* Posts by Apocalypse Later

415 posts • joined 21 Oct 2008

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Massive study concludes: 'Global warming is real'

Apocalypse Later

Shifting ground

The terms "climate change" and "global warming" are used like the term "UFO", to shift the ground and misrepresent one position as another.

Flying saucer enthusiasts use the term UFO to mean extraterrestrial vehicles, even though "unidentified flying objects" are by definition not identified as having any particular origin. Then they point to records by government sources referring to UFOs as proof that flying saucers exist, and that governments are deliberately covering them up. Governmental reports of course only refer to sightings of something which could not be identified.

The same shift constantly occurs in the use of the "global warming" terms (now more than one term, soon no doubt to be further varied). Enthusiasts incorporate the "human caused" aspect into the term in their conclusion of the argument, but only argue on the temperature rise in establishing the argument. They don't even realise they are being dishonest, as they move seamlessly from one point to the other without understanding that they are distinct and that the link has not been established, at least for those persons they deride as "deniers".

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Chaos feared after Unix time-zone database is nuked

Apocalypse Later

These people...

...won't give you the time of day.

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Put down the Java manual

Apocalypse Later

Nah

My first programs were written in raw 8080 machine instructions, in hexadecimal. Then I learned assembler. Then I quit. I could see the way this was going.

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Missing moon rock found among Clinton's knickknacks

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"Clinton and aides didn't trash the white house"

And your source for this is Al Franken? The comedian who got into congress by finding box after box of "lost" votes weeks after the polls closed?

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Apocalypse Later

recollection

They do get handed an awful lot of plaques.

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Why do these traders get billions to play with, unchecked?

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This space deliberately left blank

The original Ponzi scheme was ostensibly arbitrage. Carlo Ponzi had noticed that you could buy international postal reply coupons in Italy for much less than their value in postage when used in the USA, and claimed that he had a method of redeeming them for this value rather than using them as they were intended. He found there were difficulties in performing this trick in practice, but the logic of it convinced many investors to give him their money, and he paid early investors from the funds coming in from later investors, the classic Ponzi scheme manipulation.

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Oil

Not long ago you could buy oil on the spot market at one price and sell it on the futures market at a higher price. The deals went through at the same time, but then you had to hang on to the oil somehow until the date for the future delivery. They had tanker ships steaming in circles for a month.

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Hey Commentards! [This title is optional]

Apocalypse Later

English first

"By the way, my first language isn't English, so could you please excuse my lack of understanding of the English language and explain the difference between these 2 statements for me: "Show boys' posts only" vs "Hide girls' posts only"?"

I'm told English grammar is more irregular than that of many other languages, but it can be taught. The English sense of humour, however, is imparted only by osmosis.

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British warming to NUKES after Fukushima meltdown

Apocalypse Later

Women, eh?

"Interestingly there is a gender gap opening up – with women much more fearful of nuclear energy, and men increasingly supporting it."

No need for them to worry their pretty little heads over it. This is alpha male territory. When the lights go out, they will turn to the men and say "please get the electricity back on, darling". I have actually had lesbians make this request of me (without the "darling", obviously).

Alternate observation: no women is capable of understanding a thermostat. I have tried to teach many of them, and they always say they get it, in increasingly exasperated voices. But they don't get it. As the thermostat is one of the simpler technical devices in our lives, and almost certainly a component of any nuclear power plant, I think it is entirely fair to say that women do not and never will understand the technology involved. Hence the distrust.

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Does Cameron dare ditch poor-bashing green energy?

Apocalypse Later

Odd logic indeed

"How does one measure the cost of coal spoil heaps"

"Go to South Wales and admire the spoil from old, dead coalmines and tell us how much that land costs or earns."

And then:

"Chat to the retired miners and ask them how their lungs and damaged bodies feel."

Those are the people who built those spoil heaps. And they did it just for the money. Why should they be more entitled to your sympathy than the rest of us, who merely paid them for the coal? Why are we wicked and they saints?

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Apocalypse Later

Two generations ago?

The roots of the present malaise does not date back so far. In fact, Thatcher's changes brought prosperity, which was then shamelessly squandered by Gordon Brown and his frontman. Look to the last decade of profligacy (not only in Britain) for the reason for current troubles.

