* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4333 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

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Re: What about No. 6?

I recommend the Bob Peck version of Edge of Darkness to you.

There is no other version of Edge of Darkness. And don't you go spreading rumours to the contrary!

In a superb piece of BBC competence in the early 90s, they re-released it on video. But you couldn't have it one tape, oh no. Or in one box set. They issued the first 3 episodes in April, and the tape of the second 3 in May. Except sometime in April they changed their release schedule. So the second half didn't appear. Leaving me with a copy of half the series. I don't think they got themselves sorted out until December/January. I'm sure it was all part of a CIA conspiracy.

And I never got my 2nd free bar of plutonium either. How am I supposed to impress conference audiences now...

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Re: Empire Readers

I thought Clive Merrison was an even better Sherlock Holmes, on Radio 4. Partly because I think "his" Watson (Michael Williams) was the best. A bit more grumpy and a bit less bumbling incompetent.

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

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Happy

Re: "Had she attacked him with eggs, milk and flour, would she be on a charge for battery?"

or maybe some sugar & a just a smidge of vanilla.

Then we'd be talking custardy for sure.

I say, that's a trifle harsh...

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Nasi goreng pattaya

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Fried rice is for leftovers. Most weekends see my fridge full of stuff to be eaten up, after people have been round on Friday evening. I currently have ham and lemon chicken. There's rice in the freezer. So long as I'm sober enough to chop an onion, I'm OK.

Although a decent-ish bag of frozen prawns should do you. My fried rice would have frozen sweetcorn, for both taste and colour, and I'd expect to be able to produce something from leftovers at least one weekend in two.

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Re: Incredibly stupid question!

Whenever I cook rice for lots of people there's some left. As long as you cover and fridge/freezer it as soon as it's cold, there's no problem. The risk is when it's left out for a long time.

I tend to freeze it in single portions in plastic tubs. A sprinkle of water, replace the lid and a minute in the microwave makes them perfect and fluffy, straight out of the freezer. should also be great for stir frying.

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It's OK – this was an entirely NEW type of cockup, says RBS

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Happy

Re: those tossers directly responsible and accountable

Is a bastage a cross between a bastard and a hostage?

Are you suggesting that approach each board member with an attractive "secretary", and once he's fully honey-trapped, she sprogs and then you hold the child hostage to his good behaviour. Either with risk of harm to the child or exposure for his affair - plus huge paternity suit?

I can see this idea working. However, rather than wasting your talents regulating the banks, I'd prefer to move you into Ofcom first.

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Failure to ingest

Is it just me that has a mental image of a server in an old fashioned metal cabinet, tapes whirring of course, and green vomit spewing out of it (accompanied by smoke and plaintive beeping), as it fails to ingest this file?

Perhaps a computer like this one (Youtube link).

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Re: du -sh @ orig ac

You're all wrong! At least if it has been established that this is a government batch-file.

They've said they can't restore it until the weekend, so it's obvious. The government sent the CD, and it's got lost in the post. So they've re-burned it and posted it again. Natwest now have a techy permanently stationed in their post-room, Segway at the ready, to zoom him off at top speed to run it up to their server room. 15 minutes after it arrives, all will be sorted.

Presumably if this one goes wrong, then they'll put it on a memory stick, and lose it in a taxi instead. it's important to plan for a variety of failure scenarios...

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Post-pub nosh neckfillers: Reader suggestions invited

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I like the breakfast burrito

Tex-Mex at its finest.

Sausage or bacon. Or both, or ham.

salsa. I've often make too much for left-overs, but the supermarket jars are OK in this instance, with maybe some tabasco to give them a little kick.

scrambled egg

grated cheese

corn / flour tortillas

The trick seems to be in balancing the flavours. So not too much of any one ingredient. Bit of salsa spread in the middle of the tortilla, small sprinkling of grated cheese (not too much), 2 rashers of bacon and/or a sausage sliced lengthways (less if you've got tiny tortillas), spoon of scrambled eggs. Makes a nice brunch, but also goes very well with beer, or a bottle of cava.

