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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1198 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

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

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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London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

Kubla Cant
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Re: Its kind of pointless really

The doors in the office where I work are controlled by fingerprint readers (Samsung IIRC). The false negative rate, at least on my fingers, seems to be about 75%. Some days I've obviously put on the wrong hands when I got dressed, because it won't recognise me at all. Fortunately there's a card backup.

Some colleagues never seem to have problems. I suspect that the care with which the original data is captured and verified is critical.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not just broadband

That's interesting.

I too have a btinternet.com email account, though I no longer use BT as my ISP. Every week I receive emails that say something like "Important changes to your BT email account". I always delete them unread because they look like phishing messages - the login links appear to point to domains that have nothing to do with BT (or, indeed, the UK).

I've always wondered why the btinternet.com spam filter can't catch messages that spoof BT. Now I'm wondering if they were genuine messages in which BT was too stupid to use recognisable domains.

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iPhone 5S: Apple, you're BORING us to DEATH (And you too, Samsung)

Kubla Cant
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Re: From the X Labs

@DougS Why the hell should anyone care about battery life longer than a day?

Why the hell should anybody have to remember to charge their phone every day?

More seriously, poor battery life can be a real inconvenience. I just got back from a trip to Italy where we used a phone for navigating. Even a fairly new phone ran out of power after about an hour, and the USB socket in the car didn't deliver enough current to recharge it while it's navigating. (I should add that an old Nokia Symbian phone had no such problems a few years ago, and the maps were better.)

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Lip-wobbling boffins: Eating Chinese food is like kissing a vibrator

Kubla Cant
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Re: Really??

A better understanding of the mechanisms of pain may help the development of ways to alleviate chronic pain and develop analgesics.

The fact that you missed this fairly obvious point may be due to your having been hit in the face with a cricket ball.

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Borland's heir Embarcadero says one dev tool can rule them all

Kubla Cant
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@petboy

How many £18k "developers" does it take to write a "Hello World" application?

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Boris Johnson floats idea of 'London visa' to attract tech talent

Kubla Cant
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Re: Silicon Roundabout Bollocks

@phil dude so long as it's not 8th week in Trinity

I was at Trinity, and I don't recall getting stupider in 8th week. Drunker, maybe.

You're not from Balliol are you?

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Kubla Cant
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Brake lines?

puncture the brake-lines on their car

As most things on a car are now controlled by software, I'd have expected a less hardware-based revenge from Linus.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

Kubla Cant
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Re: it will probably be an expensive boutique operation.

Nobody points out that cruise ships must fail due to the slow nature of the journey, because the point isn't the speed, but the journey itself.

Cruise ships seem to contain a vast amount of stuff* to keep the passengers amused between stops. This is easier for ships because they're very, very big. It also suggests that the journey itself is less alluring than you might think.

*Water slides, gourmet meals, lectures, adultery... you can probably tell I've never actually been on a cruise.

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Kubla Cant
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Stairs and manhole covers

Following the disappointing revelation that daleks actually can climb stairs, the new strategy is to trick them into falling down manholes.

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Do not adjust your eyes: This Kobo ten-incher has a 2560 x 1600 resolution

Kubla Cant
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Re: 2560 x 1600 - About Time.

I could be wrong, but I believe font hinting, unlike ClearType, is not about compensating for low resolution. Its purpose is to describe the way in which the components of a character scale differently. The differential scaling affected Gutenberg too, though it probably took a few centuries before the rules were formalised.

As for the resolution achieved in the 15th Century, it was limited by granular phenomena just as much as today's pixel displays. The paper used was rough, the ink was grainy, and type matrices were not very accurate.

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iPad classes for DOGS offered in New York

Kubla Cant
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Result?

So what does she train the dogs to do with the iPad? Even her witless customers presumably expect to see some result for their $50.

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Star Wars revival secret: This isn't the celluloid you're looking for

Kubla Cant
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Re: Lens Flare...

Surely the viewer is supposed to "forget" that there is a camera filming and be immersed in the film?

Yes, but to achieve that the director has to use the grammar of film. If the whole thing was shot with a single static camera the audience would soon lose interest.

The point of lens flare is not to replicate a live experience, but to signify one. Not "this is like real life", but "this is like other cinematic experiences that meant something". The same is true of cut-away, zoom, panning, tracking and all the other elements of film grammar. They're only bad when they're intrusive.

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Meet the world's one-of-a-kind ENORMO barge-bowling bridge of Falkirk

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Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

Kubla Cant
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I'm pretty sure it's just you.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: There's more going on here...

...an Airport Transit area. It's important to remember that he wasn't, technically, stood in the United Kingdom

IANAL, but I think the idea of extra-territorial zones is a myth. Some areas, such as embassies, are subject to diplomatic protection, but they are still part of the UK. There's a bit of US territory at Runnymede, and a bedroom in Claridges was declared to be Yugoslav soil during the war. But there's no reason why a transit area should have any special privileges beyond the fact that people can go there without passing Customs or Immigration. It's more like a bonded warehouse than an embassy.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

@Dan Paul

There have been several other articles and discussions relating to Mr Miranda's detention and the episode in the Guardian cellars during the past few days. If you look at those you'll find that the significance of his name has been repeatedly pointed out.

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