* Posts by Max_Normal

51 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Nov 2008


Greenland ice did not melt in baking +8°C era 120k years ago


Listen, I'm a scientist not an IT guy so.........

Could someone come and fix my workstation in JMS building please? I'm struggling to connect to the network printer.

550,000-strong army of Mac zombies spreads across world


@ Christopher Webb and Jim Carter

Exactly! As soon as personal Mac and Unix boxes number the same as Windows on the interwebs, the virus writers will take note, and they will succeed too. Macs or Unix are not really more secure, just not as interesting or numerous to be worth it yet.


Japanese robot mirrors master’s movements



Hmmmn, Hector from Saturn 3 when he was attached to Harvey Keitel.....

'Why would I make any more Star Wars movies?'


Lucas - a film maker not a storyteller?

Did Lucas every really have much creativity? Star Wars itself was just a remake of 633 squadron with robots wasn't it? Funny how people started describing his movies as shit when he started writing his own storylines (Raiders notwithstanding but a big raspberry to Crystal Skull).

Maybe he should have done remakes of "The Guns of Navarone", "The Cruel Sea" and "Lawrence of Arabia" with droids and Wookies, instead of the Ep 1-3 Star Wars plotlines he finally plumped for.


Dunno about this film, he's obviously been obsessed with WWII aeroplane movies for some time, I guess he can afford to fund his own hobbies and interests these days, but I'd bet my left teste that 633 squadron is better.

'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'


So long and thanks for all the CO2

Wow, i thought these were some of the most intelligent fora on the web, what a mistake. I'll stick to the scientific ones where i belong rather than the IT based ones in the future I think. BTW I can fix and program my own computer thanks, it's easy, so no worries. Bye.

Virgin Media blames Activision for Call of Duty lag problems


No issues in the Brighton area.

I have Virgin cable and it FLIES. It is by far and away the fastest and lowest lag internet in my area. No lag, low ping, and MP3 download in a couple of seconds. I'm not a fanboi, I hate their customer service, tech support and contracting policy, but I even got told by a salesman in the Orange shop to get Virgin as it is the fastest for everything.

I guess this suggests that the problem is area specific. Perhaps the hardware being used by Virgin in other areas is not up to scratch, or maybe the BT landline infrastructure here is so terrible (which it is) it makes Virgin look good, because here there is no other sensible choice (sorry haters).

US air passenger cuffed over low-flying pants


Who cares?

I find it really hard to care how low or high people wear their trousers. However I always do a bit of a mental facepalm on their behalf when I see people "sagging".

I don't mind if people are into fashion, but form should generally follow function in my opinion. There is of course a function of dressing like this. To get attention, provoke a negative response in a group you are rebelling against or in fear of, and/or gain kudos with your peers.

Clearly this guy got a response and plenty of attention and he won his (rather pointless) argument and freedom by refusing to back down to the requests of the cabin staff, and no doubt this will win him the respect of his peers and admirers. The airline company got him off the plane so as not to affect the sensibilities of less open minded people. Everyone wins, what's the problem?

Brit censor stamps on The Human Centipede


There is no link to kiddie porn, so stop drivelling on about it!

Come on people, stop going on about kiddie porn, there is an obvious difference.

Paedophiles are real and (unfortunately) RELATIVELY speaking, common. Any child porn whatsoever, be it real or computer generated sanctions their behaviour, and this will very likely put children in more risk of abuse.

I don't see lots of evil surgeons turning people into human centipedes (or anything else) being reported on the news, there is clearly no proven link with any risk of abuse. Anyone phychopathically disturbed enough to be inspired by this movie to commit atrocities will be planning to commit atrocities anyway.

For this reason, quite obviously kiddie porn should be banned for eternity and anyone using or making it should be heavily punished, while all other forms of media, when there is no proven or abvious link to abuse, should be immune from this kind of opinion-based censorship. This has always been an obvious opinion to hold for me, and no I would not bother watching the movie because it is probably tasteless and boring, although I don't think it would shock me much having worked in A&E and operating theatres.

So, what's the best sci-fi film never made?



RINGWORLD If I say it loudly enough times will they make the goddamn movie? I choose this not as my all-time favourite Sci Fi book, but one that is just perfect for modern cinema technology, and having a great gung-ho storyline. It really needs 3 or 4 hours and a sympathetic Peter Jackson type director though.

