* Posts by skelband

1937 posts • joined 18 Aug 2008

Kepler's STILL GOT IT! Space telescope spots SUPER-EARTH 180 light years away

skelband
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That's a damn good picture they took.

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Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

skelband
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Trollface

> the snoops have most likely compromised telcos and backbones in Asia to obtain this sort of evidence, assuming the FBI's allegations are true.

Which I think is illegal in most countries. It would certainly explain why they wouldn't want to divulge that.

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Finally kicked that Minecraft habit? Story time!

skelband
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Re: lol

> As usual Microsoft is missing the point and has no understanding of what the consumer wants.

Like Lego did with the sets of parts that weren't generic enough to reuse.

It's the infinite variety and lack of predefined scope that makes these things so engrossing.

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

skelband
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Trollface

I wonder how many of the smiling sycophantic generals hanging around their glorious leader secretly want to put a knife in his ribs?

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skelband
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> How about we pirate it and f#$k Sony and the terrorist at the same time?

I like your thinking.

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skelband
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F*ck the terrorists.

I'd watch it just as a gesture, whether it was good or bad.

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EU VAT law could kill THOUSANDS of online businesses

skelband
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All this f*cking nonsense has to stop.

I see some knowledgeable comments above about what small businesses have to do to get around this as something straighforward and normal.

From an outsider, it's crazy. No wonder so many people are scared off starting a small business these days. And it isn't ever going to get any simpler. The tax book just keeps getting thicker.

I'm calling for a large mob with pitch forks to march on the tax wonks and sling them into the street.

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Dr. Dobb's Journal sails into the sunset - yet again

skelband
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We need a better way of paying the costs of these sites.

That a popular and useful site goes titsup because there is not enough advertising revenue to support it is a testament to how bad things are in the western world. That important resources are funded on the whim of advertising is a crime in this century. We all know that the subscription model just doesn't work.

There has to be a better way.

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Sony Pictures email hack: The bitter 'piracy war' between Google and Hollywood laid bare

skelband
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Re: Bending forward?

> Sounded more of a selfish move to me.

It's a company out to make money. Did you expect anything else?

Google will go where the money is.

It's a shame the MPAA and its members don't understand that otherwise they might find that the Internet poses previously unimaginable opportunities for them were they predisposed to avail themselves of it.

The likes of Hulu and Netflix understand this. Not only that, cinemas are seeing a massive new revival.

To make money, one requires imagination. The suits in Hollywood are too old to change.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

skelband
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Re: Not broke

Same here.

The enormous pop-ups on mousing over the headlines is in danger of giving me an epileptic fit.

And the absolutely enormous headline picture, what on earth were you thinking?

To be honest, I liked it the way it was.

Out of curiosity, what prompted the revamp?

As someone said above, why fix what isn't broken?

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Blu-ray region locks popped by hardware hacker

skelband
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Trollface

Can't disagree with a single word there but....I bet you get into some real shouting matches with your brother.

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skelband
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Headmaster

Re: And they wonder why we pirate?

> Fascinating insight into the mind of a serial copyright abuser, thanks.

You didn't call him a thief.

Thank heavens for small mercies.

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The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid

skelband
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And thus ends one of the most successful and convenient media distribution hubs in modern times.

I suppose it's back to the usual inability for most people to watch anything unless they have the "correct and approved" hardware, the right magic hocus pocus, or the willingness to sell their soul (and a large portion of their take-home pay) to a cable company.

The human race makes me weep sometimes.

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One-click, net-modelled UK copyright hub comes a step closer

skelband
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> "Is it reasonable that people who create content should have ownership of that content? Most people would say 'yes',"

This kind of thing is becoming more and more common.

You can't own a work. What does that even mean?

Copyright affords authors some limited privileges with respect to reproduction, nothing more.

I wish we could sort out our language with respect to copyright. I sometimes think that a lot of the friction around the issue of copyright is poor, emotionally-motivated use of language.

Can we agree that copyright violation is not "stealing".

Can we also agree that copyright doesn't grant "ownership", it bestows some limited, very specific, privileges.

