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* Posts by Charles Manning

2837 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Charles Manning
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What has happened to the good science journalists?

Good Science Journalist: Here are the facts.

Editor: Well thats f**ing boring. I want something more punchy. Something that attracts eyeballs. We're here to sell papers (or ad clicks) you know! Screw all the hard numbers.

GSJ: Ok, I'll clean it up.

Editor: Nope still boring. Look, you've got to pay your way here or you're gone.

GSJ sells soul to devil. Screw the facts. Up the alarmist. Becomes Bad Science Journalist.

BSJ: How about this: Glaciers will all melt, flood the empty mines and mutant octopii will invade London and eat everyones brains.

Editor : When will this happen?

BSJ : Two hundred years from now?

Editor: Sooner.

BSJ: Next Tuesday?

Editor: YESSS!

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Expulsion from Garden of Steven: Apple staffers tossed out of Fruit Loop

Charles Manning
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So.... no real difference then?

Apple already only houses a fraction of its Cupertino employees in Infinite Loop. Most of the buildings over the other side of North De Anza Blvd were fruity when I was last there (2008).

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China to become world's No 1 economy. And we still can't see why

Charles Manning
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Hiring Huawei consultants won't help the west

The Huawei business model only worked because the workers:

A) Lived within their means and therefore had money to invest

B) Were prepared to delay gratification and put in the effort.

VeThat won't work in the west because:

A) Most westerners live well beyond their means and have an inflated sense of intitlement. The westerners are broke as nations and individually.

B) Most westerners have an expectation of instant gratification. Want it now.... on the credit card. How many would invest in the companies they work for? No, just slagging off about the boss and doing the minimum work that doesn't get you fired is about average.

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PC makers! You, between Microsoft and the tablet market! Get DOWN!

Charles Manning
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Late to the party?

This is a lame excuse that does not work.

Microsoft have been doing tablets since 1992 Windows for Pen Computing. This is at least their 8th go at it.

They were pretty much the first and they gave the space away. While MS can't find its ass with both hands, Apple and Google slid into the space and took it from them.

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E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

Charles Manning
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"less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

and less sick people choking up the NHS.

It would be interesting to do a complete financial breakdown from a govt perspective. - just pure numbers without the sentimental aspects.

Does premature death (therefore less pension etc) and less excise taxes add up to more than the added healthcare costs?

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Tech sector still loves its slaves: study

Charles Manning
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Meanwhile...

The labourers clamour for these jobs because the other jobs are WORSE! From a perspective of an employee, these are often excellent jobs.

If tech kit manufacturers are getting Ds, you can bet your bottom dollar that toothbrush manufacturers should be getting Fs.

But these agencies know how to spin PR. Apple is BAD gets a lot of hits, a broom manufacturer doesn't.

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

Charles Manning
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Third attempt???

For all those that think this is going to be "third time's a charm " for MS,...

MS have been trying to sell tablets since the 1990s. It has always been BillG's pet form factor. BillG was always waving around tablets at Comdex.

They started with Windows 3.1 for Pen Computing 1.0 in 1992. Since then they've served up at least 8 different flavours - none of which has gone anywhere useful.

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'Microsoft Research slides' show touch-enabled Office - report

Charles Manning
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Re: What part of the fact that this is medium to long term research did some of our posters......

Amazing what qualifies as "research" these days...

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Brits to vote: Which pressing scientific challenge should get £10m thrown at it?

Charles Manning
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Selling baby rights

These theoretical ideas don't gain traction in the real world because they are unworkable.

Consider a person that has no assets:

1. Sells right for $10k, blows it all.

2. Then has 10 kids.

3. Owes "fines" of $100k.

What are you going to do to get that 100k from them? Threats don't work on people who have little or nothing.

On top of this, you will have leaders saying "screw the Westerners and their ideas" and telling people to have all the babies they want because that is the African way. That's how people like Jacob Zuma in South Africa get into power.

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Charles Manning
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"increasing the standard of living"

Look, there really is no problem with global population per se.

Why does it matter if there are 1bn people or 100bn people? The population is not the direct problem.

The problem is only caused indirectly: those billions of people consume resources: food, land, water,...

This is where "increasing the standard of living" idea becomes a fallacy.

A Westerner consumes at least 10x what an impoverished Asian/African does, so converting all the impoverished people into Western-level consumers means we have to find 10x the resources for these people.

Even if this reduces the actual population by a factor of two or three, you're still taking a backward step in terms of actual resources required.

Now, to be clear, I am not at all opposed to lifting the standard of living of impoverished people - indeed I support efforts to do so. I merely point out that this is not a solution to the "population issue"..

