* Posts by Chrissy

124 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Apr 2010


Ex-Space Shuttle boss corrects the record on Hubble upgrade mission


No Challenger mention

Errr.... no mention of Challenger in the article.

Maybe you thought this sentence was about Challenger?:

"was the last mission of Columbia before the STS-107 disaster."

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children


Re: Not necessarily #2

No... it would likely compensate by seating the males (average weight for W&B calx = 83kg) and anyone who didn't care where they sat, forward of the CoG.

And a small correction to my original post:

"alter the Centre of Gravity to a point where the trim cannot bring it back to flyable limits"

..should really be:

"alter the Centre of Gravity to a point where the trim cannot bring the Centre of Lift (or Pressure) back to flyable limits"


Not necessarily #2

The total weight of the aircraft is not the only factor here; the distribution of weight enough to alter the Centre of Gravity to a point where the trim cannot bring it back to flyable limits could also come into play.

Imagine a situation where of those 27 passengers, 15 were a Ladies choir and all "Misses" - so were thought to be 35kg each but were in fact 69kg - and they all ask to sit together down the back, or at least behind the CofG enough to pose a danger but not enough to tip the aircraft on its tail during loading (that happens!!).

The Weight and Balance system would allow this at check-in based on this erroneous coding, pilots would be none the wiser too. At rotation, rotation can't be stopped at 10 degrees, continues to the stall, aircraft then pancakes.

Lots of bad things lining up, but the Swiss Cheese failure mode is frequent in aviation.

Cabinet Office takes over control of UK government data: Mundane machinery or Machiavellian manoeuvrings?


Re: A bit lost here...

Sociopaths - and psychopaths - normally have impeccable social skills as the "acting" is their way to survive society, but takes a certain mental processing overhead.

Cummings is POSSIBLY (legal!!) a sociopath who thinks he's risen to a level where he doesn't need to devote that mental overhead to "acting" pleasant anymore, hence why he's perceived as a nasty little ****.

It does help him that he's mixing with people who are equally damaged, and in an environment where there are no checks on his behaviour. In a "normal" corporate environment - below upper management levels, anyway - he'd have had so many disciplinaries that he'd have got nowhere; it's just a quirk of the political scene in any country that allows these ill people to prosper and not be in jail. Just read any Private Eye.

If he was born to parents with lesser means, its likely that he'd be on his 6th or 7th jail sentence by now; all this applies the same for Johnson.

I've had it with these motherflipping eggs on this motherflipping train


Re: Oh boy.. An egg...

See also "stink flipper" in Alaska.

Although the urban dictionary has a bizarre second definition

Telstra chairman: If those darn kids can earn $5m playing Fortnite, why can't execs?


Worth every penny:


Army Watchkeeper drone flopped into tree because crew were gazing backwards


From a different article, same subject, similar failure:

Said this before, I'll say it again:

Surely it would be a net saving by sending the "commander" of each single drone's crew to get their PPL - £10k - or even a gliding "get to solo" course - £2k-ish - so they have an understanding of the basics of flight and why an aircraft may be landing long or just doing something that, to the untrained eye looks a bit weird but is just the software doing its thing, as - you'd hope - somewhere along the line a pilot has been involved in its development.

Yes, it has no actual "controls", but it will at least stop most of these "I can't do a lot, but I'll do what the system allows me...... Oops" situations.

With 50 aircraft costing £800m, this single crash "cost" £16m; at that price you may as well send anyone in the entire Army who will ever have anything operationally to do with a drone on a gliding course and still have plenty of money left over.

Truckers, prepare to lose your jobs as UPS buys into self-driving tech


Re: Testing only in Arizona?

"If they don't have to pay drivers, more profit."

....Up to a point:

Once everyone's job has been automated, no-one needs paying so no-one has any money... no money = no purchasing = no goods to be delivered = no profit...for anyone.

Collapse of capitalism.

J'accuse! Amazon's Rekognition reckons 1 in 5 Californian lawmakers are crims in ACLU test


99 per cent confidence setting????

99 per cent confidence setting = "Sarge.... this system is bolleaux..... it never alerts"

An Army Watchkeeper drone tried to land. Then meatbags took over from the computers


Re: Crew Training

"on the control screen flash up in big, high-contrast letters some message"........

Salesman sucks teeth....."that's a Specification Change......that'll cost another £400 million I'm afraid".


