* Posts by Dave 126

6481 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Swiss try to wind up Apple with $25k dumb-watch

Dave 126
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Re: watches

The astronaut in Ridley Scott's film The Martian wears a Hamilton - though you have to be watching closely to spot it. The contrast to the James Bond film Skyfall where the camera lingers on 007's Omega for no artistic reason is refreshing.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ive actually said that?

>I've always thought that Ive's comment about Swiss watchmakers was tongue-in-cheek. Did I give him too much credit?

It was tongue-in-cheek, and reported anomalously by someone near to his team. Who here hasn't joked around with colleagues during a drawn out project?

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Dave 126
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Re: Ive actually said that?

Jony Ive's not competing with the luxury watch market, since the Apple Watch is in the $500 - $1000 range - that's about the same as a steel and sapphire Tag Heuer with a quartz movement. The gold edition watch was a bit of fun for publicity's sake.

Ive understands the luxury watch market better than you think - at least he knows the ultra-rich don't just have one watch, they have several. At he conference last summer he said:

“I don’t see how we can compare these wonderful mechanical watches that we own and a product that has such a comprehensive functionality and capability that will grow and change beyond our imagining,”

The only area fit for comparison is the fit and finish of the watches, which even watch nerds agree is impeccable on the Apple watch. Of course Ive is 'cheating', by using ultra-high tolerance mass-production methods (such as lasers and Renishaw CMM probes) that Apple use in their previous products.

Of course, the Apple watch is a typically compromised MK I Apple product (like the first iPod, iPhone and and iPad) that is intended to be a placeholder in the market place until the technology catches up.

Jony Ive is actually a bit of a fan of mechanical watches, having designed a watch for Jaeger-LeCoultre with his colleague Marc Newson. Newson himself had his own mechanical watch brand - the Ikepod Manatee is an obvious forebear to the Apple watch.

If Sir Jony had a total lack of style or appreciation of design, he wouldn't own a black Bentley Mulsanne and an Aston Martin DB4.

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The designer of the IBM ThinkPad has died

Dave 126
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Another Sapper design

He was also famous for his adjustable Tizo desk lamp, which I saw in the London Design useum years ago. We were told that a little red-tipped stalk was added to the lamp head against Richard Sapper's original design, users were burning their hands on the hot halogen bulb (or worse, leave the lamp resting on some desk papers and start a fire)

Thanks to LED bulbs, he lamp is now sold as he designed it.

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Dave 126
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>I still use a ThinkPad X61. It was the last ultraportable with a 4:3 screen;

Yep! The only thing close is the 3:2 screen on a MS Surface Book, but it has some compromises (and strengths) of is own.

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Ten years in, ultra-high-def gets a standard

Dave 126
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Re: Really shit the bed with this spec

If they set the standards too high, there would be very few televisions that would qualify. As it is, the only 2015 set that might qualify retrospectively (through possible firmware update) uses a combination of quantum dot and multi-point back-lighting technologies.

Note also there are two parts of the standard - one for LED sets, and one for OLED, since they traditionally have had different strengths.

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Dave 126
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More excited about the dynamic range than the resolution

see above

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SpaceX makes rocket science look easy: Falcon 9 passes tests

Dave 126
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Re: @Dave How many times?

@Ian Michael Gumby

Sorry mate, I didn't down vote you.

However, I am guilty of 'replying' to your post, and then failing to write what i originally meant to... mainly because I would have been mostly musing on the state-of-the-art of non-destructive-testing of used rockets as regards quality control of new units. I apologise for straying off your topic. Genuinely.

As for the first moments in orbit details, those came from the autobiography of a NASA astronaut. Apparently, all those terrestrial centrifuges give no idea whatsoever as to who will succumb to nausea in microgravity, and a jab in the arse is standard procedure (it's a larger target than the arm for the 'stabees', who are themselves floating around the gaff) for those who feel sick. The rest of the book was a reminder of how ridiculously qualified this guy was - IIRC, a full medical doctor, pilot, and he completed special forces physical training. Being jabbed in the backside was amongst the least of the physical discomforts he endured to attain his dream.

