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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1164 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Assange: 'I'm fond of your work, Cumberbatch, but let's leave it at that'

Kubla Cant
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Re: So US judges believe "National Security" trumps *everything* else.

What if he'd supplied them in hand-written form? An illegible font is a matter of choice, whereas bad handwriting is just the way you write.

Maybe he'd have been put in detention to brush up his handwriting.

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London plod plonks, er, pull request on EasyDNS

Kubla Cant
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Re: "are suspected to be involved"

The document makes it clear that there are only suspicions of a crime.

Crime? I thought copyright infringement was a tort.

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Three BILLION people now potential nodes for the transfer of cat videos

Kubla Cant
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Re: Cats

I thought the cables were called cat 5 because that's the number of cat videos per second they are capable of handling. Was I mistaken?

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Robot WildCat slips its leash and bounds around parking lot

Kubla Cant
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Re: OK

I think it looks more like an overfed wild boar than a wild cat. Thin animals like most cats and dogs bend and straighten their backs as they run. This is more like a podgy animal with thin legs.

The interesting thing is the way this machine seems so much more lifelike than most bipedal robots. I suppose we're used to the widely varied morphology of animals like dogs, so anything that approximates a dog appears canine.

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A14 to become UK's first internet-connected ROAD

Kubla Cant
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Re: It will also be handy for

I wouldn't hold your breath for replacement of the Cambridge-Huntingdon section.

They spent so much money and time on the feasibility study that they can't actually afford a new road. Mind you, the bridge over the East Coast Main Line at Huntingdon station seems to be in danger of collapse, which may force things to move on a bit.

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Samsung DENIES benchmark CHEATING, despite evidence

Kubla Cant
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Happy

Re: "What's this bear crap doing in my woods?" asked Christopher Robin

+1 for the title

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Boffins demo new holo storage using graphene oxide

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Yes, but...

I think it's a wallaby wannabe.

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'Instant translation' glasses to come online for 2020 Olympics

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

3G...4G...5G

...the wireless component of mobile networks gets faster and faster.

Meanwhile, the UK mobile operators continue to link their base stations to the internet with wet string, and charge £20 for sloooow delivery of a Gib of data over this pathetic infrastructure.

Forgive me if I don't get excited.

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Yo, mall rats: Facebook and Cisco in Wi-Fi hookup to track your retail, social life

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

This solution, coined CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi...

Can anybody suggest what this means? Is "coined" supposed to be a hip alternative to "called"? If so, are quotation marks optional when you use it?

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A £30,000, 295bhp 4G MODEM?!? Must be the Audi S3 Quattro, then

Kubla Cant
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Re: More wheels than seats?

@AC: Yes, plus numerous gearwheels etc.

But that's not what's intended by the question "How many wheels does this car have?" For a conventional car, any value more than 4 will lead people to wonder what planet you come from.

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Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Nore wheels than seats?

I'm struggling to think of any cars with five or six wheels.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Automatic

@Alan Brown It's a parking brake - and using it at lights, etc is an instant license fail

It's hard to reconcile your assertion with the fact that my car has an option to apply the handbrake automatically when the vehicle stops. I tried it and found it rather annoying, but there's clearly a (legal) demand for such a feature.

Many Americans seem to regard the handbrake as some kind of fossil and never use it even when parking on a steep hill. It's not entirely surprising; all the American cars I drove about 25 years ago had weird handbrakes that you applied with a lever but released with a pedal - or was it the other way round? Whoever thought up that arrangement could do with learning about user interfaces.

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Kubla Cant
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WTF?

How big?

the unit that takes up most of the space in the glove box

Why does a unit that appears to have the functionality of a pocket-size mobile phone take up most of the space in the glove box? Is it a very tiny glove box? Have they built the unit using mainframe technology?

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NASA's search for habitable planets maps ALIEN CLOUD-WORLD

Kubla Cant
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Re: Hugely impressive.

@RISC OS

The most impressive thing about the page you linked to, and also about the similar 10 biggest Wikipedia hoaxes is that they are so spectacularly dull. Most of them are uninteresting falsehoods about slebs I've never heard of. Apparently Wikipedia said somebody called Sinbad was dead when he wasn't. I thought Sinbad was a fictional character in The 1001 Nights.

