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* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

540 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Woman who stung Tinder with sex-pest sueball stings again – with rival Bumble app

Jonathan Richards 1
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What the Dickens?

Mr Bumble, beadle in Oliver Twist is not a good association, but maybe they're not aiming at the Charles Dickens readership end of the demographic.

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NASA revisits Europa with modern image-processing software

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Re: Motorways?

> I assume those big brown lines are MASSIVE motorways

With the emphasis on MASSIVE. 1.6 km is a mile, so by definition the finest line that you can resolve is already a mile across. That bright white line at highish latitude on the left is four or five miles wide, and some of the larger brownish ones are well over twenty miles wide. Fascinating. Europa has to be the next place we go... Or Titan. Hard to choose!

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'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

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@dajames Re: Strange PDF ...

Hmm. That doesn't happen when I render regin-analysis.pdf to screen using Okular. There is no line in the pdf which contains all the letters {u...z}. Page 15 has a body text line with nine instances of {u...y}:

'computers that may or may not be associated with 64-bit Regin, including several variants of svcsstat.exe, a file that'

I'd be interested to see what that line looks like for you. Are you using an Adobe viewer?

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Two driverless cars stuffed with passengers are ABOUT TO CRASH - who should take the hit?

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Re: Ethics vary from one culture to another

Ditto: I'm sure you knew someone would disagree with this, so, allow me also....

> An 80 year old can't be considered worth the same in human terms as a child or 20 something.

Agreed. A perfectly valid metric for our Robot Car Programming Overlord to employ would be the immediate economic value of the vehicle contents. On this scale a child and an 80 year old would weigh less than an employed adult. And then he's got to factor in the likely survival rates: front seat passengers more likely to die than back seat? Of course, badly injured survivors are more economically draining than fatalities (Bouncing Betty refers), so a particularly calculating RCPO might put in a branch where the car chooses to drive overcliff: maximising the greater good, don'ch'a know.

I really don't see how any of this could be ethically beta tested. The very idea that the RCPO would be held negligent at law in the event of injuries or fatalities that offend the human sense of fairness will stop any such thing being deployed in the near future.

I would like to point out that we already have a transport system in which excursions off the route—and collisions—are very rare: railways.

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Our system handles £130bn and it's BUST. Want the job of fixing it? Apply to UK.gov

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Black Helicopters

Re: Ok enlighten me.

It might be to do with the security enforcement regime in the DWP; it will help if the contractor knows how accreditation works in the public sector. There is also the fact that you won't be working for a single director who's empowered to make decisions (which is probably why the enhanced re-enhanced unsupportable system needs attention like this), but you'll have to answer to any number of committees and stakeholders. It'll take a month or two to get your head around the project management structure, I reckon, and it'll be easier to do if you've been close to such, umm, exotic arrangements in the past.

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Re: Tied up in knots

"The contractor will initially be focussed on the project to remediate the Enhanced Transition Service Enhancements (ETSE) solution which has been out of support/security accreditation since 2013."

Yeah, you can deconstruct a lot of previous grief from that sentence. "We had a Transition Service, and we tried to enhance it, but it was still badly dehanced so we got a solution to enhance it all over again, but we built it on technology which is now not supported and therefore the accreditors won't give us the Authority to Operate, and it's not legal to run it, like since 2013, ... " [sobs and groans removed in editing]

Sounds like a cesspit, and I'd want a lot more than £650 per diem to be thinking of cleaning it up.

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Bang! You're dead. Who gets your email, iTunes and Facebook?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Yubikey

There'd better be a copy of that Yubikey; there are lots of ways of dying that don't preserve your pocket contents. :-(

Just sayin'

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The Big Data wrangling CIO you've probably never heard of: But his kit probably knows YOU

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" “We fundamentally believe technology, and use of tech that better engages the customer, will yield huge investments for us.” "

Errr... wouldn't that be investment in technology yielding huge returns? Or is huge investment a business goal for online businesses? Doesn't sound like a Barclay Bros. strategy.

