134 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008
>The two things banks really hate are customers and cash.
So as well as being quicker and more convenient than cards, phone apps, or other high-tech payment mechanisms, using cash also has the added bonus of annoying the banks - result!
RE: ISS launch
Fair comment - though intuitively I would expect the lateral velocity would make a safe re-entry rather unlikely, given the flammability of your average paper plane. Unless the very gradual transition from near-vacuum to full atmosphere would provide enough gentle drag for something as low-mass as a paper plane to re-enter without burning up..? Any spacey scientists out there with a good answer for this one?
Re: Sort your own mess out first..
>the reasoning goes something like "Amazon are about to create a thousand jobs somewhere in the UK.."
Yes, and the same reasoning goes "...and in the process they will send a few hundred small British businesses to the wall because, being unable to offshore their corporation tax liabilities, these businesses will be unable to compete with Amazon on price."
The price of buying from Amazon is that the government has less money to spend on schools, hospitals, police, defence etc. I hope you think that's worth the fiver you saved by buying your latest bit of iBollocks from Amazon instead of from your local (or web-based) independent British retailer. I agree that it's the government's job to make tax laws which work, but we have a role to play too, in choosing who we do business with.
In fact, our politics is now so fucked up that choosing where we spend our money is probably a more effective way of changing things that voting.
You're not fooling anyone ...
... by calling it "vinyl wrap" - it's obviously sticky-back plastic.
Mine's the one with the Blue Peter badge on the lapel...
Re: Cloudy truth
>>All advantages and drawbacks of "the Cloud" can be concisely explained simply by replacing "the Cloud" with "someone else's computer".
That's the one going in my sig - upvote!
Fair point, but...
>>Brand's an idiot. A pseudo intellectual without a real understanding of how business works.
Maybe so - but many of us would argue that business is an idiot which has no interest in how people or society work. Which is why business should not be allowed to dominate people and society in the way that it currently does, any more than Brand should be allowed to chair a merchant bank.
You think you're having a bad time...
...not getting manuals with your software. How do you think I feel - I used to earn a decent living writing the bloody things. I'm a relic of a bygone age.
No "The Doctor's Wife"???
Head and shoulders above the lot. No disrespect to Davies, Moffat et al, but Neil Gaiman is in a different league.
That is all.
The REAL Climate Change angle
The sun is not the cause of climate change on earth - rather the reverse. As any fule kno, these changes in the solar atmosphere are caused by humans building lots of windmills, which are gradually blowing the corona away, and will eventually cause the sun to go nova on our ass.
But at least when we go, we'll all have a lovely tan.
Plus ça ne change jamais
>>This happened over 2 weeks ago and the price of bitcoin still continues to rise:
1: that there's always money in illegal drugs and guns, just like there is in legal drugs and guns, even though it gets stolen quite often from buyers and sellers in both markets;
2: that an offer of a free lunch will always find takers, no matter how many times it turns out to be a shit sandwich.
Re: What skills?
>>I'm especially proud of the Bayesian Inference Engine I built on my Pi to run the heating.
So that's where I've been going wrong - I've been using my Pi to control the gas boiler! Any suggestions for where I can buy a Bayesian Inference Engine, and how many cylinders it should have to heat a 4-bed semi?
Mine's the one with the gravy stain, cos I keep a Pi in my pocket...
>>To him, making the hardware work for TheGreatUnwashed[tm] was what was hot & heavy.
In which case, it's a shame that he insisted his company's products should be so grossly overpriced, thus ensuring that the GreatUnwashed[tm] wouldn't ever get to use them.
And speaking as one who's been greatly unwashed for many decades, I'm disturbed to find I'm breaching someone's trademark - any clues on who registered that one? Should I be expecting a large boot at my front door any time soon?
Caring for the planet
So we'll be seeing Clanger picket-lines protesting at efforts by intergalactic megacorporations to frack for soup..? Up with this sort of thing!
An irrelevant sideshow, albeit a dangerously distracting one
Fracking is not the freakin' issue. We need to talk about carbon. That is all.
