* Posts by Maty

648 posts • joined 6 Jul 2007

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Congrats America, you can now safely slag off who you like online

Maty

evaluating reviews

Something else to look for is polarization. If a product has mostly 1 and 2 star reviews on one side and 5 star reviews on the other with nothing in the middle, that's a red flag.

I recently reviewed a book like that on Amazon. Some one star reviewers went into great detail about how and why the book was terrible, and the 5-star reviews were mostly 'Good book'. and 'I loved it.' Most of the 5-star reviewers had never reviewed anything else. As you might guess, the book was an abomination.

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Men overboard! US Navy spills data on 134k sailors

Maty

Another one to add to the list of meaningless PR buzzphases

'We take X extremely seriously' = now that we have been found not to have been taking X seriously at all.

This joins

'We apologise for the inconvenience' = we don't give a shit

'Is our highest priority' = after making money, of course

'We are sorry that people feel .." = we want to sound apologetic but are not

'Robust' = we need a positive-sounding adjective that can mean whatever we want

Anyone else care to add?

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Kill Flash now. Or patch these 36 vulnerabilities. Your choice

Maty

Why is Flash so relentlessly crap ...?

Every time you have to update the latest security failure in Flash you have to look around for, find and uncheck that optional extra program that Flash has bundled with the update.

Assuming the makers of that extra program pay Flash for bundling the software along with the update, it would seem that for Flash producing software with security holes must be quite the money-spinner.

If people don't need the patches, they don't download the extra software. Call me cynical, but if making a more secure product will cost the makers lots of money, expect an insecure future.

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Donald Trump confirms TPP to be dumped, visa program probed

Maty

Re: are you saying all American programmers are too stupid to learn?

'What evidence is there that this is the case? Or is it just supposition and speculation? You may well be right -- I haven't a clue -- but data, please, not anecdote.'

I know! Why doesn't someone - perhaps America's new president-elect - set up an inquiry into this, and other types of visa fraud?

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Facebook Fake News won it for Trump? That's a Zombie theory

Maty

Re: Objectivity

As a matter of interest, during the US election the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) made its preference so obvious that it was widely referred to as the 'Clinton Broadcasting corporation'.

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2016 in a nutshell: Boffins break monkeys' backs to turn them into tragic shuffling cyborgs

Maty

Re: Not ethical

Facts don't have ethics.

If someone discovers a fact in an immoral manner, that research is immoral, not the discovery. By all means find and punish the researcher appropriately. (In the case of the Nazi researchers, they should have been punished as one would any other murderer and torturer.)

However, the facts do not change according to who discovered them, or how.

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Drubbed Grubhub bub scrubs anti-Donald-dubbed snub sub-hubbub

Maty

Re: such poor reading comprehension

'One out of every five illegal immigrants agents caught along the border in 2014 had a criminal record.'

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, quoted in USA Today.

'When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best they’re sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists… And many of them are good people”' - Donald Trump.

Likewise, Trump never said 'Women are pigs ...' etc. He called some individuals who happened to be women 'pigs'. He's an equal opportunity insulter. I'm no Trump fan, but what is alarming is the extent that the media have deliberately skewed so much of what he said (which was not admirable to begin with).

Also note that Trump is regularly called 'homophobic' despite having very little on the topic, and being well on the liberal side of the 'official' Republican posiiton as expressed at its convention.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/gay-republicans-platform-lgbt-rachel-hoff-log-cabin-republicans-gop-donald-trump-1.3686672

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Trump's taxing problem: The end of 'affordable' iPhones

Maty

ah ... economics

Here's how it was explained to me (it was late, the pub was about to close, so the economist doing the explaining had to use some heroic simplificatins, but still ..)

Basically, it's about the consumers. If everyone in the state has a good job, they can afford to buy stuff. If company A moves its operations offshore, but continues to sell stuff within the state it makes a profit, because its goods are cheaper. However, the pool of available consumers has shrunk by the number of jobs moved offshore.

