Sheep, planes and Lara Croft

And, oddly, potted plants

Letters Let's get right to it. The most important story this week, without any doubt, is the wonderful news that sheep feel happier when surrounded by family photos. One, two three...Ahhhhhhh.

This is not a laughing matter, friend. These folk kidnap sheep and subject them to sense deprivation, subliminal manipulation, and brainwashing. It is obvious what is going on here. They are training an army of sheep assassins. Released back to the flock, they will live normal lives --for years, if necessary-- until Der Tag. No one will suspect until it's too late, not even them.


Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention I have thrown away all the pictures of triangles I had in my wallet and feel MUCH less stressed now.


thanks for your story on sheep, it made me cry tbh

It goes toward proving what some of us have known intuitively for years. Namely that we are nto so separate from the animals abused by us for food. That they can feel pain is undoubtedly true but people have scoffed for years that they feel emotional pain from the farming system.

Meat is murder, it's plain and simple.



Philip K Dick would have loved this. Perhaps the subject header should have been "Do Ovines yearn for a gratifying bleat"?

Cheers, Rory

"Yes, the image of a woolly lonesome pining for farmer Giles on some wind-swept Cumbrian hillside is an appealing one."

Oh dear oh dear. Shouldn't that be 'appalling'?



We also brought you news of a billion dollar research and development effort that aims to make new and cleverer unmanned military aircraft:

With manned aircraft there is a major imperative for the pilot to exert high levels of care and skill to bring the craft back to base - loss of said craft is likely to result in consequent loss of associated pilot. No such compelling driver (or compulsion on the driver?) exists for RPVs - expect attrition rates for these devices to be significantly higher than comparable manned aircraft.


I just read you article "US throws $1bn at unmanned attack aircraft" and I was wondering why you seem to have such a problem with the expenditure? I can see no reason from the article why this is any different from the many other military R&D projects currently under way. Most R&D projects will fail, and it is impossible to know which ones will be successful. In the end, the military learns from each failed project as well, so just because the project didn't produce a tangible result, doesn't mean that the money was a total waste.

Unmanned vehicles might or might not be the wave of the future, the only way the military can find out is by trying to develop them. At any rate, the technology being developed is as interesting as it is scary. I don't think it's fair to belittle the efforts of so many scientists and engineers simply because the end vehicle may prove to be inviable.

Of course, if you have a problem with all military R&D in general, I guess that's fair. I don't know if it really justifies the condescending tone, but that's The Register.


"reduce the cost per target killed" There's a nice warm personal phrase that should go down in the annals of history.

Its nice to know that if you are a British soldier getting your legs blown off by friendly fire at least it was done in a US taxpayer friendly manner and you didn't have to put too many people to any trouble, you might even feel inclined to doff your cap and say "thanks, guv'nor"


"while minimizing the prospects for geolocation errors"

Would that be 'missing the target' then? Phil

"US unmanned aircraft projects have to date proved expensive and troublesome."

Both the Predator and Darkstar UAV platforms have essentially proved themselves on the battlefield, both from the perspective of survivability, the lack of PR fallout from pilots seen on Al Jazheera and the relatively new concept of sticking AGM onto the platform which the CIA used to great effect against a landrover.

One thing that is slightly troubling is that both designs *appear* to be lifting body designs based on the B2 fluidic surface created to deflect radar at high angles of incidence; this is inherently unstable and very unsuited to any kind of air superiority regime due to the difficulty of turning a flying wing through sharp angles, although you don't have to contend with the pilot blacking out and you're approaching the 22G limit for airframes. Of course, this does mean that a hard turn presents a twocking big reflective surface to any nasties while you're trying to get in a firing position.


I think you have missed the point of the release and got caught up in the "Newspeak" of the release. The real point is that the Pentagon has realized that it is all right to tell people publicly that we will have armed robots roaming around the skys that can be taken over (I'll let your imagination do the rest), so that they can perform a precision strike on a toll booth, etc. I don't know about you, but this stuff scares me because of all those wonderful folks out there on the 'net turning machines into zombies and writing viruses. Can you imagine the want ads fronted for Osama, "Expert in RF encryption/decryption with experience with RPVs (Remotely Piloted Vehicles). Other qualifications include MCSE credentials."

Why the Windows expertise? Everytime I see one of these systems on the History Channel or the Discovery Network, I notice the hardware and the software being run and Windows it is! Maybe Mr. Bill wants to try a precision strike on the Lindows . . .Ooops! . . .Linspire home office.


