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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3099 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

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Re: Prediction

Possibly. But he might just be saying it from his orbital space headquarters where he lives with a harem of 500, selected for their genetic purity / diversity (or the quality of their norks?). Ready to either colonise Mars and die of over-exertion in his father-of-the-colony role, or to destroy all life from Earth, with no Roger Moore around to stop him.

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Re: That about wraps it up for SpaceX

Satellites is my hope. Maybe once repair of satellites is possible, they'll be designed for in-orbit repair. In which case great, that's what'll be done. But there's a huge fleet currently up there, which are all basically custom designed. You'd need to custom design the repair robot. Which is hideously expensive, and would need lots of research and testing. So it may well be cheaper to bung a few mechanics into orbit with a refuelling and repair tug plus small space garage.

If you can do minor repairs on, and refuel, 2 satellites per month (24 per year), at an average of $200 million cost each - giving them say another 30% lifespan - that's $1.6 billion worth of new satellites people don't need to build. Give 30% back to the customer, so it's worth it, and that gives you $1.1 billion to play with.

Say it takes 4 Falcon 9 launches a year for crew rotation and new parts deliveries, at $100m a pop, that gives you $600 million per year income to cover the debt costs of the station and space tugs, plus $100 million per year in non-rocket costs, satellite spare parts manufacture, and salaries.

Back-of-a-fag-packet I know, but that looks like a viable business model to me. $600m a year over 10 years ought to buy you a decent little space station.

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Re: Float? More like Sink!

Might I point out here that Amazon has barely made a profit for its entire existence. It doesn't make profits, even though it runs profitable business units. Because it plows its profits back into new investments. And has consistently done so - and yet the shareholders seem perfectly happy, and the shares keep on going up.

How many billions did they spend on cloud servers and infrastructure when they had no market, no customers and definitely no profits to speak of? I don't remember hearing a peep out of Wall Street.

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Re: Off topic

Given how cheap the charges are, that £5k battery is the equivalent of your fuel bill, not your car bill. So at £1.30 a litre, £5k gets you 3,850 L of fuel. Or 874 gallons. Or 35,000 miles at 40 mpg.

35,000 miles is 2-3 years fuel for a lot of people. So if the battery lasts 5-10 years, I guess that means you're quids in. Not that I'm a massive supporter of electric cars - but you may as well analyse things properly.

It's only supposed to be 10p-20p to charge one of these things up, so that's only £70 for a year's charges, and I'm ignoring it from my back-of-envelope calculations.

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DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

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I can still remember a trip to the telephone exchange in the mid-80s. It was Project X that they were so proud of I think? I got a Buzby badge as well. Huge rooms with racks of gear, batteries and generators. There's probably just a small server room there now. Plus backup power.

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Re: Or....

Don't you go bringing boring sanity into this nostalgia and grumpfest! It's not acceptable!

We shall sit here in our cardigans and slippers, and pontificate about how it were better in t'good old days. In our best Fred Trueman voices. And you shall not interrupt with any of your optimistic rubbish about how anything modern can be any good!

Particularly as in this case the remake is probably going to be crap. And no-one likes to watch people getting paid huge amounts of cash to piss all over their childhood memories. And I didn't mention George Lucas once...

About ten years ago I caught something called 'The New Adventures of Paddington'! In which Paddington helps the police catch a bank robber. Of the many things that were wrong with this appalling travesty were:

1. They were doing it as cartoon action, rather than a nice voiceover (like Michael Hordern) virtually reading it as a story.

2. It was in bright primary colours, rather than the good old faded colours of the original.

3. It was fast-moving and loud. As above, they'd taken it from gentle bedtime story to loud action.

4. The horrible mid-atlantic woman-doing-child sound of whoever voiced Paddington. Nasty, shouty, nasal, bleurgh!

5. He stopped a bank robbery! The worst that should happen to Paddington is that he gets in trouble with the grumpy next door neighbour, or gets so covered in sticky marmalade that he has to go home for a wash.

I guess all the changes stemmed from the fact they'd aimed it at older kids. i.e. destroyed the whole point, spirit and charm of the original. Philistines! Nothing wrong with child heroes stopping bank robbers on kids cartoons. Just bloody well make up your own, and leave millions of peoples' early childhood nostalgia out of it. Paddington would have given the producers one of his sternest stares.

