* Posts by Dom 3

357 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


And it's off! NASA launches nuke-powered, laser-shooting, tank Perseverance to Mars to search for signs of life

Dom 3


A very hand-wavey argument:

If you want to be 95% sure that all of your rover's modules are still working after 90 days, you need to ensure that each one has a 99% chance of still working after 90 days. And if that's the case then there's a 66% chance that a component will be working after ten years.

Which is more or less what we saw - some bits stopped working.

Apple was the only Fortune 50 company to foresee COVID-19 pandemic risk and properly insure against it – Forrester

Dom 3

Re: Things we can prevent and things we can't

Megatsunami debunked here:


An article here explaining that the lack of recent pandemics does *not* increase the likelihood of a new one:


Yes, governments and large employers should have (had) contingency plans in place.

When Apollo met Soyuz: 45 years ago, Americans and Russians played together nicely... IN SPAAAAACE

Dom 3

Re: LOL, and what if it's all a hoax?

"The shot of Aldrin exiting the hatch to join Armstrong" - which one? They are all here:


CEO of motherboard maker MSI dies after plunging from headquarters' seventh-floor

Dom 3

Re: :-(

"agencies are just automatically assigning deaths with unreported causes as Covid-19" - which? where? evidence? Here's the current guidelines for England and Wales:



"doctors are expected to state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief"

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Dom 3

Re: Where will this end....

Never noticed a street missing a number 13. OTOH never seen a row 13 on an aeroplane.

Couple wrongly arrested over Gatwick Airport drone debacle score £200k payout from cops

Dom 3

Re: Pictures or it didn't happen


Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

Dom 3

Re: Third world airlines like Ryanair

"risk of dying"??? Ryanair has an excellent safety record.

Anyway - Ryanair has changed. I think Mr O'Leary realised that some of his policies were so extreme as to alienate passengers to the point that they would refuse to fly on his planes. And I still meet^W used to meet people who hold this position. I fly with them four to eight times a year, because they are the only option using my nearest airport and going where the rellies are. I've had reason to phone them a couple of times to get a name changed (cos I didn't make the booking) to match the passport - done without quibble and without charge, despite their Ts & Cs. And they no longer really enforce the cabin bag size rules. I have yet to see someone get pulled over, even when their backpack is clearly *way* outside the 55x40x20 limit. As long as it is "cabin-size", it's fine.

Crooks set up stall on UK govt's IT marketplace to peddle email fraud services targeting 'gullible' punters

Dom 3

"scammers and/or jokers"?

Oh come on. It's clearly someone 'avin a larf.

Watch now the three UFO videos uncovered by Blink-182 star – and today officially released by the Pentagon

Dom 3

It doesn't disprove the existence of Aurora. But it *does* mean that weird contrails cannot be used as evidence of its existence.

Dom 3

Re: Cautiously raises hand...

"seeing strange things while flying may be a pretty common occurrence."

Yup. Illusions are all around. We have not evolved in the air but on the ground.

Your perceptions are but a construct.

Dom 3

Thanks for the links. Shame that Nick Cook raises the "doughnuts on a rope" contrail. I've got my *own* photos of one of those. After taking the photos I checked on flightradar24 and found that the contrail corresponded *precisely* with the flightpath of a 747 that had just gone over. Another couple of minutes prodding the web produced this:


At which point I was done with *that*.

Regarding the weather satellite photo (which doesn't actually explain how they calculated the speed) an aircraft travelling at those speeds would also have to be up at about 200,000 feet or something, unless built of unobtainium. But contrails form between 25K and 40K (source: Wikipedia). Seems unlikely (but not impossible) that they would form at 200K.

The thing that really stands out about that "contrail" is that it is absolutely straight (bearing in mind curvature of earth - but it mirrors the state boundaries that are based on latitudes). In other words, a ballistic trajectory. So a meteor would seem a more plausible explanation. Would an aircraft - even unmanned - travel for *thousands* of miles without a course correction?

The other stuff is essentially speculative. It would be extraordinary for this aircraft to be in operation for three *decades* without any concrete evidence coming to light. It would take hundreds, nay thousands of personnel to build and operate it. Yet nobody credible has come forward.

Having said that, I had an airline pilot describe seeing a weird triangular aircraft to me. As he said, he was used to looking up at aircraft and identifying them. I can't ask him about it any more as he "shuffled off" about five years ago.

And then there's the compelling argument that the US military wouldn't have given up the SR-71 unless they had a replacement.

Dom 3

"Aurora certainly exists because it was inadvertently outed by a weather satellite" - link?

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

Dom 3

What are the chances? Just as I start my reply to say that this Model M is from *May* 1989 - it crashes.

