* Posts by Mike Street

134 posts • joined 24 Oct 2007

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Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

Mike Street

Indeed.

In the 20th century, global temps rose by about 0.7 deg C, sea levels by about 17 cms. If there were any deleterious effects from this, they were wiped out many times by the advances in technology, by changes in population density and distribution, and by improvements in governments (especially in China, but elsewhere too).

It seems reasonable to expect that these the scale of these changes will be at least as great in this century - probably greater. This will completely overwhelm, whether for good or ill, any supposed harm caused by a few degrees of warming.

In other words, unless a catastrophe is really in the offing, and the IPCC says otherwise, then all our efforts should be aimed at increasing global trade and growth, thus lifting millions more out of poverty. Green policies which seek to prevent this - which is all of them - should be abandoned immediately.

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8

MPs back call to boycott low-taxed tat from Amazon over Xmas

Mike Street

Re: STFU

"LIke allow for fair competition, so that British business can compete with the off shore companies? SO basically, your telling everyone to STFU and your justification is that you can get cheap goods from Amazon.."

Amazon's European HQ is in the EU - in Luxembourg. The EU is a Single Market - which you don't appear to have heard of. They can have their HQ wherever they damn well like in the EU.

Don't like it - vote UKIP.

3
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'Only NUCLEAR power can SAVE HUMANITY', say Global Warming high priests

Mike Street

Not the only ones

To his credit, George Monbiot has also been advocating nuclear. So at least there is one thing I can agree with him on, though little else.

Greenpeace, by contrast, is even against research into nuclear fusion. I assume they will be taking ship to the Sun to complain about its dirty energy production, polluting the solar system - and then wonder why their solar panels don't work after it stops as requested.

And they wonder why we are not behind them and their Arctic Numpties.

2
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Tech giants' offshore cash-stashing is only ever a delaying tactic

Mike Street

"I spot a flaw in your basic premise: "the whole point of being a company is to send money to your shareholders".

Some might argue that large corporates appear to have been hijacked by the managerial class to the detriment of other stakeholders (cf board-level remuneration rising far faster than other measures of company performance)"

Management are employees of the company, so the point is correct. Corporate tax incidence is on customers, employees or shareholders, or some combination thereof.

You make a good point about management though. In my view, company management should be much more under the control of the owners. At the moment, shareholder votes on remuneration are advisory only.

Some changes to company law would undoubtedly be beneficial.

1
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Mike Street
FAIL

"practiced a sport or mastered a musical instrument" - Ah now I see. You must live in a country that is not the UK, the EU or the rest of the world, for that matter. Because in those places the richest people with the highest amount of income are not made up of the very few athletes that make it to the top, or the even smaller numbers of musicians that make a significant, above average, income. I feel happy for your planet, because a few rock stars together with some sport figures can by themselves solve the imbalance of public spending vs. taxes collected."

Are you saying Bono isn't rich? That Sting doesn't have a butler, and his wife access to a private jet?

And that the richest woman in the UK (leaving aside the queen, for the moment) has written some books, and inherited nothing whatsoever?

I don't begrudge those people their comfortable lifestyle (though I could do without their lectures to the rest of us) but at least I acknowledge that they exist.

You're still an (anonymous) idiot.

1
1
Mike Street

Re: And this is where the complexity comes in..

"To my downvoter, which of the following statements do you disagree with and why?

* VAT is regressive."

It isn't so much of a problem as is usually presented. Food, after all, is free of VAT, as is rent and mortgage.

Also, VAT on a second hand car, such as I have, is zero. On a £10k car it is £2k, and on a £100k it is £20k. Last time I looked, £20k was a bigger number than £2k. People who buy more expensive items, even of the same type, pay more tax. Are you saying that's a bad thing?

"The consequences of massively unequal distribution of wealth are undesireable."

Often claimed, though usually spelt correctly, but not proven. Consider, for example, China. Inequality has increased markedly in the last 10 years, due to fewer constraints on the market. Yet in those same 10 years more than 500m people have been lifted out of poverty in that country, because there are now fewer constraints on markets.