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Lights OUT for Philae BUT slumbering probot could phone home again as comet nears Sun

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Re: It surely has a nuclear battery.. despite their lies.

@Anon John

Oh, yes, it's a joke... but Joerg appears to be serious. A serious case...

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Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair

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Legalese kinda like program code

Yup. So I diff'd the old terms and the proposed update.

The proposed update includes a new condition for users to follow the Promotions Guidelines and applicable laws; a few examples of the trademarks you are not permitted to use outside Guidelines [1]; a big chunk of new terms which apply if you are a developer or operator of a Platform application or website on Facebook; an expanded set of "Special Provisions Applicable to Advertisers"; a derogation in some circumstances from the commitment to give 7 days notice of changes to T&C; and the bland statement giving FB permission to use content and information is replaced by a reference to a Data Use Policy.

Apart from that it's largely tidying up spelling and grammar.

[1] "Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book and Wall"

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Philae healthier... beams CHEESE: Proud ESA shows off FIRST COMET SURFACE PIC

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Re: More photos kept back >-(

> ... NOW!

You could always point your own receiving dish at the appropriate point in the sky, and listen in. You'd be sure to get some wiggly data to plot...

:-)

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DRAMA in SPACE: But Philae KEEPS TRYING to HARPOON COMET

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Separation achieved

I see that Philae and Rosetta are now (2014-11-12T09:09+0000) separated, but it's a bit worrying that a featherweight probe is going to try to drill its way into the surface without those cold gas thrusters. It'll be like trying to unscrew a screw without being able to push on the screwdriver. Fingers crossed.

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Juniper boss exits after board probes his 'leadership and conduct'

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Anagrammatic nominative determinism

Ha! Pay grade shrink!

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Names, ages, addresses, SSNs of US postal staff slurped in 'mega-hack'

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Re: Who the hell are they hiring?

+1 on that. I can't see any good reason for the US Postal Service to attach its Human Resources database to the public Internet. I'm sure that some users would like to be able to log into it from home, or whatever, but their use case does not trump the necessary security. Hacking an air gap is quite hard.

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MoD releases code to GitHub: Our Ideaworks... sort of

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What's your problem? Re: Fecking GPL

They've used the Affero GPL, because, I suspect (and expect) that they want to achieve the purpose which that licence ensures, viz. that anyone deploying a modified Ideaworks instance contributes their server-side code changes back into the community. If they'd wanted to use BSD or whatever, they could, but it's possible that m'learned friends in the MOD would have thought that code from a public body [1] ought to be published with good protections. You will note that the application is Crown Copyright.

[1] DSTL is what remains within MOD of the former Defence Research Establishments [2], the vast bulk of which was privatised and is now Qinetiq.

[2] Homeland of the original boffins, of course.

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If you're suing the UK govt, Brit spies will snoop on your briefs

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Proportionality, indeed

> when "the life of the nation is at stake".

Please read those words quoted above. And again, if you will.

Now, ask yourself in what way any terrorist action of the last fifty years has threatened "the life of" the United Kingdom. Specifically, in what way could the UK have been extinguished? The words you re-read don't say "the comfort of the nation", or "the collective anxiety of the nation", or "safety of parts of the nation", they say "the life of the nation". In no way can HMG make out that losing a case in court will threaten the life of the nation. Please plead guilty: we can all see that you are.

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Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

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Re: Lunacy

... and there's another thing. Will people kindly stop equating "content of the Internet" with "entire breadth of human knowledge"? The Internet does not contain, in no particular order, the contents of the Bodleian Library, most photographs ever executed, or my Mum's handwritten recipe book.

Don't get me wrong, I'm old enough to remember Before The Internet, and being professionally engaged in finding information before one could do it digitally, so I vastly appreciate being able to, for instance, grab a history volume from Gutenberg, and sit with it and with GoogleTM Earth to appreciate a battle two hundred years old.

