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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1446 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Stonehenge WASN'T built by ALIENS - Boffins' shock claim

Graham Dawson
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Re: Not calculate!!!

Tom, we can guess at its significance from surviving religious behaviours. In Europe, especially northern and western Europe, a great deal of effort (and food) was expended around the winter solstice and a great many rituals evolved around the idea of bringing back the sun and the fear that it would go away forever. It was considered to be the most dangerous and magical time of year, with the nights growing longer and the days growing shorter, darkness and death and emptiness covering the land. Winter was always thought to be the time of year when the world might end.

So fine, measurement rather than calculation but the reasons for it don't change: they wanted to know when the sun was going to come back.

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Graham Dawson
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I was always under the impression that it was designed to calculate the winter solstice so they could know when the new year started. And also impress the plebian mass with their magical sacrifices that bring back the sun.

In fact a google search for the paper involved says that, yes, it was designed to mark the winter solstice, not the summer solstice. ALl those hippies turning up in the middle of summer have it completely wrong: they should be dancing around in the nudd in the middle of a snowfield. It'd definitely separate the posers from the genuine believers...

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No one watches TV, Nielsen, and you know it

Graham Dawson
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@ A J Stiles Re: sheilas wheels

I hang my head in shame sir.

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Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

Re: sheilas wheels

Adverts aren't technically any louder than television programmes, they just appear subjectively louder for a couple of reasons: the audio is compressed and everything is pumped up to near the peak. In a TV show you get a varied audio from very quiet to very loud, for a lot of reasons: they want you to hear the actors talking, they want to draw yor attention to particular sounds over a quiet background, and they don't want to piss you off and wear you out. Adverts on the other hand want to GRAB YOU AND SHAKE YOU LIKE A RAG DOLL so they compress and maintain a constant volume, exploiting a few quirks of how the brain processes sound to draw your attention. They don't want to hold it for long, just long enough to insert a message.

In addition, the use of constant volume and relatively high frequency sound effectively overloads the brain and places it in a highly receptive state; the sheer amount of information presented by a full spectrum of sound at the same volume forces your brain to stop trying to pick and choose what to process and just take it all in.

As far as I can tell (and this isn't backed by any studies, it's just me yammering at this point) the effect creates a condition very similar to that of a mild autism spectrum disorder. Most of these disorders affect the way information is filtered and processed by the brain, usually preventing effective filtering and prioritising, with one of the side effects being form of pronoia (or anti-paranoia perhaps), being unable to understand lies and implicitly trusting everything someone says as authoritative# simply because they said it. People with higher functioning autism spectrum disorders develop coping mechanisms that allow them to understand when something isn't true, or at least put it aside until they can find out, and also allow them to filter out unwanted simuli. We who are not "blessed" with this ability are turned into absolutely trusting innocents for just a few moments when an advert blasts at us. Just long enough for the message to start worming its way in.

They're a very primitive and ineffectual version of snowcrash. But they aren't any louder.

Also, volume isn't measured in parts per million. :)

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Product placement

The classic I always remember is that scene from The Matrix with a... Motorola was it? Floating serenely in the breeze right in front of the camera for nearly 15 seconds before suddenly whipping away into the distance. Similarly in the H2G2 film with that Nokia buzzing away in space right before Journey of the Sorcerer began to play.

There's product placement, and then there's that. You have to laugh...

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Vatican subtly shifts its position on The Blues Brothers

Graham Dawson
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Re: Reconsidering

And that changes what, precisely? He's still choosing his tastes based on whether or not somebody or some body of people to whom he is negatively predisposed are expressing a positive opinion about it. It would be like me deciding that I didn't like Star Trek because the current Russian president penned a positive review, or declaring I no longer thought positively about Blade Runner because Tony Blair liked it.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Bring on the Babel fish

I'd say it was written by someone who is more used to Latin grammar than English. It's an unusual construction but it does make perfect sense.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Reconsidering

So you're willing to stop liking a good film simply because someone you don't like thinks it's a good film? There's a term for that. Tip of my tongue... oh... ah yes.

