* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5072 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

I am sending pouting selfies to a robot. Its AI is well buff

I ain't Spartacus
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Trollface

Re: Another quality piece

but it'll need something like AWS in computing power to handle my face.

Is that why Google's cloud crashed this week?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: You clean up nice!!

Alistair,

No problem. So long as you're still getting rogered more, and you can go like a rabbit...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: How dare they?

I've got white hair. Whilst growing a beard now is OK, the confusion come Christmastime is too much of a problem. Hence I am destined to remain soup-catcher free. Unless I ever find myself in dire need of employment come December...

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URL shorteners reveal your trip to strip club, dash to disease clinic – research

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Re: Beware Pron ahead

Both the QR code reader apps I've used showed you the link first. Or I'd have deleted them instantly. So sane ones do exist.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Beware Pron ahead

Exactly. I think URL shorteners are fundamentally insecure for exactly the opposite reason. You don't know where they go to, and you can't go to say bit.ly's website put one in, and find out. And it ain't safe out here on the internet, I like to have my eyes open when I go somewhere.

I've seen too much - having been a forum Mod a few years ago, for my sins. Mostly it was just 2 Girls 1 Cup and Rick-rolling. But you never know...

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Czech Republic to rebrand

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Happy

Re: kidding aside

You soon learn. After you've skied into your third kangaroo...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: How about

And Czechzuki...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: Will the Czechs change their name to Czechians?

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - erm... Englishman?

Other than British person, the only mention of British in naming I can think of is "Britischer schwein! Achtung! Spitfire!" And I don't think that's ever appeared outside a speech bubble...

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BOFH: If you liked it then you should've put the internet in it

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Happy

Stapler tracking is a great idea, as mine is always getting nicked. Along with the hole-punch.

But the projector kill switch is in dire need of a new feature. It needs to automatically operate on any Powerpoint that's gone on for more than about 90 minutes, be able to shut down on detection of Comic Sans (I don't actually mind this font - it's just usually a fearful sign of doom whenever it turns up in a business context). And possibly have an optional feature to introduce porn slides to any presentation that I don't want to sit through any more of, say when the pub's open.

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This headline will, in part, cost pepper-spraying University of California, Davis $175k

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Happy

Re: While you are spewing cash...

Your SEO service is rubbish. Only $5k? Pah! Amateur.

Now if you pay me $500k, I'll do it properly.

Why is the fee so high you ask? Well vintage champagne doesn't buy itself it's complicated. The multi-million pound option is simply to bribe Google. You could also try blackmailing Google, but given all the data they've been hoovering up for the last decade, that's probably a very bad idea.

So what you need to do is own those search terms. Not a problem. Your money will buy you access cookery show on national television. Pick whichever chef our marketing shows resonates with young people.

Next he'll be cooking in a show at UC Davis. The recipe? Pike, pepper with a spray of green herbs.

Job done. Search laundered. Now hand over the cash.

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South Korea to upgrade national stereo defence system for US$16m

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Mushroom

AHA!

The reason for this is obvious. The DPRK is just a cover.

The real reason is that South Korea are going to stage a Disaster Area concert.

They just don't want to pre-announce it, in case the environmentalists find out.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: £16m

No that's just the bill for the speakers. The oxygen free quantum stablised EMP shielded platinum cabling is an extra $15 billion...

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Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

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Devil

I'm rather disappointed at the lack of BOFH potential in this threat. And the lack of people who voted for "blackmail both parties". Personally I would have voted for having the email projected onto the front of the building in foot high letters, but that option was mysteriously missing...

Then again, the BOFH would never have foolishly created extra work for himself. And simply set up an search of the email database to bring any interesting or useful items to his attention automatically.

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Music's value gap? Follow the money trail back to Google

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Pirate

Surely piracy be about the dubloons!

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I ain't Spartacus
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The record companies paid their artists, and would organise their marketing and studio time for them, if they wanted. As well as hunting down new talent and offering these services to them. Including taking a punt on new acts, and giving them free access to studio time for a first album. OK, not free, they'd pay out of the sales, but not a loan either, as the record company would eat the losses if the album stiffed.

