Re: Who is Steven Fry?
Actually, he's remarkably entertaining in the St. Trinians movie, where he plays himself. Oddly enough, watching him on drugs is a wonderful moment.
3883 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008
Actually, he's remarkably entertaining in the St. Trinians movie, where he plays himself. Oddly enough, watching him on drugs is a wonderful moment.
>>"he called The Register “cruel and vicious”, “frankly evil” and opined that the site “exists merely to be nasty."
Ironically, the one tech-related thing he appears to have got right.
And not uncoincidentally, one of the reasons I read it! Beer for El Reg. --->
See title. There's nothing I can add.
>>"Yes, it's your phone. You have rights - but...the landlord can always get access and you're not allowed to paint all the rooms black, whilst smoking crack."
Smoking crack is a weird analogy for being able to install software of your choice on a phone you own. I call that analogy bogus. It's clearly prejudicial. All analogies are inaccurate to a degree by definition, but there's a difference between that and clearly trying to build one that changes the whole argument.
Disclaimer: I have an analogy of my own posted here, but unlike yours, the one of a petrol station chain that sells cars locked to only use their stations is a pretty accurate one.
>>"Quite rightly the average user doesn't give a toss about that because they just want to make calls, plays some games, surf the internet. They really don't give a stuff about the things that excise people like you."
They don't care about it the same way I don't care about the details of EU clean water laws, or whether NICE guidelines allow the latest FDA rubber-stamped drug from the US or some local counsellor choosing which company will get the road maintenance contracts for filling the potholes in my street. I.e. I do care about it, I'm just relying on professionals in the field to look out for me when it comes to things I don't understand or wouldn't be aware of until it's too late.
Whether I control a device I own or whether another company can decide who I am and am not allowed to buy from is a battle with some serious long-term implications. Whether the average person knows about this or not, they care - just at a different point in time than the one people at the forefront of it do.
>>"Indeed. But they didn't buy, they took out a lifetime lease."
No, they bought it. The phone is theirs. You're trying to alter the analogy so that it shows Google's behaviour is okay. But it's just an analogy and it's being used in the way that analogies should - to communicate something complex in simple terms and it has succeeded for the OP. Here's an alternative one of my own which is perhaps a bit more accurate as it preserves the fact that this is about the Playstore...
Suppose a petrol company started manufacturing their own car. Many people bought the cars and owned them, but you could only get petrol from that one company. Some people altered the cars so it could use any petrol they liked. The petrol company didn't like this and would refuse to sell petrol to such cars whenever they could identify them. As the petrol company was the biggest petrol company and owned most of the petrol stations, they figured they could get away with this even though people had paid money for their cars and owned them.
The petrol company actually make money from advertising. The cars are phones that they can gather information on from people to get more money from advertisers. And they don't want people altering the cars because it lets the owner shop elsewhere.
Same here. I realized there aren't many (any?) female bond villains. Not lead villains. Would quite like to be the first.
Same here. I too would be happy enough to make small payments for content. The only barrier is the hassle of a million different subscription programs. Give me a micropayment provider that I could top up and which would handle small transactions to sites I visit anonymously, and I would cheerfully do so in exchange for no ads.
And it's not so much the ads that bother me (auto-play video excepted) as it is the tracking. THAT is where it's gone too far.
>>"That's absolutely within their technical capabilities. They know it, we know it, Samsung knows it."
I'm not convinced of that. Unless they control the entire stack of my device, what stops me from routing anything I identify as an ad to /dev/null ? Or just setting it to not display? It's less the bandwidth that bothers me than the distraction. Even if it were the bandwidth that bothers someone, a proxy of some kind is conceivable that re-serves the wanted content to my bandwidth constrained device whilst holding back the ads. Of course you might think that SSL on the page would interfere with that, but a MITM attack is plenty possible - if one party trusts the MITM as you would in this scenario.
Whilst Google could certainly make it harder, I'm not certain they can prevent surfing a site without ads.
>>"It's not like the US President is an absolute monarch - AFAIK most every decision they make can be either blocked or overturned by Congress"
Tell that to Obama. He's currently using a technicality to enact his own laws and bypass Congress because the Republicans would block him. And lots of Democrats and media are supporting him despite it being undemocratic because he's one of theirs. If a Republican did the same they'd have a blue fit.
Similar here. I don't have anything illegal going over my connections, but I do encrypt where feasible and get others to do the same. It's not about my protection particularly, but about returning surveillance of our communications to be an active choice that an Intelligence Agency has to make with judicial oversight, rather than the free ride it became when email and the rest took off.