"Fuckwit". Seems to cover it quite nicely really.

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CIOs should fear the IP police ... have your get-out-of-jail files ready

Graham Dawson
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Re: never have copyright transfer

Die-hard randians and objectivists tend toward the idea that copyright terms should either not exist or be very short - they're a creation of the state and a state-sponsored monopoly, which runs counter to the objectivist and more generally libertarian ideal of the smallest possible state with the fewest possible laws. They prefer to handle things with contract law rather than issue-based legislation as contract law is more consensus-based and handled through arbitration, whilst legislation is often the result of someone trying to inflect their personal opinions on everyone else. Very different fields of endeavour.

Of course there are always crazies. However I think it's safe to say that, if you meet someone who calls himself an objectivist but insists that the government MUST DO SOMETHING, they're probably not very familiar with the ideas they claim to espouse. And also likely to be no true scotsman. :D

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So you wanna be a Wall Street techie? Or anyway, get paid a lot

Graham Dawson
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@sir runcible

I guess Microsoft didn't learn much from their own interview questions then, considering the hole of their own making they're rapidly falling into.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Impossible to answer interview questions

The answer is actually quite simple: None.

At least there's never one around when you need one...

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Mad Apple patent: Cloneware to convince trackers you don't like porn

Graham Dawson
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Re: I suspect...

Wouldn't that mean you're one too?

And me?

<-- The one identical to the one next to it please...

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Americans stand against UN internet-tax plan

Graham Dawson
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Re: @Anon

Maybe you've heard of these things called DVDs?

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Graham Dawson
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@Anon

Or we get Stargate SG1, The Venture Brothers, Game of Thrones, Futurama, Deadwood, The Wire, Sharpe, The Sopranos, House, Farscape, Firefly... the list goes on and on and on and on. What has the BBC produced in the last decade that could match that? Dr Who. Maybe a couple of documentaries, a "world class" news service that can't even get basic facts about even close European neighbours like Norway and Sweden right and then scads of mindless shite trying to compete with ITV.

Face it, your argument is lame. Other companies produce far better television for far less cost with the added benefit that I don't have to pay for them if I don't want to watch them.

And no, people "like me" haven't been whining about the BBC doing everything in house. My argument has always been that the BBC's funding is simply immoral and has always been used to fund the lavish lifestyles of a self-selected group of wannabe-kingmakers with delusions of grandeur and a belief that they're the only ones who know how the world should be run. In-house or external production doesn't change that; the fact that it's using a government-mandated levy extracted by threat of force to fund private companies is merely the latest layer of icing on the cake.

I don't watch television. To do so would require me to pay the wages of people I am fundamentally in disagreement with and I'm not prepared to do that.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Yes lets kill the BBC

Except that argument isn't valid any more. The BBC produces nothing that isn't either matched or beaten by other broadcasters world-wide. In fact most of the BBC's content is produced by external production companies - it makes very little in-house, most of which is useless tat, and most of what it broadcasts is produced with an eye on foreign markets, which is why the BBC has such long idents. They're filling the time that would be taken with adverts. Even its vaunted nature documentaries and big-name dramas are produced by third-parties and aimed at the international market first and foremost.

The license fee is only used to pay over the odds for slebs and wannabe opinion-makers, and the layers and layers of managers that infest broadcasting house. It is a regressive anachronism that forces people to pay for a service they don't even use.

If Microsoft extracted a tax for every computer that was sold you would be up in arms but when another greedy, overbearing corporation with delusions of superiority does it you're just fine with it.

OH WAIT!

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Average selling price of tablets drops 21% in three months

Graham Dawson
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Re: Boy's Toys

I call my tf101 a toy. But then I call my main computer a box and my graphics tablet a cat bed, so... yeah.

I don't get the whole problem with grown men having "toys". To assume that adults can never have anything to enjoy is a very childish way to view the world. To be an adult means knowing when you can let go and simply enjoy life - and play with your toys.

