* Posts by Axman

73 posts • joined 23 Aug 2016


Tantalising Tabby's Star teases watchers with big dimming event


If It Was A Dust Cloud...

...surely the absorption lines in a spectrographic analysis would tell us if the dimming is being caused by dust or not, wouldn't it?

Horn star Sudan, last male northern white rhino, dies aged 45


Tell this one to the Chinese.

I do. I save up my toenail clippings and send them to the Chinese embassy every year. They never thank me...

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)


Two views, one camera

The bottom two views from the side launchers coming in to land were probably meant to show the camera shots from each individual booster, but they are actually just duplicates from the one camera on one of the boosters - this is clearly visible at the end as they come in to land on Landing Zones 1 & 2 and 'both' rockets land on the same LZ.

This takes nothing away from the achievement and the external shots clearly show the near simultaneous landing, but in the interest of completeness I thought I'd point it out before the conspiracy theorist/flat earth nutters get their teeth into it.

But, as you say, Awesome.

Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you


Excuse me, but what is Facebook?

never heard of it.

'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes


You can demonstrate precision... Accuracy? Nope




the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and ACCURATE.

synonyms: exactness, exactitude, accuracy, accurateness, correctness, preciseness, clarity, clearness, distinctness; faithfulness, fidelity; care, carefulness, meticulousness, scrupulousness, punctiliousness, particularity, methodicalness, perfection, rigour, rigorousness, nicety

Juno beams back first closeups of Jupiter's unsightly red acne


Citizen Scientists and their colouring books

I've read elsewhere that the released photos have been 'colourised' by 'citizen scientists'. Having also seen one of the untouched-up photos on the BBC website I'd prefer it if NASA just released the bare images.

RED ALERT! High-speed alien fugitives are invading our Milky Way


Here's a novelty!

An article (in the science section) that I actually fully understand from start to finish, and what's more, the conclusions makes sense to me.

Boffins' five eyes surprise: Bees correct colour for ambient light


Excellent for the bees, but...

...I don't want my camera to produce the same colour under different ambient light. Half the challenge of creating an interesting photo is to get different colour balances on foreground and mid ground objects against different skies. My photos would look weird and unnatural if for example a bridge and a river were the same colour no matter what the sky background was (for example: overcast, sunset, bright day with blue sky, etc.)

Ever wondered why the universe only has black holes in S or XXXL? No? Boffins have an answer


where does Morrisinghs fit in?

About the size of a brown dwarf obviously :-)


A spa is a mineral spring...



Re: How come...

Same reason they haven't sucked up all the surrounding galactic stars and dust


Can corner shops grow by accreting customers?

The analogy was referencing the size through comparing event horizon (as opposed to solar masses) to turnover (rather than customer numbers), and therefore, in essence the grocery store grows by accreting stock. It does this by sucking in money - in the cosmology of the shopping mall greed = gravity.


Black Holes are just like grocery stores...

You either have your Spa corner shop or your Sainsbury's. It's very rare to get a medium sized grocery store.

No way to sugarcoat this: I'm afraid Uranus opens and closes to accept particle streams


How did that help?

errr, hmmm...




Re: I HATES it!

"Toad Hall," said the Toad proudly, "is an eligible self- contained gentleman's residence, very unique; dating in part from the fourteenth century, but replete with every modern convenience. Up-to-date sanitation. Five minutes from church, post-office, and golf-links, Suitable for..."


I wonder if there's a brown out when it opens?

... don't be faecesious


It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

As the astro-boffins are running out of mythical people to name moons after, I think they should start using modern fictional characters, and the next moon of Uranus they discover should be called 'Little Finger'

Just like knotted-up headphones: Entangled photons stay entwined over record distance


Wait a second!

Am I the only one here who doesn't understand this?

They're creating millions of pairs of photons and recording one a second that are 'entangled'!

How do they know that these,the ones claimed to be entangled, aren't just random associations? I've got to admit I'm entirely baffled by this entire 'technology'.

It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists


I feel sorry for it...

