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* Posts by Loyal Commenter

1714 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

Loyal Commenter
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Re: I hope they do leave and learn hard reality.

Cameron's a Scottish name, right? If Scotland votes 'yes', I reckon we should send him back there. They can do whatever they like with the bastard.

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Re: Promises

"Now where's the equivalent UK vote on whether we'd like Scotland to stay or go? It's not all about Scotland..."

If a girlfriend dumps you do you demand a right of veto?

If a girlfriend repeatedly threatens to dump you but never goes through with it, she'd be naive to think you'd not ditch her for someone less neurotic...

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Re: You must be joking

"BBC Radio Scotland is full of tossers who blether on about uninteresting crap."

You really didn't need to qualify that with 'BBC Radio'.

...or 'Scotland'

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Re: Realism

However, the UK does have historical form for that, just ask any one of a number of ex-colonial countries.

Whilst I can't deny that the British Empire did a lot of rather naughty things, most of these were beyond living memory, and it's not as if everyone else on the planet is saintly. History is, after all, written by the winners, and everyone alive today is alive because their ancestors, in a long line going back to time immemorial, fought and killed others for the resources to survive and propagate.

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Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

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Re: Wall Exits

IIRC, it was five minutes and all the doors opened (not necessarily a good thing if you'd run out of keys and there's a generator on the other side, or worse, deaths trapped behind doors), and then another five minutes and all the walls turned to exits.

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The remake looks suspiciously like a Diablo III clone... Not that that's a bad game, after the rebalancing and DLC, but why make the same game?

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I seem to remember turning the tape over somewhere around level 50, and then getting to level 100 only to be told to turn the tape back over again. Can't remember how far I got before the dreaded read error happened, I think it was somewhere around 120. Amazing to think that this was on a computer with 48k of usable memory (the other 16k was taken up by the graphics memory) and a processor clocked at 2 MHz!

I remember playing Gauntlet II on the old CPC464 too, the do'h! moment of stunning yourself with a reflecting shot...

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Amazon France routes around free shipping ban with €0.01 charge

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Re: And that's cuttin' me own throat!

Its exactly the same thing, but with cars instead of books. It's restricting free market pricing.

Sigh... No it isn't the same thing.

In the first case, it is comparing A priced at €x with A priced at €y - the item being sold is the same thing

In your example, it is comparing A priced at €x with B priced at €y - the item being sold is something completely different

To take your (already stretched) car analogy, lets use a fruit-and-veg analogy:

Greengrocer A sells apples at £1 a pound (he doesn't care that the EU says he has to sell them in kilos). Greengrocer B sells his apples at 1 penny a pound, absorbing the loss, to try to drive greengrocer A out of business, and then when he is the only player left in the market, he can charge whatever he likes for apples.

However, if greengrocer A was selling apples at £1 a pound, it has no bearing whatsoever on what greengrocer B can charge for German cars.

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Re: And that's cuttin' me own throat!

Many of the larger book shops (E.g. Thalia, Hugendubel) have reading corners, where you can just wander in, pick up a book and sit and read the book, drink a cup of coffee, then leave again. You don't have to buy the book.

I'm willing to bet you that their profit on that cup of coffee (probably priced at around €4, with a margin of around €3.90) is far larger than the profit they would have made if they had sold the book.

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'Apple is TERRIFIED of women’s bodies and women’s pleasure' – fresh tech sex storm

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Re: Christ

Dick, cock, and so on have perfectly normal non-vulgar/sexual meanings.

Clit, and the other c word do not.

The problem with rabid feminists is they see sexism everywhere.

However, as stated in the article, Apple accept 'penis', but not 'vagina'.

The problem with misogynists is that they often refuse to accept that sexism exists, even when it is pointed out to them.

To be perfectly clear here, the same applies to misandrists (I once heard a 'feminist' acquaintance claim that there is no such thing as misandry, which ironically is a very sexist thing to say, particularly for someone who claims to rail against sexism).

