* Posts by Jon Minhinnick

31 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Oct 2007

Brits can't tell their heart from their elbow

Jon Minhinnick

Just because they're medical, doesn't mean they know

In related news, a pregnant nurse I was talking to did not know that it was the father of her child that determines its sex.

Scientist icon, because it looks like they only teach this stuff to postgrads.

US parkies in 'burrow-buster' marmot detonation campaign

Jon Minhinnick

What borders on cruelty...

...is the music that accompanies the video.

Flame icon, natch.

Greenbird sail-car wafts in as future of zero-emission motoring?

Jon Minhinnick

Faster than the wind

It doesn't go directly downwind but at an angle to it. The apparent wind then becomes the vector sum of the craft's motion plus the wind's. This new vector can have a scalar velocity greater than the original wind itself. Since the craft is propelled by the apparent wind, it effectively generates its own wind and sails in that.

If you observe (say) America's Cup racing you'll see that the boats are always sailing about 45 deg to the wind, both upwind and downwind. This is the most efficient angle. To understand it fully, do a google for Polar Curves and Velocity Made Good. Some good stuff at Sailplanner.net.

Aussie firewall blocks Wikileaks

Jon Minhinnick

Re: Freedom...we've heard of it!

Hey, NZ's not so bad... it's only a 3-hour flight to the West Island and it's only 30 hours door-to-door Auckland to London. We're practically neighbours! Our Prime Minister is atheist or at least very agnostic. We can effectively close our borders the next time an asian chicken gets a nasty cough. And we use proportional representation when we vote every 3 years. Keeps 'em reasonably honest.

World's first proper flying car makes debut flight

Jon Minhinnick
Black Helicopters

'Leccy Tech

Not interested until it appears in El Reg's 'Leccy Tech column.

"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced"

Helicopter icon, well naturally.

Vatican endorses Darwin, slights intelligent design

Jon Minhinnick
Thumb Down


"...declaring that it was one of the Fathers of the Church that thought up the idea in the first place"

Embrace and extend.

Share and enjoy.

Bull and shit.

HP printer hack risk prompts update

Jon Minhinnick

Re re What?

One word: VPN.


(PS: Is "VPN" a "word"?!?)

Exploding core counts: Heading for the buffers

Jon Minhinnick

Fnargh! Moore's Law pedantry

"Gartner: boosting core counts to take advantage of Moore's Law is gonna run out of gas"

"Wiki: the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years"

Gartner: Wrong. Moore's Law says nothing of the layers taking advantage of the integrated circuit, it *only* applies to the transistor count.

The rest of their report may or may not be relevant.

Goat hangs self in Canadian zoo

Jon Minhinnick

@ Mart

Oh, you bastard.

'Miracle' plane crash was no miracle

Jon Minhinnick
Thumb Up

@Glider pilots - Touch & Go

I haven't seen it for myself, but I understand that some glider pilots on the west coast beaches of Auckland, NZ sometimes will peel off the ridge lift, perform a touch-and-go on the beach, and return to the ridge lift again. I'm told it scares the heck out of the hang-glider pilots!


NZ cops claim 'first Facebook arrest' of bungling safe-cracker

Jon Minhinnick
Thumb Up

What's more

The alleged perp didn't see several hundred $$ in coins on the shelf behind him.


Panasonic demands 1080p 3D TV 'standard'

Jon Minhinnick

Re: Funny glasses

"the glasses they use are simply polaroid glasses but with the lenses polarised horizontal and vertical."

Nitpicking, but they're actually at +45 and -45 degrees, not 90 and 0. This is because projected light reflecting off the Imax screen will predominantly be polarised in a vertical or horizontal plain depending on where you're sitting in the theatre (think glare off water or snow), in addition to the encoded polarisation used for the 3D effect. Using the +-45 filters means both eyes will filter the glare equally and prevent shimmer between eyes.

NASA will give away old Shuttles for free

Jon Minhinnick

El Reg knows of the perfect place already...

It's already climate controlled, definitely secure, and probably large enough to fit two shuttles...

In the BoFH's secret server facility, FTW!

HP's bendy plastic e-paper display on the way

Jon Minhinnick

The real holy grail

"The holy grail here is a flexible, colour display with notebook screen brightness and resolution"

Nope. Almost every book in any library has monochrome text. None of the books in the library are backlit. Most of the books have a printed resolution less than any modern LCD. LCDs don't work in bright light.