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Re: BBC Radio 4 Extra

William Towle,

Cripes! Thanks for the correction WT.

21 million for a kids cartoon. We 'ad to make oor own entertainment in them days laddie.

They also did Chorlton and the Wheelies. Which is one of those things I had strong memories of, but no-one I spoke to had ever heard of it. It wasn't until the internet that I was able to find out what that show was.

And one of the worst ear-worms in TV music (another show I watched), 'Jamie and his Magic Torch'.

Happy days...

[actually that's another show I watched back then where I still find myself singing the theme tune 30 years later]

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BBC Radio 4 Extra

The Beeb did a documentary on Cosgrove Hall a couple of years ago, which got repeated this year. Which was excellent fun. With lots of David Jason.

I hadn't realised that in one week Dangermouse got 18 million viewers! It beat Coronation Street and Eastenders for that week. Which is astonishing. I can only imagine there'd been a catastrophic outbreak of flu (or skiving) that week.

They also admitted that all those scenes in the dark, where all you could see were Penfold's eyes and DM's eye, were basically done to save cash. Obviously much easier (and cheaper) to animate. But they were also funny.

I'm not sure the gadgets is all that bad a thing though. The original had gadgets. They had a flying car that could go underwater, videophone watches, computers... Plus Baron Greenback had plenty of Wylie Coyote style gadgets of his own.

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Nostalgia is good business. Why else do they still sell those Fisher Price pull along phones, with the moving eyes and rotary dials? No child of an age to play with one has ever seen a rotary dial phone. Once they hit three, they're trying to mug all nearby adults for their iPhones and iPads...

But they sell, becuase people my age remember them, and we're now in our 30s and 40s. So I guess they hope for DM merchandise sales. And who amongst us wouldn't want a DM outfit with eyepatch?

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Google's too-smart-for-own-good Nest Protect alarm is back on sale

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Re: FIRE!

Other users who have searched for fire bought: petrol, matches, lighters, insurance...

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Slippery Google greases up, aims to squirm out of EU privacy grasp

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Re: re: bouncing all requests to the courts

ratfox,

It's not a bug or loophole. Google don't have to take any decisions they don't want to. They can boot them all to the national data watchdog. And then go on their rulings. No lawyers are required for that process.

I agree that if they appeal all those rulings, the courts will soon get grumpy with them, and start slapping them down. But no-one will object if they appeal anything that has wider implications. And I assume that it'll be an appeal against the watchdogs' decisions, so it'll have to be them who lawyer-up, not the original complainants.

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Well that's Google's choice. They have to make a decision on how good a search engine they want to be. If they don't want to invest in being a good search engine that provides relevant data, then perhaps someone else will do it better

With great truckloads of money comes great responsibility. They make huge wodges of cash from advertising strapped to search results, those search results are mostly a social good but also have a social cost, they can therefore put some of that profit into dealing with it. Or they can bugger off. Those are the options that society should give them. The money will still be great, after this decision is implemented - so I'm sure they'll cope with making 99.?% of the profits they made before...

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

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Re: what is needed ...

Only your Atman. Mwhuhaha

You're welcome to whatever you can find. Do you think I'd be posting on El Reg if I had one of those?

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If the scale is built into the shelf, how will it cope with my dinner last night? I took out the butter, left-over ham from Sunday lunch, leftover roast peppers (from ditto), eggs, fruit juice and cheese. Only the butter, fruit juice and cheese went back in, as the ham and 2 eggs disappeared into the pot.

How can it work out from all that change what's going on? As happens the cheese is dangerously low, so will need replenishing next shop.

I was cooking. I was in a hurry, and hungry. I grabbed everything I needed in one go, it all went back in the fridge together quickly, when my carbonara was cooked - to minimise time between serving and eating. I don't want to faff with a scanner and touchscreen in either of those circumstances.

I can see an online shopping tablet app working with RFID tags containing sell-by dates, plus past sales data, being able to help populate your shopping list. But to be honest, I don't see it being all that useful, because it would be so hard to train. None of the people I know eat the same 7 meals per week, and most of them buy what's on offer, or looks interesting, when they shop.