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You have 2 100% identical looking iPads, one is your dads and contains nude photos of your mum as the background, the other is yours...both have no battery left and your chargers are no where to be found...

An interesting hypothetical situation to be sure. Lets analyse this scenario...

"You have 2 100% identical looking iPads". If this is indeed the case, then I'd suggest you not only have too much money, but are a sucker for punishment. In any case, as any fule kno, apple products are already uniquely identifiable by the pattern of fractures in the glass fronts.

one is your dads and contains nude photos of your mum as the background, the other is yours. Well, what a stylish chap your father appears to be. Certainly, if I had nude pictures of my spouse on any device, I wouldn't leave it lying around, particularly not if other family members were about. Lets not even start on what a hideously gauche thing to do this would be in the first place, and not dwell on what your mother might think about your father acting in such a way.

both have no battery left and your chargers are no where to be found. Maybe it's time for apple to accept that the de facto standard charger is the micro-usb cable, and stop fleecing its customers for custom cables? Stop laughing there at the back!

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BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

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Re: Standard Form Letter

Length of ad run: <3 months

Time taken for ASA to find ad was 'naughty': >6 months

As sarcastic internet minions might say, "Onoes!!!11!!eleventyone!1!"

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Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

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Communications data is now used in more than 90 per cent of serious and organised crime investigations and is vital in bringing serious criminals to justice and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

I would hazard a guess that it is currently used in >90% of cases because it is currently being slurped up like a fat kid with a milkshake. Whether it provides information that is useful to the investigation is another question; one which the answer to is explicitly not stated. Probably because the truth of the matter is that actual targeted evidence gathering is likely to be much more useful in catching and convicting the perpetrators of serious crime.

I have no problem with communications being monitored when there is a court warrant for a specific investigation. After all, this is a function that the police and security services are expected to perform. Wholesale monitoring of communications, and retention of everyone's private information is another, completely different, matter. It reeks of fishing expeditions, and should be something that governments have no hand in - it should be handled by the appropriate services (i.e. police and MI5) and overseen by the judiciary (not politicians), who are impartial, and not subject to such influences as the election cycle, party loyalty, and political donations.

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NASA: Satellite which will END man-made CO2 debate in orbit at last

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Re: debate settler?

Speaking of which, I once heard of a port town (in Greece, I think) that's no longer a port town because the water's moved several kilometers away. I've never seen a debate over how that happened or even the name of the place. Could someone perhaps elaborate?

This might have something to do with Greece (and Turkey) being positioned right above the bit of the planet where two major tectonic plates are moving towards each other. There are many active faults and earthquakes are common. There are also a number of settlements that are now below sea level for the same reasons.

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FAIL

Re: Debate settler?

"fact that CO2 levels don't correlate with temperature"

You only have to google 'CO2 temperature correlation' to show that you are talking absolute bollocks there.

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Like frozen burgers, 'Bigfoot' DNA samples have a touch of horse

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Re: Of those, 20 turned out to be glass or plants or were not suitable for analysis

I'm guessing, in this case, glass fibres, which can presumably be made to look like hair/fur samples.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Finds all are extant animals?

Considering neither exists, nor has either been proven, I would question your claim. Please supply DNA samples.

Existence is irrelevant in this case, 'Yeti' is a term for supposed Himalayan cryptids, 'Bigfoot' is a term for supposed cryptids from North America, as is 'Yowie' for the Aussie variant, etc.

Since there is no confirmed evidence for any of these, so you cannot confirm that any of them exist, the correct position to adopt is that if they do exist, then they are, until proven otherwise, separate phenomena.

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Mystery bidder plunders the whole haul in Silk Road Bitcoin auction

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Re: A Speculative Fiction

I'm not so sure about HSBC. The regulatory environment in China is distinctly unfriendly towards Bitcoin, despite around 80% of the BTC/fiat transactions taking place there.

