* Posts by John

20 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Nov 2007

Gov stumps £4.3m bee health funding


Nationalise the beekeeping industry

I can see the greedy glint in Darling's eyes.

"All your bees are belong to us!"

BBC's TV detector vans to remain a state secret


technically quite easy

Cathode Ray Tubes (remember them?) give off alpha particles (electrons) and miniscule amounts of X-rays.

Alpha particles don't travel far outside of the vaccuum of the CRT. A few centimetres of air is usually enough to stop them.

X-rays can travel quite a bit further, and can go through walls don't ya know, but I believe the amount of X-rays given off is very small indeed. Enough to be detectable from outside a building? I don't know - perhaps someone else does.

Of course there are other kinds of emissions from televisions - even the modern flat ones. Light, and sound in particular are technically quite easy to detect even without sophisticated equipment. If the enforcement officers possesses, oh, eyes and ears there's a good change he'll notice the flicker even through your drawn curtains, and when you open the door to him he's likely to reason the Eastenders theme tune he hears isn't coming from the radio in the bathroom.

So what kind of kit do they need in the vans? Kettles and teapots probably. And the harnesses for the unicorns right enough.

NASA, USAF in $30m hypersonic boffinry push


@Pedant point

"the speed of sound *in what*?"

In metres per second, presumably.

Although, being American, they probably express it in some bonkers mediaeval measure such as acres per square pound.

Noel Edmonds defies BBC's jackbooted enforcers



Little as I like siding with Edmonds, he's very right in pointing out that the letters sent out to non licence holders are aggressive, rude and threatening. They contain pseudo-legal language designed to scare. As a non-viewer I resent the insinuation of criminality.

Incidentally, were those TV "detector" vans ever real? I mean is it possible to detect a CRT by any electromagnetic emissions? Other than light, I mean - clearly if they can see a TV through a person's window they don't need fancy star trek tech.

Oh, nearly forgot to Post Like A Pirate. Keel-haul the bla'guards!

Old ships' logs show temporary global warming in 1730s



As any Flying Spaghetti Monster-ist will tell you, piracy is a good thing. It's the decline in the number of pirates that produces global warming. You can prove it with a graph, so it must be true (just like Al Gore's graphs).

The reason for the warming in the 1730's is that they captured only _one_ treasure ship. Had they looted more, warming would have been averted.

Cancer doctor cites 'early' data on cell phone danger


Re: An easy check, By Chris W

Does Luxembourg now have so many mobile phones? When I worked there, ten years ago, no-one used mobiles. There's no need for them. The country is so small that when you want to talk to someone, you just open a window and shout.

UK.gov ready to get muddy again on GM foods


How much of the world eats British foods?

It's highly disingenuous of GM advocates to suggest that changes to UK law will benefit the poor and hungry of the world. What quantity of crops grown in the UK are exported to the third world? Any at all?

But then GM companies are masters of disingenuity. Lies is what they grow best. They aren't interested in feeding the poor. Money is their only motive, and they are only interested in feeding the rich. Us.

I'm not afraid of frankenstein foods. I'm not worried that GM will pollute the environment. But I do stand against GM - because the only people who benefit from it will be the companies' shareholders.

The terror dam of doom that looms over Boise, Idaho


Reg Units

Feet-Acres, good god! Is that how American civil engineers measure volume?

What does that translate to in Reg Units, anyone know?

Defra moves to protect UK honeybees


Defra takes over ...

"All your bees are belong to us!"

Vodafone chief tells mobile users he knows where they live


@AC re the martian

AC, is it YOU who has taken something? If you find theBoreFromMars' blabbering lunacy coherent for once, perhaps you've been slipped something seriously psychotropic with your elevenses.

For god's sake don't encourage him. Just smile sweetly as you pass him on the street shouting at people who aren't there.

Teachers crucified by coughing pupils



Can't help but wonder just how civilising all that corporate punishment really was. So many posts here gleefully recall their school pranks.

"oh but we were punished for it, didn't do us any harm."

Doesn't appear to have done you any good either. Just how civilised did you end up, when you suggest solutions including military training and sterilisation of the unworthy?

