if there's an emergency and you can't land, and the cycler can be re-stocked on its swing past Earth. Though I doubt that's a risk anyone would actually take.

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First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

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Devil

Re: "and thought it was ok to include the production password?"

Let me bring my IT expertise into play here. You're all wrong of course!

Obviously database passwords shouldn't be written in public documents. They should be kept on a post-it note on the screen of one of the shared PCs.

What's wrong with you people for not knowing this basic piece of security best-practice!

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EU wins approval to waste €120m on pitiful public Wi-Fi

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Re: Pork Barrel politics?

It's more gesture politics than pork barrel. The EU telecoms roaming stuff is popular. And also most people are aware that it's an EU initiative. Putting nice flags on infrastructure paid for by the EU is another way of advertising how good it is. But normally EU stories are stuff put about by the governments about why they have to bring in some new unpopular law (or ban something popular) because of EU regs. Even if those governments voted in favour, they can hope nobody noticed...

So Juncker (the Commission President) is looking for a few popular things that people might notice. In this case though, there'll probably be so few hotspots that people won't ever come across them.

I'm sure he'd like to do pork-barrel politics to buy votes, but there isn't the available budget, and the member states won't vote for any more. With Brexit, the budget will end up going down, meaning the EU will be able to do even fewer popoular things.

Of course you might well argue that the Common Agricultural Policy is quite literally pork barrel politics, but that's been in place for decades now, and only benefits a tiny number of people. So probably won't make a huge difference.

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Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

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Re: boobys

Gullible? You really skua'd them there, as it tern's out...

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The nuclear launch button won't be pressed by a finger but by a bot

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Re: Public sector?

People value what they've paid for. People value even more what they've paid even more for.

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Well of course the Bachman Books 'Running Man' is based on real events that happened in the 1920s/30s. They had these dancing endurance competitions (dance marathons), by the Great Depression people were so hungry and thus desperate to win that they'd would sometimes literally die on the dancefloor from exhaustion. There are stories of hotel staff just dragged off as if they'd fainted, and competition would carry on.

Of course the Lawnmower Man is the story from that book that really got changed when they filmed it.

On the same topic, I though Chris Morris was making satire of news programming in the 1990s. Apparently the industry thought he was making training manuals. Sometimes I see a headline and am convinced it must have been written by Morris.

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'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

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Devil

Re: BBC Model Bs?

When I were at school lad we 'ad to get t'druids to put up our code on t'new 10 megalith machine at Stonehenge, and then wait 6 months for the messenger to bring the results back to our cave. Also it were ruinously expensive in virgins, so we were only allowed to use it once a decade. And that's when there wasn't a bug in the code, or the messenger got eaten by a sabretoothed tiger.

Young people today...

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Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again

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Teal and Coral aren't real colours.

I'll accept black. But people in marketing have been getting away with making up new colours for years now. I'm not sure I can cope with more than about ten. Say the colours of felt tip pen I had as a kid, plus black and white...

I presume they've forgotten about the people who already wear glasses.

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

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Re: Boom

In Soviet days it used to be 200 cities in the UK that were individually targeted. Doubt thats changed much.

No cities are supposed to be targetted. Assuming the Russians (and we) are sticking to our post Cold War agreements. That de-escalation was agreed with Yeltsin in the 90s. Along with the removal of tactical nuclear weapons from deployment into storage. This means that it takes an extra few minutes to launch, and supposedly gives more time to think - as well as reducing everyone's readiness state a little.

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Re: Boom

And that maintainance is only a contractual obligation. I'd be VERY surprised if the Navy didn't have people with the required skills available to do the work if needed.

According to Peter Hennessey's book on the RN submarine service since the Cold War (that I'm currently on the last chapter of) that wouldn't be so easy.

With Polaris we had a maintenance facility at Coulport. So we'd pull missiles from the joint pool held in the US, bring them over to the UK and maintain them for a while ourselves. Only sending them back for major refits - or more likely permanent replacement. Obviously that gave us stocks of spares and trained personnel.