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Furious GTA V gamers seek similar ban on violent, misogynistic title: the Holy Bible

skelband
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Megaphone

Re: How is the Bible still legal in Blighty

> So you want to abolish all history books then in case some-one gets naughty ideas ?

Banning books is always bad, ALWAYS.

However, some consistency would be nice.

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The gender imbalance in IT is real, ongoing and ridiculous

skelband
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Re: What

> Well see, here's one problem with that; you're not a woman. I don't want this to sound like an attack on you, but that attitude is one of the reasons we have such an imbalance in the first place.

I get what you're saying but the reverse is also true.

I'm not saying that there isn't a problem but I challenge you to prove that it is as endemic as you suggest.

My main point is that there are clearly different experiences in different places. Your default assumption is that where I work there is discrimination, and the fact that I don't see it is because I am culturally blind. It might just as easily be the case that it doesn't happen here.

I do know that where I work now we did have a misogynistic twat at one point in the past. Almost as soon as his true nature was discovered (which was very soon after he joined), he was kicked out on his arse.

It does happen and we must be vigilant against it. But don't assume that your particularly experiences are representative elsewhere. Some of us did grow up when we left school.

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skelband
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Re: What

> Like fuck it doesn't, you lying sack of shit. I look around my workplace; far more men than women. Every high-tech workplace I've ever worked in, the same thing. He said that, it's true, it matches reality.

Jesus, calm down.

No-one is arguing about gender imbalance. The issue is if that imbalance reflects sexism/conditioning/bias or if it is a naturally occurring phenomenon.

Personally, I think that a lot of the disjointedness of the commentary on this forum represents a significant different between the US and the rest of the world. We often hear stories of misogyny at conferences and in companies and they nearly all tend to be in the US perpetrated by Americans.

I've worked for a number of companies in the UK and in Canada and I have *never*, *ever* seen sexual discrimination or bias in the companies where I have worked. I have worked with women at various times but it is true that there is a gender imbalance dominating the industry. But like nursing, this seems to be a natural consequence of the average preferences of our sex which are, without a shadow of a doubt, different.

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skelband
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Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

>So sick of hearing this ignorant bullshit. Nursing has been trying to attract more men for decades.

Yet remarkably, there doesn't seem to be a realistic claim that there are so few men because of sexism in the health service.

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skelband
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Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

> Up until a certain point girls outnumber boys. After that something happens and they get turned off. Why?

So it couldn't be adolescence then. Or is that a bit too obvious?

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Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

skelband
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Re: creative as we want?

I'm not sure what your argument is in relation to my comment. (Did you perhaps respond to the wrong comment?)

Creativity certainly has value but money is not the only way to measure value. In fact I would argue that it is the least moral way to value creativity.

Long before we had copyright, creativity was valued by emulation, parody or straight reproduction.

"Illicit Copying" is only a dirty word these days because it is perceived as robbing a creator of their means to make a "living". As a society we didn't always think so. Given that creators don't need money, isn't acclaim or fame or a straight "thank you" even better and more honest?

Are free or open software creations valueless because those programmers work for nothing or give their stuff away for nothing? I submit not.

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skelband
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Megaphone

When I see these kinds of issues being endlessly debated it really does occur to me that we desperately need to get to a post scarcity society.

When we can be as creative as we want without the need to work for money, copyright would become superfluous, along with about 95% of the government bureaucracy that we currently have.

I'm sick to my backteeth with all this obsession with the minutiae of the small technical details of "private copying", "media conversion" and "fair use" I'm reminded of the pointless bickering of religious nutters debating the fine point of religious belief. Meanwhile, none if this makes a jot of practical difference to musicians or composers.

I won't see it my lifetime, and at present I'm not hopeful for my grandkids either.

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Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

skelband
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Re: Pink crapfest

> If "women love pink and men blue" was completely biological then most or all cultures would have a distinct preference between the colours.

Indeed. I seem to remember reading somewhere that pre-Victorian times, pink was the usual colour for boy baby clothes and blue for the girls, the exact reverse from how things are now.

The "girliness" of pink seems to be a fairly recent innovation.

