* Posts by MarkMac

82 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

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Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

MarkMac

Re: Hope they win.

If its anything like the BT version, the public and private hotspots have different IP addresses.

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Panic like it's 1999: Microsoft Office macro viruses are BACK

MarkMac

The security guy evidently has never worked in a corporate environment. Virtually all our corporate Word templates have macros in to create metadata for the CMS to index, while its a rare Excel spreadsheet that /doesn't/ have a raft of VBA attached.

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TrueCrypt turmoil latest: Bruce Schneier reveals what he'll use instead

MarkMac

OS-Builtin security schemes are irrelevant. Who wants one that is os-specific ? How is that useful ? imagine changing OS, or upgrading OS, or....

Might as well encrypt it and throw away the uey

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'Hotmail, since you changed to Outlook, you've been a massive pr**k'

MarkMac
Trollface

awesome!!

awesome memo on patent trolls!!

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Outsourced space trucks battle for US middleweight lifting title

MarkMac

if you want advanced engine technology.. look to Britain

seriously - Alan Bond's skylon design with sabre engines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_(spacecraft)

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Buying a petabyte of storage for YOURSELF? First, you'll need a fridge

MarkMac

cameras

connected cameras are here already - check out eye-fi cards. I have a 16GB one and rarely more than half fill it, even when doing long astrophotography sessions with raw image formats.

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UK kids' art project is 'biggest copyright blag ever' – photographer

MarkMac

clueless

The chief exec is clueless about copyright law. It doesn't matter what you paint it with or where - I'm sure Picasso and Gaugin painted with brushes and paint and stuff. If you created it then you have the copyright. An employer can ask you to give up copyright on material developed on their behalf but it has to be explicit.

All they had to do was ask for specific permission to use the image in any fashion related to the project. The wording they've chosen far exceeds that.

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Tabloid hack scum face jail

MarkMac
Happy

Public interest

"How will that work? Presumably they'll only know if it's not in the public interest once they've broken the law and acquired the information, by which time it's already too late."

It seems to work pretty well in other countries with similar legislation: newspaper editors are expected to use their brains and work out whether there's a genuine need for the public to know. Watergate springs to mind as a good example; Fergie's toe springs to mind as a bad one.

As for the comments of others - the Govt of the day always has a strong hand, both as to deciding what privacy is and deciding what public interest is. Both can, and have succesfully been, challenged in law. If NotW and co are upset by some ruling they can always appeal. But if the hacks and paparzzi knew they risked jailtime by unjustified spying on people, and the editors knew they faced financial ruin, perhaps there'd be less carp* in the papers..

*yes, I know, its a fish.

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MS, US take aim at data protection laws cyber trade barriers

MarkMac
Unhappy

Yeah, right...

The proposers of this idea have only one interest - a commercial one. They don't laws because it costs them money to protect peoples' privacy, and prevents them from monetising the private data they've already gathered. Never mind that these laws exist to protect consumers from rapacious companies and fraudulent use of sensitive information.

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Packing heat gets you shot, say profs

MarkMac
FAIL

Commentards - learn to read

He guys, how many of you have read the actual research? D'ya think that just maybe, scientists know how to 'do' stats? Perhaps before claiming they've ignored basic logic, or forgotten to eliminate crims, or whatever, you should read the _actual_ research, not El Reg's hack's intepretation laced with personal opinion and so forth.

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Ubuntu's Karmic Koala opens its eyes

MarkMac
Happy

@frank ly

Ubuntu Netbook Release has a suspend to disk option on its logout screen. I suspect all Linuxes can do it, if you know the right magic, and your hardware supports ACPI... yes indeedy. acpi4linux would seem to be what you're after...

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Net sleuth calls eBay on carpet over shill bidding

MarkMac
Flame

@killerdark

You don't see why anyone would be influenced to pay more than their max? You have no experience of real auctions, or of human nature.

I've lost count of how often I've seen newbies bid up on something by auctioneers taking competing bids from thin air or audience plants. People get excited, carried away, decide they really want the goods a lot - and suddenly they're paying more than its worth by a long chalk. A Dealer gives the auctioneer a nod and students buy the crap at high price, while the dealer waits for the good-condition example two lots later.

