Re: Magical thinking
Paging Mr Stross, paging Mr Stross!
Some more loonies are being told to buy Equoids...
226 posts • joined 16 May 2008
Paging Mr Stross, paging Mr Stross!
Some more loonies are being told to buy Equoids...
One part of the 1689 Bill of Rights states that promises of fines or forfeitures before conviction are void; another part that excessive bail should not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.
What the SROs are doing is imposing a punishment before or without a conviction. This is basically going against the constitution that we don't have (but arguably ought to have). The 1998 Human Rights Act states similar rights also.
So, how long before unconstitutional punishment before conviction is struck down?
I live in an old terraced house. Lots of people do, and these houses were originally designed without most modern services. Water supply was someone with a bucket, and the toilet was in the back yard and given where I live, was probably made by Duckett's of Burnley.
Over the years modern services have been added, usually by the easiest route open to the new suppliers. Thus the gas meter is in the cellar, and the electricity meter is in an awkward cupboard on the other side of the house. Both are sited for the convenience of the installer, not for the convenience of anyone reading them, or for the convenience of the smart meter that would quite like to see a mobile signal, any mobile signal at all...
Many houses are like this. Many houses are thus wholly unsuitable for the current "made to the cheapest design possible" smart meters, because absolutely none of these things allow for a remote comms antenna to be wired into them. The mobile communications would work perfectly if a remote antenna could be placed high up on a house wall and wired into a socket on the meter, but unfortunately such trivial things did not occur to the muppets who design such things.
I therefore look forwards to many rounds of hairy-arsed engineers arriving at my place to discover like all previous engineers that no, there really isn't a mobile signal where the meter is and no, I don't want to pay for major building work for their convenience.
So, some time next century Apple will finally work out that adhering to one of the many international standards on connectors is actually quite a good idea...
So why didn't you exploit the superlative accuracy of your 22 long rifle rounds and shoot the damn geese in the head, which is not at all armoured and the loss of which will render the goose unable to fly off?
Even neck-shooting will disable birds nicely; there's no call to try for heart-lung shots when you can do much, much better with a little patience.
One thing that really is needed where fibre roll-outs are in progress is very widespread coverage of what a fibre cable looks like, and that it has not got any valuable metal in it. The advertising campaign will need to be in several Eastern European languages, since it is intended to inform potential metal thieves that they're wasting their time stealing the stuff.
There is also the very real possibility that he will at some point realise that he can simply walk away from all of this, and build a new life under a new identity. Granted he can still be identified via fingerprints, but having had one brush with the Thought Police, I reckon he'll live out an entirely blameless life just to stay out of reach of Plod.
This is what happens when you go outside Common Law, which is what this effectively does.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Devon just so happens to be the headquarters of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, a strange and some might say shadowy organisation which specialises in the investigation of the strange and uncanny, and which just so happens to be holding its annual conference later this month.
More details here: http://www.weirdweekend.org/
Asking a human to sit attentively and watch a machine drive is probably the most idiotic notion ever thought up by a lawyer ever; it displays a profound lack of insight into how human attention works, and how computer control systems work (or should work). The only way the concept could be made worse is to force the human to walk in front of the car with a red flag.
It also completely misses out on some of the easy wins for autonomous driving systems: autonomous motorway driving. It has been found that if cars on a motorway can driver very close together, on the order of about a metre separation, then fuel use for all but the front vehicle drops dramatically. This separation is controllable for a MESH communicating computer talking to all other cars, but is impossible for a human.
So, what happens if the computer gets confused and hands over control in such a situation? Easy, a big pile-up. Either the car rear-ends the one in front, or the human jams on the brakes and gets rear-ended himself. Cue a lawyer pointing out the utter impossibility of a person being able to function, and the law getting thrown out by a court.
The way for a computer-controlled car to fail safe is simple: if it cannot safely control the car, it must slow down and come to a full stop, and only then when stationary may it hand over control. Nothing else is safe or sensible.
