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* Posts by John H Woods

1308 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Students outraged: Computer refuses to do any work for entire week

John H Woods
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Re: heads need to roll

Halfmad: "I wonder how many private firms are involved in running it"

That, in itself, is usually not the problem ... it's who those firms have outsourced it to that is usually the issue.

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Kinky? You're mentally healthier than 'vanilla' bonkers

John H Woods
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Re: @ribosome @Chris Miller

Wouldn't Pluto would have to be pretty damn large to perturb the orbit of Venus?

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First 'adult' app for Google Glass planned 'within days'

John H Woods
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Re: Peril Sensitive Sunglasses? ala HHGTTG

Did you miss the Guardian's April Fools joke this year? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EceOlpgJk_c. 100 seconds in.

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Give porno danger classes to Brit kids as young as FIVE - parents

John H Woods
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Re: Internet, video games, movies, music, all just a little bit of history repeating..

Peter Jones 2: "do your damn job."

As a parent and step-parent, I can hardly express how much I endorse this. The main thing that kids need to avoid is - having kids. Parenthood is intensely rewarding but frustrating, onerous and serious. *THAT* is what children need to be taught. By teaching them that sharp things cut; hot things burn; that all drugs - from weed to crack - are (implicitly equally) dangerous; you are really teaching them that it is the school's place to teach this --- and that, years later, school will also shoulder the burden of it when *they* become parents.

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John H Woods
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Re: Out lawing porn

The story of King Cnut is applicable in either case: either the informal version where a stupid king cannot stop the tide, or the probably more correct version where a wise king demonstrated to obsequious courtiers that even he could not stop the tide. The point is simply that no-one can stop the tide.

Cnut, ironically, appears one of the names likely to be filtered ...

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Last time CO2 was this high, the world was underwater? NO, actually

John H Woods
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Re: Really?

A "mere" 3 million years? The Himalayas were not around until the dinosaurs weren't: Everest is probably only about 60MY old (~20 times older than this) and it is now over 8.8km above sea level (~250 times more movement). Almost all human development has happened in the last 10% of this time, so just because you can say it quickly, don't forget to really think about how long it is.

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Biological chips go analog to boost efficiency

John H Woods
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Re: We're building a volume knob on your radio...

It is not useful to say that there is no such thing as analogue simply because things are, or may be, discrete at the Planck level.

In your example, there is such a scale difference between water as a stream of drops and a stream of molecules (which may have different masseses, due to having different isotopes of H or O), that the fact that the reality may be digital at the very smallest level is essentially irrelevant.

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Murdoch hate sparks mass bitchin', rapid evacuation from O2, BE

John H Woods
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Hmm....

Might be in a tiny minority here, but (despite loathing Murdoch) I've never had a problem with SKY. Broadband often a bit sluggish in peak periods, but never any problem with Customer Service or the Engineers. That may be in part because the house has 3 boxes and everything-but-the-porn subscription, so my monthly bill is substantial, or perhaps I've just been very lucky. I just wish it wasn't part of the Evil Empire.

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Hex & plugs & ROM & roll: Computer music stars rock Bletchley

John H Woods
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Just leaving this here for the few who haven't experienced it ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmoDLyiQYKw

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You thought only Google dodges UK taxes? So do all the Brit firms

John H Woods
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We might need these weapons...

... to threaten the Caymans, Bermuda etc.

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Samsung sends gigabit '5G' signal TWO WHOLE KILOMETRES

John H Woods
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Headmaster

So ...

... you foresee uses in healthcare?

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RTFM! NSA tome reveals THE TRUTH behind spooks on the web

John H Woods
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@I think so I am? - Is this your Dad?

http://weknowmemes.com/2011/10/dad-this-is-facebook-not-google-try-again/

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Excess all areas

John H Woods
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Re: Don McMillan

Thanks Don,

One for the collection - along with such gems as:

http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/

http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001yB&topic_id=1

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Standard Model goes PEAR-SHAPED in CERN experiment

John H Woods
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Happy

Re: IIRC

Mystic Megabyte: "Big Bang" should always be followed by the word "hypothesis".

Or Theory?

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John H Woods
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Re: At last @TheOtherHobbes

I think @TheOtherHobbes might be right: the most effective stock picks are random, then psychics (slightly less random), then bankers (much less random). If the claim had been that the psychics could beat random, then I would absolutely agree with you that the claim is rubbish, but I can see a mechanism where the more people think they know about stocks, the worse they do (because they exercise the least randomness when choosing).