Ebay is no different. Its bottom line depends on driving up sale prices so they've no interest in keeping out shills and sharks. Even blatant fraud often goes ignored, cf the ban on negative feedback. Why exactly is it forbidden to leave neg fb for a seller who sold fake goods or something without a CE safety mark, and why is it allowed for said seller to leave negative or false feedback about you if you dare complain ? Because eBay's money is made from sellers. Simple as that.

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Blade Runner house yours for $15m

MarkMac
IT Angle

Not all architects...

... are hopeless engineers. Visit the Gaudi apartment buildings in Barcelona sometime to see a beautiful /and/ functional building thats still a joy to live in 100 years later.

I quite agree however with the comment about it being pretty shabby that a less-than-50-years-old building made with modern techniques takes more looking after than a 1000 year old castle. But then FLW was an artist, not a practical person.

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ContactPoint goes live despite security fears

MarkMac
Black Helicopters

Impossible

Unless information is secured by role and by purpose, which I gather it isn't, then security will be impossible. CRB checking is irrelevant - its not done every year, its not spot-checked and anyway it doesn't take account of marital status.

All it will take an authorised person with personal problems. Wasn't there a police officer got done recently for trawling some database for his ex's whereabouts not so long ago? Aren't there cases of teachers in court for alleged child abuse? And thats only the ones who got accused / caught.

So with 300,000+ users its guaranteed that somewhere someone will be an as-yet undetected offender, or desperate for money to pay off debts, or desperate to find their old school buddy's kids for him. And every single day someone will do a screen-print or other hardcopy and leave it lying around somewhere. It'll go home in a briefcase, be left on a desk, be dropped while fumbling for keys, be used to scribble on the back of.

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Ofcom works out why Wi-Fi doesn't work

MarkMac
Happy

Microwaves - nope

Actually microwave ovens are fairly interference-poor by design. The magnetron dumps the energy into a faraday cage which more or less keeps all the radiation inside (that's the point, otherwise it'd be useless at cooking the food!).

So they are a cause of interference in the Wifi bands - but not as much of a one as other devices.

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Irish Wikifiddler hoaxes worldwide journos

MarkMac
Go

Yes, the problem

Er, /one/ of the problems is journos not checking their facts.

The other is wikipedia claiming to be an encyclopedia but allowing itself to be used as a red-top tabloid complete with gossip and rumour.

Encyclopedias contain _facts_. People making stuff up cause its funny, or provocative, or because they like poking sticks in ants-nests is not fact. People writing what they wish had been true or hope happened, is not fact.

When will the "encyclopedists" at Wiki-world realise that humans can't be relied on to relate facts truthfully? Gil Grissom could tell you that everything is filtered through a mask of prejudice, faulty memory, post-event reconstruction and desire to please the audience...

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Virgin Media switches to Gmail

MarkMac
Flame

Worse service... actually...

Smaller mailbox (currently we get 10MB), potentially scanned by 3rd party for demographics analysis, using a service well-known for being a spammers heaven, in an offshore jurisdiction with poor DP laws. Great move.

I block all mail from google's servers because virtually all the mail I get from them is phishing and spam using throwaway accounts, and all my real contacts have proper email. I strongly suspect I'm far from alone in this. So virginmedia customers may have some issues.

But maybe we do VM a disservice - maybe in reality they'll be deploying google's technology but using their own hardware.

Somehow I think not.

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National Express to 'ban' trainspotting

MarkMac
Flame

Gated stations

Fare dodging... gated stations... hmm, lemme see:

Spend millions installing electronic gates which either eat your paper ticket or reject it, and which can be vaulted over anyway.

Or employ someone to check tickets as people go through the entranceway. Hmm.

Which makes more economic sense? How many people can you employ for £270m pa?

Whose bright idea was it to have unmanned stations anyway? Thats the bloody problem. If there was someone to sell tickets so you didn't hvae to rely on a nearly-always-defective ticket machine, and someone to check tickets in and out, and someone on the train to check them too, how could people dodge fares?

Brainwave: employ people, reduce unemployment, save money, provide human contact. etc.

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Congress mulls stringent data retention rules

MarkMac

Impossible to enforce

Pointless and unenforceable for now - almost no home router is capable of retaining logs for even a few weeks, so the technical issues would make the law unusable.

