back to article 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article...' says millionaire model. Bless!

This was the week when millionaire supermodel Lily Cole told the papers how saddened she was by The Register’s coverage of her taxpayer-funded wishing well, Impossible.com. El Reg previously revealed that Cole was given £200,000 of public money for the website but hardly anyone was using it, which the socialite didn’t take too …

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Am I the only one sick of these agencies effectively saying: "we're justified in invading the privacy of ordinary, law-abiding citizens because if we didn't, our job would be hard"?

Boo-fucking-hoo.

If you can't perform your surveillance without stomping on the rights of millions of your own citizens then maybe that's a sign that you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. It's the equivalent to saying that you should be able to bomb a public space to kill a terrorist because it's too difficult to target him alone.

Guess what? You don't get that luxury. The goal of all government and all government agencies and arms is to make the life of their citizens better and to protect them and their rights from those who would take them away. In case it's unclear - you are now the ones we need protection from. The real threat from terrorism is tiny. The effects can be tragic, yes, but they do not outweigh the damage done to the entire population in having their every word recorded.

Gyaaah!!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Snooping on foreigners

Something I'm not sure has been explicitly said, but reading between the lines on some of the reports by the NSA & GCHQ:

Countries' spy agencies generally aren't allowed to snoop on their own citizens without a warrant (caveats apply...) but they can snoop on foreigners (there's a technical issue about how you identify the nationality of a communicator, but let's leave that for now).

We know that countries' spy agencies also share intelligence in order to identify and track threats better.

What's there to stop the NSA snooping on Britons, GCHQ snooping on Americans and both of them swapping data willy-nilly, handily bypassing all the supposed legal limits on their powers?

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WTF?

Re: Snooping on foreigners

Did you just wake up from a 13 month coma?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Snooping on foreigners

Countries' spy agencies generally aren't allowed to snoop on their own citizens without a warrant (caveats apply...) but they can snoop on foreigners (there's a technical issue about how you identify the nationality of a communicator, but let's leave that for now).

Actually, when they do this they are breaking the law in that other country, but the US has popularised (or excused) the idea that if it's all fully OK as long as local law says that it's allowed. Which, in reality, it can't as local law has no influence on another jurisdiction (well, OK, other than by the usual US trade agreements blackmail, but that's not law, that's politics).

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Re: Snooping on foreigners

@AC

It's not that there's nothing "there to stop the NSA snooping on Britons, GCHQ snooping on Americans and both of them swapping data willy-nilly", it's that they have an active agreement to do EXACTLY THAT.

In case you missed it (and it seems you did), the publicly-known name for that tidy little arrangement is 'Five Eyes' and it includes my own morally-bankrupt government (AU) along with that of the USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

That is one reason why there is so much outrage and a large part of why every word coming out of the mouths of these fucking serpents is treated with such open distrust by all the right-thinking people in those countries. Even when they are telling the truth about technicalities, they are lying about the REAL questions.

To the people actually subject to these abhorrent breaches of personal liberty, 'spying' isn't limited to just the act of collecting the data. So far as I, and a great number of others, are concerned, if you are reading through my e-mails and texts you are spying on me. I care about who captured the data but I care more about who is READING it.

To take it to a childish level, when I was young, sometimes I would swipe my sister's diary on behalf of my brother (peer pressure and all that), whereupon he would read it. Any 10 year old girl will be able to tell you what our governments seem not to accept - it doesn't matter who took it: if you are reading your little sister's diary, you are spying on her. I can vouch that my mother saw it much the same way as both me and my brother were punished equally.

Actually, the metaphor plays out nicely, what with the 'big brother' and all. I suppose what our governments need is someone to break a wooden spoon across their behinds and stop them seeing their friends. That, or what my sister did, which was to break our GI-Joe figures. (Did you ever have that one who was supposed to have a flame-thrower but instead came with this weird catapult that flung out a lumpy orange ball? No? Okay; just me then. I thought it was odd.)

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"...unless we’re happy to be wiped out by an Earth-obliterating catastrophe"

What about a Mars-obliterating catastrophe?

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Coat

Re: What about a Mars-obliterating catastrophe?

I need more info.

Would Lion bars be affected at all?

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Re: What about a Mars-obliterating catastrophe?

I think he is working on the basis that an asteroid strike is highly unlikely to wipe out earth AND Mars in one go - it's not billiards!

Of course, a galaxy-wide event would wipe us out in any case but, given that Extinction Level Events have occurred several times in the past it seems a fairly safe bet that we are looking at when, rather than if, we get another. Having a colony on Mars who could then maybe look at recolonising Earth after the ELE seems like a reasonable precaution to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about a Mars-obliterating catastrophe?

it's not billiards!