However, we really mustn't lose sight of the fact that the Internet gives us access only to a sub-set of Human Knowledge.

PS: there's a hierarchy, too. Data <- Information <- Knowledge <- Wisdom. I submit that Knowledge can only exist within a human mind (until ET or AI arrives), and that the Internet serves us up Information.

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HP's pet lizard is FERAL PERIL says wildlife group

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Re Iguanas don't eat meat

Since when did wildlife have to consist of meat? Eating native plants or fungi could equally well upset the ecology, I guess.

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The NO-NAME vuln: wget mess patched without a fancy brand

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Holmes

Re: ... it could “overwrite your entire filesystem”

> you could get up to lots of mischief by overwriting the user's own files

Indeed. Just think for a moment where the valuable and irreplaceable data in your system is; the photographs, the document archive, the password vault... All in /home/yourname, probably owned by your user and group. If /boot is overwritten, that's recoverable. Even /, if you have /home on a separate filesystem [1]. But if someone symlinks all over /home, then it's going to be time to restore from backup.

[1] Such a setup was one of the things recommended in the first Linux I ever installed, I've done it ever since, and thoroughly recommend it.

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Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories

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Re: Could be worse

Yeah, that's what I thought: a bastard hybrid of Fight Club and The Spanish Inquisition sketch:

"The first rule is: there are two things you must not write about: spying, and net neutrality. And SugarString's editorial policy! Three things..."

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Why weasel words might not work for Whisper

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IP location from military locations

> if [the] message is sent over the phone connected to the network on base or campus

I see exactly what is being got at here, but I'd just like to point out that it would be a very strange military base that ran a WiFi network (a) connected to the Internet and (b) to which one could connect with a BYOD phone. If you try to geolocate a posting from a UK MOD site on the basis of IP address, you'll find that there's but one connection from the Defence Information Infrastructure to the outside world. This was an issue back when MOD folk would edit Wikipedia, because Wikipedia would log that IP address, which wasn't specific to the editor, at all. Wikipedia editing was rapidly forbidden, btw.

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Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight

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Down at about 17:30Z

I thought it had lost telemetry, cos altitude was still showing 1700 m, and then I realized that that's ground level in those parts!

Handily within 50 metres of the roadside: recovery should be a breeze, and I'll be interested to know how the servos fared.

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SKYPE has the HOTS for my NAKED WIFE

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Eyes drawn to movement

> that iPlayer thing somewhere

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04l3clb for the next four weeks. 1:30 to 2:50, but the whole thing is good!

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Re: Webcams are vitaly important

re social engineering: yeah, and the name Виталий right there in the title!

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Breaking records: Google exec in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA

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Re: bailing out

Yabbut, bailing out of what? It tells you about bailing out of a high altitude balloon, but we're way above where aircraft fly, and if you bail out of an incoming (or outgoing) space transport, your problem is more about your speed than about your altitude, I should think.

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Silicon Valley scrooges paid staff $1.21 an hour in a 122-hour week

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By the numbers...

...that's not just exploitative, it's physical abuse. 122 hours in 7 days is 17.4 hours a day, leaving a bare six hours for washing, eating, sleeping and other bodily functions. There must be other laws beyond the demonstrably toothless labor [sic] regulations which forbid that sort of thing?

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Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet

Jonathan Richards 1
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Not as backward as you think. Re: 21st century

The late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had a Lockheed Dialog account way back in 1986-7. I bet she hardly ever logged in, though.

If Dialog means nothing to you, or maybe especially if it does, this youtube video created from a 1968 film is a gem.

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Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: There is no way to opt out of this short of deleting the application.

What happens if one reads while disconnected from the network? After all, when reading a book, one doesn't *need* to be online [1]. Does the Adobe Squealer software store the page flips in a log and then transmit them when it can?