I love the skeleton key item, though. It's tantalisingly plausible, but you feel it's probably a hoax.

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State-backed hackers: You think you're so mysterious, but you're really not – report

Kubla Cant
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Treaty?

a cyber arms treaty that could stem the use of online attacks

The obvious parallel is with treaties that limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons or ban the use of biological weapons. As far as I know it's very, very difficult to build a nuke in your bedroom, and both hard and risky to make biological weapons there*. Also, either activity will tend to leave evidence that points to the perpetrator. In consequence, both these activities are mostly limited to nation states. Cyber arms, are much more amenable to private enterprise, and their originators aren't likely to sign treaties.

* e.g. weaponised smelly socks

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500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?

Kubla Cant
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Re: open source Windows XP

I suspect that it might be hard to find volunteers to work on an open-source XP project. There's not much kudos in patching up 13-year-old cruft.

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Kubla Cant
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It is possible to build operating systems where version upgrades can be installed without major disruption to the applications they host. VMS, for example, managed a migration to a new processor architecture (VAX to Alpha), though obviously native applications had to be recompiled. The secret, I suspect, is to take more care when creating the original system than Microsoft ever did.

That said, I wonder how many directors of companies that still run XP are driving around in 13-year-old cars?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

why not go the whole hog and change over to Linux?

I'm inclined to agree with you, but this won't make the problems go away. A surprising number of distros seem to release new versions that can only be installed by zapping your old installation.

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TUPPERWARE FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Kubla Cant
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The Tupperware Mines of Titan

...another place you don't want to work.

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Google: Thanks for the billions in revenue, UK. Here are your taxes, that's ... £11m

Kubla Cant
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Bears, Pope and so on

Margaret Hodge and others can foam at the mouth and bite the carpet, but this is simply what multinational companies do. The only ways to get a multinational to pay more tax in Britain are:

(a) charge a low enough tax rate to undercut other economies

(b) offer advantages that make it worth paying a comparatively high rate of corporation tax.

The problem with (a) is that everybody pays the lower rate, so the tax take goes down by more than the extra you get from the multinational. The problem with (b) is that it's difficult to devise benefits for a multinational like Google whose business has no real location.

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Valve aiming to take the joy(sticks) out of gaming with Steam Controller

Kubla Cant
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Coat

Re: more like trackballs than joypads

MrDamage trackballs can get stuck due to a buildup of dust, dog/cat fur

You really should make the dog use the keyboard. The cat, of course, will prefer to use the mouse.

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NSA: Yes, some of our spooks DID snoop on overseas lovers

Kubla Cant
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A female spy also admitted "it was her practice to enter foreign national phone numbers she obtained in social settings" to make sure she wasn't about to hop into bed with "shady characters"

A wise precaution. It's a well-known fact in the espionage world that shady characters are always foreign nationals, usually swarthy, with thick accents (cf Boris and Natasha).

Do we take it that this female spy would hop into bed with anyone who gave her a phone number in a social setting, just as long as he or she wasn't a foreign national?

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Kubla Cant
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Re: Best connector

Now I was pissed when Apple changed the connector.

What did you think of it when you sobered up?

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Kubla Cant
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Coming soon:* a standard laptop charger

*for very large values of soon.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Standardised connector: SCART

@PeterM42: "The Froggies" it's not the sodding 70s you know, do try to be a little less xenophobic.

Quit right. He should say "cheese-eating surrender monkeys".

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Kubla Cant
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WTF?

re: 20,000,000 manufacturers

I imagine I could compile a list of about 50 mobile phone manufacturers. Assume my list is incomplete, and that there are 500. Who are you other 19,999,500?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Standardised connector

@cosymart The "car power socket" inherits its shape from its original function as a cigar lighter. The size was presumably the diameter of the fattest cigars.

I once took a job where I inherited the company car of a cigar smoker. No amount of steam cleaning could rid the interior of the vile smell. Also, the car was a clapped-out Volvo with burnt orange paintwork. The only solution was to find a new job.

