* Posts by Richard 12

1597 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

Richard 12
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@Hans 1- Wind is very dangerous.

Have you ever seen a wind turbine? Ever been to the top of one?

Building and maintaining a wind turbine requires complex work-at-height in a location deliberately chosen to have high winds, be far from habitation (thus rescue/hospital) and nearly always in places where the weather and visibility are highly changeable. On top of that, there's also the additional power lines that must be run out to the installations.

Offshore wind is far, far worse, but not included in the data up to 2007. (Few to no plants online.)

Rooftop Solar PV was unfortunately worse, as again it's work at height, and unfortunately the workers tend to be less well trained and protected and so have more accidents.

As of 2007, rooftop Solar PV, Hydroelectric and Wind were the three biggest direct killers per unit of energy generated.

If you include deaths due to mining/extraction accidents and estimates of deaths due to particulates, coal comes out as the most dangerous (mostly due to China mining practice), followed by oil then biofuels, gas, hydro, solar PV and wind. Nuclear is the safest by an order of magnitude.

Exclude China, and coal becomes safer than oil and hydro becomes safer than wind (mostly due to one accident in China that killed 171,000). Presumably China will slowly come down to this 'rest-of-world' level as their workforce safety improves.

Wind turbines are however getting more dangerous, as new ones are being built in 'marginal' conditions - eg offshore.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

AC, that's a straw-man.

Climate change itself is not the debate. Yes, it's happening.

The debate is what we can and should do about it.

And right now, practically every single thing that's come out of the politicians has been ineffective, expensive and harmful. In some cases it's even increased CO2-equivalent emissions, in all cases it's cost way too much and responsible for deaths - in some cases directly. (Wind power is ****ing dangerous.)

- People will always min/max any defined-rate subsidy, creating the maximum subsidy for the minimum effort.

The subsidies for solar PV and wind installations have just cranked up the cost of energy, with very little effect on actual CO2-equivalent or and none whatsoever on climate change.

Had the same money been spent on research, or even simply insulating homes, we'd be in a much better situation!

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Ho, ho, HOLY CR*P, ebuyer! Etailer rates staff on returns REJECTED

Richard 12
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Re: All in the phrasing

You're assuming that the panic-stricken PR droid was telling the truth, when they were almost certainly digging around for anything that wouldn't make them look bad, or possibly in breach of the spirit of the law.

If it really meant 'resolved' then it'd say that.

This is a company culture thing, and clearly indicates a "please go away" internal support culture rather than a "how can we help you".

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How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Richard 12
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No, that's an opinion

Economics being the fuzzy trick-cycling that it is, you can find lots of eminent economists utterly convinced that the ConDem policies have shortened and shallowed the recession, as well as a few saying that they lengthened and deepened it.

However, the general consensus is that a Labour coalition would have bankrupted us instead, causing a full-scale depression and hyper-inflation.

Though it can't be proven, partly because economists are trick-cyclists, but mostly because Labour have had no plans at all other than "Not what the ConDems say" throughout most of their opposition.

Heck, I still have no idea what Balls and Miliband actually stand for or believe, unless it really is just the "Not Tory" stance they've been following.

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NASA Mars tank Curiosity rolls on old WET PATCH, sighs, sniffs for life signs

Richard 12
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Boffin

There's no point in being grown up

if you can't be childish sometimes!

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Astroboffins spot HOT, YOUNG GIANT where she doesn't belong

Richard 12
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Good point

I don't think we've much idea how circular, it may be elliptical or even escape and I don't think we could tell for some time.

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Richard 12
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That's not going to happen

You see, space is big. Really big.

If something large and warm was within a few light-days, we'd have seen it by now, because it'd be extremely bright compared to the other stuff we've been looking at.

And we're not going to be able to send something further than a few light days within our lifetimes, (unless we find a shortcut.)

Voyager 1 has gone the furthest, currently sat at roughly 0.7 light days away, after ~36 years.

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Apple: 'Court-appointed antitrust regulator is taking advantage of us'

Richard 12
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Happy

Erm, no, it may well be back.

If it had a significant effect on sales, then there will be a repeat.