>>"So, if they can spend £1m (say) on accountants, and those accountants find a way to work the profits so that they save £2m in tax, they are legally required to do so*."
Is this actually so? I hear it repeated often, but it seems unfeasible. Who is to say that something is always the right decision for a company even if it is not the most immediately profitable? And what legal obligation does a corporation have to its shareholders to maximise profit - they can choose to invest or sell their shares as they wish, but if they do not have controlling interest in the company can they really sue it simply for doing something they don't like?
>>"Have an upvote for the sentiment, but I must point out that Ms. Rice is now enjoying that lucrative post governmental phase of her career."
She is indeed. As a director at Dropbox.
>>"For instance, if some Islands may disappear, huge quantities of lands from Canada, Groenland, Russia and more will become available. So, why is Global Warming mandatory bad?"
It isn't. But the rate of change could be a problem. Cities take time to move, agriculture takes time to adapt. Species do too (though in comparison to what humanity does to species, global warming is a drop in the ocean).
>>"You might do that for a very smooth data set, which shows no noisy behaviour, but that certainly does not apply to the CET set does it? You can see swings of 2 C year to year in CET. Even if the long term trend was of no change in temperature, you would still see such year to year changes
Wasn't that the point of the exchange with PompousGit, though? They initially presented year by year data and you said they needed to take a longer view stating that it was normal to do so to smooth out trends and remove short term noise; so they then presented you with fifty year data points. You said that was wrong and when I queried why and you said because it is obscuring year to year changes - i.e. it was smoothing out noise. I'm not certain, but it seems that you're now damning it for what you initially said it was missing.
>>"Drawing a straight line between a high and low value that happens to be 50 years apart does not tell you anything because the noisiness of the data could mean that shifting your start point by one year could change the sign of your so called rate of change. Clearly that is not a robust measure of anything."
Well of course it would alter the rate of change - that's obvious. But that doesn't make it not a robust measure of something. You're effectively saying: "If you change what you measure, the results will be different, therefore it's not an accurate measure." I think PompousGit actually said the whole measurement process was "numerology" but that they were just posting it in response to someone claiming the rate of change was increasing and this supported AGW. I don't think they're posting the figures as evidence that AGW cannot be true, so much as showing one of the claims of evidence someone made was flawed. And you now appear to be supporting PompousGit if you say that it's "not a robust measure of anything", so are you actually agreeing with them on this?
It's a real shame that Lewis Page is gone. Just did a search online and all I can find is a terse statement that he's not legally allowed to discuss the reasons behind his departure. Any speculation? He was editor for about four years, no? And I've really enjoyed The Register during that time.
It's worse for his leaving, imo. Pint for you, Lewis.
>>"Sadly not. The good news is it's readily available through Abe Books for $US7 or so post paid from UKLand so I will be purchasing a "new" second-hand copy.."
People who burn books...
>>"Rather foolishly I lent my copy to a warmist who subsequently burnt it. [sigh]"
I seriously hope that's a joke.
>>"I suspect you are still not getting it. You don't calculate rate of change - which is what we were talking about - just by picking two end points and differencing them."
How do you calculate rates of change, then? I thought it actually was finding the difference between the start point and the end point and dividing by time. If it's not, can you clarify how you do?
>>"Exactly. You would think that readers of this site might be a bit more scientifically literate than average and this stuff isn't all *that* difficult to understand. Yet at time of writing Pompous Git has 4 up votes and no down (though soon it will be 1)."
PompousGit has been posting citations, facts and reasoned argument. Who knows - maybe that appeals to the scientifically literate. You however, are simply downvoting them because you dislike their point of view. Which do you honestly think appeals more to readers?
>>"So, as I said, it's a clever trick to ask for something that you know can't be done and make it sound reasonable. Not bad for someone living under a bridge."
Actually, it can be done. You just watch over time and see if the predictions of the model bare out. Until that is done, you can say that the model is unproven. And that's what they're stating. You say that people compare previous models with how it turned out and adjust them so they fit - but there's no logical way to distinguish between whether you're making your model better, or introducing other wrong things that make it fit the known conclusion:
Suppose my model said the temperature rise was going to be 0.4C but it was 0.6C. I shall say that latent heat in the oceans contributed 0.2C. Now my model is right. That's the process you're talking about, but is it right? Maybe it wasn't latent heat in the oceans but something else. Maybe it was but it contributed 0.3C and the other parts of your model were wrong for some reason. You don't know. And there is no way to know if you've improved your model or just made it wrong in a different way. Creating a model to fit a known conclusion cannot prove the model. Only prediction can. So you're wrong to dispute with the OP about asking for proof that a model is right. Yes, you are indeed unable to give that proof to them. But the implication of that is that you can't verify the model, not that they are wrong to ask for proof before they'll believe.