Sure the record companies sliced off profits, some of which got spent on cocaine and hookers. But they actually put real money into developing new bands, and provided some services. And they weren't the only game in town, you could go off with the independents, or self-publish.

They can't have done too awful a job either, because top bands stayed with them, who had the ability and finance in place to go completely independent if they so chose. But obviously decided it was less hassle to let someone else do this stuff, but get less cash.

So they were at worst symbiots, rather than parasites.

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TalkTalk broadband customers continue to flee

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Re: Not great

Ah well, many is the complaint that I've fielded from my Mum about how shit their service is. And how their call centre is awful, and how she keeps having to reboot the telly-box, because it forgets to talk to the router-box.

Oh, and she's had a call from someone with her details claiming to be from them - and only got suspicious when they tried to get her credit card number, rather than sticking it on the exisiting direct debit).

But despite all that, she's just signed a new quadruple play deal with them, to take their (admittedly insanely cheap) mobile tariff, and re-signed for another year of brroadband, phone and TV.

The phone is about £7 a month for 200MB data, infinite texts and 600 minutes.

But Oh Good God what processor have they shoved in that YouView box? Is it a 286? You press the EPG button, and it takes twenty seconds. Changing channel takes over a minute, and the bugger takes about 5 minutes to boot. Modern Sky+ boxes boot in 5 seconds, and channel changing is almost instant - although I admit the last time I used a Virgin box (3-4 years ago) it was pretty shit.

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Happy

Re: Dido Harding

She's doing a great job! In the 4 years before she took over, they were the worst rated for customer service in every quarter. Now they're...

...

...

...

Second worst.

That's improvement that is!

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Badges for Commentards

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Upvotes only?

A badge was suggested for "achieving" 2,000 downvotes. I think it was going to be brown...

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US bus passenger cracks one off for three hours

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Surely we (ahem) come to El Reg for things like the excellently chosen article picture. And of course, the sense to inform us that the arrest took place in the perfectly named Johnson County. Unless the Americans have a town called Todger Springs...

Does Lester ever write sensible articles?

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HTC 10: Flagship goes full Google – but the hardware's top notch

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Re: The price is out - it's £570

This is weird. Flagship phones haven't got any cheaper. Yet I can have a brand new iPad for that, and still have change for Motorola G, or Lumia 735. Or 2 7" iPads.

Or I can have 2 of the rather nice Lenovo Android 10" tabs - and enough change for a really cheap phone.

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Google cloud TITSUP

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Re: The Cloud...

That's why I use it. We're a very small company, but we can get a lot of benefits from IT that we're simply not competent to manage ourselves. So our choice is to go with a small local company, and get more cock-ups but more personal service - and we've done that and it was fine. Or a larger company, and get less personal service, but benefit from economies of scale and better uptime, hopefully only one major outage every couple of years.

IT problems land up on my desk, along with my real job, and I know my level of competence - so just keep the laptops and phones running. Everything else gets outsourced - or we do without. Companies like ours couldn't have mobile accessible CRM 10 years ago, and it's worth it - even with the odd problem. So far one 25 minute outage, since we dumped our own server two years ago. And Office 365 hasn't noticeably let us down once. Yet...

Virgin killed our server's network access about 5 times in the last year we had it. The last one for 6 hours. If the office network or power goes down, we can just work from home or use 4G. So we're more resilient than having the server onsite.

Were I running a company large enough to have a decent sized IT department, I'd want the control and ability to manage risk that comes with your own kit. Though even there, I bet there are some things that aren't so critical, and it may be worth some cheap cloud. But you've got to be a pretty big company to be able to afford a backup datacentre with fail-over so that you can theoretically avoid all outages. If you've got the balls to actually test your fail-over system regularly, so that it actually works when needed...

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GCHQ dabbles in dark arts

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Re: Oh really?

There was a definite elementn of "Wow my children are reading books!" Which is obviously a good thing, and it got some friends' kids into books. Not read any of it myself, and only watched about five minutes of one of the films, so can't comment - but then I'm not the target audience.

GCHQ didn't release the story themselves, though I did like the witty press release. But I guess on balance, I'd rather they were poking into some of the darker corners of the net than not. Though there's unlikely to be financial loss involved, as the publishers are only going to make money selling into countries that already protect copyright - where the leak would do little harm. But once they've found the stuff they may as well warn people.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Oh really?

