* Posts by Colin

26 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Mar 2008

Robosub prowls Pacific's hadal depths


10,911 metres

According to the first paragraph, the trench is only 10,902 metres deep. So did the Trieste burrow its way 9 metres into the sea bed ? Seems like a lot of effort just to go one-up on other contenders who are content merely to reach the sea floor ....

250kg Russian drops healthy 2kg sprog


@Francis Boyle

Not unfit, just unable. In particular, ovulation requires a complex sequence of hormones to be produced in the right amounts at the right times. Lots of things can interfere with this, including (presumably) an extraordinary amount of excess body fat and all the futher problems this causes.

'Bolt removal issue' hits Hubble spacewalk


dodgy diy

Good to see even NASA aren't beyond resorting to the odd dodgy fix ! Now will they finish the job with a bit of space gaffer tape ?

Nork splash shot snapped by passing satellite

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@Jamie - Norks ahoy !

Me too mate ! You're not an aussie by any chance are ya ? Also known, when seen on the beach, as White Pointers ...

Failed Nork rocket bits straddle Japan

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You owe me a new keyboard ! Type 'o dung. ... classic

Fighting Thermageddon just got £1 trillion cheaper



I was referring to the government - who have switched to using the "US" system in official documentation. Clearly it won't work to use the two interchangeably (although this would make the basis of a good "yes minister" episode.....)

I don't think this is written in law anywhere but the old "UK" method is clearly falling out of favour.

Looking at any UK science publications - science magazine articles, Royal Society articles online, etc - "billion" is explained as 10^9. Most countries have now adopted this convention (including the UK government) - clearly an international standard is necessary or some major problems could occur in international collaborative projects eh ....

Courtesy of the late great Douglas Adams - " due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog" .... heh heh


no such thing as UK trillion any more

The UK has officially abandoned the old number system where 1 trillion would be 1 million billion (and one billion would be 1 million million).

The UK now uses the so-called "american" system where 1 trillion = 1 thousand billion.

Prof: Save up fossil fuel reserves to fight the next ice age


@Chris Gray

The global flood was not "recorded" in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of stories, and some of these stories involve the flood.



The Moties in "The Mote in God's Eye" are unable to stop themselves from breeding for some reason, can't remember why. This was kept as a big secret as they knew this would scare humans off. Their history is a series of cycles in which the population grows exponentially, splits into factions which constantly fight over resources, and eventually degenerates into a global conflict that destroys their entire society. They created great big "museums" to try and help the survivors get a head start on technology when they pick themselves up after the war.

Scotland to battle grey squirrel invaders


controlling them ..

... will involve killing them. heh heh - yep, that should do it !

Satellites crash over Siberia: Iridium bird destroyed



<sigh> Yet another predictable "Personally, I welcome our new [insert adjectives here] overlords" comment. This was funny for a while, but stopped being funny long ago. Can't we just presume the existence of these tedious comments rather than having to read them again and again ? Is anyone else bored with this ?

Large Hadron Timewaster

Dead Vulture

where do i start ?

bloody hell mate, have a rant why don't you? if everyone had this attitude we'd all be crawling around naked in the mud going 'ugh' and wondering what the big shiny things in the sky were. It's research into fundamental physics that made your computer possible, you know ...

I'm a sceptic now, says ex-NASA climate boss


@ Dr Stephen Jones

I fail to see how renewable energy R&D will cause poverty in China or India .... or are you saying that I have suggested we make people stop producing energy right now and sit in the dark while we work on alternative energy sources ? I had no idea there was so much room between my lines. I have not suggested, or even implied, anything of the sort. I have merely indicated that we need to find better solutions than using fossil fuels - at no point did I say that we have to just stop burning them right now. Currently we have no choice.

And yes, of course I include the countries you mentioned in "we" - i quite clearly referred to "the human race". Also, maybe you are confused about the meaning of the workd "global" ?



I still don't see your point. You seem to be implying that if we decide that we need less CO2 in the atmosphere, but that we didnt put it there, then we won't try to reduce it ? It's already looking more and more like simply reducing the output won't be enough and we will probably need to reduce the existing CO2 as well.

