* Posts by MonsieurTM

148 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Dec 2011


Boffins suggest astronauts should build a Wall of Death on the Moon


The assertion that Neanderthal and human hybrids were infertile is incorrect, as modern, living, Westerners today contains up to 3-4% Neanderthal DNA, which would be impossible if the offspring were infertile. The same is true with Denisovan-human hybrids. The humans they interbred with were sufficiently genetically similar for their offspring to be able to further reproduce with the humans of the time. Archaeology of human DNA has also revealed that other sub-species existed that interbred with our lineage, but left no fossil trace (yet discovered).


I still don't get sending humans to the Moon... It's a terrible place for humans to live. The energy required to permit humans to live there, although roughly the same as the Earth, requires far more infrastructure. (No atmosphere, too little gravity, too much radiation, too great temperature swings, not enough accessible water, nor food. And sewage... Well. Then we have environmental issues: yes, we have already littered the Moon with rubbish (see Apollo amongst other programs.) But the ethical issues: so long-stay humans will want to form relationships and have sex. But no babies. Is it ethical to stop humans reproducing? The Moon dust is utterly terrible.

By the time we are able to solve these issues, we'll already have good enough drones there an immersive reality: so the humans can stay on Earth and investigate the Moon remotely to their hearts' content.

Moon bases are basically for short-stays, for the super-duper rich. That the rest of us will pay for in taxes or quantitative easing that will destroy our pensions. (Consider Concorde.)

Please do not misunderstand me: I'd love to got to the Moon and Mars and elsewhere: for a *holiday*, but for *science*: meat-sacks are the worst.

If we want to send humans, long-term, to places they did not originate, we need to accept the simple fact: ethics be damned, humans will shag and therefore reproduce (as enforced abortions are unethical) and enforced *temporary* (one hopes) sterilisation is likewise unethical. So the only solution: humans should be permitted to be born on the Moon or Mars or elsewhere, but they are most unlikely to return to Earth, as it will no longer be their psychological habitat.

Consider the works of James Blish.

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


An interesting article, which shows that careful engineering analysis can update rules. Yes, they were broken, as rightly pointed out, but with careful analysis. As an ex-member of the nuclear industry and one who co-wrote a safety system for a nuclear reactor, engineering margins are vital, but knowledge of them is even more so.

"Rules are there to guide the wise and be followed by fools." My point is: never presume to be wise.

China's Chang'e 5 probe lands Moon rocks in Inner Mongolia


"Social credit" Vs Western "employment opportunity"? Given the numbers of unsuccessful applicants (many due to psychological.assessments, which, as we are Western, are beyond repute) to be an astronaut in the west, is there much practical difference?

An engine that can conjure thrust from thin air? We speak to the designer


Ramscoop, anyone?

Finally the old technology, the "Ram-scoop" has found a niche! (Ram-scoop: big nuclear reactor creates a massive magnetic field to funnel the Inter-Stellar Medium into it as fuel to thrust out the back).

How does he neutalise the positive ions it will emit? (Biggest problem with ion-drives, they must not become negatively charged as a consequence, as this reduces the thrust and, more importantly, will eventually destroy the elwctronics on board.) Is the exo-atmosphwre used for this purpose? i.e. the neutralisation is indirect, due to that exo-atmosphere? If so, Very smart: no neutralisation grids in the way of the exhause-flow (which reduce the speed of the emitted ions, thus loses thrust.)

Stratolaunch's air-launched test vehicle hits supersonic speed



Finally, something interesting what is not based on failed Soviet projects (Starship seems to be inspired by N1, the F-35 seems to be inspired by YAK-41).

Much cheaper and safer to get into space! (As the aircraft is above the much denser atmosphere below, Max-Q issues are vastly reduced.) No need for a massively expensive and risky fist stage!

Much better for launching anything as extremely problematic acoustic environment in the payload section is vastly reduced.

Third time is almost the charm for SpaceX's Starship


Why the Moon?

The Monn is an awful place to live or work:

1. Lack of gravity (so need to stay fit, keep bone density, etc).

2. Lack of oxygen and water. (The water on the moon held in hydrated crystals in rocks, one does not squeeze a rock and get out water, readily.)

3. Too cold or hot.

4. Too much radiation, increasing likelihood of cancer.

5. The regolith, the Moon dust, woe woe. Due to lack of wind, the only weathering (such as onemay call it/ is either high-speed impact or solar radiation. The former, over the last 3+ billion years, has created a form of "sharp sand": this is microscopically sharp quartz. Quartz is second only to diamond in hardness. As it is atomically sharp, by Van der Walls forces (electrostatic polarity) it is "sticky" and does not brush off. Moreover the Solar wind that constantly impacts the day-side of the Moon (which changes every 28ish days) causes this nightmare of a type of dust to become charged, so repels, so raises to a height of about 10-20 odd metres. This causes the dust to eventually cover anything up to that height in a fine layer of effectively irremovable "gunk". Hence noi mrrors on the Moon!! The Apollo Lunar suits had major issues with Moon dust in the wrist joints. The Lunar Vehicle had to have sealed baring and drum brakes. The Lunokhod rovers, similarly. Anyone heard of Asbestosis and the affects of microscopically sharp, small particles on the lungs?