>>"What has happened with the last purge"
Has there been some sort of official action that I missed? I've seen a couple of references to this and I notice Lewis and Worstall don't seem to be writing (though thankfully Orlowski is presumably still around?).
Did El Reg. fall under new management or something?
>>"In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. Question: Where are they hiding and why?"
A lot of the unrest in Syria that has resulted in many people fleeing the country was in part precipitated by drought in that country.
The thing I dislike most from your quote is the characterizations of AGW skeptics as "anti-greens" (closely followed by the pejorative 'deniers', what am I, a pair of tights?). I, and I'm confident in speaking for others as well, care a great deal about the environment and I have long been an active campaigner on environmental issues as well as considerable financial support to conservation of species, local environments as well as general animal welfare as a related area.
The fact that I am unconvinced of AGW currently does not make me "anti-green". Yet I repeatedly see my voice and support co-opted by AGW-proponents for their own gain - whether that be egotistical or simply financial. Money that could be going to forest conservation or protection of endangered species of bird or mammal, gets squandered on subsidies for wind farms when a single nuclear power station would do the job of hundreds. Airtime that could be used to highlight the fact that over-fishing has brought our marine ecology to the brink of catastrophic collapse is endlessly swallowed up by people attempting to say how this weeks weather is the result of AGW. Realistic methods of dealing with changes in the climate and adaptation are side-lined by near religious obsession with CO2 and ill-founded ideas for eliminating it with little real idea about whether or not they'll work. Research grants are vacuumed up by academics who know that if you want to get published, what you have to do is put "Climate Change" in your abstract somewhere.
And people shout down debate with pre-decided positions like the person you quote who looks at two debating groups on the forum she runs and deplores the fact that 'those who are wrong have the better arguments'; with no indication she is aware this indicates bias on her part.
Being AGW-skeptical does not mean you are an anti-green. If we turn out to be correct, we'll have been some of the most green people on the planet.
I liked his articles. They provided very interesting analysis and a dissenting voice to the party line.
>>How is relying on nuclear power NOT "a reliance on stuff pulled from the earth and burnt"?
Because inside a nuclear powerstation you wont find a big bonfire of uranium producing heat.
Nuclear Fission =/= Combustion.
>>"The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming".
Whilst I wasn't in the habit of reading academic papers as a child, I do recall the general idea being that we were heading for another Ice Age and this being the popular theory. Skeptical Science may offer a handy Go To list of counter-arguments for when you encounter a (ironically) skeptic of AGW, but what they claim is at odds with my recollection.
Also, is it worth pointing out that the article has a disconnect in it? It gives evidence that the Earth is warming (this is generally accepted) and then adds an assertion "this is down to greenhouse gasses". It is the latter that AGW skeptics are generally questioning. Arguing as if it's the former is a common error. If it is an error.
>>"These people could care less"
I spot an American.
Not so. A false sense of security can be more dangerous than knowing you're vulnerable.
And anyway, we're not comparing things only to how they are, but how they could be if we had an Intelligence agency that wasn't determined to sabotage our security for its own gain. You only pick the worst possible scenario for your point of comparison if you're trying to justify something. If you're trying to improve things, then you pick an achievable other point of comparison that is better.
>>"I think the theory - much like the large Highways Maintenance PFI deals which I have direct working knowledge of - is that while the services cost the same amount of money to provide, there is a saving to be made by outsourcing to the likes of Capita et al because some of the overhead costs, such as HR, (internal) IT support, pensions etc. etc. are shared across all the Capita outsourced jobs, rather than being duplicated by each Council (or whatever.)"
Similar to justifications I heard when I worked for the NHS and they were outsourcing IT support services - the 'savings of scale'. I pointed out then and I'll point out now, that this principle doesn't apply universally to all things. Building cars? Certainly - massive savings building them all in a factory over people making their own at home. Computer support? Not so much - if you need Y people to support X computers, that doesn't change because they all work for the same company. So do you expect this massive saving in cost of scale to occur in the fringe support infrastructure around them? "Well, we still need five hundred IT support people, and they still need the same amount of office space, phones and computers, but all their payroll is done by one company now so that'll save ten million!"