You forget what "Cyber Monday" is for - it's to give the online shops a good time to get rid of the year's old and over-stocked items by knocking down the price a little and letting hysteria over Christmas clear the warehouse, ready for next year's stuff.

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Bigger on the inside: WD’s Tardis-like Black² Dual Drive laptop disk

Richard 12
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Re: @Tannin

That is however what WD have been advertising for some time - and I expect that El Reg pretty much have to keep the WD description of the product.

I think WD mean:

"This is the first single-enclosure drive that has an SSD and a HDD which appear as two separate drives when you are running our specific driver under Windows."

(Later on they'll probably claim the first Mac-compatible one.)

- As opposed to the Hybrid drives where the OS sees the SSD and HDD appear as a single drive - which is more generally useful anyway.

Presumably your marketing dept have to figure out some kind of first when you're last-to-market.

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Microsoft teams up with Feds, Europol in ZeroAccess botnet zombie hunt

Richard 12
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Sure you can

You just have to be extremely careful about how the list is distributed.

All that would take is face-to-face meetings a couple of times a year.

If you can't trust well-known security researchers, then we're all screwed anyway, so...

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Internet Explorer 11 at it again, breaks Microsoft's own CRM software

Richard 12
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I'm sure you're right

But when it's breaking things like Outlook.com, that's pure idiocy.

How about holding back on the IE update until the "cloud" services that MS have complete and total control over are compatible with it?

Not to mention waiting until they have a patch for their currently-supported software.

It's not actually necessary to release IE11 to any specific timetable, it's just a browser, right? Firefox and Chrome updates happen "whenever".

Or did MS continue to pointlessly embed large amounts of IE inside the kernel to make it impossible to release Win8.1 without IE11?

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One-minute Koch-blocking earns attacker two years, massive fine

Richard 12
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The costs sound excessive to me

So, if you epoxy the locks on my Fiat Punto, writing it off.

Is it reasonable for you to pay for a Lamborghini to replace it?

I'm reasonably sure the fundamental rule of law to keep losses "reasonable" applies in the USA, at least according to Judge Judy, anyway.

- Although lawyers do seem to take the piss, as I've seen one insurance claim with ~£50 of damage, ~£1000 legal.

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Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

Richard 12
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Re: Throw the book at her.

Ok, you're going to prison Gumby.

What do you mean "what for"? How do we know you didn't do something illegal?

Prove you didn't, or we lock you up.

Gumby, that's probably the stupidest thing I've seen someone write for a while. Guilty until proven innocent just means everybody goes to prison.

If they want to convict her of this, they need to prove the Glass was active at the time - otherwise, it's just a pair of cheap sunglasses.

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How your data loss prevention plan is killing your business

Richard 12
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Yes, Windows XP-E had the Enhanced Write Filter

This basically gave you manually-triggered points where the filesystem would only note changes at the block level instead of overwriting, so you could roll the entire partition back to any previous restore point.

Unfortunately this seems to have vanished from Windows 7 Embedded, which is most annoying.

Windows 7&8 do have the ability to maintain "shadow copies" of files, so you can roll any file back this way (if enabled!)

More user-friendly I suppose, but not so useful for embedded industrial.

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Microsoft Surface slabs borked by heat-induced DIM SCREEN OF DEATH

Richard 12
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Re: Thermal temperatures

Yes, how about Colour Temperatures?

Though I think I'd be worried if your Surface 2 was glowing at 2700K...

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Romance is dead: Part-time model slings $1.5bn SUEBALL at Match.com

Richard 12
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Re: Hmmm. Extract from the lawsuit.

I don't think it works that way.

The likes of Tineye continually spider the Internet, hashing all the imagery they find using their wizardry, so that the likes of you and I can ask it for matches to an image of our choice "near-instantaneously".

So yes, from the point of view of the possibly-infringed-upon, it does search billions near-instantaneously, because the hard part is being done continuously.

It's a well-known optimisation strategy.

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Microsoft: SORRY for the BORKED Xbox One disc drives, here's a free game

Richard 12
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Green screen of death?

Blimey, the Green Light of Failure I mentioned happened quick!

