* Posts by Mike Richards

4336 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

The Moon certainly ain't made of cheese but it may be made of more metal than previously thought, sensor shows

Mike Richards

Re: Density

The Moon appears to have an iron-rich core, but we're not sure exactly how big. There is very limited seismic data from the Apollo missions in part because the Moon isn't very active and partly because we didn't crash nearly enough Saturn V third stages into the Moon. So not many earthquake waves have ever been recorded passing through the deep lunar interior - which appears to be very weird and sort of slushy deep down (stop me if I get too technical).

In 2010, a paper* reprocessed the Apollo data and suggest the Moon has a solid core with a radius of 330km +/- 20km. The mass of this core is uncertain because its composition is also unclear, but the usual iron-nickel alloy seems likely with up to 6% dissolved sulfur by weight.

* Weber, R. C.; Lin, P.-Y.; Garnero, E. J.; Williams, Q.; Lognonne, P. (2011). "Seismic Detection of the Lunar Core" (PDF). Science. 331 (6015): 309–312.

Mike Richards

Re: Funny you should say that...

Most lunar mascons are caused by thick deposits of relatively-dense basaltic lavas erupted during crater forming episodes rather than ore bodies.

Well bork me sideways: A railway ticket machine lies down for a little Windoze

Mike Richards

Some of the modern ones are amazing too - Gare de Lyon and Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Milan for all of its inherent fascist architecture is simply breathtaking.

Rental electric scooters to clutter UK street scenes after Department of Transport gives year-long trial the thumbs-up

Mike Richards

Re: Trials?

Most of the scooters are on the 'deckles' model where you pick them up from wherever you find them and leave them as close to your destination as possible. This is apparently more convenient for the people who want to zoom along pavements on a scooter than leaving them in a stand a few tens of metres from where they are going.

Here in MK we've got two bike hire schemes - one red sponsored by Santander, and one green by Lime. The Santander system is docked and you don't find their bikes littering the pavement (those few bikes that haven't been thieved by the local scallywags that is); the Lime bikes get dumped everywhere and the company appears to be completely incapable of recovering them.

So I expect we'll have their wretched scooters to deal with next.

Two out of three parachutes... is just as planned for Boeing's Starliner this time around

Mike Richards

Re: As long as this isn't the final abort test

A second flight is scheduled for October or November this year using a new 'Spacecraft 2' capsule. Spacecraft 3 which made the first flight has been renamed Calypso after Jacques Cousteau's ship and will make the first manned flight.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Mike Richards

I'm not a rocket scientist

Or even a satellite scientist.

But does anyone have a clue how this *could* work? I'm assuming that OneWeb's satellites don't have the ultra-precise atomic clocks found in other navigation systems.

Answers on the back of a fag packet to Number 10.

Mike Richards

Re: Full-blown kakistocracy

It was on glossy paper and they used HP ink.

Mike Richards

So if the UK spends on a 20% stake in OneWeb

Who will own the other 80% of a piece of infrastructure with potential national security implications?

Because I'm pretty sure the PRC/US/France would have no problem putting £4.5 billion into the system if only to spoil it for a rival.

Come glide with me: Virgin Galactic gives Unity some fresh air, looks forward to rocket-powered flight

Mike Richards

Arianespace - long term plan?

Arianespace pretty much created commercial space and has had a sizeable chunk of the market for decades now - but what is the long-term plan? Obviously, there is going to be a political demand in Europe to have its own access to space for defence, science and the like so those launches will continue, but what about the ones that put food on the table? SpaceX is much cheaper than anything Arianespace has right now and will be cheaper than the Ariane 6 which is supposed to cut costs over the Ariane 5.

Have they said anything about trying to compete with SpaceX for the commercial market?

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Mike Richards

I always assumed Mercedes charged a premium to give you the opportunity of browsing through their accessories catalogue.

