* Posts by Marshalltown

436 posts • joined 30 Sep 2011

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'Acts of war in a combat zone are not covered by your laptop warranty'

Marshalltown

Mail from the "E" - spam today, spam tomorrow, please sir, some spam?

Long ago now, but unfortunately not long enough or far enough, I worked at a perfectly interesting job that involved lots of sun, dirt, rocks and hiking - great stuff. Then the "boss" decided that, in addition to the perfectly interesting and enjoyable work we were doing, he wanted to start an ISP. Since we had already wired up the office, he thought that under the "guidance" of a professional IT person, his skilled, professional staff would don a second hat at no additional pay and staff the help desk for his ISP as well.

Now the ISP idea wasn't all that bad. The area where we were headquartered had one of the lowest employment rates in the US at the time, and while people had heard of "the internet," there was very little service available. What was available was expensive, so the ISP idea looked like a great way to print money (and since we could then be our own provider, he could save the cost of the business connection we had, and since the connection to the backbone in the backroom was a T3, we really were very, very happy with it). The downside was that being new to the internet and computers in general, many of our customers were complete rubes and needed a LOT of hand holding. My favorite call was from a fellow who had signed up for our service. He his problem was that he was not "getting any mail from the 'E'." I was initially blindsided when I finally grasped what he expected. He thought his 'mail box' should get all the same kinds of barbecue-starting material that fills your normal mail box. So, after initially trying to explain that this was not the way the internet worked unsuccessfully, I signed him up on some of the more prolific spam sources of the time. A week later he called to thank me. I've actually seen two other calls I took listed as "urban myths." I won't say which ones, but I did take them, and they really were made and are not mythological.

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Paul backs FBI hack law

Marshalltown

Small government

Paul has been a "small government" advocate for a long time. He was also outraged at the revelations of the Snowden files, especially the joint "let's spy on each others citizens, since we can't do it ourselves legally" arrangement.

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SpaceX is go for US military GPS sat launch, smashes ULA monopoly

Marshalltown

Re: Why didn't NASA do themselves?

You aren't really serious asking that are you? NASA has never done "it" themselves. They are a part of the Department of Commerce! DoC has to at least pay lip service to something vaguely related to encouraging business and "capitalism." These easiest way is be seen to spend tax money liberally paying into the hands of the biggest businesses - more or less corporate welfare in reality.

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BOFH: Thermo-electric funeral

Marshalltown

Re: The only tool you'll ever need...

That's in GM shops, in Ford shops they're used on Chevrolets.

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Marshalltown

Ah, yes

The idiot I used to work for decided to start an ISP, despite the fact that his experience with computers was Wordperfect and surfin the early web and usenet for PRON. We, his otherwise skilled staff, were drafted to set up the new business alongside the existing one, which involved the outdoors, dirt, government agencies and such. So, when we had nothing more pressing to complete we had to rewire the office AND build the servers - he had an actual IT guy hired to manage the system once we built the necessary ... but that guy wanted to actually BUY already built SERVERS with WARRANTIES!! Why waste money on that when you already have guys with screwdrivers to assemble parts - actual in house warranty work, come to think of it. Anyway, "cheap" was a magic word. The hammer actually did help straighten cases that were just not fully formed, but with the worst, cheapest cases, the blanks of sheet metal had not been square in the former when the case was stamped. They assumed a vaguely rhomboidal form upon assembly. Tightened up properly, these often would torque frame and thus the mother boards, creating conditions that would pop networking cards, harddrive interfaces and other cards in the extension slots right out the slots over time and multiple heating and cooling cycles. It also created a distinctive rocking effect when you bumped the house built systems. A bigger hammer was employed to scrap them so that they would never, ever, re-emerge as a problem over the help line. Third bright idea of boss was to have same screwdriver-equipped staff build cheap PCs for the hoi poloi so they would remain loyal to the ISP, AND same staff would "support" this debacle despite the non-isp related work that piled up steadily.

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Are bearded blokes more sexist?