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Rare AutoCAD malware rigs drafting machines for follow-up attacks

Richard 12
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Re: 2008 wants their autocad virus back ..

But some people are idiots some of the time.

And all it takes is for one drafter to click the "Yes, go ahead" button and the entire company is compromised, because that drafter will probably have access to all the company's drawings.

Yet another reason why AutoCAD is damaging.

I see so many projects late and over budget due to AutoCAD - it doesn't help you avoid stupid mistakes, and actively causes errors in many cases because it isn't capable of solid modelling.

Drafting packages like AutoCAD are pointless, and have been for more than a decade. Get an actual design package!

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FAT PIPE for ALL: Britain’s new tech firms take it from the telcos

Richard 12
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Mushroom

I'd disagree, he hasn't actively damaged the advancement of humanity.

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PlayStation 4 BLUE LIGHT OF DEATH blamed on power cords, TV sets, butterflies in China

Richard 12
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Re: What a joke

Yes, but how many TV manufacturers actually release firmware updates for old TVs? Or even new ones?

My previous TV had fundamental firmware flaws but no updates were ever released, and eventually it went back as not fit-for-purpose.

My current TV had one firmware update during the first year, and it's had no more at all.

My set-top PVR has had five or six firmware updates over the last four/five years (not sure as they mostly happen by the magic of OTA updates)

TV manufacturers simply don't support older TVs, and barely support new ones! They might work on firmware fixes while it's still on sale, but they drop them like hot potatoes not much longer than a year after they start making them.

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Richard 12
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Re: We've covered all the primary colours so what' next?

Yellow is a secondary colour...

We haven't had a Green Light of Failure yet, and there are two secondary colours still available!

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Fukushima fearmongers: It's YOUR FAULT Japan DUMPED CO2 targets

Richard 12
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Re: This is a troll, right?

You are aware that there is a lot of rubbish on the Internet - after all, anybody could put anything they like there! Topmost on Google is irrelevant - and depends on your own previous Google activity anyway.

The only one of those figures coming from a reputable source is the 4000, which is still really an estimate - not "prediction" - that has been falling ever since the first was made, as most of those who may have been affected stubbornly refuse to die.

Check the UN and WHO figures, and (better) studies published in proper scientific journals if you have access.

The deaths are extremely low - 56 to 64 - the numbers of people affected by thyroid problems are notably higher but they didn't die.

I have noticed that these latter tend to get counted among the dead by some anti-nuclear protestors claiming to be doing studies. Clue - still walking around == not dead.

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Richard 12
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Re: Not looking at the full picture

They will return.

Many already have, it just doesn't make the news.

Radioactivity decays, and contamination in general dissipates through natural weathering.

They'd be back even if nothing whatsoever was done to clean up, so the cleanup operation will get them all back within a few years.

Don't conflate panic with reality. Panic always causes greater suffering.

Nuclear decommissioning is already paid for by the industry via bonds etc, which is not true for any other industry, many of which can easily cause greater issues.

How much did cleaning up the London Olympic Park cost? The industries which put the contaminants there paid none of it!

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Richard 12
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****shit merchants

Extrapolating "possibly slightly increased risk" into THEY ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!11!

As to their fundamental premise that solar, wind, and water will save us?

How much sunshine do you get at night?

How often is there enough wind to power the country, even assuming we cover an area the size of of Scotland? Does that cover the nights? How many Giga-Watt-hours of storage would that need?

Finally, several hundreds of thousands of people have already been directly, provably and instantly killed by water power. No maybe or slightly-increased probabilities about it, just actual drowned, crushed and smashed into pieces dead.

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MILEY CYRUS in JUST HER PANTIES would LOVE a smartwatch: Samsung

Richard 12
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Pocket watch?

I suppose a tablet (or smartphone) is a kind of pocket watch, so this is a wearable watch that connects to a pocket watch in order to work.

How steampunk!

But yes, there's something screwy. Pretty sure the cheap Casios are "wearable" and they must have sold millions.

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MANUAL STIMULATION: Whack me with some proper documentation

Richard 12
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Video tutorials are an odd one

I hate video tutorials because you have to watch the whole thing, can't skip to "the bit that I got stuck on" etc.