6. Energy. In the light of the above, on must have an abundant source of reliable energy. This cannot be solar,as the solar panels will degrade seriously over time. So nuclear is out only current option. But we all "hate nuclear" as that is not "green", "good" or "nice". The only suitable reactors are liquid-metal (high density, very efficient), but these we hate as the only things we might use such reactors of suitably small size is nuclear ballisticissile submarines. Even there we don't use them (safety and noise). So due to he lack of research, these are too risky and or expensive. So we have no long term, ample power.

So: one will not be bulldozing this stuff onto a base to provide shielding. One will not be romping about in buggies. One will be strenously avoiding it.

So why go? Basically so some rich tourists can "have a look". Fair enough. But let's be realistic: the Moon is much more cheaply left to robotic exploration. Much cheaper, much safer, muchore science return per unit cash spent.


GNSS satellites are launch on considerably more fuel efficient rockets (Atlas V, Falcon, Soyuz, etc) so to compare the massive White Elephant to them is to compare a cruise ship to a container ship. Chalk and cheese.



I don't understand. This is basically a direct descent/ascent to the Moon from Earth orbit. This is contrary to the Apollo and Soviet systems of Lunar Orbit Rendezvous, the former proven to work. The reason Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was chosen: immensely more fuel efficient, this cheaper.

The 33 engines on the first stage suffered failures very similar to the N1. So nothing new.

Apparently nothing learnt either. I feel so saddened that this huge White Elephant is destroying the Earth's resources, wasting precious talent, doing it in a manner that befits a Tintin story.


How many tons of kerosene or methane are used in each launch? What about the environmental impact of chilling that huge amount of oxygen, the carbon impact, etc? And we suffer huge fuel prices as Musk soaffs it on space.

How many to refuel the "Starship" to go & return from the Moon? 12 I have read. Utterly unbelievable waste of energy.

Caffeine makes fuel cells more efficient, cuts cost of energy storage


One wonders regarding the efficiency of cracking water to make hydrogen and oxygen and the huge losses in the aluminium power lines that deliver said electricity.... Diesel generators are quite efficient these days.

America's nuclear fusion 'breakthrough' is super-hot ... yet far from practical


So the Yanks finally catch up with a 24-year old achievement of JET: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00391-1

Well done. Bravo. You just need to get to 59MJ for 5 seconds to beat JET

Certainly not a first for fusion nor impressive by current standards.

Rolls-Royce, EasyJet fire up first hydrogen-fueled jet engine


Sadly all this hydrogen-from what nd.or waves is all a bit of nonsense: the energy density of waves or wind is ver y ver ylow compared to break oxygen-hydrogen bonds. So this means we need to build ridiculous qualities of wind farms (dumb because w eneed wind for other things like blowing pollen about to fertize crops, e.g. wheat and baey). What about waves? Argh: these are needed to oxygenate the shore line, so we have fewer dead zones. So hydrogen sounds good, but the production is awful. So we need ... nuclear, the only green power source with sufficiently high energy density to cut it.

This is the usual green-wash withering in that gives environmentalism a bad name.

Jim McDivitt, NASA Apollo mission astronaut, dies at 93


May I correct the esteemed reporter regarding this quote' "... crew left the CSM to enter the LM, demonstrating that astronauts could move from one spacecraft to another for the first time ..."

From NASA's own web site, Apollo 9 orbited in March, 3rd to 13th: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo-9

But this link: http://russianspaceweb.com/soyuz4-soyuz5-eva.html claims: "On Jan. 16, 1969, Aleksei Yeliseev and Yevgeny Khrunov, wearing Yastreb spacesuits, conducted a 37-minute transfer from Soyuz-5 to Soyuz-4 on the exterior of the spacecraft."

Which clearly contradicts the esteemed reporter....

US Dept of Energy injects more particles of cash into tokamak fusion reactors


Eh? What is going on? Has anyone ever heard of JET (UKAEA) or ITER (not yet built)? JET has been around for decades... And JET is a .... tokomak!


NASA regains control of CAPSTONE lunar orbiter after a tumble


Ok, credit to getting it working... But....

Given it was spinning due to a faulty valve... The reaction wheels would be at max rpm. The probe is spinning. To cancel the rotation, which might be multi-axis will require thrust and more than usual given the maxed-out reaction wheels providing excess angulat momentum. Then a further course correction would be needed as the leaking valve would have changed the course. Now perhaps the valve leaked a tiny bit, then surely the reaction wheels could have controlled it. But given the reaction wheels were maxed out, then lots of fuel would have been wasted.