We're talking about e-paper here, not a flexible LCD replacement. We're almost there. Tell the boffins to get on with it!

Back the F:\ Up

Jon Minhinnick

Remember the BoFH...

... and use a magnetic pinch. FTW!

Jumbo-jet sized 'SuperGigaFly' robo parachute tested

Jon Minhinnick

Back to the future

It's Marty McFly thank you.

Hello.... McFly.... Are you in there?!?



Sovereign immunity blocks DMCA suit against Air Force

Jon Minhinnick



Who's Queen??


Heathrow 777 crash: Siberian cold to blame?

Jon Minhinnick


Two engines, two fuel pumps and two tanks of fuel.

Simultaneous fuel starvation?

It may not be impossible, but I doubt it very much. I'm thinking some subtle design fault. I'd like to know how long the pumps had suffered cavitation though. Perhaps the fuel lines are too skinny?

Whitehats tackle The Great Botnet Dilemma

Jon Minhinnick

Record the ip addresses...

... and blackhole them. If the user cares, they'll fix it themselves. If not, they stay blackholed. And because they're mainly home users with dynamic IP addresses, refresh the blackhole list once a week. Oh, and notify their ISPs so when the user rings up, there's a listed reason they've been sent to dev/null.

Hmmm... what if webservers also use the same blackhole list, so they don't serve to spamming machines. Then, the user would really care about getting back online. Just send back a page to the user that the requested page will only be displayed if they remove their bot.

American Apparel's tags start tracking your pants

Jon Minhinnick

All you tags are belong to us

How many times have you left the store and set off the (conventional) security detectors even though you've paid and had the tags "deactivated"? By that token, some RFIDs will still be live upon departure and cause merry havoc walking back in later...

But here's a way to have fun with it at home- all you require is your socks and undies tagged, then install a sensor at your front door: Beep! Beep! You Have Worn Those Underpants Three Days In A Row! You Are At Risk of Jock Rot! Beep! Beep! You Have Mismatched Socks! Please Return To Your Bedroom To Change! Beep! Beep! Your Lost Sock Is Located Under Your Bed! Your Cat Is In The Scotch Chest, Third Drawer Down!

Has anybody got a handheld RFID scanner? I can't seem to find my coat...

US teen cuffed for disposable camera 'Taser'

Jon Minhinnick

Ah, the old days...

... when you put your hand on a van der Graaf generator, and point your finger at the (turned on but unlit) bunsen burner. Crack! Poof! Now lit.

And the lithium (then sodium, then potassium) in water. And wondering what would happen if you got some toluene and nitrated it. And those balloons of hydrogen/oxygen (2:1 mix)

Science is fun!

US allows visual inspections of nipple rings

Jon Minhinnick
Black Helicopters

Works for me...

I have a 5" metal plate in my leg holding my knee together, and screws in it the size of my little finger. Goes fine through scanners at the airport.

But I carry the Dr's certificate just in case.

It's the terahertz wave scanners that worry me... what do they do to pregnant women?? (Or more specifically, their babies)

US woman spends two years on boyfriend's toilet

Jon Minhinnick

@ It's not even Friday

It's Friday where I am, GMT+12. Summer, too. High tide at the beach today is 1.35 pm. Might take a dip at lunchtime...

Airline pilot sacked for 777 Top Gun stunt

Jon Minhinnick

A quick round of aerodynamics

(Getting slightly off-topic here)

All fixed-wing aircraft (gliders, powered planes) obtain lift by moving air over their wings. Power aircraft do this using thrust from an engine to move fowards. Gliders do this by converting their potential energy (height) into kinetic energy (speed forwards). In a glider, you are always descending through the air, and the trick is to find air that is going up faster than you're going down.

If a pilot talks of a stall, they mean a wing stall, otherwise they would say "compressor stall" for a turbine engine, and piston engines never stall because they are never heavily loaded at very low RPM (except for prop strikes. Ha.) They would however stop due to other problems, and those are lumped into "engine failures" or something else. Other stalls are elevator and rudder stalls. These are much more rare.

Christopher Emerson is right to say there are different kinds of wing stalls, and I was simplifying in my original post. I have plenty of times practised stalling, of the "mush" variety where you waft through the air, stick fully back, nose still high and losing a lot of height, and also the fully developed stall, where the nose drops as the wings no longer support the aircraft at all, you end up looking straight down at the ground which is rushing up to meet you fast. Ironically, when the nose drops in a full stall, the correct action is to push the nose even further down to get the wings flying again.