Plus they are really hard to make and usually get outdated in the very next release.

Yet I regularly get requests from users for "A video tutorial on XXX", despite the actual user manual having step-by-step instructions complete with screenshots and usually more than one worked example.

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Richard 12
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nnnn nnnn nnnn nnnn

Humans can't really read numbers without separators.

It's much easier to check for typos if you can check "block #2" instead of "digits 5-8".

nnnnnnnnnmnnnnnn

You should never ask the user to type blocks of 'random' alphanumerics longer than ~5 characters, assuming you want them to be typed accurately.

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File-NUKING Cryptolocker PC malware MENACES 'TENS of MILLIONS' in UK

Richard 12
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Re: Lurking Ransomware ..

Admin privileges aren't needed for software to make itself run on Windows 7 or 8.

Admin is only needed if it installs into Program Files or another "protected" folder, or adds keys to HKLM.

If it just installs into My Documents and adds auto run keys to HKCU, admin isn't needed and it can just go ahead and do anything to anything the user could.

This isn't a privilege escalation, it's just doing anything a normal user could do - rearrange their Start menu/start screen, and mess with the user's files.

If only somebody could think of something like an Execute flag that only an admin could set?

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Stephen Hawking: 'Boring' Higgs Boson discovery cost me $100

Richard 12
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The "few" comes from 'tuning' for intelligent life

In the Standard Model + General Relativity, there are several constants and changing any one of them by a small amount gives you a universe where life is impossible.

But what if you change several of them, or all of them? There will be other sets of values where life is possible.

To use another example, your motor vehicle has lots of components which must all be well-tuned to make it run. Change any one of them - piston head radius - without changing any others - cylinder radius - and it stops working.

But if you change many of them in the right way, a working car becomes a working motorbike.

(Thanks to Jack Cohen for the analogy)

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Our MOM's LATEST EGGS: 'Looking GOOD', chuckle Indian space boffins

Richard 12
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All Hail the Oberth Effect!

Champion of cheap interplanetary launches, hero of our time etc etc..,

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XBOX One SHOT DEAD by Redmond following delivery blunder

Richard 12
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They didn't.

At the moment the active online system will have a very short list of valid users, only containing the paid alpha and beta testers. It may well be in a different domain as well, and likely IP or router-MAC limited to keep it away from 3rd party eyes.

They will only open it up to "any XBOne owner" just before the official release date.

This is all usual practice for any closed-beta online service!

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Richard 12
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Re: The EULA is in force

EULAs are generally not worth the paper they (aren't) written on.

In most of the world, if they are inside sealed packaging they are completely unenforceable, null and void, and even in the USA there isn't much in the way of precedent that implies they can be enforced.

Nobody wants to be the lawyer that creates a precedent invalidating all the legal work that goes into writing an EULA, so none of them go to court on the EULA itself as opposed to general law.

Aside from that, under EU law a consumer simply cannot give up their statutory rights under any circumstances - and two of those rights are "I bought it, it's mine", and "It has to be fit for purpose".

The clause "We don't say it's fit for purpose"? Legally, that's utter bollocks in the EU.

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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Richard 12
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Re: Some rules do need to be tightened

What? Seriously?

How exactly does a photo ID have any bearing on how likely or not somebody is to hijack an aircraft?

You are a prime example of how Governments oppress and subjugate their population - by convincing them that "pink is a fruit", to give a harmless example.

"We need photo ID before flying to stop terrorism"

"We need to strip-search everyone flying to stop terrorism"

"We need to sedate everyone and fly them unconscious to stop terrorism"

"We need to lock everyone up if they look a bit foreign"

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Virgin Media only puts limited limits on its Unlimited service

Richard 12
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I agree with him

Here's an idea - Every single time you see an advert that uses "Unlimited", complain to the ASA that it can't possibly be true.

If they spend every single day handling thousands of complaints about that word, eventually they'll just "ban" everyone from using it.

(Or rather, they'll make a gentlemen's agreement not to use it)

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ROBOT PODS to INVADE Milton Keynes in frenzied automatic MAYHEM

Richard 12
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Good idea

Unfortunately the implementation will probably screw it up, rather like the Heathrow T5 Business pods.

