* Posts by Suricou Raven

960 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

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Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

Suricou Raven
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Re: Energy from a nail in a tree

The power output is highly variable depending upon weather though.

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Bill Gates – I WISH I was like Zuck and spoke Chinese. Yep, I drink poo

Suricou Raven
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I'm not worried about superintelligent AI.

I'm more concerned about an AI just smart enough to do some of the more menial human jobs, and the economic impact that will have. Increases in economic productivity have always been a good thing in history - eventually. But the steepest ones often have an ugly transition period, and history is no guide in this case as the form of transition is unprecedented. What happens when the robots are doing all the driving, most of the cleaning and a good chunk of the service industry work? Unemployment that could trigger a positive feedback loop and push the world into a recession that'd make the Great Depression look quite mild in comparison.

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Which of UK's major ISPs will let you have exotic p0rn? NONE OF THEM

Suricou Raven
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Re: How futile given encrypted network tunnel services exist

Of course you can hack your way around - but it isn't a good thing for free speech to be dependant upon the outcome of a hacker-battle between users and censors.

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Prez Obama snubs UK PM's tough anti-encryption crusade at White House meet

Suricou Raven
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Re: Fifteen mentions

Ten. The others are in the titles or bylines of other articles mentioned on the page.

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Suricou Raven
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The word 'cyber' appears ten times in this article.

Does anyone even know what it's supposed to mean? It seems to have turned into a prefix for 'vaguely computer-related.'

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Global PC market's not dead, it's just resting – Gartner

Suricou Raven
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I don't need any fancy analysis to tell me what's wrong with the PC market. It's obvious: PCs got 'good enough.'

Anyone here should remember the 90s and much of the 00s - you couldn't get a PC home from the store before it was obsolete, things moved so fast. If you wanted to keep up to date with the current software you'd be buying a new PC every year or two. Three at most, by which time it felt like it was powered by steam. There was plenty of fresh demand too as families got their first home PC.

Now? You can use a ten-year-old laptop quite happily. It might not do for the latest games, but aside from that it's up to everything a typical user might ask. Everyone who wants a PC has one. I'm surprised manufacturers aren't fighting harder over emerging markets, because that's the only growth area left.

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Hawking and friends: Artificial Intelligence 'must do what we want it to do'

Suricou Raven
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Most of his Robot stories were about how robots would either follow these laws to undesireable outcomes due to circumstances unforseen by the designers, or fry their processors when they were unable to (Failsafe design - if a robot is unable to follow the laws, it burns out).

One example: A robot bothers a human, who orders it to 'get lost.' The robot proceeds to do exactly that - the third law doesn't include an ability to tell if an order is meant literally or figuratively. Finding the robot proves quite problematic.

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Anonymous vows to avenge Charlie Hebdo massacre by blitzing jihadist sites

Suricou Raven
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Re: What might be fitting

I'd consider it a sort of litmus test for cultural compatibility. Insult their god and phophet before a group of muslims: Those who complain but take no further action are peaceful and suitable for coexistance, for though they may not share western values entirely there is at least enough agreement for a 'live and let live' approach. Those who demand government censorship or fly into a violent rage are the troublemakers, and it's better to force them to reveal themselves now than wait for some future time when they may have greater influence, for coexistance with them isn't possible without conflict.

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

Suricou Raven
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Eventually we're going to see a serious backlash movement against Islam in the west - we're already seeing the beginnings in things like the recent protests in Germany. Right now it's limited to some far-right nutjobs, but every time an Islamic country does something repressive in the name of their religion, or some group of Islamic terrorists makes the news with another killing spree, the backlash grows a little larger and a little closer to mainstream.

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Sphere 3D: Our pop-out 2TB disk product? Of COURSE it's rugged

Suricou Raven
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I took one of those RDXs apart once. It's just a plain old hard drive in a protective box. They certainly charge a lot of that box.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Very disappointed

Any spherical data storage device must be named 'mollysphere,' just so that a very small number of people may be smug when they get the reference.

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A Cambridge boffin told me YOU'RE A BIG, FAT LIAR

Suricou Raven
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As accurate as conventional polygraphs.

That's not exactly hard to do. Polygraph tests are so unreliable as to be near-useless. There's a reason they aren't admissible in court.

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Ladies and trolls: Should we make cyberbullying a crime? – Ireland

Suricou Raven
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Re: ... if you go into a garden and a dog bites you ...

"What we need is a law against making laws .... oh wait ..."