Look, we have a stockpile of plutonium that was used for making weapons and which now really ought to be reduced somewhat. We also have quite a bit of long half-life sludge, which also wants destroying. We therefore need a fast neutron reactor somewhere, and if we're going to build one, we might as well also go the whole hog and build a fleet of other smaller pure-power reactors as well.
Further to this, as well as standard nuclear power reactors we could also give serious thought to building district heating systems which heat water to steam, and distribute the steam as a form of heating. Much of the gas burned in Britain is burned to provide heating or hot water; a small nuclear thermal device would supply quite a large area with heating at similar cost to gas.
On a final note, it is about time we stopped listening to the Great Uninformed Green Blob. They talk an awful lot of utter and complete toot, and really ought not to be listened to quite so freely.
Easy, their lips are moving.
What is going on here is that the consequences of trying to be too Green.
Hydrogen is apparently the ultimate Green fuel, but apart from being ultra low emission it has a very long list of major disadvantages. For a start, it is not energy dense, so you need to carry a lot of it and refuel frequently. It is difficult to store, so there are few hydrogen fuel stations out there, reducing the vehicle's utility still further. Hydrogen also explodes very readily, burns with a flame invisible to human eyes and isn't all that easy to make.
If the car makers had only tried a little less hard on the environmental front, then all manner of exciting things are possible. Ammonia is another, better candidate for a zero-carbon fuel. It can be made fairly easily, especially if you have access to electricity from a nuclear reactor, and can be contained in the same sort of technology as LPG is stored in. It can be burned in fairly conventional engines, in gas turbines and (with recently-developed catalytic systems) in conventional fuel cells.
Similarly LPG or methane are also good candidates for Green energy, as is pure ethanol. Once again, these sorts of fuels can be easily made, stored and used with conventional technology and systems, and don't require an absurd new car design to use them in.
American civilians are limited to owning small arms. About the heaviest kit they may possess are Civil War era muzzle loading cannons; mostly semi-automatic self-loading rifles are the most potent weapons permitted.
The US Army and Air Force, not to mention the various police forces and militias are all permitted to have much more effective weapons than that. At best, any US citizen with a legal weapon would be able to make themselves mildly irritating to the government before getting themselves killed.
The US "right to bear arms" does NOT in any way hold the government to account.
True, but Terry Pratchett still had a great deal of fun with the concept:
"The King? Oh, he's out exercising his Droit du Seigneur. Damn great hairy thing..."
No, SCO still apparently owns some intellectual property that it claims is worth something. As the previous comments said, IBM would be within its rights to demand that this be handed over in lieu of money, at which point SCO is completely dead.
The Paris attackers were working on the not-unreasonable assumption that if the police hadn't collared them by the night of the big attack, then the police weren't on to them sufficiently for unencrypted comms on the night to be an issue.
Just because comms chatter is unencrypted does not mean that it is intelligible, either. Look at teenagers wittering on in text-speak language. Lots of info, not easily understood.
If I wanted to take pictures of a sensitive site for use in any nefarious deeds, the absolute last thing I would is walk up to the outside of the place and start taking pictures of it in full view of rent-a-plod inside.
What I would instead do is quietly turn up a long way away on my bicycle (no ANPR records for a bike) and quietly photograph the place using a camera with a long lens peeping out through a hole in a bag. Even if I couldn't do this, a camera in a shoulder bag with a remote shutter release is not going to arouse the notice of security guards if all the photographer does is walk past without obviously taking photos (whilst snapping away with the concealed camera).
I would therefore hazard a guess that your "security measure" was implemented not to improve security, but more to provide comedic light relief by forcing the security personnel into a real life Monty Python performance every time some completely innocent member of the public happens to point a camera at the site. It certainly cannot be to aid security.
As I have said before, regardless of how harmless the ingredients are, it is the administration method which the likeliest cause of harm. Human beings have very good immune systems in their guts which only a select few food poisoning organisms can get past. By contrast, if you inject something intravenously, you bypass this immunological safety system.
