* Posts by Chris Miller

3137 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007

Unlimited mobile data in America – where's the catch? There's always a catch

Chris Miller
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The problem is that the current ISP model is like an all you can eat buffet, where one in 10 customers eats all the food, one in 100 takes his chair home too, and one in 1,000 unscrews all the fixtures and fittings and loads them into a van as well.

www.telco2.net/blog/2008/02/bbcs_iplayer_nukes_all_you_can.html

This was written in 2008 about fixed line ISP offerings, but nothing really changes ...

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Tesla touts battery that turns a Model S into 'third fastest ever' car

Chris Miller
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Re: Tesla's progress is amazing

I too drive a PHEV (if you're in the UK, it's very likely to be the same model as yours). It takes 5 hours to recharge the 10kWh battery from a domestic 13A socket, so that means doing the same for a Tesla with the full 100kWh would take two days, not very practical! You could pay several hundred pounds (a trivial sum if you can afford a Tesla) to get a higher power outlet, which would reduce that to about 36 hours, but there's a limit to how much power you can draw from a UK domestic setup (25kVA is usual), and you'll probably want to do some cooking or wash your clothes at some point.

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Chris Miller
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I don't doubt that Tesla have increased the battery capacity from 90Kwh (?) to 100kWh, which will have increased the all-up weight by ~50kg. This will certainly extend the range, but how does it improve the acceleration? I assume they must have upped the power rating of the drive motors, but the article doesn't mention it.

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Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

Chris Miller
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They'll also need to be aware that if the other car at a 4-way stop (or a roundabout in the UK) is a Mercedes*, they are unlikely to be stopping for anything, regardless of road conditions.

Can they also detect drivers wearing a hat?

* Substitute your own 'favourite' manufacturer as necessary.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update: This design needs a dictator

Chris Miller
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Re: Under construction?

True, or alternatively one where people build their own home one storey at a time (as they get enough money together). You need a less rainy climate than the UK for this to work :)

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Black Hats control Jeep's steering, kill brakes

Chris Miller
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Re: Why?

Did you think there was a direct mechanical linkage between the steering wheel and the front wheels (or between the accelerator and engine)? How very last millennium!

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Captain Piccard's planet-orbiting solar aircraft in warped drive drama

Chris Miller
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Re: Can someone calculate

RR Trent engines >50MW, so a 747 is >200MW max power. Solar cells produce ~200W/m2, so you'd need a square km to power a 747. If you could achieve 100% efficiency at the equator, there's 1300W/m2 of sunlight available compared to just over 500m2 wing area on a 747 and you're still over two orders of magnitude short. Now, about these trans-polar routes ...

PS Hybrids work in cars, where the additional weight of the battery isn't too crucial to performance - add 20% to the weight of a car and it will still drive (possibly a bit more slowly). On an aircraft every kilo of extra weight is vital - add 20% to the weight of an airliner and it could never leave the ground. Even so, very few pure hybrids achieve better fuel efficiency than an equivalent-sized diesel powered vehicle.

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Chris Miller
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Re: Don't try anything new!

I don't think many people are saying that it shouldn't be tried. Like the Gossamer Albatross, it's an impressive piece of technology. It's all the idiots (including many journos) saying "in 20/50/100 years time all passenger aircraft will fly on solar power" in utter defiance of the laws of arithmetic, never mind physics, that are annoying.

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Chris Miller
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Nice story, but solar cells are not about to follow some version of Moore's Law. Even if you could capture 100% of the solar energy falling on the surface area of an aircraft, you could hardly keep a small Cessna in the air, let alone anything like a 737.

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Chris Miller
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It's not just the disposal, Sebastian. The EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of solar cells operating at temperate latitudes (like the UK) is negative - that is, the energy generated during their working life is only ~83 % of the energy consumed during their manufacture.

You can think of solar cells in the UK as giant batteries, charged up (most probably in China, using coal and oil) and then gradually releasing their stored energy as the sun shines. So not very good at reducing CO2 emissions, but very effective at transferring money to wealthy landowners from those in fuel poverty.

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We're not looking for MH370 in the wrong place say investigators

Chris Miller
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Re: No One Wants The Flight Found

The incapacitation theory needs to account for the known facts that all the active location systems were disabled and the aircraft then flew a course that appears carefully chosen to avoid passive radar detection followed by a final course change to take it to the middle of the Indian ocean.

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What's big, blue and red all over? IBM. Profit, z Systems down, cloud up

Chris Miller
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Say it's not so!

Have we reached peak mainframe?

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Ivory tower drops water bombs on dumpster fire

Chris Miller
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Virtue signalling

The new team sport.

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EU cybersecurity directive will reach Britain, come what May

Chris Miller
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Re: Come what May?

Nurse! The mind bleach!!

