* Posts by Alan Brown

4163 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Net neutrality victory: FCC approves 'open internet' rules in 3-2 vote

Alan Brown
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Re: One step forward after two steps back

"Ma Bell's monopoly was arguably a good thing in the 20 and 30s and even 40s"

Doubtful. Ma Bell's monopoly was allowed to continue existing because the criminal anti-competitive behaviour it embarked on between 1900 and 1934 meant that the competing telcos no longer existed and were not capable of being resurrected. (Typically they were either bought out by AT&T or went bankrupt and the remains were hoovered up by AT&T)

The cost of that action was the "universal service" obligation that AT&T entered into as part of the legal settlement with the FCC in 1934 and it's arguable that the 1980s breakup of AT&T and subsequent reassembly (AT&T as a national telco now exists in all but name) may well have been deliberately engineered with a long-game plan to divest itself of the public-service obligations it had been encumbered with for the previous 50 years.

It's worth reading http://newnetworks.com/ShortSCANDALSummary.htm - the $200 billion dollar swindle. There are other analyses on the net, but the short form is that for the last 30 years telcos have been getting state-level concessions in exchange for infrastructure projects which never completed, then getting further concessions for further projects which never completed (and often never even started), including regranting of line monopolies and merger approvals. Those decisions have never been reviewed and the telcos have never been called to account for failure to make good on their promised work, even when going back to the states for more concessions.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Just a waste of time

The problem is that the actions may be criminal on their face, however the monopolies were handed to them by state governments which legislated them into non-criminal actions.

The question of payola has never been fully investigated (or investigated at all, for that matter) as it would open so many cans of worms that the USA government wouldn't recover.

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With Hobbit and LoTR in the can, Trolls no longer welcome in New Zealand

Alan Brown
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The most likely use of the law

Is to go after someone who posts something damaging about a politician, even if it's true.

Laudafinem.com has covered the gaping holes in the legislation already - http://laudafinem.com/2015/06/30/will-kiwis-watch-in-disbelief-as-contriversial-new-law-is-used-to-target-online-descent-expose-not-so-called-cyber-bullying/

LF has its own agenda (and verbosity) but they have a point.

"The fact is that under this new law most of the Roast Busters exposé could well have been covered up by the New Zealand police using the new “Harmful Digital Communications Act” to close down the growing online anger that surrounded the case, an anger that pushed both the police and government to confront the issue, in the process exposing the coverup – in fact the IPCA report on that case recommended strengthening existing laws, not the wholesale abrogation and criminalisation of free speech which the “Harmful Ditgital Communications Act 2013“ conceals."

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China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

Alan Brown
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Re: Ok, all well & good, but...

"Seriously, it's a phone."

It's a personal computer which happens to make phone calls - and the audio quality is ok (I've briefly tested one), which is one step up on the iphone.

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Alan Brown
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@ Anon IV

If you want a decent UI on android it's never a matter of just taking it out of the box, but you don't generally have to root to replace the desktop manager (Running Goo's desktop on my GN4 instead of touchwiz)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Its about time...

"for years we have had overpriced phones using an unfinished OS"

You may like the IoS launcher. Many don't.

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Is that a FAT PIPE or are you just pleased to stream me? TERABIT fibre tested

Alan Brown
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Re: "By reusing the existing optical platform..."

"And who cares about getting terabit rates to the last mile when consumers don't really need more than gigabit which can be done easily with copper?"

Firstly: Let me know when you have symmetric Gb/s on _existing_(*) copper from the local phone cabinet to the customer's premises without using some crappy power sucking device that requires perfect lines less than 100 feet long and breaks as soon as you breath hard on it.

Secondly: Having gotten all those GB circuits to the cabinet, at what speed do you intend to backhaul them to the local central office/concentrator node? What speed do you intend to backhaul from the concentrator/CO to the regional distribution node?

(*) if you have to run new lines then they may as well be glass.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Not that advanced

"There's nothing new about Flexgrid"

Indeed, which means this just plugs into the rest of the network and isn't some esoteric experiment which is years away from deployment.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Omg, what is it with the headliens?