The US offered to share the maintenance of Trident, which was accepted as it saved money. The reason for this appears to have been that Trident was newer, and so designed to need much less maintenance. Supposedly you could load a Trident missile into the sub, and leave it there in the silo for ten years, before it needed a total refit. Plus they're designed so that maintenance can be done on them in-silo. According to his RN sources, this meant we could carry on operations without US support for longer with Trident, even without maintenance facilities and spares stocks of our own. Which is where that 6 months to a couple of years figure comes from.

I'm sure we could reverse engineer physical parts, with sufficient applications of money. But the electronics would be much tougher. I'm also sure we've got maintenance experience, and several other solid rocket missile companies manufacture in the UK - so I suspect they could keep a diminishing number of missiles going for a while, by cannibalising the others for parts.

We also licensed MIRVs with Trident, rather than using our home-grown Chevaline. That has the star-trackers and countermeasures, but not as many, and though you get to hit more than one target with your warheads, I think they have to be reasonably close together. Given our satellite industry, I'd have thought MIRVs would be much easier and cheaper than they looked in the 70s.

We ought to be able to design a good-enough solid fuel missile in 5-10 years, given a crash program and lots of cash. I'm sure BAe would be delighted to help...

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Re: Single Point of Failure

Subs that don't float are unpopular with crew members.

Not for long though...

Wasn't it the USS (should that be CSS?) Hunley in the Civil War that sank 3 times. Killing 21 members of those 3 different crews. Only managed to get into one battle, won (just barely), but sank on the way back to port in water too deep to raise it. So no more Confederate crews had to suffer.

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Re: July Gold Boojum

NATO doctrine for most of the Cold War was to use nuclear weapons first, in certain circumstances. Mostly to wipe out large Soviet tank formations breaking through NATO lines. There was an awful lot of theorisiing about nuclear escalation paths, and the difference between tactical, theatre and strategic nuclear weapons. Not as much in reality as people hoped, I rather suspect...

Trident is accurate enough to use as a counter-force weapon. Though the UK hasn't ever held that nuclear posture, as it would have been too expensive. So our policy has always been limited but massive retaliatory strike as deterrent.

Where the enemy has liquid fuelled ICBMs (say North Korea), a first strike with your solid fuelled (quicker to launch) ones may be a possibility, if you're convinced they're about to fire.

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Re: Another Clueless Report, Eh?

Are you sure that he didn't mean there's been rapid improvement in AI written in BASIC?

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I thought Windows for Warships was based on Windows 2000, rather than XP?

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Re: The weakest point ... ?

Bligh also had an amazing record for keeping his sailors alive. I think both from illness/scurvy and accidents. Which was incredibly unusual at the time, where large numbers of your crew dying, was just considered part of the job. You could always get more...

On the other hand you have to shout at people even on well run sites nowadays to get them to comply with health and safety designed to keep them from gettting injured. And that was an era of pretty horriible discipline. So I'd imagine his crew probably didn't love him all that much for it, given the amount of floggings it probably took to achieve it.

As I understand it Fletcher Christian's family were quite well-off and influential, so they got the propoganda going about Bligh at the time. As obviously there was his future court-martial to consider.

As someone's already said, his navigation with incredibly basic tools to find a tiny Pacific island in a very big Pacific Ocean, in a ridiculously small boat, was truly amazing.

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Re: Boom

The submarines use GPS to work out where they are. Or more accurately to calibrate their inertial navigation gear, as they only get GPS data when at periscope depth with an antenna up.

The warheads themselves use a star-tracker to get their position, so don't need GPS.

So you're incorrect. It's an independent deterrent until the US refuse to cooperate on maintenance. At which point the missiles have a ten year rated lifespan, and we usually have 2 or 3 boats loaded at any one time. So we could probably maintain a credible reduced deterrent for 6 months to a couple of years.

So not enough to get a replacement solution in place, but long enough that the US can't cut us off at the knees halfway through a crisis.

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NASA Sun probe named for solar wind boffin Eugene Parker

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Re: 1300c + continuously.

Why can't NASA launch another probe that has a built in swimming pool? Then the poor hot sun probe can go in for a dip, when its feeling a bit warm. Plus any passing astronauts can use it to get some exercise, instead of boring running on treadmills...