Maybe, despite what you might want to be true, greater inequality is a by-product of generally increasing wealth overall.

"The more wealth one has in surplus, the more there is available for investment, resulting in ever greater concentration of wealth in the absence of redistributive taxes."

Investment is generally regarded as a good thing - investment in companies after all produces jobs (including my own). Perhaps, as a by-product, it increases inequality, but so what if the overall effect is good?

If taxes are too redistributive, they may reduce or remove the incentive to invest and create jobs. Which in turn lift people out of poverty.

3
2
Mike Street
FAIL

"Don't forget how they became rich in the first place: either by inheriting the money or by making a very good use of it."

Of course, no one ever started a company, practiced a sport or mastered a musical instrument and made lots of money those ways.

Idiot.

5
9

Announcement of 'churnalism detector' gets furiously churned

Mike Street
Thumb Down

Re: Hilarius stuff.

"BTW requiring a 2/3 majority of all MP's to change how a body is run makes it a damm sight tougher for any govt minster to change than slipping in the old "statutory instrument" into legislation."

and a damn sight less democratic too.

0
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Under cap-and-trade, flying is greener than taking the bus

Mike Street

Re: 1980s?

Generally agree, but the Stern Review found that taxes on fuel were already higher than required to offset the carbon emissions. So the price of fuel should fall...

I do not deny climate change, but I do deny that most, or perhaps any, of the schemes promoted by Greens actually have the effect of decreasing emissions at as low cost as possible. Let's have nuclear for bass load, fracked gas to replace coal, and invest in research into tidal. This will reduce emissions and costs, in contrast to cap & trade, wind & solar which only increase costs.

8
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Hm, nice idea that. But somebody's already doing it less well

Mike Street

Maybe Not

"If there was a single, central regulator then these companies would only have to fight the battle once per country."

Nice idea, but then the central body would spend years 'seeking the views of all parties affected', and the decision would be much delayed, perhaps permanently, certainly until the upstart had run out of cash.

What we see in the West is State Corporatism, major companies and government 'working' together to protect their common vested interests, and keep newcomers out of the market. The worst example being the EU, where money is applied much more to large corporates and charities than small ones, since the application for funding process is so bureaucratic. No doubt the US Federal government operates the same way.

Its a shame - a single market is a boon, a single, powerful bureaucracy is a nightmare.

6
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Secrets of an ad broker: NoSQL, millisecond auctions and FLASH ARRAYS

Mike Street
Alert

Do They Really Do That?

All sounds fine, sensible even, until:

"Tapad's system then contacts these potential advertisers' systems and says: "I have a potential spot for you with this requester's metadata. Do you want to make a bid?" The potential advertisers then match the potential spot to their needs."

It seems a bit odd that they spend all that time & money optimising their own system, and then make calls to sundry other external systems with unquantifiable response times and round-trip latency, which together are probably at least an order of magnitude longer than their internal system response. Surely they have the advertisers' bids already in their system, as Google does with Adwords?

2
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Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes

Mike Street
Thumb Up

Good article

I notice few people who decry the article actually have any sensible facts to deploy.

Must try harder.

5
11

Sydney Uni boffin wants database to track smokers

Mike Street

Nanny State - Again

I wonder if people like this Professor realise how much potential damage they are doing to socialised medicine.

At the moment, I support it, free at the point of delivery and delivered regardless of ability to pay. The day it becomes, as this proposes, a reason for the state to control behaviour to save costs and protect us from ourselves, I will be in the queue to vote for the first politician who wants to abolish it.

6
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The Big Debate: OK gloomsters, how can the music biz be FIXED?

Mike Street

Re: Denial

I've no doubt that baying at moon is satisfying, but it doesn't put bread on the table.

If the world has changed, the industry has to change with it. Or die. I don't say that is a good (or a bad) thing - its just a thing.

