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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1139 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Happy birthday, LP: Can you believe it's only 65?

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: HIt and miss

How to do it in darkness, when drunk, and sometimes under the influence of drugs*:

1. Plug in some headphones

2. Switch off the power to the turntable

3. Put the stylus as close as you could to the start of the track

4. Move the turntable back and forth by hand until you located the transition from silence to music

5. When the record on the other turntable finishes, optionally gabble something annoying into the microphone

6. Fade up the turntable with the LP on it, and switch on the power to it - with practice you will be able to position the stylus so you don't hear a horrible wind-up noise

7. Repeat until everybody goes home. If they won't go home when you want, start playing selections from your store of records you should never have bought.

*The guy in the icon seems to have rolled a decent-sized joint for himself.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Oh god

A 60minute tape always contained 60 minutes of music

Up to a point, Lord Silverburn. Open-reel tape recorders could record at several speeds. The trade-off between quality and capacity was the same as the bit-rate trade-off with digital recording. Admittedly, the expression "60 minute tape" implies a cassette, as open-reel tapes were measured in length, rather than time.

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Council IT bod in the dock for flogging scrap work PC parts

Kubla Cant
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: So were they for the scrap heap or not?

Recorder Michael Stevens said "... the employer says ‘put it in landfill and leave it to rot’. So there are two possibilities. Either the council is not recycling equipment, or the Recorder doesn't know what's going on. Neither is very encouraging.

If the Recorder was correct, and that's what the council said, at what point does this kit become fair game? Would you be allowed to harvest parts from this kit as soon as it's in the landfill, or would you have to wait for visible signs of rot? Hardware takes a very long time to rot (as opposed to software, which starts to rot from the day it's written).

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PSF warns on angry trademark attacks: Python coders, this is not our way

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Death threats and hactivism

That's nothing, I got downvoted on the Reg Forum for saying I thought it was all a bit over the top.

(Joke icon because you never know when a death threat is imminent.)

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Curiosity Mars rover flashes pics of GREY drilled powder sample

Kubla Cant
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Can this be?

The brown part to the right of the scoop looks like it's held together with cable ties, or possibly even extra-log wire bag ties.

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Python-lovers sling 'death threats' at UK ISP in trademark row

Kubla Cant
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Facepalm

Why is this important?

It's a programming language, not a bloody religion. Imagine if people who use C were to get steamed up in the same way. They'd be spamming disk drive manufacturers and digging up the former head of the Secret Service.

I use several programming languages, and frankly I couldn't give a stuff who trademarks any of their names. These people should get a life.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

My understanding is that the Python language was named after Monty Python. If true, this is a case of pot and kettle.

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Burger King's tweets fried after hijackers pimp Big Macs

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: Why?

According to Bill Bryson, the name "Quick" is short for "Quick - a bucket!"

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Any storm in a port

Kubla Cant
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I used to have the same problem

But then I discovered an easy solution.

USB connectors always have two square holes (see picture) on the upper side, except when they're on the lower side or when they aren't present. They also have a USB logo on the lower side, except when it's on the upper side, when it's absent, or when it's on both sides.

The upper side of the socket is the one furthest from the floor. Where sockets are mounted vertically, it's the side that would be nearest to the floor if you laid the device on its side with the wrong side facing up. You may find it easier to think of it as the left-hand side (right-hand side for left-handed people). But then you will have to decide whether you're in front of the computer or behind it.

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'Bah, this Apple Shop is full of APPLES'

Kubla Cant
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Re: Daft name

Yeah, there's too much of this sort of thing. I went into a place called The Body Shop and all they sold was a load of soap.

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Journo says Elon Musk apologized for Tesla battery fiasco

Kubla Cant
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Re: Yes but

@Psyx et al: Certainly you can hire a car when you need to make a long trip. Two problems with that:

1. For most people the constant availability of their car is a valuable attribute. Consider the truism that inner-city dwellers can save a lot of money if they don't own a car, but use taxis for all short journeys and hire cars for long ones. If you try this, you'll find that you don't do many things that you would do if you had a car, because the cost is direct.

2. Unless you live next door to the car hire office, hiring and returning a car will probably add at least two hours to your journey time. You will also have the annoyance of having to load and unload your luggage and find somewhere to park your electric car.

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Cambridge White Space boffins cook up Weightless chips

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Bluetooth and Iceni

I think Mr Bluetooth's name was Harald not "Herald".

He lived from about 935 to 985. If the Iceni were contemporary with Harald Bluetooth, and were "all killed by the Romans", then the Romans must have made a special trip back to Britain about 500 years after they left, by which time there was no longer any such thing as the Roman Empire in the West. Why they should be so vindictive, I can't imagine.

