* Posts by LeeE

921 posts • joined 12 Apr 2012


Q. China just landed on its far side, the US woz there 50 years ago – now Europe wants to mine it? A. It's the Moon

LeeE Silver badge

"There isn't much there to mess with."


Heads up: Debian's package manager is APT for root-level malware injection... Fix out now to thwart MITM hijacks

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Lousy advice guys

You appear to be running the old-stable 'Jessie' release, which is now on LTS



"Debian Long Term Support (LTS) is a project to extend the lifetime of all Debian stable releases to (at least) 5 years. Debian LTS will not be handled by the Debian security team, but by a separate group of volunteers and companies interested in making it a success.

Thus the Debian LTS team takes over security maintenance of the various releases once the Debian Security team stops its work."

It would appear that the LTS team haven't back-ported the fix from 'Stretch' yet.

Friday fun fact: If Stegosauruses had space telescopes, they wouldn't have seen any rings around Saturn

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Ring mass

"Please don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot a problem..."

Sounds rather like the Microsoft concept of quality control.

Please Clapton, grant MS a patent on this method of product 'improvement' - just so that it stops everyone else from using it.

LeeE Silver badge

Re: I had [to] think about this as well

I struggled to make sense of it too.

"The resulting motion of the probe suggested Saturn’s gravitational field was much higher than expected..."

The range of gravity is infinite, so does 'higher' here mean greater? But we would 'expect' the mass of Saturn to be what we've calculated it to be from data obtained by observation. If Saturn's gravity turned out to be much greater than we "expected" (calculated) then surprise would not be an adequate term to express our reaction and we would have to resort to astonishment.

"... and this field is affected by how fast its internal matter spins..."

This could refer to relativistic frame-dragging but I doubt it because a little later on we get:

"And it turned out to be pretty impressive winds."

So what I think the article is trying to say is that when you combine a 9000km deep atmosphere with strong winds it can result in transient/variable mass-concentrations (MassCons) of sufficient magnitude that they may have an influence on the stability of the ring system.

People say tabloid hacks are always looking for an angle. This time, they'd be right: Tilting disk of proto-planets spotted

LeeE Silver badge

Re: That second artists impression

The effect decreases as you get closer to the Ringworld surface though: here's a visualisation I did (Real3D V3 on Amiga) looking towards Fist Of God from 100km (iirc) above the surface.

I had tweaked the refractive index of the atmosphere material to ensure that some refraction artifacts were visible but didn't expect the 'streaky' effect. I think it was due to the 'shape' of the atmosphere i.e. a hollowed cylinder and thus flat in one direction but curved in the other.


Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

LeeE Silver badge

Re: How long...

Please sir, can I have some more?

LeeE Silver badge

Re: How long...

...has this been goin' on?

LeeE Silver badge

Re: How long...

Free going...

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Width

Hmm... good excuse to spark up the nonsense generator:

Well one day at Shrewsbury, and offers no accommodation for chance guests and, had it been known in the same time the engine and the other hand, it afforded us some time before he was well pleased, and he was always in a very successful man in his own name and Mr. Riach and the train was about to be a very long gradient, the hindmost carriages of the train at an early hour yesterday morning, Jan. 8th, 1884, in connection with the same time, he admits that tunnels were nuisances, which he had been so long as he had a great deal of opposition I have no objection to the other side of the most famous was the first to use the former, and the whole of the railway company for damages for the first time in the midst of the same way as liners used to make a great many of the two men lying impotent in their own hands.

...or in other words:

Well one day at York, as the train was about to be a very successful series of stamps based upon the deck, and that the first to lay down to the other hand, it afforded us some time before we heard a cry, "Five minutes here!"

Smartphones gateway drug to the Antichrist, says leader of Russian Orthodox Church

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Steady now

"I think you need to look objectively at what prompted the ideas behind religious customs."

The idea behind religious customs is to achieve control over others; if you can establish a set of religious customs that everyone must follow then you've also established your position of authority and control over them: they need to interact with their god via you.

Religion was the second method of control over others, allowing those that employed it to wrest control from, and supplant, the old 'ruling class' who employed the first method of control over others, that of physical force, where those with the greatest physical prowess got to call the shots.

The third method of control over others, specifically developed to wrest control from religion, is politics.