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Cambridge's tiny superconducting magnet breaks strength record

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Re: Very impressive.

I like the idea of anyone wearing Beats having their head frozen in liquid nitrogen...

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Three tonnes of force?

That's around 300 Norrises.

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Re: Liquid WHAT?

You will also have the interesting problem of finding something to do with 150,000 litres of liquid nitrogen for every litre of liquid helium you produce.

Make 75000 litres of ice-cream?

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BT at last coughs to 'major outage' after broadband went titsup across UK on Sat

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Re: Filter trouble then.

Your singular downvote, like mine, probably signifies that this is closer to the truth than we'd like to think.

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Got a problem with your ducts?

Call Central Services.

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Loyal Commenter
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Joke

BT DNS servers not working?

Just point your DNS directly at GCHQ and cut out the middle man.

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You need a list of specific unknowns we may encounter? Huh?

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Re: To be fair to the CIO...

I can't remember ever going on a mandatory training course on a new system that imparted any useful knowledge about anything, let alone how to use the new system.

Absolutely. Conversely, I, as a developer, being given 'user training' on a product in order to have the required understanding to work on the product (which is a rare enough as it is), have been in training sessions where the trainer has demonstrated plenty of screens and menu options but has managed to impart zero actual information about what the product is, what it is for, or how to actually use it.

One of the big problems with this sort of situation is that the trainer will usually hand out some sort of feedback form, but it is impossible in practice to give honest feedback about how bad it was, especially if you are within the same organisation, as the feedback will not be anonymous (they may nominally say it is, but it isn't exactly hard to work out whose handwriting it is out of a pool of six people). If you say something negative, that person knows it was you, and you will have to face them in the knowledge that they know you were the one 'badmouthing' them. Most non-psychopaths tend to naturally shy away from conflict.

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Zero-knowledge proof crypto scheme divines truths from nothing

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If you bombard the warhead with enough neutrons

It's going to be a very definitive way of proving it has been disarmed. Either that, or the host nation has a nice new shiny suspiciously circular lake in it.

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

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Re: Access

*as far as I know this is actually the only joke about regular expressions.

Obligatory:

https://xkcd.com/208/

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Black hole three-way: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space

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WTF?

"Galaxies often form from mergers of other star systems, so for a galazy to end up with more than one supermassive black hole at its heart is not uncommon."

Dear $Deity!

Do you even proof-read, or sense check your articles? A star system is commonly understood to be the area around a single star (or two, if a binary system, etc.), a galaxy is generally composed of billions of these. I have no idea what a galazy is...

Now, for minor errata, I would normally just email the author, but bloopers like this really need to be highlighted!

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Super-snoop bid: UK government hits panic button on EU data retention ruling

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One massive, misleading, argument

SigInt people are going to monitor whoever they like as long as the technology exists, regardless of the legality of it. Since what they do is, by definition, secret, and it would be against the national interest to do so, nobody is going to be prosecuting them.

On the other hand, giving the government the powers to snoop on us wholesale, and without oversight, is an incredibly bad idea. They are our elected representatives, not our rulers, or indeed the police.

Modern politicians seem to want to have their hands in too many pies - they should not be dictating moral values to the public, assuming roles that should be filled by the police or legal system, or getting directly involved in military matters. The drawing of power to themselves is a worrying trend.

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Shine on you crazy diamond: Distant dwarf may hide space jewel

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Re: I'd love to know...

... leads me to accuse the Sun's surface temperature of being around 15 megaKelvin, which is grossly over the mark (around 5800 K). 15 megaKelvin is reasonable for the Sun's core, but that's actually just speculation...

The hottest part of the sun is actually the core, at (you guessed it) around 15 million Kelvin, the temperature needed to sustain nuclear fusion. The coronasphere, the plasma layer above the visible 'surface', is also at a few million Kelvin. The surface that we see is actually the coolest bit.

edit - since a white dwarf no longer sustains nuclear fusion, the core temperature is likely to be similar to the surface temperature - if it is indeed made of diamond, then it's going to be a very good thermal conductor.

