858 posts • joined Thursday 8th November 2007 17:09 GMT
> What's next? have to show ID to do your grocery shopping? after all, I am sure you can buy all you need to make a bomb at your local Tesco's?
Yeah. I thought of that too, weirdo as I am. Except instead of bringing the ingredients home, I wondered "what would happen if I assembled all the components in my shopping basket?" I suspect nobody would even attempt it, but I also suspect my fellow shoppers and/or security guards would pay little to no attention to what I was doing until it was too late. MWUHAHAHAHA.
Er, excuse me. Back to normal now. Anyway, the ID card (or lack thereof) would make absolutely no difference in this case, as you'd have your bomb made before even approaching the ID checkpoint, er, I mean checkout. Point being ID cards do jack shit to prevent terrorism, no matter how intrusive you make 'em.
Nice one on the collective noun for fertility researchers. Nice one Sarah for plinking the prescriptivist twerp complaining that fecund isn't a noun. Nice on on the "protokids per" semi-unit. I was a little surprised and disappointed you stuck with the boring old SI "millilitre" to round it out, but on second thoughts I'm a little squeamish about expressing it in more "natural" units. Good taste prevails (or not... I didn't set out to set up a double entendre). I'll go with Paris anyway.
Applying Rule 34
If there exists pornography related to every conceivable topic on the Internet, then we obviously have to block every conceivable topic. It's really the only logical conclusion if we want to be safe.
the real motivation?
Besides weakening the burden of proof criterion, it's probably so that, somewhere down the road, you can be deemed unfit to use the Internet. Cause let's face it, they're not going to get very far regulating the 'net itself, so what better way to stop undesirable content than kicking off the undesirable content providers?
/tinfoil hat engage
another addition to the employment figures...
You would also need to factor in the need for counsellors or psychologists for those poor unfortunates that have to watch all the violent/pornographic crap. Or set aside a sizeable pool of cash to pay for lawsuits said people will invariably bring because they claim that their job turned them into preverts or turned them off sex altogether. On second thoughts, maybe you should keep the pool of cash secret to avoid giving ideas to these workers.
Of course, you could always take a leaf from A Clockwork Orange and force prisoners to do the filtering as a modern form of the Ludovico technique. No porno for Joe Citizen to watch. Zero recidivism from released prisoners. Win-Win!
I don't know if you guys believe that stuff you're spouting. I'm not going to bother arguing because previous posters have done a perfectly good job of that. I won't pay it no nevermind. Regardless of what you think of Obama, I think if you're honest with yourselves there is one thing that you guys do have to admit, though: the guy got class.
I'm going to steal a couple of lines from Bruce Schneier's current crypto-gram newsletter which I think sums up something that the UK administration doesn't seem to grasp or want to admit, but I think they may grudgingly have to accept as fact before too long:
> 'You know, it's just fearmongering and you should be ashamed.' Terrorist fear mongering seems to be working less well.
Just a couple of side notes on posting as AC or under a pseudonym... 1) even though I'm not using my real name here, it's not so hard to get behind the pseudonym, and 2) I sometimes use AC to post as well, and I've even authored one of the above AC posts. I suppose the point I'm trying to make I suppose is that I've made it easy enough for any Stasi-style system to find me and identify my thoughtcrimes, but if I'd wanted to I could have made it quite difficult. I'm not alone in my non-radical opposition to these sorts of systems, but people like Jacqui Smith would do well to realise that the internet is full of people like me who may be mild today, but could really put a big spanner in the works if the fancy took us. The choice that people like her face, whether they know it or not, is either show yourself as the fascists we all think you are (and do it properly by coming down HARD rather than relying on technology to sneak it in by degrees) or admit you don't have a fucking clue about how the internet, cryptography or technology works in the modern world and stand the fuck aside. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time, and those of us who are not fooled are not best amused ... for now we're all pals, but you've only yourself to blame if the sham of NuLabor persists in bringing things where it looks like they're headed.
One final point... if MI5/MI6 is interested in hiring me as a consultant, you're welcome to contact me.
advice for the OU
Sack your PR department.
In these straitened economic times, it's a good idea to get rid of dead wood. I understand that this may cause considerable upset and hardship for those being given the boot, and I would like to think that those in the PR department so fired would find some work elsewhere. However, given that they've obviously shown that they (and, by extension they their entire "profession", though I may be painting with too broad a brush) can provide zero value (that's being charitable) with their current skillset, I would advise them to consider further education before attempting to re-enter the jobs marketplace.
inverse square law
"That weapon could be fitted onto a Scud missile for as little as $100,000, fired and detonated 80 miles into the air and affect the entire US east coast," he adds.