You can complain all you want, but that on its own won't change anything. If you really think the western world is going to lock up most of its offspring for copyright violation, or someone is going to create magic DRM which doesn't piss everyone off, then by all means wait for the old models to come back. The wait could be a long one.

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Mike Street

Re: Denial

"the creative industries need to ask how they need to re-organise themselves"

"Why? Because copyright abusers demand that we do ?"

No - because the world has changed, whether for better or worse. You can moan about not being able anymore to exploit the old situation, or you can think of ways to exploit the new situation. I can't guarantee the second option will ensure the success of the creative industries, but I am sure the first option will lead to their demise.

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1
Mike Street

Denial

Lots of people in denial, it seems to me.

I agree with Andrew that new ways are needed to monetise cultural artifacts, but forcing an old model on a new platform isn't new.

I do not pirate, am a Spotify subscriber, and sometimes buy downloads from artists' sites, CDs, SACDs and Blu-Rays, so I this is not special pleading, but instead of asking how do we enforce copyright on the Internet, the creative industries need to ask how they need to re-organise themselves if copyright cannot be enforced in the traditional way.

What new models will allow artists to thrive without traditional copyright? It may not be legal, or moral, but it is reality that paying for music in the traditional way may be dying. You can complain about that, or you can see what other opportunities are available that weren't before.

3
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US trounces UK in climate scepticism jibber-jabber

Mike Street
FAIL

Re: They are only less balanced

"Carbon plans are overall neutral, by design."

No, they aren't.

The Renewables Obligation (aka The Climate Change Levy) increases the fuel bills of every consumer in the UK. It is not matched by any reduction in prices or taxes anywhere.

18
2

Guardian's Robin Hood plan: Steal from everyone to give to us

Mike Street
Facepalm

Guardian Reader - Coming Through

I read both articles in the Guardian. As Andrew says, both were savaged by its own readership.

It is not hard to see where cuts could be made - Alan Rusbridger, the editor, gets 400k per year for running an entity that loses 50m a year. Their 'star' columnist, Polly Toynbee, gets >100k for producing practically the same fact-free rant every few days. Various rad fems produce articles about 'Why I Hate Men' and so on. Then there are the complaints about celebs being villified (or not) and the innumerate environment blogs.

All of these emissions are regularly trashed in the comments, but the Guardian doesn't listen to its own readers. Maybe it should.

16
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Osborne hands £80m tax break to punters drilling in 'old' oil, gas fields

Mike Street

Re: Why?

"Why do some of the most profitable companies receive any form of subsidy from the taxpayer? This is interfering with the Free Market (TM)."

This is not a subsidy, it is the removal of additional taxes which no-one else pays. Arguably, it makes the energy market more free.

Wind power - now that IS subsidised.

1
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Vodafone UK web titsup blamed on 'holiday maintenance'

Mike Street

Not Uncommon

I have often waited several minutes just to login to the Vodafone site to check my bills. I have also recently renewed the contracts for one of the phones I manage. That contract is now is a in different Vodafone department, so I can't see the bill for that phone with my other ones, or indeed on line at all.

Vodafone really need to start thinking about their customers, or they'll go on losing them.

0
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British Gas parent to grab £500m North Sea gas tax break

Mike Street

Re: @Mike Street Let me see if I understand this.

So if your income tax was 45% and everyone else paid 25%, if your tax was reduced to 35%, would you call it a subsidy?

No, you wouldn't.

And Greens are trying to categories these types of arrangements as 'subsidies', because their favourite technologies, like the perfectly useless wind generation, actually do get subsidies - the feed-in tariff is the only thing that makes some of them economic.

That is a subsidy, this isn't.

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Mike Street

Re: Let me see if I understand this.

Is that right? No, it isn't.

Greens may want to present this as a subsidy, but as the article clearly says, it is a reduction in the amount of extra taxes they would otherwise have paid on income from extraction - taxes that no-one else is subject to.

