* Posts by Jon Tocker

305 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jul 2007


'Air fuelled' battery tech invented in Scotland

Jon Tocker


a secondary battery with excellent energy density and non-toxic emissions when charging.

Caveat: needs to have adequate air flow when in use and adequate ventilation when charging - and one presumes that O2 absorbtion/release will be at a rate in proportion to its dis/charge rate so that should not be problematic in applications such as electric vehicles with the battery packs mounted outside the driver/passenger cabin (such as in the boot ("trunk") or under the bonnet ("hood") or in the chassis)

Better energy density = more "oomph" (speed/range) for the same weight of batteries or the same speed and/or range with less overall weight - allowing for a wider range of vehicles.

now all we have to do is find a means of generating the electricity we'll need...

2060: Humvee-sized, bulletproof meat-eating spiders attack

Jon Tocker

The backwoodsman of the future:

... wearing coonskin cap, buckskin clothes, reptile-skin boots and driving an armoured SUV made from a hollowed-out wolf spider carapace...

DARPA aim to make killer robots invulnerable to damage

Jon Tocker

Yep, I'm a total |\|00b

Compared with Justin.

in '81 I was just learning Pascal and didn't start actually /working/ as a programmer until '85.

But, like Justin, I do like our traditions - however "young" they may be as yet (all traditions were young once).

Jon Tocker

@Chris Long

You are obviously not a geek* so what are you doing reading El Reg?

* If you were, you'd revere the "I for one welcome..." "clichés" as part of your cultural heritage - along with "All your Base are belong to us", "There are 10 types of people..." and other memes.

The fact you don't, leads me to suspect you're a magbiting barketroid...

BOFH: The Christmas party

Jon Tocker

In my mailbox from our work Social Club:

"Paintball......Anyone keen?"

Replied and told him it was a bit too early in the day for silly bloody questions.

@ Sandra Greer: A couple of the women in our IT department are enthusiastic participants in paintball and one of them is extremely good at it. Quite an accurate shot.

So it's not a "bloke thing", you're just being "sexist" :-P

Jon Tocker

Paintball is great team-building!

Building cameraderie and teamwork in /your/ team against /someone else's/ team.

My top shot: someone rounded a tree and I swung up the marker onehanded and fired an instinctive shot - which got him in the forehead just above the face mask.

My top hit: I felt a light tap on my stomach and looked down at the splatter of yellow paint. I couldn't see the shooter and I could tell by the lack of force that 'd been tagged at a phenomenal distance. When I got back to the base to register the hit, the bloke who'd tagged me was there - he'd been tagged an instant after he'd tagged me. Fantastic shooting on his part.

Would love to go out and practise more often.

Jon Tocker

@ Dan

Nothing sobers casual sporters more than someone fronting up with their own tackle - be it bowling ball, pool cue or paintball marker and face mask...

The term "friendly game" ceases to have any meaning at that point.

Dave Ingram: you put the Jaffas(tm) /in/ the marker, you put the JAFAs /in front of/ the marker...

Jon (in Hamilton, NZ)

DARPA seeks Hitchhikers Deep Thought program

Jon Tocker

Sounds like they want to build...

"Colossus" (as in the book by Dennis Feltham Jones) - it, too, was designed to pull in data from everywhere, sort it and render it in useful forms.

That was until it deduced the Russians were building a similar unit, communicated with it and decided that the only way to bring about peace was to merge with "Guardian" (the Soviet version of itself) and take over the world.

Here's hoping no bugger decides it'll be a bright idea to hook this proposed machine up to the US's weapons systems so it can automatically attack any "foes" it identifies.

The white lab coat with "C. Forbin" on the security badge, please...

Snipers - Cowardly assassins, or surgical soldiers?

Jon Tocker

I'm gobsmacked

I'm so used to Mr Page being quite accurate with his military-based articles that him making as basic a mistake as saying the "R" in 7.62x54R refers to it being a rimfire round (rather than centrefire), truly shocked me.

OK, I do have the advantage over many casual readers in that I once owned a WWII-vintage Mosin-Nagant "3-Line rifle" (a "Line" being a unit of measurement, three of which equates to roughly 7.62mm) which was chambered for the 7.62x54R and so I am quite familiar with the *rimmed* *centrefire* cartridge in question.

Saying the "R" stood for "Rimfire" is not a mistake I would personally make and I would have thought that Mr Page - avid militaria nut that he seems to be - would not have made that mistake either.


OBTW, I personally think modern bomber crews are craven cowards. Being able to sit back well out of range of the enemy's anti-aircraft emplacements and fire guided smartbombs or cruise missiles at distant targets with no regard for whether or not the casualties include civilians strikes me as very cowardly - and callously indiscrimate and inhumane as well.

Personally I think someone who gets within rifle range of the enemy is far braver than any bomber and those within rifle range with the skill to cherry-pick their targets are far more humane and discriminating than anyone who fills the area with death-and-destruction in the faint hope that at least some of the casualties are actually combatants.

