* Posts by BCS

16 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Dec 2009

Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work


Just replaces the card

It seems to me that this can just be used to replace the bank card. You swipe your hand and then type in a PIN. No different to now except you don't need to carry a card around. That would seem to be a sensible development.

For airport security, replacing a boarding card with a hand swipe seems reasonable too - you have your passport and hand rather than passport and printed piece of paper.

Just a different method of "something you have and something you know".

UK injects £88m into Euro bid to build Hubble-thrashing 'scope


£88m is approx £1.39 per person in the UK. I'm quite happy to have £1.39 spent in my name on something that advances human knowledge thanks. Especially compared to the £10.28 we each lost when the Govt temporarily nationalised Northern Rock.

I always wonder what people who moan about money being spent on things think the money should be used for. Should we give each unemployed lay-about a few more notes so they can buy fags and booze? Or perhaps we should build nice big houses for single mums with kids from several absentee fathers?

Me? I'd spend the money on "science and stuff" because our species will benefit from it - it won't benefit from people who live their entire lives on benefits.

source of population at 63.2m: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/mro/news-release/uk-population-estimate-revealed/uk-population-estimate-revealed-.html

source of the £650m loss in Northern Rock: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15769886

The universe speaks: 'It's time to get off your rock!'


Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

Very true. I do possess such a device.

The meek only inherit the world if the strong have left and gone elsewhere...

Doped nanotubes boost lithium battery power three-fold


Re: Is this yet another batterie breakthrough...

The individual's name is OPEC...

Sir James Dyson slams gov's 'obsession' with Silicon Roundabout


British knowledge is simply taken abroad

Yeah, just like British jobs when you moved the factory to Malaysia from Malmesbury...

Schmidt 'very proud' of Google's tiny tax bill: 'It's called capitalism'


The answer is for every country to have the same corporate taxation figures. Of course, that will never happen. So perhaps the UK could apply a "Corporate VAT" e.g. 5% CV on every purchase a company makes. Thus all of this rubbish about "Startbucks UK buying its coffee from Starbucks Elsewhere and thus not making any profit" would be removed. Google and Amazon would likewise be picked up. And as it would apply to any business trade done by a company operating in the UK (irrespective of where it's based) all companies get hit the same and no one gains an advantage / disadvantage from it.

Or they could just say "companies can only claim back 15% VAT rather than the full 20%".

Revealed: The Brit-built GRAVITY-powered light that costs $5


The real benefit of this new device is that it can be left on a shelf indefinitely with no worries about battery leakage etc. So it's an ideal thing for people like OXFAM to include in emergency kits. Take the kits to people who have just suffered a disaster / been displaced by fighting and they can just rig it up and have some light in their emergency accommodation. No need to have relatively expensive stuff like solar panels or batteries in storage.

Some people hereabouts are looking at things with a western, nice safe / warm home view.


No - what you are proposing is a perpetual motion device and such a thing is not possible.

The sack, upon being raised, has a certain potential energy. When released, the energy is converted to electricity. Energy is lost in the system through friction, transmission losses, conversion losses etc. You could use some of the energy to raise another weight but you'll never raise it as high as the first weight was raised. And if you raise another weight then you have less energy available for running the light.

You can change the length of time the device will create light by altering the gearing, the weight in the bag and the efficiency of the conversion system / LED. Adding reciprocal weights won't do anything useful.

NASA planning Curiosity v2.0 for Mars touchdown in 2020


Re: $1.5bn?

You keep telling yourself that. Research tends to say otherwise:


I like a pint or three and I'm aware that alcohol also increases cancer risks. If you smoke, and enjoy it, then fair enough but please don't pretend that it's not the biggest single factor in a large number of cancers.


Re: $1.5bn?

Yes, or you could just make tobacco illegal and save over a million people a year developing lung cancer.

Or, how about we pull out of Afghanistan a year early, save ourselves £4bn, give £1.5bn to space research and £2.5bn to cancer research?


The reality is that money spent on extra-terrestrial research is peanuts compared with the amount wasted on terrestrial in-fighting...

Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox


Re: Use it instead of aluminium

Oh, aluminium is preferable for anything you need to move but if you've got an asteroid with lots of platinum and little aluminium then it can be used as a structural metal instead of Al. That was rather my point.


Use it instead of aluminium

If you can mine many tonnes of platinum, why not use it in space instead of other metals. It has better Young's, shear and bulk modulus than aluminium, lower thermal conductivity and lower thermal expansion too. And it's very unreactive too, which is useful.

Why not use it to make tanks for storing the water mined on other asteroids? It might need a bit of work to figure out how to use it, but hey, that's part of the challenge.

The only reason for not using it for engineering down here is because it's rare. Up there? Maybe not.

Where were the bullet holes on OS/2's corpse? Its head ... or foot?


OS/2 Warp

Never did get Warp running on my home brewed box. Even made sure all of the hardware was on the supported list. Had all of the necessary drivers. It just refused to work. I wasted a couple of weeks on it.

Having given up on Warp, I bought Win95 and it just worked straight out of the box. I sold my Warp disc to a friend who, eventually, got it working on his PC. Took him several weeks though, if memory serves.

Dogs would say: size is important, shape - not so much


Perhaps not that surprising

Anyone who has trained a gundog will know about the whole size/texture thing. You train using a simple cylindrical dummy which doesn't look anyhting like a bird or rabbit. You then strap some feathers / fur to it as the training develops. At no point does it look like the intended quarry.

You can buy bird shaped training dummies - I did so - but I'm not at all sure that the dog cares which one he is fetching etc.

British car parks start reading number plates


Pay or park somewhere else...

Amazed by the number of people who seem to think they shouldn't pay for parking. It's someone's land, they offer to allow you to park for a fee, you park. Why shouldn't you pay? If you want free parking then go somewhere else.

2009's Top Solid-State Drives



The Crucial M225 drives do support trim with the latest firmware update (1819)