208 posts • joined Wednesday 4th April 2007 15:19 GMT
We need a stupidity clause
Does any vaguely intelligent person form opinions based on what they see on the google summaries? This has to be a step dumber than using wikipedia as your sole source of knowledge.
Continuing in a similar vein, this would imply that anything a reasonably skilled splicer could do with things an individual had said would result in them (the individual, not the splicer) being sued. Crazy!
See, the BNP aren't racist
They've let foreign packets come over here, take down their server... and use Polish spitfires and Oregon construction workers in their election pamphlets
Why wasn't the website set up to only allow good, clean British traffic in? A touch ironic for a party that gives it big on border control.
Not the only use for iPlayer
I don't have a licence as I don't watch TV, even on iPlayer, but I do use iPlayer to catch up on the radio broadcasts. As good as I think radio 4 is, there is no way on this earth I'd pay to listen to a few programs that I'd missed - I might as well wait a few months and get them on Radio 7, the home of repeats....
Didn't Tom Lehrer give up satire when Henry Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize?
I think the whole climate change debate is a sign of the infantile manner in which pretty much every argument has to be intensely polarised today. While it was fun for a while in that it enabled media outlets to sell more copy as 'twere, it has shaped politics and societally important science into loud, shouty arguments on the with us or against us level. Mike Hulme seems to espouse neither polar viewpoint and, sadly, will therefore be vilified by both. It's ironic that he is criticising concensus when a somewhat truer concensus would necessarily be away from the 2 extremes and somewhat nearer the middle. To paraphrase the rail announcer, it's the wrong kind of concensus...
You've got to wonder about what serious means
If the payouts were exclusively for the murders then that's not even hitting £500 per informant. Somehow I suspect there were a few tips on rapes, assaults, etc in the mix so it doesn't really say much for the expected return.
Should Crimestoppers have an asterisked "typical payout £50. Terms and conditions apply. Turning yourself in may put your freedom at risk." at the bottom of their ads?
Fiscal drag cuts both ways
One only has to look at the infinitely postponed council tax revaluation on house prices to realise that.
I've been thinking linking the personal allowance to the minimum wage is a good idea for a while now, but I'd extend the principle across determining all of those arbitrary tax points by some property of the economy with a requirement that the statistics must be updated at least once per Parliament (and ideally every year seeing as they are collected anyway) eg have the higher rate start at the nth percentile of earnings, inheritance tax at the nth percentile of legacies.
Flat rate income tax is a daft idea though - it suffers from exactly the same fiscal drag problems as detailed in the article.
More cargo cult science
This is just a rehash of the old tell someone that people like them tend to do crap in a test and funnily enough they do too experiment that's been done on let's see: women, <insert nigh on every race under the sun>, blondes, people who like cheese, kittens (probably).
Obviously not being interested enough to fork out for a subscription to Geriatrics in Electrodes monthly, I have to wonder whether they've factored in whether this is exclusive to memory tests or if it's more of the "being told you're crap at _anything_ doesn't make you do better" effect that the plethora of variations on this theme and the "proofs" of stigmatisation would suggest.
One has to wonder
What if they don't sign the understanding piece of paper?
It's not a conflict of interest, it's a conflict of influence.
Don't for one second tell me that being on the official contact list within a department or elsewhere in the corridors of power doesn't get you something. Wouldn't this be why one T. Blair Esquire gets such a hefty retainer from Merrill Lynch?
From the same school of logic that brought you "it's perfectly within the rules". Yes it is - but the rules are wrong, as well as the behaviour.
I read an interesting article a while back noting that many Somalis only turned to piracy when European fishing vessels muscled in on the local fishing grounds thanks to some shady deals with the various factions in the region.
There's surely a more apposite parallel with the way grey imports are handled :o
Paris, because she's been conflated with the beautiful and interesting.
If you ask me
The blogosphere and the current generation of politicos are well matched. Reactionary, deliberately misdirecting, unable to find the right end of a stick even when clearly labelled.
Face it, Labour's whining because they got caught. The Tories are whining because they were the targets and because they didn't think of it first. OK, so it's news that the smear campaign existed at all, but from the media reaction of the last few days, you'd think they'd hadn't been thought of before. Wait a tick, that's the whole point of Web 2.0 - the same old crap with a star saying "Beta".
Correlation != Causation
BMI should only really be a starter for 10, not Judge Judy & executioner.
The conversation should be "I see you have quite a high/low BMI, let's have a closer look at other risk factors like your parachute jumping and interviews on the Today Programme" rather than "I see you have quite a high/low BMI, you're going to explode/implode and DIE!"
Quetelet never claimed health implications - BMI was only intended as a population classification mechanism to see if it fitted a standard probability distribution. It's the flipping insurance industry that added them as a magic risk indicator. AIG's recent performance should tell you how good magic risk indicators are...
Better way of answering the question
A text box.
This way you will discover :-
Some don't know that percentages are between 0 and 100.
Some don't know that percentages are numbers.
Some geeks answer in Hex.
