* Posts by Mike Richards

4505 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Bitcoin 'inventor' will face forgery claims over his Satoshi Nakamoto proof, rules High Court

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If he’s Nakamoto

Apologies if this has already been asked and answered…

…but why doesn’t he just move some coins from the Nakamoto wallet in front of some court-approved witnesses to prove he has the Nakamoto keys?

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Grifters gonna grift

He was involved with the Cyber Ninja scam over the Arizona vote certification. Which was about as credible as his email claims.

Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times

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Would Teletext's linked pages be the world's first consumer application of hypertext?

ExoMars parachutes just about good enough to land rover safely on the Red Planet

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Fingers crossed

Well I'm optimistic they've fixed the parachute, but first we've got to hope that Khrunichev has built a Proton rocket that knows which way is up.

MPs charged with analysing Online Safety Bill say end-to-end encryption should be called out as 'specific risk factor'

Mike Richards Silver badge

Meanwhile over at the NCSC

How do these proposals align with the NCSC* and their heavily-promoted 'Secure by Default' and 'Secure Design Principles'?

* still part of government the last time I checked, but knowing this lot it's been flogged off to a friendly pub landlord.

Another 100 space tourists buy a ride from Virgin Galactic: $25k of that ticket deposit is 'non-refundable'

Mike Richards Silver badge

Re: Don't you have to go into space in order to be an astronaut?

I believe the commercial case is that the only way the rich and famous can tell us about the fragility of the environment is to burn vast amounts of carbon on a few minutes joyriding into the upper atmosphere.

Rolls-Royce set for funding fillip to build nuclear power stations based on small modular reactor technology

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Most submarine reactors use highly-enriched uranium (HEU) which is 85%+ U-235 and a serious proliferation risk. Anyone know if these civil power reactors use a similar level of enrichment?

The world really doesn't need more HEU circulating, especially when you know manufacturers and governments will want to export these reactors to anyone with the ready money.

Amazon hasn't launched one internet satellite yet, but it's now planning a fleet of 7,774

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In 1955, President Eisenhower proposed an "Open Skies" policy where the US and USSR would allow spy flights over one another's countries. The Soviet Union rejected it outright because it was all too aware that its announcements of endless bombers aimed at America wasn't actually the case.

Eisenhower then announced that the US would build and launch a satellite for the International Geophysical Year. He had received a proposal from the Science Advisory Committee which said that non-military satellites would establish 'freedom of space' where satellites could pass over other countries' territory without consequences.

The Soviet Union, eager for a publicity coup announced its own satellite (which would eventually become Sputnik 3), but this ran behind schedule; so in order to score a first they lobbed Sputnik 1 into orbit and effectively established 'freedom of space'. They couldn't then complain when the US started launching its own satellites.

Apple's anti-ad-tracking iPhone feature took a '$10bn' chunk out of social network revenues

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If Facebook is such a great product?

Why doesn’t the company offer an ad-free version?

Or is it all about adverts? And Nazis - but mostly ads.

Zuckerberg wants to create a make-believe world in which you can hide from all the damage Facebook has done

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Re: Meta what?

I wonder what the strategy boutiques charged to come up with 'Meta'? Certainly it will keep them in joss sticks and whale song for a good while.

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'the future new reality must be built on open standards and easy interoperability'

I can only assume this means Facebook (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Evil Corp) will be throwing open its data silos. Then we can all see what they've been acquiring; and that those of us who have never subscribed to any of their services can ensure all of the shadow data they've gobbled up about us is deleted.

50 years have gone by since the UK's one – and only – homegrown foray into orbit

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Re: Unique

It's even better than hypergolic.

The British rockets pumped hydrogen peroxide over a catalyst to produce superheated steam and oxygen. This was used to drive the turbopumps that fed the fuel and oxidiser and then dumped into the engine where it combined with the fuel.

Genius, pure genius.

Mike Richards Silver badge

What could have been

The UK's development of kerosene, hydrogen peroxide rockets was simply brilliant. It avoided all the technological and engineering problems associated with cryogenic propellants and the toxicity of hypergolic fuels - and produced a decent amount of specific impulse. A tragedy that the programme was scrapped just as it was beginning to produce real results - the UK could have had a good start on the small-sat market that came along about a decade later.

Does anyone know if Prospero is still transmitting? It was certainly still going 'beep!' in the naughties - has anyone tried finding it recently? But even if it has gone quiet, it will be up there long after we have all gone to meet our makers.

A beer for the Best of British Bryllcreemed Boffins who put it up there.