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iFind: Critics slam Kickstarter campaign for miraculous battery-free phone finder

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Re: Next project

Would it feature Anneka Rice in a helicopter?

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Waiting gamer slams no-show show: E3 – was that it?

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Re: Mostly Harmless

Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen are both frauds

ED appears to be quite far along in its development, and is available now to play as an 'alpha', if you really want to pay for the privilege of doing Braben's testing for him. Compared to SC, which has sucked up many times more money, been in the offing for a couple of years longer, and now only got to one buggy 'pre-alpha', it is clear which one will be the successful game. Rumours abound that SC's netcode is unworkable, and the project has been beset by repeated delays, whereas ED appears to be ahead of schedule.

Other crowdfunded games in this genre to look out for include Limit Theory (developed by one guy, but appears to be coming along very nicely), and Planets3.

Personally, I will be buying ED when it is released, steering well clear of SC, at least until well after it is released, snapping up Limit Theory the moment I can, and got in in time to back Planets3 (for a reasonable £20 including alpha, beta, and release versions when they arrive).

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

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Re: GCHQ wants to know what NSA hasn't a clue about and isn't being recorded for reporting in leaks

amanfromMars, welcome back. We've... missed you.

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Boffins lay out 'practical requirements' of 'realistic' QUANTUM COMPUTER

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I was about to comment on exactly this.

Quantum computers, by definition, store information in quantum properties. Quantum properties, by definition, are eigenvalues - that is, they can only take specific values, so a qubit can be either a 0 or a 1 and nothing in between.

An example of such a property is the 'spin' of an electron (confusingly, it's called spin, but has nothing to do with the electron actually spinning). This can be either 'up', or 'down' (again, this actually has nothing to do with orientation and is just nomenclature).

Other quantum properties can take multiple values, such as the energy level of an electron in an atom, but because these have different energies, they are not stable in isolation, because an electron can collapse from a higher level to a lower one by releasing a photon.

Spin states are normally what is known as 'degenerate' - that is both states have the same energy level. This can be affected by altering the electromagnetic field around the particle, to make one state more energetic than the other, thus 'aligning' spin (this is how MRI scanners and NMR spectrometers work). This can be used to set, or measure the spin state of a particle, which is an integral part of making any quantum device work.

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DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

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Re: We're all Scientists these days!

I think you may be being a little elitist here; I'd suggest that the bar for being allowed to refer to oneself as a scientist is to know what the scientific method is, how to apply it, and to actually work in, or have worked in, a setting that requires you to apply it.

I like to think of myself as a scientist, although I don't currently work in a scientific profession, I hold two degrees in the 'hard' sciences (chemistry with some biochemistry and microbiology gubbins thrown in) and am firmly of the opinion that knowing how to think like a scientist (aka 'think properly') is an asset in almost any field, and should be taught more thoroughly to everyone in school. That way, we might end up with some politicians who actually know something, or who can at least acknowledge that if they are not experts in a subject, they should defer to someone who is.

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TalkTalk whips BT with riding crop over sport fibs in telly ad

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I'm shocked

Shocked, I tell you! This is totally out of character!

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Stephen Fry MADNESS: 'New domain names GENERATE NEW IP NUMBERS'

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Re: Well...

I think that once you get to numbers beyond the scale of anything you can actually measure with them (such as numbers smaller than the Planck length, or larger than the scale, or number of things in, the universe), it doesn't matter whether that number is infinite (or infinitely small), or not. Unless you are a pure mathematician.

For the needs of humanity, IPv6 addresses fall firmly into "who cares whether it's infinite or not, we'll never run out" territory. They are numbers which are intended to be assigned to a physical, addressable, entity, the countable number of which could never conceivably reach the limits of that address space. From a theoretical point of view, that number is not infinite, but for the other 99.9999% of humanity who do not care to draw a distinction between uncountably large and infinite in scale, it doesn't matter one jot.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Well...

