17 posts • joined 11 Jun 2007
If it lets water through but precious little else, then could it turn contaminated or sea water into potable water?
...and what's its endurance? Any longer than that video?
Boring accountancy question
Any boring bastard know the answer to this one? Where in the nation's accounts is the capital value of the roads accounted for? They amount to something like 20% of a city's footprint, and plenty of hectares of countryside, and are therefore worth a fortune (though the scope for alternative uses is admittedly limited).
The point is, when we buy a rail ticket we're paying for the capital value of the track, railway land, and all. But much of the cost of driving is fixed: car tax, insurance, age-related depreciation. When we compare driving with rail we make an unfair comparison: the marginal cost of driving vs. the full cost of a train ticket. It would be much better if the comparison could be fairer, by making more of the cost of motoring variable.
Which is a longwinded way of saying that fuel- or road-use-taxes are the way to go. And that I don't like how much the gas-guzzler that hardly ever leaves my garage is costing me.
Female plumbing not devious enough perhaps?
Female mallards are fitted with confusing plumbing to confound the eager males...
Maybe Pacific ducks are just too straight?
Sunni / Shia
"Islamic teaching typically forbids depictions of its prophet." Actually Shias are more relaxed about this, and Shia art sometimes depicts the prophet. Sunnis mostly don't, though, except for some very old pictures. So it isn't really an Islamic thing as such, more a Sunni thing.
The ECHR ruling covered, er, finger fingerprints as well as DNA fingerprints. Why do reporters so seldom mention this? It's probably more significant than the DNA story.
But the main point is about the false match and false reject rate, not the processing method. That still stands, huh?
It's not just about DNA, dear Reg, the S & Marper vs UK case covered fingerprints as well (see para 125 of http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/2008/1581.html).
At a time when the government is using any excuse to get all our fingerprints on file, how come the DNA profiles are the main story?
Ah yes. You have indeed, and I am sorry I doubted the esteemed Reg!
Aimee - Think about how you access your bank account. You can already do banking transactions without your bank card (in your branch, on the phone, or on the internet).
In exactly the same way you will be able to transact with the Identity Database without using your ID Card. You'll have a PIN number and password, and for face-to-face transactions you could use your fingerprints. This means that, even if you have no card, you can say who you claim to be and then provide evidence. When a physical document is required, then other documents such as your passport will be accepted instead of an ID Card.
(A big difference between the identity scheme and your bank, though, is that if your bank card number is abused then the bank cancels it immediately and issues you with a new one. If your national identity number or copies of your fingerprints start being abused by criminals, how will you repair your identity? Soon, somebody may be about to find out that it isn't easy.)
Re: Point missed
Hi Chris - Well, feeling like an idiot I re-read the piece. But I must admit, I didn't see the part where you "spotted that". Am I suffering from reading difficulties today, or did the part you're referring to not make the final edition?
You have missed the point completely.
Registering on the Identity Database is going to be a condition of getting a passport. So if passports become compulsory, then registering on the Identity Database becomes compulsory. And the National Identity Scheme is accelerated, not stopped.
Forget about the ID Card itself. The Home Office don't give a monkeys whether you get an ID Card or not. All they care about is that you register on the database. Then they can link every strand of your life together with one unique number, and track you every time you are checked against the register (card or no card).
Numbers are the key
Anybody who is both numerate, and interested in where energy might come from without fossil fuels, will find this book interesting:
No censorship of UK internet? Are the rumours of Home Office blacklists on Cleanfeed baseless then?
Machines: once fooled, always fooled
Another security vulnerability is that your criminal can practice spoofing the machine at leisure, in the comfort of their own home (assuming they can get hold of some similar-enough software). Once they've mastered the appropriate gurn, they can come and go across Britain's eBorders as often as they please, confident of always being able to spoof the robot border guard. Human immigration officers don't suffer from this problem; they're always capable of making exceptions when something looks odd.
The ID Card database would be much worse
Losing the ID Card database would be even worse than you describe. No need to reverse engineer the fingerprint codes - just look for any that are close-enough to your own. Large scale trials of the US-VISIT IDENT system found about a 0.1% false match rate, so in a database of 40 million adults a typical crook should find around 40,000 people to rip off at leisure (complete with names, addresses, passport numbers and all).
Anything else terrorists might find handy?
And in other news, a lawmaker has expressed concern that cars might be useful to terrorists. "These new-fangled inventions could be a grave threat in the wrong hands" he said, pulling on his galoshes.
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