* Posts by Zog The Undeniable

249 posts • joined 18 Jul 2008

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Official: Single people need to LOWER their EXPECTATIONS

Zog The Undeniable

No, absolutely not

Speaking from personal experience, if you "settle for" someone, it won't last and you won't enjoy it. You'll both always be looking around and wondering what might have been, and after 10 years it will eat away at your soul. Luckily my ex and me both agreed on this, it was amicable (even if it meant I needed to get a mortgage again after paying off the first one, the financial split could have been a whole lot worse) and everyone is much happier. Better to stick to people seemingly out of your league (in looks, educational attainment, general social capital, whatever)...you'll get knocked back almost all the time but it's awesome if it works. And I still don't know what she sees in me.

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Helium HDD prices rise way above air-filled spinning rust

Zog The Undeniable

How do they keep the helium in?

Two problems spring to mind:

1. HDDs usually have a filtered breather hole to cope with the innards heating up during use. So this one must be built to cope with pressure changes.

2. According to a former student colleague who has worked at BOC these last 25 years, helium is notoriously hard to contain (unlike hydrogen, it's a single-atom molecule and can squeeze through the smallest gap). So even a "hermetically sealed" (see 1 above) drive casing is hard to design as you need special helium-proof gaskets where the case is screwed together, unless they are literally welding it shut.

Get the above wrong and it reverts to an air-filled enclosure (or a partial vacuum when cold, as the heated helium escapes) fairly quickly. Must be a real design headache.

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Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Zog The Undeniable

Tragedy of the commons

Of course, any massive expansion in Uber cars at the expense of public transport will cause more congestion on the roads - a shared public resource - and then none of Uber's services, or those of the black cabs, will work well. So there's another limit to the size of the market, unless we want to build twelve-lane expressways through London. And that investment in the public resource is a lot more expensive (leaving aside its unacceptability to residents) than paying a little extra to get in a car instead of on a bus because you feel richer.

You already see this in city centres where deregulated bus services have resulted in a logjam of half-empty buses in different colours, trying to compete for the same lucrative routes. Obviously you can't get a bus at all on the less lucrative routes any more because even the councils have given up subsidising them. Mind you, you can't get a black cab to take you sarf of the river after chucking-out time, either.

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Then there were 3: Another UK mobile network borged ...

Zog The Undeniable

I remember when Racal Vodafone was a little company in the centre of Newbury. Now Vodafone owns Newbury to the extent that it tells the local council what it wants, and they have to do it. Mind you, I also remember when Orange had really good customer service and you could get through to a helpful person in the call centre after just one or two rings.

BT Cellnet was for the suits.

/nostalgia

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EE data network goes TITSUP* after mystery firewall problem

Zog The Undeniable

The flipside of competition

is the race to the bottom. If all your competitors are cutting services and increasing prices, so can you. Look at per-second charging of calls (quietly dropped ages ago by most operators), charging a king's ransom for Freefone 0800 numbers, connection fees, mid-contract price rises (what - you can't even set a flat price for TWO miserable years?), hopeless call centre queues etc. Sometimes the industry acts as a virtual cartel, knowing that anything Ofcom says will be like being savaged by a dead sheep.

Worstall should do an article on that. I'd like to read it.

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Tat bazaar eBay confirms: THOUSANDS of workers will be AXED

Zog The Undeniable

They have a licence to print money

An effective monopoly position in most English-speaking countries, double-dipping on fees, and yet it still doesn't make a profit. Stunning incompetence. The average corner shop proprietor could probably do a better job of running it.

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Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

Zog The Undeniable

Windows 8, and 8.1, sucked. I'd rather use Linux Mint and do on the desktop PC but, in the case of my HP Pavilion laptop, Linux support for the wireless interface is a bit iffy (drops WiFi regularly) so i ended up paying for Windows 7. Oh, and I also ended up paying for a dual-boot copy of Windows 7 for the desktop because I needed to drive a Reflecta film scanner with no Linux support. So MS have done pretty well out of me; the Windows 8 tax and then a copy of Windows 7. Maybe it's a strategy to release a rubbish product every other version, and benefit from the downgrade market.

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German iron meets Monaco's highlands: Audi A1 review

Zog The Undeniable
Thumb Down

It's a useless car for a family of any size

Booked a test drive of the 5 door. Never got it out of the showroom in the end. My 11-year old would never have been able to sit in the back with the seat adjusted for me (and I'm under six feet); the legroom and headroom are non-existent. Buy a Fiesta or something; the A1 is just a fashion accessory for couples.