Unless of course its a covert attempt by the router-makers to get everyone to spend $$$ upgrading, or by the mainstream muni-wifi providers to corner the hotspot market by making it too hard for small-scale providers to set up shop.

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NASA talks little green men with Vatican

MarkMac

Petunias presumably?

"to chat about the possibility of life on other plants."

er....

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The IWF: Charity disparity?

MarkMac
Go

@Rather circular AC

Whoa there boy - the quote in question is from hte Charity Commission's website, not the IWF's and the criticism is of the CC, not the IWF. It is however as you say, incorrect to suggest its circular since the Charities Act has a long list of things which count as charitable, see here

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060050_en_2#pt1-l1g1

Noticeably "acting as morality police" isn't listed. Nor in fact is anything to do with child protection. Looking down the list, I would in fact struggle to insert what they do into any category, unless you consider it to be advancement of health or education.

And it doesn't fall into section 4 as its not a recreational activity (boggle boggle).

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Jimbo Wales ends death by Wikipedia

MarkMac
Happy

So what they're saying is...

... the collective conscious of humanity can't be relied on for accuracy after all, and it in fact takes a more experienced and careful real person to vet the outpourings of our hive-mind.

Well paint me purple and call me Sally. What a shock revelation.

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Brit porn filter censors 13 years of net history

MarkMac
Go

@OpenDNS?

"Trouble with OpenDNS is that they never return a NXDOMAIN result "

Open a (free) account with them, and you can turn off that feature via their Control Panel. Basically you can tell it to treat all DNS requests coming from your IP 'normally' and return NXDOMAIN as you'd hope for.

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'Lord of the Universe' disciple exits Wikipedia

MarkMac
Happy

@RW

RW said "I've found information on Wikipedia that you'd be very hard pressed to extract from any conventional library, even the greatest "

Yes, but how do you know its correct? What alternate sources are you comparing against, given that its not in the greatest libraries around? You need to substantiate the material or its worthless.

I'm afraid that if its missing from elsewhere there may be a good reason - like eg its false, inaccurate or biassed. This subject of this article sort of proves the point; anyone can put anything on Wikipedia - and remove anything, accurate or not. So material's presence and apparent rationality merely means it hasn't yet been either vandalised by a zealot or monomaniac, or authenticated by a genuine impartial observer.

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Microsoft eyes metered-PC boondoggle

MarkMac
Flame

Prior Art?

Surely this is just mainframe computing all over again. I was paying by the cpu-second for access to research computing facilities 25 years ago.

Or are they planning to sell everyone a 16-core 10Ghz processor with 256GB memory, half a dozen graphics cards and 100TB of diskspace, then throttle it down if all you pay for is browsing? I can see /that/ being as long-lived a security system as, well, CSS. Remembe folks, the hardware will be in geeks' hands.

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Verizon awarded $33.15m against cybersquatter

MarkMac
Flame

follow the money

Doesn't matter if someone is collecting cash, they've got to be handing it to someone. No punk collecting cash is going to do jail-time over his involvement, not if faced with a backpayment of $33M to pay off, and he must be passing it on to someone. of course, the guys behind this could stop operating, break off all contact with middlemen and thus cover their tracks entirely - but they won't, they like money too much.

More to the point, what sort of rubbish vetting do ICANN run, that lets this happen? Phoney names? Book-and-cancel fraud? Don't they do /any/ KYC checks? Heck, and people call Wall Street lax and sloppy.

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Rail companies roll out barcode ticket standard

MarkMac
Flame

Whats the point?

I'm baffled. Why are they inventing an entire new technology when one already exists? Airlines have done e-ticketing for years using printed forms. What was wrong with that? And phones are stupid places to store tickets (battery life, screen resolution, accidental damage, memory loss etc). What's wrong with simply extending an Oyster-type card? It'd be trivial to buy your ticket online and add it to your Oyster account.

Oh but wait - I forgot. This is the /railway/ industry. Every company has to do its own thing and fight for its own little private standards. I'm surprised they've not started changing the gauge again, just to be different.

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Are iPhone users just tight?