Some think that text boxes are places to try SQL injection attacks.
Some are even more pedantic than the "what about ice and fresh water?" folks and consider the few ppm of water vapour in the atmosphere to be a criterion for being covered by, thus raising the number to close to 100%.
Herein lies the problem
"According to Zemlin, companies could soon make their money back during the lifetime of any contract sold along with a netbook."
If we're comparing to the mobile market, the subsidy is to draw you into paying extortionate rates on phone calls or rather, extortionate rates per month on "free" minutes and the like that you're not going to use. So what kind of contracts could possibly be the basis for subsidising netbooks?
A killer application that only runs on Linux? Chances are that someone will produce a rough and ready clone fairly quickly if said app is paid-for, and if it's not paid-for then it isn't going to produce any money with which to do subsidies.
Some kind of service? Pretty much the only one that fits the bill with regards netbooks are ISPs, and they'd have to produce a spectacularly opaque contract that would get torn to shreds by the likes of this site before you can say "Muppet pays extra £50/Gb just to get a dinky computer".
Can't see it happening...
Biting the long tail that feeds Web 2.0
Unashamed that the Daily Mail called them respected
Unashamed that the Grauniad calls them ever-excellent
A site full of scurrilous children's toy-abusing vapid heiress-obsessed [MS|Apple|O'Reilly's bunch of badgers|Sadville|Jimbo Wales' clique of "experts"|Edit this description]-baiting memoclastic climactic sceptical articles and not enough BOFH.
It's not a matter of can't be bothered
It's can't do much about it.
Pretty much any part of the economy that's worth more than a few billion quid or a few tens of thousands of jobs almost always gets something approximating carte blanche from whoever is in charge. The simple threat of the elimination of a few thousand well-paid (because we're flipping paying them) jobs and the associated tax income results in a total spinectomy for most politicians in government, which is why being a multinational is so great - 10,000 workers or so in several countries give you nearly absolute latitude in all of them and all for threatening to drop less than 5% of your total workforce, which you never actually have to do due to the spine removals. Still, you occasionally do so just to remind them who's in charge.
And just to cap it off, most governments encourage overseas acquisitions as a boost to national prestige (which is almost as mercurial a property as sovereignty).
Where's the Charlton Heston icon? - The only way you're going to get away from the incumbents is out of their cold dead hands.
Wrong Chris Morris analogy
Why am I thinking of baby elephants?
Perfect example on The Daily Gush, erm Wired today:
"The nerds hate it, because they don't get it. It's out of their control," explained Howard Lindzon, of StockTwits, which won the best finance Twitter award. "If you can't say it in 140 characters, you probably don't have much to say. Those are the people who don't like it."
It's Phonetical Correctness Gone Mad!
The stupid thing about their (annual) whinge about "irregular" spelling is that embarrassed and millennium actually follow a regularised pattern in English spelling. For embarrassed, not having the double r & s would lengthen the a's. It's fair comment if we restrict it to the weirder side like the 18 possible pronunciations of "ough" or UK place/street names (although whether Mr Haines would like in future to be asked the question "Lester, like the city?" is another matter), but calling for a nigh on complete overhaul is ridiculous. There's an old joke knocking round on the intertubes where small changes in spelling on phonetic grounds eventually look rather Germanic - Ze drems of the Guvernmnt vud finali hav kum tru
Even more idiotically, they forget that NOT ALL PEOPLE PRONOUNCE WORDS THE SAME - FFS, the letter T would nearly disappear for the yoof of today and "innit" would be a new punctuation mark.
Ironically, much of the irritation between English and US spelling was because of changes made in the 18th Century to make English more like French & Greek (hence the -our and flurry of ph's), which the US largely ignored.
Isn't it about time?
Why is it that there are still idiot developers (no doubt egged on by idiot managers and marketing droids) who insist on putting browser checks in at all?
How hard is it to have a simple "we've tested this on the following browsers, if you're using anything else we can't guarantee it'll work" message? Unless you're relying on InactiveX, there's no reason for it.
Half the story
Why is it with Home Office statements in response to anything like this that I am reminded of the old sitcom favourite:
"You fat bitch!"
<Righteous indignation> "Who are you calling fat?"
Oh that's it! Because they always only respond to (at most) half of what's been said and hope that no-one notices the disparity.
CCTV and DNA _are_ essential crime-fighting tools, but there is plenty of evidence that their effectiveness tapers if overused, not to mention that they don't actually _stop_ crime (well, I suppose CCTV could, if the camera fell off its mount and knocked the ne'er-do-well out before s/he did anything). So, what of all the other database bollocks? <shuffle, shuffle> Erm, it'll keep 14 foreigners out and stop maybe one paedophile per century?
I swear, if the Home Office were ever asked about cost overruns on a Montana bunker complex they'd say something like it's very important to have enough stationery during a nuclear winter.