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Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it

Graham Dawson
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Holmes

Re: When does thing launch again?

You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been further even more decided to use even go need to do look more as anyone can. Can you really be far even as decided half as much to use go wish for that? My guess is that when one really been far even as decided once to use even go want, it is then that he has really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like. It’s just common sense.

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O2, Be Broadband axe Pirate Bay access

Graham Dawson
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Re: oh noooooo

It isn't their money being wasted and they get paid for the time spent. No incentive to be smart about it.

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We'll pull the plug on info-leak smart meters, warns UK.gov

Graham Dawson
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Re: Case hasn't been made

Oh yes it has. The case is simple: "Shut up or we'll raise your bills and taxes again."

And then they do it anyway.

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Dual-screen, detachable and Windows 8 star at Computex

Graham Dawson
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And still no word on the UK release of the padfone. Come on, Asus, hurry up!

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Techies beg world to join the 1% on IPv6 launch day

Graham Dawson
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They get millions of IP addresses each, I'm stuck sharing with hundreds of other people on a rotating basis because there aren't enough left to go around. I am the 99%.

... right?

Oh. Never mind then.

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Earth bathed in high-energy radiation from colossal mystery blast

Graham Dawson
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Re: I wonder what they saw that they interpreted as a "red crucifix"

A "red crucifix" and "wonderful serpents" are both very good descriptions of highly active Aurora Borealis, which form all sorts of marvellous shapes. If they're strong enough you'll begin to see coherent plasma formations taking on the form of pillars, crosses, humanoid figures, chalices and all sorts of fancy things. Serpents, which were traditionally sinuous, flying creatures and not necessarily snakes, would be fairly run of the mill.

A large CME impacting earth would generate very strong, very southerly aurora.

Additional evidence: the magnetic north pole was much closer to Europe in the 700s and 800s AD (it's moved quite a bit since then) which means that aurora would be more southerly in Europe to begin with, which would explain the serpents - bright glowing, snaking shapes in the sky would be seen as serpents and the flying, dragon-like "worm" and might even have been related back to the norse mythology of Jormungand.

So the question becomes, was that CME powerful enough to generate more coherent shapes? If it were at the level of the Carrington Event (look it up) then it could well have been responsible for both the sky sightings and the C14 increase.

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Flexible Willow glass displays thin and curvy gadget future

Graham Dawson
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Facepalm

"Add slimness".

Are they going to simplificate and add more lightness too?

yeesh. :)

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My part in the GREATEST IPO SUCCESS of ALL TIME

Graham Dawson
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Re: It's Verity Stob

You mean placing it in Bootnotes, the way it was written, the location of his VC company and the obviously implausible content of the article itself wasn't enough for you?

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Firm applies for .sucks domain

Graham Dawson
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If this goes through, who's going to register really.sucks and sell subdomains?

This whole tld thing is starting to sound like usenet... how long before we see the domain will.wheaton.really.really.sucks? (this is an example, I actually think Will Wheaton is a pretty cool guy).

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SpaceX signs deal to put its giant rocket to good use

Graham Dawson
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Re: Large loads to GEO

A space-station or three up there would be fantastic.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Vandenberg?

Well, it's possible to do a 270-something degree plane change and get your satellite orbiting in the right direction before you boost it up, it just takes a lot of fuel, like I said.

Bubba is disappointed that he can't make an enormous bbq out of that rocket stage.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Vandenberg?

You can launch to GEO from vandenberg, it just requires a lot more fuel for all changes you'll be making to your orbital plane before you get there. If fuel were no object then you could launch to geo from the north pole, and I'm sure they'll start doing that once they've invented a Fuel Tank of Holding.

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I need to multitask, but Windows 8's Metro won't let me

Graham Dawson
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Re: "Er, Microsoft? Multi = more than 2"

I thought it was one two many lots.

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Final countdown for NASA's NuSTAR X-ray black hole telescope

Graham Dawson
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Italy has a space agency?