Yes, Prime Minister, rewrite the Computer Misuse Act: Brit infosec outfits urge reform

Mike Richards

Re: Good

The later amendments to the CMA are especially poor. Most notably, The Police and Justice Act 2006 Section 37 (Making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in computer misuse offences) created a new section 3A in the CMA which effectively makes a lot of cyber security tools illegal in the eyes of a well-motivated prosecutor.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Mike Richards

Re: Hmmm

Having grown up in Cornwall, may I suggest blackberry jam (or jelly if you don't like pips) as an alternative to strawberry? All the better if you picked the blackberries yourself in the last few days of the summer holidays before going back to school.

Another Cornish alternative - thunder and lightning. In this case the cream goes on the scone and then you drizzle it with either treacle or golden syrup.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

Mike Richards


If there was one country where I thought everyone knew that all the wildlife is out to kill you...

Sorry to drone on and on but have you heard of Ingenuity? NASA's camera-copter is ready to head off to Mars

Mike Richards

Were they perhaps testing it at Gatwick late last year?

Mike Richards

Logical next step

After (somehow) pulling off the whole Skycrane contraption, NASA had to really think of something even more amazingly outlandish to try on Mars - I wish them all the very best of luck with this bonkers-brilliant whirlybird.

Fasten your seat belts: Brave Reg hack spends a week eating airline food grounded by coronavirus crash

Mike Richards

'raspberry custard-filled almond croissants'

Why only a passing mention of what sounds like an Antipodean delight? Please tell us more!

Trump's Make Space Great Again video pulled after former 'naut says: Nope

Mike Richards

Re: Nuts

He was elected by the electoral college not by the electorate. Trump received fewer votes than Clinton, but those votes aligned with the college better than hers.

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

Mike Richards

There seems to be a widespread opinion that this change all goes back to the takeover of McDonnell Douglas by Boeing. The engineering-led culture of Boeing was replaced with MDD's corporate culture and the move of Boeing HQ to Chicago further separated the engineers from the people making the decisions.

Mike Richards

“more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality”

Is definitely something you don't want to see when several hundred of these planes have already been delivered.

Turns out Elon can't control the weather – what a scrub: Rain, clouds delay historic manned SpaceX-NASA launch

Mike Richards

Re: Lightning

I fear you're right. Instead you have to call the tech support number written on the underside of the capsule.

Mike Richards


'However, a final weather check determined the strength of the electric field in the atmosphere was too high'

So no one got the opportunity to set 'SCE to Aux'?


Gone in 9 seconds: Virgin Orbit's maiden rocket flight went perfectly until it didn't

Mike Richards

Re: Oh. Again?

Virgin plan to lob stuff into orbit using planes out of Newquay - provided Cornish ratepayers keep sending money to Necker Island.

It wasn't just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victims

Mike Richards

DPA 2018?

So, when did EasyJet inform the ICO?

From memory, under the DPA 2018 they have 72 hours to refer themselves after discovering the breach which doesn’t seem to fit with an announcement this week of a hack that occurred a couple of months ago and which left customers vulnerable to fraud.

Virgin Orbit at last ready to live up to its name: Branson's other space adventure set for maiden flight this weekend

Mike Richards

'We note in the company's press kit that its founder, beard aficionado Sir Richard Branson, is described as an "adventure" – which is also an apt term for a journey on one of his trains. '

Beardie doesn't operate trains any more - we've decided the Italians should have a go at running the West Coast; presumably someone in the DoT heard the aphorism about Mussolini getting the trains to run on time and thought that was good enough.

He's still leaching off the taxpayer though - right now trying to get Cornwall County Council to stop funding fripperies such as schools and public transport so money can be siphoned into his spaceport in Newquay.

India makes contact-tracing app mandatory for passengers as domestic flights resume

Mike Richards

Re: And so it begins...

The Home Office must have wanked itself into oblivion at the thought of being able to do the same over here.

Easyjet hacked: 9 million people's data accessed plus 2,200 folks' credit card details grabbed

Mike Richards

Re: Never store CC details

It's even more annoying when your password manager's formula falls foul of a site's rules (e.g. no non-alphabetic characters etc.) that they couldn't be arsed to tell you about beforehand.