Now, you might believe that paying 25% income tax is equivalent to a government subsidy to you of 75%, but the rest of us believe that it amounts to a 25% tax, not a 75% subsidy. It depends on whether you think all your money belongs to the state or not.

4
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Behold: First look at Office 2013, with screenshots

Mike Street
FAIL

That UI

I thought Windows 7 looked quite nice. I used it for a few months, but was relieved to go back to Ubuntu, which always seemed to need one less click for any particular operation than Win 7. But, for looks, it was nice.

But those screenshots of the new Office on Win 8 are just horrible. I have them full-screen, and I cannot imagine how awful it would be to look at that UI every day. What are they thinking?

All you Windows users have my sympathy.

17
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How to fix the broken internet economy: START HERE

Mike Street
Megaphone

Its a Minefield

You make some good points - faults on all sides of course.

But content licencing (an area in which I work) is a minefield. I can get video of a sporting event by signing a complicated and absurd contract and putting my house and children up as collateral. So far so good.

But if the crowd is chanting a copyright song (like 'You'll Never Walk Alone') I have to contact, and licence, and pay, collection companies in every damn country in which I want to show it. And pay more per view than I make in revenue - just for the crowd noise!

It is actually impossible to know if you, or anyone else, has fully cleared rights. You may think you have - right up until the moment someone takes you to court in Absurdistan or somewhere. The only people getting rich are lawyers, and they are getting rich mostly by saying 'I don't know the answer to that. I can put you in touch with someone in that country who also won't know the answer, but it will cost you'.

I am not surprised that even Google can't innovate in a space with so much uncertainty, and so many organisations claiming money for nothing.

As a user, I don't pirate and I am a Spotify subscriber. I am trying to do the right thing. But please provide a broader range and better quality for my 10 quid a month.

As a user and as an innovator, it seems to me it should not be this hard, or this expensive.

14
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EU's 2020 CO2 target 'will add a year to economic slump'

Mike Street
Facepalm

Not just Cost-Benefit

that's missing - no concept of Opportunity Cost seems to be applied either.

Could we better spend the money currently being wasted on wind and solar on retro-fitting insulation instead? I am pretty sure we could.

2
1

UK.gov energy policy: You can't please all the people much of the time

Mike Street

Re: It's not the fuel but the source

"Given the politics today, do we want to rely on gas from Russia, the Middle east, etc?"

No - which is why we need to develop Shale Gas as quickly as possible, if it is economically viable. There may or may not be enough on land, but there is plenty off-shore.

3
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Facebook underwriters accused of hiding forecast

Mike Street
FAIL

Re: Anyone in the private sector who bought into Facebook at IPO ...

Perhaps - I certainly thought it was grossly over-valued.

But a free market depends on the free availability of information. This would appear to be anything but that.

You can't expect people to make sensible decisions without access to all the information, as no doubt a court case will prove at some point.

8
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Chrome spends a week at the top of the browser charts

Mike Street

Re: Windows 8 will save Microsoft

Agreed, 2000 was OK.

But token ring was really rubbish, wasn't it?

1
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How politicians could end droughts FOREVER: But they don't want to

Mike Street

Re: Absurd (@Filippo)

Read the article - it doesn't matter how much we use. This is a wet country, an island surrounded by sea - not the bloody Sahara.

And it water, not oil. It isn't going to run out, as a visit to the seaside will confirm.

There does seem to be a shortage of people who can think though - wonder if we can make some to be Mayors, MPs and so on, instead of the stupids we have now.

6
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ISPs torch UK.gov's smut-blocking master plan

Mike Street
FAIL

Make it Illegal

The solution is easy, and staring them in the face...

make it illegal for children under 18 to go online. Give the Internet an 'X" certificate.

Then we can all have as much adult stuff as we want (which appears to include medical information they don't like, according to the reports) and no problem with children.

And of course, being a law, no-one would ever think of breaking it.

4
1

SpaceShipOne man, Nobel boffins: DON'T PANIC on global warming

Mike Street

" After all, if due to a landslip you find your house which was previously 1/2 mile from the cliff edge suddenly gets a lot nearer"

That would be due to a landslip, caused by erosion. Not sea-level rise.