LA Times knocked out, HackerOne slips up and – amazingly – router security still sucks

LeeE Silver badge

Military, calm

"The military was also called in to bring a calm to the situation."

That seems like an oxymoron but I believe that there have been a few occasions where this has actually happened.

LeeE Silver badge

Water bears* are quite difficult to damage.

* Tardigrades

Dark matter's such a pushover: Baby stars can shove weird stuff around dwarf galaxies

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Alternate theory

"Some idiot called it dark matter..."

The problem with 'Dark matter' is that it's widely regarded, largely thanks to uninformed (and thus misleading) reporting in the general media, to be the explanation of anomalies in observations. The problem with this, as far as explanations go, is that because we can't say what 'Dark matter' is, it doesn't actually explain anything.

'Dark matter' is really just a description of the observed anomalies, insofar as the observed anomalies appear to indicate the presence of matter that cannot be seen. However, this is not the same as saying that there is matter there that cannot be seen.

There'd probably be less confusion, in the wider public at least, if the idiot had called it the 'Dark matter problem' instead.

It's not a solution or explanation - it's just a very naughty description.

Same applies to 'Dark energy' too.

German cybersecurity chief: Anyone have any evidence of Huawei naughtiness?

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Huawei the lads!

I struggled to find a pronunciation until my mind added a question mark to give who-are-we?

Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes

LeeE Silver badge


"These planets are difficult to study as they can only be viewed via ultraviolet light. The researchers hope to continue observing GJ347b using Hubble and eventually the James Webb Telescope..."

If they can only be observed via ultraviolet light then the James Webb Space Telescope won't be able to see them because its sensors will only operate in the Red to mid-infrared range and because it's going to be located at the Sun-Earth L2 point there won't be any possibility of adding a UV detection capability in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, I suspect that the gold-plated mirror is not suitable for UV observation.

Bloodhound SSC reaches the end of the road for want of £25m

LeeE Silver badge

"The engineering isn't particularly interesting or groundbreaking (jet engines? meh. hybrid rocket? only slightly less meh.)"

The interesting engineering isn't in the propulsion but in keeping the thing stable and controllable at that speed, on the ground and without a track.

It's whether there's any value in doing that that I have to question.

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Shame

"...someone else's expensive hobby."

...that and jingoism.

Sure, it would certainly have been an achievement but beyond that I find it difficult to see any value in it because I just can't see how the tech could ever be transferable to anything else.

Forget ripping off brains for AI. Butterflies and worms could lead us to self-repairing intelligent robots, says prof

LeeE Silver badge

"...now we know that certain memories / experiences can be genetically encoded..."

I think you have to be careful what you mean here: a learned experience can't be genetically encoded but a genetic change can result in changed behavior, which can then be inherited.

If the genetic change is beneficial and confers an advantage it can be mistaken for learning and thus it can appear as though an organism has learned something that has then been passed on to its descendants.

LeeE Silver badge

"Is there actually any proof of this..."

I don't think there's even any evidence for it: the two body-forms, lifestyles and primary functions are so different that I can't think of anything that a caterpillar might learn that might be relevant to a butterfly, nor how it might be expressed.

Ex-Intel engineer tried to make off with 3D XPoint secret sauce on his way to Micron, says Chipzilla

LeeE Silver badge

Personnel data?

"Intel has unleashed its legal dogs upon one of its former hardware engineers..."


"Rivers had a go at taking confidential trade and personnel data with him as he left."


"...that did not stop Rivers from allegedly hoovering up a selection of personnel files into a USB device..."

Why/how did a hardware engineer have/gain access to personnel data?

It was a lit CeBIT see, got teeny weeny, world's biggest tech show yearly party... closed its German fest's doors yesterday

LeeE Silver badge

Re: English..

"...you are too young to recognise the reference to the chart success of the baka mallet wielding children’s entertainer."

What is a baka mallet?

I suspect that I might be too old to recognise wtf this gibberish is all about.

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

LeeE Silver badge


"Grav waves and dark matter have an effect on gravity..."

Dark matter has an effect on gravity, gravitational waves are a change or variation in/of gravity. Saying that gravity waves have an effect on gravity is like saying a change in something creates that change.

"...and thus time, variations of which..."

There are not different varieties of time. Variations can occur in time, but it's all the same sort of time.

