* Posts by David Pollard

1237 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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If you haven't changed your Dropbox password for 4 years, do so now

David Pollard
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Re: Spotify resets too

... and 123-Reg. Two e-mails: the first saying they were going to force a password update by the 1st August, the second correcting this to the 1st September. After this deadline, passwords that haven't been updated and those that are insecure won't work any more.

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EU ministers look to tighten up privacy – JUST KIDDING – surveillance laws

David Pollard
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I for one argue against Jacob Ginsberg

"No one can argue with the fact that if intelligence agencies and the police were able to access and look inside all houses, they would catch more criminals."

Where you have policing by consent, the most significant part of crime control comes about through the co-operation and involvement of the general public. When the public's trust is broken this aspect of crime control is eroded. If the authorities invade people's privacy they will forfeit their co-operation and make policing less effective.

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Uber and Volvo take on Ford in race to launch self-driving vehicles

David Pollard
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Obligatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1720/

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UK military buys third £4m Zephyr drone for 'persistent surveillance' trials

David Pollard
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managed to stay aloft for 14 days over the Arizona desert

Get many terrorists and enemies of the state in the Arizona desert, do they?

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'Flying Bum's' first flight was a gas, gas, gas

David Pollard
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It's based on the Pinky Ponk

Clearly the designers must have studied aeronautics In the Night Garden.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW0ATNNB-i0

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£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests

David Pollard
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Electric vehicles

One of the reasons behind the introduction of these meters may be a misguided response to the problem that electric vehicles presents. Political and executive decision makers don't always get things right.

Dealing with a million kettles being turned on during the break in Coronation Street is one thing. The prospect of a million cars all turning on their chargers at midnight is another.

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IT delays helped derail UK's historic child sexual abuse inquiry

David Pollard
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It's not just cases of child sex abuse that they don't want to see reviewed. My own experience would suggest that the police and government are also reluctant to look into shortcomings in the investigation of historic cases of rape and murder. Incidental aspects involving recreational drugs are, however, given continued attention.

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Post-Silk Road, Feds bust chaps for 'dealing heroin, coke' on world's largest dark web souk

David Pollard
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Professor David Nutt

After being sacked by the UK government for publicly proposing a sensible drugs policy, David Nutt wrote an excellent book: Drugs without the hot air.

If authorities wish to help drug users rather than persecute them then they would do well to obtain a copy and read it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Drugs-Without-Minimising-Harms-Illegal/dp/1906860165/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471258099&sr=1-1&keywords=david+nutt

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£1m military drone crashed in Wales after crew disabled anti-crash systems – report

David Pollard
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If memory serves, amateur balloonist had radar altimeters several decades ago. Indeed a quick search finds one with a weight of 350g and power consumption of 4W.

http://www.smartmicro.de/airbone-radar/micro-radar-altimeter/

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Head of UK oversight body to join GCHQ 'tech help desk'*

David Pollard
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Is that evident failure the result of a lack of smarter intelligence in leaderships?

In a word, 'yes'.

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Some benefits of digital health to NHS may be delayed by consent model consultation – expert

David Pollard
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Pint

Dr Neil Bhatia

The pint is a token of my appreciation, echoed I'm sure by many others, for Dr Bhatia's continuing efforts to hold the NHS to account.

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Brexit Britain: HP Sauce vs BBC.co.uk – choices that defined voters

David Pollard
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HP Sauce, PG Tips?

So now we know why El Reg had been conducting those extensive surveys about the perfect bacon sarnie and the optimal way to drink tea. It was part of a covert propaganda campaign; and one which was obviously effective.

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Italian MP threatens parents forcing veggie diets on kids with jail

David Pollard
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Oblig xkcd

https://xkcd.com/1338/

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'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

David Pollard
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0.341 percent less each year

This sheds a new light on cosmic inflation.

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Yahoo! is! not! killing! Messenger! today!, just! the! desktop! client!

David Pollard
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Joke

... not used an IM for years!

You should stay in more.

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Protect your staff from Toronto's terrible Twitter trolls, bosses told

David Pollard
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Send for the moderatrix

A brief consultancy with Ms Bee would soon set them on the right track.

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California to put all your power-hungry PCs on a low carb(on) diet

David Pollard
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Re: Many coders live in California...

Linux would appear to provide an equivalent user experience in a great many cases with considerably reduced requirements for both memory and CPU capacity when compared with Windows. It would be interesting to know how the power savings would work out for the use of lower-spec PCs with equivalent perceived speed of operation.

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David Pollard
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Hair dryers and vacuum cleaners next?

If the manufacturer's cost increases by $18 then the cost to the user will be somewhat more. I couldn't see, at first glance, how "costs ... will be more than recouped". My guess at typical power savings for a PC was 20W for 10 hours a day, or roughly 1 kWh per week. With 50 kWh costing maybe $5 or so the payback time looks likely to be 3 to 4 years or longer..