Anyway, as I often point out: a professional builder doesn't use a five quid hammer from B&Q.

Vodafone chief speaks out after 5G conspiracy nuts torch phone mast serving Nightingale Hospital in Brum

Dom 3

The anti-vaxxers are taking advantage of CV19 to further their agenda (WTF *that* is I am not really sure; I can only assume that *somebody* is making good money out of it). Bill Gates is a vocal proponent of vaccination in third world countries. His logic is simple; if parents know that their children will live to adulthood, they'll have two instead of eight, and those kids will be healthier and better educated, and poverty will be reduced.

Dom 3

Nope, not yet seen a CT that conflates flat-earth-ism or creationism with coronavirus. But everything else, from 5G via Bill Gates to vaccination and veganism, yup.

Dom 3

They left out the anti-vaxxers bit.

And the meat-eating bit.

And the alkaline diet bit.

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

Dom 3


Does the difference really need spelling out? The father and son are already exposed to each 24/7. The two lads could lead the infection to spread from one family to another.

Meanwhile I want to know why people think it's okay to go shopping in pairs. It means I have to queue for longer and it makes it more difficult to observe the distancing once inside.

Do you want to be an astronaut when you grow up? Yeah, you and 12,000 others: NASA flooded with folks hoping to visit Moon, Mars

Dom 3

Re: Road trip for two to the moon...

I read "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science Of Life In Space". IIRC the author concluded that it's very unlikely that sex in space has ever taken place. And also that it's very unlikely that sex in space has /never/ taken place.

Dom 3

Re: Merit?

I hate prejudice and discrimination. Saying that the next crew to go to the Moon *will* include a woman is prejudice.

The next phase of Moon exploration will not require the test pilot skills of the 60s.

"Anyone who completes the training program" - really? At that level there is still competence vs. incompetence. I cringed when Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag, particularly *because* it would fuel sexism.

It depends what you're doing - read Chris Hadfield or Tim Peak or "Riding Rockets".

If you're looking at Mars, small women make sense - they need much less food.

Dom 3

Surely the first woman on the moon should be there on merit, not because it has been decreed in advance?

Xilinx's high-end Versal FPGA is like a designer handbag. If you need to ask the price, you probably can't afford it

Dom 3

Would they sell one to Oprah?

Five new players – including Blue Origin and SpaceX – are now in NASA's race to send landers to the Moon

Dom 3

So they've already decided that the next landing will have a woman on board? Isn't that a bit sexist? From what I've read about NASA's female 'nauts, they want to be there on merit.

Of course doing the *logical* thing - factoring in body mass, food consumption etc - would most likely lead to an all-female crew, but that ain't happening either.

'We go back to the Moon to stay': Apollo vets not too chuffed with NASA's new rush to the regolith

Dom 3

Sheesh. The footprints were put there by the *Russians*. /Everybody/ knows *that*.

Apollo 11 @ 50: The long shadow of the flag

Dom 3

Re: 25 seconds of fuel

The ALSJ has:

102:45:31 Duke: 30 seconds (until the 'Bingo' call).

102:45:40 Aldrin: Contact Light.

The "Bingo" moment was the last possible moment for an abort. An abort required five seconds of full thrust from the descent module before it could jettisoned and the ascent module take over. At hover thrust those five seconds would be an additional twenty seconds. So the Commander *could* have decided to carry on past the bingo point if he was within seconds of touch down.

You're not Boeing to believe this, but... Another deadly 737 Max control bug found

Dom 3

Re: The REAL problem

+1. The wordpress of the aviation world.

Wine? No, posh noshery in high spirits despite giving away £4,500 bottle of Bordeaux

Dom 3

Re: Wine is wine

"the markup will have been extraordinary" - actually, only about 50%:


So you've 'seen' the black hole. Now for the interesting bit – how all that raw data was stored

Dom 3

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.

That is all.

Brit Mars bot named while NASA 'nauts must wait a bit longer for a US rocket trip to the ISS

Dom 3

Re: Space?

The US definition predates the other. Discussion at the end of this page:


Essentially the 50 mile point is where it's no longer an aeroplane - there's nothing for *control* surfaces to work on. The 62 mile point is where - in order to maintain altitude - you've got to be doing orbital velocities anyway for your wings to generate sufficient lift.

NASA chief in Moscow: 'We will fly again on a Russian Soyuz rocket'

Dom 3

Re: Hyperbolae?

"something wasn't right in the lightup sequence of stage 2" - the core stage (a.k.a. stage 2) lights up on the ground, same time as the boosters. But otherwise I'm with you.

No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

Dom 3

I had a go a few years ago. Any new password was first run through this:


which recognises that a long password of only two character types is as strong as a short password of four character types. (I didn't use the defaults, FWIW).

