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* Posts by Steven Roper

1207 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Ahoy! Google asks US gov't to help sink patent 'privateers'

Steven Roper
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Big Brother

Re: Capitalism

"And, no, we don't actually have real capitalism. We have a massively corrupted form of capitalism."

Absolutely. Pure capitalism, like pure communism, is a fantastic ideal on paper or as backing for revolutions and upheavals, but because of the innate greed and perversity of human nature, neither can actually work in a real-life scenario.

Because no matter how fair or just a political ideal may be, someone, somewhere, wants to gain at the expense of the other guy, and it's the ones who discover ways to game the system to their own advantage that always end up winning; and what you then have is an inevitable return to the old aristocratic feudal society where the rich descendants of the gamesters who ruined the ideal system for their own gain, become the dynastic rulers of the new order.

Historically, humanity's method of dealing with this sort of dynastic corruption has always been revolution and upheaval; a group of disaffected revolutionaries extol the virtues of either a communist or capitalist idealistic system as described above, enlist the help of the proles in overthrowing the dynastic rulers with the promise of a bright new future for all, and if they win, for a brief golden age everything is wonderful. But invariably some new gamester appears to exploit the new system, and so the cycle continues.

Until now. With the advent of technology, and more so psychology, revolution has become impossible. With psychology, the dynastic rulers can control and manipulate public opinion, tying the disaffected up with minutiae until an absolute hierarchy prevails forever. The days of storming the Bastille with pitchforks and torches are well and truly over. One only has to look at the fate of the Occupy movement and the public perception of them to understand exactly how this works. Expressions like "first-world problems", "hippies expecting handouts", "get a bloody job", "I work my arse off so should you" echoed by huge numbers of middle-class office sheep, like many on this forum for one example, show the effectiveness of psychology and manipulation of public opinion in derailing revolutions.

Technology was supposed to free us and make our lives easier. Back in the 70s, the average working week was 38 hours, with talk of automation leading to a future where the three-day-week would be the norm. People would have more time for leisure, and everyone would benefit from the many new ways in which technology would free us from the exigencies of manual labour.

Yet it didn't happen, did it? Now, your average working and middle class wage slaves toil 60-to-80 hour weeks AND rubbish the hell out of anyone who doesn't want to do the same. The buying power of the average Joe has decreased massively: for example, in 1975 my Dad earned $108 per week working 38 hours a week and bought his house for $25,000. Today, a worker in that same job works minimum 47 hours for $620 a week and can expect to pay $350,000+ for a similar house. You work it out: 25,000 / (108 pw / 38 hrs/w) = 8,796 hours' work for a house; 350,000 / (620 pw / 47 hrs/w) = 26,532 hours' work for a house. That's less than ONE THIRD the buying power per hour of labour today than what we enjoyed in 1975.

So it would seem that the same thing has happened to the ideal of capitalism under today's leaders, as what happened to communism under Lenin and Stalin. Except that the revolution that brought the Soviet Union to its knees won't be repeated in the West. The abuse of technology, and the master manipulators of psychology and all the bleating sheep who worship their own slavery at their hands, have seen to that.

(1984 icon because Orwell beat me to it by 65 years)

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Disney shutters Star Wars game unit with 200 layoffs

Steven Roper
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Re: The LucasArts I mourn died over 15 years ago

Oh god, the memories!

There was a trio of "Fractal engine" games that LucasArts brought out for the Commodore 64, including the one you mention: Rescue On Fractalus, Koronis Rift and The Eidolon. These were groundbreaking stuff, the first to use fractally-generated 3D environments in a game, as opposed to the preset tiles method of building game worlds that had been the norm up until then.

I loved all three, and wasted many a month of my youth playing them. I particularly loved Koronis Rift; the quest to salvage spaceship parts from hulks dotted about the landscape, and the mini-game of assembling them, made for an engrossing game experience at a time when the vast majority of games were repetitive RSI-engendering button-mashing scrolly-shoot-em-ups like Delta, Sanxion, Zaxxon, Ollo and the like - if you'd played one, you'd played them all. KR was a refreshing change and kept me busy for ages, until Paul Woakes came out with Mercenary and that took over my life for most of that year!

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Mars to go offline for a month as vast nuclear furnace gets in the way

Steven Roper
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Re: Simple solution...

