Solar storms, BlackPads and killer mice

It's the end times

Comments The Sun went mad this week, belching an especially huge quantity of superhot plasma straight at the Earth. The plasma cloud struck the Earth's magnetic field last night, causing the Northern Lights to go haywire. You lot were all about beauty and doomsaying.

"a huge solar pimple so large as to be visible without the aid of a telescope."

Well, I tried to look, but couldn't see anything that looked like a pimple. So I used my binoculars. Now I can't see anything at all. Bloody great bit of advice, that.

Mine's the one with the Braille keyboard in the pocket....


I saw the Northern lights once in the UK.

Driving north up the new M24 about 30 miles past the border, circa 1990ish. About the middle of June at about 3ish in the morning. Huge, amazing, colossal green curtains in the sky, shimmering and flickering. Utterly awesome. I dug my ex-wife, who was asleep in the passenger seat, in the ribs, and mentioned the fact.

"Oooh, what's that?". Bloody network specialists!!


Protect yourselves. Head down to B and Q and get yourself a DIY faraday cage for you, your computer and loved ones, wet suit dingy and flippers for when all the oil rigs go up in flames causing tsunami, dried shrimp snacks for when all the crops are roasted in the fields and one of those fart machines to keep yourself cheerful.

Erik Borgo

Sooo... Is it a good or bad day to put the washing out tomorrow? I don't want to have to wash solar particles off my y-fronts if it can be avoided.

Hugh Jorgen

I remember the last one about 10 years ago. A friend who was living in rural Cambridgeshire rang saying that the sky to the North was aglow. Living in London I couldn’t even see the waxing moon, let alone any strange sky glow, so I drove Northwards reaching a very rurally bit of Hertfordshire, on a rise looking Northward. The sky was aglow with a white light as if a string of floodlights lay just below the horizon, and within the glow there was what appeared to be dancing crimson fireflys!

For the following few days there were power brownouts, lots of complaints of poor network communications and periodic comms drop outs. The most interesting aspect was the wide range of UFO stories, large number of conspiracy theorists with mind control and secret experiments, and the fact that most people didn’t know or care what was happening.


Research in Motion, of BlackBerry fame, will launch an iPad competitor in November. It's imaginatively dubbed the Blackpad. You all seemed to think it's a bit of copycat kit. Oh, and that it has a terrible name:

If "Rim" wasn't a bad enough name as it is!

This is embarrassing frankly. LOLZ


So RIM bought a domain and there are rumors of a planned released of this unseen product in November. How exactly is that answering the iPad? I mean the iPad is selling so far at around 1 million a month or so and selling a ton of Apps. RIM hasn't and probably won't answer that with this device.


The lure of Apple's success seems to be making other companies forget about innovation. Apple has always been about innovation, and everyone else seems to be playing "follow the leader" right now.

If only they followed the engineering philosophy, rather than push out me-too devices.

I count Google as the only exception.


And who invented the Blackberry? True, this is a bit of a "me too" device but RIM as a company did invent one of the most influential smart phone designs and were the first to market with push mail -- so they're as much of an innovator as Apple.

Cameron Colley

This is an example of skating to where the ice hockey puck is, rather than where the puck is going to be.

It's a me-too product that'll probably be a version of the BB OS with push mail, but will it be as nicely scaled up as Apple chose to take the time to do. It drives some technical people around the bend, but it's often the case that it's not what you're offering but how you're offering it.

I've forgotten the number of times I've tried to get devs to remove useless mouse clicks and pointless interface hoops to jump through only to be told 'Our users are smart.' That's not the point, it's that you want to make things efficient for the user.

Will the competition have the ability and discipline to think differently about the UI? That's the beauty if the iPad -- it doesn't work like a desktop OS. You receive stuff on it and make minor updates. Making it a full blown OS for free-form data input is exactly what has failed repeatedly for the last decade.

Best of luck to them!


Chilling news from the US Midwest: carnivorous plague mice are wiping out entire communities of prairie dogs, and boffins have been investigating just how. You argued over how much of a bruiser the pictured mouse looked, the proper zoning terminology for a subterranean prairie dog bunker complex, and, of course, over the use of the word 'boffin'.

Is the mouse saying "You mate are dead when you let go"?

(Come on people, its got to be a caption competition time.)

Anonymous Coward

Cute? THAT? Are you DAFT? It looks like it wants to rip your arm off and beat you to death with it, if only it was big enough.

Gene Cash

More like rodent Suburbia.

That's 10 prairie dogs with several observation mounds, exit tunnels, and several hundred feet of burrow per acre. They have their towns tunneled like the Brits do Gibraltar.

It's more like suburban sprawl, with areas of densely populated burrows and areas of sparse burrows between them.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Judging by the airship in the top left of the photo that critter's f**king massive! Clearly it scurried out of a bomb test site in Nevada - mix rodents with radioactivity and this sort of thing is inevitable.

The elephant in the room

Boffin latest

Arrests were made after an argument over stolen cake led to a fight among scientists studying sea birds on an Arctic island, in a muffin stuffing Baffin puffin boffin biffing cuffing.



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