Field density drops off according to the inverse square law (or perhaps that should be called a "theory" if you're a creationist, but I digress). I don't even need to whip out a pen and find an envelope to scribble on the back of (hey... a dangling participle... cool) to figure out that this estimate is complete twaddle. Has spicing up weapons dossiers gone from being "just something we do when we need to justify an illegal war" to "standard practice" now?
"if cats were bigger"
I believe this came up in a question to New Scientist magazine some years back. If the cat was merely made larger with some sort of embiggening ray, chances are that their existing conditioning would prevent them from seeing us as prey. If, on the other hand, we were living in a parallel universe where cats were and always had been bigger than us, then we would definitely have to watch out. Science... amazing stuff, eh?
Nasty, vicious breeds with inferiority complexes IMO. True, not all of them are bad, and I'm generally a dog lover, but I'm not a fan of these yappy things.
Many wonderful comments here (eg, "prevention of terrierism act"), but this is not one of them, natch.
I've always been of the opinion that the "last mile" from punters' houses to the local exchange should be owned by the punters themselves (whether individually or as part of a community/commons ownership scheme), rather than having to pay for "line rental". I know this would upset the telcos (a bit of an understatement), but it's not as if they would be put out of business... they've still got the expertise in laying and maintaining comms cables, and can still fight it out amongst themselves to provide you with access to data and phone networks in the server room (though LLU is still more myth than reality in many cases). In short, let competition take place at the edges, but let the users own their edges.
I can see how things would play out at the receiving end...
1. uproarious laughter
2. some wise inhabitants would argue "they coudn't be that stupid. There's no effin way"
3. laughter subsides as prevailing thinking decides it must be a cunning trap set for the unwary.
4. invasion plans cancelled
5. puny beboids and earthfings continue in smug ignorance of how narrowly they avoided destruction
I'm reminded (probably for no very good reason apart from the "Licking Valley" moniker juxtaposed with overzealous moral prudery) of a story told about Alaister Crowley (self-professed "world's wickedest man" ) about how after his move to Boleskine House overlooking Loch Ness, he had written to the local Vigilance Society complaining that "prostitution is most unpleasantly conspicuous" in the area. The society sent round an observer who found no evidence. Crowley wrote back: "Conspicuous by its absence, you fools!" I'm sure the Good People of Licking Valley would fail to see the humour in that story too.
I think you may have made some mistake with your figure of 1.6 megaelephants per mini roof. You seem to have made the mistake of assuming that the elephant's weight is distributed evenly over the entire roof surface rather than being transmitted over a few square feet (well, round feet, actually, but I digress). Also, an elephant at 24,000 fathoms would have positive buoyancy, don't ya know...
Nice camo on that baby. Do the wielders get instructions on not leaving it on the ground where they might have a problem finding it again?
"[...] proof of concept used Flash, but the writer went on to say that the same thing could have been achieved using Java, SilverLight, or Dynamic Hyper Text Markup Language"
You should add SVG to the list of potential vectors. I haven't read any warnings about actual attacks, but I predict it will be exploited given time. To be honest, I'm surprised it hasn't been used as an attack vector yet, especially considering that as an SVG file is generally going to be embedded using an <IMG> tag, it neatly sidesteps blog sanitisation checks that strip <SCRIPT> tags. Someone ought to do an article about SVG risks (hint hint).
I believe it was The Andromeda Strain which featured a plot twist like this. Come to think of it, Jodie Foster's character in Contact also had a knack for spotting patterns in TV snow. I wonder what she'd make of this?
"I would say now that machines are conscious"
Complete toss. If there's any consciousness there, then my bloody phone is conscious (it's spooky how it "knows" what I want to write when I'm sending texts). Why do news outlets continue to bill Captain Cyborg as an expert in AI when he drops a clanger like this in every single interview he does? I'm not talking about the Register here. I'm sure you only report these things for the comic value. Agree with most here that chatterbots != "AI". Artificial Stupidity would be a better description. The Turing Test may be the best we have, and I've a lot of respect for Turing's contributions to computing/AI, but if this is what it leads to we should be prepared to accept the possibility that he got it wrong and stop wasting time and effort on such drivel and start asking other questions like "how can computing help people?", "what are the limitations?" and the like instead.