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Re: Sun Probe

It seems to have been one of the Thunderbirds favourite special effects. Getting them to sweat. They were always getting trapped somewhere very hot, and either being about to run out of air, cook, or both - counting down the time until being rescued at the last second.

Well that's when they weren't saving nuclear powered airliners from various fates.

I used to love the Thunderbirds. My favourite episode though is where Parker picks the lock of the vault of the Bank of England with one of Lady Penelope's hairpins.

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Pentagon trumpets successful mock-ICBM interception test

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Re: Now go to the Moon

The Russians had a somewhat effective ABM defence around Moscow deployed in the 1970s.

The Americans looked at nuclear-tipped Surface to Air missiles in the 1960s, designed to shoot down incoming ICBMs. They didn't ever deploy them, and I don't know if that was because they were planning to put them in Canada (and the Canadians objected), or if they just didn't work.

But technology has improved massively since then. The Israeli Iron Dome can shoot down mortar shells in flight, which is something that would have been considered impossible thirty years ago. As well as small homemade rockets, and the bigger military ones that Iran give to Hizbollah and Hamas.

Patriot could shoot down Scuds in the 90s, though not to much effect in defending cities. The standard US fleet SAM, the SM3 can shoot down satellites - I presume only the low-flying ones. And is designed for intercepting missiles, but slower ones than incoming ICBMs of course. But it's good at shooting ones on the way up, which is why Japan and the US deploy them off North Korea.

The joint British/French/Italian Aster missiles seem to have similar capabilities to the SM3, which are the ones deployed on our new Type 45 destroyers. Though they're newer and still developing capabilities, so less well proven.

We almost certainly now have the capability to intercept incoming warheads, as we've got good enough radars and communications as well as fast enough computers. Not that it'll ever be easy. But we still don't have the capability to deploy a shield that could deal with the thousands of warheads Russia has. Or even the smaller numbers the UK, France and China have. But those countries have all got small enough warheads that you can have several per missile, and MIRVs, plus decoys. So you could only shoot down some of them.

However North Korea is still making huge warheads, probably in the order of ten tonnes a piece. You can't even drop that from a normal sized bomber. Let alone get even one on a missile. Once they get them down to one-per-missile size, it's probably decades before they could work their way up to MIRVs. So for now they're probably making a handful of warheads a year, that need to go by sea or by truck to their target. So you're only looking at the capability to shoot down a few missiles, which makes it worth trying to do.

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Re: Just for the record ...

The Iraqi chemical weapons program was native. Organophosphates and mustard gas really aren't that hard to make. As I remember it from the UN reports a lot of the kit was actually German, but as you're basically making insecticide it's all dual-use stuff. And Iraq was only under weapons sales sanctions in the 1980s.

As it happens Iraq's sarin production was pretty poor anyway, so they had to rely on mustard a lot more, as that's even easier to make and store. A lot of the chemicals the UN destroyed in the 90s was contaminated, and they struggled to get munitions to deliver it well. Unfortunately for the Iranians, they had a tendency to send their troops into combat badly trained, and even more badly equipped. So they still suffered mass casualties.

As it happens, the US didn't sell much military equipment to Iraq at all. They bought that from The Soviet Union, China and France. That's why they used Russian artillery, Russian tanks, Russian and Chinese personal weapons, Russian helicopters, Russian missiles, Russian radars and a mix of French and Russian combat aircraft. Apparently Britain sold them non-lethal military kit, as for example I believe we sold them all our desert camouflage clothing, on the assumption the British army wouldn't be fighting outside Europe very much. Oops.

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I think that upsetting China is deliberate.

There's already an arms race in the region, because China has been on a huge military build-up for the last ten years. They're trying to create a genuine blue-water navy, though that's still years away, as they've been going quite slowly on the aircraft carrier development. But they have built a pretty huge amphibious capacity. For a country that's not got a blue-water navy, or much history of overseas deployment, that's basically a sword aimed directly at Taiwan. They're also massively militarising the South China Sea in competition with every other nation there (and much closer) for the oil resources.

I think that the US policy is to upset China enough to get them to reign in North Korea (which everyone believes China has some power to do), without upsetting them so much as to get them really pissed off. The Chinese have got to understand that the US, South Korea and Japan have legitimate concerns about North Korea, but they've been unwilling to do much about if of late. That does seem to have been changing in the last couple of years though.