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Agriboffins' site downed by DDoS after GM protest

Graham Dawson
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Is it just me, or are Anon becoming the al qaida of "hacking" these days? For every new ddos or password pile leak in the news, you get some nefarioius new group who claims or is rumoured to be linked to them. It's getting silly.

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People-powered Olympic shopping mall: A sign of utter tech illiteracy

Graham Dawson
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Re: Crichton

Does it involve night arrows?

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Passwords are for AES-holes

Graham Dawson
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Re: I don't hate my users

Given the way you post here it wouldn't surprise me if you frog-marched them all into a small concrete room and screamed at them for an hour about your new security policy before sending them off to the daily waterboarding session.

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Graham Dawson
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@Ken Hagan Re: If that's so, then why

I didn't see your post before, the righteous fury was clouding my eyes. :)

You're right, I guess I was probably overstating the password thing. Claiming X is the single biggest vector is a silly thing to do and I'll try not to do it in future. It's still an issue though, not just in office environments, but anywhere people use complex and hard to memorise passwords.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: If that's so, then why

If by saying I wasn't up to the job you mean I wasn't complete up my own arse then, yes, you're right. I lacked sufficient rectocranial insertion to survive the world of software development.

No, I wrote good code. It works, does its job and is secure. I was not the best but I was good. I left because a) people like you kept telling me how to do things despite their claimed solutions being obviously stupid and broken and b) I get better money making holes in peoples walls and filling them with copper, with the added bonus of setting my own hours and not having to deal with (a) at all.

My assertions are no more beardless than yours: you may believe that your complete knowledge of your own experience makes your claims superior to my own but that simply demonstrates further your apparent inability to understand that other people disagree with you for reasons other than being stupid lusers and XKCD fans. In fact you may be surprised to learn that there are people who have had far more experience of this than you. You're arguing with some of them right now and making yourself look like an arrogant cock in the process.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: If that's so, then why

"you mean you guys actually let random people on the Internet sit there and beat on your login prompts with brute-force attempts?"

Well if anyone had actually said that you might have a point.

Again you're assuming you know everything.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: If that's so, then why

So we reach the crux of it, which is that you just don't like anything that refers to XKCD and your'e so determined to hate everything related to Randall Munroe's "opus" that you reject, out of hand, eminently sensible and workable solutions to the whole password problem with the same elitist bullshitting attitude you always seem to have on these forums.

Now here's the affix: I don't work in anything directly related to IT these days. I got out of it, in part, because of people like you throwing your not inconsiderable weight around every chance you got, insulting everyone who wasn't uyou as "luser" waste of space morons who obviously have to be nannied through everything - even when it wasn't true. In fact especially when it wasn't true. You are an arrogant little blowhard who has a little bit of power over his domain (oh ho ho) and refuses to accept that maybe, just maybe you might be wrong sometimes.

What's the biggest single security hole passwords have these days? People writing them down. Why do they write them down? Because they can't remember them. What do we want people to do with their passwords? Remember them and not write them down. On that score alone the regular language phrase is superior to the cryptic nonsense string of characters. People are able to remember phrases because they are semantic. They contain meaning, and meaning is the glue that makes memory stick.

And in terms of entropy it's a winner again. An 8 character password is easier to brute-force than a 32 character one no matter what characters it's made up from. There is no difference between the strings abababab and nGl04$sh when you are brute-forcing and if you have access to hash tables there's no amount of security that can keep you out over even a short period.

So it comes back to blocking that one major hole: the user. Your solution ensures that there will always be a human-readable copy of some large portion of your userbase's passwords available on handy little pieces of paper. The regular language solution provides a way to close that hole.

So as far as I can tell the only reason you have for rejecting it is that you didn't come up with the idea and Monroe did. Which says plenty about you and little about the idea itself.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: In fact it is not

Okay, so how do they enter their strong password made up of numbers and letters and a limit set of non-alphanumeric characters in a field with masked input without typos?

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Steve Jobs' death clears way for vibrating Apple tool

Graham Dawson
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Re: Deja vu from recent Reg headlines

Or parodying people who say Jobs was in the way.