Teen bought Google ad for his scam website and made 48 Bitcoins duping UK online shoppers

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‘ DC Casey added: "Cryptocurrency is often thought, by criminals, to be an anonymous way to move funds around undetected but I'm glad that in this case, we were able to highlight that the police are now able to effectively investigate offences of this nature."’

I trust this statement will be made available to the court when the Home Office makes another attempt to break encryption on the grounds that it allows anonymous criminality.

These couldn't wait for Patch Tuesday: Adobe issues bonus fixes for 92 security holes in 14 products

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It's bugs all the way down

It might be quicker to list all the Adobe code that doesn't require patching.

Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims

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Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

I have a Samsung laser which cost less than £100 and it has been very reliable indeed.

Naturally, good things can't last and Samsung's printer division is now a tentacle of HP.

Apple arms high-end MacBook Pro notebooks with M1 Pro, M1 Max processors

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Re: Performance claims

'I'm guessing they're comparing it to the Intel integrated GPUs'

Yep - it's relative to a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel Iris Plus


Brit MPs blast Baroness Dido Harding's performance as head of NHS Test and Trace

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Re: turning up like a bad penny

She’s a Conservative peer in the House of Lords who picks up expenses for towing the line - so that’s pretty much what they’re doing.

Mike Richards Silver badge

Re: Share the blame

Harding also previously sat on the boards of both Woolworths and Thomas Cook - is she infectious?

Mike Richards Silver badge

Re: @Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

And another LM alumnus working as an advisor inside Number 10.

James Webb Space Telescope penciled in for launch this century. Yes, Dec 18, 2021

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Two failures

The 14th launch was a first stage failure. This was the first lacuna of the 5ECA version which offers more oomph! to orbit. It was deliberately blown up after the cooling in the engine malfunctioned losing a comms sat and an experimental technology demonstrator.

There have been three partial failures where the rocket didn't quite reach the intended orbit, but overall, Ariane V has been a spectacular success.

Now I'd like to see ESA offer something that can compete with the Falcon in a completely changed market. The VI is a good jobs creation programme for the French missile industry and there is definitely a need for European security to have its own launcher - but to lose the entire commercial market to the US would be sad.

Trial of Theranos boss Elizabeth Holmes begins: She plans to say her boyfriend and COO Balwani abused her

Mike Richards Silver badge

'Bad Blood'

John Carreyrou from the Wall Street Journal wrote a fantastic book about the whole Theranos scam called 'Bad Blood' which I can't recommend highly enough. He is now running a follow-up podcast about the trial. Lots of adverts, but the content is good:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/introducing-bad-blood-the-final-chapter/id1575738174?i=1000528235677 (other podcast providers available).

I'm still trying to get my head around a defence where the supposed victim retained more than 99% of the shares in Theranos.

NHS England's release of 'details' on access to Palantir COVID-19 data store: Good enough? We're in a 'dialogue' says national data watchdog

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'my panel and I will continue our ongoing dialogue with NHS England and NHS Improvement'

Maybe the title 'Guardian' is overselling their capabilities? I don't want data protection authorities to have a dialogue with an organisation that is clearly seeking to hide its activities. It should be a monologue from the regulator telling them that they are going to comply.

Start or Please Stop? Power users mourn features lost in Windows 11 'simplification'

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HCI - we've heard of it

'Loss of the "hot corner" in Windows 7, 8 and 10. The bottom left corner of the screen was always the spot to launch the Start menu, now it is a variable spot at the left of the centred row of icons.'

What is going on with UI designers? Apple and Microsoft both seem to be hellbent on producing interfaces where elements move around arbitrarily or where everything is hidden behind hamburger menus so that there's no chance to develop muscle memory or get work done quickly. They're making things harder - WHY?

UK promises big data law shake-up... while also keeping the EU happy, of course. What could go wrong?

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An interesting set of countries

'United States, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre, and Colombia, with India, Brazil, Kenya, and Indonesia'

Doubtless all paragons of data protection. This is going to be selling out the rights of individuals in order to allow data to be exported far and wide. Still, it's an answer to those of us who wondered if Elizabeth Denham was about the least effective possible head of the ICO.

Judge dismisses objections to spaceport in Scotland from billionaire who also wants to build spaceport in Scotland

Mike Richards Silver badge

There's no problem. Equatorial sites are only really advantageous if you are lobbing payloads into geosynchronous or near-equatorial orbits.

The biggest drawback for launching from Scotland is that the number of days when it won't be blowing a hooley might be rather limited.