The fact is that nobody killed all the Iceni. They might have been displaced by the Anglo-Saxons and gone to Wales, though I think the view these days is that the incoming migrants merged with the existing populations.

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Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons

Kubla Cant
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Underworld

Mornington Crescent and Cockfosters

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Rogue Squadron: Unit of X-wings Kickstarts in response to Death Star

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Kickstarter

If it has a kickstarter, it's not an X-Wing Fighter, it's a motor bike.

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Montana TV warns of ZOMBIE ATTACK in epic prank hack

Kubla Cant
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Jerry Springer-style show

It's a well-known fact that the audience and participants for a Jerry Springer-style show are mostly zombies anyway.

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BT copper-cable choppers cop 16 months in the cooler

Kubla Cant
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Holmes

Scrap metal

This stuff wouldn't be worth stealing without dishonest scrap metal dealers to sell it to. Why isn't there a regulation and licensing scheme? Or, if there is one, why doesn't it work?

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to spot scrap that's probably stolen: copper cable, sheet lead and copper off roofs, manhole covers.

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The business mullet: Cool or tool?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Sometimes it's like punkrock never happened!

people still judge someone's ability, worth and morality by whether or not they have matching jacket & trousers

In most cases people don't do anything as simple as this. What they do is judge your sense of what is appropriate to the occasion. You'd make at least as bad an impression attending a business meeting in white tie and tails as you would in jeans.

The problem is that people's sense of what is appropriate differs. So what you're really being judged on is the quality of your risk assessment, particularly when you stand to gain or lose significantly by the outcome of the meeting.

It's significant that the people who claim their personal appearance is unimportant rarely think the same about the appearance of the devices and UIs that they produce.

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Boffins find RAT-SIZED bug-muncher links man to beast

Kubla Cant
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Re: Re: But...

*Welch

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Earth-like planets abound in red dwarf systems

Kubla Cant
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Don't know about the Admiral Graf Spee, but Tirpitz and Bismarck were referred to as "pocket battleships".

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Tidally locked?

Try growing plants under nothing but halogen lights...

And expect a visit from the drug squad.

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The Register: Our all-new app now available for Android

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Where?

Immediately I read about this I went to Play Store and searched for "the register".

There were two results shown in Apps: The Register (Unofficial Feed) , which described itself as "not maintained or updated", and (tee hee) The Moron Test . If it's the latter, I think El Reg should keep its opinion of its readers to itself.

Can anyone explain how "the moron test" is a valid search hit for "the register"? I know they both contain "the", but I would have though that was a noise word.

There were a further 12239 results in Apps, but I don't expect to live long enough to check them all. I guess I'll just stick to reading El Reg on a computer as nature intended.

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Pinging in the rain: Boffins track wet spots using phone masts

Kubla Cant
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Happy

"Pinging in the rain" - love it.

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Boffins find 17,425,170-digit prime number

Kubla Cant
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Re: Why are we paying for this research?

@NomNomNom: "Everyone enjoys a prime hunt"

Are you sure about that? Have you asked them?

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Big Data versus small data: Unpicking the paradox

Kubla Cant
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Eh?

So a number is atomic and can be operated on with a condition like "salary > 50000". A string is non-atomic because it suits conditions like "third letter is ‘n’". But this just reflects two patterns of comparison and decomposition. One might equally say "third digit of salary as binary is 1", or "name < 'Jones'" (neither a very realistic example, but the point is clear).

Also, the author writes of a function that scans satellite images and looks for aircraft. It might return data like:

Delta winged – 0

Swept winged – 3

Date of Birth

Straight winged - 2

Rotating winged – 2

This looks like a pretty crap function. Why does it return a DOB when looking at aircraft images? Why are two wing types coded identically?

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First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

Kubla Cant
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Re: "prosecute their possible intent"

At best, it will turn out like weather forecasting.

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Under cap-and-trade, flying is greener than taking the bus

Kubla Cant
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it would become cheaper for supermarkets to sell bananas grown in greenhouses in the UK rather than shipping them all the way from Chile

It's been fairly conclusively established that distance from place of production is a misleading way to evaluate the environmental impact of foods. The example I saw was about temperate-zone produce like tomatoes and peppers. Growing tropical produce like bananas in greenhouses in the UK would consume massive resources.

Actually, in my experience bananas come from the Caribbean and Central America. I think Chile is in too high a latitude.

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Brit boffins GANG-RESEARCH tiny LEDs for 1Gbps network

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Anyone else thinking...

Er, what it actually follows is "minuscule".