It would be interesting to know how the CEC did their sums.

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Cray profits literally go up in smoke after electrical incident

David Pollard
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Re: Electrical Smoke Event?

At first glance I'd imagined a new sort of communal vaping device, or maybe an overloaded bong at the directors' meeting.

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Norks hacks 90 Southern officials, journalists

David Pollard
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Re: Intelligent species

Don't apologise.

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Kaminsky: The internet is germ-ridden and it's time to sterilize it

David Pollard
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"[T]his is something government should be devoted to fixing long term"

I wish.

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Swede suffers shrinking penis after dentist fits mouthguard

David Pollard
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Re: Maybe it was in the wrong place

Or maybe he wasn't holding it right.

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UK.gov digi peeps hunt open source chief

David Pollard
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Pint

Cheers to the Lawyer from Lima

It almost looks as though one could be cautiously optimistic about the future of government computing. Pint+ for whoever managed to bring this about, and for David Villanueva Nuñez whose outstanding work in Peru must have helped.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/05/19/ms_in_peruvian_opensource_nightmare/

There's something fundamentally democratic about sharing code, which is similar to sharing research results and understanding in science: everyone ends up better off. I hope that the trend towards open source will continue into the education sector.

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Maxthon web browser blabs about your PC all the way back to Beijing

David Pollard
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Has anyone witten a guard ring?

Presumably it's possible to have adjunct software to plug the leaks, a bit like the utilities that are available to stop Windows 10 'phoning home or Adblock Plus.

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UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

David Pollard
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Re: 5 MW?

"Didcot B can produce 1,360MW, enough power to meet the needs of 1 million households."

http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/320906/rwe-npower/about-us/our-businesses/power-generation/didcot/didcot-b/

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Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft's own metric – it won't hit one billion devices by mid-2018

David Pollard
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Joke

Wexit?

Apparently there's chap by the name of Nigel Farage who's said to be rather good at explaining to people the disadvantages of hegemony; and he's recently decided that it's time to tackle new targets. I wonder if he might be encouraged to lend a hand.

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Thermostat biz Nest warms to home security, touts cam with cloud storage subscription

David Pollard
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Face recognition?

Does it do face recognition and does Google have access to the police picture galleries?

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Shocker: Computer science graduate wins a top UK political job

David Pollard
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He may well turn out be a good man for the job. His opposition to increased state surveillance convinced me that he was better than many in Westmister. And you don't have to be right wing to appreciate reasonable privacy.

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Science non-fiction: Newly spotted alien world bathes in glow of three stars

David Pollard
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Dr Kildare!

Can't get the theme song out of my head now.

Link for those who missed this enthralling series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PvuJZCCljo

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Medicos could be world's best security bypassers, study finds

David Pollard
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Now you know ...

... why doctors' writing is almost impossible to decipher.

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Brexit government pledge sought to keep EU-backed UK science alive

David Pollard
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Gen IV

This would be an appropriate time to upgrade the UK's nuclear research commitment to full membership of the Generation IV International Forum.

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T-Mobile Czech ad man steals, sells, 1.5 million customer records

David Pollard
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Re: forgive me correcting your correction

I can't help but wonder where the moderatrix is now.

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Telco bosses' salaries must take heat for cyber attacks, says MPs' TalkTalk enquiry

David Pollard
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"... compensation should be linked ..."

Does this recommendation extend to include such luminaries as the Secretary of Stare for Health, and would it be retroactive, for example in the case of a head of the DWP?

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'I am not a lizard' Zuckerberg proclaims in public Q&A

David Pollard
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"stimulating the brain cells ... extreme signs of fear"

Be afraid, very afraid.

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Kiwis prep 'permissive' space laws to help Rocket Lab get off the ground

David Pollard
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Re: Noice

And it's much more scenic than Area 51.

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London Mayor election day bug forced staff to query vote DB by hand

David Pollard
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Re: If it sounds dodgy, it is dodgy

Computer counted elections can only be equivalently transparent if the source code is open to all for inspection.

Open source is vital. It is also necessary to have a permanent record of votes so that a recount is possible. Electronic storage doesn't allow for an audit using effectively unchangeable data in the way that paper and pencil does.

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Voter registration site collapse proves genius of GDS, says minister

David Pollard
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Re: You couldn't make this sh** up

This is precisely the sort of thing "cloud" is supposed to handle...

What they seem to have used is clod computing - cloud with U left out..

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Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

David Pollard
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Epicycles may be better

Copernicus and Kepler did indeed provide an improved explanation of how and why the planets move as they do. But it's a rather cumbersome task to work out how they will appear seen from Earth at any given time, to predict eclipses or to navigate. Even with an an ephemeris to hand, trig tables and logs it isn't by any means easy to draw a picture of the planets in the sky.