Many other news sources picked this up. You probably didn't notice it. The Register got it right, no question of libel.
Interesting comments by Ian Michael Gumby: "The point is that until you have laws that are equivalent in each country, you will always have this risk." and Muscleguy on the intricacies of testing (not being an exact science after all). I'm not so sure that having equivalent laws in each country is really the solution, especially if that entails standardised testing. If the tests are known, and if they tend to test by proxy (second poster) then it means that a fraudster who knows how to game the system has less of a chance of getting caught. It's analogous to the problem with computer viruses... having a large, homogenous population of hosts (eg, windows machines) tends to be more at risk of severe malware outbreaks than an ecosystem with more heterogeneity. Maybe I'm reading too much into the first poster's ideas about harmonising laws across countries, and there's no suggestion of harmonising testing procedure, but rather things like agreed lists of prohibited substance (which would be a good thing in my opinion; banning things like DDT across the board, instead of only in developed countries, would be a major win). Anyway, rambling a bit, but the point I wanted to make about testing was perhaps best practices should be updated to ensure that labs which use cheap, proxy testing are required to submit smaller random samples of product to more stringent tests designed to positively identify exactly what's in it. Such secondary testing needn't add much to the overall cost of testing, and the testing regime could be hardened against gaming by (for example) blinding of samples (so the testers don't know where the samples are coming from) and deliberate introduction of known-bad (adulterated) samples into the system (so failure to detect them would provide evidence of systemic errors). Protocols for doing this in a decentralised/distributed way seem feasible to me (thinking of it as essentially a cryptographic protocol with Byzantine fault tolerance) and should be far superior to any centralised control system, with its attendant risks of problems being hushed up for political or (short-term) financial gain. The system should be capable of producing a single "confidence" metric for individual suppliers and/or products...
These two Reg articles come to mind (keywords: AI, randomness):
This is a job for ... MONIAC!
It's even got pumps to implement feedback loops!
@The Other Steve
I'd better preface all of this by saying that I'm not a mathematician, but I think I understand what I'm saying and I think it's a plausible interpretation. Given that, I'm not too bothered if someone proves me wrong. Anyway, one noise-related link first...
The gist here seems to be that adding noise to the channel can actually (counter-intuitively) increase the signal-to-noise ratio in that channel. That'd be looking at things from the Nyquist/Shannon/information-theoretic point of view. How is it relevant here? Well, assuming that going to the fortune teller introduces the right kinds of noise (white or brown, I think, but I don't know the maths here) into the system, the market as a whole should benefit by having a clearer overall picture of the true value of each stock/commodity/industry segment/whatever. This kind of noise would stand in contrast to another kind of noise that's seen in the markets--that which comes from feedback loops where good/bad news about a company causes sentiment to change which causes an increase/decrease in the stock price, which in turn causes an increase/decrease in sentiment, and so on round and round. I'm just making the argument that having the right amount of noise of the first variety can act as a counter to the second variety, leading to more accurate market valuations, and hence a more robust system overall.
Another way would be to look at things from a purely systems point of view. In that view, it's not the SNR of the channel that's important, but how susceptible the system is to being knocked out of one state of equilibrium into another (or simply lose the plot and go completely chaotic). That is, its robustness of the system would be measured by how unlikely it is to suffer dramatic readjustment. I did a quick web search along these lines and found this paper which seems to be saying exactly what I was looking for:
I've only read the abstract, but that seems to support what I'm saying here, at least in the case of one real-world complex system. If you understand what "limit cycles in the phase space" means (assuming we both do) then I don't think I really need to explain further why I think it supports the idea.
I can think of one other line of argument suggestive of the value of added random noise (of the appropriate kind, amount), this time from computer science... there's a wealth of information out there about using random numbers to solve or approximate various NP-hard problems. For example, using a genetic algorithm to solve a knapsack or bin-sorting problem. By way of analogy, the "solution" the system is trying to converge on would be accurate valuation of stocks, etc., while random mutation (and random selection, to a lesser degree) would take the place of throwing the yarrow stalks. I know that the systems aren't directly comparable, but I think there are enough points of similarity to throw it out there anyway.
Phew... even after the disclaimer that I'm not a mathematician, I hope I've managed to defend my original post at least passably well?
