* Posts by YARR

255 posts • joined 24 Nov 2008

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Stylish Vaio biz mobe is flying this way – ah, it's got Windows 10 inside

YARR

Unbiased reporting there as ever.

My guess is they're aiming at businesses, because business buyers usually justify their purchases for rational reasons. Windows Phone would have a larger market share if most phone buyers were rational.

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Brit airline pilots warn of drone menace

YARR

Aside from introducing more drone-conian regulations, perhaps some practical solutions are in order? How about putting up warning notices on all open areas of public ground from which someone could inadvertently fly a drone into the flightpath of an aircraft?

I thought that most drones capable of flying that range would have a programmable altitude ceiling, or require you to specify one as part of the set up process. Any responsible manufacturer of such drones ought to supply clear instructions of where to find the regulations for flying drones in your country. Of course that sort of information is liable to be lost if the drone is sold on, so perhaps a permanent label should be be fixed to such drones with a message like "Observe flight regulations for your country at <short url> before use".

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US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

YARR
Black Helicopters

Re: The thing to do with these kooks

Attack the idea, not the person.

He's probably part of the master conspiracy which includes creating false conspiracies to divert attention from the true ones. You're not one of those gullible people who believe there are no conspiracies are you?

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After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

YARR
Go

Video review suggestion

If a picture says a thousand words, then a video shows... more than that.

I think a narrated video running through the new features would complement these reviews. A highly edited video that cuts everything into a few minutes. That way we can get to see for ourselves how new features work and can make a better judgement about whether to upgrade / switch / whatever.

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Five key findings from 15 years of the International Space Station

YARR

Interplanetary contamination - Drake-like equation

Probability that Earth microbes already exist on Mars =

time in years that bacterial life has spread over the Earth x

probability of impact large enough to produce space ejecta in any year x

probable number of meteoroids produced by impact x

probability of microbes surviving heat of Earth impact x

probability of microbes surviving in space x

probability of meteoroid headed in direction of Mars x

probability initial velocity is sufficient to reach Mars orbital distance from Sun x

probability of alignment with Mars orbital plane and Mars gravity well x

probability of microbes surviving impact with Mars

All in all, quite likely then. Should we really worry about contaminating Mars?

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US Marines kill noisy BigDog robo-mule for blowing their cover

YARR
Boffin

Then the next step is to develop a quiet petrol engine...

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Blocking out the Sun won't fix climate change – but it could buy us time

YARR
Boffin

Natural carbon capture

Wouldn't using nature to capture and store our excess carbon be the simplest approach, then nature does the work so we don't have to? We need to convert large areas of land where currently not much grows into dense forests or grassland (I'm guessing forests convert more CO2 per area than grasslands)? As the plants grow they absorb the carbon from the atmosphere, when they decay the carbon is captured underground.

To convert vast areas of deserts and Arctic tundra, we need to identify and selectively breed (possibly using GM?) suitable plant species which can thrive in those environments, then seed them.

To cover large areas of land quickly, use aircraft to disperse these seeds in bands along the current boundaries of desert / tundra. Once the vegetation grows, move to the next band and so on, year after year. As the vegetation advances it should retain more moisture and nutrients in the soil, further supporting the advance. Obvious really...

Any reason why this wouldn't work?

Any reason why governments don't do this?

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Intel Xeon chip ban? Pfeh. China triples top 500 supercomputer tally

YARR

If the supercomputers in use are good enough, why race to replace them? And why ban the Chinese from buying Xeon CPUs (the one's with the biggest profit whack) which would help balance the trade deficit and boost Intel's shrinking profit margin? Crazy politicians!

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US military readies drone submarine hunter

YARR
Thumb Down

Re: This is a game changer

Re. "have a fleet of little underwater drones equipped with big hifi systems capable of emitting sound signatures of all kinds of submarines"

Bad idea. Whales and other sea life already suffer stress and navigation problems due to the noise pollution from shipping. They can do without more unnecessary noise, in particular outside of shipping sea lanes.

Following a "drunkards-walk course" would be a bit of a give away unless the submarines operated in the same manner.

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Trident test-shot startles West Coast Americans

YARR

re. "at least the military thought to close off the relevant civil airspace"

If they closed off the airspace, why are there so many other lights in the sky on the Vimeo take?