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Low blow: Phishers target student loan applicants

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Have them what?

The financial institutions I deal with have only just started to learn about secure logins, and still send me emails with links in them. Now they want my mobile phone number, which they regard as a secure back-channel for sending a code to confirm transactions. I don't think you will ever get these people to agree to ALL do any sensible thing.

Anyway, would it be sensible for them to eschew email entirely? Sign up for an Amazon credit card, and you won't get paper bills. It's not an option- a condition of the service is that it is all online. So without an email from them, you won't know that they are awaiting payment (unless you are very organised). One of my banks doesn't send paper statements, again a condition of service. They email me every month to remind me that a statement is ready for download.

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Insulin pump attack prompts call for federal probe

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"So far, so good"

Man falling past ninth floor window gives thumbs up.

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Feds shut down poker site

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Not just the USA

I had an online account with William Hill for years, using it for both horse racing and poker (I only play the freerolls), but they shut me out awhile back because my satellite broadband service was located in Germany, which suffers similar illiberality over gambling. They knew my UK address, and seemed to accept that I was not actually in Germany, but weren't willing to take the chance of having a European arrest warrant issued against them for allowing traffic apparently originating from German servers.

I have a different satellite BB provider now, with servers in Italy and the Republic of Ireland. I haven't tried to reopen the William Hill account though. There are plenty of online poker sites. The one I use now is dominated by US players (outnumbering even the Romanians).

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Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

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Psychology students on the net

They never tell you what they are really up to.

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Solar panel selling scam shown up by sting

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what size?

I went for the practical maximum, as my roof is big enough. The feed-in-tariff for domestic installations drops sharply if you go over a design maximum of 4kW, so mine is rated just under that (3.96kW). I have seen as much as 3.7kW on the meter, and over 22kWh (units) in a day.

Incidentally, it seems that my installer has rated the "Estimated Annual Generation" very conservatively on their official certificate. Annualising my first quarter would indicate that I could be getting almost 50% more output than the estimate. Of course, we had a very sunny April.

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Apocalypse Later

compound interest?

Current rates of interest are below inflation. That doesn't stop the government taxing them as earnings, though. It is hard to see into the future, but the way western governments have been printing money, I see inflation rising rapidly, and expect interest rates to lag behind.

I have had my PV panels for half a year. The first quarter that they affected my electricity bill, it came in at about £75 less than usual, and the first quarter's FIT payments (tax free) came in at £460. These are not quite the same time periods, but overlap. If this continues, I would expect to get over £2000 back per year, on a £15,000 installation, so payback in 7 or 8 years.

That is not to say that I don't have money in other investments, including on deposit. But I worry a lot more about those other investments than I do about the panels.

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Apocalypse Later

The tax on aviation fuel is ZERO

As it should be- this is public transportation after all, just like the trains.

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Apocalypse Later

Title request denied- resubmit with detailed reasons

"So what you are saying, ApocalypseLater, is that the system is rigged to reward you for being more energy efficient?"

I'm saying that a pragmatist doesn't care whether the system is "rigged" or why. Turn the handle the way it goes.

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Apocalypse Later

So you're being paid 44.8p/unit generated, even if nothing whatsoever leaves the house?

Yes. And it is index linked. The rates went up in April.

I was thinking about pre-heating the water for the hot water system, by fitting an extra hot water tank with an immersion heater, coupled to a photo-electric sensor that would turn it on only when the sun was pouring down. That would avoid wasting the free electricity on the grid and save me a lot of central heating oil, and I would still get the same money from the FIT. The electricity companies don't care; they just want the credits for the renewable generation.

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Apocalypse Later

Also featured are the well known energy experts, Homebase and Sainsburys

I got my panels through Tesco. Double clubcard points (30,000) which I then doubled again in their voucher doubling scheme (certain departments only) to buy £600 quid worth of kitchen appliances.

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"Why are levy funded subsidies taxes?"

Because of bureaucratic double-speak?

The important distinction here is that the feed-in tariffs are set in stone by long term contracts between the panel owners and the power companies. They are not subsidies that can be withdrawn by the government when they become unpopular. Very likely the terms of these contracts, for NEW contracts, will be altered soon, but the government is not a party to existing PV contracts already entered into.

