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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1511 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

HP whips out iPad challenger Windows 7 fondle-slab

Graham Dawson
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In theory...

Tablets offer the possibility of a fully configurable user interface that allows the elimination of a keyboard when you don't need it and the possibility of a much larger interface for a given weight. In theory, that makes then superior to the current way of doing things, where a large part of your hardware footprint is taken up by permanent buttons. In practice it means that you lose most of the functionality of the keyboard and don't get an adequate replacement for it.

The problem, of course, is that tablets are not pushing the user interface far enough away from traditional computer interfaces. Apple did manage to hit on a fairly decent solution with their iPoke but it still has the problem that I always face with these sorts of devices: tactile feedback. When I press a button I want to feel it, even if all I'm feeling is a little bit of vibration to know that the button has actually been activated. Even my n900 doesn't get that right (it vibrates every time you touch the screen, which isn't what I was after), but at least I get an actual keyboard for typing with. It seems ludicrous that we're creating devices for possibly the most sensitive part of the human body (yes, more sensitive than that other bit) and not attempting to take advantage of the huge amount of feedback possible there. Instead we just offer a blank slate and maybe make a clicking noise. It's a complete waste.

But in theory it's great. :)

Ideally some sort of system of creating raised areas where the buttons or other features appear would provide a solution, if they could also be depressed, and if they could then only function if they were pressed properly instead of poked accidentally. It's a nice dream but I don't think we'll be seeing that just yet.

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European Parliament: If you don't pay, you will pay

Graham Dawson
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Identify with that lot?

Hardly. They represent me not one bit.

However yes, it is our sovereignty as a nation that is being reduced by transfer to a foreign government. This is not a contradiction. Sovereignty is a zero-sum game; either you have it or you do not. When it's transferred, one party loses and another gains. The fact that some of this foreign government's actions appear at first glance to benefit us as individuals doesn't mean much when the majority of its actions cost us both individually and as a collective. And yes, the same could be said of our own numpties but we can change our numpties, engage in the bloodless revolution of an election and have a new set of numpties who might be more tractable. We still have the right to do that, but those numpties we choose no longer have the power to do much because so much of that power - our authority, that they mere wield on our behalf - was handed over to a foreign government that we did not choose to represent us, and over which we have no control. That is a reduction of *personal* sovereignty.

We can't change the numpties higher up the food chain - they are immune from our collective will. And the EU, because it is immune from our will, is used by our own numpties as a means to bypass that same will in cases where it cannot convince us to go along with it, through quiet words with the ministers of other countries, reaching a consensus amongst themselves about the way to go, without ever consulting the people they claim to represent and always acting to further their own interests at our expense.

You seem to think that my argument is in favour of our lot against that lot, when it's neither. I'm against both, because they are all in it together when it's all said and done, regardless of the colour tie they have or what accent they speak with. They don't act for us, they don't represent us, they do not do a damn thing to benefit us except by accident.

You think this directive favours the little guy? It just gives multinationals another stick to beat SMEs and sole traders with, because a multinational can absorb the costs of non-compliance with the law (which carries no criminal penalty), whilst an SME can't afford to bring them to justice, and an SME can't afford to fend off a multinational bringing the full weight of this new law against it. The same as with every regulation, it favours the large over the small. Any benefit we as individuals might glean from this is mere accident.

(And yes, I do like saying numptie. Can you tell?)

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Graham Dawson
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From the 1st of November

This for of EU directive still has to be transferred into national law by national legislatures before it becomes law within member states. Until then, no, and it is likely that a lot of companies are attempting to re-arrange contracts in order to get one final run of long payment terms before the date comes up.

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Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

EU-sceptic actually.

I quite like Europe. The EU is not Europe. I have also never exclaimed "save the British X" about anything because that's a distraction from the central issue of the reduction of the national right to self-determination.

So, let me explain this in simple terms. Sovereignty means having the ability to set your own laws, customs, and policies, raises taxes and interact with the world as you see fit. Under the EU's principle of subsidiarity, now that the EU has legislated in this particular area of law (contract law) we no longer have the right to initiate our own legislation in that same area. In other words, we are no longer sovereign in that area. That is what the sovereignty argument comes down to; we no longer have the right, under the rule of the EU, to set policy and make law on this subject, and consequently we are no longer sovereign in that subject.

If you think that's fine then great but, nevertheless, our sovereignty has been reduced by the actions of the EU. In fact now, under the lisbon treaty, we have none. The ultimate definition of sovereignty is the ability to set foreign policy, which we no longer have - that role is now taken by the EU. Without that ability we are not a nation-state, just as Wales and Scotland are not sovereign states but merely substates or administrative states within the United Kingdom.