Because the other bit that you missed out is the consequences of allowing North Korea to have a fully capable ICBM force. At present Japan and South Korea both operate civilian nuclear programs, and have advanced industry, but both are happy to shelter under the US nuclear umbrella. That may change. Trump can't look any more reliable to them as an ally than he does to Europe. They've been happy to accept China's nuclear forces, because China has kept them limited and acted mostly predictably. They may not choose to accept North Korea having that power over them. China would definitely not be happy with a nuclear armed Japan - and might wish to increase its nuclear resources.

So as you can see, doing nothing may be just as bad as doing something. Hence the complicated diplomatic fun-and-games.

This is the same situation with allowing Iran to get nuclear capability. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are quite unlikely to be happy about that. The Saudis have lots of cash, and can almost certainly get access to Pakistan's nuclear program. After all, Pakistan have already sold nuclear info to Libya, North Korea, Iraq, Syria and possibly others.

As I understand it, Pakistan got their nuclear helping hand from China, to help counterbalance India. And then promptly sold it to North Korea for help with missiles. As you say, arms-races are bad.

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Re: Next steps...

You could of course just surface one of your submarines in New York/San Francisco harbour and set the nuke off. Bit hard on the crew, admittedly.

But any delivery mechanism where you have to drive/sail the thing to its target creates many problems and uncertainties. Especially when you're a rogue state, that doesn't have normal access to global shipping routes, and so who's stuff is at high risk of getting inspected/found.

Plus you've got massive command and control problems. Once the warhead leaves its borders, the regime essentially has lost direct control of it. And paranoid family dictatorships aren't known for their high trust in subordinates.

Plus, where would they keep the thing in the meantime?

The North Korean airforce aren't expecting their planes to survive long enough to deliver these nukes, and I suspect the navy fare little better. So ICBMs are the most reliable means to work on. And North Korea has had a decent missile program for a while - it was missile tech that the Norks swapped with Pakistan to get their nuclear tech after all. So it's a natural fit. Plus it's also the scariest option, as well as making the regime look more poweful inside its borders. And propoganda is at least as important as reality, to a regime that only survives on fear and brainwashing.

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Re: Just for the record ...

The USS Vincennes, or at least part of its task group, was under attack from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy at the time of the missile strike on the airliner. Not that they handled the incident well, as they completely fucked up at all levels. But Iran don't get to play the innocent victim, given they were attacking a foreign navy's ships in international waters at the time - which meant that navy had every reason to also expect an incoming air attack.

A bit like Ukraine were criticised for continuing to allow an open air transport corridor over a battlespace where combat was happening involving SAMs (admittedly as far as Ukraine knew only low altitiude ones) - Iran perhaps shouldn't have been flying civilian airliners over areas where it was also attacking ships armed with surface to air missiles, and worried about air attack.

To be fair to Iran, I don't recall their airforce ever got involved in attacking neutral shipping in the Gulf. So it was quite possibly a bit of freelancing by the Revolutionary Guards, who're a law unto themselves, so quite hard to plan for, even for Iran. But what we have here is a fuck-up.

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It was heading for Florida, not the White House. Although I guess it could have been going for Mar-a-Lago.

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This isn't boost phase. I think it's coast phase. So hitting the warhead in space. Boost phase is covered by ship-based SM3s. Plus I guess the airborne laser, but didn't they kill that program? And supposedly some electronic warfare as well - which it's alleged may already have been used to bugger-up some Nork tests.

THAAD then deals with the incoming warheads near the target.

I guess the hope being that if you have enough programs, some of them might work, and hopefully the ones you miss are the ones that don't work - given North Korea's production and quality control issues.

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Re: Next steps...

Shipping containers aren't a very reliable method. And take lots of advanced prep. So they're a good covert first-strike option, but of limited use as a second strike deterrent.

Particularly as North Korea isn't plugged into the global shipping network, and their ships get monitored, as they're often carrying weapons to places people might not want weapons sold to. So they might have to ship their container via land through China, which might annoy the Chinese government somewhat...

