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* Posts by Annihilator

2852 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Three more 'nauts prepare for space station housewarming

Annihilator
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Scary

I know that there's an impressive record with Soyuz, but man that picture doesn't inspire confidence! Looks more like it was knocked together with some rusty scrapped scaffolding...

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Samsung hauls Apple into court over emoticon patent :-(

Annihilator
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Doubt it's actual emoticons

I'm guessing that it's not the display of ":-)" that is the target, more the parsing of text messages that contain ":-)" and substituting it for an image of a smiley face.

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Comet Lovejoy survives brush with fiery solar death

Annihilator
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Boffin

the surprise

Because it's a "dirty snowball" that's constantly shrinking due to it's tail. If it's got a tail, it's losing mass and stability, and the prevailing opinion was that this one had shrunk so small as to not survive going so close to the sun *this* time. No assumptions were made on it being a first time pass (a hyperbolic comet - very rare) and how well it survived any previous times has little to do with how well it survives this or the next time.

There's only three fates for comets - extinction (nothing left in them, but stable enough that they're just a lump of rock - effectively an asteroid), break-up/disintegration (what was expected here) or hitting something else like a planet, like the one that we got a cracking view of hitting Jupiter back in the 90s.

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Annihilator
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Go

May fortune favour the foolish

Warp speed Mr Sulu

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Homeland Sec., RIAA Torrent lists published

Annihilator
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FAIL

Offensive?

Get over yourself. To use your technique of "basically saying", your post is along the lines of "I'm a pious person who doesn't torrent so went to that site to feel smug about it and missed a joke and decided to get all upset"

Although it also strikes me that you've completely missed the point of what the site is trying to achieve, and also that it's not owned by the RIAA or any similar company - it's an enterprising tech demonstrating that torrents are a country mile away from being anonymous.

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Regulator reckons telly advert caps are just peachy

Annihilator
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Meh

Crap

No limit on how much adverts for other programming can be crammed in then? Have just done a quick random check, most programmes coming from the US are only 22-23 minutes long, crammed into 30 minutes. So Channel 4 showing an episode of Friends (not that they do anymore) has to fill 7-8 minutes per *half* hour. They fill the gap with "later this week, another episode of what you're currently watching"...

With crap like X-Factor, or Come Dine, or Cash In The Attic (or whatever else I'm forced to watch) there is also a missing 2 minutes per ad break made up of "coming up after the break" followed by "welcome back, here's a reminder of what you just watched.

In all, it's about 10 minutes of "entertainment" crammed into an hour.

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Strictly Come Dancing in 3D: the facts

Annihilator
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Pint

Press the red button now

No, not that red button, the one top-right on your remote control. It's probably got a circle with a vertical line down the middle.

It's a doddle to avoid it. In my case though, I find leaving the room while my g/f watches it helps a lot.

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Jimbo Wales ponders Wikipedia blackout

Annihilator
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Meh

Good luck

I recall a similar Digital Economy Act getting rammed through our parliament on a fast track...

I don't think turning Wikipedia off for a day is going to make much of a difference. You're not going to change any minds with that action: those supporting the act will think "tch, free-loving hippies" and strengthen their resolve, those against it will think "yeah, stick it to 'em Jimbo" but still be mildly irritated at the outage.

The rest of the population with no strong opinion will probably sway to the "free-loving hippies" response due to their annoyance.

Doesn't seem to be any winning outcome, except for the scientific/education community who will rejoice as their students will have to do research the hard way...

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RIM execs chewed through restraints after in-flight fracas

Annihilator
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Happy

@Amazon Wageslave

Furry muff, thanks for pointing out my obvious mistake :-)

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Annihilator
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In fairness

Unless RIM were paying for the flight, it's not really any of their business... If they were, then fair enough, but there's not enough in it to judge from the article.

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RED MOON to GO DARK tonight in Pacific eclipse

Annihilator
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WTF?

@Notas Badoff

Thanks for that, I can read the article too. But nowhere does it say it will/won't be in the UK - my entire point. It only tells me where in the US you can see it, and where the "best views" will be, not whether it's completely invisible here.

As I say, if we're lucky we can catch a glimpse of a partial eclipse at moonrise.

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Annihilator
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.co.uk

Would it kill you to even at least mention whether anything is visible from the UK? Even half a sentence would have been a nice thought.