Also, unless they've added balancer shafts to the VW 3-cylinder engine, it's as rough as a buzzard's crutch. I've tried it in a Skoda Citigo and, while that is an otherwise excellent little car (much better packaged than the A1), the engine stopped me from buying one. It felt as if it would shake itself apart within a few thousand miles.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are

Zog The Undeniable

The Mamod steam engine always seemed terribly weak to me; the steam pressure is very low and it can barely move itself on level ground. Unlike Stephenson's Rocket, it doesn't use a multi-tube boiler, nor does it use the exhaust steam to create draught for the fire. The most annoying thing was that you couldn't top up the boiler without allowing it all to go cold first, although if you were a bit adventurous you could get two fills of meths to every fill of the boiler. It would run at impressively high speeds with the drive band disconnected, though; probably 1000 rpm or so (the cylinder was a blur).

When I got a bit older and wanted to know how big steam locomotives worked, the Mamod was no use at all. Oscillating cylinder (which covers and uncovers the steam and exhaust ports without the need for valves), no crosshead, no smokebox, no superheater, no reversing gear, no regulator...pfft.

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Lonely this Xmas? Nerds, n00bs and no-hopers' guide to dating apps, Pt.1

Zog The Undeniable

As it's Christmas, here's the secret

Grow a beard for your photo. Of the top 20 rated men on Guardian Soulmates, 19 have full beards. It works for me - about 5 times the messages. Maybe only relevant to a leftie intellectual market, but hey.

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Zog The Undeniable

Oh, lovely cherry-picking on the death figures. How many premature deaths do you think Chernobyl is going to cause? Thousands? Tens of thousands? And a large area of Ukraine is uninhabitable for decades. Imagine that in an economically productive area of the UK, for instance.

I'm actually a fan of nuclear power but the safety standards have been shown time and time again to be not only necessary, but probably insufficient, and certainly flouted by the monkeys running the facilities. Some of the things that went on at Dounreay were appalling and the clean-up is seriously expensive and difficult. The real answer is to use reactor technologies that create less waste and are inmherently safer to operate. Maybe not fusion, but thorium.

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Blackpool hotel 'fines' couple £100 for crap TripAdvisor review

Zog The Undeniable

Streisand Effect

So they're trying to suppress bad reviews? What's the betting that they will now get an avalanche of negative reviews from people who have never been to Blackpool, less stayed in that particular hotel?

They're going to have to change the name of the business, and quickly.

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Chinese coder's got 99 problems and getting hitched is one: Huge iPhone woo plot FAILS

Zog The Undeniable

Re: he just had to gimp on the last one, didnt he

"IIRC 99 is a special number in china for love... can't remember why at the moment..."

You can't ever have seen the Cadbury's Flake advert with the girl in the overflowing bathtub, then.

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First space Hasselblad goes under the hammer

Zog The Undeniable

Looks like JJ Abrams was behind the camera for at least one of those shots.

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MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer

Zog The Undeniable

Statistically, back door love is far more common among hetero couples (which makes a mockery of all those homophobes who are horrified that those on the other bus might be doing it up the bonus tunnel). I suppose women can't get prostate cancer, though.

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Apple Watch buyers will feel 'different' after being 'serviced' in spring 2015

Zog The Undeniable

"To symbolise the ephemeral and shallow nature of our love, I've bought you this overpriced Chinese-made gizmo that that will be unsupported and worthless in three years' time, at which point it will be traded for a new model. Happy Valentines' Day!"

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Pro-ISIS script kiddies deface West Yorkshire egg-chasers' site

Zog The Undeniable

There's a marvellously inappropriate ad with the slogan "Heads will roll" (with animation) on this page when I see it. Dontcha just love keyword-based ads? ISIS = beheading. No-one would ever be offended by that.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Zog The Undeniable

Re: Value for money?

Well, the 3 year old Skoda we had was still worth 50% of RRP (BMW would be about 55%) but the Skoda cost about 2/3 of the price when new. You do the maths and work out how much more the BMW cost over that period.

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EE launches 150Mbps '4G+' in the heart of London

Zog The Undeniable

Re: FUCKIN LONDON AGAIN!

Acksherley...3G was first tried on the Isle of Man. I had the opportunity to play with one of the NEC prototype phones over there.