MarkMac
Happy

Not strange at all

"it seems strange that Symbian, and Windows Mobile, users will happily shell out $25 for an application, while iPhone users balk at paying more than a dollar"

Er, not when you've been severely stiffed for the original hardware. Anyone daft enough to by an iPhone will be so paying for it and the contract....

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Scorpions tale leaves IWF exposed

MarkMac
Flame

Oh, so there's a review process?

"Following representations from Wikipedia, IWF invoked its Appeals Procedure"

So it turns out there /is/ an appeal process. Cute - they've been keeping that /really/ quiet. Mind you I bet they only accept appeals from the page "owner" which means the very person who has no clue (how often do you visit your own website from an external IP?).

And as for the "image in question is potentially in breach" - guys, either it is or it isn't. If your lawyers can't decide then it isn't. That's how criminal law works remember -innocent till proven guilty. This isn't a civil matter where reasonable doubt can be applied.

Anyway look out for the IWF DDOS wars - report a page, wait till its blocked, appeal it. Repeat in a tight loop till someone's fuses blow or the server melts....

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What if computers went back to the '70s too?

MarkMac
Happy

@TOPS-20

one word - simh.

I'm running a "Vax" and a "pdp11" in my shed right now, on a couple of old Linux boxes.

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Aussie government muffs plans for internet filtering

MarkMac

soup...

Turn on a well-known network nannying programme's filters, and try ordering soup from Tesco online. Impossible - because they sell cock-a-leekie too.

Funnily enough, you can fill your trolleys with breasts... fnarr, fnarr.

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Srizbi spam botnet in failed resurrection

MarkMac
Go

@turn them off...

"Some folk think that turning computers on and off causes premature failure."

Yes, that would be those of us who measure MTBF for monitors, HDDs and cheap retail routers. You may not have experienced this but in the last few years I've seen all of these fail due to mechanical stress as a result of heat/cool cycles.

Obtopical: why /don't/ the researchers simply buy right domain and reprogramme the bots to ignore all further attempts to communicate? Or pop up alerts on their host PC? And if they've seen hundreds of thousands of PCs attempting to dial home, why can't they pass the IP addys on to their ISPs to get them dealt with?

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US prosthetic todger pair plead guilty to conspiracy

MarkMac
Pirate

@OK to speed but illegal to pee

Er, you miss the point. Radar detectors cause you to /slow down/ so you are no longer breaking the law - hence they achieve exactly what the speed cams are supposed to do, but don't.

If the whizzinator were similar, it would remove all the drugs from your bloodstream and urine for the duration of the test. Now /that/ really would be a miracle.

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Rock-solid Fedora 10 brings salvation to Ubuntu weary

MarkMac
Go

@ Jason Harvey

Huh? Fedora can play MP3s fine - just install vlc or xmms.

The nvidia issue is a dealbreaker tho - presumably that means no support for Compiz.

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NASA's curious climate capers

MarkMac
Flame

@IGnatius T Foobar

Feel free to live on in your fantasy world. Out here in the Real One, the effects of climate change on our environment are now trivially easy to see, and their link to human endeavour is also all too clear. Oh by the way, we know all about climate cycles. The current change doesn't fit the pattern.

@ all the people who complain about the adjustments. Perhaps you should read about why they're made instead of assuming they're fudge-factors as the article's author incorrectly implied. I mean, a little scientific research can't hurt can it - unless you're afraid of what you might find.... :-)

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AVG slaps Trojan label on Adobe Flash

MarkMac
Linux

Ya reckon?

Hands up who's actually had this problem? I'm running AVG on four windows installations and not one of them triggered a problem with the latest Flash update.

Mind you, it doesn't seem to be a problem for my other PCs either, the ones running Fedora... :-)

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Top aero boffin: Green planes will be noisy planes

MarkMac
Flame

noise pollution doesnt 'fade away'...

@all the people saying noise pollution fades away... you obviously don't live under the Heathrow flightpath or have any understanding of how busy it is.

My Mother in Law lives in Putney and planes come over her house every sixty seconds from before dawn till after midnight. You can barely hear yourself speak in the garden if the wind is from the west.

As for siting airports in rural areas: please poison all the wildlife first though (fish included), it'll be less of an ecological disaster than destroying their habitat and disrupting their breeding cycles with constant light and noise.