The 2 points I was making - and I apologise if it wasn't as clear as I'd hoped, is :

1. CO2 has the same effect whether it's from natural or artifiical sources. So if it's from cows or plankton or whatever (although cows is our fault too, obviously) then it's still the same problem. And anyway, burning fossil fuels definitely adds CO2 so it still makes the problem worse.

2. We need to stop burning fossil fuels anyway. Regardless of the CO2 issue - if we run out before we have enough alternative energy capacity, we are stuffed.

Together, these points mean we have to get off the fosssil fuels.


re: markuzick

not panicking mate .. as I said i reckon we'll work it out. but we can't burn coal and oil forever so we really should start getting off it now, dontcha think ?

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What difference does the cause make ?

Seriously - what difference does it make ? It IS happening and we need to deal with it. If you saw an out-of-control bus speeding towards you would you just say "its not my fault, I'm not the driver" and stand there ? Of course you bloody wouldn't, you'd get out of the way. Fine, maybe it's just a natural cycle. After all, we are just coming out of an ice age so maybe the sea levels would have risen anyway. But all those coastal cities are going to go under all the same, and do you think those people are really going to be comforted in their watery graves if someone can prove it wasnt our fault ?

Secondly, we NEED to get onto renewable energy. We absolutely WILL run out of coal, oil, gas, and even uranium eventually. Even if someone managed to invent totally free technology that captures 100% of CO2 and methane emissions from all sources using only common household products, and thus removed the whole greenhouse argument, we will STILL run out of fuel, our entire civilisation will grind to a halt, and we will all be completely stuffed.

Don't worry about the planet - won't take long for it to forget we ever existed. But if you care about the future of the human race then you HAVE to care about renewable energy.

Thumbs up because although it will be hard and it may be slow I believe we can and will do it.

Cows can't detect earthquakes: Official


sitting down

wouldn't you be better off sitting (or lying) down during an earthquake anyway ?

Forget Google rationing: Only lighting farts can save the planet


fart smell

"evil-smelling gas" ... methane is odorless. the fart smell comes from other stuff like hydrogen sulfide. still worth lighting them though - partly to convert the CH4 to CO2 and partly for amusement ....

The icon doesn't need explaining, obviously ...

DARPA orders 'fridge-sized' laser energy cannon


@Anton Ivanov

"tourette mounted" ! so it attacks the enemy not only with the laser but also with bad language then ?

New hydrocarb X-51 scramjet ready for flight

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hyperdimensional fruitcake .....

god thats hilarious ....

Mars Lander shows rock who's boss


wow, arent robots wonderful

I cant help but be serioulsy underwhelmed by this amazing feat. This is why it might be nice to have a person there ... just pick the rock up and throw the bloody thing away - job done. Chose Paris for the VHS angle ... and comparable manual labour ability.

Intel CTO demos building blocks of shapeshifting robots

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er ... not that small actually

The Intel site says they are down to a very modest 2 inches in diameter - quite a bit less impressive than the astounding 2 mm quoted in the article ....

Wind power key to UK's desperate renewable energy bid



Heating is a big one ... what a waste. People in England seem to want to make the inside of their houses virtually tropical in winter. Why not just wear warmer clothes .. you know, like you do when (if!) you go "outside" ?

Arthur C. Clarke dead at 90


Fountains of Paradise

My favorite author, a humanitarian and a visionary. Farewell Arthur, and thank you. When will be build the Clarke orbital tower in Sri Lanka ?

ESA's space truck heads for ISS


wasted space ?

only 5 tonnes of useful stuff in a 20 tonne vehicle ? so it carries 15 tonnes of useless stuff ?

MIT plans to roll out 'folding' car


clean electricity

I'm so sick of hearing people complain that electricity isn't clean. The point is that it CAN be - we can generate electricity in many different ways, some of which ARE environmentally friendly. So the way forward is to choose to change our electricity generation from those "big feckin smoke stacks" to non-polluting, renewable sources, and then use the electricity to charge up everything else.

Even if we manage to generate all fuel for all internal combustion engines from renewable carbon-neutral sources which don't use up valuable crop land or forest (like all of today's biofuel), we will still be left with the problems from urban smog. Why burn anything at all ?