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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1511 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

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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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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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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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
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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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Graham Dawson
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You're confusing politics and policy

They're politically neutral in that they don't differentiate between their current and previous minister when it comes to implementing the policies of the Civil Service. One sap is as good as another.

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Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

Graham Dawson
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Big Brother

Easy

Driving down a clear road behind a driver who is obviously driving dangerously (swerving, randomly changing speed, possibly talking on his phone, though tending to remain under the limit - in fact remaining well below the limit, causing a hazard), they may have accelerated (after carefully checking their way was clear) to pass the driver, only to find a speed camera van lurking behind a bridge support. The safe driver making safe use of speed gets punished whilst the unsafe driver who may be under the speed limit but is obviously driving badly gets away with it because he was under the limit.

That's how careful, good drivers get points.

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Skype's mega-FAIL: exec cops to cause

Graham Dawson
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Design flaw?

Sure it's not a feature? It's very handy if you have a couple of operations that are very similar, but where one requires a little extra activity beforehand. Very, very handy. Almost like relay logic.

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US Navy's electric plane-thrower successfully launches an F-18

Graham Dawson
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Grenade

Black Buck achieved plenty

Lewis, I like you, and you often speak sense but you keep coming up with these huge clangers. Black Buck had one mission: denying the argies use of the Falkland Islands' airfields. It did that with great effect, preventing their effective use by the Argentinian Air Force and forcing them to fly from Argentina instead. Of course there was also a huge propaganda benefit from being able to claim the ability to project a bombing capability all the way down to the south atlantic but that's a side-effect.

In an ideal world our forces wouldn't have been stripped down until we only had the Harrier and strategic bombers flying from the UK, but the thing about war is that you use whatever resources are at your disposal in order to win. We did that. We won. Claiming after the fact that it was a waste of time and money, when it showed performed its objectives *and* demonstrated that there was a need for a much better equipped navy and airforce, is not a good argument if you want to re-align defence spending in a way that produces a better outcome.

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FBI 'planted backdoor' in OpenBSD

Graham Dawson
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That's not Sir Humpers!

He'd never suggest anything so aggressive and irresponsible! Why he'd simply suggest that the government could engage more closely with the open source community to reach a broad understanding of the necessitities of interaction between government agencies, the software community and individuals in order to provide a more open and direct means of intersecting the security needs of the state with the desire for individual autonomy within the confines of a multilateral framework that sets out the necessary responsibilities of all parties involved. Then the Minister would goggle and say "And that would provide us with-" and shake his hand, with the hope that this would portray that he has any idea at all what was just said, and Humpers would shake his head and say why no no no, minister, we are not proposing any such thing at all, we are merely attempting to facilitate more reliable interaction between ourselves and the general public! If it happens that a few innocent communications are temporarily misallocated before being sent to their correct destination we will of course be incredibly eager to see to it that any future miscommunication vis a vis the necessary destinations of public communications are of course communicated correctly, and we will in the fullness of time time considering all possibilities with due concern correctly communicate this correct communication to the correct communities.

He'd never suggest for one moment that they spy on people. Certainly not.

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Apple pulls jailbreak detection API

Graham Dawson
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Alert

Not illegal if you make the right claim

It's possible to remotely disable phones that have been stolen. Apple could claim that they are providing a similar technique for stolen ipoads through their own bricking mechanism. Working from that, Apple could claim that it's legal to disable phones, or any similar devices, that are used for any illegal purposes. They'd have to defend it in court at some point but there's sufficiently shaky ground around what rights a user has to their iThing to allow for the possibility that Apple might just get away with it.

There's a good reason Apple won't like jailbreaking. A jailbroken device may give them a one-time profit when the owner buys it, but if they then go on to install a bunch of apps from a secondary source they're no longer providing revenue to apple through the app store. It's basic rent-seeking really. They want to make sure you keep forking over the cash after you've bought the device.

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New NASA model: Doubled CO2 means just 1.64°C warming

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

This title is incorrect.

A testable explanation may be a model, but for that model to remain scientific it must stand up to real world observations. The models used to "prove" the hypothesis that CO2 is the primary driver of climate fail to do this: they fail to stand up to the real world. Many of them cannot hindcast with even remote accuracy. They failed to predict the current cooling trend, for instance. So they added another epicycle.

See, models are not science. Not really. The model that described the ptolemaic universe was a very good one, it could accurately predict conjunctions, star positions, eclipses and even the odd comet. A model can be right in every single way and still be fundamentally wrong.

