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* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

315 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets

Primus Secundus Tertius
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The conventional view is that life began in or under the oceans. So not on land (and not in the presence of oxygen).

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

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The real contribution to road safety would be to ban cyclists.

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

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The old song

What did Dela Ware?

Less than a brand New Jersey, it seems.

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Forget the mobile patent wars – these web giants have patented your DATA CENTER

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: The 21st century version

@FrankAlpha

"...the species will continue..."

Quite right. Look at Germany, 1945. The economy was destroyed, but the population survived.

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Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles

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Re: Good!

I wish el Reg would get rid of the INSANE CAPITALS in the middle of their headlines.

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Re: @MrNed

@tony2heads

I just checked the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1992 edition. They agree with you, much to my surprise.

Another day, another new thing to learn.

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Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife

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Not just DNS

VM "teletext" was screwed from ca 7.30pm 7th July to 9am 8th July. Was working again 11.20am 8th July. This was in Surrey. VM Internet was working normally.

OK, it is not old style teletext but some private network on 10.x.y.z.

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BAE retracts hedge fund hack allegation

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Whom do you hate most?

Who is the more villainous? The hedgies or BAe?

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SUPER EARTH possibly home to life FOUND in our 'solar backyard'

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Re: Solar backyard

@Mage

The gravity would not be noticed within an ocean. (Except for higher pressure at the bottom.)

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Rockall pod-dweller braces for stormy weather

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Re: 60 days of learning the harmonica

I wish my local bell-clangers would go there.

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New MH370 search zone picked using just seven satellite 'handshakes'

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Re: What about those black-box locator pings?

Natural mimicry is possible.

Some fishy entity may be having a whale of a laugh.

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Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

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Re: jail sentence

@YAAC

Your comment would hold if the authorities were specifically looking at somebody. The mass surveillance is not actively looking at people by the million, just establishing a cache of information.

If Mr Snowden were really in full disclosure mode, he would tell us how the authorities use that cache of information when the need arises.How do they search efficiently? How do the distinguish J Smith (Jack) from J Smith (John). Or Mahomet from Mohammed from Muhamed?

Lots of interesting data processing questions here, and there is a genuine public interest in how well it is being done.

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Today's get-rich-quick scheme: Build your own bank

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Why the middle man

Why do we need the intermediate bank here? Why can't we each deposit directly with the Bank of England? Rather like the old Post Office savings account thet my mother opened for me when I was ten days old.

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Blame WWI, not Bin Laden, for NSA's post-9/11 intel suck

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Re: shot Brazilian

@Ledswinger

I have always suspected there is an overwhelming venality within the Metropolitan Police, leading in that instance to a poor piece of surveillance and the resulting fatal error.

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'Hashtag' added to the OED – but # isn't a hash, pound, nor number sign

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Sharp comment

I have always thought of it as 'the sharp sign', as used in music notation.

Cue hash, bang, wallop from those who disagree.

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When will Microsoft next run out of US IPv4 addresses for Azure?

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Re: IPV6 Foot Dragging Goes On Forever

IPv5 seems to be a forgotten disaster. IPv4 was a solid professional job, but everything since then has had a "student project" feel.

So yes, let's have an IPv7 that at least has some compatibility with v4 to enable a gradual transition.

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'CAPTAIN CYBORG': The wild-eyed prof behind 'machines have become human' claims

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Re: Screw artificial intelligence

Q: Who's the intelligent one?

Good question. Before I retired, I felt jealous of people drawing large salaries as professors of Marxism while I was relegated to honest toil.

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Re: So much to do, so little time...

Surely the point of the research is to find out what kind of logic - logic on a large scale - is needed to produce something looking like intelligence. So, for example, neurons might be modelled at a logical level but not at the biological level.

Of course, it is possible to suggest that there is something rational in a biological cell, i.e. not a 'soul', which is not currently known but enables a large group of them to show intelligence. After all, the eucaryotic cell is immensely complex. But this is conjecture, and arguably contravenes Occam's Razor. However, what a discovery if it turned out to be true.

All fascinating stuff, though. If done properly, it is pure science.

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DOCX disaster recovery: How I rescued my wife from XM-HELL

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@theotherjt

Maybe I live dangerously, but I find One Note very good for concocting the first draft of a document.

Mind you, there are no styles or themes in the Word documents it produces: everything is strictly low level font face and font size.

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Marc Andreessen: Edward Snowden is a 'textbook traitor'

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Re: I think not:

The STASI were the Staats Sicherheitsdienst - the state security service - and could be seen as the successors of the Geheime Staats Polizei (GESTAPO). They were policemen, not ministry jobsworths.

