* Posts by Eclectic Man

68 posts • joined 4 Jun 2010

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Facebook profiles? They're not 'personal data' Mr Putin

Eclectic Man

What about Russians overseas?

"The rules forcing companies to keep Russians’ personal data on Russian soil becomes law on 1 September."

A certain Mr Vladimir Putin has been quite vociferous in claiming he may have to defend russian speakers and russians living abroad if hey feel threatened, as in Crimea or eastern Ukraine. But if a russian lives 'abroad', won't his or her data also be held 'abroad'? Does this apply even when the russian in question has sent personal data overseas, such as, for instance booking a holiday, or a flight, or buying something over the 'Internet from a foreign place'.

I am confused, unles, of course this is just a way for Putin to have an excuse to attack anyone he doesn't like whenever he wants to.

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Ubiquiti stung US$46.7 million in e-mail spoofing fraud

Eclectic Man

Digital Signatures?

I wonder whether the exec in question actually had any form of security on his emails, like digital signatures or encryption. I mean it is not like it is dificult to get these days, or was that spoofed too?

$46million is quite a lot, you'd have thought some sort of internal security on any e-mail instructing minions to move millions would have been mandatory.

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Crackpot hackpots pop top of GasPots

Eclectic Man

Wait until they get on to the pubs

Quite a few years ago now, I discoverd that my local hostelry's bar rpices were set over the Interpleb by the brewery. they had a 'slight glitch' when the till prices of drinks differed from the (legally mandatory) price list displayed in the bar.

When hackers get into these systems and start playing around wiht those prices there will be trouble.

Pint, anyone?

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LinkedIn users rebel after personal data siphon crimped

Eclectic Man

Oh!

You mean I'm not connected with Pierre de Fermat, Jean Paul Sartre and Aristotle?

Jaw drops in amazement.

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The Register's resident space boffin: All you need to know about the Pluto mission

Eclectic Man

'Young ' surface

If the Plutonian atmosphere freezes during winter, and, presumably, sublimes in the summer, would that create the appearance of a 'young' surface without the need for a molten or hot core?

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FEMALE BLOOD-SUCKERS zero in on human prey by smelling our BREATH

Eclectic Man

ding-dong!

I am reliably informed, and ahve tried it myself, the product "Avon Skin So Soft" is b far the best cream to prevent mossies, gnats and other blood-sucking insects from biting. It works in the Scottish highlands, athough you do have to spread it all over. It is also used by the Roayl Marines and Canadian lumber-jacks (not just the Monty-Python kind).

It is quite intersting to see, in the macho hunting, shooting and fishing shop windows, a bottle or two of ASSS coyly snuggling amongst the waxed jackets and shot-gun adverts.

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Mathematician: SUNSPOT DROUGHT will mean mini ICE AGE from 2030

Eclectic Man
Trollface

Boffinry?

Does Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University count as a boffin? No mention of boffinry in the article. We don't want a repeat fo a previous incident when someone threatened to post a sarcastic comment, if he wasn't described as a boffin, now do we?

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US govt now says 21.5 million people exposed by OPM hack – here's what you need to know

Eclectic Man

It's nice to know ...

<Sarcasm Alert>

that they take such care of their own data. After all they have access to all of the visa applications, fingerprints of people visiting the USA on business, oh and financial transaction data from the EU. But that's ok because they wouldn't let anyone gain access to that now, would they?

<End Sarcasm Alert>

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Crap crypto crackdown coming as FBI boss testifies to US Congress

Eclectic Man

And for an encore ...

"... this country wasn't made up of people who said 'It can't be done"

he'll set up a team to find four positive integers bigger than 2 such that

a**n = b**n + c**n

<I'll get me coat>

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Argentina finds messenger to shoot after e-vote vuln allegations

Eclectic Man

"Democracy is in the counting" (Tom Stoppard)

When I studied cryptographic and electronic voting schemes I rapidly came to the conclusion that all of the practicable ones (i.e. ones which could be implemented and usable in practice) had the fatal flaw that you were trusting whoever had built and designed the system to be entirely honest in reporting the results.

