* Posts by scotchbonnet

28 posts • joined 13 Aug 2008

Giant megaships to suck 'stranded' Aussie gas fields

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@ Duncan

I'm going to join the chorus of thanks as well. There are new finds of oil and gas announced many times a year. In addition there are known reserves which have, for political and economic reasons, not been tapped yet. In the US, there is the oil shale formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah which holds estimated reserves at a volume sufficient to sustain America at 2005 use levels all by itself for 150 years. And the exploration beat continues to pound - every year our ability to detect oil and gas reserves improves and as surely as the sun rises, we find new gas and oil fields. Wasn't it Shell which announced a couple of weeks ago the discovery of a huge gas field in the Gulf of Mexico?

Before I get horribly slagged for being anti-progress or something like that, let me state that I'm all for having modern economies based on a different energy source than oil/gas, and have been for a long time. I favour hydrogen as that source, but am willing to entertain other ideas. I'm also a big fan of the idea of putting more money into fusion research than is currently being allocated. There are technical hurdles which must be surmounted for both of those technologies, but in case nobody noticed, man is by nature a species that has consistently surmounted technological problems to make life measurably better for most of it's members.

My complaint about the greens who want to force the end of oil and gas use ASAP is that economically it's just not feasible to turn any economy to an new fundamental energy source overnight. If we'd taken a more measured path of 20-30 years to convert to alternatives and renewables from the start, I wouldn't object. But trying to do it under pressure from the MMCC crowd and make it happen in a decade or less is just economic madness. There will be human fallout from such an abrupt change, and that human fallout will be as dire as any impact of alleged climate change than might have been.

Eurocrat demands MP3 player volume limit mandate


The Deaf Generation

Though I probably won't be around to see the worst of it, I've been predicting for years that the iPod generation are going to have more than their fair share of deaf people. Almost daily, I'll be sitting on the train on the way to work and there'll be at least one younger person with earbuds loud enough that I have identify the beat of what they're listening to, if not the actual track to which they're listening. If I can hear your earbuds from 10+ feet on a moving train while they're in your ears, you're listening to your music too loudly.

What's worse tho' is the nanny-staters wanting to step in to help those who're too stupid to figure out for themselves that protracted exposure to loud sounds = hearing impairment.

Les Paul dies at 94


The Angels Are No Doubt Happy...

...to have Les Paul in accompaniment to their heavenly choir. A true heavyweight in modern music has passed on to their realm.

RIP, Les Paul.

While I'm partial to the sound of my Strat played through the full Marshall stack, my Les Paul is right up there alongside it, and probably a bit more playable for my hands.

U.S. unemployment rate slips slightly


Observations From The Trenches

When viewing these employment figures, it's helpful to understand that many businesses use 1 July as the beginning of their fiscal year. Annual budgets renew in July and having been in Human Resources for decades, I have noticed that there is often a spike in employment during July as departments rush to fill vacant positions while they have the budget space. BLS routinely makes a number of adjustments to their data, as the author points out, but the budget cycles of employers is not one of those adjustments.

The real test will be over the next few months, when we'll see if this is a trend or just a blip.

Zaphod Beeblebrox home sun 'shrinking', may have blown up


@Jeff 10

Rather than creationists, I think you're probably thinking of the apocalyptists, who I'm sure will see grim portent in the proximity of 2012 with respect to this news.


I'm hoping the flash shows up on 21 December, 2012, just to set the tongues a-waggin'.

Conservative US shock-jock to sue Wacky Jacqui


What A Joke

Savage is a blowhard, plain and simple. For my friends on the Euro side of the pond who likely don't have much to go on about him, save what's been written about him, let me add that Savage is really just a radio personality with strong opinions. He's not a lot different than many of the commentators on our News/Talk TV channels, people like Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. They all come with sharp tongues, strong opinions and broad political agendas. And they're all in the business of attracting a crowd, so they (or their employer) can charge advertisers outrageous sums of money. I've seen Arbitron reports from several markets around the country and for several different ratings periods, and there's no debating the fact that Savage has pretty damn good listener share and audience numbers.