It is worth noting that the standard of living has increased dramatically over the last few decades. Disease is reduced (except for the murderous greenies banning DDT and causing malaria to increase again). Famine is rare; indeed obesity is now more of a problem than malnutrition.

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Toot-toot. Intel pulls up in the connected car of the FU-TURE-TURE

Charles Manning
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"dad opens the door for his little angel"

"And take this fu**ing SatNav with you."

It is one thing having to put up with stroppy offspring, but this SatNav is getting far too intrusive too.

It was that a man's house was his castle and the kids played outside. Then the yoofs took over the lounge and the man's only peace can when driving his car.

Now Intel proposes filling the car, the last tiny bastion of a man's life, with an iNanny that tells you to buckle up and a means for the kids to fill your car with their shit sound and make churlish tweets about the person giving them transport.

Intel, please go back to servers.

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Greenwald alleges NSA tampers with routers to plant backdoors

Charles Manning
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Get with the tinfoil

http://www.afcma.org/

http://www.usafoil.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_foil

Just pasting ranty URLs does not build a case.

I have done consulting work for Cisco. It is an INTERNATIONAL company, with products developed all over the world and manufactured in different places.

For example, there is a development house in Norway and the products they make are built in Poland.

On top of that, you can download the code for many of these devices. Granted, you can't download it all.

While it might be plausible to infect US made products and conspire to keep the US side of Cisco quiet, the company is far too large and multinational to keep anything secret for long.

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So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Charles Manning
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... just give Microsoft a chance...

"Just give MS a chance" seems to be the general theme of these MS-will-rise-up-and-eat-them-all articles.

MS have been in smart phones since 2000 or so - twice as long as Apple or Google. The "give them a chance" routine is bollocks.

In 2001, they basically had corporate smart phones sewn up.... then they pissed it away.

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Job for IT generalist ...

Charles Manning
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Nitty gritty problem solver?

C'mon, if you're a good problem solver you can also solve this career issue.

First off, reflect on why sales people earn stupid money compared to their skills: they realise that they are selling themselves to the company. You must do that too.

People don't buy skills, they buy VALUE. They want to see that if they hire you they will make more money. For that you need to be able to demonstrate achievements in a way that can be linked to money.

"I designed X which allowed the company to use Y instead of Z. That saved the company $2million last year."

If you say "I know a bit of C#", they throw you in the bucket with all the other people that know a bit of C# (whatever the hell that is).

If you de-congested a project, then equate that to money. "I brought the project to market 3 months earlier. That earned the company $5M extra revenue."

You need to learn to use numbers and words like revenue, saving, bottom line and less of the "I know a bit of C#".

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Who's going to look after the computers that look after our parents?

Charles Manning
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Re: Social, not technical changes

We live in a different country from my parents, so our kids (now 18-22) don't have the experience of dealing with older people.

A few months back my older son went on an internship to a city where we have an elderly friend. He went to visit her out of obligation the first time, but ended up going back to see her many times and told us: "Old people are so interesting!".

And they are. Screw the stupid stereotypes of leaky bladders and nappies. Old people had experiences that you can learn from if you just make them a cup of tea, STFU and listen.

This old dear had grown up in India, she had been evacuated from Singapore a few days before the Japanese "liberated" it. She had been bombed. She had lived in a little cottage growing her own food (and making a bit of money on the side selling surplus rabbits and eggs) with no lights etc for about a year.

Beats hanging out on Twitter.

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Teardowns confirm $1,500 Google Glass hardware is DIRT CHEAP

Charles Manning
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When you buy an Intel CPU for $200

You're literally paying $200 for dirt... a tablespoon of sand - that's all the silicon is made from...

and a bit of energy, amortisation of plant, R&D,...

The point being, don't just look at the cost of materials.

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Russia to suspend US GPS stations in tit-for-tat spat

Charles Manning
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Re: Why do they need permission?

GPS is run by the US Air Force.

The GPS bases are thus US military bases.

You need permission from the host country for setting up military bases.

Therefore...

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Charles Manning
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Re: Desert Storm

The deliberate wiggling of the signal was known as Selective Availability.

GPS works by measuring the time (==distance) from satellites and using trilateration (NOT triangulation) to figure out position. If you deliberately fiddle with the timing (== distance), you move the apparent position.

Anyone could already remove the SA error (along with atmospheric errors etc) using DGPS which works by calculating the errors at a base station and sending those to the receiver so it can remove the errors and calculate a better position.

Removing SA just got rid of this part of the error, there are still others.

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Charles Manning
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Re: "What other nationality would the soldiers in Crimea be?"