Currently the US is in a position where the consumer pool is shrinking as more and more companies move jobs offshore and try to sell to the diminishing number of people who have good jobs within the state. (Not a lot of people are buying stuff in the rust belt right now) Everyone knows that the way to stop this impoverishment of the nation is to stop offshoring. But any individual company that tries this will be broken by the competition. It has to be the government.

It's rather like raising the minimum wage - when this happens there's more money going around (poor people spend money, the rich bank it). However, no single business can unilaterally raise wages and stay competitive.

Some economic actions have to be done by the gubmint for the common good.Sort of government by the people for the people ...?

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Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

Maty

[One word of comment: It's our ruling party, not their ruling party, you made a couple of grammar errors specific to Polish native speakers.]

I found none either. Perhaps you meant 'grammatical errors'?

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Samsung are amateurs – NASA shows how you really do a battery fire

Maty

Re: Only 96 batteries

Yes.

I once had the fuel line rupture on a motorbike I was riding at speed down the A10. It sprayed petrol over my legs which somehow ignited. Because I was wearing thick leathers, it took other road users to point out that my lower half was basically a moving fireball.

A battery would not do that.

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Blighty's Home Office database blunders will deprive hundreds of GB driving licences

Maty

Re: Stasi nation

'There has been a long-standing transfer of wealth away from younger people towards the elderly'

Not necessarily so. Interest rates at the moment are lower than inflation, which means that those on fixed incomes or saving for pensions are getting right royally screwed. The elderly usually benefit from interest on their savings, but currently they're running on capital.

Meanwhile, it's the millenials who are borrowing cheap money at rock-bottom rates to buy houses, cars and yes, a better education. In other words, in the topsy-turvey world central bankers have given us, nothing really works the way it did (or should).

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BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

Maty

Outflanking from the extreme side

Okay, let's say you work at a university. When involuntarily co-opted onto a committee take extensive notes (you'll need them for later, and it helps you to pass the time). Then as matters wend to a conclusion, point out that every third person pronoun needs changing to 'she or he' to reflect gender diversity.

Then point out the focus of the programme is inherently patriarchial and does not reflect the need for inclusiveness in the student body and everyone needs to restart from scratch because of the total disregard the committee has shown for environmental issues. And disrespect for the LBGQTZYB community.

Add that you'd like to help re-work the programme, but you have to go to a protest about the exploitation of Elbonian orphans in animal adoption centers. Mention racial issues somewhere.

Because it's a university no-one dares disagree with you on any of these things, but a quiet consensus develops that you should never, ever be allowed to sit on a committee again.

I chose universities because I know them, but every outfit has its own hot-button issues.

Make the system work for you and you don't need quicklime.

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Snoop! stooge! Yahoo! handed! all! your! email! to! Uncle! Sam! – and! any! passing! hacker!

Maty

So, to summarize ...

Yahoo left an insecure backdoor on their email servers for American intelligence to use. Later some un-named hackers - allegedly a foreign power - found some way to get into Yahoo's mail accounts and slurped the lot.

Are we seeing cause and effect here?

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Official: Windows 10 has hit the 400 million device mark

Maty

ah, win10

The last update but one took out my wife's sound card.

The last update bricked the entire computer, because it decided that the disk imaging system was not compatible, and so blocked it, making it impossible to so much as open a file or folder. You could also not uninstall the imaging program, even in safe mode, because the uninstaller was also deemed incompatible.

So far it takes about a morning every month to keep this POS operating, and we live in dread of what the next update will do. Meanwhile, my win7 computer just chugs along. I think I'd rather eat my own foot than 'upgrade'.

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Moron is late for flight, calls in bomb threat

Maty

Re: Wanted to visualise him

'It most be possible to look like a complete moron without wearing a baseball cap, by why bother when you can don one and save all the effort.'

That's a heck of a slur on the 2.3 million males in British Columbia, Sir. Almost every man outside Vancouver wears one of these things whenever outside his home and they cannot decently be removed without a crowbar or the playing of the national anthem. I've seen people with baseball caps eating at 5-star restaurants.

Incidentally, have you seen the headgear they make you wear while you receive a P.hD?

