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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1546 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Do you know a chimp who's feeling doleful? Mid-life crisis, probably

Graham Dawson
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I always figured the mid-life crisis kicked in around the end of a pre-agricultural human's typical lifespan. In the grand scheme, the ability for the majority of humans to live into old age is a very recent phenomenon; our bodies are adapted to a lifespan of about 40 to 50 years and start to fail in increasingly obvious ways after that age. The depression only seems natural in that case. We'd be subconsciously, but intimately aware that our body is reaching a lifespan limit that our species has experienced for millennia and as a result we'd get all existential and depressed, but not really understand why. Those humans that live longer would cheer up, because they might just live forever.

Oops.

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British Ruby conference cancelled after diversity row

Graham Dawson
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Ruby developer?

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How can the BBC be saved from itself without destroying it?

Graham Dawson
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Re: Or...

Did you just seriously compare a news and entertainment company to the people tasked with defending our borders?

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Lord to sue Twitter users who falsely accused him of abuse

Graham Dawson
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Meh

Libel is a civil offence, not a criminal one. There's no jail time involved unless you refuse to pay the fines (or undertake whatever reparation the court hands out), in which case you're attempting to commit fraud amongst other things. Even then it's kind of hard to get you in jail for it.

And since it's a civil matter there's no criminal record.

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Graham Dawson
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And, incidentally, "wouldn't have", not "wouldn't of".

You also slip into "no smoke without fire" fallacy.

0/10 would not give time of day.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Seriously?

Nono, Torres was the engineer on Voyager.

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ROGUE PLANET WITHOUT A SUN spotted in interstellar space

Graham Dawson
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Re: Planet?

Given "planet" descends from the greek for "wanderer", it's more accurately a planet than anything in our solar system.

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Skyfall makers 3D printed Bond's DB5

Graham Dawson
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Coat

And the mona lisa is just paint on a lump of wood.

It's art, you... you philistine!

Nah I'm kiddin, you're great, really.

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Industry in 'denial' as demand for pricey PCs plunges

Graham Dawson
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Re: HD video? Good enough for me

Except it makes cheap ION gear look seriously overpriced for the performance you get.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Any old iron?

As far as I can tell, the sort of "hardcore gamer" that buys a whole PC in one go is treating it more like a games console with a short upgrade cycle and none of the hardware lock-down that prevents them playing old games.

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SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!

Graham Dawson
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Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

The very concept of "the scientific establishment" is unscientific. Scientific fact is not determined by authority, but by the establishment and exercise of verifiable, repeatable experiments.

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Google, Amazon, Starbucks are 'immoral' and 'ridiculous' over UK tax

Graham Dawson
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Re: what do you expect them to do

The quickest way to tax profit is to tax where that profit comes from: sales.

I'm no randian. I simply start from the position that government is a necessary evil that we should have as little of as possible and work from there. Rand argued that government was unnecessary. Very different position.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: what do you expect them to do

Pay what they owe? Who says they "owe" anything? Governments are not gods, they have no more right to another entity's money than any other random collection of bureaucrats. Taxes are an imposition extracted through the state's monopoly on the use of force, they are not a moral imperative, and avoiding them is not an immoral act.

But putting that aside for the moment, if you want to stop corporations avoiding taxes, then the solution is not to lambast them for "immorality", but instead to move the taxes to where they can't be avoided. Get rid of corporation taxes and all those other things and tax sales instead. It's virtually impossible to evade or avoid sales tax, and it's much easier to resolve if they try.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13in Retina display review

Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

Re: Department of redundancy department...

Metics were foreigners and slaves, never a majority, even in Athens.

Hoi polloi literally means "the many" or the majority, and was never used for the category you're thinking of. If anything that would be hoi oligoi. I don't know what Apple fanboys would be called in Ancient Greece, but I'm pretty sure it would be rude.

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BBC places news chief and her deputy beyond use in Savile row

Graham Dawson
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Re: It's a bit of a bugger.

Minor mistakes. Are you fucking kidding me?

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Coffee next on climate chopping-block

Graham Dawson
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Re: It's funny, isn't it?

Speaking with my Christian hat on for a moment, it annoys me the number of times people invoke God as a justification for whatever bit of pseudo-scientific nonsense they're foisting on the general population (in turn to justify raising taxes and throwing more money at international NGOs who exist only to, er, justify their existence apparently).