Route to 127.0.0.1
It's not going to stop a dedicated teen finding out what's going on and circumventing it, but it's free and doesn't require much tech savoir faire on the part of the parent. Other solutions which lock down the PC locally are a second best bet, while the very worst idea is to pass browser requests to an external service and have them decide what's appropriate or not. Having an external site monitor your web traffic (ie, spy on you) in the guise of "thinking of the children" has got to be one of the most unethical tricks you can pull, IMO. The Jesuit maxim of "get 'em while they're young" is as repugnant on the web as it is in meatspace.
I came across a firefox extension a while back which took this approach. I think it was extension #588, but after checking it now, that's being used for something else. I can only hope that the company went bust and they forfeited the ID number. No doubt it won't be the last time someone tries selling the public spyware in the guise of "protecting the children". Parents, be warned!
similar problem on BBC website
The New Scientist recently brought to light a method of gaming the BBC's "most mailed" sidebar, which could, conceivably, bring about a similar cascade of panic selling. It seems that not many people use the "email this story" feature, and the reader who brought it to their [NS's] attention reported that they only had to email themselves a story 5 times before seeing it climb to #4 in the "most mailed" rankings. Of course, the Beeb dates all stories, so pushing an old story about losses in a company should be spotted as "old news is old", but you never can tell.
I'm not sure if the Beeb has done anything to fix this since it came to light, but it does show that even the most trusted websites are vulnerable to the odd cock-up (Google's case) and even long-standing vulnerability to being gamed (BBC).
Speaking of such matters, this reminds me to ask about what's the story with The Register's "most commented" panel. On any given day I can find many more stories with more comments than those listed in the side panel. Is this behaviour "broken as designed?"
Supposedly Chinese business men (at least enough of them to warrant mentioning it) are apt to consult the I Ching or other fortune tellers when deciding whether or not (or when) to engage in a business deal. On the face of it, it sounds like a crazy thing to do, but after thinking about it several years ago, I realised that the extra randomness introduced into the financial system as a result of this custom should have the result of making their financial system more robust overall, as there'll always be some significant random element acting as a check to the purely follow-my-leader system of valuation of stocks and the attendant crowd-driven boom-and-bust element of stock markets. There are limits to the amount of "noise" that's healthy, and limits to what it can achieve (it's a refinement of the system, and not a replacement for it). But so long as not everyone goes to the same fortune teller, the result should be a more robust system.
As I said, I realised this years ago, then stumbled upon a few technical articles that seemed to back up the idea over time. Good to see that boffins in the US are waking up to the value of introducing the right kind of "noise" in an area where it can have demonstrable benefits. I do wonder about the source and quality of their RNGs though. Could we see Sky Marshals tossing yarrow stalks or rolling 3d6 and flipping pages in a choose-your-own-adventure style three-ring binder in the near future?
<-- boffinry icon as, despite appearances, there's actual science to back this idea up
Notwithstanding that el Reg may have had the wrong end of the stick in previous articles on the subject, this article (and the series on Phorm, along with a few other notables) actually has me thinking that The Register is a world-class journalistic publication. Keep up the good work, but don't let praise like this go to your heads!
I decided I'd submit a site I have on the internet to see what would happen. I received this automated reply:
Issue Type: Task
Reporter: Frumious Bandersnatch
Assignee: **** *******
I object to Phorm/Webwise's wholesale scanning and modification of internet
content in general, but I have specific objection to you scanning my website
I shall be monitoring the site for any modification and you shall be hearing
from me again if I find that you have not honoured your promise to exclude
sites such as mine.
I have not managed to access the URL mentioned in the mail. It seems their system is either overloaded or not functional. I notice that there was no mention of any password or other access details included with the URL, so I rather suspect that if the site were operational it would be possible to enter any case number and see other submitted exclusion requets. So, (a) their "exclusion" system is not working, and (b) even if it were to work, it would probably be completely insecure and leak any sensitive information you submitted in your original email. Be warned!
cyber-this and cyber-that
Why can't those numpties just use proper words? Pffft!
By the time it comes 'round it'll be called web 3D, not web 3.0. With IPv6 and a proliferation of small network-aware devices embedded in nearly everything, the "cloud" will take on a literal meaning, and there'll be a new protocol layer designed to mediate between virtual and physical location. Quite depressing, really.