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Re: RE: Who didn't know what the NSA was doing?

@Potsherd

You seem to trust Google more than you trust government. I for one do not trust Google.

I do take the point that what is innocent today may be guilty tomorrow. For example, I have argued that global warming is natural. The British government does not currently want to lock me up for that, although some people urge them to do just that.

But compare that with the real threats of various terrorist groups, or of organised crime. In the light of that, is it so unreasonable for robotic systems to have an information trail of a few months, so that if a person comes under suspicion but twigs that he is rumbled, there is pre-suspicion information available?

Believe me, They are not interested in Us. I went to a privileged university with some of Them.

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Re: RE: Who didn't know what the NSA was doing?

Well said, sir.

It seems remarkable to British people that Americans are bellyaching vociferously about the NSA but seem willing to tell Google, Facebook, and co almost anything.

It seems they still have not gotten over the distorted and exaggerated grievances whipped up by a minority of activists against the lawful and wise government of George III.

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Joke

Re: Quantum of betrayal?

That's what the MSM call 'spin'. It comes in half-integral quantities.

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Brit lands on Rockall with survival podule, starts record attempt

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The Great Escape

Some people will do anything to get away from their relatives for a few weeks.

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Feds hunt 30-year-old alleged to be lord of Gameover botnet

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Re: The Real Bots

It is all very well to criticise end users, but most of them have other things to do with their lives. They are no more interested in the computer than I am in clothing fashions or sport.

It is because there are millions of other users that they are so cheap for us to take an interest in.

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Google to plonk tentacles on 'unwired' world with $1bn launch of 180-satellite fleet

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Re: Flies Over the Great Wall

@Mike16

The East Germans had teams of technicians who would "assist" any household whose antenna was mistakenly directed westwards.

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'Failure is not an option... Never give up.' Not in Silicon Valley, mate

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Re: 'Be Lucky'

The good player is always lucky.

Former world chess champion, Capablanca.

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What data recovery software would you suggest?

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Re: Macrium Reflect

Re Drive image,

I call it Drivel Mage because I hate capital letters in the middle of words.

But I do find it useful for restoring Windows systems with all the device drivers and office software that I use. There is a version of it on the Hirens CD, so I can reinstate my Windows system on a bare machine.

Choice of compression: none, quick but useful, or strong but takes time to save an image. Restore is reasonably quick.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

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Household gear

A bed that makes itself.

Self cleaning bathtubs, lavatories, etc.

A noise-cancelling facility to remove passing audio-bomb cars, nearby pub discos, etc.

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China to become world's No 1 economy. And we still can't see why

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Re: "It can't happen to me!"

When I was a small boy in the 1950s, Dad took us out in the car on Sunday afternoons. Everywhere we would see broken down motor cycles, and their owners patching them up again.

Crap machinery. No wonder people started buying the foreign stuff, and the British companies died.

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Robotics pioneer: Intelligent machines are 'scary for a lot of people'

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I thought an ATM would recognise the nationality of your plastic card and put up its messages in the appropriate language. That is my experience with European ATM machines.

Petrol vending machines are another matter. I was faced with one in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, not only insisting on Dutch but choosing Dutch words that had no parallel in German or English. I had to ask another friendly motorist for assistance.

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You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

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Re: I would argue the situation was even worse

@Tom Welsh

An arts degree teaches you to write essays. A science or engineering degree teaches you to do sums.

There are too many innumerate but opinionated people in politics and journalism.

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US authorities name five Chinese military hackers wanted for espionage

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US Law Rules the World (Not)

The US has every right to be aggrieved, but it does not have the right to impose its laws on the rest of us.

Had those Chinese individuals done their deeds within the US, they would undoubtedly be found guilty and duly tried. If China were a civilised state, those people would be found guilty in China and duly prosecuted.

But the US and China are not at peace, though nor are they fully at war. International law, in its old sense of what is right and proper between self-governing polities, therefore is undefined.There is no case for the US pretending it can extradite in this matter.

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How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

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Re: Benford...

@tomsk

I came across another example of the Zipf Law.

We were encoding digital maps, taking a square block of pixels and replacing it with a code number. This gave us a useful compression for those particular maps.

The code numbers followed a Zipf distribution.

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Greenwald alleges NSA tampers with routers to plant backdoors

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St Snowden

I was once heavily downvoted for criticising Saint Snowden. So, congratulations sir or madam, and here is my upvote.

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Mae Microsoft yn addysgu Swyddfa, Bing, siarad Cymraeg*

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Re: They got agreement on this?

