* Posts by AdamT

443 posts • joined 7 Sep 2010

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Two large flightless birds walk into a bar... The pub's owner was not emused *ba-dum tsh*

AdamT

Yup, really dangerous they are, I saw it on the telly:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/koala-prank-drop-bear-tv-reporter-full-body-armour-australia-debi-edward-a9281351.html

Psst: Want to know who else has their snout in the Copernicus trough? (spoiler: it's not the UK)

AdamT

Re: Thales?

As soon as a read "Racal" I heard "Racal-Redac" in my head. Couldn't work out why but a bit of googling suggests it was PCB design software. Presumably was related to Racal at some point...

E-scooter fanboy so hyped for Teesside to host UK's first trial

AdamT

To be fair, that does seem to be working with the TFL London bikes - don't see many of them left lying around. You've handed over some Credit Card details before you could undock it and I assume in the T&Cs you've agreed to return it to a dock or they'll keep billing you or something.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

AdamT

Re: Why Galileo?

I've a recollection that we (the UK) had very good drafting lawyers and they wrote the bit about having to be full members to be able to access the full benefits, which the UK was very insistent on. Perhaps we should knock some points off for not considering that in the future we would take ourselves out of full membership and lose the full benefits. But on the other hand we should definitely award points for the fact that there was no way round that rule because we had written it so well!

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

AdamT

Re: Sub-orbital flight

Not sure about Nitrogen Oxides - you get those from internal combustion e.g. jet engines, petrol/diesel engines because the nitrogen is in there with the fuel and oxygen (and compressed, hot, etc.). Whilst the rocket exhaust is obviously hot, I think the only possibility for nitrogen oxides would just be from the surface of the exhaust reacting with the external atmosphere at normal(ish) pressure. At this point I need to confess to having no idea what difference that makes...

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil

AdamT

Re: Not true

I used to work for a submarine cable manufacturer and, yes, there was a lot of gold plating (for corrosion resistance). Also, there were no connectors - everything had to be soldered or otherwise physically bonded. Soldering to gold plated pins is a lovely experience - even I could get the textbook solder fillet shape!

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

AdamT

Re: Irresponsible?

in principle, possibly. I think it is one of those "surface area that presents for air resistance vs. mass" things. But when in orbit there is the variable density with height issue too. So I think everything can get very non-linear so not much change in distance from the earth can lead to radically different lifetimes. Furthermore, if it was an explosion (residual fuel? pressure tank?) then some bits might be moved into orbits that will decay quicker and other lumps the opposite.

But the perigee at least seems fairly low (422 km) and the ISS orbit (~350 km) requires periodic boosts due to atmospheric drag so, notwithstanding the non-linearity at least it seems the pieces are in the ballpark range to get some drag every orbit...

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

AdamT

Re: Alligator...

After a (probably ill-informed) conversation about the dangerous wildlife of Australia I once made a throw-away remark along the lines of "well, at least the plants seem OK". But a little voice in my head said (probably in an Australian accent) "you sure about that mate?". So I checked.

OMFG:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_moroides

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_excelsa

"stinging hairs which cover the whole plant and deliver a potent neurotoxin when touched"

"extremely painful stinging sensation that could last from several hours to 1–2 days"

" 'For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so. The stinging persisted for two years' "

"Dendrocnide stings have been known to kill dogs and horses that have brushed against them"

AdamT

Re: In other news...

.. and the other 50% getting slapped by the tail?

Choose your own thrill ride: A Florida slidewire or catching a rocket by helicopter

AdamT

Re: re: catching rockets

There was a more recent (but failed) attempt with a solar particle capture satellite that was supposed to parachute the samples back: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_(spacecraft)

But I always thought that catching stuff with helicopters was incredibly dangerous especially as the mass of the thing increased. So it's one thing to catch film canisters and sample return canisters but quite another to catch rocket engines...

Kepler telescope is dead but the data lives on: Earth-sized habitable zone planet found after boffins check for errors

AdamT

Re: Kepler's law

Yes, I was thinking that too...

It's official! Space travel increases the brain size of astronauts, even when they're back on Mother Earth

AdamT

ok, i give up. Who is the tea lady?

