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* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

507 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Prehistoric swingbelly KANGAROOS were TOO FAT to jump – scientists

Jonathan Richards 1
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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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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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Jonathan Richards 1
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Thumb Up

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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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?

Jonathan Richards 1
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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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Go

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

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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

Jonathan Richards 1
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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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Euro space boffins narrow down lander sites on comet doing 135,000km/h toward Sun

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Unambiguous labelling

A, B, I and J --- I and J? If I was looking for labels that couldn't be confused with one another, those two wouldn't make it as candidates.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Category error

I don't think J. K. Rowling has ever published anything that might reasonably be described as science fiction.

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Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Sir

> I would like to see a table ...

You could set about compiling one from the information presented here:

UK Sentencing Guidelines.

33 months is less than one would get for a rape conviction (guideline 4-19 years).

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Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Routing

> I'm impressed that it keeps circling back to cut across Blighty

Yes, me too. With the entire Northern Hemisphere to choose from (in theory) the vehicle apparently passed within *3 km* of its launch site on this circuit.

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You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Summoner's Tale

Chaucer wrote The Somonours Tale, I believe. No apostrophe for Geoff. I don't understand where Sting's alleged error lies, though. If there is one Summoner, and he has ten tales, then are they not properly grammatically described by the noun phrase Ten Summoner's Tales?

Edit: I see I am not the first PGN to hit Submit! Didn't know that about the Summoner/Sumner thing, though. That's illuminating.

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Sadly

Eh?

As I understand it, this isn't a traffic issue, it's about the number of routes that a Border Gateway Protocol device must keep in its routing tables. There are now more than 512K routes, i.e. links between Autonomous Systems, on the Internet, breaching another one of those arbitrary limits which someone set *ridiculously, humungously huge* way back when your operating system ran from a 5.25" floppy disk.

If device operators are lucky, then increasing the routing table size is just a configuration issue (for values of 'just' involving taking down your network), otherwise they may have actually to replace the physical devices.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

@Kubla Cant - MTP instead of USB HDD mode

Yeah, this was really off-pi... um, off-putting. I have an HTC One X with fixed internal storage: no SD card.

I managed to work out (with difficulty) how to make Kubuntu on my PC communicate using MTP, but I'm stuffed when it comes to the car: I used to be able to connect with USB and play podcasts, music, etc. from the phone. Now the car headunit just reports "Media Error".

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Cut price Android on steroids: OnePlus One – should we look gift horse in the gob?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Happy

Re: Buy one? Really?

> you can buy one, providing you know someone who already has one

Well, you do. Mr Orlowski has just told you that he has one. Isn't that sufficient?

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ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

Jonathan Richards 1
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Sky-iron

Watch out for the Panserbjørne!

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When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

Jonathan Richards 1
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Technological gap

OK, in the promo video this thing seems to understand natural language - "You know me so well" is interpreted as an affirmative - so its language processing is going to have to be done either by an offload server in the house, or more likely in the cloud. We all know where that leads. It's clearly envisaged (ha!) that this thing will know everyone's facial characteristics and be able to label the meatbags around it. It listens and watches and records... oh, yes, I want one of these, NOT.

Finally, that promo video house was distinctly two storeys. The little guy is going to have to learn to climb stairs, or have a lift of his own, unless you've got to carry it around with you, in which case it's only a mobile phone in a funky case.

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British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

Leaving aside cartoons etc., every picture of child abuse, from which people profit, is made at the moment of some poor child suffering actual abuse. In the sick marketplace for such images, the suppression effort is being aimed at both suppliers and consumers, in an effort to stop the latter from becoming abusers and suppliers in turn.

I'm with everyone who wants to see the real perverts meet justice, and with everyone who doesn't want by-standers caught up in some indiscriminate trawl based on dodgy evidence. But this is what rules of evidence, and courts, are for.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Government control the police...