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Apocalypse Later

The amount generated is metered; the amount fed into the grid is not.

They can separately meter the amount fed to the grid, but in domestic installations they usually don't bother. My tariff contract simply "deems" 50% to be fed into the grid, regardless, and I get paid on that basis.

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New malware ferrets out and steals Bitcoins

Apocalypse Later

Malware names...

...are not assigned by malware authors. The white hats do not necessarily know or use the names the black hats give their creations. "Infostealer.Coinbit" will be the name that Symantec gave this malware once they discovered and analysed it, having noticed its similarity to other "infostealer" programs, and its individual feature.

The days when a virus could be called "Jerusalem" because that was where it was first found, or "Michelangelo" because the trigger date was Michelangelo's birthday, are gone. Like the plant or animal world, a more systematic naming convention has had to be developed. Hopefully all the white hats are adopting the same names as each other by now. They did not always agree on taxonomy, but they, not the malware authors, always assigned the names.

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A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe

Apocalypse Later

I still keep one...

...5 1/4 inch floppy drive installed on one computer just in case I need to access ancient media. I also keep a pair of forceps to remove CDs and DVDs from said drive. It is actually more likely to get a DVD in it than a floppy, these days.

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Dam Busters dog dubbed 'Digger'

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You might as well fall flat on your face as bend too far over backwards

The last time I saw the original black and white film on the telly, they had dubbed over the n-word. I don't know if it was cluelessness or a deliberate swipe at the PC lot, but the substituted word was "boy". Just try calling a black man that in the USA.

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Site appeals feds' unprecedented domain seizure

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Si Se Puede!

What is Homeland Security doing in copyright disputes anyway? Yet another reminder that allowing governments to take draconian powers because you have been frightened is not going to make you safe; it is only going to lose you your freedom.

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'Leccy price hike: Greens to blame as well as energy biz

Apocalypse Later

today's best hardware

So you haven't bought a computer yet, as the prices are still going down and the specs still going up?

I am totally NOT interested in the CO2 panic or other environmental fashions of the moment, but I'm not going to miss out on a good deal because I think someone else's ethical concerns are misplaced or misapplied. This is a bribe, to get rational people to go along with irrational policies. Take it or lose out.

15k in the bank won't make me anything this year. In three years time, when inflation is raging, I might get 20% on my money as it inflates by 30% and rising (and pay taxes on the "gain"). Or maybe we will get into the state Japan has been in for decades instead- with no interest on savings for a protracted period. I could have bought a new car for the money. Lots of people do, and borrow to do it.

I would rather preserve something of what I own, as far as possible. The government doesn't give you a lot of outs. Did I point out the FIT payments are tax free? If you want to get in on this, you need to act now. The whole scheme is up for review in 2012 (or is it 2013?). Given the uproar that is starting to build, the scheme may be withdrawn or become less attractive. But like I said, I am locked in, with a 25 year contract with the electricity company (not a Government subsidy that can be withdrawn).

Turn the handle the way it goes.

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Apocalypse Later

I've got mine

Yep, the green obsession is costing you all dearly, but it is too late to bail. I have a 25 year contract, index linked. My last quarter's electricity bill went down to £175 quid (from about £250 before), and they (well, you) paid me £460. The rates went up in April.

This was on a maximum sized domestic PV panel installation of about 3.9kW peak costing £15,000. So it looks like I will get around £2000 a year back, one way or another, at today's prices, and going up. That should pay the initial investment back in 8 years, conservatively. I don't know where the maths in the article came from- mine are real.

You can whine or you can get on board. I laugh at the global warming myth- all the way to the bank.

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Hannspree Hannspad 10.1in Android tablet

Apocalypse Later

Android

Yes. major annoyance (having bought an Advent Vega) is that the Android app for Skype currently won't do video. However, when the app is (eventually surely, soon hopefully) upgraded, the Vega has the camera. I like Hannspree, using one of their TVs as a monitor right now (28"), but they missed a bet here.

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WW2 naval dazzle-camo 'could beat Taliban RPGs'

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"wasting paint"

Like "go faster" stripes on the family saloon?

They're going to paint the vehicles anyway, so might as well give it a try.

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Skype pushes out Windows update following massive login glitch

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Ah, but...

...some of us learned the command line first, and were initially a bit pissed at having to adapt to the GUI forced upon us by the common man's limitations.

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Judgment Day prophet resets doomsday clock

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Gravity...

...has indeed increased in the last few years. I first noticed it about the time I turned 50, and it has gotten progressively worse.

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Ah...

... but, someone in the USA did offer after-rapture pet care successfully, getting 250 or so clients (pets have no souls, so wouldn't have ascended).

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Exploited Hotmail bug stole email without warning

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Clearly...

... Microsoft has once more been attacked because it is so popular and dominant in the marketplace, and not because of any security failings per se.

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Dropbox 'insecure and misleading' – crypto researcher

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"You wouldn't buy a chocolate teapot"

Yes, I would. I wouldn't make tea in it though. Millions of people have just had an orgy on chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs, which are no use whatever for the usual purposes to which rabbits and eggs are put.

I have a chocolate watch, in my watch collection. It is right twice a day.

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Student accused of posting bogus coupons to 4chan

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Copyright infringement

"Not sure about the banknote - IIRC you may fall foul of specific laws if you scan and post banknotes"

UK banknotes now carry a copyright notice. There may be an argument that counterfeiting requires the physical reproduction of a note, but a digital scan would certainly infringe copyright. US currency in my possession does not feature such a notice.

Long ago, a newspaper in California printed a monochrome picture of a forged 20 dollar bill to illustrate an article about forgeries (a dumb idea in itself) and there were multiple instances of people cutting the picture out of the paper and trying to pass it.

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Plague of US preachers falsely claim to be Navy SEALs

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Seems to me...

...that the most effective punishment for posing as a hero of any kind when not entitled to do so is to be exposed as a fraud.

In the movie The Boston Strangler, there is a character who poses as an army officer to impress women (very successfully too) who gets swept up in the dragnet. He says he isn't doing anything illegal, and a detective says it is an offence to impersonate an officer. He replies, "not if you don't wear the uniform". Maybe that has changed.

I was supposed to go to Vietnam, but I blew it off.

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Australia cuts solar subsidies, and not before time

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Arbitrage

Well, you aren't allowed to do it. The installation can only be put in place by an approved installer and you aren't to mess with it. As for getting caught, there is an expectation of how much power will be generated by any given installation, and if your meter readings are wildly out of line, they will be around to check. I read my own meter and email it in, but they have the right to check for themselves.

Apparently, people on similar schemes in Spain were running diesel generators to boost their feed in tariff payments, but they didn't get away with it for long.

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Renting

I do know what I am talking about on this subject. I had a very difficult time finding anywhere to rent in the 70s (not 80s). Yes, once the Labour bias towards tenants was reduced or removed, rents went up, and as a consequence rental properties became available again. "Fair rents" are not fair to the person who owns the property. If they can't make a return on their investment (or ever get tenants to leave), they won't let.

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Apocalypse Later

Oh, Gerry...

Of course I understand what is going on, in fact I thought I explained it. Yes indeed, electricity buyers are the ones who are ultimately paying my feed in tariff. The money is not coming from their taxes, or from the government, but via their electricity bills (and mine for that matter). The point about it not being a tax funded subsidy may be a bit subtle for you. Governments are sensitive to public criticism of their tax and spend policies, which are scrutinised by the press and taxpayers. This is a way for them to hide what is going on, as an environmental regulation of the industry, and those who are paying for it are only recently starting to wake up.

Labour used to do a similar thing by giving tenants more and more rights in the property they were renting. It was a way of giving other people's money to those who were likely to be Labour voters. Eventually it became so one-sided that owners wouldn't rent out property anymore. Maggie undid the damage with the current fixed term tenancy rules, but I remember how hard it was to find a place to rent in the 70s.

Of course the renewables policy is bollocks, as is the rest of the global warming industry. I am just taking advantage of the foolishness, one of the rare opportunities to do so. You are quite right to refuse to take the money. It's a highly principled stand and I commend you. You will still have to continue to pay for my bung, though.

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Apocalypse Later

What?

You don't seem to have researched this recently, or properly.

