* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

1167 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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BOFH: An architect and his own entirely avoidable downfall

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Going soft

Have an upvote for the Bored of the Rings reference!

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Spaniard claims WWII WAR HERO pigeon code crack. Explain please

Peter Simpson 1
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Ob:

BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE

// all caps and no punctuation for authenticity

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The most tragic thing about the Ashley Madison hack? It was really 1% actual women

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: So the crackers were correct - it was a scam

They were selling a dream...

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Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Google Translate? It's actually useful/usable if you know what you're doing

Now I know how Chinese manufacturers generate their English documentation.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

Re: Everyone does it

...the Americans laugh at Polacks...

Not any more. We laugh at Florida (yes, the entire state), Texas and Trump now.

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

Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

@ MrXavia

If you switch to Linux, try Mint MATE. Has been working well for me since I ditched Ubuntu over the UNITY interface (tiles, like Win 8, non-starter)

For those Windows apps you just can't live without, I've been using VirtualBox. I run XP in it, because I have install media for it.

I have found, that a spare HDD is handy. Unplug your Windows HDD, install the new spare HDD and install Mint on it. Now, you can play with Mint all you want, and always go back to Windows by moving the plug to the other HDD. Should you decide Mint is for you, you can mount the Windows drive as a secondary drive, and access it as a slave drive from Mint.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Turbo-blast from the past

Marketing named it.

The choice was between "Turbo" and "Sluggo"

// first against the wall...etc.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: @Roger

My moment of revelation came in 1994, when I downloaded (Slackware?) Linux, installed it on a second drive and used it solely as a remote Xterm to our Unix system. The contrast between the speed of a remote Xterm and local schematic editing software under Win3.1 was enough to convince me that Linux and not Windows was what was going to be on my home PC.

Took a few years (!) before I got god desktop apps, but I'm quite happy with Mint 15.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Windows 3.1 was awful

Windows 3.1 was fine...unless you actually wanted to DO anything with your PC. Like edit a document more than a page or two long, or work on a multipage schematic.

Remember QEMM? Worked fine until you really needed it to manage memory, then it fell on its @ss.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

Re: ".....your product is not a choice, it's a necessity."

Well, it's a necessity if you didn't buy an Apple product :-)

// there's always Linux...

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Peter Simpson 1
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Childcatcher

Re: A)

Shit I feel old.

Me, too.

// Linux user (on and off) since 1993

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

We (the public) will tolerate user interface improvements, but not changes, for change's sake (unless we have the option to retain the previous UI).

Microsoft doesn't seem to "get", that users make an investment of time and effort in learning how to efficiently use a UI. They do this, not because they enjoy learning a new UI, but so they can efficiently do... whatever it is they are using the computer for. Often, this is Real Work, the kind they get paid for, or yelled at if they don't do it quickly enough.

Hey! Microsoft! I have some news for you...your product is not a choice, it's a necessity. People need to have it, in order to use their computers at all. We don't enjoy it when you make us re-learn the UI. We enjoy it even less, when you do it EVERY G*DDAMN YEAR!

Pick a UI, and stick with it. And take those tiles and that ribbon, and shove it where the sun don't shine.

// and your "Clutter" folder, too

// didn't ask for it, don't need it

// spent the better part of an hour figuring out how to turn it off

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Home Office seeks advice on Police Radio omnishambles

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Several issues here

1. Anything you build will get overloaded at some point. Murphy's law. Nobody designs a system like this for the maximum possible load (think 9/11 in NYC), it's just too expensive to pay for capacity you don't use daily.

2. Agree that it will probably be digital, but digital doesn't degrade gracefully in low SNR conditions like analog does (which, among other reasons, is why ATC comms are still analog AM), and encrypted digital does even worse (because you need to recover crypto sync as well as voice codec sync after a dropout)

3. My fault...by "GSM", I meant "wireless telephone infrastructure". If there was a way to piggyback onto that, you'd have a readymade network available to you. Prioritize police traffic over civilian mobile calls. But they'll probably end up building a complete new nationwide network...the best you can hope for is colocation on existing towers.

