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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3320 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Have lots of ideas, try them out

But this is a case of "Have a supremely bad idea, try it, fail, then RAM IT DOWN USERS' THROATS".

Well that worked brilliantly for Microsoft with Metro, so why shouldn't Google try? In the end, the users came around to their point of view, sales sky-rocketed, and so they made Sinofsky CEO. Then everybody lived happily ever after...

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Oh God the RUBBER on my SHAFT has gone wrong and is STICKING to things

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Texture

How exactly did you think his hand got stuck to his shaft...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: My favorite has been mentioned!

Oh, is it a funnel? I always thought that filter icon was a pair of old style underpants...

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Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize

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Devil

Sorry, that's no defence. Saying that you only buried them in a shallow grave, and what's all the fuss about you didn't actually eat them, is not going to cut any ice with the jury at your trial.

On the other hand, if you'd eaten the evidence like a good boy, you wouldn't have this problem. Didn't your old Mum bring you up proper? You can't have a new victim, until you've finished eating the old one!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Well deserving of an Ig Nobel prize!

Surely if you shove a whole tomato up someone's nose, there'll be no more room in there for any blood to come out? Then you throw the lettuce in the bin, and eat the bacon sarnie. Job done.

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Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM

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Re: Shock result

Forget the US. Norway are closer. Perhaps they want to have the rest of the North Sea oil. You know, to complete the collection. And it's not as if they haven't done it before...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: No law against asking somone a question is there?

I think part of the reason for exit polling is to give the pollsters more information for when it comes to their next 4 years of polls. So they're trying to track what they've missed out, and this is their best chance to get at a large sample of actual voters, who they actually know have turned up. Who're also less likely to lie or forget who they voted for.

Referenda tend to be far apart, erratic, and all different. So refining their polling models would be pointless.

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Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE

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Re: Driving is very difficult

Well what did you expect when your bobble hat was falling over your eyes?

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JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!

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I don't think it'll affect haggis supply. Post-independence Scotland are going to want all the foreign exchange they can get. On the other hand, if things get nasty, I'm sure we can smuggle a few breeding pairs across the border and release them on to some moorland down here. Then we could hunt them on horseback with packs of hounds, and kill two birds with one stone. Also, our haggis-hunt would involve absolutely no bagpipes whatsoever. Win-Win.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Vote Yes

I'm no fan of Laphroaig either. Although I had the 20 year old many years ago, and that was rather delcious. You get more of a 'hint of tar', rather than being whacked in the face by a sack of it.

The one I really dislike is Caol Ila. Which makes Laphroaig taste like water.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Curiosities

Scotland has its own legal system already. They never got rid of it after the union. Education was also always different. They don't even have thee same exams as the rest of the country.

Unlike most countries, we never sat down and designed our system. It just sort of happened. And bits got changed as and when we got round to it.

Bit like redecorating really... So for example the last government ripped all the wallpaper off the House of Lords, and took the curtains to the dump. The carpets went to a shallow hole dug in the woods, with the odd hereditary peer bundled inside, BOfH style. Then they fell to squabbling about what colour to repaint it. Hint of democracy, or bright will of the people. Ten years later it's still in the same mess, with all the constitutional suitcases piled up in the corner - and no-one's worked out what to do.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: YES !

Unless our press have been covering up several major royal hospital visits, I think you'll find that Scotland suffers under a Queen's jackboot!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Vote Yes

BlartVersenwaldIII,

I believe the word you are groping for is 'expressions'.

My current tipple of choice is the Balvenie. But I've still not tried them all, and am working my way through. It's proving to be a long job...

I believe you can get one of the Japanese whiskies in Sainsbury's, and I was going to try it, but it was £45 for a ten year old. And for that money I can get a 15 year old. I'll get round to it sometime. There's also an English Whisky Company who're selling a 10 y.o. in Morrisons.

Haven't tried a Glenfarclas yet.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: If it's a Yes vote....

Yes - imagine if they have their own currency. No one will accept it south of the border. Oh wait - it's like that already with Scottish 'Pound Notes'...

A 'friend' who'd just been to the Edinburgh festival paid me back with a Scottish fiver the other day. I was worried I'd never get rid of the bugger. But the first place I asked took it, with no trouble. So that's not entirely true.