...they wish. Your scenario kind of implies that there's one "Chief Inspector" that can make stuff like this happen. In fact there are nearly fifty independent constabularies in the UK, each led by a Chief Constable (or equivalent; Chief Inspector is a relatively low rank). So Mr Cameron would have to be able to have dozens of top policemen to go "Righty-ho", and you only have to look at the Andrew Mitchell case to know how popular the politicos are with the constabulary, and to see how this sort of conspiracy simply wouldn't work, and wouldn't remain secret for more than a few minutes if any particular PM were to try it.

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Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

Don't forget the camera...

Several apps I run have recently asked to add to their permissions on update to be able to take pictures and record audio at any time. I am sufficiently creeped out by this to have installed Disable Camera.

I totally agree that the permissions model is not correct, and the recent "simplification" has made things worse. Updates *used* to tell me which permission requests were new, and now they don't.

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Jonathan Richards 1
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Boffin

Tall items don't fall intact

Just look at chimney demolitions. Although the initial tilt from the vertical begins with the chimney intact, the fabric cannot transmit the forces necessary to accelerate the top of the chimney along a circular arc, and it breaks at its weakest point. I don't know if anyone has tried toppling a Falcon 9 to see what would happen; I guess a bit of computer simulation would give the answer as to whether its stiffness was up to it.

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FBI: We found US MILITARY AIRCRAFT INTEL during raid on alleged Chinese hacker

Jonathan Richards 1
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Coat

su bin?

jonathan@Odin:~$ egrep ^bin /etc/passwd

bin:x:2:2:bin:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin

jonathan@Odin:~$ /usr/sbin/nologin

This account is currently not available.

Ha! My leet system configuration defeats you again, # su bin!

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Watch: DARPA shows off first successful test of STEERABLE bullet

Jonathan Richards 1
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Record distance...

... for the calibre, note.

Cpl Furlong's distance was beaten, *twice in succession*, by two confirmed kill shots taken by Household Cavalry Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison at 2,475 m. However, he was using .338 ammunition.

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El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Happy

For extra bonus points...

... one of the screws in the signs ought to be somewhat oversized and not properly tightened. Sigh. One can't have everything.

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Amazon begs Feds for drone test permission slip

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Ah, we thought of that, Grumpy!

"So that we can be aware of the situation of the aircraft at all times, it is equipped with high-resolution cameras which continuously transmit back to the operator and record to remote storage. In the event that nobody appears at the property to receive an air-drop delivery, the drone will fly to windows and other suitable apertures to survey the interior to ascertain occupancy.

While this will have the useful effect of deterring theft or violence directed at the aircraft, it may also prove to be a useful source of data, e.g. to recommend exciting deals on replacement of tired home furnishings.", a company spokesdroid did not say when asked.

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Snowden seeks Russian asylum extension

Jonathan Richards 1
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FAIL

Automoronic

Snowden was born in 1983. The Soviet Union ceased to exist at the end of 1991. So they'd have had to have recruited him sometime between birth and the age of seven.

Get a grip.

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Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: I say bullshit

>T&C's don't hold up very well in courts.

[citation needed]

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Jonathan Richards 1
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Splendid sentiment, but...

...sloppy supporting remark:

> Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat

No they didn't. People have known that the earth was spherical from antiquity, and Eratosthenes even made a pretty good measurement of its size in about 240 BC, i.e. about 2,300 years ago.

> humans were alone on this planet.

We've never been alone on this planet. (Sorry, I put you and me together in that sentence, assuming that you are in fact human). We're accompanied by endless more or less related species, with some of which we have remarkable and productive relationships. There have been times since our species appeared that we might even have had other hominid species that we could communicate with. While I'm in the camp that finds it more likely than not that there is life beyond the thin shell surrounding the Earth, I'm also firmly of the opinion that we'll never get physical intelligent visitors. Space is hugely, mind-bogglingly big.

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Revealed: SECRET DNA TEST SCANDAL at UN IP agency

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: on a technical note...

> how good the DNA results were at identifying the targets?

para 14 of the Pooley report states "Everyone who provided samples was excluded as a suspect".

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That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: One punter was so casual...

You beat me to it.

"One punter was so keen to get the cash when selling someone else's iPad they did not even turn off the device, let alone wipe photos and emails stored within."