Crew Training

Surely it would be a net saving by sending the "commander" of each single drone's crew to get their PPL - £10k - or even a gliding "get to solo" course - £2k-ish - so they have an understanding of the basics of flight and why an aircraft may be landing long or just doing something that, to the untrained eye looks a bit weird but is just the software doing its thing, as - you'd hope - somewhere along the line a pilot has been involved in its development.

Yes, it has no actual "controls", but it will at least stop most of these "I can't do a lot, but I'll do what the system allows me...... Oops" situations.

With 50 aircraft costing £800m, this single crash "cost" £16m; at that price you may as well send anyone in the entire Army who will ever have anything operationally to do with a drone on a gliding course and still have plenty of money left over.

Alexa, can you tell me how many Chinese kids were forced into working nights to build this unit?


Re: Amazon Response

"4th shift"... I bought one of those chinese android phones - branded "Doogee" - to use for a gliding app.

On startup it did the Samsung boot flash screen and sounds.

Drone fliers are either 'clueless, careless or criminal' says air traffic gros fromage


Re: British drone fliers

I'm expecting Watchkeepers to be re-categorised as submarines, and their personnel moved to the Navy.

DXC: We axed 10k staff, shut nine data centres, closed 4.6m sq ft of office space... and sales tumbled, funnily enough


"CEO Mike Lawrie – who last month paid $6.8m for a second Palm Beach house in Florida"...... for an asset that is likely to be under water or at least regularly flooded within the next 20 years.

Smart guy.

Your FREE end-of-the-world guide: What happens when a sun like ours runs out of fuel


Like a red-head at the beach.... wear a t-shirt

Brit Watchkeeper drone fell in the sea because blocked sensor made algorithms flip out

Black Helicopters

Dry, hot and dusty

I think the use case for these drones has always been assumed to "somewhere dry, hot and dusty" so the wet and icy weather to be found off the coast of Wales was never in the design spec, so no heated pitots.

Capita bags £13.2m Police Scotland deal for crime-snooping tech

Big Brother

All about the money

"What kind of moron ...".... a moron who is solely focused on price, has got a bonus for getting the work contracted out so cheaply, and who knows they'll have ejected with a large payoff and a gold plated pension by the time the entire thing is binned.

Maybe not so much of a moron after all!!!

Until now, if Canadian Uber drivers wanted to battle the tech giant, they had to do it in the Netherlands – for real


Re: Always the Netherlands?

Revealing article..... Not at all a company looking like its trying to obfuscate; quote from the article:


But a careful examination of available records reveals a surprisingly complicated web of business entities for such a young company. Uber Technologies Inc., as the company is officially called, is a Delaware corporation with more than 60 subsidiaries in the U.S. and another 75 or more around the world. (Like the parent company, some of these offshoots in the U.S. have German names, including Neben, which means “next” in German, and Gegen, which means “against.” Another subsidiary, dissolved earlier this year, was called Schaben, which can mean either “scrape” or “cockroaches.”)



Always the Netherlands?

Has anyone seen any other country's Uber contract?

I'd be interested in where the mediation location is for each country.'s drivers ..

Are they all The Netherlands, and if so what is so special in Dutch law* that makes it so favourable for Uber?

* Especially considering that Dutch employment law would theoretically not be that much different to any other EU country's?

Are they all The Netherlands unless local law forces Uber to arbitrate in the immediate/local country'?

Or is there some consistent agenda by Uber to make mediation almost always impossible by making sure that the mediation location is always a minimum of say 3000 miles from the driver's country?... are UK drivers expected to arbitrate in Dubai, and Dubai drivers in London?? Dutch drivers have to arbitrate in Ontario?

Perhaps some journalistic research needed wrt the background to why Uber would have such a bizarre clause?

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter


No LM = No "lifeboat"

I didn't realise the subtle detail of the lack of a LM on Apollo 8.... meaning that if that flight had a similar issue* to that which affected Apollo 13, they wouldn't have had the LM to use as a lifeboat and would have been stuck with only the option of a direct abort... lots of delta-v to shed and regain to turn around.

* Yes, as it was a manufacturing** rather than a design defect in an O2 tank there was a low probabilty of the same issue affecting 2 flights in a total of 14 flown

** A scan read of wikipedia (yes, I know!!) suggests that it could be argued to be a design fault with both the change of supply voltage, and thermostat sensors.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…


Re: No one likes a liar .....

that's a big shoe-horn you have there.

