* Posts by MonsieurTM

121 posts • joined 11 Dec 2011


Cheeky chappy rides horse around London filling station, singing: 'I don't need petrol 'cos he runs on carrots'



We've killed off all the sufficiently large apex predators in the British Isles, so seeking something that could consume the carcasses of the poor humans, starved to death, famished ee-en, whilst paitenty awaiting their turn...

'Extraordinary' pigs step in to protect Schiphol airport from marauding geese


Bacon butties all round!

Piggie mean one thing to me: bacon! Now the late, great Me. Haines once referred to the "Beer-and-bacon virtuous circle" IIRC....

Russia: Forget about the Nauka incident. Who punched the hole in the Soyuz, hmm?


Are you mad? Roscosmos sabotage the ISS? A cash-cow? Recall that the ISS STAYS IN ORBIT because of the Zarakya module and the orbital manoeuvring system it has that has worked without hitch since 1998. An amazing success. It is THE oldest, in-service but of kit ever launched into space. A major success for the Soviet and Russian space programs. Yup, it is outdated now. Of course. Bit space is expensive, amortised over the 23 years the Zaraya module has got to be the cheapest thing NASA EVER bought!


Re: Seems strange....

Nah: all the kit is outdated, fatigued (ref. holes in Zaraya and that's fatigue in aluminium, so think brittle fractal, catastrophic loss) and ancient. ROS would use newer kit becaus eit us just not worth it.


Re: The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight

You are correct to point out that Rogozin & co are asses and that facile attack. Disgraceful.


I am curious why I should be downvoted: yes my grammar & spelling are imperfect, I am a "commentard" after all

But I happen to have read quite a bit about the US and Soviet and Russian space-programs. No expert, just read a lot. I'd like to know from an expert point of view, what I got wrong. Could someone suggest quality peer-review literature to enlighten me? (As opposed to a ... "Meh: you're a dumb-ass, I hate you", response.


And let's be blunt; the final docking of the Nauka with the ISS when they moved to TORU co trol in the last few moments: grandstanding by the highly competent cosmonauts assuring themselves of a dinner at the Kremlin. Roscosmos was so assured that they permitted this remarkable switch froma successful automatic docking to manual in the last moments as ..,. frankly they know their shit.


Recall the MiR and Progress + TORU problem: at the time Roscosmos was broke. The automated docking system, KURS was built Inthe Ukraine at the time, which, not unreasonably demanded hard cash from the Russian government to pay for the kit it supplies

So, Roscosmos, strapped thought: well we have the manual TORU system, let's try that instead and see if we can do it manually without that pricey but of kit from abroad. So they operated the pprly-trained for mode. The basic problem was that the optics for viewing MIR fro Progress was... rubbish: the ability to judge distance appalling, spped useless. So it was an accident waiting to happen. Human factors problem.

Subsequently Roscosmos had all the data overlays added and improved the cameras and optics. Also they regualraly, redundantly use TORU mode on purpose to maintain the skills for the tricky remote operation.


The reason the Nauka was launched is it was a classic "death-march" project into which more money had been poured than the cost of extrication. It was simple economics. Of course politics was there, but bluntly the Russkis would have much rather used the money for the ROS than ISS, but the Nauka is old hat, ISS tech, useless for the ROS. So abandon it or launch? Just launch the fucker and have rid.


"Near disaster" my arse. Sad reportage from El Reg. Of course Rogozin is an idiot and has a record of shooting his mouth off.

The Nauka, after docking, fired it's manoeveeing jets this is naughty at worst. Yes the ISS tumbled, bit only after the Zaraya module was commanded to stop counteracting these firings. This was to conserve fuel in the Zaraya (which is designed to be refilled by visiting Progress). The activation of thes thrusters has been admitted, by Rogozin & Roscosmos to .... "exuberance" in the MKS, i.e. human error. Shir happens. No big deal.

To mention the MIR and the Progress accident when under TORU contromis to conflate two entirely different situations.