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

skelband
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> But it's again unfair to use that generalisation, when so many others are out feeding the poor and advocating for the helpless at the grassroots level.

You don't need to be religious to do that. Exhorting people to do good is good enough in my view. You don't need to end it with "or go to hell" or because Jesus says so.

Anyway, being good because I'll burn for ever otherwise is a pretty shabby excuse. I would respect people more for doing good because it is the right thing to do.

Oh, and preaching to those that you help is not an entirely selfless occupation either.

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skelband
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> Having said that, "seriously awful things in the bible" is also rather disingenuous.

Having said that, stoning adulterers to death is pretty awful.

Ah yes, but halfway through it does change its mind on that, on the basis that we're all sinners and it's not for us to judge others. Shame so many Christians are really into the judgement thing.

https://feetinarmsout.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/believer-jerk1.gif

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skelband
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> That aside, you can play that game - cherry-picking sentences or shorter out of context - with just about any source. The papers like to do it all the time, as do politicians.

Or....you can do what most bible-bashers do and claim that the "bad bits" are clearly allegory.

Trouble is the allegorical portion gets larger and larger as we come to realise what a load of bullshit a lot of it is.

Or...you can do what some of the other bible-bashers do and claim that our interpretations from the past were misguided and our modern interpretations are much better. The bible is merely misunderstood.

Or....you can do what a relatively small number of bible-bashers do and claim that every word is the truth of God and as a society we have merely lost our way.

For such a definitive basis for our morality, there does seem to be an awful lot of leeway.

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skelband
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Re: The Bible? Which one?

> Must be The C Programming Language by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie

Simple, concise and pure wisdom.

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skelband
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Re: The Bible

> contains principles and guidelines to be a good person

Contains quite a lot of other shit which I don't recommend to anyone. Burning witches, killing idolaters, making sure women know their place. Good thing we have innate morality to determine which is bullshit and which is kosher.

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skelband
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Re: "most important book"

> Morality is fundamental and is the same for everyone because it is determined by laws of nature.

Morality is fluid and changes decade by decade.

There is a very small number of laws which are indisputably set in stone such as those related to murder and rape. Note that they are not immutable, but have stood the test of time.

In essence it is likely that there is one true morality and we are approaching it over time.

The number of laws in that morality are likely to be very small indeed.

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Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

skelband
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Re: In defense of data slurping

> how are the police and security services meant to function to "stop terrorism

They can't. That's the reality of living in a free society.

No amount of the papers shouting for it will make one jot of difference.

All the law can do anyway is threaten fallout to anyone that breaks the rules. In practice, you can't stop people breaking the law if they are determined to do it.

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Apple Fanboi? Stand by to get Beats Music LIKE IT OR NOT

skelband
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Trollface

Re: You'll NEVER FORGET about Dr Dre NOW

> and what is "Beats"...?

It's basically a low-pass filter that extracts all musical quality from anything audio and reduces it to, literally, "beats".

At least that is how I understood it after testing out one of their headphones....

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Countdown contestant pays homage to IT Crowd's Moss

skelband
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"Not available in your country. Sorry."

Well fuck you Channel 4.

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YIKES: Combination of LIVING WOMAN and MACHINE sighted in NYC

skelband
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I wish the marketing droids would stop putting the word "My" in front of everything.

It was pretty naff to start off with. It's just plain tacky now.

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

skelband
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Re: Those "6 months" are your advantage to make money, eejit.

> Up until that point every touchscreen phone used a stylus.

Great revisionism there.

They use stylii up until that point because most displays were resistive and pretty crap.

The iPhone like all touch phones were a design that had come of age due to the state of the technology.

Apple happened to be there at the right time, which is valuable and visionary in itself.

But don't make the mistake of thinking that they were the only ones working on touch screen phones.

Also, the original iPhone (as most people seem to forget) was a shit phone functionally compared to everything else that was around at the time. It did look nice though.

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skelband
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Re: Those "6 months" are your advantage to make money, eejit.

> They stole our time,

Wow. It's like he's accusing them of being Weeping Angels or something.