"Light travels pretty close to the speed of light in the fiber"

Um....

Light in a fiber travels at the speed of light in a fiber.

(FWIW The speed of light in a fibre is 66% of the speed of light in a vacuum)

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Chap slapped in Dogecoin crap app flap

Alan Brown
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Re: Blah blah "no wrongdoing"

"to admit that would utterly finish them because they would almost automatically lose any further lawsuits against them. "

That's the crux of it, although courts tend to blow straight through that smokescreen if anyone else takes action (the settlement is admission enough).

If they do it a second time the FTC tends to throw the book at them.

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US police to throw big balls in criminals' faces

Alan Brown
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Re: WiFi?

" Even a simple frequency generator can do it..."

Or an arcing lightswitch. Easy enough to do that under most circumstances.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Limited application?

"I wonder what the life expectancy of the ball is, i.e. how many times it can be used before it becomes unreliable?"

Once (physically), if it goes up against someone with a shotgun.

Once (practically), if it goes up against anyone with enough sense to toss a cover over it (shirts will do nicely, thanks)

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Sky bangs on Ofcom's door – demands BT competition probe

Alan Brown
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Re: Why Splitting OpenReach off from BT won't work

"There are strong economic reasons why splitting OpenReach from BT is a bad idea. "

With the greatest of respect, you are completely and utterly full of shit.

The arguments being raised by BT against splitting off are almost identical to those raised by Telecom New Zealand to the splitting off of its lines side 4-5 years ago.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of those arguments proved to be flawed.

Once the handcuffs were off the lines company has turned out to be vibrant and responsive and the mothership on extremely shaky ground as customers abandoned them in droves.

The New Zealand market is 1/10 the size of the UK, with a much lower population density and much more difficult terrain and yet somehow, despite your doomsaying (and those of other anti-split agitators) it's remained not only profitable, but has started employing more staff to keep up with demands.

Bear in mind that New Zealand split its Phone company and lines company precisely BECAUSE of the observed market abuse in the UK (Telecom NZ was trying to advocate the UK model as an anti-splitup case)

Chorus New Zealand (The lines company) is not not only approachable, but actively seeks out LLU customers to sell bandwidth to, sells dark fibre and leases duct space - things which like the UK were unheard of when under Head Office diktat. In addition, the marketplace has exploded in diversity thanks to removal of anticompetitive practices (such as dictating that leased circuits _must_ have BT NTUs on the ends, resulting in extra unnecessary tail charges).

The truly ironic thing about the New Zealand split up is that Spark NZ (Formerly Telecom NZ) is now complaining loudly about regulated circuit charges being "too high" despite them being set based on figures it provided to the NZ Ministry of Commerce (They now pay the same charges as everyone else, which are significantly lower than they used to be - everyone else is happy with the arrangement, but Spark claims it can't make money at the rates it effectively devised for the market)

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FTC to DirecTV: No more lies! Tell viewers what you really charge

Alan Brown
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Well Duh.

It's only taken the FTC 15 years of complaints about the misleading practices to take action.

Shall we mention the pointed refusal to do anything about Dish spamming the shit out of the entire world for over a decade?

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FTC slaps orders on alleged diet pill spamvertising scam scum

Alan Brown
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"Why don't any of the major email systems provide us with effective anti-spammer tools? "

They do. 99.9% of spam gets rejected long before delivery.

Imagine how bad it'd be if the filters weren't there (I don't have to imagine).

Now imagine how loudly people would scream if you managed to raise that to 99.99%, but the cost is that that important business contract got rejected or gmail called your granny a spammer.

THAT is what's hard about spamfighting.

Now, wonder why outfits(*) spend so much effort tagging inbound spam but do sod-all about stopping it going out, or (worse) tag it as spam on the way out and deliver it to the destination anyway. It's generally a better idea to cleanup a polluted river by stopping the shit getting into it in the first place than trying to run better filtration systems.

