* Posts by Mike Plunkett

26 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Aug 2007

PARIS laid bare in intimate snaps

Mike Plunkett
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A Triumph

A work of absolute genius that I've followed from the start and which has delivered spectacular results. Perhaps a rocket launch for LOHAN (the other sceptical Charles E, above, indicates this is possible)? Some sort of reliable, onboard camera system for the aircraft would also seem to be required.

Top work all round chaps, you're a credit to the memory of the British experimental aircraft programme!

Snails on crystal meth: The facts

Mike Plunkett
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If this doesn't deserve an IgNoble then I don't know what does :-)

Judge Dredd 'Black Box' recorder/spy kit for guns unveiled

Mike Plunkett

Obscure Reference

Reloaded twice eh? That would Sgt Axly then I presume?

Volcanic African 'unzipping' could see continent divided

Mike Plunkett

Release Your Inner Schoolboy

"Mega Dyke Intrusion" <snigger>

Seriously though, interesting stuff. I was kind of hoping the boffins would speculate as just what lines they expect Africa to split along.

'Non-compulsory' ID cards poised for a makeover?

Mike Plunkett
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Good Piece

Nice well reasoned and thought out article that. One point though:

"...nobody is allowed to demand an ID card as proof of identity until ID cards become compulsory."

This may be true from a strictly legal point of view, but not from a practical one. Already you have pubs and supermarkets specifying what they will accept as proof of age, usually a passport, photo driving license or other photo ID. How hard would it be convince them to replace all these with just the ID card? It may still be compulsory to carry one, but if you are lucky enough to look under 18 (or 21 or 25 or whatever) and you want to be able to buy age restricted items then you'd better get one!

Irish Wikifiddler hoaxes worldwide journos

Mike Plunkett

Well Duh...

"I know that more or less the same mistakes can be found in the New York Times,"

Probably because they were copied word for word from Wikipedia...

Ex-Star Wars boffins build mosquito-blasting raygun

Mike Plunkett

Protests Ahoy!

Cue an unholy alliance between PETA and radical feminists complaining that this is just another example of human males seeking hegemony over the Earth Mother. Now if you could just come up with a laser cannon that targets the whining noise they make...

Nigerian car thief turns into sheep

Mike Plunkett

I Can See The Spam Emails Now...

Dear Sir,

Blessed greetings! I have the pleasure of informating your very god self that you have been named in the will of a Nigerian resident. You inheritence is one sheep that can turn into a man. Please send $150,000 dollars to cover shipping and bureacratic expenses along with you contact and bank account details.

Blessed God be with you.

Miriam Abacha

Lunar surveyor satellite ready for launch

Mike Plunkett

Re: Original Moon Landing Site

If LRO is going to cover the whole surface of the moon in a polar orbit then there's no need to go back to the original site - there will soon be a whole load of pictures showing it from 30 miles up, and since LRO carries essentially the same kit as the wildly successful Mars Reconaissance Orbiter those pictures will be of extremely high quality.

Of course, as soon as the first shot of a lunar rover or the remains of a lunar lander are published there are those who will immediately yell "Photoshopped!!!", but even if NASA sent a mission back to the original landing site these same people would insist that it was all done with CGI.

No snapping: Photographers get collars felt

Mike Plunkett

Iffy Stats

As an amateur photographer who feels distinctly uncomfortable using his camera in public I applaud this article and El Reg's stance on the issue as a whole. However, I wish people would stop using the "4.2 million cameras, one for every 14 people" statistic as evidence to back up their arguments. Those numbers were arrived at by counting the cameras in a single street in London (Putney? Peckham?) and then extrapolating for the rest of the country. They hold absolutely zero credibility.

Blackswift hyperplane hits trouble in Washington

Mike Plunkett
Black Helicopters

SR-71 Strengths

Promptness wasn't really the Blackbirds best feature, although when stationed alongside supporting KC-135Q tankers like it was at Mildenhall and Kadena it could get to where it was needed in a pretty timely fashion. No, the biggest thing that the SR-71 had over spy satellites was that it was unpredictable. Everyone knows where and when a satellite will appear over the horizon and can there tailor their activites to take this into account. The Blackbird, however, could in theory turn up anywhere and at any time which makes the security issue a whole lot more problematic.

Helicopter because it's a Black(whirly)bird.

Daily Mail cites video game as proof of terrorist doomsday plot

Mike Plunkett

24 Hours Later...

And they still haven't posted my comment pointing out that they've been complete idiots. What a surprise...

Mike Plunkett

An Experiment

I have just added a comment to the Daily Mail online article, pointing out just how stupid they've been. I wonder if they'll actually post it...

Natasha Henstridge braces for Impact

Mike Plunkett
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Oh God...

What's the betting this ends up on Sky "We'll show any old tat" One? Sounds absolutely dreadful and I doubt even the lovely Miss Henstridge's charms could save it.

Lightning-zapgun maker gets more US gov cash

Mike Plunkett

A Pedant Writes...

Set phasers to *mulch*, surely...?

My coat please...no, that is a gun in the pocket...