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Brit unis get £7.5m of taxpayers' cash for cybersecurity PhDs

John H Woods
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"Doctoral Course" ?

As I understand it (from doing a PhD back when Noah was a lad), a PhD is not a "course". I was explaining to my kids the other day why, in in general, only felons and weirdos have more than one PhD. Once you have one you have established yourself as someone who can do research - there would be no need to do another one, you could just do another 3 years post-doctoral study, doing research, attending conferences, publishing papers, and maybe teaching students, without writing another thesis (quite often the least valuable form of academic writing). Of course there are honourable exceptions ...

If this were a postgraduate course, I would be sorely tempted. I have always wanted to work in this area, but my career seems to have wanted to go in a different direction.

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Suspected Chinese NASA spy smuggled smut not state secrets

John H Woods
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Happy

Re: Steno-pornography?

What is this? Some kind of one-handed shorthand? Or are we talking about SteGAno-pornography?

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Japan's XP migration solution: Remove network cable

John H Woods
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Re: No network = No Work

Great Bu: "Wait - people go on here from home ? Really ? Wow."

Erm, this is 2013. We *work* from home :-)

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Fraudster gets ten years after selling fake 'ionic charge' bomb detectors

John H Woods
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Mushroom

Without minimizing the tragic consequential loss of life ...

... I'm just amazed that these were in use without people realizing they were divining rods. Not only in the swinging action of the rod but in the extravagant claims (they could detect *anything*; they worked from the air; they worked on tiny amounts; they worked at enormous range; they worked through shielding and deep underground. Indeed, the only missing claims that a standard dowser would make is that worked even over maps).

No purchaser can have bought them without knowing either that (a) they knew enough science themselves to see it was bogus or that or (b) they knew so little science they needed to consult with someone who could do (a). Buyers were, at the very best, criminally negligent, and at worst, part of the conspiracy.

Further (though not that far) down the chain of command it is clear that many people knew these 'detectors' were total bullshit (I believe that was the word used by an Iraqi Lt) and yet more blame must lie with all those who ignored the shouts that the emperor was in fact naked, whether involved in the purchase or not.

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Facebook: Yeah, we'll ban chainsaw beheading vids - when journos call us

John H Woods
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Indeed ...

Facebook's policy might look inconsistent to us, and it may be internally inconsistent, but it is entirely consistent with Hollywood mores.

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Research explodes myth that older programmers are obsolete

John H Woods
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Re: Keep current or become unemployable

Daniel Voyce: "... use tools to increase my productivity (such as MVC Frameworks) ..."

What is MVC in this context, Model-View-Controller? As written about extensively in Smalltalk-80 about thirty years ago? Despite what the recruiters and the managers think, most of the abilities one needs to be a good developer, and to stay up to date with new trends, would have been familiar to the Ancient Greeks: mathematics, logical reasoning, and a life dedicated to continuous learning and intellectual development.

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Is the IT industry short on Cobolers? This could be your lucky day

John H Woods
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No offence, Dominic, but ...

... isn't this sort of keyword matching recruitment part of the problem?

Maybe if recruiters (not just the agents, but the employers themselves) used people who actually had some technical nouse to decide who gets to do what, we would solve not only the recruitment problem but the software crisis, where we are drowning in absolute rubbish.

But I never submit my CV to recruiting agents, simply because I have never found one that can apply the simple filter of never asking me to do a job whose salary is less than my current one.

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Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger

John H Woods
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Bravo!

"Reader, Flash and Air are - alongside Oracle's Java browser plugin - the screen door through which the raw unfiltered sewage of the internet oozes into the homes of netizens. These products are awful, the security is worse and the management of them over the years beggars belief."

I have never seen this sentiment better expressed.

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Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 WinPro 8 tablet

John H Woods
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back of fagpacket calculation ...

... perhaps worth it in any environment where > 5% of tablets are broken per week in accidents that this model would survive?

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Can't find your motor? Apple patents solve car park conundrums

John H Woods
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Boffin

I only lost my car once ...

