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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1444 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Solar panel selling scam shown up by sting

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

Not like trains?

You're right, aviation is not like the trains: it's run cheaply and efficiently, without any need for huge government subsidies to keep it going. And no, a low tax rate is not the same as a subsidy, before you try and make that argument: subsidy requires taking money from one entity and handing it to another. Low or zero tax means the government never gets its hands on it in the first place.

And, as explained, aviation is taxed on the demand - that is, on passengers flown. It's a sales tax rather than a resources tax, which is a much more equitable solution for all involved. If it were taxed on fuel it would simply source fuel where the tax wasn't applied. It can't source passengers were there is no tax, because there aren't any.

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Graham Dawson
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Never

They're too busy stamping on our collective heads.

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New malware ferrets out and steals Bitcoins

Graham Dawson
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Nah.

A pickpacket.

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Kindle Store awash with auto-generated crap 'books'

Graham Dawson
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Facepalm

My experience of the apple app store was no different

As they say in cliché land, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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X-51A hydrocarb scramjet flames out in second test

Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

@joey

You know how language works, right? Nouns derive rom verbs, verbs derive from nouns, both derive from everything else. It's what language does as it evolves. People coplainin about this are trying to prevent the very thing that made their language what it is in the first place.

Single example from millions: hand. It is a verb (you hand a thing to a person) derived from the noun "hand", that wiggly thing you use to type. I have to hand a handy object, which I shall hand to you using my hand. The type of type I type is typical.

In other words, shut up, you're making yourself look dumb.

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Facebook fuels Israeli cottage cheese insurgency

Graham Dawson
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Pint

Milking it for all they're worth

eof

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Android tablet

Graham Dawson
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Linux

Give it time.

Either eclipse will turn up on it, or some enterprising user will manage to hack debian onto it, at which point you'll be able to run it anyway.

Incidentally mine is working out quite nicely too. Already replaced my aged laptop, as you may have guessed. The only downside is the limited codec support, which means that I can't stream my enormous 1080p movies on it (having said that, it might also be the fact that I'm trying to stream . But that's ok, I can just use it as a gigantic upnp remote for xbmc.

ps. we meet at last!

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California set to impose 'Amazon Tax'

Graham Dawson
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Import duty would breach several constitutional restrictions

Current appearances aside, the united states is still a federation of nation-states, not a unitary state with administrative divisions. The US constitution was designed with this in mind, requiring that the states give up control of their internal borders in exchange for a federal government that would handle the external borders, common defence and a few other issues that affected the entire union.

The constitution guarantees freedom of movement without restriction by the states and also prevents one state from imposing duties, fines and tariffs on another. An "import duty" imposed by california would be a very unconstitutional thing. In effect the "use tax" is already very close to such a breach, but it avoids that by expressing as a tax on individuals within the state rather than on the economic activity of another state.

A federal sales tax would likewise breach constitutional guarantees regarding the states ability to legislate and raise their own finances. Strictly speaking even the federal income tax breaches such guarantees. Most activities by the federal government over the last 150 or so years have been unconstitutional to some degree and the issue has become less one of preventing such activity, and more of finding how far people are willing to let unconstitutional activity go.

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4G interference will knock out Freeview

Graham Dawson
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Or...

just don't watch broadcast television at all. It's all shite anyway.

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WW2 naval dazzle-camo 'could beat Taliban RPGs'

Graham Dawson
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@matt bryant

Sadly not true, by the time Bismarck was making her break for the open ocean the dazzle camo and false bow-wave had been painted over. The confusion came because Prinz Eugen and Bismark were visually very similar silhouettes, and sailing in such a way that they looked the same size from certain angles.

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Radio 4 bumped off Freeview by Gaelic TV

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

Not necessarily

Language is rather more than just a way to exchange ideas. Different languages convey ideas in different ways, which in turn forms and perpetuates radically different world views. Language is a great part of culture, both forming it and being formed by it. When a culture loses its language it will change a lot, losing itself and possibly even disappearing entirely, as cultural artefacts and ideas become less possible to express in the adopted foreign language.

A similar but less pronounced effect appears in language evolution over time. Words that meant one thing now mean a different thing but, also, ideas once held dear can no longer be expressed in any meaningful way, or take a great deal of effort to express and, consequently, become lost or changed until they're unrecognisable.

A good example is the biblical concept of "fear". A contemporary reader, steeped in modern culture, will read phrases that refer to the "fear" of god and assume it means people are meant to be in mortal terror. The word originally translated as fear would these days be translated as respect, but that doesn't quite cover the full meaning of the original hebrew.

