2641 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
Re: What can I say
It's not a currency.
It could become one in future. When hell freezes over. But due to the opacity, scams, general fail of all the main players, massive volatility, and built in deflation - it'll probably never make a viable currency.
It's a very high risk investment, with zero intrinsic value. So although it may not be designed as a scam, it's almost certain to end in tears. Any currency that loses 50% of its value overnight, or can gain 100% of it's value the previous morning, is worth about as much as a Weimar Mark or a Zimbabwe Dollar. Or possibly soon, Euros...
Finally, there's no problem if you risk $10 you can afford on cheap coins, in the hope of ludicrous gains. Even if it should be obvious that any investment that can make you 100% profit in a morning is going to be
somewhat horrendously high risk... But if there are really Eurozone savers desperate to protect their life savings from the incompetence of the Eurogroup - I would hate to see them fucked over by the scammers and idiots involved in Bitcoin, to follow on from the fucking their currently getting in order to help Angela Merkel get re-elected and keep the Euro-nutters dreams of EU statehood on life support.
Re: Ugly Phones
I think you can get them all in a matt black casing, rather than the pretty coloured ones. They're there to make the ads look pretty. And in black they just look like a.n.other touchscreen phone to me.
The only 2 smartphone designs I've really liked were the iPhone 3GS, small with the metal curvy back, and the HTC Desire (and copies) with the metal casing where the bottom and back are coated in rubber. The HTC one doesn't look quite as snazzy, but is beautifully comfortable in the hand, and solid feeling. Everything else is just a rectangle with some glass at the front.
Give me my old Motorola Razr V3 or even MicroTac (admittedly that one was rather chunky).
That's got to be a bugger for anyone trying to sell a mid-market phone. The Google Nexus 4. Not nice to try to compete against that.
I wonder if Google should do a low-end Nexus device, where there'd be a real benefit to the processor from not having to run crapware, trialware and operator/manufacturer skins? Say a £150 from one of the Chinese companies?
That would properly screw Nokia and MS - assuming they aren't already...
Re: Nice £100 phone
Win Pho seems to run on worse hardware then Android. The problem with cheaper 'Droids is that they're often sluggish and stuttery. That's been my experience. Whereas the Lumia 710 I had for a while did less, and was less flexible, but did most of it very well. Phone, contacts, email, messaging, navigation all good to great - browsing and search via Bing mediocre to OK. Apps were mostly dire. I was happy with that, as I'm not a big app user on phones.
I don't think Windows Phone can compete too well at the top end. It's not rubbish, but apps are more important there, and the only things it's much better at are contact management and camera. But at the bottom end there aren't any iPhones and a lot of the 'Droids are disappointing.
I seem to remember they did try to buy .google, and I guess they'll get that. But it's probably in one of the later rounds.
Google still aren't Hoover, and they're desperately using lawyers to try to stop that happening. Lest they lose control of their trademark. Rather like Rolls Royce still send the legal letters out if you call something 'The Rolls Royce of...' It is an interesting questions as to whether ICANN would let Hoover buy .hoover in that case. But I'd imagine they would - they may not be able to defend the trademark, but it's still their name.
After being rather rude about ICANN of late, it's only fair that I applaud this decision. Assuming they actually stick to it. I don't think Amazon should be able to exclusively control .book, or Google .search. Not that I think they need to exist at all, but if they must exist, better they're sensible. Although given the history of generic domains like car.com - this sitll looks like a total waste of money. Google don't need TLDs to rule the internet, they do that through their search and advertising monopolies.
Re: BBC4 last night
Surely a floggle-toggle...
Left hand down a bit!
Re: That's FLÜMBLAR, please!
We don't want no steekin' umlauts. All those squiggly lines and dots in foreign just confuse us. My French teacher told us that you don't need to put the accents on the capital letters, so I did my next essay entirely in caps, but strangely wasn't allowed to get away with that...
Anyway, we don't want to learn Finnish. It's far too difficult. The only reason we created the empire was so that we could get everyone else to learn English, and save all the money on language teachers. Plus we needed to some people to play us at cricket. Although that didn't work out so well...
Are you saying that McDonalds is a CIA front?
Hmmm. Makes sense actually. It was the Hamburgler wot done the Watergate break-in, and clearly Ronald McDonald is a fake. I'm sure he's not really their CEO.