The system will be late, WAY over budget and will be found to underperform (perhaps badly). At least, all the ones built in the US have been. The sales people will over promise, the engineering managers will assure us that everything will be fine, and the odds are still that the system will fall on its face when the first really heavy load hits it.

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Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Several issues here

1. System load (variable, but must degrade gracefully under full load)

2. Analog vs digital (advantages to both, but the messages MUST get through if at all possible)

3. Infrastructure cost (leveraging GSM infrastructure is attractive, independent infrastructure more secure but costly)

4. Profit must be made

5. We need it yesterday and for free, please.

Good luck. I predict it will be late, unsuitable for purpose and several times over budget.

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Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

This is what happens

When the salesmen, lobbyists and consultants have more power than the engineers.

When fielding something very complex, where the consequences of failure include people dying, it is important to design and test it well. Only engineers can do this, and they need to be good ones. There are probably several hundred of them in the UK.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: so why can't

Taking away the permission in US law would be a "taking". Something that they must compensate for at full value.

Uh...true, except they define "full value" as the value at which the property is appraised for tax purposes, which is often significantly lower than the market price.

// this does vary by state, though

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High-heeled hacker builds pen-test kit into her skyscraper shoes

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Silicon Valley

Looks more like Silicone Valley in this case...

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And it begins: Ashley Madison bonk-seekers urged to lawyer up

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

The 5%

Ashley Madison's closest kept secret seems to have been the male (95%)/female(5%) ratio of their subscriber base. Either those 5% are awfully busy (!!!), or there are a lot of unsatisfied men paying money in the hopes that one of those 5% will pick them. Now, how many of the 5% are "women of negotiable affection" has yet to be determined...

Some sociology postgrad is going to mine this database for all it's worth and get a PhD out of all this.

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Camera-carrying DOLPHIN SPY caught off Gaza

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Notably absent...

...any photo of said captured marine mammal, or its equipment.

// slow news day in Palestine?

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Act of God damaged data on Google cloud disks

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Mark Twain

"Thunder is good. Thunder is impressive. But it's lightning that does the work."

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Colossus veteran flies a drone over Bletchley Park

Peter Simpson 1
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89 and flyng a drone

Good on her!

// not there yet, but well on my way

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Surprise! World stunned to learn that AT&T is in the NSA's pocket

Peter Simpson 1
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Black Helicopters

Not voluntarily...since 2003

(and probably WAY longer than that)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

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Testing times as NASA rattles Mississippi with mighty motor burn

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: Actually been there ...

REAL Rocket Scientists!

Impressive. Although, we've done this once before with Saturn V.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Nah - carpentry is where its at

Mnemonic phrase for the resistor color code.

So politically incorrect, I can't type it here, but it starts off: "Bad Boys..."

I am so glad resistors do not have colors on them any more (they're barely visible at this point), and that I do not have to teach this mnemonic to incoming engineers (female).

// vestige of a former time.

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Peter Simpson 1
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@ Phil O'Sophical - I (male) have been asked the same question by a female engineering intern. It was one of the few times I was at a loss for words (anything I could think of saying had undesirable consequences).

After what seemed like several minutes, I replied with something innocuous and the tension was diffused. Can't for the life of me remember what I said.

// "give it a little more thought, it'll come to you"

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Costa Rican authorities detain drug-smuggling pigeon

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

A black pigeon?

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Huge explosion kills 44+ in China, blasts nearby supercomputer offline

Peter Simpson 1
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A WAREHOUSE...full of EXPLOSIVES? Who the hell thought THAT was a good idea?

Sounds a bit silly -- explosives companies are usually pretty careful about how they store their product, being aware of its capabilities.

Usually...but not always:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Fertilizer_Company_explosion

Perhaps it was a warehouse of ammonium nitrate fertilizer? I don't understand why you would be storing that amount of explosives at a port (unless, of course, you were the military).