Your quoting of the wiki description misses one key element: a hypothesis must be rejected if it fails to predict events that fall within its scope, or if real-world observation contradicts it. So far real-world observations have contradicted just about every element of the CAGW hypothesis, and the models have failed to accurately represent the world. In order to remain scientific it must be rejected, not modified ad hoc to say "ahh but then this when that", as the old model of the universe was. That may bring the model back in line with observations, but it doesn't make it correct as long as the fundamental element of the hypothesis is incorrect. Clinging to a failed hypothesis is not scientific.

Therefore the models are not science.

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Inside the Ordnance Survey's new HQ for the digital era

Graham Dawson
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Nevetheless...

I've worked in the private and public sectors and, regardless (or perhaps because) of the treasury crap and all that stuff, public sector work always seems to be filled with paradoxically work-shy paper pushers and seat warmers. I'm sure some people do a lot of work, it's just that they're carrying so many more people who are there just to fill the rolls. The only place you get that sort of behaviour in the private sector is in huge conglomorates that are closely tied to various governments and favoured for contract work. Crapita, for instance. Anyone doing any actual work finds that they have to actually work or they get fired. Unless they're management, then they get promoted and go to work for the government.

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Brussels goes in to bat for beleaguered bees

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

On previous form...

... the eventual result of all this will be a plan that's too late, too expensive and which makes the problem worse. After which they'll turn around and say that they need to solve all the problems they created, which will result in another raft of solutions that are too late, too expensive and make everything worse.

This is what politicians do. They make messes, which they then claim they have to clear up, making more messes in the process. Assuming that one lot will be better than another lot just because they wave a different flag or profess superior "fairness", or some sort of "mission", or what have you, is akin to assuming that being shot in the face by someone with a smile is better than being shot in the face by someone with a frown. You still get shot in the face.

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Selling Apples to Japan: Complicated as a Nipponese typewriter

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

Actually...

Pound weight or pound sterling? # is generally considered to be a shorthand for pounds - we use lb for a similar purpose and, believe it or not, the # actually derives from the lb symbol. So # really is a pound sign, just not the *same* pound sign.

And now I'm going to go away and see if there's some way to blame the EU for all this.

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How I saved the Macintosh

Graham Dawson
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Title blah

"As a Linux-using asexual, should I be offended or delighted by this?"

Be neither?

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EXPLODING GARBAGE TERROR hits Florida

Graham Dawson
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Nah.

They're a load of garbage these days. I hear the moderators just toss them out and refuse to have anything to do with it.

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Filthy PCs: The X-rated circus of horrors

Graham Dawson
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Some people have no choice

Building regs require no hard wood, laminate or tiled floors *at all* in modern apartments, because the impact sound of someone walking on it even barefoot is almost impossible to insulate against, which means your choice is either the horrible greasy fibre free carpets they put in the hallways, a regular carpet, or lino. I'd love laminate floors but the downstairs neighbours would have a fit and the landlord would lose his top rate certificate thingy.

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'Mad captain' sole entrant in Vodafone compo

Graham Dawson
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French bigotry?

Quebecois aren't considered "real" French by the French, hence they are prepared to declare their new world cousins persona non grata because of their outrageous accents. I'm pretty sure Voda must have cut some deal along these lines (declaring Quebec didn't exist at all was probably too much)in order to make their sale of their French assets go more smoothly. It all makes sense when you think about it.

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Pirate Bay verdict: Three operators lose appeal

Graham Dawson
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And...

The knowledge that you've managed to completely destroy any sense of justice and equality before the law in the pursuit of shoring up a failed business model: Priceless.

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Xbox modder can't claim fair use, says judge

Graham Dawson
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Problems with the arguments behind the DMCA

Intent and harm. Exercising your right to use your Xbox however you like doesn't come in the same class as shooting people for one very good reason: you don't have to negate someone else's rights in order to exercise it - well, unless you use it to beat someone to death, but that kind of proves the point, I think.

Claiming you have a right to shoot anyone you like would be classified as a positive right, in that others have to give up their rights in order for you to exercise yours. The right to own a gun for self defence is a negative right - nobody has to give up their rights for you to do that. If they're attacking you they're already infringing on your rights, and you have the right to defend those rights.

Saying you have the right to use your property as you see fit is a negative right. It doesn't take away anyone else's rights. You want to use your xbox to play illegally copied games, that's great! You can do that, as modding your xbox - which is your own property - doesn't affect anyone else's rights.

What you can't do is claim that you have a right to own those illegally copied games, as that takes away the right of the creator to decide how their stuff is distributed. The "right" to own those games is a positive right, as it requires others to give up their rights n order to accommodate your own claimed rights.

The DMCA is turning the negative right of property ownership into a positive right to interfere in the property ownership of others. It's bad law. The fact that it's law doesn't make it automatically correct and good and proper, as the law requires that the right to use your property as you see fit is reduced in order to accommodate the claimed rights of another. It's really no different from claiming the right to shoot people just because you have a gun.