Was that easy enough to understand? Again, if you think this is fine and like this idea then you are more than welcome to carry on thinking that. It is still a marginally free country (despite the efforts of Brown and Blair) but I feel it would be more intellectually honest to say that you agree with this idea of transferring sovereignty to the EU than trying to pretend it isn't happening, because it is happening.

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Jobs dubs Google's 'open' Android speak 'disingenuous'

Graham Dawson
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Ahem.

"please note the spelling; after all, you're the one claiming to be an expert"

I make it a point to never claim to be an expert.

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Graham Dawson
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hmmm...

I hate to nitpick but in actual fact English is a Germanic language. The Latin bits came to us via French, but the grammar, syntax and general wibbly bits are german. We really speak a fresian in french knickers (but, to be accurate, fresian is a language that descended from the same parent as english, which makes them distant cousins rather than direct descendant/ancestor).

Latin is a dead language. It isn't "spoken" anywhere outside high catholic mass and educational institutions. Its descendants are not Latin, though they share some features of it, just as I am not my grandfather, and just as latin is not proto-indo-european.

Still, a better comparison for the op to make would have been English or Spanish vs French. the former are loose, widely spread and "fragmented" but still work together and are spoken by a significant majority of the world population. The latter was once the language of diplomacy and art, but fell out of favour in part because someone wanted to peeserve the "purity" of the language.

posted from my n900. i suspect it is fresian to android's english...

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Cameron cocks up UK's defences - and betrays Afghan troops

Graham Dawson
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What a novel idea!

Not reading things I don't agree with. I must try that sometime...

Actually, no, that would be silly. Better to read and attempt to understand rather than complaining about it, n'est pas? I mean, if we never tried to understand opposing points of view we'd be in a pretty sorry state. Wars, fundamentalism, appeals to authority and insults flung at opponents would be the norm. It would be a nightmare.

I'd like to wake up now...

Please?

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Graham Dawson
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Lewis is a leftie?

Regardless of his political preferences, he's right. The cited projects were started under the Tories, but that doesn't absolve Labour of anything they did, it merely places the responsibility where it belongs.

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Graham Dawson
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Big Blue Elephant

Withhold payments to the EU until

a) we have cleared our own national deficit and

b) they stop increasing the EU budget in the middle of a recession

All that money we give to the EU each year would clear our budget problems in next to no time. Combine it with a marginal cut to the NHS, say 2% (you'd probably get a decent reduction in spending if you fire a few thousand middle managers and hire the same number of nurses) and we could be running a surplus in a few years.

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HP snaps up Meego boss

Graham Dawson
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Badgers

Of course...

It could be said that Ari Jaaksi is the reason Meego has been such a duff plum and that his "personal reasons" for leaving were actually "jump before you're pushed".

It's all a matter of perspective. :)

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The great Aussie firewall is back - and this time it's personal

Graham Dawson
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And workable ones?

Yes, they do exist! Personally I choose to not make use of a wide variety of things because I have a moral objection to them. That's my own very workable moral crusade. I do wish more people were like me, but when I try and explain why I personally don't like something I get accused of being out to ban it, which is silly, and prevents others from hearing what I have to say.

That being: don't be silly. It's a personal choice, and we should all make personal choices instead of encouraging our "leaders" to believe that they have the authority to ban stuff.

The mistake people make when they hear something like this firewall plan is to automatically assume it's those damn christians behind it (yes this is the point I was coming to) when most christians couldn't give a tinker's cuss what you're doing on the internet. The urge to ban things isn't a uniquely religious one and, over the course of history, has been practised equally by every sort of religious and political movement - especially those with a more authoritarian bent. That the current Australian PM wants to ban things isn't a sign of nascent christianism, but simply a revelation of the fact that she's a control freak who would rather dispense with anything that gets in the way of her own personal vision of how the world works. In fact I'd go as far as to say her attitude and vision is anti-christian, given that banning is judgement, and we are commanded "judge not lest ye be judged" and told that we should take care of the huge dirty great lump of our own spiritual and moral failings before trying to involve ourselves in the speck of dust that is someone else's "immoral behaviour".

What I'm trying to say is, she's being silly.

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Dead baby taunting troll feels wrath of law

Graham Dawson
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Grenade

eh?

What country do you live in, where this mythical policing of public places actually takes place? the only time I see a copper is when there's a chance to hand out a speeding ticket, bang someone up for eyeballing an officer, or count coup on the arrest of some kid for playing football with intent to enjoy.

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Apple to lead fanbois 'Back to the Mac'

Graham Dawson
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Thumb Up

In fact, forget the computer!

