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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2555 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Hmm

In my experience hiding memory complexity is a mixed blessing. To gain maximum performance I need to understand the architecture the code runs on, to avoid costly operations, as others have said. I will get my code up an running sooner, but it will not necessarily be as fast as hand-tuned code. Where I do see use is in getting more-or-less machine independent code up and running quickly. If it does not run fast enough, you can then tune it to get the most out of the hardware and reduce costly copying from one part of memory to another, and so avoiding bandwidth and latency problems.

Nothing beats better bandwidth and lower latency, of course, but that is something the hardware guys must do for us software guys (and I know they are working on it). If the GPU and CPU truly share memory (i.e. the memory is physically unified), many difficulties will drop away, but that is something to dream about, for now

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Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Strange choice of graph type

Agreed. Any of my students presenting this kind of data like that would get points deducted (and/or instructions on how they should present these data).

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Look out, bankers! It's Lily Cole and her (Brit taxpayer-funded) WISH-PRINTING ATM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Is it me?

Or should that "impossible" website be labelled "Unsuitable for diabetics" (and it's not just the presence of cookies)

My conclusion is: "I do not know about impossible, I prefer things that are very, very, improbable

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Live coverage: Blood Moon looms large for North, South America

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Below horizon here

And cloud, of course, but sites like slooh are just great for this. Showed the kids the transit of Venus two years back by logging onto slooh on the smartphone. It's just great what IT has brought us.

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NASA to unsheath GIANT ASTEROID SPACE PROBE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: OSIRIS-REx?

The chances of funding are proportional to the effort put into the (b)ac(k)ronym. Politicians gladly fund a project named OSIRIS-REx, however tenuous the connection between name and purpose, they might go for Yet Another Asteroid Bashing Attempt (YAABA) because you can at least pronounce it, but Probe For Planetoid Research (PFPR) stands little chance

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Who at Microsoft is making up the names... and why do they still have a job?

I heard someone at MS proposed

Windows 8.1 Falls On Sword Silently

as a final option on the roadmap, instead of FU2, but management didn't like the acronym.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: No

"Possibly with a sharpened bargepole."

Or the type of modified bargepole known as a spar torpedo

Icon, well, because that's what a spar torpedo does

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New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

DON'T PANIC

How do you switch on large, friendly letters?

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Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: I'll definitely be buying this...

Indeed, frequently range clearly designed with Agnes Nitt (a.k.a. "Agnes-who-calls-herself-Perditax") in mind. It might be a problem to filter out the occasional thud of a falling bat from the recording

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Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: It must be said repeatedly...

The only way to be certain your files cannot be inspected on Dropbox - or any

service like it - is to NOT put them on there in the first place !

Or use a one-time pad encryption, if you do want the option to share files. A one-time pad is fully uncrackable. Getting the key to others by a secure channel is a problem of course.

If you do not want to share your files, you could stick them in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard", in a basement, in the dark (the lights had probably gone (So had the stairs)).

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Reg LOHAN spaceplane: Punch and Judy show in comedy non-explosive climax

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So often it is some trivial component that fails. Best of luck next time

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Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice improvement, but ...

Still not enough RAM!!

I know, I know, us compute guys are never satisfied. You give them more than 640 kB? They want more than 4 MB, you give them 16MB? They want 256MB! You up your game to 16 GB, and some knucklehead wants double that, and so on, and so forth.

Having frequently run out of memory on a 64 core 512GB compute server (with 384 GB Fusion-IO card), the R3 is still not for me. Still looking for a distributed-memory solution for our problem. Not trivial.

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So you invent a wireless network using LEDs, what do you do next? Add solar panels. Boom

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Hi-Tech Heliograph.

Neat in itself, but I remember the problems somebody had whenever he put a cuppa in front of his Apricot keyboard, blocking the line of sight between keyboard and computer. The key idea behind fibre optics is that you protect the optical path from intrusion by smoke and mirror. WIFI works better because the long wavelengths diffract around objects rather better than visible light or IR.

In conclusion, though the data rate obtained is good, I am slightly underwhelmed.

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I don't get it..

I would suggest the key issue is that there are two specifications of the length of the data, not one. One has to wonder about the reason for this redundancy (it may be useful in another context, I do not know enough about the SSL libraries and protocols), but here it causes a problem. It could be used to check for malformed heartbeats, of course, but the moment you store information in two places, and fail to ensure consistency of the information, you can get into trouble.

Using a calloc rather than malloc to allocate the space for the incoming heartbeat data based on the SSL3 length field and then storing the payload_length size chunk in it (after checking payload_length<=SSL3_record.length) should have avoided the problem, I would think. Of course calloc could be a touch more costly than malloc, but in the context of security (or indeed delays in the network) I would think this hardly figures in the grand scheme of things.