Note that Russia, unlike the US gas significantly MORE experience of humans-in-space than NASA.

Russia's ISS Multipurpose Laboratory Module launches after years sitting on a shelf, immediately runs into issues


BTW: it is standard procedure for the Russians to place items "just-sub-orbital" in case they fail to prevent them lurking around, defunct in orbit, so the orbit will automatically decay and the lost item burn up. (Or more perhaps a hold-over from Cold-War paranoia and fear that the Decadent Capitalists might somehow "steal" their secrets.)


Re: 30 orbits

IIRC ISS orbits at about 90mins-2hrs per orbit. The Nauka is lower, so the orbital period is shorter.....


Having followed the Nauka's issues for the past 20-odd years (sorry - ad coming: http://www.www.russianspaceweb.com/ - not affiliated, but have paid for access & lots of other reading) the reporting by ElReg is very good and seems accurate as far as I can tell. (Well done - tricky topic!) They have a contingency (which involves docking with the ISS) that if the main engine completely fails then they can still proceed with the manoeuvring engines (DPK), but will be much slower. It seems that a software error (oh Spaghetti Monster, how we programmers fail!) caused the premature pressurisation of the propellant tanks which has meant that the over-pressure (not dangerous) has meant they cannot use the main engine (at the moment). This explains the wild pressure readings received regarding the tank pressure. They seem convinced there is no leak. They are performing a test burn early this evening and if that succeeds then they can progress & move to a higher orbit to plan the much slower rendezvous with the ISS. There is apparently enough fuel for two docking attempts (though how much for rendezvous I do not know). The main issue is to get it to a higher orbit I think. Sadly due to the previous contamination of the tanks, refuelling the Nauke is probably off the cards, so sending a Progress to refuel it is most unlikely.

But sending an unmanned Progress, or unmanned Soyuz (recall they can both be controlled remotely, from the ISS or ground) to provide extra propulsion might work, if they can a) stabilise the orbit of Nauka and b) send one up in time. (They may not have a "hot spare" and want about the launcher - that too. The crash programmes of the 60s are long gone. I'd imagine to launch such an rescue would take about 3-4 days if they had everything at hand and worked 24hrs a day in multiple shifts (not unknown) as finessing, placing on the pad & fuelling of either takes time... By which time the Nauka would have long since burnt up: recall 30 orbits at about 2hrs per orbit is 60hrs. The clock is ticking and they are under the hammer (and possibly sickle!)......


Re: No problem!

I used to be Elite in Elite!!! Me me! ME!!!!!

Good news: Jeff Bezos went to space. Bad news: He's back


If one reads "Into the Silent Sea" a book about the Mercury astronauts and much of it taken from their own recollections. Captain Funk and the other ladies were never employees of NASA. Nor did they undergo the "same tests" - they never had access to the NASA facilities, e.g. the capsules, the trainers, etc. They underwent many of the *medical* tests done by the company that was employed to do these tests on the astronauts. The ladies were lied to about their role by an individual at that company in a sufficient position such that the pattern of his lies outrageously misled them.

Captain Funk and her compatriots were caught up in the politics, bigotry and (at it's best) nascent attempts at emancipation of women of the time. Their latter careers are an exemplar for anyone: successful, modest, human.

To falsify history and rewrite it as their denial to space, back then, is to totally ignore and underestimate their subsequent successful careers. Let us remember them for the real reasons! Their success and not a piece of "woke" rewriting of history.

And, of course, sincere congratulations to Captain Funk on achieving a life-long dream of hers: to be an astronaut.


Long my they put their lives on the line for improving my life!

Huh, it's as if something happened that made people not like CentOS so much


May I point out the obvious as someone who has used CentOS, RedHat, SunOS & Windows in a production environment and developed on them. There is one common feature: CentOS was by FAR the worst experience as a developer.

Perhaps CentOS was rubbish and people were forced to use it? (As I was.)

I have also used Suse, Debian, Ubuntu and now use Gentoo/Linux. The latter two I even use at home, when I need most reliability.