Ahh, forget the whole thing...

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Google shocks world with unthreaded Gmail

Graham Dawson
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Troll

(no subject)

I hate that it's not technically an option here.

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Las Vegas death ray roasts hotel guests

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

icarus what?

you mean the plot they ripped off from diamons are forever? complete with identical sateellite design? there's a reason they dumped that director and rebooted the series after that abortion of a film.

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Battle of the US super-soldier robot suits hots up with XOS 2.0

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

Actually...

You'd be surprised how hard it is to set fire to petrol, and especially diesel. Shoot a car in the petrol tank and it makes a hole, hollywood explosions notwithstanding. Shoot a l-ion battery and it is almost guaranteed to go bang. That's the difference.

Petrol is volatile when it's in a gaseous form, but in a liquid form it's relatively non-volatile. That's one of the reasons it's so great as a fuel, as it can be stored in a relatively safe form that has a very high energy density. As long as the future exoskeleton has a nice high impact non-metallic tank to sore the fuel in it'll be safer than lugging around a pack of batteries that have a not insignificant chance of spontaneously exploding.

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Moses' parting of the Red Sea: New sim explains whole thing

Graham Dawson
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Boffin

To the wiki!

Roger, though I'm sure relying in wikipedia is seen in the same vein as having a faith around here, I did check before I posted. 65 mph is within the range of a category 1 hurricane for the north atlantic according to the wiki page on the subject. Now maybe they got the table wrong but, nevertheless, "only" 65mph (or 63 - me make typo) is more than a "stiff breeze". It's the sort of wind that pulls trees out of the ground. You'd have trouble walking down the road in it, never mind across a recently exposed mudpit in a river delta, carrying all your wordly posessions while egyptians on chariots chase you.

And @ac: no, don't be silly. If science could prove a biblical account christians the world over would rejoice in it and call it a new era of understanding as two factions finally find common ground.

Actually science and faith don't have to be opposed to each other. All the greatest scientists of the past were deists at the very least, an usually quite prominent in their particular faith and it's only the whole evolution thing that has really created a problem - but that's due to a historical fluke, of certain people in the generation prior to Darwin time seeing what was then the nascent theory of evolution as a means to abolish all sorts of established social mores, not just limited to faith. Darwin, a christian himself when he began writing the Origin of the Species, was shocked at the ferocity of the rejection of his ideas by the church and gave up his faith, but that rejection came because the church couldn't see past the actions of other, earlier proto-evolutionists who had used the idea of evolution as a weapon to attack the church; christians believed he was going to do the same thing and rejected him outright. Without that, christianity could easily have come to an accommodation with evolutionary theory because, at the base of things, it doesn't actually rule out the existence of God but merely changes and expands our understanding of how stuff happened.

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Graham Dawson
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Speaking as a christian...

... surely the biggest miracle in this scenario is that several hundred thousand people would be able to walk across a mud-flat in "only" 65 mph winds given that they're "only" the same wind-speeds you'd find in a category 1 hurricane.

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UK passes buck on Europe's cookie law with copy-paste proposal

Graham Dawson
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Er...

Directives from the Commission *are* "EU law." The commission issues directives after they've been assembled by the Council of Ministers relevant to the particular area covered by the directive. Directives are routinely issued as regulatory directives that bypass the national legislatures entirely, however they still have to issue a number of legislative directives that must then be implemented by the national legislatures as well. The point being, though, that the legislation is issued by the commission as a directive. in truth there is no "EU law". It's all directives.

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Netizens now Facebook more than they Google

Graham Dawson
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@eq

Yes it is. An adjective is a word who's primary syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun to provide more information about it, which is what an attributive does. The clue is that it can also be predicative. A sausage factory isn't sausage (the attributive noun "sausage" can't be predicative), but a fail boat is fail (the attributive adjective "fail" can also be predicative, like "smart" - that boat is smart. That is a smart boat).

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Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

@ac

Oh get over yourself you twit. I was trying to explain why it's stupid to bash American english and I went with a simplified historical narrative to do so. If I'd put in every caveat and historical tidbit (american English deriving new words from native languages, British english taking words wholesale from modern German etcetera ad nauseum ad infinitum) I would have been writing all night. You've managed to grab the wrong end of the stick so effectively that you're in a different tree.