Some of you found the details of the X-Box murders a little gruesome, and felt we had strayed a little from silicon paved super highway of information:

Well this is a bit more gratuitous than needs be. I like TR and most of your stories and I hope I'm in the minority of comments (as it shows you've picked your audience well). In this case I'd prefer the details to come from (and I hesitate to use the term in this case) less sensational sources. And I realize as I write this that I have become a hippocrite as I love the purient stories that you and the rest of the staff report. Damn. [Normally I wouldn't send this in but I feel a need every few weeks to comment on an article and I guess this is your time again.]


Much as I hate to complain, I do feel that this story thread by now has only the most tenuous link with core The Reg territory, and the gory details are not really what I personally would like to hear.

Unless of course one of the Xbox games found at the home of one of the alleged perpetrators enacts a similar scene of horrific abuse - an Abu Graib training CD perhaps ... OK that's far too cynical, and quite enough from me ! Regards, Mike

Of course, other writers were perhaps just a little the worse for wear...


That article about the XBox killings just goes to show I was right all along. I was going to get my kids(*) a console and the decision came down to social values. The XBox and the GameCube, preacher told me the PS2 was made by Godless HeathenCommies.

I read up on capabilities, price, games and values, and the GC came up a clear winnner. It seems the last set of mass murders over a GC were much better. The 7 people were all tucked into bed, read a story, and smothered to death with a giant mushroom. Which would you rather your children grow up with, baseball or mushrooms?


(*) I have none

New music download deals for universities in the US have left some UK readers a bit confused:

'There are very few things in life that are more important to students than music,' says Penn State President Graham Spanier. 'Any school that buries its head in the sand on this is not serving its students well.'"

Now it may just be me, it could be a Brits versus Yanks thing but I distinctly remember when I was a student that paying the rent, paying for food, paying for books, my overbearing overdraft, my multiple student loans, having to work crap jobs to survive while getting coursework in on time, passing exams and actually getting my degree where all up there pretty high on the list above being able to play music on my computer.

In fact I would safely say that having cash spare at the end of the week, how many pints of larger it would take to get ratted and the chances of getting laid where much more serious concerns. As I said, it may just be me but I dont think throughout the whole four years of my college life the subject of playing music on my computer came up once.

I guess British universities and colleges are just too concerned with educating their students than entertaining them, that must be why more young people are passing their exams with high marks and getting degrees on this side of the pond these days.

Paul C Hartley

amazingly paranoid and missing the point as usual.

where did your axe to grind come from? was a loved one killed in some freak tower records accident?! seek help!

Gabriel L

Unsurprisingly, we've had more than a few letters in about the relative merits of the computer sprite, Lara Croft, and the utterly inflatable glamour model, Jordan. You wil recall that a recent poll of geeks at a gamer show put Lara ahead by six votes to four:

> "Lara typifies everything men wish for in a partner. > She's strong, smart and looks wicked in shorts."

Whatever these gamers use to keep going must be good stuff if even only one of them can come up with something as ludicrous as that and allow their name to be used. Once this young chap has burried his nuts a few times strong and smart will no longer be part of his vocabulary. After a while "looks wicked in shorts" might not seem so important either.

Chris Winpenny

"We'd like to hear you say that within earshot of Peter Andre, Mr. Tufnell."

Why? Because he might cry? Sure the boy's got a sixpack, but he lacks the little plastic thingy to hold it all together. (Appologies to the original author...)

Here in Australia, we were forced to endure Mr Andre and his whiny, nancyboy, pop dribble years ago. "Mysterious Girl"? The only thing mysterious about Mr Andre is his sexuality. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

We all took a vote and tried to drop him off in New Zealand, but they didn't want him, so our PM stepped in and had him sent to England. Please don't send him back. There could be a fiver in it for you...


Geoff, we too had to endure the musical torment on "Mysterious Girl" ten years ago, and then again more recently. The nation was only just recovering from the first release when the record company put the tune out again...

Dear Lucy, I wasn't part of this poll, but I think perhaps you miss the point of the findings. Personally I would rather go on a blind date with a potted cactus than with Jordan. I am not in the habit of fantasizing about Lara Croft, but I could definitely see advantages in taking a computer game out for dinner in preference to that vacuous bimbo. Or perhaps I’m judging her unfairly, based on her media persona! Oh well, such is life. Cheers Malk

Er, actually Malk, that is a very good point, and one well made. Enjoy the long weekend. ®

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