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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2572 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

AMD doubles down on existing Opteron server sockets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice

I am about to get a 64 core Opteron-based machine (4x 16 Bulldozer cores and 512 GB RAM (memory hungry, our applications?) ), and have funding for another machine somewhere down the line. Might well have a good look at the Piledrivers at that time.

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JEDI alliance: Jellyfish overlords won't rule Earth after all

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Ah, so the blancmanges were really jellyfish in disguise?

Mine is the one with "Angus Podgorny Fan Club" on the back

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ENORMOUS BACKSIDE FILMED FROM SPACE in moon flypast

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Not yet.

But I am building them a mini-Dobsonian telescope (and they are helping me build it). I somehow do not think keeping them interested is going to be that hard, because they are showing promising signs of nerdiness already. Nerds are interested in things for their own sake, not just because other people think it is cool.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Why did my old school not have such cool projects? Really nice way to get kids into science, or rather keep kids in science, as from a young age they seem interested in anything, and only later, when the "snobbery of indifference" sets in in puberty, do many seem to lose interest.

Nice one, NASA!

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Robot rabbits take on Facebook, female orgasms

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So does Karotz say

"What's up doc?"

at all?

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Airbrushed Rachel Weisz gets watchdog hot under the collar

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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IT Angle

multi-tasking anti-ageing moisturiser?

But was it preemptive multi-tasking, cooperative multitasking, or did tasks genuinely run in parallel on 10 cores?

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Russia and NASA plan to COLONISE the Moon

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Making CMOS and CCD chips for digital cameras still does

Chemical magic is still needed, but not the way Arthur C. Clarke knew it.

I will still raise a pint to him. He has more imagination than most of us.

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NASA: Solar system may have alien origin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Wind?

Wasn't that the sneeze of the Great Green Arkleseizure?

Mine is the one with the H2G2 radio plays in the pocket

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Surprise: Neil Young still hates digital music

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Precisely. I have no problems with people playing proper R&B (Ray Charles and the like)

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Steerable bullet aims for mass army deployment

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I remember several cartoons containing bullets, which skidded round corners (maybe in a roadrunner cartoon). Should Warner Bros. or MGM claim prior art?

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Man recreates ZX81... in Lego

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

But

will it run Crysis?

I'll get my coat

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Dim-but-rich buyers targeted with million pound laptop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Did they mean Italian Lira?

Bit behind the times or shape of things to come?

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SpaceShipOne man, Nobel boffins: DON'T PANIC on global warming

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Don't Panic!

They should have used large, friendly letters in the headline.

On a more serious note, climate debate is fine, it is what science is about. If proof is incontrovertible, then the global warming advocates need not resort to strong-arm tactics. If it is not, the skeptics have every right (if not duty) to challenge it.

Saving fuel seems a good idea whichever way you look at it. Oil has uses beyond keeping hummers on the road.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Trollface

It's "one, two, many, lots"

Sgt. Detritus

Troll, because, well, this is Sgt. Detritus

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Boffins make graphene micro-distillery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Love thissh kind of reshearsh. Love it. Bessht kind of shtuff. Really nishe. Really.

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webOS daddy Jon Rubinstein exits HP

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

The term is "injellititis" (C. Northcote parkinson)

A dangerous combination of a high degree of incompetence and a high degree of jealousy, which react to form injellitance. Injellitant individuals in an organization prefer "sound" character over true ability. Creativity is anathema to such people. An organization infected with such people in management has contracted injellititis. A reverse competition results, in which everybody in management tries to hide his or her ability in order to secure promotion. Third rate people are promoted because they are no threat to the second rate management.

See "Parkinson's Law" byt C. Northcote Parkinson. He said it all.

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Tilera preps many-cored Gx chips for March launch

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting system

The addition of 64bit and floating point is key. I would like to see how these perform on our gigapixel image processing workloads.

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Boffin's blog blast births boycott of publisher Elsevier

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Simple

If you want to publish in practically any traditional journal, you have to sign a copyright transfer. The main concern for the publisher is that they cover their backsides by having you sign a declaration that you own the copyright initially, and that you transfer it to them. This means that they can show that they acted in good faith should you have committed plagiary.

The conditions vary, but many publishers do allow you to reproduce part or the whole of your work for non-commercial purposes. If you want to reproduce your own or other peoples' graphs in a scientific work (with due reference) it is unheard of that this is refused. IEEE allows you to put entire preprints online, provided it is accompanied by a copyright statement. Springer allows the same for their Lecture Notes in Computer Science, but ask (not demand) that you wait for a year after publication. As they ask nicely, I tend to comply.