"What do you mean, 'electrified track'? That's just madness! The pods can charge up at the terminus."

So after about 9am, they are all flat and stay that way until the last flight empties, because they never sit idle for long enough. And thus they are effectively useless, because you end up waiting 20-30 minutes for one to get enough charge to take you the half mile.

I do wonder how often the batteries need replacing.

I suspect these pods will do the same, though at least they have a good reason not to have electrified track.

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Payday loan firms are the WORST. Ugh, my mobe's FILLED with filthy SPAM

Richard 12
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Re: @#$!!

Send them an invoice.

I've heard of people trying that, not sure whether it would actually get paid and I've never got around to it myself, but it sounds like a good idea.

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Pimp my office: 10 cubicle comforts

Richard 12
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:StarTech USB3 Dock

Looks like you didn't read the article.

That thing is not just a USB hub, it's a USB Ethernet adapter, and USB video card.

Which makes it the one thing on the list that I am very interested in, because it would give me a third monitor and second NIC.

It would do so very neatly given that the current Dell laptop docks have USB3 ports.

So yes, I want one of those.

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THIS is the kind of clout a British Prime Minister has: Facebook pulls ONE beheading vid

Richard 12
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Re: I'll tell you what the problem is, Mr/Ms Coward

Nope, but the UK is more puritan than France and many other parts of mainland Europe.

The USA was originally formed by groups of people who wanted to be more puritan than they could manage in the UK. That's why they went over there - to escape the depravity being permitted in the UK.

Recently our Governments have started to move towards the US views rather than the continental ones, which is likely to be the normal pendulum swings of opinion, but it's possible that it's caused by the exportation of US values via Hollywood et al.

Which is a shame, because BOOBIES!

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Brit boffins trap light in Lego-like lumps

Richard 12
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This is why the UK Governments PV subsidy is stupid

If they had put 1/4 or less of the money towards improving PV efficacy, then we'd have better PV arrays that might actually make sense commercially (even if not in Britain), rather than just pissing our money over rich people's roofing.

(And maybe not need to guarantee double market rate to Hinckley C as they wouldn't have already guaranteed the same for wind and quadruple for PV)

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US Veep's wireless heart implant disabled to stop TERRORIST HACKERS

Richard 12
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What is the alternative?

Having an actual plug-and-socket means breaking the skin barrier, which carries a much greater risk of infection.

Given that this has electrodes to the heart, that could be very bad.

There's not really a good solution other than good and published encryption over close-coupled coils - not radio or even NFC per se.

As long as every device has a different key, and the key is appropriately protected, the risk would be very small.

Of course, this almost certainly has no encryption at all and just blindly follows commands sent, because medical devices generally don't consider the possibility.

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Richard 12
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Re: The range is pretty small

That would be the "normal" range when using the carefully-designed and highly regulated transducer.

If one didn't care about targeting a specific unit, or EMC and other pesky regulations limiting the broadcast power and bandwidth, one could greatly increase the range.

That's always been the problem with NFC - while the proper transceivers are very short-range because they were carefully designed to be, the ones an attacker could use have several orders of magnitude greater range because (by definition) a black hat is not working to the design brief of "short range and comply with regulations!"

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Apple's top bean counter: New spaceship HQ won't emit 'one atom of carbon'

Richard 12
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Solar PV in Swindon?

How were those panels manufactured, transported, installed, cleaned and maintained?

How will they be disposed of when they wear out or break?

What poisonous and polluting chemicals are used and discharged during these lifetime stages?

If we're trading CO2 emissions for emissions of poisons and heavy metals, is that a sensible thing to do?

Where does the energy come from when it's dark or during bad weather, which is when the most heating and lighting is required?

Swindon is not known for its bright sunny days!

If you're saying "storage", what is the environmental cost of that storage?

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Facebook TEENS EXPOSED to entire WORLD

Richard 12
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"You've just bought a satnav."

"Here are some satnavs you might be interested in!"

Erm, no. I only just bought one, right? If I wanted another I'd have got two!

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US red-tape will drain boffins' brains into China, says crypto-guru Shamir

Richard 12
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Re: Iceland maybe?