Hope you get to get to enjoy some awe-inspiring views in 2016, be them in orbit, atop a mountain or under the sea. Without the blisters, altitude sickness or odd jellyfish sting, it wouldn't feel the same!

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Dave 126
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Re: How many times?

At this stage of the game, I would still be apprehensive about sitting atop a rocket on its very first trip to orbit. SpaceX themselves have had a rocket explode before it reached orbit, though their recent success strongly suggests they correctly identified the issue (a dodgy strut IIRC).

There will come, I hope, a point at which the risk is low enough that I would decide it is worth it to experience being in orbit... even if my first minutes in microgravity include me vomiting whilst a crewmate (or rather, flight attendant) pulls down my trousers and injects a syringe of anti-nausea medication into my buttock.

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Dave 126
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>Does this mean we'll see an end to the moronic use of "she" and "her" in articles rather than the more appropriate gender neutral terms?

Didn't we play out this discussion a couple of months back? Just saying.

You can make a hypothetical physicist any damn sex you want, and hell, Alice and Bob stories are easier to parse for having a mix of pronouns. Example:

Andrew tripped over Bob's desk and spilt his tea over his book. Ambiguous. Whereas:

Alice tripped over Bob's desk and spilt her tea over his book.

Alice tripped over Bob's desk and spilt her tea over her book.

Alice tripped over Bob's desk and spilt his tea over her book.

Alice tripped over Bob's desk and spilt his tea over his book.

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Dave 126
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Re: You are the correct.

>Throw Wired in with that lot too.... I don't even bother if I see the link leads to Wired.

The only decent thing Wired has done of late is to syndicate articles from, and thus bring my attention to: https://www.quantamagazine.org/

Now I just go straight there and skip Wired.

Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science.

Our reporters focus on developments in mathematics, theoretical physics, theoretical computer science and the basic life sciences. The best traditional news organizations provide excellent reporting on developments in health, medicine, technology and engineering. We strive to complement and augment existing media coverage, not compete with it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Better late than never

This article outlining the plan for 2016 is encouraging.

However, I also largely agree with what Gordon said above.

A belated Happy Birthday to the Reg!

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Here's your Linux-booting PS4, says fail0verflow

Dave 126
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Re: Typo?

PS2.

IIRC you needed a certain buggy game to break it, but then you had a handy network media player and C64 et al emulator. The only bit of PS2 hardware that was lacking was that that it didn't have USB 2 ports, so couldn't play AVI files from a memory stick.

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2016 in mobile: Visit a components mall in China... 30 min later, you're a manufacturer

Dave 126
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Re: Lol

Arguably they do. However, they are not making enough money from their fine handsets. They have vowed to sat in the game though, despite making losses.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

The fashion at the moment is for large watches, 42mm or thereabouts. It might be that the people who can afford to buy a $1000+ tend to be older and thus might have weaker eyes,or it might just be that they want they expensive flashy item to be even more visible to others.

Personally, I favour a smaller watch with a rotating bezel, allowing me to see 'at a glance' the time, and the bezel allows for a very quick 'note' of the time, so I remember when to return to the car park to avoid a ticket, or when when to return to the kitchen to avoid a burnt dinner. So quick, so easy, so free of fumbling into a pocket for a phone and unlocking it and summoning up the countdown timer and then entering the desired number of minutes.

(Of course, if you still have an old Nokia, you can set a timer without needing to even look at the phone. Lets see now.... 'unlock star 5243 20'.... or was that to set the language to Norwegian, I forget. )

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Dave 126
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Re: Andrew !

"Rude alert! An electrical fire has knocked out my voice recognition unicycle! Many Wurlitzers are missing from my database. Abandon shop! This is not a daffodil."

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Dave 126
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Re: I do like the photo of the Apple Mouse

Function is a large part of design, they are not separate realms. It's a misconception so common that Dieter Rams prefers 'Form Engineer'.

I'm not sure why the USB port is underneath the Apple mouse, as opposed to on the 'nose' as it is on my Logitech wireless rodent. That said, the battery lasts so long I very seldom bother having the mouse plugged in whilst I am using it. This particular issue with the Apple mouse might be even less significant if the battery lasts for months on a single charge, as many mice do.