Or take any greek text translated to English and look for the word love. You don't know whether that was agape, eros or what have you. Ancient greek has many words that are routinely translated as "love" but which mean very different things, meanings that require one or two sentences or a paragraph to explain in modern English. Cultural context is lost in translation. When a culture loses its language it has to attempt to translate its culture into the language it has adopted, a process that will strip a culture of most of its foundation or turn it into a parody of itself.

The idea of a world where everyone speaks the same language might seem appealing at first, but which language do you choose? Any language you chose will end up destroying much of the culture alien to it. Constructed languages, moreso, for the only way they can survive is by crafting a cultural context within which they can function.

A common language for commerce is useful, but we need to encourage the survival of languages in order to maintain the unique viewpoints they provide.

And I say this as someone who thinks this BBC Alba thing is a pile of patronising, politically biased trash.

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NASA restores Pluto to league of planets

Graham Dawson
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Grenade

bah!

It should never have been a planet in the first place!

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WTF is... IPv6?

Graham Dawson
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No

The last part *can be* the MAC, but it doesn't *have* to be the MAC. It can be anything you want, even randomly altered over time as described in rfc4941.

And I don't even "get" ipv6. Never understood why they couldn't make the existing IP address a subnet of a new, much larger address space.

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Ten... fantasy gadgets you wish you owned

Graham Dawson
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Both predated, of course...

... by Star Trek the animated series, which had a holodeck, and a malfunctioning one at that.

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Graham Dawson
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Familiar

Sounds like The Stars: My Destination to me.

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New top-secret stealth choppers used on bin Laden raid

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Comfy chairs?

No, but they do have...........IRAQ! *scare chord*

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Embrace chaos, beat pirates... buy my book, says Mason

Graham Dawson
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Troll

Nah.

He forgot to pick up his 3D glasses.

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US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

All of this "Oh they'll just paint it white and use mirrors!" rather misses the point...

This video was a demonstration of a very low-power laser to test the feasibility of integrating such weapons into the ship's systems. They're talking about deployment of 100kW-plus lasers. At that sort of power, your super-shiny mirror surface would melt in less time than it takes to read this sentence.

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Dutch astronaut unleashes 155 mph 'Superbus'

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Oh...

You leave her at home.

Er. Better run!

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MythBusters: Savage and Hyneman detonate truthiness

Graham Dawson
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Just...

... think how much worse it would have been without him.

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DARPA: Send limbless troops back to war with robo-arms

Graham Dawson
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Neh.

Forget the battlesuits. Put them in a spaceship and let them sing.

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Windows 7 customers hit by service pack 1 install 'fatal error' flaws

Graham Dawson
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Actually...

It was one two many lots. They couldn't get to three. See Soul Music for further proof.

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Japanese nuke meltdown may be underway

Graham Dawson
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Yes. I do feel like being smug.

You see, unlike you, I don't assume that every nuclear reactor is a giant nuclear bomb waiting to go of at the slightest gust of wind. Nor do I feel the need to use a disaster to score political points.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/77123.html

URGENT: Serious damage unlikely to reactor container: official

TOKYO, March 12, Kyodo

Japan's nuclear safety agency officials said Saturday they believe there has been no serious damage to the container of the troubled No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The officials made the comment after examining the latest radiation data monitored around the facility after an explosion in the afternoon, they said.

==Kyodo

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NASA aims for space tests of Mars-in-a-month plasma drive

Graham Dawson
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Don't be daft...

They accelerate for half the journey, coast for a day or a few hours and then decelerate for the rest.

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Spooks' secret TEMPEST-busting tech reinvented by US student

Graham Dawson
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Grenade

TV Detector vans?

"a properly-equipped van parked outside a building can snoop into electronics inside even if they make no use of wireless connections. This sort of thing is expensive and very difficult – not something that most organisations have to worry about – but serious spooks can and do carry out such operations."

Sounds like the wonderful "advanced" technology the bbc claims to use to detect license fee evaders, yet according to this, such technology is difficult to use and very expensive. So either the BBC is talking shite about its tv detector vans, of it's paying a disproportionate amount of money for them and getting very little in return. Given that they aren't paying very much money at all on "detection", then I suspect they're talking shite. Again.

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Feeling heat from Macs, Microsoft sells PCs sans crapware

Graham Dawson
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Pirate

There is.

It's called "nuke and pave".

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Microsoft 'paid Nokia $1bn' for WinPho 7 deal

Graham Dawson
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Unhappy

Eh...

I'm glad I bought my n900. It was worth it then, it's worth it now. Just a shame there's not going to be any future upgrades.