The essential part of a voting system is not that your own vote is reported correctly, but that everyone else's vote is. Other important features are that the returning officers should be able to prove they have not cheated. In a system of paper ballots there is always the option for a recount, and anyone wanting to subvert the election has to forge a large number of ballots. With any electronic scheme, subverting the system is more feasible, if you you have the technical capability.

The problem is that electronic election systems are chosen by politicians, and designed by large corporation whose bosses want lucrative government contracts. Anyone remember the 'hanging chads' that got George W Bush elected, and the confusing voting paper in Florida - choesen by a republican politician?

As Tom Stoppard said - Democracy is not in the vcoting, but in the counting. The NAZIs subverted the democratic process by blatantly lieing about referenda results to deny rights to Jews (see Christabel Bielenberg's "The Past is Myself"). With an electrinic voting systems it is so much easier for those in power to cheat.

<OK, rant over>

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Warning flags were raised over GDS farm payments system – yet it still failed

Eclectic Man
Flame

Govt procurements and failure

Don't forget that most large govt. procurements are awarded after competitive bidding, in which several companies lose at considerable expense (I know, I've been on both winning and losing sides). So not all bidders want to obscure things or make them more difficult, at least not until after contract signature.

One of the main issues in govt IT procurement failure is changing requirements, and politically motivated, but unrealistic requirments. the 'Universal Benefit' being one of the most unrealistic things to do in the time available. Most of the disasters I've personally been involved in were over ambitious projects from a client who really did not know what their existing situation was, where they wanted to be (in anything more detailed than a fluffy cloudy-thought-leadery-wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-it-all worked-like-this way) and wanted the contractors to just make it happen without bothering the client with all those annoying questions like:

"what, exatly does your system do? What data do you have? What are the access requirements on the data? What applications do you run? Who can use those applications? What is your network topology? What servers, operating systems and other software do you use?" etc. etc.

None of this is helped by sales teams whose main motivation is to win the business and get their bonus and leave the delivery team to JFDI.

<and B R E A T H E >

Sorry, rant over.

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GCHQ's cyberspooks had Nudge Unit envy – leak

Eclectic Man

Small samples

"One important caveat to the psychological work on the above topics is that it has for the most part been based on limited samples of the human population (white, middle-class, American, male, students).

This lack of representativeness means that the theories and research findings may not be generalisable to to other populations.

Or even generalisable to females – more than 50 per cent of the population.

The issue of small sample size would eventually be recognised as a problem in neuroscience – as we reported here, most fMRI studies were completely worthless, despite the dramatic and colourful pictures of "your brain on..." (whatever a Harvard undergrad's brain was on that day).

But we rarely saw that caveat at the height of the mania for neuroscience-inspired pop psych, when the media couldn't give us enough fMRI-derived pseudoscience. Even as our chatterati was heralding the behavioural woo as "new discoveries in psychology", they either didn't know that the "brain science" on which it is founded was being conducted on tiny (typically fewer than 20 participants) studies."

In his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow", Chapter 10, Daniel Kahneman rightly warns of using statistics based on small samples. Sadly he subsequently bases much o fhis book on experiments conducted on few and unrepresentative samples. One of the experiments about how many people would rush to help someone in distress was conducted on only 15 people (3 times, each on 5 people. Nonetheless he claims that 27% of people would rush to help someone. (The experiment as described is also flawed, but that's another story.)

Which is unfortunate because Kahneman does have some useful insights about people and how we make decisions, as, I expect the 'spooks' at GCHQ probably do.

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Why the US government reckons it should keep phone network kill-switches a secret

Eclectic Man

Umm

What about satellite phones? Or 'ham radio', or even e-mail? There is no reason to suppose that the bomb, if quite powerful, could not be connected to the old fashioned wired network.

As for the question: "why is such a powerful tool designed so poorly that simply knowing its broad details would enable someone to undermine it?"

