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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1526 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Dutch astronaut unleashes 155 mph 'Superbus'

Graham Dawson
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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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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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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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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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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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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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