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* Posts by skelband

1922 posts • joined 18 Aug 2008

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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skelband
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> True, self-aware, intelligent, imaginative, that is at least as complex as a fully educated, experienced human is a LONG old way off.

Nah, 20 years, easily.

You people here think too linearly. Progress is exponential not linear.

You all predict based on our experiences of the past and we're remarkably bad at predicting the future of technology.

Most of the restrictions that are placed on our development are physical. For example, building power stations or large scale physics experiments like the LHC take so long because building stuff is expensive and time consuming.

The problems of AI are much more amenable to shorter term development. Our problems in that fields are limited by our mental capabilities more than the physical but developments in technology compound of time to enhance our ability to tackle these problems.

20 years...at the most....and if we can come up with a sufficiently precise definition of AI that we can measure it against.

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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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‘For the love of Pete, America, learn about decent chocolate’

skelband
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Re: The problem food isn't chocolate

In Canada good cheese can be found but the cost is obscene. It's preserved milk for pity's sake!

Most supermarket cheese is "cheddar" (quotes deliberate) and largely orange rubber.

A small lump of Balderson Canadian Cheddar which is fairly nice cheese can cost about CAD$10 in the supermarket which is about 5.50 in sterling.

Also the import duty on milk products is insane leading to expensive cheese in the shops:

"Canada applies 200-300 per cent tariffs on dairy products (see Table)."

http://opencanada.org/features/blogs/roundtable/more-cheese-please/

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skelband
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Re: @Martin-73

> I recall that in USA food was pretty bog standard for the most part, unless one spent a fortune. The reason is that judgement was by quantity and appearance, not by quality and taste.

Most of the fast food sold in US and Canada is drenched with pickles and chilli sauces. Here in Canada it is *very* common to lace all forms of food with one sort of chilli sauce or another. It is probably a generational habit born if try to ingest bland or awful food historically.

These days however, food is tasty, cheap, plentiful and full of variety around here such that it hardly seems necessary to enhance it.

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skelband
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Re: US chocolate stereotypes are 20 years out of date

> Hershey's bars have the smell (and slight taste!) of human vomit because it has butyric acid in it.

If you want to experience this first hand, try Hershey's Kisses, small drops of, erm, "chocolate" which definately taste of bile.

Tried them early on after my emigration to Canada: I thought that they'd been spiked.Other Hershey chocolate is not quite as bad though.

Here in BC, there is a more recent interest in proper chocolate. We have a chocolate store chain called "Purdey's" which sell pretty decent choc. It's quite expensive but pretty nice.

We also have a Lindt outlet which sells some really nice stuff.

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Silicon Valley scrooges paid staff $1.21 an hour in a 122-hour week

skelband
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Re: How dare he/she...

> It was the *even* bit, as in even if they are not US residents.

I'm sure I read somewhere about some advice given to a daughter going on her first day or somesuch:

"See how he treats the waiter. If he's not kind to the waiter then he's probably not kind at all."

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Breaking records: Google exec in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA

skelband
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Re: I wonder

> how he managed to cram his balls into that suit.

And protect them fro the heat of re-entry :P

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CBS goes OTT, releases EVERY EPISODE of Star Trek EVER MADE

skelband
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> This direct sub model will fail as people don't have infinite 5.99s or 9.99s to spend every month.

This is ultimately why this is going to fail I think.

There will be some success but the likes of HBO are not going to see the kind of take-up that Netflix is seeing.

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skelband
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Re: Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US

> I believe this is your petard, UK viewers.

Weird. So UK viewers think US TV is crap so the US studios go out of their way to prevent them watching the shows that they wouldn't watch anyway? Strange logic you have there.

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Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

skelband
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Re: The media strikes again!

> As for the perceived increase, well school shootings have increased.

Do you have any hard evidence of this or is it, like many crimes that the news brings us that they didn't used to, we just didn't hear about them?

Beware of your perception of the danger which is what this article is principally about.

We seem to be hearing non-stop news about paedos these days ratcheting up the fear that there is a child abuser on every corner in modern times, but I suspect that the reality is that our biological diversity has not changed *that* much over the last 30 or so years. We're just hearing more about it.

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Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes

skelband
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As anyone knows I'm far from a Microsoftie (you can pry my Linux Mint 17 from my cold dead hands) but Microsoft does seem to have the feel of a very different organisation these days.

Getting shot of that bumbling oaf was the best thing they could have done.

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Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

skelband
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Re: Who?

> University of Huddersfield

When I were a lad it was the Huddersfield Polytechnic, or the "Poly" t' locals.

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It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future

skelband
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Re: Globalisation

> What would be really nice is one on the race to the bottom on labour outsourcing and how long we have until a global equilibrium of sorts is reached by where the incremental savings from outsourcing are not enough to pay for the cost and disruption of that outsourcing.

This for me is a very interesting question indeed. Presumably, a lot of those areas would have lifted themselves out of poverty and doing quite nicely but I suspect that a lot of those working in sweatshops to feed our desire for "things" would think otherwise.

It's all rather complex but the "great global leveling exercise" is going apace rather nicely. We just need to give some of the foreign governments bent on the destruction of their countries a good kick in the nuts.

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Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all

skelband
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> There are no plans for a BlackBerry version as yet but Hallum said Microsoft would be keeping an eye on BlackBerry's popularity (politely declining to add the obligatory "or lack of it").

Talk about damning with faint praise.

If they used popularity as a measuring stick for what to support, perhaps Windows Phone wouldn't that high on the list, although I do know that Windows Phone users tend to quite like it.

Anyone know what the relative numbers are these days?

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How to get $542m from Google: Dress as a SPACEMAN with dayglo dancers – Magic Leap

skelband
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> Baffled? We certainly were.

Absolutely mystified I think is the phrase.

Was there some subliminal messaging in the presentation that by-passed me?

If that is the kind of thing we will expect to see using their tech, there are more cost-effective ways of inducing delusions, LSD for a start.

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

skelband
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Re: Go for it

> You mean like those: http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/systemd/dbus/

If only it would stop there.

The number of other system components that are link-reliant on systemd is growing. This in itself is the problem. More and more it is becoming practically impossible to not have systemd in the ecosystem somewhere.

http://gimpforums.com/thread-why-is-systemd-required-to-run-gimp

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