When the mathematician Kurt Godel was being inducted into USA citizenship, the presiding officer welcomed him noting that he was fleeing from a dictatorial regime to a country which could never be a dictatorship. Godel rose and stated that having studied the US Constitution, he could state exactly how the USA could become a dictatorship. (Godel's supporters told him to 'shut up'.) I have rarely come across political procedues which were both sound and complete (in the mathematical logic sense of the terms), so don't expect '303 to be.

The real question neither side has raised is how they judge whether more lives will be a risk of harm with or without the cellphone signals. They can be used to summon emergency services to fires, critically injured people, or crimes in progress (I did), of which use I presume the forces of law and order would approve.

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New EU security strategy: Sod cyber terrorism, BAN ENCRYPTION

Eclectic Man

Re: Oh drat!

@Arthur the cat

"If you're a professional cryptographer, I'll look forward to reading it. If not, please, don't do that. Just read

https://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram/archives/1998/1015.html#cipherdesign

"

Don't worry, Electronics Letters is a refereed journal, it won't make it into print unless it both works and the referee(s) also can't find it anywhere.

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Eclectic Man

Oh drat!

"In short, the Commission’s solution to serious organised crime, terrorism and cyber-crime is to stop IT firms offering encryption."

Does that mean I have to retract that paper I just sent to 'Electronics Letters' describing a new cryptographic algorithm I seem to have invented? I was quite pleased with it (although partly expect to be told someone else invented it a few undred years ago, despite not finding it on the web or in the crypto books in Blackwells,).

<Actually true, I have just sent a paper to El Reg's rival describing a new crypto algorithm .. I'll come quietly, officer.>

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So where's all these digital services GDS promised us?

Eclectic Man
FAIL

You are wrong

Stop it! GDS is a bunch of dedicated (b)leading edge geniuses who will win through in the end. the systems are wonderful and you are just too silly to notice.

Oh hang on, that was a rant for criticism of a different large HMG IT procurement. Umm, what was it called? You know, the one that went really well, saved oodles of money, and everyone likes, and has not had any security breaches, or unplanned down time, and came in on time and under budget.

I'll remember it in a moment.

Umm,

It just seems to have slipped my mind, temprarily.

How embarrassing.

Umm, come on, someone must have heard of one.

oh.

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Starry-eyed hackers stuff Eurovision's voting app

Eclectic Man

Electronic Voting and Counting

Many years ago I investigated electronic, or more acurately cryptographic, voting schemes. I was unable to find any solution which was both secure and workable. By "secure" I mean that the votrers could be sure that tall the votes had been counted correctly, and the returning officers could be sure that no one had voted more than once.

I could not devise a scheme which also incorporated genuine secrecy with the requirement for only one vote.

The real problem lies with the reporting of the result. In essence you are letting your democracy rely on whatever an MS Windows / Unix / Apple dialogue box tells you. You can subvert the counting devices, the vote management system, the announcement systme. Even if every voter gets a signed receipt of vote, and can read it to show which way they voted, it is dificult for other voters to check that everyone else's vote was counted correctly.

As Tom Stoppard said 'Democreacy is not in the voting, it is in the counting' (or words to that effect).

Unless there is an independent way to check the votes off-line, you will always be relying on a computer to tell you who you, and everyone else, voted for.

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HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

Eclectic Man

Dinosaur technology remains

Dewix > "Diamonds aren't very big, tend to be brittle & can be erroded and what connects them would dissolve or corroded in a blink of a geological eye."

However, zirconia are very robust, many having survived repeated tectonic activity. So, althogh also tiny, a cut and fashioned zircon gemstone could theoretically survive the many millions of years necesary to provide evidence of dinosaur techniloigcal advancement. Assuking they wore jewellery.

http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/rfl/web/essaybooks/earth/cs_zircon_chronolgy.html

> "a few grains of zircon found in the early 1990s in a sandstone from western Australia dates back 4.2–4.3 billion years"

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Eclectic Man

Small Gods

Everyone supporting ISIS, the Taleban, Al Quaida, or indeed any religious moveoment that believes in killing people should read Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods".

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Eclectic Man

Oook :o(

Ahem, > "usually wearing in his trademark black fedora "

I recall reading an interview when he stated it is a "Borsalino".