That's all very well
The simulant left about 4 fire doors open on his way out - WTG as the fire spreads in his wake...
he'd be the only one that made it out alive. Mind you, if it's one of those buildings on Elvet it's probably for the best ;)
Vorderman set theory:
Annoying and vaguely scientific: 10%
Annoying and not even vaguely scientific: 90%
Not annoying and vaguely scientific: Undefined
Not annoying and not even vaguely scientific: Oh puleeaaasse, you're 'aving a larf incha!
Which part of the Carol diagram (more appropriate spelling here to save Mr Dodgson's blushes) do you think the Maths gimmick erm Taskforce's work is going to fit into?
BBC advice - ha!
Their Heavy Snow: At a Glance page(which I assumed would be blank) was conspicously missing a North and a Scotland until about dinner time. Presumably "Scoop" Nanook couldn't get any mobile reception.
Twammers: Oh, come on!
That's got to be up there with blook as crappest made up word even it does point to "Twat" being the word for a spammed tweet.
Can't we do any better? Guano perhaps - annoying if it lands on you, but made Nauru a fortune from nitrate mining...
It isn't just Google's fault
... or rather, it is, and also indirectly - because it has become the lazy "if I'm writing an article and there's a couple of difficult words or I'm just plain copying them verbatim and might as well give them credit" linked to site of every bloke and his blogging dog.
Seeing as they who couldn't spell 10^100 think (and arguably correctly) that the major news providers are more important than the rest of the interwebs, this also points towards the lowering of journalistic standards on a large scale - ooh, I need to show a bit of background, let's link to Jimbo's Jet Set; that'll do. Of course, as the Jet Set gets more links it is more likely to appear high on the search results and the lazier the journo is the more likely they'll only click on a couple of links top and so the feedback loop is strengthened. Ad nauseam.
Doesn't this point to a general O/S FAIL?
The fail is that ALL O/S's have monstrously crap help systems. That get worse if you're coming over from another O/S. Microsoft has a genuine advantage (pun intended) in that, as the incumbant majority O/S writer, people are most likely to use up their "I'm learning how to use a computer" mental budget on their product, so they benefit from rubbish help in that it leaves other systems having to be nigh on impossibly easy to use so as to not confuse people too much.
I suffer from a similar issue when it comes to graphics programs - if the menu structure isn't like Photoshop 7, I'll spend at least 5 minutes of confusion per use trying to figure out how to do anything.
I think the console could teach a lot when it comes to this, or at least games could. Games tend to have printed manuals (or at least PDFs), something O/Ss abandoned circa the original iMac. They come with quick reference cards. And often with (heaven forfend!) reasonably well thought out tutorial modes.
Vista offers a good example of what I mean - they've shuffled up the control panel: fine, I can live with that. They even allow you to switch to "Classic View". That's not going to last in future versions though, is it? I'm still going to have to learn the new view eventually, but you're going to make it hard for me. How about a bit in "Classic View" that actually tells me where it is in the new version - a "Where the hell is the Big blue E?" mode if you will?
Best not - it might remind ne'er-do-wells that the nets were most commonly fought with Tridents. Britain's so called Indepedent Nuclear deterrent would then have to be put to rather more entertaining use.
Flames, well because...
Of course it's not political correctness gone mad!
According to the handbook*:
"Political" should not be used as it has associations with politicians, and that offends pretty much everybody.
"Correctness" is derived from "Rectus": Latin for "bottom^H^H^H "right"
"Mad" has associations with mental health issues, which should never be alluded to.
I can now imagine Scottish lags shouting "Person wi' mental health issues? Are yoo sayin' ah'm a nutter?" followed by a swift headbutt and a few days in solitary... and all because of a without speech handbook.
* I don't actually have a copy, but I'm sure this is what it says
I don't know if the self-scan machines are different for you, but the ones in my local Asda were designed by Satan.
I love change, but when I've stretched 4 feet to my left to put the money in it is just plain evil to have the coins come out next to where you've put money in and the notes come out next to the right thigh.
Political Correctness my arse!
It's more a case of Confusocracy. Quite what the purpose is here is unclear - one could think of many reasons both good and bad, no, actually all bad:
Someone is getting paid to come up with job titles.
The head librarian thought Head of Audience Development was a cooler job title.
Some overpaid eejit with the title "Equality Officer" or similar thought up the wheeze as the title "Librarian" was demeaning.
Obfuscation of stats - Audience Development Officers will appear at a different point in any list of employees, thus making year-on-year comparison difficult (I'm suspecting this is the REAL reason given that you mention 40 may be in for the chop)
"Would it have been too hard for the Home Office...?"
This IS the Home Office involved, so yes. The amazing bit is that the various police forces have managed to get prima facie working systems. Had the Home Office been directly involved we'd have had neither "working" or indeed "system".
@ AC "The European Parliament has voted ...
Given the 17 week measurement period and the fact that businesses do have the right to determine your holidays, the CBI is actually objecting to not being allowed to force workers to do an average of about 51 hours per week ALL YEAR. That sounds like routine to me.
So you don't want to be governed by Europe because you agree with their reasons for voting against the opt out. That is why /I/ think democracy is overrated.
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