* Posts by Killing Time

371 posts • joined 1 Apr 2011


Was there life on Mars? Perseverance scrapes up promising samples

Killing Time

Re: This does not sound like a good idea

'so now they want to bring biological materials in from another planet? '

Not seeing any mention of biological materials in the article, just organic molecules. So essentially some carbon based chemical compounds. If these compounds can be detected then it's reasonable to assume that these molecules could probably be synthesised in a lab on Earth.

You appear to have made quite a leap there. I am going to go out on a limb and suggest the scientific community, the space agencies and the funding governments have sat down, thought this through and assessed potential risks.

Is the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope worth the price tag?

Killing Time

Re: And the answer to the question is

As the principle objective of the JWST is deep field, why locate its successor for this function in outer space? In the timescales you are suggesting, given the national and commercial objectives currently under way, lunar polar craters should be under serious consideration for the next step.

Suddenly, a lot of these location,weight, access and upgradability issues have far easier solutions.

Boris Johnson set to step down with tech legacy in tatters

Killing Time

Re: Sub-sea nukes

'It doesn't work like that'

It does and it can if you drop the Combined Cycle (CC) function and use readily available Simple Cycle Gas Turbine generation. Granted they are not as (energy conversion) efficient but as the goal is that they run very infrequently that is not a major issue. It's a loss of roughly 25-30% of the total energy conversion efficiency.

As the name suggests, they are far simpler to install, run (can be operated remotely), maintain and can be readily dispatched with full load generation in a matter of minutes from cold as opposed to in excess of an hour for the best CCGT in a cold start scenario. Your operations staff, in a central location, can dispatch and monitor multiple remote sites. Maintenance and direct operation needs are probably only around 25% of CCGT requirements as you completely do away with the water/steam/boiler(HRSG)/ Steam Turbine/ cooling aspect of the generation.

Modular (i.e. relatively easily installable / replaceable ) units up to 100MW have been available for some years.

I don't understand your point regarding fuel degradation. Run them on NG, it's been in the ground for millions of years, it's not changing significantly in the timescales we are looking at. Supplement the NG with H if you can, however that is a whole new can of worms which would probably hammer the economic case on safety, operation and maintenance requirements alone.

Samsung is planning to reverse-engineer the human brain on to a chip

Killing Time

Re: I'm Enthusiastic

IMB was certainly not the first float those ideas. Frederik Pohl (Man Plus) and William Gibson (Johnny Mnemonic) just to name a few....

D'oh! Misplaced chair shuts down nuclear plant in Taiwan

Killing Time

Re: system was running at 6-10 per cent of operating reserve ratio.

I think you may be confusing 'spinning reserve' with operating reserve.

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip

Killing Time

Hate to quibble IaS but Virgin came in to 'raise' funds to further the development.

Rich guys rarely spend their own money on long shots, that's the fastest way to become a poor guy....

Musk is just a shareholder in Space X, Branson is just a shareholder in Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, even though listed as private has at least 4 separate investors and raises capital via venture capital funding.

The good optics of silicon photonics: Light sailing serenely down a fibre

Killing Time

Re: Geeks discussion point

'The IBM x86 was the disrupter of that business model'

I would argue that it was reverse engineering and IBM's mistake in not tying up Microsoft in distribution constraints relating to the DOS they supplied that was the real disrupter at the time.

IBM completely underestimated the impact the PC would have and didn't treat it like its other products because they never believed their control of the computing environment at the time would be undermined or lost.

We'll explore Titan with a methane submarine, a methane submarine, a methane submarine...

Killing Time

Re: A lot of thought...

' Because it's there' doesn't really cut it in a budget request or a research funding round though does it?

When you are competing with well considered science you need to offer a bit more than 'might' as a rationale.

If you want to research Europa's suspected ocean or a gas giants gas clouds, go there and do it.

I fail to see the value in diving into a cold hydrocarbon soup if your goal is to find signs of life in a water body or gas cloud.

Killing Time

A lot of thought...

Seems to be going into this but to what end?