I wrote to him once, ending, as usual wiht "Irealise you are very busy and will understand if you are unable to reply". After a couple of months I got a reply, apologising for the delay, and responding in detail to what I'd written.

de Chelonian Mobilus!

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Eclectic Man

Flow-charts, anyone?

On the few instances when I had to write code, I found that if I drew the flow chart first and got that to work properly, the only erors in my source code were typographic If I got cocky and didn't bother with a flow chart I soon had hours of 'fun' debugging.

Of course, drawing a flow chart does rather rely on a stable requirements specification and actually thinking about what you are going to do before you do it.

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Alan Turing's LOST NOTEBOOK goes under the hammer

Eclectic Man

Truing biography

Many years ago I asked Robin Gandy about Andrew Hodges' biography of Turing. He said it was very accurate. There are some more biographies of him now, but I've not read them.

The problem with mathematical notation is that it is usually designed by accountants, physicists, and, of course, mathematicians. None of which groups are noted for their prowess in graphic design or cognitive psychology. (Ok so Robert Recorde's equals sign is an example of superb graphic design but I agree with Turing on Leibnitz' notation for calculus.)

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Heistmeisters crack cost of safecrackers with $150 widget

Eclectic Man

Los Alamos

According to his autobiographical books (Surely you're jokng Mr Feynman, and What do you care what other people think?), Richard Feynman engaged in safe cracking at Los Alamos, and discoverd the +/- 1 accuracy in the locks used on the safes there. He was also once asked to crack the safe of a senior army officer who had left wihtout emptying or unlocking his safe (it was one of the larger more secure ones). It was still on the factory default setting.

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

Eclectic Man

Editing?

A while ago a book of Dorothy Parker's poetry was published in the UK (sorry, I don't have a citation, but bear with me). It seems that some of the poems in the book had been punctuated by someone else, who owned the copyrighyt to the puctuation. As he had not been paid for his work, the book was withdrawn.

If Mr Slater did any editing in Photoshop, Lightroom etc. (other editing tools may be available), then he undoubtedly owns the compyright on those, irrespective of whether he can be said to have the copyright of the original image. From my own experience, taking a properly exposed image of a very dark object, such as an ape or monkey is quite tricky,

The image on the front of today's Independent newspaper has, I suspect, been subject to some post processing (I'm sure there are readers of el Reg far better able to comment on this than I). The subject is suspiciously upright in the frame, which suggests to me that some editing has been done - an ape with the ability to take a selfie properly aligned to the vertical is doing a lot better than most Homo Sapiens.

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Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Eclectic Man

Boffin?

Surely Mr. Bodnar should be accorded the accolade of 'Boffin' for his wondrous achievement?

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Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

Eclectic Man

Legal jurisdiction contract clause?

Surely the contract with the customers states which country's legal system has juridiction? When I read these things, the licence agreements for MS software stated that the contract was under US legal jurisdiction. If so then the US courts can order MS to divulge the information. If not then US courst have no jurisdiction.

I suspect that I am being more than a teensy-weensy little bit naive here. But the reason the Feds do not want to ask the Irish for a look, is that it woud be so much easier in the future not to have to ask any foreign government for permission to look at data stored in their terrirory. Just wait until they try that with the Russian Facebook account data ... (or anything else which now by Russian law must be held on servers in Russia).

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Don't put that duffel bag full of cash in the hotel room safe

Eclectic Man

Physical Acces Control Systems are affected too

I did some consultancy for the Probation Service in England. I visited a Probation Office which used a PIN entry system for securing teh doors between the insecure offender area and the secure office area. Each member of staff had a PIN used to gain acess.

One day an offender was found in the office area unescorted. When aske how he got there he said he had been 'playing' wiht the PIN pad and the door had just opened. The PIN he said he used worked, but was not one issued by the Probatin Office to its staff. neither could the Probation Office delete it. It turned out to be the manufacturer's hard-coded access PIN to be used in case a customer got locked out. It took a bespoke software patch to fix it.