I'll upvote this...
... for introducing me to the word "whegs".
All this talk of solar panels panels and sophisticated electronics is all very well, but...
...please can someone answer the most important question, which is: am I safer wearing my tinfoil hat, or taking it off?
I wish the compulsive categorisers of the modern world would stop using the phrase "adult content" when they mean "sex", "erotica" or "pornography". Speaking as an adult (in years if not mentality), I have many interests, and only one of them involves the kind of content under discussion here.
Small wonder that the youth are completely obsessed with sex - they think it's all that adults are supposed to be interested in.
Also, the word "adultery" is unhelpful here too.
Something should be done. By someone. Immediately.
Re: Switch Labelling
Agree completely with the need to dramatise things up a bit. Especially after attending this a couple of weeks ago:
The show was MC'd by one of the top Jodrell Bank boffins, and just before he introduced the headline act (which involved projecting films onto the Lovell telescope dish), he used the site walkie-talkie to issue the immortal instruction "Telescope to Show Position". Whereupon the dish stopped looking upwards and was trundled round to give optimum audience experience:
If they'd had a charity auction for the opportunity to issue that instruction, I would have bid muchly.
>the ready acceptance of high quality Science Fiction as suitable viewing fodder for the masses
By which I assume you mean the masses who could afford a TV set in the 1950s? I would imagine that was a pretty middle-class slice of the population, so probably educated and (unlike the modern middle classes) somewhat disposed towards reading, thinking, and considering complicated ideas.
Which is not to say that the working classes of the time weren't similarly disposed - again unlike their modern equivalents. But not many of them could afford a telly.
Beer because it's Friday, and all the folks who made all the excellent, thought-provoking, intelligent TV of my childhood deserve one. What a shame it's all gone so horribly wrong since... (Where's the grumpy old man icon?)
Re: Was it colder then?
>We used to play games in the abandoned ... pillar boxes
You must have been a *very* small child at the time!
I think pill-boxes were/are a rural thing - I only started to notice them when I moved out of the city, and there are plenty left, particularly at spots where roads cross rivers or canals. They were, after all, built to last.
I also played on many "bombsites" in my 60s childhood - though on reflection I think most of these were slum-clearances of the 50s and 60s, not actual bomb craters. Manchester wasn't anywhere near as badly peppered as London, or other industrial centres like Coventry.
Mine's the duffle coat with the mittens sewn onto a string running between the sleeves...
...is AFAIK an mash-up of North Staffs Poly and one or two of the old FE colleges in Stafford. There's a large site on the edge of Stafford, as well as the old Poly site in Stoke.
I went to Keele too, but I don't think it counts as an alma mater cos there weren't no latin spoke there in my day.
Are we back to the poo-throwing here?
Re: Bring back the cash economy!
> Don't lie. The council have no obligation to accept £800 in 2p pieces.
I'm not lying - I knew at the time that they'd have been within their rights to refuse it, but I think the person at the pay-desk was (surprise surprise) not trained to this level of detail about her job. And I think the council needed the money.
Mind you, I felt so sorry for her afterwards that I went out and bought her a box of chocolates. There's no point in kicking the little people for the sins of the system.
Actually I think I am lying in one respect - it was only about 300 quid, not 800. But it did happen.
Bring back the cash economy!
For years I've used cards only for two purposes: online purchases (credit card) and withdrawing cash from a machine firmly attached to a High St clearing bank (debit card). Withdrawls are generally in amounts sufficient to keep me going for a week or so, so the odd day of outage isn't a problem - especially because when one bank's machine is down, there's another bank just along the street I can go to instead.
Everything bought in person is with cash, up to a value where cheques or bank transfers are acceptable, maybe 500 quid or so. I've even been known to buy a second-hand car with four grand in used 20s. (And come to think of it, I've also been known to pay an 800-quid council tax bill in 2p pieces - but that's what you get if you make me angry.)