Do they cease to have time once it's been stolen?

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Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

skelband
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The basic problem in the US hasn't changed from day one. Regardless of various commentators' rabble-rousing to the contrary.

We are seeing a massive upheaval in the way that content delivery is achieved over the world.

The fact that most internet is delivered by cable companies in the US, means that they collectively have a very powerful (and in many cases either a monopoly or something so close as to make no difference to the consumer) control over the infrastructure. We are seeing all the major cable suppliers trying to position themselves to control this new era like they do with cable TV now.

They will fail..miserably.

Very few people in this forum have any confusion about what "net neutrality" is all about and in point of fact it hasn't changed at all. However, the various company's that have a stake have been trying to re-frame it to suit their own agendas.

Once again:

1) This is not, and never has been, anything to do with packet prioritisation based on traffic type.

2) This *is* about favouring different vendors delivering the same traffic type but from different suppliers, in particular in preference to a cable company's own offerings to the detriment of those other suppliers (including the blocking of it).

Now, defining properly what is fair traffic prioritisation and what is not is probably rather difficult in practice. But in principle, the core moral issues are fairly straightforward.

What would go some way towards this end would be for Internet ISPs to be more transparent about what their policies are.

I would agree that a better solution might be more competition, but given the natural monopoly that companies in the US have over the infrastructure, I think we can safely say that it will never happen.

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

skelband
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Re: I would just like to thank Simon for writing a very interesting article

Here, here!

Or is it Hear, Hear?

Sorry, Monday morning...

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FUTURE ROBOTS will EXTERMINATE UK jobs – study

skelband
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>One in three UK jobs will be performed by machine in as little as 20 years, according to a new study carried out by Deloitte and the University of Oxford.

Thank fuck for that. I hate working.

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Ex-NSA lawyer warns Google, Apple: IMPENETRABLE RIM ruined BlackBerry

skelband
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Re: WTF?

> On the other hand, maybe he is sane and just revealed the existence of a behind-the-scenes campaign by the US gov to discredit RIM to a number of big businesses?

This is certainly what came to mind when I read the guy's comments.

He seems to be implying that governments instrumented their downfall as a result of their unwillingness to tow the line. I can't think of anything else that he could possibly mean unless he seriously believes that secure comms and devices are unpopular with customers. (?)

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Net neutrality Thursday PROTESTS: Time to learn your chant

skelband
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Re: Can anyone tell me what this is about?

The Net Neutrality people want to prevent telecoms companies holding content providers to ransome unless they stump up some extra cash to "expedite" their traffic. The danger is that now that cable companies are offering their own media streaming services, they will artificially slow the traffic of their competitors. There have been a number of reports from customers that their experience shows that this is so.

It's a little complicated by the fact that Netflix *do* pay to host their content in certain select places by dropping their servers at ISP pinch points but this is to help them and the general Internet. Some ISPs are reportedly seeing this as a cash opportunity and saying to the likes of Netflix, "we want some of that action: it'd be a shame if something happened to your traffic" if they didn't. I don't see any problem with the prior, but obviously the large cable provider monopolies put them in a good position to threaten the latter leading to money being extorted from the content providers unless they pony up.

The situation is more complicated still by the fact that the economies of the backbone providers are different to the last mile ISPs. They have peering agreements for passing on traffic. Given that the backbone providers are peering (symmetrical rather than mostly just one-way like the ISPs) there is some to-and-fro regarding the justice of those agreements. However, this is largely a separate issue.

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UNCHAINING DEMONS which might DESTROY HUMANITY: Musk on AI

skelband
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> Except when it isn't.

Weather is not climate.

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skelband
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Re: So why didn't ancient Greeks progress?

> I fear the 20. century (and 19. before it) may have been exceptional.

I get your point, but isn't it kind of expected that the rightmost part of an exponential graph is the most vertical?

The problems of society that we are overcoming at an increasing rate are not merely technological.

Despite your dire predictions, we are more technically literate, we have more (if not necessarily better) communications, we can network our knowledge and collaboration, we are increasingly less war torn, we have better tools coming out of that development to accelerate our progress, and increasingly we believe in evidence rather than fairy stories (at least in most places in the world that I care about).

