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* Posts by John Smith 19

9631 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

GP records soon wide open again: Just walk into a ‘safe haven’

John Smith 19
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Re: Subject data access request

"I wonder what would happen, if in a few years time, I were to demand that the insurance company were to give me a copy of all the information that it has on me. This would have to include anything obtained from the GP records."

Good question.

Does the FOI Act apply to private companies.

My guess is not.

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Bad news, fandroids: He who controls the IPC tool, controls the DROID

John Smith 19
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The problem is what *sort* of device is a smart phone?

Seriously. is it a microwave oven (when was the last time you saw a software update for a microwave? or a real computer?

Historically phone companies did not issue SW updates for phones because they did not need to. They were analogue and had no processor.

Now if you want to offer a computer with built in mobile phone capability they should accept they have to support it like a computer OS.

And of course you get the issues of 3rd party software.

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John Smith 19
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To quote the piece. "featured a proof of concept rootkit for the Binder component"

So yes I'd say if that's what's available in the open literature I think we can take it as read that others have spotted what looks like a rather juicy "watering hole" to allow an attacker to hit any apps data stream within an Android device.

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John Smith 19
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New exploit tool just released.

"Grinder"

But seriously. this is where that "no update" policy most mobile operators will bite.

Or is part of the planned obsolescence? "Oh dear finding a gaping security hole in your phones' OS is our way of saying you need a new phone."

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Careless Whisper? Anonymous messaging app accused of stalking users, blabbing to Feds

John Smith 19
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TL:DR version. US company + THE PATRIOT Act --> NO expecation of privacy.

File for future reference until its repealed, not amended.

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

John Smith 19
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Re: Wishing it were true, but doubtful...

"see the failure of the X-33 programme - great concept, but they couldn't build it). "

Wrong. It succeeded brilliantly.

LM wanted to kill any serious attempt at SSTO to protect their investment in the EELV programme.

It worked perfectly.

it was the worst option to carry out the programmes stated goal.

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John Smith 19
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Governement fusion programmes. The worlds largest natural source

of Plasma Physics PhDs energy?

Note for those interested there are probably 3-4 small, barely funded fusion power start ups in the US.

The problem is this thing does not seem different enough from big lab fusion programs to be any different.

I recommend Dr Bussards talks on Youtube for reasons why the conventional TOKAMAK design is such a monumental PITA to get working (if indeed it will ever be made to work).

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John Smith 19
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Re: To the skeptics...

"To the sceptics, consider where this is coming from. This is the **Lockheed Martin Skunk Works**. They don't DO hype."

Wrong.

They didn't do hype.

Back in the days when R&D labs were cost centres, and not expected to be profit centres.

Read up on SR 72

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'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

John Smith 19
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IT Angle

so he's actually built a model you can make predictions on?

Which raises the question if one wanted to compete with Google or Facebook what would work?

Sounds quite intriguing actually as I've often wondered if there was theory behind these 2 sided markets (I didn't even know what they were called).

Keep in mind any software IDE is also one of these. Delphi, Eclipse, MS Developer Studio (in alphabetical order) etc.

So yes, quite clever stuff.

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John Smith 19
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Jake, when it comes to technology, is meaningless.

Amusing, but not terribly creative.

Needs work.

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John Smith 19
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"The kingdom of Merkia ?"

Bad choice.

From there tis but a short step to Merkin Supremacy

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Intel, Asus charge sneak into US mobe market with ATOM-powered PadFone X mini

John Smith 19
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"People are demanding more from their devices"

You mean software that doesn't crash on them, spy on them and can be updated.

Battery life measured in double digit hours (at least when it's a listening phone, not a media player).

That can actually fit into a pocket.

Really I don't think those wants have changed much over the last couple of decades.

Manufacturers ability to supply them seems to have worsened however.

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South Korea faces $1bn bill after hackers raid national ID database

John Smith 19
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Gimp

"And people whine about NSA's presumed tracking capabilities?"

Well South Korea's excuse justification is probably that it lives next door to one of the worlds most secretive and repressive regimes.

Whereas the US lives next door to Canada and Mexico.

So the question is what's their justification?*

*Other than "because we can."

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John Smith 19
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Big Brother

Re: British Database

"As an american I would like to inform all that the SSN is NOT supposed to be used as an ID number."