Personally, I think Savage should be sending the 'lunatic witch' a nice fat gratuity checque, rather than threatening her with civil action. In the radio business there's a expression to describe events such as this whole flap - IT'S FREAKIN' RATINGS GOLD, BABY; RATINGS GOLD!

DHS hunts for white-hat hackers


One Wonders...

...if they'd take on any of those 'right-wing extremists' they've just got done reviling - especially anyone from the military.

Labour flames whistleblowers in email smear brouhaha



May I suggest that the objective is blindingly simple - the accumulation of power. It's what drives most heavy-handed thugs and repressive regimes in the end - the desire to control all they rule.

Astroboffins probe mysterious 'blazar'

Paris Hilton

Trademark Infringement

Chevrolet has been using the Blazer marque in the US for darn near fifty years. Changing just one letter in the name might be interpreted as an attempt to co-opt their trademark. In their dire financial straits perhaps they should sue for damages - after all, these boffins are associating their product with a dangerous and lethal phenomenon!


Paris 'cos she knows when to protect her good name

Illinois restores Pluto's planetary status

Paris Hilton

So With A Couple of Disgraced Governors...

...one in jail, a swirling controversy over the Senator one of them appointed, dozens of other political scandals stretching back over decades, crumbling state finances and a whole host of very serious problems, the Illinois legislature finds the time, focus and energy to pass this little gem.

Innat just ducky.

Restores one's faith in mankind and the democratic process.


Paris, cos in fifty years I'd lay odds her ass will be as large as a planet.

BOFH: Aspie no questions


It Looks Like...

...we're down to a monthly BOFH episode. I have nothing by empathy for Simon - it's tough to keep up a weekly serial and keep it fresh - especially over the period of years, and when it's likely not you're sole source of income.

El Reg - I'm not saying it's time to move on from BOFH, but maybe it's time to seek out some additional entertainment sources to augment BOFH.

Authors Guild to Amazon Kindle: Shut up


This Story Says So Much...

...about what's wrong with modern society:

* putting profits first - slavering greed in the first degree

* demonising people for being creative in how they use products and interact with technology

* hiding behind finely parsed meanings like pencil-necked attorneys instead of applying common sense meanings that resonate with a majority of people

* attempting to control and micromanage others use of their products

* demonstrating an indifference to one's customers that is indicative of the most profound sort of narcissism

* fathomless self-absorption accompanied with an utter misunderstanding of one's real importance in the big scheme of things

The story is a veritable microcosm of the failings of modern Western culture.

A pox on your house, Mr. Aiken - may you and any family who support you suffer horribly in the future.

Large Hadron Timewaster


@ Robert Grant Posted 15:21 GMT

Congratulations sir - you've hit the core issue square on - questions that dare not be asked. Apparently, anyone who would question Advanced Science Research™ must be excoriated, called names and, were he physically present, undoubtedly spat upon.

Notice, all you who would rip me a new one, I'm neither praising the article nor am I condemning it - I am merely amused at the all so righteous indignation of some of the respondents in the comments section. You seem so hurt that not everyone in the world shares your reverence for Advanced Science Research™.

Personally, I like science and I support scientific research - I hope the LHC is a success and I support the furtherance of scientific research. But I also understand that there are quite literally billions of people on earth who're much more concerned about less ethereal matters such as providing food for themselves and their basic security in a violent life and that their concerns are neither irrelevant nor trivial. Further, I understand that such people are just as entitled to hold an opinion as I am and that their opinion is not necessarily invalidated by their station in life.

Reading the bitterness and vituperation in some of these comments reminds me that some of the most learned among us, while intellectually advanced, are less than fully emotionally mature and rank very low on the civility scale.

Swiss cops sniff out dope plantation on Google Earth


@John A. Blackley

I understand your sentiment, or at least I think I do, but I have to ask - where does a civil society under tough economic pressure draw the line at being 'creative' about previously illegal money-making ventures? Let's say the drug in question was heroin rather than weed - still OK to help out the national economy with that? How about a gigantic fraud ring located in Switzerland - still OK? How about manufacturing nuclear dirty bombs and suicide vests to sell to terrorists? Hey, I know, how about human trafficking? Ooh here's a good one - international murder for hire - killing people on contract in any country but Switzerland. Is it still OK for the national economy to benefit from that endeavour?