Mike Richards

Re: Highly sophisticated

Wasn't the TalkTalk attack originally 'highly-sophisticated' - before it was revealed it was some script kiddies playing with freely-available tools on an unsecured Tiscali database?

Still, it's not like the then-management of TalkTalk are doing anything vital these days are they?


Worried about the magnetic North Pole sprinting towards Russia? Don't be, boffins say, it'll be back sooner or later

Mike Richards

Magnetic reversals aren't terribly regular so (like volcanoes) they can't be 'overdue'. They seem to follow a broad pattern of a gradual dwindling of the global magnetic field over a few thousand years with the appearance of several local magnetic poles around the globe, followed by a flip and a gradual strengthening of the global field.

The duration of the reversal itself isn't known with huge precision, but anything between 2000 and 12000 years seems to be the best fit; although at least one paper proposes the most recent Bruhnes-Matuyama reversal about 0.781My was complete within 200 years.


Though, just to make it more complex, the apparent duration of the reversal in any particular location is incredibly varied as it relies on issues such as the geomagnetic latitude and local non-dipole components of the Earth's magnetic field during the transition.

God I hated palaeomagnetism when I did my MSc - it's absolutely bloody brilliant - until it isn't. Though it was a damn sight more useful than the radioactive dates I was using which were very much 'pick a number between yesterday and a hundred million years ago' due to hydrothermal contamination. Ooops - I digress.

Psst... Wanna buy some stock in a spaceplane company? Virgin would like a word

Mike Richards

Re: Galactic?

Pretty sure it's just a way for various slabs to burn vast amounts of carbon in order that they can Instagram a photo of the Earth 'So fragile, so pretty, stop global warming' [sad face emoji] Buy my merch.

O2 be a fly on the wall during BT and Vodafone's video calls: Telefónica's UK biz, Virgin Media officially merge

Mike Richards

Re: And the losers are...

Nice of Virgin to bring all their debt to the party.

China successfully launches its biggest-ever space truck to fire up its space station ambitions

Mike Richards

Re: Important difference

Will anyone take a bet on the Long March 9 (140 tonnes to orbit) flying before the SLS? It's currently scheduled for 2030 so it seems likely.

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

Mike Richards

Where's my Lumia?

Don't know why, but I've got a sudden urge to fire up my old Windows Phone. The security risk from an elderly, unsupported OS seems quite tractable compared to those from this government.

Mike Richards

Open source perhaps?

Is there any news if the code will be disclosed?

Mike Richards

Re: "please install the app, and use it"

The Australian PM said something similar this week about if people wanted the lockdown to end then they had to install the app. Expect something to come from our government soon in all ways from soothing to patriotic to threatening. They'll probably try linking it to VE Day for maximum scumminess.

The utter farce of this is that any tracing app is only as good as the testing regime behind it which can give the all-clear. And let's not forget, the UK still hasn't met Hancock's self-imposed testing target in a sustained manner.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Mike Richards

Re: Hanlon's razor

Hancock told people they had to ‘do your duty’ and download the app.

NASA's classic worm logo returns for first all-American trip to ISS in years: Are you a meatball or a squiggly fan?

Mike Richards

Re: Why not use neither?

NASA awarded Space X about $400 million for the development of The Falcon 9 and committed itself as the first customer for the rocket. So - quite a lot really.

Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman

Mike Richards

Re: "two metres (six and a half feet)"

‘ Where I live we're being told 1.5 meters...’

We’re British so we need an extra 50 centimetres to accommodate our hardwired natural disdain for other people.

Thought you'd go online to buy better laptop for home working? Too bad, UK. So did everyone. Laptops, monitors and WLANs fly off shelves

Mike Richards

Re: and desks and chairs at IKEA

It certainly used to be the case that each category of good was named after a different aspect of Scandinavian life such as place names or plants. For instance, outdoor furniture were named after islands in the Stockholm archipelago and rugs are named after plants native to Denmark and Sweden.