Astroboffin gets magnets stuck up his schnozz trying and failing to invent anti-face-touching coronavirus gizmo

AdamT

Re: Gotta love his partner

The guardian article has a picture of the discharge notice as well. Ends with the phrase " [patient] denies further magnets". Which I've assumed to be a sarcastic shortened form of: "He _said_ there were only 4 but, you know, we're dealing with someone who put 2 magnets up their nose and then put 2 more up there because he thought it would help"

SpaceX beats an engine failure to loft another 60 Starlink satellites

AdamT

Re: "Shows value of having 9 engines"

I don't think they have said exactly but I believe that there are some differences between the engines so specific ones are required. e.g. not all can relight and possibly not all can throttle down low enough. I think the centre one is pretty much essential at landing time.

If you watched the re-entry burn there was a lot more swinging around than normal which suggests that the problem engine was either one of those 3 or had perhaps been damaged by the explosion(*).

(*) - If you watch a few seconds before the main engines shut down it certainly looks like something exploded - it was a bit fireball-ish...

Yes, true, fusion reactors don't work quite yet, but, er, maybe AI can help us stop our experiments from imploding

AdamT

That's an incredibly short amount of time - err, really?

250ms = 1/4s which I'd have thought was an eternity in the realm of atomic physics.

Perhaps this is more to do with thermal/fluid dynamics (which is presumably a bit more "physical world" speed) than the actual atomic interactions?

Still feels like quite a long time though. I mean, don't most car engine management systems operate on a 100ms timer for example?

Boots on Moon? Well, the boot part is right: Audit of NASA's Space Launch System reveals more delays, cost overruns

AdamT

Re: White Eleph^WRocket

Not sure if it is still their plan but at one point Boeing were planning that their main booster engines would separate and parachute back to be caught by a helicopter...

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

AdamT

Re: May the towel be with you!

Wow - that's so irresponsible it's almost worth a downvote!

But you seem contrite and have clearly learned your lesson so I shall upvote in sympathy!

AdamT

Re: May the towel be with you!

like this one: https://images.app.goo.gl/z4Qv17G9wPBCMMgz9

AdamT

I do. It's in my towel cupboard. And it's probably getting on for 30 years old now. Or more. Can't quite remember when they were produced.

AdamT

Re: May the towel be with you!

Actually I do still have my original Hitch Hiker towel. It's a decent sized bath/beach towel, not a tea-towel or something like that. It has the "towel bit" from the book on it...

House of Lords push internet legend on greater openness and transparency from Google. Nope, says Vint Cerf

AdamT

Re: Cerf returned a polite, but firm no

"inevitability" ? Starting to sound like this guy: https://matrix.fandom.com/wiki/The_Architect?file=Architect.png

Come to think of it, looks a bit like him too!

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!

AdamT

Fan heaters, what could possibly go wrong?

https://www.businessinsider.com/space-heater-accident-destroys-entire-floor-of-credit-suisse-offices-2009-12?r=US&IR=T

Australia down for scheduled maintenance: No talking to Voyager 2 for 11 months

AdamT

Re: S-band uplink

... implying that planes going overhead might get a bit warm and/or twinkly? Presumably all the local airborne wildlife has also learned (or been naturally-selected) to go-around when the lights are on...

US court rules: Just because you can extract teeth while riding a hoverboard doesn't mean you should

AdamT

Re: Sedation for tooth extraction?

I think it was only about 2002 that general anesthetics at the dentist (in the UK) were banned...

Big Falcon explosion as SpaceX successfully demos Crew Dragon abort systems

AdamT

Re: Another Test

I recall someone superimposed that ground-level abort test video onto the one where the Falcon 9 exploded during a static test (the one where the so-called "Facebook" satellite got destroyed). Maybe not very scientifically accurate but did seem to suggest that the capsule abort was sufficient to get clear, presuming that it triggered sufficiently quickly...

Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide, muaha... Boffins build laser-eyed intelligent cam that sorta sees around corners

AdamT

How powerful?

Given the light has to reflect off 3 not-intended-to-be-reflective surfaces, how powerful does the laser have to be? I get that the detector could be very sensitive but even that seems tricky. i.e. very sensitive to the laser return but not at all bothered by e.g. sunlight. But there is still going to be several orders of magnitude of loss which suggests that the laser output could well need to be eyesight threatening ...