Correct citizen.

That's what your driving license number is for.

Report to MinLove for reeducation on this matter.

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How's that big mobile push going, Intel? Oh a million dollars. In 3 months? Wow (sarcasm)

John Smith 19
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On that basis it looks like Intel is virtually *giving* its mobile processors away

And it's not doing a very good job at that.

it seems they just can't suck it up and start letting people put peripherals on their silicon.

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Yes. Economists DO love MAGICAL, lovely HUMAN SELFISHNESS...

John Smith 19
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5 Downvotes.

I did not realize El Reg had so many economist readers.

At least I'm presuming they were economists that I've upset.

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John Smith 19
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"No economist at all would insist that all problems can be solved in this manner."

Unless of course they were working for a consultancy or think tank that was pitching that.

Then they would.

Psychopaths and Economics students.

The only groups who always acted in their own self interest.

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Intel 'underestimates error bounds by 1.3 QUINTILLION'

John Smith 19
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Re: obligatory

"We are Pentium of Borg. Division is futile. You will be approximated."

Neat.

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BEND IT like YOGA: Newest Lenovo gadgets have built in PROJECTORS

John Smith 19
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So about a half hour battery life?

You know it's not going to be good.

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Wide-ranging UK DATA SHARING moves one step closer

John Smith 19
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Gimp

It's the *arrogance* of the phrasing that is just breath taking.

The never ending demands for your data.

"Opt outs" that aren't worth the photons used to generate them on screen.

The presumption that the civil service government "needs" this data to be collected and shared (with damm near anyone)

The fact that the governments change but the calls remain the same speaks to the same cabal of data fetishists who continue to want to foist there illness on everyone as policy.

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SHATTERED: Apple's jilted glass supplier to shut down sapphire ops

John Smith 19
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Shock news. Startup pins whole business plan on single big order and gets screwed.

Especially Apple, not known for their generous supplier arrangements.

I'll wish them better luck this time round.

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Activist investors DESTROY COMPANIES. Don't get me started on share dealings...

John Smith 19
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"Man up" and accept the risk but 2 little words.

Hewlett Packard

Was it $8Bn that acquisition of theirs wiped off the balance sheet?

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'A motivated, funded, skilled hacker will always get in' – Schneier

John Smith 19
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Re: "...a skilled hacker will alway get in..."

"In the common business model, where we rely on technology for protection, maybe. Probably, even. But we can do better. We HAVE to do better."

Wrong.

As IT professionals and business people who care about the reputation of your companies you should

But why bother when you can just drop the costs on the customer or pay a bit more insurance?

Until Board level staff start doing jail time for (effectively) reckless endangerment of users data, shareholders start cancelling bonuses for f**kwitted security breaches or companies starting going out of business directly as a result of data loss (kicking in the Board level survival instinct) this will not be a sufficient priority.

Yes you can do better if

a)There is Board level commitment.

b)The user groups is sufficiently small and security conscious.

c)Security is a factor in all hardware and software decisions. Not just purchasing, all configuration decisions.

No one thought twice about adding in LZW libraries and yet that rendering bug existed in them for 20 years, and by extension every app that used that library inherited that bug as well.

So despite your site or your core apps not using that functionality all it would take would be a properly crafted file sent to them to get the ball rolling......

If the targets worthwhile enough to do people will commit time and resources to it. Most may well be amateurish skiddies who can be swatted like flies, but some will be be serious players, possibly as part of a team contributing different elements of the penetration.

Then it's about about damage limitation and repair.

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EU privacy boogeyman unleashed by the very people with boogeyman-slaying weapons

John Smith 19
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Big Brother

But whatt out for Call-me-Daves Orwellian "opt in" to *not* being spied upon 27/7

As to cloud suppliers being compliant.....

Aren't most of them in the US and by definitions don't know/care about any other countries laws*?

*And why should they as THE PATRIOT act makes any DP law applied to a US company worthless.

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Tesla's Elon Musk shows the world his D ... and it's a MONSTER

John Smith 19
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Differentials yes. Gearbox no.

Attempts to "Emulate a Maclaren F1."

Probably including the price?

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Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

John Smith 19
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Re: Bristow is very dangerous

"As I mentioned last time he spoke, he is claiming he needs the power to put an electronic police tail on EVERY person, all the time, in advance, just in case someone does something bad."