Since, as some studies have it, the universe supposedly curves back on itself in higher-dimensional space your idea most likely has some merit. However, there is the small matter of the several dozen billion years required for the signal to wrap around, and Mars will be back in contact in a month anyway!

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'Australia's so big freight costs are high' claims don't add up

Steven Roper
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Re: You might want to check your map there, mate

"It depends, are you talking an African or a European crow?"

Nah, an Australian crow mate. Bastards are so bloody big here they could probably haul a jumbo's worth without too much trouble!

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Steven Roper
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Pint

You might want to check your map there, mate

"21 cents to get to Perth and probably Darwin, Adelaide or Cairns for that matter."

Sydney to Perth is three times the distance of Sydney to Adelaide (3,290 km and 1,160 km as the crow flies respectively). Not to mention crossing the Murray Basin is an entirely different proposition to crossing the Nullarbor. Sydney to Adelaide is in fact only half as far again as Sydney to Melbourne (710 km as the crow flies), so your freight cost to Adelaide is going to be in the 13-15 cent range.

Cost to Darwin would likely be more than to Perth though, because even though the straight-line distance is about the same (3,140 km), if you're going by road you're doing two sides of a rectangle (either Sydney-Adelaide-Darwin [4,180 km] or Sydney-Brisbane-Darwin [4,100 km], take your pick.) So the actual distance is about 1000 km more than to Perth either way, making your cost about 26-30 cents there.

Now that I've finished being pedantic about Australia's geography, your article's main point about freight cost not being a good reason for the ripoff pricing is spot on. I'm laughing at the greedy bastards with the rest of you!

Beer because you really need one after driving all that way...

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Card skimmers targeting more than ATMs, says EU

Steven Roper
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@AC 10:35 re: Ronald McDonald

How do you know the guy's name wasn't actually Ronald McDonald? Just because a major hamburger chain uses the name doesn't mean that nobody else was ever christened that. McDonald is a very common Scottish surname to start with, and Ronald isn't exactly rare either.

Like my own name. Yes, Steven Roper is my real name; it is on my birth certificate. I'm also very aware of the American syndicated comic strip Steve Roper, intrepid photographer, and his dependable sidekick Chief Wahoo. It's been a cause of people questioning my identity before now, and no doubt will again. In fact, I actually like it, because it means that people Googling me will find loads of pages relating to the comic strip, or to men of the name Steven Roper who are more successful and/or famous than I, long before they come across anything of mine (and even then it most likely will only be links to my comments on El Reg!)

So don't be too quick to assume that guy with the cheque was using a fake name, just because it happens to be linked to a famous brand. I wonder how many Michael Jacksons there are, or John Lennons? I imagine they also must have a hard time of it with people thinking they're using fake names.

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Net neutrality? We've heard of it, says Ofcom

Steven Roper
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Re: In the future

It's not the future, this is now. I for one have been using VyprVPN at $20 a month for nearly 2 years now, primarily to bypass geolocation lockouts or to protect me from being tracked surfing politically incorrect websites. I originally subscribed to it back when Conroy was pushing his internet censorship regime in Australia, and found it so useful I kept it going even after he backed down.

So far there's been no noise about blocking VPNs here, but I know it's only a matter of time, as more and more people start using them and the police/spooks start getting arsey about not being able to spy on what people are doing online. The old NTHNTF argument will be dragged out yet again to justify controls, and access to VPNs will (I predict within the next 5-10 years) be regulated or controlled eventually.

However, many legitimate businesses make extensive use of VPNs so they aren't going to be completely banned. I imagine most likely what will happen here is that some law will be rammed through requiring VPN users to be a registered business, and you'll need to apply for some kind of government permit to use one, stating your reasons for needing to use a VPN in your business context. For example, you'd probably need to have offices or customers overseas with which you need to communicate privately. You'll likely also need to have a (more expensive) business account with your ISP, with access to VPNs denied by force of law to residential accounts. That'll kill it for most people, although in my business I could make a good case for needing it myself.

From there I can see a future of darknets or even a return to the sneakernet days, where people like myself who still have access to a VPN can fill requests from friends and relatives who are denied it.

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Obama seeks $100m to unlock your BRAIN's secrets

Steven Roper
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It's actually a very inventive backronym

They should drop the unnecessary "through" though - Brain Research Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies works just fine.