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Oracle to float cloud-ready Java EE in 2013

Graham Dawson
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Coat

And now the weather

Little sun today, with a new bank of clouds moving in from the east and a high chance of buzzword showers later. A thick layer of marketing is expected to form overnight, persisting late into the day and reducing visibility to little more than six months, so little chance of forward plans making much sense. Frequent outbursts of hot air are expected, especially around Cupertino and Mountain View in the wake of a sales high in the region. In the long term forecast, significant chilling effects expected as a front of patent lawyers is once again making its way across the atlantic.

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Chemists create current-bearing plastic

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

first major impact

2055: pacific gyre, filled with conducting plastic, becomes world's largest electrical generator.

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Microsoft bans open source license trio from WinPhone

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

So that's why my n900 is crap

OH WAIT IT ISN'T

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EU bottoms up committee slates body scanners

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

No such thing as the "dark ages"

The mythology of one-way technology transfer from the arab world to the west is just that: a myth. There was a great deal of technological and cultural exchange in both directions (though many inventions claimed as arab are actually chinese and indian) and the contemporary west was nothing like the backwards, illiterate backwater of popular myth.

What there was, however, was a certain amount of... shall we say, rent seeking? A few Arab kings sat smack on the major trade routes to the orient and India and were keen to make sure they made a nice profit, whilst expanding the borders of the islamic world. The first crusade, though it ended badly (understatement of the year I suppose), was an attempt to push back an invasion of several eastern christian kingdoms and also protect those trade routes. The later great age of exploration was an attempt to bypass the now entrenched arab and muslim rulers, who extracted a healthy profit from trade between east and west.

Point being, there was trade in both directions, and technological exchange in both directions, so please drop this whole "dark ages" rubbish. It's no less propaganda than the idea that "arabs stole everything".

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What sealed Nokia's fate?

Graham Dawson
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There's a reason for this...

In Finland, outside the door is a terrifying death by cold and ice and night, and possibly random wolves. If not that, then outside is freezing nudity and beating yourself with birch twigs in the snow before running back to the sauna for another hour. They'd much rather stay inside and have another drink. Maybe a knife fight.

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Steve Jobs unveils 30% subs model for ... everything

Graham Dawson
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Bad analogy

A newspaper stand has to compete with the big shop down the road and the newsagent across the street. They have to remain competitive by charging as low as possible whilst still retaining a profit.

You're also forgetting the major problem for publishers here: they lose a market signal. They are no longer able to accurately measure their subscription audience composition, which means their advertising revenue will be hit as they are no longer able to accurately describe the market segment they cater to and will no longer be able to adjust their content to the segments they want to cater to, which means that they'll lose market share, and hence even more revenue. They stand to lose a fortune. This is not like the news stand, which is frankly a sideshow for most publications where they make extra money on top of their subscriber base. This is apple attempting to insert itself between subscribers and the publisher in order to control the flow if information between the two.

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World shrugs as IPv4 addresses finally exhausted

Graham Dawson
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Dust bunny

Would be more appropriate, surely?

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Facebook system messages subverted by French pranksters

Graham Dawson
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Coat

my nipples explode with delight!

Right, stop that, this is far too silly!

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CodeWeavers pours Wine for the masses

Graham Dawson
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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"The problem with making Wine easier is that less technical peeps will expect their Windows applications to run without problems"

You could say the same about windows. Yes, even now, with windows 7 that nearly always "just works". Sometimes it's *only* just... :D

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Utah to honour Browning M1911 semi-automatic

Graham Dawson
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Another way to see it...

In the UK, a significant percentage of the people that own guns (as opposed to merely handling them as part of their duties) have killed someone, or fired them in anger with the intent to kill someone during a criminal act.

In the US I'd hazard that the percentage of legal gun owners who have killed or attempted to kill someone is very, very low. I'd also guess that most gun crime is committed by people who are already legally barred from owning a weapon, given the highest rates of gun death occur in Washington DC, New York State and California where the gun restrictions are toughest.

See, gun crime in the US follows that sort of pattern. Areas where guns are illegal or highly restricted tend to have the highest rates of gun crime in particular, and the highest rates of crime in general. Where the gun laws are most liberal, crime in general falls dramatically.

This image of the US as a place filled with gun-toting nutcases is largely a creation of the media, which wants to sell stuff and trades on stereotype in order to do so. It's no more fair than their image of us as a land of fruity, plummy toffs in bowler hats and three-piece suits sipping tea and eating crumpets with the vicar in a country cottage whilst cockneys dance and sing about chimneys on the roof.

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Rescue mission begins for Hitchhiker's Real Guide

Graham Dawson
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Coat

They could sell it...

... or they could just replace it with a single page about the whole of earth.

"Mostly Harmless."