[1] I blame broadband. When I did my Internetting with a 14.4k modem, I sure as hell didn't leave it running longer than I needed to!

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: systemd

> Riddle me this -- why would software need any changes whatsoever for systemd, when systemd is just supposed to affect the bootup process?

I think this is part of the confusion. Systemd *can* be used to replace SysV init, and Debian has decided to do so. There are also *parts* of systemd on which applications may depend: this is what has happened with the GIMP.

I'm running KDE 14.04 on my desktop PC, and it's working with Upstart, though I have 65 scripts in /etc/init.d.

PID 1 is still called init, but I nevertheless have systemd packages installed (systemd-services and systemd-shim, plus libraries) and systemd processes running:

jonathan@Odin:~$ ps -ef | grep systemd

root 349 1 0 Oct09 ? 00:00:00 /lib/systemd/systemd-udevd --daemon

root 1335 1 0 Oct09 ? 00:00:00 /lib/systemd/systemd-logind

root 2630 1 0 Oct09 ? 00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/systemd-shim

So, it's not the case that "systemd is just supposed to affect the bootup process". Systemd has tentacles, and some people don't like 'em. I'm one, from what I read at the moment. Doubter, that is, not tentacle!

There's a good diagram here [wikimedia commons], which shows the full horror, et aussi en français.

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'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts

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Re: Oh goodie. A whole new set of Illegal Numbers...

This whole 'illegal numbers' business is reductionist bullshit. "Oh, no, illegal configurations of metallic discs" (coin counterfeiting). "Oh, no, illegal arrangements of printers' ink" (libellous publications). "Oh, no, illegal vibration patterns of air pressure variations" (every proscribed act involving sound, ever).

The fact that something that happens using digital communications does not make it either (a) immune to the attentions of legislators or (b) especially eligible for that attention.

Also, please note that you shouldn't think that I necessarily approve of heavy prison sentences for abusive tweeting, just because I'm tired of "illegal numbers".

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Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

Jonathan Richards 1
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Brake lights -> deceleration lights

In this day of the electronically controlled car, and low energy LED lighting, perhaps we should have deceleration lights instead of brake lights - if the engine management system says your speed is decreasing, light the warning, or maybe even make the warning intensity proportional to the actual deceleration. Yeah, yeah: one more thing to go wrong!

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NASA eyeballs SOLAR HEAT BOMBS, MINI-TORNADOES and NANOFLARES on Sun

Jonathan Richards 1
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Boffin

Re: What about

I had not heard of these 'curves for seasonal radioactive decay' of which you speak. That would be interesting new physics, but a little searching turns up "Old textbook knowledge reconfirmed: Decay rates of radioactive substances are constant [eurekalert.org] . The authors checked decay rates with a scintillation counter, and attribute earlier results to seasonal influences on the detectors used, rather than on the decay rates being measured.

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Prehistoric swingbelly KANGAROOS were TOO FAT to jump – scientists

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WTF?

Re: What size ?

This is as good a place as any to remark that I first read about this research in a short column on the front of the Daily Telegraph newspaper - yes, a real folding one! - on Thursday 16/10, wherein the editors, no doubt out of consideration for their SI challenged readers, had kindly converted the units. The article says "They weighed about 37.8 stone...". Decimal stones, now. Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.

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On Nov 12, a human-made space lab will try to HARPOON a COMET and land on it

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Boffin

How close is very close?

TFA said:

>By March 2015, the comet will come very close to the Sun and the lander will almost certainly perish from the heat.

Umm... the perihelion distance of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is 1.243 AU [1]... it won't get inside the orbit of the Earth. By my calculation, (inverse squares and all that), solar intensity at perihelion will be about 65% of what the ISS experiences during every sunlit part of its orbit. Did Rosetta and Philae have to be built for low temperatures further out, so they couldn't incorporate radiators?