Boeing comes clean on parachute borkage as the ISS crew is set to shrink

AdamT

Re: "That beast was, of course, hugely expensive and entirely unsustainable in its final form"

As long as you call the Space Battleship "Michael"

Watch tiny swimming magnetic robots suck up uranium in a droplet of radioactive wastewater

AdamT

Re: Seems a bit arse backward to me.

I'd say the interesting bit was the mechanism to have them move around under their own power. As you suggest, there are probably easier ways to extract uranium from contaminated water. Could be that this is one of those situations where the research is rather academic (but worthwhile!) then it gets jazzed up a bit for the publicity with a token "it could be used for <X>!"

2001 fiction set to be science fact? NASA boffin mulls artificial intelligence to watch over the lunar Gateway

AdamT

I'VE PLAYED OBSERVATION!

I KNOW HOW THIS IS GOING TO TURN OUT!

( https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/06/28/observation_slowburn_space_hal_em_up_fires_adventure_game_genre_into_the_stratosphere/ )

RAF pilot seconded to Virgin Orbit for three years of launching rockets from a 747

AdamT
Joke

Re: Not a promotion is it

Pah! You can shoot fireworks off a helicopter - you don't need a 747 for that!

Looks totally safe to me: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-dorset-49544471/helicopter-fireworks-at-bournemouth-air-festival

AdamT
Joke

Re: Cornwall?

Can be easily solved with a circular runway....

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/circular-airport-runways-experts-henk-hesselink-netherlands-eu-funding-a7667656.html

End of an era for ULA as the last Delta IV Medium rocket leaves launch pad

AdamT

Re: "Hoist by our own petard" one could say

In an ironic twist there are two relevant events on that day you could be referring to!

October 28, 1971 (Thursday)

- The British House of Commons votes 356–244 in favour of joining the European Economic Community.

- The United Kingdom becomes the sixth nation to launch a satellite into orbit, the Prospero X-3, using a Black Arrow carrier rocket.

(I presume you meant the latter...)

Electric vehicles won't help UK meet emissions targets: Time to get out and walk, warn MPs

AdamT

Re: Hydrogen? Seriously?

leaving aside what the contents are, I'd always assumed that being near a rupturing high pressure tank was going to be unpleasant. After all, Mythbusters persuaded one to go through a concrete wall ...

WeWork filed its IPO homework. So we had a look at its small print and... yowser. What has El Reg got itself into?

AdamT

Re: The mind boggles

a) it says no _employment_ contract. i.e. he is not an employee subject to standard notice periods, etc. There will be some other kind of commercial contract in place to pay him for services but this can have any kind of terms including "walk away without warning"

b) ditto (a). I think this is quite common (but not necessarily right or good) at this level - especially if they are directors for multiple companies

c) yes - this seems like the biggest of the red flags. It's a situation where they've made sure they personally can't lose if WeWork goes down. They still have the rent payments, the buildings and whatever payoffs they've put into their services (not employment!) contracts...

Observation: Slow-burn space HAL 'em up fires adventure game genre into the exosphere

AdamT

Re: No Steam? No Thanks.

I've played/completed this on PC with a keyboard and I'm not sure which bit this applies to ...

Maybe my keyboard skills are just so awesome it didn't matter :-)

Comms room, comms room, comms room is on fire – we don't need no water, let the engineer burn

AdamT

Re: Leap Out And Let It Burn

I'll have you know I'm very proud of my 15s of Fire Extinguisher practice where I was allowed (from a safe distance) to put out a Proper Fire (a safely contained gas burner in a far corner of the car park) ! I'm Ready! Bring the Burn!

But seriously, they were very insistent on the "you are not a fireman" and "only do this if it is very low risk" and "only use one fire extinguisher". Apparently it is very easy to get carried away and think "oh, just one more and I've got this!" and the Fire Brigade are a bit fed up with having to rescue people surrounded by 15 empty extinguishers rather than getting on with putting it out.

Northrop Grumman has nozzle nightmare, Soyuz brushes off lightning, and updates on Crew Dragon 'anomaly' probe

AdamT

Re: The Aft exit cone...

I wondered about that too. They also specified that it was the "... cone of the nozzle". The nozzle has more than one cone? Sounds like another case of spokesperson being paid by the word count...