What are they possibly hoping to discover in a bath of liquid hydrocarbons at around 93K ? There are parts of Earth's seas and oceans that have never been explored due to the facts a. That it's difficult, and b. That your ability to sense your surroundings is severely hampered. If you are going to that by radar etc. Why not do it from the surface.

Frankly, a lot more useful science can be done 'in atmosphere'.

A nice headline but ....really...?

UK Prime Minister Johnson knows not when 400k+ deleted records from police DB will be back

Killing Time

Re: Johnsons fault or click bait?

'but Fujitsu has to bear much of the responsibility as they are the ones instructed by NPIA'

Struggling to see how you reached this conclusion as there is no mention of it in the article. It is stated that Fujitsu provide the hardware (and presumably the OS) but aside from that....? If you are referencing some other source, feel free to share it.

I'm all for giving negligent or poor service providers a good shoeing when need be but it helps to get the facts straight before the blamestorming starts.

SpaceX Starship blows up on landing, Elon Musk says it's the data that matters and that landed just fine

Killing Time

Re: proved it can do everything that SpaceX has claimed it would be able to do

"unless the actual objective was to maximize views on YouTube."

Well there were well over 400K viewers watching live on the official SpaceX channel that I could see at the time and a similar number the day before. This was for a test.....

I think there are a great number of people who are genuinely curious and willing to take what they see on these 'commercially risky' broadcasts at face value without surrendering to cynicism but with just a real sense of wonder.

Baby Yoda stowed away on Crew Dragon, boards International Space Station

Killing Time

Re: $2700 per kilo?

Marstech skin products are a key economic driver for continued Mars colonization in Richard Morgan's 'Thin Air' novel.

America's largest radio telescope close to collapse as engineers race to fix fraying cables

Killing Time

Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

Steel cables under tension in a tropical environment for fifty seven years? It's amazing engineering they lasted so long.

They’ve only gone and bloody done it – yawn – again! NASA, SpaceX send four to ISS

Killing Time

Yes I do recall and others here have accurately pointed out why the 40 year old SS design never met the reusability and cost savings originally touted.

As for my answer, I kept it simple for you and based on the reasonable observation that wealthy people, who want to stay wealthy, don't throw large amounts of their own money at vanity projects. If you wish to believe otherwise that's up to you. I will take a wild stab in the dark and say you are not a financier by profession.

Who these other companies are who are supposedly making reusability claims is a mystery as no one else is doing it on a commercial scale. Until someone else actually does, it's reasonable to look at the launch costs that SpaceX charge in comparison other launch providers and make an assessment of their savings.

It seems a more rational approach than jumping to the conclusion there is some non specific deception taking place.

Killing Time

So they have hoodwinked some very wealthy financiers into parting with their money to make it look like they have a successful business plan. Is that your point?

These VC financiers who's business it is to analyse companies, their plans and accounting and then to risk their own capital via investment?

Has it occurred to you the VC funds may be financing the aggressive development of the Heavy and Starship programmes rather than proping up a crap business plan?

Killing Time


To be blunt, given the easily obtainable detail on SpaceX's launch success, refurbishment and relaunch cadence, reliability and dramatically reduced launch costs in comparison to every other existing launch system your question suggests you have either have very little interest in the subject or have been living under a rock for the last decade.

It would appear you can't be bothered with the technicalities so if nothing else, look at the reduction in launch costs and what they are offering in comparison to others.

They wouldn't be in business, or more crucially, developing new launch systems if they were losing money.

H2? Oh! New water-splitting technique pushes progress of green hydrogen

Killing Time

You are confusing risk brought about by outside parameters with inherent risk.

Reduce the temperature and you won't have gasoline vapor to mix to the required explosive concentration but that same change in parameter would have no effect on the H2's flammability due to its greater gaseous phase range. At a higher temperature, have a H2 or gasoline leak into an enclosed space which already has a proportion of O2 and the likelihood of H2/O2 explosive combination is far higher due to its greater flammability range.

Killing Time

'It's actually not that easy to get Hydrogen to burn or explode, gasoline on the other hand is easy, and it burns for much longer'

That is not just inaccurate, its completely wrong.