Epicycles, on the other hand can be quite quick and simple; particularly if the model can use integer arithmetic, with a couple of analogue wobbles in appropriate gear wheels. The epicyclic model may not have been the best in terms of explanatory power, but it was certainly the way to go in terms of providing a pragmatic solution to the problems of calculation.

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Astroboffins' discovery gives search for early life a left hand. Or right

David Pollard
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Parity violation in chiral molecules

There are theoretical reasons to expect that the enthalpies of enantiomers will be very, very slightly different as a result of non-conservation of parity in the weak interaction. Experimental verification has so far proved rather tricky, but measurement of the relative amounts of pairs of chiral molecules in distant gas clouds could shed light on this curious aspect of the universe.

The spatial symmetry of most physical laws says that when achiral molecules form chiral products, the system as a whole will stay racemic. However, it may be that the universe is handed, and that spacial symmetry which we take for granted is actually slightly broken.

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No 10's online EU vote signup crash 'inevitable' – GDS overseer

David Pollard
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"I am not a technical expert ..."

That rather sums up one of the main problems of parliament: people like Oliver Letwin who appear either not to have the capacity to understand the areas over which they have responsibility or to be intent on deceit as a means to further their agenda.

Checking out what he studied post-Eton - philosophy at Cambridge - a search brought up a speech he made this April to the UN.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/we-must-redouble-our-efforts-to-meet-the-challenge-of-new-psychoactive-substances-to-bring-the-most-harmful-substances-under-international-control

His claim that the UK "is delivering a modern, balanced, evidence-based response to drugs within the UN conventions" is unconscionable. Professor David Nutt and his team were quite clear, before their forced retirement, about what a genuine evidence-based policy on recreational drugs should be.

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

David Pollard
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Re: Gardens for waste burial?

As it happens, I've been on record since the 1970s as saying I'd be happy to have a parcel of radioactive waste in my back garden. It needs to be monitored, mainly against malevolent thieves, so it would be better to used it in a small district heating plant rather having individual units. Piping heat to, say, 200 properties wouldn't be that expensive in city areas and 2.5 kW each would provide useful savings on the hot water and winter heating bills.

Critics always seem to bring up the question of cooling in summer. Air cooling would be fine. Half a megawatt is roughly equivalent to ten cars starting off from a set of traffic lights. No one seems to be too concened about the risks from that.

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Dell finds liquid cooling tech on eBay, now wants you to buy it

David Pollard
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Re: Hey, what could possibly go wrong with ...

It's not immediately clear, but "pushed to 350PSI, several times their likely working load" presumably means 'leak tested well above their working pressure'.

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Capitalize 'Internet'? AP says no – Vint Cerf says yes

David Pollard
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Re: Very simple

So why not capitalise the 'I' when referring to the big Internet which spans the globe. Then usage would be similar to that of other words such as parliament and queen, which are capitalised when the reference is singular and specific.

For example; The aim of parliaments is to provide representation for the people. In Parliament today a range of views were discussed. Several kings and queens attended the event. The Queen is very fond of her dogs.

The Grauniad has ignored this rule for some while. though whether this is because the editorial team think it is elitist or that they don't understand it is not entirely clear.

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Mushroom farm PC left in the dark and fed … you know the rest

David Pollard
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... and don't you eat that yellow snow!

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Aquaboffins sink lost Greek city theory

David Pollard
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Pyramids scam scotched

At a casual glance this could easily have gone on to become a ghastly scam like the so-called Bosnian pyramids.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/26/bosnian_pyramids/?page=1

A quick search suggests that the unwary are still being parted from their money on this one, the latest 'discovery' apparently being underground tunnels which have healing properties and which bring health benefits to those who visit. Aaargh.

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Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

David Pollard
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You'll also need one of those massless pullies and some inextensible string to get it back to the surface. These are not so easy to obtain these days.

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EU bureaucrats claim credit for making 'illegal online hate speech' even more illegal

David Pollard
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Sarah Bee to train moderatrixes

Many Reg commentards will remember with affection Ms Bee and her keen sense of propriety.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/30/moderatrix_off/

Perhaps consideration should have been given to employing her for a while as Tsarina for Decent Speech. Were she to train others in the art of moderation and imbue in them by example her wit, acuity and good taste this would bring far greater benefit than yet another set of regulations.

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Rats revive phones-and-cancer scares

David Pollard
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It's that time of year again

The search is back on for the Yeti, maybe there are signs of life on Mars, amino acids have been detected in comets, and Steven Greer is in the news again with his miniature humanoid.

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US power grid still fragile in the face of EMP threat: GAO

David Pollard
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This looks like asteroid envy

If nuclear weapons are ever used in anger it's likely to be the end of the line for much of the human race whether or not there are measures to protect against EMP.

Solar flares can induce significant currents in long wire loops, but the grid can be protected by disconnecting power lines in order to prevent transformers being saturated with low frequency currents. There are various plans for an orderly shut-down if necessary and we do have quite good advance notice of solar events these days.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/flare-impacts.html

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