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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2529 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Top US Senator to Apple, Google: 'Curb your spy planes'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Dear Senator, Kettle meet Pot

Precisely! Don't spy on people, THAT"S OUR JOB!!

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When buying an air ticket on your mobe - what makes you give up?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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For long haul flights I tend first to check which airline is cheapest through budgetair/cheaptickets/any other comparison site. Once found I check out the websites of the two cheapest airlines found, often to find they have an even cheaper offer if you order directly from them.

Cheapskate, perhaps, but hey, it works.

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UV 2: RETURN of the 'Big Brain'. This time, it's affordable

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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WANT ONE!

Seeing how our shiny new 64-core machine is chugging through HUGE image data, a 4096 core shared memory device would be a dream come true!

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IBM US nuke-lab beast 'Sequoia' is top of the flops (petaflops, that is)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Don't be silly

Crysis is not available on BlueGene

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America's X-37B top-secret spaceplane returns to Earth

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Cool space toy.

but it does get higher than LOHAN, which is an achievement in itself

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PFY vs Bearded 80s Netscape Bore: BOFH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

And there I was waiting for the cattle prod

Nice one

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Apple 13in MacBook Pro to fall into line this autumn

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

A 13" notebook with retina display would be great

I do not care who makes it, but if I can get my hands on a good 13" notebook with hi-res display, and nVidia GPU (recent one (for CUDA)) I will be very happy indeed (especially as the boss should pay). A machine like that is really great as a portable workstation and demo machine for hi-res image processing. I know our code runs on OS-X, so I am completely agnostic about the manufacturer. I do suspect that the usual suspects (ASUS, please make one) will follow suit, and produce competitors. Then it will be all about price/performance and build quality.

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Apple adds gay and lesbian icons to iOS 6 messaging

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: This is part of the Unicode standard

1F52F seems to stand for a Kosher atom ;)

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Girl Geek Dinner lady: The IT Crowd is putting schoolgirls off tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Not At All

Mileage varies, as ever. Don't forget, even if all the men treat the women with the respect they deserve, women may still be put off by a very much "male" atmosphere if you are one of very few women in an otherwise all male organization.

We have some outstanding female students (but far too few), and the general attitude of our male students is one of respect (though quite a percentage shows signs of the usual nerdy awkward behaviour towards the opposite sex, but that is par for the course). Strikingly, most of our female students are from abroad. This shows that not all women (by quite a long way) aren't interested in IT. In international conferences in image processing I would guess that about 25-30% of delegates are female (mainly Asian). It seems to be a thing in western culture to keep women out of technology (a long-standing tradition, as women were banned from most guilds in the distant past). I do see a gentle upward trend in the number of Dutch girls enrolling in our course, but we have a long way to go.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I call it the snobbery of indifference: it's cool to be cool in the sense of not really caring about anything, and certainly not about learning. I am not sure it is a world-wide thing, I see many more people in the east doing computer science (or indeed any science or engineering course), and that includes a lot of women. I have seen a similar pattern in Uganda, where many girls do Computer Science. I think people in many non-western countries have way more respect of science and engineering, because they are all too aware of the huge benefits they bring. Many westerners are all too complacent in that respect. Many kids just want to get rich quick or be famous (often willing to debase themselves on TV for such purposes).

Teach them the fun and excitement of science and technology early on (before puberty) and you stand a much better chance of winning them over.

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Kogan 'taxes' IE7 users

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So what is the tax rate for IE6?

I wonder

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Asus Transformer Pad TF300

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sounds like an interesting device to me

I like the hybrid concept much more than a pure tablet, and yes, I do see uses next to my laptop.

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Raspberry Pi IN THE SKY: Wallet-sized PC is disaster drone brain

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Now listen carefully!

It has a Pi-brain, not a pea-brain!

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Volkswagen Up!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: Very tempted

"He said he was 5'11" (aka 1.83m - or more correctly 13.1 linguine)."

More precisely 180.3338 cm (1.8033m) or 12.881 linguine courtesy of the Reg Online Standards Converter

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World smart TV sales surge

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

TVs get smarter as programmes get dumber?

There seems to be a correlation

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Windows is the OS of the cloud, says Microsoft

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Windows is the OS of the Cloud

Windows is the OS of the Cloud in Cloud-Cuckoo Land

There, corrected that for them.

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Thief open-sources Richard Stallman's laptop, passport, visa

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Rotten thing to happen.

I have not been to Buenos Aires, but I have been to other places so riddled with pickpockets that I was tempted to put a live mousetrap in my coat pockets or bag. In one place whenever some little kid asked me the time, I told them whilst swiping my hand over my back pocket rapidly. I always connected.

They didn't get anything (except a slap on the wrist).

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NASA's Curiosity rover will try risky landing near Mount Sharp

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Curiosity is not as life-limited as the approximate 90-day missions ..."

I bet they feel smug at NASA (and with good reason!) whenever they mention the 90 expected survival of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars, especially with Opportunity rolling again after 8 years on Mars.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for Curiosity.