What is most peculiar is not copyright transfer, but the pricing. At one stage Elseviers raised subscription prices by 33% in a single year, to compensate for higher printing and e-publishing costs. This is patently nonsense, as the printing costs have been going down, year by year (we know this from the printing costs of PhD theses), and e-publishing is way cheaper than hardcopy publishing.

The journal publishers get all the content for free: authors, reviewers, and editors get nothing (either that or I am editor in the wrong journal). By raising prices they are driving scientists to an alternative publishing model (like PLoS), where the author pays to publish, and subscription is free.

The problem is that as a scientist you do want to publish in good journals, and not just for reasons of prestige. Good journals are read by more people. This means my ideas get a bigger audience. Just like many performer would like to play for a big crowd at some time, I would like my ideas to be read by people. Otherwise articles become my write-only memory.

Good journals generally (not always) give me a better (stricter) class of review. When reviewing, I myself tend to be stricter about a submission to a lower ranking journal than to say IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, in particular in terms of novelty (real errors get flagged anyway!). Stricter reviews are a sterner test of my ideas. If they pass that kind of scrutiny, they may be worthwhile. PLoS and similar journals will take time to gain acceptance. A quicker change would be for existing journals to adopt the new publishing format. IEEE is looking at that.

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Canadians take page out of PARIS book?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Canadians take page out of PARIS book?

I could not help noticing the similarities between this Canadian space effort and PARIS. Note the replacement of Playmobil by LEGO http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16759220
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Update Facebook by thrusting your hips to, er ... 'Like' things

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Should one submit this

For an Ig Nobel prize in engineering?

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NAO: British bobbies wasting £80m BlackBerry stash

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I thought they stored comms gear in their helmets

OK, it's Friday, innit?

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Eurocom Panther 2.0 Core i7, SLI notebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Oh dear

Finally a note book which can just about handle one of our smaller satellite images (1.0 GIGApixel). Now I want one.

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Newt Gingrich wants Moon to be 51st US state

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Not at all!

Lord Sutch made good sense (occasionally). And he had a better dress sense

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Boffins one step closer to invisible shed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I made an invisible shed once

I sent MIT some photographs but they wouldn't believe me.

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The Pirate Bay torrents printable 3D objects

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Think bigger

What about the Bismarck, HMS Hood, or Yamato.

Full scale might mean refilling printer cartridges from time to time, of course.

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Scientists shift electron orbits for atomic storage and quantum computing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I thought that involved chaotic computing involved students making arbitrary changes to code to see if it works now,

or is that chaotic programming?

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Two million-degree matter from SLAC laser

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Maybe they wanted to play dice at 2 million K

Man that game is hot

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

X-ray does not penetrate many metal surfaces well (which is why old amalgam fillings wreak havoc with older CT reconstruction algorithms). Tank armor could absorb a hell of a lot before melting. A picosecond blast might be a tad short to do damage.

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Groupon banned from selling SNAKE OIL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Neat, because every cosmetic has only temporary effects

because most people die well before the sun becomes a red giant.

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Loyal NASA rover Opportunity enters 9th year of Mars boffinry

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

the speed limit may be 0.0003 mph

(how much is that in furlongs per fortnight?)

As a guest to planet, it should stick to the local traffic rules

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Super-powered 'frankenmalware' strains detected in the wild

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

What?

Nobody has welcomed our Frankenmalware chimeric worm-virus overlords?

I am astonished!!

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MIT boffins devise faster Fast Fourier transform

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Again, there may be something important in there, I have yet to study the paper in detail. However, there is a ton of literature on removing low energy components (we have a few papers on other compression techniques, so I have been keeping up with much of it), so that in itself is not new. I also question whether the global sine/cosine basis used by Fourier is ideal for this work. More localized basis functions (local DCT/ wavelets/curvelets/insert your favourite over-complete dictionary of functions here) are often used. This is why the MIT paper uses a local transform, rather than global, as I understand it from the Reg report.

So again, it is not really an FFT, but it may be another kind of lossy compression technique. If they compress or analyse better than others kudos to them!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

So it is not an FFT, it is an approximation

Fourier Transform allows exact reconstruction of the image, not an approximation. It is a variation on the theme of lossy image compression exemplified by JPEG (which uses the discrete cosine transform), or wavelet compression. The idea is the same: decompose the image into some basis function and discard unimportant ones.

I do not doubt the MIT guys may be doing this in a clever way, but FFT it is not.

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Teen net addicts pee in bottles to stay glued to WoW

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Childcatcher

OMG, internet is addictive??!!

It should be banned!!!

Won't somebody think of the children????!!!!

A will e-mail my MP at once......