Re: Why are you complaning?
It's nice they're giving stuff away for free. We're not complaining about the generosity. We're just doubting their wisdom. I'm not worried that this will create more spam or crap on the net, just that Mali will suffer disproportionately from it.
Doesn't one of the major rebel groupings call itself Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb? That sounds quite affiliated to Al Qaeda to me. It's mostly a franchise anyway, so presumably you just have to pay your franchise fee, paint the name on the side of your vans, and you get to benefit from all the advertising that Head Office does. They're the McDonalds of terrorism, but the bacon sandwiches probably aren't as good...
I guess I can see what the government are trying to do, but surely they'd be better to give their addresses away to people who live in Mali, if they want to do that. Unless it's a honey-trap, to get all the spammers to sign up to one domain, so we can either catch them or ignore them.
Have any of the alternative domains done well? I keep getting offers from my registrar for .co addresses, and there was another one recently of a similar type, where they were more expensive than a .com!
Also, has anyone ever used .tel?
Re: HTML posting problem
HTML posting problem
When I try to post comments with the <blink>tag</blink>, it doesn't seem to work. Please could El Reg look into this.
I noticed your article on how Firefox were phasing it out, and thought it needed a last hurrah.
Re: Badge-y bug
Ah, you've been enobled. Admitted to the order of the bronze vulture.
By the way, turkey vultures cool themselves by urinating on their own legs. I believe that this is obligatory, once you've joined the Register's secret club. You might smell a bit, but you'll be the coolest cat in the computer room...
Dear El Reg,
Remember what happened to Microsoft when they forgot to keep running their browser choice script. Just think how much the EU might fine you for failing to badge-ify your commentards as promised!
Re: Ig-noble award candidate?
They're also only going to make and distribute 15 of them. And they'll be monitored on Twitter and Facebook by volunteers, rather than properly, via robust communications. I find the words 'publicity stunt' rapidly marching through my brain suddenly...
I can see the Twitter feed now:
21:15 - I ain't Spartacus - is having a lovely Sandwich.
21:18 - I ain't Spartacus - is eating a doughnut.
21:30 - I ain't Spartacus - has gone down the pub.
02:15 - I ain't Spartacus - hic! Beer iz yummy!
13:01 - I ain't Spartacus - my aid worker in Africa got kidnapped while I was down the pub last night. As he put out his final cry for help, I was drinking some excellent bitter and eating peanuts. #sadface
13:20 - I ain't Spartacus - has signed up to monitor a new aid worker, and hopes he'll do better than the last one.
Could they not just move the depot from Bad Hersfeld to Good Hersfeld, this solving all their problems at a stroke.
I'm available for management consultancy work, at reasonable prices, should Mr Bezos need me...
The problem is that woman aren't turned on by grey polygonads, so there is no objective measure to be made here.
That's funny, I've never had any complaints from the many women who've had cause to fondle my smoothly curving grey checkered torso and genitalia. Oh yes!
Re: I can understand some of the animosity towards Thatcher...
Seeing as you were doing so well with the being patronising... Can anyone join in?
Middle Class in the US means blue-collar but well paid. So think plumbers, car-workers and the like. So that 'turkeys voting for Christmas bit wasn't all that accurate'.
Even though we're two cultures separated by a common language, I think you ought to be able to work out what a smokestack industry is.
The British automotive industry is currently turning out more cars than it has since peak production in the 50s. Sadly it's not employing anywhere like as many people, because it's all automated. Last time I saw any figures, Sunderland was the most efficient car factory in the world.
Sadly we run a more open economy than many of our trading partners, which leads to them being able to buy more of our companies than they allow us to buy of theirs. This has both downsides and upsides. Although we also own a lot of foreign companies. The Germans, French and Italians in particular are far more keen on free trade when it suits them, and ignoring EU rules when it doesn't - but that's a question for another day.
Re: Why Thatcher joined the Conservatives
So, there you have it. We ended up with a PM who was only interested in her ambition.
Likewise Tony Blair became an MP based upon a single vote cast at his constituency selection committee (41-40 IIRC).
Food for thought....