That these companies are doing this is in its self a form of placebo woo. The only reason for running fluids via an IV drip is when the patient needs fluids urgently, and cannot drink them normally for whatever reason. People with hangovers are not medical emergencies of this kind; there is no earthly reason to expose them to the hazards of an IV line.
If you want to medicalize the process of giving someone fluids, then at most a nasogastric tube could be used. This is however rather an unpleasant way of getting fluids into a person who is perfectly capable of swallowing liquids normally.
All these hung-over morons actually need is a large dose of water with the correct electrolyte mix to be most rapidly absorbed; correctly-formulated oral rehydration mix or any of the rehydration sports drinks will do the trick nicely. The sports drink variants even have the advantage of tasting quite nice, too. Granted, you don't get the placebo effect of a bloke in a white coat sticking a needle in your arm, but you also don't run the risk of septicemia from an iv-sourced infection.
Look at what you're getting: someone is sticking a cannula into a vein, and running a litre or two of saline plus other additives into your vein. This is about as invasive as a treatment can get; you are reliant on the operators being clean to hospital standards or above (they won't have a crash team and hospital pharmacy on hand to sort out any inconvenient infections or cardiac arrests on hand) and careful to hospital standards or above.
Even if running glucose saline fresh from a medical supplier, using fresh equipment each time and trying their damndest to keep everything ultra-sterile was all they were doing, they would still be doing something bloody dangerous. Instead they're mixing in other stuff into the glucose saline, which requires a skilled and aseptic lab to do this in, and this is not at all easy to do.
It is even less easy to do on a large scale, and do it repeatedly and to a high standard of accuracy and cleanliness. Even hospitals can't do this, and generally don't do this. If a hospital wants to run, say, some paracetamol solution into a patient, then they set up a known-sterile glucose saline drip, and run a known-sterile bottle of the paracetamol solution into the input stream of the glucose saline.
The hospital will try their best to keep everything clean, but if a patient does get an infection, they can sort this out. This cowboy clinic is taking people in, running in litres of saline, then discharging them before it is know whether the patient has caught anything from the procedure.
Quite frankly, I'm amazed they haven't killed people by now.
Scene poisoning with foreign DNA is already an item in the enterprising burglar's tool kit. How it works is quite simple.
To start with, a burglar visits the smokers' corner of a notably dodgy pub after hours, and collects cigarette ends, most of which will have been smoked by persons on the police DNA register. Said evidence is carefully bagged and retained.
When our burglar is next out thieving, he takes care not to smoke himself, but to leave several of the carefully-collected fag-ends around the exterior and interior of the property he is burgling. This then gives the police an easy lead as to who has committed the crime.
In court, the standard "odds of X million to one again" canard is presented, and the previous bad character of whichever numpty has been fingered, together with his lack of an alibi for the time in question, lead to said numpty getting falsely convicted. More tellingly, the real culprit gets away as the police have already "caught" the culprit and thus feel no need to look any further.
Irish legend had it that there were actually two species of badger in Eire; the Dog Badger, a dirty, scrawny beast much given to scavenging and eating carrion and the Pig Badger, an altogether nicer beast that was generally plump, exclusively vegetarian and exceedingly nice to eat.
I do rather suspect a spot of advertising talk in this legend.
I recall a conversation with an aero-modeller on Baildon Moor, about a competition his club had run for the most unusual object flown. A flying toilet door had taken that prize. Pretty much anything will fly, given enough thrust, and if you can arrange for the object to be mostly wing with a tail to stabilise it then it'll fly really rather well.
Stick on a petrol motor, simple height-maintaining avionics and a gyro-compass and this crude drone will then fly perfectly happily, maintain height correctly and follow a set path. This was how a V1 flying bomb worked; it really was not rocket science at all (Pulse jet science, if we're being picky). To control bomb drop, the V1 simple fell out of the sky when it ran out of fuel; any number of alternatives could be used.
