* Posts by David Pollard

1034 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Euro THERMONUCLEAR REACTOR PROJECT is in TROUBLE

David Pollard
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Meanwhile

If governments in Europe had not shied away from fission and hadn't spent quite so much on subsidies which don't actually keep the wheels of industry turning, then we'd be a good deal richer with more to invest in research.

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Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

David Pollard
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It's not the rise of AI that will do us in.

It's the insidious effect of deliberate dumbing down.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

David Pollard
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Joke

Cowards

They waited until Jeremy Clarkson was out of the way before announcing this.

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Blockhead fugitive Snapchats himself into police custody

David Pollard
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Games People Play

Eric Berne described this type of scenario quite well with his Transactional Analysis psychology.

www.ericberne.com/games-people-play/cops-and-robbers/

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More than 260 suspects charged in UK child abuse crackdown

David Pollard
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Re: "the biggest UK inquiry into people allegedly sharing child abuse images..."

Is it too cynical to wonder that these enquiries are being publicised partly to counter the leaks about cover-ups of sex crimes? Headlines of 'crackdown on child abuse' take attention away from the crimes committed by people in a position of power which are still not being fully investigated.

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NYPD cop in court for allegedly hacking into the FBI

David Pollard
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How did he come to be charged?

Did he fail to cut colleagues in on the deal, or what?

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NHS England has some sneaky plans for Care.data acceleration

David Pollard
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Said it before and will say it again

With respect to both accuracy and security it's not a good idea to have two copies of the data.

There seems to me to be no reason why data for large-scale surveys and research cannot be pre-processed locally at the GP, clinic and hospital level and the essentially anonymous results then collated nationally.

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GCHQ: Ensure biz security by STOPPING everyone from TALKING

David Pollard
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Re: Yeah no problem lads

“Monitor all user activity" is unquestionably one of the hallmarks of GCHQ's style.

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UK.gov crackpots: Let's build vapourware-based sharing economy CITIES

David Pollard
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LoveHomeSwap

At first glance I thought this was perhaps a scheme to claim expenses for keeping a mistress, pairing MPs so that they could charge each other rent while hiding details of their actual residence.

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Boffinry listicle MADNESS: ONE THING you need to know about CHAMELEONS

David Pollard
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Re: "reflect a substantial proportion of the infrared"

It has to look good and be easy to fit and clean. I had wondered about using Pilkington's IR-reflective glass but that would be difficult to fit; especially as the stoves are already in place. A few layers of aluminium foil, crinkled to make airgaps and hidden behind the back, seems the best solution so far.

Chameleon wallpaper would be neat because it would turn red as it began to reflect, thus adding to perceived warmth.

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David Pollard
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"reflect a substantial proportion of the infrared"

For a while I've been wondering about how to improve the efficiency of wood-burning stoves that a couple of friends have installed; much of the radiant heat goes into the outside wall at the back. If someone can work out how to make chameleon wallpaper that withstands moderate temperatures this would fit the bill very nicely.

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Universal Credit could take 10 YEARS to finish, says Labour MP

David Pollard
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Re: IT Angle?

"only a super computer backed implementation can work it out"

The problem is more likely to be that in a social welfare system, especially one that involves disadvantaged people, sometimes an element of discretion is appropriate. This can be difficult to codify.

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David Pollard
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The Labour party has promised to conduct a review

If anyone in the party organisation happens to read El Reg, here's a tip. It would be a real vote winner to promise to review the NHS care.data programme with a view to scrapping it.

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Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

David Pollard
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Re: Beyond the fact...

Is it too far-fetched to wonder if the original story was viral marketing, sales of opto-isolated hubs having been a bit slack of late?

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David Pollard
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Maybe this is something of a scare story intended to put people off using the anonymous USB letterboxes that have been appearing of late.

http://gizmodo.com/5677377/theres-a-usb-stick-in-my-brick-wall

Presumably we will soon see connectors with diodes and fuses appearing as an appropriate accessory.

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Work harder to stop online child abuse, MEPs tell EU states

David Pollard
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Re: A general sense of unease...

"... we'd be better off if the police had more time ..."

It looks to me as though we would also be better off if various sectors of the police did not ignore information that the public and others provide about these appalling crimes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31859931

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/12/rape-cps-police-prosecutors

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Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

David Pollard
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You have to learn where the keys are?

For what they are charging you would expect it to teach itself where your fingers are.

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UK Gov SciTech advice bureau suggests keeping Tor alive to reduce street crime

David Pollard
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Decriminalisation

Perhaps if the government were to decriminalise recreational drug use this might lead to an even larger reduction in crime.

As to allowing secure and anonymous communications, isn't it the case that, although there are exceptions, generally the more trust you place in people the more trustworthy they become?

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MPs 'alarmed' by millions of mugshots on Brit cops' databases

David Pollard
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Megaphone

Policing by consent?

Plod took a photo of me when I was stopped for a defective tail lamp on my van.