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Official: Playboy back cat stashed on hard drive

Graham Dawson
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Coat

compression

Since most of the pages will be quite similar you could probably store most of the issues as diffs from some selected or patterned set of master copies. I reckon you'd get about 92% compression efficiency.

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Plasma space-drive aces efficiency numbers: Set for ISS in 2014

Graham Dawson
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*ding* You have discovered politics!

What the hell is this, Civilisation 4? I'm just waiting for a military advisor to turn up and recommend nuking everything!

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Acer replaces laptop keyboard with multi-touch LCD

Graham Dawson
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Badgers

Because they can!

And besides, this is getting closer to the form-factor I've always desired: a two-screen tablet that you can use like a book. Preferably with some future version of e-paper. Holding an open book is much more comfortable than holding a large lumpen tablet of a similar weight and dimension.

But to reiterate my original point: Because they can!

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New RAF transport plane is 'Euro-w*nking makework project'

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

Yes

In the sense that a bargain is an exchange of goods or promise between parties. A bargain may be a saving when you're happy about it, which is why we refer to an exchange that favours us as a bargain in the vernacular, but a bargain can also favour the other side. The point is that a bargain is an exchange, a deal, a contract or settlement. A bad bargain is a bad bargain, it has no good sides merely because it's called a "bargain".

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US may disable all in-car mobile phones

Graham Dawson
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Wrong!

A vehicle is not a Faraday cage. Or, more accurately, a vehicle is a faraday cage that will, nevertheless, not be able to block electromagnetic radiation at the wavelengths used by mobile phones. your idea that the car will prevent a jamming signal having an effect outside the car is very easy to disprove using this simple test.

1) Get inside your car.

2) Make a phone call.

If you can make a call then your car isn't an effective faraday cage at the wavelengths in question.

Any signal capable of blocking or intercepting your mobile phone from within the car will be powerful enough to affect phones outside the car. If it's not strong enough to transmit outside the car then it won't actually be strong enough to have any effect within the car either.

You make the mistake of assuming that limiting by law the "distractions" a driver will face will somehow reduce them. This is a false assumption. If you remove one distraction a driver will simply come up with another one. This is because the *driver* is allowing himself to be distracted. He is a bad driver. Banning his phone won't magically make him a better driver; he will still be a bad driver who will simply express that lack of ability in some other way.

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The forgotten, fat generation of Mac Portables

Graham Dawson
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Survive being handled by me, apparently.

I burned out five of the damn things the other day just by looking at them, or near enough. I had myself earthed and everything but they still went phut. Must be my magnetic personality (south pole - it repels everyone).

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'Hippy' energy kingpin's electric Noddy-car in epic FAIL

Graham Dawson
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Available?

Unless you want to have a dedicated special socket for your car this isn't exactly "available" to the average householder. The 30 amp main is usually tucked away somewhere it can't do any damage and is hard-wired into the appliances it serves. There's a good reason for this: it's bloody dangerous. Moreso than a 13 amp fused socket, which will generally blow before you do, though you'll be in a bit of a pickle afterwards. Start mucking with a 30 amp main and you're toast. Or, if you're as lucky as I am with live wires(or unlucky depending on how you look at it), you'll have a great party story. You'll also probably have a toasted car.

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Graham Dawson
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Boffin

60% lostyou mean?

Modern petrol engines typically are about 30% efficient, which isn't brilliant I'll agree, but is more efficient than the 10% you seem to think, mr AC.

A bigger problem with electric engines is that they use up a lot of energy dragging around the dead weight of the batteries. The reason petroleum products remain so popular is because, as has been pointed out numerous times before, they have the advantage of an incredible energy density, and they don't leave a huge lump of dead weight in the back of the car when they've been consumed. Batteries can't match either of these and probably never will.

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Aircraft bombs may mean end to in-flight Wi-Fi, mobile

Graham Dawson
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Oh yes, "repurposed".

Because nobody, and I mean nobody, knew that this money they gave to the Irish Realist Artists Meals for Boys fund was going to the IRA to make bombs. Oh no.

A former American friend (former for many reasons) told me that she sympathised with the IRA right after hearing about the last bombs they set in 2001, knowing that people were killed and knowing that they were intended to kill many more than they did. She is not atypical. Support for the IRA was very high amongst Irish americans, often many generations removed from the people actually living in Ireland. They supported death from a long way away without thinking about the consequences of it. And they gave money to continue it.

In fact, you are right that the government of the United Staes was not involved, but neither did it do anything to prevent the well-organised and open funding of the IRA via NORAID. There is a certain complicity involved there. NORAID provided weapons to the IRA. Weapons. That's things that make banging noises and kill people. They did it openly. They openly appealed for money to do this on US soil, under the watchful eyes of the US government.