Cash is brilliant - you never have to wait for it to be authorised, no-one can nick it without you noticing, and no advertising targetters or police-state-surveillors know what you spend your money on. IIRC cards were originally sold to us on the basis that carrying a card was safer than carrying cash, because you could get mugged and have your wallet nicked. But now you can lose far more by having your card cloned or your account hacked - and you can still get your wallet nicked, except now they have an incentive to pull out your fingernails one by one until you tell them your pin number.
Also, I hear the government disapprove of people using cash, so it's worth doing just to annoy them.
NB - please note that the word "cash" is obsolete usage - the proper term is "beer tokens".
Lovely thought, but
... I fear we will await the surgical removal of Fred Goodwin's pension for a good while yet.
A Dyson sphere ...
... would surely comprise a region of space completely cleared of all dust?
And probably also equipped with an improbably-shaped blower-heater-hand-dryer...
Re: Depends where you park
This is exactly why we have to fight to keep our libraries open!
...a layer of fresh basil leaves under the cheese, and a sprinkling of cumin seeds on top before grilling.
I'm also amazed that most contributors seem happy with terms like "cheddar" to describe the cheese. We need to be far more precise - if you think you like cheddar, try Isle of Mull and blow your mind. Shropshire Blue has some proper punch to it too, and if you've never tried a sheep milk cheeses like Swaledale on a toastie thing, give one a go - more subtle, but very flavourful.
My proper favourite is mushrooms lightly fried in garlic and a squeeze of lemming, topped with a bit of chopped flat-leaf parsley and then layer of cheese (grated parmesan, isle of mull or maybe a good pecorino or gruyere) and grilled - but I'm not sure if that's technically cheese on toast or something else.
And the bread, of course, is home made granary with loads of seeds and a few chopped nuts thrown in for good measure.
In summary - even the simplest snack should have at least 10 quality ingredients, and the making of it should be an act of self-love.
Since Clara can now provide the brains of the outfit...
...isn't it time to give the lead role some brawn, ie Ray Winstone? It's about time some of the Doctor's enemies ended up in A&E having a sonic screwdriver removed from where the sun don't shine. (Question for the dedicated fans here - do cybermen have arseholes?)
But failing that, I upvote your Miranda Richardson and raise you a Ben Zephenia.
Just a minute, it's Wednesday I should be working...
I think the clue to the credibility of what you were told lies in the word "factory". You mught want to try getting your beer from a brewery. :)
Guinness is pasteurised and filtered to remove/kill anything which might make it go off - which includes most of the things which make proper live beer taste good. They used to sell some live Guinness brewed and bottled in Dublin - I'm not sure if they still do - but the draught stuff (which isn't draught at all, it's forced out under CO2 or nitrogen pressure) is dead as as dodo, and tastes like it too.
>I'd give it to 'em for free if only they'd collect it & compost it for themselves
I'm in - where do I collect? No, wait, wrong continent. Damn.
Sprouting seeds should also get a mention
Even if you have no garden, you can still make a really nice variety of salad and stir-fry ingredients by sprouting seeds. It's dead easy too - just get a large glass jar, soak seeds in it overnight, then drain (cap the jar with a piece of muslin held on by an elastic band) and leave on a windowsill. Rinse the seeds three times a day (more if you can) by filling with clean water, swilling around, and emptying.
Standard supermarket beansprouts are mung beans, but I don't like them much - alfalfa is much nicer in salads and sarnies, and sprouted seeds from clover, radishes, any brassicas, or indeed pretty much any legumes are great - they taste surprisingly different from their parent plant (some quite spicey), are really good for you, and cost very little compared to buying sprouted seeds or the equivalent weight in fresh veg. Check your local wholefood shop for packets of seeds for sprouting.
Jake is obviously well set up - I'm guessing somewhere warmer than me. I have half a dozen raised beds about 3 square metres each - but as we've had a bitterly cold spring here in the British midlands, only the onions sets and a few beetroot are planted out - everything else is in trays and pots in the greenhouse, pending our last frost, though most of it will get planted out over the next couple of weekends.