Correct.

That tail is also looking over your shoulder at every web page you look at, every text message you send and the title, source and destination of every email.

All the time, for everyone.

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John Smith 19
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Wot? 2 pages in and still no word from our "favorite" apologist for state surveillance?

Although some of those AC's in praise of police spying had a somewhat familiar tone.

Back on the naughty step again?

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

Data fetisht wants to fetishise more data.

In other news...

The sky is Blue.

Rain is wet.

One day this will be recognized as the mental illness it is. :( .

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John Smith 19
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"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Who would probably (if the British Govt had the powers it's sock puppets Minsters keep being told they must ask for) been hanged as a terrorist.

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NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn

John Smith 19
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Interesting observation from the Microsoft lawyer

"What you make on your PC is your property"

This from the company that wanted to control every device connected to your PC to do copyright enforcement, so in effect making every piece of software (and media) "rented," with access revocable.

Remember Silicon Valley, you did this to yourselves

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Pen-testers outline golden rules to make hacks more €xpen$ive

John Smith 19
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let me see if I've got this right.

1) Set network monitoring tools to "listen" mode and find out what sites users really use and what apps they really need.

2) Bar everything that's not on that list.

3)Disable scripting on those apps.

4)Disable admin rights on all users. And find out what software is so retarded it cannot berun in any other way.

5)Disable admin rights on most tech support accounts.

6)Repeat periodically.

Oh the indignity Oh the inhumanity

Here's the thing. Users are here to do work. This is how grownup businesses operate.

The question is to what extent do their core apps need internal scripting to work as well.

Otherwise I see a lot of AC's who seem to be posting BS.

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Hey, non-US websites – FBI don't have to show you any stinkin' warrant

John Smith 19
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@Sisk.

"If the presence of phpMyAdmin is enough to rifle through its drives looking for evidence of crimes then very few servers running MySQL (or MariaDB for that matter) are safe."

Exactly

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Boffins' better blues beat battery blues

John Smith 19
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Impressive.

But how do organic LED's compare with the regular sort for life time to begin with?

A 10x improvement should not be sniffed at and a 4x improvement in energy efficiency is good too (it's true this trick is not necessary for lower energy photons but applying it to those colours should give some improvement there as well.

The real proof of the pudding will be how many mfg's introduce it in their displays and when.

Thumbs up for some solid science.

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

John Smith 19
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Re: Linux novice question.

"The problem with something like this is that it's a design error. The reason you can pass function definitions into environment variables is so that when a Bash process creates a child shell, it can inherit the parent's defined functions. So a child shell is created, environment variables are inherited and when that happens the child shell notices something has a () in it and executes it thinking it's a function definition."

Interesting you should say that. This suggests you are looking at design patterns rather than coding errors.

Searching for such patterns was a key part of why the Shuttle software design programme had such a low error rate.

In the 30+ years since that programme started developing software techniques to find such patterns have improved quite a bit.

Now what happens after each case of that pattern can be a difficult decision but it seems hard to believe this can't be done on a large enough or fast enough to bring about a substantial improvement in delivered software.

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John Smith 19
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Linu novice question.

What open source code scanning tools exist for GNU or Linux?

Has anyone run them over the source code for bulk of the core systems?

On this basis the answer seems to be "none" and "no."

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John Smith 19
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Re: Always been there or new?

I think the words " twenty two year old bug" give some idea of how long it's been in code.

So since about 1992?

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FBI: Your real SECURITY TERROR? An ANGRY INSIDE MAN

John Smith 19
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Since the days of "The Consultant" the *real* enemy

has always been the enemy within.

p**sed employee X insider knowledge X poor internal security -->disaster.

PHB's only see power in terms of salary and the ability to hire and fire people.

Employees know there are many other ways to get even, if people are prepared to take the consequence.

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John Smith 19
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Re: An excellent excuse to label all our employees as potential terrorists,

"It's voters that are the potential terrorists, I mean some of them aim to bring down the current government!"

Not a problem.

In America voting will literally change nothing.

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Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

John Smith 19
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Just to be clear Yahoo! is delivering $1Bn *profit*

That may be peanuts compared to Google but how does that compare to say Amazon?

I've known a number of people who'd love to run a $1Bn/yr business "failure."