... but not as sorry as I feel for his little brother with two anuses.

Meteor swarm spawns new and dangerous branch



Taurids? Are they the Brummie equivalent to Emmets and Grockles?

(as in, "Taurids Information Centre? Yep, up there by the Bullring... ta-ra a bit")

Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG


"Cruel mistress science throws astroboffins a curveball"

Science, a mistress! Nah. Science is a bloke usually lurking in his shed in a chunky knit pullover, with tiny splashes of chicken soup lost in a straggly beard, and a distant, pensive look in his eyes. You can sometimes find him down the pub having a swift half early doors, when his missus, Nature, has buggered off with her best pal, Art, for a night out on the town.

Gay Dutch vultures become dads


Re: Dutch Vultures

...but, if that photo is of a Griffon Vulture I'll eat my hat: that's a White Headed Vulture (Trigonoceps occipitali), and therefore not one of the gay Dutch vultures in question.


Dutch Vultures

I bet they smoke pot too, and ride bikes, and are able to crack jokes in English...

Boffins spot 'faceless fish' in strange alien environment


...And we thought nasal hair was bad!

Imagine having to put up with dorsal, ventral and pectoral fin hair


New Brighton

You don't have to dive down that deep to find weird stuff... I once went plodging off New Brighton beach and unfortunately tripped and went a foot under the waves. I never want to make the discovery I did that day again.

Event horizons around black holes do exist, say astroboffins


Both Event Horizon & Supermassive Particle!!?

Bear with me...

The commonly espoused version of Black Holes posit a Singularity at the center where matter is crushed beyond what physics can predict about it, with an event horizon further out where the matter sucked within (and the information contained therein) becomes becomes lost to our universe.

Now as I understand it, light cannot escape from a Black Hole not because it is sucked into the Singularity but because once it 'dips' below the event horizon space-time is so curved that the photons orbit around the Singularity.

Now suppose that there is some kind of exotic supermassive particle 'larger' than a Singularity (i.e. existing in space-time and obeying all the laws of physics), but that this supermassive thing is smaller than the event horizon. In this case the results from the search would show the results as were gathered, and the supermassive particle would still be invisible - the star's matter would descend down and hit the hard surface of the supermassive particle whilst the radiation would circle space-time below the event horizon.

I've always been concerned about a singularity being totally unexplainable (and therefore somewhat 'un-scientific') whereas a supermassive particle only needs a small unknown quantity to enter into the equations to prevent the downward collapse of matter at a density prior to singularity-dom and thus still remain within the realms of explainable physics.

(NB If however Singularities do exist - and I'm not saying they don't, just that I'd prefer that they didn't - then I quite like the idea that they form some kind of feedback loop to the Big Bang and therefore re-enter the possibly explainable realm that is physics!)

Juno's first data causing boffins to rewrite the text books on Jupiter


Re: Astonishing science

> "People wonder what's the point of going to these other planets" <

If I wrote a dictionary my definition of imbecile would be "Anybody who wonders what's the point of going to these other planets"

Particle boffins calculate new constraints for probability of finding dark matter


Re: I'm not a physicist, but...

Which is basically what I said. You get 2 up votes, but I get 3 down votes. Up, Down, Strange and Charm are obviously not constrained to quarks but are universal aspects of the El Reg community, obviously...


Re: Dark Matter - pah!

Have we got some kind of hellishly perverted dark matter fetishist around?

I mean seriously! downvotes for merely suggesting that something which hasn't been found (despite the considerable effort placed into trying to find it) might not exist!


Dark Matter - pah!

I confidently predict that Dark Matter doesn't exist and that within the next ten years a new and improved theory of gravity at galactic to universal distances (as opposed to mere solar distances) will gain experimental proof.

Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins


Re: expanding from?

Don't be DAFT; how can you view it from the outside!

NASA's Cassini snaps pic inside Saturn's ring – peace among the stars


Re: Murrica

"I imagined it as a William Shatner voiceover."

"I imagined Carl Sagan..."

and I imagined Barbara Windsor...