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Paper wasps that lie to their mates get a right kicking, research finds

Chris Miller
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Unlike hornets or yellow jackets, paper wasps are not particularly aggressive by nature.

Obviously a US study, from the use of "yellow jackets", and I can't speak about US hornets, but European hornets are not aggressive. They look fearsome (like a wasp on steroids), but are very effective predators of small (pest) insects, have no interest in your picnic food, and are unlikely to sting unless you do something daft, like poking a nest with a stick.

If we get a wasps' nest near the house, it (reluctantly) has to go; but I leave hornets alone to do their thing.

PS I hear that (Japanese) giant hornets are building colonies in southern Europe - they really are fearsome (and very bad news for honey bee colonies, which they can destroy in a few hours).

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ODM for the masses? Facebook's OCP still ain't for you, brother

Chris Miller
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That's absolutely a problem for anyone buying computer boxes one or two (or even a hundred) at a time. But for large enterprises buying thousands of standard PCs a year, it's common practice for the supplier to commit to building identical machines from identical components for a minimum period. This can never be entirely guaranteed - events such as the 2011 Thai floods may disrupt component manufacturers - but as a major customer you should get preferential treatment, at least to the point where the software build (drivers etc) doesn't have to change.

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Lauri Love at risk of suicide if extradited to US, Brit court hears

Chris Miller
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Re: Sovereignty

You can't be extradited (anywhere AFAIK, though the European Arrest Warrant may be an exception, certainly not to the US) for a crime that would not have been a crime if committed in the UK. There seems little doubt (he's not denied it and though there still needs to be a trial, I imagine he'd plead guilty) that Love committed the acts of which he's accused and that they would be crimes if he'd done the same thing to computers in the UK.

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My plan to heal this BROKEN, BREXITED BRITAIN

Chris Miller
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@strum

Sorry, no. A single currency can only work with a single government. If it hadn't have been for 2008, the euro would have fallen at the next shock (and there's always a next shock).

I'm sure it was very nice for (e.g.) the Greeks to have much easier borrowing terms when they joined, but it really hasn't worked well for them. Ditto Spain, Portugal, Italy, France ...

PS apologies for predictive failure - for "they're there danger bloc" read "they're the same bloc".

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Chris Miller
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My 2¢

Whether it's 27 or 28 makes almost no difference to the influence of the UK. The EU is now dominated by two voting blocs - the Eurozone and Schengen (actually, to within rounding error they're there danger bloc). Schengen is simply a recognition of reality for most nations with land borders, but makes little sense for the UK. The Eurozone was always a bonkers idea, short of full political union. The UK is most unlikely to join either bloc n the foreseeable future.

So on any decision relating to matters financial or movement of peoples the UK will always be outvoted unless we use our veto, which makes us very unpopular. That's why a Brexit was inevitable at some point.

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Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

Chris Miller
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Re: Be careful what you wish for...

Well said, ThomH. A bit like the Scots Cybernats who operated in a social media echo chamber and came to believe that everyone in the nation agreed with them.

I knew that Remain were in trouble when a friend and neighbour who's a retired Oxford Philosophy Prof and had always followed the straight SCR/Guardian ticket told me he was voting for Leave. Not everyone who voted out was a neckless thug with a pit bull on a piece of string.

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Chris Miller
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Thanks AC ;)

#shouldhavegonetospecsavers

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Chris Miller
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I'd accept the argument for a second referendum, but only if it was subject to the rules that are being demanded - a 60% vote on a 75% turnout. I can find few examples of referendums (in democratic countries) that meet these criteria, certainly the original (1975) EC Referendum had less than 65% turnout.

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

Chris Miller
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Re: Expensive Europe

Free advice: don't take up gambling as a career.

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Chris Miller
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@Jason

Have you considered that it might have been about democracy? Just a thought.

Even if the worst (ludicrous) predictions of Project Fear come true and every family ends up £38 a week worse off*, that's around the average Sky sub. A small price to pay for getting my right to vote on who governs me back, but YMMV.

* That's not actually 'worse off', of course, it's less 'more well off' than some hypothetical 5-year future timeline.

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Wales gives anti-vaping Blockleiters a Big Red Panic Button

Chris Miller
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Standing on the steps of Olympia for InfoSec, waiting for the rain to stop and allow a quick dash to the Overground, I noted vapers outnumbered smokers about 4:1. I have no concerns for my health, but some of the 'flavours' are truly noxious, cinnamon being the worst IMHO. But all of them are better than second hand smoke.

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In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning

Chris Miller
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Re: B'stards

Don't worry, BoldMan, you can cancel out any additional tax on the tonic by increasing the proportion of gin.

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Chris Miller
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Pint

Alcohol is simply refined sugar.

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Chris Miller
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Yawn

Another junk article from The Conversation. Can they have their own special subsection so I don't waste time clicking on them?