I'm off to carry on reading The Mote In God's Eye again (thanks to this forum). I'm at the bit where the female Motie Engineer is on the ship redesigning the coffee machine, and the small monkey Motie is hugging a cabbage with 4 arms.

PS or any of the amazing culture novels, all of the early ones. POG, UOW, CP etc.

Middle England chokes on Nice Baps


Canine Beauticians

There's a Canine Beautician in Kemptown, Brighton called "Doggy Style".

Paramount buries Dune remake

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Sorry Denarius

Didn't read you before posting, but +1 anyway!


Or just make an all NEW SciFi film out of a decent book.

Ok, we got a reasonable film of Dune already. It's about time we had some all time classics dramatised. How about Ringworld (Larry Niven, 1970, up yours Halo), The Mote In God's Eye, Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Ender's Game etc etc. All better than Dune IMO (Don't downvote me! It's all subjective right?). Personally I loved David Lynch when he was making his own stuff, but that's just my own opinion. Ringworld is as rip-snorting and out there as Star Wars, would make an incredible movie. Nice they thought of the intelligent Sci-fi reader with Dune though, they normally just pander to kids with console spinoffs.......

Not sure how a hardcore Herbert fan would feel about Lynch's original movie though, I'm still smarting about the abysmal Judge Dredd f*ckup, I would not mind seeing that put right with a decent film, soooo........

'Tree Octopus' proves journos no smarter than 13-year-old Americans



I wonder whether this was inspired by the "Squibbon" from the 2005 "The Future Is Wild" documentary? Or will squid and octupi follow different aboreal evolutionary pathways.

Big stink over Malawi farting ban


I predict a

Forthcoming tea shortage for Malawi vicars.

Thunderstorms found to squirt antimatter into space



Where positrons are emitted by radioisotope labelled metabolites for use in Positron Emission Tomography, the positron can usually travel a couple of millimetres through human body tissue before it meets an electron and you get an annhilation event, hence the low resolution of PET scans. You have to remember that mostly atoms are comprised of space and very little matter, and Van De Waals radii (The effective diameter of the whole atom) don't really count here. It brings to mind the old chestnut where a hydrogen atom is described by an orange on the centre spot of Wembly representing the nucleus and a pea in the car park represents the electron. Obviously, air is far more rarefied of electrons than water (The main electron-containing constituent of body tissue), so the positron is free to pass right through the space inside a lot of atoms before it meets an electron. Moreover, the chances of a positron meeting an electron is entirely stochastic, and even in water, if you provide enough positrons, some will travel much further then a couple of mm, so the number of positrons that make it into space is also highly dependent on the number of positrons that are emitted in the first instance.

Renault wants full spy probe


Pig Ugly?

Presumably each manufacturer is spying on the other to ensure they don't lose the title "Most Pig Ugly Electric Car", as they all seem to be making a concerted effort not to sell any whatsoever (apart from the Tesla, but that's actually a Lotus petrol car converted to electric).

Ford cars get draconian parental controls


As Ogri once suggested....

Restrict them to driving a 125cc pink bubble car with a rotating christmas tree on the roof.

US Air Force studies fruit-flies to build killer insect swarm drones


Millenium bug?

Does look very like the one in the yellow triangle. Wonder if it will be any more potent.

Gov decides not to have scientific advice on drugs any more



Hey, not all of us scientists are physicists you know! Would a brief cessation of gene expression do? (Puromycin, cyclohexamide, rapamycin or emetine in the houses of parliament tea urn should do it).

By the way, as you are probably an IT guy as you are on this site, can I point out that the printer on level 2 is STILL not working and I can't access my images from the microscopy suite server network drive.

Twitpic pulls 50 Cent bum burger snap



Should appeal to you IT lot.

Boffins explain greatest ever free kick


Boffins and football

@Gordon Pryra

Are you sure? When I was an undergraduate we used to have an annual students v lecturers footie match at Uni. One of the microbiology lecturers played at club level and specialised in injurious hacking, while Prof Tuite, the burly biochemistry lecturer could mow down 3 student defenders at a time with a can of stella in his hand, and still score.

iTunes disses doctorates


I earned my title, but do I care?

To be honest I use my title on my credit cards to confound shopkeepers (I am hairy, stocky and tattooed and resemble a homeless person).

I do not use my title of Dr. at the "Doctors", I use Mr.

I do not use my title of Dr when I meet people (either service providers or socially), I use Mark, which is my name.