So: howuch reaction fuel is left, otherwise it is doomed anyway due to too little fuel.... Or it has huge reserves, which given launch costs seems unlikely.

Something odd in this story....

California to try tackling drought with canal-top solar panels


..... Blah blah blah......

Why not just build a quality 2GW nuclear reactor?

Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI


Yea Gods! Call centres are bad enough! Now we shall replace what little sanity that remains in them with utterly un-empathic and buggy software.... Am I alone in foreseeing The End in part due to a fundamental collapse of society due to the necessity to effectively complain being denied it?!

California asks people not to charge EVs during heatwave



"News": sending electricity down aluminium wires (c.f.pylons) to consumers homes loses about 40% of the energy. So charging your cars' unrecyclable electric betteries from such an inefficient source has to be prevented! Hahahaha! Errrrm... Why not use a more efficient source of energy? E.g. burning fossil fuels in your petrol engine?

Astronaut blood reveals genetic mutations for cancer and heart disease


The Earth is a very, very nice place to live Elsewhere, e.g. space, the Moon, Mars and so-forth is not. It is a absurd fantasy that humans will visit these other words in a long term sense when using virtual reality is so much cheaper and safer. Why do we persist in the foolishness of sending fleshies into space? ROTM!!!

Japan reverses course on post-Fukushima nuclear ban


Finally, some politicians showing some sense! Nuclear is the only option we have in the immediate future if we wish to reduce carbon emissions and have the high energy-consumotion civilisation that we live in.

Commercial space station Orbital Reef's design phase passes NASA review


Surely this should be along the lines of;

"Evil Russia to be kicked out of ISS by 2031! Glorious capitalism rules and Bezos et al will have replacements by even earlier, permitting a potential earlier exit from the ISS."?!

Or is that fake news?

Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape


As an ex nuclear physicist, the UK government made me redundant years ago as we ignored our best bet for power security and safety. The Chinese now fund the French to build our reactors. The Russians build them... We prevaricate and pretend that wind and solar will solve our energy problems. Gas and oil are far too valuable to waste, yet the Middle East, amongst others still flares off the gas. We also still ignore geothermal energy because we are dumb.

Maybe our time on Earth is over, given we are lead by emotion and ignorance? Perhaps we should give way to evolution and let other species evve to replace us and let them use the remaining resources more wisely.

Calls for bans on Chinese CCTV makers Hikvision, Dahua expand


El Reg itself reported about GCHQ's analysis of the code in the 5G kit from Huawei: apart from the usual rubbish code quality, NONE.

This story is the classic "look, the Queen!" trope: UK government has, allegedly, been spying and infringing our liberties for years. Now they have been found out. How to get out of this mess? Easy: blame it on the most appropriate fake news. The cameras are Chinese: so look at Huawei: they are dodgy (NOT, as reported by El Reg itself), so these must be too!!! Evil Chinese spying on us through alleged back-dporsbthat some bloke behind the potting shed told me he'd found

Shame on you El Reg to fall for this.


So the UK Government has been merrily invading our privacy for years. The fact the kit might be dodgy is irrelevant! So now Jonny or Jane MP has to reveal that they have been using advanced surveillance techniques on Joe Public for years!!! Such is the dodgy-ness of these techniques that they should be banned!!!

But not from the UK: just replaced with more expensive kit with even more leaks in them from our mates old "get to the back of the queue" USofA.

Oh:-El Rwg, how your reportage failed us.

Russia's new space chief confirms it will leave ISS after 2024


Re: How about...

A reason Skylab failed is that it was effectively unable to be re-supplied as the only vehicles that could reach it were the Apollo vehicles. They were only designed to transport humans to the Moon, so were over-built and incorrectly tailored for low-Earth orbit use. They had no resupply capacity. They had no emergency evacuation capability. Skylab was a technological dead-end, based upon the inappropriately-tuned (for low Earth orbit) use of the Apollo system.

It was a dangerous white elephant, sadly.


I am *extremely* disappointed by this alarmist-reporting. It is a KNOWN fact tact that the Zaraya module is "beyond its sell-by date". I cannot believe that NASA are so incompetent that they do not know this already (in fact Roscosmos and NASA have been in discussion over how to upgrade the Zaraya module over the years, so NASA well knows of this problem.) Therefore it IS totally unsurprising that Roscosmos have announce that they WILL STAY with the ISS until at least 2024. (As that is EXACTLY what "leave after 2024 means.)

All of the components of the ISS are nearing end-of-life. The Russian segment is more upgrade-able and serviceable than the International portion due to the design of the modules.

Conflating Rogozin's foolish blusterings with solid engineering is beneath El Reg.

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).....