But then I always believed God was a libertarian so I'm probably somewhat atypical. :D

Stupidity isn't limited to any particular social group - nor is wisdom and intelligence, before anyone decides to claim that group X is dumb because they do or do not believe in hypothetical concept Y.

I'm going to have some coffee.

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The GPL self-destruct mechanism that is killing Linux

Graham Dawson
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Re: @AC 16:38GMT - A few more lumps of confusion in the article

No, that's choice. You seem to be complaining that there will be relatively painless alternatives when an open source project up and dies.

What happens when proprietary software is abandoned? No choice there. You have to find something else that likely is completely incompatible with your existing system. With the forks you at least have something that resembles what you already do, and most likely have something that is exactly the same as the software you already use, except it has some bug fixes and Feature X tacked on.

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Apple is granted a patent on the rectangle. No, really

Graham Dawson
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Re: I know how to deal with the people behind this

Like comedy and tragedy, the difference is timing.

Douglas Adams lauded Apple at a time when they were good at what they did and didn't try patenting the platonic solids. Fry lauds Apple at a time when they're arsewipes of the highest order.

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Kim Dotcom's new Mega site barred by Gabon

Graham Dawson
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Re: Afraid...

That must be why the US is occupying Mecca and bombing the rest of the arabian peninsula into the dirt right now.

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Tesla Model S named '2013 Automobile of the Year'

Graham Dawson
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Re: And

Transmission losses and conversion losses make the final efficiency of electrical cars approximately the same as internal combustion (slightly worse, if I recall), yet there's little room for improvement without significant and possibly unachievable advances in technology. Batteries certainly can be improved, but the transmission losses are only going to go away if we can invent room-temperature superconductors and replace the entire national transmission infrastructure with them, and then invent a way to convert from high to low voltage without any power losses. And of course all electric vehicles have the same insurmountable problem: range and weight. They waste a lot of energy carting dead batteries around.

You want a truly efficient electric vehicle? Build a trolleybus. Put the electricity directly in from the supply when it's needed rather than converting it three times and losing most of it in the process. Of course that would mean every street in the country would need a dodgems-style electricity supply suspended over it and your car wouldn't be able to operate independent of that supply, but it's a small sacrifice to pay for increased efficiency, no?

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USS Enterprise sets out on its final mission

Graham Dawson
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Those behemoths are keeping the sea lanes safe from piracy. Perhaps you don't realise that international trade used to be fraught with danger until Great Britain began regular sea patrols around the world. The world economy went through a huge boom once that projection of force cut down piracy and made the seas safe for international trade. The US navy took over that role after world war 2 and it's only within the last decade, with politically correct rules of engagement that prevent decisively dealing with pirates, that piracy has started to become a problem again.

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Samsung posts record profits as Galaxy sales crush Apple

Graham Dawson
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Re: Nice

Of course, the difference with Sammy is, if people get fed up of their products, they can switch to another Android manufacturer and still have all their stuff.

Makes for a much easier transition away from the hated foe du jure.

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No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi: People are right to criticise

Graham Dawson
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@AC 18:30

The whole thing? No!

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Windows RT still haunted by the ghost of Microsoft's 2001 tablet fiasco

Graham Dawson
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Hm, I must be a very peculiar case, given I use my transformer as both a laptop and a tablet. I do a lot of reading and a lot of writing and it's great for both roles.

Good on the plane too. Lasted all the way from Florence on a single charge. Very handy.

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Sanitary towel firm's 'CEO' sets traumatised man straight

Graham Dawson
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Re: Metaphor?

There's an allegory in that somewhere.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Metaphor?

They're a metaphor for the relative freedom from misery that sanitary products apparently provide women and presumably for the joy that comes with not having to stuff rags down your pants and rinse them out in the river every day.

Seems all those years I spent at university have finally found a use...

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Pirate Bay moves to the cloud to confound copyright cops

Graham Dawson
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Mm, yes, a hegemonising swarm set loose on the cloud...

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Do what you want, 'cos a pirate is free

We'll dig up the box...

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Graham Dawson
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In a sense it's no different to the early move of the film industry to California, a move that took place to avoid paying patent license fees on film equipment.

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McKinnon will not be extradited to the US, says Home Secretary

Graham Dawson
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Re: Hoorah!

Er... no, we're not all on the autism spectrum. That's a stupid thing to say.

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Jam today: Raspberry Pi Ram doubled

Graham Dawson
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Re: Couldn't care less

They make absolutely marvellous media things. I have one stuck to the back of the TV running raspbmc, and another running MPD. They don't need to be turned off and they consume virtually no power, especially compared to the PC I previously had running for both reasons.