Marshalltown

Re: My beard

I had an anthropology professor assert pretty much the same, but who then went ahead and asked why I wore a beard. My list was 1) it grows there, and shaving it off is trouble for no discernible reward, though keeping it clipped keeps it from getting in the way, 2) pain, it's no fun shaving and self-torture is not my bag, and 3) cost and spending options, unless you're a crackerjack with sharpening stone and a strop you buy blades, and not buying a pack means you CAN buy more coffee.

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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

Marshalltown

Free range ...

There's "free range" - e.g. one bird per square meter ore even one per 100 square meters - and then there is free range, where the birds really do roam free and you only round them up at night to keep the coyotes from eating them. I grew up with the latter and the difference in eggs and meat between true free range birds, who only supplement their diet with chicken feed and birds that can go outside if they want but don't because because they have no reason to do so, and have effectively no access to a natural diet (plants, seeds, grubs, bugs, and even mice) is the difference between day and night that vast majority of so-called "free range" eggs I have had don't measure up. One guarantee that a chicken is not "free range" except perhaps in the area it can move in is the assertion that the bird was fed a "pure vegetarian diet." Chickens are not vegetarians, and "range" means much more than available space to move in.

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BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

Marshalltown

Re: 30 printers

Frankly, "that isn't a company-issued printer" and "please get a work order from your supervisor" always helps. For fun a friend an I used to go war-driving around the state capitol and would discover that apparently many state employees would bring their own wireless routers and printers into work to save the walk to the printer down the hall. Not infrequently this lead to accidental trapdoors into what were supposed to be secure state networks.

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Marshalltown
Trollface

PAs - heh

The PRON spewing out the printer brings back the old days. I was happily at work, having secured my very own private office with a locking door and even a couch! I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee when I heard a terrific scream from the owner's PA/Office Manager, who was a tallish, nice-looking, blond woman and a rabid fundamentalist who, at that time. was expecting the end of the world - in October I believe. Apparently the owner, after hours, had used her computer and scanner to scan some images (copyrighted at that) and upload them to one of usenet's more notorious groups. Apparently, he never bothered to power down the computer OR remove the magazine from the scanner. When I arrived at the scene she was belaboring him about the head and shoulders with the rolled magazine and explaining she would own him, his wife and children if "this" ever happened again. It never did, on her computer, but several weeks later I found my system on, and upon moving the mouse, received quite an eye full myself. Not being as easily offended, I spent a bit examining the evidence.

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Calm down, dear: Woman claims sexism in tech journalism

Marshalltown

Re: One thing leads to another...or not

Well, but obviously, Kieren assumed that being virulently "pro" something will be accompanied by an equal and opposite "anti" attitude which makes perfect sense, because without that balancing force, she would walking with a list. Of course she COULD just be generally negative about everything else, but a focal negative is probably easier to manage. Personally I've always regarded it as an antimale bias when you can't get secret inside information because there's nothing you can flash them that wouldn't get you punched out. Of course from a geek the punch would not be very impressive, but still that's pretty negative.

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No tit for tat, or should that be tat for tit ... Women selling stuff on eBay get lower bids

Marshalltown

Read, read , read

Please reread the article and note what it actually says. It is sexually biased behaviour patterns that does all the work - that is "women" reveal themselves. So do "men." Women *tend* exhibit *more* of a series of patterns to protect themselves from risk. That behaviour depresses their ability to actually profit. The research also notes biased patterns of ad wording that may reveal gender. I rather doubt that has much significance, since the other behaviours will very simply tend to "force" buyers to not prefer them. eBay is a world where knowing what you are after is key to getting what you really want. And, what you really want is something really good at a really low price.

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You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

Marshalltown

Re: Clear Desk

Heh - it took a break in, where the baddies attempted to disguise their work with a fire to convince my boss of the usefulness of off-site backups of both hard copies and electronic data. In some instances several years of work on a project were stolen or destroyed by the arson fire.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Southern biscuits and gravy

Marshalltown

Sugar in biscuits

In fact some recipes toss in a tablespoon's worth in a recipe that makes about a dozen 2 to 2and 1/2 inch biscuits. It helps the biscuit brown a bit, especially buttermilk biscuits, and it adds some savoriness to the biscuit. There is no detectable sweetening.