At times of high tension, that threat massively diminishes, as none of North Korea's ships are going to be going anywhere un-watched.

You could of course pre-position one in a third country, but that requires giving a lot of control of a precious national resource (a warhead) to an independent group you can no longer shoot. And has a high risk of getting discovered.

Whereas a working ICBM on a train or truck that can be hidden gives second strike capability, even if the regime has been destroyed.

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This is a mid-course interceptor. It's to hit the warhead in space, in mid-flight. I'd assume while it's coasting. They planned to put a site in Eastern Europe to counter Iran's missile program, but didn't in the end. Partly because the Russians cut up rough, but I suspect mostly because it wasn't working yet.

MIRVs are really hard, and North Korea are still struggling to shrink their warhead down to one per rocket size, as well as getting the rockets to work reliably. So I doubt they're worrying about them yet - it took the UK billions, and nearly a decade, to get Cheveline in the 70s, which is similar but cheaper tech to get multiple warheads through ABM defences but isn't fully independently targetable.

Current US strategy on missile defence is multi-layered. Obviously it's all still in various stages of development, so I doubt anyone really knows what will work, or how well.

So you've got THAAD which is already deployed in Alaska I think, and is being deployed in South Korea as we speak. That's the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System - aimed at hitting the incoming warhead/MIRV on final approach to the target. They're the last line of defence.

They've then got the early shot, which is the SM3. That's a naval SAM, carried by the US Arleigh Burke destroyers and their AEGIS cruisers. Japan also use them. And they're capable of hitting satellites, and missiles in flight. The US have a deal with Japan where there are always a couple of ships in the Sea of Japan to try and shoot down incoming missiles at an early stage, where they're obviously most vulnerable, as they're going slowly and can't manoeuvre. Japan obviously also maintain patrols to do this.

There are also apparently various electronic means of getting at rockets in the early stage of flight, and rumours the US have been actually using them to bugger up North Korean tests. I've no idea how much of that is true, wishful thinking or even possible.

Then you've got these mid-course ones.

There's also someting I can't remember the name of but is basically a land based AEGIS system. It's cheaper, and already proven to work using SM3 - but obviously not on a ship. And the US are talking about putting one of these bases in Romania, to replace the mid-course missiles that would have gone to Poland. But that was to counter the Iranian threat, which is much reduced, as a nice nuclear deal has been signed. It also annoys the Russians on principle, so may or may not happen. But would seem to make sense in South Korea.

However putting that near China might really annoy them, given they've already complained about THAAD - even though that's aimed at blocking warheads, and not Chinese missiles in flight.

Russia has many missiles, so shouldn't be too worried about ABM weapson taking out a small percentage. But China only operates a few hundred warheads, as it has a similar limited nuclear posture to the UK and France. We aren't aiming for global destruction, just to take out your top 10-30 cities.

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Much-hyped Ara Blackphone LeEco Essential handset introduced

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Re: Missing essentials?

Leaf tea is for when you make tea properly, in a pot. But most people choose not to equip themselves with a tea pot, tea cosy and strainer sadly.

Admittedly quite a few of my friends now own teapots, for some reason. But I've never persuaded any of them to the full enlightened postion of owning strainers and using proper tea. Perhaps they're all just anarchists? Who think that proper tea is theft...

Ahem!

[shuffles away embarrassed - though probably not as embarrassed as I ought to be]

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Re: Missing essentials?

I don't want a wind-up gramaphone, but why the hell isn't there a mobile phone that'll make my tea for me?

There's surely enough juice in the battery to boil a mug of water, I'm sure room could be found for a re-fillable tea compartment - and if not you could just have a teabag-holder in the case.

I take mine black, so the problem of milk doesn't concern me.

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The funny thing is, there's tons of room for innovation in the Android handset market. Not that this is it, obviously.

There's clearly still a large market for physical keyboards, a la Blackberry. But not served. Surely that's something that could use a clip-on technology - rather than a pointless sticky-out-camera-thingy.

Next there's a desperate need for someone to design a phone that doesn't need a case. I've never seen a phone case that didn't make it harder to use, and the kinds of phones that are designed to be used on building sites are usually not very nice. So what about a happy medium? Some protection from water and some protection for the bloody screen! Or just an easily replaceable, sacrificial surface layer.