It was a Greggs. Don't judge me... I was buying a bacon roll and a belgian bun. And they were both delicious.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Bad Science

Bing may be unscientific. And a stopped watch is right twice a day, but if you look at the average of the current polls, it's something like 48.?% yes - 51.?% no. That's ignoring don't knows.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Margin of error

Cristoph,

Craig Murray is far too much of a conspiracy nutter for my tastes.

But to answer his specific point, why would you go up to a 'No Change' stall to ask for a leaflet? Why would you be as enthusisastic about voting to keep things the way they are than voting to change them? Plus the world is full of politicians who when they're asked why the polls look so bad say, "well the people I'm talking to don't say that". Then the polls usually turn out to be broadly correct.

Polls are a snapshot of feelings at the time, but tend to be pretty accurate around election time. Although with a margin of error for these type of around +/-2%.

Have a look on UK Polling Report. I won't link to a specific post, because the current top 3 are all relevant. He gives the results of recent polling, and in the third post down (it may move down if you look later), talks about how the polls could be wrong, and what pollsters do to avoid it.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: If i had a vote

bill 36,

I'm not sure about the joining the Euro bit... There's still a very large chance that it's going to collapse or otherwise break-up in the next few years.

There are still ways to save it (QE or Eurobonds), and in the end they'll probably do one of them, because the alternative will be going into a weekend-long crisis summit, coming out without a proper answer, and a total Eurozone banking-collapse on the Monday morning. Followed by break-up and global depression.

Anyway, whatever Scotland does, they can't promise to join the Euro, because they can't guarantee whether they'll be allowed to join the EU. So there has to be an interim currency first. One of the reasons the rUK politicians don't want them to keep the Pound is that there'll be uncertainty for the next decade as to whether they'd leave and join the Euro, which could be very destabilising.

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Amazon rekindles e-readers and Fire OS without weeks of whack-a-leak fun

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That's what I thought. It's certainly brave of them. But looks pretty foolish to me. Kids can destroy anything.

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I ain't Spartacus
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The 6" one looks good as an iPod replacement. Ideally I like to keep the phone battery for use as a phone, and the iPod often gets plugged into the stereo, so it's better that it be a separate device anyway.

Has anyone got any opinions of the Amazon software? I'm a bit dubious to be honest. But I don't care about apps, with a phone already, so it would only need a decent podcast app a decent music player and enough memory for at least 25GB of music, plus podcasts.

All advice/opinions appreciated.

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Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

I ain't Spartacus
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Well I think he's pushing against an open door

The Germans got the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society role in the new European Commission. Subject to the Parliament not vetoing it anyway (which is unlikely). Apparently the first interview he gave after getting the gig was to say that "Google's market power could be limited". Reuters linky-linky.

I predicted this a couple of months ago (got quite a few downvotes for it too). When Merkel changed her mind on Juncker getting the EU Commissioner gig, after agreeing it with Cameron. One of the reasons was massive, sudden pressure from the German media. Led by Axel Springer (Bilt and De Welt). Who just happen to have a long-running dispute with Google (rather like Murdoch I suspect), and just happened to have met with Juncker's team beforehand. Now Juncker's new team have set out their opposition to Google, before even being appointed. I suspect there'll be a few changes in direction with EC regulation of t'interwebs, as the Germans are a good deal more concerned about privacy than most other countries, and it's been a live political issue there for years. linky to an EU thinktank

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Badges for Commentards

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Where's my vulture?

Yep, it's 100 posts over the preceeding year. So what El Reg giveth, El Reg taketh away. I seem to recall they said they were just going to award the badges and not take them away again, but I'd guess it's way down the priorities list, and so hasn't happened.

Perhaps if you all sued for mental distress?

As one of the privileged elite, I don't think this affects me. Certainly when I got my 1,000th upvote, I was expecting my badge to be de-goldified and ensilvered. But it didn't - so maybe I'm safe from the indignity of demotion, should I stop posting for a bit.

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Will Apple give Chinese iPhone workers cancer? THE TRUTH

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Re: About time...

It's a question of context, but that doesn't get the headlines.

Lost all faith...,

As Tim Harford says on 'More or Less' all the time, the thing to consider is whether this is actually a big number. I was under the impression that the Foxconn factory employed a lot of people. If it's 300k (as I've seen in this thread), then 13 cases of leukaemia over 5 years is only an incidence of 1 in 100,000. Which makes it sound like a much smaller number. It's a rare disease, but even so.