GCHQ are also supposed to be helping out against corporate hacking. It's always been assumed that China and Russia use still use state espionage resources to help state-controlled companies. As they did in the Cold War. And that includes all the government cyber-war toys.

I've never seen it suggested that we did the same, at least with stolen product designs. But I know the Yanks were accused of using info from ECHELON to help US firms win big international contracts. So I assume the same accusation has been levelled at us.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: If GCHQ really wanted to help

I'm not sure if I shouldn't downvote you now. You've suggested removing the lesser evil here. When surely our national security organs should be fighting the real battle of our times. Against the Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh, and while we're at it, Adam Sandler films. And...

It's a good job I don't work at GCHQ, or there'd be a huge outbreak of hacking destroying vast swathes of the publishing, film and music industries. Those rumoured sequels to the Matrix would never get off the ground for a start...

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UK cops trial £250k drone squadron

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Happy

That's not a drone you fool. That's Sergeant Detritus' thinking hat.

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Happy

Re: Lewes?

I'm not sure I'd want to take on the Lewes bonfire societies with just reapers. You'd need at least the SAS and some armoured infantry, with a bit of tactical air support thrown in.

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We're not in Kansas City anymore, Toto ... Google axes free fiber internet

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I heard someone say "learnings" the other day. And it wasn't Borat. It was a spokes-weasel for ACPO. Which appears to be an organisation that requires destruction with extreme prejudice.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Ah good old Google. Random acts of pricing and end-of-lifeing* since 1998.

*Did I really just type that? Well I suppose it could be a word...

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NASA gives blacked-out Kepler space 'scope the kiss of life

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Trollface

Are you sure it's not just because they haven't patched Adobe Flash? Now that's done, everything's hunky-dory until the next one is needed. Say in about 17 minutes...

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Aluminum-wrapped robbers fail to foil bank

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Devil

Mysteriously, it also made their house prices double overnight...

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Happy

Re: even stupider

The trick is not to pay someone who's got "Wizzard" written on his hat, with most of the sequins having fallen off...

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Bavarian town rescinds Hitler's honorary citizenship

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Mooseman,

Thanks. I completely missed that. I wasn't even aware that there was a controversy about the Dresden deathtoll. The figures I've seen, which I think mostly came from older (pre-1960s?) sources, suggested 40,000. The biggest fire raid death-tolls were in Japan, where the cities were more prone to burn - and the bombing started later in the war, when the allies had more resources - so the raids were bigger. One of the Tokyo fire-storms is supposed to have killed over 100,000.

Anyway, the third result on Google had a death-toll of 600,000 - which is ludicrously huge - as that's probably more than half the people in the city at the time - and beats Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Der Spiegel had an interesting article on it here: in english.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Raj,

That's bollocks. Churchill was certainly a racist. A man of his times, when racism was not only normal, but many people believed it was scientifically validated. He also spent the 1930s complaining about more rights (or even home rule) for India, which is obviously a lot less worthy than his constant (and correct) warnings about the Nazis.

He was an imperialist too. Though you'll find that the current national curriculum covers the British Empire, and why taking over a quarter of the world was a bad thing. I see nothing in modern British culture to suggest that we haven't accepted that the empire was "a bad thing<sup[TM]</sup>". And Britain has consistently been one of the world's largest foreign aid donors, providers of peacekeeping troops, supporters of global institutions and norms, since the war. Partly as a result of an imperial past.

But you'll have to come up with some justification for "genocidal" (which has a specific meaning). Or admit you're talking bollocks.

Come to think of it, mass murder as well. The bombing of German and Japanese cities is an interesting moral problem. After Dresden, it's clear that the British were beginning to have their doubts. Churchill pissed off Harris by criticising him for that, and changing policy. The Germans were also particularly criticised for terror bombing in Spain, and at the start of the war. So it was obviously seen as immoral. On the other hand, it was the only offensive tool the British had against Germany after the fall of France. And it was the committment to the bombing that did a lot to convince neutral opinion that Britain was serious, and intended to continue to fight until Germany was defeated. Would the USA have joined the war in Europe after Pearl Harbour if the phoney war had resumed after the fall of France - or just fought Japan? Also without the air attacks on Germany, would they have been able to beat the Russians in 1941 or 42? Admittedly the Germans made a pisspoor job or running their war economy, production actually peaked in mid 1944, according to the US Strategic Bombing Survey after the war. Because they didn't really start operating a planned economy until 1942 - and even then they wasted too many resources on having too many different models of tanks and planes, rather than just picking one, and bashing out lots of them.

