* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1367 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

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Layla enjoys a Sanskrit makeover: Clapton set to become one of several Gods

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Govinda

So if this is a hit, it'll only be the second one in Sanskrit. As Wikipedia has it, the Kula Shaker version is "unique in being the only British Top Ten hit to be sung entirely in Sanskrit."

(so I guess that also means that Sanskrit isn't just a written language, to answer Identity's post above)

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Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: This wouldn't be (much of) a problem...

The problem with UEFI is that it is _far_ to complex for the problem it needs to solve

Don't worry. We'll all be running systemd on top of it. That'll help manage the complexity.

Right?

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Telly chef Jamie Oliver in embarrassing infection double shocker

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Infection

Surprised to read it didn't come from the cock in cider.

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Tired of IoT hype? Internet of SLUGS and SPIDERS is the reality

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Use all resources available

<groans>Yes, and my fly is now a walk</groans>

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "Better seals are being installed to keep the slugs out"

But what happens when they run out of slugs to eat?

Don't worry. It's NZ, not Oz. The seals are native and encouraging them to take up residence won't cause widespread unforeseen consequences.

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Random musings

Then again there was at least one programming language that [allowed you] to specify any positive integer as the lower bound of an array.

#!/usr/bin/perl -wl

$[ = 4; # least-random number? or was that 2?

print $#foo;

("but don't do that")

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: argh!

they still don't even teach the fundamentals of AC theory either.

I blame that Thomas Edison chap. Electrocuting elephants? Who could stoop so low?

(probably the guys that kill them with LSD, if nobody minds me answering my own rhetorical question)

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Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

Frumious Bandersnatch
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So...

that's why flamingos are pink?

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Hoping for spy reforms? Jeb Bush, dangerously close to being the next US prez, backs the NSA

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Just like the Jews...

If you listen and believe everything a flaming bush tells you

I haven't said a word for eighteen years till he came along!

Actually, still not bothered.

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Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: Scylla and Charybdis

Not a response to your post, AC, (though I agree), just a comment to say that this particular classical reference seems to be cropping up in the register quite a lot recently. Or maybe I've just got a case of Baader-Meinhof syndrome...

site:forums.theregister.co.uk scylla charybdis (151 hits)

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M0n0wall comes tumbling down as dev throws in the trowel

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Financial models matter

(2) Devise a EULA that completely absolves you from any responsibility for the egregious flaws in your software.

Everyone does that. Even (especially?) free software.

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They've finally solved it: Schrödinger's cat is both ALIVE AND DEAD

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Lao Tzu couldn't decide

If he was imagining himself as a cat or whether he was a cat imagining himself as Lao Tzu.

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Who's come to fix your broadband? It may be a Fed in disguise. Without a search warrant

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Very slippery slope...

are you going to stop a repairman that claims to have been sent by the hotel to your room?

If he's there to fix the porn, probably not.

If the feds had used that simple explanation they wouldn't have to learn any telco lingo at all.

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Japan's death threat hacker collared ... BY A CAT

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: COPS! In the US, the beat you to death. In the Japan, you must confess.

Standard operating procedure over there, I hear.

I don't know why you're getting downvotes, as what you say does seem to be accurate. From the Wikipedia page on the Japanese Criminal Justice system:

Confession in Japanese criminal investigation

Many Western human rights organizations alleged that the high conviction rate is due to rampant use of conviction solely based on confession. Confessions are often obtained after long periods of questioning by police as those arrested may be held for up to 23 days. This can, at times, take weeks during which time the suspect is in detention and can be prevented from contacting a lawyer or family.[3]

And here's a link to a BBC article on the same topic that also suggests reasons why people confess.

These were the two top links when I searched for "japanese police confessions", btw, not just links I cherry-picked to support the argument.

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Win! The Ultimate Cash 'n' Carrion Survival Kit

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Said with love...

All well and good but how the hell did you get the Delorean in there in the first place?

One piece at a time?

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Toshiba packs NUMERIC KEYPAD onto self-bricking USB drive

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Thanks, but ...

I think I'll stick to embedding powerful electromagnets in my door jamb, Cryptonomicon style...