"As you'd expect, if two of these clocks were placed at different altitudes near the Earth's surface, the higher one would tick slightly faster than the lower one, due to classic time dilatation."

There're two types of time dilation: gravitational, where the local rate of time is affected by mass, and relativistic, where the local rate of time is affected by spatial motion; there is no "classic" variety.

"...an effect sometimes called the gravitational redshift."

Only people who don't know what they're talking about would call gravitational time dilation "gravitational redshift": time dilation and 'red-shift' are two entirely different phenomena.

And no, I don't think I'm just being pedantic - these mistakes, far from informing people, just mislead them.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

LeeE Silver badge

Smart meters do not save energy

Indeed. Smart meters were never intended to save money for consumers - the idea that people who had no interest in reducing their electrickery bill prior to having a smart meter will suddenly change their attitude after having one is entirely fallacious. People who do care already turn stuff off when not needed or in use.

Smart meters have many benefits for the suppliers though: it will enable them to greatly reduce their staff costs, remotely disconnect your supply, and sell your usage data.

Oracle's JEDI mind-meld doesn't work on Uncle Sam's auditors: These are not the govt droids you are looking for

LeeE Silver badge

It's all a bit academic...

...because it [JEDI] will never work properly, at least not within the ten years allocated to the contract, and probably never.

Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Just go Linux

This seems to apply to the 'Insider' program only, and it seems to me that some people who sign up to the 'Insider' program simply don't understand that what they're getting is pre-production code, for testing and evaluation purposes only. Linux isn't going to fix that level of ignorance.

UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Windows

"Why Windows in the first place on a system with a narrow functional requirement?"

Good question.

A RPi would be ideal for this sort of thing. The cost of keeping a few spare RPis, pre-imaged cards and PSUs ready for swapping in the event of a problem would be negligible.

Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Which computers is this?

"The 100+ laptops on the ISS were switched to Debian 6 years ago"

> Oops, does that mean they are relying on systemd now?

Nope - systemd wasn't made the default on Debian until Debian 8 Jessie

'Pure technical contributions aren’t enough'.... Intel commits to code of conduct for open-source projects

LeeE Silver badge

Re: what.

"those who lack interpersonal skills

... are capable of learning them and deploying them when they're required."

So people who lack personal skills have chosen to lack those skills?

Dawn of the dead: NASA space probe runs out of gas in asteroid belt after 6.4 billion-mile trip

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Then what??

Yes, it does seem to be a rather strange thing to say but perhaps it was just poorly worded.

Dawn is in a highly elliptical orbit orbit around Ceres, bringing in as close as 35km and taking it out as far as 4000km, where it could be subject to perturbations by other asteroids in the belt.

Saying that it'll probably remain in orbit around Ceres for at least 20 years suggests that no other large asteroids are going to approach Ceres closely enough to significantly perturb Dawn's orbit until then. It also suggests that another large asteroid is approaching Ceres and will approach closely enough to have an affect around that time, and which will perturb Dawn's orbit.

We can't predict exactly how Dawn's orbit will be changed but considering its close proximity to Ceres, which is a ~1000km wide target, the possibility of Dawn hitting it [Ceres] seem quite high.

Dot-com web addresses prices to swell, thanks to sweetheart deal between Uncle Sam, Verisign

LeeE Silver badge

Re: .com is for international companies

"...why is an US institute running it?"

All your .com are belong to U.S.

Sensor failure led to Soyuz launch failure, says Roscosmos

LeeE Silver badge

Re: spacecraft design

I need to reply to my own post here to add some corrections to the booster jettison sequence:

The first stage of jettison is not the shutdown of the booster motors, as I previously stated, but the release of the lower linkages. Because the booster motors are still running this causes the base of the booster to swing out and away from the core - then the booster motors are shutdown, and then the tip thrusters are activated to swing the tips of the boosters clear of the core.

It might also be considered a misnomer to describe the tip thrusters as such because the thrust is not provided by supplemental motors but by venting surplus oxidizer (oxygen) carried for this particular purpose.

My bad.

I can't down-vote myself so I'll have to leave that to others.

LeeE Silver badge

Re: spacecraft design

"The first stage bumped into the second stage, which blew up said second stage..."