The reason being that Ingvar Kamprad who founded the blue and yellow monster was dyslexic and struggled with product codes, so he chose unique product names.

Australian privacy watchdog sues Facebook for *checks notes* up to £266bn

Mike Richards

Re: Is this the new tax grab?

Here's one for GDPR experts...

People without Facebook accounts are still tracked by Facebook doohickies scattered over the Internet like dog turds over a pavement. Facebook can use these to build individual profiles of individuals. These people have not granted Facebook permission to store personal information and have no recourse to demand the data is deleted - since they do not have Facebook accounts. So is Facebook breaching GDPR by continuing to acquire this information?

Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?

Mike Richards

If you look carefully at the top-left of the ATM screen

You will see the default icon for Barclay's customer support.

Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket

Mike Richards

Continents float in solid, plastic Mantle rather than molten rock. They float because they are less dense than the Upper Mantle. Practically none of the Mantle is molten and even Mantle plumes are effectively solid apart from at their very top where they undergo partial decompression melting.

London's top cop dismisses 'highly inaccurate or ill informed' facial-recognition critics, possibly ironically

Mike Richards

Training set and algorithm?

Anyone know if the image recognition system has been opened up to independent auditing? It'd be nice to know what training set was used and how well it performed. Then to see the program itself. But I suspect these will be all buried under 'commercially confidential' legalese and very scary lawyers.

This is your last chance, HP. There's no turning back. You take blue poison pill, the story ends. You take the red Xerox pill, you stay in Wonderland

Mike Richards

Re: @J. Keith

I would have recommended a little Samsung laser printer which are cheap as chips and utterly reliable, but I see they have been emborged by - oh - HP.

Don't use natwest.co.uk for online banking, Natwest bank tells baffled customer

Mike Richards

Re: The interns are early this year

'Their online complaints page doesn't recognise any UK address as a valid UK address, and even if you use the "International address" option to type in your address directly, the submit form has an error (so you can't submit any complaints)'

Pretty sure that's intentional.

Chrome deploys deep-linking tech in latest browser build despite privacy concerns

Mike Richards

Re: re: Wonder what the GDPR implications of this are?

Aren’t U.K. Google users still protected by the DPA 2018 which is the UK’s implementation of GDPR?

And they said IoT was trash: Sheffield 'smart' bins to start screaming when they haven't been emptied for a fortnight

Mike Richards

Dr Emu

And I thought we'd been warned about the perils of intelligent bins:


Oracle staff say Larry Ellison's fundraiser for Trump is against 'company ethics' – Oracle, ethics... what dimension have we fallen into?

Mike Richards

Re: God we're dumb

'Hoover just called from the 1950's....'

Tell him that hemlines are up this year and an off-the-shoulder look is always an eye-catcher.

Parks and recreation escalate efforts to take back control of field terrorised by thug geese

Mike Richards

Re: "Flying hellbastards"

It sounds like an awesome WW2 airforce unit.

Starliner snafu could've been worse: Software errors plague Boeing's Calamity Capsule

Mike Richards

Re: Capability Maturity Model ?

Didn't the management of Boeing decamp to Chicago so they could be closer to the money markets? And of course that management of Boeing came from McDonnell Douglas where they had done wonders for shareholders by cost-cutting even as they drove large parts of that company into irrelevancy.

Social media notifications of the future: Ranger tagged you in a photo with Tessadora, Wrenlow, Faelina and Graylen

Mike Richards

Re: Ministry of names...

The same in Iceland. You can only have a name that uses letters in the Icelandic alphabet; it has to be able to accept the rules of Icelandic grammar which is terrifying and the product of far too many long winters' nights before the advent of electricity; *and* it shouldn't cause the child any embarrassment in the future.

Sounds sensible to me - and the list of acceptable names contains some serious awesome suggestions - who wouldn't want to be a Ragnar, Aðalvíkingur or Mjölnir?


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