After that I ran it through a dictionary checker against a common password list, and a standard word list. If the last (up to) four characters were digits they were stripped before this test. And leet-speak variations were also tested, e.g p455w0rd would fail.

And people *still* managed to come up with piss-poor passwords.

I would like to have gone full john the ripper on it but I wasn't going to be able to sell that one to the customer.

Dom 3

Salted hashed passwords have been standard in any sane system for ages!

Dom 3

"he couldn't handle picking a new password every 30 days" - nor should he have to. The environment where this was a good idea has not existed for decades. Even .gov.uk have caught up:


Nor is it difficult to teach (even CEOs!) methods for creating strong but memorable passwords. No, not correcthorse(...) but using the initial letters of a phrase, or using the strong stub + domain-based suffix method.

Southend Airport tests drone detection system

Dom 3

Great place.

Station platform to departure gate is about the same distance as Stansted forces you to endure the duty-free for. And there's a Vulcan parked up.

T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

Dom 3

Hang on....

"Our client finds it highly surprising that the [UK Intellectual Property Office] examiner allowed this application to progress to publication" appears to refer to DT... in which case they are admitting it's stupid?

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Dom 3

One more thing we *do* know

We have a sample of one but it provides us with another piece of information - how long a dominant terrestrial lifeform can last without ever doing anything "advanced". Well over a hundred million years.

Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo

Dom 3

Re: Mains powered clock

"reference for boosting generators"

These days they just, errr, watch the telly.


Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

Dom 3

Re: Even the greatest minds have a few failures

Channel 5's been showing a two-part documentary on Concorde recently. So if any of the following facts are wrong, blame C5. Concorde *was* a loss maker at the beginning of the 1980s. Lord King gave the whole thing over to Brian Walpole (chief Concorde pilot) and gave him two years to make it profitable. The first thing they did was a bit of market research. They discovered that the majority of passengers had no idea how much the tickets cost, and when asked to guess, significantly under-estimated. So they simply put the prices up. And from then on it *did* turn an operating profit. Not to mention the marketing benefits of making it the star of their advertising.


As for "sold for a £1" - the last one or two, not the whole lot. My google-fu has failed and I cannot find a good link.

Fancy owning a two-seat Second World War Messerschmitt fighter?

Dom 3

Re: Are we sure...

And for those that don't get the reference...


How fast is a piece of string? Boffin shoots ADSL signal down twine

Dom 3

Acorn Econet got there first?

Decades ago I was told by people with a lot of Acorn connections that this had been done for a laugh with Econet. Although that could well be complete cobblers'.

EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

Dom 3

Re: Small steps...

Having auxiliary engines for takeoff and / or shutting down engines in the cruise has been done many times. Well, a few at least. Trident 3B, Nimrod, Convair B-36 come to mind.

El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

Dom 3

Paid, eh?

It's a shame it needs saying. Because unpaid internships are not legal. Or morally acceptable for that matter.

Amazon is to install its R&D brainboxes in Cambridge

Dom 3

Re: Ah

Because it is flat.

Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Dom 3

Re: Plausible

"we're ALL going for a Donner Kebab or a Vegan Curry". Great comment but I would take it further - the choice was between "a kebab (again)" or "something else". Having opted for "something else" the stag / hen party are then told that they have overwhelmingly rejected all animal-based foodstuffs and *must* go vegan.

This is where UK's Navy will park its 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers

Dom 3

Re: Brows raised...


3,000 per hour.

Amid new push to make Pluto a planet again... Get over it, ice-world's assassin tells El Reg

Dom 3

My nine year old has a mnemonic which works for him and which does not include Pluto. More importantly he totally gets why Pluto does not qualify.

RIP John Glenn: First American in orbit – and later, the oldest, too

Dom 3

"NASA also recruited 13 women who passed the necessary tests but weren't allowed to be considered because they were not test pilots" - cobblers.

Wikipedia is quite clear:

"thirteen American women who, as part of a privately funded program, underwent some of the same physiological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959 for Project Mercury. [... they] were not part of NASA's astronaut program, never flew in space and never met as a group"

BAE Systems' autonomous research aircraft flies itself to Scotland

Dom 3

Re: Is it me?

A) Who landed the plane doesn't always go in the logbook B) standard practice is to take turns.


Dom 3

Re: Is it me?

Talking of 1960s - that's when the first fully automatic landing in revenue service took place. So I don't know what "modern autopilot systems are more than capable of flying instrument approaches up to the final few tens of feet above the runway" is all about.

Dom 3

Re: Maybe this is me being dumb...

"Introducing computers at the command stage – deciding where the aircraft should go as well as the precise mechanics of how it gets there" .



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020