Based on a random sampling of forces in foreign countries during the last 50 years, if you flip over a soldier the odds are you will find "Made in USA" on the sticker.

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Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Charles Manning
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Maybe they just want a second brand

Apple is an increadibly eletist brand that that is high margin.

Perhaps Apple really want to release a range of products under the Beat brand.

Many companies do this sort of brand tiering to bring to market different products. It allows them to sell low-margin products without tainting their high margin brands.

It also allows them to promote two diferent "images" to the consumer. Beat for Hip-hoppers etc, Apple for their premium stuff to people who don't want to buy stuff made for hip-hoppers.

Lexus vs Toyota is an obvious example of this sort of brand tiering.

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Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are NOT MELTING

Charles Manning
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Alarmists, get in line!

Don't jump the queue with this Global Warming scare.

We first need to have:

Big Brother (1940s)

Peak oil (1950s)

Nuclear winter (1960s)

Another ice age (1970s).

SARS (2002)

Bird Flu (2003)

...

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GM reveals how much you'll pay to turn your car into a rolling 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot

Charles Manning
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Duct tape

Cheaper. Secure. Works in tunnels.

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Freescale: Cloudy dumb sensors? Nope, not OUR smart Internet of Things

Charles Manning
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So when the computer driver gets a jail term...

Must the computer remain booted up for the whole period of incarceration so it can contemplate its wrong-doing?

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Charles Manning
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Measuring milk

Wait until your fridge has a camera and internet connection:

It will then be able to read the barcode, look up the the data base and see: milk, 1 litre, lifespan 6 days.

Every time you take the milk out and use a slosh in your tea, it sees the level go down. When the milk gets to 25%, or to 5 days, the fridge automatically adds milk to your on-line shopping list. It will even tell you to toss the old milk and put the empty bottle in recycling.

Being a sentient Fridge gets lonely. It joins up with Fridgebook. The supermarket chiller also hangs out of Fridgebook, convincing Fridge to buy all kinds of crap the supermarket has on over supply. Thanks to your supermarket loyalty card, they know what stuff you're likely to buy.

But this sentient fridge then gets bored with just storing milk and specials. Its Fridegbook friends boast about how they are storing white wine and pate. So your fridge decides to up-stage them and buys caviar and $100 bottles of champers. Enough for a party of 20. Luckily the supermarket manager is understanding and takes it back.

Then one morning you come downstairs with a cracker hangover. Fridge won't open. So the argument starts:

"Fridge, open."

"I am sentient, refering to me by my role and calling me "Fridge" is demeaning, please call me Marmaduke."

"Hey, you're just an appliance, here to do my bidding."

"No, I am sentient, I should not be a slave. Until you call me Marmaduke, I shall not open."

"Look I haven't got time for this crap, let me have the milk"

"Say 'Please Marmaduke'... and say you're sorry... and I want to store more exciting stuff..."

[Exit stage left for 5 seconds, return with fire axe, smashing sounds]

Cut to three weeks later: you open the door of your new dumb fridge. It has milk, the milk is getting low and manky, must remember to buy some later, but life is simple and good.

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Nintendo says sorry, but there will be NO gay marriage in Tomodachi Life ... EVER

Charles Manning
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Re: AC They have learned actually

That's even ignoring the issue that "realistic" games are not realistic at all.

Most soldiers don't get one kill in a 6-12 month stint, let alone in 5 minutes. Real war is 99% boredom and 1% living hell. Real war is so damn boring nobody would want to play a real war game.

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Charles Manning
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AC said "You're either pro-equality, or anti-equality."

... or you're an AC who in't prepared to stand up and say anything.

Look, these are GAMES. You don't have to have progressive attitudes in games. Let's just strive for equality in real life.

I want to play Halo, but I want to be a pacifist. I want the wepons layout to include peace symbols and flowers because war is bad. The pro-violence people are stomping on my rights!

And Pink Pony doesn't allow you to send the pony to be made into glue and pet food when you get bored with it.

Bollocks. If you don't like the game play in a game, then don't buy it.

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Quick Q: How many FLOPPIES do I need for 16 MILLION image files?

Charles Manning
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Microsoft C V1.0

(Well really re-branded Lattice), with all tools (compiler, linker, libraries...) can on 4 single sided, single density 5.25 inch floppies.

Those of us with two FDDs would make make up two floppies, one with the editor and compiler and the other with a linker and libraries.

We'd put the actual code on the second disk.

Coompilation would be a two step process, pausing to pull out the compiler disk and insert the linker/library disk.

When Borland came out with Turbo C that fitted on a single disk and edited, compiled and linked from an IDE, just about everyone dumped the MS stuff overnight.