So all we're really talking about is keeping up with staple foods. Of which my fridge contains ketchup, salad dressing (of varying types), condiments, cheese (again of various types depending on what I'll be doing with it and season), milk, fruit juice, limes, eggs and veg (of various types). In my store cupboard there's spices (hard to track as they're used in such small quantities), oils and sauces (worcestershire, soy etc.), which aren't easy to track. Then finally you've got things like baked beans, tinned tomatoes, potatoes, pasta, rice. Of which only the tins can be tracked without trouble.

So for my fridge (and to be fair freezer) staples, this might save me 10-20 seconds a week. Out of the 30-60 seconds I spend before I go shopping, checking what I need. Well I'll pay £10 extra on a fridge for that, as long as it takes no more than 10 minutes to set up, and is likely to work, be easy to use, and not make the fridge more unreliable. That's not a compelling proposal.

I'm thinking of going to online shopping. But that makes this even less attractive. As I'll be doing that on my iPad, in my kitchen. Where it is but the work of seconds to open the fridge door, and look.

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Re: what is needed ...

I'm sold! How much do I owe you for mine?

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Re: There is very little doubt

Not while I still control my router they won't. How do they intend to get online? There's no mobile signal in my flat.

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Re: At the risk of being a fuddy-duddy

I was on holiday in Barcelona. Walking down the street with friends, when we were approached by a company who organise parties. Well actually, they organise pub crawls.

I could see 15 bars from the crossroads where I was standing. Goodness knows how many others there were. The day I need someone to organise a pub crawl under those circumstances, is the day I give up on life. Or the day I buy a fridge that writes my shopping list for me, even though I spend under a minute a week writing it.

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There are many problems with this. Computers aren't actually intelligent. They can only know what they're programmed to know. And who can be arsed to train their fridge to manage their shopping. It'll take hours of training to get it even half good. Assuming good user interfaces. The fridges will not have good user interfaces, as they will be designed by the same people who brought you smart TVs and the kind of remote controls you get on cheap DVD players!

Plus how are you scales going to work? Only one item per shelf? How will they survive the cold and the orange juice and soup spills? And children?

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Re: What is needed is some sort of robot....

but you will most likely be more concerned with what you are going to eat next not what you had last night. Will the fridge be able to do some sort of predictive analysis or will you have to spell out what you are going to need for dinner tomorrow night?

Fridge: My programming says your mistress will be here tonight. I have ordered oysters and champagane as instructed.

Me: Oh no! I'd forgotten! Mr Smithers the Managing Director is over for dinner tonight, and so my wife will be home in 5 minutes! What am I going to do?!?!

Fridge: Quick! Washing machine, open up and hide the oysters and champagne in your drum.

[doorbell rings, Wife and Mr Smithers both enter]

Me: Oh Mr Smithers. How good to see you. Do take a seat. Please have a glass of red wine.

Mr Smithers: Ooops! Butterfingers. I do apologise I appear to have spilled my wine on your tablecloth.

Wife: Don't worry dear. I'll just get those in the washing machine now, so they don't stain.

Me: Oh no dear!!! I'll do that!!

[doorbell rings, Mistress enters]

Me: Quick! Hide in the bathroom before Wife sees you.

Wife: Husband! What are these oysters doing in the washing machine?!?

[doorbell rings]

Me; Oh no! It's the vicar!

Wife: Oh! I have to hide. I owe the vicar £100 for the sponsored walk, and I haven't got it. I'll just go into the bathroom...

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Re: Am I the only one who gets this?

Anon,

I'm guessing you don't have kids. The milk doesn't go back into the fridge until someone sees it on the counter, and shoves it back in. Or in fact guests. Where the milk may be on the table by the tea and coffee stuff for 10 minutes.

The same is definitely true for cheese, pickle, ketchup, fruit juice.

Some sort of scanner by the bin and recycling might work though?

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Re: Well... let's see...

What when I take several items out at once when cooking (as I try to be efficient when I'm organised), and then put them back in together? Which item lost how much weight?

What about left-overs. I regualarly cook for more people than are present, in order to freeze leftover portions, so I have (actually edible) ready-meals available to me.

How much in any fridge is staples, to be instantly replaced and how much is what's available or on offer? Not including parties. My fridge should always contain eggs, milk, limes, fruit juice, various condiments, yoghurt and cheese. Anything else depends on what I could find, or who's coming round for dinner.