Congrats to Debbie Crosbie: New CEO at IT meltdown bank TSB has unenviable task ahead


Re: "I've heard so much about the team"

Debbie: "I've heard so much about the team"...

the unwritten rest of the spiel: "and am stunned that we still employ a costly onshore team, so I am starting crash program to off-shore this to both generate an immediate bonus for myself AND to create a firebreak so that I can conveniently blame any future failures on our "Service Partners", thus insulating myself from future censure....... now where's my effin bonus???"

It's raining drones, but just one specimen: DJI's Matrice 200 quadcopter


Re: Raises an interesting question

Helium: Maybe for a small drone, but the cubic metre of helium:kg of lift ratio puts that out of reach for anything above <10kg.

Think of the average weather balloon's size: maybe 2metre + wide to slowly lift maybe 1kg of payload? Then think of the huge balloons used by Kittinger and Baumgartner and imagine trying to compress even some of that into a cylinder small and light enough to not shrink your payload capacity enough to make the whole endeavour pointless.

Lifting balloons' lifting effect is also too "slow" for this "need lots of lift NOW" use, else Baumgartner wouldn't have taken 2.5 hrs to reach 38km - 253metres/minute or 4m/sec with a realllyyyy slow initial acceleration.

A basic airbag solution could maybe work for non-human payloads, but deceleration trauma of 120mph to zero in around 4 feet would really mess a human up.

Maybe rocket assisted braking like Curiosity, but I wouldn't want to be the poor sod on the ground set alight under the rockets!!


Re: Raises an interesting question

Gliding requires wings: On a drone, those are dead weight and drag inducers for all the flight envelope for the entire life of a vehicle unless its actually used in an accident.

Autorotation requires a large rotor surface to convert its kinetic rotating energy to a large amount of lift in a very short space of time by changing the pitch of the blades using cyclic. No matter the size of drone, you don't have the cyclic system on any rotor as that would introduce a massive weight and complexity penalty, so you cannot autorotate at all.

Parachutes cannot deploy quickly enough ti be useful under certain heights, so the Dead Man's Curve for a manned drone is huge compared to a heli.


Manned multicopters? No thanks

This is why I ain't ever getting in a flying machine that can't either glide or auto-rotate to at least a survivable landing in the event of any - partial or all - power failure... although events in Leicester make me now doubt auto-rotation as a solution as, no matter where and what heli you fly in, they all have to transition through the Dead's Man Curve

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?


Spiny Norman

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin


Re: Debt = Bad

Backing up Tom38's explanation:

Watch the film "The Big Short"


In summary......

.... business parasites always kill their host.

At least nature has worked out that in many cases, a symbiotic relationship can be the better solution.

The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt


"We knew that if you filled up to brimming point the spacecraft with all the fuel it ever needed"


"He [Nixon] wouldn't agree to a funding for more than Saturn, because that would obviously take it into another presidential period, and he couldn't be sure of being in office, which he wasn't."

...which is why in an ideal world, politicians should be nowhere near deciding the micro level of science funding allocation.

I mean seriously.... you've gone to the expense of building $millions worth of craft and launch system then balk at loading an extra 100 or 1000 bucks of fuel and tickover funding for a much smaller monitoring team going forward because "he couldn't be sure of being in office"!!

Lucky we didn't have politicians at our neanderthal stage... we'd have never got out of the cave.

Ever wanted to strangle Microsoft? Now Outlook, Skype 'throttle' users amid storm cloud drama


Re: I NEVER get tired of posting this

Why do you assume that something being a headline in, say, the Daily Mail means that (for example) Microsoft is taking it seriously? The 2 have nothing to do with each other..... I present as evidence TSB.

IT telling you "they have other priorities" just might be because they have a list of priorities set by someone besides you who has scored those priorities in a cold and calm manner using several factors - £ cost/min of outage versus reputational cost/min etc etc - that you might not even be aware of.

Butcher by name, Butcher by nature? Capita finds new CFO


Re: Govia != Network Rail

I'd love to sit in on one of these Executive interviews...

"I am a pigeon manager who has a proven track record of screwing everything I touch up, but somehow have managed to always get the blame apportioned to those above and below me...... and I am a FreeMason"

"Welcome aboard... I must get you into my golf club".

New UK drone laws are on the way – but actual Drones Bill still in limbo


Re: Complete non-enforcement...

"Yes. Yes they do. And why on Earth would they not?"