(What do you mean magnets don't work on flash memory? OK, it probably won't work on regular drives either)

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

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Re: Flag-sized

with advanced hyperbolic LTE and phase array GPS that works on Titan and other small moons

As everyone knows, you should always save hyperbole until you really need it. In this case, I approve, though I suspect that the natural evolution you are looking for is bigger hands/pockets rather than "man purses".

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Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Headmaster

Re: looking for apps

they did something first\quickest\best.<br>...<br>try KDE\Gnome\Unity\Xfce\MATE\Cinnamon\Xmonad

Eh, your Dos/Windows fetish is showing. (slash =/= backslash)

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BOO! Grave remote-code exec flaw in GNU C Library TERRIFIES Linux

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Not Again

And then you start thinking about embedded crud with problematic glibc libraries

Embedded generally means you're not using glibc anyway. It'll probably have newlib instead, or maybe μClibc.

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Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: It is

出る杭、not 出る釘。

Maybe they're both right? I just looked up the expression in Jim Breem's dictionary and I got kugi/nail (or spike), whereas Wikipedia's list of Japanese proverbs lists kui/stake. Might be an issue of the phrase "doing the rounds" (going out of one language and then being brought back in in a slightly different form). The different versions might be due to mishearing, perhaps (an example of an "egg-corn", maybe?)? I can imagine "kugi" sounding quite a lot like "kui". The hard "g" sound might not be very distinct with some speakers, with only a slight glottal or nasal sound to distinguish it? Anyway, I don't really know because I very rarely heard the expression in Japan and I don't remember whether it was kui or kugi, to be honest.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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hammering down sticky-out nails

More of a Japanese expression, innit? (出る釘は打たれる/でるくぎはうたれる). Next you'll probably be telling us that monkeys fall out of trees there (ie, Thailand).

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Hollywood vs hackers: Vulture cracks Tinseltown keyboard cornballs

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"Like IPv4 addresses where one or more octects is often greater than 255."

Shhh! We don't talk about the hidden IPv4 addresses!

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Magic USB sticks

Actually, the "magic USB stick" might be (unintentionally) more plausible than you give it credit for.

ISTR that there was a bug in the PlayStation 3's USB device driver that allowed a "malicious" USB device to overflow a buffer and execute arbitrary code, thus owning the machine. Lately, there's also been a similar hack for OS X, though it requires rebooting the machine with the hacked device plugged in. It's pretty easy these days to find small machines with a USB OTG port that can be programmed to act as any USB device to test for bugs on the target machine's USB device handling and if you find an exploit, you can probably find an even smaller (ie, thumb-drive sized) machine to deploy the hack on.

Of course, I did say that films including this plot device were only "unintentionally" plausible. Then they go and ruin it by "downloading" many terabytes of data onto a device that can't possibly hold that much data. Or any time that a sysadmin plugs an unknown device into their PC/laptop, when really they should know better (didn't the top boffin do that in Skyfall, too? Facepalm!).

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Microsoft cracks personalisation without prying

Frumious Bandersnatch
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The abstract is a bit thin on details

So how exactly is this supposed to work and how does it preserve privacy? Just saying "Bloom filters" is not a proper description.

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FBI fingering Norks for Sony hack: The TRUTH – by the NSA's spyboss

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Holmes

Re: How was this supposed to go?

~There is an evil cake

I'm pretty sure that the evil cake is a lie.

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Ukraine PM: Hacktivists? C'mon! Russian spies attacked Gov.DE

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"Norks taking the blame"?

I think you'll find that this has a subtly different meaning from "Norks being blamed for ..."

(and no, I couldn't be bothered with the corrections button)

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What an ACE-HOLE! This super-software will whip you at poker, hands down

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So What?

think they may have called it the gambler's fallacy?

Doubling down on a loser is called a martingale (strategy). In probability, the word has various specific meanings, but the term used does derive from the earlier meaning in gambling.

Actually, with infinite resources (and no limit on the bet), doubling down on loser always wins eventually.

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

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so much more civilised

Come to ireland, where we have an anti-blasphemy law (IKYN).