The flammability range of Hydrogen is from 4% to 74% in air, whereas gasoline vapor is from 1.4% to 7.6% in air. In laymans terms, any concentrations outside of those parameters, even with a continuous ignition source, the mix will not burn or explode. Any mixture within that range, it will readily combust. This difference is reflected in the different hazardous area classifications both materials are given by experts who know what they are talking about and don't rely on YouTube for their risk assessments.

Clearly, Hydrogen is a far more hazardous material.

UK tech supply chain in dark over Brexit preparations months ahead of final heave-ho

Killing Time

Re: It's almost as if

'Their 2016 manifesto would probably be a good start.'

Yes, as I recalled, not even the slightest suggestion of a plan. Just a statement of their intention to 'take back control of our borders'.

Unsurprisingly, the same border you go on to say is not a problem for us but is the EU's problem.

No point in taking this debate any further, there is no reasoning with blatant hypocrisy.

Killing Time

Re: It's almost as if

@ Codejunky

'UKIP had a plan'

I have no recollection of ever seeing it and I followed the run up and subsequent outfall closely. I assume it was published? Happy to look it over if you direct me to it. I would love to see their solution to the land border issue.

It's not as if UKIP's European parliament members weren't aware of Europe's position on borders, they took the money and accrued the pensions, I would hope they did a little more there for their money than attempt to phiibuster debates and insult their fellow members.

Killing Time

Re: It's almost as if

So, nobody barring all the leave campaigners from outlining their plans is proof that UKIP had a plan?

No offence but I would hate to follow your code.

What was to stop UKIP outlining their plans to pressure Boris into giving Farage a role in Brexit. Nothing, and then he would at least have salvaged some dignity. Let's face it, he tried hard enough and all he got was summarily dismissed.

'Not a fit and proper person' I recall the slight being.

Killing Time

Re: It's almost as if


'It was a deliberate act not to allow consideration for leave, then to accuse leaving as being without a plan.'

Mate, that's the kind of doublespeak we have sadly become accustomed to throughout this process. Who was it barring those campaigning to leave to outline their plans?

Please don't try to now claim that it would have biased future negotiation. That would just compound the nonsense.

Killing Time

Re: It's almost as if

'UKIP had a plan and I expect the brexiters of the conservatives did too. But instead we got May who wanted to 'please both sides'.'

So allegedly a party with one parliamentary MP had a 'plan' and a minor faction of the incumbent governing party had a 'plan' . However, the majority governing party chose to select a leader which represented the whole of the party. That's about it right?

Have you thought that may be because the Conservative party didn't think much of their faction's so called 'plan'?

As I recall, in the run up to the referendum, discussion of actual plans were swerved or dismissed. At best you got claims that it would be the easiest negotiations ever or just claims that we would walk away if things didn't go our way.

Its pretty clear there was no 'plan', as if there were, the NI border problems wouldn't be an issue. An 'oven baked' solution would have been in place ready to slide into place the moment the issue of land borders was raised by the EU.

The sad reality is that the delay created by parliament in an attempt to ensure the country acted honorably in our exit from the EU will forever be used by the disingenuous to blame their own failures upon.

A bunch of chancers got lucky and going forward will blamestorm their own inadequacies on anybody they can pin it on. The end.

Wind and quite a bit of fog shroud Boris Johnson's energy vision for the UK

Killing Time

Re: The big problem however...

It is abundantly clear that electricity can be 'exported' in the strictest sense of the word. The moment those highly excited electrons exit the generation source they are being 'exported'. Having spent 15 years in the power industry I am fully aware that the industry convention is to use it for nothing more than to to describe the direction of power flow. Distance does not factor into the analogy.

The explicit point being made is that these highly excited electrons cannot be 'exported' around the world in the way that a chemical energy containing fuel can.

The subsequent point being that it doesn't matter how much we generate, it is not a resource we are going to corner the market on.

Understanding is as much about context as the words used. It's becoming clearer how that blond numb-skull and his cohorts manage to pull the wool the way they do...

Killing Time

Re: The big problem however...