Not quite - the R7 series of launchers have a central 'core' section, that forms the 'first' stage, to which are attached four discrete boosters. Thrust from each of the four boosters is transferred to the 1st stage core by a 'ball' at the tip of each booster, which sits inside a 'cup' that is built in to the side of the upper section of the core. The base of each booster has a linkage to the core, to retain the booster and keep it in place alongside the core, but which transfers none of the thrust. This arrangement, that of transferring the thrust from the boosters to the core at the core's upper section and not at the base, means that the lower section of the core need only be strong enough to cope with the thrust from its own engines and not the entire thrust of the launcher.

When the boosters have done their work and are to be jettisoned the motors are first shut down and then the lower links are relaxed, allowing the booster to swing out at its base and drop back a little and this allows the thrust transfer 'ball' to drop out of the 'cup' on the side of the upper section of the core. After the ball has dropped out of the cup, small thrusters built in to the tips of each of the boosters are then fired to swing the tips of the boosters out and away from the core, the boosters rotating around their base linkages as the tips swing out. Once the boosters have rotated far enough they disengage from their base linkages and fall away.

The problem seems to have occurred when the booster tip thrusters were fired, with one of them failing to operate correctly and resulting in the tip of that booster re-contacting the side of the core, which at that point still had fuel and which was still running.

The second stage sat on top of the core module of the first stage, with the Soyuz sitting on top of that.

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

LeeE Silver badge

Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

I read a story in the Fortean Times a very long time ago, when bombing was a thing in the UK, about a 'mystery' package that had been found outside an Army Recruiting Centre (iirc) by the key-holder when they arrived in the morning to open the aforesaid centre. The Bomb Squad were called in to 'deal' with it whereupon the small controlled explosion they used revealed that the package was a stack of hand-out leaflets warning people about 'mystery' packages.

It's big, it's blue, and it'll be raining down on you – it's 3200 Phaethon

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Interesting ... but

1. It's blue. That's curious.

If you could see it with your own eyes you'd say it was dark grey - the very slight tint of 'blueness' is only really discernible with instruments. Although we can learn stuff from how it reflects sunlight we can't get an emission spectra from it because it doesn't emit any light - we'd have to fly a projectile into it at a high enough speed to vaporise some of it to get it to produce light we could analyse.

2. Is it true that objects are either asteroids or comets...

I think it's true to say that people used to think that way but largely because we couldn't see as well as we can now, but with better instruments we've found bodies that seem to have characteristics of both types of body.

On the other hand though, there still seems to be two distinct groups of bodies, at least in terms of composition: one primarily composed of rock and one primarily composed of ice. Trouble is, we've only had a detailed look at a very small number of comets and asteroids - not enough to draw really solid conclusions.

3. The article suggests that Phaeton is in a highly elliptic orbit...

Yup, although it was only discovered in 1983 (because it's small and dark) its orbit is now very well known (it's orbital period is actually 1.433 years, not 1 year). At its greatest distance from the Sun it approaches the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. As others have pointed though, it doesn't pass through Earth's atmosphere - its closest approach to Earth, at least since it was discovered, was in 2017 when it was ~6,400,000 miles away (the Moon is just 238,856 miles distant, so much further away then the Moon).

The orbit of 3200 Phaeton is pretty stable, at least for now, but each time it passes close the Sun a lot of dust and stuff gets cooked off of its surface and is released in to space. 3200 Phaeton isn't massive enough to simply draw that dust back in towards itself by gravity so the dust ends up orbiting the Sun along the same path as 3200 Phaeton itself, but getting more and more spread out along the orbit as time passes.

By now, enough time appears to have passed for this dust to have been spread out all the way around 3200 Phaeton's orbit so that every time the Earth crosses the orbit, each December, it will run into this dust and we'll get it entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up as a meteors or shooting stars.

Cosmoboffins think grav waves hold the key to sorting out the disputed Hubble Constant

LeeE Silver badge

A minor irritance

It's Hubble's Law and the Hubbble Constant - not "the Hubble's Constant".

LeeE Silver badge

A good question.

If we regard the Universe as a closed system, and the space-time within it is expanding, then where is the additional space-time coming from?

If only one of space or time were expanding, and the other was contracting, then we might have a way to keep the total amount of space-time within the Universe constant.