Not sure exactly what the details are in this outsourcing, but I am as yet unconvinced it will be any different. The main motivation in such operations in my experience is having paper work to show poor performance is someone else's fault. Or, as the first poster observed, an extra wad of cash in the back pocket.
Thanks both of you - both great answers. In retrospect, I'm mildly embarrassed I hadn't thought of all that, but then I wouldn't have learned the real details if I had.
Pint to both of you (and raised for the 747 ;)
EDIT: Also Jos who ninja'd my reply. :)
I'm going to ask a really stupid question here, but how can a two-engine plane fly with only one engine? Wouldn't it go around in circles? Or do they just raise the little wing-rudders on the opposite side to counter-act any spin? Would that even work?
>>"using the MLAT was 'too slow and cumbersome'."
Due process is always slow and cumbersome compared to just doing whatever the Hell you want without consent.
Because the majority of Outlook users would scream blue murder the first time they went to a new PC / laptop / phone and found that all their emails were lost to them.
Don't get me wrong - I'm very in favour of encrypted emails being the default if we can figure out how to make it error-proof. But Outlook already supports encrypted emails out of the box. You can also get a GPG plug-in for it. Talking about turning it on by default though, is a whole other can of worms. It's fine if you're Enterprise and you have an IT team taking care of certificate management for you. But in this case, they can already configure it to on. If you're suddenly throwing it at home users - there are difficult issues to solve with that.
I'd like to thank everyone here talking about anti-lock breaks for illustrating once again, how argument by analogy is bad.
It depends on the criteria they use for killing access. From the article they suggest using it if they detect an infection or a crime. I don't mind about the infection part as almost by definition that will be doing something I don't want. But a crime might be something I choose to do in which case I don't want my computer colluding against me with the authorities.
And there's also the question of the degree of infection. MS include Defender with all their OS's now and it's adequate. But what happens when something does get past it? Would you be helplessly booted off the Internet? Do they kick you off at the slightest sign of infection or only if you're wreaking absolute havoc? Who makes that decision? There's a lot to unpack in the details here.
>>Anyone remember "Do no evil."
Not Google, that's for sure!
Agreed. Whether or not this is a good solution (am still thinking it over), they at least understand the problem. It's not Ads that bother me (unless they're they start autoplaying video and sound in which case it's an instant page close), it's the tracking.
I'm happy for the staff of El Reg. to get paid! What I'm not happy with is Google having a detailed profile of me which is easily linked to who I am.
>>"what would be the point of tying up the vetting process with a bunch of teenagers who will have access to absolutely fAll in terms of sensitive data?"
Presumably to avoid GCHQ teaching a bunch of hacking skills or whatever to the latest subversive / terrorist / activist / whatever, I would presume.
If they're not vetting them, then what they're teaching can't be that awesome. Or if it is, they should be vetted. No?
Ah yes, you'll be earning less than any of your mates, or alternately not having fun going away with your friends over the Summer... But you forget - GCHQ can "compete on the value of our Mission".
Which, if you want to spy on your fellow Brits, genuflect before a painting of Teresa May in the lobby every morning and read Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas' emails to each other, is going to be your dream job.
(N.b. They don't actually have a painting of Theresa May in the lobby. I think.)
>>"It seems you're refusing to see, that saving 100W of power from being converted to heat in your computer system is going to make for a less noisy, less annoying computer system."
I'm not "refusing" to see anything. The poster I replied to talked about cost savings. That was the argument I was addressing.
>>Also, your calculation is flawed, because you're assuming everybody keeps their GPU for only one Year"
No I'm not. My post explicitly referred to a two year lifespan and explicitly stated that the sort of person who buys a top of the line GPU is typically looking for the next latest greatest within two years. Someone interested in long-term value nearly always goes for mid-range where the depreciation is far, far less in absolute terms.
>>"If the power savings mean nothing to you, portability and noise does mean something to me."
Then you'll presumably love AMDs new 14nm chips which are going to be available a long way in advance of NVIDIA's and already look to be far in advance of NVIDIA when it comes to like for like power saving.
There's an old expression: "We have met the enemy, and they are us."
Actually, turns out it's Theresa May.
>>"Hmm, in the video it looks like it drops ~270 feet in about 4 seconds. Seems a little fast to me?
Slightly too fast but within margin of error. Distance dropped starting at zero velocity and ignoring drag would be 257 feet. I would expect drag to reduce it further though not necessarily by much. However, the offset could easily be made up for by the drone already having a downward velocity or flipping over when it and accelerating downward faster than gravitational acceleration would explain.
