* Posts by Tom 7

3822 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

Tom 7
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Smart?

The only thing smart about these meters was the idea to get them in before someone realised you could have a truly smart meter that would benefit the customer.

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Tom 7
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Re: Chip & PIN or Contactless

I avoid contactless since a friend I was with managed to spend rather a lot in pub - rather more than we could have drunk and we decided it must have been a deliberate scam in the bar in question.

In the co-op yesterday a young lad bought a lot of stuff with a contactless card - his behaviour suggested it wasnt his card. If the co-op can show his parents the items bought he may well get his arse kicked.

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$10bn Oracle v Google copyright jury verdict: Google wins, Java APIs in Android are Fair Use

Tom 7
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Do a SCO Oracle.

And someone put raspberryPi's in phones so we can fuck off both ot these lumbering giants.

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UK eyes frikkin' Laser Directed Energy Weapon

Tom 7
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Re: umm

I wonder how many aiming algorithms it uses? If you know them you can anticipate and avoid them.

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Republicans move to gut FCC and crush its net neutrality crusade with paralyzing budget rules

Tom 7
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I hope there is a large cache of RFC's that are not in the US

Cos we may need to re-build the internet ourselves soon.

Perhaps we should start anyway!

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Mars' poles shrink during ice ages, boffins say

Tom 7
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Does it actually get warmer at the poles

or does it get colder in the lower latitudes meaning the ice forms there and doesnt make it to the poles?

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Android might be on the way to the Raspberry Pi

Tom 7
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Can I use it with google cardboard

on a 42" monitor?

I used to headbang so the neck is up to it, is android?

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US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Tom 7
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Re: Degrees of Obsolescence

I have a 23 year old 486 that still works. I have an MK14 that must be 10 years older that still works. Anything with a gell capacitor in it over 3 years old is kaput.

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Tom 7
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Re: Security by obsurity

they generally fall under the fridge and stop the door closing!

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Tom 7
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Re:a great many hours spent absorbing lots of math that I've never used

And now its worth an absolute bloody fortune - but no-ones going to hire someone of our age even if we can do the job with our slide-rules shut.

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Boffins blow up water with LASERS, to watch explosions in slow-mo

Tom 7
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Re: Always interesting

Fortunate enough to have an equally pyromaniacal bloodline. Lots of cannons (grandad had a 10lb box of gunpowder from somewhere) but the most impressive thing I saw and heard was a giant plastic bag (10' by 6' ish) filled with coal gas from the cooker and the correct amount of oxygen from a dentist.

This was bonfire night but when the flame on the paraffin soaked string reached the plastic the detonation was phenomenal (my memory still swears it had BANG! written across it). Not sure if it was deafness or the fact everyone within 5 miles was trying to work out what the fuck that was meant the silence was deafening for quite a while. Then, from the 50 or so party goers in the vicinity, hysterical laughter borne of shock for about half an hour.

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Tom 7
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Re: I'll applaud

I think you'll have trouble seeing the big band let alone applauding it!

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Geniuses at HMRC sack too many staff! Nope, can't do it online. FAIL

Tom 7
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East Anglian regional center

Well it would be a lot cheaper to put it in East Anglia.

I'd also wonder it the staff that were sacked were the quality ones - makes it easier to privatise if its going to the isle of dogs...

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US 5th graders have a pop at paper plane record

Tom 7
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Re: "look forward to further attempts to push the envelope."

Shirley with the use of bursting balloons it should be "pushing the jiffy-bag".

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UK.gov preparing to lob up to £4 BEEELLION at commodity tech

Tom 7
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I'll get you 3 billion Pi Zeros

and the software will be along later...

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Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

Tom 7
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Re: The plane smelt a bit funny after that.

Several people shat themselves. I was 11 at the time and found the plane dropping out of the sky fun as I had flown before and felt safe but after we passed the storm the hostess who was looking after me (I was travelling alone) spent some time getting tissues and things for the poor buggers who lost it. Luckily the flight was only about 1/4 full as I think they ran out of loo paper.