To do perfectly they're a bit fiddly, as you want to get all the ingredients hot at the same time, and then delivered and wrapped super quick onto a warmed plate. Otherwise they're down to only warm by the second one. But they're still delicious warm, so being a bit slower and less coordinated is no problem.

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Re: Bacon and egg pie

Oooooh. That sounds very interesting indeed. Healthy too! I must make that.

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Re: Au contraire. mon brave, have an upvote...

The only problem with ramen is that it's hard enough to eat when sober. Once drunk, you may as well put your head in the bowl and save yourself the hassle of getting covered in food only gradually...

I do like noodles with a bit of sauce as quick fillers though.

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Re: Cheese and tomato sandwich

Whilst the cheese toasty is indeed a fine accompaniment to a post pub return home, I can think of better. I use a toasty maker, so the cheese will also be dangerously hot. My trick is to make 2, my machine only does one at a time. By the time the second is on the plate, the first will have cooled sufficiently to be safe. I'd imagine that pickle, like jam, is deadly. So perhaps the pickle should be served on the side? Myself I prefer ketchup.

But the best toasty is the egg toasty. You need a maker with pronounced edges, that crimp the bread effectively to avoid leakages. This is bad enough with cheese, but far worse with egg.

Then you put your bottom slice of bread in, gently push down, whip in the egg you've decanted into a cup/bowl for speed, slap the top slice of bread on as fast as you can, and hold the toasty maker shut for 30 seconds to seal it. You then get a kind of poached/baked egg with sort of fried edges from the butter soaking through the bread. So yummy.

My current favourite is bacon or fish finger sandwiches though.

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Trollface

Re: Cheesey Chips

*shudders*

No wonder it's grim oop north. What with the wolves and bears roaming through the primeval forests and the (far worse) horror of soggy chips!

Chips should be adulterated only with salt, vinegar, ketchup and/or curry ketchup. Although I remember enjoying salad cream with them in my youth. Mayonnaise is wrong.

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Foxconn's going to 'exploit' Indian labour? SCORE! Bye, poverty

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Zog_but_not_the_first,

All currency unions lead to asymetric shocks in different areas. That's the downside. The upside being fewer barriers to trade of course. But in a single country with a single language people can move around and follow the jobs more. Which a lot of people in the EU do now too, but that creates problems itself as not all of them share a culture or language - so it's harder to organise services and such.

Actually that last point is the most important bit, in my opinion. In the US and UK we can deal with those asymetric shocks somewhat by bunging government cash around. US federal spending used to be lower, so presumably the US would have been less good at this in the past. Even with all the recent shennanigans over Scotland most English voters broadly accept that Scotland gets more cash per head spent on it than anywhere else. Most people when it came to the referendum seemed to want Scotland to stay, and regard the UK as one country still. That opinion may not be shared in Scotland, in which case they'll obviously leave. But if there was a huge recession there tomorrow, needing £10 billion of emergency government spending, it wouldn't be all that controversial, despite some grumbling.

The Eurozone don't have that cross-border spending. The Commission do a bit, but most of its budget still goes on agricultural subsidies, and it's pretty small anyway. Plus it doesn't move fast, or to the places that might currently be in recession. The only way to make the Euro work is to share these burdens. And that means tax payers in the richer bits giving money to the poorer bits, at least when they're in recession.

See the Greek crisis for details. Germany are one of the most pro-European nations. EU membership has been politically non-controversial for decades. Even their anti-Euro party (AfD) are hugely pro-EU and want to save it from the risk of being taken out by the Euro's unpopularity (and possible collapse). There are still lots of mainstream federalists in German politics, who'd like a single European state. Fewer than there were I'm sure. And yet this most pro-European country reacted with absolute horror to the idea of bailing out Greece, even back in 2009. Had German voters been willing to do it back then, rather than waiting until the last minute when it was bail-out or Euro-bye-bye, the Greek bail-out would only have costs tens of billions. Now the final cost will be hundreds.