NASA readies commands to switch on Hubble's back-up hardware


Oh and the Shuttle had two un-survivable phases: immediately after launch, but before the emergency escape system could be used: they were not high enough to exit the craft safely even with the remedies done. Also at re-entry. The re-entry had no backup at all. If that failed the only option was the total loss of the craft & death of the crew. The fact they wore suits whilst re-entering was pointless: the suits would not be able to protect them at that altitude and extreme mach at all. After the second loss the latter issue was tragically clear in the subsequent investigation. (No one was held accountable for this because the design of the suits was not for the re-entry phase at all. One then wonders why they even bothered to wear the suits at all? Especially as the pilots often removed their gloves completely so they could operate the controls not just easily, but SAFELY! So the suits were totally compromised on re-entry, even if they were designed for it, which they were not as that was, at that earlier time outside the scope of the design requirements!)

The Buran also suffered from at most one of these issues due to the requirement of ejection seats, much more bulky suits (almost space-suits) and greater over-build for the re-entry, but it still suffered the same total-loss of integrity of the vehicle loss: at mach 20-odd there is simply inadequate research on how a human can survive with minimal equipment at such high altitudes. The Soviets hoped that automation, backups and sufficient protection should be enough. Well - the Americans thought that too and we know the human costs of such presumptions.


The US Mercury-era DOS project was cancelled even before lift-off. The Soviet Alamz project only delivered two spy-stations into orbit and was subsequently cancelled as their (Vostok-based) spy satellites became so cheap, reliable and successful.


Even V.Glushko, the famous rocket engine designer and Chief Engineer of the Soviet Energya/Buran system expressed an opinion of: "I do not know what it is for: everything it can do, can be done more cheaply, swiftly and safely with existing systems. All our top scientists at the Academy of Sciences cannot think of a use for it. Not even when we *want" them to make things that weigh 20 tons, they can do the same, more reliably and cheaply with what we have got. But we shall build it and get it working, hopefully by then we'll have worked out what it is for." And about using it to nuke the Soviet Union over the pole? Again the opinion was: "we can do that more cheaply and easily and faster with the mobile ballistic-missile (think SS-18 & 19) launchers we already have or with ballistic-missile equipped nuclear submarines". And that was the exact reason the US Airforce quit from paying to support the development of the Shuttle in the late 70s. So the reason for the big wings was redundant long before it launched, but too late in the design phase to be removed. It became a classic "pork-barrel project" that Musk has successfully taken the US government to court over.

But it was pretty.


Please, please, please do STOP saying how the Space Shuttle (now retired) could be sent up to fix the Hubble. Yes if COULD. But the Shuttle system had major flaws:

1. Dangerous: the big wings, designed for dropping nukes on Russia over the poles, were useless in actual use and a source of deaths. (The tile hit the *WING* leading edge.)

2. Horrendously expensive: at ~$1.3bln PER LAUNCH it makes the ~$70 million for a much more reliable (at the time) launch on a Proton look totally, utterly, cheap. So expensive was the Space Shuttle that the "bottomless pockets" of the US Airforce ran away from it. It was basically only reserved for human-launch and cargo with them. At a massive cost.

3. Ridiculously risky: by today's standard the Hubble servicing flight is impossible. The radiation dose at ~600m vs 200-odd for LEO. The fact that the Shuttle did not have enough reserve fuel in that flight o make a second attempt at re-entry. The fact there was absolutely NO backup plan: they were simply too high, no other Shuttle could get that high, not other ship. If anything went wrong, they were dead.

4. The Hubble is ancient. At a cost of ~$1.3bln per launch at one a year, say, means that to keep the Shuttle flying just because one might need it ~15 years in the future means one has to pay, let's call it $25bln. Now even the James Webb, hugely over-budget as it is is about half that price. The Hubble is simply not worth saving via a manned launch and never would be.