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Hate Facebook? Hate it enough to spend $9k fleeing it? Web 'country club' built for the rich

I ain't Spartacus
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That's fine, but the only jet you're likely to encounter in there is the Vomitstrream...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Not conspicuous enough! --> fail

Put it another way, spending $9000 on a social media membership that the hoi polloi cannot see is just not visible, it is not conspicuous consumption. And in these cases, conspicuous consumption is the whole point, with the emphasis on 'conspicuous'.

Depends who you're talking about. Some people buy the fast cars and hide them in a garage. It's about the pleasure they get from owning them. Some people don't give a damn what others think about them. Some like to show off. Trying to lump any one group of people into one category is silly.

Also you've made a logical error of your own. There are 3 lots of people that any status-conscious person is trying to impress. Those below who must be dazzled by the bling, those of the same status who must be seen to be kept up with, and those above who must be fooled into thinking you've caught up (or are about to). So you can't impress the hoi polloi by joining an invisible group. But you can impress the other people in the group, by the fact that you had the $6k joining fee to blow, and didn't mind the annual membership.

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First Irish boy band U2. Now Apple pushes ANOTHER thing into iPhones, iPods, iPads

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Re: How exactly is that wrong?

Because it means Apple gets to decide which capabilities gain traction, not the market or the users?

That at least, isn't Apple's fault. You can't blame Apple for the Carriers being utterly shit. They were shit way before Apple got into the mobile industry. Whatever you may think about Apple as a company (and boy can they be annoying sometimes), there's a good argument to say they only succeeded with the iPhone because they ignored the Carriers, and listened to the customers. While the other phone manufacturers made ever more concessions to get their few dollars of feature support per handset. 50p for WAP, another £1 if there's a hard-coded button that launches our WAP (spit!) portal, £2 for a send MMS button in the photo program etc. If the carriers had really known their customers they'd have invented FAP and paid for special buttons for it...

Samsung have the same power as Apple. If they wanted a feature allowed, they could threaten to boycott the network that refused to play ball. They'd arguably do more damage than Apple if they did.

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Deutschland, Uber allowed (for now): Ban on taxi app lifted

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I wasn't even particularly interested in the article. I only came here to comment and say hooray for the subbies for that headline.

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

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Re: Legal argument aside

Yeah, but Allen has warplanes. These guys only have tanks. Although if they've only got fighters, then I guess it's a stand-off. Who runs out of fuel first...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: For heavens sake

Someone in London 15 years ago was driving round in a bright yellow Scimitar or Scorpion (I forget which). Obviously he was one of the few motorists in Central London with no parking problems.

There's also a London company who've bought an old Warrior IFV, and re-purposed it. They took out the gun-ports, and replaced them with darkened windows, painted it pink, and fitted a small bar and DJ station. It's now a hen night limo.

Apparently one advantage is that the floor is still bare metal, so you can just hose it down and all the vomit washes down the drain-holes.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: tinfoiled

It's a bit heavy though. And can cause neck pain, if worn for long periods.

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Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians

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Re: I think the story here is

Eavesdropping is one thing. Spying completely different. Spying means recruiting agents on the ground to get you intelligence. That's got its even more morally dubious side.

Remember Hamas aren't averse to shooting spies, or people suspected of it. I'd imagine that ends up being like witch-hunting, where you just pick a likely candidate and burn shoot them. Because they were nearby when it happened, or no-one likes them.

However if you're forcing random Palestinian people to spy for you because they're gay, and then get them killed because they get caught, that's surely immoral. It's one thing if people are willing agents, because they're opposed to Hamas and give you information freely. Even then there may be an element of coercion involved. It's another to blackmail people into it. Particularly if you're blackmailing people who were completely innocent and previously uninvolved. I doubt spying can ever be nice, or morally unambiguous. But there have to be limits.

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Re: Israel has the resoureces

Hamas were elected ten years ago. I'm not sure that mandate still stands, and they've not exactly been in a hurry to allow another election. Or in fact allow any kind of opposition.

Would Gaza elect them again? They've not exactly made a sparkling success of governing. The place is in ruins, under blockade and the economy's collapsed. They seem to have fallen out with their mates in Iran and Syria, and obviously Egypt is back under military rule so they're on the outs wiht them as well.

Possibly it's time for a different policy?

Some bits of Israel certainly do want peace. They signed up for Oslo after all. Whether that could still command a majority is a question I don't have the answer to. Whether it's possible to get Israeli, Palestinian and Gazan governments in power simultaneously who want to give peace a try is another matter entirely.