(*) Most, but not all, Some do very good jobs of preventing shit getting out but the usual suspects(**) don't make any effort at all.

(**) ISPs run by Telcos and content providers. The ones with state-sanctioned monopolies (USA and China f'instance) are the worst offenders because there's no incentive for them to cleanup.

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OPM data breach: Looking at you, China! National Intelligence head stares out Beijing

Alan Brown
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Re: China has been hacking the US federal government since 1998...

So has everyone else. I'd be more worried about the Albanian Mafia though.

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Alan Brown
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"..The feds wouldn't have a clue who stole what when"

Exactly.

Pointing a bone at China is par for the course and whilst (pwned) chinese machines may have been part of the attack vector I'm pretty sure the culprits are elsewhere.

At least this time they 'fessed up that security was effectively non-existant.

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

Alan Brown
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Re: "Not til we have some planes to go on them..."

It's always surprised me that rear-firing cannon or missiles aren't standard equipment on anything intended to go into a dogfight.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Get yer skates on Argentina!

"I had a look online a while ago, and they still seemed to have the same Daggers and Skyhawks as before, only now they're 50 years old, instead of 20."

Bearing in mind that New Zealand grounded all its A4s after a very expensive refitting exercise (project Kahu) because of wing spar cracking (it would have been cheaper to buy F15s than to fix the A4s), you're probably right - It's quite likely that anything they sent out would either fall out of the sky before it got that far or do so as soon as it had to execute a high-G turn.

This is all about the argentine economy being so far down the shitter it's almost made it through to the oxidation pond, not about actual sovereignty.

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Alan Brown
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Re: "Not til we have some planes to go on them..."

"in theory a single type 45 could defend the Falklands against the entire South American air-force."

In theory. In practice something would get past its defences. Which is why you'd need two of them.

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Alan Brown
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"If control of domains starts being influenced by whatever is politically trendy at any given point in time then the whole organisation will be brought into disrepute."

Let's not forget one very important thing about the Internet:

ICANN have precisely as much power as the users of the Internet choose to give them. If they step too far out of line, then there are a bunch of alternative registries and not even the UN can mandate that everyone use ICANN if they don't want to.

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Alan Brown
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Re: .fk, .mi or .disputed ?

Pitcairn Island has its own domain (population less than 100), as does Christmas Island (An australian military base with _no_ local resident population)

On that basis, I think if the Falklands want one they're entitled to it.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Argies are too late @Flocke Kroes

The thing which made the difference the last time round and would make the difference this time round is submarines.

As soon as the UK had _one_ in the area, the argentine navy ran and hid. So did all civilian shipping.

As for "more capable militarily", I'd say the current lack of fixed wing aircraft capable of being used on ships would argue otherwise. As is the inability to bomb the runway at Port Stanley from a fixed base.

As most people have pointed out, this is all just a dog-and-bone show anyway, to try and distract form the internal problems and most argentinians see it that way too (there are always a few who will be happy to make a fuss about whatever the government wants them to make a fuss about. but they're a vocal minority who expect to get handsomely paid.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Argies are too late @Flocke Kroes

"That's the Northern Ireland that's still part of the UK right?"

That's the Northern Ireland which was handed over to the Free Irish State along with the rest of the island and which immediately opted out and back into british hands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Northern_Ireland

The UK government doesn't _want_ Northern Ireland, but they're stuck with it until the population vote differently.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Occupational Therapy For The Mediocre

"Given their power over the internet, you'd think by now they would have learned to use video conferencing.!"

Many of us have been pointing this out for years. ICANN meetings are 99% about troughing, not engineering.

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Intel inside: Six of the best affordable PC laptops

Alan Brown
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Re: Affordable?

Depends what people want to do.

Document engineering and a few web pages? Fine.

Crysis? Nope Nope Nope Nope Nope.

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MAC address privacy inches towards standardisation

Alan Brown
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Re: Randomising MAC address

"That would certainly break filtering clients by MAC address."

It's not as if MACs can be spoofed, is it?