@"teach both" is critical thinking, not creationism
No, it's not. Your argument is merely a Trojan Horse for bringing a discussion of Bible literalism into classrooms. Here's why "teaching both" fails to qualify as "teaching critical thinking":
1) you are "teaching" at least one theory which is false (schools should aspire to *never* teach anything they know to be false);
2) teachers would be prohibited from telling students what the "correct" theory is; at best they would be able to express that they "believe" one view or the other. so
3) there could be no closure and no reproducibility of results from such a set-up, so
4) using "creationism vs evolution" as a model example of critical thinking FAILS.
By all means, teach critical thinking. But choose as an example something that makes sense. For example, teach them how a courtroom works: tell them about admissibility of evidence, rules of inference and the requirements for falsifying (ie, disprove) an argument. For more advanced classes teach them about logical fallacies and how people can deliberately use rhetoric and false arguments to deliberately mislead. This stuff is covered in the Athiest FAQ which is widely available on the web.
Indeed. I think we should also step up our campaign to "take out" the Dear Leader .. to dinner. Perhaps we should all meet in Second Life to discuss, erm, seating arrangements? I'm sure it'll go off like a bomb. Though why I should chose that particular metaphor escapes me at the moment...
Oil isn't the only chemical resource we have to worry about using wisely here on Spaceship Earth. Helium is another very valuable resource, and we should be careful about how we use it up. An airship that deliberately vents it in order to control buoyancy seems very wasteful to me. One AC has suggested a closed-loop cycle to refrigerate any lost helium. Sounds like a good idea, but I wonder if it can work in practice. Since helium will leak out of any balloon and since (I imagine) the refrigerator will be very heavy and/or require a quite a bit of energy to operate it looks like this idea faces some very big challenges if it's to get off the ground and/or be sustainable enough to be a real contender.
Zeppelins: cool? Yes. Practical? Probably not.
Oops! Better go and present myself for re-education now...
Yeah, it's not surprising that the cops figured the law didn't apply to them. Not much to see here. It will probably raise a smirk or two since it came up in the context of the OiNK case, but it does no good (legally speaking) for the pot to call the kettle black.
I got more of a chuckle over that Boston Herald article. The guy is claiming that it was an anonymous tip-off so he's off the hook. It seems he doesn't know what the fifth amendment is (you can shut up lest you incriminate yourself). Otherwise he wouldn't have blabbed about his crime in a public forum. He has hoist himself by his own petard and I hope they throw the book at him for being such a twit.
Enter one "Anonymous Coward":
Hands up who's studied the laws allegedly broken? And who are legally qualified to comment on them? Hmm?
Enter Mr. Hanff:
The fact that I handed the police a very comprehensive complaint outlining which laws I felt had been broken, citing the relevant sections of those laws, directly referencing which sections of the BT internal report provided evidence of the breaches; yet still DS Murray asked me to come up with some questions he could ask BT at the meeting he had with them on Sept. 2nd.
Any questions dimwatt?
Since the general public had no say on whether they wanted to be spied upon in this debacle, how could there be implied consent? I am sure that the plod (or PR bunny) who made the statement should have used the word "inferred" at least. Of course, such a niggling point of semantics obviously pales into insignificance when the word "whitewash" comes so readily to mind.
Isn't the Malthusian argument that, all things being equal,*agricultural* output becomes unable to keep pace with population growth? I read the section a few times but I'm still scratching my head to figure out what "Stern's Malthusianism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy" is supposed to mean. Yes, we can forsee that climate change will impact on available arable land, but Stern's position in favour of Kyoto-style co2 reduction would surely (a) work to reduce, not increase, the likelihood that agricultural land is lost to climate change, and (b) penalise agri-business much less (and possibly actually encourage it) than it would more polluting industries like manufacturing and construction? Is the point the article is trying to make simply that denying developing countries entry into the marketplace of heavier, more-polluting industries and technologies will reduce prosperity and lead to higher birth rates? If that's the case then calling the position "Malthusian" only applies to a subset of the economic issues at play, and the wrong ones at that (ie, industrial as opposed to agricultural).
I do agree with the perceived sentiment that (neo-)Malthusianism is bunk, though. As pointed out in the article, prosperity puts a natural halt to unbridled population growth, so that there is no "Malthusian event horizon"--it's just a groundless fear with no basis in reality.
on detector vans
"There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also satisfied with today's weather. Thanks for making the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
The detector vans *might have been* fitted with TEMPEST scanners, but in reality they used the awesome tech of THEFEAR. Quite a successful little ruse, all told... think of it like the local doc sending a hypochondriac patient down to the local chemist for a prescription of ADT.