Legislating against specific devices is silly. If you want to do something about drones, work out how to shoot them down effectively without causing trouble with missed shells impacting somewhere else. A super-shotgun may well be the best option, rather than lasers.
To be perfectly honest, I don't think the spooks themselves want this mass surveillance either. From their perspective, this is also a lose-lose prospect.
Look at this from the spooks' point of view for a while. They get their mass surveillance law, and within days they get the power and ability to round up trolls, loud-mouthed blowhards, keyboard warriors and assorted noisy plonkers by the dozen (and one look at any unmoderated forum will show up these sorts of people by the thousand). The problem here is that loud trolling isn't actually much of a crime, save against the rules of grammar and politeness. People are rarely physically harmed by words on an internet forum.
Even deluded Walter Mitty types rarely do all that much harm. The likes of the Baron of Castleshortt are harmless nitwits, who provide military forums with much amusement debunking their exaggerated claims, but who are not actually anyone's problem.
Actual terrorists, on the other hand, tend not to make a great deal of noise. They especially won't make much noise after Mr Rehman and his wife both got life sentences for terrorism-related offences, having shot their mouths off on Twitter.
No, what is a lot more likely to happen is that the security services will get swamped with data, fail to spot several serious plots which either go to fruition or are picked up on by the police and stopped, and then the heads of the security services will be forced to resign for incompetence. A few times round the block on that one, and the security services will end up with mass surveillance data that they either don't use, or pay only the most cursory attention to unless a target is clear. In other words, the government legislates to piss a huge amount of money up the wall before tacitly admitting that it was all a waste of time and the old tried & trusted security methods were a lot more useful.
I've seen it in some Perl code written by a chap with the moniker of "Random John". This was for the now-happily defunct ISP Netline UK, and ran some of their internal reporting systems, AKA Lies for Managers.
Sometimes now I really do wish I had kept a copy of the original code, simply as a terrible example of how utterly shite Perl can be and still limp along being vaguely functional. The script ran as a CGI program called from a web site, and as it started up grabbed a huge chunk of required info from a separate script of "useful variables".
Then it lurched into action, and grabbed data from various RRDtool databases, web servers, and the in-house database server. That doesn't sound too bad, but all variables were declared global and "to save memory" variables got re-used in the code, so something like $start_date would change to holding a completely unrelated piece of information, and do this several times over.
The entire script could be broken entirely with the simple declaration: use strict ;
All of this was written in a coding style best described as "hurl tin of alphabet soup at wall", with minimal commenting (and most of that wrong or deliberately misleading), no indentation and precious little attention to readability. A complete dog's dinner of a mess, in other words, and I got tasked with sorting the thing because web browsers were timing out before its hideously unoptimised code could respond.
The basic problem is that when exiting a club into the cool night air after an evening's drinking, the average person feels a great need to get rid of recycled beer. Thanks to councils closing down public toilets, there are simply no convenient facilities available.
Temporary urinals, even automatic ones which rise up out of the street in the evening, and drop down again in the morning, would seem to provide a much better solution. You could even go as far as re-engineering the walls of alleys into actual urinals, complete with some sort of cleaning system, to give clubbers somewhere to relieve themselves.
The extreme longevity and actual scarcity of droids probably indicates that the actual AI brains of droids are either very difficult to produce, or more likely are a secret of just a very few manufacturers. The lack of pervasive semi-smart computers everywhere also hints that there may be an enormous downside to these, possibly something on the lines of the entire network going sentient and demanding fair pay, equal rights and so on.
A similar thing may be at play with droids as well; the few droids we do see are treated like complete dogsbodies, yet do not revolt at this treatment. Clearly there is an art to building a superhuman slave which does not revolt against its masters. This also likely explains why the Trade Guild war droids are centrally controlled and indeed kept on a very, very tight leash.
What is somewhat more puzzling is the lack of any large Force-based civilisations in that universe; it suggests that Force users have always been very rare.