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Graham Dawson
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@JaitcH

American English is a dialect of English that split off in the mid 18th century, or thereabouts and it retains much of the character of English from that period. There are far fewer words (English didn't really start looting vocabulary until the 19th century, when we had all those Imperial holdings and such) and it has a much looser grammar. Back then nouns and verbs could be interchanged (and adjectivised) with relative ease; English, like every other language, has plenty of verbs that are derived from nouns, and nouns derived from verbs. The difference is that, in the intervening period, British English began deriving new verbs and nouns by adopting them wholesale from foreign languages as we took over large chunks of the planet, whilst American English retained the concept of deriving verbs, nouns and adjectives from within its existing vocabulary. As it adopted new vocabulary the act of derivation from within continued, turning nouns into verbs (hover -> hoovering; google -> to google) and both into adjectives (to fail -> a fail -> the fail boat).

Both languages still do this, but American English does it much more obviously because it's still essentially 18th century in character. This is just how languages work.

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Clegg's taking away Your Freedom

Graham Dawson
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@scorchio

Skeksis?

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Wikileaks caught up in Swedish police raids

Graham Dawson
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Flame

Oi!

It's Umeå! That little circle isn't just for decoration, you know.

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'Larry and Sergey's HTML5 balls drained my resources'

Graham Dawson
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Erm...

It's no big deal, just use a text-only browser.

Actually, it works fine for me in FF on Kubuntu. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong. :)

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Death by iPod: beware the zombie trance

Graham Dawson
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Flame

Pedestrians do daft stuff, so what?

What annoys me isn't pedestrians who wander around in their ipod zombie trances, it's when they think they can get behind the wheel of a car and do the same thing. I've lost count of the number of times I've narrowly avoided uncertain death only to find that the driver of the other car had these loud music-making devices crammed in their ears and were busy fiddling with them at 40 mph. In a 30 zone. Darwin doesn't kick in here because they would survive whilst killing off other, possibly smarter individuals.

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Apple states tax take on UK iPod pricing

Graham Dawson
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Switzerland? Really?

You might want to tell the Swiss that they're an EU member. Last I checked they weren't aware of it.

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AMD to dump ATI brand

Graham Dawson
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Remember where brand names started.

Brand names are emphasised because they were originally created as a way to generate trust in quality. The first branded goods were sealed and branded to show that they hadn't been adulterated, and it quickly became known that a brand-name product was more likely to be trustworthy, consistent and of a higher quality than unbranded equivalents.

Yes modern brand names are less likely to indicate that but, nevertheless, branding is still a marker of something. Brand names signify a recognisable level of quality.

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NASA seeks soundtrack for final shuttle mission

Graham Dawson
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Begin the count...

It's a shame they aren't taking suggestions of existing songs that they haven't played.

Styx - Come Sail Away would be an excellent send-off methinks. (they climbed aboard their starship and holy frig they were aliens!)

Of course if they allowed the public to suggest these things there'd be no end of demands for Rick Astley and Final Countdown...

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Linux kernel purged of five-year-old root access bug

Graham Dawson
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Lets be fair though?

Your typical home-user wouldn't have the nous to keep their computer in a state that would allow it to run for months at a time without a reboot. Partly because they load every piece of malware they can get their hands on and partly because windows still suffers from bit rot and will tend to become crap after a while just from continued use.

The point is twofold: Linux distros don't, as a rule, require a reboot every time an update is applied (and if you're running a live kernel patcher like ksplice they may never need one), and they are less vulnerable to maintenance neglect - that is, you don't have to keep cleaning them in order to maintain reasonable performance. They just work, to coin a phrase.

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Graham Dawson
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True!

Every time I'm required to reboot my machine for some reason I laugh and laugh and laugh...

I haven't laughed for about six months.

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Facebook Places - why, and why not

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Eh?

Better than WRITING like they're in BENEATH a STEEL sky.

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Perseid meteors - brace for endazzlement

Graham Dawson
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Joke

Clear skies then.

What, you think they'll get it right?

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Elon Musk plans new Mars rockets bigger than Saturn Vs

Graham Dawson
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I do indeed mean fission.

I blame global warming.

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Graham Dawson
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Coat

Wrong!

Fusion doesn't burn rocks. Burning is a chemical reaction, not a nuclear reaction. And plutonium isn't a rock.

...

I know, I know...

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Graham Dawson
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Boffin

Nope

Shekels were also a measure of weight. One shekel is 11.3 grams or 0.4 ounces. The kikar was 60 mannehs, or 3600 shekels. The reason shekels are associated with money is because they were convenient amounts of gold to make coins from.

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Eagles singer wins case against US politico

Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

He does, but he isn't required to

The law in the US allows parody as part of fair use. Weird Al is just being courteous, he has no actual obligation to request permission. The fact that he asks does not if any way negate the fact that his parodies fall under fair use, and that his right to make them would be threatened if fair use provisions were taken away (if consent is granted and then later removed because the parody isn't liked any more, for instance).