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Marshalltown

Butter milk

In the US buttermilk is a cultured milk like khefir. Originally it was whey (thus the name) that had soured a bit. The main reason for using it is that if you limit the leavening to baking soda, you need an acid to react with the soda. Otherwise you have hard, crispy little objects that can be substituted for hockey pucks. Thus, the addition of sour milk (buttermilk). Since we often don't have buttermilk on hand - a large minority actually drink it - there are numerous doges. Probably the best, since it adds just a hint of flavor, is sour the milk with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice. Simply add the juice to the milk and let it stand for a few minutes until the milk has begun to thicken. Also, a good many of us biscuit makers toss in a teaspoon of sugar to enhance the flavour a bit (too much makes the biscuits sweet) and to enhance browning. Acidic doughs don't brown well and unbrowned biscuits don't taste as good.

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Free science journal library gains notoriety, lands injunctions

Marshalltown

Governments?

Fund it? The only ones that get funded are Elsevier, and they are arguably a bunch of thieves that provide no discernible service to science - or to anyone else outside Elsevier.

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Patent Troll Unit set up by Virginia government to slay lawsuits

Marshalltown

Patent trolls

Honest, wrongly accused?? Seriously, Virginia did not come out against patents or against patent suits over genuine controversies. Its unit specifically targets companies whose purpose in existence is simply "legal" extortion. They have no "product" that is in any way damaged by their prey's products or activity and they bought the patent simply to collect the royalty. They are simply incorporated hold-up artists that use paper instead of more material weapons.

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Marshalltown

@a_yank_lurker ". . .patent law is feral. . ."

If it is really "feral" then plainly we need an animal control unit to deal with it.

Besides, the unit's purpose is to "file injunctions." That means that the Commonwealth of Virginia has come out explicitly in favor of digging potholes in the previously smooth road the trolls had from filing suit to payout. The state has designated a unit specifically to impede trolls. It can't act directly against them because patents fall under Federal (not "feral") law, but it can certainly make the bridge they dwell under less homey and their suits more expensive. Given the "prefer low hanging fruit, prey on the weakest" character of patent trolls, incorporation in Virginia becomes a desirable state.

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BOFH: I want no memory of this pointless conversation. Alcohol please

Marshalltown

Re: Vision

Heh, the first fellow that hired me out of college told me he "had vision." Never, ever let someone with "vision" but no sense explain things.

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SpaceX: launch, check. Landing? Needs work

Marshalltown

Nah

The landing looked fine. The video shows one of the struts failing. That might be due to the barge motion, but the take away should be that any landing on a floating barge needs to consider a need for reinforced struts and maybe a wider rest stance once landed.

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Hacks rebel after bosses secretly install motion sensors under desks

Marshalltown

Re: Moral police

Well, she would be working in a strip club, and while I've known a couple of co-eds who paid for college working in one, most don't need to actually know the difference between "were" and "we're."

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Marshalltown

Re: Moral police

You are left to wonder about the fate of whoever "caught" them.

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Rejoice, Penguinistas, Linux 4.4 is upon us

Marshalltown

Windows 10 - Linux any day

Having been forced into using it, my impression is that Win10 is flakier than the shoulders of my shirts. The network system is weird occasionally not "seeing" systems on the network, but which, if you know their network name, are accessible. Strictly a Win10 problem too. Win7 has no problem like that. The Win10 interface would be fine on a cell phone, but on a desktop??? Seriously? As Bill the Cat would say, "ack, barf!" Then there's "I'm Cortana. Ask me anything." Heh! But only of you get an MS account. And now the employer who insisted on the transition is discovering that true cost of MS support, especially when, after breaking down and paying for it, the help consists of "we're working on it." I've been using Linux, mostly SUSE with KDE, for years now and have to say that with very, very few exceptions, it is easily as good as MS.

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BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Marshalltown

Re: Ferris Bueller!