Hmmm... Perhaps some thought might be a good idea? Is it likely that Thatcher only joined the Conservatives because it was easier, and despite her opinions on socialism would have gone the Labour route otherwise? Or perhaps is it likely that this is an anecdote that means little?
On the Tony Blair thing, I'm no fan of his, and never voted for him. But he managed to get himself elected by his constituents to the Commons during a big Labour defeat, got re-elected in the same seat 6 times, got elected to the Shadow Cabinet, got elected as Labour leader and won 2 general elections with over 40% of the vote and big fat majorities (plus one more for luck). Given that, and that he'd been selected for a by-election before, I'm sure he would have got a seat eventually.
Re: One lasting change from Mrs T
And who the fuck do you think *legitimised* Tony and Gordon's behaviour?
I'd say that would be the voters who elected them. Funny thing this democracy lark, but people tend to get at least some of what they vote for. For example, Margaret Thatcher won 3 general elections as party leader, the final 2 larger than that which first got her in, in 79. Which suggests at least some of the voters thought she got things more right than wrong.
I find it very odd to hear and read how Mrs T created a selfish society. I suspect politicians wish they were that powerful. Politics doesn't really change society, it's the other way round. There are exceptions of course, but if society is more individualistic since the 80s that's probably because people are more individualistic. If they weren't, they'd vote consistently for more tax and more government, more would join unions etc. Which they haven't. I'd suspect a majority thought Thatcher went too far in the 80s, but I'd be amazed if there are all that many who'd like to go back to the 70s. Blair certainly didn't feel he had a mandate to rip up Thatcher's reforms, and for all his faults he was an excellent reader of the electorate for at least a decade.
Re: At least two sides to this story
Funny that. The last 2 Conservative governments have come in when the country's been right royally screwed. Both had to cut government spending and try to get the economy on an even keel. In the current case after Labour properly screwed things up. It's a bit harder to be that definitive in the case of 1979, because it's not as if the Heath government was that much better (or even hugely different) to Labour.
Anyway it's a great wheeze for the Left. We'll call the Conservatives 'The Nasty Party', leaving the implication that we're the nice one of course. Which obviously they are... Spend more money than you raise in tax, and, "hey presto!", everyone loves you. Course it's a bit different when the economy turns to shit, and the levels of debt have to be reduced. Then it's much nicer to be in opposition and admit that maybe a cut or two is necessary, but oppose every one, and claim you'd be much nicer.
Fuck that for political analysis. Could we have something a little less simplistic and a bit more adult next time please.
Not that I claim Thatcher got everything right, and we were certainly well overdue for a change by 1997. But I wasn't much impressed with what Labour had to offer. And I'm even less impressed by them now. I don't see much chance of sorting things out with Ed Balls as Chancellor, and I'm not particularly keen on Miliband either. Mid-term polls are meaningless, and Labour are averaging under 40% at the moment - which is shocking! I'd still make them favourites, due to the inbuilt bias of our current boundaries, I suspect both major parties will only poll around 36%, leaving Labour with a very slim overall majority (or possibly forced into a coalition). I think they'll make a mess, but maybe it's what the country needs. Perhaps we'll get some more realism from some sections of the voters when it's Labour that are forced to make the cuts. We currently spend £120 billion odd more than we tax. That is completely unsustainable - and although most of it will go away when the economy grows more, we probably have to make £40 billion more of cuts to government spending or tax rises to balance things up. Then there'll need to be a bit of surplus for a few years, until we can get debt below 80% of GDP.
Re: So very sad to see El reg delete comments
I'd imagine they delete them if they get complaints. Plus I bet they're heading for 1,000 comments on here, and the mods should really be subbies. The more foaming commentards they have to deal with, the more typos we'll get in articles, and the fewer bonkers headlines. So it's just a quick delete if you're not sure, rather than a 10 minute agonise about press freedom.
Anyway, surely to mention press freedom is ludicrous. It's The Register's press, so surely they have the freedom to publish what they want. And not if they don't like it. If you want total freedom of speech, publish your comments on your own website.
Re: One lasting change from Mrs T
Whatever you may think about the City being de-regulated in the 80s, Brown and Balls set up a new City Regulation scheme in 97, when they took regulation off the Bank of England and gave it to the FSA - while making the BofE responsible for interest rates. So whatever happened afterwards is definitely not her pigeon.