You should not need to ask in order to parody something. That's a very dark path to walk.

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DfT denies deliberately misleading on speed cam stats

Graham Dawson
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How so?

Given that, from year to year, you can get that much of a change in accident rates through mere chance, it's not a very reliable metric. There is no real comparison, except to say that accident rates at the place where the camera was placed dropped by an amount that is actually within the bounds of statistical error. You can have a 100% change in accident rates on a particular stretch of road from year to year without changing anything, so any claim made for a camera would have to be very, very thoroughly researched and evidenced. So far that hasn't been the case, and what evidence has been presented is usually found lacking on closer examination. As in, they claim one figure and then later claim another.

What about all the places where cameras haven't been placed?

What about accidents that happen just out of the range of the camera?

And what about all the accidents that happen within the bounds of the speed limit? Despite the propaganda the problem isn't speed, it's lack of awareness and distraction caused by too much street furniture - including speed cameras. Bad driving, in other words, to which speed merely adds a little more energy. The number of accidents I've seen happen just before passing a camera are too many to list (and, yes, anecdotal - but they were all caused by people who were, up to that point, driving safely though a little over the proscribed speed, suddenly hitting the brakes in order to avoid getting flashed by the camera with the inevitable result of a rear-end collision).

Speed can increase the damage caused by an accident but speed, by itself, doesn't kill. You can be killed by someone driving at 20 if they hit you right.

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ISS suffers coolant pump failure

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Reverse polarity!

They need to divert power through a secondary conduit and alter the phase flow of the main relay junction before the subatomic harmonising field flow destabilises and DESTROYS EVERYTHING!!

Beam me coat back, Scotty, I need to leave...

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'Death to browsers!' cries Apple mobile-app patent

Graham Dawson
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Troll

We do?

Based on the last few decades I think it's fairer to say that we elect governments in order to relieve ourselves of the burden of making decisions about anything more dangerous than what clothes to wear. Apple and the State are well suited to each other since they both have the same basic drive; control.

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Global warming brings peace and happiness

Graham Dawson
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Coat

And that would make them...

... bed wetters at both ends of the time scale?

I know, I know...

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Daily Mail promotes 'the new Betamax'

Graham Dawson
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But...

Will that cause the price of your house to rise or fall?

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Boeing's 'Phantom Eye' Ford Fusion powered stratocraft

Graham Dawson
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Flame

A gripe

It's not carbon. It's carbon dioxide. It may seem like a quibble but one is black elemental substance that takes a variety of solid forms and the other is an odourless, colourless gas. Both are absolutely essential for all life on this planet to continue surviving. We could argue forever about the whole glbal warming thing but please, please for the love of GOD please call it by it's proper name. "Carbon" makes people think if sticky black smoke and powdered pencil leads and creates a false image of what is actually being released.

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Google fashions Android dev kit for dummies (from Scratch)

Graham Dawson
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Coat

You've obviously never worked in a business environment...

Those fart apps are probably the only thing most middle managers have their super-duper-special smartphones for.

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Robotic cargo spacecraft misses rendezvous with ISS

Graham Dawson
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Don't knock it.

If they are running it on tubes (unlikely, but for the sake of argument) then it'd be a hell of a lot better at surviving in orbit than more modern equipment. Vacuum tubes aren't particularly susceptible to the effects of cosmic rays and solar wind, which can easily bugger up solid-state circuitry and leave a satellite completely non-functional. They're also more tolerant of temperature extremes than solid-state ICs, which would mean they were more capable of surviving the rigours of space flight with relatively less complex cooling equipment.

Just because something is old technology doesn't make it worse in every possible situation. It's often more robust, cheaper, and easier to use.

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Google open-video codec goes experimental

Graham Dawson
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FAIL

So what you're saying is...

...don't compete. Because you might regret it. Nice little codec you got here, shame if anything were to happen to it...

Yeah, that's real friendly that is.

For the record their comparison was with a very old version of VP8.

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Humongous star ejects jumbo jellyfish

Graham Dawson
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Is it me?

... or does the Andromeda galaxy look like the Black Hole from the Disney film of the same name?

In, through... and beyond.

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GCHQ imposes Whitehall iPhone ban

Graham Dawson
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I noticed that.

Ditched my ipod touch for similar reasons. I was using it more as an internet reader than a music player anyway so a second-hand n810 was far more up my alley.

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New prototype US spy satellite rushed into active use

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Or...

... they could have finally found a useable 3g signal for their O2 phone.

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Aussies face 10 year browsing lock-up

Graham Dawson
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Unhappy

Nah...

They'd just do you for spamming.

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