The essential problem with the smarphone is the screen. They're still bloody hard to read in daylight, consume most of the power, make text input horrible and are massively fragile. And yet the whole industry seems to just ignore these problems and keep iterating the same bloody design, as if it's the best they can do. Well I guess it is the best they can do, and that's why only two of the companies actually make any profits.

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At $600 that's a funny definition of "essential'...

For that money I can get a decent phone, a case, a tablet and still have change for a nice curry.

I find it bizarre that the price of top end smartphones has actually gone up, since they stopped improving rapidly 4-5 years ago. Completely at odds with how other tech goes.

I admit my £120 Microsoft Lumia 735 is totally rubbish for apps. If you need those, I'd spend up to double that to get a decent Android. I never got on with the iPhone, even though I like my iPad a lot. But I understand paying the Apple tax, if that's the ecosystem that suits you. But with Android you have a choice.

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India sets June 5 as the day it will join the heavy-lift rocket club

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Re: I'm impressed that we have 64 and 70 ton low earth orbit payload capability coming.

$160m for nearly 70 tonnes isn't too bad when the normal Falcon is supposedly about $60m to get 22 tonnes up. It's basically a slight volume discount.

Both those figures are also going to drop if/when SpaceX can get their recycled rockets working regularly.

Obviously though the best way to get decent tonnage into LEO is Project Orion. Admittedly the launch costs are going to be very large indeed, and you're going to struggle to find anywhere willing to let you use them as a launch site. Well I say that, but in reality someone in posession of a few hundred small nuclear devices shouldn't have trouble persuading people to do pretty much anything they tell them to...

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Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

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Re: Biggest surprise to me...

We got a new printer yesterday. Small office, small network. So last thing I set it up and it worked. Then I went home for some well-earned dinner.

This morning, it didn't work. But weirdly, though my PC couldn't see it, it could see my PC and so I could scan direct to my pooter.

So I then fixed it, and got the printer working again. Now I can print to it, but it can't see my PC to scan to it. I guess this is like the uncertainty principle. My PC can either know where the printer is, or the printer my PC, but not both - or the universe explodes...

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El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2

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Re: Does it do WiFi and tethering?

Given what WiFi hotspot does to my phone's battery, I can't see a watch being any use in that respect.

Not until it can leach power from the nanites in your bloodstream, which are hijacking the excess calories from the food you eat. At which point you won't need a fitness tracker anyway, as you can eat what you want without gaining weight. Until the programming bugs mean you are no longer able to absorb any calories at all, and so you starve to death...

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Attempt at building kinder, gentler Reddit downvoted off the Web

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You're right. They should have called it fluffi, or maybe cuddli?

Obviously the other thing you need in order to get web success is an inability to spell. Well to be fair it's a word deliberately spelled badly so you can trademark it - but I don't see why I should let sense get in the way of a good rant.

Anyway, I should stop reading this thread, as it's giving me an overwhelming urge to reply to everyone with gratuitous and childish insults, just to dispell this myth that El Reg is a civilised place...

Bum!

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Orbital boffins cut four years off NASA mission to shiniest object in the Solar System

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Happy

Re: 2024!!

Ah, but can you actually eat food that's designed to last that long?

I rememeber reading a few years ago that the US Department of Defense were dead chuffed with themselves for creating the MRE pizza. Yup that's a heat-in-the-bag pizza with a 3 year shelf-life. Yum!

I guess it's a bit like after your plane's crashed in a remote location. And you've run out of other passengers to eat and are forced to [the horror, the horror] eat the airline "food".

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.Science and .study: Domains of the bookish? More like domains of the JERKS!

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Re: Block all email from vanity TLD's

I used my first one last week. A new customer has a .plumbing domain. I work in the building services trade - though was a bit surprised as we're at the commercial end of things, and I'd have thought that TLD was more aimed at the bloke after a tradesmen to fix his boiler market.

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Could ICANN just do it properly, admit they're all about the money, and set up the following:

.scam

.phishing

.junkmail

.fakenews

That should make everyone's lives easier, and of course increase their bonus pot - which is far more important.