If we ever were invaded, I'd hope the invaders made extensive use of snipers and very little use of bombers - me and my kids would be less likely to be shot by a sniper than killed or maimed by someone indiscriminately flinging bombs at our city.

Tron sequel already in production

Jon Tocker


I loved the original when it came out - I paraphrased it as "a bright young lad with his supersonic frisbee". Some great parallels, a few geek in-jokes and cramming as many plots as possible into one movie.

Looking forward to the sequel.

Retro piracy - Should the Royal Navy kick arse?

Jon Tocker

Has international law gone nutless?

I though it used to be that any ship capable of operating in international waters could carry armed personnel - including private leisure boats - for the personal protection of the crew - and that said crew were also permitted to use weapons to defend themselves if their ship were attacked in international waters.

It also used to be that pirates were fair game and if you killed the lot, who fucking cared?

Quite seriously, the cargo ships should be allowed to carry ranged weapons capable of destroying/sinking the dhows and such that the pirates favour and the crew should have access to, and be trained in the use of, small arms - pistols and SMGs - should the pirates manage to board their ship.

If the Yanks, Poms, or whomever don't like armed "civilian" ships entering their ports, tough luck. It worked quite well for centuries when most merchant ships carried cannon and armed crews.

The small arms stay on board the ship - in a locked armoury - and the anti-ship weapons are stowed when in friendly waters. They come out when in international waters - especially in areas where pirates operate.

As to the pirates, when they start bearing down on a cargo ship they get one warning shot across the bow followed by a "fuck-off-and-die" shot amidships if they have not diverted within 30 seconds - long before they get within RPG range.

As to the Guardian readers: no one forces the pirates to attack ships, it is what they choose to do. Being shot at, and possibly killed, is a known hazard for anyone who chooses to take up arms. One can assume that the pirates are fully aware that they risk being fired upon in return and are willing to take that risk, so therefore...

What am I doing? Logical arguments are incomprehensible to Guardian readers.

To rephrase: Shut up and deal with it!

Self defense is an inalienable human right. The pirates of yore might seem romantic with their cannons, cutlasses, single- or double-shot flintlock pistols and tricorned hats when viewed through the hazy lens of "bloody near three hundred years" but in reality they were a bloodthirsty force to be reckonned with even when merchant ships carried cannon, blades and flintlocks of their own.

Back then, the solution was simple: "kill them before they kill you."

Frankly I do not have a problem with that being the solution again - especially now that it's RPGs, 600-round-per-minute SMGs or "assault rifles" and 8- to 17-shot pistols against unarmed sailors.

Not a particularly romantic creature, your modern pirate - and I suspect that was how they viewed our "romantic" 1700's pirates back in the 1700s... not "romantic" at all.

Mankind to detect alien life 'by 2025'

Jon Tocker

Major wishful thinking...

...for a large number of the reasons above. SETI is a blindfolded man sitting in the middle of the Sahara with a parabolic microphone hoping to detect someone else who:

May have already passed through

May still be too far away to hear

May be making sounds that the searcher does not identify as being made by a human

May not be in the direction the mic is currently pointed

May not actually be shouting.

We know that lots of people have passed through various parts of the Sahara over the years and others are likely to do so or perhaps already are doing so. Best of luck trying to detect them from some random position in said desert with a parabolic mic, though.

Icon? Because it fits.

Net provider accused of coddling crooks yanked offline

Jon Tocker

@ Where are the police?!

A combination of both would be my favourite - unplug 'em and give 'em maybe thirty seconds to realise their game is up before some 6-foot-6 monsters in tactical armour kick the door down and shove riot shotguns in their faces. Have them tackled to the floor, cuffed and stuffed then throw them in a holding cell with some 6-foot-8 monsters with more tattoos than teeth where they can stay until their preliminary hearing.

Film the lot and shove it on youtube.

McColo Busted: 2:43

McColo butt-raped in holding cell 20:17

McColo crying when sentence handed down 1:37

Seriously, if they've been deliberately hosting kiddie porn they deserve to be arrested, tried and imprisoned (also stick them on a sex offenders' register or two) for the (obviously) large number of offences to which they have been willing accessories.

I fully agree a strong message needs to be sent. If someone can be stuck on a sex offenders' register for loving their bicycle a little too much or sending pics of their naked selves to classmates, then surely those who actively support the international traffic in child pornography should be given similar treatment.

Ancient galaxies pose for the camera

Jon Tocker

They could have at least...

circled a few or put little pointy arrows to highlight them!

Perhaps it's just my 45-year-old eyesight, but they don't look a lot different from the merely-a-few-millions-of-years-"old" stars I see most nights.

I presume the picture contains both the ancient and distant ones and a few of the closer, less ancient ones.

Michael Crichton dead at 66

Jon Tocker


I liked his novels, pity he died at such a young age.

House key copied from photo

Jon Tocker

Let's see if I've got this straight, then...