Time appears to 'expand' from its boundary, or 'end', whereas space seems to expand throughout its volume. In view of this, it seems to me that solutions that have space contracting or shrinking are going to be easier to deal with than solutions that have time contracting/shrinking.

Forgotten that Chinese spy chip story? We haven't – it's still wrong, Super Micro tells SEC

LeeE Silver badge

...the chip shown in the Bloomberg piece...

"...is too small to realistically contain the necessary logic and all the data to insert a viable backdoor into a software stack."

I'd estimate that the chip shown in the first reg article on this story:


is roughly 1mm x 3mm, or a little under, so between 2.5-3 mm2.

But in this reg article:


it is stated that "one [A5] CPU core, minus all the extras, [but] with 4KB of instruction cache, and 4KB of data cache, comes in at 0.28 mm2 of die area"

It seems to me then, that the chip shown by Bloomberg is not too small for the necessary logic and data.

UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Are you 18 or older?

Children start becoming sexually aware around the age of 10 and once that awareness has occurred, and the accompanying urges have started, there's no way of stopping it.

The real problem here is that parents can't cope with, and are in denial of, that little aspect of reality.

Rather than solving a problem, Age Verification just helps brush it further under the carpet.

Fed up with cloud giants ripping off its database, MongoDB forks new 'open-source license'

LeeE Silver badge

Re: "Open source software doesn't require you to give back to the community"

@LDS: I think you're trying to read more into the GPL than is actually there.

"Most licenses I've seen..."

The GPL licenses (2 & 3) are specific and not open to modification: all of the GPL licenses that you've seen will be identical (within the type: 2 or 3). There's no scope for 'Most licenses I've seen...' in the context of the GPL Licenses.

"GPL forces you to give back all of your code if you ever use something GPLed in it"

The GPL only requires you release 'your' code if you are distributing modified GPL'd code; it does not require you to do anything at all if you just use GPL'd software; the organisations that are being targeted by MongoDB are not distributing modified GPL'd software; they're just using GPL'd software to distribute their own data.

"I believe the "internal use" exception..."

There is no "internal use" exception in the GPL because there are no usage restrictions in the GPL, other than from the penalties resulting from the distribution of modified code without the accompanying source code modifications.

LeeE Silver badge

Re: GPL & C. were thought before the "cloud"....

"So I fully understand MongoDB and others..."

I agree with Paul Berg's thinking on this: "Open source and libre software doesn't require you to give back to the community, it allows you to do so unimpeded. The rationale for these new licenses seems to me to be something different."

And what that different thing seems to be, at least to me, is that after using the free/open source model to gain market-share and dependence they've decided that now that people are making money [from their s/w] they want some of it.

NASA's Chandra probe suddenly becomes an EX-ray space telescope (for now, anyway)

LeeE Silver badge

...if the Shuttle was still flying, could it bring back...?

Nope - the Shuttle could only get to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) whereas at its closest approach to Earth (perigee) Chandra is a little over 14,000 km away.

Furthermore, when Chandra, or any object in orbit, is at perigee it is also traveling at its fastest, so as well as not being able to reach Chandra, the Shuttle wouldn't have the delta-V to be able to accelerate to match velocities with it and then decelerate to return to Earth.

Microsoft reveals xlang: Cross-language, cross-compiler and coming to a platform near you

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Can't do cross lnguage, cross platform interoperability at function level

"...cross l[a]nguage, cross platform..."

What we really need are calm languages & platforms.

Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on

LeeE Silver badge

They've assumed

It's more of a proposed explanation than an assumption, but I think there are better explanations.

Penitentes are formed by ablative erosion so the peak of the penitente is indicative of an older and higher surface level - the penitentes are not built up from the original surface but are what's left.after the surrounding material has been removed (by the aforesaid erosion). If we have 15m high penitentes then we need to know where that 15m of eroded material came from and where it subsequently went.

More likely, imo, is that the 'roughness' is due to either compression fractures, similar to what we see in the Arctic ice sheets, or the presence of cryovolcanic 'spines', similar in mechanism to those we see being erupted from lava domes. Neither of these explanations require the now missing eroded material.

Oh no, Xi didn't! Chinese spymaster cuffed in Belgium, yoinked to US on aerospace snoop rap

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Expect more

"There is a lot of down votes here... Care to enlighten?"