But we're already eating salad stuff grown in the greenhouse in containers, along with a few perennial garden salads (chives, garlic chives, lovage, fennel, sorrel) which are up and running.
And to answer the Evil Auditor - it's probably not worth the time it takes (or the money it costs) in British weather conditions, but there's no simple way to calculate this empirically. For example, I find that growing veg is an infinitely more rewarding and interesting way of exercising than going to the gym, and paying for membership thereof. And of course it's impossible to put a price on the benefit gained from eating stuff straight out of the ground - it tastes better, and my (probably biased) reading of the science says that many nutrients start to degrade as soon as a plant is lifted, so picking and eating on the same day may well have serious health/nutrition benefits compared to the 3-7 day latency inherent in supermarket shopping.
Of course having animals and grazing land means that you can use the resulting fertiliser to get more value from limited veg growing space - and I wonder if Jake uses the manure from his larger farm to boost the productivity of his urban veg garden. I would certainly grow more in the limited space I have (and use more of my garden for growing) if I had a ready source of good bullshit.
Which is one reason why I read the reg, especially on a Friday...
Recommended reading ...
Plusnet are in this week's list, but if you go back a month or two, you'll find complaints upheld against BT, EE/T-Mobile, TalkTalk, Virgin Media ... so while I favour the Bollocks Alert and klaxon solution (AC 12:04), I would apply it to all ISP and telco ads automatically, thereby saving a lot of time and green ink.
I'm not remotely surprised by these judgments - but I was surprised to find a complaint upheld against Gallaher, the company who sell tobacco and are therefore not allowed to advertise:
But I think this is my favourite:
I'll upvote you...
...purely for "Simon Cowell TrouserFont".
Re: It's a vocation
Of course "How the fuck should I know?" wasn't a satisfactory answer.
A satisfactory answer would be "'l'd be happy to help, but it appears that your subscription to my support service has expired - please renew it at your earliest convenience, which as we are fortuitously located in a licensed premises, you can do at the bar over there. A pint of IPA and a large Macallan 18-year-old will get things moving nicely."
Re: Ever wondered if...
Ravenwiz said "observed supernova" - he didn't specify who/what was doing the observing.
So today's challenge is to work out what might have been observing a supernova which made the oxygen atoms which made the water which made the beer (left) that I shall shortly be drinking because it's Friday. This depends on having a clue about how fast oxygen atoms travel outwards from a supernova - which I don't. Any offers?
Are we talking archeae, dinosaurs, early hominids, Roman legionaries, my grandad, or me in ridiculous 70s trousers?
This map would be easier to relate to if ...
... the boffins had included a little arrow indicating "You will be here".
You CAN change the laws of physics, Captain - apparently...
>> less atmosphere to allow heat to radiate away
not catching up
I liked the idea of catchup until I actually tried 4OD etc - only to find that it's harder to skip the ads there than it is on broadcast TV. The old fashioned record-watch-fast-forward technique works just as well now as it did 20 years ago, despite Sky's attempt to rename/rebrand the "video recorder" as the "Sky Plus Box".
So while I won't criticise commercial TV for trying to force me to watch the adverts which fund its production, I will carry on loving and happily financing Auntie for providing me with advert-free TV, including on the iPlayer.
Now all we need to do is to convince Auntie that as well as hating adverts, we also hate trailers, and her increasingly annoying tendency to repeat the same ones endlessly for weeks and weeks. Yawn.
Oh, and I rather enjoy BBC radio too.
Yours, Mrs Trellis, North Wales ®
>>The initial design for WAMSR is a 500MWe (megawatt electrical) plant that can be manufactured as a standalone unit and be shipped directly to customers, ready to be fueled up and switched on. It would cost around $1.5bn
Crowdsource, anyone? I'll happily accommodate it in my backyard, for an appropriate percentage...
The real challenge now...
...is to come up with a candidate that none of the previous 421 commentards (at time of writing) have mentioned. For the first half-hour of comment-wading I thought I was onto a winner with "The Man In The White Suit", but someone eventually cited it.