It doesn't matter to a user if a good idea is borrowed or stolen. Apple nabbed the iPod's scroll wheel from a Bang and Olufsen telephone, which made the iPod quicker to use than the otherwise superior iRiver H320 PMP. And who knows, maybe B&O themselves were 'inspired' by the jog wheel on a Sony analogue video-editing workstation? It really doesn't matter.

Apple have made some missteps, but there are enough examples of when they have included features that make life easier for the user.

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Dave 126
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Re: The title is no longer required

If you buy the phone outright, you are covered by the Sales of Good Act, so you won't be messed around by your carrier if it goes wrong.

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Dave 126
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Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

It's well worth googling "adams late night live dick smith" for a fine podacst (mp3 25 MB) in which he is interviewed by Philip Adams.

"Dick Smith, entrepreneur, philanthropist, businessman, aviator, sceptic and car radio installer."

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Dave 126
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Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

Ah well. There are watches (or after marked coin-shaped devices that sit under your traditional watch) that don't try to do too much, but they aren't as widely reported as the power-hungry Apple and Android Wear efforts.

I would find great utility in being able to 'page' my phone from my watch. This function wouldn't even require a screen. Citizen and Casio make such watches, and the batteries last for over a year.

Deaf users benefit from having vibrating watch for phone notifications. Speaking of deaf users, some have had their light-bulbs connected to their doorbells for years.

Watches might have a role in solving a problem of out times - that of remembering multiple passwords.

The objects we take out of our house - bank cards and keys - effectively have the same function as each other; i.e identifying themselves to a piece of hardware, be it an ATM or a door lock.

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Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock dead at 42

Dave 126
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Re: The last tweets of Ian

>So if you're black and poor is OK if police treats you badly? While only if you're white and rich they should not?

He didn't say that. He first wrote "i'm hoping coming from a successful white guy it will help everyone", *suggesting* he believed that black and poor people are sometimes abused by police because society doesn't listen to them properly. Given several news stories, especially in the last couple of years, I can see why he might believe that. We don't know what he believed though, so best not to put words in his mouth.

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Upset Microsoft stashes hard drive encryption keys in OneDrive cloud?

Dave 126
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Re: Dual boot

See Alan Sharkey's post above.

New machines shipped with Win10 only.

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Dave 126
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Re: Loaded guns

chivo243 has a point, if your replace Computer Operator Licence with Computer Proficiency Test, much like the Bicycle Proficiency Test some children take. It is not mandatory, but generally it's a good thing.

Please do add ideas for included lessons below!

- Back up on to multiple redundant drives / media

- CAPS LOCK IS RARELY A GOOD IDEA

etc

Of course, my designer side feels that this could be made easier for inexperienced users, so:

- Every computer should be sold with removable media of equal size to its HDD, unless the buyer signs the 'I know what I'm doing, seriously' release form.

- Caps Lock should be placed by keyboard manufacturers in a different location, perhaps next to Esc.

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Dave 126
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Okay, most people might have data that is potentially socially embarrassing - pictures from Bob's party that got out of hand, or a catty email about Aunt Clara. You don't want it made public, but no-one is going to any great lengths to get at it.

A significant chunk of users are required by law to ensure the data on their machines is safe from 3rd parties, or else face fines. Y'know, professionals like doctors, researchers or lawyers - anyone who has information about other people, basically. Laptops do get left on trains and in pubs, or stolen from cars, so encryption that is safe from thieves and blackmailers is a must. To comply with the law they do not need to think about the resources of Nation State security agencies.

Then you get people who have commercially sensitive information, trade secrets and the like, and are a real target for industrial espionage. In a larger organisation, these users will have their machines administered by professionals.

Then you have journalists, civil rights activists and the like. Not only do they need the right hardware and software, but they need be educated and apply what they have learnt consistently. That's the hard bit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Making data recovery difficult

>Also if someone manages to hack into your Microsoft account and change the password then you could be locked out of your files.

