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* Posts by David Pollard

900 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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BIGGEST THREAT to Europe’s cybersecurity? Hint: not hackers

David Pollard
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NHS care data

It would be interesting to know how much of a threat the theft of data from the projected NHS database might present, if indeed this is among the 2,000 cyber-threats being considered.

The direct costs, perhaps requiring a re-issue of all NHS numbers, and a deal of chaos in treatments, could be substantial. Maybe the greater threat would be from opportunities for blackmail and coercion and the opening up of opportunities for spear fishing.

Given that the main benefit from the database is supposed to be from statistical use of data collated nation-wide, could this not be achieved with pre-processing at a local level and with truly anonymous statistics sent securely from individual practices, clinics and hospitals? This would obviate the requirement for a potentially vulnerable central store of records.

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OK Google, do I have CANCER?

David Pollard
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Re: Aaargh.

Is it applicable to homeopathic diagnosis?

Perhaps there is a previously undiscovered aspect of Moore's Law here.

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Doctors urged to adopt default opt-out approach to care.data scheme

David Pollard
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Re: explaining the benefits and risks of data sharing

In order to recover from a large theft of data, South Korea may need to issue new national identity numbers to each of its 50 million citizens.

http://www.zdnet.com/zero-day-weekly-drupal-disaster-poodle-ebola-phishing-scams-7000034741/

On the basis of various precedents it seems not all that unlikely that the UK health summary database will at some stage be hacked or otherwise compromised. Although personal health records are to be 'anonymised' they are uniquely indexed by NHS number.

What would be the cost, both in financial terms and as a health cost, if an event similar to the hack which recently hit Korea meant that all NHS numbers had to be re-issued? What is the likelihood this occurring during, say, the next ten years?

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

David Pollard
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Re: Daft article

In one of the comments just a short way back there's a chap who's putting his DeLorean into the garage. Maybe that's the way to have done it.

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South Korea faces $1bn bill after hackers raid national ID database

David Pollard
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Maybe when they've sorted this out ....

... they might be persuaded to come to the UK for a while to explain to the people responsible for the NHS how large databases can give rise to large problems.

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Wide-ranging UK DATA SHARING moves one step closer

David Pollard
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NHS care.data

Other than that there will be a number of regional centres rather than a single database, it looks as though little has changed.

http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2374495/nhs-england-to-forge-ahead-with-unchanged-caredata-plans

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/07/care-data-patient-information-accredited-safe-havens

http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/records/healthrecords/Pages/care-data.aspx

"Your date of birth, full postcode, NHS Number and gender rather than your name will be used to link your records in a secure system, managed by the HSCIC. Once this information has been linked, a new record will be created. This new record will not contain information that identifies you."

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Tesla's Elon Musk shows the world his D ... and it's a MONSTER

David Pollard
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Re: Charging issues? Range?

Petroleum products account for about 36% of UK energy consumption, which comes to something like 54 mtoe (million tons oil equivalent) per year. Electricity consumption at 27 mtoe/yr is about half this.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/337452/ecuk_chapter_1_overall_factsheet.pdf

Off-peak and surplus capacity for electricity looks to be somewhat less than half of total capacity.

http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

So it looks as though at best the UK's presently available electricity generating capacity would provide for less than a quarter of our transport needs.

Hinkley Point will not be enough.

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Antarctic ice at ALL TIME RECORD HIGH: We have more to learn, says boffin

David Pollard
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Re: @beat666 Meanwhile, in earlier news ...

Wattsup is indeed enlightening:

“I have a problem with the widespread implication (in the popular press) that the West Antarctic collapse can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change,” said Mike Wolovik

...

“I’m not an atmospheric scientist, so I can’t evaluate the strength of all of those linkages.”

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David Pollard
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How come they aren't screaming 'No Need To Panic'?

Maybe the researchers who have been looking at this are wondering about the relationship between increases in winter sea ice and the droughts that have been seriously affecting large areas of Australia in recent decades.

Trolls are apparently endemic there too.

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/lies-damned-lies-and-statistics-how-australias-denial-movement-cant-read-a-map/

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David Pollard
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Re: Meanwhile, in earlier news ...

... slight mistake there ... I should have written 'West Antarctic Ice Sheet'. Here's a direct link to the NASA research.

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/may/nasa-uci-study-indicates-loss-of-west-antarctic-glaciers-appears-unstoppable/#.VA9Ug0sV3pg

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David Pollard
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Meanwhile, in earlier news ...

... it very much looks as though the West Australian ice sheet will continue unabated its gradual slide into the ocean.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/12/western-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapse-has-already-begun-scientists-warn

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/science/earth/collapse-of-parts-of-west-antarctica-ice-sheet-has-begun-scientists-say.html

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Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

David Pollard
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Joke

"The only thing he ever got right"?

Ted Heath also conducted a trial for the 'Age of Leisure'. The three day week was quite successful, though for some reason it never quite caught on.

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'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

David Pollard
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Pulse today ...

