* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1947 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Unicorn adopts rainbow as logo

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Pedant

I missed my 10min edit window ...

Thinking about it a bit more, I think "fount" is more like a "wellspring", while "font" is more like a "repository". I think of wisdom as something more gained and accrued* than being a natural upwelling so a "font of wisdom" sounds more natural to me.

* “Good judgment [wisdom] comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Pedant

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fount

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2013/08/poll-results/

I prefer font, but I don't think fount is wrong

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Compression tool 7-Zip pwned, pain flows to top security, software tools

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Re: so....

On *nix systems it should be easy to write a one-liner to search for all executables and use ldd to check what dynamically loaded libraries it depends on. I assume there's something similar to ldd on Windows. Problem with that is, I guess that people who develop Windows programs tend more towards using static linking. Maybe EXE explorer [link] can help there. The stackoverflow thread here suggests using the DUMPBIN program that comes with Visual Studio.

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Re: So what action is required?

No, not privilege "escalation". I think you get it since you mention that a system process running it is worse than a regular user running the program interactively, but there is no escalation (just delete the word completely and your post makes sense).

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

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Re: Nonsense

So how exactly do you do a magnetohydrodynamic drive "properly", then? Turn the air in front into a plasma and eject it with a magnetic field (Lorentz, not Laplace, I assume)? Sounds totally impractical to me.

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Italians rattle little tin for smartmobe mini lenses

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Re: Sounds like geckos' feet

Gecko feet exploit the van der Waals force. As far as I can tell this is different from an electrostatic force as mentioned in the article. This looks to be more like how vinyl "L" plates for sticking inside car windows can stick to the glass without adhesive. I *think* that's an example of electrostatic attraction, at any rate.

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At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

re: Give me a waterfall any day

I'd rather have something more like Barry Boehm's Spiral model. Make risk management part of the culture and try to tackle the biggest risks first. Like maybe, you know, in this case they could have thought "let's try to pin down requirements because right now we really don't have a clue."

In theory, I guess Agile is supposed to be some sort of successor to the Spiral model, but as someone else mentioned, it just ends up with lots of little waterfalls and no overriding sense of direction. It seems that some sort of magic is supposed to happen because "tools" or "teams" or "continuous delivery" or whatever. So much (under)pants (gnomes), I say!

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French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

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Re: Absolutely horrendous...

no Ortolan ...

but sounds quite like cuy chactado (squashed and fried guinea pig, as already featured as a post-pub deathnosh).

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Spaniard live streams 195km/h burn-up

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C'était un Rendezvous by Claude Lelouch - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvDXlDxMnb4

At least Lelouch had a spotter with a 2-way radio to guide him through the worst part, but still a pretty crazy and irresponsible thing to do.

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Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Cheesoid

On the hunt for the storm petrel.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Have I got drugs for you?

Following the lives of patients involved in double-blind clinical trials of new drugs. The spin is that we never know which ones are getting the placebo or which side effects are psychosomatic. Ha-HA!

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Sic transit Mercury Monday

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Why the fuss?

Call me blasé, but what is all the hype with this event?

Maybe astronomers have a soft spot for Mercury transits since they were a key support for Einstein's theory of relativity? The thoughts of overthrowing the older Newtonian hegemony probably makes them a bit nostalgic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity#Perihelion_precession_of_Mercury

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Brit polar vessel christened RRS Sir David Attenborough

Frumious Bandersnatch
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The only way that could be worse is if a huge manatee was involved.

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UK govt admits it pulled 10-year file-sharing jail sentence out of its arse

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Alice...

I think she had a restaurant ...

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So is anyone going to be held to account?

has played footless and fancy free

It's "footloose". DJ Food explains the difference at the end of The Ageing Young Rebel (Gentle Cruelty).

(posted more so I can share the link than to chide you for an easy mistake)

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UK.gov wasted £20m telling you to 'be safe online, mmkay'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Gooood evening, Madam!

Maybe the money could have been better spent paying Kayvan Novak* to do another Fonejacker series. George Agdgdgwngo needs a reprise, IMO.

* If he's not too busy with Paddy Power ads

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Mercury to transit Sun: Viewer discretion advised

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Can someone explain . . .

The magic of geometry

And some even simpler linear algebra. It's like* if you have two buses that serve the same bus stop, one that arrives every 40 minutes, another every 45 minutes. The time between instances where both buses arrive at once is the least common multiple of the two times, which in this case would be 360 minutes. Accounting for the wobble is like saying that you only visit the bus stop every, say, 50 minutes so you're only interested in times that you're actually there. Again, you use the LCM. The LCM of 360 and 50 (or of 40, 45 and 50, if you want to combine all three values at once) is 1800, so the time between the coincidences is 1800 minutes or 30 hours.