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30 years on: The day a computer glitch nearly caused World War III

Kubla Cant
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Big Brother

Re: "the Americans obsessive fear of communism"

hearing the Americans ranting (accurately)

That's right. Senator Joseph McCarthy was a normal, rational person. His committee did a good job getting rid of all the commies.

</irony>

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Congrats on MP3ing your music... but WHY bother? Time for my ripping yarn

Kubla Cant
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Re: grip on Linux does a nice job

feed in, wait a few mins, auto-eject, feed in next one

Anyone old enough (and stupid enough) to have backed up a Windows 3.x system to floppy disks can tell you what's wrong with this. I stopped doing this when the disk count reached 40.

The interval between "feed" and "feed in next one" is too short to fill with any useful activity, but long enough to be very boring.

I have an old 10-disk CD changer that used to live in the boot of my car. This has got me wondering whether it could feasibly be converted into a multi-ripper.

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

Kubla Cant
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Re: WTF......

You do know that oil rigs undergo frequent, and *very* expensive corrosion inspections.

True, but, on the other hand Victorian seaside piers seem to have survived - where they haven't caught fire. Perhaps we should build offshore wind turbines in wrought iron.

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Asus NV550JV 15.6in full HD notebook - the one we didn't have to send back

Kubla Cant
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Thumb Down

A woofer in a tweeter's clothing

To my mind, the whole B&O sound system+woofer thing is utterly stupid.

If I'm at home, I don't want to watch video or listen to audio on a laptop. It's too small for video and too inconvenient for music. I have dedicated appliances that do the job properly.

If I'm travelling, then I might use the laptop for entertainment. But how do I carry the stupid woofer around? Too many portables are already compromised by a brick of a power supply that makes them less portable than they at first appear. The woofer with this one is going to make a very nasty bulge in your laptop case. You could leave it at home, of course, at which point the machine becomes just another laptop with tinny speakers.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: A note to UI designers

Upvoted - you beat me to it.

Remember when it was obligatory for DVD player software to have a UI designed to look like an especially chavvy car radio? Because people are used to watching DVDs on the car radio.

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Apple Maps directs drivers INTO path of ONCOMING PLANES

Kubla Cant
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Not really the drivers' fault

I know this seems to have a lot in common with idiots driving into rivers and trucks stuck on farm tracks, but when you think about the environment of the average airport, it's not so clear-cut.

I imagine Fairbanks isn't exactly Heathrow, but if it's an international airport it's likely to be surrounded with a maze of approach roads and ramps, together with a forest of signage that guarantees information overload. Add to that the tension that frequently accompanies a drive to the airport, and you can understand people taking the wrong turn when the satnav tells them to.

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British Gas robo home remote gets itself into hot water

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Why fiddle with a thermostat?

If the thermostat is working properly it will maintain a constant temperature in the house. I get really annoyed with people who believe they can increase the speed with which something heats up by turning the thermostat up.

How of ten do you think "today, I'd like my house to be really hot"? I'd guess that most people change the thermostat setting about once a year, if that.

The author's description of his use of this app suggests that he's interacting with the timer to activate the heating when it's not yet on.

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UK's Get Safe Online? 'No one cares' - run the blockbuster ads instead

Kubla Cant
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Re: Blaming the victim?

Don't you find the pizza from your bank is expensive and stodgy?

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Austerity BITES: Greece ends extra hols for civil servants forced to use hated COMPUTERS

Kubla Cant
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Re: our Western financial institutions

@The First Dave:

I don't think the prime meridian is the dividing line when people talk about Eastern and Western countries. Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk are east of the meridian, but I don't expect much Oriental mystery in Lowestoft. My house is 1'53'' east of the line, but the people in the next village aren't noticeably more thrifty and hard-working.

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UK.gov's e-Borders zombie still lurks under the English Channel

Kubla Cant
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Big Brother

How's it supposed to work anyway?

So they get a massive list of everybody who comes in to the country, and a similarly-sized list of everybody who leaves. In due course they have a smaller list of people who were entitled to come in but should have left by now.