She didn't privatise the Post Office. She hived off the telecoms bits, and privatised them as BT. Then its monopoly was regulated.
As an example, in the early 80s a daytime national rate call was something like 40p a minute. By the 90s that was down to about 5p. Although I guess one downside of phone calls getting massively cheaper has been more sales calls - with Skype making it even worse...
Re: At least two sides to this story
That's mostly a big old pile of drivel, but I've got to single one quote out:
Thach brought about content free politics, and ever after parties can only lose.
Surely the one thing you definitely can't accuse Thatcher of is content-free politics with no convictions, or doing only what would make her popular. That's just a bonkers thing to say. Given how absolutely everybody seems to have an opinion on her, and her policies, 25 years after she left politics - 5 elections and 4 Prime Ministers later.
As for all the theories being her policies being discredited, nope again. Some have, some not so much. Extreme monetarism always looked like snake oil to me when I studied economics. But the problem of her time was high inflation, which isn't the problem in this current recession. Just like the problem of her time was over-regulation and too much trade union and state power. You probably wouldn't say that's the main problem now.
Re: Why would anyone want this?
Never allow the ISP disc into your computer! Always configure manually. It took me hours to clean the BT spyware off my Dad's PC, when he used their disc once. They'd got this remote desktop tool for their support guys that would re-install itself even if you un-installed and deleted it. I suppose I could have left it on there, but apart from being a security risk it also tended to crash every other time you booted the computer, and flash annoying messages all over the screen at random.
Re: Maybe good for 14 year olds...
It might be aimed at teenagers, if they go for cheap handsets, maybe with subsidies. And especially if the operators can be signed up to give cheap contracts where all the Facebook messages are free, then it could take over from BBM. But I've read many suggestions that teenagers are now less Facebook obsessed.
So I'm thinking it'll be people like my sister-in-law. She's got 2 kids under 6, last time I sorted out her phone she had over 800 pictures of the kids on there (not backed up), and I'm now her hero for saving them when it died. Probably a quarter of those piccies are on FB, and she posts loads of messages to all her other mates on there, lots of them also mothers of young kids. Not being interested in tech her phone is for texting, photographs, Facebook and a phone, in about that order. She'd probably love a FaceFone - as would many of her mates.
Re: My Prediction
Are you sure about that Barry? Seems a bit too much like wishful thinking to me. There is an anti-Facebook backlash, I agree - it's become a fashionable opinion to hold. But there are a lot of very loyal users, who post loads of stuff on there, every day, and absolutely love to use it on their phones. They take loads of photos on them, and spray them all over Facebook, plus they've got lots of friends on it, and I doubt it would take much persuasion from Facebook for them to send all their messages via Facebook and WiFi, rather than the carriers.
Facebook may lose the fashion-conscious and the younger users, but they seem to have gained a stranglehold on a lot of parents and grandparents. And they're the people who've actually got the money. Advertisers seem obsessed with chasing the teen market (I guess it makes them feel young), but it's the middle aged and old who've got all the cash.
Of course, given what the other Facebook apps have been like, there's a good chance it will be a hideous, unusable piece of shit. Like the Facebook web user interface, come to think of it...
Re: The difference between Facebook and e.g. Vodafone 360
There's plenty of good stuff the operators could have done, if only they'd had half an ounce of sense. Also they needed the vision not to try to screw all the customers' money out of them on day one, you need to be cheap at first, and build up your services until they're popular. With their control of billing they had years of an open goal, which they managed to miss every time they tried. I guess their greed stopped them sprinkling some good free stuff in with the paid-for stuff. They couldn't even come up with apps to manage your bills and add-on services, let alone free storage decent email.
I think the other major problem was their total inability to cooperate. It makes sense that you worry most about your direct competitors I suppose, but despite repeated attempts they were totally unable to come up with any kind of standards they could all build on.
I suppose one big disadvantage is a customer is more likely to be loyal to Apple or Android, than they are to Vodafone or Orange. They were more concerned about creating the lock-in than they were about giving the customer the goodies that make them buy-in to the lock-in voluntarily. Some people move, but I know many happy 'Droid and Apple users, I don't know any loyalists to mobile companies. There used to be an army of Orange fanatics (I include myself), who'd been with them since the 90s and loved the customer service, but that all went when France Telecom bought them, and I've not found much difference in the operators since.