The curve is not smooth, and it has some decidely eratic behaviour at times, but I don't see anything that you have said that refutes the fact that as a society we are accelerating our progress at a progessively increasing rate.

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skelband
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Re: So why didn't ancient Greeks progress?

> Why?

Those people had other problems to contend with. War (lots), famine, natural disasters perhaps. Religion certainly.

Physical barriers are the biggest obstacles to progress because they are a fixed quantity. As soon as we can get robots to do most of our construction then that will become less of an issue.

In the 20th century you can't deny that each decade has seen development of technology and understanding compounding on the prior.

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Hey, YouTube lovers! How about you pay us, we start paying for STUFF? - Google

skelband
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Re: On overpaid football players

> Everyone seems to be crazy about football and ready to pay to watch it in stadiums or pay (through ads) to watch it on TV. The obscene pile of cash is there.

I can point you in the direction of a shit load of football fans that are pretty pissed off about the cost of watching a decent game of footy these days. Instead of charging the earth to pay the earth to these footballers, it might be a good idea to charge reasonable prices and pay reasonable wages.

Over here in Canada, most people can't afford to go to the big hockey matches. To take a family to a league Canucks game is pretty much out of the question for most people.

Hockey has become a corporate game where an awful lot of tickets are bought by corporations to wine and dine their customers. You end up with an inflationary situation whereby ticket prices and player's wages are chasing each other's tails.

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skelband
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Re: re: someone produces a very, very average song

> Not proggy enough for you grandad?

Well, I was trying to be kind, but if you insist... it was pretty shit.

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skelband
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> But in real cash terms, he’s reckoned to have pocketed about £5m. In other words, he created a global phenomenon - but pocketed what an averagely talented Champions League-level footballer might take home in a year.

I think you've got that arse backwards.

Most people accept that the amount of money paid to some professional footballers is pretty obscene. Admittedly it is the rate that the market sets but stupid nonetheless.

In other news: someone produces a very, very average song for which they net £5 million.

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Rise of the machines: Silicon Valley hardware store to deploy ROBOTS for customer service

skelband
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Meh

Re: Boycott this hardware store and others like it!

> The ONLY reason why they are using a robot is because they will not pay to have a competent human being that would have to be trained.

I have to admit to being a bit conflicted on this point.

On the one hand, as things currently work, people need jobs and some people low in the brainpower department need low brainpower work.

On the other hand, this is the 21st Century and I would think that we could find something more interesting and worthwhile to do for these people than stacking shelves and retrieving nails and screws for customers.

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skelband
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There will come a time when the robot can outperform a meatbag at these kinds of tasks. The multi-language capability is one aspect which I think is a real winner for some parts of the world.

The main challenge will be exceeding the raw speed at which humans can converse, including body language, empathy, real world experience and all the other aspects that robots don't yet have.

It will come, but I think for the moment, these machines will be an annoyance to most customers after the novelty has worn off.

However, I applaud their efforts. We won't get to that turning point until someone at least tries.

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Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?

skelband
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I'd love to meet that guy. I wonder if it is his normal voice or if he has to do a reeeeeeaaaaaally long burp to sound that low.

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Planning to fly? Pour out your shampoo, toss your scissors, RENAME TERRORIST WI-FI!

skelband
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In a moment of extreme clarity here in Canada, an RCMP (Mounties) officer answered criticism from the public and media about the fact that prior to a recent "terrorist" incident there was evidence that one of the perpetrators had expressed anger publicly over something that "should have been picked up by the security services".

The officer's response was something along the lines of (and I paraphrase here) "there was unsufficient evidence of this leading to the atrocity that was committed and, contrary to what some people believe, it is not a crime to be angry or have unsavoury opinions in this country."

I just wish more people would realise that this is the proper response to this kind of situation.

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skelband
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Well its official. The terrorists have won.

They have us quaking in our boots, sensitive to the slightest little thing.

Jesus Christ, what happened to the collective spines that we had when we were *really* getting the fuck bombed our of us by the IRA?

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