155 posts • joined 25 Aug 2007
Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit
PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure
I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish
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.
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.
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.
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,"
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Grand Unified Theory of Multinational Procurement
Once upon a time some clever chaps in MoD (PE) decided to test a theory. It had the right feel to it and went something like this:
If one nation can design, develop, produce and maintain a weapon system for £X then the total cost for 'n' nations would increase by the root of the number of nations. For example, for two nations to the total project would be 1.7 time more expensive. And there's a nice 'but' here – they would share the bill which meant they would actually get the weapon system for half of the total. In other words they'd get it for %70 of the original solo-nation procurement (cost 1.4X). Tempting. Increase that to three nations and the total cost would be 3^0.5 or 1.7 times the cost shared which equals %58 of the single-nation cost. Even more tempting.
Extend the theory to four nations and they'd each share the total cost of twice the original or %50 each. The more the merrier because no single nation was responsible for the overall project costs and they'd all get part of a very expensive result at a good discount.
What they didn't expect was that government and industrial management and bureaucracy costs for each nation would increase steeply because of the complex multi-national relationships most and differing work practises. Each company would use its own standards methods, standards and work practises but English would be 'the Language' for everything; they'd need more committees and more complex management to deal with the three other nations. Why care – they'd still be paid and, with no single nation in charge, they couldn’t be told how to do things. With hundreds of companies involved came many hundreds of methods. Remember, there was no leading design authority. At the time it was not thought important – like buying a Sony TV for use with a Panasonic PVR.
The technical requirements were far from ideal – vague and poorly often worded but perfectly well understood by each company in their own context and so there was no end of confusion. It was clear the requirements had needed a re-write at a more 'atomic' (non reducible) standard. Fair enough but it didn't happen until after contracts had been let and of course everyone wanted more money to adopt the re-written requirements.
A central authority was necessary to make sure the bits came together correctly but the companies were often reluctant to divulge their rationale for the way they did things. This resulted in countless disagreements and a fair amount of bullying.
How on earth did the ISS turn into a successful project with more than 20 nations and world-wide input get off the ground? Answers on the back of a postcard please.
Eurofighter is still a very good weapon system, it's a pity it's been smothered and strangled – a bit like the rest of the UK I suppose.