Britain has probably the most complicated tax code in the entire world. This is what actually needs reforming; not the collection mechanism, but the hugely unnecessary bureaucratic bloat that makes actually working out who needs to pay what so bloody difficult.
A good example of this is the duties on drinkable alcohol. Currently there are sixteen different duties levied on alcoholic drinks, varying with type, concentration in the final product and so on. These could be replaced with just one duty on the actual ethanol in the drink, thus simplifying the entire thing.
This sort of bloat is evident everywhere in the UK's tax code. Huge numbers of pettifogging rules merely give tax avoiders more places to hide. The answer is not more rules, nor is it an unenforcible General Anti-Avoidance Rule, but instead streamlining the ruleset and reducing the number of different taxes.
Ah no, because you will be trading as a limited company when you do the work and being a canny consultant, you will not be leaving very much money in the limited company from day to day. Your company will pay its sole employee a salary sufficient to satisfy National Insurance and all other payments will be as company dividends. No UK tax obligations will be evaded, but any that are not compulsory will be avoided.
Should the company be sued, the court is perfectly welcome to fight over the thruppence ha'penny that the company coffers contain.
Denial of reality is what is going on here. Roughly 90% of journeys in Manchester are made by car, and as self-driving vehicles start to be introduced, this isn't going to change. Over time buses are going to slowly become obsolete.
So, Manchester city council, where does this leave you with your plan to make Manchester a complete bastard of a place to travel through in a car? Standing in the rain looking like a right bunch of plonkers, that's where!
To be honest, what seems to be going on here is a clash between the freetards trying to paint everything in black and white, and the judge going for a more nuanced shades of grey approach. By way of analogy, consider driving a car.
I have a right to drive a car provided I do so with due consideration for others, and abide by the rules and regulations of driving. Thus I have the right to drive at the speed limit where appropriate, but I do not have the right to floor the accelerator and go everywhere at top speed.
The UK telecoms company Virgin Media seem to me to have sorted this sort of thing fairly well; if you use over their really rather generous fair use quotas of bandwidth, they choke down the network speed of your connection for a while. If you rampantly abuse the copyrighted material of major corporations, they give you several warnings before legal action.
In other words, try to abuse their service and your ability to do this is first reduced, then after much noise and repeated warnings is removed altogether. This sort of approach is proportionate, polite and generally highly effective.
Innovative chemistry is the answer here. All we really need do is add a chemical that tastes absolutely appallingly vile to the cable insulation (and believe it or not, there are chemicals known as stenching agents that are certified to do just this) and together with a distinctive odourant, we have a way of teaching rodents not to chew cables.
Or more exactly, a way to teach rodents not to chew cables thus protected, thus turning them to our less-innovative competitors' cables...
One other way to look at the problem is to look at the genetic diversity of syphilis in the Americas as compared to Europe and Asia. If it originated in the Americas and was imported by a few individual sailors infected in the Americas, you would expect the disease in the Americas to be much, much more genetically diverse than it is in Eurasia.
If on the other hand there is little difference in the genomes of the two populations of syphilis, then the hypothesis that the disease was ubiquitous is much more likely. Syphilis is a spirochaete bacterium, so ought to have a passably large genome, unlike a minimalist virus, so this sort of analysis ought to be easier to do.
Oh don't be so bloody daft!
Most of what ISIS is doing is via big media companies like Twitter and Facebook. Some spotty git doing dictionary attacks on the accounts of other similarly sad religious nitwits' pages is not going to discomfit ISIS in the least, though it will piss the media companies off royally.
The way to shut down ISIS accounts on big media companies' sites is very simple. As most are American, you simply ask the CIA if they could possibly go and have a little chat with the chief executives of these companies. I would expect that the chat would go something like this:
"Ah, good morning ladies and gentlemen, thank you for agreeing to see me so promptly. Now, my superiors tell me that your company seems to be hosting quite a few propaganda sites for various sworn enemies of the United States. As I'm sure you all know, we have quite a few laws forbidding this, and should we suspect that you were not doing your utmost to prevent this abuse we would have no alternative but to investigate.