Anyway it's a lot more morally complicated. Mass bombings of civillians are now unequivocally illegal. But then nowadays we have the technology to do precision bombing. Again, according to the US Strategic Bombing Survey, only 2% of bombs dropped in WWII fell within 500 yards of their target.

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Pint

Re: only 71? bah!

Yummy. Pints are always nice...

I agree, Hindenburg did try to stop Hitler. And to be fair to him, Germany had reached a political impasse by the early 30s. They had reached the point where either the communists or the Nazis were going to have to be brought into government, because between the two of them they had a blocking majority in the Reichstag. The other option was probably military dictatorship.

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I ain't Spartacus
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The Russians didn't sign Geneva, but the Germans did. So it still applied to them regardless. And not only was the order illegal, the order even admitted it was illegal in its own text. And various German generals took the trouble to lie after the war, claiming they didn't implement it, when they had. Plus the written order only went to senior officers, with them told to only verbally instruct their juniors. So they knew it was wrong. And in 41, the army probably had the power to ignore that order. After all, Hitler didn't sign it himself.

Like getting involved in the purge of the SA (Brownshirts) for political advantage, this was one of the early acts that got blood on the hands of the senior army leadership. They did illegal things willingly, and early, and so compromised themselves.

The order was also stupid. Killing prisoners has a habit of persuading people not to surrender. And so senior officers were pleading with HQ and Hitler to rescind the order for the first year of the war on the Eastern front.

Not that Stalin was any better, obviously. According to Anthony Beevor's book, the NKVD (eventually became the paramilitary bit of the KGB) killed more Russian soldiers at the battle of Stalingrad than the Germans did!

If they didn't shoot you, they could demote you below private soldier, into one of the penal battalions. These were tasked with holding the very front lines, and were to be shot by their own side if they lived long enough to retreat. Theoretically an act of heroism, or time well served, could get you promoted back into the regular army again. But in reality, the paperwork was so slow that you were most likely to be already dead.

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Happy

Re: In other important news from The Local

I've checked the colander, and it's well pasta 1st April, so I assume this story must be genuine...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Lester, your Prime Minister

Surely that beard was some kind of crime against fashion?

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I ain't Spartacus
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I'm not sure Karadic ever actually signed anything either. But he got convicted in the Hague last week anyway. When you're leader for so long, it doesn't really matter what you sign. If stuff is happening on your watch for years, and you do nothing to investigate or stop it - you don't really need to prove guilt. It can be safely assumed you approved, and were just careful not to write stuff down. Otherwise you could have done something about it.

Particularly when the crimes are so systematic. Hitler may not have signed anything, but almost everything else about the holocaust was oh so carefully written down and recorded. Even where the army dipped its hands in the blood, they still wrote stuff down. Like the Commissar Order - which even accepts in its text that international law can't be allowed to apply to a conflict as important as the invasion of Russia. The order was to kill all Russian commissars (political military officers or civilian communist leaders), and to err on the side of caution and shoot people if you couldn't be sure. So they apparently restricted the copies issued to only senior officers, but still kept them on file, rather than doing it verbally. Whereas Hitler did issue the order apparently, but in verbal form at a staff meeting, and didn't sign it, as it came from Wermacht HQ. Although I'm not sure if his later refusal to rescind it was verbal or written.

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Re: only 71? bah!

Kurt Meyer,

I admit that it's quite unfair to blame Hindenburg for everything that happened after his death - given that he was not a well man, or seemingly much in charge by the end. But then again he did make himself and Ludendorff virtual dictators in the last couple of years of WWI, so I'm not sure that "loyal servant" is quite such an accurate description of him either.

