What we tend to forget is the amount of, say, plumbers needed to fix piping, washing machines, boilers, etc. when they go wrong. The same principle applies to all technology - and the more sophisticated the technology, the less stable it is, needing more people to tend to it. By and large, this also leaves the detritus of legacy development too - whether it's code included to operate like long-dead operating systems or multiple ways of collecting data that is never used (timesheets are a case in point: I've worked in places where three different methods of accounting for people's time were used, but actually minimal attention was paid to the latest one and none to the others).
59 posts • joined 1 Aug 2010
Encryption via plain English?
Presumably by "...he may have been stopped..." (and the other inappropriate use of "may") you meant to suggest "he might have been stopped". Is it perhaps reasonsable to ask that the moods of verbs reflect what it intended, so that the readers can distinguish between what was (or might have been) uncertain and what is currently uncertain?
Foxconn are actually admitting to being in the wrong, and paying for the worker? It's not so long ago that any of these Chinese political parties (CCP, KMT, whatever) would just have taken a bung and seen to it that the family was shut up for good - no questions asked. As for anyone else that might ask about the victim, er, who was that again? And "Do you really want to remember a name like that? Move along, now!"
Re: @Joe 3
"Most public spending is hugely inefficient, and a fair chunk is on non-essential stuff. ....with the largest single item usually being a welfare system that is a complete mess."
Really? Suck this and see:
"Looking at most Western economies, you'll find that they almost all spend a huge amount more than they bring in through tax. It has worked in the past because they flicked the debt onto future generations,"
Current national debt is not paid by future generations. If it had been, then the aftermath of the Second World War would have been a crash. On the contrary, that war was followed by constant growth once the Bretton Woods system, with managed intervention and stimulus from governments, was brought into being. (By the way, it's a bit beside the point, but the eventual crash was assured once the ideologues had driven out evidence-based fiscal management in the mid-1970s.)
Not the "traditional computer science degrees" - not unless you're referring to those newfangled Jacquard looms, or possibly Babage's calculator. Otherwise, I think you could look up your online dictionary and find that "conventional" is the word you're looking for. In fact, you might even find it in a book - remember those? (For younger readers, a "book" was a traditional data storage medium, often with convenient data access.)
..is to buy out the owners of industry instead of having a costly shooting war which might involve the USA.
The Kuomintang, the ruling party in Taiwan, still believes that it will become the ruling party of China - despite the world turning its back on these wannabe Chinese Nationalists after they lost the Chinese Civil War. Decades of political persecution persuaded most Taiwanese people that it was easier to keep their heads down and go along with the Kuomintang fantasies, rather than point out that China's claim to Taiwan had been renounced in 1985, and it was never really interested in Taiwan anyway except as China's Botany Bay, suitable for dumping malcontents and a deposed emperor, but was otherwise an island of savages (the various indigenous non-Chinese peoples).
The first people to be re-educated and sent into 'internal' exile (maybe in Tibet?) once China does take over Taiwan (which seems almost inevitable now) will be the Kuomintang supporters (with their families), who will have served their purpose; only afterwards will the optimistic supporters of Taiwanese independence be dealt with, since it's easier to get the Kuomintang to do the dirty work first.
Meanwhile, the easy route to takeover is simply to buy out the media and industry and ensure that the main market for Taiwanese goods is China, while Taiwanese businesses are persuaded that their factories and their employment should be moved there on cost grounds. Isn't capitalism wonderful?
The IT angle? All your motherboards, laptops and sundry other communications equipment will be manufactured under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.
Re: Has anyone here ever used those Bluetooth laser keyboards?
@I ain't Spartacus.
A touch typist does, indeed, keep fingers hovering above the keys, rather than resting on them - or, at least, one of my generation (taught on manual typewriters) does.
A little bird has told me...
..that the best Beijing duck is actually to be had in Taipei - a bit like the best Chinese historical artefacts, the best Chinese elections,...
The article IS racist and peddles a stereotype...
..as the example of Taiwan (which in many ways is more deeply imbued with Chinese culture than China) shows.
Innovation? Commercial success? Get-up-and-go? It's all there in spades.
Now, if you were to argue that the Chinese Communist Party has consistently stultified enterprise, then you'd be arguing on the basis of evidence, rather than racist assumptions.
Like forced abortion? That's the reality of life in China today.
Actually, Chen's appeal to the top dogs there to get the constitution and the law observed was rather pathetic: he was talking to wolves about ensuring that the vegetarian menu was adhered to. Just one indication of how out-of-touch even dissidents are with what's really going on, due to the Chinese Communist Party's all-encompassing control of the media.