Speak for yourself. I, for one, welcome our billiard playing galactic overlords...

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Boots on the (red) Ground

It would be nice if we could look on this as the start but we just have to look back 42 years to when space exploration stopped, in favour of scientific investigation only.

Nobody has "boldly gone" in space since the return of the last Apollo mission. There has been a good amount of high quality scientific work since then. Earths orbit has become a busy place but no human being has actually been beyond that since.

We now have private enterprise on the move. It's perhaps 50 years behind but it has managed to get stuff up as far as the geostationary orbit. Lets see how it goes.

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Boffin

Re: Boots on the (red) Ground

42?

Now THAT's a number to conjure with!

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"British Islands"

Perhaps I missed the memo, but is there anything significant in his use of British Islands vs the more traditional British Isles?

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Re: "British Islands"

... all the more strange since the "British Isles" is a purely geographical term that includes the Republic of Ireland.

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Re: "British Islands"

Wikipedia to the rescue : in legislation, British Islands means the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Well, I'm slightly less ignorant than I was this morning.

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In a time of enforced austerity what are we doing giving money to that clothes house instead of using it for essentials like the health service, policing, education (which would be far closer to NESTA's actual purpose) or supporting food banks. It might 'only' have been a few hundred k but that's serious money, especially when the quango administering it probably cost the same amount over again to cut the cheque, they seem to spend a fair percentage of their budget on 'management'.

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Seem Miss Cole might want to look at the Racist posts on her impossible site and ask is it appropriate to be asking people to do things for free for racists...

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Which are those? I just had a nose about and the nearest I could find was something about removing passports from people going abroad to wage jihad? (personally I'd prefer revoking their breathing rights).

The site itself seems to be utter dross, how it cost 400k? 2 k for the site and 398 k on parties to 'promote' it sounds closer to the mark. Mind you, aren't NESTA the chumps who paid for clowns to go on holiday (I assume not on a clown holy war)

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Gimp

"Such an approach suggests.." "..indiscriminately intercept all communications.."

Correct.

That's what distinguishes a targeted intelligence gathering operation from a bunch of out of control data fetishists.

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Budgeting

I love this

"We have invested less than 0.0001 per cent of our budget in thinking about Facebook Likes."

She got 200 grand and claims to have matched that, so the total budget is about £400K. So therefore they have spent less than 40p thinking about Facebook Likes.

But does that mean they have spent more than 30p? In the public interest I demand to know what they bought for 30-something pence that allowed them to think about Facebook Likes.

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Re: Budgeting

What she means is she has unpaid interns spamming Facebook.

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Big Brother

What is this article about?

Obviously we should all be very concerned about the £200k of taxpayers' money received by Ms Cole's website, but that is hardly a huge sum compared with the billions wasted by the government on our behalf on ill-considerd, ill-executed schemes for streaming-lining government and buying votes; in fact its probably about the same amount as thieved by the average bankster on a quiet day before lunch.

As to Snowden, people should have no concern about the spying of CGHQ and NSA because the ultimate beneficiary for all their endeavours is the most benign nation on the planet composed of the most morally advanced human beings, in fact according to religious doctrine, the only human being on the planet, namely Israel.

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Re: What is this article about?

Could someone please explain the steps used to reach this conclusion?

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I'm not sure if I understand how "I spent £200,000, so that I could get another £200,000 from public funds" is supposed to make us feel better about things.

If I was a rich London oligarch, would that give me the right to steal money from everybody else in the... oh, wait. Yes. Apparently, yes it does.

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Am I being funny here, but getting to, and sustaining Life on, Mars would be pretty hard and expensive.

So would being able to sustain Life on Earth be a better investment, d'you think?

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Let's Get the Party Rolling and AIRocking

Am I being funny here, but getting to, and sustaining Life on, Mars would be pretty hard and expensive.

So would being able to sustain Life on Earth be a better investment, d'you think? ... WageSlave

Jump in at the Deep Darker Web End, WageSlave, and realise and virtualise Martian Life on Earth as a Prime Beta Investment. It will certainly be able to launder Eastern [Chinese and Japanese and Russian and Thai and Indian Tiger type] paper dollars into programs of value of leading influence with returns which deliver real wealth and prosperity rather than accumulating crippling debt and displaying unedifying intellectual paralysis. There's no point in holding on to, rather than lavishly spend that Monopoly confetti whilst it is still able to generate a perception of worth.