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Tom 7
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Re: "means the wing tips are flexed up to 90 degrees during testing"

Wings are profiled - they thin towards the tip - think of it a bit like a kids drawing of a bird in flight.

I was flying across the atlantic in 1970 long before they had decent weather warnings and we hit a thunderstorm and free-fell 3000 feet before the wings seemed to do that. The plane smelt a bit funny after that. I was allowed on the flight deck a few hours later and the co-pilot was still shaking.

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Virgin has FTT for farmers' P

Tom 7
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Re:Re: This is good news

My local exchange went FTTC. The village the exchange is in went from around 17Mb to 30Mb (I dont think anyone wanted to pay for 70 - they didnt need 30 anyway) .Those of us outside the village had our cabinets re-assigned. Mine was a couple of miles from my house and is now 6 miles of copper away at the exchange. So the whole area is now FTTC but those in the village are a bit better off, those outside the village are no better off. BT put in about 20 yds of fibre and got a huge wedge from the council.

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Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

Tom 7
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Ceramic tiles?

You gonna turn it into a swanky fast food kitchen?

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Tom 7
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Mythbusters are plonkers. Archimedes was on smart bugger and didnt just fuck up for laughs. Its not hard to get a bunch of men to direct and focus mirrors on to a boat - they just need to bring the reflections in one at a time, or if there was a frame used the man who designed the antikithera mechanism could easily get a simple frame to work.

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Tom 7
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Re: Supply commitments? Cooling?

Well they have gas fridges so why the hell not solar powered aircon? You could use the mirrors to shield the property too!

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The underbelly of simulation science: replicating the results

Tom 7
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Re: Computer modelling is more of an art than a science

Tosh!

I spent many years knocking up microchips which were simulated using spice and digital simulators. We NEVER simulated at the quantum level which is how the devices really worked but the simulations using simplified models were accurate enough to get working devices with tens of thousands of components. I'm guessing they do similar with devices of billions of devices today.

You dont need to model convection and turbulence on micro of macro scales to model climate. Stupidly accurate weather perhaps but if you have a model that can give you reasonably accurate correlation with past events over the time data is available and it predicts temperature rises in the future only a bloody idiot would ignore it. It might be wrong but its got a far higher probability of being right than casual disinterest.

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Oculus backtracks on open software promise

Tom 7
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Re: Bah!

Well at least the unicorn tracker worked.

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Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

Tom 7
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Re: Well

The brain is not just a collection of neurons and memories. Its layer upon layer of filters and simulators built from experience but also built on the ready built in models from our genes and whatever goes on in the womb.

It would be like trying to run an ARM binary on an Intel PC.

I had a friend who lost a leg and 30 years later would still sometimes get out of bed and fall over. Imagine what it would be like waking up in something that was just slightly wrong everywhere.

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Catz: Google's Android hurt Oracle's Java business

Tom 7
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Re: Time for Google to pay up...

But that would imply Oracle had value.

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New solar cell breaks efficiency records, turns 34% of light into 'leccy

Tom 7
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Re: Barking in the wrong forest.

@scatter Mass production is the key - a grid connected inverter made from silicon and not lots of hand fixed parts should cost around £20 for the controller and lightning protection, £5/KW for the silicon power stuff and £30 or so per KW for the transformer that is required by law for grid connection though probably not necessary. I looked into making these myself - the upfront costs are enormous but if you are producing millions or so that is insignificant in the long run. I was informed there are designs for these already - just for now its not 'what the market is looking for'!

So for a 2kw windmill you are looking at around £100 for the inverter. A 1kw car alternator is around £50 so say £100 for a 2KW and all you need is a pole an axle and some mass produced blades. Stick it up the side of a house and it WILL produce enough juice to pay for itself in a couple of years.

Its very cost effective - just not 'efficient'. Cheap cheap electricity - what's the problem?