The reason that most peoples stay away from slippery slopes such as the one you've proposed is that simply using the ability to generate money as your only criterion for making moral and ethical judgments usually ends badly. When considered through your eyes, the issue at hand may represent an acceptable risk, but once unleashed, the impetus of pure unadulterated greed will eventually turn around to violate some other social covenant that's more near and dear for you.

BOFH: A safe bet


Wodehouse Had The Same Problem

I've been a BOFH fan for several years now.

But I have to say - it's damned hard to continue to be clever and engaging story after story - P.G. Wodehouse had the same problem with his Jeeves and Bertie Wooster characters over time.

Maybe Ricky Gervais had it right when he walked away from the original "The Office" before it had gotten tiresome and totally predictable. All credits to him. Unfortunately, the money that the American Network which carries the Yank spin-off must have clouded Ricky's judgment because their new season of the show is unwatchable crap.

Time to retire BOFH and find another entertainment vehicle? Some funny video, perhaps? A good cartoonist? Naked ladies? Just thinking out loud...

Who reads The Register?


Odd Poll

I expected there to be some of the usual demographic questions - you know - age, gender, income etc. Maybe a few more freeform text boxes for details that didn't fit into the forced choices - some is good, more is better.

And no tick boxes for regular authors/features? Isn't content always at the forefront of an editorial staff's attention? Let me rephrase - shouldn't content always be at the forefront of an editorial staff's attention?

I'll throw my voice in with the lot wanting some BOFH action - perhaps if you hear it from enough of us, it'll spur you to settle on terms with Simon for another year.

Microsoft eyes metered-PC boondoggle

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This Must Be The New Buzz/Meme...

This "pay by the..." model must be the new business buzz for the year. The governor of the State of Oregon proposed a per-mile fee for cars instead of petrol tax the other day - only he wants to use GPS devices in everyone's car to track the use. Instead of using the odometer that's built into everyone's vehicle, he want's all the drivers to install an expensive device that permits not only mileage tracking but tracking speed traveled and places visited.

But they're not going to use it to track movements, dontchaknow. Right.

NASA's curious climate capers

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Gee, Ain't It Fun...

...watching all these PhD level scientists and those who follow their every utterance (on both sides of the debate) screw themselves into the ground over each little disclosure of information. Doctors, take off your PhD blinders and realise that the single biggest influence on earthly climate is that big yellow ball that traverses our sky once a day. Take your noses out of your faulty data sets long enough to learn that solar cycle 24 has come to us stillborn, and couple that with your own PhD-ly prediction (from NASA, no less) that solar cycle 25, due to peak in the mid 2020's is predicted to be an extremely weak one. Odds are good that we're in for at least 30 years of cooling temps, more if the sunspots go on a long-term hiatus like they have done many times in the past.

Little or no sunspot activity has occurred coincidental with each of the five reported periods of global cooling that have been recorded since year 1000, such periods lasting between 40 and 150 years. Tree ring growth data actually takes the connection back some 11,400 years, but I'll be a good boy and just report that which has occurred since civilised man was around to observe.

While you all pay your carbon credits like good little stooges, know that there is a sun god somewhere laughing at your folly in thinking that minute changes in the absolute level of a minor atmospheric gas are more powerful than the effects of the star that powers all of the energy sources on earth, save nuclear fission.

Arrogance, thy name is mankind - or at least Hansen/Gore.

Preventive policing? Don't even think about it

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Spot on - that's why the Yanks cleverly put that "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" bit in their Declaration of Independence. Methinks they'd been through that drill a time or two before.


I shouldn't fret about money contaminated w/drugs traces - it's a world-wide phenomenon and as such, I'd think it wouldn't be hard to establish some plausible deniablity around the issue, though that doesn't make up for the hassle of getting, well, hassled over it.

Windows 7 early promise: Passes the Vista test


Re: I Like Vista

Neil, my experience with Vista has been similar to yours. I built a nice machine a while back - 3GHz Core2Duo, 4Gb fast RAM, twin Nvidia Geoforce 8800 GTS video in SLI config, 1Tb drive space. I loaded Vista Business on it as well as Linux and I've been very happy with how the whole setup operates.