Eventually it'll happen. Because no other solution is viable. The question is, how long will it take, and how many people will die first.

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Re: This will end up being ignored/forgotten

Israel may or may not have moved the boundaries around when they pulled out of Gaza. I've not looked into it enough to say. And obviously they maintain a no-man's land inside Gaza's territory, rather than theirs. However they actually did remove many settlers and settlements. If the only problem was borders or settlements a deal could have been struck. But that's not Hamas' only objective, and therefore settlements almost certainly isn't the main problem in Gaza. The blockade is surely a much more important issue there.

There's a big difference between Hamas and the IRA. The IRA had an achievable objective. It's unlikely that Israel is going to consent to ceasing to exist. It was possible that the UK would dump NI on the Republic and wash its hands of the whole messy problem. However, when the IRA realised they had no hope, they made a deal. Hamas still aren't even clear that they're happy with any deal that leaves Israel standing.

There are many voices within Hamas who accept they're going to have to go for a two-state solution. But I'm not sure they're a majority. And even if they are, if a significant minority of the military wing don't accept the reality that they can't win, then peace will be impossible.

There will be no peace while Israel's only roadmap to peace is the complete assimilation of Palestine within the boundaries of the state of Israel.

That's certainly true. However that isn't Israel's only road to peace. Even Netenyahu has had to publicly accept that a 2 state solution is the only way they're going to get a deal. He may not like it. He may not be honestly trying to achieve it, certainly some of his coalition partners are actively working against it. And personally I think he's a total arse, who poisoned any remaining hope of re-starting the Oslo process ten years ago.

However it's a ridiculous simplification so say that Israel wants to annex all the territory and kick the Palestinians out. Israel is a pluralist society, and the opposition parties definitely want a two-state solution. However the peace process failed on their watch, hence they got the blame, and the ones who said it couldn't work got back in. They're now showing how there is no military solution. My personal suspicion is that Israeli opinion will shift as soon as it looks like there's any realistic chance of a working peace process. But that will need the Palestinian side to be more united than they currently are.

Oslo happened because everyone was sick of the previous bloodbath. Hopefully enough blood has been spilled since to prove to the extremists that they can never 'win'. Or if not, then prove to the general population that supporting the extremists will just get them more blood. And maybe it's worth a try at peace again. But these shifts take years, because it seems that people have to be sick enough of the slaughter for the nasty compromises required to get peace to look bearable.

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There was a decent sized movement a few years ago of troops refusing to serve in the occupied territories. I seem to remember it was older reservists and obviously on political grounds. I don't know how that's panned out, as I don't really follow Israeli news. I'd imagine they're going to have increasing problems in the future with people's willingness to fight. Particularly as quite a lot of the more bellicose parties pulling Likud to the settler point of view are of the orthodox religious right, and lots of them have exemption from military service. That's not exactly wonderful in PR terms either...

My feeling after the Oslo process collapsed was that no-one would make peace for years. They so nearly got there, and then didn't. And they only got to that stage because everyone was exhausted after the first Intifada. So now they won't get peace until the more militant 'we can win' types on both sides are proved wrong again, and until ordinary people are so sick of the bloodshed that they're willing to accept unpalatable compromises.

Conscription gets you lots of people, but also lots of problems. It's much easier to keep a professional military fighting, even in the face of strong public disapproval.

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Re: This will end up being ignored/forgotten

Not that I wish to defend Israel's recent bombing of Gaza, but you oversimplify vastly. There are no settlements in Gaza - they were removed in 2005. The conflict with Hamas is about other things.

Settlements are a problem in the West Bank. And will have to be removed to get a viable peace settlement. Israel is storing up trouble for itself by putting them there. But then there is a segment of Israeli society who either don't want a fair peace deal, or don't believe it's possible. That's equally true of the Palestinian side, or the Oslo process would have worked, and we wouldn't be in this situation.

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Israel has conscription. So the military is full of civilians. They also have a cadre of career military professionals. But they seem to use their reserves a lot. Even in cases like the recent conflict with Gaza, where they weren't using all that many troops - and so ought to have been able to just use the standing army. I suspect they also make up lots of the support services from reservists.