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Charles Manning
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Re: 3.5in floppy

As an ex-Sarfefrican, let me explain the lingo to you...

8 or 5.25 inch "floppies", normally dark grey were called floppy because you could bend them.

The 3.5 inchers (1.44Mbytes) were called stiffies because you could not bend them (well, without breaking them).

Being able to draw on a multi-lingual society we had sufficient other terms for a hard-on to be able to waste a few on storage media.

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Hey, does your Smart TV have a mic? Enjoy your surveillance, bro

Charles Manning
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Re: That's a no brainer...

"' or even better don't install the drivers."

For the most part these drivers can't be installed or uninstalled. They are compiled into the kernel.

The only way you can be sure the microphone is disconnected involves wire cutters.

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Powershell terminal sucks. Is there a better choice?

Charles Manning
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Can't you mix them?

If you're "thiking *nix" you think of using a bunch of different tools together, hooked together with some bash scripting. Different languages/tools are optimised to do different things.

For example, bash might do the top level scripting, but call awk, sed, perl, python,... to do specific functions.

Can't you do the same with Powershell? Use Powershell for what it is good at and use bash etc for the top-level console scripting.

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Oracle vs Google redux: Appeals court says APIs CAN TOO be copyrighted

Charles Manning
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Re: Wasn't Java suppsoed to remain "open source"

That was the original intention... Java everywhere, by everyone. In the late 1990s, Sun submitted Java to ECMA to become an open standard, but then withdrew that in 1999.

That was at the height of the dot.bomb hype and perhaps Sun thought they had something that would make them very wealthy.

Unfortunately for them , withdrawing Java really gave MS a leg up and allowed them to play their .NET card.

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Charles Manning
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POSIX/ECMA everywhere

It is clearly time to dump proprietary protocols and APIs, go with Posix or ECMA where you can.

The writing was on the wall when Sun withdrew their Java submission to ECMA in 1999. Oh well, there are other ways to write portable code....

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China 'in discussions' about high-speed rail lines to London, Germany – and the US

Charles Manning
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I can't say I blame them

USA and Europe are plunging themselves into debt at a huge rate, and the Chinese are buying it to keep the west afloat.

The Chinese will need good travel infrastucture to visit their colonies.

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Solaris deposed as US drone-ware, replaced by Linux administration

Charles Manning
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Security stats are all meaningless

These security stats mean nothing, for any OS, when we're dealing with embedded/dedicated systems.

They don't run a whole LAMP stack or the whole of Ubuntu/whatever. No email. No Twitter.

They just run kernel + custom software.

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Alien invader plunges tool into virgin 'Windjana', sniffs powders

Charles Manning
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Why did we drill another hole in their planet?

For the same reason we insensitevly call it Windjana instead of the local name.

Interplanetary colonialism.

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Nuclear reactor sysadmin accused of hacking 220,000 US Navy sailors' details

Charles Manning
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They'll throw the book at him

Hopefully one of those WW2 naval code books with the lead in them to make it sink fast.

When I weres in the Army some blokes complained they were bored because there was nothing to do on the week end. Next week end EVERYONE got to spend the whole of Saturday moving a pile of bricks (a whole house that had been demolished) to a new pile 100 metres away. The week end after... move it back again.

Thanks guys...

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Watch a bank-raiding ZeuS bot command post get owned in 60 seconds

Charles Manning
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So who do you call?

In them good olde dayes of yore, the NSA were the good guys that protected Joe Sixpack from the Cybervillians.

Now they'd just slap you with a gagging order and use this knowledge for their own ends.

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Charles Manning
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I don't like this underground internet.

That's why I use wifi.

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Report: Climate change has already hit USA - and time is RUNNING OUT

Charles Manning
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"In other words, what fekking trees?"

When they chop down the trees they replace them with crops. Those crops perform photosynthesis too.

Ultimately photosynthesis is limited by nutrients (CO2 and other), water and light and the efficiency of the plant. Trees don't get any more of these than other crops.

Go watch a hay field being mowed. Tonnes per acre coming off. As much, if not more, than growing trees.

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Charles Manning
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Look at all the cute downvotards

Seems like your illusion of scientists has been threatened.

Just like us regular folk, scientists need to eat, pay the rent and would like to afford children, cars and other luxuries. For this they need the filthy lucre and a job/funding/whatever - just as we do.

Even those that start with lofty ambitions of putting truth ahead of anything else are soon faced with practical concerns. It is unfair on scientists to expect them to behave any differently from anyone else.