So now I advise clients to get a letter signed yb the supplier to the effect that there are no means of acess of which the customer is not aware, and in particular no hard coded PINs or master pass cards (for RFI enabled locks).

(The offender was not a violent one, forunately, but had lots of time to do a key search attack, something else to think about.)

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Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Eclectic Man

Verification

Whilst I agree with most of what you posted, it is the absence of a paper trail that prevented a verification or recount in the London mayoral elections, not the absence of a review of the source code of the voting software.

As Tom Stoppard pointed out - democracy is not in the voting, but in the counting. If you are in effect relying on a pop up dialigue box to state how many votes each candidate collected, then whoever codes the display chooses who wins.

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Fearful of the drone-filled skies? Get some protection

Eclectic Man

Range

OK, so the detection range of this is about 50m, but a certain BBC Wildlife unit uses HD cameras capable of filming animals from over a mile away without disturbing them. So I'll use an HD Hero for the general location of my target, and a zoom for those 'intimate' details, and keep well away form the 50m detection zone.

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So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

Eclectic Man

Experimenters

A Boffin would be more interested in and excited by why the experiment failed, than unhappy that it had failed.

His Boffin-ness Magnus Pyke once calculated how fast a white transit-type van had to go to be jumped over a stream. On live TV the van was driven at the required speed over the ramp and nose dived beautifully into the middle of the flowing water. Pyke was really excited by this failure and suddenly realised he had accidentally omitted air resistance from his calculations!

I submit this is a necessary, altough perhaps not sufficient, condition for the title of 'Boffin'.

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Eclectic Man

Waht about us 'pure' mathematicians?

"definition: applied scientist?

A boffin is a special kind of scientist who is able to apply their command of a body of theoretical knowledge to solving a practical problem.

Pipe -> theory

lab coat -> application"

By that definition G H Hardy would not qualify, nor would Kurt Godel.

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Eclectic Man
Coat

Re: The socks have it

"A true boffin would also be totally mystified by the inability of us ordinary folk to follow their descriptions and train of thought."

pete 2, Alas the same applies to politicians and management 'consultants'

<Sorry, I have mentioned the unmentionable, I'll ge me coat.>

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Eclectic Man

(Sir) Barnes (Neville) Wallis

I am the proud possessor of a magazine featuring an aircraft designed by prof Wallis. He kindly signed the picture of him holding a model of said aircraft.

His handwritig is really neat (as in completely legible).

He appears to be wearing a tweed suit.

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Don't snap SELFIES at the polls – it may screw up voting, says official

Eclectic Man

Re: Except

Thereby destroying the evidence they would have had to rely on in court - or maybe not as there are products which can recover deleted images from storage media, and re-formatted media as long as the original image has not been overwritten.. Even a numtie like me could probably manage that with the software available today and as for the HMRC and Police digital forensics teams, no problem (not to mention people form the definitely not a polo shaped building)..

I can't help thinking that participating in the democratic process by today's 'Selfie' generation would not be seen as particularly 'hip' or 'cool' or whatever word they use these days, so selfies might not be te problem, low voter turn out much more likely.

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Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco

Eclectic Man

Public Inquiry

Surely this warrants a full public inquiry headed by a high court judge with powers to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence? As the UK's, and probably the world's, premier ballocket research organisation with global significance (you do after all have an entry in the Guinness bok of records) this is a matter of national disgrace and humiliation.

A full on public inquiry is what is needed right now to assess the harm, what went wrong, and, of course to cost millions of pounds and take years to reach a conclusion. And questions in the House.

or am I over-reacting?

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Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

Eclectic Man

Computers and Proofs

I think it was the English mathematician, Keith Devlin (fomerly of Lancaster Uni and now, I think, of Stanford) who pointed out that there is as likely to be a mistake in a 2 million line computer program as there is in a 2 million line (human created) mathermatical proof.

The computer-based proof of the 4 colour map theorem works because it exhaustively demonstrated that all maps with certain features could be coloured using at most four colours, and that the list of those certain features was complete for planar maps.