And that's not even a particularly creative use for them. I've got plans for all sorts of nifty things to do with them.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Incremental upgrades

No, Jason, not really. You see, aspies have a very well developed sense of humour and are not the humourless robots you seem to believe they are, but are in fact human beings just like everyone else.

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Apple pays up for stealing design from Swiss Railways

Graham Dawson
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Re: Precision?!

There's this concept called "multiple redundant systems". Rather big in backup circles, tends to get mentioned a lot in the IT press.

The clock doesn't need to resynch every minute. It does it anyway, just in case.

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How Nokia managed to drive its in-house Linux train off the rails

Graham Dawson
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Re: Slideout Keyboards

Sony Xperia Pro. Reasonable size screen, verreh nice keyboard.

Though I suspect most will reject it based on the fact that Sony make it. Fair enough I suppose...

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STONEHENGE: Attack of the RAYGUN HISTORIANS

Graham Dawson
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And nobody is quoting... THAT SONG.

I'm so depressed.

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Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

Re: still seems funny to me

"Watching the sun" is exactly what these stones were built to do. They had to be accurate (or accurate enough) and they had to be permanent in order to provide a known quantity.

The summer solstice wasn't really that important as summer was a time of bountiful supplies of food. Devices like Stone Henge were built to collect the timing of the winter solstice, for both an agricultural and a religious reason.

The agricultural reason was quite simple: they had to have a point from which to count the days until planting began. It was their farmer's almanac and set the seasonal calendar without reliance on the moon.

The religious reason was a little more esoteric. It was the fairly commonly held belief that the winter solstice was the time when life hung in the balance, and not merely in terms of the cold and shortening of food supplies. The days were getting shorter and shorter, the nights getting longer and longer, and there was a very palpable fear that the sun might just decide not to come back next year. They had to know with absolute certainty that the days were getting longer, and they had to know when that change began, in order to time the big week-long celebratory feast. Similar religious practices are found throughout Eurasia, especially in the more northerly areas, and defined much of the form and function of Christmas (and no, before anyone claims it, christianity didn't coopt the old religious practices to trick or ease pagans into converting: converts to the new religion simply carried on their old feasts with new names, to the great dismay of the religious leaders of the time).

This is all well-known and has been for some time. What this particular study has done is directly verify that which was already known from other sources.

Still won't convince all those nellies that thing Stone Henge was built to measure the summer solstice and use it as an excuse to dance around in their underpants, but what can you do?

And now back to my little Florentine adventure. Ho the Medici! I require more culturally attuned steak!

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Astroboffins to search for mega-massive alien power plants

Graham Dawson
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Re: Hope it's just a Dyson sphere

Depends on the size of the shark.

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Bloke jailed for being unable to use BlackBerry Messenger freed

Graham Dawson
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Re: Hmm, should this have ever gone to court?

English criminal law used to be entirely about intent. Intent is a very important differentiator between criminal and mistaken behaviour. You can, for instance, be prosecuted for the simple intent to commit certain crimes and rightly so, without ever doing anything more dangerous than gathering the materials necessary to carry out the crime - if you can be proven to actually have that intent.

Even crimes that appear to lack intent, such as manslaughter (for example, killing someone by running them over while driving dangerously) are usually the restful of intent to commit a related action. In the example case, driving dangerously: you choose to commit a potentially criminal act and in the process you cause a death.

Unfortunately the burden of proof for intent is very high, which is why we now have all these laws that criminalise acts without consideration of intent - it makes it much easier to bring prosecutions and bump up the stats, and consequently makes it much easier for politicians and the police to look like they're being tough on crime, when all they're actually doing is criminalising acts that are often either the result of misadventure, or are entirely innocent.

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Scientists: 'Castration is the key to a longer life'

Graham Dawson
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Re: That's odd ...

Yes, but very tasty.

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iPhone 5 Lightning cables sticking in USB ports

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

Re: the white plastic surrounding the USB end slides right of revealing the medal connectors

They aren't, but did you check the other end of the cable?

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LONDON iPHONE 5 MADNESS: 'You must be CRAZY to buy Apple'

Graham Dawson
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Re: I *need* an iPhone5

By and large, yes. I use it for some writing, occasionally for SSH with connectbot. If you root it you can even install a debian chroot and have all your linuxy apps there to play with, though there are a few limitations on that method.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: I *need* an iPhone5

I can do nothing but praise the Xperia Pro and Mini Pro, though the mini was a bit too dinky for my big rough workman's hands.