Or both.

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Crazy Texans dunk servers in DEEP FRYERS

Graham Dawson
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Mineral oil has a flash point of 170°C and a boiling point of, I think, 310°C. It will burn, but by the time it starts burning the rest of your data centre is already so far gone that a regular air-cooled system would have been reduced to twisted metal and ash. In fact it may well preserve your hardware against fire and subsequent water damage.

Possibly.

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Review: Raspberry Pi

Graham Dawson
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Thumb Up

Re: Desktop performance is not surprising

Thanks!

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Desktop performance is not surprising

What tablet would this be? Sounds like an ideal candidate for a project I've been pondering.

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IP law probe MPs hunt for smoking gun, find plenty of smoke

Graham Dawson
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Re: Deja Vu

You're mixing up positive and negative rights. Negative rights are rights that exist regardless of regulation (and are usually curtailed by it). They are everything that require no other person to be deprived in order to exist, such as the right to own property (the actual ownership of property is a separate issue) and the right to free speech. Nobody has to be prevented from speaking to allow me to speak, for instance. They require no action to exist and require a negative action - an action against them - to be curtailed.

Positive rights require one party to be deprived in some way in order for another party to enjoy a "right" such as the right to not be offended that is the essence of all hate speech legislation, or the right to force others to provide access to their property regardless of their opinion about what you want to do with it. Those rights must be created by regulation, otherwise they wouldn't exist - they require "positive action" to exist in the first place.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Would be a different story if copyright/IPO had been respected.

Quite right. Unfortunately, all the re-writes proposed to date seem to respect only the bank accounts of the big distributor-middlemen and what might be termed professional rights-holders, organisations that create no wealth and serve only to redistribute what already exists.

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Smoke-belching flash drive self-destructs on command

Graham Dawson
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Re: Remember this is not intended for Joe Bloggs users.

@AC

I don't know about UK procedures but I'm given to understand that the US armed forces employ a three-part procedure to destroy their data. First they format the drives, then they cut the drives into pieces with an industrial cutter, then they pile them up with a few cases of thermite and throw a match. You know, just in case.

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Txt-speak is a sign of humanity 4 U

Graham Dawson
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Re: As a recent member of this "yoof"...

No, but they may have 200+ friends and acquaintances. Notice there was no specification of how many of the 200 fell into each category.

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Facebook's Eduardo Saverin: I'm not a tax-dodger

Graham Dawson
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Re: Insult to middle class Americans?

On the other hand, what gives the US government the right to tax people who have specifically renounced US citizenship? They would be taxing foreign nationals at that point, something that most countries consider to be a bit beyond the pale.

They're trying to tax him on income that he hasn't earned yet. If he earns that income after renouncing his citizenship they have no right to tax it, just as he has no right to avail himself of the facilities the US government provides to its citizens. Quid pro quo and all that.

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Council fined £70k after burglars nick vulnerable kids' files

Graham Dawson
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Re: Barnet Council

It works because the people at the top, who should be making sure that these "mistakes" don't happen through appropriate leadership and management, are completely isolated from any consequences. If the people at the top - particularly the chief execs - feel the pain caused by the inefficiencies and lack of competence of their employees they will make damn sure that they start doing their job properly.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Barnet Council

These "punishments" won't have any effect until they start docking the wages of councillors and Chief Execs to pay them.

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Steve Jobs' death clears way for rumoured 4in 'iPhone 5' screen

Graham Dawson
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Re: Big screens

My brother (sa hi david!) has a note. I mentioned the idea that it might look silly to answer such a large phone and he sort of stared at me for a bit, like he didn't quite understand what I had said, then said something like "who gives a crap?" And I can see his point: if you buy a phone purely based on how you think it will affect other people's perceptions of you then perhaps you are not making the most rational of decisions to begin with.

Having said that, I am quite keen on getting the padfone just so I can answer calls with that stylus. I want to see how people react to me talking to a pen.

Rational? Me? :D

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