America tried that with their Bill of Rights. It's worked out pretty well, despite politicians finding countless loopholes and workarounds.

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Saudi Arabia hires 'ethical hackers' to silence smut slingers

Suricou Raven
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Ethics are cultural. They are ethical hackers by Saudi standards, and I expect their hacking is authorised by the appropriate court order.

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UFOs in the '50s skies? CIA admits: 'IT WAS US'

Suricou Raven
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Re: Who else?

It's more interesting that the aliens appearance always seems to reflect the pop-culture aliens of the time.

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Online armour: Duncan Campbell's tech chief on anonymity 101

Suricou Raven
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Re: Advice from amateurs

Depends who you want to be secure against.

The PI your ex hired to try to prove adultery? It's perfectly fine for that.

Your Boss trying to spy on your personal calls over the office wifi? It's as secure as the device you use it on.

Government surveilance, or a megacorp involved in industrial espionage? Well, it'll slow them down for half an hour.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Echo Cancellation

Or you could just use headphones.

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NASA preps lobotomy for Opportunity rover to cure amnesia

Suricou Raven
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Re: Necessary XKCD Reference

You assume quantum reproduction is needed to transport life. Is there any evidence that this is required? Classical duplication may not preserve spin and such, but it should still do the job.

The 'clone issue' in star trek was only handwaved as a technological limitation - and on multiple occasions accidents with the transporters were able to create duplicates, so the capability was there. Just that no-one ever thought to try doing it deliberately, because the writers didn't like the idea.

If someone had, it would have been so highly abusable. The hard part is manipulating someone into saying 'You and what army?' the moment before you reveal the ten trillion yous storming the planet.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Necessary XKCD Reference

You just program it with a desire to go.

Then start working on those vegetarian-friendly cows.

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No, I won't SNORKEL in your server room at STUPID-O'CLOCK

Suricou Raven
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Generators are very heavy. The building has to be designed around them, so its more practical to put the really heavy stuff as low as possible. The only heavy equipment that gets elevated is that which must be on top for functional reasons, like the air conditioning units.

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Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons

Suricou Raven
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Re: If you are going to describe a future, make it aspirational.

Solar cells on a car roof will make no significant contribution to the power. Physics is against you here. Wrong inclination, for a start. Plus you've got the extra weight to haul around. Far more efficient to put them beside the road.

The only use I can see for solar power on a car would be for camping. The car's huge battery would be great for running a caravan, with a solar panel to keep it topped up.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Driverless. It's the future don't you know.

The technology isn't ready. It may be ready one day, but it's at least ten years away - and that's if it all goes smoothly. It's not just a matter of making a car drive-itsself safely. There are other aspects to deal with too. The issue of vandalism, and the mess left after a drunk passanger. Who'd order a self-driving taxi pod if they risked the previous passanger being a group of four on the way back from a pub crawl leaving the floor a sea of alcoholic vomit? You'd need to design dirt-detection capability as well so they know when cleaning is required. The legal issues will take another decade to work through - when a self-driving taxi gets in an accident, who is liable? You can't just pin it on the driver, and there will be accidents.

It's also going to be impossible for the taxis to handle anything out of the ordinary, like roads blocked by accidents, people standing in the road arguing, outdated maps, some idiot redrawing road markings to keep their driveway clear, etc. The obvious approach is to have a 'call center' of drivers who can be called upon to remotely direct a taxi via cell-net whenever they encounter something beyond their programming.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Use Broadband, not the bus !

Even for low-level workers there are social issues. Management don't like it because of the problem ensuring the company is getting the time and attention they pay for - you need to set up a whole performance monitoring system, otherwise employees will 'steal' company resources by watching TV or chatting with family while on the clock. Workers don't like it because the informal socialisation that takes place at the workplace builds connections which are both good for productivity and good for job security: When the cuts come, the boss would rather fire Drone #291 than Dick from down the pub.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: The best urban transport

The issue with cycle lanes is that you have traffic rushing past at a relative speed of maybe forty miles an hour, about three inches away from your handlebar. One false move, one driver misjudging the width of his vehicle, and you're beneath it. Many cyclists prefer to ride on footpaths, legality be damned, because a collision with a pedestrian is highly unlikely to prove fatal to either party. A few bruises and scrapes is better than roadkill.

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Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas

Suricou Raven
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Moffat writes great horror. He has a way of making the everyday terrifying. He just isn't so good at anything that isn't horror, and should stay far away from whimsy.

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Suricou Raven
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You missed something.