Malaysia flirts with Google over world's biggest data center



How do google intend to get software installed on their servers? Customs scan every CD and DVD brought into the country, and charge around thirty ringghit for the service. That's a lot of googledollars to go funding Malaysia's decency program.

As far the climate - don't worry. Malaysia has some pretty high mountains where it's relatively cool. That'll keep your two yoghurts chilled, Gerhard.

IBM's anti-MacBook Air goes up for sale on eBay


Love Hertz

4.77MHz Intel 8088 ?

What a luxury that would have been at the time. It's a mistake commonly made by youths of today, but back in the eighties desktop CPUs ran in the Kilohertz range. This box'll have a 4.77 KHz processor.

Upwards of four Megahertz wasn't reached until the early nineties.

Japanese to launch paper plane from ISS


Origami ISS

A space station made of paper would be excellent for the Japanese. It could withstand earthquakes.

Germans debut kitesurf-powered autonomous windjammer

Thumb Up

@ Jonathan Richards - jet stream spinnakers

Damn, my plan would have worked perfectly, if it hadn't been for those pesky wings.

Back to the drawing board then. Let's do away with the wings and get lift from somewhere else. Rotors perhaps. Deploy a spinnaker from a helicopter. Choppers really are fuel-guzzlers, so there's even more scope for world-saving reductions in consumption. The effort from a whirlybird's engines has two components - lift, and forward motion. Tethering the wind at least would save the fuel used in propelling the vessel forwards. And probably move helicopters faster than they've ever moved before. Go green and go faster!

I hope I'm not going to hear next that choppers can't get high enough to harness the jetstreams. Enough with that "can't do" attitude - let your imagination reach for the skies. Think of the polar bears, man! The helicopter fuselage itself wouldn't need to get into the stratosphere, just the sail. A long enough halyard would do the trick.

In fact why limit ourselves to just spinnakers? A good Bermudan rig can sail upwind as well. And as I mentioned with my original aeroplane idea it needn't go on the top where it would interfere with the rotors. It could go underneath, upside down (in respect to sailing boats). Just stick a mast out the bottom of the chopper, with a jib and a mainsail and a boom.

This technological revolution may know no bounds! One day we'll sail to the moon.


The future of air travel

The romantic in me would like to see a return to the golden age of sail, even if it's only sail-supplemented motorised shipping. As the article says, the amount of carbon saved would be small, but a huge amount of carbon might be saved if aeroplanes took up the technology.

Of course engines will always be needed to get a flight airborne and up to cruising altitude. But once there why not pop up a massive spinnaker and let the jetstreams propel the 'plane? Pilots routinely plan their routes to take advantage of tail winds, and spinnakers are downwind sails so ideally suited. The speeds of the winds in the lower stratosphere are enormous. And an aeroplane could fly a kite above, below and to either side, capturing a lot of wind. It wouldn't matter much if the pilot's view were obstructed since there's little to look at up there.

Air travel is one of the main culprits in polluting the atmosphere with CO2; an innovation like this could save the world.

Space brains resign over efforts to attract ET attention



How fast do electromagnetic radio waves travel then? Faster or slower than light? Faster than carriage returns? Some CRs seem to have caught up with your message in transit - must be some kind of doppler effect. Does that mean you're travelling rapidly away from us as you typed your message?


We're all DOOMED ...

As soon as the aliens find out we're made of chocolate coated mint fondant, we've had it!

Lily Allen to judge Orange women's fiction award

IT Angle

Consider the lillies

I am so out of touch - I had to stop and wonder who Lily Allen is. I thought it was the glitzy Liverpudlian who presents Blankety Blank, but that's Lily Savage isn't it? Now I could understand that being a controversial choice.

NASA reveals manned Mars mission plans


Back by Christmas, 2063

Let's see - six months out, sixteen months relaxing on the red sand, and six months back. What are the 'nauts going to be doing for the remaining 362 months of their 390 month mission? That's a long time to be seeking out new life and new civilisation.

But if someone were to send amanfrommars back home, it'd be worth it.