The creation of databases by collecting pics at every opportunity makes 'armchair policing' easier while doing little to reduce crime. It erodes the main resource in tackling crime: public co-operation. To treat everyone who isn't a club member as a criminal does not improve things.

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Scotland to get National ID system 'by the backdoor', campaigners mull challenge

David Pollard
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Facepalm

Re: Meanwhile, in associated news

It's good to see that an online equivalent is in fact available. Earlier in the day after following newspaper links there didn't seem to be one. It looks as though the NHS site doesn't show the online version to those who are browsing safely with scripts blocked. Now I can't enter details without allowing the trackers that Ghostery is blocking.

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David Pollard
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NHS Scotland is not exactly secure

A quick check with Google for [site:nhs.uk paypal viagra] shows a link for

www.elib.scot.nhs.uk/portal/elib/Pages/LinkThroughChecker.aspx

which redirects to: http://www.trace-elements.org.uk/

The SHOW people, who are apparently responsible for "Putting Scotland's Health on the Web" don't provide a telephone number which would allow this to be reported. They do, however, provide a handy contact page for technical issues and feedback. This, when details are entered, comes up with: "The remote server returned an error: (403) Forbidden."

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David Pollard
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Meanwhile, in associated news

Today saw the launch of an "Offficial NHS Calculator" app which checks susceptibility to heart attack based on lifestyle questions. This is being promoted in several national newspapers. It's curious that although an anonymous web version would presumably be trivially easy to implement, the app is only accessible from mobile devices.

It's hard not to wonder whether details are being analysed and recorded against the mobile telephone number from which the app is accessed.

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UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance

David Pollard
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What's the appropriate response to a vexatious PoH?

Judging by the responses here it would be useful to readers to know what the best response would be were one to be served with a PoH. Does one write to the Chief Constable and collate the obfuscatory replies that this is likely to generate, in order to be able to demonstrate a measure of vindictiveness/incompetence etc. should the document ever be used? Or does one lodge a complaint with the IPCC?

Might we have a comment from the experts at Liberty and similar organisations please?

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David Pollard
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Joke

Re: I sense funny handshakes...

Be careful with what you wish for!

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Is there a cure for cancer sitting at the back of the medicine cabinet already?

David Pollard
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... not going to post an answer ....

Isn't this one of the reasons why we need to be pressing for open access publication of research, rather than letting it be hidden behind paywalls? Certainly there is a strong argument that anything which has been government funded should be open access.

While it may be slightly disconcerting for GPs and other health professionals that patients might sometimes know almost as much as they do, public education is both an important component of medicine and a means to ensure that Big Pharma is to some extent held to account.

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OK, they're not ROBOT BUTLERS, but Internet of Home 'Things' are getting smarter

David Pollard
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Fabric softener?

Anything to get rid of the taste of cycle shoes.

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Snowden, NSA spying, hard drive malware ... what we need is a UN privacy watchdog!

David Pollard
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Re: An angry letters and resolutions...

@Mark 88: Although the article suggests otherwise, the EFF and other groups are actually addessing the problem of unwarranted surveillance by "world governments", not just the US.

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Privacy? What privacy? EU's draft law on your data is useless, say digital rights orgs

David Pollard
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Write to your MP & MEP?

I wonder how many will bother to prod them? It's public apathy that's the problem, just as much as the politicians who are supposed to serve.

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The BBC wants to slap a TAX on EVERYONE in BLIGHTY

David Pollard
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Stop

Subscription for prescription?

The 'health news in return for your data' aspect seems more than a little ominous.

Are they planning a soft-sell promotion of care.data by partially integrating it with the BBC? Is there perhaps a plan to transfer NHS Choices to the Beeb's custody, with the costs of dispensing advice in this way being covered by the licence fee budget? Is some sort of incentives and rewards system envisaged, such as free access to certain programme streams, for those who don't opt out of care.data?

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Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

David Pollard
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Re: Just went to check on mine

I thought that on El Reg it was usual to post links in clear text as a courtesy to those of us who like to look before we leap.

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Tinder Plus charges oldies MORE to ogle young hotties' pics

David Pollard
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Re: u can grind on me

Is that pronounced Postgrey?

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$250K: That's what Lenovo earned to RAT YOU OUT with Superfish

David Pollard
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Changes at the Lenovo site

A couple of days ago the main driver download page on Lenovo's website was largely filled with an advert for a third party utility to scan and download the latest drivers. Presumably this would 'phone home to check every time the machine was booted up. Although initially free, it looked as though $39.95 came into the picture somewhere along the line with another $9.95 for annual subscriptions.

Now there is no mention of this bloatware. Driver details are presented much more cleanly; there is an option to show all the appropriate drivers for a given operating system on a single page. Linux versions aren't yet provided, but one can hope.

The scanner which had been being promoted there now appears to be on 'special offer' on its own site, discounted to $29.95.

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Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

David Pollard
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Is there a fashion for user agent strings?