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Customer service rep fired for writing game that mocks callers

Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

How to win

According to the article, you lose the game if you're grumpy and unhelpful. So presumably you win if you're helpful, well-informed and charming.

But unfortunately "The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive and completely unacceptable".

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Microsoft: Old Internet Explorer is terrible and 'we want to help'

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Re: New tools help web devs find problem spots

Oh? And once web devs have uninstalled IE, how exactly are they going to make the customers who use their sites use the full uninstaller for IE?

Developers don't target IE because they endorse it as a browser, but because they don't want to exclude people from their user base.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Just don't

It's no good saying "The sooner it's rendered obsolete the better". We all know that, but if a significant number of the people you want to use your site are likely to be using old browsers, you can't go round to their houses and make them upgrade. Developers who create public web sites have to assess the cost of not being compatible with old IE versions against the cost of coding for compatibility.

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We're not making this up: Apple trademarks the SHOP

Kubla Cant
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Glue

I've never been in a real Apple shop, but I've visited their shop-in-shop at the Oxford Street John Lewis. I was checking out Ultrabooks, and I thought I'd find out how the weight of the lightweight Apple product compared. To my astonishment I found that I could barely lift it. It weighed at least as much as a table. Probably because it was glued to a table. Do they do this in the real Apple shops?

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BBC: What YOU spent on our lawyers in Secret Climate 28 debacle

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: how can the global elite carbon tax us

As far as I know, carbon isn't poisonous. Not very appetising on its own, granted, but yummy when combined with hydrogen and oxygen in the right way.

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I watched Excel meet 1-2-3, and beat it fair and square

Kubla Cant
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I'd completely forgotten: the earliest versions of Excel had some kind of minimal Windows bundled in so that it would run from the DOS command.

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Microsoft dev tools to add Linux-style source code versioning

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Re: Cognitive Dissonance Alert (CDA)...

People who have only known windows are poor developers in my opinion. The good engineering practices of Art Of Unix Programming is lost on them.

By way of compensation they avoid the overweening snottiness of Unix enthusiasts. It's an operating system, not a religion.

Also, "practices ... is lost"? This sort of syntax error will cause you endless grief if you propagate it to your Unix commands.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Cognitive Dissonance Alert (CDA)...

but how exactly has Git been unfriendly for Windows developers?

The GIT I'm currently using on Windows is accessed via the command line in a Bash shell. There's a GIT GUI but it seems a bit crap. I don't know if that's this installation or if it's always that way.

This isn't a big deal, and it's useful to have the extra power of a decent command shell. All the source control systems I've used have sooner or later run out of GUI steam and forced you to use the command line, including even the abominable Visual SourceSafe.

Still, I can see it being an annoyance. For many developers a new source control system is just another ancillary thing to be mastered, often at a time when you're scrabbling to get up to speed with a new corpus of software while trying to remember the names of the 50 people you were introduced to on day one and the weird network paths to various essential resources. Having to do it on the command line is just a bit more work.

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Japan promised Ultra HD TV broadcasts two years early

Kubla Cant
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Meh

Never mind the programme, check out the reproduction

The main difference between BBC SD and HD is that the HD channels are hidden down the bottom of the EPG. It's not that I can't see the difference, it's just that it's not important enough to make it worth the trivial effort of seeking out the HD channels. Maybe I'd value the difference more if I had a huge TV or better eyesight or drank less.

I can't help observing that this initiative comes from the people who travel the world taking holiday snaps with the sort of monster DSLR you'd normally use for papping duchesses.

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Samsung demands Apple's iOS 6 source code in patent case

Kubla Cant
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Re: Neither here, nor there...

According to an unimpeachable source* there are more words that break the rule than follow it.

* Oh all right, Stephen Fry on QI. And most of the examples he gave seemed pretty tendentious.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Karma's a bitch

@Steve Knox: I just upvoted you for amusement value, but...

thou hath => thou hast. "Hath" is third person singular, as in "he hath" - you got it right with "dost thou".

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Lotus 1-2-3 turns 30: Mitch Kapor on the Google before Google

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not Mac

Excel offered features far beyond any other spreadsheet, like the ability to calculate across sheets

My recollection is that this was possible with Supercalc*. Supercalc ran on CP/M, and was included in the free software bundle that came with the Osborne 1 (together with WordStar, DBase II, and quite a lot else) at a cost of about £1400.

It's astonishing how many of the big players in the DOS world screwed up the transition to Windows. The leading word processor of the time was arguably WordPerfect, but their unusable, buggy Windows version gifted the market to Word.

* I could be wrong about Supercalc. Calculating across files was certainly possible at the time with a spreadsheet program I installed on a PDP/11 under RT11 - I can remember the frantic flashing of disk lights when you recalculated.