In summary the Shuttle was a huge white-elephant that was so costly only NASA could afford to use it. The costs involved sapped so much of NASA's budget that other programmes were simply not done let alone shut down. It was a murderous mill-stone as people actually died due to such serious design flaws in the vehicle that those flaws could never be rectified (the huge wings). A technological dead end. As dead-end as having people in space-stations to photograph the Earth to spy on others, which was replaced by spy-satellites - cheaper, safer and better.

Data collected to promote public health must never be surrendered to police


Personally, given the amount reported on El Reg itself, over the decades, over the abilities of the various governmental agencies to access one's phones, turn on the microphone remotely, etc ,etc, I personally believe my android phone is already tracking me. Even turned "off". So complaining about overreach with track-and-trace data is like complaining about introducing copyright clauses on UK currency. It's just another way of prosecuting you for the same "crime", whatever the future might choose to retroactively accuse us of, aided and abetted by some crowd stirred up the agitprop of the day.

What do we do to protect ourselves? Complain of course, but to your MP. To a suitable website that operates petitions. Buy one single share in the company you have an axe against and attend the Annual Shareholders Meeting and demand of the board that they account for those potentially unscrupulous actions. Just one share. It can be bought in an ISA or SIPP, so tax efficient for you!

Come on! Get active! Engage! Change the world one share at a time! (i.e. really reaaaaally slowly, but....)


I have found the excuse "the camera is broken on my dratted [insert PC/Woke-approved expletive here] camera is broken." The invariable response is either (a) DFKDFC carry on or {b) write your allegedly accurate details here (in a scrawl).....

Who gave dusty Soviet-era spacecraft that unwanted lick of paint? It was an idiot, with a spraycan, in Baikonur


Re: Soviet tech..

The Tu-144 was a different design to Concorde. It only looks superficially similar. It is larger with a greater passenger capacity. The wings were a more simple double-curve not more complex triple curve. It has canard wings unlike Concorde. But the engines were not as good as Concorde (whose engines were derived from those used on the Avro Vulcan), which was it's chief failing.

Both were disastrously affected by the FUD the US spouted at the time regarding noise pollution, etc (because the US had nothing to compete with). Thus in a game of political "nyer nyer" the US refused overflight of Concorde (thus the Tu-144), so Concorde was denied overflight of the USSR (which killed the far-eastern market), hence the Tu-144 denied overflight over Europe & the US. So the route to the middle east became problematic as the US (via agitprop) stirred up European sentiment against Concorde. So it was relegated to flying to the Bahamas & NY. And the Tu-144? Well: banned overflight over the EU and US and their allies, it could only fly in the USSR - so no longer had political leverage, thus was abandoned to becoming a mail-plane.

Just like for Concorde there were plans for a Mk.II that would have resolved many of the issues (the Tu-144 was significantly noisier inside than Concorde due to the inboard placement of the heavy engines - these were to be replaced with vastly superior ones, that never happened.


Re: How low the mighty have fallen

It was fortunate for the USSR that the Buran was cvanned early, rather than soldiering on like the white elephant that was the Shuttle: look at how NASA is coming along leaps and bounds after shucking off that mill-stone.


Re: Soviet tech..

Not a failure at all. It was built because in 1976 the Space Shuttle was also a weapons system designed to drop nukes on the USSR, going "over the pole" and then turning 90 degrees (hence the need for such big wings). This use was already obsolete at the time, but the Soviet designers were ordered by the politicians to build it. It was abandoned because it was ridiculously expensive (even if a fraction the price of the Shuttle) and there was simply no use for it. (I refer to the Bart Herndrick's book, recommended.)

Blue Origin sets its price: $1.4m minimum for trip into space


What the back forgets is the "trickle down" economy. There are hundreds of engineers employed by these mega rich. There are even more cleaners, office staff etc. And of course they buy expensive materiel, which has its own economy. If they were not employed doing that what would they do? Obviously something else. But as imaginative? And just cranking up tax is not the solution. Governments are not always the best at the redistribution of wealth.

Microsoft: Purveyors of the finest BORK since the 1990s


"Microsoft: consistently crap since 1993"

Roam if you want to: China’s Zhurong rover begins trundling on Mars


Re: Well done

I totally agree! Well done China and their efforts in their space program: a success that is well deserved and a first time too!