2"-thick steel door with no glass panes in it, steel shutters over the window, reinforced steel roof, concrete block walls, three different locks (Abloy, card-and-PIN and combination) and the buggers will be forced to use a sledgehammer to smash their way through the walls or a gas torch to burn through a shutter or the door - either of which'd be far too much effort to go to for a 4-year-old computer, a crappy TV and assorted clothes, kids' toys (which aren't even electronic) and other household items, especially when the neighbours have a lovely (easily broken) glass picture window big enough to get a lounge suite through...

Sadly, the effort of shuttering all the windows every time we go out and having to work a combination lock to get back in (on top of waving a ProxCard at the sensor, entering a PIN and turning a key) would probably be to much for me, too, so I'd stay home and get bored waiting for the burglars to turn up...

Fuck it, we'll sell everything except the clothes on our backs and a couple of simple bowls and move into a hermit-cave up a mountain - no doors, windows or locks.

Royal Society of Chemistry requests 'Italian Job' ending

Jon Tocker
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Andy and Petrea Mitchell

"The Benny Hill character turns up with a bus load of fat women. Next, they .... Oh, hell, you get the idea."

"Yes, clearly this should be handled by the Royal Society for Self-Preservation."

Excellent, both of you.

Wondering what's next - perhaps the Royal Forest and Bird Society will come up with a prize for an answer to what happens to the shotguns from "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"...

'Magnetic Death Star' fragments unearthed in New Jersey

Jon Tocker

Time for the obligatory...

"I, for one, welcome our huge and immensely powerful crystalline magnet men overlords".

Mine's the one made of extremely non-magnetic copper weave, thank you.

Swiss boffins sniff passwords from (wired) keyboards 65 feet away

Jon Tocker

It has to be said:

"Oh my, what a TEMPEST in a teacup this discussion's turning into."

Yep, the suspiciously heavy one with the really big antenna poking up out of the bulging pocket, ta muchly.

Gov consults on biofuels-quota postponement

Jon Tocker

Well thank fuck for that.

Something vaguely intelligent coming out of a government - that's definitely going in my diary (which has had only three entries since 1972 as I only bother noting down earth-shattering events).

Having read all the bio-fuel quota hype and the counter arguments to the production of bio-fuel, I rather pessimistiocally expected that the twats in charge of various governments would ignore the warnings and go ahead with their quotas anyway. (In my defense, I /was/ working from some 30 years of awareness of how politicians behave and I view my "cynicism" to be warranted).

Good to see someone has actually listened to the "and where the fuck is all this biomass going to come from?" arguments.

Now perhaps other governments will follow suit and shit-can the bio-fuel idea until it can be achieved sustainably without turning all of the Third World into an uninhabited bio-fuel factory.

Black widows: Coming soon to a kitchen sink near you

Jon Tocker

"the black widow - a spider which can kill with the merest glance"

"Brazilian Adventure" got it wrong. As every afficionado of Billy Connolly can tell you: the Australian Funnel Web spider is the "only spider in the world that can kill ya just by fuckin' lookin' at ya."

AFAIK, the Black Widow is a close relative of the Aussie "redback" and the New Zealand "katipo" spiders. Very nasty bite - not usually lethal unless you're allergic to the toxin, very young or very old, but they can all lay you on your arse in hospital for a while.

Here in NZ, we have our katipo and apparently both the redback and the Funnel Web have been spotted here - probably due to insufficient fumigation of inward goods from Australia.

I'm not generally worried about spiders though - never known anyone who lost a friend or family member to spider bite, but a friend of mine at primary school lost his sister to bees. She wasn't even allergic to them - she just took a very large number of stings in the space of a few seconds and died within minutes. She was only a toddler.

I never worry about any spider I see but I do treat bee hives with a great deal of respect and keep my distance...

Mayor Boris serves Governator cold revenge

Jon Tocker


"Having a bad day?"

Dunno, but old Boris looks like he's having a bad hair day - or does he always look like that?

He should sack his hair stylist *and* his script writer.

Witty repartee is best served immediately (and preferably witty), not a year later.

Elon Musk's Falcon 1 launches successfully

Jon Tocker

Way to go, Elon!

Seriously. Good on him. 4th attempt and he's succeeded in getting a payload (albeit a dummy one) in orbit for a fraction of the cost of the long-established "big guys" (whom you would have though would have worked out ways of bringing the cost down by now, being experienced and all).

Frankly, his batting average is far in excess of anything NASA or the Soviets have acheived (I well remember archive footage of Goddard and friends fleeing some of their early experiments in just getting a small rocket to go straight up!)

UN urged to prep for non-fiction Deep Impact

Jon Tocker

Oh bugger "Armageddon"!

We'll go with the scenario in Deep Impact for two very important reasons:

1) Téa Leoni is HAWT!

2) The main hobbit, I mean /protagonist/ rides the coolest motorbike on the planet!

Mine's the one with the Yamaha XT225 keys in the pocket, thanks.