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'We are not concerned about your patents at all' - Jobs

Kubla Cant
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Holmes

Re: "TV series starring Adam West-starring series"

I regret to inform you that there is an unmatched closing </pedant> tag in your post.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: The moral here

If he's running an e-commerce site or something, then you're probably right, he should use a commercial service with a SLA.

But in this case it sounds more like somebody using dial-up networking from home. This sort of working has the potential to deliver substantial economic and social benefits (social disadvantages, too). I don't know what the current standpoint is, but in the past the government has been very gung-ho about teleworking. In this context, a home broadband connection is more than just a source of entertainment.

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Tiny tech ZigBee harnesses puny power of the press

Kubla Cant
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Re: And the fun bit

I and many people I know spend a large part of our lives searching under cushions for TV remote controls and wandering around the house looking for cordless phones. Fumbling around in the pitch dark looking for the light switch will add to this fun.

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Tablets aren't killing ereaders, it's clog-popping wrinklies - analyst

Kubla Cant
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Re: Books aren't the Window to the World anymore

"When I was a teen, we had three TV channels and no internet."

<insert obligatory reference to Yorkshiremen sketch here/>

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Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

Kubla Cant
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Re: Rooms with no lights

I find most things look worse in a room with no light at all. Or do I mean better? It's hard to tell because I can't see a damn thing.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Incorrect apple bash

Would that be the Hobbesian choice per chance?

No. but it might be Hobson's choice. "Hobbesian" sounds very philosophical, but the allusion is to a Cambridge stable owner called Hobson who would only allow customers to hire the horse that was next in line.

Or am I missing a joke of exquisite subtlety?

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Panasonic: We'll save Earth by turning CO2 INTO BOOZE

Kubla Cant
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Re: Excess oxygen

This is apparently nothing new. Once upon a time there was no fungal decay, so dead trees just lay around locking up carbon, and eventually turning into coal. The result was a much higher proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere, which allowed things like six-foot dragonflies to exist. This sounds very nice, but I suspect the four-foot cockroach and the two-foot ant would be a concern.

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Tech firms face massive tax bill if Dutch vote to end loopholes

Kubla Cant
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Rules, morals and taxes

Four tax regimes:

1. A scarey bloke comes round to your house and helps himself to anything he likes the look of. The main problem with this fiscal regime is that it destroys the economy (e.g. Zimbabwe).

2. Everyone is told that they have a moral obligation to pay taxes. The difficulty here is that my moral code and yours probably won't generate equivalent tax revenues. People will object to paying taxes that fund things they disapprove of. But the main problem is likely to be that many people who accept a moral obligation to pay tax will probably assess their obligation at rather less than the government needs.

3. The government creates a set of rules and formulae. People immediately start to game the rules to reduce the tax they pay, whereupon the government modifies the rules to reduce the amount of gaming. It's an imperfect system but it results in more tax take and fewer disputes than the other two. In theory everybody knows where they stand and can plan their lives accordingly.

4. Where we seem to be heading at the moment, namely a hybrid of 2 and 3. The rules are explicit, but it's immoral to exploit them to your advantage. This immediately sinks into the quicksand that made 2 unworkable. The only consensus about the moral course of action is that it would be highly moral, if a bit stupid, to interpret the rules to maximize the tax you pay. Even this leads to uncertainty: A is better at maths than B, so he manages to find a corner case that increases the tax he pays by 10% - is A more moral than B?

Number 3 may not be perfect, but it's clearly better than the others.

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Oh, those crazy Frenchies: Facebook faces family photo tax in France

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Good luck with that...

Amazon, Starbucks, et al are companies that actually sell stuff that can be seen, felt and counted. In the latter case they even do it through retail outlets on the High Street. And governments still can't make them pay tax.

So I don't hold out much hope for a big tax haul from companies that don't shift tangible product and store their stuff anywhere in the world that suits them.

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Dead Steve Jobs' patent war threat to Palm over 'no-hire pact'

Kubla Cant
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Re: A or B?

"Shome mishtake shurely" was usually attributed to "W. Deedes, Ed". Bill Deedes may or may not have liked liquid lunches - the fact that he was the recipient of the "Dear Bill" letters allegedly sent by Dennis Thatcher suggests that he did. But I think he actually shpoke that way when shtone-cold shober.

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BT in £52m contract tussle: West Country bumpkins hit with broadband delay

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: BT holding back rural services

Well I'll go to foot of our stairs! There are bumpkins in what you call "the North", as well. I see them every day when I'm out in me clogs and flat cap walking t'whippet. Umpteen of them, wandering across t'Fens of Cambridgeshire, eating chip butties and black pudding.

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