Basically German tax payers, even the supposedly federalist ones (about 30% from the last poll I saw) don't believe that Greeks, Spanish, Italians or Irish are "their people". And therefore worthy of their tax money being spent on them. Given that case, and that the feeling is almost certainly mutual, it's politically impossible to have a working currency union, as the wealth transfers required are politically unacceptable.

I'd suggest that the bare minimum to make the Euro work would be a single bank guarantee fund (something the Germans agreed to in June 2012 and reneged on the week after) and a common unemployment insurance fund. Plus some sort of emergency fund like the IMF, where each country puts in a bunch of cash, and then countries in serious recession can borrow from it, but have to pay it back once boom time comes.

The politician that suggest that in any Euro country is probably out of office the week after.

Also the economies are just too different to share the same interest rates. In Ireland and Spain, in the boom, rates were lower than inflation - because they were set low for Germany and France. That guaranteed a property bubble. Real interest rates were less than zero, when the economies were growing at 5%!

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Have you ever tried being a peasant on a collective farm? Or self-sufficient agriculture?

Hopefully working conditions will improve there, as they did here. And everyone gets slowly richer. Although never at the same rate.

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But the problem (for the US and the UK, amongst others) is the huge trade deficits they've incurred by giving offshoring a lot of previously domestic manufacturing to foreigners

True. But this is hopefully temporary. In the sense that we still do export stuff, and as their economies get richer, they can afford to buy more of our stuff, with the profits they make from selling stuff to us.

This has broken down somewhat, because China in particular has chosen to recyle a lot of its profits into US (and other) government debt. This kept the currency artifically low, so helped improve their trade advantage (one of the major causes of the crash as it lowered our interest rates during the boom and helped inflate the bubble), and also has the effect of suppressing internal demand. The second I suspect is also because the Communist Party don't want to create a huge middle class that might be feeling a bit too comfortable, and perhaps start demanding political reform.

Hopefully the Chinese are wise enough to see that the problems they've had sustaining domestic demand, since their global markets hit this long recession, are because they've sent too much of the cash abroad - and they need that demand. That more affluent population will buy more of our stuff, and also they'll stop buying our government debt, so our governments won't be able to run such cheap deficits in the next boom.

Worryingly there's a lot of ifs here...

Also, another problem with all the exporters in Asia, and with Germany (due to ageing population), is that they all want to save. So they export, but then want to save the profits, rather than spending them. That leaves them with surpluses, which they invest in our economies and unbalance them. But OPEC and Russia have also been doing this, and they're having to stop, as they're not so filthy rich from oil revenues now.

Even so, wages for ordinary working stiffs in the US/UK mostly stagnated from the late 90s to the beginning of the crash, not dropped. And I believe that's stagnated only if you include housing costs for the UK, or mix of housing/medical for the US.

One of the problems in the Eurozone is that average wages went up, while productivity didn't. Except in Germany, where they caused inequality to grow faster than the UK with the Haartz 4 reforms, which kept wages down. They're now reaping the benefits of that mercantilist attack on their supposed 'partners' in the Eurozone - but at the cost of possibly pushing Italy out, and of also having a huge pile of savings with nowhere to go in the internal economy. Much of which their banks lent to Ireland, Greece, Italy and Spain. That worked out well...

then pretending that a combination of locally traded services and a debt-funded government are a substitute for actual wealth creating activity.

Sorry, I've rambled a bit. But although our governments have definitely borrowed to much - don't be so rude about services.

We do still have a large manufacturing sector (11th in the world), in the world's fifth largest economy. I believe we're something like the 8th (5th? I can't find the figure easily) largest exporter of manufactured goods.