Much as I like the United States (which puts me at odds with a lot of commenters here) I cannot accept that they didn't know this was going on. Deliberate failure to prevent when you have the knowledge and the ability is tacit approval. At least some parts of the US government approved of the IRA's actions. Not all, but some, and with enough clout to prevent action being taken to stop the continued funding of those actions. Claiming that people didn't know where the money was going and that the US didn't have any role in that, when inaction that allowed the funds to keep flowing is itself a role is, at best, disingenuous. At worst it's either near-pathological denial, or outright lies.

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Android kernel leaks like a colander

Graham Dawson
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A few libraries do not an open source OS make

Unless you can believe that iOS is run entirely by a javascript engine and make. OSX is open source, they're quite good about that. Not perfect of course, a lot of it is still closed, but th meat of it is open. iOS?

No.

What was that about getting facts straight?

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First official HTML5 tests topped by...Microsoft

Graham Dawson
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You're right!

One example negates two decades of constant corporate bullying, shoddy products, useless leaders, lies, deceit, anti-competitive behaviour and generally being shits to the world. I'll never doubt again!

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UK.gov plans net censor service

Graham Dawson
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Something contemptuous of a political figure, no doubt

See: France, laws thereof

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Frenchman cuffed for naughty lip-slip email to MEP

Graham Dawson
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Doesn't have to be.

It's a crime in France, we're both members of the EU and both signed up to the EU arrest warrant. It is conceivable that publishing comments on a website about a UK politician, which are then read in France and perceived as displaying contempt, could then be used to justify the issuing of an EU arrest order.

In the end that sort of chain of events is unlikely. However, the EU has already displayed a tendency towards attempting to repress freedom of speech when it's inconvenient. The items on free speech and freedom of thought in the Lisbon constitution-in-all-but-name are so filled with caveats and conditions as to render them completely useless if the EU decides you're going to shut up. It's not impossible to believe that they would, sooner or later, adopt an EU-wide law similar to the French law. It would be harmonisation, you see.

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Boffins mount campaign against France's official kilogramme

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

It's all about factors

The reason we use a 360 degree circle and 60 seconds in a minute are because of the factors you can get from this. A base 12 measurement system gives you more factors to work with than base ten, which gives you five, two and... ten. With base 12 you get five, two, ten, six and three, which is easy to understand when you're working with fractional mathematics. Fractions, I find, are more intuitive than decimal maths. Get a decimal point on the wrong place and you're out by an increasingly large factor. Get a fraction wrong and it's obvious immediately.

By curious coincidence the length of a yard, and a foot (and consequently an inch) can be derived using nothing more than a time standard and the motion of the stars. Despite popular belief these measurements aren't based on some sovereign's oversized foot, which is why they're remained so constant for so many thousands of years (tens of thousands if you count the megalithic yard).

This is the best page I could find describing the process:

http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/making-an-english-foot/

Now, the problem with imperial measurements isn't an inherent one: they lack standardisation, which isn't a flaw of the units but of the people using them. Many were derived from the existing basic units for use in agriculture, and others were modified to fit that use (the mile used to be 5000 feet long, the same distance as used by the Romans, but was modified under Elizabeth the first for some reason). The solution would be standardisation, which was never actually tried on anything other than an ad-hoc and contradictory basis (most of the criticism of imperial measurements is how ad-hoc they appear, which is true if you take the entire gamut of measurements grouped together under "imperial", many of which were taken from informal measures for various things but which aren't actually related to the basic units). If you go back and work from the basic measurement of the inch, foot and yard you could create a set of standard measures for weight, volume and length that would be far more versatile than base ten metric. It would be rather revolutionary.

On the other hand metric can be converted between units counting on your fingers, if you're willing to give up some flexibility and a few useful factors. It's all about what you want to do with it.

Advocacy over. :)

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Graham Dawson
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Same reason there's a 500g metric pound

Stubborn refusal to give something up. Sort of like me with feet, as you will hopefully see somewhere higher up. :D

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Graham Dawson
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Proposals

The most common comparisons seem to be a fully loaded 747 and a bag of cement. A london bus must surely be in there somewhere as well.

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Pizza Express gets iPod makeover

Graham Dawson
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I can

You go out to spend time with the people you go out with, not the entire planet. We may still be a global village (is that still the in thing?) but we're not required to give up any and every opportunity to choose how we interact with the rest of the world in the process. Sometimes it's nice to be out and still be a little separate from everyone else.

Or have you never gone for a walk in an empty park? Hidden away in a corner of a restaurant? Maybe found a little arbour where nobody else goes so you can spend some time out, but not flooded with noise from passers-by? I don't see any difference between that and this, except that this is an attempt to get bums on seats in a money-making establishment.

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