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BBC's speak you're branes collapses under Brand-Ross sex outrage

MarkMac
Flame

Funny - not

I'm sure all the people claiming it was hilarious would be similarly rolling with laughter if it had been their grannie receiving the call, and their sister who was the subject of Brand's delightful advances. After all its always amusing hearing people brag about their conquests, especially when they claim to have shagged your family.

On second thoughts, they probably /would/ think it was funny - but then they all have a mental age of 12 don't they?

As for the BBC website, I'm unsurprised it collapsed. If I'd phoned a client's answering machine and made similar comments about his or her family I'd have been fired on the spot, and I strongly suspect most normal rational adults take the same view.

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Police poison speed debate with fuzzy figures

MarkMac
Flame

@Nic again

Doing 40 outside a school at 3.30pm is stupid, dangerous and should be punished.

Doing 40 at 3.30 _am_ in the same location seems exceptionally unlikely to injure any children.

And how many children are playing on the hard-shoulder of the M25, or on the Swindon ring-road, or on the verge of a country A-road at 2am?

"child protection" is a cod argument, usually designed to force the other party into an emotionally untenable situation. For who can argue against protecting children? But its not about that, its about whether the speed is appropriate for the road and whether cameras are the right way to control it.

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Virgin Media calls foul on web speed testers

MarkMac
Flame

@fnord

Nice quote - shame its for the ADSL service. Cluefest: this article is about the cable service...

As for the people claiming they get throttled to "dialup" speeds- since when was dialup speed 5,000 Kpbs?

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UN urged to prep for non-fiction Deep Impact

MarkMac
Unhappy

@solomon

Responsibility does not mean blame. http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Responsible

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Cloned US ATM cards: Can they fool Brit self-service checkouts?

MarkMac
Stop

Furrin parts != easy pickings

Maybe US cards can be trivially scammed in the UK due to current lax security by supermarkets etc, but in Spain the supermarkets require either chip/pin or sight of your passport. We got found this out in Consum when our checkout line had a broken C&P machine. Fortunately we had enough cash on us.

Do the same here: non-UK card sir? Can I see your passport / ID card / Driving license? and this problem goes away.

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UK ISPs agree to menace their filesharing users

MarkMac
Flame

thieves, slander etc

Comment as usual sharply divided into the "holier than thou" brigade and the "free love" brigade. How about some sense? This is how VM do it at the moment.

1) The BPI do the initial investigation, identifying IP addys they believe to have downloaded copyright material. They don't need to snoop on your PC, merely set up a torrent client and listen.

2) They then supply VM the list of IPs and dates. Supposedly, VM review this and decide if they agree the evidence is valid. If so, VM write to the account holder

3) Er - thats it.

For the BPI to take it further they'd need to get a court order to release the account detals. Theoretically to get /that/ they'd need some actual evidence but I doubt most judges would be tech-savvy enough to know the difference.

Now - as for the theft-or-not arguments - they're irrelevant. Copyright infringement is a civil matter and the BPI have to take you to a civil court. Its worth remembering that in such courts its a 'balance of probailities' not 'innocent till proven guilty' - which may make things trickier for both sides.

But as someone said, how will the BPI know its copyright material? Names mean nothing. They'd have to join every concievable torrent and actually play the files. Othewise I could rename my CV to "Some_rubbish_by_Aylanna_Myles.mp3" and off we go.

So top guess - they'll target a few popular torrent sites, blanket spam everyone who appears to be using them and hope for the best....

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UK abandons train and tube scanners

MarkMac
Flame

@Dan White

Elected - I think you'll find the electors of his constituency got the chance to vote for him in the first placae, and then the Labour Party MPs got another chance. These would be the MPs who were elected to represent a majority of seats in the country.

And please try to remember we do not have a ruling President, voted for personally, we have a ruling Party, voted for collectively. Blair may have /acted/ like a President, but he was still just the chief exec of the party with the largest number of seats.

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MarkMac
Flame

@Anonymous Coward / Hospitals

"Do you solve hospital overcrowding by shutting hospitals? "

Flawed analogy - people don't have a choice about needing to go into hospital, they do have a choice about how to travel.