Jokes of no more than 2 lines


I’ve been prescribed an anti-gloating cream…

It hurts when you rub it in.


Here's a Christmas one...

I’ve bought my nephew and niece a colonoscopy set for Christmas.

I can’t wait to see their little faeces.


How do you get your wife to notice your new car made out of spaghetti?

You need to drive pasta.

This story is no more


I don't get it

Why do exobiologist/astroboffins insist on the 'goldilocks zone' thing. We are, after all, talking about alien life. The rulebook doesn't state that alien life must have DNA as a base code, it doesn't insist that the temperature should be like an average day on the beach at Brighton, or that water has to be involved, does it.

I'm not just talking extremophiles here (which we know can and do exist on our own planet), but exoticophiles - things like bugs that use solvents other than water, thingymajigs that operate at cryogenic temperatures utilising superfluidity and superconductivity, gassy bags of ephemeral catalysts floating in Jupiter like skies, organised magneto-creatures feeding off of a star's chromosphere... I could go on and on and on

If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths


Fast Radio Bursts!


Short Energetic Radio Bursts, surely.

Move over, Bernie Ecclestone. Scientists unearth Earth's oldest fossil yet: 4bn years old


I mean, explain the octopus?! Three hearts and blue blood!

The octopus is easy to explain. It has ~ 95% of the same genes that we have, a similar proportion to the banana, which has no hearts and no blood.

Amid new push to make Pluto a planet again... Get over it, ice-world's assassin tells El Reg


That title image is very annoying...

Pluto with the sun shining on its bald pate; its four moons with the sun illuminating their rear ends.

Wrong, just wrong.

And, they're too close. And, which one's supposed to be Charon?

Jun-OH-NO! NASA's Jupiter probe in busted helium-valve drama


As an aside to the actual article...

... that's one hell of a video trailer. When's the film coming out?

Baby supernova spotted, just three hours old and a real cutie


Re: Now you've done it.. willi0000000

> a giant blob of hot iron core <

The very definition of Ozzy Osbourne

UK prof claims to have first practical blueprint of a quantum computer



Wh000000sh...maybe, (n)one day, I'll understand what quantum computing is about.

I wh111111sh.

H0LiCOW! Hubble's constant update paves way for 'new physics'


Re: Paradox

> further object are older than nearer ones.<

Piffle sir!. I think you'll find that further objects are YOUNGER than nearer ones (in a space-time relativistic manner). It takes the light longer to get here and therefore the information it delivers comes from an earlier time frame than our current one.

You know what, maybe Tabby's star ate a planet, ponder space eggheads


Re: reading this late on a friday afternoon.

Gads sir! methinks thou needeth a mnemonic for mnemnomic... that or few less beers on a Friday afternoon.

Europe to launch legal action against countries over diesel emissions cheating


Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air...

Next in line should be all the bloody London luvvies who've installed wood burners in their little country hide-aways, that they invariably get to in gigantic diesel driven 4x4s.

As a born and bred country bumpkin, still resident in my ancestral village, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to snaffle up the pure unadulterated air of yore

Remember that brightest supernova ever seen? It wasn't one


Re: Massive black hole?

Black Holes are sleight of hand objects. They are merely theoretically reduced to a singularity in the middle where all the mass congregates, but in actuality (because time slows down dramatically the further down the gravity well you descend, and so a second in the deep interior would correspond to billions of years out here on Earth's insignificant gravity wrinkle) no black hole would have had time to reach a singularity state - the matter would still be infalling (from the BH's perspective).

Also, according to loop quantum gravity, the singularity can't form as it can't squeeze space down below the planck length - there's a limit to how much stuff can be squeezed into a finite space.

Also, the mascara snake, fast and bulbous.

Leaked paper suggests EM Drive tested by NASA actually works


Re: It just might be low energy photons providing the thrust

As AC has pointed out - "I suggest you read their paper - they have thought of this issue and accounted for it and a number of other possibilities. It's an impressively thorough document."

I shall indeed read their paper, then.



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