What about using multiple suppliers? I have a greengrocer at the end of my road. I try to buy all my veg from them, unless laziness kicks in and I'm in Sainsbury's anyway.

What's the point of filling out only a third of my shop? Only about 30-40% of any shop goes in the fridge. The rest is cupboards, bathrooms, laundry cupboard.

How much is this bloody fridge going to cost? And how long before it breaks down? It's got multiple cameras, multiple weight sensors. What happens when the bulb goes in the fridge, and no-one can be arsed to replace it, so the cameras can't see anything? I'm prepared to believe that the cameras will survive cold and condensation - but not the weighing shelves getting stuff plonked on them every couple of hours, and water dripped on them. And I'd worry for the touchscreen on the door too.

In my opinion the answer is twofold. Online shopping is good. Have a tablet, wander round kitchen, look in fridge, freezer and cupboards, see what's missing, pick from list of favourites on website, order.

But I still prefer to go to the shop. So for me, shopping list app on smartphone. When you use the last but one of something, take phone from pocket, add to list. After you've typed the first few letters, it auto-completes if it's something you've used before.

The internet of fridges is still way too complicated.

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Re: Devil's advocate says...

Unexpected item in refrigeration area!

Soon followed by, "share and enjoy!"

Then very rapidly followed by, "die bastard fridge die!!!" [sound of hammering]

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Stop

Why are you filling the air with cheap perfume?

You like scented air. It's fresh and invigorating. Share and enjoy!

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WORLD CUP SHOCK: England declared winner in 2-1 defeat to Italy

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Re: With regard to Krikkit, er, cricket

Yes Minister had a better take on joyless tubes full of gristle.

The European Commission are going to standardise the sausage. So British sausages will have to be called, emulsified high-fat offal tubes. Yum!

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Re: No matter how hard you try

Tom38,

You worked in the New Members Bar. So does that mean that the MCC are so stratified that even once you've reached the hallowed halls of the Pavillion, you've still got to wait another twenty years for someone to die, so you're allowed into a nicer members bit? I suppose this doesn't really surprise me, if true.

I seem to recall that the Lords enormo-hamper was only about £35. Which isn't terrible for an entire day's munchies for 2. Given the quality of the cake they produce. Also, I refuse to encourage them by buying the £90 tickets. That's ludicrous.

Myself I wouldn't dream of entering a cricket ground without appropriate picnic already on-hand. I like a bit of smoked salmon or ham and nice bread, a bottle of cava (Lords still allow it), boiled eggs, a couple of kinds of cake, pork pies, crisps, fruit juice, something salady (as an apology to healthy eating), all topped up with a few locally purchased beers and ice creams. Sport is good for you!

There's no way you can get through that lot in 7 hours, without a few slow bits.

As for the draw, I don't think England deserved it for the sometimes inept way we batted. Against an attack with little pace, on a flat track. The bowlers were nearly good enough to win it, despite the faults of the batting line-up. Something that's been happening for the last few years. Declaring earlier would have been a better move. But then captains used to do that, and people were awfully rude to them the times it went wrong.

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Re: #thereferee'sawanker

diodesign,

Please can you use this in your headlines from now on? So for example, Hashtag Bollocks in New Advertising Deal would be a much more fun headline... Or maybe save that for the straplines? e.g.

Twitter in New Advertising Deal

Hashtag Bollocks and Mad Men Frolicks

Or something. Keep up the good work.

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Re: No matter how hard you try

Cricket is amazing! And you are a traitor to Queen and Country if you disagree. Although I guess we have to exempt Scots and Northern Irish from this, and even Welsh. It's offcially the England and Wales Cricket Board - and yet somehow got shortened to ECB - which I suspect tells you all you need to know...

However, cricket has amazing moments of excitement. Sometimes you get long periods of it, where the tension ratchets upwards towards a conclusion. Take yesterday (in fact the whole match). A dull pitch should have led to a draw. Which it did. But England had two mini-collapses, to get pulses racing, followed by some exciting strokeplay to recover.

Sri Lanka were a bit more dull about accumulating their runs. They decided that batting competence might be a good idea... So didn't have mini-collapses. They lost wickets to good balls, and accumulated. Then on the last day they had to bat it out, and looked like they'd do so easily. Losing the odd wicket, as is to be expected. By tea, we thought it was all over. But then pressure, and good bowling, started to kick in. Good bowling, stubborn defensive batting, lots to watch. A wicket on the first ball of the last over, so it came down to five more balls and one wicket. And a deserved draw won, under lots of pressure.