"So whereas sea level rise wasn't a problem in times gone by, it's A Big Problem now."

It's about a foot per century. Tidal ranges are more than a few metres - you are unlikely to notice 30cms a century when there is a 3-4 metre change twice a day. The sea level is rising about as fast as your fingernails grow. And has been for some hundreds of years. It may even be slowing.

0
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Virgin Media broadband goes titsup for 3 hours

Mike Street

I was affected...

and was down for some time. Even now, Wednesday 11:50, some sites and services are slow.

The services is generally fast & reliable for me, and even my own systems have been known to have the occasional outages, so I am not concerned.

Stuff happens, but as far as I can tell, the world didn't end, so all's good.

1
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Panasonic pitches portable Skype screen

Mike Street

Well, yes, they are...

likely to already have a laptop - otherwise what would be the point of having an Internet connection?

It doesn't make sense to pay for Internet connectivity just for the occasional Skype call.

0
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Verizon retreats on ‘convenience fee’ for online bill payment

Mike Street
FAIL

Listening to your customers

Whilst I applaud the idea of listening to your customers, often a better strategy is to actually think before making these kinds of changes.

No doubt the additional revenue looked good on a spreadsheet of the type loved by certain MBA graduates. Perhaps best though just to pause & consider whether it is a good business strategy to piss off your customers.

Still, heads won't roll I expect, unless its very junior ones who didn't have much if any input in the first place.

6
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Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Mike Street

Not so..

I was alive in the 50s and I can tell you that blue & pink were the same way round then. I think it was much earlier that they swapped.

You're right about the the two management structures though...

5
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A simple HTML tag will crash 64-bit Windows 7

Mike Street

No - that's Just iTunes

"I'm seeing a consistent pattern on Win7 64 where iTunes is installed (and the associated update processes) that system performance periodically tends towards dead snail like."

I thought that was the default behaviour for iTunes?

5
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Online store offers secondhand MP3 marketplace

Mike Street
FAIL

Good Luck With That

So, in order to get a few vouchers I have to give you sufficient access to my PC so that you can delete any files you feel like.

Thanks, but no thanks.

3
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Cabinet Secretary: Freedom of Info law stifles policy confabs

Mike Street

Sweden

I remember a BBC radio programme about Sweden a few years ago. The Swedish PM - Persson - showed them a letter sent to him by Tony Blair, then British PM. It didn't say anything controversial, but it was required by Swedish law to be available to everyone.

The same letter was unavailable to be shown to a British journalist (or anyone else) in the UK. So they would have to go to Stockholm to see a letter written in the UK by the UK Prime Minister on behalf of the UK Government and its citizens.

Politicians and Civil Servants have had it too easy, too long, and they don't like to come under scrutiny at all.

What, do we suppose, do they have to hide?

4
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Greens threaten to sue over solar 'leccy cash slash

Mike Street
FAIL

Green Gestures

It could also be pointed out, that some of those people placed in 'fuel poverty' by these kinds of measures will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter.

Some of those will die (the UK has 36,000 'excess deaths' in the winter each year).

The Green movement, sadly, understands neither technology nor economics, and couldn't care less about poor people.

7
2

Rupert's MySpace mea culpa

Mike Street

Responsibly lies with the directors, surely?

The board decided to purchase, negotiated the price, hired the people and probably interfered like mad in all the wrong ways, so preventing those people doing a good job.

That's what corporate boards of directors do.

Murdock can hand-wave all he likes - he & his management are responsible for the MySpace fiasco. I bet they are quick enough to take the credit (or at least the bonus) for anything good that happens in NewsCorp, they should also take the abuse for the screw-ups.

5
0

Journo register gaffe a boon for media overlords

Mike Street
FAIL

All true

Good demolition.

Most of the problems with the media already involve laws being broken. We just need existing laws enforced properly, not more badly thought-out laws which are just enacted so that Labour can be thought (by themselves) to be 'doing something'.

