* Posts by Grey_Kiwi

28 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Feb 2021

Square Kilometre Array precursor looks to filter out satellite interference


Re: By the time SKA is finished

By the time they plan to have the SKA fully operational (2029), there will be over 100,000 LEO and MEO satellites chattering away in Ku/K/Ka band, E band and V band, plus the military folks in UHF & X band. 'Only' about 40,000 of those will be Starlink, the rest would be OneWeb/EU, China & maybe Amazon Kuiper.

Frankly, I think Earth surface radio astronomy will be a fairly hopeless case.

They should stop spending money on SKA now and start planning for a Moon Farside SKA. Luna makes a fairly decent R/F shield.

Microsoft hires energy mavericks in quest for nuclear-powered datacenters


No you couldn't

Submarine (and aircraft carrier) nuclear reactors use Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) otherwise known as Weapons Grade Uranium.

For obvious reasons, that's not going to be proliferated into the civilian arena.

SMRs and MMRs are designed to use lower enriched uranium which is not of weapons grade, so even if terrorists / unfriendly nations do steal it, they can't make it go boom.

Boffins demo self-eating rocket engine in Scotland


Re: Pedant? moi?

"It seems that British Leyland was just ahead of their time."

Well done, sir!

Unfortunately this comment will be lost on most of the readership, even the UK portion

Scared of flying? Good news! Software glitches keep aircraft on the ground


"The Register approached NATS for comment on how the software was purchased and validated."

According to some of the aviation-related websites I've looked at, the core software was purchased the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in the 1970s - yes fifty years ago - and currently runs in emulation mode on more recent, but by no mans new, hardware. I have even heard that it runs in a virtual image of an older model mainframe, which is in turn emulating the original hardware. The software has of course been heavily patched, but there's nobody still working who was there at the beginning and who knows how it all actually works, they've all long retired and/or shuffled off their mortal coil.

The only solution is a complete rip-and-replace, but since NATS has been sort-of privatised, that prospect brings on an attack of the cold sweats in the beanie department and the Board.

Mind you, I don't blame them, this would probably be a Major IT Procurement Project with a huge budget, maximum visibility, long timescales, many many stakeholders, a lot of politics and enormous technical risk.

There are times when I'm glad I'm retired :)

NIST boffins shrink atomic beam clock to the size of a postage stamp


"the size of a postage stamp"

You need a new comparator, dear Vultures.

Your under-35 readership will be wondering "What is this 'postage stamp' thing to which they refer? How big might they be?" because they have never posted or received a letter in their young lives.

Mostly, they conduct all their business transactions by phone, SMS, online messenger app, email or web-form.

On the rare occasion they need to send a physical item, they use a package/courier service.

Sorry, the "postage stamp" days are nearly gone

Security? Working servers? Who needs those when you can have a shiny floor?


Re: More to this than meets the eye

"Hot Millions" (1968) may well have got its ideas from "Ladies Who Do" (1963)

[quote]The "Ladies Who Do" are office cleaners. One of them discovers some hot stock tips and they make a fortune. They then make good use of it to save their old neighbourhoods from the wicked developer.[/quote]


BOFH: Cough up half a grand and we'll protect you from AI


Re: Quite ironic

They called that "Rural Fire Code" addressing when they introduced it where I worked & lived about 25 years ago.

The Local Authority sent people out with GPS systems and mapped the end of each rural property's driveway. They then loaded that information into their GIS, allocated Rural Fire Codes to each property, and communicated the information to the property occupier (and to the owner if different) and to the Fire Service. The property occupier was also supplied with a reflectorised sign with their RFC on it to be fixed to the fence at their gateway.

In the event of an emergency, the RFC told the fire fighters, ambulance crew & police where to drive to, and the associated GPS position told the helicopters where to fly to. It's probably saved quite a few lives over the years

Hubble images photobombed by space hardware on the up


Starlink is not photobombing Hubble

The actual problem is that Hubble's orbit has decayed from a bit over 600km to about 530km, which is lower than the upper Starlink orbits.