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Hardy handymen handed handy hardened handheld hardware

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Ha ha, Hack Has Hilarious Headline!

couldn't resist

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GCHQ to encrypt your tweets with Enigma - for science

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Well, you know what they say...

You lot still using a three wheel system?

thrwt wyndr plctb fvwhl

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Well, you know what they say...

Don't be silly! It is never that small

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Headmaster

Re: "The Enigma code was developed by the Germans just after the WWI"

WWI is in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Until 1939 it was referred to as the Great War or the World War. Only after WWII did the phrase WWI become commonplace.

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AMD palms PCs with LiveBox miniature desktop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Cool!

Who will be the first to build a cute little cluster of these (just because we can). Could fit quite a number in a cupboard.

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LinkedIn users buried in spam after database leak

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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No spam other than the usual rate (like from BILL GATES FONDATION, or the widow of the late UJUMBU N'TUITIF, or warnings that bank accounts are blocked until I update my personal information, usually from banks where I have no account). Internet business as usual, in other words. No offers for cheap Viagra today, or cheap PhDs (maybe they did find out I have a proper PhD through linkedin.

My password does not seemed to have leaked, no important stuff is on there, and I have changed my password to be on the safe side.

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Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Are there two teams out there who refuse to talk to each other?

baffling "design decision." I will stick with Win 7 at home, unless I seriously want to tick off the missus (I really only boot to Linux).

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AMD and Nvidia extreme GPUs workout

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Nice

I must convince the people at work that the GTX 680 would sit very nicely in my desktop, if only to test some neat CUDA fluid dynamics code a student has just made (which works nicely on a dual GTX 590 machine in the lab). It is so nice we are getting humongous compute clout for such modest prices, compared to the old Cray J932 and SV1e we used to have.

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Earth bathed in high-energy radiation from colossal mystery blast

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Historical record

Good point about the southern hemisphere.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: hitsorical record

"NGC 6537 looks very like a cross - and many other planetary nebula exhibit the hourglass appearance that could be interpreted as a cross. The helix nebula is the size of the full moon and 2.5 light years across and may be a candidate - not sure how fast its expanding!

A nearby one may have dispersed by now, or possibly have blown itself away with a greater explosion later on - maybe the crab nebula was planetary before it went supernova?"

The Red Spider (NGC 6537) is pretty unique in shape, and at 1.5 arcminutes is not very big (and would have been smaller in the past). The hourglass-type side-on nebulae like the Dumbbell are not that cruciform, and though the Helix is the size of the full moon, it is very difficult to spot, even through my 8" scope, as its surface brightness is very low. This is a key problem: high surface brightness planetaries are small, one big enough to resolve by eye have very low surface brightness.

If the white dwarf at the centre of a planetary is part of a binary (spotted one such system last year), it could go supernova (Type Ia), otherwise this is unlikely (not enough mass). There is no indication that the Crab pulsar is part of a binary, I think. There may be a supernova remnant as yet undiscovered, of course. Supernovae embedded in a star forming region could generate strange light echoes on the surrounding dust and gas.

Finally, the "red crucifix" in the sky may have been atmospheric, rather than deep sky. A curious illumination of clouds after sunset, noctilucent clouds in a strange formation, auroras, or a bright meteor which exploded (and form cruciform patterns). And finally, if your king or local lord had stated he saw a red cross in the sky (after imbibing some bad mead, maybe) stating you could not see it might be a terminal career move ;-)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: hitsorical record

"A planetary nebula could easily be mistaken for a crucifix so I guess a nearby one would easily cover all the requirements. We just need to find the culprit."

Not the planetary nebulae I know. Besides, they are not large enough to be resolved by the naked eye. Planetary nebulae are not supernova remnants, but form when a star roughly the size of the sun blasts off its outer layers. However, let us not forget that the 1054 supernova was seen in the east, but not by western observers (too busy bashing each other's brains in ?). I do not know of a nearby SN-remnant which could be a candidate. A gamma-ray burst may be the culprit, as others have noted.

As this event is not so much impossible, but very, very improbable, I suggest the Heart of Gold is to blame

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OCZ: We will plug Lightning into your Thunderbolt

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"We will plug Lightning into your Thunderbolt"

They almost make it sound dirty.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink!

Your thunderbolt, does it go, hey, does it go?

I bet it likes lightnin', know what I mean? Say no more, say no more!

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AMD and Intel extreme desktop CPU workout

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I prefer more cores to faster cores

because it runs my code faster. On 8 or 16 cores I also tend to get a slightly better load balance than on 6 and 12, because the binary tree structure used in the gather phase of many algorithms is nicely balanced. Furthermore, hyperthreading is great mainly if the different threads share a lot of the data they work on, so the you do not get cache contention issues. In my code I find it does not contribute anything, and can actually harm performance.

The same does not hold for a lot of code out there. Horses for courses. For my desktop, the AMD chip is best (but not with a AMD/Radeon graphics board, because we also use CUDA), others may be served better with Intel chips.

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Techies beg world to join the 1% on IPv6 launch day

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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And there I was thinking June 6th is

I cannot see the transit of Venus due to bleedin' clouds day

sigh

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How to get a job in Australia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I've heard...