It's also a good recursive acronym with a relevant recursive first word as well, a lot better than the nonsensical PHP (PHP hypertext Processor) or GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) which contain irrelevant or meaningless words to "force" the recursion - e.g., PHP could just as easily be XHP, for XHP Hypertext Processor.

BRAIN Research Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies on the other hand is a completely valid recursive acronym with the recursive first word being completely relevant to the whole thing, so kudos to the droid that came up with that one!

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ROBOT COCKROACH SWARM unleashed in Sheffield lab

Steven Roper
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Coat

Re: So...

No, you're not alone. The thought of him being mugged and systematically dismantled by his own creations occurred to me as well... What my idea was to combine these things with RepRap technology with a view to research ultimately leading to a Grey Goo style system, and then put in motion my long-cherished plan to destroy the world, MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Merde! Dummkopf! Google Translate used as spam cloak

Steven Roper
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Frame-breaking has legitimate uses

I use frame-breaking code on the top-level pages of all our websites, to prevent unscrupulous operators from framing our sites to make it look like part of theirs, or to spy on or capture information about users of our sites. Big companies like Google and Microsoft have been just as guilty of this as the spammers and other scumbag operators are. So our frame-breaker helps protect your privacy and provides you with assurance that you are on the correct site, when you visit one of our sites.

Rest assured, if Google do find a way to override our frame-breaking code, we will be engaging in R&D to circumvent this and ensure our sites continue to break out of other sites' frames, including Google's.

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Giant solar-powered aircraft to begin cross-country flight

Steven Roper
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Re: I love stuff like this..

"...how the hell they can quantifiably tax sunlight."

The same way they've taxed fresh air in Australia - aka the "Carbon Tax". Trust me, the greedy fuckers will find a way.

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Oz shop slaps browsers with $5 just looking fee

Steven Roper
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@ Peter R. 1

What you should have done is set yourself up one of those pay-per-minute premium phone line like all the dial-a-psychics use at $5 - $10 per minute. It would have had the dual effect of providing you with income for your time from those who genuinely needed your advice and were willing to pay for it, and getting rid of all the freeloaders who wouldn't be willing to pay at the same time.

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EMC, Carbonite fight off patent pursuer

Steven Roper
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WTF?

A Texas court invalidated a patent?

What, was I abducted by aliens and transported to some weird parallel Earth or something?

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Next from Microsoft: 'Blue', the Windows 8 they hope you don't hate

Steven Roper
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@AC 18:53

When Microsoft released XP tablet edition people moaned they couldn't use the whole OS with touch. So they produce a fully touch capable OS and people are now complaining that their desktop is gone.

Why do we have to have one or the other exclusively? We could have, I don't know, two versions, so they could offer both a desktop version, for those who want to use big monitors, mouse and keyboard, and a tablet version, for use with touch screen devices. You, know, something called choice, that radical concept where you get the privilege of making decisions about what kind of interface you prefer to use to do a particular job?

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West Virginia seeks Google Glass driving ban

Steven Roper
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In South Australia

using Google Glass while driving would already be illegal, without any additional legislation relating to the technology itself:

Extract from SA government road-law website:

a mobile phone may only be used to make or receive a phone call (defined to exclude email, text or video messages) and only if the phone is either:

- secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle - the mounting must be commercially designed and manufactured for the purpose and attached as the manufacturer intended; or

- remotely operated - the phone must not be held by or resting on the body (driver’s pocket or pouch excluded) and there must be no touching of the keypad.

Ergo, Google Glass, (which among other things would be classed as a mobile phone under this law) already cannot be used on SA roads, because of the bolded clauses above. I wouldn't be surprised if Virginia's mobile-phone use laws are somewhat similar, so there's probably no need for specific legislation in this regard.

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Branson, Berners-Lee, Google, £2m: LET'S SAVE THE WORLD

Steven Roper
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Re: Am I being cynical .....

Translation of the above weaselese into common English:

Technically, you retain the copyright to your work. However, you give us the everlasting right to do whatever the fuck we want with it, including making money from it, without paying you a cent, or giving you any credit, so you may as well have given us the copyright since it's now worthless to you anyway.

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Freetard den isoHunt loses appeal against search ban

Steven Roper
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FAIL

@ AC 14:39 Re: Nice try

So, I just typed in "walking dead torrent" into google and the first 10 results were all links to well-known torrent sites, including torrentz, kickasstorrents and piratebay, with copies of the movie. A quick follow up shows from the torrent comments on those sites that the movie torrent is the real deal.