Re: Poor, poor operators
When I say puppies, I don't mean cute Retrievers or Labradors, or intelligent ones, but obviously stupid, ugly ones.
Re: Poor, poor operators
You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the operators.
They're like a collection of unruly puppies. They're desperate to be loved, they bounce around at random, poo all over their own bed, they chew and break something every so often and couldn't organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery.
It provokes a mixture of pity and laughter from me (mostly laughter), as they try to fight off the competition - who actually seem to have some idea of what the customers want. The only reason I feel any slight sympathy for them is that I don't find Apple or Google particularly appealing either.
I guess a big, fat fail icon is appropriate here...
Re: Norks - Serious or not
But they don't want to be brought into the modern era. That would mean giving people some freedom, and probably revolution. The Chinese Communist Party has managed to keep in charge, despite modernising the country, but no-one else have managed it so far. And it's probably a different dynamic for North Korea, because of South Korea. They're much richer, and the more contact there is, the more attractive just re-joining the South is going to look.
Anyway, their current choice is nukes or aid. And they seem obsessed with keeping their nukes. They don't seem to have realised that having 1-10 nukes that you can't actually use doesn't make you a nuclear power, it makes you a target. Do they even have their nukes small enough for air-dropping yet? Which will depend on what planes they have available.
Re: Norks - Serious or not
If anyone really knows anything, they're not saying. There have been enough defectors, and the stalemate has gone on long enough that I'd be surprised if the South don't have at least some decent intelligence sources up North by now (and by that I don't mean Barnsley...).
All the publicly available analyst types are busy writing pieces for the paper. Some of them being very definite as to what the correct policy is. But almost all of them admitting that they don't really know what the Norks' strategy is (or if they even have one). Publicly it's the usual mix of what they've done in the past, and doubts as to whether Kim Jong Un is actually in charge, just a puppet for others, or is struggling to fight off internal rivals. But then they were saying that about Kim Il Sung as late as the middle of the last decade, and now everyone seems to think he was in total charge, and his Dad had snuffed it in the early 90s - and Kim Jong Il got at least a decade of being named successor.
In the past they've made lots of threats, and done the nuclear or missile tests, then taken concessions in the talks/negotiations that followed (mostly food and fuel aid), then broken the deals but kept the goodies. Lots of the analysts seem to agree that they want direct talks with the US, and security guarantees and a treaty from them. Presumably on the grounds that they don't recognise the South as a legitimate government. But for diplomatic reasons it would be difficult for the US to do that, and upset the South. So I don't know if that's what they really want, or they're just setting a condition to get the US to humiliate the South, just so they can break the deals anyway.
They've got a huge army, but it's probably not too well trained. They spend most of their time doing manual labour. According to one defector they used to love the annual tension around the joint South-US military exercises. They went on full alert, so no digging ditches or working in the fields, and they got full rations too. So will the army be well motivated? Most of the Iraqi army didn't fight, for example. Doesn't matter how much propaganda you go in for, eventually most people are going to realise their country is horrible - and become cynical. Maybe that's already happened, in which case it might not be that awful. Or maybe the propaganda works, and most people do believe that the rest of the world is even worse than NK? Depressing thought if true. But as even their horrible standard of living has dropped since the 80s, I find that hard to believe. The South spend more on defence than the entire DPRK economy, and that's well under 3% of the South's GDP.
It's a compatibility nightmare! How are we going to be able to view old Geocities pages properly now? We need to respect the careful and painstaking creativity that went into designing those pages, and so we need the blink tag in order to appreciate the artistic whole.
Anyway, it was nice to see it again. Can't El Reg let us have it in the comments for the last few days before it's quietly taken out and shot?
Re: Topic? What's a topic?
All Hail Me! I posted links to this in the bug thread, and El Reg beat their badge-script lackeys a bit harder, and now there are badgers for all! I shall award myself a virtuous halo of smugness.
Of course someone in a basement in Register Towers did all the actual work, but like pointy haloed bosses everywhere, I'm going to claim the credit anyway... Nice quick work for El Reg to fix something minor like this.