Wife dictated a shopping list of 11 items whilst I was hands free on mobile. I stopped at the shop - it's only a walk from the house but it was on the way home. Bought 11 items. Was sure I'd forgotten something but wife went through shopping and confirmed that my memory was indeed excellent. About 2 hours later I looked out of the window and wondered where the f*** the car was. Had to walk back to the shop so I could drive it home.

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Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

John H Woods
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Re: Did you really need the political commentary?

sabroni: "I find it's valuable to read things written by people who's politics I disagree with"

+1. I greatly enjoy reading the output of AO, LP and TW on these pages, although I doubt we share much political common ground.

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CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

John H Woods
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jai: "i guess, perhaps this does explain why we haven't been wiped out by an alien invasion force yet. maybe we're not alone in the universe, but there's just absolutely no way to get to the next door neighbours to say hi."

A similar argument applies to Time Travel - if it were possible, they'd already have visited.

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John H Woods
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Re: Stupid question

There are no stupid questions :-) But this might be a stupid answer...

Compress your thought experiment back down to a hundred meters ... You hold one end and tap it - I hold the other and listen. What you are doing is (slightly) moving the rod and transmitting a wave - this travels at the speed of sound (albeit in metal - I think that's around 10x faster than in air) but it's a lot slower than light, never mind instantaneous.

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Galaxy S4 radiant, but has black holes

John H Woods
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Re: Galaxy SII was superb! But I covet a pure Linux phone Stack!

Eadon "I am a master (literally) of physics, mathematics and software engineering"

Does the use of "literally" mean you have a master's degree? Or that you really are a master of all these things? If the latter, who is writing most of your El Reg comments?

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Kepler continues exoplanet bonanza

John H Woods
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Re: Moore's Law and the Fermi Paradox.

Apologies - I intended to be rude about the paper, which is worthless, rather than to yourself.

Firstly. I think it needs to be made clear that Arxiv.org does not have any automatic status. Things that appear here may be e-prints of articles that have appeared in reputable refereed journals, or they may be nothing more than blog posts. And some of those are distinctively cranky - you can easily find proofs of the Riemann Hypothesis or the Goldbach conjecture here.

Secondly, the paper takes an observation (that some trend is near-enough exponential) and applies it to another field as if it were a 'law' - Moore's Law is a misnomer in this regard. Of course, very many natural and artificial processes are logarithmic in nature. But there is no evidence of a mechanism that genetic complexity would increase in a strictly exponential manner. So the evidence is quite weak.

Thirdly the claim is a very strong one. It is one thing to do a little thought experiment and come up with an interesting conclusion (wow, if genetic complexity progression were strictly exponential, there isn't enough time for life to evolve). But the sensible conclusion is that genetic complexity is very unlikely to have progressed in this way - not that life must have come from outer space. They might as well have said that this gives them evidence that the earth is a lot older than they we thought!

Perhaps I was overly irritated because I miss being a scientist (unfortunately other life circumstances ejected me from a world I loved and always wanted to be a part of) and I now spend my time looking at very poor code developed by offshore coders and being told by my managers that it is now too late to do things properly. I can only offer this as an explanation rather than an excuse, but my rudeness was meant to be directed mainly towards the paper, somewhat towards the authors, and not at all towards you.

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John H Woods
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Re: Moore's Law and the Fermi Paradox.

It's a couple of decades since I got my degree in genetics, and a bit less since I got my PhD in Biochemistry. Interestingly, I was still able to tell that this was utter bollocks within a couple of minutes simply by reading the abstract. I suggest you tweak your bullshit detector.

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Nudge nudge, wink wink interface may drive Google Glass

John H Woods
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Re: Moral to attack a wearer ?

Whilst I'm unhappy with the idea of 24/7 surveillance, you can't just attack people who are making video-recordings in a public place. Are you going to ram me off the road because I have a dashboard camera?

Anyway, people who want to take hidden video have far better options than Google Glasses, as a quick search on your favourite search engine will confirm. And those wanting to use such facilities for perving would, I guess, prefer to record straight to SD card than risk storing evidence against themselves in the cloud!

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AMD pins future growth to embedded marketplace

John H Woods
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How much impact will the PS4 have?

... I expected the article to have a guess, but maybe the commentards will be braver?

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BadNews, fandroids: MILLIONS of Google Play downloads riddled with malware

John H Woods
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Re: Android permissions design

I agree. Best way to control the 'make phone calls' permission might be to pop a user prompt before every short-code SMS or non geographic number unless a specific permission is given in advance.