I never use my title on my passport.

I always use my title around conferences and at the university where I work. That way people know who to talk to about stuff.

I sometimes use my title if I am being fucked over (i.e. a legal matter, or a shit service provider etc), as somehow they think it makes me more respectful to have a D.Phil, but only if I really think they are in the wrong, otherwise I am Mark.

To those who try and devalue those with doctorates, I have published a number of papers on medical research which may go towards helping understand disease in the future, although as I research to such a fundamental level, any practical applications will probably be researched by a medical doctor (who will then take all of the credit).

I do not know everything about biochemistry, but I obviously know more than most people in the world about the particular sub-field that I research.

I do not think that i am better than anyone else, but to say that someone with a Ph.D is someone who stayed on at school longer is moronic. At least in my field, the people offering Ph.D studentships are highly selective. If you doubt this, or like one or two of the posters here seem jealous, please feel free to go and get your own one if you have the brains and character to do so. It's tough, exhausting, demanding and financially crippling work. I earned this, and all of my training took a year longer than a MD.

As we have a med-school at the university, I sometimes have to help teach med students some of the more demanding aspects of their field (like biochemistry). I am surprised how many of them can't even distinguish Moles from molarity or calculate pH. Most of them are just hoorah henries with the right parental income. We got here on merit alone.

Boeing's 'Phantom Eye' Ford Fusion powered stratocraft


Stop bitching about "green" (black) energy!

Whats the point of bitching about green final energy consumers. If you think about it, you have to have the technology in place before you can go green. You can't all one day say "OK WE ALL GO GREEN TODAY, NO MORE COAL FIRED POWERSTATIONS OR PETROL CARS/UNMANNED SPYPLANES" as the technology has to be developed and then scaled up for mass manufacture first. So once we have renewable energy sources (fusion reactors, more solar, wind, tidal and wave power) then things like hydrogen production and electric cars really will be Green. And they'll be green instantly without having to be developed afterwards! Good isn't it? Hope you understand now, so go away and stop your bitching.

Yorks cops charge Segway rider under 1835 road law


"how is it different to a motorbike?"

A Sopwith Camel has two wheels and an engine, can I fly one on my motorbike licence?

Robotic cargo spacecraft misses rendezvous with ISS


Strauss Waltz anyone?

Can't help imagining it sailing past to the sounds of the "Blue Danube", I mean you'd have to have a cd of it on board wouldn't you.

Flying car gets helpful road-kit weight exemption from feds


Dear AC, do you mean formidonis-fugia?

BTW, I used my impressive classical education to navigate to an online translator.

Secret ancient code, basis of all modern civilisation, cracked


@ Is it me

While this crackpot hypothesis proves absolutely nothing, what your comment does suggest is that christians are credulous in their scientific beliefs as well as their spiritual ones, and that isn't reeeeaaally the point of science now, is it?

Redback spiders provoke BAE lock-down



I see no reason whatsoever why redbacks and black widows could not take hold in this country. How do you think they spread around in their indigenous countries? False widows are also web spiders, but my back garden and garage and where I work (Sussex Uni) are crawling with them (I live in Brighton), some of the big ladies get huge. Luckily I have not been bitten, yet.

Avro Vulcan - The Owners' Workshop Manual

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Waaaah! Don't touch Haynes manuals, you'll fall out of the sky.

My Haynes manual told be to connect the oil pipes the wrong way round on my Triumph Bonneville after I had rebuilt the engine. Queue an instant seize followed by yet another new set of pistons.

Approaching space object 'artificial, not asteroid' says NASA


Coming home.

klaatu barada nikto

Make Isle of Man drugs paradise, says Jagger


Not part of England on paper, but...

Just got back from the Isle of Man and to be honest, although it is definately not in England, it's certainly more english than England is. You should visit there, it's a bit like apearing in your own episode of "Life On Mars".

While the overall demeanor of the place will remind you of family holidays in the 70's (if you are that old), the police are certainly more 1980's Thatcherite types, and will happily dole out a beanfieldesque beating to anyone attempting drug-based shannanigans I'll be bound.

Jesus descends to Google Earth


Blessed are the bignoses.

And Zombie Bikers.

Marmite sends in the lawyers against BNP


I neither particularly like or hate marmite, so that's busted so far as I'm concerned.

I hate Nick Griffin though. How about peanut butter?