Services are harder to trade, as they're not as well covered by free trade agreements, but as I recall we're the second largest exporter of services after the US. But some of them are very highly value-added. People seem to think of service jobs as bar and hotel staff. But that's not the sort of services you export. We tend to export lots of legal and insurance services. Lots of companies now do business under UK law, and pay to use UK arbitration and courts, as they can't trust each others (or even their own) legal systems.

ARM are a services company. Other people make the chips, ARM just do the design. I work in the building services industry, and I'm forever dealing with jobs in the Middle East and North Africa. Not because we export, but because Britain exports architectural and building design services. So most big jobs in Saudi or the UAE will be done to either British or US building regulations, depending on which practice they hired.

Things like music, software, films and TV are services too.

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Re: This is why offshoring was such a bad strategy

Huh?

I'd say that a lot of off-shoring was rather stupid and short-termist, and that remains true whatever the merits of off-shoring. See RBS gutting its internal IT department for details. Or just out-sourcing in general, see Sainsbury's stock control database a few years ago, that they had to bring back in-house only a couple of years later as it was such a disaster. If banks are a customer database with buildings full of cash attached, then supermarkets are stock-control databases with shops and warehouses hanging off them.

But moving labour-intensive stuff to countries with large pools of much cheaper labour doesn't instantly stop working, just because that labour is now earning 20% of UK median wage, when it was only 5% fifteen years ago. As long as the transport costs are still lower than the difference. You just might consider whether you stick with where you are, or move to a country with cheaper labour. I guess that comes down to costs of plant and management.

Also of course, it's good for China. Who in fifteen years have seen average wages double every 3 years or so.

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Super Cali goes ballistic – Uber says it's bogus (even though its contract is something quite atrocious)

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Re: Kudos

And to think one of my fellow commentards dared to accuse the El Reg subbies of writing childish headlines earlier today. For shame!

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BOOM! Stephen Elop shuffled out of Microsoft door

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WTF?

Re: "Chief insights officer"

Rain is wet.

FIFA are a little bit dodgy.

Don't pour scalding coffee into your lap.

Bears defecate in sylvan environments.

Thank you. Those have been today's insights. My work here is done, have a nice day.

Yours,

I ain't Spartacus

Chief Insight Officer

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Pirate Party founder: I wanna turn news into a series of three-line viral gobbets

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“large raptors symbolise pride, freedom and vision”

Possibly so. But to quote from the fount-of-all-wisdom Dogbert, "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."

Presumably the Register should have some pithy statement about how vultures are better than raptors?

Vultures: Burying their heads deep into the putrid guts of news! Bringing you only the finest news-giblets!

(Sorry, that's all gone a bit Chris Morris)

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Re: Writers?

Presumably their job is trawl the "useless oldmedia" for the content, then pick the 3 lines of snippet to steal, then steal away.

It's funny how much the future of modern news appears to be nicking linking to what other people have done without paying for it, claiming your platform is the new big thing and then moaning about how the old media is producing worse and worse content nowadays (as it's earning less money), and what we need is more new media...

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Furious Flems fling privacy rule book at Facebook

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Re: Please Cut Out The Cutesie Headlines

Jim 59,

The problem with humour is that everyone's is slightly different. So there's always going to be some gags that don't appeal to you, or actively piss you off. See the Exclamation! Marks! After! Every! Word! In! Yahoo! Headlines! - which really gets some peoples' collective goats.

The subbies tend to write the headlines, so there's fewer people at El Reg towers making the awful puns, that write the stories. If those couple of people don't share your sense of humour then that's bad. Plus subbies love alliteration. It seems to be unstoppable.

I guess the other problem is that you get a culture that builds up, with its own in jokes. Again, if you didn't like these the first time, you're going to be a very unhappy bunny by the 532nd.

So genuinely if you find the snark and silliness annoys you, you probably are better off elsewhere. That is the Register house style after all.