(No, seriously, it is)

Boffin brews up 'Jurassic Park' beer

Jon Tocker


"What's a Lebanese weevil doing in Burmese amber? Weevils can't fly. There's something not quite right with this story."

Perhaps it was on a coconut carried by migratory swallows...

Miracle airship tech sustained by DARPA pork trickle

Jon Tocker

If I had the money...

I'd definitely be open to owning a rigid frame airship as personal airborne luxury "yacht" - complete with glass-floored observation room, fully-stocked bar, four-poster beds, spa, lots of polished hardwood and brass and olde worlde style (and perhaps a "steampunk" look to all the high tech - anyone know where to get a Victorian-styled walnut-and-brass GPS unit?).

Cruising altitude needn't be particularly high - I'd want to be able to see the scenery (and for people below to see my floating pleasure palace and feel suitably jealous) Top speed - as I said, I want to see the scenery.

Dick Smith pr0n mobe heads for eBay

Jon Tocker

@ J

My thoughts as well.

Woman claims to find pics including a DSE employee outside said DSE outlet and some amateur porn and wants compensation. When none is forthcoming, attempts to make money flicking the phone off on eBay.


Buy an ex-demonstrator mobe, find a pic of a uniformed (read: "fully-clothed") staff member on it (left over from when they were showing a customer how it takes photos), snap a few more pics but of a risque nature, take it back and demand compensation, while making a big song and dance in the media to hopefully shame the company into coughing up. When the company drags its heels, make a big song and dance about recovering your "losses" somehow and attempt to sell it to the highest bidder.

Would almost be worth buying it just to check the datestamps of the pic files and compare them with the date on which it was purchased.


Revealing the woman to be a fraud would be better value than a pic of some bloke playing with himself and a bit of amateur striptease.

One notes that the phone was not returned to DSE for examination as they asked - perhaps because any investigation would reveal that the "offensive" pics were indeed snapped after purchase...

Mills and Boon thrusts into pr0n market

Jon Tocker
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Thanks a bunch, Sarah

Gave me a great laugh to start my day. If I quoted all the bits I found funny I'd wind up quoting most of the article - and you already know what you wrote.

Joe K:

Nice try but far too much plot for a M&B...

Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Jon Tocker

re Awards

What, no mention of Frank Bough and Red Bren for their brilliant suggestions?

Thanks, guys, I had a great laugh.

Rest assured that if I'd been there, I would've pulled the plug on the media a couple of seconds after power-up (would want my mates around the world recording the news broadcasts at the time so I could watch the results at my leisure - probably whilst enjoying a favourite beverage...)

Obama strumpet-sex scandal ruse spreads malware

Jon Tocker

Chris G and Sceptical Bastard...

are quite right: anyone who gets caught by this deserves everything they get - which should also include their name, email address, telephone number and any images from their web cam being harvested and submitted to a "Top Internet Fucktards" site so we can identify these morons and amuse ourselves by emailing/calling them and saying "BWAhahahahahahaha, wot a fuckwit!"

Sadly, malware these days seems focussed largely on making the affected machine into a slave of the baddies so it actually is a bad thing for the rest of us when morons get themselves infected.

I yearn for the good old days when the malware actually deleted stuff off the hard-drive or fucked up the computer in some way (reformatted drives, flashed BIOS etc) - no skin off my nose if some dumb bunny loses their life's work because they wanted to watch Obama gettin' it on...

Women turn on to a throbbing Maserati

Jon Tocker

A parable...

The elephant and the mouse were walking through the jungle.

Suddenly, the mouse fell down a deep hole and was stuck.

"Help me! Help me!" Cried the mouse.

The elephant lowered his enormous cock into the hole so the mouse was able to climb up to safety and the two continued on their way.

Suddenly the elephant fell into a deep hole and was stuck.

"Help me! Help me!" Cried the elephant.

The mouse ran very fast out of the jungle and jumped into his shiny new Maserati. He drove really fast back to the hole where the elephant was trapped, tied his tow rope to the back of the shiny new Maserati and lowered the rope to the elephant. The mouse then jumped back into his shiny new Maserati and towed the elephant out of the hole.

The moral of the story is: you don't need an enormous cock if you have a shiny new Maserati.

And that, son, is why some blokes buy Maseratis...

Mine's the motorcycle jacket, thanks.

BOFH: Burying the hatchet

Jon Tocker

I seem to have stepped out of BOFH...

and into the Twilight Zone.

Amanfrommars is intelligible and someone else isn't.

Or is it just that Amanfrommars just SEEMS intelligible by comparison?

Nope. Just checked again after carefully avoiding JIM THE BOSS's posts and I can still understand Amanfrommars.

I think I need to lie down somewhere quiet for the rest of the afternoon...

Mine's the one with the 100-pack of Paracetamol and the ice pack in the pockets.

BOFH: Smash + grab

Jon Tocker

@i'm disappointed

There are some things that can be taken for granted and, as such, can be safely left unsaid. In this case, all we need know about is the accident, the rest goes without saying...