Just my tuppence

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Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Nah, not OZ, Fourecks, more likely

Still, no worries, she'll be right!

Next look out for a rock in the shape of the Counterweight Continent.

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Of course its true!

As far as I understand it, if I develop a piece of code which infringes patents (as Google allegedly has), I do not necessarily require a licensing agreement. If I sell a product with such software on board, I certainly do. This might be the reason MS is not going after Google (or maybe there are secret agreements, where's me tinfoil hat!!)

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Raspberry Pi to serve up bite-sized modules for bulk-buying biz bods

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I don't know...

This could provide a cheap way for students to learn MPI computing, although you can run MPI on a shared-memory architecture (but without same the penalty of communication overhead as in clusters). Using a "nano-cluster" like this you can have student mess about without interfering with the workloads of the big "production" clusters of the university, or, as the students see it, without production work interfering with their projects.

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Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Too expensive for me, alas. I will just retain the fond memories of being allowed to stay up late as a seven-year old to see men step out onto the moon on a little black and white TV. Greatest event in my life until then.

Every single boy at school wanted to become an astronaut that day.

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European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Good!

Good to hear the European Court make such a sensible decision

I'll raise a glass to that

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The... Windows... XPocalypse... is... NIGH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Nice to hear a sane voice from time to time

You could have started the piece with DON'T PANIC in large, friendly letters. Good selling point, I read somewhere

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Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I'll try to get Win 7 working on my old (8.5 years), decrepit, but still functional VAIO SZ2XP/C, which should be able to run it (with some drivers I have unearthed) later this week. Through a university license I can get a win 7 pro update cheap, so it is worth a punt. Should it fail I will wipe my last Win XP install make it single boot again (but this time with OpenSUSE Linux).

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'Graceful' solar flare erupts from surface of Sun – NASA vid

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Great footage

A lot of interesting activity has been visible on the sun the last few weeks. Great to watch either on various web-sites, and even better with a solar scope.

The websites like GONG (http://halpha.nso.edu/) and the like are ideal for those without solar scopes, and/or with British weather.

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'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: To paraphrase the king of the swamp castle in the Holy Grail

In all seriousness, I do not know enough about everything that has happened in the Ukraine to take any side. Various sources contradict each other, and I am left with the cynical baseline thought that I trust no politicians. There are evidently thugs on either side, there are people with little or no regard for what "the people" really want jockeying for power on either side, and many, if not most ordinary people get squeezed in the middle. A summary of the politics of power struggles that holds true all too often.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

To paraphrase the king of the swamp castle in the Holy Grail

Let's not bicker about who invaded who!

A pointless exercise, as every nation that has ever thought of itself as or has aspired to be a Power (capital P mandatory) has behaved pretty badly during its history

Indeed, as the late, lamented Douglas Adams stated succinctly in his summary of the summary of the summary:

People are a problem

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Five-year-old discovers Xbox password bug, hacks dad's Live account

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: help!

Nice list.

Rule 50: My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.

is easy to fulfil: just use an old CDC 7600 with its 6 bit bytes and ten byte words, and an OS that is not so much "not user friendly" as "user hostile." The only downside is that it is slower than your average smartphone.

As an alternative, you could up the voltage on all the i/o ports to fry any PC or macbook attached to it without authorization, inspired by the idea of the etherkiller

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USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: What terrorists?

The only sane reason for spying on friendly governments was of course given by Lord Vetinari, who states that spying on friends improves mutual understanding and therefore promotes friendship even more.

There is of course another school of thought who points to the bablefish, which by removing barriers in communication between species has lead to more and bloodier wars than anything in the history of creation, but it could be argued that the opposing sides in these wars weren't friends to begin with.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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What terrorists?

I gather a recent report has shown that no terrorist was caught and no act of terrorism prevented as a result of the blanket snooping program by the NSA. I really do not see how snooping on a head of a friendly government helps fighting terror.

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WIMPs wipe each other out in giant radiating spot at galaxy's centre

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting, but

more data needed (as they indicate). If correct, it gives a clear indication that dark matter is actually there, and not (only) an error in our understanding of gravity. The main reason to postulate the existence of dark matter was the lack of visible mass needed to explain both the orbits of gas and stars in galaxies and gravitational lensing. An alternative theory would be to postulate our law of gravity is wrong (which is also hard to reconcile with other observations).

I await more data eagerly

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Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

If food is not "organic", it logically must be "inorganic"

which, chemically speaking is odd

I'll get me coat

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BEHOLD the HOLY GRAIL of TECH: The REVERSIBLE USB plug

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: We have all experienced Schrödinger's USB stick

I never realised the humble USB plug was a quantum computing device, but this revelation makes perfect sense. I am sure I have noted the orientation flipping on certain devices (top -> bottom transitions and vice-versa), but always attributed this to Murphy's Law (a.k.a. High Auditor Activity, as can be confirmed by the usual garden hose test). The two explanations are of course not mutually exclusive.