That probably makes sense as a pay-off too. You do your military service in a front-line formation, you've got a high chance of actual combat, plus you get to spend lots of time getting muddy (I guess sandy in their case), and living in tents. But then less chance of getting called-up again afterwards - particularly now Israel is less likely to get invaded.

Whereas if you get an intel job on conscription, you probably get an easier time, more spent in an office, and a better chance of weekend leave. But then a higher chance of getting called-up for conflicts with Hamas or Hizbollah for however long you're on the active reservist list.

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Massachusetts shoots down car dealers' Tesla-busting sueball

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Re: 500,000 Batter Packs

It's not for fish 'n chips! Although a SpaceX rocket would make an excellent deep fat fryer. Simply place all the batter packs fish and frozen chips in the sump where the cooling water normally goes, then after the rocket hits space the engineers get to celebrate their success with yummy food.

Might be a touch crispier than some might like...

However this is clearly Elon Musk's new venture. He's going to re-invent the Yorkshire Pudding!

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Apple gives fanbois The Sweetest Thing: A delete button for that U2 album

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Devil

Re: [Sigh]

Perhaps Microsoft should put out a press release, on behalf of Google, threatening promising to give all Android users a free Rick Astley album. Then Windows Phone sales would shoot through the roof...

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I didn't think it was all that bad. You could listen to it without your ears bleeding, and It had some tunes. Just rather dull ones...

I hadn't realised what Apple had done until I saw about the third headline, and actually read the story. I just assumed it was one of those things you could download for free, like they've often done at Christmas. Then when I checked, it was on my iPad already. I'm not sure the story's worth all the fuss. But I suppose Apple were rather rude. It also shows they've lost their untouchable coolness factor with the mainstream press, and now cop as much flack as any other huge multi-national. Although they still get more free publicity than most...

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Read The Gods of War for every tired cliche you never wanted to see in a sci fi book

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Coat

Did they also publish George Paul?

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Starship Troopers beat Aliens, Robots AND Chuck Norris to WIN in a FIGHT

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How about post-pub deathmatch?

Which post-pub nosh is the tastiest? Or if you prefer, which will kill you fastest?

Thinks: I could kill for a fish finger sandwich right about now…

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

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Re: It will be business as usual.

James Micallef,

All members of the EU, since Maastricht (1995ish?), are required to join the Euro. You sign up to the treaties when you join, and being in the single currency is part of being in the EU. The only exceptions are the UK and Denmark, who negotiated opt-outs, which are written as a codycil to the treaty. European Commission linky here

Not all countries have to join the Euro instantly. That would be mad. But all countries commit to joining in future. What some have done is to delay the convergence criteria, so that they're still not ready yet. There is talk of not letting new entrants get away with this, since Sweden basically isn't planning to join at all. I think some people feel that they're taking the piss...

From memory all new accession countries have to join Schengen as well. Certain members have an opt-out. This is partly because they've got long borders with non-members and not the resources to police them (Bulgaria, Rumania). Turkey isn't an issue, because Turkey won't be allowed to join. That's been clear for at least 5 years, since the European Constitution fiasco revealed that voters in France and Germany (and others) hated the idea. Politically the Turks are going in a different direction now anyway, so it couldn't happen.

The EU is not particularly flexible or logical. Because some of the design is idealistic. It's about a dream of a single state and an end to war. And the believers got a lot of that stuff pushed through into the treaties before they retired. Mitterand, Kohl, Delors etc. Now it's much harder to change, so we're stuck with it. Even though there's probably only Belgium, Luxembourg (and oddly) Germany where a majority of people still hold those ideals.

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Re: Geneva Convention

James Micallef,

Cheers.

Luxembourg were very upset with the Cyprus 'bail-out'. As their financial services are 20x the size of the economy. Cyprus had several problems. The last government had argued too long, so the new one got bounced into a truly craptastic deal. Cyrpus was also a victim of the Greek bail-out. While everything was done to protect German and French banks in this deal, it appears Cyprus only got kind words and promises. And then bail-out fatigue had set in, and Cyprus was full of Russian money. So an easy target to make an example of, without risking the Euro. It was only an argument over something stupid like €8 billion, for which they basically deliberately decided to destroy the Cypriot economy to make a point. An absolutely fucking shameful disgrace of an outcome. At least Greece were mostly at fault for the mess their country was in before the bail-out...