As for that story 'Amazon bans media player' isn't that hard to divine surely? Then you click on it if you're interested in Amazon, media players or whater. I wasn't, so didn't. I'm afraid I rather liked "Bezos Bozos" and don't think they've used that for Amazon before, and hope they now will in future. And I'm not even a subbie...

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Devil

"Apart from anything else, it is infantile."

As I said to Chancellor Metternich, at the Congress of Strasbourg, "Poo to you! With knobs on!"

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Happy

Re: Please Cut Out The Cutesie Headlines

When I lived in Belgium, my Flemish friends told me that they were called the Cloggies, and the Walloons were obviously the Froggies.

So would you be happier with furious froggies and cheesed off cloggies?

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News website deserves a slap for its hate-filled commentards, say 'ooman rights beaks

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I'm not sure if that's true, and I seem to remember things have changed relatively recently as well anyway. It's confusing keeping up with a moving target, even in a field I'm supposedly expert on (which this isn't).

But I think the time element is very important too. If you get a complaint or request to remove something, then you're definitely in trouble if you don't do so in a timely manner. So you may decide that the complaint is unreasonable, but in that case you're now effectively accepting liability for said comment, defending it, and up for punishment if it's found to be defamatory. So I guess most publishers will take the easy route, and delete any comment they get a complaint about. It's far cheaper to hit delete than it is to pay a lawyer for an opinion, let alone actually fight the case.

I seem to recall there's also some ruling that once you edit any comments, or have any moderation policy, then you're accepting liability for everything. Although this defence probably doesn't get you off if someone complains about a comment and you don't take it down. Although surely at that point, you've just started a moderation policy?

I'm so glad I'm not a lawyer...

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Facepalm

Re: News website deserves a slap for its hate-filled commentards

Anyone who comments on a Register article is an idiot!

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Google on Google: The carefully collated anti-trust truth

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Re: Free services are not free

The regulators appear to be deciding that "vertical search" (in this case price comparison search), is a different market to general search. Therefore if Google dominate general search, due to being the best, that's all fine and dandy. They're allowed that monopoly, so long as they don't use unfair tactics to maintain it.

What they're not allowed to do, is to leverage that monopoly in order to gain unfair advantage in other markets. This is why MS got fined so hugely for giving away Internet Explorer for free. Or why Intel were fined for using their PC processor monopoly to protect them in the server market from AMD's superior Opteron chips.

I used sites like pricerunner 5-10 years ago, but stopped because they were usually finding me deals that were only pennies cheaper than the places I was already looking. And why risk a transaction with an unknown company online to save 5p? Google's offer was no better, and yet killed them off. There's an argument that like a lot of stuff on the web, they might have improved. But they didn't get a chance, because they got killed off. As Google's own internal research was saying that Google's service was actually worse than theirs - this could be a clear example of a dominant monopoly abusing its power by stopping progress in a related market. Or equally they might all have remained crap up to now and still no-one would be using them. We'll never know.

However Google will just have to live with this. They've got that search monopoly. They're the gatekeeper to the internet. They have massive power, and they don't seem to be very careful about who they piss on, when they use it. That lack of moderation is going to get them attention from regulators. And actually should do. That's what regulators are for, and if you want free markets, then you have to regulate monopolies. Not that government aren't at least as capable of screwing up as Google are...

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one is that the new entrant (Google) does a better job than the incumbents.

Always a strong possibility. Google frequently do a very good job - although they've had plenty of failures as well.

But in this same case, some of Google's internal emails came to light. Embarrassing ones. From the internal user testing department, where they said that Google's own shopping search sucked, and that people preferred the other ones. The weird thing is that Google's own shopping service was increasing market share at this point - and one suggestion is that this is because Google were shoving themselves to the top of the list.

Oddly, given Google's obvious expertise in search, they've been shit at shopping searches as for long as I can remember. They had a service they killed off called Froogle ten years ago, and they've had various attempts at it since, and none of them have been very good. Not helped by the almost identical ads they show, next to their supposedly cheapest price results nowadays.

