* Posts by Gaz

32 posts • joined 28 Jun 2007

BNP pleads for cash after reported DDoS assault

Gaz
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Re: Can't be bothered to read all of the above...

I understand where you're coming from but thats only if you're using the Political Compass. Although arguably a better way of categorizing politics it still only one of several competing models. In mainstream usage multi-axis models have yet to to replace the traditional one-dimensional spectrum most of us here were referring to. Either way the BNP are still a bunch of extremist fuckwits...

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Gaz
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Re: Idiots

You can't put cack-handed legislation on the same level as outright intolerance and bigotry. The BNP are forced to put up a facade of respectability because they don't have much support. The danger comes if people buy into this and forget that underneath they haven't changed at all all. Some recent gems:

"Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal... [it] is like suggesting force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence." - Nick Eriksen

"I honestly don't hate asylum seekers - THESE PEOPLE ARE COCKROACHES and they're doing what cockroaches do because cockroaches can't help what they do, they just do it, like cats miaow and dogs bark." - Mark Collett

"This wicked, vicious faith has expanded from a handful of cranky lunatics about 1,300 years ago, to it's now sweeping country after country before it, all over the world. And if you read that book (the Koran), you'll find that that's what they want." - Nick Griffin on Islam

"A FRIENDLY DISEASE because blacks, drug users and gays have it." - Mark Collett on AIDS

"WHITE WORKING CLASS SCUM will be swept away by a future BNP government." - Simon Smith

I'll admit to being ambivalent on this one. My lack of sympathy for them stems not just from the fact I disagree with them but that they do not even share the basic ideals of equality and tolerance that make democracy possible. However vehemently most groups in the UK disagree most draw the line collectively at advocating discrimination and violence against opponents (let alone practicing it as the BNP have in the past). Much as it chokes to say it however I still believe the devil should have the benefit of law. As long as they aren't breaking any laws they should be afforded the same rights as the rest of us including freedom of speech.

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Gaz
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World's saddest song

on the world's smallest violin...

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Stolen RAF files are blackmailer's dream

Gaz

Re: one rule for the Ruperts and another for the grunts

Security clearance is required by anyone needing access to classified information to perform their duties so it is unlikely just to be senior officers who are affected.

I'd imagine that obtaining security clearence requires full disclosure of past and present indiscretions. While arguably relevant in deciding whether to grant security clearance, I'm not sure either should warrant dismissal unless it demonstrably affects someone's ability to be professional (particularly if the mistakes concerned are in the distant past).

Rather worrying that sensitive data is still able to go walkies so easily. You'd think all the high profile breaches would have been a wakeup call...

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Pirate Bay loses trial: defendants face prison time, hefty fines

Gaz
Happy

Re: making a living from art

*** What does it mean to "make a living from their art"? ***

Simply to be able to produce art professionally and still have a reasonable chance of making ends meet. Ideally like you say from live performances, writing on demand, etc. However I do still think there is place for copyright protection, not so much for making money directly (e.g. as in the case of royalties) as in helping to ensure an artist doesn't lose money they've already spent.

Producing an album for example still requires a not insignificant initial spend. Assuming its good and generates sufficient demand (e.g. for the purposes of argument enough to breakeven if it was a purely physical product they were selling) its only fair to have a way for the artist to at least cover their costs. If another means of doing this is found then IP protection would become superfluous.

And perhaps you're right, we may well be on the brink of another sea change. It is already possible to record and distribute content digitally much more efficiently than before. In terms of music however I'd argue that some genres (e.g. electronic) lend themselves better to this than others. In many cases there is still a noticeable difference quality for example between a home made EP and one professionally produced in a recording studio.

*** In life there are many things which many of us would not pay for but which we often assume to have... "Having Sex" is a an example ***

I guess the question is whether professional art should become one of these things. Sex is perhaps an unfair comparison though. Its usually sufficiently enjoyable for the parties involved that the contextual costs can be considered marginal rather than "production" related ;)

*** Why should we not want to aspire to the idea that people would only "do art" for its own sake or for the pleasure of it? ***

I wholeheartedly agree! Its just that I don't see how this should necessarily preclude people from making a living out of it. To take a ye olden example, bards were often afforded free food and lodging in return for their services.