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How to build a city fit for 50℃ heatwaves

YARR

Re: I would build down not up.

If building down is so expensive, can the same benefit be obtained by artificially raising the surface? i.e. build sideways so that all buildings are joined together to become one large building. Then construct several insulating layers above all this - like multiple thin attic spaces. More insulating layers would allow a greater temperature gradient between the inhabited area and the exposed surface.

Of course all that solar energy going to waste could be converted to electricity by covering the deserts in solar panels. Then they wouldn't need fossil fuels to run the air conditioning.

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Chinese fire up world's 'most powerful' drone brain

YARR

It doesn't look very rain-proof does it?

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Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

YARR

Why wasn't the B52 replaced by the B1 / B2 / cruise missiles long ago?

If they have to have a plane that size, why not convert them into drones? Drone B52s could be kept in storage until needed, preserving the remaining life of the airframes.

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Amazon Fire HD 8: Mid-spec Nokia Lumi... er, MediaTek slab

YARR
WTF?

That's weird...

... why would they reduce the horizontal resolution from 1280 in the last model to 1200 in this one?

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Apple files patent for long-rumoured iRing-type bling

YARR
Joke

Do they charge by the sentence for filing patents in America?

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Nine of the world’s fastest GPU supercomputers

YARR

The slowing performance gains of CPUs in recent years has reduced the need to refresh desktops/laptop as often, and it's looking the same for mobile computing devices with tablet sales now falling. Are GPU performance gains also slowing, and has this affected the refresh rate of HPC systems?

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Mobile phones are the greatest poverty-reducing tech EVER

YARR

Re."what the abolition of the entire payment and credit system would do to an already developed economy"

Yes retail banking is essential, but investment banking isn't - it provides little of value to society, widens inequality, profits from and denies intelligent workers from more worthwhile industries.

Rather than spend billions of taxpayer's money bailing out the old banks, perhaps the government should have started a national non-profit retail bank, reducing the motive for risk taking and the likelihood of future banking crisis? When all banking is done electronically, the overheads will be minimal, and banking services could effectively be free for all.

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Windows RT gets new Start menu – but no Cortana or Win 10 apps

YARR

Re: Customer Service

If they can run a (cut-down) Windows 10 an a non-MS, low-spec ARM powered RaspberryPi, why can't they support it on an own-brand ARM powered Surface?

Is there a standardised boot loader / UEFI BIOS equivalent for ARM devices yet, so generic ARM OS builds can be released?

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Confession: I was a teenage computer virus writer

YARR

"the virus that made random letters slide down and off the screen"

Cascade.

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Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY

YARR

A9

it's also the name of an ARM-powered computer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A9home

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Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

YARR

Re: Looks pretty impressive

... except that above 32Gb is SDXC rather than SDHC. Compatibility usually depends on the standard supported rather than capacity.

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Windows 10 to grow up, turn extra enterprise-y beginning this month

YARR

I hope they test these new Enterprise features more carefully than they did Windows 10 itself.

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Daredevil Brit lifts off in 54-prop quinquaquadcopter

YARR
Boffin

Very cool (literally)

I wonder if you need a license to operate one of these?

Next step would be to add some controls, or are they just not working very well? If the seat was hanging, then you could control it by shifting your weight around like a glider. Otherwise, if the rotors on the left and right sides are contra-rotating, add a joystick which alters their relative speed on the left-right axis to rotate the copter, and similarly alters the relative speed of the front and back rotors to tilt/move forward and backward.

After that you could compensate for wind-drift - not sure if that can be done using a gyroscope or GPS or something that can measure the ground speed.

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Muted HAMR blow from Seagate: damp squib drive coming in 2016

YARR
Stop

If HAMR drives need a larger gap between platters to accommodate a laser in the read-write head assembly, how can Helium reduce the gap if the fundamental problem is the head size? To solve the head size problem, either the lasers must be shrunk in size, or they must be moved outside the platters and the energy transferred to the head via some kind of a heat resistant optical fibre.

On the issue of hard drives v high capacity SSDs, the primary issue is cost, not data density. Multi terabyte SSDs cost thousands of pounds because they comprise many, perhaps hundreds of layers of silicon, each of which have to individually etched. Unless the cost of the chip fabrication process can be reduced through automation, then large capacity SSDs will remain expensive. Also current SSD technology is approaching a limit, so don't expect capacities to continue increasing for long, until a new memory technology replaces it.

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Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

YARR

MOM + DAD

Judging from the pre-beta screenshots, the idea for the Win95 UI almost happened by accident...

https://sites.google.com/site/chicagowin95/index

http://www.betaarchive.com/screenshots/index.php

Does anyone remember the MOM (Microsoft Office Manager) which offered an icon-bar / drop-down apps menu that bypassed the awful Windows 3.x Program Manager? As I recall there was a similar offering from a rival (Borland / PerfectOffice ?) suite which they called the DAD (Desktop Application Director) toolbar.

Also, weren't PC HD floppies only 1.44Mb?

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Biz that OK'd Edward Snowden for security clearance is fined $30m for obvious reasons

YARR
FAIL

"Obvious reasons" ?

Did Snowden have a history of whistleblowing then?

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Yet another Android app security bug: This time 'everything is affected'

YARR

A carpet of flaws?

or...

A patch Tuesday of flaws?

or...

A Labour Party manifesto of flaws?

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Two weeks of Windows 10: Just how is Microsoft doing?

YARR

Did you check that your power settings aren't set to put the computer to sleep or disable wifi after a certain time without user interaction? Ideally an OS installer ought to override the power settings and force the computer to stay on, plus insist that you are connected to mains power before starting.

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Apple, Google should give FBI every last drop of user information, says ex-HP CEO and wannabe US prez Carly Fiorina

YARR
Thumb Down

Read between the lines...

This is post-fact, in-group ass-covering / a vain attempt at shaping public opinion.

They shared all the data long ago, no doubt Carly personally authorised a back door in every HP PC.

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How many Win 10 PCs were in distribution the week before launch?

YARR

Since my main PC at home runs Linux, I could afford to take a gamble on Windows 10 (as it's non-essential). So I took advantage of one of the recent offers from Lenovo. After fitting an SSD and clean installing Windows 10 (thanks MS for the downloadable ISO) it runs smoothly and is a big improvement over Win8.1 (without Lenovo malware/crudware).

Despite the barrage of Windows 10 criticism on el Reg, fundamentally Windows 10 looks to be a usable successor to 7 as a desktop OS, but it can also be used in tablet mode to replace Win8 on touch devices. I expect once those remaining issues are fixed, few Win 7 or 8 users will have reason not to accept the free upgrade.

How usable Windows is depends on how you use it. Personally I think having apps sorted A-Z on the Start menu is a benefit since you don't have to spend time arranging them and you can find apps quicker on other people's PCs. Besides any app you use regularly, you would pin to the taskbar.

It wouldn't surprise me if, next time the average home user upgrades, a surface type device running Windows 10 could replace the function of both a tablet and a laptop, with the advantage of an OS that gets reliable software updates. I wouldn't have said that for Windows 8, but for 10 it's possible.

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Chechen women swindle ISIS via social media: 'We need roubles to join you xx'

YARR

Re: Why arrest them?

I wish I could downvote all the downvoters here. If someone else is a criminal that doesn't justify you also becoming one. These women chose to break the law (assuming scamming is illegal in Chechnya), so the consequences should be applied fairly to them as they would to anyone else. If you permit some lawbreakers to escape prosecution, you encourage them to take the law into their own hands. If we all did that a crime wave would spiral out of control. Law enforcement exists to maintain order and prevent this happening, it does not serve to enforce one particular moral viewpoint.

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How much of ONE YEAR's Californian energy use would WIPE OUT the DROUGHT?

YARR
IT Angle

Floating desalination plant?

If the investment in a desalination plant cannot be justified due to uncertain future demand, why not construct a floating desalination plant and anchor it offshore? The only onshore investment needed is a power supply and a pump to send the water where it's needed. In x years time when the demand for water is satisfied, disconnect it and float it to somewhere else in the world that has a water deficit.

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Pakistan wants to copy GCHQ and eavesdrop on world+dog's comms

YARR
Boffin

Re: “Mass, indiscriminate surveillance goes against the most basic fundamental human right to privacy."

If that is true, then targeted, discriminate surveillance must also go against the most basic fundamental human right to privacy. Otherwise privacy is not a human right, but a privilege which the so-called authorities can deny to anyone they class as a suspect. If something is a human right then not only suspects but convicted criminals would be entitled to it.

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Trebles all round: The BBC's won this licence fee showdown

YARR

Re: "The Corporation has expanded the Telly Tax onto computers"

I hope this quote was taken out of context. The argument for a TV licence was justified when the device being taxed had a single purpose and received only a limited number of approved channels. Nowadays internet access is necessary for modern life. Levying a BBC tax on anyone who just wants to stay in touch with friends, buy goods, manage their finances, apply for a job etc. online is unfair and inappropriate. At the same time, we can watch BBC content without paying for it using iplayer. The fairest system is to pay a subscription if you use the service.

I'm not criticising the value or quality of the BBC, but if they believe they are an essential service to the nation, why not find out by letting the nation decide via a free marketplace? If they're concerned that they are becoming less relevant, an open marketplace will answer that concern and then they can decide how they should respond.

When the BBC was the main source of broadcast media they had a responsibility to be all things to all people and provide a wide range of content. Now that technology gives the consumer access to an unlimited range of alternative media sources, the BBC's role as a national broadcaster has to evolve. Perhaps they should focus more on UK content. We can watch foreign movies, TV series and sports events elsewhere, so perhaps the BBC should cut those altogether and focus on British content?

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Samsung stuffs 2 TERABYTES into flash drive for ordinary folk

YARR
WTF?

"Each drive contains 128 32-layer 128Gbit Samsung 3D V-NAND chips"

Surely not? It can't be possible to fit 128 chips inside a 2.5" drive. They must mean 4 chips each containing 32-layers (effectively 128 layers, each storing 16Gbytes/128Gbits).

Either way, 128 layers of silicon must consume a large area of wafer. No wonder they're so expensive. I can't see there being much room for price reduction / economy of scale in future.

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AMD looks at sinking sales, gulps: It's worse than we thought

YARR

@Lunatik re "Where's the consistent branding?" - Intel's branding is not consistent, Re-using old brands like Celeron / Pentium for chips using recent cores is confusing. You have to resort to checking the exact model number to find out what you're really buying. If they scraped the old brands and renamed the Atom to the i1, then they'd have consistent branding.

If only AMD had called time on FX and started on Zen sooner then it could have been timed to release with Windows 10, as the Athlon XP coincided with Windows XP. To keep things ticking over in the short term, I would have thought there was space in the market for an AMD equivalent to the Intel NUC / Mac mini. A competitively priced device of that size with "good enough" gaming performance, space for a couple of SODIMMS and 2.5" internal bays could help revive their fortunes. The era of full size desktop PCs seems to be drawing to a close, and the remaining power users / pro gamers are more likely to pick Intel (for now).

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WHY did NASA probe go suddenly SILENT - JUST as it was about to send pics of remote ice-world?

YARR

Perhaps upon arriving at a New World, it was celebrating it's Independence Day, then changed it's mind after deciding that could violate the laws of robotics.

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Apple pulls Civil War games in Confederate flag takedown

YARR

Re: Apples offend me, Tim Cook.

Fast forward 150 years....

Rainbow flags offend me. They stand for separated colours and division. We must decree that the only flag that is universally acceptable is a uniform mushy-grey-brown colour.

My great-great grandfather (adoptive gay-dad) flew the Rainbow flag but now I say enough is enough! Ban this rainbow filth!

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US Air Force drone pilots in mass burn out, robo-flights canceled

YARR
Boffin

"War" ?

Are these drone pilots actually fighting a war? Has the US congress signed an act of war against another nation? If so, then any retaliation against the US or US citizens would also be an act of war rather than an act of terrorism.

If on the other hand, the drone pilots are fighting terrorism (and they must have a legal agreement with the nations where they do so), how do they determine who is a terrorist? Are the people they're killing known to have committed acts of terror? Do they survey the population at a distance from their drones, then decide that someone looks suspicious, so they should be killed?

Presumably US citizens are OK with someone from a faraway land flying drones over the US and deciding whether they should live or die?

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Mozilla: We don't give a damn about cheap smartphones

YARR
Coat

I don't condone using sex to sell, but that certainly is one foxy lady.

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NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

YARR
IT Angle

These economic fact with opinion pieces are interesting despite having nothing to do with IT, but it would be helpful if they included references to official sources of all the figures quoted.

The last figures I recall seeing for the British national debt was over 100% of GDP and growing, despite the cuts. Perhaps the official government debt doesn't include all real debts or predicted future liabilities? I still consider an 80%+ deficit far too high, and that over the economic cycle borrowing should not exceed the surplus.

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Microsoft: Free Windows 10 for THIEVES and PIRATES? They can GET STUFFED

YARR

Please offer an ISO + Vista upgrades

I imagine they are offering upgrades to people who originally used a licensed copy of Windows, but when it slowed down with crudware or just broke they didn't have the media for a clean install so used illegitimate install media instead.

Here's hoping they release a downloadable ISO that can either upgrade or do a clean install for any PC capable of running Win 10 that has a valid product key (including OEM back to Vista). Since Vista has the same driver model and higher hardware requirements than 7 that ought to be do-able. They should also allow upgrades of all capable machines to 64-bit, even if they previously had 32-bit Windows (some did). However most XP era hardware is probably too slow and wont have supported drivers for Win 10.

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Google's 'stale pale males' to be replaced by crack black chick pack

YARR

$150m ought to pay for enough gender reassignment ops and Jackson-esque skin-tone alterations to tackle the issue.

Perhaps if they can't find enough takers among their workforce they could outsource diversity carbon credit style.

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Zuck'ed up: Facebook opens up free internet in India – but bans HTTPS

YARR

I take back the point about tracking, I thought the URL itself wasn't encrypted, but it is.

If people thought this was an important issue they could campaign to encourage FB show a clear message when users connect, so they are aware of what level of privacy they have.

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YARR

Re: Oh really?

I don't follow your reasoning. The information you're talking about is in the public domain so there's no point in encrypting it over https. Putting https at the front of the url wont stop anyone from tracking which pages you're looking at. If you want anonymous browsing you'll need a fully encrypted connection like a tunnel or tor, or a web site that uses entirely ajax requests over https.

Again this service is free, not mandatory, not intended to compete with a full Internet service and will eventually become obsolete. The fact that it's a walled garden means it's unlikely to contain any information which governments would want to track, unless people are silly enough to indict themselves on FB.

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YARR

If this were full Internet then obviously they'd need https, but you don't need https to access online information which is the most useful application to very poor people.

The justification is that https cannot be cached, and caching is required to provide this service at low cost (free to the user) to many people in areas where internet bandwidth is currently very slow and/or expensive.

When users start to use online accounts and make transactions, they will need privacy, which will boost demand for paid internet access. If they provided full internet access for free, they'd be undermining other providers.

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YARR

For anyone criticising the lack of privacy / features of this service, you are not the target market - it's meant to provide access to essential information in areas of the world where people can't afford internet access at the speed required for modern websites. In the longer term, as internet access improves in those markets, this service will become obsolete, as have web portals.

Think of this more as a canny long term strategy by Facebook to grow their market abroad. They know that in other established internet economies (China, Russia, South America etc.) it's hard to compete against local social networks. The key is to get in early in upcoming internet economies, and try to become the defacto social network before the local competition. Poor people in Africa / India don't need Facebook right now, but by offering it with free internet access the hope is they will continue to use it when demand for social networking in those markets eventually picks up.

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Surgery-bot can be hacked to HACK YOU TO PIECES

YARR
Coat

Let's hope no-one makes a killer app for this.

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Free markets aren't rubbish – in fact, they solve our rubbish woes

YARR

Recycling

The main problems I have with recycling are....

1. Many items still aren't clearly labelled as to whether they are recyclable. There needs to be a consistent mandatory labeling standard implemented. I think some producers are loathe to admit their packaging can't be recycled, but not clearly labeling items can lead to recycling mistakes. (The logos that tell you something is made FROM recycled material are confusing).

2. Some items can be recycled in some places but not others. There needs to be a wider policy to make recycling consistent.

3. Some councils don't bother recycling in areas where residents don't have space for multiple bins. This could be overcome if there was only one bin for all recyclables and items were automatically sorted, Or better still, if all rubbish was automatically sorted for recycling. Automatic recycling technology would allow more obscure materials like those mentioned in this article to be reused.

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