I'm safe because I use PAYG - as soon as I top up 15 quid on Three I buy their 500min, 5000 text, AYCE data bundle, which uses the whole amount. The phone will then not make any calls to non-geo numbers, or send premium texts because "your account balance is too low" .

But the telcos could help here by letting you set contractual terms such as requiring additional confirmation to control cost incurred, number of premium SMS that can be sent or number of mins of premium calls that can be made per month.

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Win a Nexus 7 with reed.co.uk and El Reg

John H Woods
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Re: Job title

"E-mail, Internet and Electronic Information Officer."

at McDonalds?

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Hands up who wants 3D finger-controlled fridges? That's the spirit

John H Woods
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Audible verbal gesture?

I presume it is not possible to patent the use of the phrase "Turn Off!" to turn off a television? So why should it be possible to patent a gesture that means the same thing? Sure you can patent the technology that interprets the gesture, but the gesture itself - what's the difference between that and a verbal command?

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Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

John H Woods
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Fun new business opportunity...

Anti-drone drones. Pestered by nosey neighbours drones? We'll hunt it down and you can have the DVD of the engagement to cherish and keep ...

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Under the microscope: The bug that caught PayPal with its pants down

John H Woods
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Oh FFS

Sanitize your fracking inputs! When will companies realise that coders with a clue cost money?

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Flexible flywheel offers cheap energy storage

John H Woods
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Context

14kWh is 50MJ - is a couple of pounds / dollars worth of energy: a few micrograms of uranium or a couple of litres of diesel. But this is a third of a tonne! Why are we, in the 21st century, so short of ideas for sensible energy storage that we are considering massive flywheels?

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Wales slams Amazon over lack of Kindle support

John H Woods
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Re: Lower number than in the article

"We get to about 5000 copies, which is important for the author, but so irrelevant that it isn't worth Amazon employing someone to add the extra lines of code in their database."

As someone who has been involved in i18n projects, I think it's very unlikely that the effort involved here is that considerable. Amazon only have to add a small premium to Welsh language books to cover it, so - whilst I agree that Welsh should not have any special subsidies, it isn't unreasonable for it to be a supported language.

As for those people who found Welsh language programmes on the telly annoying, a performance of La Traviata I once saw was utterly ruined for me by the near-stage-right presence of a signer, waving their arms and grimacing dramatically, presumably for the benefit of the small proportion of deaf people who (a) go to the opera and (b) are unable to read the surtitles. Now *that's* PC gone mad.

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Ofcom: Parents, here's how to keep grubby tots from buying Smurfberries

John H Woods
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Re: How Did We Survive

Money? Ration coupons? You were lucky! My parents used to give me a club and a send me out to kill my own food wearing nothing but a bearskin.

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Dubai splurges on 700hp, 217mph Lamborghini police cruiser

John H Woods
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You don't need to catch them ...

... just get close enough to fire a magnetic/adhesive GPS tracker onto the vehicle. Pretty hard to outrun the helicopter then ... even if you can beat it in a straight line.

Which reminds me - have you guys seen P.R.E.Y A.L.O.N.E - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccw4OepTDUY

In this amazing Irish short film, whose SFX were done on a farm of cheap PCs, there is a blistering chase of a car through the subway system by a couple of fighter jets - and a great twist in the tale ...

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... time machine. Iranian Dr Who claims he invented a ...

John H Woods
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Boffin

Time machine:

Please select:

My wealth / income places me in

a) the top 1%

b) the remaining 99%

Five year forecast:

a) things will get better for you

b) things will get worse for you

Thank you for using my time machine.

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Shaky liftoff for Sputnik: Dell's Linux lappie runs its own cloud, ish

John H Woods
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Re: FIX THE SCREEN!!! WUXGA FTW!

^^^ THIS ^^^

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Finance bods probe RBS over bank-crippling IT cock-up

John H Woods
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Not a single person error...

Whether a noob made a mistake or not is largely irrelevant ... if a single person can do this, whether accidentally or deliberately, whether remote or inside the datacentre, the system is already a failure.

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Hard luck lads, todger size DOES matter: Official

John H Woods
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BMI...

... the research also suggests that the preference for bigger members was more marked in women with a bigger BMI. This may be obvious, but I expected some commentards to have something to say about it ...

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John H Woods
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Published in PNAS ...

... where else?

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