Bad idea to adapt it for men: more prostate tests -> more deaths and maimings, while fewer prostate tests -> a healthier male population.
There are more serious implications here. If the PRC has agents from Taiwan (as this shows) and the current "Republic of China" government, the Kuo Min Tang, is practically gasping to be taken over by that country (as it is, backed by big business), then US and democratic influence in South-East Asia is severely under threat. Taiwanese technology will doubtless also become the tool of the PLA, and the Taiwanese population can expect to be swamped by picked anti-democratic incomers, as in Hong Kong. The lights in South-East Asia are going out.
Re: Rise Of The Machines?
Your attitude is the most sensible on here: practically all men over 60 and certainly all over 70 have cancerous cells in their prostates. It's a disease of age - get over it.
Cancerous prostate cells only turns nasty if you let urologists get near them with instruments: after that, all bets on a long life are off. Just ask any oncologist (cancer specialist). Urologists do this for profit, because in the USA they can get away with it, even though all other medical advice is against letting anyone near your prostate.
A dead patient is unlikely to complain, and the odd few that survive this assault on their manhood deperately need to convince themselves that their lives have been saved. Anything else calls into question why they should allow themselves to be rendered impotent and/or maimed.
Exactly - it's "commentator" as any fule kno.
On the SNP, of course: why should it be bracketed with the loony right-wing phenomenon that is the BNP and the slightly less loony right-wing phenomenon that is UKIP?
The Scottish example....
..of a broader definition of what is open for the public to look at suggests that Westminster complaints are ill-founded, at best. That, or that Westminster's powerful have something to hide which on principle shouldn't be hidden.
Nobody else has said it:
quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Why should the police investigate the police? Even if everything is above board, no-one will believe it.
Perhaps it's time to introduce a proper prosecution service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and bring them into line with, well, virtually everywhere else - certainly the rest of Europe.
It's not really the main threat to Japan here, unlike the PRC, which has thousands of missiles aimed at Taiwan and has a constant threat of invasion against Taiwan. Since the PR also makes claims to control the seas which provide Japan's main shipping route west, Japan desperately needs to keep a watch on movements there.
@ Yet Another Commentard
This seems to me to be the right (i.e. most informative) approach to presenting information on a CV. However, many organisations are determined to apply their own Procrustean bed to job applicants - the application form. So if you're a professional graduate you're faced with all those lovely big spaces for the school certificates you (may have) won decades ago at the chalk face, but there is no space to describe why the skills involved in bringing up your family, for example, are a sound basis for fulfilling the needs of the prospective employer.
To many recruiters, whether hired in or in-house, want to use open-ended, flexible - even farcical - criteria in interviews but written formats that are better described as "anal" than just restrictive.
The article tells it like it is, but it would be good to see a third article on the ways in which recruiters can help to make the whole application and recruitment process work better.
is a waste of effort anyway, since it takes so long for people to adjust physically - twice a year.
As for the experiment in Double Summer Time, I remember it well: it gave a huge boost to the manufacturers of early forms of reflector, who were the only people to gain anything out of it. I went to school in the dark. No thanks!
Problems go further back
The beginning of the problems dates from the discovery of North Sea Oil: it led Thatcher and subsequent governments to believe that they had free money to wreak their social warfare on those they despised and indulge in military adventures, regardless of the cost to industry (you know - the people that used to make things, before the UK became the Shareshop of the World). So unlike, say, Norway, we're hard up, unable to stimulate any industry but the financial ones, and have a political class in thrall to the likes of the City of London and the CBI.
Economists have been feeding us the lie since the 1970s that markets are some kind of divinely-inspired angels, when actually they're just another means of social organisation, mostly reflecting the decisions of the Party Central Committee, the executive boardroom or the Eton Old Boys' cabinet. (Ultimately, what's the difference?)
Real-life markets are not and never have been free in the sense in which the lunatic Austrian/US view believes: there are no perfect markets outside textbooks. Even if there were, they'd be unstable and push participants into agglomerating into monopolies. That's why a regulated market system works: you don't end up with Murdochs feeding you misinformation, nor retail banks gambling with depositors' funds. Oh, and you don't end up privatising what are useful public services, such as utilities and the health service. It's a bit like democracy (remember that?) - it may not be good, but it's a lot better than any of the alternatives.
Markets and what they can(not) do
Smith's example of economies of scale (the pin factory) was, like most of his writing on economics, copied from other writers. (Acknowledgement of sources wasn't expected in those days.)