What then? Do they scour the country looking for all the aliens who should have left but haven't (or maybe have left, but weren't noticed)? They don't seem to have much success doing that at the moment, so it seems unlikely that an increase in the number of aliens they have to find will make things better.

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Shopping list for Tesco: Eggs, milk, bread, tablets (the £60 7in Android kind)

Kubla Cant
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Re: Who cares what it's called?

@Steve Davies 3 "a £60.00 fine through the post". Not a fine. Parking fines can only be issued by governmental and quasi-governmental authorities. What the supermarkets send you is an invoice.

Mind you, a supermarket that charges for parking should expect to end up with tumbleweed blowing in its aisles.

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'Occupy' affiliate claims Intel bakes SECRET 3G radio into vPro CPUs

Kubla Cant
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Re: Phantom Power

@Steve Graham : I'm neither a pilot. nor an American, but I thought that's what FAA stands for. Is there another meaning?

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Mobile broadband 'fastest growing technology in history' says ITU

Kubla Cant
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I doubt it

I've recently been thinking of changing my phone contract. The prices charged for mobile data are absurdly high, and the allowances pitiful*. I doubt whether the technology is growing at all.

*Yes, I know 3 makes a big fuss about its unlimited data contracts, but to use that data I'll need to be able to get a connection.

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

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TPG flashes cheeky 'down under' CAPTCHA

Kubla Cant
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Anus

The other week on University Challenge there was an anagram question to which the answer was "anus and sauna". There was a perceptible pause while the student who answered it calculated whether he was really supposed to say "anus" on national TV.

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Sofas with a roof and Star Trek seating: The future of office furniture?

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Loosing

I regret to report that this is the second posting on El Reg today that uses "loosing" to mean "losing".

Shall we run a sweepstake on how long it will be before the verb "to lose" disappears entirely? When that happens it will, presumably, be impossible for archers to distinguish between firing an arrow and misplacing one.

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Kubla Cant
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Notwithstanding

not what you’re talking about – lip reading (and laser beams picking up vibrations from the windows) notwithstanding

My understanding is that "X notwithstanding" means something like "despite X".

So are the occupants of this thing protected against lip-readers and lasers, or aren't they? If they are, how does the anti-lip-reading device work?

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Leaked docs: NSA 'Follow the money' team slurped BANK records, CREDIT CARD data

Kubla Cant
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Re: "Patriot Act Compliant"

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" - Samuel Johnson

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Kubla Cant
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Re: If you live in a lake, it takes longer to walk to the well

@Flocke Kroes the population will grow until some resource becomes scarce

That's been a widespread assumption since Malthus, but it's not what happens in the real world. Rates of human reproduction are on the whole lower in well-provisioned societies and higher in societies suffering scarcity.

From the perspective of evolutionary genetics, this makes sense. When fewer offspring survive to breed, an organism has to produce more of them to ensure the survival of its genes.

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Korean stealth-scraper plans will turn 450 metre tower INVISIBLE

Kubla Cant
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Lubberly

'Tis just 8 sea miles from Incheon, spike me if it ain't

Avast yon lubberly talk o' "sea miles". 'Tis two point six recurrin' leagues.

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DARPA: You didn't think we could make a Mach 6 spaceplane, so let us have this MACH TEN job

Kubla Cant
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Re: Basic questions for DARPA projects

"How much in the world of medicine has its roots in military R&D do you think?"

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

The military R&D contribution to Reconstructive Plastic Surgery consisted entirely in supplying horribly injured patients for surgeons to work on in civilian hospitals. So their contribution was not dissimilar to that made by Burke and Hare in an earlier era.

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Official crackdown on Apple fanboi 'shanty town' ahead of London iPhone launch

Kubla Cant
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Re: What an advert for tolerance

Do none of us spend time watching our fishing tackle? No

Or sitting around watching 22 over paid blokes run around a field? No

Or melt our brains watching Big X Brother Celeb Bake House Watch? Definitely no

Or grind for gold in GTA-World of-Diablo? No - dunno what you're on about

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MPs: This paperless health service plan isn't worth the paper it isn't written on

Kubla Cant
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Sorry, you wouldn't have stood a chance. The scale of a project like this is so massive that it takes a really big company to fuck it up.

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