The challenge as Tim point out is how to use some of that money to a)Grow their core business or b)Buy into something else to increase profits.

And given the market Yahoo is in that's a pretty tough question to answer.

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MOM: CHEAP Mars ship got it right first time. Nice one, India

John Smith 19
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1st time out with a significant science payload is *very* impressive.

I think the mission trajectory was a key part of keeping the rocket size (and hence cost) down. IIRC it was quite tricky. The other option might have been a solar sail.

However as readers of the Mythical Man Month know a strong early success (and this is very strong indeed) can lead to the oh-so-difficult 2nd mission. They had better watch out for that.

Thumbs up for this which I think beats India's greatest rivals (China and Pakistan) to the post by a long margin.

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John Smith 19
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Re: Nice package...

""They may have invented place number notation to, indicating the lack of a power of ten which became the Zero

More relevant in this regard is that the optimal rocket nozzle shape (what most people call a "bell") is actually known as a "Rao" nozzle, after the Indian who invented it.

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Supercapacitors have the power to save you from data loss

John Smith 19
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Re: Back in the day...

"I seem to remember that the angular momentum in those washing-machine sized drives was used to generate the power to complete the pending writes and withdraw the heads in the event of the electricity going off."

We used to cal them "Twin tubs." With an aircon failure in the machine room in Summer they could cook you pretty well.

That sounds like a UL as the exchangable ones packed a fair amount of energy that generation of write heads would have needed quite a bit to flush any caches.

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80 PER CENT of app devs SUCK at securing your data, study finds

John Smith 19
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"Most responding devs were from the financial sector, with < 2 years' experience."

So they thought they were quite good.

Turns out they weren't.

I think I'll be sticking with my no apps dumb mobile for some time to come.

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THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

John Smith 19
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Re: If you give a politician 1£ ...

"And that leads to another facet of the popular vote, maybe the hardest of all: you should learn all you can about the subject before voting and if you feel that you do not know enough d o n o t vote!!"

Possibly leaving you with this result?

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Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

John Smith 19
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Now let's see part 2. Where you point out that inequatiy is *rising"

Where for example the ratio of CEO income to that of the median for their work force (for some FTSE 100 companies ) is > 1000x

I agree that absolute poverty in the UK no longer exists. Someone with a cooker, microwave, washing machine, TV and computer can be potentially better fed, looked after and entertained than a rich landowner living in a capital city of one of the great nations of Europe in previous centuries.

Unfortunately inequality (or "relative" poverty) is getting worse.

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John Smith 19
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Meh

Re: "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

"It might be $1.25 in some shanty town some place warm in south America, but it's a lot more in the UK or the US for that mater."

That's the point between absolute poverty and (relative) poverty.

No one in the UK is absolutely poor by global measures, although there are many countries in the world where the citizens are also absolutely poor as well.

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SpaceX blasts a mischief of mice, a 3D printer and a cuddly toy* into SPAAAACE

John Smith 19
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What's the towers are for.

"What are the four towers around the launchpad? They look like mobile phone towers but I doubt the mice needed really good reception in the minutes before launch."

AFAIK they are lightning conductors. I think they have cables strung between them to attract away any lightning bolts in case of thunder during the launch period.

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John Smith 19
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Re: 57.7-foot ... robotic arm

"WTF? Doing it in decimal is silly -- at least get rid of the imperial measure.

Tell that to the Americans. AFAIK they are one of only two countries in the world with the Imperial system (the proper name for this system of unit, which Americans don't seem to like it being called for some reason).

The other is some pestilential hell hole in Africa.

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Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone

John Smith 19
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@Graham Marsden.

"You know, Matt, you'd have been an even better Witch-Finder than Matthew Hopkins. Why bother with actually looking for suspects first, just assume that *everyone* is guilty and investigate to your heart's content."

He does, or at least they people who pay him seem to, which is pretty much the same thing.

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New UK.gov DATA SLURPING diplomat to push US telcos to share more subscriber info

John Smith 19
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Gimp

Anyone think Cameron thought this one up by himself?

Elect a PR goon this is what you get.

PR.

You can bet the usual group of vermin advisers have been "having a quiet word" to "explain" to call-me-Dave that "this is how it's done, blah blah" and like a good little sock puppet he's trotting along.

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