To quote Jonathon McDowell "As a result, Hubble is JUST BELOW the main Starlink shells and constantly peering through them"

See [url]https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1631376776084504576[/url]

This problem can be addressed by re-boosting Hubble, a mission that has been promoted by Jared Isaacman and SpaceX, and which NASA are (slowly) considering

After lunar orbit trip NASA's Orion capsule is on its way back home


Re: Working flawlessly - and stultifyingly boring

Remember, when watching their excellent YouTube videos and their live streams, that NASASpaceFlight.com is a fan site, nothing to do with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. That's why NASASpaceFlight's presenters can say what they like instead of sticking to a PR department script

NASA details totally doable, not science fiction plan for sending Mars rocks to Earth


Of course, there's a reasonable chance this whole cockamamie scheme will be overtaken by events, and never happen.

The event by which they'd be overtaken would, of course, be Elon (or a crew member) driving up to the sample dump in their Tesla Mars rover, grabbing the samples, driving back to one of the landed Starships, and adding these miserable few kg to the couple of hundred the crew have gathered, then sending the whole lot back to Earth.

The crew wouldn't be going back to Earth: they're colonists, not 'footprints & flags' explorers

UK government in talks with datacenter operators over blackouts


Re: Problem?

It's not just a delivery quantity issue, there's a time problem too: your tanker may have enough capacity to refuel 30 DCs a day, but if it takes 45 minutes to get from the depot to the first DC, the same time from the last DC of the day back to the depot, and on average another 45 minutes to check in at the gate, fill up the tank, check out at the gate and drive to the next DC, you're going to run out of driver duty time (13 hours maximum?) after about 14 or 15 calls.

Also, how many of the DC diesel tanks have access ways and are serviced by roads that will accommodate your full size 25000-litre tanker? They may need fuel delivery by a smaller and more agile "mini-tanker",

There may not be enough of those around to refuel all the DCs every day or even every other day for an extended period.

Not to mention "we have 36 hours supply on site and a contract with our supplier for daily delivery of up to 36 hours supply" is *wonderful* until you find out that your supplier has overbooked these contracts because they'll never all need filling up at the same time

Boffins rejoice: US Energy Department's research network gets a 400G upgrade


"In 2019, researchers responsible for producing the first visual evidence of a supermassive blackhole generated roughly 14 petabytes of data over five days, which had to be shipped in hard drives by plane. At 400Gbit/sec, ESnet6 could transfer an equivalent dataset in a little over 87 hours."

Still significantly quicker to ship a big old box of disk drives, then

Terminal downgrade saves the day after a client/server heist


Re: Once fashionable?

Also currently extremely fashionable in the youth culture of NZ


SpaceX crewed flight to ISS delayed by damaged rocket


It does seem strange to suggest a limit of five flights for the booster on a Crew Dragon mission, when SpaceX have already got three that have flown thirteen times, and lots that have flown more than five times. By the look of things**, SpaceX only have three active boosters that have flown less than five times

If NASA was to follow this course, they'd end up paying SpaceX to build several more Falcon-9 boosters than they would otherwise build.

Very odd

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_first-stage_boosters#Block_5_booster_flight_status

BOFH: Where do you think you are going with that toner cartridge?


Re: Too Often...

At a place I worked - back in the 1970s - someone ordered 100m of Bowden inner cable (for pushbike brake cables), but the UK supplier shipped 100 drums of 1,000m to Auckland.

The value of this far, f-a-r exceeded to entire national annual import quota for the whole 'Bicycle Part & Accessories' category.

Eventually we put it on a barge and, under Customs supervision, dumped it in the ocean, as that was cheaper than shipping it back to the UK.


Rocket Lab is taking NASA's CAPSTONE to the Moon


"The pad, Launch Complex 2, has been completed for a while now. However, delays in certifying Rocket Lab's Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) pushed the move to Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand."

I think it's NASA's AFTS, not RocketLab's.

RL are quite happy with their AFTS and use it all the time at Mahia, but AIUI there's a problem getting NASA to complete and certify their part of the system for use at Wallops Island.

Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus


Looks to me more like "Terminal 1" at "Google International Airport" than an office environment.

Which is fine if you signed on to work in an airport, not so much otherwise.