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Tom 7
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Barking in the wrong forest.

Hats off to them but when I was cutting my teeth making NMOS chips an 8% efficiency polysilicon solar panel took about 20 years to pay for itself. You could get couple of thousand transistors on a chip for $100 and electricity was around 1p a unit.

Now electricity costs 15 times as much, you can get 100,000,000,000 transistors that run 5000 times as fast for $100 and a solar setup takes around 10 years to pay for itself.

I do wonder if someone had just concentrated on making 8% polysilicon panels they would now be so cheap they would be used instead of tiles - or indeed metal roofing sheets. I could be putting out >20KW from my barns and my neighbouring farms all have barns that would be 100KW or so.

The same goes for wind - mass produced 1 or 2kw units should be in the £300 region and pay for themselves in a couple of years. They might not be as physically efficient but effectively free to the consumer in the short term.

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IBM invents printer that checks for copyrights

Tom 7
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Fuckwittery of the first order.

Sorry this has been printed before.

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Got $130,000 down the back of the sofa? Great. Grab an HP 3D printer

Tom 7
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Refils

will be made from ground up pop bottles and would cost $5 a tonne. However will need DRM'd container that will report a vacuum inside after 50% used and cost more than a house.

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Lloyds online banking goes TITSUP*

Tom 7
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Uh! Oh! TSB next?

Same software.

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Linus Torvalds releases Linux 4.6

Tom 7
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RaspberryPi 3D speedups nom nom!

The year of the RaspberryPi desktop is fast approaching!

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Tom 7
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Re: Battery or capacitor

Condenser you young whippersnapper!

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UK.gov pays four fellows £35k to do nothing for three months

Tom 7
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Re: Was the NHS for me

Strangely I've worked in a place where someone thought it was a good idea to get rid of one of the people who sat around doing nothing apart from changing tapes from time to time.

It went very badly.

Some tasks are too important to be part of someone else's schedule.

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Tom 7
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I call bullshit

induction and security training in the MOD and only been there 3 months?

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Tom 7
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Re: Holy shit.

I've professed this as a way to get this done a lot cheaper - not so much vacuum pulled as blown - 2 psi . The air would be handy to stop things bashing into each other too hard. A 5m diameter tube with a 2.2 psi pressure gives 215kg of thrust. That's a lot for a car weight pod over a few miles.

However the problem will be that of airports - getting there and parking and checking in and security etc etc and you save no real time at all.

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Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

Tom 7
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Re: This:

You'd be very surprised. Many of them are simply a bunch of rocks loosely held together by static and gravity - they can be a result of the really tough ones hitting each other really hard. We've only been looking at them closely (as opposed to going Wooh) for a short while and a lot of them seem to shed stuff as they come in and then go bang - this is where the shock wave in very thin atmosphere many miles up disassociates the loose pile of junk exposing all the lumps to the intense shock and heat.

They often do this where deceleration is a fraction of a G and the pressure is applied over a large surface. A more focussed push would break it up sooner.

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At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

Tom 7
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Re: Keeps twats in a job

I've found the last thing managers seem to want is someone below them who actually knows what's going on, what's really needed* and how to get things done. But then I've had the miss-fortune to work for managers trained as managers and rarely a manager who would understand when the water was pissing off the side of the waterfall or if familiar with the term Agile would tie your hands to the chair so you couldn't quite reach the keyboard.

I must confess the work I have been proudest off and most useful has been written outside the office, or on several occasions during meetings as I've found the only way to get the job done is to do it and not have some buzzword mangler reinterpret the laws of mathematics to find eleventeen solutions to a quadratic. It requires a bit of subterfuge to get it in but the think I really like about agile computing is you can sometimes get to sit down with the customer and say ' I know we've had thirty six meetings trying to build this vastly complicated piece of software but I wonder if what you really want to do is this.....' and then you have to hold on to your chair very tightly while there is a bloody massive earthquake.