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Exploding Power Bars: EE couldn't even get the CE safety mark right

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Let me guess...made in China?

How many times do we need to reiterate this: if it's made in China, treat any certification marks with extreme skepticism.

I've seen China manufactured devices with FCC compliance marks. Only problem is that under the FCC mark, you're supposed to print a code which identifies the manufacturer and the device. And you need to have submitted the device to the FCC for testing before that code is issued. What's a poor Chinese manufacturer to do? Use a code they found on another device, of course. The FCC in an uncharacteristic display of efficiency, has a website on which you can input the code and see the manufacturer name and product model number associated with it. Surprised they don't match what you hold in your hand? You shouldn't be, if it was made in China.

Here's a test. Take a CE-marked mains-powered consumer device made in China. Disassemble. See how many creepage and clearance spacing violations you can find. Then ask yourself: did a competent safety testing organization ever see the inside of this product? We won't even get into the voltage ratings on the capacitors.

iPhone charger teardown: http://www.righto.com/2014/05/a-look-inside-ipad-chargers-pricey.html

I'm sure there are many fine products built in China. My iPhone is one of them. But the "do anything you have to to make money" attitude still seems strong in China. Until that attitude is changed, there will be exploding products made there.

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Apple and Google are KILLING KIDS with encryption, whine lawyers

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Eat fewer doughnuts

Yer not kidding.

I was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard last week. President Obama arrived, and the Massachusetts State Police Motorcycle Unit was present to block roads so His Greatness could pass through, unimpeded by us plebs.

Every single one of those motorcycle cops could stand to drop 100 pounds. The amount of guttage was amazing. I mean, stereotype and all, but these guys must sit around the garage chowing down on Dunkin's finest for the entire shift, every single day.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Dad was Secretary of State under Carter and Secretary of the Army under Kennedy and Johnson

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

Peter Simpson 1
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Teletypes

(should really do this all in UPPERCASE, but I take pity on you all)

Before I went off to University, the one thing I really wanted, was a Teletype machine for accessing timeshare systems. I managed to find parts of one, and an anonymous, but very kind technician at Teletype's local repair facility built it into a working machine for me...for almost nothing.

I took it to school with me, used it for 4 years in my dorm room (apologies if you lived below me) and managed to get a job repairing them for the university computing center (this job also came with an unlimited time and memory account on the mainframe!). So, not only did I have a job, I learned how to repair my own machine and never had to worry about trudging downhill in the snow to use the public terminals...all my assignments were completed in the comfort of my dorm room.

When I graduated, I took a summer job at DEC's Westfield, MA plant. They happened to make "glass teletypes" there, VT52 and VT05. One of the perks was that employees could buy defective gear from the scrap pile. I bought parts and assembled my own VT05 (which required troubleshooting and repair before I could use it) to replace the Teletype. Graduate school was 300 baud time! Fortuitously, the acoustic coupler I had purchased for the Teletype was capable of higher speeds!

The good old days. I don't miss them, but I sure had fun doing things the hard way.

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Peter Simpson 1
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VW Beetle

I had a '59 Beetle. Total death trap, but I learned much about how cars are designed and how they function, by removing and repairing brakes, engine, electrics, etc, at age 16. I would not have had it any other way. Cost me $150 and I sold it two years later for the same amount. I saw it once again, so I know the new owners got their money's worth. All except for the Wolfsburg badge off the bonnet...I still have that.

No windshield washer on mine, but the AM radio worked! And I learned that AUF meant down and ZU meant up when trying to figure out how the pole jack worked...clever, those Germans.

edit: I must add, as I think about it 40 years on, that the '59 Beetle, designed as a "people's car" was a masterpiece of design, for a low cost, manufacturable, basic city car, it was really a work of art.

// insert Yorkshiremen joke here

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Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

Peter Simpson 1
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Black Helicopters

Re: Probably air con fear

Google "Korean Fan Death".

// those things can kill ya!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Zere vill be NO installink of new aircon wizout the proper papervork!