DARPA, US Marines team on proper flying car project


This will not be a "proper" flying car

Until they master "proper" antigravity, which due to the laws of physics, seems fairly unlikely.

Tories promise medals not money for science and R&D


If you slay all of the giants, who's shoulders are the entrepreneurs going to stand on?

It's ostensibly a good idea, but just amounts to more short-term ringfenced thinking like the Labour policy of cuts.

The vast majority of discoveries (for example those that lead up to a situation where the creation of a new invention is possible), result from "accidental" observations - i.e. Blue Sky research. Probably some of the most important examples of this include Flemings experiment getting contaminated leading to the discovery of Penicillin.

This is really an attempt to chreaply and quickly cash-in on innovation without really unerstanding the underlying principles and mechanisms of technological progress. Sure we could just invent without blue-sky research, but his is just what the Japanese did in the 1960's and 70's, took other peoples ideas and made money out of them.

Men at Work swiped Down Under riff


Vegemite Sandwich.

What the? It wasn't plagiarised at all, it was paraphrased, the song was about Australia so referenced one of the most quintessentially Australian songs, what were they supposed to do? Also @janimal and others, of course this is no accident, oh yeah the songs about Oz, and just happened to have the riff from one of the most famous Aussie songs but that was an accident because if Motorhead wrote enough riffs they would accidentally come up with a song that sounded like "Waltzing Matilda". Come off it.

Of course they have no case to answer, unless Vegemite are going in for a cut as well.......

Star Trek to boldly go (again)


I actually thought it was rather good.

But then I don't own any prosthetic rubber forehead enhancements, speak Klingon, wear a starfleet uniform, play LARP (heee hee , sorry cant help laughing when I say the L acronym), or go to conventions.

Even my girlfriend enjoyed it and sat all the way through it, (and she is usually only into non-trashy sci-fi like Brian Aldiss or Iain M Banks).

Lets face it, Star Trek TOS was always trashy, always mainstream, always camp, and kitsch. All of this need for "lore" bullshit was made up by obsessional fans generally direly in need of some escapism from their sadly blighted-for-some-reason-or-another lives.

I look forward to the sequel with anticipation (and yes I saw all of the other films and all of TNG which were good and some of Voyager and DS9 which were shit and rubbish).

Israeli ducted-fan robo sky-jeep in hover trials


@ Peter Ford, no, not like a Harrier.

A Harrier uses jet engine thrust from the main engine vectored through nozzles mounted on the side of the aircraft. Ducted fans have been used extensively for decades though, especially in Hovercraft and R/C models of jets.

Apologies for my pedantry.

James Cameron poised to make Fantastic Voyage


Why don't they make a brilliant Sci-fi that has not already been made.

Like Larry Nivens Ringworld, an Ian M Banks movie such as Consider Phlebas or Hothouse by Brian Aldiss. All of these would make mindblowing movies.

Why bother doing Lost in Space, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes countless sub-standard Alien remakes etc etc? None of them are remotely as good as the original (although have not seen the new trekkie movie yet). Anyway they kind of did the crappy remake already with 'inner space' didn't they?

LHC dimensional apocalypse from midnight: Your thoughts


Points of view?

Sadly this article just reminded me about Barry Took on "Points of View" and I couldn't focus on the subject in hand.

Think you're tech savvy? You won't be when you're old


It's a bit of a sweeping statement.

This does not really apply to everyone does it. My parents are in their 70's and they use photoshop, do web design, send emails, surf the web etc. and they had no comparable tech when they were young. Sometimes I have to teach computer literacy to 20 year old freshers at the university i work at, and they have no idea. Things are much more subjective than this article would suggest.

I am willing to bet everything I own that most people who are "Tech Savvy" enough to be visiting The Reg will still easily assimilate new technology into their old age, and they all have a head start on my parents because they are already using current technology!

Moreover, tech seems to be evolving rather than moving in huge difficult-to-span jumps, and we are evolving with it, even as we age. There would have to be an incredibly major change in technology/human interfaces to cause a future problem for even the less "tech savvy" amongst us. I think that this theory was only half-formed, so I can believe that the researcher involved may struggle with future tech, even if the rest of us don't!

Loch Ness Monster surfaces on Google Earth


But we are surrounded by REAL monsters. You only have to look.

Those Reg readers interested in cryptozoology might also be interested in two nests of mighty silver birds that were recently discovered by a Scotsman visiting the south of England, one near Gatwick in Sussex, the other near Heathrow.