As far as I can figure out, moonrise tomorrow will be the only slim chance, the further south you live in the UK, the better. Probably around 16:00 GMT.

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Next Dr Who game to leave Xboxers in the cold

Annihilator
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Meh

Except

The ridiculous thunderclaps they've inserted into the Matt Smith series, I now spin through the credits when watching it on catch-up.

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Ofcom sets out ambitious plans for 2012/13

Annihilator
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Coat

Spectrum auctions

I've got a ZX81 in the loft they can have...

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Alec Baldwin kicked off plane for playing with his phone

Annihilator
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Happy

Problem

Other than 30 Rock, I don't think I've seen him in anything. Though does Team America count?...

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Annihilator
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Douche

That is all.

Anyone else refusing to turn off electronic devices "when the engines are running on the ground, during approach, take-off and landing" would receive the same treatment. You can argue whether it's a reasonable request, whether it can realistically interfere with critical systems or not, but we all know it's there and comply with it equally.

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SSDs choked by crummy disk interfaces

Annihilator
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Decade or two?

Have you been hiding under a rock? SCSI never died, and has been king in servers ever since. It's now effectively evolved into SAS as the defacto server standard.

iSCSI is still very much in vogue too.

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Secrets of the asteroid belt: Vesta actually more like a planet

Annihilator
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Boffin

Size

"Or to put it another way, to find out why one of these bodies become an asteroid and the other a dwarf planet?"

Given size is about the only thing that separates Vesta and Ceres (Ceres *is* still an asteroid, just a bloody big one), then it's of no great surprise. It would be stranger if all planets were of uniform size.

The only reason Vesta is an "asteroid" and Ceres is a "dwarf planet" is because we bloody defined them as such.

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NASA probe now closer than ANY OTHER spacecraft to Pluto

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Cool

"The New Horizons probe is expected to pass through the Pluto system in mid-2015, by which time the team expects to see features as small as a football field."

They're going to look a little silly if it turns out that Pluto doesn't have any football fields on it... Plus presumably all the Plutonian tennis courts will lay undiscovered.

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OWC 6G Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD

Annihilator
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Whole hearted pedantry

Never apologise for pedantry! You're 100% correct, and the reason they're used is touched on in the article - they're designed to not slip (unlike Phillips) in order to achieve consistent torque (where the name comes from?). Presumably one of the reasons the car industry loves them too.

They're an ISO standard these days.

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Rainbow Islands

Annihilator
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Holmes

Snob

"or as close as you can get with just 4096 colors"

4096 colours?? You don't know you're born... (where's the "when I were a lad icon..", close enough)

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Annihilator
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100%

But you're still a swine, the theme tune for the C64 version is now stuck in my head:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gggp9JkY1Pk

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Apple Thunderbolt Display 27in monitor

Annihilator
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FAIL

re: Hazro

So... you can get a completely different monitor for a different price, the only thing in common being the screen size?

The whole point of the monitor is the Thunderbolt expansion. Criticise if you think it's too expensive for that, but to compare it to something completely different is disingenuous at best.

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Happy birthday, Apple QuickTime

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No alternatives

Agreed, it wasn't brilliant, but it was born in the days when the only alternatives were Microsoft's proprietary formats, "Real" Media's abomination or accepting humungous file sizes in the more basic formats. Quicktime and the format it spawned (MPEG4) have for some years now offered one of the best balances between file size, picture quality and processing requirements. www.apple.com/trailers used to be the benchmark in finding quality video files.

As a Windows user, I'd argue that this is one of the things Apple has actually given the industry.

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Annihilator
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Stop

re: Small problem

Swing and a miss again. The file in question as created by the iPhone uses the 3GP container.

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Annihilator
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WTF?

Really??

I'm not a fan of Quicktime by a real stretch, but are you just inventing stuff? iPhone users may send me a video, but it's recorded in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, the sound is MPEG4-AAC. It's an ISO standard, and has been for around 10 years now. Bear in mind that in the video world, there has never really been a video codec standard, just a mish-mash. Theora is the open source best example, and is aiming to ape MPEG-4.

I've also never seen iTunes installed on anyone's machine unless they meant to do it, I'm not aware of any installer that sneakily puts it onto a machine.

Agendas? Apple-hating and assuming everything is bad, yup, I see the agenda.

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Take this survey: Win an iPad 2

Annihilator
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Holmes

Correction

They want opinions on Business Continuity from the sort of people who want the value of an iPad once eBay have taken their cut...