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What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

Peter Simpson 1
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Unhappy

Re: Wrong title

Yeah? Well, enjoy it.

Rain here today, predicted to last through Wednesday morning. You can pretty much use a meteor shower as a (rainy) weather forecast around here.

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Get thee behind me, Satanic mills! Robert Owen's Scottish legacy

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

New England

We have an old mill or two around where I live, as well. At age 10 or so, Mum took me to a still-working wool weaving mill in New Hampshire (apparently, she knew the owner or something, and we got a tour which you would certainly not be able to get today, even if the place was still running, which it is probably not). Impressive and noisy is all I remember.

Lowell Massachusetts has a whole National Park built around the old mills (which, though I live within 50 miles, I have never seen...must remedy that). http://www.nps.gov/lowe/index.htm

There is also, in Rhode Island, the New England Wireless and Steam Museum, which hosts an annual "Steam Up", where steam is generated and restored mill engines, rescued at not inconsiderable expense and effort (these things are big and were frequently below ground level) from abandoned and not-so-abandoned mills are powered up, as well as models brought by visitors. Well worth a visit if you're here at the appropriate time (which, this year, is Saturday, October 3) http://www.newsm.org/

// no steam icon?

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NIST in suspected 'meth lab' blast: US Congress is demanding answers

Peter Simpson 1
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Facepalm

Re: proper lab protocol...

My Mum used to tell the story of her family parties in the Prohibition years. Her dad was a surgeon, and as such, was allowed to buy pure ethanol...as much as he wanted. "Bathtub gin" was what she called it.

// icon's for the morning after headaches

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Peter Simpson 1
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I wear polo shirts from companies I *used* to work for. Also ones given to me by vendors and friends. Any logo's a good one, as long as it's not the company you're currently working for.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

When I worked at Data General (a long time ago)

We once had a new director who informed us that we would be having "Casual Fridays". As an engineering group, we had never heard word one about dress, the implication being, that if all the naughty bits were covered and you didn't smell too bad, you were good.

Our group arrived Friday morning dressed in our "interview suits". Nothing more was heard about the matter.

// a photo was taken...I run across it occasionally

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Legendary Brit physicist Stephen Hawking gets full Intel comms refresh

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Ignorant and Intolerant Main Stream Media Provides Perfect Protective Cover ....

... more easily understood than your post.

You must be new here :-)

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Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they have defined the smidge

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I reckon I can cope with the antics of....

Oh, shuttup, Big Nose!

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How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Why are they not more often in the news ?

''our monitors went ping over xx people who we shall investigate''.

You're saying they have the machine that goes "ping"?

It's very expensive.

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Neil Armstrong's MOON spacesuit: One small donation from you - one giant leap for Mankind

Peter Simpson 1
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46th anniversary

I've chucked in a donation. It's a shame they need to beg, but having the first suit on the moon on display would be a good thing. If we can't get approval for the LOHAN flight from the FAA, maybe we can get Neil Armstrong's space suit on display.

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Driverless cars banished to fake Michigan 'town' until they learn to read

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Fantastic projets

And the double-decker bus is now a convertible, its computer having failed to process the bridge height restriction in time...

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An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one MEEELLION miles out

Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

What, Australia? They got the US...where the money comes from :-)

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

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Americans find fantastic new use for drones – interfering with firefighting

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: Dumb question...

Perhaps, but certainly the laws of common sense, which seems to be alarmingly absent in today's yoof.

// agree, they should have dumped the water anyway...drones be damned.

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German army fights underground Nazi war machine hidden in Kiel pensioner's cellar

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Pity it wasn't a French tank

"What idiot would sit around trading fire without moving?"

AKA: shoot & scoot

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Farmer mooved after reunion with two-year fugitive cow

Peter Simpson 1
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The grass is always greener...

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Lawyer brands client 'small penis asshole' before challenging him to a DUEL

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I wouldn't normally do this but...

Bonus points are awarded for using all three (or four) in the same article.

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