"It wasn’t explained why people from different walks of life should dream themselves into a setting of scientists stuck at a spooky, snow-bound lab."

Ah, but it was! Just sneakily. Upon one of the dreamers waking, they glanced at a list of films to watch. What was on that list? The Thing... a movie about scientists stuck at a spooky, snow-bound lab. Along with Mo34S, a movie about Santa. The dream simply drew from the movies she'd fallen asleep after watching.

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Why the chemistry between Hollywood, physics and maths is so hot right now

Suricou Raven
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No surprise, really.

Of course it focuses on the characters and has minimal science. Hawking and Turing work in fields where you'd need a program the length of the movie just to get a basic lay understanding of what they are working on.

Look at how science is covered in documentaries these days to see what the public interest in that is. The highest-rated 'documentary' series of recent years includes one claiming ancient monuments are actually landing grounds for flying saucers, one claiming dragons actually existed, and one saying that scientists are covering up mermaids. I tried to watch what looked like a reasonable program on Egyptian history this morning, and halfway through it turned into a presentation on pyramid energy.

Science is interesting to many people, yes. But it isn't nearly as interesting as a crafted story of lies.

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Senator: Backdoor for the Feds is a backdoor for hackers

Suricou Raven
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A bignore computery generic image from the stock library? Looks like something off BBC news.

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Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

Suricou Raven
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Re: How about getting written text translation right first?

Google translate seems to have improved - most things I put in do come out intelligable, though they'd still score an F on any english exam paper. That's without having to handle the error from speech recognition too.

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'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Suricou Raven
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Re: Thorium

A number of countries are actively involved in thorium research, but none yet has a reactor operating - not even a small prototype - India's PFBR has been delayed many times now. Attractive as thorium looks on paper, it remains an unproven technology. Until someone has a reactor operating, it would be far too optimistic to depend on it eventually working. We've all heard the joke about fusion power - perpetually fifty years away.

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QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

Suricou Raven
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Re: There's been many better formats than JPEG.

JPEG is 'good enough' and firmly entrenched. The only way it's getting displaced is if a format comes along that is both technically superior (easy enough) and also has the backing of a party with major influence. BPG lacks the latter. WebP has it, barely - but Google isn't doing a great deal to promote their new format. If they threw some serious weight behind it, then it could get established. They could even try to get support from Microsoft and Apple - neither of those are trying to promote any competing image standard, so improved compression would be to everyone's advantage.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

Suricou Raven
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Just answer the important question:

Is smaug as evily sexy as he is in the second movie? That is one hot dragon.

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Sony Pictures email hack: The bitter 'piracy war' between Google and Hollywood laid bare

Suricou Raven
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Re: Search for "torrents"

TPB isn't so much a torrent site any more as a symbol of defiance.

♪ I get knocked down

But I get up again

You're never going to keep me down ♪

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Brit boffins debunk 'magnetic field and cancer' link

Suricou Raven
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Re: It won't work.

Size. Mumsnet is a lot bigger.

They aren't on good terms. Both forums have similar objectives, and something of a rivalry exists. On each one you often see people insulting the other. Netmums is also usually considered a bit more welcoming, while Mumsnet is quite well-known for the level of hostility often directed at newcomers and regulars alike. It is not a place for the thin-skinned.

Getting them confused is a sure way to irritate members of either.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: It won't work.

"Really? I missed this one. Is this a geolocated bizarreness"

It's pretty big in America. The short version is that there was a study that showed induced abortion carried an increased risk of breast cancer. This study was later shown to have some methodological flaws, mostly relating to the lack of a suitable control group. Subsequent research showed no causal link, and just about every expert society on cancer and reproductive health has now issued some form of statement to this effect. Much like vaccines though, belief in the connection presists long after the one study has been discredited. In this case the motivation is political: The pro-life movement siezed on it and refuses to let go, as it provides some major benefits to them. It lets them campaign against abortion while claiming to be fighting for women's health, which is a big boost to a faction often accused of harboring sexist sentiments. We rarely encounter this particular strain of bad science in the UK, simply because our pro-life movement is comparatively small and holds minimal politcal influence. Every now and again though the right-leaning media over in the US will bring up a new 'Scientists prove abortion causes cancer' article, usually followed by some conspiracy claims about how the liberal medical establishment is trying to cover it up. Strangely, this research is rarely published in peer-reviewed jounals, and the organisations responsible for it tend to have 'Catholic' in the name somewhere.