There, that sounds more like it. Behaviour like that would make me, as a buyer, call off the deal instantly.

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Jonathan Richards 1
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Facepalm

Variola

Let's hope firstly that there are no more of these little surprises lurking elsewhere, and failing that, hope that the rest turn up before the meaning of 'variola' is lost on the young team tasked with turfing out garbage from the back of storage room Z9. "I thought it was OK, boss, because it didn't have a ☣, or nuffin'". [1]

[1] Biohazard symbol developed in 1966-7, I find, though I'm sure I remember reading about it as being a novelty in the early seventies.

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Xiaomi: Hidden Android dragon is growing fast, despite being unknown in the West

Jonathan Richards 1
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Should be popular with budgerigars

According to Google Translate Xiaomi (小米) translates as millet. No stranger than Apple(R), I guess.

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Lords try shoehorning law against REVENGE SMUT into justice bill

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stick

Oh, come! It's pretty easy to dodge that stick if you're an ethical and decent photographer. The courts are perfectly able to distinguish between a revenge porn posting (as someone above said, usually with vile comments attached) and a proper photo shoot upload, or public place photography.

In general, the computer types from which El Reg draws its readership like to think of the law in terms of "if this then guilty", and then to highlight the ridiculous corner cases and cry "Foul!". In practice, the law is mediated by many and disparate real people, who investigate, decide whether or not to prosecute, and then take into account the individual case circumstances before convicting.

As a pretty good example, I give you Clive Ponting, whose admitted actions were absolutely a breach of the Official Secrets Act, and yet was acquitted.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: I can see this backfiring.

"An easier solution in my view would be societal change. Stop shooting porn! The internet has plenty of boobs, yours are not special."

FTFY

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ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Why is it at all important that we reassure MPs that they are, once again, especially privileged?

Well, for starters because parliament is sovereign in our quasi-constitution, so one would hope that no shadowy powers were bugging and suborning parliamentarians, as Harold Wilson was convinced was the case. Even though subsequent investigations have turned up no evidence that he was right, it's clearly the case that the *suspicion* that he was being bugged altered Mr Wilson's behaviour, and perhaps his decisions. Thus any assurance we can get that parliamentarians are not being spied upon will be welcome. This does not mean that they get those assurances and the rest of us don't, of course.

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Golf bloke to Richard Branson: Get on board the future bus, where there's 'NO WEATHER'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Re: Perhaps it is just sitting still for a bit...

Is not London Eye but a few hundred yards across the river from where Pepys sat under a tree and played an air on his pipe during that little problem with the Armada?

No, and for a variety of reasons. Samuel Pepys worked for the Navy Board, in Seething Lane [1], close to the Tower of London, which is some considerable way down the river from where the London Eye now stands. And the ironically named Grande y Felicísima Armada sailed from Spain in 1588, forty-five years before Samuel Pepys was born.

[1] http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/483/

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SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini

Jonathan Richards 1
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Thumb Up

Re: A hearty well-done to NASA and Cassini.

+1, but if you recall, you scoop fuel from the Sun (or similar fine stellar object), not from gas giants. For those for whom the allusion brings back fond memories, see http://www.oolite.org/

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Indian rocket set to sling five satellites

Jonathan Richards 1
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Mushroom

Uh oh!

@DropBear

If you're right, then you just nullified the UK's defence strategy for the last fifty or sixty years. The purpose of nuclear deterrence is to assure your potential enemy that a military incursion will be met with a nuclear response. The aggressor cannot assume that he is starting a "classical-weapons-only type campaign".

It gets scary when, as in the nineteen sixties, two nuclear powers try to see how big they can puff themselves up behind such a threat, and I guess that neither India nor China want to go there. So what we have at the moment between them is a sort of nuclear deterrent deterrence.

Oh! a good reason for the icon, for a change!

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

One point

You got an upvote for the sentiments; I'd just like to point out that Hinduism is a religion, not a race, so while you're right about castes not being racial, your reason isn't relevant.

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Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Alien

What could possibly be next?

Here comes CHOAM

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