Nice try... now please go back to your MPAA corner office, there a good little shill...

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Apple share-price-off-a-cliff: Told you that would happen

Steven Roper
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Re: Sound like gambling, not investing.

And the difference is...?

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Google patent filing suggests Glass will be ULTIMATE REMOTE

Steven Roper
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Re: How will you feel when your imaginary friends say that you're mad?

Not as bad as I would feel when my 'imaginary friends' started spouting adverts at me. They'd stop being friends, imaginary or not, real fast.

Not that I have any intention of ever using this technology, given the way things have gone. It's funny; as a kid I would have eagerly embraced computerised glasses, but then when I was a kid future technology wasn't about tracking your every act and exploiting every possible human psychological vulnerability in order to sell you something.

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Wind farms make you sick … with worry and envy

Steven Roper
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Coffee/keyboard

... all they way up to warp core breach.

That made me laugh, well put!

However, do you think you could tone the upper end of the scale back a bit? I don't want to be blown to my component subatomic particles because someone across the other side of town lit up one smoke too many.

I'd suggest a scale running from Christmas cracker to Mills 36M would be sufficient!

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Movie, TV ads annoying? You ain't seen nothin' yet

Steven Roper
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Re: My policy of avoiding any tech invented after 1849

So what did you use to post your comment then? Charles Babbage's Difference Engine?

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MasterCard stings PayPal with payment fee hike

Steven Roper
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Mushroom

Let me see if I have this down

Mastercard want to charge Google/Paypal more per transaction, therefore charging ME more per transaction, because Google.Paypal aren't giving them access to MY FUCKING PERSONAL INFORMATION. So I'm going to have to pay more because one greedy corporation won't give another greedy corporation purchasing-history data that BELONGS TO ME in the first place.

If this isn't outright criminal fraud, theft and embezzlement I don't know what is. If they try to do this in Australia, I WILL be contacting the police and my local MP and seeking to press fraud, theft and unauthorised access to information charges against both PayPal and Mastercard.

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Vietnamese high school kids can pass Google interview

Steven Roper
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Coat

Re: Nature/nurture: fight!

@Mikel: A well-known author by the name of Aldous Huxley beat you to it by about 80 years.

What you're saying is we need more Deltas because not everyone can be Alphas. I agree with his (and your) point in principle, but I'm not entirely sure I'd want to live in the brave new world Huxley described in his eponymous book. I guess the feelies would be fun though.

The only thing remaining for this world is perfecting Bokanovsky's Process and with genetic technology the way it is, that's gotta be just around the corner by now - if we can overcome the anti-eugenicists...

Coat because I'm sure I left my soma in the pocket...

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NBN collapses* into chaos*

Steven Roper
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Re: Brownfields? Greenfields?

As I understand it from a friend in the industry, "brownfields" refers to older, established neighbourhoods with ageing infrastructure (read: overhead phone and power lines that are due to be replaced with underground lines), while "greenfields" refers to new or relatively recently constructed housing estates with undergrounded lines. Since the companies maintaining the infrastructure are currently in the process of undergrounding the brownfields estates anyway, these estates are receiving priority for the NBN rollout, on the premise that they may as well put the fibre in while they have the trenches open.

Here in SA, default undergrounding of phone and power services in new estates began in the mid-1970s (my parents moved into one of the first estates with no Stobie poles - our local term for overhead power/phone poles - at the time) and proceeded from there. So estates established since the 1970s will be among the last to get the NBN, excepting those which are currently under construction, as the installation is presently focused on the older suburbs and country towns where they are in the process of replacing the old Stobie poles with underground cabling.

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Space probe spies MYSTERY 'Cold Spot' in very fabric of cosmos itself

Steven Roper
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Re: Soup, from the microwave?

I guess the enormous mutant star goat must have been really hungry...

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Brit web biz waves white flag in Python trademark bout

Steven Roper
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Trollface

So the message is clear

DDoS attacks, email bombings and death threats get results.

"Terrorists Win!"

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Nvidia's skirt-chasing chips ogle babes, eyeball Twitter and YouTube

Steven Roper
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Coat

Re: Don't careabout dresses

Maybe it produces no results because there's a worldwide shortage of unattached women who look like Jessica Alba...?