* Obviously, this is a simplification. The bus stops would be moving, for one thing, since we're interested in colinearity rather than when planets are at fixed points. In two or three dimensions with elliptical orbits, the calculations are a bit more involved, but the basic ideas of periodicity still hold (as far as I know; please correct me if I'm wrong). The reason I'm talking about the simpler case is that it helps to understand that the LCM is fundamental to combining periods. Most notably, if the periods being combined are relatively prime, then the combined period is the product of each of the individual periods, which might be a surprising result if you didn't know about the LCM.

Incidentally, they reckon that cicadas are so successful because the period of their life cycle is relatively prime to that of the predators that keep them under control. This means that they get the maximal period between "busts" in their predator-prey cycle.

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Server-jacking exploits for ImageMagick are so trivial, you'll scream

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: That's the unix way of doing things..

I'll tell you a true story. Back in Uni, we had a practical programming exam (in Basic) on the mainframe. The lecturer had set up a restricted environment where commands that could be used to cheat (those relating to sending messages to other users and accessing shared folders) were disabled by using aliases. I noticed that I could undo these aliases from within the Basic interpreter. I hacked the system by asking the lecturer if we could use the Basic interpreter during the exam, because it was more convenient for testing things quickly. They didn't see the problem and whitelisted the interpreter. So after finishing my assignment, I had a bit of fun messaging my mates to show that I'd broken out of the jail.

The moral of the story is not that there's anything wrong with interpreters (like your diatribe against shells) but the context that they're allowed to be used from. ImageMagick evolved from being a command-line tool and now it's being used in an unsafe context. That is all.

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Ultra-cool dwarf throws planetary party

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Re: Fusion?

Thanks, that saved me the bother of asking "wft ...?"

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Hold on a sec. When did HDDs get SSD-style workload rate limits?

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could be just

some sort of "retconning" (retroactive continuity) or whatever that word is* for when some new tech becomes the new normal and we begin to look at the old tech through the lens of the new. Unlike something like "horse-power", where we do the opposite.

I always thought that the number of power cycles was the main reason spinning disks failed, though. Can rust wear out? Or does it, as Neil Young would have it, never sleep?

* the word I was looking for was probably "back-formation", it seems

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Rampant robot tries to rip my clothes off

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Re: Main Image

I did the same thing. Guessed it was Weird Science but didn't scan down far enough to see it mentioned. Googling what I assumed was "Shermer High School" written on her top, I found something (mildly) interesting: Shermer, Illinois is a fictional town that turns up in ten or eleven films, mostly by John Hughes.

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If you work on Seagate's performance drives, time to find another job

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: A death and decline so easily forseen...

There is no death of Hard Disk Drives and SSD

Sure, hard drives aren't going away for a while, but there's this thing called "opportunity cost". Seagate seems to have chosen to stick with spinning disks over SSD. In so doing, it's devoting its limited resources to chasing a shrinking market at the expense of building expertise, capacity and market share in the newer SSD market.

I can only guess that Seagate execs imagine SSDs to be not quite there yet and consider a shift in focus to them being a more risky proposition than riding out the cash cow for a while longer. Maybe they're right, maybe not. Time (and timing) will tell.

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Google AI gains access to 1.2m confidential NHS patient records

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Trollface

Welcome to the BRave new EXIT (of your personal information)

One supposes that this is just the sort of deal (with default "opt-in" clauses) that British regulators would love to sign up to. They'd totally get away with it, too, if it weren't for that pesky EU.

Closest icon I can find for a Scooby Snack (gurning counts, doesn't it?)--->

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The EU wants you to log into YouTube using your state-issued ID card

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Credential Systems

What's really needed is a credential system that doesn't open the user up to being tracked across all their activities. An anonymous or pseudonymous identity system is the ideal. There are a bunch of different crypto techniques and technologies that might point a way to how such a system might work, such as:

  • zero-knowledge cryptosystems, based on being able to prove knowledge of some secret without revealing anything about it
  • Bitcoin-like blockchain and proof-of-work (and probably also the monetary aspect, where participants accrue credits for proving transactions' bona fides),
  • Kerberos-like ticket granting, with ability to delegate and create signed permissions that prove the ticket is valid without unmasking the holder's identity

Unfortunately, neither governments, intelligence agencies nor big business (advertisers and the advertising companies) have any interest in providing (or even allowing) this concept of identity to flourish. On the other hand, though, if Bitcoin showed us anything, it's that you can start off with the logic of everyone only being in it for themselves and actually create something that is useful for everyone. Of course, it's not free, given that it only works because proof-of-work (and the speculative/adversarial nature of the game) has costs in hardware and electricity, but since it's kind of like free-market economics in microcosm, perhaps such an identity system could work in a parasitic/symbiotic relationship with various systems that need strong identity proofs, but are agnostic about who you are?