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FCC boss Wheeler: Shove off, big dogs – let the small telcos play

Alan Brown
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Re: Wheeler is the surprise hero.

LLU is effectively non-existant in the USA, so this is a surprise.

Perhaps for an encore he may try to mandate it on landlines?

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Bitcoin, schmitcoin. Let's play piggyback on the blockchain

Alan Brown
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Re: Damn users eh!

"I have given up telling people that email was not designed for attachments"

We have people complaining when 600Mb attachments don't go through and one of my earliest user issues 25 years ago was the guy in the New Zealand version of DVLA who kept trying to email 30Mb attachments. Even after we opened up sendmail to allow it the other end couldn't handle the size.

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Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

Alan Brown
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Re: USA-isian only

If you use Zigbee you don't need to worry about varying voltages. It makes plumbing in extra sensors and radiator valves trivial too (Not that USAians use rads much, heat pumps are much more efficient than boilers)

Heat-save's setup is nice (motion sensors, window sensore, motorised TRVs) and Honeywell have something simliar.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Little boxes made of ticky tacky

"The difference in the past year from having single paned windows to good double glazed K glass ones, in a stone house is noticeable each month"

The insulation difference between single and double glazing is less than the difference between single glazing and adding decent thermal curtains.

Almost all the gains with double glazing come from draft sealing when the windows are replaced, plus keeping noise out.

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Alan Brown
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"Anybody's who's tried setting a typical programmeable thermostat and a separate heating & HW control timer will know what a PITA they are to set up."

Erm....

Programmable thermostat controls the on/off of the heating.

HW is on-demand with a condensing boiler, so there's no timezones to worry about (unless you like the hot tap being cold at certain times of the day). If you have a gas system using a cylinder then you're automatically using an inefficient one and if it's electric then you'd better be running it on offpeak power or you're better off using demand-heaters where you need it (and of course then there's the madness of cylinders _and_ a power shower.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Does it really save that much?

"It's like not leaving the light on in any room you're not going to be in and out of frequently."

PIR light switches....

And the ultimate extension on this is occupancy sensors and window open sensors controlling the rad valves.

There are kits out there which do this.

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We forget NOTHING, the Beeb thunders at Europe

Alan Brown
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Re: Lawsuits inbound

"At most such pages may be required to contain a disclaimer that the information was subsequently shown to be incorrect."

In the case that started it all, the information (the person in question had been made bankrupt) _was_ correct.

Removing incorrect data is expected but censoring correct public information is revisionism

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Alan Brown
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Re: Lawsuits inbound

Published information is published information.

Imaging Tony B Liar or some other politician pulling that line to get the iraq war stories pulled.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Right to be forgotten option

Them and a few Vikings (Norsemen -> Normans)

The whole 3-way thing was a complicated family feud.

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UK.gov spaffed billions into IT projects at 'high risk of failure' last year

Alan Brown
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Re: Accountability or lack thereof...

Some are corrupt, most are incompetent.

ALL want to cover that up.

There may not be conspiracies to cock up, but there sure as hell are ones to cover it up.

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BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

Alan Brown
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Re: But let us keep all the hardware, of course

"BT own the HW and the gubberment don't own BT so what ever else happens they still own the HW."

BT has been fairly blatantly using Openreach to leverage its monopoly and frustrate competitors.

It was precisely _because_ of ongoing market abuse by BT that the New Zealand authorities forced the demerger of the incumbent Telco there (after 30 years of the worst market abuse seen in the western world they saw the writing on the wall and tried to sell everyone on a BT/Openreach-style setup. NZ regulators investigated what's been happening here and decided the only way forward was complete demerger.)

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Alan Brown
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Cordless phones

"But most people I know rely entirely on wireless phones, which won't work during a power cut."

Uniden were selling battery-backed cordless bases back in the 1990s - and a 12V backup to most is pretty easy to rig.

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Alan Brown
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BT is required to _OFFER_ POTS.

That doesn't mean it's mandatory, but the current madness has it more expensive to not take it.