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Amazon boss salvages Apollo engines from watery grave

Steven Roper
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Pint

Re: Ahem, numbers...

"Sorry, I was born days after Apollo 11 and I'm not that close to 50"

Come on, don't kid yourself about how the years have flown, mate! I was a toddler when Armstrong mentioned steps and leaps, and I turn 47 this year. If you were born then, that means you turn 44 this year. So there's 44 years behind you and 6 years until you're 50, so you're 88% of the way there bud...

Here, have a pint on me and let's reminisce about the good old days like the old farts we are! ;)

I remember thinking when Dad dug me out of bed to watch the historic moment (it's my earliest childhood memory), as a child would, that the "funny man" bouncing around on TV in the big suit was talking about the fun of jumping down stairs. I had only recently started walking (or toddling I should say) and had just discovered how to jump. Armstrong said small step and giant leap, so I assumed he meant that it was OK to jump off of the bottom steps of the hall staircase - an enjoyable pursuit I had just discovered and from which Mum quickly did her best to dissuade me, in absolute terror of me breaking my silly little neck doing it!

Of course, given my very tender age at the the time, the significance of the "funny man" actually being on the moon was completely lost on me...

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Software bug halts Curiosity: Nuke lab bot in safe mode

Steven Roper
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Re: $500/hr

75 cents the mile? Jeeze, you're cheap.

A friend of mine is a tradie - actually a cable installer - and he charges $1.20 the kilometre to do callouts. That covers not only the cost of petrol, currently around $1.60 AUD per litre here in Adelaide, but also his time in driving out to the site. Given that much of his work is country town jobs where he has to drive upward of 400+ kms there and back (yes, Australia is big and it's a long drive to anywhere!) it can get quite expensive quite quickly.

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Bottomless, unsatisfied Xbox widow cuffed after boyf flees nookie

Steven Roper
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Flame

Re: What's the problem?

Sounds like fucking sexual assault to me.

As someone who was assaulted in that manner way back in high school, I can tell you that having your balls grabbed and twisted like that IS REALLY FUCKING PAINFUL. Then add the ignominy of being subsequently punished and ridiculed for attempting to defend myself against the female offenders in question.

Maybe you'd like me to make some jokes about your other half being raped? I didn't fucking think so.

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Starlight-sifting boffins can now spot ALIEN LIFE LIGHT YEARS AWAY

Steven Roper
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Stop

Re: No. No. No. No.

You're right, of course, I do know about the differential passage of time in different locations, due to gravity.

That's why I specified at some point in time. At some point in time, everywhere in the universe will pass through a moment of t seconds since the Big Bang where t is the number of seconds that has elapsed since the Big Bang here on Earth right now. For us that time t in a different planet in a different galaxy may be a million years ago, or a million years in the future, but at some point in time that planet will pass through t seconds since the Big Bang. Sooner or later, everywhere in the universe will. That is your benchmark for interstellar travel.

Follow my reasoning now?

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Steven Roper
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Mushroom

All these people saying FTL is impossible

I'm getting really tired of all these offhand dismissals of any possibility of real-time interstellar travel. If we listened to every naysayer who said "that can't be done" we'd still be living in caves hunting wild pigs and being eaten by leopards.

I know that the difficulties imposed by relativity and physics seem insuperable now, but so did going to the moon 100 years ago, and so did flying for thousands of years before that. If we give up now, if we toss in the towel and say "relativity means there will NEVER be FTL travel and that's that, end of discussion", then our civilisation deserves to die. Because we will have turned our backs on every principle that has brought us to where we are.

Consider this: there IS a concept of absolute time, regardless of the relativity of time and space. The one absolute clock, applicable everywhere in the Universe, is seconds elapsed since the Big Bang. At some point in time, on the planets orbiting Alpha Centauri, it is the same number of seconds since the Big Bang as it is here right now. We might not see that moment for another 4.5 years, but it's happening now, or has happened, or will happen. So if FTL is possible, say with an Alcubierre drive or some other functional equivalent, and if the ship does go back in time as a result, then it could be put in stasis (brought as close to 0 Kelvin as possible) and released when the number of seconds since the Big Bang reaches the same as when it left Earth. Thus, zero effective time has passed, both for Earth and for the ship. Repeat again on the return journey, and what you have is essentially instantaneous interstellar travel, for both Earth and ship.

