* Posts by Astarte

156 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Aug 2007


Habitable-zone exoplanet potentially spotted just around the corner in Alpha Centauri using latest telescope technique


Re: So just around the corner

Interesting but not exciting see xkcd.com/2079/

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit



Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman


1 Osman = 8 horses

Standards, standards, there are so many but XKCD provides a nice image of distancing


PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure


Re: Remember kids

Not a joke - I scan such files when they arrive in my download folder.

Just seems like common sense to me.

I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish


Re: Sounds like a trial of the first B Ark

I hope they leave us with a few telephone sanitisers.

Reaction Engines' precooler tech demo chills 1,000°C air in less than 1/20th of a second


Re: Here We Go...

Teapots, teapots - what about Bertram Russell'd teapot?

Proof that this problem arose a long long time ago.

Has NASA's Mars Insight lander hit rock bottom? Heat probe struggles to penetrate Red Planet


Re: It obviously hit a cylinder...

More likely to be a failed shell from the War of the Worlds era.

Mystery GPS glitch grounds flights, leaves passengers in the bar


Re: it's the

I am not a number!

ExoMars probe narrowly avoids death, still in peril after rocket snafu


Re: Mars will be OK

Roadside Picnic anyone?

(Arkady and Boris Strugatsky)

Pilot posts detailed MS Flight Sim video of how to land Boeing 737


Re: Neat

Regarding evading the Grim Reaper see this:


Did water rocket threaten Brum airport Airbus?


... rapidly expanding in diameter

Reminds me of the fate of the innocent sperm whale in HHGTTG.

Philae's phinal phlop: Lonely lander didn't answer wakeup signal



It's a shame Rosetta will be destroyed, after all 67P will be back in six and a bit years and who knows what may have changed.

Fully working U-Boat Enigma machine sells for $365,000


3-D Printing?

How about a project to build a working machine?

ICANN: Just give us the keys to the internet – or the web will disintegrate


Re: Be careful for what you wish for...


I bet you're at least the fourth person to think that.

Find shaving a chore? Why not BLAST your BEARD off with a RAYGUN



Sheep - will it work on sheep?

Chill, Philae: Shadow may protect comet lander from Sun roasting


Re: Missed opportunity!

It's not dead - it's sleeping.

'WOMAN FOUND ON MARS' – now obvious men are from Venus


Re: I expect "she"

That's a very large pin-head for just one fairy to dance upon.

Malvertising campaign hits 10 MEELLION users in 10 days


A long time ago then

I always thought there was something dodgy in my antikythera box.

Three-mile-high pyramid found on alien dwarf world, baffles boffins


Ceres Map

Why does that remind me of a KSP Biomes map of Minimus?

ALIEN SLIME SHOCKER: Approaching comet probably NOT inhabited, say boffins


Great Green Arkleseizure

Douglas Adams was right, again.

The Great Green Arkleseizure is the creator of the universe, as claimed by adherents of the faith on planet Viltvodle VI. The Jatravartids of this faith believe that the Universe was sneezed out the Great Green Arkleseizure's nose.

Beware the coming of The Great White Handkerchief.

Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data


Clangers to the rescue

@Andy The Hat

They are real! Perhaps, after the Clangers struggled and failed to move Philae into the light, they gathered around in a semicircle with their polished dustbin lids to reflect sunlight to warm her up. Right now, the Soup Dragon is preparing a fortifying feast for our Philae (and what a wonderful filly she is; congratulations to her breeders, trainers and jockeys). Keep up Rosetta.

The music trees have now started sending their music to Rosetta and the Iron Chicken is waiting in the background for a feast if everything fails.

HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE


Re: Two huge deep bulges.....

If sufficient research is ever carried out they might find evidence that the larger impact was the result of an innocent Sperm Whale impact. The other crater will, of course, contain residue from a bowl of Petunias. Not impossible - just infinitely improbable.

US military SATELLITE suddenly BLOWS UP: 'Temperature spike' blamed


Space Debris

I used to be able to view near earth space objects on Google Earth. It had KMZ layers for classes of objects and showed orbit data such as periapsis and apoapsis etc. I appears have been withdrawn, disabled or moved.

Does anyone know how to find it or it's replacement?

Beam me up, Scotty, And VAPORIZE me in the process


Re: The Teleport

HHTTG Ch.22:

'... if you have to take me apart to get send me there then I for one won't go.'

Planning to rob a Windows ATM? Ditch the sledgehammer and bring a USB STICK


Wouldn't it be nice ...

... if some philanthropic hacker left something really useful on ATMs. I'm thinking something like an entry code to make the terminal play Pong, Space Invaders or Rocket Raid to pass away a few minutes now and then while waiting for a bus/train/taxi etc. For a bonus win it could credit the score in the currency of your choice to an account of your choice.

Boffins build R2-WEE-2: The urine-powered robot with a human-like heart


Re: Anyone else

Stripped Dalek? When I read that I immediately thought of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (played by Kenneth McMillan in the Dune film) - big fat bloke, needed anti-gravity kit to move around.

Boffins spot LONE PLANET roaming interstellar void


Re: It's The Mothership

Rama changed direction at perihelion but to where we don't know. At least it probably took note of the religious mania and political in-fighting between humans and 'phoned home. At least the missile to destroy it was diverted to the Sun.

Keep watching; the story's closing words were "... the Ramans do everything in threes,"


It's The Mothership

... waiting for Rama to return home after its rendezvous with Earth.

Our sensational rocket ship Vulture 2 REVEALED: LIVE at 3pm


Original Directives

If I recall correctly LOHAN was to be a paper structure. Is the new 3D-printed version made from liquefied Papier Mâché or did I miss one its many evolutionary stages. Perhaps the link was broken when the use of PARIS was dropped.

Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins


Job for LOHAN

The real test about life on Earth should be about The Mice. I suggest the next high-altitude LOHAN flight should include Playmonaut holding a small piece of cheese (hard cheddar should do nicely) to see if it becomes contaminated or even shows evidence of having been nibbled by a mouse. We've all heard of pigs in space - why not mice?

El Reg Playmonaut soars to 113,000ft


Good Landing

Congratulations. An RAF saying is that a good landing is 'one you can walk away from'. Navigation good too - If only it had landed about 2 miles further to the south-east the ground support and emergency vehicles would have got to it very quickly.

Keep it up!

LOHAN team regroups for second pop at SPEARS



Perhaps LOHAN should now be renamed LOH2AN (unless you have a good supply of monatomic hydrogen).

On the hunt for a new ampere


ElReg Standards

Perhaps someone could define current flow as how many electrons it would take to charge an electric car or how many it takes to drive a mile, kilometre, furlong, A.U., Linguine, etc.

LOHAN cooks up tempting Raspberry Pi spiced with Iridium


At last - Pi(e) in the Sky

Lovely thought.

Classic game 'Elite' returns … on Kickstarter


Vivat Elite

I do hope the new version will be as much fun as the original and not be bloated to the extent that playability is sacrificed to just a demonstration of graphics programmers' skills. Sadly, a lot of modern games concentrate on excellent and jazzy graphics while managing to create a very impressive but ultimately boring game with little or no satisfaction.

I still have my ‘Beeb’ model B in storage complete with second processor and dual floppies (5¼ and 3½-inch) plus my library of discs – I’m going to open it up, dust it down and cross my fingers.

Purpose of RFID finally discovered: It's for pairing up socks!


Re: Problem Solved

I like the M&S idea, then all you'd need would be a smartphone and some image processing software to differentiate colours and positions and, and then and ...

I feel the 'I'll get my coat syndrome lurking here'. Could have practical applications for the visually impaired though.

DNA barcodes leap out of the lab



We've been using Smartwater in the UK for years. It's a DNA-like coded water based liquid which can be sprayed or painted onto anything. It's often used in banks and high-value stores often in invisible and unnoticeable mist form which covers people and items. Very difficult to remove as it's absorbed into clothing, other items and the skin - washing won't remove it; it glows under UV. Samples can then be forensically examined to determine its unique 'DNA' code. Users claim extremely high conviction rates. It’s commonly seen in warning signs particularly on security delivery vehicles where they claim 100% conviction rates.

USB charges up to 100 watts



With apologies to J. R. R. Tolkien -

One plug to rule them all, One Plug to find them,

One Plug to bring them all and in their Laptop fry them.

US East, West Coasts face fast-rising sea levels


Cutler Ridge, FL

I drove through Cutler Ridge on the Atlantic coast some a long time ago on my way to the Keys. Back then the sign proudly announced

Cutler Ridge, Pop. 97, Elevation 3ft

I thought then that if a supertanker went by a bit too close and a bit too fast it would swamp a fair amount of Florida.

Apple's iPhone 5 connector said to be a control freak


If 'i' Ruled the World . . .

. . . we'd all be very sad.

Atomic time boffins build better second-watcher


Stable Time

Eccles was right. I too have a piece of paper from the same show in 1957 and it still says 8 o'clock! Hasn't lost or gained at all.

Father of Lisp and AI John McCarthy has died


Dijkstra - Yea

I love my satnav - Thank you Edsger and McArthy.

I once programmed in Lisp and enjoyed it very much even if it did affect my speech for a while. I was also using FORTH at he same time but that's another story.

McArthy was a proper expert in his field and will be sadly missed, like many other unsung heroes.

RIP John McArthy (Black Border)

1-in-3,200 chance* that a fiery satellite chunk will hit someone on Friday



Divide that part of the world's surface, where the bits are likely to fall (that's most of it), into a grid and have a sweepstake or similar where you can predict a likely impact area. Score one point if it's in the sea or an unpopulated area, two points for a populated area and three for an impact on a human. Charge each entry a Pound, Dollar, Euro or whatever and share the total take amongst the winners, minus a small administrative charge of course. More fun than a lottery.

Icebergs measured in Manhattans: Official


Early Unit of Measurement - just for interest

In earlier days (long before ISO), experiments with X-ray sources the radiation strength was quantified as so many 'Gillett’s'. One Gillett being the level needed to just pass through a standard razor blade. Stronger sources were measured using a staggered stack of blades on a photographic plate and the strength determined by counting the shadows.

Cutting-edge eh?

Boffins shine 800Mbps wireless network from flashlight


Me too, in the 60s

I wired a torch bulb across a radio's speaker terminals and used a CDS sensor and amp. A bit muffled. The Mk II version placed the bulb in its original reflector - was able to transmit accross the street (at night). We didn't have LEDs then, or much in the way of silicon devices.

Reg readers ponder LOHAN's substantial globes


Orientation sensors

The idea is simple but you might find that at high altitude there's more light reflected from the clouds below than the darker sky above.

Lost 1967 spacecraft found crashed on the Moon



Just beyond and to the right there's a small blue plate on a post. It has a large white 'P' on in and underneath the words 'Permit Holders Only'. I expect the authorities towed the vehicle away and ordered it to be crushed for non-compliance.

Welsh scientists 'barcode' native flora


Welsh codes

They've been using Baa-codes to identify their sheep for a long time so they have plenty of experience.

Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'



Already done - read Carl Sagan's 'Contact'



Hey El Reg! This is surely a candidate for qualification as a Reg unit - lovely ring to it. You could even print the Vulture on it.

Votes for 'Sniglet' anyone?