How widespread is the practice of changing user agent details? Or might one or other of Battalion 77's adversaries have spawned a few hundred thousand browsers which are busily chuntering round the internet? Might it even be Battalion 77 themselves who have created a massive honeypot disguised as a crowd of XP users?

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David Pollard
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Unhappy

Microsoft loosened it's grip on win7 install media?

Until last week it had been possible simply to download Win 7 ISOs from Digital River. These would install and authenticate normally using an OEM key; well, certainly this worked with HP machines and licences. Now the Digital River downloads have been stopped and only those who have a key from a full retail copy are able download the ISO, after first registering their key with Microsoft. Those who bought a machine with Windows 7 already installed are instructed to contact the manufacturer if they wish to obtain an ISO, even though their key is valid.

Far from loosening its grip, Microsoft has made it impossible for the majority of users to download a Windows 7 ISO.

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Who uses the Universal Credit system? ALMOST NOBODY, says report

David Pollard
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What are the odds?

Roughly similar to the chance that my one vote will change the outcome.

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

David Pollard
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Re: A great little kit.

If it keeps coming up with intermittent I/O errors then this really is bad news. It's bad enough dealing with these anyway, but for someone who is new to the game and trying to learn about stuff it's enough to put them off for life.

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BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

David Pollard
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But everyone knows you can't take panto comets seriously

Oh yes you can.

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Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'

David Pollard
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Re: On the outside?

@Sarah: Do you by any chance happen to know the Moderatrix? She used to be very popular in these quarters and your style brings back memories of the happy days when she kept the Reg's Comments in order.

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A cookie with a 7,984-year lifespan. Blimey, Roy Batty only got 4!

David Pollard
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... don't forget the LSO "Super Cookies"

A couple of weeks ago Ccleaner removed one of these that had apparently been left on my laptop by HM Government. It had arrived from online.hmrc.gov.uk.

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UK official LOSES Mark Duggan shooting discs IN THE POST

David Pollard
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Re: Perjury in Lynette White case

It now (10th Feb 2015) looks as though there is to be a QC-led official enquiry into the failings in this case:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-31352065

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France enacts law to block terror and child sexual abuse sites

David Pollard
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Re: Terrorist sites

@ Jack of Shadows: "Curiously, nsa.gov wants to install flash on Palemoon "

Equally curious is that the UK tax self-assessment site gave me an LSO 'Flash Cookie' to take away with me after I visited online.hmrc.gov.uk a couple of weeks ago.

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They've finally solved it: Schrödinger's cat is both ALIVE AND DEAD

David Pollard
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Esse est percipi (aut percipere)

The notion that the universe is there only because it is observed was not entirely new in 1935 when Shrödinger came up with his eponymous paradigm. illustrating that the equations of quantum mechanics can be seen to imply this.

From the English ecclesiastical tradition, back in the eighteenth century, George Berkeley had coined the seminal phrase quoted above. At the turn or the nineteenth century, Alfred North Whiteheads's process philosophy continued in the much same vein. In the German tradition, Ernst Mach used broadly similar reasoning when he argued that the existence of rotational inertia depends on some sort of interaction with the fixed (i.e. distant) stars; without being able to 'see' them in some way we wouldn't be able to know if and when we are spinning, and we can do this inside a closed and isolated box.

The Muslim tradition holds, if I understand correctly, that one of our primary duties is to observe and understand. And Buddhism too puts great importance on this aspect of existence.

The debate continues over whether such luminary insights have any validity.

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David Pollard
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Re: Ophidia in herba

For a little while now I have been undecided as to whether to upvote or downvote this comment.

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Has the world reached PEAK TWIT? Supplies of new Twitter users are drying up

David Pollard
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Obligatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1482/

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Wanted: Brit Facebook and Twitter trolls for counter-jihad psyops

David Pollard
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Re: 15 (UK) Information Ops Group

Wikipedia just now said that "[f]rom April 2015, it will form part of 77th Brigade"; but that's probably just a cover story.

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David Pollard
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Forced marches through Wikipedia?

I was wondering what sort of exercises they think up for training.

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

David Pollard
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Pint

Lewis has gone out ...

After writing the article he probably headed off to an inter-services meeting to collect and collate story lines for Battalion 77 internet psyops. Pint because that's what's needed to wash away some of the schoolboy nonsense that this topic generates in predictably massive volumes.

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NSA raided hackers' troves of stolen data: report

David Pollard
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@Claire: 'Take' is slang commonly used by crooks, but you probably don't meet that many of them. Its use probably derives from 'takings', which is listed in Chambers. See also the Urban Dictionary, definition 3.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Take

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Ransomware 2.0 'crypts website databases – until victims pay up

David Pollard
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Re: ... crypto key swap

@waldo: Your comment would have been a bit clearer if you had included a link to the other article(s) you had read.

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Turing notes found warming Bletchley Park's leaky ceilings

David Pollard
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Re: Problem? What problem?

Quite. It made first-rate camouflage.

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