But as far as I can see no-one has mentioned "Max Headroom", so I'll go with that. Not very sciency, but that's not unusual in this thread, and it has the dystopian individual-versus-faceless-corporations shtick which seems to be the prerequisite for qualifying. Shame that like so many classics it was retrospectively ruined by further development.
I'll also give a million upvotes to "Dark Star", a film I loved so much as student that I once stole a television in order to watch it.
O happy day...
... now I can switch from boycotting Amazon for not paying their UK corporation tax to boycotting Google for not paying their UK corporation tax.
Mine's the only one in the cloakroom without a f***ing gift voucher in the pocket...
Re: how about a modern computer?
+lots of upvotes for visiting - it's about 5 years since I went, but it was fascinating even then. Particularly amazing to find that the reason it wasn't open to the public or widely known about in my youth was that the place, and the work it did, remained secret until ridiculously recently, the 70s I think.
Re comparison with modern computers - I don't know about the Bombe, but the boffins (proper ones, brown overalls and everything) demonstrating the rebuilt Colossus told me that it did its stuff at a rate comparable with a 286 PC running about about 12MHz. Of course it had a comparatively tiny "instruction set" - it ran stored programs but was closer to a dedicated hardware device than a general-purpose computer (so more like the ALU or GPU than the CPU in a modern machine) - but still mightily impressive. (OK, I understand that anyone too young to remember the 286 won't be that impressed, but that's just the ignorance of youth.)
Equally amazing was its paper-tape reader, a fantastic Heath-Robinson contraption nearly as tall as me, which apparently managed a read speed of 5Kb/s whilst almost having your eye out.
Allow me to assuage your no doubt painful cognitive dissonance....
The OK-ness about atmosphere > plant > brewery > atmosphere is that on completion it will revert the CO2 levels to what they were before the barley was grown - ie a year ago.
The problem with releasing all the carbon in fossil fuels is that this will revert the atmosphere to the CO2 concentrations of the period before that carbon was taken up by the plants which made the fossil fuel. Since most coal, oil etc was laid down in the Devonian and Carboniferous periods, we're talking about reversion to atmospheric carbon levels of maybe 500 million years ago. Back then (I remember it well) the atmosphere was not terribly human-friendly.
NB I am not a scientist, or -ist of any other relevant discipline. Free free to bat bricks...
Re: Hardly the scientific approach is it?
>Well you could look at the teenage pregnancy statistics for the last 20 years
Might be more relevant to look at the STI stats - anyone out there with a medically informed opinion?
>it is uncomfortably close to the argument that the way women dress invites aggressive sexual attention.
Goodness Mr/Ms Parnell, what a fine exponent of the logical long-jump you are. How many do you get when you add 2+2?
I would defend very little of Ms Abbott's thesis, and definitely not the bits of it which require some kind of magical mechanism for filtering "adult content" (whatever that may be) - but there's no need to be putting words in her mouth that are even more rabid than the ones she puts there herself.
Re: Metric Fuckton
Surely we need this expressed in a Reg standard unit of some kind - but a quick check of the online converter suggests that we are missing both a unit of currency, and a unit of non-specific comparativeness.
This is a major oversight which needs urgent attention from our Regist overlords - lest there be revolution.
Is it really only Monday? Oh bugger...
Re: Sour grapes?
Lilke most taxpayers with an iota of knowledge about IT, I'm endlessly astonished at the degree of incompetence that IT procurement seems to reveal. But I'm interested and ignorant on the question procurement rules - so please JohnG, could you clarify whether the procurement rules of which you speak prevent the customer from directly employing its own people to do the work?
And if they don't, why doesn't the public sector employ more techies directly?
Pint, for anyone who can explain why public-sector procurers continue to use a system whose record clearly shows that it doesn't work. And because it's Friday and I need one.
Re: A Coward for All to See and Hear
>>A criminal conspiracy with Cabinet collusion?
My dad has blocked access to the Daily Mail website from my computer beause he doesn't like me looking at pictures of scantily clad teenage girls, please can we have a Guardian link instead?
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