If we're going to have badges though, we ought to have one that celebrates how many downvotes you've achieved. Perhaps a poo-brown one, or something. 'I may comment lots, with my shiny badge, but actually everyone hates what I say.'
Re: Topic? What's a topic?
No he's got his lovely bronze badge already, for posting over 100 times in a year. As you say, he's got just shy of 1,000 posts.
The 2k refers to combined upvotes. Which you can tell from looking, but only if you're sad enough to read through all 998 posts and count the upvotes... That's what gets you your silver badge. I saw a comment from someone else who should have a bronze by now but hasn't, so it looks like El Reg's badgey-script ain't up to muster.
There's several arguments here. In the case of UBS they actually made such a huge loss on Facebook day 1 that it had to be placed in their annual report as material to their results. Apparently they bought 100's of millions of dollars worth of shares. The trade didn't go through, so the trader did what any non-techy would do and just pressed the button again...
Well to be fair they apparently checked the exchange records and they didn't say that they owned any FB stock. So they repeated the trade. A couple of hours later double $100m worth turned up. Oops!
The 2nd argument is that by this point the share price had tanked from nearly $40 a share to the mid-20's. So UBS can say we only bought one lot of shares, you should compensate us for the second lot you foisted on us by your incompetence. Seems a pretty fair argument to me.
The 2nd argument is a bit less clear-cut. Though I'd still be pissed off as a trader. If you had shares at the beginning, but the exchange wasn't working properly, you often weren't able to sell them for hours. Had you been able to, you might have got rid of them at say $35, rather than at $25. But then if the market had been working, who's to say anyone would have bought at that price, once the shares had already lost a load, and were heading South.
I think some people may also claim they hit sell at around $35 share, but the order wasn't processed until it hit $25 a share. It may be that had the market worked, they couldn't have sold, but then if the market had worked, at least they could have decided the shares might go back up, so rather than crystallising the losses, they might have chosen to keep them, and sell later. Shares have been as high as $30 recently, so they'd have got something, if they'd been able to wait.
Re: Good try...
No, no, no, no! You should build a full-sized replica of a cray, along with flashing lights and seat. Then have a single Raspberry Pi sitting there, hovering on its own in the centre. Pointless and stupid I admit, and would take up loads of space, but would at least give you one very uncomfortable sofa on which to seat any visitors you don't like too much...
Nice. All you need is Gerry Anderson and his wife to get up the operators in silver costumes, and you've got a set for UFO.
Re: 'Pay as you go' SIM fraud at Heathrow dispensing machines
Perhaps you should complain to Heathrow. As that's where the vending machine was. It would be perfectly possible for some company to buy in a shedload of Vodafone SIMs, not bother to load any credit on them, then stick up that sign. Although Vodafone might just be morally responsible, they certainly wouldn't be legally responsible for that particular breach of contract.
Anyway, Vodafone can only stop selling them SIMs if they buy direct. Heathrow can close down their vending machines.
I guess that counts as a excellently timed tribute...
Although I have to say that I really didn't like my school milk. I was never a massive fan of drinking milk on its own anyway, and even less so after it had been sitting in a classroom for ages and gone warm. The only good bit was poking the straw through the silver foil on the top.
Re: Ding! Dong! —the witch is dead!
Still, I don't doubt there are plenty of people celebrating. However there are plenty of others who lived through her premiership, and the 70s before it, that think she got more right than she got wrong.
It would be a more adult reaction to consider that people can disagree with each other without either's motivation necessarily being bad. It's not as if the 1970s were a great period of social harmony and delight, suddenly destroyed by an evil, cackling Thatcher as soon as she got into power. Still, you're welcome to your opinion - and I'm sure you're not alone. So far Labour have mostly been keeping quiet, even Alex Salmond has, but Gerry Adams and Ken Livingstone agree with you.
Re: cough... Nitric Acid
Yes, but the hydrogen fluoride used as a 'stabliser' does.
Edit: Sorry Lester you beat me to it. Snap!
I suppose I should change my post to say something either witty or interesting now, and pretend that's what I meant to do all along. Oh well...
Re: It IS rocket science...
Japan didn't shoot down the last one, that went over its territory. I presume the AEGIS radar can give a quick enough solution that they'll know the vertical (as well as horizontal) trajectory quickly enough to make that decision. After all, they didn't shoot the last one down, and I'm sure they had ships in place - as it was flagged well in advance.