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Banned

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Mushroom

Looks like the Splaffer has found a minor bug. This thread doesn't appear to be visible in the El Reg Matters section itself - but obviously is showing in the overall User topics list - as the last posts are to it.

I assumed this was because he'd deleted the original post, but nope. That's not it. So I've no idea why the secret squirrel-y ness of it all.

It's a shame when this happens. Although I'll admit I didn't really mourn the passing of all of Eaden's posts. And in this case it was the Splaffer what done it, and not the banhammer.

Of course it could have been an accident. After all, we know that the Splaffer was a product of the ACME company - and I've seen the online reviews from Mr Wile E Coyote - and they suggest that however promising the initial results, the buyer will always end up with the imprint of a frying pan in their face - or charred and smoking...

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That naked picture on my PC? Not mine. The IT guy put it there

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Re: When I was in a similar position...

Combining this, and the above suggestion that IT can be vindictive...

At my last company there was a mostly friendly run-in of some sort between IT and one department. Quite possibly some argument down the pub. So they sneaked in at lunchtime, and changed their screensavers and desktops to some very "interesting" images. The PC's being locked down meant that it was impossible to change them back without an admin password.

At a less free-wheeling company that could have ended quite badly. But seems to have only resulted in something else to discuss at the pub...

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Inflatable space podule set for orbital trial

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Re: I dunno

Because it's lighter than metal, I'd imagine that the walls of an inflatable stucture will actually be thicker. And certainly easier to sandwich different layers of materials - so you'll end up with something that's more damage resistant. Being able to deform on small impact is also good, as it absorbs energy before breakage.

Plus, if you're dealing with stuff hitting you at orbital velocities, it doesn't really matter what you use, you'll get a hole. You've then either got to be able to patch it, or just close the airlock, and move to another module.

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Happy

If they don't make the astronauts inflate it by blowing into a tube until they go red in the face, I shall be very disappointed. Particularly if one lets go, and it flies off round the solar system making a farting noise that nobody can hear...

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PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

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Happy

Re: "...bathrooms across North Carolina were 'safe' again."

Sorry to add to the general intolerance around here suddenly, but to the appropriately named JeffyPoooh, I now hate you!

For the expression "smell is not a Field Theory", you are to be congratulated, upvoted, and told to please shut up. It's not the pleasantest of mental images...

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We bet your firm doesn't stick to half of these 10 top IT admin tips

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Re: Nowhere to hide

Oh, and any IT management who enforces monthly password changes that can't re-use any major elements of the previous one should be beaten to death with their own rulebook. Their inability to understand basic human nature and abilities has rendered them unfit to manage.

Passwords are rubbish anyway. But if that's all the budget allows for, then for God's sake at least engage your brain as to how normal users react to passwords. I know very few people who can remember more than one or two passwords (if even that). In my previous corporate life I had 4 different ones for building access, email, Oracle accounts and the AS400 stock/sales stuff. Some had to be regularly changed - and the AS400 stuff I only used every couple of months, so had no choice but to write down. It wasn't on a post-it note on the monitor though.

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Re: Nowhere to hide

To be fair to them, the original charity got eaten - due to running short of money/competence. She was taken on as an anomaly, a consultant with considerable (and probably unique) expertise and experience. So our new heroes had no place in their multitude of procedures for a non-employee who was non-office based with a completely random level of caseload. They solved some of that by employing her, but all other procedures seem to have broken down.

That's a problem the article fails to address. The author calls for all procedures to be rigorously enforced on everyone, and exceptions added to procedures. Unless you're a very simple organisation, that's almost bound to fail. Once you get a few cases of it failing, then people will be sharing and writing down passwords - sending emails to and from their own accounts and squirrelling data away heaven knows where.

Your procedure needs to designate certain people who can override the rules quickly, but are capable of doing so with an understanding of the risks, consequences and IT capabilities. And deciding to do this as a one-off, update the procedures to cover this from now on, or to do something as a short-term stop-gap with better secured replacement to follow.

No-one has the resources, or foresight, to get procedures totally correct - and keep them current with changing circumstances. Anyone who claims otherwise is delusional. And while they think they have the best systems in the world, will almost certainly find that they've been circumvented massively at lower levels in order to get stuff done.