Assuming I have not miscalculated there are 28,147,976,710,656 possible IPv6 addresses

The actual number is (approximately) 3.4 x 1038, which written out is:

340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

I don't believe you could write it out in words (at least not ones people would recognise).

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Well...

I think that Cisco can be forgiven, because that number, whilst not infinite, is practically infinite. The difference being that whilst the number of addresses might have a limit, it's probably bigger than the number of things you could practically do with those numbers.

A quick back-of-fag-packet calculation shows that it is sufficiently large to assign over 100 million unique addresses to every atom in the solar system, which, until we have mastered superluminal travel and for some inexplicable reason decode we need to individually address every particle in the galaxy should do us fine.

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You'll never believe it: Apple stock is going for CHEAP

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Re: I see this as a baaaaaad sign.

Ummm, you do realise that if you had 10 shares worth $700 each, you now have 70 shares worth $100 each. I don't get how this 'smells' in any way. Maybe Apple would just like their stocks to be more fluid, by allowing people to trade them more easily? After all, $700 per share is an unwieldy amount for the small investor.

The only thing dodgy would be if they said 'we're going to split our $700 shares in 70000 $0.01 shares, because that would prevent them from being able to be devalued. People would run away quite quickly if they did that, but they're not going to, because it would be stupid.

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Queen's Speech: Computer Misuse Act to be amended, tougher sentences planned

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Joke

Re: Computer Misuse Act needs more of an update than that

The progressive ones use fax machines now? Wow. Most seem incapable of progressing beyond photocopies of photocopies and 2nd class stamps.

This is because they are paid by the hour, possibly including the hours that your documents are in the post.

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Loyal Commenter
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Greetings to the single systematic downvoter!

There is a distinct pattern here that most comments on this thread (the ones with the higher up-vote counts) also have a single down-vote.

Rather than just angry-clicking that down-vote button, why not make a reasoned and thought-out argument against the posts that you don't like? You never know, you might find that others also share your point of view, or even that, in formulating your response, this leads to you having to think about the issues and reformulate your own conclusions?

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Re: Shark Jumped!

"Any history text that covers the last 500 years? (hint: how old were the wives of Henery VIII?) Wikipedia?"

When they married him they were: 24, 32, 28, 25,19, 31.

What is your point??

The operative word there are 'when they married him'.

Catherine of Aragon, for example, was betrothed to Henry's brother Arthur at the age of three, and married at fifteen. Henry VII may not have been the best choice for this example, but you don't have to spend long looking at English history to find that marriages to girls in their early teens was fairly common and considered 'normal'. By today's standards, this is far from acceptable, but this serves only as an illustration that attitudes, and moral norms, change over time, as they do across cultures. The fact that the rise of Christianity in the British Isles also led to a reduction in the rights of women, and the tendency to view them as property didn't help either.

That was my point.

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

Why no legislation on burglary manuals?

...

Because that would be sensible

No it would not, it would be equally poorly thought out. Unless you want the Police to go on fishing expeditions after locksmiths, alarm system maintenance engineers, security researchers, etc. etc.

If you make it illegal to possess information that 'bad guys' can use, the only thing you achieve is making that information exclusive to 'bad guys'. After all, if you're going to commit a crime, you're not going to care. What it does mean is that everyone else knows nothing about the methods and mechanisms used by said 'bad guys', so cannot adequately defend themselves against them.

For example, if it becomes illegal to publish information on flaws in certain types of commonly used locks, Joe Public will not know that these are flawed, and know not to use them.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

'Paedophilic Manuals' - Copies of the Sun and the Daily Heil's 'Sidebar of Shame' with their 'look who's now legal' stories? Copies of 'Lolita'? The film 'Leon'? Any history text that covers the last 500 years? (hint: how old were the wives of Henery VIII?) Wikipedia?