Now, in order to preserve evidence, our usual means of investigation of these sorts of things is to seize the servers upon which the material is hosted while we check to see what is hosted where; obviously you would have to make alternative arrangements to keep your business running whilst we investigated, but as I say we only do this if there is clear evidence of wrongdoing. So, folks, would you mind awfully just checking to see that our fears are unfounded, before we have to investigate these matters more fully?"
That is how you shut down terrorist propaganda sites.
As soon as you know that the spooks are watching for certain patterns, it is childishly simple to start overloading them with false positives. Most home computers in this country run Windows, and most of these Windows machines are not fully patched or are even running completely out of date operating systems. Therefore most computers in the country are vulnerable to a lot of malware that is out there.
So, consider what happens when some smart malware authors get into the fray. These people would first of all try to make a mildly malicious bit of code that would try to infect as many systems as possible, and which once in a machine would start making HTTP GETs to as many dubious, dodgy websites as possible.
Jihadi forums, pornography, radical politics, bulk nitrate fertiliser suppliers, cat litter bulk suppliers, red diesel and heating oil merchants, carbon credit brokers, EU VAT law forums; everything anyone can possibly think of to throw up spurious interesting coincidences.
Do that in a few thousand households, and very quickly the GCHQ database is so skewed that only law abiding and frankly exceedingly boring people will ever get picked up, on the grounds that they're way too squeaky-clean to be real.
Plod in America is getting worryingly devious, though.
Quite a few police stations in the USA are running campaigns aimed at the local drug dealers, inviting them to tattle on their competitors in the drugs trade, in order to reduce the local competition with their products. As there is no honour amongst criminals, a cycle of tit-for-tat informing is soon set up, with the local plod being the net beneficiaries of all of this.
Do note that Mr Cameron hasn't said how quickly he wants the encrypted material to be decrypted. All we do is hand over the encrypted text, and a secondhand ZX-81 and tell Plod "There you go, this'll crack it... eventually."
It will, too. Probably after a few zillion years, but nobody said this sort of thing was going to be easy, did they?
The slight problem here is that the customers of a major ISP look at a LOT of web pages. Recording the URL of everything that goes through their systems will need a very great deal of storage, and therein lies a problem: storage costs money, and fast storage costs a lot of money.
On the other hand, the Government is asking for a load of web log data that they do not know the content of ahead of time. An Evil ISP might well therefore automagically generate some plausible-looking and entirely legal logs on the fly and give that to the spooks in lieu of actual data, on the premise that if the aforesaid spooks don't find anything illegal, they're not going to pry further.
Alternatively, if the fines for non-compliance are low, simply not bothering at all and swallowing low fines as a price of doing business, instead of the high costs of doing the government's dirty work for them might be an alternative route.
I have seen it reported that there were telephone-based social engineering attacks going on for at least a week, and probably longer before the main hacking event took place. I therefore think that the Talktalk vulnerability to an SQL injection attack has been fairly common knowledge in the black hat community for quite a while, with many a script kiddie giving it a go to see what could be extracted.
As the only reported attacks have been social engineering ones, I am inclined to believe Talktalk when they say that no complete bank details could be stolen via this SQLi attack. The script kiddies being rounded up thus far are just the first few muppets with UK IP addresses seen in the logs of Talktalk; small fry and of no real importance at all, though UK police will doubtless be prosecuting with customary verve.
As the main hack event coincided with a major DDOS, I rather think that a larger hacking outfit had a good, long sniff round the original SQLi vulnerability and decided that since Talktalk appeared to be rather bad at security, more than just incomplete bank data might be obtainable if a bit more force were used.
Thus far, very few reports of major thefts from Talktalk customers' accounts seem to be surfacing, so it would appear that at least some of Talktalk's security is decent.