And the thing about the dull bits, is they give you time to eat your picnic. You have brought a picnic haven't you? Well no worries. Lords will sell you an enormous hamper for 2 containing elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and a mid-afternoon snack. So you'll need a few periods when you can take your eyes off the action to stuff your face. Not to mention a glass or two of something. And if play's really boring, you can listen to a bunch of old buffers talking about cake on Radio 4 long wave. Or read the paper and enjoy the sunshine.

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Unicode ideogram list-site Emojipedia goes titsup. Wow. Did you just give us the finger?

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I thought most emojis were bright yellow. I can't imagine it being possible to be a person of any more colour than that...

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The cute things they say

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Re: Boot, other foot

I was doing a quick DIY job the other day. I needed a torch for about 5 seconds, so went to my tool bag to get one. Couldn't see it. So reached into my pocket for my mobile, turned on the torch app, to look for a torch...

Doh!

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To misquote Samsung: "I have a degree in art history!"

"Dude, you're barrista."

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Ohio man cuffed AGAIN for shagging inflatable pool raft

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Re: Reminds of something I read in the newspaper years ago

What about "cluck"?

...

"How was it for you darling?"

"baaaaaaaaaa-d"

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Join me, Reg readers, and help me UPGRADE our CHILDREN

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Re: Dominic Connor = Steve Bong? I claim my £5

Are you sure he's not actually Kevin Warwick?

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Spaceplane design nipper Ariadne gets a promotion

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Re: Design Envelope?

Perhaps a spaceplane shaped bottle opener as well?

It's about time El Reg started selling some goodies again.

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

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No acronym, but I worked for a US multi-national who genuinely had a Back-end Revenue Department.

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EU probe into Apple's taxes: It's NOT to do with double-Dutch-Irish anything sandwiches

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Re: " ... the Double Dutch and so on is available to all"

Move to Luxemburg and operate via a personal company as a contractor from there.

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Re: There'll never be a good solution for tax shenanigans.

You can boycott stuff. But consumers tend not to. I believe that enough people stopped going to Starbucks that this persuaded them the loss of sales and damage to their reputation were too high. Hence they're moving their European HQ to the UK, where the vast majority of their European sales are.

However, there's always going to be a problem. Accountancy is an art, not a science. There's just no way to write rules to cover all situations. Companies frequently have legitimate fights with their own auditors. I can remember, from my bean-counter days at a US multi-national, that our auditors thought we'd saved too much money for a rainy day (in part international tax liabilities as happens) - and they forced us to halve our provisions and report it as profit to the shareholders instead.

We thought we were legitimately keeping a bit of money in reserve for several major issues we could see coming. But the auditors seemed to feel that it would be better to have a bigger profit this year (and possibly artificially boost the share price), and then if this stuff came up next year we'd have to report an unexpected cost, thus cutting profits, surprising Wall Street, and thus causing the share price to plunge. The company never paid dividends, so I've absolutely no idea what the auditors thought they were playing at.

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So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

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Re: All wrong ...

And get irritated if you interrupt him, in order to give him a sandwich.

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Cliff,

I don't think Barnes Wallis wore a lab coat. And I'd say he was definitely a boffin. I think it's perfectly acceptable to wear a tweed jacket with leather elbow-patches and still attain boffinry. In fact, it rather goes with the pipe.

Oh and architects are most definitely not boffins. They're mostly the bain of my working life...

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Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant CANCELLED

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Re: And who will not be happy

Neil Barnes,

From the openining sentence of your post, I thought you were going to go in a different dirction there. So when you say that "I'd like to take each and every member of the 'environmentalist' lobby, strip them naked," - I thougtht you were going to continue: And turn them into sausages.

Didn't you do the live below the line £1 a day eating challenge this year? Were you really missing meat that badly? I guess anyone could, with sufficient provocation, decide that human meat can be both free range, and free. Leaving your £5 to spend on veg and rice.

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Re: Lower CO2 emissions maybe

There's got to be a cost in methane production. Although does all the methane bubble through the water and reach the atmosphere, or how much of it gets trapped in the sludge on the bottom?