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

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Re: Not sure why people moan about Androids interface...

Who can be arsed to change it? How many different launchers would you have to try before finding the one that's stable and decently useable? How long would you waste? I can remember wasting an hour on the Android store just to get an app that actually worked to copy texts from one phone to another (the first three didn't actually work as advertised) - and I just can't be arsed.

For me at least, a phone is a very important tool for both work and personal life. And so I want one that works properly out of the box, doesn't need hours of tinkering, and in an ideal world can be set up and fully operational in an hour or two.

Other peoples' mileage may vary of course.

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Has AI gone too far? DeepTingle turns El Reg news into terrible erotica

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Devil

Dinosaur? More like Dino-Phwoar!

With apologies to Sir Phillip Flip-Top-Bin...

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

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I'm pretty sure he was a dead issue in the US as so much time had passed with not much happening. But then he started overtly interfering in the elections - he didn't just dump the Clinton emails on Wikileaks, he kept releasing new bunches at inconvenient times throughout the campaign - to make sure it got maximum and continuous coverage.

Of course it may be that he thought Clinton had a grudge against him. Or that the US are out to get him and so Trump might be grateful and save him. However Trump has the attention span of a gnat, doesn't appear to reward loyalty for very long and is totally self-obsessed. So nailing Assange might look to him to be a way of "proving" that it wasn't Russian influence that won him the election after all.

The only reason I don't automatically assume Assange is a rapist avoding his just deserts is that I think he might be genuinely paranoid enough to believe all the bollocks he spouts about the US being out to get him. Even though he was talking about becoming a Swedish citizen, and only fled their supposedly US corrupted system after the rape charges were about to be made. The very night before his appointment with the prosecutors in fact.

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Happy

Re: Sweden

Error 8008!

This device has performed an illegal operation.

Please reboot and re-insert floppy.

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Re: Actions == consequences

I don't believe the Aussies get a veto on where we send him to, if and when we eventually deport him somewhere. He's subject to UK law, as he's in the UK and came here legally and of his own choice. The usual procedure would be that we'd bung him back to Oz, because that's whose passport he came here on - although he could presumably be deported to Ecuador if they gave him citizenship (so far he only has asylum).

It is correct that the EAW gives our courts a veto on what Sweden can do with him though. They're not allowed to exradite to a third country without our permission.

As it happens the Swedish extradition treaties with the US are far tougher than ours, which was a pile of shit written by Blair's lot in a fit of stupidity, and sadly not yet repealed. In my opinion no extradition treaty should be in place that doesn't allow the Home Secretary a public interest veto over extradition, which neither the US or EAW do - hence I'd personally like to get rid of both, and replace them with the normal kind of extradition treaties that most other countries use, and that we use with everyone but the US and EU.

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The brave British boat men hoping to poke Larry Ellison's lads in the eye

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Re: Can't..

I think a better trick is to send the yacht as usual, and station a nice quiet submarine in the race area to subtly slow the other boats down. You only need torpedo them if it's obvious they're going to win.

The only problem is if the Americans have the same idea and our two subs crash into each other.

As an additional advantage, submarines have sails.

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Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

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Re: Other fact checkers exist already

Radio 4's More of Less is superb. It's a shame that BBC telly current affairs can't/won't do stuff like that.

If handled right, news doesn't need to be boring, depressing or without humour. I remember when Radio 5 started Vincent Hanna (of Blackadder the Third election fame) had a 2 hour show late in the evening. He covered news, but a lot of his show was done as long form interviews/discussions with people. Not the kind of Humphreys and Paxman showing off bollocks, but proper interviews where you allow the politicians the time and space to express themselves properly, before questioning them. From which you actually really learn about them and their beliefs and policies. I learnt a lot about Northern Irish politics from him. And there was always time for a bit of humour. As well as time to reflect and be a lot less partisan.

Andrew Neil's 'This Week' sometimes manages it, but mostly the show tries to do too much in too short a time, and too often becomes partisan - rather than taking a step back. You often need ex-politicians around to help with this - as they don't feel forced to resort to the approved soundbites - and also won't get jumped on by the press for any slip - which can be quoted wildly out of context.

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