Look, I'm no boffin, and there's likely countless flaws with my ideas that could be brought up. But if we give up, if we just throw our hands in the air and say "that can't be done, because Einstein...", then we have abrogated our right to be called intelligent, and we may as well start heading back for the caves right now.

I will leave you with the words of the great poet Tennyson:

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Samsung Galaxy S 4: A slim stripper with palms hovering over its body

Steven Roper
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@Ali on the Reg

Yes, please do keep the tiresome political correctness coming. It is very funny and doesn't make you sound sanctimonious or judgmental.

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Steven Roper
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Trollface

@ribosome

Thanks for making my head assplode ;)

I can't decide whether to downvote you for raising the political correctness or upvote you for taking the piss out of it!

I'll assume from the tenor of your post that you're opposed to that brand of anti-sexual PC tripe and give you an upvote along with the benefit of the doubt...

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We shall CRUSH you, puny ROBOT... with CHESS

Steven Roper
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Headmaster

Re: Clever stuff!

The problem with that approach is that it would exclude more human beings than the current distorted-text CAPTCHA currently does...

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Police accuse Reuters hack of helping Anonymous hackers

Steven Roper
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Jesus!

conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer, and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer.

Holy shit, talk about throwing the bloody book at the poor sod!

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SimCity 4

Steven Roper
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Re: I miss this!

For some reason it doesn't seem to play nicely with my install of Win7-64 though.

Build yourself an old Win98 or XP gaming box just for these old games. You can get the parts dirt cheap from computer recyclers or just look on ebay for old boxen if you don't want to build it yourself. Then stick it under your desk with a KVM switch and all your modern-machine incompatibility woes are gone!

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Steven Roper
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@I ain't Spartacus: to agree with you about 3D. I remember loving the first couple of versions of Civilization.

Likewise here, where RTS games are concerned. A couple of friends of mine and I have been playing Age of Empires II: Conquerors ever since it first came out, about 13 years now. Every Wednesday night, almost without fail, is our Age of Empires II LAN session. I don't think there's any other game in my life that I've played for so many years. It just has all the right elements, in all the right places.

We've tried others: Empire Earth, Rise of Nations, The Settlers IV, Age of Mythology, even Age of Empires III. None of them last; none quite have what Age of Empires II has. It's simple, it's fast, and it's fun.

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Oz Senator says Google Glass could 'end privacy as we know it'

Steven Roper
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Flame

Good grief!

Fully half of the article is nothing more than an ad-hominem attack on Bernardi for being opposed to gay marriage. Quite what this has to do with Google Glass being an invasion of privacy, or the validity of Bernardi's arguments thereto, I fail to see. Unless the author is a PC bigot who thinks that because Bernardi is against gay marriage, all his opinions about anything else are equally invalid.

Now I support gay marriage absolutely, in keeping with my belief in freedom of choice and minding one's own business. And I think Bernardi is a dickhead for wanting to reach into people's lives and say who can get married or not; it's none of his damn business. But that doesn't invalidate his knowledge or values or opinions on any other subject. It certainly has nothing at all to do with Google Glass and its privacy implications.

The reason I despise political correctness and it's wailing supporters is precisely because of the kind of vicious ad-hominem smear tactics used by the author of this article. "He's racist/sexist/homophobic/un-PC, therefore his opinions on everything else are irrelevant, because he's not 'civilised' or 'enlightened'" (or whatever buzzword has been appropriated by the PC do-gooders to justify their sanctimonious worldview this month.) It is these same tactics that have filled our workplaces with fear, that if you dare express any un-PC opinion, or look at someone the wrong way, or offend anyone for any reason, you can possibly lose your job and your life could be ruined, regardless of how competent or valuable you may be.

I'd have expected more from Murdoch's media empire than this. To see it in the pages of El Reg is nothing short of disgusting.

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Curiosity's MYSTERY MARS find: NASA reveals THE TRUTH

Steven Roper
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Coat

How do you inappropriately touch a planet? Shove a finger into its south pole?

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Steven Roper
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And how much did they pay you to post that little advert?

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Rise Of The Machines: What will become of box-watchers, delivery drivers?

Steven Roper
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Re: Won't somebody think of

>talk a load of non-PC drivel

I'd far rather listen to a taxi driver express his honest opinion about how fucked up things are, than listen to some sanctimonous PC bigot spouting off about how everyone is still racist/sexist/X-ist like he's some kind of guardian angel of everyone's morals.