Colliding galaxies mark Hubble anniversary

Mike Plunkett

@Puzzled AC - Galaxy Collisions

Why do galaxies collide? Simple: gravity. Yes, the universe is expanding so that on a large scale everything is getting further away from everything else. However, the matter in the universe is not evenly spaced and some clumps of it are closer together than other clumps. If two clumps (in this case galaxies) are close enough then their mutual gravitational attraction will pull them together and they will end up merging. This process can be seen in our own galaxy as it is currently in the process of gobbling up at least one satellite dwarf galaxy that got too close, and in approximately 3 billion years time an event much like the Hubble pictures will happen when the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy collide.

This happens on an even larger scale than 'just' galaxies. Our galaxy is one of a group of about 30 that and on top of all the interactions between these galaxies, the group as a whole is being drawn towards something else. What that something is is a mystery at the moment and it is know simply as The Great Attractor.

CIA demands UK halts interrogation tactics

Mike Plunkett
Paris Hilton


Not so much for the article as the byline. Best. Pseudonym. Ever :-)

Paris Hilton because I'd like to... no, perhaps best not to got there.

XCOR challenges Virgin with the Lynx effect

Mike Plunkett
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Single stage to sub-orbit - that's no mean feat. Believe it when I see it of course, but they get full marks for bold thinking.

V-22 Osprey combo-copter hits fresh tech snags

Mike Plunkett
Black Helicopters

@Paul Smith

Our new carriers will be able to launch and recover short take off/vertical landing aircraft like the Harrier and the F-35B, but not your average, run of the mill fixed wing plane. At least, not to begin with...

They are being built equipped 'for but not with' catapaults and arrestor gear i.e. there is space and weight reserved for the equipment but it is not to be fitted from the outset. Unfortunately, since the ships are gas turbine powered, fitting a conventional steam catapault is out of the question as it would require a dedicated (and very expensive) steam plant to run it. This means your catapault will have to be of the electromagnetic variety, which is a far from proven technology, at least at the moment.

Treehuggers lose legal fight to solar-powered neighbour

Mike Plunkett

Please Tell Me...

...that when they cut the trees down they're going to have a bloody big bonfire :-)

Supersonic stealth jumpjet rolls off production line

Mike Plunkett

Doesn't Happen Often...

...but I actually agree with most of the things that Lewis has written in this article! The RN would be much better off with the F-35C and the E-2D, and the new carriers will be 'fitted for but not with' catapaults and arrestor gear i.e. they will not be fitted from new, but weight and space has been set aside so that they could be added in the future. Officially this is to allow for the possibility of conventionally launched UCAVs coming down the line, but...

The one quibble that I have with the article is the assertion that UK dropping the F-35B would kill it. Personally I think the USMC would have enough muscle to keep the programme alive, and the USAF has shown at least a passing interest in acquiring a number of them. Add in export potential to the likes of Italy and Spain (and possibly even Australia, Japan and South Korea all of whom are investing in flat tops of various sorts), and you have some reasonable(ish) reasons not to can it.

Erratic fleshies sabotage, wreck innocent flying robot

Mike Plunkett

A third way of looking at it...

...would be to say that pilots are in fact absolutely essential and whatsmore they should be up there with the aircraft and not many miles away on the ground. I'm willing to bet that if this had been a manned aircraft then, even in the unlikely event of the pilot unwittingly switching off the fuel supply, the sudden silence of the engine cutting out, followed by the cows getting rapidly larger would have tipped him off that something was awry. Furthermore, I would also suggest that armed with this awareness the pilot would be much better placed to diagnose and fix the problem before he and his craft were smeared across the countryside (and incidentally, from the photos of the crash scene it looks like the Reaper in question ended up remarkably intact, considering it could have come down from anywhere up to 40k ft).

Don't get me wrong, UAVs (and UCAVs for that matter) are very useful things, and their safe operation in civilian airspace is inevitable, but it is far too early to go writing off human pilots.

Hypersonic plane project confirmed by DARPA

Mike Plunkett

Stealthy or not?

"Being very fast, very hot, very high and made of exotic refractory material, it won't be at all stealthy - which could limit its usefulness as a spy plane."

This is essentially irrelevant. As Bill Sweetman points out in the article you linked to, anything travelling at Mach 6.5 and 100k ft is going to be an absolute sod to hit with a SAM, and no fighter is ever going to be able to get close to that. A degree of stealth shouldn't be ruled out either - the SR-71 had a greatly reduced radar signature through clever construction, despite its extreme performance envelope. Not enough to be deemed truly stealthy perhaps, but certainly enough to make the defender's job even tougher.


Irish firm seeks Trainee Assistant Banana Ripener

Mike Plunkett

Careful Lester

Any more stories like this and you'll have the Irish version of D. Bevan after you...

@Smallbrainfield - could have been worse, he could have gone for Paddy...

Racist Reg hacks slammed for 'vitriolic hatred'

Mike Plunkett


Ok, so it's an entirely pointless and pathetic complaint, but it's a bit tame for a FoTW! Where's the hopeless spelling and grammar? The inappropriate use of capitals? The mindless swearing and threats? And he might have at least questioned the IT relevance of the original article...


BioShockers delivered from DRM hell

Mike Plunkett

No Problems Here

Bought Bioshock yesterday, installed it and it activated first time with no trouble whatsoever. Funnily enough I had exactly the same experience with Half Life 2 - installed and activated with no issues or glitches at all.

Good game too, although it seems to suffer from some technical/stability issues at the moment (as most games seem to when first released). Just like System Shock 2 it is very successfully scaring the crap out of me :-)