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Cork data centre will offer super-speedy US to Europe data times

Chris Miller
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Thanks, rh587

Good point, and this may well be the explanation. I'm still surprised that there's such data where a few ms reduced latency is vitally important, a feature I tend to associate with high-speed trading.

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Chris Miller
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Confused (again)

the Cork site’s proximity to the Hibernia Network subsea cable, which the developers are banking on to deliver the shortest available data latency between Europe and the US East Coast

I understand that it's 600km closer to the East Coast than (e.g.) LINX, which might reduce latency by 2 or 3 ms, less than 10% of a typical transatlantic crossing. But you can only be doing one of two things:

1. Co-location of servers for your US customers, in which case (if latency is that critical) why not co-lo in a US data centre?

2. Or using it for a data hop, in which case you save 2 or 3 ms across the pond but lose 2 or 3 ms by the extra travel time to Cork.

So it seems it would only make a difference for Cork-based enterprises. I must be missing something, but what?

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Don’t let the Barmy Brexiteers wreck #digital #europe

Chris Miller
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I assume all these folks who think Steve ¡Bong! is real are new to ElReg? (or perhaps I'm missing some second level of snark - always a possibility :)

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Wi-Fi hack disables Mitsubishi Outlander's theft alarm – white hats

Chris Miller
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@Lee

The Outlander has an electronic handbrake (a parking brake like most automatics), so you still need a key. To be fair, once you're inside, you can (like most cars) gain access to the various buses that provide computer management of the car, so it's possible you could override it, but I think joyriders would probably look for an easier target.

@David, yes my experience is similar. When buying any EV, it's vital to understand how your driving patterns fit with the car, but if you do a lot of trips <20 miles, you can get >>100 mpg. Even adding the cost of a recharge (about £1, so equivalent to a litre of petrol) I still average over 70 mpg, which is pretty amazing for a 2 ton petrol-engined 4WD SUV. If you spend most of your time cruising motorways, consumption will be a lot worse, of course.

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Chris Miller
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I run an Outlander PHEV

The phone app has the following capabilities:

Shows the state of battery charging - I use this a lot

Turn heating on/off - very useful on cold mornings to warm the car before setting off

Turn on headlights - possibly useful if it's night in a big car park and you've forgotten where it is, but I've never used it

Timers - for automatically charging the car at a set time, don't use this

Change car settings - which includes the alarm function.

As Mitsubishi state, you can disable the car alarm, but if you want to drive it away, you'll need a key. I can't say this is my greatest concern.

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SWIFT threatens to give insecure banks a slap if they don't shape up

Chris Miller
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Re: Why not re-use the PCI standards...

The PCI standards are designed to be satisfiable by corner shops and service stations that handle credit cards (as well as much larger businesses). I'm not sure they'd add much to SWIFT.

I can't get my head round why this is even a problem. I understand why SMEs sometimes struggle to maintain adequate security, when they have limited budgets and It may not be seen as a core part of their business or very high value. But for a banking system specifically designed to handle multi-million (or even billion) dollar transactions many times a day without blinking - what lies behind inadequate protection for such a system? It can't really be simple stupidity and laziness, can it?

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Chris Miller
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"Banks are already among the most heavily regulated organisations, thanks to regulations such as PCI and Sarbanes–Oxley"

PCI is Payment Card Industry, so a security standard set by banks, not something they need to comply with. And S-Ox applies to all companies listed in the US, not just banks. Were you thinking of Basel III, perchance?

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Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

Chris Miller
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I'm not sure it's all that meaningful to compare Huawei and Apple R&D spending. Apple have a handful of consumer products and that's it, while Huawei manufacture far more than just mobile phones. But the general thrust of the article sounds spot on.

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Oz PM's department red-faced after database leaks in the cc: field

Chris Miller
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No doubt a stupid blunder from someone. Hands up everyone who has never made a stupid blunder ... no-one? OK then, the really stupid blunder is not having some DLP mechanism to prevent (or at least warn of) outgoing messages with more than a handful of identified recipients.

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Chris Miller
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Trollface

Re: Skewed results

If you can build a system to garrotte next door's cat, I'd buy that.

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Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

Chris Miller
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@JHW

Why not try responding to what I wrote, rather than what the voices in your head are telling you I 'implied'? British civil servants are there to follow the instructions of ministers, and civil servants that fail to do so don't remain civil servants very long. They certainly are not "the only institution empowered to initiate legislation", indeed they don't initiate any legislation at all.

And does your local tennis club have 5 different presidents? What an odd institution it must be.

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Chris Miller
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Re: Another remainer...

Juncker wasn't elected as President of the EU Commission (the EU has 5 (I think, I kinda lost count) presidents), he was appointed, in large part because Merkel thought he would make a useful puppet. His greatest democratic achievement was to become PM of Luxembourg, a mandate roughly equivalent to that of the Mayor of Croydon.