Ok, I will clarify. You can't make volume primary steel in an electric arc furnace. Your analysis, grading and segregation of the scrap would soon make the process uneconomical. You really have to be totally sure of the quality and source of the feedstock, this in turn, restricts what you can recycle.

I also think you are confusing slag with additive and alloying minerals in the secondary steel process. Slag is conventionally formed at the top of the vessel and contains the waste and impurities you want rid of.

Killing Time

Re: The big problem however...

'Bang in another 20G of renewables and on at the right time you could make steel at incredibly low cost.'

Correction - you can 'recycle' steel at an incredibly low cost.

You can't make primary steel in an electric arc furnace and as a result have very little control of its quality. it will be good for tin cans, rebar and little else.

Only a fool would use it for critical load bearing applications such as construction, rail or pipelines. there are far to many contaminants in it which can't be removed in the process, resulting in zones of weakness in the crystalline structure of the resulting steel.

Killing Time

Re: The big problem however...

Is that this is just populist bullsh*t, just another example of BoJo’s ‘inspirational’ leadership schtick. You can file this alongside his NI - Scotland bridge fantasy.

Neither will happen within the lifetime of his leadership so he can outline as lofty and worthy a vision as he likes, he is not going to be around to carry the can when it’s not delivered.

The suggestion that we could be the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind power’ is a deliberate misdirect to imply that we could become as rich as the Saudis just because we have lots of wind power, they have an energy source which is exportable around the world. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that’s not possible for electricity. If it was, it would have been done before.

At best, and over an extended timescale we may develop a high proportion of power self sufficiency as long as wind is backed up by some form of ‘dispatchable’ power generation.

The main wind generation technology players are either European, Asian or American, as is the case for the vast majority of heavy industrial technology companies. Where are the UK companies which will develop world beating generation technology from a standing start within a decade?

Just smoke and mirrors to appease those voters who can’t be bothered to think for themselves and an attention span which stretches only as far as the next blue sky ‘initiative’.

Good news: Euro sat spots liquid pools on Mars. Bad news: Under ice, saltier than someone who put last penny into a failed crypto biz

Killing Time

I personally find it difficult to imagine a common or garden gas giant which up until now I understood is theorized not to have a conventional surface and consists predominantly of hydrogen and helium, the two lowest mass elements in the universe . Here we have a comparison which contradicts that theory by proposing a surface while swerving the obvious question, if iron were to vaporize on the 'surface' what does the 'surface' consist of?

Seems a poor comparison when the most probable comparable property is 'big'.

UK and Japan agree to free trade deal that excludes data localisation requirements

Killing Time

Probably best not break out the champers quite yet. This is 'a deal in principle' right? No actual signatures?

We need to get their signature on a bit of paper to hold them to account while we raise internal legislation to 'dis-apply' the bits we don't like. I'm sure our Japanese 'friends' will see the reasonableness of this, particularly if we say we were under pressure due to a self imposed deadline.

They are reasonable people who are bound to accept our rationale.

Then we can break the party hats out....

Desperately seeking regolith: NASA seeks proposals for collecting Moon dirt

Killing Time

Re: Confused

Well it makes sense if the motive is not really about collecting these initial samples in a short timescale.

It seems to me that they are trying to kickstart a commercial prospecting industry. If private industry can come up with competitive / cost effective ways of collecting the materials from various disparate locations across the Moon ( i.e. ice is only suspected to exist in deep, permanently shaded craters) NASA doesn't need to worry about that aspect of prospecting. They can focus on a common return / analysis system.

Something a moon base could be useful for perhaps?

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

Killing Time

Re: out of range of Earth’s Deep Space Network

Careful what you wish for, there would be even odds on you being a course or even a light snack ...

Ghastly little Dwellers!

Killing Time

Re: out of range of Earth’s Deep Space Network

Seriously bad news for the Affront....

Have a beer for the reference!

USA seeks Moon and Mars nuke power plant designs ready to fly in 2027

Killing Time

Re: Why the 1Km cable?

'why is high voltage AC off the table for the transmission line ?'