Could you provide more detail? I'd assume that the encrypted data on your local machine would keep the same key - the data would still be accessible if the machine owner had the encryption key, which is not the same as the MS Account login details.

For the user to be locked out of their data, the data would have to re-encrypted.

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Dave 126
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>Consumers do not get to decide how secure their product is when they purchase Microsoft software.

Eh? There is nothing stopping educated users from using encryption of their choice.

For uneducated users, they now have encryption on by default (a step forward) AND have a means of recovering their data should they forget / lose their key (which let's face it, is going to happen to some people).

The real paranoid are going top use some specialist Linux dstro anyway. People with jobs that require they safeguard their clients data (doctors, lawyers etc) will find this MS system good enough (since they are complying with the data protection laws to avoid a fine in case they lose a laptop.... they aren't in fear of the NSA. )

I think this article is spot on, and its main criticism of MS is in their communication.

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US Marines kill noisy BigDog robo-mule for blowing their cover

Dave 126
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Re: So what's wrong with a mule?

During WW2, the British parachuted with mules into Burma. To avoid the braying mules giving their position away to the Japanese, they were 'devoiced' under anaesthetic. After each drop, the floor of the aircraft would have to be taken up and cleaned, to stop the mule urine from corroding the aircraft's wiring. Well, if I was a mule and shunted into an aircraft, I'd probably wet myself too.

https://spotlights.fold3.com/2012/03/05/mules-in-burma/

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Dave 126
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Re: "Warfighter"?

It is easy to grasp what they mean by 'warfighter', but it is the suggestion of euphemism that might people wary of it. It doesn't sound quite as fierce as 'warrior', which brings to my mind images of large bearded men wielding axes and swords, a la Beowulf. However, as someone has said above, it is better than 'peace keeper'.

'Friendly fire' - what is friendly about it?

'Crash landing' - um, okay.... though we could just call it a crash.

'Department / Ministry of Defence' - hahahaha

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Dave 126
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John Smith is correct in the reason the marines rejected it, but he seems to have missed that Bronek Kozicki did include 'quiet' in his list of criteria.

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Here – here is that 'hoverboard' you've wanted so much. Look at it. Look. at. it.

Dave 126
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Re: I always thought the control problem would be much worse than balencing on it.

Exactly. User reports of prior hoverboards (the magnet types that run on copper tracks) suggest they are be akin to trying to steer a snowboard that didn't have the sharp edge for cutting into the snow. i.e rubbbish.

This one might be slightly different, if some of the fans are vectored away from vertical, but still it doesn't seem great.

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Feeling abandoned by Adobe? Check out the video editing suites for penguins

Dave 126
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Re: Oh, and (totally OT)

I spotted myself that only today!

( I then looked around the cartoon to see if I could spot the date it was posted)

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You ain't nothing but a porn dog, prying all the time: Cyber-hound sniffs out hard drives for cops

Dave 126
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Re: Woo hoo! A canine dog!

'Canine dog' in the article was in a quote from a police officer... if he was speaking aloud at a press conference, he may well have meant (and said) 'K-9 dog' - to distinguish a trained police dog from Mrs Trellis-next-door's canine of uncertain ancestry.

It seems 'K-9' is often used in the US to refer to police dogs.

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Boffins unwrap bargain-basement processor that talks light and current

Dave 126
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Re: Shame about the paywall

Indeed. See:

An open-access “predatory” academic journal has accepted a bogus research paper submitted by an Australian computer scientist titled Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List.

- http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/25/journal-accepts-paper-requesting-removal-from-mailing-list

The PDF is here. Actually worth looking at to see the diagrams:

http://www.scs.stanford.edu/~dm/home/papers/remove.pdf [NSFW as it contains bad language writ large]

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I have you now! Star Wars stocking fillers from another age

Dave 126
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Episode 1 Racer (N64, PC, Dreamcast)

It wasn't bad! Not an all out classic like WipEout, but it was fun.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Episode_I:_Racer

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Apple introduces new regime, hands more control to investors

Dave 126
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Re: Likewise...