... seems keen on locking me out from that link. This is similar article from the Grauniad:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/06/police-backdoor-access-nhs-health-records

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David Pollard
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Policing by consent

One of the main reason why the UK has fairly low rates of crime is because there is a good deal of public co-operation. It's a shame to see this co-operation and acceptance of policing being eroded.

The nine principles of good policing are just as valid as they were almost two centuries ago: Perhaps plod could be encouraged to bear them in mind.

http://www.civitas.org.uk/pubs/policeNine.php

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POISON PI sniffs WiFi from your mail room, goes on rampage

David Pollard
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Beware of geeks bearing gifts

I'll get my ...

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EFF: Cops' spyware for parents is insecure – and a fat waste of money

David Pollard
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Re: The EFF uses Wireshark on Windows XP to do its packet sniffing?

Well spotted. But isn't this typical of installations actual users might have?

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Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

David Pollard
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Re: Tim's hopes for solar and wind are doomed

Thanks for reminding me about bravenewclimate.com. The linked article is first rate.

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David Pollard
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@ledswinger

CHP boilers don't use the 8% waste heat from boilers. They generate electricity directly from the fuel, then the leftover energy from the heat engine is used for heating; the electricity is is more 'valuable' than heat. Typically the thermal efficiency of the grid is around 40% so electricity is worth 2.5 times as much as heat.

A really good CHP generator will provide maybe 30% of its output as electricity, the rest is supplied as useful heat and a bit of waste. Assuming that the waste is the same at 8%, it would provide 62% of input energy as heat and 30% as electricity which is 'worth' 75%, thus giving an equivalent combined output of 137% rather than 92%.

Similar sums suggest that there might be something to be gained from heating houses using nuclear electricity with a heat pump.

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iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport

David Pollard
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Head in the clouds

Coat.

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GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

David Pollard
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Ontological Insecurity

There's a conundrum: If the universe has always existed, then how did it start? Alternatively, if it started with the big bang then what came before it?

Everyday logic doesn't work too well with this sort of problem and many people have recourse to an act of faith in order to quieten their brains, jumping either to some or other religion or to reductionism.

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Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone

David Pollard
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Re: Hmmmm time for an u-turn

Technology brings unprecedented opportunities for snooping, and misuse of surveillance is undesirable whoever does it. When public authorities act unaccountably, however, the logic of the situation encourages others to do the same.

To a large extent in the UK we have policing by consent. If this is to continue, public servants in the judicial system must be and be seen to be whiter than white, whatever crimes the rest of us commit.

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David Pollard
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It's not only whistleblowers who are investigated

Dr Waney Squier, a paediatric neuropathologist, acted as an expert witness for a good many years. In the face of emerging research she changed her views, disputing mainstream opinion which she thought could lead to miscarriages of justice. This seems to have gone down rather badly with the police.

"... Det Insp Colin Welsh, then of the Met’s child abuse investigation command, was reported to have suggested police would investigate such experts and report them to their professional bodies 'to see if we turn up anything'."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/11094379/Shaken-baby-expert-faces-witch-hunt.html

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Freshly uploaded EU digi-Czar is CLUELESS ON TECH but it's no big deal, says Steelie Neelie

David Pollard
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Clueless on tech

When did lack of experience and understanding ever preclude political appointments in areas which properly require it?

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THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

David Pollard
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Why the engines on an airliner are set forward

The wings are flexed by gusts in both directions; that's why you can see them moving up and down during flight. And they are made flexible in order to take the strain. By analogy, this would go to show why floating currencies are better than the euro.

The forward mounting of the engines is not to balance upwards gusts. If this were so it would make downward gusts worse. Downdrafts can be very strong and are by no means uncommon. Where balance is needed is that at all times when the wing is generating lift drag from the faster movement of air over the upper surface generates torque on the wing as well as lift.

I don't know whether aircraft designers would be good at economics, but after reading this article I'd now have serious reservations about going in an aeroplane where an economist had anything to do with the design.

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Damien Hirst, eat your heart out - these guys chop up TAXIS

David Pollard
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London catching up as usual?

In 1969, or was it '68, clothes and accessories vendor Granny Takes a Trip had half a car sticking out from their shop window onto the pavement on the King's Road.

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Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces

David Pollard
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Heliocentric vs Epicyclic Models

Occasionally I've wondered that the epicyclic celestial model might be more useful. It's all very well to know that the planets all move in more or less exact ellipses around the sun, but then how do you calculate how the fixed stars and the other planets will appear at any given time when seen from a rotating body itself moving on an elliptical path?

The use of epicycles might well be the most practical approach to producing a picture of the sky at a given time and place in the future.

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Sun's MASSIVE solar storm belch to light up Earth's skies

David Pollard
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[It] would likely destroy the US electrical grid

What I'd read about this some years ago was that the problem comes from slowly changing currents being induced in loops in the grid. In 60 Hz transformers this is more or less like DC and it biases them into saturation with the result that they overheat. The solution is to ensure that no long distance loops are connected for the duration of the particle shower.

Are there other ways in which the solar storm can do damage, or is the 'destroy the grid' claim scare-mongering?

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

David Pollard
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Indoor greenhouses

Someone probably told a few MPs and the like that by monitoring usage patterns with smart meters it would be possible to detect when people are going in for bit of home grown.