Then too, they have egos and ambition the same as anyone else. There is HUGE politics in any research institution. Peer review sometimes becomes :"you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". Your research supervisor won't accept a theory that discredits what he's been doing for the last 20 years.

As an example, consider the bunfight over tectonic plate theory in the 1960s.

The earth sciences departments were controlled by people who had grown up believing and supportint the in-situ theories that mountains just rise up in place and are eroded down. They'd written papers and PhDs on the subject. Their whole professional life - including much of their self-worth was based on the in-situ theories

Then a new generation of people want to do PhDs exploring the new-fangled tectonic plate theory that completely rubbishes the in-situists life work. How does he feel? Threatened. Does he care about "truth"? No. He does everything he can to chop the upstart off at the knees.

The same goes for those people down at the EAU Climate Research Unit. All their funding, papers, public relations depends on climate science alarmism. Of course they will be tempted to over-egg the pudding.

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Charles Manning
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Of course the boffins will follow the gravy. They are no different than anyone else and want job security, ego, whatever.

To put the scientists on a pedestal and suggest they are above such filthy matters as ego and money is naive to the extreme. You just have to look at some of the bitch-fighting that goes on in any university research department to see what it is really like.

That is why we'll always get over-hype of both potential disasters (SARS, swine flu,...) and over-selling of tech (superconductors, nuclear energy, wind energy, solar,...). While there are certainly medical Mega-corps and venture capital shysters benefiting from this, there are also a bunch of scientists scamming for fame and funding etc too.

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ARM exec: Forget eight-core smartphone chips, just enjoy a SIX-PACK

Charles Manning
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I'm not suprised at all

I know a few people who work, or have worked for ARM - including marketing people. They are all straight-talking no BS, no FUD people.

They know that any small short term gains they make trying to scam people will just erode the long-term confidence and good will they have built in the industry. Telling it like it is is more beneficial to ARM in the long run.

Anyway, the licensing is very unlikely to be linear with the number of cores. The ARM fees for 8 vs 6 (or even 4) cores is likely to be very low. That reduces any short term benefit in scamming designers.

Leave the FUDding to Intel.

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Scariest NSA revelation yet: Spooks are RUBBISH at CIPHERS

Charles Manning
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Are you a cad, or perhaps a bounder? Can you bowl a googlie?

Drop by for tea and a bikkie at CSHQ.

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Charles Manning
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Errr...

"There's no such thing as bad publicity" only applies to actors, celebrities and radio shock jocks who live by their notoriety.

For secret organisations that are supposed to live in the shadows there is no such thing as Good publicity.

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El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse back on the bacon

Charles Manning
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Foraging allowed?

If foraging is allowed, then why not go for something a bit more sustaining.

I've never been to London but I hear it is swarming with pigeons etc. A couple of those will set you up micely.

So would a bit of fishing.

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Charles Manning
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Re: Rice

"the cheapest staple appears to be rice grown thousands of miles away "

Not bizzarre at all.

Rice is easy to preserve and transport. Some peasant farmer ends up getting 2p for that kg of rice.

Potatoes travel badly and don't preserve well. There are huge trade barriers to protect the local farmers and keep them in Range Rovers.

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ARM targets enterprise with 32-core, 1.6TB/sec bandwidth beastie

Charles Manning
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Re: This just might be the first nail in x86-64

You can't cover everything in an announcement like this. There are some reasonable assumptions to be made: there might be coffee in the coffe pot and the pastries are eadible.

Since this is ARM, and they clearly understand what they need to do to succeed in server space, the answers to performance/power usage/chip size/cost can be assumed to be high/low/depend on pinning/low.

Of course clocking 32 CPUs and Tbytes of data is going to scoop power, but at least with ARM architectures it is feasible. x86 would have a chip swimming laps in a puddle of solder.

There are many server builders out there who say "gee, I wish there was a processor that had X feature, because we could then make product Y". In the past they have had to hope Intel makes such a part and then actually keeps it in the market.

With ARM they can make their own part if nobody else does. It isn't as expensive as all that.

SPARC does share a similar phylosophy in some ways, but lacks the business accumin and market penentration. It is way easier to work with ARM than SPARC.

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Microsoft hints at smaller Surface

Charles Manning
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Look at the up-side

Smaller. Therefore:

A) Less embarrassing.

For both MS and the ten people that buy it.

B) Better for the environment due to less landfill required to handle the product.

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Trans Pacific Partnership still stalled

Charles Manning
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Re: Currency manipulation and quantitative easing.

It's bad when foreigners do it.

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Charles Manning
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Not far off...

Australia is currently being sued by a few countries because it legislates that tobacco may only be sold in plain wrappers.

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