And the ESA are following a good plan: test thoroughly! We know this from the software industry: if it ain't tested: it is not proven to work. Period.

Tax working from home, says Deutsche Bank, because the economy needs that lunch money you’re not spending


The stupidity of this idea beggars belief. What a total, evil, moron. Remove yet more money from those, who on average can little afford it. If he is such a capitalist, surely the answer is that those sandwich shops, pubs, bars, etc etc will eventually relocate to where the money is, viz nearer suburbia & housing estates. Thus improving that local economy.

Yet another example of the creeping socialism endemic in the EU, where the politicians cosy up to big business creating laws to enrich themselves "for our own good".

The exodus continues: Less than half of contractors expect to stick with their employment set-up after IR35


The IR35 reforms are an appallingly thought out piece of legislation. One which has had a serious impact on contractors in financial services. When writing to my MP, they have shown absolutely no understanding: delaying the legislation by a year has merely prolonged the pain. If it is to be introduced (appalling as it is) then it should be done forthwith. To delay it merely extends the limbo. Moreover all companies I have contact with have unilaterally decided that all of their contractors are either to be terminated or re-employed within IR35 with a pay cut. The only option to any larger company if it is to take the risk of determining IR35 status is to "play it safe", to avoid a potential mis-determination, thus avoiding a potential future fine, which could be very large.

Hence in financial services the current IR35 legislation impacted it about 2 years ago. It was effectively considered a "fait accomplit" by those companies. Work done by those contractors that were lost has now moved abroad. We have lost an industry due to the short-sightedness of the Treasury. Thus the tax revenue will have largely gone. Also the impact of the trickle-down effect on the economy has been felt and will be further felt. The majority of those that remain as a contractor in financial services will has effectively taken a 30-40% pay cut (as they will have to pay tax, NI, will not get any paid leave (including statutory), no sick leave, no pension, no health insurance, nothing). As mentioned the loss of the trickle-down effect on the economy can only be speculated about because of the current impact of Brexit & COVID-19.

Come on, Amazon: If you're going to copy open-source code for a new product, at least credit the creator


What should one expects when lawyers get involved: Amazon must obey the law. Thus they legally followed it. The original author may not like this, perhaps they should have applied a license that was more in fitting with their hopes and desires.

Sadly I have heard of companies that appeared to have a far less legal behaviour... Apparently is not hard for them to just take a copy, remove all the copyright notices and use the subsequent code as they saw fit. Clearly this should be totally unacceptable behaviour if it were to occur. Sadly it is not *companies* that might do this (a company is incorporeal after all) - it would be the employees - nice *people*, caring partners, good & thoughtful parents, who I have heard of that would do this. Apparently in some circumstances some feel no such moral nor legal restraint in their behaviour, sadly.

Forgive my cynicism: authors of open source code need to be very careful about their license choice, much more careful. Moreover they need to decide carefully about what they want from releasing their open source code....

Space station springs a leak while astronauts are asleep (but don't panic)


This is a Roscosmos Soyuz module, attached to the Russian segment. Is it really up to NASA to determine its fate? Much more likely it is Roscosmos... In fact I have been to the MKS in Moscow (during the undocking of the Jules Verne transport) and was told that for anything related to the Russian segment, the ultimate control devolved to the commander in the control room of the MKS floor, who was pointed out to me, a Russian chap at the time. Please stop making the ISS out as an entirely NASA controlled affair when it patently is not. You are well above the sloppy, inaccurate reporting evident here.

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


Given that comparative death rates that the UK has vs Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Belarussia, etc) bluntly I think the way we go about it is most unsuccessful. Why the heck would Russia want to follow our death rate?


Re: This is just a diversion. They (USSR/FSB/KGB) get their real feeds from BJ and DJT

Haven't you seen the news about the CIA & Trump permitting them to run operations without any oversight? More likely it is CIA crackers pretending to be someone else....