Make it hard /expensive / tiring to travel by method A, and people will start to use method B. Petrol prices (which are NOT controlled by the Govt, let it be noted) are a case in point. As prices rise, people reconsider non-essential trips. I've stopped driving the kids to the nice leisure centre for a swim, because it became cheaper to pay for guest passes at my local gym. We didn't do our son's birthday at the jungle-tumble place because some parents were unhappy driving the 20 mile round trip.

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Think tank slams paedophile paranoia culture

MarkMac
Flame

hesitation, or accusation?

If I see a child in distress, I invariably ask if I can help. It shocks me to see adults passing with their faces turned. If a child is crying / lost / hurt, every adult around should be hurrying to look after them, and shame on those of you who walk away.

I am of course sharply aware that some fool might assume the worst ("he must have hit her / frightened him / be trying to abduct her / stuck his finger somewhere") but I care more about the child's welfare than some idiot's mistaken opinion. And realistically unless the passer-by knows the child (in which case why aren't THEY helping, eh?) how can they tell its not your child?

As for what teachers can and can't do - its ludicrous. I've been called up at work to get me to come in to give my child a dose of calpol. Staff waiting for CRB checks (which can take months) can't take toddlers to the loo - even if the result is a puddle or nasty smell. As for cleaning it up - ha! No chance.

Oh and @Jullien: you're a perfect example of the sort of paranoid wimps our society is breeding. Shame on you. I can't imagine how you look at yourself in the morning.

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Heavyweight physics prof weighs into climate/energy scrap

MarkMac
Flame

Its impressive...

...the way the rabid anti-greens have jumped on this article. /Naturally/ an article from a scientist essentially supporting their already-formed opinion is reasoned, logical and well thought through. Curiously, articles from scientists opposing their opinion are always riddled with mistakes.... hmm, anyone else spot the flaw here?

I also liked your selective quoting: 10% of the UK covered in wind-farms = half the energy required to drive a car 50km. Kinda implies wind is ludicrously useless. But hang on - what has wind power got to do with cars? And thats still 150,000,000 kilometers of driving each day. And most of us dont drive 50km a day anyway... So what the prof is really saying is: if we car-shared and used efficient public transport, we could get the entire country's transport needs met from wind power. Sounds good to me!

Oh look - I've spun the same numbers entirely differently.

What's that quote about statistics?

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UK watchdog barks at MPs' expenses

MarkMac
Flame

But hang on...

Its all very well to decry various apparent wheezes MPs use to get extra cash. Then again compared to private-sector jobs with similar responsibility they're underpaid so perhaps we ought to pay them sensibly. You know the saying about peanuts.

Talking of idiots - would you prefer ignorant MPs or ones who bothered to find out the facts about stuff they're being asked to vote on? Would you prefer MPs with no experience of 'real life' or ones who were actively involved in community, industry, commerce etc? Yes - some of them take the p... but don't tar everyone with the same brush.

The 'family members' thing is more complicated than it seems and often it is /cheaper/ than employing a 'real' secretary or researcher. On the other hand all such ought to be vetted and approved by a non-political expenses board and available for full public scrutiny. /Thats/ the only real message in this story.

As for paying from your own pocket to furnish your office - thats just unreasonable. Bear in mind that, doctors, physios, and indeed anyone else working from home is legally entitled to tax breaks, expenses claims etc for necessary workplace equipment. Which includes furnishing a room to meet clients/constituents, telecoms costs etc etc. How do I know? I work from home.

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TfL hands out contracts for congestion charge tags

MarkMac
Flame

@jeremy

"losing the tax disc?" ..."another one of labours double tax scams"

Er no actually. Road Tax has been around since medieaval times, and is one of the few honest taxes around. You use the roads, you pay tax. If anything, it has recently been made fairer with lower tax for smaller cars.

As for "40 a month to sit in your drive, triple if you use it" what are you talknig about? if its off road its free, and its not the govts fault you drove a truck. And how does it triple when you use it?

So get your facts right.

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Government orders data retention by ISPs

MarkMac
Stop

not the content...

"so all they can store is the fact that you were on the internet"

Thats going to be interesting for them - the last time I turned off my router was during a power cut back in 2007.

That said, people are being amusingly hysterical. ISPs already keep this info for their own records, the only difference now is that they can't claim to accidentally 'lose' data when under investigation.

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