Any sizeable market town shows the same concentration of trades: all the butchers are in one place, competing, as Oliver 7 noted, for decreasing margins, instead of being spread out to satisfy the needs of the population. This is why a democratically managed market system is more efficient in the longer run, both to satisfy demand (i.e. to provide supply) and to secure it against mishap (like the floods in Thailand). The proponents of completely free markets, who have held sway since Margaret Thatcher's time, come unstuck in a changing world, because unfettered markets don't look ahead and provide for anything but the short run - the situation in which nothing changes. (Command economies also come unstuck, as we saw in the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.)
Of course, betting on the future exists, but it is still based entirely on current data, which only exacerbates the impact of long-run change. Our banking system is a nice empirical experiment that proves the point. :-(
Companies and investors have no short-run incentive to provide for accident. However, markets are not natural laws but social phenomena: responsible governments or even international organisations have a duty to ensure that populations cannot be unduly harmed by changes in circumstances. If governments leave markets to operate without any regulation, there is a high price to pay.
Taxes paid by OFT's favourite?
What the title says. If it doesn't pay British taxes or abide by European data protection standards, then it shouldn't be welcomed by a publicly-funded employee - unless, of course, he's getting a backhander. That would be more honest.
Interestingly, I picked up on the other notable statement:
"Among the many controversies stirred up on the internet, many are organised, with goals and meticulous planning and direction, and some clearly have commercial interests or political intentions in the background" - just the perfect introduction to the way the CCP and Murdoch's organs try to defile public debate.
"Of course" you're out of touch
This: "Oldies are less likely to do so than youngsters, of course."
They're the baby boomers, remember - more income, good pensions (well, better than the next generation's), plenty of free time and families around to help. Maybe the vultures should stick to tearing the techy stuff apart, and leave the sociology to others.
The Scottish Government isn't allowed to levy taxes - not yet, anyway.
It doesn't get a proportion of the oil revenues either: they apparently come from a constituent nation of the UK called the North Sea. Just as well that nation was discovered in time to allow Margaret Thatcher to fund her civil war within industry (remember when the UK made things?) and her external war with Argentina. That way, the UK ended up with no industry, an underclass of the permanently subsidised unemployed, a culture of get-rich-quick financial spivs and free-for-all fishing to satisfy the Spanish seafood market. The Scottish Government, naturally, looks at all these, er, benefits and contrasts them with those made available to the people of Norway, and thinks it could allocate taxes in a rather more efficient and more beneficial manner.
The anti-independence parties in Scotland try their damnedest to prove the Scottish Government right, by insisting on expenditure on, for example, a pointless tram scheme (where there is an excellent bus service) instead of upgrading major trunk roads and then bleating constantly that the Nationalist Scottish Government isn't being fair.
Given current and present experience, the wonder is that the Scottish population don't insist on independence asap. Anyone would imagine they'd vote wholesale for it. Oh, I forgot - at the last election, they did. It's just that nobody believes the voters' overwhelming vote for a pro-independence party is a vote for independence. We live in strange times.
This: "discretely put together".
Pity it wasn't intended. :-(
Please protect us
from these abominations like "snuck". Ugh! I feel sick.
Surely this needs an edit:
"Despite being saddled with more past-it PCs than others, UK office workers are far less likely to take a hammer to their phone or laptop than their Gallic peers."
"UK office workers are being saddled with more past-it PCs than others because they are far less likely to take a hammer to their phone or laptop than their Gallic peers."
Of course, in-work surveillance, as pointed out, makes it less likely. No wonder British industry is always said to be less efficient than that of France or Germany.
Television and technology
As AC has pointed out, technical staff are no longer accepted into the upper echelons of the BBC.
However, there is another reason for TV production teams' failure to grasp science and technology: the people who work in them see pictures as the main means of storing and passing on human knowledge. Since they work in a visual medium, that is, after all, what they need to provide.
This also explains why audio standards in television have dropped: production teams don't _see_ the need for high-quality recording.
It's difficult for lowly-paid, inexperienced, junior researchers to appreciate that not everyone perceives the world visually (or at least that others can perceive mathematical formulae, statistics or even elegant language), because they move among visually-orientated colleagues. Producers, directors and the like should have more experience, but it has usually been gained by going in ever-decreasing professional circles: if anything, their _view_ of the world is even more restricted.
If you want analysis, don't look for it from television: talk radio and the printed word are much richer seams to mine.
Absolutely - we manage to get shrapnel mines banned from, well, most places, and reduced the availability of cluster bombs. Then the good ol' USA comes up with a portable alternative. What is it with that country and guns - penis envy?