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Amazing never-seen-before photo of colourful hot young stars (Thanks Hubble)

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Ultraviolet?

Forgive me if I'm making a huge blunder here, but if these are very distant galaxies, why is the light from them in the ultraviolet range, and not red-shifted to much longer wavelengths, such as infrared or radio? Was it originally in the form of very shot wavelength hard gamma radiation?

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REVEALED: GCHQ's BEYOND TOP SECRET Middle Eastern INTERNET SPY BASE

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Re: TRAITORS

If you want to talk about treason and treacherousness, I would suggest that you consider whether wholesale and indiscriminate monitoring and data collection on communications by normal people strengthens or weakens security.

Firstly, it depends on what you mean by security. If you mean the peace of mind one gets from the freedom from persecution, I would suggest that having unregulated agencies with no oversight spying on everyone and everything does not strengthen this, and in fact puts it at jeopardy.

If you are talking about the freedom of said agencies to do whatever they like 'in our name', despite their lack of oversight, then I fail to see how this helps anyone other than them, whoever 'they' are.

What we can deduce from this article, is that money from the UK treasury (collected from taxpayers), has been spent on building and maintaining a base conducting data collection activities, on foreign soil, in order to monitor other foreign nationals in a wholesale manner. it is questionable whether this even represents good value for money, let alone whether we should be doing it. Furthermore, we have learned that large sums of money from our treasury have also been paid to BT (and other companies) to maintain this capability. Without public oversight.

Now, I don't know what your personal opinion of BT is, but I don't trust them one iota, since they were found doing something very similar with their customer's data (in the name of targeted advertising), for which they were conveniently never prosecuted despite being quite possibly in breach of several data protection laws. Only the nave would think that this was not also being fed to GCHQ for their purposes, and here we see another link between the (supposedly) non-governmental BT and the spooks.

Personally, what disgusts me is the wasting of public money on something like this, at a time of 'austerity', where the cost of living is rising rapidly for normal people, and the funnelling of further public funds to a private enterprise.

What is more, if you actually get the opinions of security experts, you will find that the consensus opinion is that this sort of monitoring does nothing to gather any useful information, as it is far too untargeted. The analogy is like trying to find a needle in a haystack by adding more hay.

So, I will end by asking who the real 'traitors' are - people who wish to see this sort of thing reach the light of day, so we can know what our governments are doing in our name, and ensure that they do not draw more power to themselves (which is undoubtedly not in our interests), or those who would draw such power to themselves?

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Facepalm

Re: Official Secrets Act?

Yes, because I am absolutely sure that all journalists are signatories to the OSA.

What's that? Mmmph mmble mmmph? Pull down your pants so I can make out what you're saying better.

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SCIENCE explains why you LOVE the smell of BACON

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To add further confusion...

In Ireland, 'bacon' usually refers to a cured joint of pork, and what you actually want is what they refer to as 'rashers'.

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Holmes

Re: "Be fair - the Americans win the World Series: every year"

Some confusion there. It's not called the World Series because it's a global competition, but because it was originally sponsored by a newspaper called the World.

So many people repeat this that it has acquired some sort of truthiness. However, if you bother to actually research it, you'll find it's utter bollocks:

http://www.snopes.com/business/names/worldseries.asp

It's just yet another example of our transatlantic cousins editing history to suit their arrogant world-view.

edit - and personally, I prefer dry-cured streaky bacon, although don't eat it very often because of the incredibly high fat content, so I wouldn't claim that this is entirely an American preference. Sadly, it seems that people here tend to buy cheap bacon, which tends to be back bacon with added brine injected into it (to bump up the weight), which might account for more of this type of bacon being sold, because it is cheaper. Dry-cured back bacon can be made to go crispy perfectly well, but the briny stuff turns to leather and pumps out loads of white liquid when you fry it, which stops the pan from being hot enough to make it crispy.

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