They should continue being required to _offer_ POTS (just like the old 450 line TV), but if enough customers choose not to take it then they have a good argument for having the requirement rescinded some time in the future.

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Alan Brown
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Re: provide only internet services

" That amounts to less than the salary of 1 linesman per 100 users"

In a well-run setup you should be able to run 1 per 2500 or so. Openreach is not well-run and the infrastructure is falling apart due to lack of investment.

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20 years ago this week, Microsoft just about killed Australian PC manufacturing

Alan Brown
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Re: Only assembled in Australia, not 'made in Australia'

Cherry G80 keyboards come pretty close to the Honeywells.

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Assange™ celebrates third year in Ecuadorian embassy broom closet

Alan Brown
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Re: Get busy trying or get busy dying...

"The best they could do in their inglorious history was the clumsy, heavy-handed, and ultimately unsuccessful toppling of democratically elected governments in Latin America."

and Australia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_Australian_constitutional_crisis

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Alan Brown
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Re: Truer words were never spoken --- "EIT"

"It's logical they won't use "extraordinary rendition" to make him disappear."

An unwitnessed car crash in a parisian underpass is the usual type of solution in such cases.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Truer words were never spoken --- "EIT"

"Enhanced Interrogation techniques were used to extract information out of suspects of crimes or people associated with a specific criminal organizations. "

In every single case, EIT gained no extra useful intelligence than had already been offered freely. People will confess to anything they think the interrogator wants when under torture, simply to make it stop, up to and including confessing to being the central planner behind the JFK conspiracy even if they weren't even born then.

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Alan Brown
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Re: What is Ecuador getting from this?

"The Embassy is getting a platinum level of security"

Not just the embassy. The entire area is.

It's worth bearing in mind that even without the visible coppers around embassies there are a lot of armed police in these areas ar all times. The Diplomatic Protection Squad is expensive to run and I suspect that having a couple of cheap bobbies standing outside one embassy is simply a way of being able to push wider operational costs onto one high profile task.

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Alan Brown
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Re: That is a long time

"He also fails to accept that if the woman really believe that they were harmed"

I'm not so sure they they do. They were openly happy to be associated with him and only went to the police for advice after they got talking to each other and found he was shagging both at the same time.

It's not entirely clear that they actually filed complaints, given that the case was passed in as lacking evidence and then reactivated by order of a swedish govt minister who clearly has an axe to grind with him.

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Alan Brown
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Re: What prison sentence would he be looking at if found guilty?

Jumping bail has a maximum penalty under most circumstances of a couple of months and it's usually revised vastly downwards from there. He'd be unlucky to get a week.

Breaching bail conditions most often gets a telling-off and "don't do it again"

Embarrassing the learned m'luds is not sufficient justification for imposing extra penalties.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-457471/Thousands-bail-jumpers-escape-jail-guidelines-weakened-ease-prisons.html

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Climate change alarmism is a religious belief – it's official

Alan Brown
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energy sources

"he is unwilling to admit the inconvenient truth that we will need huge amounts of non-renewable energy if the poor are ever to get a taste of the good life."

There's an important point right there. Wind/solar/tidal are all insufficient. Putting a huge solar farm in the sahara and piping the energy north ignores the issue of up to 20 times that demand to the south who won't be happy about the north stealing their resources yet again.

The long term solution is nuclear - done properly, not by dunking fragile fuel rods in acidified water at $STUPID pressure and temperatures (which incidentally aren't actually hot enough, but if you make it hotter the water molecules start disassociating). IE: Low pressure, extremely hot molten salt systems which have extremely low waste output (98% or so less) compared to current nuclear plants and can use current nuclear plant waste as fuel.

Fusion would be better but I don't expect to see it as a commercial reality in my grandchildren's lifetimes, let alone the next few years - and we need to act now, not hang around waiting for fusion.

Ideally one would use

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At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

Alan Brown
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Re: Not so easy to switch ...

You're a fool if you have a website (or email) handled by the same company which provides your connectivity.

As such you and your money are easily parted.

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