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Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And the alternative is ?

Doesn't your argument give weight to the fact that what you just described is actually what most people want from a language? For me, that would be the definition of good.

LOL. Yes, kind of. I guess it is a good language overall, but it's not a patch on Perl, IMO. I just find PHP to be too verbose and boring to actually like it. I think that the original context was about being good for security, among other things, and as I said, Perl's -w and -T checks put it head and shoulders above the competition.

Mind you, maybe I'm a bit perverse in my (programming) tastes. I love constructs like Duff's Device and the Schwartzian Transform and have been known to use them when appropriate.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And the alternative is ?

PHP is popular because it is good.

Nah, I don't think that it's because it's good, but because (IMO) it's relatively easy to write code in, has good documentation, the feature set is well-suited to the task of web programming and its syntax is easy for people to get to grips with (somewhat like Basic or Pascal). It also seems to be be the sort of language that appeals to managers in that the code is fairly easy to understand and maintain so you can treat programmers as a fungible resource.

The security problems tend to be more with the server than the code itself (at least historically), but as with any web programming language, developers still need to be aware of the basics of writing secure code in the first place. So no insecure "eval" statements or calls to external programs, always assume that user-supplied data is hostile and always use prepare/execute instead of naked SQL queries. I'm sure that there are other common security pitfalls, but I'd guess that the majority of them stem from those three points.

As for me, I much prefer Perl. I dislike the verbosity of PHP, but the main reason that I think that Perl is better is down to the -w and -T options. Perl is much better at helping you understand the unintended consequences or potential bugs in your code. Taint checking in particular makes it very hard for you to write insecure code, since it won't even let you run the thing if it detects that you're not sanitising your inputs correctly.

I've never used IIS or ActiveX, so I can't comment. I don't think that Java or Flash are even real competitors due to (a) needing browser plugins and (b) those plugins having a terrible history of insecurity.

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30 years ago today, the first commercial UK 'mobile' phone call was made

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Kenny Everett did a sketch, istr

He was mocking the size of these things years before Mr. Jolly.

I can't find a link, but ISTR it started off with a yuppie either buying or showing off his new mobile/satellite phone and going on about how small it was. It was actually pretty small, but then the reveal comes and we see that he has to lug around a small cart with either a huge battery or huge antenna.

Mind you, those shows were about 3-4 years before the 1985 date in the article, so maybe I'm misremembering...

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German minister fingered as hacker 'steals' her thumbprint from a PHOTO

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"but you'll need to speak German to appreciate it."

Why? Is it laced with specifically-Teutonic humour?

(automatic translation does exist and is quite good these days)

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Tor de farce: NSA fails to decrypt anonymised network

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Timing...

all this will do is slow down the network

Yes and no. If you delay packets by a random amount, then yes, the network slows down. If, on the other hand, you replace a FIFO scheduler with one that merely randomises the queue order, then throughput is maintained*. Slowing down the end-to-end routing of packets through the network like this will impact the users, though the network throughput is unaffected.

* a simple example scheme which has a 1/2 chance of delaying the head packet in the queue if it's the first time it's been seen, and a decreasing sequence of probabilities 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc. each subsequent time it's due to be sent will mean packets may wait in the queue indefinitely (with infinitesimal probability), but on average will take 2x as long to get through it (sum of infinite series 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + ...), not taking the probability of the replacement packet being sent into account...

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Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Hmm

How about some other suggestions via el reg users themselves?

Not a board game, but the Grass card game is fun.

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Why the chemistry between Hollywood, physics and maths is so hot right now

Frumious Bandersnatch
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needs moar science?

Film makers and script writers (especially in Hollywood) mostly seem to have no idea at all about the science behind the films they're making. Sometimes, though very rarely, I do see something where they get the science mostly right. I can only really think of three films that stand out because the science part is believable and actually adds to the enjoyment...

Proof (2005). OK, more about maths than science, but the premise is totally believable as is how they figure out who wrote the proof in the end. Also, the rant about jojoba oil and how hair is dead raised a chuckle.