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Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

Zog The Undeniable
Unhappy

This is sad to hear, because the cheap commodity Chinese LEDs from fleaBay can last a matter of days (the record was half a day, maybe half an hour of actual use) before they fail. They are total rubbish. I have never had a Philips one fail and I'm very happy with the light output and quality.

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Bash bug: Shellshocked yet? You will be ... when this goes WORM

Zog The Undeniable
Happy

My netbook running Linux Mint got a bash patch delivered to it yesterday. I only noticed because it came on its own, without updates to any other system software.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Zog The Undeniable

I have Blu-Rays and DVDs, and also a 46" HDTV. I can't tell the difference between the formats AT ALL from where I sit about 3 metres away. If I had a massive screen or sat really close to it, maybe I could, but that would mean the living room was utterly dominated by a big 2001-style black monolith, and I don't want that.

So no, 4K is of zero interest to me.

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TV transport tech, part 2: From sofa to server at the touch of a button

Zog The Undeniable

I've got 13 channels of...on the TV to choose from

The big problem is that there's nothing on worth watching. Sometimes my TV doesn't even get turned on for a week, apart from maybe to watch a DVD. Programming seems to be wall-to-wall reality pap and soaps, with desperately unfunny comedy like Miranda. Used to have Sky but the frequency and length of advert breaks (on pay TV!) drove me up the wall, aside from the rapacious cost.

I could happily live without a licence, if it weren't for my kids visiting.

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Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer

Zog The Undeniable

As a left-handed mouse user (no left-handed surfing jokes...it's due to RSI in my preferred right arm years ago) all this talk of left-clicking and right-clicking is highly confusing. When swapping from right to left hands you generally reverse the buttons so you can still use your forefinger for a primary click - which is now a right click, not a left click.

I'm not sure what "real" left-handed people do, since they were all burnt as witches when i was younger.

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Zog The Undeniable

(Shamelessly stolen from Jack Dee)

Dentists are failed doctors. They dropped out of med school and kept the page on teeth.

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Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

Zog The Undeniable
Black Helicopters

I don't know if CO2 causes global warming but I don't think increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by 20% in 50 years is a very good idea; it's bound to do *something* to the balance of plants and animals on the planet. Nor is it a great idea to waste fossil fuels - although I accept it makes no real difference to the atmosphere whether we do it all next week or eke it out over 100 years - until we have a suitable, economic alternative for uses like transport and chemical feedstocks.

However, some people will always see an international Communist conspiracy behind anything that threatens to affect their high-polluting lifestyle, the like of which most people in the world copuld never dream of.

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BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

Zog The Undeniable

Re: 231BHP from 1.5l

A 3-cyl engine has rather poor balance (rocking couple) and needs balance shafts. VW didn't bother with the little 1 litre engine in the Citigo, which is why it feels as if it's going to shake itself apart (and why I didn't buy one after test driving it). Ford economised on their EcoBoost 3-cyl engine by using an unbalanced flywheel to compensate, whcih is a bodge first tried years ago.

I suspect BMW did it properly and used balance shafts in this one, especially as the capacity is too large just to try and ignore the problem, as is tempting with a 1 litre or smaller.

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Zog The Undeniable

49g/km

This shows how stupid the NEDC test is, and how good manufacturers have become at "gaming" it for low taxation. This now happens with all new cars but it's ridiculous in the case of hybrids.

All the car's CO2 comes from burning fuel in the engine, therefore fuel consumption in litres/100km must be proportional to g/km if the two are measured under the same conditions. But it never is these days, not in the official figures. A 32mpg car actually emits over 200g/km (you can do the maths if you like) and should be liable for fairly hefty VED, not a free tax disc.

There are now millions of cars on the roads, mainly turbo models and hybrids, which are paying very low rates of VED yet producing just as much CO2 as older or more conventional cars which are taxed more heavily. And the direct injection petrol turbos have atrocious PM10 emissions too, so they're giving your kids asthma and cancer.

It's all gone mad.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Zog The Undeniable

Good point about loudspeaker and amp designers working separately

The no.1 rule when buying either is to listen to them together. Some amps sound dull and too bassy with some speakers, some sound too bright and thin. Getting speakers that sound good with your amp is far more important than getting components that are theoretically brilliant on their own. You could spend £500 and get great sound, or spend £5,000 and get atrocious sound.