Grammatically that sentence leaves a good deal to desire, but if the "its" is possessive, as it appears to be, then no, it does not need an apostrophe. The word forms a triumvirate with "his" and "hers."

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GCHQ mass spying will 'cost lives in Britain,' warns ex-NSA tech chief

Marshalltown

Re: The power that mass surveillance gives...

Yet, you have to wonder, just what power that would be. It seems far more likely to result in raised taxes and maybe open a few more government jobs than anything else. Governments consistently tend to regard their own citizens as the biggest threats. The citizenry of course is what the government is exercising power over, the only serious source of funding (and affirmation of status - after all, what goes through a taxman's heart at the end of the day, if he hasn't made someone's life at least a bit more miserable).

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NSA spying on US and Israeli politicians stirs Congress from Christmas slumbers

Marshalltown

Re: Try substituting Putin for Bibi

It really is humourous in a sad way to see Arabs accused of antisemiticism. It reflects monumental educational failures and a steadfast ignorance.

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Marshalltown

Re: Re; YAAC Colour me cynical

Matt, I AM a Republican, and in this case you are wrong. It really IS about national security vs grandstanding jack4zz3z in Congress and the Senate who hope to benefit in the next election. The idea that Israel is any more trustworthy than its neighbors is beyond naieve. IL will certainly not outright cross the US, but where what the conservatives there conceive our interests to be in conflict with their interests, or where they can insure that "my enemy" remains the enemy of my friend (the US), they'll take steps to protect their interests, not ours. There is no reason they should see things differently, but it is not a view that benefits the US. If they see something as not in their best interests, well their interests come first. It is that simple. The US should remember that. Israel is a religious and political battlefield and has been for millennia and it remains so now.

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Marshalltown

Re: If the spy agencies have blackmail material on all the politicians you have a Chekist state

And, if you have your garden variety politician "negotiating" secretly and independently with foreign powers you have a monumental CF AND the added bonus of politicians committing treason.

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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

Marshalltown

Husband - heh

There are worse things, like inarticulate IT folks who can't explain a fix. Then you, standing in the middle of no where, not a road in sight, let alone a building or a computer, gets a cell call from said wife asking for translation. Worse, you haven't done tech support in five years and are glad to be doing completely different kinds of work. Even worse, the explanation requested has to do with a custom interface written by a lunatic whose only previous experience programming was modifying Colossal Cave, for hospital personnel to use as a centralised patient-charting system. It is based, strangely enough, on a customizable, accounting and sales package. It retains odd usages like "shopping cart" and "customer ID." The users (nurses) are lost in a maze of twisty passages all alike. Happily, only the jackrabbits can hear you scream.

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PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

Marshalltown

Re: when will this madness stop?

The name is clear evidence that the primatologist has been having a clandestine relationship with the ape. Clearly the process included preplanned entrapment of the photographer by PETA, the primatologist, and the ape. All are clearly in a criminal conspiracy.

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Marshalltown

Re: when will this madness stop?

The plaintiff is PETA, well known for members with IQs near room temperature, in British rooms in the winter at night, and thought patterns that rule out words like "logic" and, despite their name, "ethics."

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Marshalltown

Re: Californians are monkeys and I have proof:

Meh, lots of Californians think the only decent "PETA" is stuffed with schwarma. The motive is clear and extortionate. PETA wants to administer any funds accumulated around the image for the ape. They will then charge the ape a fee for that administration. The courts could end this quite simply by finding for the ape and designating the photographer as the administrator in perpetuity. When discussing PETA it is always advisable to remember the only animals whose rights they will not "defend" is human.

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'Dear Daddy...' Max Zuckerberg’s Letter back to her Father

Marshalltown

I'm not going to knock someone ...

Really, instead of giving it away, it would immensely more useful economically to start spending it. Buy custom clothes, jewelry, yachts, mansions, heck even some electronics. That produces actual jobs and workers who can even spend some money themselves. The problem with the economy is the one percenters, not the jobless poor. The mass of money accumulated where is it does no "work" but accumulate more cash is the real cause of the demise of the middle class.