Great idea!

They have several good venues, and they always give visitors a great welcome.

Plus volcanoes, so what's not to like?

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Richard 12
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Grand Cayman on the other hand

That does have really nice crab cakes.

Also lots more fresh and really nice seafood, on account of it being a small Caribbean island.

- Oddly, Hell is located there. It wasn't as fiery as advertised, and there was a distinct lack of brimstone. Hell does however have a post office and a petrol station.

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Do not adjust your set: TV market slows, 'connected TV' grows

Richard 12
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Re: Just want big dumb panels

That's exactly what I mean.

When the "smart" is a separate device, you can choose something with the features you want, and it's also more likely to get firmware updates, new features and to have a nice UI - because you have lots of choice.

When the "smart" is built-in, you have almost no choice (Sony/LG/Samsung/Philips/Tesco Value) and rarely, if ever get updates or even have a nice UI - you don't really like yours!

I now have a nice PVR set-top box, it does everything I want from a "Smart" TV (iPlayer, ITVPlayer, 4OD etc) except for DNLA sink (it can be a source though).

Most of those features have actually been added since I bought it, and cost me nothing extra.

When I decide I really do want to have that feature, or some other cool killer feature turns up that I want, I can buy a new STB or 'HDMI Stick" to do it, either replacing my current STB or in addition.

It's down to the cost. A good panel is expensive - £700-1000 and up. I'm only going to buy that once in ten years or so.

Good smarts change every year. Most users are not going to be happy being two-three years behind on that, but are not going to buy a new panel just for that, it's too much money. They might buy a new STB every couple of years, especially if it's £50-100 - or even less.

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Richard 12
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Re: Just want big dumb panels

Exactly.

Everyone who has the slightest idea of what they're looking at sees the "Smart TV" as a lock-in to a poor service that will only get worse.

When you can buy the "Smarts" as a $50 external box, why on earth would you want to pay $100+ for internal smarts which are probably poorer and are highly unlikely to get any better?

I tried it once - I got a TV with built-in PVR. It was awful to use, crashed and burned regularly and with no prospect of any firmware updates, I sent it back as "not fit for purpose" and replaced it with a simpler, cheaper TV panel and 'smart' set-top box.

That STB gets over-the-air firmware updates and has a much better UI for using its "smarts", because the company that made it succeed or fail on their UI.

TV manufacturers don't. They see the smarts as a simple tickybox on the marketing, and to date have paid almost no attention to either sensible UI or to offering firmware updates (whether over-the-air or manually).

I have never even used the tuner in this TV. All I want is plenty of inputs, and an easy and simple, preferably automatic way to switch between them - plus routing of proper 5.1 audio out to external amp.

I'd be happy with just one input and an HDMI + audio switching box, except that the MPAA decreed such a thing can never exist as it would break HDCP.

Of course, there don't appear to be any TVs out there that can actually do this, they're all intent on being throw-away, non-upgradable junk.

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Hypersonic MEGA METEOR pulled from lake, then Russians drop it

Richard 12
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Aerobraking

Followed shortly after by a bit of aquabraking and a lot of lithobraking.

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Price rises and power cuts by 2016? Thank the EU's energy policy

Richard 12
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Profits? They have no margin!

The margin the energy companies are allowed is pretty tiny - 5%

Until the banking crisis, they'd make more money putting their capital in an ISA (or equivalent) instead of using it to buy fuels and sell gas, oil and electric.

They only make notable total profits due to their scale.

If I remember correctly, about 70% of the price rises over the last decade and a bit have been directly caused by the green charges and renewable obligations.

So not much is due to either profits or the wholesale cost of energy, it's almost entirely the Polly-ticks.

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Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

Richard 12
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It *is* damping

The question is, how much damping is needed?

If too much is applied, the system will never reach the target value.

If too little is applied, the system will oscillate around the target value.

Right now it would appear that the housing market has no way to drive it down, while the other markets have no damping at all - there used to be the simple delays between trades, now with the new methods those delays are gone.

Of course, much of the profits are being made by causing those oscillations, which explains why traders are very much against any form of damping.

So, what is the transfer function for a market?

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