Anyway, I can't believe those figures. You could chop down a bunch of the vegetation if it's that bad. But the methane cost is a one-off. Once you've built a hydro-electric dam you've basically got carbon free electricity for ever. Sure you may have to keep repairing the dam, and buy new generators and impellors, but that's never going to have the same cost in methane.

So that argument sounds like the kind of bollocks that the anti-fun anti-modern economy type campaigners go for. Where nuclear isn't green, because it uses lots of concrete, hydro isn't green because methane - so either move to a mud hut or kill yourself for Gaia.

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Debunking Jimbo: Slippery Google tries to evade European privacy

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Re: So in summary...

No. If Google just allow anyone's request without complaining that's OK. They're a company out to make a profit, and all's fine and dandy. However they then have to lose the preaching schtick, about freedom and opportunity for all, and the internet as the saviour of everything etc.

There's also no problem if Google go with some, and appeal others. That's what the information commissioners are supposed to be there for.

The point is that it would be nice if everyone was honest, and called a spade a spade. So Google could say this is bad, it'll hurt our profits. But instead they pay sock-puppets, often claiming to be independent and disinterested internet experts, to cry wolf - and shout how this is the end of the internet as we know it. Which they've said on a few issues now.

And they try to claim that somehow the law doesn't apply to them, because... the internet. Well bugger that for a game of soldiers. They make tens of billions of profits a year - I don't argue if they can find legal ways to avoid tax - but they make loads of money from the EU market, so they can obey the law like the rest of us, or fuck off and do without the cash. Them's the choices. If they don't like the law, they've got plenty of cash for lobbying to get it changed. And they're not shy of deploying it.

The "Don't be Evil" tag has been used as a stick to beat them with, because they sometimes have been evil. Or at least nasty, dishonest and creepy. Andrew O does seem to have an anti-Google thing going, but I can't remember him being unfair or inaccurate in any of his articles about them, and he's a useful antidote to all the know-nothing media-wankers who keep blathering on about how great they are all the time.

Not that Google aren't also great too. They've done some brilliant stuff. The creepy way they've built an army of smartphones into a global remote sensor network has also given us some brilliant features in Google Maps, local search, traffic reporting etc. They've bet billions of dollars on the technology panning out, and reaped the rewards. I'd say the loss of privacy is somewhat worth it for the services provided - and you have a choice to not use Google's services if you don't think so.

But it seems to me that The Register has a balance of writers and opinions on most subjects. And you know what you'll get if you read an Orlowski article on Google. Unless you can point out to me things he's said that are factually inaccurate? In which case I'll happily join you in having a go at Andrew myself. Since I went to a Register do, he's now got my phone number. So he can probably track me down and have The Register's sinister attack troops bump me off. But I'll happily take the risk of a Playmonaut hitting me at Mach 2 for truth and justice...

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The media do love their darlings (and their hate figures). Andt there's a horrible tendency to hunt, and defend, in packs. Although to be fair, there are always lone voices, and some media organisations do consciously try to allow for dissenters to get time. The Beeb, for example, often seems to have a party line, but there's usually someone challenging it somewhere.

At the moment it's Google, and Twitter, still Wikipedia, but Facebook gets less love and more mixed messages. I can still remember the early days of New Labour. Blair was often given an easy ride, but always had opponents. Gordon Brown was given almost blanket praise by almost everybody. I guess in his case it was partly through having the most aggressive spin machine (Damian McBride, Ed Balls, Charlie Wheelan etc.). So I guess there's a good comparison with Google, who are very good at getting the message out there - although I suspect they probably say "Fuck" a lot less, eat fewer pies, wear better suits, and don't push people up against walls...

A nice piece by the way Mr O. It's often the sign of a bad interview / interviewer, when it takes as much space to write down the questions as it does the answers. That's often a sign that the interviewer is pushing their point just as much as the interviewee.

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The danger is not when Google says "no", the danger is when Google (and others) cannot be bothered to say anything other than "yes". And why should they when saying "no" is going to cost them more money.

If Google stops being a good search engine, and a competitor is willing to spend that money, then Google will lose most of its advertising revenue. Which is still massively dominated by its near-monopoly in search. Google makes loadsa' money from search, so I have very little sympathy if they have to absorb some costs while complying with the law.