Where does it say that?



...makes zero mention of things that aren't drones, and an RC aircraft or heli is NOT a drone.

So back to you... define "drone" for me


What is a drone?

What is a drone? ……. a multi-copter? a fixed wing? a heli?

All of these can have technology installed to give "drone-like" behaviour, OR can be fully manual and all degrees in between.

And I fly my fleet - quads and fixed wing - on 3s 2200 Mah batteries... the weight of these batteries alone vary between 150>190 grams, so before I've even started I've blown my 250g budget.

I could build a large quad with no "drone" intelligence with an AUW of +1kg and so these regulations would not apply to me, but try explaining those subtleties to your average policeman.

It's the usual bureaucratic mess that will fail at the first prosecution.

Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency


Money laundering related to encryption... my a***!!

"Remained a prime destination for money laundering"

Read any issue of Private Eye... this specific issue is NOTHING to do with whether encryption is used or not; it is a baked-in, by design, feature of the easy to obtain shell companies that UK law allows to exist and that HMRC specifically ignore, choosing instead the low hanging fruit of the S&ME sector.

TSB boss: We know everything's working, you just can't see that


I suppose this guy has an MBA or equivalent useless bit of paper?

The MBA definition of "working".

Organisations continue to function DESPITE the actions of their senior managements, not because of....This is proof of that.

Don’t fight automation software for control, just turn it off. FAST


Re: Designs of aircraft control systems have been, at times, cringe-worthy

WRT using a familar / wife's voice -

.... surely, after enough weeks of marriage, anyone's wife's voice has been effectively filtered out as irrelevant, ignorable and forgettable witterings about whatever happened to someone you neither know or care about at her workplace, or in a soap opera, so giving really crucial warnings in a partners voice will be dismissed and ignored with a reassuring "yes, Dear"?

Stock trader gets two years in prison for pumping up with Fitbit


Re: Ugh...

Pretty young boy like that?.....He's not the f+++stick.

EU aviation agency publishes new drone framework. Hobbyists won't like it



To confuse the issue further, the CAA mashes imperial and metric together when defining VFR viz and weather minima:


Below FL 100:

When IAS 250 kts or more:

- 8 km flight visibility

- 1500m horizontally from cloud

- 1000ft vertically from cloud

When IAS 250 kts or less:

- 5 km flight visibility

- 1500m horizontally from cloud

- 1000ft vertically from cloud

I have been in a glider that had ASI reading in knots, an altimeter reading in feet and a variometer reading in metres/sec.

Helicopter crashes after manoeuvres to 'avoid... DJI Phantom drone'


Re: It's time...

"The big difference there is that the helicopter will be flying at a safe altitude and following a logged flight plan and communicating with air traffic control":

On the assumption that this was Class G airspace, the Heli driver doesn't have to be "communicating with air traffic control".

And if his tail boom was able to strike a - "small" - tree and he was doing an instruction outside of the home ATZ, then he wasn't "flying at a safe altitude" nor was following a logged flight plan... unless you think radioning "Tower, we'll be over there somewhere" constiutes "a logged flight plan".

Under UK ANOs (which tend to mirror JAA rules), IF the drone pilot was under 400ft and outside an ATZ - as the heli being near "a small tree" would indicate, as there aren't many small trees inside airfields or hovering at 400 AGL - then the drone pilot was doing nothing wrong.

IT 'heroes' saved Maersk from NotPetya with ten-day reinstallation blitz


Re: Maersk's own experience is that the attack it endured cost it between $250m and $300m.

Probably not.... now the IT department has un-stealthed itself as still having some staff left then the CEO is asking "how come these people are still on the payroll.... why haven't they been outsourced already?"

Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash


Re: Don't call it Autopilot, for a start

...... in the MOV / car-share lane with only yourself on board...THAT is the real crime here!!!

NASA is sniffing jet fuel over Germany


Re: Market distortion

re peak lithium:

No... for 2 reasons:

1: It doesn't get "burnt" and used up.... Lithium batteries are recyclable back to pure Li for re-feeding back into battery production... maybe not 100% recovery on current - expensive - methods, but only because it is still so cheap as mined ores no-one has bothered to develop a cheap industrial process to achieve as close to 100% recovery as possible.

2: There's loads of it around:



.... the problem, as often with these new technologies - and sometimes with oil as well - is lack of mining and /or refinery capacity as these take years to plan and build, naturally lagging behind supply and demand fluctations.