Maybe. But it can't hurt that Tim Cook was bloody good at his job as COO. Jobs knew his days at Apple might be numbered, and his ways of doing thing may be reflected by the people he left behind there.

Certainly the times are uncertain... whilst Apple are as well placed as any company (what with having mountains of cash to buy start-ups and talent, and having a carefully managed, consumer-friendly image) to get a lead in The Next Big Thing*, we know that incumbent companies can often let their position go to waste**. Apple are at least aware of this, and have demonstrated some agility in the past.

*I don't know what that might be. Anyone here who thinks they do will be busy with NDAs and research, and won't be daft enough to post their ideas here.

**Easy example: Sony could have made an iPod-like device before Apple, if only they had seen which way the wind was blowing. They had years of research into suitable UIs and portable audio to draw upon.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bye, bye Apple...it was good (well, maybe) knowin' ya!

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_reluctance_motor

A 'digital' motor requires a good control system to operate, which in this day and age means solid state electronics.

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Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Dave 126
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Re: Why the unnecessary snark?

Not jealousy, but thinking that if we were mega-rich we would prefer a couple of days in orbit instead of a few minutes in free-fall.

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Dave 126
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Re: Real numbers would be interesting

@Credas

Yes, the first stage will require more fuel, but fuel is only a tiny part of the cost of the launch. I was amazed when I learnt how little of the launch cost is fuel. Musk's approach is neatly outlined by this:

Musk reiterated the origin of the SpaceX production model, saying fuel is only 0.3 percent of the total cost of a rocket, with construction materials accounting for no more than 2 percent of the total cost, which for the Falcon 9 is about $60 million.

So, the obvious cost savings are to be made by i, making the vehicle more cheaply, and ii, reusing it.

Musk has made the vehicle cheaper to build by:

-using the same propellant in the upper and lower stages means that operationally, you only need to have one set of fuel tanks. If you can imagine a situation where you have a kerosene first stage, hydrogen upper stage, and solid rocket side boosters, you’ve just tripled your cost right there.

- the upper stage of a Falcon 9 is simply a short version of the first stage. That may seem pretty obvious, but nobody else does that. They tend to create upper stage in a totally different way than they create the first stage.

- The Merlin engine — we used it on the upper stage of Falcon 9, on the main stage of Falcon 9 and on the first stage of Falcon 1. So we get economies of scale in use of the Merlin engine.

-Our tanks are friction stir welded, [aluminum] skin and stringer designed as opposed to machined aluminum, [giving us] a 20 fold advantage in the cost of materials, and our stage ends up being lighter …because geometrically, we can have deeper stringers.

- https://www.pehub.com/2010/06/elon-musk-on-why-his-rockets-are-faster-cheaper-and-lighter-than-what-youve-seen-before/

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Dave 126
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Re: Very much agreed

Speaking of XKCD, after Bezos' Shepard landing, Elon musk tweeted a link to Mr Munroe's website:

- "Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on their booster"

- "It is, however, important to clear up the difference between "space" and "orbit", as described well by https://what-if.xkcd.com/58/ "

[ https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/669129347555430400 ]

He wasn't snarky, either.

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Surface Pro 4: Will you go the F**K to SLEEP?

Dave 126
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>How many mainstream laptops have 2k screens?

A few, from Lenovo and Toshiba amongst others. However, the Surface, and the Surface Book, have 3:2 aspect ratios which for some will be reason enough to buy them over the near ubiquitous 16:9. The only other option is 16:10 from Apple. Again, if I am wrong here, please pretty please post a link to a non 16:9 laptop!! Thanks!

Windows was a bit behind OSX in the way it dealt with UI scaling on very high res screens, but apparently it's good now. The issue is that some 3rd party software for Windows isn't fully civilised yet (Photoshop, I'm looking at you). This chicken and egg situation (why buy a pricey high res laptop if the software isn't ready, why rework the software if there are few customers) might explain why high-res Windows laptops aren't yet common.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'll pass

I can understand how those of you who write software or manage massive storage systems are dubious about things like the Surface Tablet. However, my car mechanic has been using touch-screen PCs since WinXP Tablet Edition. A lot of the automotive diagnostic software has had the option of a touchscreen interface for years.