The Arrival (1996). Charlie Sheen plays a SETI action hero in this alien invasion conspiracy film. Best science bit is where he builds a telescope array out of "borrowed" TV satellite dishes. Just when you're thinking it can't work because they're pointing the wrong way, you see him taking control and steering them all. Hooray for making radio interferometry a plot device.

Primer (2004). All the science and engineering talk is slightly gobbledegook, but at least it has the ring of authenticity about it. As for the actual time travel, it gets my thumbs up because apparently the only slightly possible way we might have of making it work is to go back to the time and place where we built or turned on the first time travel device (but we can't go back any further). There was one glaring mistake, but I can let it slide because the film worked as a whole. The error was when they were removing the two 12v batteries. Going from 24v and removing one 12v battery gives 0v, not 12v, because the batteries were in series. Schoolboy error!

Honourable mentions:

Virtual Nightmare (2000). A made-for-TV virtual reality film. In most such films, the VR is just a convenient McGuffin or excuse to indulge in special effects (eg, Matrix, Lawnmower Man). Watching this has aspects of an Asimov or PKD short story, along with reminders of They Live, Stepford Wives among others. Thumbs up because the rationale for the virtual world pretty much works, unlike, say, the Matrix's terrible "humans as batteries" premise. I just happened to see this on TV one day, and I think that it deserves to be better known.

Limitless (2011). Like the previous one, this is more sci-fi than real science. I'll even let it off for oft-repeated lie that "we only use x percent of our brain". Gets a mention because I like the kind of sci-fi where the advanced technology has clear downsides and isn't just a panacea (eg, like in most of Star Trek).

Pi (1998). Again, more sci-fi (and maybe supernatural) than science, but I'm giving it a mention due to the fact that the protagonist is at least trying to follow scientific methods. Not sure whether the auto-trepanation at the end is more phrenology than neuro-science, but it's satisfyingly in keeping with the science vs mysticism debate running through the rest of the film.

I know that film-making has a large dose of make-believe (even biographical stuff or things "based on real events"). It's part of the implied contract when we sit down to watch something. Based on the above (maybe—feel free to disagree) I think that it is possible to tell a good story and not offend the critical, scientific mind too much. There's probably won't be that much food for thought in this film, but maybe enough that it'll be worth watching as a historical/science-based flick rather than a straight romance/drama. It's worth remembering what Hawking himself said about A Brief History of Time, that (paraphrasing) each formula included would halve the readership. He ended up with no formulas at all (<pedant>apart from that one</pedant>), so we probably shouldn't expect that much hard science from the film either.

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Kepler's STILL GOT IT! Space telescope spots SUPER-EARTH 180 light years away

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Alien

re: That's a damn good picture they took.

True. I can even see my house.

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Sony Pictures hack is Hollywood's 'Snowden moment' say infosec bods

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: @Rabbit80 - Unfortunately not news ...

for a limited time

But 'cp /bin/bash /some/user/.randomapp/randomfile followed by 'chmod 04755 !$' hardly takes any time and the effects can last indefinitely unless detected...

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V. R. R. Stob's magnificent saga A Game Of Dog-and-Bones

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foreshadowing

Heh... on reading "Maeiouster" in the first paragraph, my first thought was "that's an awful lot of vowels". The buildup to the extremely bad pun ("disemvowling") at the end was very well wrought.

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Untangling .NET Core: Open source for Windows, Mac, Linux

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: Confucius says ?

Wise man never plays leap-frog with a unicorn?

I'm struggling to guess at the relevance of your comment, but maybe ...

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Headmaster

Re: Much capitulation, such disappointment

or otherwise impune

It's "impugn". A bit of an oddball spelling and one of only a few words with "ugn" in it. My /usr/share/dict/words also lists "pugnacious", "repugnant" and "smugness", along with variants.

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30,000 people buy a box of BOVINE EXCREMENT

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Re: "...and maybe some beach-front property in Switzerland."

There are beaches in Switzerland.

This is a big part of the reason I read el Reg. Its commenters are quite nicely aligned to where I live on the pedant-curmudgeon spectrum.