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Marshalltown

Re: Sadly not the case,

Not sure where your geology "degree" came from, but if it locates Atlantis in Antarctica I would not surprised if it came in the mail. The "magnetic" reversals are just that, reversals of the magnetic field, not of the entire physical planet. If you simply consider minor physical laws like conservation of intertia and agular momentum and such, it is pretty clear that if a magnetic reversal involved planetary acrobatics, life would not exist. Neither would the planet probably. If it did, it would probably look a lot like Venus.

As it is, the magnetic field takes "excursions" occasionally as well as "flipping,m" and the event 10,000 years ago or so was an "excursion" rather than a full blown inversion. If you like science fiction, try reading Keith Laumer's "The Breaking Earth" which is based on the idea of the actual physical tumbling of the planetary gyros during a magnetic reversal. Laumer took it easy on the physical effects - i.e. the catastrophic picture he presents is no where near as bad as a real event would have been. It is also the only book I known that even hints that an Atlantis-like civilization existed on Antarctica. Are you sure your geology proph didn't have you read that novel?

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Marshalltown

Re: admin obverhead [sic]

I once worked in an office - when I was IN the office - where the assistant manager one fine day attended a course on time management. Apparently there were rumours that the state, for which we conducted a good deal of work, wanted "better accounting of time." The decree came down to record our work in five-minute increments! That lasted until I showed the manager that in an 8-hour day, if you paused for 30 seconds each five minutes, that ate about 48 minutes a day or 10% of the work time available in an eight-hour day.

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Reg reader post-pub chef brews superscharf currywurst

Marshalltown

Second that

Excellent idea and a critical component in the E. R. (El Reg that is) gear.

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Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Marshalltown

Re: Oi! Hillary

I've a relative who handled (maintained) classified systems for the USDoS and the individual's opinions about the state of the system were very low. Worse, the hardware (and software) was typically years out of date and often with serious incompatibilities between "home rolled" systems provided by the military and OTS software and hardware acquired from vendors such as MS in a spirit of cost "reduction."

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Marshalltown

Trump

Trump is a drooling maroon outside his little area of expertise. One of the banes of politics in the US - and possibly elsewhere - is business men who are confused about the nature of government and politics. One of the nightmares of the '90s was the emergence of the word "customer" in use for any member of the public dealing with a government agency. Customer "satisfaction" surveys even appeared. The same miasma of clueless greed has invaded many areas including healthcare here in the US. The unspoken watch word of many HMOs is "we want to give them less and make them feel happy about that." Unhappily many of my fellow USians seem to think that the bigger (wealthier) a company is the better its products must be (look at dominance of Microsoft if you doubt that - the only decent product they ever produced internally was a mouse).

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The only GOOD DRONE is a DEAD DRONE. Y'hear me, scumbags?!

Marshalltown

Re: Paint balls vs CCTV

Technically, federal laws make it illegal to violate local (state) laws regarding selling or purchasing guns, e.g.:

THE GUN CONTROL ACT OF 1968

TITLE 18, UNITED STATE CODE, CHAPTER 44

TITLE I : STATE FIREARMS

CONTROL ASSISTANCE

So, it is the local standards that actually trump decisions.

Some other points to consider are shotgun range, the drone operator says his drone was above 200 feet but eye witnesses contradicted that. The judge went with the witnesses. It is possible that both testimonies are accurate. The drone uses GPS to estimate altitude not radar or anything more accurate, so the "altitude" in the data record would be above the geoid surface, not necessarily above the ground. The shotgun owner apparently took the drone down with one shot. I can't find any mention of shot guage, but a 200-foot plus shot, which is what the drone operator is arguing the shooter made would be impressive skill or remarkable luck.

Also, more extensive accounts indicate that the drone had hovered over the same yard six times during the preceding year and that a sixteen-year-old woman was sunbathing in the yard. So, unless there is some remarkably interesting arhcitecture, why was Boggsie running his drone there repeatedly? The shooter says that the drone was harassing the yard. Maybe it was.

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Marshalltown
Headmaster

Re: Presentation / Ronnie

Not to mention that Ronny baby is hold a hunting rifle in an airplane and that at least some present think it is or could be loaded.