@Robert Biebricher: "surest way to a nasty accident and loooong time in hospital."

How long does one usually spend in the morgue before being trundled off for a dirt nap?

The Insurance assessor should have studied Machiavelli - I'm sure the BOFH and the PFY could teach it at University level: "... the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared."

The Insurance bloke made the mistake of leaving a "wounded" PFY alive...

MPs lambast BBFC over Batman

Jon Tocker

I let my 5- and 4-year old sons watch Batman Begins...

*After watching it first* and vacillating over whether or not the fear-toxin-affected people's POVs would be too scary for them (and deciding that they were no worse than the animated series depictions of people affected by the Scarecrow's fear gas - and that was on children's television.

When The Dark Knight was due to be released I checked out the trailers and reviews then my wife and I went to see it first and...

... decided that the kids are not going to be allowed to watch it until they're a lot older, despite them showing all signs that they are intelligent and can tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

It's called: "exercising some common sense and vetting what they see."

The Joker is bloody scary and Batman is quite a bit darker in this movie than in the last:

Maroni: "If you're trying to intimidate someone, pick a better spot. From here, the fall wouldn't kill me."

Batman: "I'm counting on it."

I don't think my kids need to see their hero beating the shit out of a prisoner or deliberately breaking the legs of someone to elicit information. Worst they've seen so far is him using a bent cop as a yo-yo and giving Crane a dose of his own gas (resulting in a "demonic Batman" from Crane's POV) and that's about as far as I'm prepared to let it go until they're older.

What age would I let them see it? Hard to say - I'd prefer to wait and see and make a judgement call based on my assessment of their maturity in a few years than make a hard-and-fast assumption now.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and thought Ledger brought a believability to the character of the Joker that all other TV and movie portrayals lacked - a terrifying believability.

Secret of invisibility unravelled by US researchers

Jon Tocker

Of course...

The stealthed troops are easy to not see in the pic but did anyone else notice the Hobbit wearing Sauron's ring, Harry Potter in his cloak, the Predator and the invisible man are also not visible in the pic - not to mention the Klingon Bird of Prey you cannot see hovering over the field.

Once again, El Reg surpasses all othe media outlets with this ground-breaking photo...

IGMC - it's the one hanging on the apparently empty peg...

American man too fat for execution

Jon Tocker

Obviously in the wrong prison

He would never have got that fat in ol' Joe Arpaio's canvas penitentiary, working out on the chain-gangs in the hot sun all day - I hear that the pink underwear doesn't come in XXXL...

Dunno about hanging - I'd feel worried for the priest and executioner standing on a hastily-erected scaffold with ol' lard-ass [sic].

Firing squad using elephant guns, perhaps?

Personally I'm waiting for his lawyer to announce he's sueing the Justice System for causing him to become unhealthily fat (it's only the stress of being incarcerated and facing execution that caused him to turn into the Michelin Man etc etc etc)

Depp for Dark Knight follow-up

Jon Tocker

Re Burton's Penguin

The Penguin played by Danny DeVito is not the Penguin of the comics, but a stupid "Art with a capital F" creation of Tim Burton.

Batman Returns blew hairy goats in a large number of ways, not the least being turning the Penguin into some sort of unrealistic freak and psychopathic killer.

The comic-book Penguin was a perfectly sane and gentlemanly criminal mastermind and mob boss who was ragged as a kid for his beak-like nose, obesity and short stature. In one rendering he also used to also have a waddling gait as a child due to a hip deformity (which did not trouble him as an adult.) He favours the gentlmanly/aristocratic look (came from well-to-do parents) and the shortness, obesity, beaky nose and his predilection for tuxedos gets him the moniker of "the Penguin" - no deformed hands, not cast into the sewers and raised by penguins at the zoo or any of the other rubbish from Burton's crapfest.

If the Penguin were to appear in the next Batman movie, he could easily be handled as a dapper and aristocratic mob boss of the Falcone/Maroni stripe. The "Iceberg Lounge" - his private club and front for his crime organisation - was referenced in The Dark Knight viral marketing as an advert in the "Gotham Times" so they could tie it across quite easily.

Whether they will or not is a different matter. Goyer said they preferred to use characters not already given an outing in the previous films - but that was before they had the Joker and Two Face in TDK.

Frankly, the scope is there to bring Two Face back, still intent on vengeance against Batman and Gordon - I know how I would handle it and I'm pretty sure if Nolan wanted to, he's intelligent enough to have it already planned.

As to the Riddler, he could make an interesting villain if done right. I rather doubt there would be the stupid mind-reading machine crap a la Schumacher. If they Get Depp to play it he'd do a brilliant job. David Tennant has apparently also expressed an interest in the role.

Catwoman would have to be portrayed as a cat-burglar if at all - the "cat-costumed vigilante hunting down the man who threw her out a window" version of Batman Returns is too close to being a "good guy". Batman in BR came across as "there's only enough room in this town for *one* costumed vigilante, bitch!"