Watchdog 'disappointed' it took NHS England over a year to release details of access to Palantir COVID-19 data store

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Re: and in conclusion...

If things don't change, they might even have to write some of it in bold text.

Apple says its CSAM scan code can be verified by researchers. Corellium starts throwing out dollar bills

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What about the training data?

So the code can be analysed - what about all of the training sets that have been thrown at the system? Neural net code can be analysed and verified, but the secret sauce is how it has been trained.

And here is the big problem - child pornography is a strict liability offence meaning that researchers would require special permission from the government to even obtain copies to repeat Apple's experiments.

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland

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Edinburgh Castle

I assume they thought that's where the BBC was based?


Facebook really is doing wonders for the intelligence of the public - just not in the right way.

UK's Newport Wafer Fab now under Chinese ownership

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Re: No one will remember.....the list is far too long......

ICI - broken up into a thousand tiny pieces. Much of it now foreign owned by the likes of Norsk Hydro and DuPont.

British defence supplier Ultra Electronics to be sold for £2.6bn to US-controlled firm

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Re: Market concentration in the defence industry

Lewis, formerly of this parish, was long ranting about the taxpayer endlessly subsidising BAE so it could go and buy American defence companies.

A new island has popped up off the coast of Japan thanks to an underwater volcano

Mike Richards Silver badge

The Hawaii-Emperor Seamount chain is a terrific example of a hotspot volcano which has punched a series of holes through the Pacific Plate and extends all the way to the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench off of Asia where the plate is recycled back into the Mantle.

Our nearest hotspot is in Eastern Iceland under Askja which is pushing up the whole island above sea level and is responsible for the big, mean volcanoes of Eastern Iceland which are the ones to be afraid of. It's the same one that created the lava flows of Northern Ireland and Western Scotland which erupted before the Atlantic even formed. Today, it keeps a small section of the Mid Atlantic Ridge dry so we can go and see friendly little volcanoes erupt like the one in Geldingadalir which is doing wonders for the Icelandic tourist industry.

The little Japanese island is a bit different, it's caused by island arc volcanism related to the subduction of the Pacific plate back into the Mantle. Judging by the photos, it looks like it a mix of cinder and ash with very little liquid lava. I wouldn't be too surprised if it was washed away in a few months or years unless it can be persuaded to erupt some lava armour. Mind you, these volcanoes can be utterly spectacular if the vent remains below sea level as the magma mixes with seawater. You get these colossal 'Surtseyan' eruptions (named after the Icelandic island in the article) which look like atom bomb tests.

Russia: Forget about the Nauka incident. Who punched the hole in the Soyuz, hmm?

Mike Richards Silver badge

Re: Seems strange....

Roscosmos has proposed just that, but whether it is feasible or not is a good question - not only is China's latest space station in a different orbit, but it is in a different orbital inclination and changing inclination needs lots and lots of energy.

So this is probably all bluster from a country whose economy is smaller than that of Australia and makes nothing that any of us actually want to buy.

Mike Richards Silver badge

What does Russia bring to the collaboration with China?

Ten, twenty years ago, Russia had a clear lead over China in every area of space flight - experience of long duration missions, landing on the Moon, big rockets with enough UMPH! to lift big payloads. But now? China has achieved all of those with its own technologies, and in some cases, exceeded the achievements of Russia and the USSR.

So, apart from possibly slowing the Chinese down, what does Russia have to offer?

(There are similar issues in aerospace where China and Russia have been trying to build the CRAIC CR929 long-range wide body airliner. Proposed in 2014, it might just fly in 2025, but the two partners keep falling out over little things like the engines.

United Nations calls for moratorium on sale of surveillance tech like NSO Group's Pegasus

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'Which sounds lovely but is likely impractical.'

Governments might not be stopped, but there's no reason why we couldn't outlaw 'malware for hire' companies like NSO Group - or at least make it clear to their financial backers (hello Novalpina, based in London) that they might be involved in criminality and therefore liable to financial sanctions like other criminal enterprises.

We could also consider banning the zero day industry operated by the likes of Zerodium where security flaws are withheld from developers and users and sold on for profit.

Russian Arm SoC now shipping in Russian PCs running Russian Linux

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Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

If you're ever unlucky enough to become a victim of Adobe Connect you will crave the user friendliness, speed and stability of Microsoft Teams.

It's bad - even for an Adobe product.

Engineers work to open Boeing Starliner's valves as schedule pressures mount

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"applying mechanical, electrical and thermal techniques to prompt the valves to open."