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Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU

David Pollard
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Open conversation

" ... of course there is no interest in having an open conversation with the public."

Yet this would bring greater security than almost anything else that could be done. It's one of the factors that keep democracies stable.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

David Pollard
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My cat's breath smells of cat food

See, Quantum Transmogrification occurs everywhere.

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Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious

David Pollard
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There go the tinfoil hats then, I guess..

That's probably the real reason they are introducing this legislation.

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

David Pollard
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Re: Basic honeypots?

Isn't it also fairly easy to recognise the arrival of a swarm of zombies, and in this case to log most of the 200,000 to plot the spread of the farm that's spawning them? The ratio of password rejections to traffic is presumably quite low and fairly constant, so an increase when the plague starts shouldn't be too difficult to recognise. Or is there something else of which I'm unaware?

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David Pollard
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Basic honeypots?

Is there not some fairly simple way to test that repeated attempts are being made to crack the login? And is it not it possible to deny 'password1' and similar to users and then route logon requests which use it to fake data, logging all details of the connection and add later adding this to a blacklist?

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Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

David Pollard
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An NHS Style Guide

Though I wouldn't wish to hinder important work, if the author could find time to write a style guide for NHS choices and other areas where there is an interface with the general public this might do a lot of good.

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TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

David Pollard
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The Orion Project Reloaded

This overunity energy generation has much of the look and feel of Steven Greer's proposals to solve the world's problems, which probably attracted a good few dollars in its heyday.

http://www.theorionproject.org/en/

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David Pollard
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transmogrification?

Is this some sort of a quantum shift associated with Schrödinger's cat?

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Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

David Pollard
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The 29th century?

We'll have to hope that they are running a recruitment programme. Bruce Willis might not be available.

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Snowden leaks show that terrorists are JUST LIKE US

David Pollard
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Re: Removable batteries - and the SIM?

"Both the battery and SIM card must be removed."

Do these phones have backup power, or what?

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GCHQ names the Hogwarts for Hackers

David Pollard
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What does Verity have to say about this?

The can be but few in El Reg's readership who are not now eagerly awaiting Ms Stob's analysis.

See, e.g.,

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/13/verity_stob_open_university/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/14/verity_stob_further_eduation/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/18/verity_stob_pgpdip/

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NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw

David Pollard
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Re: Description... Panopticlick

Here from the EFF is a test site. "How unique - and trackable - is your browser?"

https://panopticlick.eff.org/

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Watch: DARPA shows off first successful test of STEERABLE bullet

David Pollard
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Nominative determinism?

"The current record distance for the caliber is a 2.43km shot achieved in March 2002 by Corporal Rob Furlong ..."

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Google went behind our backs and really HURT US, squeal upset porn kingpins

David Pollard
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How about dodgy "meds"?

I'd taken a look at this some weeks ago after being surprised to see a viagra sales link on an NHS page. A quick search with [site:nhs.uk paypal viagra] suggests that despite the NHS saying Google had been working with them on the problem of hacking by internet pharmaceutical vendors the dodgy dealers are still in there.

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Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

David Pollard
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Re: Bust-up

Catapult? Bus? Sounds like a job for Jeremy Clarkson.

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Super-snoop bid: UK government hits panic button on EU data retention ruling

David Pollard
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Re: Help! @Eponymous Cowherd

>> And then there's UKIP who want to rescue us from the EU and ECJ "interference" that is the only thing actually protecting us from the "Snooper's charter".

Maybe you could take a look at the EU treaties and check how Europol has been set up and what options it has been granted. From what I remember, 1993 or so, they were given a mandate to do more or less anything they want.

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Search, done. Ads, done. What next for Google? Domain registration

David Pollard
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Obligatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1361/

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France frostily foists flat fizz fear on ICANN's .wine plans

David Pollard
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Steelie Neelie claims "public interest"

The benefits of increased competition, so often touted as a reason to support the European dream, are rather swiftly ignored as soon as there is even a mild threat to profits.

But would sales of wine really be affected by a change of domain name suffix? Do many people even notice what a site's URL when they have put [wine], or whatever, into Google Shopping? And wouldn't the serious producers be using .fr or .it etc., or .com, in any case, while the serious buyers would mostly be going on the basis of reputation.

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Facial recognition tech convicts man in Chicago robbery case

David Pollard
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... helicopters?

They normally stay downwind of their prey, so you are probably safe for the time being.

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Ukrainian teen created in lab passes Turing Test – famous nutty prof

David Pollard
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This provides enlightenment as well as chat

http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/

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Report pegs Apple for October smartwatch release

David Pollard
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Obligatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1372/

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iOS 8 to PROBE your GUTS and your HOME

David Pollard
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There's big money in home and health data

Sainsbury's are after a slice of this data too, using a somewhat different angle. At the pharmacies in their large stores they are offering free advice about prescriptions. As part of this service customers are asked to sign a consent form which allows Sainsbury's to contact their GP; and obviously they store the data.

There will be more ploys to persuade people to use facilities which allow harvesting of their personal health data in coming months and years.

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