..on British society is the cause: an addiction to the blandishments of big business, whether that's the few big supermarkets on your high street, the few big banks threatening to bring down the economy, or the shrinking select band of media owners, who control information and ensure that their political friends throttle the BBC at the same time.
The failure of closed source provision is just another symptom of the economic malaise in the UK - and it predates New Labour, too. The corporate "vision" of the UK ensures that all society's major needs are sold by the "private sector" (big business, more like - the CBI's members), while being subsidised by the public purse (or did you think that the road system was there for private car owners, rather than for Tesco?). That's the kind of sclerotic malaise which stifles innovation or even quirkiness: IT just shows the effects, like almost every other sector of an over-centralised UK economy that is firmly controlled by oligopolies.
El Reg's reporter turns up with "Events at the quake- and tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant in Japan went well at the weekend" and "sampling of food from farms in Fukushima province revealed that so far, in line with expectations, no dangerous radioisotopes have been released from the plant in significant quantities" - no source, no attribution - but it doesn't look much like this to me:
"Engineers at the Fukushima Daiichi facility, 155 miles northeast of Tokyo, had been racing to restore power to cooling systems at its six reactors to reverse the overheating that triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years."
"Tokyo's tap water, where iodine turned up Friday, now has caesium as well. Rain and dust are also tainted.
"In the province of Ibaraki, a centre of vegetable production, tests found radioactive iodine levels in spinach that were 27 times the accepted limit.
"Milk in Fukushima was found to be contaminated with radiation 17 times that limit. "
These are all from journalists who verify their sources and do not try to emulate Dr Pangloss.
Here's more, from Auntie this time:
"The crisis has still not been resolved and the situation at the [plant] remains very serious," Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, told an emergency board meeting."
El Reg's editorial staff needs to get a grip. Even if the intended readership is likely to have a pro-science bias, it is laughable to claim that there's no problem, and then that the problem is near to a solution: it reads like the pronouncements of a deluded dictator telling everyone that all the people love him.
Credit where it's due
Many people here are decrying the standards of journalism, and to redress the balance I'd like to point out today's (18 March) front-page article and photos in The Daily Telegraph (a newspaper that I haven't touched since Margaret Thatcher came to power). It is written by a professional reporter who obviously does not claim to be a scientist; it quotes several people who are, and refers to several other reliable sources, clearly stating the situation and the effects, both local and international. It contrasts starkly with El Reg's tabloid pro-nuke reports, which, in turn, seem to be a mirror of dead-tree tabloid anti-nuke journalism. (If there is any complaint with The Daily Telegraph, then it's down to the headline, "....nuclear fuel in meltdown", which is contradicted by the actual report's "..overheating fuel rods are threatening a nuclear meltdown". Well done, The Daily Telegraph!
@ ian 22
The real problem with the nuclear industry is that, as an offshoot of the bomb, governments saw that they had to hide the costs. The major costs of nuclear power - both mining, which destroys environments and cultures, and waste disposal (albeit preferably not into the Japanese atmosphere or the Irish Sea, for example) - don't get counted, but shoved under the carpet. If these costs were internalised (and adjusted upwards following every major nuclear incident), then nuclear power would have been scrapped long ago as unprofitable. After all, we already have a useful, distant, fairly safe nuclear reactor to keep us warm: it's called the Sun.
Nuclear industry advocates include some very smart people who can make convincing arguments, but the costs of providing fuel are immense and the costs of waste disposal are incalculable. They will never be laid at the door of private companies, but we will all pay for them for ever - or as near as makes no difference.
"[A] tightening of control of communication expenditure."
You bet! Monitoring at GCHQ - the government's spooks tapping into other countries' data - is to be funded from your BBC licence fee.
There is no right to training just now -
just the right to ask for training, and then be refused, of course, if the employer wishes. The grounds for refusal are, in essence, that the employer can deny any potential benefits to the employer or any improved productivity from the employee. (There are some others, but these two are so wide that no employer needs to go near them.)
The regulations are not within the government's gift, either, since they're ACAS regulations, although it would be possible for the government to reinstitute bonded labour or slavery in order to cut costs.
On a constructive note, perhaps El Reg could offer some training to its staff, so that we don't have to read "less than 250 people" and "less than 10 staff". Good examples might help to keep keyboards untouched rather than forcing the likes of "Tory's" (offered as a substitute for a plural) on us too.
An interesting point. Most nuclear power starts off with ripping up the landscape of people who can't defend themselves against the rapacious mining corporations that must have their dose of profit. Environments and indigenous peoples just don't count for mining corporations - they're real Untermenschen. That's before it's decided who and where will have the resulting crap dumped on them - at no cost to the mining corporations, since our supine governments see this as their/our public duty. Doubtless some bright spark will have a good idea - the crap can be dumped where the original material came from, because the environment there has been destroyed anyway, and we all know that the people there don't count.