[1] Source: ESA.int

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Rebellion sees Chromium reverse plans to dump EXT filesystem

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Re: Bit pointless

Yes, what he said. It's obvious that the more of your data is stored in the cloud providers network, the more it can be used to "improve your user experience" by piping you "relevant" ads. If you're storing your stuff locally, they can't mine it. Not easily, anyway!

In my experience, the relevant ad thing just doesn't work. If I search for something and Google | Amazon | eBay | $whatever gets an idea that I'm interested in a product, it goes on bombarding me with "you may be interested in" when either (a) I've already bought something so I don't need another one, or (b) I was looking on somebody else's behalf anyway.

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Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown

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From little acorns...

TFA said

> The .公司 is one to watch: it's the Chinese equivalent of .com.

China already has .com.cn, of course, in latin characters. I wondered how far .公司 might have come, so I went to Google™ and asked it for all pages with the phrase 中国 and a domain of .公司. A bit of sedding and grepping later, I find that the eleven pages of results yield exactly two distinct sites: www.天堂寨.公司 (www.ttzly.com) and 中国人寿养老保险股份有限公司.公司 (www.chinalifepension.com.cn).

For comparison, the search '"United Kingdom" site:.co.uk' yields about 280 million results. I'm not about to grep that lot!

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Want a customer's call records Mr Plod? No probs

Jonathan Richards 1
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This is the interesting question, of course. While you may, or may not, trust the current regime of Secretaries of State, police chiefs, and postal and telecomm operators, you can have no confidence that a future regime will not exploit the mechanisms of RIPA in ways that we, and Parliament, did not foresee. Indeed, reports are rife of local authorities abusing RIPA already.

I just read through the RIPA chapter on "Acquisition and disclosure of communications data" [legislation.gov.uk], and nowhere does it state that the telco cannot inform their customer that their communications data has been the subject of a RIPA request. Unless the request itself comes marked with a protective security marking, I see no reason why the automated systems should not add a little paragraph to the subscriber's bill, saying "Oh, by the way, we told Chief Constable Bloggs who you have been talking to".

PS An interesting snippet: Chapter II is explicitly not limited to telecommunications. Royal Mail, or similar fine postal operator, can be required to list all the mail dropping into your letter box, with associated postmarks, too.

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Official: Turing's Bombe BETTER than a Concorde plane

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FAIL

History fail

> after the nukes were dropped on japan, would germany really [have] kept fighting for another 2 years? What if the 3rd nuke was dropped on berlin?

German forces in Berlin surrendered on 2 May 1945, and Field Marshall Montgomery received the surrender of the German forces in North-West Europe on the 4th. By the 7th, General Jodl signed an unconditional surrender of all German forces.

This did not end the war in the Pacific. On 26th July 1945 the leaders of the USA, China and Great Britain issued the Potsdam Declaration, calling on Japan to surrender, or in the alternative suffer "prompt and utter destruction". The first atomic bomb test (Trinity) had successfully been undertaken on 16th July.

Japan did not surrender, and atomic bombs were delivered against Hiroshima (Aug 6th) and Nagasaki (Aug 9th). On August 10th, through Swiss diplomatic channels, Japan sued for peace on the terms of the Potsdam declaration. Japan formally surrendered on 2nd September 1945.

It would have been worse than pointless to drop a third atomic bomb on Berlin, because it had been under Allied control for over three months before the first one was dropped.

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Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Avoiding systemd

> Name a major distro that's not using systemd?

Kubuntu, at the moment, at least. I haven't got it here on 14.04, which is using upstart [ubuntu.com]. This forum post from January 2014 says "... the Ubuntu Technical Board has said that they won't turn away from Upstart without a compelling reason". So even if Debian puts systemd into its distro, Canonical envisages replace it with Upstart when syncing Ubuntu with Debian, in the same way as they replace SysVinit now.

PS There are systemd builds for [K]Ubuntu, if you want them. Seems that there are a number of folk here that don't.