50 years ago: Apollo 10 takes an unplanned spin above the lunar surface – and sh!t gets sweary

AdamT

Well, that was part of the selection process! I recall one anecdote (possibly from the book "The Right Stuff") where they were testing one candidate (possibly John Glen) and he was strapped into the multi-axis spinning chair, carrying out tasks with smoke and flashing bright lights going on, when they dropped a ton of scrap metal onto a big metal plate right behind him. Apparently the only evidence that he'd even noticed was a single big jump on the heart monitor, then back to normal. Some later evidence that "the right stuff" didn't always work well when forming a larger crew but no doubt that at the start of the space programme, "calm under pressure" where "pressure = imminent death" was an absolute necessity...

Geiger counters are so last summer. Lasers can detect radioactive material too, y'know

AdamT

Re: Power?

Also, there is a hint that they are proposing that this could be mildly covert (e.g. the "length of a football field" comment) which could be slightly compromised by the need to hand out safety goggles first...

"Why do I need these?"

"Oh, no particular reason, just a precaution"

"Oh, right, sure..."

"Seriously, don't take them off though."

AdamT

Power?

As soon as you start talking about your laser ionising the air (presumably that needs a decent power density) and then detecting the backscatter i.e. you either need incredibly sensitive detectors or need to increase the power some more, I'm starting to wonder if your laser is now a rather serious hazard to all eyes and even physical objects in the vicinity...

Forget that rare-earth element crunch – we can now just extract them from industrial waste

AdamT

Re: Hmm fails the Tim Worstall Test.

something like: "Excuse me while I do the embarrassing middle-aged man 'I Told You so' victory dance" ?

I'm pretty sure he used that phrase at his El Reg Lecture but no-one knows if he actually did it because we reflexively all closed our eyes just in case...

Holy sh*tsnacks! Danger zone! Edinburgh Uni's Archer 2 super 'puter will cost a cool £79m

AdamT

Re: *sploosh*

YOU'RE NOT MY SUPERVISOR!

No guns or lockpicks needed to nick modern cars if they're fitted with hackable 'smart' alarms

AdamT

Re: Zombie cars

"Maximum Overdrive" ? Not sure if that was Disney though. Awesomely bad movie. Or perhaps an awesome bad movie. I'm conflicted. I remember it being terrible but I also remember quite enjoying it.

Champagne corks undocked as SpaceX brings the Crew Dragon back to Earth

AdamT

Re: Congratulations

I thought there was a sea-faring tradition that you don't rename ships. So the landing pad ships can be named how they like as they were built for Space-X but the rest of their fleet was bought/leased so they are stuck with the original names.

UK's beloved RNGesus machine ERNIE goes quantum in 5th iteration

AdamT

Re: Is CECIL actually a long lost nephew of ERNIE?

But you win the round by being closest don't you? So even if it's impossible to hit the number exactly you can still do better than your opponent(s) ...

Autonomy trial: Key HPE witness might not testify, UK High Court told

AdamT

Regrettably, the document didn't say.

I don't know if Shania Twain and Taylor Swift count as "country" (but they are on the list of http://theboot.com/worst-country-songs/ ) I'd nominate "That Don't Impress Me Much" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" as being somewhat appropriate to the situation...

AdamT

In an idle moment I read through some of the claim/counter-claim documents in this Autonomy vs. HP spat and this particular bit seemed to say quite a bit about the management of HP:

"Ms Whitman ... repeatedly adopted the management approach of ... playing country music to the meeting instructing the senior executives attending to take the meaning of the country music songs and apply them to their own management methods".

Clever girl: SpaceX's Mars-bound Raptor engine looks like it works just fine

AdamT

Re: Trojans

If the coffee tastes suspiciously good, then you may have a problem ...

I studied hard, I trained for years. Yay, now I'm an astronaut in space. Argggh, leukemia!

AdamT

Re: I've always wondered...

I think I have read an article about this somewhere ( I will attempt to find it ) but pretty sure the answer was a lot - in a "1.21 GW? Great Scott!" kind of way. With, reference to a_mu's comment, it was "if you can lift a reactor big enough to provide it, you'd be better off just living inside the reactor shell - that'll shield you just fine" kind of size.

AdamT

Re: Kinda makes sense...

I think 'nauts get tested to some degree pretty much for the rest of their life. I recall Chris Hadfield mentioning something about that in one of his talks.

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