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Re: Let's Get the Party Rolling and AIRocking

Great post, amfM, and that's a "killer" combinatorics. Get some more, but not to the grade of any trick. Change "launder" into "target" and, one believes, many EVEnts resulted would change from booming and tiny-effective into tiny but... the outcome, dear friend, the outcome.

Anyway, as children go home when evening comes, the paper would get back to its system originators wherever they were. So what's the loss even if you're one of them?

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'I got a little bit upset by that Register article...'

It's a walk-off....

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Ok, you've had your fun

Not a fan of the current government, or their financial backing of Ms Cole but you've had your fun. There are more important targets when it comes to government-funded projects.

Your coverage smells more than a little of lazy misogyny. Please direct your (considerable) talents towards covering more worthwhile targets.

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Re: Ok, you've had your fun

Mysogeny? Bollocks.

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Re: Ok, you've had your fun

misogyny???? How exactly? Please, don't just throw the accusation, really explain it.

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Re: Ok, you've had your fun

Sure.

Because the focus and tone of these stories is “lily the silly woman who squandered tax payers money on a frivolous website”. It’s a nice narrative, but it’s a choice to frame it that way and in framing it that way it detracts from the real focus - the money, which came from Nesta, and that the funding application was not available under the Freedom of Information Act. It’s also really sad to see no one giving the chair of Nesta, John Chisholm a harder time - he’s ultimately the one responsible for handing out the dosh (if it’s *that* which you’re actually upset about).

In the story published 25th of March, “YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site”, I thought the coverage was really good. Headline was a bit cheap, but it redeemed itself in the content and it was a nice bit of investigative journalism.

The tone of this is different and it’s thin on content - it’s not a story anymore, it’s just bullying. No free pass.

I might have kids. I might have a daughter. She might want to become a developer. Be the change you want to see…and such.

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Re: Ok, you've had your fun

I think you are showing your own biases tbh. Is it not possible to criticise someone silly for being silly, without being accused of misogyny because the silly person is a woman?

Because the focus and tone of these stories is “lily the silly woman who squandered tax payers money on a frivolous website”

Take the word "woman" out of it, and sure, that is the tone and focus of the previous article - how silly people managed to get silly amounts of public money and do silly things with it. This article is actually about the irony of said silly person moaning about people complaining that their project is silly and a waste of public money. Silly.

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Re: Ok, you've had your fun

Hi Tom,

You may be right about my own biases, but I think that’s a product of the industry which is male dominated and not particularly female-friendly. It could have been any number of nesta-funded projects which came under scrutiny from El-Reg and I think that the original piece was fair play, if a bit figurehead focussed.

Tone’s a difficult thing to pin down, and I know that El Reg is any good purveyor of scrutiny – when it comes to being silly, everyone gets a turn at being given a hard time, and I welcome that. But, the focus of this follow up piece “'I got a little bit upset by that Register article...' says millionaire model. Bless!” was belittling in a /way/ I don’t think it would have been if Lily were a man. Tone matters.

And, as you pointed out, the silly project speaks for itself. We didn’t have to go there, and in doing so we’ve buried the underlying story (the politics of funding digital projects). Which is a bit sad.

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Re: Ok, you've had your fun

See, you've missed the boat again.

The first story was about how a technological nobody can grab £200k of public money. That is one thing.

This story is about her moaning about being called on it. That is something else.

Both deserve derision.

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Self-fulfilling doomsaying

What's the betting that, when an Extinction Level Event strikes Earth, it's launched from Mars?

Can you say "War of Independence"?

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Elon Musk, King of Mars

it would be deeply cool if humanity spread out amongst the stars

Would it? Why?

Barring FTL communication, you won't even have any real evidence this has occurred. For all we know, secret government projects already "spread [humanity] out amongst the stars". It's not feasible for any of us to go find out. If you're on Earth, the existence of human life outside the solar system will always1 be a matter of faith, because the communications latency will be so high that any evidence of it would always be suspect.

So all you're saying is that "believing humanity [has] spread out amongst the stars" would be cool. Personally, I don't find it any cooler than any other religion.

And, of course, a Martian colony is merely spreading out a bit further from one star.

Musk reckons that getting out there in a sustainable way is essential to the survival of our species – unless we’re happy to be wiped out by an Earth-obliterating catastrophe

Shrug. I'm happy with that scenario. What's my investment supposed to be in "the survival of our species"?

I think Musk just wants to be crowned King of Mars. Good for him. That's a goal I can appreciate, even if I don't share it.

1Again, barring FTL communication. And given the choice I prefer causality, thanks.

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"Musk reckons that getting out there in a sustainable way is essential to the survival of our species" At least we know he can quote Carl Sagan.

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