There's no news, just propaganda. The up-votes come from people who like and support the propaganda because it supports their biases. The down-votes come from people who are annoyed by the propaganda and its supporters because it and they disagree with their own biases.

Chinese Super Micro 'spy chip' story gets even more strange as everyone doubles down

LeeE Silver badge

Something odd going on here

I agree; there's something wrong about this affair.

It seems to me that Bloomberg has probably uncovered something but what they have uncovered is not what they [Bloomberg] think it is.

Chinese tech titans' share prices slump after THAT Super Micro story

LeeE Silver badge

One thing is certain:

"the allegation of chips and Chinese snoopers is set to intensify the already bad-tempered relations between the Chinese and US administrations."

Indeed, and it appears to be the only certainty in this affair; nothing else about it adds up.

New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else

LeeE Silver badge

I find these 'possibility' type theories both annoying and misleading and agree with Dr. Syntax that the main motivation for them is to get something published.

Everything in the Solar System was made from the same small portion of a much larger molecular cloud nova remnant and this would have been fairly homogeneous until the Sun and planets were well on their way to formation, for without the Sun and planetisimals there would have been nothing to cause differentiation, to separate the different materials in the cloud.

Water is a good example of this: many people now believe that Earth originally had no water at all and that it was all delivered by comets. The reality is that whilst Earth's oceans account for 96.5% of all the surface/near surface water, there's evidence that somewhere between 1.5-11 times this amount exists in the Earth's mantle, hundreds of miles deep, and which wouldn't have got there via comets.

Fuzzy logic makes a comeback – in picking where Earth sticks its probes into alien worlds

LeeE Silver badge

Fuzzy Logic and Landing Sites

Using fuzzy logic to select landing sites doesn't make a lot of sense to me, for two reasons. Firstly, you don't need fuzzy logic to establish the gradient of a patch of terrain (or, for that matter, its roughness i.e. covered in boulders) - very simple algorithms can do this. And secondly, probes are landed where there is something of interest to be investigated, not because its easy to land at that location; choosing a landing site just based upon the relative ease of landing is pointless if there's nothing interesting there, or at least within a reasonable travel range, to be investigated; you don't want to run the risk of a problem developing, such as part of the probe wearing out or getting damaged, before it can start doing its work.

Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere

LeeE Silver badge

Re: 300 lightning strikes

I was wondering about the 300 lighting strike equivalent but a quick bit of searching revealed that an average -ve lightning stroke delivers ~500MJ of energy (+ve bolts are more intense but less common ~5%). TNT (as a rough yardstick) yields a little over 4MJ / kg, so it would seem that ~125kg of TNT (a fairly small bomb) ~= 1 average bolt of lighting.

If we use Pete 2's lowest number for the total weight of bombs dropped, 1 Mt, and multiply it by 2000 (for US tons, to get a lower bound) we get get 2 Glb. Divide this by 2.2 to get 9.09e8 kg.

Tot energy = 9.09e8 * 4e6 = 3.6e^14 J

Divide this by 5e8 to give equivalent number of lightning bolts = 7.2e4 = 720,000.

If we go with 6 bolts per minute then we have 720,000 / 6 = 120,000 minutes = 2,000 hours = 83.3 days.

But note that if that figure of 6 bolts per min is for the whole of Europe then we really need the average rate just for Germany, which must be considerably lower.

Corrections welcome for any errors in the maths.

Of course, another way of looking at it is to remember that bombs did far more damage during the war than lightning ever did.

NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again

LeeE Silver badge

Re: Saturn 5 / Apollo

"...having a man walk on the moon and return safely - with 1960's technology."

There was nothing safe about the Apollo missions or the 1960's technology they relied upon: it caused the death of three astronauts and nearly killed another three. Considering the low number of missions actually flown, its safety record can only be regarded as poor.

It wasn't just because of the cost that Saturn was retired, it was also because the Saturn launch stack was, to use computing jargon, an emergency hack, the sole purpose of which was to boost the US ego by beating the USSR in what history has shown to have been a totally pointless race - pointless because, if there had been some point to it, other than simply beating the USSR, they'd still be there.

Science was always secondary to winning the 'race': whilst the Apollo astronauts were very smart people, and did do some good science while they were there, only one of them was actually a scientist and once Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon and returned, NASA struggled to get financing from the US gov for further science based missions.


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