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Re: tailgate - oh the joys

An SAS commander in the Malaya emergency supposedly reprimanded the guards at a training camp for not firing on a returning patrol who hadn't properly approached or identified themselves.

He then apparently screwed up in some way himself, and got fired at for his pains. So he reprimanded the guards for missing him...

I've seen this from two different sources, but being a forces story, that has no bearing on whether it's actually true or not...

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Re: Nowhere to hide

my favourite saying is "Security is also providing access to those who should, as well as denying it to those who shouldn't".

This is really important. Actually I could even make an argument that in almost all cases, proper access is more important than data security. Unless of course your data has real life-and-death implications. For two reasons:

Firslty - you're probably trying to do something. If you can't do that something (whatever it is), then your whole organisation is rendered pointless.

Secondly - if you over-secure everything, so that people can't get their work done - then they'll just break the rules. And then your security it toast.

Obviously this is all subject to sensible risk assessment. Sometimes the risk of the right thing not getting done is less than the risk of the data being leaked or damaged - in which case your security needs to be more inflexible, people need to understand why this is and know they'll get hammered if they break the rules.

This is possible though. You can get people to agree to quite unreasonable procedures, so long as everyone agrees that the risk is high enough to justify the pain. And extra effort, and resources, are dedicated to helping the people on the ground to get their work done.

I give an example. My Mum works with vulnerable children. But as an outside consultant for a very well known charity, seeing as she's retired. They've got their network wrapped up nice and tight. So tightly in fact, that she's been working for them since she retired ten years ago - and only got issued a mobile phone this year. So sure, they can now remote delete this data, and enforce a password on her. But before that she had all the details on her personal phone, with no password.

She wasn't allowed to remote connect to their network (or even connect in the office) until she'd done several of those shitty online courses. But you couldn't get onto those online courses, without access to the network! Ahem. So she had to drive 60 miles to the nearest office, only for some shitty online video course thingy - that was a total bureaucratic waste of time. So because she was unable to connect to their secure (so secure you can't access it) data system, she was emailing stuff to her boss to upload, from her personal email account in the clear. And IT were no help, and just followed their procedures.

Sadly many of these big charities seem to have swallowed all the bureaucratic crap of big corporations and government - mostly I suspect by hoovering up all the crappy middle management types that are unemployable elsewhere - because they pay too many staff.

Chaos would be bad. This information is in some cases very sensitive. But just finding the names and addresses of families with disabled kids is easy - there'll often be stories in the media and charity press releases with names, that you can cross rereference with the phone book. I'd suggest that helping them is probably more important than hindering your frontline people - and there's an argument for keeping the sensitive notes in paper form, and never committing them to computer. But if you must, then you need to commit much more IT resources to the necessary hand-holding.

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Brexit: Leaving the EU could trigger UK science patent law rejig

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Re: Divide and conquer

Len,

Nope. Leaving the EU doesn't make our democracy better. Although we could change it if we chose to. And not all the aspects you complain about are particularly relevant. The head of state has extremely limted powers and the Lords are more a delaying and revising chamber. Both do a pretty good job, and if either become politically controversial know that their days are numbered.

The downsides of a more independent (and therefore less politically accountable) civil service need to be offset against the downsides of having more political control of them - as happens in the US for example.

But finally the EU is more undemocratic. Not because it's an evil conspiracy, but because it doesn't contain a demos. There is no homogenous electorate, and so even if the European Parliament did have proper power, it still wouldn't work that well.

But one of the things you can do in Britain is to "vote the bums out!" Something not possible in the politically fractured EU. And if you don't like an EU decision it's therefore very hard to reverse. The EU is too big and unweildy to be democratic, unless the people of Europe were a lot more united (and culturally/politically similar) than they actually are.

The Eurozone crisis has I think shown the political limits of the EU. We more-or-less happily move cash to the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make up for the fact that sterling suits the South East better. The Eurozone politically cannot do that yet, becuase the peoples of Europe don't feel they're part of one group. Until that changes the EU cannot be democratic, because people will only vote in their own interest. Thus Greece and Cyprus got fucked, and to a lesser extent Ireland, Spain and Portugal, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

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