I had some stability problems at first - the machine kept crashing. I thought that it might be Vista. Through a little detective work, however, I traced the problem back to some unset memory array settings on the mobo setup panel. I chased down the appropriate settings from the memory manufacturer and entered them into the mobo setup programme and haven't had a single crash since - and that's been over a year. I'd never seen these settings before and when I installed the memory during construction I only entered the three settings that I was used to having control over.

There are some things about Vista that I don't like, just as there are some things about OSX, and Linux that I don't like. But overall, it's been very stable and very useful for me. After sorting out the memory settings (which had nothing to do with Vista) I've no real substantive complaints.

Oz watchdogs howl over 'Cyber-Safety' net filter

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Given Rein To Do So...

...government overlords will invariably toss the baby out with the bathwater and approximately 75% of the time it's to save the chirruns. I can't think of the last time I willingly visited a sexually explicit website, but I'm somehow reassured that I can if I so choose, which, after all, is the whole point of freedom. Inevitably, the algorithm the Aussies use to create their "naughty list" will erroneously bin a few legitimate sites and the expected round of lawsuits and legal challenges will ensue. One also has to wonder how long it will be before the Aussie overlords are knee-deep in negotiations with Google to suppress any searches that might bring up objectionable material.

To paraphrase Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" character - "No internet for you!"

Did the width move for you, darling?


My Lowly Opinion

I like the general thrust of the redesign, save the fixed width coding. I sprang for a 24" screen for a reason, and you've just negated the value of that particular purchase - at least for the time that I spend every day on this site.

One suggestion I'd like to proffer is that you make your comments threaded, or offer the user the choice of viewing the comments either sequentially or in threaded format. So much silly-ness goes on in the commenting section, it would be more enjoyable if I could avoid whole threads of nit-picking, name-calling and nonsense.

Royal Society: Schools should show creationism 'respect'

IT Angle

The Lady Doth Complain Too Much, Me Thinks

All this bile and screed over an idea. A simple idea. It's astounding to me that just suggesting that an idea be presented in schools can be so threatening to so many people.

It's easy for me to foresee a lesson given in school, in which the teacher prefaces her/his remarks with something along the lines of "This is how some people think about how life came to be...", followed by a brief description of the several branches of creationism. Done and dusted in half an hour. How hard is that? How is that going to confuse young minds, exactly? Are you all really that threatened by religious belief that it's worth all the vituperation?

From reading the many above comments about creationism, I have been left with the distinct impression that many of the readers here picture creationists as all believing in the full-boat "world is 6,000 years old" creationism. I would like to point out that there are probably a whole lot more creationists who believe that the Big Bang was the moment at which God created the universe, and that physical laws and evolution took over from there. I'd defy you to conclusively prove them right or wrong through practical and tangible evidence. The fundamental question of creation is succinctly stated as: "How did something come from nothing?" No matter how many theoretical constructs one wishes to place between oneself and the moment of creation, the question still remains - how did it all get here?

Note: I'm a life-long atheist and have no horse in this race. I'm convinced of the correctness of my position on the topic, but I've never felt much need to actively convert people to my way of thinking. I recognise that it's a personal matter of belief for people and I'm content with what I've concluded for myself.

I'm just astounded that otherwise rational people, after all science is the embodiment of rational thinking, can get so threatened by the mention of creationism.

McKinnon loses extradition fight



"Here in Denmark last year a 15-year-old savagely and unprovokedly attacked another guy (family guy - 2 kids and a wife) walking down the street. He jumped up and down on the guy's head until he died. Then he filmed the aftermath on his mobile phone and went to a party, showing off the clip on his phone, and his bloodied shoes and clothes.

Just a few weeks ago, the attacker (now 16 - who can't be named for legal reasons) was given 4 years in prison, and will likely be out in two."

Yep, you've got a right mess on your hands in Denmark if someone who commits a heinous crime such as the one you describe gets out in two years, juvenile or no. My blood would boil too. Sounds as though your legal system (judges, prosecutors, etc) need to get their priorities set straight. It's pretty hard to feel safe in a society in which brutal thrill killing is given such a light punishment. Maybe you ought to consider forming some kind of a movement to get the judges and prosecutors removed and more sensible ones installed in office.