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BOFH: Capo di tutti capi, bah. I'm having CHICKEN JALFREZI

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: this could be good to watch

deckchair and popcorn please !

Please do step this way into our newly-installed walk-in microwave oven. (The popping comes later)

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Boffins unearth the ultimate antique art - 500,000 years old

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "Alright darlin, do you want to come back to my place to see my collection of sea shells?"

I'm using that one tonight, pure chat up gold!

Not as pithy as "does this rag smell like chloroform to you?", I'm afraid.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Duh! It's a star map

Nope... it's money. The writing clearly states "[1 A]ltarian Doll[ar]" (the text is clipped in the image). No wonder their currency collapsed.

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Norks: We might be aggressive but we didn't hack Sony!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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North Korea have computers?

Apparently there are quite a few computers there. There was a documentary on TV a while back that talked about (among other things) people smuggling in laptops and USB memory cards so the Norks can get news about what's happening in the world and get their fix of dubbed copies of things like Desperate Housewives. I think it was probably "Secret State of North Korea". Worth watching if you happen across the full documentary (link only has a short preview).

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Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Frumious Bandersnatch
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firewall

Also have a look at Arno's iptables firewall if you want something that's simple to configure. You do need to edit a config file but most of the common configurations are supported and each of the options is clearly explained within the config file. It looks to be even simpler than this gufw program since you don't even need to know anything about how iptables works to use it.

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Sony Pictures struggles as staff details, salaries and films leaked

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Perception bias (TLDR version): "I'll see it when I believe it"

(I don't know what you think the relevance is, though)

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Orion: To Mars, the Moon and beyond... but first, a TEST FLIGHT through Van Allen belt

Frumious Bandersnatch
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reentry

Idly wondering why they need to land the full craft back on Earth when they return.

Why not build a "lander" craft (or escape pod) for getting the astronauts and other stuff that they might have collected back on the ground, while leaving the rest of the ship up there in some sort of stable orbit?

I was thinking of a spaceship shaped like a barbell (or juggling club) with most of the mass (fuel, shielding and so on) at one end and a much lighter escape vehicle at the other end. When it would get near enough to home, they could turn off the main engines and use thrusters designed to set the "dumbbell" rotating end over end. If they could make the main shaft strong enough to survive the centrifugal force (and torsional force) then by releasing the escape craft from one end at the right moment it would get a slingshot effect and reduce its overall approach velocity, potentially enough so that the lander wouldn't need such big heat shields or the need for complex aero-braking.

I guess that whether this could work would depend mostly on whether the whole assembly could spin fast enough for the velocity reduction to be worth it. There's also the issue of extra fuel required to overcome the rotational inertia, but that could be somewhat offset by shifting the centre of mass closer to the middle of the ship while it's en route (in effect losing some forward thrust and converting it into letting the front part fall back into a more central position). With more of the mass concentrated in the centre, the moment of inertia would be reduced so it would be easier to set up the spin. I guess that another problem is that the re-entry craft will still be spinning when it arrives, but maybe the aerodynamics of a spherical pod attached to a long strut would be enough to right the orientation so that it will lose its rotation in the atmosphere and always land pod side down (like a dandelion seed).

As for the part that remained in orbit, its rate of spin could be reduced simply by redistributing the mass again (letting it fly out from the centre) and then using thrusters set in a counter-rotating direction. Solar-powered ion thrusters would reduce spin slowly, but it should be enough since there'd probably be long periods of time between returning and wanting to use the craft again, so the time taken to wind down shouldn't matter too much. Or have any docking ship match the rotation like the Coriolis docking sequence in Elite. The whole thing could be recovered later and re-used, with a huge saving in fuel since it doesn't have to be relaunched from Earth.

Maybe these ideas are just pie in the sky. I blame playing too many computer games (Thrust, Elite) as a kid.

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Meh

[Pi's] full value has never been expressed...

Really? Then let me be the first:

Pi = 10 (in base Pi)

I can has Fields medal now?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Headmaster

He could always switch to eating a different kind of food

Something cylindrical, with radius z and height a, say. When solving the problem of what volume of food to order, he'll also be reminded of what it's called.

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