* Posts by Spherical Cow

56 posts • joined 10 Aug 2018


The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

Spherical Cow

Re: The FCC, eh?

Ethanol and also hops. Hops are naturally antibacterial. If your beer is at least 2% ABV and also at least 20 IBU (International Bittering Units, a measure of isomerised alpha acids derived from hops) your beer is unlikely to spoil.

A long time ago in a monastery far far away (or possibly just down the road depending where you live) monks brewed ale (not beer in those days) for the local community. They did mash the grain more than once as mentioned above, they kept the very strongest ale for themselves, the normal strength was for evening consumption by adults, and the last runnings made small beer for kids and mornings.

Some modern breweries still get two runnings from one batch of grain: this is called parti-gyle brewing. Fullers is a good example of a brewery who use this method. The first runnings (strongest) goes into one kettle to be boiled, the second runnings (weakest) goes into a second kettle. They then blend different proportions of strong & weak to get different strength beers as desired. If the two kettles are boiled with different varieties of hops then the resulting stronger and less strong beers can taste very different, even though they were made with the same grain.

p.s. Brewing is my day job.

Spherical Cow

Re: One ring to rule them all?

My first thought was why not build one around the equator and be done with it. But... oceans are tricky and so are plate tectonics. OTOH there are no oceans on the moon (misleading Latin names notwithstanding) and it is geologically stable.

But only a lunatic would suggest that.

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

Spherical Cow

Re: Venus has a weird spin.

And Pluto has a weird plane.

Typical! You wait ages for a fast radio burst from outer space, and suddenly 13 show up

Spherical Cow

Re: Fingers crossed

Fast Microwave Bursts. Detected at Parkes (as were the first FRBs). Unexplained for ages. Turned out to be a technician heating his lunch in the staff canteen and opening the microwave door without pressing stop first.

Spherical Cow

Fingers crossed

I really really really hope FRBs don't turn out to be as embarrassingly mundane as FMBs.

Fly me to the Moon, let me play among the stars. Do you think we could get another probe to land on Mars?

Spherical Cow

The Clangers do not live on the moon. They live on a planet, across the vast emptiness of space, the silent nothingness between the stars.

What's 23 times the size of Earth, uncomfortably warm – and has astroboffins excited?

Spherical Cow

I'm growing a third arm...

SpaceX's Crew Dragon shows up at pad 39A, nearly 8 years after the last Shuttle left

Spherical Cow

Re: What's in a name

According to the documentary series, the Soup Dragon lives on either a star or a planet, depending on which episode you watch. Definitely not the moon though.

Forget 2019's tech biz takeovers, here's the mega-merger everyone's talking about: Milky Way and LMC, coming soon

Spherical Cow

Re: There is no mass, their model is wrong

If there is no mass, how come I'm heavier now than I was before the Christmas hols?

Spherical Cow

Re: "Knock us out of the Milky Way and into interstellar space"

It would take a Marathon to get there (at least that's how it looks now from this far away).

New Horizons snaps finish buffering: Ultima Thule actually two dust bunnies that got snuggly 4.5 billion years ago

Spherical Cow

Wallace and Grommit

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?

Spherical Cow

Re: Ultima Thule

Thule is also an American air base in Greenland.

Boffins manage to keep graphene qubits 'quantum coherent' for all of 55... nanoseconds

Spherical Cow

Re: Welll .....

What is its unnatural state? Unalive?

Scrubtastic end to 2018 as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Arianespace all opt for another day on Earth

Spherical Cow

Crazy motherfucker!


Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes

Spherical Cow

A sheep is approx 100kg so that's 100,000 sheep per second.

There are approx 10 million sheep in Wales so that's 1% of Welsh sheep per second.

All the sheep in Wales would be blown away in less than two minutes.

Phew, galactic accident helps boffins explain dark matter riddle

Spherical Cow

Re: Surely it's easy?

Flat batteries, probably. I have the same trouble with my torch.

Spherical Cow

Where is Moon Child?

The idea that the amount of dark matter is increasing with time kind of reminds me of The Nothing in The Never-Ending Story.

(I didn't get around to finishing that book, so it lived up to its name)

Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

Spherical Cow

Definitely before breakfast.

Boffins build bugged bees bearing backpacks

Spherical Cow

Lasers would be more fun

But that would ruin the alliteration. Bouncing bombs? Or perhaps something to do with Arthur Jarrett (a convicted criminal who has been allowed to choose the manner of his own execution).

OSIRIS-REx space probe catches a whiff of water on asteroid Bennu

Spherical Cow

There's no mystery

There's no mystery about the origin of water on Earth. The water has flowed across the surface of the planet from Britain where it rains all the bloody time.

China on its way to becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon

Spherical Cow

Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

That reminds me of a record player I used to have. While it played the first record, I could stack up to five more on the spindle, which had a little lever thing to keep them suspended above the first. When the first record ended and the arm returned home, the lever thing would let the next one drop and that one would then be played. Imagine that! A total of six LPs playing back to back (only one side of each, mind you) without the need for any human intervention! Happy days.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

Spherical Cow

Re: Pendant's Corner


Fucking autocorrect.

Spherical Cow

Pendant's Corner

"They dig a big hole and fill it with concrete..."

After the hole has been filled with concrete, where does the silicon go?

Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

Spherical Cow

Don't forget the alt text:


Here's the list of space orgs big and small sparring to send next NASA gear to the Moon

Spherical Cow

Re: IT Services for CLPS


Spherical Cow

Paddington Bear came from Darkest Peru, which probably receives just as much sunlight as the more well-known parts of Peru. Also, the Dark Ages did not have shorter daylight hours than ages with more complete written histories.

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

Spherical Cow

THANK you FOR sharing THAT fun POST with US.

Pulses quicken at NASA as SpaceX gets closer to crewed launches and Russia readies the next Soyuz

Spherical Cow

Re: Heres hoping

Brownies are what happened in the last crewed Soyuz.

NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

Spherical Cow

Did they remember to fit the solar panels with windscreen wipers?

Big data at sea: How the Royal Navy charts the world's oceans

Spherical Cow

I would imagine that one situation where subs would be better than ships would be mapping the seabed under ice.

It might make sense to use a cheaper non-stealth unarmed mapping sub for that. Possibly even a drone sub?

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

Spherical Cow

Re: out of topic question

I suspect a downvote bot.

Spherical Cow

Re: RE: AC


Busy week for ISS as Russia resumes flights and vies for parking spaces with NASA

Spherical Cow

Re: making appear commonplace

Landing first stages in the mid- Atlantic is unlikely to be a "disaster" even if it goes completely tits-up: the Atlantic is a very empty place.

The chances of hitting a ship are nowhere near a million to one (because odds like those happen nine times out of ten, and it hasn't happened yet).

Sorry, but NASA says Mars signal wasn't Opportunity knocking

Spherical Cow

Something odd is going on here.

The MRO relayed a message from OPPY but the message wasn't from OPPY. How does a mistake like this even happen? Isn't relaying messages correctly one of MRO's core functions?

Spherical Cow

The relevant XKCD:


Spherical Cow

"And arms and legs and whatever else can be crossed..."

Not the streams.

Douglas Adams was right, ish... Super-Earth world clocked orbiting 'nearby' Barnard's Star

Spherical Cow

Re: Fascinating discussion about how to slow down a probe 6LY distant...

So, the probe needs some sensors and a copy of Kerbal Space Program?

Russia inches closer to launching a crew again while NASA waits for a delivery from Germany

Spherical Cow

Re: send the Orion-ESM combo beyond the Moon to check it out

Sorry* to be pedantic, but the intro to the first documentary about the Clangers clearly states that they live on a star very far away, not on our moon.

*not sorry at all.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Spherical Cow

Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

"Hay! I've got an adze. I use it for chopping out tree roots."

Is your adze one half of a mattock?

Boffins have fabricated microscopic sci-fi tractor beams for real

Spherical Cow

A tractor beam is what is emitted by Farmer Brown's one working headlight. The beam can't pull, and neither can Farmer Brown, but his tractor certainly can.

Spherical Cow

Re: diverse new possibilities

The Acorn Atom predated the IBM Atoms by seven years ;-)


Watch closely as NASA deploys the world's biggest parachute at supersonic speeds

Spherical Cow

Re: re. as big as a size of a house

Spherical ducks? Whoever heard of such nonsense!

Spherical Cow

Norbert Seriously, anyone can choose to wear stockings.

BepiColombo launches, Russia ponders next lift-off, and 50 years since Apollo 7 got its feet wet

Spherical Cow

Re: Soyuz best-before date?

Don't send it up empty: fill it with beer and pretzels to keep the guys up there happy while they wait for the next crew.

Hubble 'scope gyro drama: Hey, NASA, have you tried turning it off and on again? Oh, you did. And it worked? Cool

Spherical Cow

Re: Hammers in Space?

Up-voted for percussive maintenance.

They'd still need to turn it off first, because STOP It's Hammertime!

Good news: Sub-surface life on Mars possible, moons from big impacts. There is no bad news

Spherical Cow

Re: after a powerful collision event

You can easily avoid such reporting by going beyond the event horizon.

Fat chance: Cholesterol leads boffins to discover world's oldest animal fossil – 558m years old

Spherical Cow

Just one thing I don't understand...

"These fossils were located in the middle of cliffs of the White Sea that are 60 to 100 metres high. I had to hang over the edge of a cliff on ropes and dig out huge blocks of sandstone, throw them down, wash the sandstone and repeat this process until I found the fossils I was after."

I understand the helicopter, the ropes, the washing, etc. What I don't get is this: how the hell did he know where to look?

New MeX-Files: The curious case of an evacuated US solar lab, the FBI – and bananas conspiracy theories

Spherical Cow

A well engineered mercury bearing only needs a surprisingly small amount of mercury. Even if it is quite large, you only need a tiny gap between the outer bowl and the thing floating in the bowl. When visiting lighthouses I've been surprised at how little mercury they use to float their lenses.

SpaceX dodges lightning while storms keep Japan earthbound

Spherical Cow

Re: drone ship

His ideas are getting progressively weirder.

1. Make cool electric cars: that's a great idea.

2. Make reusable space rockets: risky, but luckily it's going well.

3. High speed trains inside vacuum tubes! That's just loopy.

4. Dig loads of tunnels and put all the cars underground: he's reached a new low with this one.

Spherical Cow

Re: It's almost unbelievable...

It's not like getting FAA approval for a ballocket launch.


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