I'd agree that Scotland's less at risk, as the rUK is more stable than Russia or Greece (two of Cyprus main trading partners). On the other hand, they'd have a separate currency, new government and institutions. That's a lot of uncertainty and instability. And being a petro-currency, when rUK no longer is, doesn't help either.

But I think the important point is the Scotland will probably have a stable economy, and do OK. It's just that they'll have to have a central bank of their own, to keep any major financial services sector. And that means their own currency. Not sharing/using sterling.

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Re: It will be business as usual.

Slx,

Italy has debt to GDP of 131% at the moment. It went up by 5-6%age points last year. Italy is in deflation this year, and back in recession.

Italy can't pay its national debt unless it leaves the Euro. Greece needs another (much smaller) bail-out, because the last one was basically designed to be politically acceptable, not to succeed. In a year or two's time those chickens will come home to roost. It nearly broke the Euro finding €230bn-odd to bail out Greece over 5 years. That's one year's bail-out for Italy.

France is also dropping into deflation, with debt-to-GDP at 95%. There's no money to bail out Italy. So it'll have to be massive QE. I'm not sure Germany will accept that, and it's hard to get to in small baby steps, like the other bail-outs have been (i.e. boiling the frog). So I'd say it's 50/50 whether the Euro survives in its current form, with either Italy or France voting to leave, or Germany doing likewise.

There also may be a banking crisis this autumn. The Eurozone is still heading into deflation, with nothing being done about it. There's a lot of distressed banks out there, and still nothing has been done to sort them out!! They're still all sitting on massive piles of assets marked up to old prices, not real ones. And the ECB stress test, to be published this month, had a worst case scenario of about 0.8% inflation. Inflation in Italy is -0.3%, and 0% in France! So this will be the 3rd botched stress test in a row. One of these two things may tear the Eurozone apart in a sudden crisis that can't bre reacted to fast enough.

There's a lot of delusional thinking going on in the Eurozone and the markets. It's too horrible if it fails, so it won't. If that psychological block once fractures, it's one emergency weekend meeting to launch QE and common bank bail-outs or goodbye Euro. And the German politicians have been lying to their electorate for too long about this to suddenly change that fast, in one big step.

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Re: Scotlands Last Chance

Did somebody discover massive gold reserves in the Cairngorms without telling us?

Nope. A rich vein of tinfoil though...

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Ex-Autonomy execs: HP's latest wad blows apart fraud allegations

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I'm amazed that they went ahead with the purchase, over the objections of the CFO. That way madness lies! At least if it tuns out to be true.

Admittedly a proper director is then supposed to resign over the issue, giving the shareholders (his bosses) warning of what's coming their way. Clearly that wasn't going to happen. Losing all that lovely lolly...

It's not going to look too clever in court though, when those emails and minutes get read to the jury.

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Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport

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Re: Even worse if they'd taken the explosives out

The French once planted a bomb in the grounds of their London ambassador's official residence. Apparently they were having a hissy-fit at the time, as we wouldn't let them use their own armed security to protect the visit of President Mitterand. So the idea was to catch out UK police. And embarrass them.

We found it, and there was a huge debate within government as to what to do. Complaining was decided to be too embarrassing, as we'd still have to be nice to the French afterwards. So it was hushed-up instead.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Only an apology?

Modern plastic explosive is pretty damned stable. If they were playing around with detonators, that would be another matter entirely. But you can burn plastic explosive safely, and I believe some squaddies have even used it to boil their tea.

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Re: Department of devolving responsibility

Wasn't there a case in Japan a few years ago? Where they went even further. Instead of using identified test suitcases, they were inserting explosives into random peoples' cases. I presume this was between check-in and baggage security screening.

Apparently they didn't take note of which bags, so they could remove it afterwards. At least one bag evded the dogs, and some poor bloke got home with a very naughty suitcase. Imagine explaining that to US police on your return? "Oh no officers, I don't know how that got there. The only time the case left my sight was when I checked it in. Honest. Why don't you believe me? What's that elbow length rubber glove for?"

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Hacker publishes tech support phone scammer slammer

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Re: I'm getting stabbed...

It's very tempting though. We still get at least one call a week from these guys. I've got an old laptop handy, that I'm willing to risk. I could have it set up and ready to go. But in the end, it's probably too much hassle, when I can just tell them to bugger off. And you'll only get to hack some minion in a call centre.

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James Bond's metal-toothed nemesis Richard Kiel dies at 74

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Happy

Re: Funny or money

Ed Miliband?

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