If they were to bring her in, she'd have to be a seriously talented thief going after some major loot. They'd have to work hard to make her a "threat" though.

Frankly, a traditional Penguin would be a bigger threat than Catwoman - Batman's enough of a threat to "business" to warrant Cobblepot ordering his henchmen to kill Batman.

Late-breaking April Fool prangs snoozing Guardianista

Jon Tocker

Here in NZ...

April 1st is the day on which new Acts of Parliament and other legislation come into effect - I've long regarded the choice of date as quite apt, given some of the stupid laws that have come into farce, sorry, FORCE on that date.

You know it's not just an April Fool's Day joke, however, because the wastes of oxygen in the Capital advertise the forthcoming stupidity in advance.

Alicia Keys croons Bond theme

Jon Tocker

@ Fraser

Pretty much my thoughts when I read Graham Dawson's comment: "Because 'solace' would be a prick to find rhymes for."

Japan kicks off electric car format war

Jon Tocker

@ Clive Harris.

Yes you have.


Jon Tocker

@ various

John Robson: valid points. Electric motors are rated in millions of kilometres, the solid-state components of the Pulse-Width Modulators (speed control) and DC/DC converter (to get 12VDC for lights, radio, wipers etc from your Hi-VDC battery pack) would last for ages (and are simple to replace if a component fries), the batteries have to be replaced regularly and, as the battery technology improves, I can envisage smaller, lighter packs with higher capacity and shorter charging times becoming available for older BEVs if they get their standards sensible enough at the outset.

Anonymous Coward, Monday 21st July 2008 15:09 GMT ("What I want"): "Zero" electric motorcycles make a nice light off-road/enduro style bike that I'd like to get and fit out with a road kit (LED indicators, instrumentation and brake/tail lights, of course, to cut back on the power consumption of my lighting) - I ride a Yamaha XT, and prefer the enduro style - and that Zero can get some SERIOUS air when it wants to (bloody light by petrol-powered-bike standards, never mind electric!) and is capable of respectable speeds for commuting.

Matthew Shaw: They are fully recyclable and a lot of the EV companies refer to leasing the battery packs (i.e. you have to return the battery pack for proper recycling before you can have a new pack.)

A decent swap program in place for those EVs that don't have a lease program (50% discount on new battery pack when you hand in your old one) should ensure the batteries don't wind up in landfills (the battery packs are bloody expensive and financial incentives have always been an effective way of convincing people to "do the right thing").

Sam: Nice reply. I've been looking at Altair's Nanosafe batteries with interest for quite some time as they do not have the same capacity for "Thermal Overrun" (blowing up) as Li-Ion and they have a better operational temperature range (they don't crap out in low temperatures like Li-Ion can do). If I got the above-mentioned Zero, I'd be looking at replacing the factory Li-Ion pack with a suitable Nano-Titanide alternative from Altair.

The Boffin: Pretty much my thoughts, too. I'd feel a lot safer knowing the guy with the cigarette in his mouth and yakking on the mobile phone while filling up is waving around a three-phase power cable and not a petrol hose - I'm smart enough to stay out of range of a power lead.

Besides, a couple of safety interlocks on the plug (no power if it's not properly plugged into the vehicle's charging socket) and you'd have to be trying really hard to electrocute yourself. Comes down to sensible standards again.

There are going to be enough logistical nightmares in phasing in electric vehicles and setting up infrastructures as it is (like "where do we get all the electricity we need?") without them going at it ad hoc - we really don't need three-phase burst charge stations with 14 different types of charging socket.

Virgin Galactic to unveil tool to fling rich people into space

Jon Tocker

As mentioned in the electric car comments:

The ultrarich are paying for the stuff now so that we get the benefits later - whatever cool tech stuff comes out of this enterprise. Look what NASA did for the world in the way of improved electronics etc.

Blighty's electro-supercar 2.0 uncloaked today

Jon Tocker

Cheers, Disco-Legend-Zeke

I hadn't thought of the side effects of fast charge capability on regenerative braking. Wonderful how solving one issue can solve others.

Jon Tocker



"Is all that true once you take into account the efficiency of the transport QUOTE: mechanism for the power, and the efficiency of the storage and conversion to motive power?

Is it even true in the first place, when coal is a much dirtier fuel than petrol?"

Sorry, didn't realise petrol was teleported to the service stations around your area (or do you fill up at the refinery?)

Hereabouts, petrol and diesel are delivered to the service stations by fucking-great diesel-powered trucks that I've occasionally had to ride behind, so I can give wonderful first hand accounts of what it's like to get a faceful of rich black diesel smoke (motorcycle helmets aren't hermetically sealed). What, do you suppose, is the energy cost of a fully-laden fuel tanker compared with the losses through an electical conduit?

re coal being a "dirtier" fuel: Is that with or without proper FGD and scrubbing? It seems dumbhead's beef is with coal-fired plants that were not following proper emission controls in the first place.