Hitting it.

Turning it off and on again.

Setting fire to it.

Apple responds to critics of CSAM scan plan with FAQs, says it'd block governments subverting its system

Mike Richards Silver badge

Re: Who creates the hash?

From what I've seen, we're not talking about cryptographic hashes, but perceptual hashes which are the outputs of neural networks trained to look for characteristics in images. Unlike crypto hashes where it is possible to grind through the algorithm to see how it produced a value, perceptual hashes come out of the black box of a NN - you just have to trust them that the perceptual hash is unique to a particular image (and slightly altered variations of it).

Apple hasn't refusing shared its algorithm and training sets so experts can mark their homework. Indeed since it is illegal for researchers to possess child abuse images in the UK, (because it is a strict liability offence), they CAN'T be verified.

So we have to assume that Apple has done its homework and hasn't produced another faulty image analysis algorithm like those that have given use previous privacy screwups.Which when we are talking about people's lives is a HUGE request on their part.

Mike Richards Silver badge

Nothing to stop them putting that change in the metaphorical bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

Without a trace: Baroness Dido Harding to step down as chair of NHS Improvement

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Lost her sugar daddy

Once horsey-set member Matt Hancock was found with his trousers down, Harding lost the person who had endlessly promoted her towards her level of incompetence. Had he stayed in his post, she would have been a shoo-in for the top job at the NHS.

Still, now she can spend more time with hubby, John Penrose, the Prime Minister's anti-corruption champion...

Wireless powersats promise clean, permanent, abundant energy. Sound familiar?

Mike Richards Silver badge

Thanks for the memories - I had forgotten about those and have to thank a kindly librarian for pointing me at them once I grew out of the books in the children's library.

Uranus did get a look in (quiet at the back) in 'First Contact'.

And was it just me that got freaked out by the grey fungus that was brought to Earth by a Venus sample return mission. There was a scene with a dog covered in the goop that gave me nightmares for several nights.

A beer for you sir!

LOL ;-) UK govt 2 pay £39m 4 txt msgs 4 less thn 2 yrs

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Re: Seems like a good contract to have

Don't forget to claim the mandatory Tory Party membership as a business expense.

UK data watchdog sees its approach to government health tech during COVID-19 outbreak as 'pragmatic'

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Re: "pragmatic"

Who's a good watch doggie? You are! Yes you are! Now roll over for GPDPR....

BTW. Anyone know if Elizabeth Denham is actually back in the country yet? Or is she still very much fingers-on-the-pulse of things from eight time zones away?

Happy 60th, Sinclair Radionics: We'll remember you for your revolutionary calculators and crap watches

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Were the Sinclair TVs used for the funky video communicators in Space 1999?

International Space Station stabilizes after just-docked Russian module suddenly fires thrusters

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Re: System Integration is Hard. In Space it is Harder.

Progress 79 is currently scheduled to launch on 28th October carrying fuel and other consumables to the ISS.

Mike Richards Silver badge

If you're wondering how brave you have to be to become an astronaut

You have to be prepared to entrust your life to a 25 year old piece of Russian technology.

Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended

Mike Richards Silver badge

Re: Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Gold is more readily concentrated by hydrothermal fluids and then by water transportation than rare earths. So whilst gold is less common in the bulk Crust, *locally* it can reach relatively high concentrations making it easier to mine.

Having said that, there are plenty of places where rare earths reach economic concentrations. One reason there hasn't been much mining in the West is that the processing and environmental clean-up to remove associated uranium and thorium minerals greatly increase the cost. For a long time it was easier to import them from China where little issues like dumping radioactive tailings weren't taken seriously.

Beige pencil stockists on high alert as 'Colouring Book of Retro Computers' hits the crowdfunding circuit

Mike Richards Silver badge

Maybe they can find lots of SGI machines which came in pretty much every colour other than beige.

Ex-health secretary said 'vast majority' were 'onside' with GP data grab. Consumer champion Which? reckons 20 million don't even know what it is

Mike Richards Silver badge


He's in cahoots with Babylon Health and has endlessly promoted it when Health Secretary. It basically uses a chatbot to triage patients and has been accused of cherrypicking patients.


Why yes, major shareholders in the company just happen to be Tory donors...


For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

Mike Richards Silver badge

Me too - I got rid of HP inkjet for a Samsung b/w laser printer - though HP is determined not to let me go and promptly went and bought Samsung's printer operations. Needless to say, support and everything is now down to the usual HP customer-hostile standard.


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