*** I believe that we are moving on to a new and slightly different one in the future. While this may require some resources it is not necessarily a preserve of the rich. If it ever was ***

Admittedly I'm looking at this from the point of view of art as profession rather than a hobby, which I recognise is only subset of a much wider scene thats always been around as you quite rightly point out. Obviously there is a lot of professionally produced mainstream drivel. Equally however in other cases I believe the extra time/effort/money spent really shows in the final result. Basically I don't think we want to get to the stage where for example albums are regularly not produced because people lack the initial funding (similar to what happens with some inventions nowadays).

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Gaz

@AC Sunday 19th April 2009 00:01 GMT

First off props for taking the time to respond. Apologies if I came across as confrontational, had one too many arguments that day with people being disengenous over the whole issue. I realise now you're not.

"So, is the solution to regulate every site on the Internet in such a way that you need an "Internet licence" to get onto the net in the first place and to have every upload approved by some government appointee? Or is the solution to have DRM on everything? You're not really proposing any solution as such"

No. And I honestly don't know what the ideal solution is either. Its not necessary to have it however in order to recognise when something is broken. How is allowing a third party (e.g. TPB) to profit at the complete expense of artists an improvement over the status quo of allowing a third party (e.g. record companies) to profit mostly at the expense of artists?

Personally I think that a certain amount of "piracy" is healthy as it prevents groups like the record companies from having a complete monopoly and charging whatever they want. Not every download is a lost sale. I strongly believe that if you're "in" to your music for example it can be mutually beneficial (e.g. discovery leading to purchases, gigs, etc).

Equally however some downloads probably are lost sales especially among people with a more a casual interest. Different ways of recompensing everyone involved are needed because you can't compete directly against free. If as seems to be the case, advertising alone is not sustainable we may have to consider something like taking a cut of say broadband subscriptions into a pool for sharing out. There would be issues on how the money divided out and making sure it doesn't go into a blackhole like it does alot of the time now. DRM could actually serve a useful purpose tracking the numbers of different downloads in order to do this. Of course there'll be the usual pissing and moaning that its not fair for people who don't dowload etc. However I don't see it being much different from the way we all contribute (e.g. tax) to things we may not make use of directly and vice versa.

Ending the use of DRM to lock content down (except for say content being rented out or supplied on a subscription basis) and offering more legal alternatives would also help. And we are slowly heading in that direction already. 2 years ago I struggled to find any digital store carrying the kind of music I enjoy. Now I can buy albums for even some of my more obscure bands from Amazon MP3 for a fairly reasonable £5-7. Sure theres still a way to go. It would be nice for example to have higher quality encoding available more widely (e.g. FLAC). Services like Last.fm could offer a subscription services with unlimited streaming and perhaps member benefits (e.g. discounts off download to own, merch, etc)

"At what point does "protecting the rights holder" become an excuse for shoring up the status quo in a much wider sense?"

Thats exactly the point though, it shouldn't be. I honestly believe there is debate to be had on copyright/filesharing but it is a separate one from wider issue of freedom of speech/net neutrality. The latter is not and should not be about the right to help yourself to someone else's work for free when they have no recompense. By hijacking the issue TPB are undermining the argument for something far more valuable: to keep the web as one the place where we can have the closest thing to true freedom of speech.

"Just because you choose not to see the connection between broader "intellectual property" regulation and the political enthusiasm for the "knowledge economy"

Perhaps I can't see the wood for the trees again but I honestly think that the connection in this case is limited. They crossed the line from accepting donations/sponsorhip to actively making money (e.g. from ad revenue, selling merch, etc even if I'm prepared to accept it barely covered running costs, which I don't). Consequently I have difficulty in believing that there is a wider principle at stake.

The judgement itself does not as far as I can see change where the legal lines are currently drawn. IP laws remain the same and the same safe harbour provisions are available to services with plausible non-infringing uses. TPB were so blatantly the wrong side of the line I don't see how its possible to defend them without being disingenuous.

Don't get me wrong I realise there serious problems with IP regulation (and quite a lot of other things) at the moment. What started as a well intentioned to encourage and reward innovation has been perverted into a way of making money at the expense of the very things it was supposed to ensure. The lower bar set for patents and ever increasing duration of the exclusive rights granted are only part of whats gone wrong. And you're absolutely right how our consumer goods are made should not be someone's problem seeing as we are responsible for the demand in the first place.

However for reasons stated I don't believe the TPB case was about any of these things and that to link them is to trivialise the the wider issues.

@ Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 20th April 2009 09:50 GMT

"It is NOT TRUE that people have to make a living from their art"

You're right. However I'd argue the world would be poorer place culturally if this became the norm.

Sure professions have died out over time but nearly always due to lack of demand. This is NOT the same as people not having to pay. There IS obviously still demand for things like music, movies, games, etc otherwise people wouldn't be downloading them. Thing is its now possible for people to get what they want for free.

This isn't a problem if we find a way of recompensing artists fairly (e.g. through advertising, donations, indirect sales generated by publicity, etc). Otherwise we all lose out, as less art ends up being produced due to artists having to make a living by other means. Warm fuzzy feelings don't pay bills.

No doubt in such a situation many will try to carry on doing their art because of the enjoyment it brings them and others. However they have the money already (or patrons with money) it likely be at their own expense. Why is this something we want to aspire to? Do we really want to return to the days where art was a preserve of the rich? On a more general level, why should people be expected to give you something (e.g. entertainment) in exchange for nothing?

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Gaz

@The market just doesn't work

Though I agree that digital prices often don't reflect the lowered distribution costs, £3 a month is probably a bit unrealistic. Even if you ignore the recording costs, the bandwidth alone is probably going to cost more than that!

Also think your comment about musicians only caring about fame and money is unfair. For every band that makes the big time there a plenty more who ARE doing it for the music because quite frankly they will never make enough for it to qualify as a living and yet carry on doing it anyway. The downside of course is that they have to hold down normal jobs to fund their music meaning they have less time to devote to it. The simple fact is that regardless of your motivations producing music professionally costs money.

I'll give the example of a local metal band I occasionally roady for (unpaid). Having gone on a recent tour with them I was shocked by quite how much they were having to spend just to play their music to a live audience. After several years playing small venues to build up a fanbase and make contacts they'd finally started landing gigs supporting larger bands like Lacuna Coil and Wednesday 13. It wasn't just a matter of being invited to play however, they also had pay significant sums of money for the privilege (in the region of couple of grand).

Sure the venues paid them after each gig but the amount was often barely enough to cover their petrol costs let alone anything else like food or accomodation. Their cut of the entrance fees was also pretty much non existent with the only opportunity to make any money coming from selling merch. The end result was that despite doing quite well on that front they were still nowhere near breaking even and thats assuming that the merch sold was pure profit. Which of course it wasn't seeing given the cost of getting it produced, especially for a band without the funding of major label. Their album alone for example cost £30k to get recorded, mastered, manufactured and distributed.

This is the hard reality for alot of artists even if they are a talented, something often overshadowed by the handful of big names and bilking major labels.

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Gaz
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OMFG

Given how blatantly they were geared towards the large scale infringing of copyrighted material (and making money from it) its hard to see how this could have ended any other way. There was absolutely no effort to disguise the fact the service had no legitimate use significant or plausible enough to be worth defending. From the choice of a pirate ship (with cassette tape topping a skull and crossbones) as their logo to the prominent frontpage links to unlicensed movies, albums and games it was obvious.

Comparisons with search engines or services miss the point. Sure Google has links to copyrighted material but this is simply the predictable side effect of being a good search engine (i.e. inherently content neutral and indexing everything). Unlike TPB they do not go out of their way to index unlicensed material and also have takedown procedures for illegal content that is reported to them.

Also by equating freedom of speech with the freedom to trample over the rights of others these muppets are undermining the very ideals they claim to defend. And all for little more than their own selfish greed and that of their fellow bit-tards...

@Leonard Shelby

So your argument is too academic? Try me. Otherwise its just a condescending cop-out. So you're implying that everything being pirated is mainstream drivel? Lovely piece of circular logic there. Just from a quick search I've found a tracker for a local metal band I happen to like from Manchester. You know one of those niche bands with a small label that do it for the passion (because there sure as hell isn't much money to made in it!).

The solution to a broken system that screws both customers and artists is not just to skip the middleman and screw the artists directly. Especially when its the ones at the bottom of the pile that end up feeling the pain and not the corporate fat cats or famous people you're aiming to stick it to.

Oh and I love the jump from pikeying music to global injustice. Hope you don't break anything falling off your high horse...

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Pirate Bay convictions are legally insignificant outside Sweden

Gaz
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Finally

some perspective on the issue! From kneejerk hysteria and disingenuous crap currently flying around you'd think someone had just killed Bambi...