Oh and you will probably get sidelined after that as the customer will still want you on the project but the manager will refuse to let you near anything in case you make a complete fool of him again.

*the customer is never right unless they have 35 years IT experience.

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Spaniard live streams 195km/h burn-up

Tom 7
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Re: Meanwhile in Germany...

You do have to be careful there - it took me a few clouds of smoke to realise that when coming up to a village or something with a 20kph sign the locals actually slowed to 20kph by the time they passed the sign.

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Tom 7
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Re: I found... @Serenely

Many moons ago I had a 1600 VW camper van. You had to drive serenely with that as it didnt accelerate or brake or go round bends without complaining or chucking cutlery and stuff about like a demented poltergeist.

One thing I discovered was that if you went with a bunch of friends up to the length of the country to the fringe or something like that was you got there an hour slower (10%) than the 911 driver but stepped out of the van ready to party while the 911 driver was still twitching for a couple more hours.

On the commute to work the same BMW driver used to overtake me between roundabouts, but due to the improved visibility in the van I would overtake him at every roundabout.

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Don't split Openreach, says BT, and we'll splash BEELLIONS on broadband and 4G

Tom 7
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Re: Same old story - So BT is damned if it does invest and damned if it doesn't...

We only know one of those is true.

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Small broadband firms aren't fussed about getting access to BT's ducts and poles

Tom 7
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Re: "Former" is a slightly misleading description

The lack of funding from government (when I was in BT at Martlesham) seemed to be designed to make it ready for privatisation i.e. make the organisation seem bad by depriving it of funding and also con potential shareholders about how much the business really cost to run.

As for party lines - I'd be happy with party fibre lines rather than the current brilliant move of making me FTTC by designating some box by the exchange 6 miles away rather than the cabinet they wire me up to two miles away.

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Sic transit Mercury Monday

Tom 7
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Managed to get a few seeds planted. The rain will do them good.

Sic - just sic.

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The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

Tom 7
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Re:Mostly just for the very rare occasion when I may need to have 100% compatibility

I must confess the least compatible thing to Office is Office itself.

I've not been near the bloated thing for a few years but I used to find that Open..Libre Office far better at reading old archived MS documents than Office.

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Microsoft half-bricks Asus Windows 7 PCs with UEFI boot glitch

Tom 7
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Re: Disable Secure Boot...

There are UEFI signed Linux distributions. But since you can install a UEFI compatible grub and then install any other OS on the system it tends to make you wonder what its meant to do apart from make things a pain.

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Tom 7
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Re: and after disabling UEFI...

I just got a brand new laptop and the manufacturers advised not to use Linux because the drivers might not be available - stuck the latest Xubuntu on it and everything works like a dream. There are a couple of proprietary drivers on offer but I haven't bothered to find out what they do to see if they're worth installing.

Only heard of one machine with a driver problem under linux lately and that was where the bios/uefi had a bug so a quick update and sorted.

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'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks

Tom 7
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Microsoft Cloud - clear blue sky thinking.

And Apple opt the more dramatic Tornado approach.

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BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs: Cheap!

Tom 7
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Re: @Tony S @Dr Syntax

The treasury did not force them to have a pension holiday - it wasn't illegal to pay in.

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Tom 7
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Re: Sod the pensioners

But even if the teachers are in the TPS their employers have a legal obligation to pay some money into the TPS fund on their behalf - shit even our cleaner is on to this one.

If that money hasn't been paid by the school/local authority on conversion to an academy is the academy responsible? I'd bet not.

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Tom 7
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@Tony S

I was a BT employee and will be a BT pensioner in a few years. Check the record - you may find that the pension fund is lacking money that was given to the shareholders while BT had a pensions holiday.

So can I have it back please.

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UK govt admits it pulled 10-year file-sharing jail sentence out of its arse

Tom 7
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Actually the research came to us over a long long long long long long lunch

with a lobbyist and we were too pissed to check its veracity when we got back from the Maldives. Sorry lunch.

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