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'It’s irrelevant whether Elon Musk is a dick or not. At least he’s trying to make things'

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Re: Pretty laughable to think...

As I understand it, the electric car subsidies came way after Musk had founded Tesla and got it off the ground. He may have been successful at lobbying for them, or they may have come along at the right time to save his bacon (mmmm baaacon) - but that's a different matter.

SpaceX is another matter though. He took a susbidy to get some R&D done - and he promptly did that R&D. Something some of our defence contractors could certainly learn from. So he showed determination in order to pursue his goal, and navigate the legal and bureaucratic maze to get where he wanted.

He then took a government contract to do a thing and did the thing. That's not a subsidy by the way, there's a huge difference. He also did the thing cheaper than everyone else, and with 100% success rate so far. The ISS has got its dinner within a reasonable margin of error (for space launches) every time. And he's never blown their Christmas presents up and scattered them over a launchpad (trashing it in the process), or just blown up and fallen into the sea.

Admittedly he has blown up some sea and dented a barge a few times, but that was strictly on his own time, and his own barge...

Now he's taken another NASA subsidy to do some R&D on a manned capsule. Is anyone here willing to bet against him getting that to work?

Note he's also taken a smaller subsidy for the same job as ULA, so yet again he's going to come out cheaper than the competition. Isn't he even going to come out cheaper than Soyuz (at least what the Russians are charging NASA per launch)? Even if not, Soyuz is looking a little less reliable at the moment, what with the deterioration in relations with Russia, and the recent spate of problems with the Russian space industry. My suspicion is that they've cut spending, while cronyism and corruption have increased, but it may only be one of those two.

The thing that does make you wonder about SpaceX though, is how few commercial launches they get. Obviously the commercial sector is going to want a nice track record - in particular for insurance. But given the reported lower costs, you could probably afford a few oopses, and so far the only payload he's lost was blown up because NASA made him, as a secondary launch on an ISS flight where a launch delay meant they didn't like the flightpath being too near to the ISS.

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Re: Revisionism makes real people look inadequate

Edison electrocuted an elephant in Times Square, in front of a large crowd, to "prove" that Tesla was wrong, and that AC was in fact hideously dangerous and everyone should go with Edison's preferred DC instead.

Apparently he did this a lot at lectures/roadshows around the place - but saved cash by only electrocuting stray dogs.

I humbly suggest that Musk has a long way to go in the being a total dick stakes, before he catches up with Edison.

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Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

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Devil

As I understand it 67P is incredibly cold, dull, dark, has almost no atmosphere, and has been trailing the stench of bad eggs through the solar system. It's completely unlike anywhere we've studied before, oh Skegness you say, oh sorry carry on then.

Why did we waste all that money on a rocket and a ten year journey again...?

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

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Re: Did the PFY own a bus?

Did they check inside the rolled up carpet in the skip, by the carpark exit?

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Zionists stole my SHOE, claims Muslim campaigner

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Devil

Re: Stasi

There was a program on TV that showed all these jars with grubby kecks in them.

I hope the East German economy was able to produce air-fresheners in sufficient quantity to allow Stasi HQ to remain habitable.

I'm presuming this putrid pandora's box of puissantly ponging pants was stored in Room 101?

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Happy

Re: Has he looked for his shoe in places that are a mile from his home?

In that case, I blame Google translate...

If you want to truly understand someone, first hop a mile in their shoe, then fall over.

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Happy

Re: Maybe...

thomeone should write a thong about that...

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Re: "Zersetzung"

I didn't realise the Manson family also did it. I know it was a common tactic for the Stasi, and I believe the KGB played similar games.

Although did anyone else read, "the Manson family" and immediately try and think which sitcom that was? Just me then? Even if I say duh-duh de dum and click my fingers twice?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Now it becomes clear.

With all the attention-grabbing keywords already on this thread, did you really want to be typing "in Al Qaeda's defence"?