Re: So short sighted and petty.

The news was full of assertions, but no proof. All this crying of "Russia hacked our elections" Russia did this, Russia did that. It sounds like a child blaming the dog that ate their homework. Come on: it is not as if Russia, China, the UK, the USA and any other nation with the resources has not been investigating a vaccine for months and months. All this so-called blame is very post-facto. Also note that the UK government has a track record in blaming others (Russia) for it's local ills. Recall when May blamed Russia for the Skripal poisoning: each time that news came out, Brexit was going south for her. A very curious correlation.... Why not make a hone-pot full of guff & let them at that instead? (Hmmm: if I can think f it, it has already been done.)


Re: Why?


Fancy some post-weekend reading? How's this for a potboiler: The source code for UK, Australia's coronavirus contact-tracing apps


And the BCS position?


Basically "the only issue the BCS sees is that the public will have to be duped, brainwashed or forced to install it". I hang my head in shame, as a MBCS, has produced such a white-wash.

Review of IR35 is in: Quelle surprise, UK.gov will forge ahead with controversial tax reforms in the private sector


In wrote to Javid & my MP. Only got a response today. The usual fob-off guff. The Lords review was a white-wash start to finish.


Re: HMRC : Singlehanded incompetent.

Yeah "the Turd" as he is affectionately called gotnusbinto 80bln debit for RBS and then there is the rest...

US Homeland Security mistakenly seizes British ad agency's website in prostitution probe gone wrong


"Special relationship"?!

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


Cripes! Good jib it was not me! I'm partial to one of those Thai 1000 year-old eggs (the real Mcoy, not those weedy 100year old efforts) with lashings if Durian fruit. It takes a week to wash the smell out of my Keck's, so the BnC says.

Skills Matter... sadly, so does cash flow: 15-year-old London dev events biz enters administration


Might this also be an indication of how poor many UK companies are at the continuing education of their staff? Perhaps also how seriously that staff believe they might even need continuing education?

RIP: First space-walk badass Alexei Leonov, who made it to 85 despite best efforts of Soviet machine


I have seen the film and highly recommend it. (Note : I have read the 4 volume set of Chertok's memoirs, the book in the Buran, the books on the Salyut & Mir space stations amongst others.)


I was at a the Science Museum and had the opportunity to listen to Leonov in conversation there. A great man, who flew amongst the stars. Now he resides in Heaven. RIP. A great loss.

Cosmo Communicator: More phone than the Gemini, more pocket computer than phone


I have an unused Gemini, which I liked. But the keyboard <ENTER> key gave up. And it is useless as a phone. Oh - and the bluetooth was well dodgy. (Seriously: anyone want to buy it? For postage & a beer? Reply on this forum.)

I look forward to my Communicator (I'm an early backer) - as this I expect/hope will solve all of those issues. I loved the keyboard on the Gemini. Beautiful for emails/LinkedIn/etc.

Stallman's final interview as FSF president: Last week we quizzed him over Microsoft visit. Now he quits top roles amid rape remarks outcry


Well done The Register, for publishing this interesting interview with this important figure! I am most pleased that you did!

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage


Long live Perl! Long live the IOCCC! Long live N-Intercal!

For the record it is, of course tabs, not spaces!

Industry reps told the UK taxman everything wrong with extending IR35. What happened next will astound you


The shame is that contracting is needed: for the flexibility that provides employers. Once IR35 goes in, many of those roles formerly done by contractors will be shifted abroad, thus a net loss to the UK economy and the exchequer. Employers will have to fill some roles by making them permanent, which will cost the employer, as they will have to pay appropriate benefits as befits a permanent role. Thus employers are stung too. IR35 is extremely poorly thought-out legislation that punishes the British economy, brought in by MPs who simply seem to wish to bulldoze it through.

We are shocked to learn oppressive authoritarian surveillance state China injects spyware into foreigners' smartphones


Ha ha serves people right for visiting and givingoney to an oppressive regime... Uh-oh... I live is the UK... Oops...



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