Helicopter, cos of the nice weather.
creationism *does* have a scientific basis
... it's called "addition". As in, find any "begats" in the story, then add up all the ages of the begettor at the time they supposedly begat the begattee. Unfortunately, that's as "scientific" as it gets.
If creationists are serious about debate, I'd like to pose some questions, for instance:
a) how many of the begettors were under-age at the time they begat?
b) why did God feel it was necessary to speed up radioactive decay in the first ~7,000 years or so, while making all our experiments since Curie's time show that the rate of radioactive decay follows a fixed logarithmic equation? Is He trying to fuck with scientists specifically?
c) the light we see from stars are "past images" due to the time it takes their light to reach us. Why does that show that many stars are older than 7,000 years (even allowing for measurement error of up to one light-week)?
d) (anticipating the answer to (c) to be something about Genesis being metaphorical) how can we be sure when *any* day, week or a year in the Bible is meant to be interpreted as being a metaphorical day, week or year, or one in keeping with our current time-keeping devices? Isn't it equally possible that, say, Moses lived to be maybe a million or so of our current years?
e) on triangulation of sources for the ages of each person mentioned in the creationist timeline, is there any other authority for age of begetting besides God speaking through the Good Books? Eye-witnesses? Government ID records? Mentions in contemporary biographies? Anything? Anything?
@Luther Blisset, nature of truth
I've given your suggestion years of thought, and I've come up with more or less the same conclusion as you... no absolute truth is possible (notwithstanding purely abstract mathematical truths which are, by necessity confined to the abstract realm in which they're formulated), but that shouldn't stop us having conceptions of truth. Like you, I think we should have more than a black/white idea of truth. After thinking on it for some time, I finally came to the conclusion that there are really only 5 valid conceptions of truth, namely:
1. existential (unitary/"there exists"/"a-priori")
2. dualistic (TRUE|FALSE)
3. quantised ternary (TRUE|FALSE|UNDECIDED or TRUE|FALSE|UNKNOWN or TRUE|FALSE|MAYBE)
4. spectral ternary (TRUE|FALSE|SOMEWHAT_TRUE, ie "fuzzy" truth variables)
5. quaternary (BOTH_TRUE_AND_FALSE|NEITHER_TRUE_NOR_FALSE|ONLY_TRUE|ONLY_FALSE, ie "relativistic" truth)
I have wondered whether there might be some more inclusive model which could encapsulate as many of the above as possible into one over-arching theory, but I'm sure that no such theory is possible since it would fall at the first Gödelian hurdle. Still, and somewhat germanely to the topic of the article, I decided I'd set up a blog to document some ideas along those lines. It's at project343.blogspot.com, if anyone's interested. It is, to borrow from AManFromMars's comment above, a Cult Of One. Stick that in your pipe, Mr. Berners-Lee...
a better idea
PC magazine producers (the ones with disks on the front covers) could take note of the green wave and replace their read-only media with re-writeable media. Granted, margins are no doubt tight in most print publications, so for this idea to be a goer we'd either have to have differential taxing on the blank media (tax the WORMs more than the re-usable media) or the mag would have to parlay the green goodwill into a premium for advertisers and/or readers to pay. To encourage readers to actually erase the discs, I imagine a piece of software to copy the CD to disk and manage the library from there could be included so users know it's safe to nuke old CDs and re-use them. This library management system could also take care to only archive one copy of repeatedly-occurring content to cut down on disk space. The system might need some safeguards to prevent someone modifying the disk before it reaches the user, but a simple system that asks the internet for an MD5/SHA checksum of a random sampling of disk areas along with a full-disk/package-by-package check would probably suffice.
Oh, and the differential taxing mightn't be a bad idea to kill all those "free" CDs that advertisers slip between the covers, which invariably end up being tossed without ever seeing the inside of a CD drive. (*cough* AOL *cough*)
Tux, because you can have this idea for free.
never gonna work
I'll give a f'rinstance... the whole MMR/autism scare. That wasn't propagated by the Internet, but by over-eager hacks looking for a salacious story. If Mr Berners-Lee can convince the newspapers to infect their articles with a "truthiness" rating first, then he will have my complete support in extending it to embrace the intarweb.
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