<-- The one with the towel...

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O2 to fling out free Wi-Fi for all

Graham Dawson
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@AnotherNetNarcissist

Wrong way round. Register with the phone, edit your computer's mac to be the same as the phone. Free laptop wifi. Genius!

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Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say

Graham Dawson
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A leap

The bit where you jumped from personal photodocumentation to kidnapping sort of proves that the law is dumb. Kidnapping and rape, and the documenting of said acts, are already illegal.

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Aussies demand Poms cough up first 'Australia' map

Graham Dawson
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unlikely

It has a habit of killing any man that wears it. I doubt they want it back.

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FAA to pilots: Expect 'unreliable or unavailable' GPS signals

Graham Dawson
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Nothing federal about the EU though

Well, I admit I wasn't actually alive when the treaty of rome was signed so I suppose I wasn't promised anything at all. You're right that eery treaty signed since then has contained the phrase "ever closer union" but still, the talk by our pols and the media until maastricht was that the EEC was nothing more than a free trade zone and that there was nothing to worry about. The dishonesty of the promoters and founders of this union that galls me. Perhaps they were more honest about it on the continent (thought the fact that they rarely gave the people an actual choice on the matter makes me wonder) but, certainly here, we were always told that it was just a free trade area, just a convenience, just a group of pals chumming it up and that we'd never sacrifice our own national sovereignty for some "federal superstate" and that we'd always be a free and independent nation. The reality is somewhat different. Perhaps I should just accept that politicians lie, but the fact remains that they felt they had to lie in order to get us to accept membership of the EEC, and continued to lie in order to convince us to accept continuing membership of the union.

Of course, you aren't going to get a federal union after all. The end goal of the EU's "ever closer union" is a unitary state with all power concentrated at the centre. That's about as opposite a federal arrangement as you can get. A federal arrangement would leave most legislative power in the hands of the member states, whereas the reality is that most legislative power is now in the hands of the Council and the Commission.

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Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

Oh, it does.

The Chinese and the Russians already have their own GPS constellations - the russians have had theirs up for decades and the chinese are putting theirs up right now with a promise that it'll be free to use, so you're hardly limited to the US system. Why does the EU need one too? As far as I can tell it's just a big dick-waving "me too" effort, which is a label that could be applied to most of what the EU does these days. And to think we were originally promised nothing more than a free trade area...

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Bot attacks Linux and Mac but can't lock down its booty

Graham Dawson
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@YARR

Easy - they're stupid. No quibbling, banking corporations are thick as custard. You only have to look around the world today to see just how stupid banks can be.

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New Taser made to take down angry bears, moose

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Defending a tesco meal from a bear?

If a bear can afford the air fare to come over and harass you for your tesco meal then it probably has its own taser too.

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Ubuntu - yes, Ubuntu - poised for mobile melee

Graham Dawson
Silver badge
Boffin

too cheap...

The actaul phrase was "too cheap to meter", implying that it would be produced so cheaply and in such quantity that there would be no need to charge by the minute or hour and that metering would be replaced with a flat monthly rate.

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California's green-leccy price system will stifle plug-in cars

Graham Dawson
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Yes

They have to maintain a flow of water through the dam, so the reasoning is that they may as well produce baseload power with it instead of just letting it run down an open sluice.

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Harder to read = easier to recall

Graham Dawson
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I don't know where they get that idea...

Being dyslexic myself I find it much easier to read seriffed fonts than the sans crap that is Arial.

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Google axes Jobsian codec in name of 'open'

Graham Dawson
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Because HTML 5 is all about video

Get a grip!

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Civil servants touted ID cards to friends, family as flop loomed

Graham Dawson
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Humpey wouldn't put it like that.

Ahem.

Dear friends and relatives,

I am writing to you today to inform you of a necessary but regrettable action required to implement a reversal of an unforeseen oversight in the implementation of our government's policy on the Identity Card System. I am sure that you are well aware of the government's policy on the implementation of policies that have been improperly implemented, and I wish to assure the minister that his implementation of the policy implementation policy is being correctly managed and implemented, as per the policy on implementation. To this end it seems necessary that a policy of adopting informal non-standard implementation of this policy would be necessitated by this completely and totally regrettable non-implementation of the implementation policy so that this policy can be implemented as soon as is practically possible. To that end further it seems necessary that many of you may feel the need to support our minister by informally implementing a policy of informal implementation forthwith, towards said goal of implementing the informal and formal implementations of his policy by presenting yourself informally for a formal implementation of the informal policy at a convenient formal venue.

Informally yours,

Sir Humphrey Appleby pp The Minster for Administrative Affairs (and the Arts)

... or something like that.

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