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Ex-Apple gurus' elusive Android phone coming to UK next month

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Re: Shame it isn't awful...

So... your partner comes from a long line of Rasta vampire hunters? [Youtube]

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It's World IP Day! Celebrate by making money from a dead teenager

Frumious Bandersnatch
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In a weirdly synchronous way

I'm marking this (at least the sub-head) and the article about Chernobyl by listening to Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two-headed Boy".

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Good enough IT really is good enough. You don't need new hardware

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: why is everything Javascript these days?

In theory, it also makes for more maintainable code. At least compared to something like server-side includes with embedded PHP, you can achieve a better separation between UI and "business logic". Nowadays, I guess that many people use Javascript because there are so many libraries available.

It's a big, broad question, though, so reading up on Ajax is a good place to start.

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IBM says no, non, nein to Brexit

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Being in the EU...

Just as easy ...

I was just thinking that myself. More than half of the shell companies revealed by the Panama Papers were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Maybe not directly relevant to the "Brexit" debate, but then probably neither is the OP's post.

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'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Swingers

A quick guess would be that the entire system is effectively two coupled pendulums. When you hold onto the rope and swing your body around the point you're holding, you're doing work (expending energy to move against whatever inertia you already have). That's where the energy comes from, and because it's a coupled system, that energy gets transferred into making the swing as a whole go higher or damping its movement.

You should be able to get a similar effect by suspending a piston (say a solenoid) vertically from a spring and setting the piston to oscillate at different frequencies. My intuition tells me that you should be able to get behaviours ranging from having a point that's fixed at a given height despite the paired oscillation to tracing out a smooth sine wave, with various chaotic patterns in between.

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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Or maybe the teens just like Angry Birds?

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Intel literally decimates workforce: 12,000 will be axed, CFO shifts to sales

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "literally" "decimates"

From Wikipedia (not a sterling source, natch): "The word decimation is derived from Latin meaning "removal of a tenth"." So I think "literally" is OK, it being literally one tenth (give or take) who will get the (OK, figurative) axe.

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Canny Canadian PM schools snarky hack on quantum computing

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Check this out for a cool explanation

I had it exactly right because I prefaced the phrase

OK, I misinterpreted, but the emphasis you used (on "information" rather than "doesn't") suggested to me that somehow "information" (as opposed to something tangible like a photon or whatever) was something that could be transmitted without breaking the speed limit. Your use of the word "seems" ("I know not 'seems' ...") further muddied the waters for me.

So anyway, not "it seems that instantaneous information transfer doesn't violate relativity", but "relativity doesn't allow for instantaneous information transfer". All cleared up.

Still, one other niggle: "it gives a method for instantaneous cooperation at a distance" is similarly open to misinterpretation. The "spooky action at a distance" is uncorrelated until after both parties have compared notes. This "cooperation" you're talking about takes time and is definitely not instantaneous.

(with the obvious caveat that "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics" surely applies equally to both of us)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Check this out for a cool explanation

allowing -information- to be transferred between the points instantaneously

Pedant alert: quantum communications doesn't allow instantaneous information transfer. You almost had it right because you go on to say that the parties have to compare notes afterwards. There's no information transfer until they compare notes and the information contained in them is still subject to classical limits on how fast it can be transmitted (no FTL, no violating relativity).

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Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: first rule of email admin

Probably the second rule is something like "even though I have no interest in reading your mail, each and every host it goes through does have the capability of reading it: assume that I'm the exception among these admins and if you want privacy, encrypt the mail or don't use email at all".

Not using email at all would have been the smart thing to do in this case, since the recipient metadata is still in the clear. But then, the sender probably wasn't the sharpest tool in the box and no amount of explaining would have led him to do the sensible thing.

Best course for this admin would have been to refuse to scan the emails in the first place. Or only set up filtering with the policy that all misaddressed mail will go directly to a public (office-wide) noticeboard. Either that, or refuse to look at the content and base redirections solely on the To: field. I prefer the more dramatic option, though.

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South Korea to upgrade national stereo defence system for US$16m

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Holmes

missing a trick

I assume that propaganda on both sides is a bit repetitive in the literal sense of being on a continuous loop. If you get a good clean recording, invert the phase and then pump that out on your own system, you can get some degree of noise cancellation in selected spots. Of course, when broadcast out over a wide area, some spots will get destructive interference (cancelling out what you don't want heard) while others will have constructive interference (making it louder).

The other interesting thing about this is that one appropriate response to the use of this tech (assuming both sides rush to use it) would be simply to turn off your own speakers. Then you save electricity and the other guy ends up broadcasting both signals with perfect fidelity.

Might not be a perfect idea, but at least some "deaf spots" could help shield your guys against the opposing propaganda.