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Post-pub schnellnosh neckfiller: Currywurst

Marshalltown

Re: The problem with most *wursts is

Hmmmh, you must have been sausage from the packaged sausage aisle from a supermarket and missed the label that read "Hot Dogs." There are some truly excellent sausages made in the US ... chorizo, linguisca, polish, New Orleans style hot, ... It can be like be like trying to find a good chicken-fried steak, but with some real American exploratory zeal, you can find some very good "pig-in-a-tube," even in the US.

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Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

Marshalltown

Re: Emeritus

Try this.

https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2015/research/climate-models/

The issue has been a concern for years. The entire "falsifiability" question in science hinges on when you decide an hypothesis (a model) is shown to be false. The early *proponents* - proponents mark you, not critics - of these climate models proposed a span of 15 years. A steady divergence over 15 years would thus constitute a failure of the model(s). The ensemble mean of the various models have ALWAYS been higher than empirical data, despite consistent adjustments that push modern temps upward and historical (pre-WWII) data downward. In case you don't understand that, it means the adjustments themselves are known to have imposed a trend on data that lacked it. There is good agreement over the history of the US CRN (not HCN) and adjustment of modern temperatures so presumably adjustments to modern data are justifiable. The same cannot be shown for adjustments to historical data. Next time do your own research.

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Marshalltown

Re: Emeritus

Speaking of not keeping up, where have you been?

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Marshalltown

Re: Scientists - Dyson 'sphere'

Niven's ring-world proposal is inherently unstable. It makes an interesting story. I'm not convinced that Dyson's sphere is any better.

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THIS is MASSIVE! Less-Masslessness neutrino boffins bag Physics Nobel

Marshalltown

Re: Makes particle physics sound like climate science - not at all

To match the pattern in U.S. climate science, the Standard Model would have been verified. By adjusting the the data, they would have shown that there really was no mass. No, this was science as it should be done.

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So, what's happening with LOHAN? Sweet FAA, that's what

Marshalltown

Re: Well, crap

This a novel worth reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_of_the_High_Frontier

It will seem eerily familiar to LOHAN followers.

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Mars water discovery is a liberal-muslim plot, cry moist conspiracy theorists

Marshalltown

Re: Ow!

The flowing Martian water thing has been evident for over a decade. Arthur C Clarke actually used the idea in a Venus Prime story before the lineations were known. I suspect that unless the "announcement" is made soonish, they will wait until the first human landings before "discovering" that huge areas of Mars are covered in dust-mantled glaciers. Those circular karsts have to be due to something other than limestone being dissolved by ground water. Sublimating ice (methane or water) is the next best explanation. Mars is adiabatically dry and cold because of the elevated southern hemisphere and polar regions. Look for the giant alien reactor there.

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Photoshop for 40 quid: Affinity Photo pushes pixels further than most

Marshalltown

Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

"Well just keep paying your £8 to Adobe, then. It's not the worst thing that one can imagine."

Hmm, let me think, beer or Adobe, beer of Adobe, beer or Adobe ... Well, yes it is the worst thing I can imagine.

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Sysadmin ignores 25 THOUSAND patches, among other sins

Marshalltown

Re: On occasion (Aqua Marina)

There are a lot of folks who would have taken a look and decided a fire axe might help.

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BOFH: Why, I LOVE work courses. Please tell me more, o wise one!

Marshalltown

Re: BANG!!

Julius Caesar died in March on 'ides.'

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Brassiere belays boob-bound bullet, begetting bruised breastbone

Marshalltown
Pint

Re: Life-saving, really?

The strike was from a "rebound" - ricochet in the US -so, no, it didn't have much energy left. If you follow the screwy news, the armadillos in the southeast US and Texas have been shooting back too. One fellow bounced a round off an armadillo, through a fence and into his mother-in-law. That's the kind of hurt that keeps on giving and giving and giving. "No honey! No, I really was shooting at an armadillo. I'ld never mistake your mom for an armadillo. No honey, I could never have said something like that! You must have misheard!"

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