Oh, wait.

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android Tablet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very, very interesting

I was really tempted by the transformer, so I should really check this one out.

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Boffins dig up prehistoric popcorn in Peru

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Popcorn near burial mounds?

Maybe someone was celebrating a rich relative finally snuffing it and leaving them a load of dosh (llama skins, sea shells, livestock, whatever) or that lovely piece of pottery she always promised me, what ever aunt Hoxtatl says!

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Blogger bully site yanks MPAA's chain in poison-pen letter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Reminds me of Heinrich Heine

He wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper which read (in translation):

Dear Sir,

The censors ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------idiots--------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yours faithfully

Heinrich Heine

Said it all

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Modeling-clay iPads foisted on unwary Canucks

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

That's inflation for you

I am amazed $695 worth of clay fits in a box that size. Last time I checked prices they brought a truckload of the stuff for that kind of money.

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Boots Philosophy cosmetics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Yes but philosophy, is really about beer

Or other alcohol. Plato's Symposion is a get together to drink (literally the meaning of Greek symposion). This is why I always point out to my PhD students that having a drinks together with other scientists is what an international symposium is about (despite the Latinised ending).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Nice quote to start the day. Thanks!

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Windows 8 hardware rules 'derail user-friendly Linux'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The ARM exception is curious

This is the domain where MS has least leverage, as the tablet market is dominated by iOS and Android. Windows is very much a latecomer. Whatever the quality of Windows 8 on these devices (I really do not know one way or the other), being late makes life harder when trying to penetrate a market. How many tablet makers, who seem happy to ship Android, would want to sell locked in Windows 8 Tablets? At the same time, how much harm would that do to people wanting to run Linux on their Tablet. Just pick any old Android tablet that does allow a Linux install.

Regarding the rules for x86 kit, in that arena the new measures might raise eyebrows (Steely Neelie's would have been raised), precisely because Windows is dominant in that arena. In legal terms, it does not matter that only 1% of desktop is Linux, in fact quite the reverse: Because they own 90%+ of x86 desktop (forgive me for forgetting the exact OSX share), they can be accused of leveraging their monopoly in anti-competitive ways. Thus, they may have felt comfortable putting stronger restrictions on the ARM kit precisely because they do not dominate that domain.

Just my 2 euro cents

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Zombie Olympics ticket resale site resurrected TODAY

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

When zombies throw hammers, they really need to be careful about when to let go.

Reg Shoe should be on standby with his sewing kit.

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Phages: The powerful new bio-ammo in superbug war

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

This is different from Russian use

I did some mathematical modelling of the use of phages and predatory bacteria (such as the wonderfully named Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus) as antibiotic, in particular in the gut. All research I know of is aimed at viruses or bacteria killing the pathogenic bacteria.

There are many problems with this approach (one of which I modelled), and one is the build up of resistance to phages (e.g. by mutating the surface feature the phages use to gain access to the cell, or by restriction enzymes, which cut the viral DNA to pieces).

The proposed method tries to sneak new DNA into the cell, negating the resistance not to the phage, but to an antibiotic. I am not sure the same resistance mechanism as mentioned above could not cause problems.

Still, very interesting research.

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McDonald's punters offered sex in exchange for Chicken McNuggets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

She took "I'm lovin' it" the wrong way

apparently.

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Darwin's lost fossils found down the back of a cupboard

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Reminds me of a "scientific correctness survey"

Posted in Mini-AIR in response remarks from Alabama governor Fob James on evolution ("just a theory"):

Did human beings evolve from

ape-like creatures?

__Yes __No __Not in Alabama __Other (please specify)

Results can be found at:

http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg01419.html

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Brilliant! I will drink to that.

Unless it is a Cabinet of Curiosity, in which case all fossils must be returned in 14.14 hours.

We shall soon find out ;-)

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Olympics volunteers urged not to blab online

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

We are not allowed to tell you what Game Makers aren't allowed to tell you

Or if we do, you must first sign a paper you will not put it on El Reg.

The rules may well make sense, but if they do, what is the problem about showing they make sense?

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Wikipedia to shut down Wednesday in SOPA protest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

A conversation coming Thursday

Student: "I could not o my homework because Wikipedia was down"

Teacher: "They announced that early enough, you could have started earlier."

Student: "What? You expected us to finish our work BEFORE the last minute?"

Adults can have such unrealistic ideas about kids ;-)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I could never get the hang of Thursdays.

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The Sons of Khan and the Pascal Spring

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

You mean the Great Prophet Zarquon?

Was his second coming due yet? I thought we still had time!

Mine has the USB stick with the H2G2 radio plays in the pocket

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