Oh bugger! I said it now. Will people please STOP saying Jehovah!

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Re: Now it becomes clear.

So that's what happens to the TV remote controller? It's Al Qaeda I tell you!

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Re: Anyone remember the Sunday Sport ?

Ah, the good old Sunday Sport...

My favourite headline was "Vampire 3-in-a-bed Sex Scandal".

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Coat

Re: ???

Nope. It was a slow shoes day...

OK. OK. I'll get my coat. Just a minute. Where's my coat? Who's stolen my coat!?!

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Belgium privacy commish ambushes Facebook with lawsuit

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Re: One thing I've learned....

Dan Paul,

One word for you to consider: Advertising.

It's how Facebook makes its money.

Now admittedly some of that will be global branding. But from my limited experience of looking at the ads bar in Facebook, most of the ads are of too piss-poor a quality to come from that source. So much of it is going to be local. That is a local revenue stream, mostly within national borders, but almost all is going to be within EU jurisdiction. That is the leverage the EU has over Facebook. And that's without going nuclear, and just having it banned at the router level, which is trivial to do. But politically much less likely.

This is why Google are slowly realising they're going to have to knuckle under to the EU - because if they want to participate in one of the largest single markets in the world, they're going to have to play by at least some of the rules, or get repeatedly hit over the head.

The internet is not magic. Despite what all the marketroids and utopians claim. Much of the stuff people do, they do for cold, hard cash. And they have to get that cash from somewhere. That somewhere is where governments can interact and use leverage on companies, no matter where they choose to headquarter themselves, or put their servers.

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Are these people stupid? Have they not been observing what's just happened to Google? Do they not have lobbyists who can tell them which way the wind is blowing in Brussels?

The Spitzenkandidate system was a German idea (hence the name) from some of the last remaining believers in the one true church of the EU. The idea being to get power to the Parliament from the Council of Ministers. By a clever bit of ambush, it worked. It got its candidate to be President of the Commission. One of the big drivers of German politics is privacy. And this was long before the Snowden revelations! A bit of crude nationalism and sulking that the tech giants are all American isn't exactly going to help matters.

Added to the fact that Cameron attempted to get the Council of Ministers not to vote to give their power away by accident, and they basically didn't like the idea but couldn't really be arsed to oppose it. However, he nearly stopped it, except for a last minute move by the German opposition and press. That gave us Juncker, and he seems to be capable of remembering a favour - hence the complete transformation of the Commission's policy on Google - pretty much from the moment his Commission took over.

Given those political movements in the EU, surely this is the time for giant US corporations that rely on hoovering up as much private data as they can get away with, to keep their bloody heads down and say "yes sir" a few times to keep the politicians sweet. I'm sure it'll all blow over in a bit, and if they don't keep poking the angry bear with a stick, it'll roll over and go back to sleep again.

What are the boards of these companies doing? Is there no adult supervision at Facebook? Or are they just so stupid that they think paying their lobbying cash to Congress covers them globally? Well if they get what's coming to them from the EU, I shall laugh. It's not like they haven't had warnings.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Black Helicopters

Re: 'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'

There is nothing to worry about from Facebook. Facebook are our friends. Facebook is wonderful. I only live to serve the Master. All Hail Overlord Zuckerberg! You are our leader! All good things come from you! I must have 150 emails a day spewed into my inbox to show me what cat videos my friends are watching. I love Big Brother. I love Big Brother.

Help! Help! They're coming for all of...

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There is nothing to worry about. Facebook are our friends. Facebook is great. No interaction with my family or friend units is complete without Facebook. They got you too? They got me a long time ago...

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The Hound of Hounslow: No $40m Wall Street wobbler

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Re: When things get wobbly

It's a long time since I studied Tacoma narrows, but as I recall the footage the driver got out of his car with loads of time to spare. What always amazed me about that footage, apart from the "wheee look at it bounce" factor, was how long that bridge survived. By the end it was doing extraordinary contortions and yet still more-or-less in one piece. Until it wasn't.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: A bridge too far

If I had a pound for every time an architect has fucked up a job, because they couldn't be arsed to check with a competent engineer first, then I wouldn't be posting this comment, as I'd now be drinking cocktails on the deck of my yacht...