Been there, loved it. Spent some time in Sydney, and really liked the place (people, climate, food, surroundings).

If you find Oz boring, can I have your helping?

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White AMERICANS will have become MEKON brain-men by 3000AD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Lovely extrapolation!

Of course we must assume any trend in the past goes unchecked. Double brain size in 3000 AD? make that 4x bigger in 4000 AD, a massive 10kg brain size in 5000 AD etc. How long before our brains are visible from space?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it

had to be said

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SETI experiment succeeds: fails to find aliens

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Of course they keep shtumm

They would not communicate with cricket-playing nations, would they

Held in very bad taste out there in the galaxy.

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Bot imitates bat for better flight

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Holy Shmoly Batmat!

Duh! Batmat == Batman

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Holy Shmoly Batmat!

Calm down, Robin, it's just the batbot

It can't be that time already?

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Universe has more hydrogen than we thought

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

We just have to know now

What is the speed of a kangaroo in vacuum?

Mine is the one with the roo-leather Barmah hat

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LOHAN sucks Reg reader's instrument to death

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

So can we do sheep in vacuum tests now?

Hat, coat, outahere!

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Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Users were not so much won over to new versions

They simply had to put up with whatever was preinstalled, or foisted upon them in the workplace. People are adaptable, and can learn new ways of working, but some "improvements" weren't.

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Sharp to show OLED 'retina' display for laptops

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

NICE

I love the 13" form factor, but dislike the terrible resolution.

ME WANT!!

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Online bookie can't scoop £50k losses made by 5-year-old

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: @ Echowitch

Unless the user let the browser remember the password. There should perhaps be stronger security than password/username, e.g. verification by response to mobile phone, or pin/bankcard validation used for online banking.

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LINX 'downed by ethernet loop' on external network

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Recursion

See "recursion"

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Strong ARM: The Acorn Archimedes is 25

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Seriously thought about gettig an A440

Neat machine, but ultimately beyond my means. A year later I was coding image processing software for a living on an 8 MHz 80286 with 640 MB RAM, and a Matrox PIP1024 image capture and processing board, which had a whole 1MB of RAM. I yearned for the vast 4MB RAM of the A440.

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SpaceX Dragon SPLASHDOWN in Pacific! Private space triumph

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Big event, mundane response from SpaceX mission control

Elon Musk is quite aware of the similarities. When interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, he acknowledged he should get a white Persian cat.

Great guy, great achievement by the whole SpaceX team!

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BBC uses lifted Iraq war photo to depict Syrian slaughter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Cock-up indeed, even with disclaimer, but don't blame the teacher

"As a (senior) lecturer, you probably have no concept of how unabidably crap the average corporate trainer is. It's a certificate culture out there, and the delegates (I won't demean the term "student" by using it here) are expected to sit, listen, maybe "brainstorm" a bit, then walk away with a piece of paper."

Actually, a colleague had to follow an "Academic Leadership" training given by a corporate trainer. His description was telling. Unabidable crap is a fitting designation. The trainer asked questions like: "what would you do if a PhD student turns up at 9:30 each morning?"

Answer by (experienced) trainees varied from: "Nothing, as long as he gets his work done," to "Commend him for consistently arriving before the head of the department."

These were not the right answers according to the trainer (who clearly had no concept of an academic working environment). He honestly expected people to work regular 9-5 shifts. When criticised that this was not how we work, and that many PhD students work say 10 am to 8 pm shifts r longer, he stated this was no way to run a lab. He was questioned whether he had ever run a research department, he had to admit this was not the case, but he stuck to his guns that he knew how it should be run.

My colleague and all other trainees considered the course a complete waste of time, but you had to get the certificate for the new tenure track system. I gather they have now got rid of this course.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Cock-up indeed, even with disclaimer, but don't blame the teacher

"Either the team responsible for this cock-up didn't attend - or those teaching the courses need to be fired."

As a (senior) lecturer, I cannot accept responsibility for all cock-ups my students make after following or even passing my course. The people teaching the course in source attribution may have been sterling, but let us not forget a student's ability to forget, misconstrue, or otherwise garble any information or skills imparted to them. I have seen all too often that students learn things only to the level to pass the exam, and then get totally plastered to ensure they erase that section of memory as effectively as possible. Fortunately, there are also many students who really want to learn and work hard at it. I have long ago decided to focus my efforts on the latter class, and lose no sleep over the former. After all, they are grown ups, they are responsible.

Many image search tools exist, they should have been able to find the source. If anyone is to be fired, fire those responsible.

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450-year-old football was hard to kick

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Comment from the Goalie of the Unseen Academicals:

OOK

The 16th century ball tested looks more like mr. Nutt's design than the lumps of wood with rags used before it

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Microsoft forbids class actions in new Windows licence

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Collusion

You are assuming the lawyer gets paid to help you, which is not how many lawyers see it. They get paid so they get richer. As the lawsuit is delayed, they charge more. The same holds for the lawyers of UPS. What incentive do they have to get things over with quickly if they get paid by the hour?

Me, cynical?

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