Boffin predicts pee-powered cars


Not in my lab.

One of our lab assistants was caught drinking the 100% ethanol from the solvents cupboard. Still, should probably still be able to power a car with it.

'Supermodel' glow-in-the-dark pocket monkeys created

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@Rob Dobs

Sorry you are greatly mislead. We have been tagging GFP to proteins in tissue cultures for literally years so that we can see how the proteins interact using confocal microscopy, this is a boring everyday tech.

For years we have also been either deleting genes in mice or fruit flies or adding in new or mutated genes that mimic deleted, duplicated or mutated genes in various human disease states. These are then termed "transgenic organisms"

The importance of this is that these were the first transgenic primates, and as such make a much better system to model human disease states using transgene technology. The GFP was merely used to prove that an arbitary gene had succesfully been inserted into the genome of the organism as proof of concept, the fact that it glows has no other significance whatsoever, none whatsoever.

Apart from a nice new model organism, this is just very old technology being applied to a new species and frankly we should be cynical of all the hype that the media stir up whenever this is done. (it was done in mice and rabbits10 years ago, google "Alba the GFP bunny".

Microsoft conjures imaginary 'Apple Tax'


So bored with this argument

Let's get this straight, absolutely nobody hates Macs or think that they are sub-standard or even necessarily overpriced compared to the PC.

What they do hate are the pious, smug, snotty bastards who bang on about mac superiority all the time. It's rare that you'll find a PC user starting this hoary old argument, are Mac users insecure about something or just obnoxious fanboys?

I'd love a Mac, but I am forced to use a PC because of the software i use. Besides, I really like to tinker with my computers, that is my hobby.

'Big Brother' - the price of self-driving cars

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How about us motorcylists then?

I have been a biker for 20 years, what are we supposed to do, just consign our bikes to some huge motorcycle land-fill site? OK, bikes are dangerous if you are a tit (or the car pulling out of the side road in front of you is a bald bloke in Volvo, blond tart in Fiesta, arsey mum in SUV/MPV).

But the emissions and congestion caused by even big bikes are far less than cars.

It's going to be a long time before they can make a decent robot motorbike, and anyway I like riding it myself. Of course if they don't ban bikes, we'll all be even more pariahs than usual (if non self-driving bikes are not traceable) as all the criminals will be driving them.

Of course if motorcycles are traceable, all of the perps will be on bicycles. Until they put a tracer on them after which point all of the crooks will be on foot, so they can remedy that by fitting everyone with an electronic collar a'la "Battle Royale". Suddenly this is not looking such a good idea.

Boffins build 'slow glass' light-trapping nanodoughnut


Maybe not such a new idea?

Is this not a similar concept to electron trapping in phosphor crystals? We have cassettes with phosphor screens in them in our lab. You put in a dried electrophoresis gel labelled with a radioactive isotope (say P32 or S35) and the radiation promotes electrons to higher energy electron orbitals (e.g. makes "exitons") which due to the nature of phosphor electron orbitals stay there until given an extra jolt of light in a phosphorimager (something like a giant digital scanner that you put the screens onto), after which they release a perfect image of the radioactive areas of the gel.

A similar concept is used for image intensifiers (such as found in real-time x-ray machines and night vision goggles), although in this case phosphor crystals are used to convert light to a high energy electron beam in a vacuum tube, and then back to light after amplification.

These concepts have been in general use for decades so maybe not quite so sci-fi after all, just a higher-tech version of an old invention?

Toshiba NB100 netbook

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I Love my brick!!!

I have had one of these since their release and have had none of the problems Patrick has mentioned. The screen is beautifully bright and much sharper than most other netbooks I have seen. I have not seen any rippling. With my wireless connection, page loads are pretty instant, so I suggest that he take task with his ISP or his wireless setup.

I think that although there is not much to tell between netbooks, the build quality, screen and HDD capacity are a cut above.

Mine also runs World of Goo, Quake 3 arena, AVP2, Half-Life, Adobe Indesign (tiny tiny DTP!!) , Photoshop and Microsoft office quickly and smoothly. It comes with me when i travel and it sits on my coffee table at home when I need it. I love it.

'Bloody' is an offensive word, declares ASA


Can they use "By our lady"?

Which is the extremely offensive phrase that the word is derived from.

'Ruggedised, weaponised' raygun modules now on sale


@ Charles

How about sticky backed plastic then?