Re: Surprised....

errrr.... the statement is:


"In 2016, biofuel production amounted to approximately 82 billion metric tons of oil equivalent worldwide"


... past tense.... i.e. its ALREADY hit that output on land that is CURRENTLY devoted to it, and has been for at least 1+ years if you assume an accounting date of Jan 2017 + another 3-6months for the crops to have grown to become available to be counted in 2016's figures.



Quick envelope calculation:

Current global aviation-specific fuel use:

100,000,000 ish barrels/day = 36,500,000,000 bpy


7 barrels of oil per metric ton, so 36,500,000,000 / 7 = 5,214,285,714 metric tons annually, or 5 billion

"In 2016, biofuel production amounted to approximately 82 billion metric tons of oil equivalent worldwide"


I had no idea biofuels had grown so much....

So assuming my maths is ok and disregarding details such as differences in calorific values between dino-fuel ver biofuels, transitioning the global non-rail transport fleets to smaller wheeled to electric, and trucking and aviation to biofuels, could actually work!!

Smut site fingered as 'source' of a million US net neutrality comments


Re: Conspiracy 101

Big in physical size; not in thinking.

Tata for now: Marks & Spencer transfers 250 tech jobs to outsourcer


Good luck with that

"TCS will oversee the point-of-sale tech, web platform, management of tech infrastructure and projects, and oversee relations with specialist suppliers"

If I was an M&S shop or area manager, I'd be raiding petty cash to order a lot of these:


and a lot of these:


... and a lot of pens and pencils, as by the time TCS have completed "overseeing" - LOL.... I can think of more appropriate words!! - their PoS and infra, those will be the only methods by which individual stores will be able to continue trading.

UK.gov delays biometrics strategy again – but cops will still use the tech


Re: Simple solution:

No.... have you not heard of the concept of "analogy"?

I'll explain it to you:

It's an example of ANOTHER technology that, in a similar way to biometrics, was crept in now being actively and heavily used in policing and by private companies who's use has not - deilberately, AFAICT - been discussed in Parliament, nor specifically legislated for, unless you count the chocolate fireguard that is the "Protection of Freedoms Act 2012" Part 2 Ch 1:


The Secretary of State must prepare a code of practice containing guidance about surveillance camera systems.


That code of practice was done:


.... but missed the point that no-one was ever specifically asked, nor a vote taken on, "Do you want practically every - innocent - movement of EVERY motor vehicle tracked in order to catch a small number of criminals?"; It was just installed without any discussion.

And that code is largely pointless....


"Given the significant amounts of information that ANPR systems are able to collect, it is important that individuals are informed that their personal data is being processed. The best way to do this is through signage explaining that ANPR recording is taking place and, if possible to do so, the name of the data controller collecting the information"

ANPR cameras are ringed around every town in the UK.... have you ever seen signs on any road inbound to a town telling you that you are being recorded by ANPR and who the local Force's DC is???


Re: Simple solution:

Good luck with that....

ANPR's been in operation since 2006.... still no legislation covering it 11 years later.

The eagle has been grounded: Dutch anti-drone squadron retired


Those props are very, very sharp and very, very fast

Yes, it was a very bad idea.....

Regardless of the Wedge-tailed eagle video from another poster, having recently purchased a couple of quads I'm very aware of how much power and therefore "lose a finger in a millisecond" bone-slicing capability these things have beyond the single propped fixed wing aircraft I've been using up til now; a good quote I read was they are "mini blenders of death".

I reckon they sent a few of these raptors up to retrieve test drones, and after the 5th returned trying to land on the bloody stumps that were all that remained of its claws, they realised the Dutch version of the RSPCA would go apeshit crazy if they found out.

Example or the power in a drone prop:


Trust me, there is no way any raptor could intercept any multicopter with a 100% safety record for its entire lifetime.

The first bird - dead, with its body a lacerated mess from 4 sharp props spinning at 10,000 rpm - dropping out of the sky into an open air concert would have killed the project dead even if they had gone live with it.

Shady US sigint base upgrade marred by stolen photograph


Who knows what we're allowed to photograph??

"did the photographer have permission to photograph what is possibly a prescribed place under the official secrets act?"

Where and what is a "proscribed place" (or more accurately "prohibited") is almost impossible for the "man on the Clapham omnibus" to now work out if even the Ministry of Justice don't have a clue: