* Posts by Richard Cross

16 posts • joined 30 Apr 2007

Tourist magnet blows off Speedo-wearing men

Richard Cross
Megaphone

Down With Thought Police Censorship!

Maybe I've gone native since living in mainland Europe for the last 9 years, sort of lost my 'civilisation'. Can't help but think this is just another example of British culture becoming unanchored and having absolutely no centre to it apart from buying stuff and trying not to offend people.

The whole idea that a body can be offensive is strange to me. There are fat people, really skinny people and some in between. Some have got big knobs, some don't. What's the big deal? How can any of this be 'family unfriendly'? So many items of clothing are designed to reveal or enhance the ability to see the shape of certain body parts, so what's different about Speedo style trunks?

Oh, it's wandering pubes. OK, whilst I agree it's not a great look, it is a part of the body. The person didn't deliberately grow it so as to frighten a little kid did they? Can we look forward to the time when a woman is ejected from a public place for wearing a bob tube, or having forgotten to do a recent shave under her arms?

If a person wants to appear in public revealing lightly more of themselves than others would chose to do, why should anyone get wound up about it. As a father of two early teen daughters, I am not upset if they see sme dude in a banana hammock. They like me can chose to secretly i) laugh at what they see, ii) admire what they see, iii) just ignore it. I don't want the Thought Police to start this kind of censorship as it is just a matter of personal taste.

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Tesla takes Top Gear test to task

Richard Cross
Flame

Top Gear "Fuel Cell is the Answer"

I wondered to myself, if a car has got a less than 250mile range of hydrogen to supply the fuel cell... would you be about 250 miles away from the nearest hydrogen filling station when you ran out of fuel?

I have my doubts that it will be easily possible to build a hydrogen re-filling infrastructure anytime soon (say by 2020 or 2030?!). Then there's that whole Zeppelin tendency that hydrogen has and remember, the only way to get range out of hydrogen is to put it under some serious pressure.... which of course, exacerbates it's tendency to run away a bit.

Seems to me that it is highly logical to pursue the middle path, which is a combination of motors that can operate in a highly efficient and optimised manner. Combustion engine for crusing over long distances. Electric motor for the stop and start of urban chicanery. Call it a hybrid solution. Oh wait a minute....

The French gov't have spiked a report in Sept.08 which pretty much came to this same conclusion in a much more studied way than Top Gear would ever do.

Flame symbol, 'cos that's when hydrogen is happiest.

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Amazon UK pulls Scientology exposé for 'legal reasons'

Richard Cross
Joke

Hypocrisy Anyone?

Am I the only one to notice how many people are lambasting Amazon for not standing up to the Scientologists, yet they seem unable to post their names to go along with their comments?

I happily await the arrival of my copy (please don't let me down Waterstones - I'm a new customer!).

For those of you new to these debates about Scientology and it's beliefs, the best source of education is of course South Park - the "Trapped In The Closet" episode. It's out there on the Interoogle and is funny on several levels. There's also a South Park "Blainetology" expose, but that is just a fantasy religion based on the imagination of a crazy outsider for his own profit, whereas Scientology on the other hand, err......

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Dawkins' atheist ad campaign hits fundraising target

Richard Cross
Boffin

Surrender Monkeys to Modernism

Surely even the statement "There is probably no God" is just the expression of a different kind of faith (one that is probably even less aware of the forces which shape it's pre-suppositions)? I find the proposed advertisment as nauseous as being told what God is like (thanks all-knowing Christian fundies - Oh no, that's a characteristic of God isn't it?), or that a certain type of watch is going to boost my attractiveness to women (I should be so lucky).

Dawkin's humanism is just as much a surrender monkey to the dictates of modernism as the blind faith of the [insert your preferred religion here] fundamentalist.

I feel sorry for people who have no wonder or mystery in their lives. We are the insect life of eternity (probably!).

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Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Richard Cross
Happy

Magnets & Banks

In reply to post #4.

CERN is near Geneva, the big banks are HQ'd near Zurich half way across Switzerland, which is about 3 times bigger than an actual cuckoo clock, so yes, this will undeniably lead to the end of the global banking system. Perhaps they should have thought of this beforehand. Curse their short-sighted amateur preparations!

Interesting thought: in this day and age of impending environmental apocalypse, no one seems to be giving the press the figures for the LHC power consumption. I'm sure they are using low energy lightbulbs wherever possible, but I reckon it's going to need several 13A fuses welded in tandom when they plug this baby in to the mains.

And that got me thinking... instead of recreating the start of the universe, maybe they are just accelerating the end of the world as we all meltdown along with the ice caps. Still, we should be able to see the bankers whipping out their DRPs first.

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Wireless browsers shut out of the Olympics

Richard Cross
Unhappy

Sure it's annoying

I live in Belgium. As part of the 37 channels I get through my local cable provider, we get BBC1 and BBC2 along with major channels from the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany etc.

I don't pay any UK licence fee any more. Maybe a part of my Belgian TV fees goes back to the Beeb? It's a pain that I can't wave my biometrically enhanced British passport in front of my pc to get some Olympic streaming going on.

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UK electricity crisis over - for now

Richard Cross
Thumb Down

Rocketards

I am assuming that these rockets will in fact be wind-powered when they are deployed to slingshot nuclear waste to the sun? Because the economics of oil* suggest that we won't be able to waste the stuff for very much longer - let's get used to this - we have the awesome privilege(!!?) of watching the beginning of a paradigm shift.

We are transitioning from the days of cheap and easily available energy to a time when energy demand management is going to rule. At the moment, the only enforcement point is price but I suspect other mechanisms will arrive before too long. Energy rationing is destined to be a part of our future in most of our lifetimes given the current rate of depletion of known energy sources (no great, workable ideas for the future are really coming to the fore are they?).

To illustrate the point - a study showed that for every gram of silicon chip, 630grams of fossil fuel energy was required to manufacture it. That doesn't sound sustainable to me...

* yeah yeah pedants - I know rockets are not powered by oil but by other chemical fuels like Liquid Hydrogen - but where does the energy come from to manufacture the hydrogen and keep it in a cryogenic state? There are very few processes, be they industrial, financial, technical, agricultural (?!) that don't rely on hydro-carbon energy sources at some point.

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Air France pilot in white-knuckle near miss

Richard Cross
Thumb Down

@ Cris C

Au contraire mon amis...

It's a near miss as in, "a near miss" not a "far miss".

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Anti-Scientology crusader vaporized from YouTube

Richard Cross
Unhappy

@ saatmarket

Well that would be the main point of argument wouldn't it? ("follow human rights and respect people").

I'm all for religious tolerance and blossoming spirituality that go along with those high ideals you pointed out. I just can't reconcile that with the persistent strong-armed aggression of "The Church" of Scientology. If I thought long and hard about their organisational profile and methods, I'd say they had more in common with organised crime than with a church.

They rely on everyone else's ignorance about what they do and fear of standing up to them. All bullys like you to fear them, which is why I am am NOT posting anonymously. I'm reminded of the saying that "Evil prospers when good [wo]men do nothing".

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Microsoft on the hunt for 'serious' Windows flaw

Richard Cross
Alert

@Ray

Ray

This is the first paragraph of the article - it contains a clue for you...

"Microsoft bug squashers are investigating reports of a serious security vulnerability in Windows operating systems that could allow attackers to take control of vast numbers of machines, particularly those located off US shores."

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Plan for 20mph urban speed-cam zones touted

Richard Cross
Heart

Best of Both Worlds

I don't understand the obtuse thinking that refuses to acknowledge any merit in the opposing (cars v bicycles), (safety v speed), (legislation v personal responsibility) arguments.

We can't have an absence of laws/ accountability just because a few drivers are quite skillful and wary of the danger they pose to others. There are so many arrogant people who just don't give a damn about anyone else that the threat of jailtime or financial punishment is absolutely required to check their attitudes (and typically accompanying lack of driving skills, amongst which I would include, observation, decision making and anticipation). I used to race Superbikes and I love speed, but we learnt that the safest way to go faster was learning when we had to go slow.

I'm really impressed by cities like Oslo and Amsterdam where bicycle riding is prolific. Fit healthy people who aren't risking their lives by taking an environmentally positive action, nor are they passing the danger down the road 'food chain' to the pedestrians. The transport system has been designed to achieve this harmonious balance. It starts with the intention to do it rather than just regarding bus/ pedestrian types or cyclists as driving-wannabees.

The trouble is, we all need a degree of speed, be it on foot, two wheels or four wheels or more. Predictable consistent speed is better. As IT people, we often refer to this as 'bandwidth management'. How to maximise throughput with the most reliability. I don't think slowing down the traffic speed is the best way to balance throughput and avoid collisions. Better traffic management is the way forward.