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Suricou Raven
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It won't work.

Look at two other bits of modern medical rubbish: The claimed links between vaccines and autism, and between abortion and breast cancer.

Both of these have been throughly disproven by multiple studies. Both of them have been condemned by just about every professional medical organisation around. Both of them still have a great many adherents.

Why should this be any different?

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'We're having panic attacks' ... Sony staff and families now threatened in emails

Suricou Raven
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It's already widely known that the movie industry has an approach to taxation that would be outright illegal in any other field. It's a historical thing. It's always been that way.

There's a reason you always see movies given as having 'made X on a budget of Y.' It's because no film is on budget, ever. The production costs are always inflated to whatever extent is needed to make sure that the film is a financial failure on paper, thus producing no taxable profit. The money is instead made by all the various studio-tied contractors who get paid very generously for production, distribution and promotion, and tend to be in more tax-favorable situations.

It's also why royalties are paid on gross revenue, not net. Net is always negative.

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Suricou Raven
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Not just passwords.

They also kept a convenient list of company credit cards details. Card numbers, end dates, even the PINs. And another file with the login details for various external services. I imagine it's all revoked by now.

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Furious GTA V gamers seek similar ban on violent, misogynistic title: the Holy Bible

Suricou Raven
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Re: I don't see how this could be true

Religion-bashing is a good thing. It needs to be bashed more. Once the cultural respectability is punctured, religion is exposed as a hollow sham peddling feel-good nonsense without any basis in reality.

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Magnifico! Galileo satellite nudged back into correct orbit

Suricou Raven
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How long before we see more ion engines?

If the sats used those, theyd pack enough delta-V that a major orbital adjustment isn't much of a concern.

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#Gamergate folk load flamethrower, roast own feet over GTA V 'ban'

Suricou Raven
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I'm surprised an Australian retailer will carry it, given some of their censorship policies.

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Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

Suricou Raven
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Re: Just to throw in a subject for debate...

I think it's more a change in advertising. Sites are desperate to distinguish themselves and secure viewership and precious advertising revenue. Yet another generic porn site among thousands isn't going to stick in the viewers memory, but throw in some kinks and you're halfway to a memorable visit.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: hardly difficult to get around

This is good, because my old home insurance policy specifically excluded any damage caused by nuclear attack.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Don't worry too much.

Not quite. Unlike the US, we do have some significent fringe parties. They are quite bonkers, of course. But when a lot of people start to support a fringe party, it acts as a signal to the major parties to steal their positions. This can be seen with the rise of the BNP, followed by UKIP. Once it became clear UKIP was getting huge growth, the coalition started to promise more measures to reduce immigration in the hope of luring over those UKIP supporters to their side. The same thing could happen if lots of people started to vote for, say, the Pirate Party. Not a hope of them actually growing to any significent size, but if they started growing at all you can expect some of the big three to start immitating their defining positions.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Normality

"Gott Mit Uns."

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Suricou Raven
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Don't worry too much.

It's basically unenforcable.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Normality

You have to ask why ban abortion though. It is because they have reached a conclusion that abortion is inherently immoral? Or is it because they hate the idea that sex doesn't have to have consequences? There's an easy way to tell: Look at their stance on contraception. If they truely do want to minimise the killing of what they would term 'per-born children,' they should embrace contraception as the most powerful tool they have for doing so. On the other hand, if they are just a bunch of prudes who loathe the idea of sex outside of a lifelong heterosexual marriage, they will also be opposed to contraception.

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LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

Suricou Raven
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Re: Apples and Schools.

Microsoft has always done exactly the same - offering schools Office licences for next to nothing, because if students are experienced in office and textbooks written for it, there will be a steady stream of people entering the workplace who prefer using it. It's just good business sense.

Google hasn't done this so much, but only because they didn't really have any products schools would want until they chromebook was introduced.

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Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

Suricou Raven
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I do not understand phone encryption.

Where is the key? Anything stored on the phone can be read out if one can access the memory fully. The only information not stored on the phone that could be used as a key is the owner's pin, which at four digits just isn't long enough to resist brute forcing.

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Sony Pictures hires Mandiant, asks FBI for help after MASSIVE cyber attack

Suricou Raven
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Re: However, the CIA has other ideas....

The CIA doesn't assassinate national leaders. We know this because there are a lot of national leaders still alive that I'm sure the CIA would really like to see hit by a car.

Note 'national leaders' though - when it comes to powers not recognised as politically legitimate, drone strikes are not unusual.

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