@oldgroaner

I have spent many holidays in "foreign european" countries (if Brussels will allow that term). Most of them speak only their own language, and I have helped many Brits and Yanks who found that out the hard way.

There are two categories that do speak English. Firstly the highly educated: university types, and senior business people and politicians. Secondly, those in the tourist trade: hotel reception, taxi drivers, head waiters... . But not supermarket checkout staff or local bar staff, as examples.

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LA air traffic meltdown: System simply 'RAN OUT OF MEMORY'

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Re: The Spiral of Deaaaath!

Perhaps the program copped out at 65537 feet, where it busted a 16-bit integer limit in an old library routine.

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ENTIRE UNIVERSE created in supercomputer. Not THIS universe (probably)

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Re: Wonderful

The universe could rotate, but it does not.

Gödel not only made his mark in mathematical logic, but subsequently solved equations of general relativity for a rotating universe. He made predictions, which were tested.

Conclusion: the universe is not rotating. That must mean that it did not gain angular momentum during its inflationary phase.

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Re: We could be in a simulation

"Brain: that with which we think we think"

Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary.

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Re: We could be in a simulation

Universe or multiverse?

Sounds like it was designed by computer people, with the traditional uni/multi confusion.

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You complain about politicians but the alternative is men with guns.

Germany voted against traditional politicians in 1933. It was a long time before they voted again, especially in the eastern parts.

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Microsoft: You know we said NO MORE XP PATCHES? Well ...

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Re: Stick to your guns: Stop supporting XP

Yes, Microsoft still make available updates for MSE/XP. But they leave the MSE icon at a warning red even if it is up to date, and MSE puts up a nag message at every restart.

So Microsoft are being stroppy, and any spirited customer will be more determined to tough it out. We never had nonsense like this when earlier Windows versions were pensioned off. Let me remind Microsoft of the old fable about the competition between the wind and the sun to see who could make the traveller take off his coat.

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Titsup UK Border IT causes CHAOS at air and seaports in Blighty

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An old song, slightly changed:

They're coming to tow me away, hey hey, hee hee, ha ha, ho ho. ...

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Re: Border traversal will only get worse...

Next time will be the fourth, if you include 1870 with WW1 and WW2. The first one was a long lived success, unlike the second and third.

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Today's bugs have BRANDS? Be still my bleeding heart [logo]

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Re: And another thing...

TRUE and FALSE in C?

Easy-peasy, enumerated types.

See K & R, 2nd edition, 1988. I hope enumerations have not been removed by a subsequent "advance" in language design.

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BBC hacks – tweet the crap out of the news, cries tech-dazzled Trust

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Re: All TV is dumb

Not only TV editors. The Telegraph has its obligatory stock photo with every piece, but often with an out-of-date "alternative text" (*) which they have not bothered to replace.

Well done, Reg, for sticking to sensible written pieces.

(*) In HTML, <img alt "This is a picture" src=picture.jpg>. The 'alt' text shows when the mouse cr@ps on it.

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Populism and the Licence

My Dad worked for the BBC. He would from time to time tell us that the BBC felt it had to keep a respectable audience share - 30% to 40% - because it was paid for by the universal licence. So it would not, for example, tailor itself to the 5% who are worthy of a university education.

However, they are failing in their intended aims. Their liberal metropolitan attitudes are alien to about 95% of people.Change that, and you then ask why not leave the resulting type of programmes to commercial TV.

Indeed, in today's world, why have a BBC?

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Up to 500 GP practices to test plans to share patient data

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Around the UK

I drive around the UK to visit friends and relatives, so I am agreeable in principle to my NHS records being held centrally.

I have no objection to "aggregated data" being sold to proper third parties. For example, in postcode ZY98 a thousand people contain 20% diabetics. (I am making this up, it is pure fiction. My degree is in physics, not physic, and I know nothing about medicine.)

I object strongly to the sale or transfer of "anonymised" data. For example, Mr ABC of postcode ZY98 7AB has syphilis. In conjunction with the "big data" that the big boys have, this is too easily linked to a real person.

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Sueball-slingers seek stake in bankrupt Bitcoin blunder bunker MtGox

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Re: Why Bother?

The money is there, somewhere. It has simply been well hidden.

Liars, the lot of them! (In my opinion - for legal purposes.)

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Bankrupt Bitcoin bunker blender begins: MtGox admin starts liquefaction

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Liquidate, please

The usual word for winding up the affairs of a busted corp is liquidate. Not liquefy, meltdown, or fluidise; although that last word characterises the lack of objectivity in Karpeles' words to us.

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