The answer to your question is that the DOE know the means of generating the power is almost certainly going to be a thermopile and the output will be DC. They are not expecting anyone to reinvent the wheel. They are looking for innovation in reactor safety and design, this in turn is likely to come predominantly from materials science and less so from innovative design.

There isn't any simpler means of generating a voltage (and therefore electrical power) than a thermocouple.

Killing Time

Re: What are they going to do with the heat?

'the cable will weigh about as much as the shielded nuke'

How did you arrive at that guesstimate? What about an aluminium conductor?

By the way, 120v AC really wouldn't make more sense. I think you need to revisit your electrical theory studies.

UK intel committee on Russia: Social media firms should remove state disinformation. What was that, MI5? ████████?

Killing Time

Re: big fat nothing burger

To 'interfere' is to 'intervene in a situation without invitation or necessity'.

How can the EU interfere in a situation both the UK and the EU were both intrinsically part of?

The US, when asked, expressed views on trade and political stability RE: Ireland. They were invited to comment.

The BBC supposedly breaching it's Charter is entirely subjective depending on which side you happen to be but they will claim balance and neutrality. There are other broadcasters which have access to the majority of homes.

If you feel my description of one part of your post is a personal attack that's unfortunate, you appeared to be quite emotionally robust in your initial post, you didn't expose your sensitive side.

As for the situation being simple logic, if it were that easy it would all just be a function of maths.

Chin up, I'm sure everyone here doesn't think you are ridiculous.

Killing Time

Re: big fat nothing burger

'I notice that you provide no rebuttal to any of the points I made, and merely insult me.'

I was quite clear in that I believe your 'points' to be inaccurate.

Not seeing any personal insult leveled at you. Perhaps you can be specific as to where you feel the personal insult lies, clearly you are quite emotional about this.

How I voted is frankly quite immaterial, I have voted in the democratic process ever since I have been able to. It only appears to be since this particular vote went though that all further debate is expected to be shutdown.

I have always understood the democratic process to be about civilised and respectful debate. Not in this case it seems.

Killing Time

Re: Report from self-important people uncritically 'informed' by 'evidence' from yada yada yada

I'm afraid to say your title pretty much sums up your post. I read it twice just to reassure myself I hadn't missed something of importance. But no, it contributes very little other than conjecture, appears contradictory in places and reads like you just swallowed a thesaurus. If there was a point there to directly address I would happily try to reason with you but I fail to see one.

it's just the pontificating kind of hot air and smoke, mischief makers have successfully been blowing up our asses for years now. It's a damning indictment of our society a significant proportion continue to fall for it.

If you want to make your point (whatever it is) in the space of one sentence, I would be happy to debate it with you?

Killing Time

Re: big fat nothing burger

'this report has nothing meaningful to say about the EU referendum'

Well that is about the only accurate statement in your post and precisely the reason most reasonable people are questioning it. For my part, your emotive descent into ridicule and expletives is just grist to the mill and additional evidence of you have no rational argument.

If anyone who holds an opposing view to you, is in your view a bleating clown, then sign me up I am more than happy with that so insult away.

If truth was established by an escalation of insults, civilization would have been screwed centuries ago, thankfully it's not.

FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

Killing Time

Re: The Mandy Rice-Davies Proactive Defence

'It's all a smokescreen manufactured to divert attention from next week's release of the Russia Report' and a remarkably effective one at that given the number of comments on the so called joint statement.

Probably due to the gravity lent to the statement by the inclusion of the US and Canadian intelligence services. With that in mind, I have looked but I have struggled to find reporting of statements from any politicians (of an equivalence in position to Dominic Raab) from the US or Canada in the international press coverage. If it is out there, I stand to be corrected. There is some confirmation reported from US intelligence officials but that is hardly what one would consider a 'joint statement'.

The cynic in me is beginning to think the desperation to control the narrative around the the up coming Russia Report has shown our esteemed government ready to drag our allies into their sordid little cover up.

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

Killing Time

Someone else's taxpayers are paying and we will have access to 'some of' the data.

Sorted that out for you. Wouldn't want to mislead anyone, would you?