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Does my mass look big in this? Roly-poly galaxy El Gordo more porky than first feared

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: re. "three quadrillion times the mass of our sun"

Our galaxy is between 1.0 and 1.5 trillion solar masses, so El Gordo is more than 2,000 times heavier

Needs a high fibre diet and more exercise

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Tesla cars can now 'do an ET' without hurting anyone's bottom line

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

If the cars are chatty ..

do they also make chatty doors? You know, for Elon's spaceship? The ones that you can tell are about to open by the intolerable air of smugness they suddenly generate?

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Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Where are the values? Ronnie Soak

Love his Yak milk from 600 years ago. Still fresh too

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Boffins make noise about D-Wave chip: it seems quantum

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Maybe it's only quantum

if you don't observe it consciously

I'll get me coat, the one with "What is life?" by Erwin Schrödinger in the pocket please

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Money? What money? Lawyer for accused Silk Road boss claims you can't launder Bitcoin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Chewbacca defense

Or should that be "the alleged jury"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

It's a bit funny

If payment in bitcoin is accepted by him (i.e. some arbitrary real or virtual item of no intrinsic value is nonetheless accepted by mutual agreement to represent some value), but he then does not count bitcoins as money (which can be defined as some arbitrary real or virtual item of no intrinsic value which is nonetheless accepted by mutual agreement to represent some value)

Legal wrangling about words without looking at their meaning. Par for the course in court, I suppose

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Middle England trembles before roaring LOHAN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Yes, it is rocket science

Great, looking forward to that. I'll get my kids to see it too.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Yes, it is rocket science

Would love to have seen a video, though

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Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: More realistic...

I have seen interesting experiments (by Jaguar, as I recall) with near infra-red (NIR) headlights (apart from the normal ones), a simple CCD camera without IR blocking filter (required for normal visual use), and a jet-fighter style HUD showing the image ahead superimposed on the normal view through the windscreen. I heard some up-market cars now can be ordered with a similar system, but with the HUD replaced by a simple screen on the dashboard. The NOR lights can just shine straight ahead without blinding anyone (except those with (N)IR contact lenses/Google glasses).

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting article. I have an ancient laptop that is still soldiering on, and I am tempted to upgrade to win 7, which apparently is possible (and cheap: < 8 quid for me at uni), or failing that to wipe the entire windows partition and do a clean Linux install on the entire disk. Others, as indicated do not necessarily have such an option

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Chinese patent app tries to own Wine on ARM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Hold your horses ....

And before getting excited we should glance at our calendar

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Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: And the 18th Century Says

Or in more modern guise: plastic surgery as retrophrenology!

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NSA plans to FREE YOUR DATA with range of cloud services, analytics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Suspense of disbelief

did not last long enough

Nice try

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Researcher lights fire under Tesla security

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I smell

a rat.

Maybe it is the date that makes me suspicious.

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Boeing, Cupertino to 'explore weaponisation of Apple technologies'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Speculative engineering"??

Sounds like a new department at the Unseen University, right next to "Woolly Thinking" and "Cruel and Unusual Geography", or is it a new section of the Guild of Cunning Artificers?

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OkCupid falls out of love with 'anti-gay' Firefox, tells people to see other browsers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Freedom of expression in action

There are many political movements with ideas despicable to me (anti-gay rights views are among them), but they have a right to say it out loud. In fact, I had rather they say it out loud, so I know what they are thinking, rather than having them scheme in the dark. In a democracy every political opinion may be expressed, and you may join or support every political party. At the same time you may be held accountable for your expressions, and if you step beyond the boundaries set by law, you may get punished. Furthermore, if you express opinions held in contempt by others, do not be surprised if they in their turn voice their contempt. It is their right.

Thus, Eich is perfectly allowed to support a political cause, OkCupid is perfectly entitled to protest, and we can hold both sides in contempt (or not) for different reasons. All part of democracy (nobody said it was going to be nice).

I still think the message of "love promoting" OkCupid comically full of bile, hence my smile.

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LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It's been a long time since I watched a Punch and Judy show

But this one I'll watch.

I'll keep my fingers crossed

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Google confirms Turkish ISPs 'intercepted' its DNS service

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I never thought I would be defending Twitter

I "block" my personal access to it by never logging in to it, and effectively ignoring it, but people wishing to reach it should be allowed to do so.

Blocking Twitter (and Youtube) was a pointless thing to do anyway. People work around it easily, and all it does is show that you are a humourless bully who cannot take criticism.

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Artists install Monty Python silly walk signs in Norwegian town

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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These bureaucrats have clearly all had their mandatory humourectomy

Yours sincerely

Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim bus stop F'tang F'tang Ole Biscuitbarrel

(Silly Party)

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