Since when is nuclear power cleaner or less deadly than, say, tar oil? Oh, and like conventional oil, the raw material's running out.
Isn't it wonderful how safe we are...
...when the juggler can catch every ball every time? So encouraging, especially when we see that those aren't balls but something similar to the icon.
Strictly speaking, this is wrong:
"The disgraced toff also had outwardly firm backing from most of his fellow Christian Democrat politicoes, though this wasn't universal". Guttenberg is not a Christian Democrat (from the CDU) but a Christian Socialist (CSU), the Bavarian equivalent, which is in a more-or-less permanent coalition with the CDU, known as the "Union".
Using an aristocratic title in a modern democratic republic should really disqualify you from public office in any case.
What a wastrel!
I can't believe that he was daft enough to work to get a 2:2!
Back in the day, I knew someone whose extracurricular activities were such that he was the only one to get a 3rd class - and then he went on to Harvard. (Money talks.)
Speculation adds to market, er, efficiency
All right-thinking commentators assure us that the speculative markets did wonderfully well in ensuring that demand and supply for housing in the USA ended up stable too. They did, didn't they? :-o
On the other hand, some foolish observers would have us believe that they ended up in many people losing their homes in the USA, and landed major financial institutions in a global financial crisis that almost set off another global depression. Really! Some people do have extraordinarily overactive imaginations.
My vote would go for German, since it is more precise and the structure isn't undergoing radical shifts, unlike English. English has a massive vocabulary to make up for the continuing collapse of a viable grammatical structure - just think of the changing, ambiguous use of "may" and "might" in print. This would be exploited by lawyers following the established practice in English legal systems (as opposed to Roman/Dutch ones) of lawyers cavilling and quibbling over the phrasing of laws ('distinguishing') instead of deriving decisions from first principles.
German has two other distinct advantages: it is the most widely spoken language in Europe, and it has a highly developed scientific terminology.
It is worth remembering that, since the UK doesn't invest to any significant degree in science, more and more European scientific papers are produced in US English, which would seem culturally inappropriate for defining concepts in a European context.
Oh, and the German Purity Laws are well worth observing: so I'll drink to it.
Unfair dismissal claims are only ever brought by employees who see no other way out: by that time their health has usually begun to fail and in many cases they will never work again. Trades unions always advise against them because unless the complainant has obviously been bullied, victimised and had his/her health put at risk, the employer is most likely to win, particularly with the sheaves of reports written by HR officials to make the employer look good.
Admittedly, it's fairly unlikely that the products of daddy's public-school fee payments have any idea of that, and that's the oligarchy that's running the UK just now.
Any aliens could be expected to rule the UK better than the shower of career politicians we have just now: so I'd like to welcome them heartily. Please hurry up and take over.
Back to the 1930s
Richard Lambert shouldn't be so concerned about how small businesses can provide jobs for the 400,000 public sector workers who, he predicts, will lose their jobs. When they do, those small businesses won't have any customers any more and many of them will go to the wall.
Look on the bright side, though: unlike in the 1970s, there is no oil bonanza to rescue the UK economy from crass mismanagement, and all the political parties will be forced to (re)learn that Keynes got it right after all.
Paris, of course, follows rational economic policies, boosting employment and limiting working hours so that life is there to be enjoyed.
Linguistic standards dropping in NI
What a pity to see (if the BBC can be trusted) "Is mise Peadar Robinson agus tugaim tacaiocht don Acht na Gaelige", which includes an impossible construction (a definite article applied to a noun that's determined by a genitive), and, in the comments here, such manifestly English idioms badly translated as "TIOCFAIDH ÁR LÁ ".
If you're going to comment on languages or translate websites (even in jest), you'd better make sure your grammar doesn't stink.
No problem: the Chinese learning industry can base itself in Taiwan. Mine's a pint of beer, to toast democracy. :-)
"New Year's Eve"
Back in civilisation, everyone knows that it's really called Hogmanay, and that, far from being a time for partying, it is a time for reflection on the year that is about to end and on absent friends: the partying begins at the start of New Year's Day. The contrast is what makes it a custom that has lasted for centuries.
...just laugh at the salesman who are desperate to offload their 3D-ware on to TV production companies. Even if the demand existed, the bandwidth doesn't, and the equipment is very big and expensive. Current trends are for equipment to get smaller and cheaper (like budgets).