They really need to show that they have learned some lessons - so far they haven't begun to do that.

3
0

Beyonce's belly: Most important thing ever, on Twitter

Mike Street

Twatter

I have a friend who thinks that's actually what its called - "Twatter".

I think she may have a point.

0
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Murdoch parliamentary pandemonium: Shock snap

Mike Street
Thumb Up

Excellent!

though I thought the bloke on the right may have handcuffed a senior police officer, rather than vice versa, who was wanted on a charge of not having a clue what was going on in the organisation he is supposed to run.

Could be wrong though...

2
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MP claims NotW sleuths targeted royals, politicians, Blair

Mike Street
Megaphone

Probably Correct

The police won't have asked them about Rees, as they are not investigating him.

No doubt they will say, as they did before being forced to re-start this enquiry, that there was 'no evidence' linking him with the crimes.

Well, they won't BE any evidence if you don't look for it, you idiots.

More and more, this looks like a cover-up by the police, not the first by any means (Phorm, Ian Tomlinson etc.) and probably not the last.

4
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'Leccy price hike: Greens to blame as well as energy biz

Mike Street
Pirate

Not a theoretical discussion this...

Every year, in those months we like to call 'winter', it gets cold here in the UK.

And every year, there are somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 'excess deaths' in winter in the UK, according to various estimates (I choose the smallest & largest I found).

Most of those deaths are due to, or exacerbated by, would you believe it, the cold. At least some of them are due to people not being able to afford to heat their homes.

It is very likely, therefore, that some of those excess deaths would be avoided if these 'green' taxes were removed and energy prices were therefore lower.

The likely conclusion is that 'green' policies are killing people here in the UK every winter.

Happy now, 'environmentalists'?

8
2

Digital Music: a collective failure of imagination

Mike Street

Quality

I don't want mp3 files - I want at least lossless (flac etc.) and preferably, SACD quality. Because I LIKE music.

So do some other people - hard-to-get SACDs can fetch £40 or more - secondhand. And this is in a market with relatively few buyers, currently.

The music industry is doing nothing to save itself apart from moaning & suing its customers. In many ways, it deserves to die, but it is harming music while it thrashes around in its death throws.

0
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Bin Laden's porn stash: Too good to be true?

Mike Street

Agree with Prof Long

with a caveat - we know for certain the US government (like most others) lies, we don't know for certain Bin Laden was a hypocrite, as we only have a proven liar's word for it.

8
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Would putting all the climate scientists in a room solve global warming...

Mike Street
FAIL

As to prove Frumious Bandersnatch )above) wrong we immediately get:

"So *actual evidence*, like you know Arctic Ice sheets at all time minimiums, and melt rates from glaciers in Greenland to the Himalayan Mountains to the South pole mean .. what nothing?!

FFS the Arctic ocean is opening up as a trade route that has NEVER happened .. of course its something new to squabble over."

You see, that's just wrong. Arctic Ice sheets are NOT at all time minimums - the all time minimum is no Arctic Ice sheets at all. Which is, actually, the Earth's state for most of its history.

And the Arctic trade route has been open relatively recently, and for the majority of geological time as well.

This is why both sides give the debate a bad name - throwing out nonsense like this as though it were fact. It isn't. Even though you want it to be.

2
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Men at Work lose Down Under plagiarism appeal

Mike Street
Thumb Down

Hoist by their own retard

Artists generally, led by the talented Mr Richard, have been trying to get copyright extended. This suit demonstrates that its not really in even their own interests to do this. Marion Sinclair is most likely no longer alive, but some living musicians have to pay a ton of money to some people whose only musical talent may be in being related to the author of the original song. Most likely, it is a company which has bought the rights.

How does this lead to a fairer deal for artists?

19
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Mind mapping for IT pros

Mike Street
Pint

And on Linux...

Kdissert (which I haven't used) and Vym (which I have).

Both free as in both beer and speech.

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