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Hiss-hiss! GIGANTIC SOLAR FILAMENT snakes around Sun

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Re: Saw it on the 27th

> How is it one fails to take photographs?

Couldn't get the right extension tubes arranged to focus with the only DSLR camera available, which was a bit of a disappointment. At the time I had no idea that the long thin sunspotty thing would make it into an El Reg piece...

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Saw it on the 27th

As it 'appens, I was given a look through a rather good solar telescope at Harrow School's Rayleigh Observatory on the afternoon of 27th September. A curious long feature, probably the precursor to the one seen in these pictures, was clearly visible then. Unfortunately we failed to take any photographs!

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Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

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Facepalm

Re: There is no patch for Human stupidity.

> Someone takes one of your kids of your hands

I don't care what you do with your hands: irrespective of what Sister told you, your hands are never going to have kids.

Oh, you meant off your hands! I see. My mistake.

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Want to buy a Woz-made Apple I? If you need to ask the price, you can't afford it

Jonathan Richards 1
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Modern manufacture

> What stops someone from making a new 1950 Ferrari...

+1

I have often said that if I had a sufficiently large amount of money, I'd commission a new Supermarine Spitfire. All the drawings and specs exist, there are original examples still flying to consult (and so flight certification shouldn't be an insuperable issue) and the options of modern materials and methods are there for the taking. I'm thinking that Rolls Royce et al. would have something to say about their designs being ripped off, though.

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Jimbo tells Wikipedians: You CAN'T vote to disable 'key software features'

Jonathan Richards 1
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OT: re LB SAND

OK, I give up. I don't know why an imperial pound of fine silicon dioxide might be relevant, nor a musical artist from Reno, Nevada, nor even Silas Billy's Florida corporation. Tell me more.

PS This reminds me of an occasion many years ago when I enquired about the appearance of a strange rational number '24/7' popping up in written conversation. Sometimes it's not obvious!

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CNN 'tech analyst' on NAKED CELEBS: WHO IS this mystery '4chan' PERSON?

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Meh

Re: Misuse of Word

> The meaning of gorgeous is literally "like a pile of of gore"

Not, according to a usually reliable source.

late 15c., "splendid, showy" (of clothing), from Middle French gorgias "elegant, fashionable," of unknown origin; perhaps literally "necklace" (and thus "fond of jewelry"), from Old French gorge "bosom, throat," also "something adorning the throat."

Edit: Vic beat me to it!

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Uber alles... nein! Deutschland imposes NATIONWIDE BAN on taxi app

Jonathan Richards 1
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Ooo! Crossover!

Unter: Rapid Personal Transport and Organ Donation Service!

(Not an original idea: see The Holiday Home for Pets Pie Company Limited, from Monty Python's Big Red Book)

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

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Google is not the only way in

TFA says: "Google has shown the ability to ... make large parts of the internet disappear entirely."

That would be a good trick, if it was true, and would net the company many beelions more if repressive governments could license the technique.

There's some excuse for the technically less aware to equate "can't find it on the WWW with Google" and "disappeared from the Internet [1]", but it's not what I expect to see splurged around on The Register.

Google has shown the ability to refrain from referring one to many websites in response to certain queries. Fixed, but I'll admit it isn't as dramatic.

[1] I thought there was general agreement that internets in general were so written, but that the global TCP/IP Internet is capitalized.

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TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit

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What eats predators?

> Their website is just one image, no links, no text, no nothing

Ah, the owners of patents covering DoubleClick obviously fear a web visit from the trolls who own SingleClick!

Dun, dun, derrrhhh!

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Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it

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Mushroom

> even a [T]omahawk can be loaded with a nuke

You can make a fairly formidable nuclear weapon considerably smaller than a Tomahawk payload. In the sixties there were nuclear artillery shells for 155mm guns designed for *tactical* battlefield use. I don't think current western military doctrine involves the use of such, but eastern nuclear powers still have them.

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