I'm so glad I'm retired from the paid workforce

SpaceX's Starlink service lands first aviation customer


Dear BOFH in training,

You would be amazed - and possibly horrified - how many ships rely on cell-phones for data communications and the same phone and UHF/VHF radio for voice, none of which is any use more than a few dozen kilometers offshore. By and large their impecunious and/or tight-fisted owners see no need to splash money on open ocean data communications, except grudgingly providing the AIS beacons they are legally obligated to have.

The market for always-on high speed Internet access at sea is in fact quite small - much less than the airline sector. I'm sure it will happen, but it will take a while, SpaceX will make a lot more money much sooner by getting the major airlines hooked up.

Use Zoom on a Mac? You might want to check your microphone usage


Re: Also no audio on Ubuntu Snap Zoom-client

Thanks for reminding me

Time to "patch Tuesday" the Zoom laptop

Leaked footage shows British F-35B falling off HMS Queen Elizabeth and pilot's death-defying ejection


Re: Security camera footage

The big question here is "What the %^&$ is a cell phone doing in FLYCO?"

Someone, or maybe several people should be on Captain's Defaulters for that, or even a CM.

"'TEMPEST'? Yes, of course we've heard of that - it's an old fashioned word for a storm. Why do you ask?"

The unit of measure for fatbergs is not hippopotami, even if the operator of an Australian sewer says so


Re: Pural

And lamb or mutton from a sheep

BOFH: 'What's an NFT?' the Boss asks. In this case, 'not financially thoughtful'


Re: I wonder...

Wouldn't work

A lot of modern copiers won't do colour copies of well-known currencies, they have recognition capability and just refuse. Black and white is OK

NASA warns Mars: We're about to laser your rocks and start stealing them


"NASA currently has no firm plan to retrieve the samples. Indeed its mission description page mentions only a 'potential return to Earth'. A concept for the return mission does exist, and suggests a mission leaving in 2026 could do the job and bring samples back to Earth in 2031."

If they don't get a wriggle on, a Muskonaut (r)(tm) will amble on by and pick them up.

Then SpaceX will offer to deliver all 250g of them back to NASA in Houston, perched on top of a one tonne box of samples they gathered themselves, along with a cheery "and don't worry, we've got tonnes more for other people to play with"

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum


Re: Calling upon a higher power

That was a chapter subheading in "1066 and all that: A Memorable History of England"

Quite a famous and very funny book in its time


The chapter was



Or The piece of cod that passes all understanding


Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder


It happens Down Under too

When Auckland City had a major, weeks-long power outage [20 Jan – 27 Mar 1998 according to Uncle Google], lots of businesses found out two unexpected things about their backup generators.

The first was that, it being summer time, the generators tended to get all hot & bothered if they were required to run for hours & hours at a time, rather than the one hour every other Tuesday lunchtime that the testing regime required. A lot of sheet metal was bashed into airflow ducting and had fans installed to keep fresh coolish air blowing onto the generator.

The other was that the diesel tank went from full to empty in between sixty and seventy hours, so needed a refill every other day. Since the tank was down a twisty narrow central city service lane, a "mini tanker" was always used. The fuel companies ended up getting every mini-tanker in the country to Auckland to feed the generators - they even drove one from Invercargill to Auckland, including ferry across Cook Strait, using a relay of drivers.

Fun times ... not

UK Special Forces soldiers' personal data was floating around WhatsApp in a leaked Army spreadsheet


Quite apart from the Special Forces issue, I'd be quite worried about the specialisations being displayed.

Knowing that SGT Smith is, e.g., a Networks specialist working in a formation of interest would probably make her or him of considerable interest to certain Foreign Intelligence Services, either immediately or at least work keeping an eye on to see where they go next.

This is both an OPSEC and an INFOSEC breach of pretty monumental proportions.

FCC acting commissioner proposes dedicated spectrum for private space launches


STAs are also a useful way for the enthusiast community to gain advance notice of who intends to launch from where and when, for example see https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45440.320#msg2205686.

So there will be some transparency losses to go with the administrative gains

BOFH: 7 jars of Marmite, a laptop and a good time


Re: Marmite

That'll be New Zild Marmite.

I don't think it's the same as the genuine Pommy stuff.

Not that I'd let a smear of it near my delicate taste buds,

<sings> "I'm a little Vegemite"