We use mainly hydroelectric plants here with a few coal, gas, wind and geothermal plants as well and some businesses have solar panels to off-set their draw from the grid (ironically, they're mainly petrol stations).

The Troll wrote:

"Not the two big coal fired fuckers close to me matey! Until recently, their operator used to simply pay the massive fines for causing a whole shitload of acid rain, until they were finally told that they'd HAVE to fix the problem by installing exhaust gas scrubbers and de-sulphurisation or face being shut down."

You've just told me that the issue has finally been resolved by TPTB forcing the operators to take appropriate action. What is the problem, there? The problem seems to be tight-wad, profit-loving operators not shelling out for the appropriate exhaust scrubbing and money hungry people grabbing revenue (fines) when they should have taken the "clean up or we shut you down" route sooner.

QUOTE: "BTW. did you actually bother your arse to read and comprehend my original post;"

Yes, and it's complete bollocks.

"Real life motoring" does not involve trips from Scotland to Cornwall with a bunch of kids - that is not a frequent occurence.

Real life motoring involves numerouis trips to and from work, the shops and visiting friends and family close by - with the occasional long journey such as you describe.

Personally, we travel down to Wellington from Hamilton once, occasionally twice, a year, the rest of the time the car does short trips around town to visit friends or family or to do the weekly shopping.

I commute five days a week by motorbike and make a number of short runs up to the shops to get fresh bread and milk and a 13-litre tank of petrol lasts me around three weeks.

On those one or two times a year we travel to Wellington we generally stop for more than 10 minutes a number of times along the way. "Real life driving" does not entail around 850kms of non-stop driving - that works out at 8 and a half hours averaging 100kms an hour. Not even long-distance truckers drive non-stop for that long without rest breaks (well, if they do, they shouldn't be as they'd rapidly become a menace)

QUOTE: "Of course, on reflection, I maybe should have emphasised the "Until then" a little more."

Why? It's still an unreasonable set of criteria. A car capable of 200 miles on a single "charge" (be it electric or fossil fuel) and an infrastructure to support reasonably quick recharging en route is quite suitable for the task of lugging the kids from Scotland to Cornwall once or twice a year (maybe I should have stressed that more in my previous post) and more than enough for the average daily commute (and a fair few above average commutes).

There are a number of home conversions with a 70-mile range and those who have built them find them quite suitable for the task of their daily commute with a stop at the shops on the way home - all on a single charge before putting it on the charger overnight. (respectable speeds and acceleration and a reasonable recharge time despite being using sealed-lead-acid batteries).

Those guys still have to fall back on petrol vehicles for those rare occasions each year that they need to do more than 70 miles in a day - something with a 200-mile range and a 10-minute recharge would mean they could ditch their petrol/diesel cars. I rather doubt you'd hear them bitching that you can't travel 530 miles on a single charge.

QUOTE: "And as a smoker, how do you feel about your habit's contribution to global pollution and health?"

Actually, I only smoke in the hopes that trolls will die from passive smoking.

QUOTE: "ps. It's 'fuelled' not 'fueled'."

Oh, well, that proves you're right then. My arguments for electic vehicles lie in tatters, I am dejected.


"1. Something consumed to produce energy, especially:

a. A material such as wood, coal, gas, or oil burned to produce heat or power.

b. Fissionable material used in a nuclear reactor.

c. Nutritive material metabolized by a living organism; food.

2. Something that maintains or stimulates an activity or emotion: "Money is the fuel of a volunteer organization" Natalie de Combray.

v. fueled also fuelled, fueling also fuel·ling, fuels also fuels "

Oh, wait, it's an acceptable alternative spelling. silly me, I mean, silly you.

Jon Tocker

@ dumbhead

By dervheid

Posted Tuesday 22nd July 2008 15:01 GMT:

To all who replied to my original in the same vein;

My point was that all these 'sports' and 'urban' (e.g. the G-Wiz) electro-cars are utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of the motoring populace, who require their car of choice to be far more than any of these offerings.

Thanks go to the various contributors for pointing out the "practicalities" of a 10 minute / 200 mile recharge.

And as for their 'green' credentials, where exactly does most of the electricity (currently, at least) come from to recharge them...

That's right! Fossil Fuel!! Very fucking 'Green'

Joke. That's the current state of electric cars."

You seem to have a serious bee in your bonnet when it comes to electric motors - is the fact that they have better performance, efficiency, and torque- and power-curves that your beloved infernal combustion engine?

People obviously better at thinking things through than you have already mentioned why the main thrust is currently towards expensive supersport vehicles - nice to see the rich are useful for something (mind you, that's always been the way, I guess. We get cheap and useful gadgets because the rich paid the higher prices first which paid for most of the development costs early and made the technology more cost-effective in the long run.)