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Entertaining prospect: Amazon Fire TV Stick

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Sad me

I lost a bit of love for Amazon at Christmas. They gave me a month's trial of Prime, just as I was buying Christmas prezzies, so I took them up on their kind offer. Thinking that it was about time I got myself some of this streaming video malarkey. I also happened to have bought a Google Chromecast stick, because someone was coming over to watch an American football match at mine, and it was so cheap I decided it was easier than moving the PC to the sitting room for streaming purposes. Easy access to iPlayer and a cheap toy.

I was a bit disappointed that Amazon didn't have an app on the Chromecast. Particularly given their attitude to Kindle, where they had apps on almost everyone's systems - so you could know there'd be a good chance to access books you'd bought in many years time. Not that I did, but that's a promise I would severely doubt now.

But OK, Amazon have got their Fire TV, and stick in the US, so maybe they couldn't be bothered to write an app. So off I toddled to the PC, open the Chrome browser, and then if you launch the video player in its own window you can cast to Chromecast. Ah, nope. Amazon have deliberately blocked this. So now I'm intrigued, and do a bit of research online. Amazon have also blocked Apple AirPlay, so I can have their app and watch stuff on my iPad, but not cast to the big screen.

Now I'm a bit annoyed. Then I look for some content to watch. I think I searched for about 15 different things. Series or films. Some quite old too. They're all on there. Hooray! Oh no, hang on, there's no button to watch them. But I can buy them? Huh? Oh, I see. They're not actually available on Amazon Prime Instant Irritating Video - there's no way to just filter for stuff you've actually paid to watch, you can't use other devices to watch it, and basically you're paying them £5 a month for them to advertise stuff at you that they would sell to you anyway.

So I cancelled my Prime membership that evening, in case I forgot later. The Chromecast does the NFL app and iPlayer, plus Youtube. So far, that's enough. Apple TV is tempting, but quite restrictive, and I guess the real answer is a mini-PC or maybe a Roku. But everything out there seems to be limited in one petty way or another.

Amazon have disappointed me though. They used to be all about the content. But now they've gone into making mediocre tablets and phones, that seems to be changing.

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Jurassic World: All the meaty ingredients for a summer blockbuster

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Re: I'm more interested

I believe tanks of pirhanas to drop unsuccessful henchpersons into are far more important. In fact, this may be what finally happened to the cat...

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Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'

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Terminator

Re: Excellent work!

Full credit to the designers and builders. Mistreated, bounced a kilometre, frozen and subjected to all sorts of indignities and yet - it LIVES!

And now it's heading back to Earth bent on revenge!!!

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TERROR in ORBIT: Dodgy rocket burp biffs International Space Station off track

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Re: WTF

The Duma have just been investigating Roscosmos and some people from their contractors have just been charged with corruption. The head of the Duma committee said something like $1.3 billion of their 2013 budget can't be accounted for. This is either a major probe into sorting out serious corruption - or some of senior management being punished for various recent failures, it's hard to know.

Russian government spending was already being tightened before sanctions and the collapse in the oil price did such damage to the Russian economy and tax base. They've also been heavily increasing defence spending for a few years, so I do wonder if money has been moved from the civilian to the military space programmes.

Equally it's possible that Roscosmos is extremely well funded, but now suffering crippling levels of corruption.

Apparently 98% of people arrested in Russia go on to get convicted, and according to a piece I read from a Russian commentator you have to bribe the police to let you go before you get to the police station, as once you're there and the paperwork is started, you're doomed.

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Couple sues estate agent who sold them her mum's snake-infested house

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Personally I'd be more worried by the Villa...

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