Overall, i would like to see something that allows for more personal responsibility like with German Autobahns - no speed limit but you must be in control, so if you crash into someone, you face a harsh penalty. I'm all for slower speeds and collision avoidance when it is really needed, but my car/motorbike/brain's ability to travel at 90mph on a barren stretch of 3 lane tarmac should only be risky from a safety point of view, not a legal one. Then for the people who ignore the traffic protocols and jeopardize the other network user's speed and reliability, they should face massively harsh deterrants - the sort of which will re-engineer their attitudes and skills.

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Real time location systems are the new buzz in RFID

Richard Cross

125Khz - very old

"The choke point feature is a unique capability currently. All the AeroScout tags are dual in that they have a built-in passive tag exciter which works at 125 KHz."

Doesn't sound very unique to me - HID Corporation have been selling 125Khz personnel access cards for about, ooh, 25 years I reckon. It's about as bog standard a badge reader can be.

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Planting trees will not save the planet: official

Richard Cross

Can't Agree With That!

Sorry Geoff Gale, but I can't go along with what you say at all:

"All of this stands as solid testimony to the fact that our best predictions are simply guesses - guesses that have been caught up in the heat of politics and power."

Yes, those models are complex, yes there are many variables, no, not all the attempts to understand the problems of global warming neatly overlay in complete consistency with one another. But anyone who has a grasp of human advancement over the last thousand years or so would realise that great steps in knowledge often take time.

One person raises an idea or suggestion, they are refuted and ridiculed, chastised as being out of standing with the commonly accepted wisdom of the day and then over time, more and more people consider what was said, they test it for themselves, they contribute new data or models, and presto, a paradigm shift in thinking takes place.

Thank goodness for people like Copernicus and Galileo and Newton and Einstein and Darwin. Every single one of them was controversial. Why would you think that the emerging science of global warming would be any different? We are only on the cusp of understanding right now. What the world doesn't need is the head-in-sand, 'safe-ignorance' is superior to 'uncertain progress' types.

Anybody with a slight grasp of this science is aghast at the rate of change to ecosystems compared to well understood variations in planetary temperature cycles. Carbon dioxide is a big factor in this of course, amongst many others. A study at offsetting carbon has provided further insights. Just because it produced results that were not at the high end of hopes and expectations doesn't mean the whole thing is rubbish. There's so much more to be understood. Suffice to say, it seems to me that those best predictions are not as you say "wild guesses" but "best predictions"; lets hope they get better quickly. Have a lentil-filled wholemeal bread sandwich on me!

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Firm offers to patent security fixes

Richard Cross

Improving Security?

Anybody think that this novel approach has anything to do with value added services to improve the life of the weary Security Officer, or is it just a nasty scheme to enrich the greedy?

If this ever comes off, can you imagine not being able to patch a security hole because of a protracted legal dispute between "Intelligent Weapons" and the software vendor of choice, all the time knowing that ever greater levels of disclosure in the legal circles will give full advantage to the hacking community to develop exploits.

Imagine being served a wit because you developed a workaround to protect your systems... This is bad for everybody, except for the lawyers.

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Scientology tries to discredit BBC documentary

Richard Cross

Logical

I came in late from work and only caught the shouting scene in the programme. I can only come to one logical conclusion from seeing these 2 mins of footage.

i) People don't become BBC Investigative Journalists by having a track-record of screaming and shouting at people, losing their temper, by being wildly irrational.

ii) So, my logical conclusion is that the Scientology guy is an exceptionally well-trained and practised irritater of journalists. Harassing, invading, domineering, threatening, malicious and manipulative.

Given L.Ron Hubbard's dubious past and poor record as a creative writer, given that the COS feels it is necessary to employ and train the person who got under the skin of the Beeb journalist, it makes me quite sure that they are dangerous and scary people who are on a deliberate campaign to integrate themselves into society, so they can continue to exploit the feeble of mind and feed off their money. This should be strongly opposed at all levels.

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Enraged AC Milan fan eBays goalie Dida

Richard Cross

Canadians don't play Hockey

This is ridiculous. Hockey never originated in Canada. Hockey is another of those fabulous sports which originated in England. I believe Canadians are rather good at a sport called "Ice Hockey". At times, the players can give a puck, to grateful spectators, as a souvenir.

Real hockey, sometimes mistakenly Americanized as "Field Hockey", only has one person completely insulated against the possibility of pain, thanks to astronaut-sized body armour. Unlike "American Football", a game started by a big punt.

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