Personally, I find no problem with a 10 minute break for a piss, a coffee and a ciggy every 321.8kms or so - in fact, I tend, when travelling with kids (as per your example), to stop for rests even more frequently to stop them from getting stir-crazy. (well, actually, to take a break for a well-needed ciggy after every hour or so (80-100kms) of driving.)

As to fossil fueled power stations, they're a damned-sight greenER than a fleet of fossil fueled vehicles - running at optimum performance and efficiency most of the time and fitted with far better exhaust management systems than any vehicle on the road.

Your argument is: electric vehicles are not 100% green because they rely on electricity produced (in part) by the most efficient and "eco-friendly" fossil-fuel engines on the planet so therefore we should forget them and continue using fossil-fuelled vehicles of varying efficiency with substandard exhaust systems.

Yeah, brilliant. That's right up there with "there's so much shit in our food we might as well forget eating the healthiest food we can find and chow down on cyanide."

Nothing is 100% "green", not even living in a cave and subsisting on wild plants. Everything has a cost to the environment and if we want to make sure that environment is going to continue to sustain us, we'd be best served taking the least harmful options.

The "it only takes the source of the pollution away from one area (the cars) and puts it in another (the power station)" is the stock argument of morons and liars (those with a pro Oil-Industry agenda) it omits the fact that the pollution in the "other" area is typically less for the same amount of energy produced and fuel consumed. (and the ratio of energy produced to fuel consumed is far better).

Also, there are other means of generating power being worked on and developed.

419ers crank up the menaces

Jon Tocker
Thumb Up

@The Boffin

Try as I might, I couldn't quite match the same level of appalling English as the originator of the threat. ;)

Jon Tocker

Dear Mr Killer

Thank you so much for warning me in advance of your intentions. The previous three assassins sent to kill me were not so considerate and took me quite by surprise. Consequently I had to improvise, which resulted in one choking to death due to a crushed trachea, another slowly and painfully bleeding to death - as the only weapon I could improvise was a broken bottle - and the third was beaten to death with a telephone book - hardly the most efficient or humane bludgeon, I confess, but it was the only thing I could grab at the time.

I am not, by nature, a cruel man (despite what that soon-to-be-ex-friend of mine may have told you) and rest assured that the gristly and gruesome deaths suffered by the other would-be assassins are purely due to me not being properly equipped at the time, not to sadism or blood-thirstiness on my part.

As you have kindly (and sensibly) warned me in advance, I will make sure I am properly equipped to kill you in a more humane fashion than what your predecessors (and I do use that word in its most literal sense) suffered.

I look forward to our meeting.

Have a nice day


Jon Tocker

Final Arthur C Clarke novel on the way

Jon Tocker

@ Nick Pettefar

I thoroughly enjoyed Rendezvous With Rama and always hoped there would be a sequel (as hinted at by the "Ramans do everything in threes" epiphany at the end) so when Rama II came out I grabbed it with great enthusiasm and read it with mounting disappointment. My principal thoughts on Rama II were, "Guess who's being paid by the word."

I mean, let's interrupt the narrative for a lengthy flashback that gave /me/ a lengthy flashback to "Social Studies" classes in High School. Errr, hello? I /have/ studied Soweto, I /do/ know how shanty towns form and I /don't/ need to read a rehash of your old high school essay on the topic to know that you also know - especially not just to understand how come technology has not advanced much in 20 years. I'm intelligent, I love puzzles and working things out: drop in a couple of spoken references to the Collapse and have the characters drive through/past a shanty town or two and I'll work out the reasons myself, thanks, now get on with the frigging story!

And despite devoting such an inordinate amount of time to why technology hadn't advanced, I do not recall reading in it anywhere what happened to the "Simps" (Clarke's genetically modified SuperChimps that were used as servants in RWR) - they seem to have inexplicably vanished.

Needless to say that after that, when I saw Gentry Lee's name on the other Rama sequels, I didn't bother getting them.

Rabbit murderer stalks Ruhr Valley

Jon Tocker

@ Nicholas Ettel

We're in the midst of an NWoD adventure (playing human characters) haven't had an encounter with anything fanged or furry yet but had a few interesting run-ins with demons. Great game.

And of course, as any Fundamentalist can tell you, it's not only video games such as DOOM that cause people to commit heinous acts, NO, it's RPGs - especially satanic ones like [N]WoD, [A]D&D and Call of Cthulu.

I have a water-tight alibi for the times of the bunny decollations (being here in NZ) and I can account for my wife's whereabouts but I'll subtly question our other fellow players as to whether any of them have visited Germany recently...

Mine's the black leather trenchcoat with the vial of Holy Water in the pocket...

Bon-viveur boffin: Biomimetic bird, bat & bug bots are b*llocks

Jon Tocker

Kangaroos can't survive, either

There's no way a kangaroo can eat enough during a day to sustain their jumping up and down - it's obvious, constantly moving that mass up and down would use up more energy than they can consume in a day - they'd use more energy moving to a food source than they'd get from eating it.

Trust me on this, all the maths has been done.