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Zog The Undeniable

The human ear does not have a flat response, either. All that external funny-looking cartilage gubbins (the pinna) has evolved to boost voice frequencies (around 1kHz) and attenuate others. So it's a clever transducer, but you wouldn't copy it for hi-fi, where what comes out is supposed to be more or less what goes in.

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Zog The Undeniable
Holmes

Actually, it's irrelevant for 90% of recorded music

Because it is either:

1. synthesised using electronic instruments

2. subjected to autotune for vocals

3. deliberately manipulated for effect (many modern pop vocals sound like they're been stretched to make them extra trebly and reedy)

4. subject to massive dynamic compression to make it sound louder

5. mucked about with on a mixing desk, overdubbed, artificial chorus effects added etc

Only some carefully-recorded classical music on CD (not radio) might benefit from real high fidelity. Or maybe live pop, but in most cases the performers aren't all that hot without the studio trickery. For everything else, if it sounds good, it is good.

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Gid E-Up? Vulture's claw presses pedal to metal on VW's 'leccy motor

Zog The Undeniable

Re: "If the battery is fully charged, no regenerative braking occurs."

They're not offered to us - although we can have any diesel VW in the range - probably because the battery capacity makes it impossible to use one on company business. One of our main sites is 80 miles from head office, the other is 90 miles. You couldn't get there and back in a day unless they fitted a load of rapid DC chargers and dedicated bays at each site.

So you'd need to persuade the company to let you have one as a second car and use a private dino-fuelled car for longer business trips, which would probably make the fleet manager's head explode. Good luck getting that 0% BIK.

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Feds crack down harder on 'lasing'. Yep, aircraft laser zapping... Really

Zog The Undeniable
Black Helicopters

I have a 5mW green laser pointer; legal to own in the UK but (I think) illegal to sell. Anyway, catch the beam in the eye (if it gets reflected in a mirror, for example) and I can report that you have a black spot in your vision for about 10 minutes afterwards. I can see why the Feds take this seriously.

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The fresh Mint of dwell there: This is a story all about how 17 is here for a while

Zog The Undeniable
FAIL

I'm desperate to get Windows 8 expunged from my HP Envy ultrabook, but neither Mint 16 nor the Mint 17 release candidate can make the ClickPad work properly. The pointer stops responding intermittently - as in, for a few seconds EVERY few seconds - which makes it totally unusable. I know ClickPads suck a very large one compared to a touchpad with real buttons but at least it nearly works in Windows 8.

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EBAY... You keep using that word 'ENCRYPTION' – it does not mean what you think it means

Zog The Undeniable

Re: It looks password lenght is limited...

Oh yes...remember Windows LanMan hashes and the 7 character problem? Despite this, many organisations insisted on 8 character passwords and left LanMan compatibility on, which made them much easier to break.

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EBay, you keep using the word 'SECURITY'. I do not think it means what you think it means

Zog The Undeniable

Won't happen

eBay is awful, incompetent and customer-hostile but I still use it reluctantly; it achieved critical mass many years ago so is the only significant marketplace for stuff you need to sell, or secondhand stuff you can't find anywhere else. They have a monopoly and they know it.

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Zog The Undeniable

The Lads from Lagos will be all over this like a rash

Dear valued eBay customer,

As you may have seen in the news, we have experienced a a minor security breach in which none of your credit card or other financial data were stolen. However, eBay recommends that you reset your password by clicking on this link and entering your social security number, PIN and bank card details to validate yourself:

eBay password reset

Yours in God,

Ologugu Ungobungo

Vice President Customer Services

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Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

Zog The Undeniable

You forgot the biggest Hollywood racial stereotype of all: the English as the antagonists.

In the original trilogy the whole Galactic Empire had English accents except for Darth Vader, and he was only dubbed because a Bristol accent isn't gert menacing, my lover.

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QUIDOCALYPSE: Blighty braces for £100 MILLION cost of new £1 coin

Zog The Undeniable

It's George Osborne (no "e"). As in Ozzy, who probably wouldn't do a worse job as Chancellor (OK, the economy is belatedly growing, mainly because we're not up the brown creek with the euro-using countries, but stuff like Help To Buy is completely bonkers freakonomics).

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TomTom GO 6000 satnav chews on smarties and tablets

Zog The Undeniable

It works...sometimes

Tom Tom's LIVE update (which costs about £60/year) is quite good at telling me about delays when I've already been stuck in them for a few minutes. I believe the raw data comes from other vehicles using Tom Tom kit that can dial out (so if they're moving at 5mph on a 60mph road, there is congestion) so it depends on Tom Tom market penetration and also on how many people have enabled the sharing feature.