The assertion of a proof for the Erdos discrepancy problem seems to require somthing different, as clearly not all (or indeed any) infinte random binary sequence can have been fully analysed. Seems like I'm going to have to read the original papers. Although if Erdos couldn't prove it, it is going to be tricky.

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Boffins say D-Wave machine could be a classic*

Eclectic Man

Church's Thesis

(Alonso) Church's thesis was that all computing machnices are essentially the same, (but he did not foresee computing based on quantum superposition as far as I am aware).

The reason it is referred to as "Church's Thesis" is that it seems impossible (in the mathematical logic sense) to prove that all (classical) computers are essentially the same (i.e. have the same theoretical computational power, implementations differing by being bounded by things such as memory, processor speed, efficiency of compilation etc.)

There is therefore a (mathematical) logical difficulty in determining whether there may be a model for a classical computation device which would behve like the D-Wave processor meaning it is in essence a very fast Turing machnie.

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Through-wall tracking of humans using Wi-Fi: Now more accurate, low power

Eclectic Man
Big Brother

All we need to do is paper the walls, ceilings and floors with aluminium foil ... bit of a bummer for TV, radio and cellphone reception though.

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Sysadmin job ad: 'If you don’t mind really bad work-life balance, this is for you'

Eclectic Man
FAIL

A worrying thought

How can we be sure they are even being honest about the job? Maybe they are actually putting a bit of a positive spin on it. The only good thing is that once in the job, if you are able to do it, then you probably have the company by the short and curlies and can demand whatever financial reward they can stand.

I had an offer a few years ago which included the clause that I could be summarily dismissed without compensation were I to be deteained under section 7 of the Mental Health Act. (Note to the company, I still have the peperwork.) As they also wanted me to sign away my rights under the Working Time Directive, I declined their offer.

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Are you experienced? The Doctor Who assistants that SUFFERED the most

Eclectic Man

And Clyde?

(I think it was Clyde) The schoolboy off of the Sarah Jane spin off, who is somehow 'entangled' with the Doctor. The Dr. managed to swap their locations in one episode, leaving Clyde distinctly stranded on an alien planet until the Doctor could get around to resucing him.

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Eclectic Man

What about K-9?

K-9 definetely had a personality, and met a whole host of the good Doctor's enemies.

Also, Captain Jack Harkness, desn't he count as an asistant?

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Microsoft's EAT-your-OWN-YOUNG management system AXED

Eclectic Man

Re: it would really be nice to hear

"that the HR drones who introduced it in the first place were summarily fired and tasered off the premises by a group of overweight and sweaty rent-a-cops"

Now then, don't blame it all on HR, they mostly just have to do what senior managment has been told by the most recent team of consultants hired striaght out of doing PPE at Oxford tell them is the next gee whizz idea. HR drones don't make this sort of decision, the finance director does - it is easier to work out your remuneration budget if there is a nice Gaussian distribution of achievement to link to reward.

The problem is that they do not understand statistics, that it is unliely that a company would ever have a normal distribution of achievement and capability reported every quarter not only overall, but for each colleaction of >10 individuals, particularly if you are in any way selective in your hiring and firing processes.

Folmi, I think, reckoned that you shold reward people according to their value to the company, if the man who stoked the boiler made the greatest contribution he should get the most pay. But in feudal organisations (like any large company) there is the belief that each manager must be paid more than his or her staff because managers are MORE IMPORTANT than the people who do the actual work the company provides to its cusotmers.

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If your bosses tell you you're 'in it together', don't EVER believe them

Eclectic Man

Psuchopaths

An article in your rival, the Independent newspaper years aog claimed that the financial institutions actively sought out psychopaths as they were more effective at 'making money' than people who cared about others. When major losses were 'made' they would cry "O P M!" (other people's money). When large profits were 'made' they got big bonuses from their bosses.

But success of psychopaths is nothing new. Herodotus' "Histories", recounts a king who, on discovering that the lieutenant he had ordered to kill his son, Cyrus (I think), had not actually done so, summoned all to a banquet, where the lieutenant had aspecial dish, which he ate, and was later shown that it was made from his own teeneage son.