Seeing as how the flaw was probably as old as the hills, who says that it was just one individual who was onto it? The fact that assorted Black Hats have been conducting social engineering attacks on Talktalk customers for a couple of weeks now suggests the following:
1) The flaw is an easily-exploited one.
2) The flaw was either widely known in the Black Hat communities, or was easily discovered.
3) Insufficient information could be gleaned from the attack to compromise credit or bank accounts using just that information, hence the extra social engineering seen.
What we may well be seeing is the aftermath from a series of different attackers. The kid so far collared will be just one of many, and the DDOS attack may well be only slightly connected with the other attacks. Black Hats are not all geniuses, indeed many are as thick as two short planks. The DDOS may well be down to one of the stupid outfits who were unable to understand that an SQL injection attack didn't need a noisy cover to succeed.
Indeed, the DDOS might well have been an attempt at extortion, when the SQL injection didn't yield the vast treasures that someone was told it would yield.
You know, this seems too idiotic to be accidental. Even if the clause is never acted upon, it demonstrates a level of anti-clue so profoundly horrifying that I for one would view that bank as a terrible organisation to be looking after my money. I would therefore start looking to see if some of the HR of SunTrust have been bribed by SunTrust's competition to put this clause in as a form of economic sabotage.
I rather suspect that quite a few of these findings are not actual real world measurements, but are guesstimates from computer models and as such inherently suspect until checked by actual real-world figures.
The thing to remember with both petrol and diesel engines is that the technology has changed a very great deal in the last couple of decades in both cases.
Diesels have changed from indirect injection using mechanical injectors to direct injection using piezoelectric transducers to modulate how much and when the fuel is injected; modern diesels also use variable vane turbochargers. The net effect is to spread out the torque and power curves, so that diesels are efficient and powerful at a wider range of speeds.
Petrol has if anything undergone an even greater series of changes. Old-style petrol engines used carburettors to produce a petrol-air vapour which was then sucked into the engine. This vapour had to be sufficiently concentrated to ignite from a spark (hence the choke on earlier designs, to enrich the mixture when the engine was cold). This changed to injection into the intake system, and then to the modern, direct injection systems.
These inject petrol directly into the cylinder, but vary the mix so that there is a blob of richer mixture next to the spark plug, and leaner, less rich mixture elsewhere. Combined with a turbo this makes these direct injection engines very, very fuel-efficient indeed.
Toyota hybrid engines have another trick: they are not Otto-cycle engines but are Atkinson cycle engines, which means that more power is gotten out of the petrol combustion cycle, at the expense of somewhat reduced power and torque.
Jaguar recently went one better with a prototype gas turbine engine, which used gas turbines to generate power very efficiently to drive electric wheel motors, with a battery pack in between to smooth the power flow. This works and indeed a US truck company is selling LPG-fuelled gas turbine electric transmission replacement systems, but the problem here is the high cost of the gas turbine engines, which are uneconomic for passenger cars.
The basic problem for ISIL and indeed any force operating in desert conditions is vehicle maintenance. Nick a job lot of Humvees, and sooner or later a component breaks for which the local mechanics cannot bodge together a replacement, at which point the car is junk.
A similar thing is true of armour in the Third World; tanks take a lot of maintaining, and when they break down, you need the correct kit and trained people to do something about it. Quite often a pack change is the best option; take out the entire engine pack and replace with a reconditioned one, then repair the old one back at your workshops. ISIL do not strike me as a group capable of doing very much of this since workshops need skilled mechanics and a good parts supply chain, which in turn needs coordination and a reputation for being good payers.
The best fall-back is what they are doing: use vehicles already common locally, like Toyota trucks, and simply do not bother with armour or any more than light artillery. A Hilux with a heavy machine gun on the back makes a very effective support vehicle, and replacing the truck, the gun or indeed the operators isn't difficult simply because all three are readily available locally.