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Texas senator wants to ban Vista purchases

Gaz
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Cannot shake the feeling

he is simply another headline chasing politician without a clue. That he seems to have the right intentions appears to be entirely by accident. Despite the apparent merits of this piece of legislation I would oppose it just on the fact it has been poorly thought out with little research...

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UK boffins to breed syntho-blood from human embryos

Gaz
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@Frankensteins

Potential != Actual

You could argue the glint in your parents' eyes was a potential human being. A transfer ready IVF embryo is typically made up of a tiny handful of cells not even in the double figure range: http://www.advancedfertility.com/8-cell.htm

A tiny bunch of undifferentiated cells is not a "person". The difficulty of course is in deciding when the cells in an embryo become more than the sum of their parts and thus a person.

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Ryanair may charge cattle to use the bog

Gaz
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Meh

All the righteous indignation is just a cover for being tight. You get what you pay for. Do you honestly expect sterling all inclusive service at budget prices?

Even with the extra charges Ryanair often works out quite a lot cheaper than other airlines. A whole pound out of what you saved should not prompt you to start pissing in aisles like half trained chimps...

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Paris Hilton correctly identifies UK Prime Minister

Gaz
Paris Hilton

Help

For some reason I still find Paris attractive and her stupidity strangely endearing. I think there is something wrong with me...

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Aussie air zealot savages prêt-à-porter stealth fighter

Gaz

Inferior low observability

compared to the F-22 (probably the world's premier air superiority fighter) may well be intentional in case the US ever finds it self coming up against them...

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Kids more likely to be bullied than pestered online

Gaz
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@Lionel Baden

If its a family PC by all means set ground rules and keep an eye on them but spying on them is probably taking it too far. If they discover you're secretly monitoring them (and they will if they're tech savvy) you'll just end up losing their trust even as they find ways around it.

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Researcher warns of data-snooping bug in Apple's Safari

Gaz

@Big deal

Because that never happens of course. Especially to not to smug Apple fanbois :P

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Security vendors cry foul over exploit tests

Gaz
Pirate

Like testing ABS brakes by pushing a car over a cliff

Except thats exactly what an attacker will be trying to do...

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Indian chief exec murder 'a warning for management'

Gaz
Paris Hilton

@By yeah, right

I should bloody well hope he doesn't. Sympathising with the workers' plight is one thing but effectively condoning murder when you're in a public office beggars belief. Wheres the justice in a mob battering someone to death with metal bars?

Paris because even she knows two wrongs don't make a right...

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IT depts under threat as City braces for 20,000 job cuts

Gaz
Paris Hilton

@Solomon Grundy

Certainly the cost of designing and testing new systems are NRE but I think it is disingenuous to suggest that all IT is. If nothing else existing systems require ongoing maintenance and support. As for remaining focused on technical issues, I'm sorry but THATS OUR JOB!

@AC Tuesday 15th April 2008 20:40 GMT

Obviously how important IT is to your business depends on the industry you're in. However just because your business isn't based around IT doesn't mean your business wouldn't suffer without it.

Any large factory for example will have MRP/ERP and EDI systems to efficiently manage production. Without these your business would collapse yet I'd wager you don't even realise these they're there.

Most users only see the mundane side of IT that they take for granted like email or desktops. This combined with our sometimes poor social skills is what gives rise to the misconception that IT is simply a cost center.

In my experience antagonism between users and IT is mostly down to poor management. I'm well aware that I don't have the personal, organisational or business skills to be a manager which is why I concentrate on technical matters. Some managers however still insist on interfering in technical matters (e.g. code implementation or hardware specification) even when they don't have clue about IT.

I'm lucky in that the managers I now work for are actually quite decent and understand this. They provide us with business requirements for a system and we make it happen. Where they have a technical grounding in the area concerned they offer advice, otherwise they leave us to it. Which works well and is how it should be.

Paris because she knows more about managing IT than most managers...

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Gaz
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IT support is like housework

No one notices or cares until its not being done. That and the admitted lack of social skills among some of us is why we're always first up for the chop.

I wonder how your bottom line will look when your business critical systems crumble from lack of maintenance because you fired your "superfluous" sysadmin.

Not to worry though, I'm sure the ever positive contributions made by fuckwitted management will keep your business in good shape...

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Peking University preps online swearing edict

Gaz

Re: Making a point

Just trying to keep a sense of perspective on things, although I agree we are slowly sliding in the wrong direction again. Things like our involvement with extraordinary rendition and recent "anti-terror" laws all leave a particularly bad taste in the mouth.