Admittedly you do have a point. But then that's the problem with having competing interests. Google try to portray the world as having this one great thing (the internets), and any even minor threat to that must therefore be a bad thingTM. Well it's a balance. At the moment there's a good argument to say that we allow too little control of to people of information about them. Thus we should consider giving them more control. But that will obviously have downsides, and we'll never get the balance right. Becuase there is no perfect balance. We'll just have to do the best we can.

Eventually society will change again, and so will the balance. At the moment many employers are searching the internet history of potential employees. And probably digging up many youthful indiscretions. This must surely be losing some people jobs. But this is almost certainly a generational thing too. I'm old enough that there was no www when I was a teenager. So many of my generation won't have this kind of stuff floating around there. Also many of my generation would feel it reflected badly on us if it did. But when people who are now 20 are doing the job interviewing, they may themselves have had a drunken/naked/whatever photo go online, and so not give a damn if some potential employee does too.

In one future then, maybe people will feel less need for privacy - and not care so much what's online. In another possible future, this generation that hvae grown up sharing loads of stuff online may suddenly hit 40 and react decisively against the dissemination of this kind of info. And call for massive regulation of the internet, and beefing up of privacy. Or their children may, in reaction to all the stuff about their parents they see online.

When social change, law and politics interact there are no easy answers, often no definitively right answers, and nothing stays the same anyway. Such is life.

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World first: ANIMATED GIF of Mercurian SUN ZOOM from MARS

I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: NO! NO GIFs for Commentards!

Zimmer,

But just think how much more accurately this post would reflect your rage and frustration if you could have made it in blinking, bold, colour changing block capitals!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

If NASA used an animated gif, does this mean they also have heavy use of the blink tag on their website? In which case, if it's good enough for NASA, why can't us commentards have it?

<blink>Pwetty Pwease</blink>

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Snowden's Big Brother isn't as Orwellian as you'd think

I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: Typical.

I've got a self-protective filter in my brain that means I stop reading almost any post when I come to certain words. As it's almost certainly going to be drivel, bollocks or self-regarding rubbish. There are exceptions, where someone's gone overboard halfway through a well made argument, but you have to have been making some sense first to get me to keep reading once I meet one of these keywords:

sheeple

LibLabCon

shill

EUSSR

New World Order (though I haven't seen this in a while)

Positive Money

HAARP (another one you don't see much these days)

I'm thinking of adding:

Piketty

bitcoin

fractional reserve banking (which really doesn't mean what some people seem to think it means)

Could someone build a Firefox plugin to automate this, and build a good blacklist? Or maybe have a spam scoring system. So any post that has bitcoin, gold, fractional reserve banking, end of Wester capitalism combined can be filtered out. Admittedly if you operated this, The Telegraph comments sections would suddenly be almost totally empty - the Guardian still appears to have some sane commentards trying to survive in the screaming chaos.

Pluspoints if this filter can also automatically downvote people who call anyone who disagrees with them sheeple of shills.

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I ain't Spartacus
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The last time I played Pictionary, I had to draw GCHQ. I failed. Or at least my team failed to interpret my scribblings. I thought it was most unfair...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Terminator

Re: Yeah but what about santa?

He knows if you've been bad or good, and he's got an axe!

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DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: To quote John Wyndham in 'The Kraken Wakes':

I do wish El Reg would let us format text better, so we didn't have to have 2 carriage returns every time. Makes for very long posts.

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I ain't Spartacus
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To quote John Wyndham in 'The Kraken Wakes':

The Boffin's Lament - or The Lay of the Baffled Boffin

Oh, I'm burning my brains in the backroom,

Almost setting my cortex alight

To find a new thing to go crack-boom!

And blow up a xenobathite,

...

Oh, I've pondered the nuclear thermals

And every conceivable ray.

I've mugged up on technical journals,

And now I'm just starting to pray.

...

What I'd like is the germ of the know-how

To live at five tons per square inch,

Then to bash at the bathies below now

Would verge on the fringe of a cinch.

...

I've scoured above ultra-violet,

I've burrowed around infra-red,

And the -

It's a book I think of often when the term boffin gets discussed on here. I guess John Wyndhams boffins might be a little slow to come up with the goods, but usually get there in the end.

Also found this, while looking for the above silly song. In the Independent: how-the-war-turned-boffins-into-sex-bombs

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