But, that said, the fact that your boy will slide out of gaol so fast, really has no bearing on what McKinnon may, or may not get with respect to a sentence. It's just a tad presumptuous to think, or even consider that the schedule of punishments for crimes is the same the world around. If you're worried that McKinnon may serve a longer sentence in the US for his crimes than your teeny murderer will in Denmark, does it upset you that people in Iran are hung for being homosexual? Does it trouble you that people are caned and lashed in Indonesia for drugs possession? Does it make your blood boil that men (fathers and brothers) in Muslim cultures the world around get a pass from Sharia courts for murdering their daughters/sisters for dishonouring their families?

If so, why aren't you mentioning your outrage at these travesties at the same time as you're blasting the US?


The Best Summation I've Seen

To the Anonymous Coward who penned the following:

"He did it. He's said he did it.

He broke into another nations machines (even if they were woefully secured), and dicked about.

He was offered 2 years in a minimum security prison then returned to the UK, but decided to be a tit, and now he's going to get punished for being a tit, twice.

Why would anyone stand up for the guy? He must of had some shocking defence if they did anything other then "just take the damn plea you f------g idiot!"

I have to say that's the best, most concise summary of this case I've seen. McKinnon has had dozens of opportunities to make more productive decisions for himself throughout this whole travail, right from the outset. He, with the apparent support of his counsel, has consistently made this worse on himself. He should either cut his losses, or stop whinging. He reminds me of one of those fools who gets nicked for some rather minor crime and then escalates their struggle with the PC's into such a battle that they get injured in the process. They had the chance to go along quietly but failed to grasp the significance of that opportunity, thus turning a minor problem into a major beating/cause celebrè.

True martyrs, political or otherwise, meet their fates willingly, even happily, not whinging, appealing, obstructing, and otherwise making a hash of the whole process. Someone up the comment chain said that McKinnon is a tool. I concur wholeheartedly.

Aussie has answer to save Earth from asteroid attack


@ Christoph

"1> Getting enough fuel for the rocket up there. You need far too much. The reflective idea doesn't need it."

As far as pushing the body out of it's earth-crossing orbit goes, the 'fuel' required is not a show-stopper. If we started pushing early enough on an asteroidal body, an ion-drive motor could exert a steady enough force over a long-enough time and the 'fuel' requirements would be well within our current launch capability. In reality, the most modern thinking about this problem involves using a ion-drive spacecraft as a gravity tractor to pull the body out of orbit. The methodology proposed involves parking the spacecraft close to the asteroid and using the ion drive motor in combination with the mutual gravitational attraction of the two bodies to slowly change the orbital mechanics of the body.

"2> As far as we know, small asteroids are not a solid lump of rock. They are a pile of loose rubble. Pushing this with a rocket is not likely to work."

I'm not sure where you came up with that information, but everything I've read says that asteroidal bodies fall into three groups with respect to make up: iron/nickle; solid rock and loosely bound rubble piles. At the size of Apophis, the chances of it being any of the three are about equal. The better-informed among us know that any strategy we suggest with regard to diverting Apophis would best be based on an exploratory visit to the body to assess matters like the make-up of the body and it's current albedo, maybe even a crash into the body with an impactor like we did a couple of years ago with Comet Tempel 1.

I'm not, I repeat not, saying the reflective idea is wrong or bad and shouldn't be pursued. What I am saying is that your comment about the fuel requirements being too large is misinformed. What I am saying is that your statement about the make up of Apophis is simplistic and misleading and has a two-thirds chance of being wrong.

Arctic ice refuses to melt as ordered


@ Mark

Keep plugging away at all those nasty non-believers, my friend. You'll beat them into submission yet.

Not to ignore the obvious, but since the prediction was for an "ice-free Arctic", and there's somewhere between 10% and 30% more ice than last year, wouldn't that mean that the prediction was a complete bust, regardless of the amount of ice growth?

Dutch unlocked iPhone site takes €700,000 then goes offline

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@AC @12:13 GMT

"I develop games and apps for the iPhone..."

Way to get that free advert for your game in there mate - absolute stroke of genius. If the software gig goes south on you, I'm sure there's a future for you in the ads game specialising in product placements.


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