As for the police shooting innocents, it has happened before like you said and will probably happen again. I'm sure they do their best to avoid such tragedies but mistakes happen (small comfort to the families I know). Unless theres negligence involved I don't think its fair to blame the officers on the ground who have to make difficult often split second life or death decisions under pressure.

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Gaz
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@Matt

The fact is though in the UK you can still for the most part say what you want without fear of being locked up. A quick trawl of just El Reg will turn up plenty of comments critical of the government.

If you criticise the government in China even on your own site (let alone on a publicly funded one like BBC's HYS) you run the risk of being arrested or worse. I have family members there whose friends have dissappeared for complaining about food prices or the corruption of local officials.

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Supermarket loses 4.2 million credit card details

Gaz

@robert

It is possible for merchants to process transaction with just the name, card number, and expiry dates. In practice however very few are prepared to do so because of the extra liability they take on. For example if they go ahead with a transaction minus the cv2 code, the merchant and not the card issuer then becomes liable for chargebacks.

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Gaz

Another snafu but...

might not be as bad as it sounds. Card numbers by themselves are pretty useless. To make a transaction you'd need as a minimum the card holder's name, issue/expiry dates and cv2 code. Interestingly many card issuers don't need the address for verification.

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FTC issues ad-tracking guidelines

Gaz

The trouble is...

alot of sites rely on ads to operate. Blocking ads on an individual basis is fair enough but only sustainable because the majority of "lusers" don't.

For all the complaints I not sure people would like the alternative - coughing up money or seeing their favourite sites go under.

That said, I think what the FTC are pushing for is a step in the right direction. A lot of privacy concerns stem from the fact that we usually have no visibility over what our data is being used for.

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EC report warns governments on e-trust

Gaz

@AC

I think you're being unfair to the vast majority of governement workers. For the most part they're no more or less hard working or intelligent than people in the private sector. As is the case in of most large organisations though, individual ability and intiative gets crushed by the weight of bureaucracy and managerial incomptenance.

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Government staff sacked for web breaches

Gaz

A relaxed IT policy...

... can work quite well as long as people don't take the piss. At work we're free to go on the internet whenever we like on the proviso that our work still gets done (which it does). I much prefer having the freedom to break for a few minutes when I need to as opposed to taking longer fixed breaks then having to code for several hours unbroken

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Music industry rebuffed across Europe on file-sharing identifications

Gaz

@Keith T

I understand what you're saying however most of it only applies to the minority of extremely successful artists. Many smaller artists struggle to get by, let alone earn enough to retire in luxury after a few years. Through one sided distribution deals and royalty agreements it is the big record labels represented by the RIAA that usually end up with most of the money

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Miserable Brits declare War on Comfort

Gaz

Re: Silly argument

I agree we shouldn't use another country's problems as an excuse for not addressing our own. However I honestly don't think patio heaters are anything more than a symbolic target. Yes they're unnecessary luxury but how many people actually have one and can afford to run it regularly (or would even want to as temperatures keep getting warmer)?

I think railing against them deflects attention away from the bigger picture of energy usage in general and runs the risk of antagonising people for relatively little environmental gain. If half of England goes under the waves it will have less to do with patio heaters and more to do with greenhouse emissions from cars, coal fired power stations and cows.

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Mozilla confirms own URL handling bug

Gaz

Simple enough application...

I love users. Show them a working application formed from unfathomable oceans of of blood, sweat and tears and what do they have to say?

"Oh is that it? Why did it take so long? Why doesn't it protect me from my own terminal stupidity. And wheres the coffee widget?" RAAARRGGGHHH! *makes bad user play dead*

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UK planespotters to battle al-Qaeda

Gaz

@Shane Lusby

Urgh stop misquoting Benjamin Franklin. The actual quote (if it can attributed to him at all) is "Those who would give up ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither LIBERTY or SAFETY". Subtle turn of words but makes a considerable difference to the meaning.

Really this is just another irritating example of media hype over terrorism. Keep your head on straight without burying it in the sand and you'll be just fine. And if not, you probably won't around to worry about it anyway...

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Paris Hilton says jail term has changed her

Gaz

What has she ever done?

Only give some of us repressed IT types another excuse to moan :P

Sick of reading about her? Just... erm... stop? Its not like a vulture dragged you into the "Entertainment" section and picked at your remains until you read it

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