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Linux command line mistake 'nukes web boss'S biz'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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bang or

Can't recall accidentally typing something like this, but I've certainly borked things up a bit by using the shell history feature "!something" to re-run a previous command only to either have a typo that called up another command instead, or brought back a nasty command that I'd forgotten was in the history. Tab completion is also another great labour-saving device that brings its own problems.

The times I've accidentally done 'tar cf *" to make a tar file, accidentally clobbering the first file? More than once. Plus dd mishaps, obviously, especially on machines where enumeration of devices (sd?, mmcblk?) is essentially random after a reboot.

/measure twice, cut once

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FOUR Avatar sequels

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: insert title here.

Avatar = Pocahontas

I always thought it was "Smurfahontas"

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Russian boffins want to nuke asteroids

Frumious Bandersnatch
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all well and good

ach cad faoi na smidiríní?

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Dropping 1,000 cats from 32km: How practical is that?

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Curiously enough,

the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was "Oh no, not again."

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Effing 'Merikans

Japanese also do mm/dd/yyyy.

[Citation needed]

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Western Digital spins up a USB disk just for the Raspberry Pi

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: designed to slurp less power..

What do you mean, a new angle? atan(1) * 4 has been around since at least Pythagoras.

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Her Majesties Armed Forces

@AC - "the finest and noblest of Her Majesties Armed Forces"

That would be the Royal Navy, mate.

Surely that should be she majesties armed forces? I guess that "the queens' English" is foreign to you.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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To quote a famous meme

I don't know how famous this is, or how meme-ey, but I always liked the idea of pitting the Microsoft support line against Psychic Friends Network. Spoiler: it's a wash on results, but PFN gives better customer service.

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Firemen free chap's todger from four-ring chokehold

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Oh, why not?

bar stools on one of his yachts clothed in sperm whale foreskin.

The penis bone of some aquatic mammals (yes, they have "bones", literally) have all sorts of uses. Seems they make good knife handles since they won't get too slippery if you're using it to butcher an animal.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Oh dear sir,

Idiots who self inflict

So if someone is distracted while crossing the road and gets run over, it's their own fault and so shouldn't get treatment? Maybe we should resinstitute the Spanish Inquisition to take over triage duties then, eh?

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It's 2016 and a font file can own your computer

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Septic Fónt$

VGA fonts were set by a call to the BIOS (*). I have a collection of them somewhere. I'm pretty sure that some games used custom fonts to display graphics even though they were still in text mode. Can't think of one for sure, but I think that the Kroz series of games might have used this trick.

* http://www.ctyme.com/intr/rb-0143.htm

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: How did this ever become a problem in the first place?

But fonts? A bunch of vectors? I just don't get why they have to be so dangerous 30 years later! XML, for instance, can describe similar data without needing admin privs

But XML everywhere makes things slow, especially if you insist on it being well-formed, which the specs say it should be. Thus we have binary file formats with "nasty" things like fields indicating how many bytes are in some section of the file or data fields compressed with zlib or similar. Most of the kinds of errors arising from using these are down to insufficient checks on such fields to make sure that they make sense.

Besides the performance problem, XML isn't a panacea. It can work well for some structured data, but it essentially follows a strictly hierarchical model. There isn't any standard way to model interdependencies between one section of the XML file and another, so it's still possible to get errors where something is essentially declared in one part of the file, but never properly instantiated in another, leading to NULL dereference problems (similar to one mentioned in the article, leading to a crash) if the proper checks aren't included. XML schemas also aren't immune to designers embedding "field length" fields, either (in one way or another; compressed strings often implicitly use this feature).

Finally, I don't think your point about privileges is appropriate here, since neither the article or the vulnerability report mention it. The gist here is that if you can install a bad font file on a server then it can pass that to clients that connect. The bugs have nothing to do with admin rights as such.

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Head transplant candidate sells souvenirs to fund operation

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"I will fear no evil" 1970

Also:

  • The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962)
  • The Man with Two Brains (1983)
  • Futurama (heads in jars)
  • Frankenhooker (1990)
  • Any Frankenstein film

Probably more. They're the ones I remember.

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Forget Tiger Woods – here's Cyber Woods: Robot golfer hits hole-in-one during tournament

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Eldrick?

Never knew that was Tiger's real name. Leaves me wondering if his parents were fans of H. P. Lovecraft (fond of words like "Eldritch") or maybe Sapphire and Steel (characters called Eldred and Rothwyn in one "assignment", though Steel points out that they're hopelessly anachronistic cover names). Tiger's too old for the S&S idea to work, though.

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

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Re: @paul I Wonder....

Hate to nitpick (actually when I'm right love to nitpick) but iron will fuse quite happily with enough energy and pressure

Oh, the cobalty.

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