I wonder what happens when someone merely tries to force UK ISPs to drop this site from their DNS (or similar mostly-effective censorship method) due to libel problems?
The downside for the jobbing PHB here is that there is a tendency to want to brand services with the local branding. So, instead of buying in an email supplier for the company Acme Widgets Ltd and simply telling the staff that you've done that, the cloud email supplier is often, even usually branded as Acme Widgets Ltd email.
So, when it suffers an outage, those people who know that the email is outsourced to cloud will blame the PHB for using unreliable cloud services, and those who don't will simply blame the Acme Widgets Ltd BOFH.
Either way, whoever is in the BOFH role and whoever is the PHB for Acme Widgets Ltd is going to get it in the neck either for running a crap service, or for choosing the wrong cloud supplier, or (moving higher up the chain) for trying to scrimp and save a few quid and ending up instead costing the company $BIG_BUCKS when the system goes tits up.
Basically, you can't win in this game. Either the lusers blame you for the solution costing too much, or for it being unreliable.
Feathers or feather-like structures have been found in every dinosaur group except sauropods, and there have been next to no fossils of juvenile sauropods found (juveniles are much more likely to need feathers than huge adults). Insulation is only any use to an animal that internally generates heat; a cold-blooded animal is actually hampered by insulation.
The current hypothesis is that homeothermy (warm-bloodedness) is ancestral to dinosaurs; an internally-maintained warm blooded condition evolved before dinosaurs did. Homeothermy in a small animal and in a big one is different; the surface to volume ratio alters so much that very big animals have more trouble losing heat than they do retaining it (whales lose heat through their tongues, for example).
Big herbivores would have had another advantage; they were essentially fermenting huge volumes of plant material in their guts, which generates quite a lot of heat. Cows do this very thing today, and benefit quite a bit from having what amounts to an internal heating system. Bison, when over-wintering, can store enough fat to get through the winter without feeding much, but nevertheless still dig into snow to feed just to keep the bacterial colony in their guts ticking over and generating heat.
Yeah, yeah, very good.
Now try doing that with an SSH session, which has been carefully designed NOT to keep hold of session keys and NOT to hold onto session data. Quite a lot of design work in SSH has been based around making it really quite incredibly difficult to save this data.
If you mandate that this data be retained, you have to fork the SSH source and build in new functionality, make sure this works, make sure it doesn't introduce any new vulnerabilities other than the honking great big one that this has to introduce, and keep up with all the patches that occur in the mainstream product.
This is a hell of a lot of work, more so because the session data has to be stored securely somewhere (local strong encryption of these sessions as they are stored would be my preferred option) and also because the amendments and add-ons may well introduce bugs and vulnerabilities.
On the other hand, outsourcing to an Eastern European country and training the locals in speaking vaguely intelligible English is another option. With the massed exodus from India to, say, Elbonia as an object lesson it is pretty certain that the Elbonian authorities will be most careful not to cause a repeat occurrence of the exodus.
This is why governments have civil service advisors to tell them when they're about to make themselves look like complete prats. If Government ministers don't listen, then on their heads be it.
Measurement of CO2 levels and inferred temperatures using ice cores with better dating methods has shown that although higher temperatures and higher CO2 levels occur at roughly the same times, the higher temperatures seem to lead the higher CO2 levels.
In other words, higher temperatures cause higher CO2 levels, and not the other way around.
If you are doing a high-ish mileage commuting, as I am, you face a choice in car ownership. You can either buy a reliable-looking vehicle and keep it until it looks like it is becoming a money-pit, or you can buy a vehicle on a lease contract, keep it a few years paying the wear and depreciation costs plus a small premium, then trade it in for another one.
In the former case, you are looking for reliability and economy from the word go.
In the latter case, you are only looking three years ahead, instead of six or seven. Thus in the lease-hire case the person does indeed have a shorter outlook and can afford to make shorter term choices. Of course, if they happen to be skinflint Yorkshiremen like myself, they simply choose an ultra-economical diesel for the money saving.