UK space firms forced to adjust their models of how the universe works as they lose out on Copernicus contracts

Killing Time

Fascinating argument you put forward in the name of your 'democracy'.

Ridicule and demonise those who have the temerity to hold a different opinion and exercise their own democratic rights. Attack the press for conveying the opinions of others if they deviate from your own.

Nah... you are going to have to do better than that to convince me. Try starting with a reasoned rational argument, avoid the emotive adjectives and we may get somewhere.

In reality though, I am sure this is not something you are capable of as it takes some actual thought. Its far easier to descend straight into faux nationalism to attempt to take the moral high ground, hey?

Google and Parallels bring Windows apps to Chromebooks, in parallel with VMware and Citrix

Killing Time

Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

Can't really understand why you would actively advise people to stay away from Chromebooks when you clearly have little first hand knowledge of them.

No product is perfect but if it's a privacy thing then I would have thought you would have realised by now, they all slurp data to a greater or lesser degree, Including Linux distributors. You set up an account, they start the profiling.

For the vast majority of users, Linux isn't an option because they don't possess the skills. Their only viable options lie with the main players. You don't need to be old fashioned to understand privacy encompasses a whole host of issues. Including reduction in unsolicited mail and data security to name a few. If advised rationally, some may place these aspects of privacy above other aspects and perceptions.

Killing Time

Re: 'On the way to the cloud'

Sheets is a decent alternative to Excel for most purposes. I have in the past created a scoreboard with Form driven data entry from a mobile phone to it.

For the vast majority of users it will do the job.

Works offline also.

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

Killing Time

Re: Overall Brand

Simple, they bought them but were forced to divest various parts such as the rail division and some other bits, by the French government who had part ownership.

It turned out to be a dog of a deal.

Killing Time

Re: Overall Brand

I agree, yet you have contrived to make it longer by your cut and paste and in doing so appear to have confirmed my point regarding the acquisition of Alstom.

Very kind of you.

Have a great day.

Killing Time

Re: Overall Brand

No I don't agree with him and see it as the hedgefund backed shorting move it is, along with many other actual shareholders.

I am also realistic enough to understand that brand names have value and market share.

As to your last point, if the purchase of Alstom, which directly lead to their current troubles, didn't raise an action, this wouldn't.

In the real world, people just sell their stock.

Killing Time

Re: Overall Brand

Don't know where you got the idea GE is close to bankruptcy unless you are an acolyte of Stephen Tusa and enjoy shorting the stock.

They sold the Appliances unit some years ago when they could see the margins were dropping and they had an opportunity to sell it at a premium. Their current problems actually stem from what they spent the money from that sale on. You really need to get your facts straight before commenting on what the stockholders would do.

I doubt many Wall Street traders while away their hours as commentards but as a general rule of thumb, its good practice.

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station

Killing Time

Re: Naming

Granted, but my issue I suppose is the use of the word 'silly', it implies a lack of thought or foolish when it was anything but.

Being a total fanboy of his writing I think it does his humour a disservice as the uninitiated may carry that view and pass up the opportunity to read a superb author. Not dissing the article but just think there are better descriptions that could have been used and probably would be if more people read his work rather than it being a subnote of Space X massive achievements.

Killing Time

Re: Naming

'in which he delighted in silly names for spaceships'.

I'm afraid not. IMB wasn't that lazy a writer. Given that the ships are sentient asexual lead characters in his novels, the names they choose are generally a function of their character, status or standing within the Culture.

This leads to entities such as Sleeper Service, Shoot Them Later, Attitude Adjuster and the lead character in his last novel, Mistake Not..... Whose full name reveal is a high point within the story as you come to understand it's full capabilities.

The names are an intrinsic part of the stories and have far more thought put into them than you suggest.

After 30 years of searching, astroboffins finally detect the universe's 'missing matter' – using fast radio bursts

Killing Time

Re: Missing Matter?

The answer to your question is clearly no because they still haven't been able to see back to the Epoch of Reionization.

However, astronomers can see back far enough that with extremely conservative assumptions the probability of the missing mass being in this unknown region is vanishingly small.

In short, they are not dumb and they know what they are talking about.



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