And then there are high-speed stalls (tight turns pulling g), incipient spins and full spins (only ONE wing is stalled), and stalls due to wind shear (turning steeply low to the ground). Rudder stalls if you are outside your C of G load limits (flat spins etc) and I have no idea how to recover from an elevator stall!

I also suspect that because a 777 is tuned for high-speed flight (cruise at mach 0.84 iirc) it would develop its low-speed stall fairly quickly. Can anyone see if the 777 has its flaps down? I'm meeting a couple of Lufthansa pilots (one Airbus, one Boeing, both glider) for dinner tomorrow night, I'll see what they say.

Jon Minhinnick
Black Helicopters

@ those who @'d Chris C

Chris is sort of right... if the plane stalled (and although a quick google didn't find it for me, it would just need to drop its airspeed below say 100 kt) then the plane WILL fall, and whatever forward speed it had at the time would just describe the shape of the parabola. The vertical descent is still entirely due to gravity.

When a wing stalls, it *stops* flying. If that happens, you need to hope you've got enough altitude to recover, and I don't know of anything that will do this at 30'.

@ Ru: Learning how a wing loses lift is an exercise left to the poster.

@ Geoff: 9.81 m/s/s is also known as g, the acceleration due to gravity on the Earth's surface. A stalled plane does, in fact, drop *exactly* like a brick.

Been there, done that, filled in the CAA accident report. (I stalled my glider on from 5', and that was unpleasant enough)

A pilot of that calibre would of course be careful to keep enough speed on for a climb out as well as the flyby. Go and watch a gliding competition where a pilot will fly their sailplane in from the last turnpoint, 50 km away at Vne (Velocity never exceed), dump their water ballast and fly through the finish line at 30' and 120 kt, then haul back on the stick, climb back to 1000', join the downwind circuit for a normal landing. Magic.

Helicopter icon because stalling those things is the stuff of nightmares.

FBI to get UK biometric database hookup?

Jon Minhinnick

@ disappearing citizens

Remember when the French govt bombed the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in 1985? Yes, state-sponsored terrorism. Against a friendly nation. The perps were pretty quickly caught, tried and found guilty. Put into prison. And then the pressure started. France threatened trade sanctions (big force in the EU, where NZ sells its butter) and the terrorists went to live on a (French) Pacific atoll. For a while, anyway, until they came home to France to a hero's welcome.

So we have not just innocents disappearing, but proven guilty terrorists also being removed and never coming back. The USA is an even bigger economic superpower (excluding sub-prime mortgages!) and they will just take what they like. You've got something America wants? Get used to losing it.

Bjork lays into NZ snapper

Jon Minhinnick
Paris Hilton

Poor girl...

...being compelled to be a world-famous rock superstar. Obviously an intolerable job, and those photographers who forced Björk toward her superstardom by greasing the wheels of her publicity machine must have it coming to them.

AT&T to crush copyrighted network packets

Jon Minhinnick
Black Helicopters

All your packets are belong to us

'nuff said...

Campaign to name US street after Douglas Adams

Jon Minhinnick

Another vote for the icon

But it needs to be a la Hipgnosis's design. The original, the best.


"[Hipgnosis] also designed the cover for the original UK paperback edition of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Honda to put ultracapacitors on the road in '08

Jon Minhinnick

Not far-sighted enough!

The criticism of the Prius is that it is only as efficient as a good diesel car. The criticism of lead-acid batteries is that they don't have a high peak power output. The criticism of supercaps is they don't have the energy density of batteries. So, why not:

Have a smallish diesel motor, use it (a la the Prius) to power the wheels when needed and to charge the batteries in a managed fashion (rather than dumping the regeneration load into them say), and use the supercaps to provide that extra bit of oomph for the really sharp power demands. Regenerate into the supercaps. There'd be no real extra complexity than the current Prius except for perhaps a circuit to manage the load between the batteries and the supercaps. And that would probably be less than a dozen components...

Now, if anyone tries to patent this, can someone point this post out as prior art...

BOFH: The bastard wants to know

Jon Minhinnick

@ The 3B Rule

In Latin...

Excreta Taurii Sapientium Fulgeat

Now, what's the Latin for "coat"??