That said, the log is trivially faked and if it were at 270 feet, that's a Hell of a shot to pull off with a shotgun.
>>>>"Right or wrong, their theories are steps towards understanding the workings of our universe."
>>or another hurdle to overcome before we set off in a more considered direction.
What's the difference between your "hurdle" and my step? You can't know if your direction is wrong until you go some way down the path. A lot of Science is about crossing off what's false and arriving at what's left. The point is this is productive scientific work and no less so if it finds something isn't true than if it is.
>>"Having stuff disappear off into another dimension is only a problem for those who cannot let go of some tenets of physics, that are similarly stifling debate and alternative reasoning"
See, it's phrases like "stuff disappears off into another dimension" that fail to convince me you have a better line of enquiry than plugging holes in some of our existing theories - which this work does.
>>"So what if an asteroid spinning wildly out of the Crab nebula cannot point back at the miscreant that nudged it, as it no longer exists in our concept of universe?"
Then our concept of the Universe is not our end concept. Hence work like this to move that concept forward.
>>"For all practical purpose our physics hits the mark, for strange events involving transitions into another dimension they don't, but why should they."
You talk from a position of belief that what you say is true. Science isn't about belief, it's about making predictive models. It's pointless to make a statement like "our Physics can't model the way things move into another dimension". If it can't, then you don't know that such a thing is happening. You need to build a model that does and then test it.
>>"It would be like demanding all vehicles had to be fitted with an altimeter, because some vehicles fly."
That analogy is atrocious.
>>"Don't we already have that tho? We have no idea where these particle pairs come from in the first place - they just seem to spontaneously spring into existence. We don't know why radioactive substances decay when they do either."
Well some of that is above my degree-grade so I don't know whether we know that or not (as a species, I mean). However, these are both examples of us not knowing something. That is different to a theory requiring something to happen without a cause. Or rather for mathematics to only make sense in one direction.
I've thought of another way to put it. Suppose we say a+b = 4. Now we don't know the values of a or b. That's like your example. Now suppose we say that a + 2 = 4, but then go on to say that 4 - a might not equal 2. How can that be? We have lost information about a. It was there and now it's not. This is more like the examples we're talking about. If you can run mathematics forwards, but not backwards, then you're violating determinism. For reasons that E2 is putting better than I am elsewhere... :)
>>"And in fact given that anti-matter responds to gravity the normal way, wouldn't the number of particles and anti-particles falling into the BH be equal and therefore its net energy increases?"
A sensible question but the answer is 'no' because Hawking Radiation only occurs at the event horizon itself. Particles further away annihilate each other immediately afterwards - no big deal. Particles closer to the event horizon... well there's no such thing. But at the exact edge, you get one particle getting sucked in and the other having enough momentum to get away. That's why the Black Hole bleeds energy - it's an infinitely thin line drawn down the middle of all these particle/anti-particle events that prevents them reaching their usual conclusion.
Well, I say infinitely thin. Planck might disagree. We need a proper Physicist at this point.
>>You've said it twice, but you haven't explained why.
Well, that's not a fair comment. I did try and explain it in the post you replied to. However, I think E2's explanation is best below: link. But I'll take another stab at it as you replied to me.
You have to understand what Information is in this context. It is distinct from "things we know". Nobody is saying that some real person can no longer find something out. That's true, but it's not an accurate description because there are lots of other reasons why we might not know something - for example, not having the tools to measure something. What it means in this context is that the Information actually is lost - entirely. Determinism follows from being able to model interactions. Particle X with mass blah at velocity yada collides with particle Y which has... Etc. Imagine a blackboard with lots of such equations written on it. Then you wipe away parts of it. Now you have particle Y flying off in a random direction with no reason. The information about Particle X was lost. Now to get this, I have to re-emphasize the key point. I'm NOT talking about us the humans not knowing something. I'm talking about the information being lost. Until one understands that these are different things, one cannot understand the problem with a theory in which information is lost. A theory in which information is lost is a theory in which things happen without a definable cause.
And I'm afraid that's probably my best effort at this as I'm not a theoretical physicist. If it doesn't explain it (which it may well not), then I'm out. Personally, I'd stick with E2's explanation below which is better than mine.
>>"Anti particle's have opposite charge, but not negative mass:"
That's correct but I'm not sure it's the answer to the question. Because one would expect there to be an equal distribution of positive and negative matter falling into the Black Hole. I think the actual reason is that via this process, the Black Hole actually loses energy, but because Energy converts to matter, the Black Hole effectively loses mass.