Although given the biggest complaint seems to be "it's too expensive!", many people may be happy with a free one. Jailbreak it and complaint number 2 disappears (walled garden).

FWIW, my parents won an iPad and use it as an internet tablet and nothing else, mainly because they can't figure out how to buy any Apps for it...

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Toshiba Regza 32UL863 32in LED TV

Annihilator
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Meh

Except

I don't think I've had such a bad experience of when I turned on the variable backlights (so as to locally dim some of the screen). It is just awful, with lag being a common problem (screen turns to black, half a second later the backlight of that section noticeably dims) and the density of the backlights not being high enough to give an even effect (part of a section turns black, backlight dims across the section giving an uneven contrast).

Top tip on any backlit screen - turn off the "variable contrast" or whatever they call it.

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No alternatives

If there were true LED TVs on the market, then fair enough, but they haven't progressed past prototypes yet, with size being the limiting factor.

Generally when you see an "LED TV" in a store, it's just to differentiate against CCFL-lit LCDs, indicating it'll be thinner and more energy efficient.

But then, I'm just pissed off that I'll never see an SED flatscreen that I was promised many moons ago :-(

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Baby-kissers battle over what to do with White Spaces

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re: "more efficient"

"Wrong. TV Broadcasting is up to 10,000 more efficient than Internet solutions."

So? It's also infinitely more efficient than a two-tins-and-string solution, who's comparing it? Besides it depends on how you're measuring efficiency.

"Wrong. It's only mostly empty. It's stupid simplistic analysis like this that is leading to the fantasy of "white space""

All frequencies are "mostly empty", there's no such thing as completely empty, but for the sake of simplicity it's acceptable to call it "empty" where a strong enough signal can reduce whatever else is there to background noise. The point is that in the "empty" space, a low powered transmitter can overcome the noise, while not being powerful enough to encroach into the primary coverage area (or rather, just become noise there within the snr)

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Insanely great PCIe 4.0 bit rate locked in

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Boffin

re: Laptops

Again, varies, but they have them. Or at least every Centrino since 2006 has them (the wifi cards usually connect via PCIe, and PCIe generally replaced the Northbridge)

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Annihilator
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Paris Hilton

PCIe lanes

Quite a low stat I reckon. On average I'd say there were at least 12 per motherboard shipped these days.

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Hands on with Star Wars: The Old Republic

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Obligatory whenever I see "Old Republic"

"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic, before the dark times, before the Empire. A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights."

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James Bond savages the Kardashians

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Happy

Love it

Not only DC's comments, but the descriptive phrase of "the highly talented and decorative Kardashian clan"

On a side-note, didn't realise he was with Rachel Weisz. Lucky barsteward. I'm sure there are many who think lucky bee-hatch on her behalf too. And those that think neither.

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eBuyer £1 sale fail: Customers vent fury... on Facebook

Annihilator
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Pint

@Bassey

Yup, we live in the age of outrage, where everyone is owed everything.

Try this fun game at home that I often like to play. Take any news article, particularly in the Mail, Express or Sun and try reversing the angle on how they presented the case.

As an example, take this very article: "Online retailer reports record customers eager to get hands on bargains, lucky few very happy" followed by a vox pop of a Dave Widdlesworth from Ipswich saying "I struggled to get into the site as it was very busy, but was delighted with product x I got for only £1!"

Try it, you can do it with just about every story, you can even add outrage to a fun/happy story if you're that way inclined, although taking the easy "think of the children!" route is cheating.

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NASA wants space washing machine for ISS, Mars bases

Annihilator
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In my head

Just imagined a washing line hanging outside the ISS with a man in a spacesuit hanging up his nice clean undies. Made me chortle to myself anyway

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Best Buy fires parting shot at Dixons with closing down sale

Annihilator
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@Grease Monkey

"The sales weasel told me that this was because the printer didn't come with full cartridges."

It was previously the case, certainly on HP printers, that they gave you "starter" cartridges, but I believe that's fallen by the wayside of late. Was true in the late 90's, the box even said as much

I still remember being appalled when my first USB printer didn't come with a USB cable! In the good old parallel printer days, you always got one - that was another sneaky "peripheral cha-ching" trick for them...

Having said that, the XL HP ink packs are going really cheap in Best Buy... managed to grab about 6 before a gentleman came in and bought the entire stock, presumably for his own shop.