So unless Japan wants to increase tension further, you'd hope they'd hold back. I guess that depends on the length of time the rockets burn for, before going inertial, and the positioning of the ships.
Of course, nothing stops North Korea from claiming their failed tests were shot down. But in the past they've preferred to claim success, even when their wasn't. Anyway, if they want to be provoked into war, shelling South Korea is easy enough to arrange - or sending some commandos in by submarine (both of which they've done several times before). That comes down to what their motivation is in this. There's plenty of people happy to line up and say this is just Lil' Kim protecting his position against internal rivals - but I'm not sure we've got any proof of that. There were pundits as late as ten years ago saying how Medium Kim was only causing trouble to shore up his internal position, and try to live up to Daddy - and I'm not sure they had any more evidence for that than they do now.
Re: It IS rocket science...
I think a Nork missile test at this point is probably the least bad outcome. As the US have hinted. They've already had a round of UN sanctions for the last nuclear test - so there wouldn't likely be any more just yet. At which point everyone can step back and claim honour is satisfied.
Although should the missile go off-target, or even look like doing so (there's not much room that doesn't overfly Russia, China, Japan or South Korea, it might get shot down, and that could make things all kinds of interesting. Although although, would the Norks be able to tell? They must be used to their test rockets going bang by now, so if an AEGIS destroyer shot one down, out of their radar range, they might not even notice...
The other alternative to end this could be another shelling incident, or attack on a US, Japanese or ROK ship. While the South didn't retaliate last time, I've read several suggestions that this was a pretty serious political trauma, and so the current government has promised to retaliate forcibly. At which point we get into escalation, and you're at the mercy of the least stable government. Then we have to hope the North is run by a ruthless but sane bunch of calculating murdering bastards rather than a bunch of loony murdering bastards.
Re: Missile fuels and testing
Although a few dead rocket scientists is no loss to the serene progress of the glorious state, you do need to be careful about how many you kill off. They're hard to train, and the ones with experience of making things work are very valuable - as they're likely to get things to work again next time.
Unfortunately along with a chronic lack of health and safety, I've also read suggestions that failed missile tests tend to get you (and your family) sent to a camp (if you're lucky). So they may have found a way of getting rid of their best people that doesn't require accidental poisoning.
I'm not sure claiming you've done $3 billion of damage is very smart. All very nice for the PR of course, but a bit of a bugger when some prosecution lawyer uses that figure in court against a random skiddy, and no-one bothers to notice that it's utter bollocks.
As for all those Israeli sites being down, is it possible that they're still available inside the country? Cut connections to the sites being attacked from outside, then you can happily run them for the domestic audience with minimal disruption and minimal resources used. Either that or their cyber-spokesdroid is talking rubbish...
Re: I'm pretty sure MacArthur thought this in 1950, and look at what happened
I believe the bit where MacArthur suggested nuking China at a press conference may have had something to do with him getting sacked.
Re: You'd be surprised
I'm sure that the West had plenty of first-strike plans. After all Trident has an incredibly high accuracy, and they launched a whole constellation of GPS satellites partly in order to allow submarines to launch accurate missiles at the USSR. If you just want a deterrent, 50m accuracy is not a requirement. Moscow is bigger than that.
Clearly the idea was either first-strike or damage limitation - i.e. first-strike their nukes then hope for massively reduced retaliation or peace under threat of a follow-up strike on cities.
So everyone expected those military plans to exist. The difference is that the KGB were reporting a political (not military) plan to both initiate and win a nuclear war. Which was ludicrous. As you say, it may not have been believed, but who knows? Just because the Soviet leadership knew they would lose all the Western-sourced baubles if war happened doesn't mean that they didn't also believe that the West was hoping to invade the Soviet Union.
And that's the answer we don't know about North Korea. Do they believe their own propaganda? Obviously not all of it, but do they fundamentally believe that the South, along with the US want to conquer North Korea? If so, they're going to respond differently to if they only maintain such a large military and warn of the threat as a way of maintaining control of the country.
Re: If only proximity had something to do with it.
Oy! Have you been spying on my conversations with my Mum? You don't work for the News of the World do you?