The good thing now is that all they really can do is fire you after stealing, sorry reducing, your pay. Cooking and serving up your children for you to eat has gone out of fashion.

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The 10 most INHUMAN bosses you'll encounter: A Reg reader's guide

Eclectic Man

And for your next trick ...

Can we look forward to the ten worst organisational cultures? (And how the ten worst boss types fit into them?) Psychopathic bosses seemingly on day release from a supposedly secure hospital, who treat every mistake as deliberate sabotage, and resent paying you aything for the privilige of funding their 'Grand Designs' mansion and Jaguar / Porshce habit, create a whole company culture.

And why not, after all they are the ones who started the company with their own initiative, took the risk, and there you are, working for them, who are celarly the sole wealth creators and they don't understand why you don't have the same dedication to the company as them.

The company culture cold be summed up in the following commandment:

"Make sure you have someone else to blame."

Yes, I really have worked for people like that.

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BETHLEHEM-grade SUPERNOVA possible 'within 50 years'

Eclectic Man

Not too close

I think Fred Hoyle wrote a short story about the Earth being too close to a local super-nova. I forget what it was called.

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Deploying Turing to see if we have free will

Eclectic Man

Am I a decider?

How would I know? What is the definition of a decider?

It would be interesting to work out the implications of Godel's theorems on completeness and inconsistency for reasoning about your own reasonsing processes.

But then, I get confused easily.

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Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

Eclectic Man
Stop

Let's think aout this

Firstly, the article ignores something very important about houses: PEOPLE LIVE IN THEM. they are not financial toys purely for investment and financial gain. They require such things as maintenance and the dollar value of a house or home can change depending on the location (as the journalist said "when the Taliban move in next door, there goes the neighbourhood).

Secondly, the article completely ignores the idea of the value of a share being in any way linked to the payable dividend. It only mentions the price of the share for sale. (The word "dividend" does not appear in the artcile.)

Thirdly, share trading is protected physically and in other ways by public servants, and publically funded infrastructure. The only legitimate reason for such activity to be untaxed is that it is of such overwhelming benefit to sociatey that we are happy not to proivde taxes to pay for things like social servcices able to protect the vulnerable, weak, poor etc. in our society. I.e. it is on the same ethical level as charities and religious bodies (historically religious organisations performed many charitable acts).

So please, lets think about more than just the share price when discussing this idea of a FTT, it is a lot more compliacted than the author describes.

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Bionic Brit Babbage Bear boards brilliant balloon, bests ballsy Baumgartner

Eclectic Man

Re: magnetically drawn to trees

"He's a bear, and he very probably wanted to have a shit in the woods"

Frankly, were I facing the prospect of being dropped from an altitude of 39,000 metres, I doubt I could have waited for the woods before having a sh*t. Ted is clearly made of strong stuff.

Congratulations to all concerned.

Is there any chance that Ted and Felix will meet up for a joint photo-shoot and to share their experiences?

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

Eclectic Man

It is the lobbyists and big business they need to worry about

Surely there should be concern that if the politicians get to decide what applications for research grants are funded, the poeple who actually decide will be the lobbyists and their masters, the companies which fund them and make major donations to election funds. The idea that the petrochemical industry, tobacco industry, and pharmaceutical industry should be able to influence or even veto research into the effects of their products is truly frightening.

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Readers, we need you... for LOHAN ignition failsafe brainwaves

Eclectic Man

The challenge

is to produce a mechanical trigger whic will only fire after the GPS altimeter has failed to either detect launch height or it has detected launch height but the ignition process failed. This implies that the mechanical trigger must react to an event other than GPS altitude reading, which could be either temperature (difficult to get right), r balloon burst).

A free-fall detector would be my sugestion, such as a weight on a spring enclosed in a box or tube. When free-fall is detected the spring should return to its unladen orientation. A problem with this idea, and any other free-fall detector, is turbulence during the ascent causing the mechnaical device to fire. The difficulty with any external cords or strings is the possibility of icing up and friction.

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