There is also a spurious "no through road" in the database which tries to prevent me from getting to my house the most obvious way.

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Facebook tests sinister CURSOR-TRACKING in hunt for more ad bucks

Zog The Undeniable
Black Helicopters

Presumably they have an AdBlock Plus tracker, too? I'm not on FB but the wife is, and she says she never sees any adverts.

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Digital radio may replace FM altogether - even though nobody wants it

Zog The Undeniable
Facepalm

Too soon

DAB (or a lot of low bitrate Internet radio - I'm looking at you, Classic FM) isn't worth running through a decent hi-fi amp and speakers, because it just sounds too bad. It's fine for speech on a small kitchen radio, which is where we use it. Except that my preferred music station, Jack FM, is, as its name suggests, not on DAB. So actually it's just my wife that uses DAB to listen to Radio 2.

If FM goes I will only listen to Radio 4 on DAB, occasionally kicking the set down the garden when The Bloody Archers, some chattering-classes feminist claptrap or a esoteric documentary about lesbian haddock comes on. So that's two thirds of it..

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THIS is the kind of clout a British Prime Minister has: Facebook pulls ONE beheading vid

Zog The Undeniable

FB said the videos need to be available so people can condemn them.

By that logic, FB needs to allow Gary Glitter's browsing material of choice too. Stupid argument.

FB is just trying to be provocative, like a rebellious teenager as a result (ironic, given that FB's main user base is now middle-aged, teens having decided that sexting each other on Snapchat is the latest thing).

Of course, there was a U-turn of the U-turn as soon as the advertisers pointed out that they didn't want their product promoted next to some poor woman being killed in a medieval fashion.

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Wanna run someone over in your next Ford? No dice, it won't let you

Zog The Undeniable

car widths have increased 16 per cent in the last decade and parking sizes haven't got any bigger

This is a big problem. Most garage doors are exactly seven feet wide, meaning you can't actually drive a new VW Golf or Honda Civic into the garage without either folding the mirrors or risking a scrape (the clearance on each side is only an inch or two - good luck with that when you do it 365 days a year). So everyone clutters up the street with their second or third cars and fills the garage with broken barbecues and other crap. Many cars are banned from the Rotherhithe Tunnel for the same reason - they won't fit through the new entrance bollards.

I know the world's people are getting fatter and fatter but there really ought to be a limit on car width. No-one is going to go and widen all the roads by 16%.

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Germans brew up a right Sh*tstorm

Zog The Undeniable

What's wrong with "Scheissesturm"?

It's also more alliterative and the extra syllable gives it a nice rhythm

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Unemployed? Ugly? Ugh, no thanks, says fitties-only job website

Zog The Undeniable
Paris Hilton

Re: At least with this site...

My wife and I tested this scientifically by putting ourselves on hotornot. 7.6 and 8.3. I was the 8.3 and she's never lived it down ;-)

Paris, because she's not shallow or anything.

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Charity chief: Get with it, gov - kids shouldn't have to write by hand

Zog The Undeniable
Devil

We're all going to hell in a handcart

Give them leaky Osmiroid fountain pens and tell them to MTFU. You can't make ink pellets with an iPad.

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ANCIENT CURSED RING known to TOLKIEN goes on display

Zog The Undeniable
Mushroom

Coincidentally, we took the kids there last week

The ring display was a bit "meh" (it's next to the secondhand bookshop and not exactly pride of place) but the curse seems to have worked on nearby Tadley, which has some of the most depressing housing outside the former USSR and a nuclear warhead factory.

My daughter bought a rubber dragon from the gift shop, which I suppose might have been Smaug.

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Android's US market share continues to slip

Zog The Undeniable
Facepalm

It's the iPhone 5, stupid

Apple put a new phone on sale in Q4 2012. Samsung didn't.

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Zog The Undeniable
Boffin

But this analysis is about HBOS

The wider banking crisis occurred because 'merkin banks made lots of doubtful loans to trailer trash and then securitised these loans, selling them on to a succession of other gullible banks (including British ones) who didn't realise or care what they were buying - they just looked at the predicted cash flows. Predictably, the trailer trash defaulted and there was a massive loss of confidence in the whole system which caused the credit crunch and thus the recession (or is it a depression by now?).

So it's the same root cause, but through an amplification mechanism that is more akin to the casino banking which the OP dismisses.

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