Here in the UK, I had the maximum practical grid-linked PV installation (just under 4kW- more than that and you get a reduced tariff) put up recently for under £15,000, by Tesco of all people (double clubcard points too). I know nothing about an installation subsidy- don't think there is one, but you get paid an absolutely amazing rate for the electricity you generate. At 44.8 pence per kWh, it is four times what I PAY for electricity, and I get that on every kWh I generate, including the ones I use myself (43.3 pence overall, + 3 pence for the "half" that I supply to the grid). They simply "deem" 50% of it to have been fed to the grid, without actually metering that aspect.

This is not a tax-funded subsidy. The government is using other people's money in a round-about way, by forcing the electricity companies to get 15% of their generation from renewables. It is the electricity provider who pays me over the odds for my generation, to meet their renewable quota (and avoid being fined). They don't really care if I use it myself or pump it upstream as long as they get the credit. The company then charges everyone else over the odds to cover their expenses for the renewables bought in.

£2k pounds won't get you an installation, to be sure. And don't try to do it yourself or get a cowboy in, only approved installers can get you the paperwork you need for the "feed in tariff" contract. That's a 25 year contract, with the payments index linked (went up in April).

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IPCC report: Renewables can never meet energy demand

Apocalypse Later

Yes, really truly!!

Once again it is demonstrated that irony is wasted on the internet. Or perhaps you are an American (they do steely and brassy very well, even tinny sometimes, but irony is beyond them).

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Apocalypse Later

Alright Jack

I doubt that I will live to 2050, so no worries.

In the meantime, the tariff for my rooftop solar photovoltaic panels has just increased to 44.8 pence per kWh (index linked), and I find that the yearly estimate the installers put on the installation was very conservative. I paid less than £200 for electricity last quarter (well down as some is coming off the roof) but they are paying me over £400 for the electricity my roof gathered (over 1000 units) in a similar quarter (overlapping but not the same period). So I am doing my bit and reaping the rewards. I hope those who of you who believe the global warming guff don't mind paying for it.

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Shifty scripts on Santander site prompt security fears

Apocalypse Later

Paper money is definitely malarkey, but...

...half crown coins from before 1946 are worth almost six quid today, before 1920, eleven quid. That's just the value of the metal, no numismatic element.

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Fast-fingered oldster relieves shop worker of iPhone cash

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No use?

You can still hold it to your ear and make people think you have an iPhone. Isn't that the primary use fanboys make of the genuine article?

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Punter bags 500GB SSD, finds 128MB Flash inside

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Only a partial fix

This will get you a UK supplier, but the item will almost certainly still come from China.

There are two issues of trust involved: (1) Is the supplier honest? and (2) is the supplier competent? I trust most people to be honest, but doubt the competence of almost everyone.

An honest but incompetent supplier may still sell you duff stuff. You will be able to get restitution, but my time in chasing up a refund (even as a retired person) is worth more than the item involved here.

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A fifth of Europeans can't work out how much a TV costs

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Oops

Sorry, he calls it the Roe effect. The Wade effect is something to do with American football.

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Darwin explains

Survival of the fittest is the reason why we have dumb people. They are the ones that reproduce. Those of us that are clever enough to avoid the trap of multiple offspring (or any at all) don't pass on the genes. "Fittest" does not always mean what we might think or hope that it does.

James Taranto, who writes the "Best of the Web" column for the Wall Street Journal, talks about the "Wade effect" (named for the Roe versus Wade supreme court decision in the USA, giving women the constitutional right to abortion) which he claims is causing Democrats to die out as a sub-species. Republicans have the same right, but are more often philosophically opposed to exercising it.

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Ofcom refuses to interfere on powerline networking interference

Apocalypse Later

"We have had the internet at home for 20 years now"

And networking for even longer. I have personally wired my house three times with different network cables (RS232 was the first). This house didn't even have mains electrical wiring from new.

50 quid to wire a new house with whatever cable the current networks are using may seem cheap, but it could turn out to be money wasted. I once worked at a building site where copper coax was being laid into the houses for some unspecified future use for which it very likely proved useless when the future actually arrived. Pay the extra to install conduit, and you may then avoid having to have your fibre optic (or whatever) fed in through the sewers.

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