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Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy

Dave 126
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Re: Ships building ships

I've read 'em. I still choose the 'Orbital' variant of the concept because the topic was a reason to rearrange the mass of a planet.

A Ringworld is roughly described by the orbit of the Earth, and provides about 300 million times the habitable surface area.

An Orbital doesn't encircle a sun, and provides around a 100 times the habitable surface of the planet whilst using less matter.

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Dave 126
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Re: Confused

You then instruct the 'missiles' to arrange themselves into a habitat of the shape and location of your choosing. That is, of course, if the 'command and control' systems haven't been borked in a copying error (mutation) over thousands of generations.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ships building ships

And Banks alludes to what can happen if those self-repair mechanisms go wrong (like cancer) - resulting in pesky swarms of tiny machines that would if left unchecked turn all available matter into replicas of themselves. The culture assign some ships to 'pest control' duties.

As others have noted, he didn't originate the concept.

In Star Wars, people live on planets. In the Culture books, the matter of a planet would support far more life if it were re-arranged into a ring-shaped Orbital habitat.

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Dave 126
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Are we talking about...

...Self Hemogenizing Swarms, as Iain M. Banks dubbed them? He also used the word 'Smatter' (Smart Matter, IIRC). Other people have used the terms 'Grey Goo', or 'Von Neumann Machines'.

I confess, I didn't read the article - I haven't seen the Force Awakens movie yet, and was scared off by the spoiler warning.

To others who haven't seen the movie, you should avoid Wired.com, since they have spoilers in their headlines.

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Hillary Clinton says for crypto 'maybe the back door is the wrong door'

Dave 126
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Alert

Dear fellow commentards...

... let's take five minutes and imagine a near future, a speculative fiction. Let us imagine a near-future in which the whole idea of encryption is irrelevant.

A future in which encryption doesn't matter because so much cctv and drone video footage is collected that the location and behaviour of every citizen is known in real time. In such a scenario the authorities would learn very little from reading (broken) encrypted messages over what they already knew by observing subjects directly.

If this fictional authority has a MagicTechnolgyMachine that stopped all bombs from exploding or guns from firing, it wouldn't need to read the emails of any potential terrorist.

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Dave 126
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Go

>*ANY* door is a problem, since the effect is the same. A door is a door. It doesn't matter if it's a back door, side door or front door.

Eh? What Vimes has just described is indistinguishable from running over your computer with a steam roller then throwing the remains into a volcano. There has to be *one* door, otherwise you are deleting your data instead of encrypting it. Perhaps you mean you just want a single door, but a door to which only you or your intended correspondent have the key?

I say that in a friendly way. If I come across as pedantic, it because the people who are against back-doors ( i.e. broken encryption) largely have facts and accuracy on their side - especially when compared to politicians!

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Newspaper kills 'what was fake' column as pointless in internet age

Dave 126
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Re: Pot Meet Kettle

Arm yourself with a working grasp of statistics, and read newspapers from different parts of the political spectrum, as well as more specialised publications (farming, engineering, science, sociology etc). Go to the pub and listen to people of different walks of life in various trades and professions. Remember that not everyone can afford to go the pub.

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Dave 126
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Re: In unrelated news...

It's a device to administer electroshock therapy to shell-shocked (post traumatic stress disorder) soldiers in World War One. Other doctors at the time advocated more discipline, or tried placing lit cigarettes on the restrained patient's tongue. Others doctors did try 'talking therapies'.

Today, we have more former servicemen in prison or who have committed suicide than the national average. Promising treatments for PTSD include gardening, and also the use of MDMA ('Ecstasy'), both combined with talking.

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Dave 126
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Re: "fake news has taken on a much more unpleasant tone...

Yep, the old 'echo chamber' effect. It can happen anywhere, even on the Reg at times.

I once had a thought pop into my head - a 'Siamese twin' of a newspaper, with two editors (one of a Guardian persuasion, for example, the other more Daily Mail) and two versions of each story, side by side. By being 'joined at the hip', contested issues *might* be thrashed out more intelligently. Maybe. Just an idle idea.

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