EU supporters often like to claim that the Commission is just the EU civil service, and the UK doesn't vote for the head of its civil service. But that's nonsense. From the EU’s own website, an admirably clear phrase, albeit hidden amongst a hell of a lot of obfuscation clearly intended to fool people into thinking that the EU Parliament is a legislature: "the European Commission, the only institution empowered to initiate legislation." Really not analogous to a civil service, then. If anything, more like the UK Cabinet.

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Chris Miller
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Southern Europe has driven itself into the ground

But it's their membership of the euro that ensures they can do nothing to correct their errors. And given that it takes two to make a loan, who lent them all the money? Why, that would be the German and French banks (not the British ones for a change) who saw an opportunity to make much higher interest on euro loans than they could at home, overlooking the fact that interest is (in large part) a payment to cover the risk that the loan you're making may not be repaid.

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Don't panic, says Blue Coat, we're not using CA cert to snoop on you

Chris Miller
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"This is useful for corporations that want to keep tabs on their staff at work."

This is useful for corporations that prefer not to allow any old malware filled crap from the Internet to be downloaded onto their network or sensitive information to be uploaded to Dropbox. FTFY

If you want to do something at work that you don't want your employer to see (which could be something as innocuous as using online banking to pay a bill), don't use your work network. This type of interception is normally handled by tech staff inserting their own root cert into the 'trusted' list of any computers under their control, which can then be used by a proxy server. This is a different issue from granting vendors of such products their own universally trusted certificate, which I agree sounds dodgy.

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In-flight movies via BYOD? Just what I always wan... argh no we’re all going to die!

Chris Miller
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On some high-speed trains the on-board WiFi includes a live streaming video feed from a front-mounted camera, which is quite cool (if a bit hypnotic after a while).

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Chris Miller
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Re: Grey area

Both my RBS and Nationwide accounts have provided me with card readers - they appear to be identical :)

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

Chris Miller
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Headmaster

Re: Julian Who?

Snowdoen

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

Chris Miller
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Thumb Up

+10

For the Dean Martin reference in the subhead.

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

Chris Miller
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@Bruce

It's mainly Emirates that try to squeeze 3-4-3 into a 777, most carriers stick with 3-3-3. ANZ have a great facility whereby you can book a block of 3 economy seats and turn them into a Skycouch. Cheaper and better than Premium Economy on most airlines.

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Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

Chris Miller
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H2G2 has all this covered

“I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically,” protested Ford.

“Oh yes,” said Frankie, “but we’d have to get it out first. It’s got to be prepared.”

“Treated,” said Benjy.

“Diced.”

“Thank you,” shouted Arthur, tipping up his chair and backing away from the table in horror.

“It could always be replaced,” said Benjy reasonably, “if you think it’s important.”

“Yes, an electronic brain,” said Frankie, “a simple one would suffice.”

“A simple one!” wailed Arthur.

“Yeah,” said Zaphod with a sudden evil grin, “you’d just have to program it to say What? and I don’t understand and Where’s the tea? Who’d know the difference?”

“What?” cried Arthur, backing away still farther.

“See what I mean?” said Zaphod, and howled with pain because of something that Trillian did at that moment.

“I’d notice the difference,” said Arthur.

“No, you wouldn’t,” said Frankie mouse, “you’d be programmed not to.”

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Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise salute EU flag, blast Brexiteers

Chris Miller
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Re: The resources the government

It's true that we will not be compelled to join the euro if we remain, but unless we do we will have almost no influence. An ever increasing number of decisions are taken by qualified majority voting and the euro-bloc controls an absolute majority (and all new entrants are required to join, so that majority can only increase). As a result, most decisions (and all financial decisions) will be taken with a view to increasing the power to the bilge pumps on RMS Titanic, a situation that will continue until the bow finally disappears under the water.

It's also quite wrong to use net figures to define our contribution to the EU. If someone stole £900 from you and used it to buy you a new sofa, would you say "well, that's OK then, I haven't really lost anything", or would you feel that you might have spent the money better on something you actually wanted (and anyway you could have bought the same sofa for half the price)? And £900 is the amount every household in the UK spends on EU membership every year.

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Chris Miller
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@Ledswinger

The only advantage for Westminster is that every 5 years we get an opportunity to throw the rascals out. If you think David Cameron is a useless toff, you don't have to vote for him. If you think Jean-Claude Juncker* is a useless drunk, you have no choice but to grin and bear it.

* No doubt some euro-spinner will be along in a moment to claim that the President of the Commission is only the equivalent of the head of the civil service, and we don't get to vote for them, either. This is (to put it politely) bollocks. To quote from the EU's own web site: "Only the EU Commission is empowered to initiate legislation". So, if anything, more like the British Cabinet.

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