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Annihilator
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Boffin

"Where is customer support and warranty provision going to come from?"

Pretty much the reason for the discount. You're going to the manufacturer for any problems. Often sale/discount items in this case can be limited to "7 day return only"

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MPs: This plan for proper navy carriers and jets is crazy!

Annihilator
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@BenR

Yup, it's the Raptor you're thinking of. But the hardware is restricted too.

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Using virtual particles to get real random numbers

Annihilator
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Unhappy

Beer - random?

Sadly for me, beer seems all too predictable with no element of randomness.

Generally it's drink -> fun -> loud, obnoxiousness -> singing (optional depending on gender) -> unconsciousness -> headache + regret.

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Pirated software hard drive on display as art

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Happy

Honeytrap much??

Hang on, I've just checked out the link to the manifest - a PDF containing links to the torrent(s) in question?? Cha-ching...

Careful El Reg, the RIAA will consider you a facilitator...

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Annihilator
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Go

Done

"The piece is on sale, with the price set at the retail cost of the hard drive,"

Bargain, I'll bite. To save on the hassle of downloading it all myself, I'd pay the price of a HD for it (and consider it a bonus).

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Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'

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WTF?

Question

What the holy hell is this article doing under "Science"??? Suggest moving it to a new category called "whackjobs"

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Jawbone Up wearable health sensor

Annihilator
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Boffin

Mumbo jumbo

Two main issues with this. First is that most phones are capable of measuring activity via their gyros and accelerometers - the bActive app is one that I can think of that does just that (Android only at the moment IIRC). The second is the supposed "sleep cycle monitoring" that is similar to the Sleep Cycle app. Although it's an interesting idea/concept, the science behind it is non-existent. The apps infer that when you're not moving, you're in deep sleep and vice versa. It's been shown that this is largely flawed logic - there is no direct correlation. Sleep labs use these devices to measure rest-activity cycles, but have to rely on electrodes to measure EEG in order to determine "deepness" of sleep.

You may "feel" more refreshed if this app (or Sleep Cycle) wakes you, but it's likely to be largely placebo. I've yet to see a double-blind test of these apps anyway.

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Keep the utopians out of my fridge

Annihilator
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Sums up cloud

Brill article.

Probably wrong that the highlight for me was in summing up automation by cloud, you summed up cloud for me:

"if it can only be had by passing my data to people I don’t know, I’ll do without or find some other way."

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Disk drive prices swell 5% every DAY in floods aftermath

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Boffin

@steve007UK

It's easy to understand why the price went up of *existing* stock, because there is no distinction between the HD in the shop, and the HD further up the supply chain. Hell, the value of *your* HD went up too. It's not that there is some magically expensive hard disk further up the supply chain and is waiting to be conveyer-belted along the chain.

By value, I'm talking about "what the market is willing to pay for it", not "what the retailer bought it for". In many instances, the retailer doesn't even "buy" the stock to sell to you, see Sale or Return for an example, and quite probably iPads in authorised resellers (if the Apple NDA allowed us to find out).

In fact if the supply chain as a whole didn't increase its value, it would get even more complicated, as different shops would have vastly different prices depending on when/where in the chain they are.

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Demon Currys iPad showered kids with HARD-CORE smut

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Meh

@Joe 3

Judging by the rest of the posts, this isn't a trolling attempt, but a serious post.

Unless your post is the troll, and I've fallen hook, line and sinker. Or maybe further still, *this* post is troll-bait. The meta has gone off the scale!

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Annihilator
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Happy

Who knows

They had a good 70 seconds to enjoy the smut, as they were apparently 10 seconds ahead of their mother, and the dim-witted parent then apparently took "a minute" to realise what she was looking at.

Best 70 seconds of any youngster's life I reckon..

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Falklands, Cardiff lie beneath track of rogue Phobos-Grunt

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Eh, no

Classic misunderstanding of independent events' probabilities. Not winning the lottery one week doesn't improve your odds of winning them next week.

I hear the odds of a bomb being carried on a plane are a million to 1. I now carry one with me whenever I fly, as the odds of TWO being on a plane must be huge, so I'll be safe..

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Rock star physicist Cox: Neutrinos won't help us cheat time

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Irony overload

Article which mentions Cox saying "of course we've thought of this, it's also a lot more complicated" towards armchair physicists results in armchair physicists commenting with their own half-assed theories...

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