But I suppose I'm partial given that the Pro was purchased almost entirely because it felt like my old n900. Now that was a marvelous phone.

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Graham Dawson
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I think you're showing a little prejudice if you think the Jesus story was "twisted" by a church that didn't even exist for much of the time said "twisting" was taking place.

From a purly historical perspective, Christianity arose as one of several offshoots of a temple-based religion that suddenly had to adapt to a world where that temple no longer existed. It's mirrored in the rise of judaism which, despite its claims, isn't actually older than christianity; it was also an attempt to cope with a world where the temple was gone. Both firmed up around 200AD into the religious we know and love today but they'd had very different starts.

Christianity based itself around a revolutionary concept. It was a revelation-based faith; that is, it waits for revelation to be provided in dealing with unforseen circumstances (the great mysteries), which is why there are so many christian denominations; they all had different revelations on particular subjects.

Judaism based itself on a consensus of opinion and is an evolutionary faith with some revelationary characteristics, which is why there are so relatively few jewish splits and why they tend to mix and merge again over the centuries.

On the subject of whether Jesus was married, there's a lot of speculation based on fantasy and hearsay and gnostic pseudographia written many hundreds of years after the events in question but no actual evidence. The bible itself implies that Jesus was celibate and may have been a nazirite for much of his life before having a revelation, breaking his vows and attempting to restore the "true path" of the temple faith of Israel. Being celibate would rather preclude marriage, I feel, and the nazirites were a very powerful sect at the time, with many thousands having taken the vows. Certainly they were powerful enough that Paul had to appease their leadership more than once.

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Apple iPhone 5 review

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

Re: Let me just throw a question out there

Widgets. I can turn off my data connection, wifi and sound by tapping little buttons on my home screen. I have a calendar and more things one screen to the left, my music player widget one screen to the right. I don't have to trawl through an endless list of icons and settings to do all these things, I can just unlock the phone and bam, done.

I can install a completely different launcher if I want. I can completely customise the lock screen itself. I take ownership of my device by making it look the way I want it to look instead of just getting a grid of icons.

That's just off the top of my head.

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Pirate Bay’s neo-Nazi sugar daddy files for bankruptcy

Graham Dawson
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Re: To be Far Right in Sweden...

He may well be the lovechild of engels and hitler and have genghis khan as his godfather, but that doesn't mean the label hasn't become meaningless. The "far right" label is so abused in Swedish politics these days that my cynicism meter pegs as soon as I hear it. When it can encompass everything from being an actual jew-hating neo-nazi who wants to restart the ovens to being someone who considers that perhaps the government should be a little less involved in the citizen's daily life - that is, when it can mean just about anything the speaker wants it to mean - it is, by definition, meaningless.

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Graham Dawson
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To be Far Right in Sweden...

... one merely has to express the opinion that taxes might be too high and that the government should not be in the position to seriously debate whether men should be forced to sit down while taking a piss.

This label is meaningless and is purely used to denigrate and dismiss someone Andrew Orlowski does not like.

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Governments block YouTube over that video

Graham Dawson
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Re: During the meanwhile ...

Just for that I'm going to chop your head off!

Or would you prefer cake? I have cake too.

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Opportunity finds new patch of 'berries' on Mars

Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

Re: so, in a nutshell:

These spherules aren't exclusively produced by bacteria. Other processes also create them, such as electrical discharges, meteorite impacts and simple water deposition.

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Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

Graham Dawson
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@ The Axe Re: Barrier tape?

The regs regarding electrical outlets in Zone 2 are taken directly from EU regulatory directives (in turn taken directly from some ISO agency tasked with standardising such things). Regulatory directives are not passed through member-state governments and go straight on the books without even examination by the civil service, let alone parliament. The only oversight any UK body has on them is when the IET writes them in a form suitable for inclusion in BS7671 and that won't change anything except formatting or internal references to other parts of the regs.

The regs don't ban electrical outlets from bathrooms, believe it or not. They ban mains outlets within Zones 0 and 1 and require outlets within Zone 2 to be IPX4 or better (that is, protected against splash and mechanical ingress). Outside of zone 2 you can place any number of outlets you like. It's just that most modern bathrooms don't extend much beyond the dimensions specified for zone 2 due to the recent practice of building houses so small that a hamster could feel cramped.

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