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Steven Roper
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@Oninoshiko re: no self-check

I'm the same. I also have stood in line while self-service kiosks stood empty. Part of my shopping experience is talking to the checkout chick (or sometimes guy), catching up on what the yoof of today are into (as I have no kids of my own, talking to the young people in shops is pretty much the only chance I get to catch up with the doings of the young). Even when I've been asked to use the kiosks, I've refused, saying I would rather be served by a person, thank you. The day they remove the choice and force me to use a kiosk will be the last day I ever shop there.

One thing I've also noticed is that my local greengrocers, butchers, bakers and the like are doing a roaring trade. It's not unusual of a Saturday morning to see a crowd spilling out the doorways of the local strip-shops. More and more people are shunning the dehumanising impersonality of the supermarkets, even if the prices are cheaper, because there's nothing like good old-fashioned friendly service from your local butcher, baker or greengrocer. The meat, bread, and fruit & veg is much fresher and better quality, too.

I do sometimes order my groceries online and get it delivered, but this is actually becoming rarer. I'd much rather take the time to go into my local butcher and have him fresh-cut a decent steak for me, with the rind of fat still on, rather than accept whatever stripped, fat-free, processed crap the warehouse-picker grabs off the shelf and shoves into a foam box to drop on my doorstep.

And I agree, like you, that I'd far rather my money went to gainfully employing someone who is willing to work, rather than filling the coffers of wealthy shareholders who do no work for a living and wax fat on the labour of others.

As would a lot of other people. Remember, the fact that there's a line for the manned checkout while self-service kiosks are empty means that all those people in line would also rather be served by a human being than by a computer. And they want it badly enough that they're prepared to spend time waiting to get that service. We're far from alone alone, friend.

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On Amazon, cloud service companies put themselves at risk

Steven Roper
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And this shit

is exactly what patent law is supposed to PREVENT. If Apple can patent round-cornered rectangles, why can't these startups patent their cloud applications and be rewarded for their innovation? Oh, that's right; the law only exists to serve the interests of mega-corporations and the super-rich that run them. Silly me, I forgot how this world really works for a moment there.

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Curiosity succeeds – Mars was wet enough for life!

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Silicon-based life

is an interesting fantasy, but because of chemistry, silicon life cannot exist. Silicon, while in the same period as carbon, cannot form the huge molecule chains required to establish and sustain life. A common example is the silicon equivalent of the alkane series: methane -> silane, ethane -> disilane, propane -> [does not exist]. Attempts to create a silicon equivalent of propane, butane and so on inevitably result in the silicon-based molecules instantly breaking down into silane and disilane, even in any conceivable conditions such as high pressures or cryogenic temperatures.. Since silicon cannot form even these simple molecules, it obviously cannot even begin to form the huge protein chains required to establish a living organism.,

Carbon is the only element on the entire periodic table that can form such huge and complex molecule chains. As a result, all life in the universe is either carbon-based, or is artificial 'life' (e.g. sentient robots/computers) originally created by carbon-based life.

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On International Woman's Day we remember Grace Hopper

Steven Roper
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Re: "insisting on special treatment"

"I dont think feminism demands 'special treatment'."

What do you think affirmative action is, if not 'special treatment'?

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

Steven Roper
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One of my favourites

is a little-known 1985 movie called The Quiet Earth (IMDB link). Its stark minimalism (there are only 3 people in the entire movie) sets an eerie background for the complex story and the science behind it, and for it's small budget it's a seriously underrated piece of hard SF.

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Steven Roper
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Chronicles of Riddick?

You mean they made a sequel to Pitch Black? Whatever next - you'll be wanting me to believe they made a sequel to Highlander as well? Yeah, right.

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Farewell, Reg: This hack is hanging up her Apple jacket

Steven Roper
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Joke

Re: Ashamed

You need to wash your brain out with soap for thinking that even for a nanosecond.

My immediate, instinctive reaction - from the instant the photons from that picture hit my retinas - was that I would not be seen dead and rotting with that jacket anywhere in the vicinity of my office, let alone actually on the back of my chair, or - [suppress gag reflex] - in actual contact with my person!

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Pirate Bay to world: We're not really off to NORKS

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Re: Yo Dawg

"Yo Dawg... I heard u like jokes about jokes so I put a hoax in ur hoax so u can prank while u prank!"

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