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Sex is bad for older men, and even worse when it's good

Maty

Re: Evolution

'A parenting failsafe would reduce fertility to zero 15 years prior to end of life.'

Well, that would be useful. Become infertile in 2016, make no plans for after 2031, take out a large loan repayable in 16 years, update insurance policy.

Anyway this does not affect me. My family have been sterile for generations.

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UK IT consultant subject to insane sex ban order mounts legal challenge

Maty

At what point are the British going to be honest with themselves and admit - 'Yes, we live in a police state, (but it's for our own good).'

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League of lawsuits: Game developer sues cheat-toting website

Maty

fun with bots

Many bots are easy to spot. They have names apparently created by smashing one's face against a keyboard, and - for example - single mindedly whack away at an ore node no matter what is going on around them.

In my MMORPG the correct equitette is to attack the nearest hostile, and then lead it to the bot. Stand back and let bot get gibbed (they are crap at fighting back) and then rez the bot. Since the bot loses a bit of armor every time it dies, it's not uncommon to see re-animated corpses standing around in their underwear regularly getting shredded.

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The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

Maty

Re: Fat chance

Honestly ...

This is what you get when you buy shop clothes like lumpen proletarians. Just get a decent tailor instead of the work of some east asian factory slave. You will both feel and look better.

I'm sure your valet can recommend someone.

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Hacker shows Reg how one leaked home address can lead to ruin

Maty

small-town solution

There's no way of keeping your private informaiton off the interent. That ship has sailed. Hell, you can probably dig up more about your great-grandfather than your father ever knew. Great-gramps certainly never posted that information - it's just that the net is great for agglomerating bits of random info into a coherent whole.

So it's not us, but the gatekeepers who have to change. Banks, social services, and govt departments cannot assume that someone is who he says he is simply because he can provide a lot of personal information. It's not security by obscurity if its not obscure any more.

The easiest way is to bring personal relationships back into the business. You can't impersonate someone at the bank if the teller knows the real person. I live in a (very) small town. We all know a frightening amout about eachother. But no-one would last a moment trying to impersonate me to a local shopkeeper.

The problem comes because systems rely on computers having data about people, rather than people knowing people, and today that data is easy to get.

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Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources

Maty

some comparisons

Canada has 10% of the US population and shares many aspect of a common North American culture.

Canada has 31 guns per 100 residents, but mainly rifles. In Canada there are around 150-200 deaths from firearms per year - over 70% of which are suicides and 3% are accidents. All Canadian cops are armed Police shootings make up less than 2% of fatalities.

In the USA there are around 11,000 deaths from firearms, of which around 60% are suicides. Guns are used in 60% of US homicides and 10% of Canadian. Whites are killed by police officers more often than blacks, but white make up around 60% of the population, blacks make up 10%.

OTOH, apparently police officers are eight times more likely to be killed by a black gunman than a white one, which may partly account for their trigger-happiness

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Telia engineer error to blame for massive net outage

Maty

I remember a company director telling me that the scariest sound in the world is when the computer tech doing something vital to the system says 'oh' in a small, quiet voice.

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Hey cloud lawyer: Can I take my client list with me?

Maty

Hmm ...

What if you develop a 'personal' relationship with a client? E.g. you exchange gifts on birthdays and Xmas, play golf together etc. Presumably changing jobs does not mean you have to break off all your previous relationships (or there would be many fewer lobbyists from big business).

So can you argue that yes, you handed over all the contact details for Mr Megabux, CEO of Bigbiz Ltd. But you kept the details of Sam Megabux, your occasional bridge partner at the country club.

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Dad of student slain in Paris terror massacre sues Google, Twitter, Facebook for their 'material support' of ISIS

Maty

obviously ...

Why is this guy not suing the arms manufacturers who produced the weapons in question?

Not that such a lawsuit would wn either, but attacking Google et al. is like suing the road builders - without roads these terrorists could never have reached their destination.

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Should we teach our kids how to program humanity out of existence?

Maty
Headmaster

Re: Is it programming?

'... old automated cart in Greece.'

Alexandria is not in Greece. It's in Egypt. The guy who did it worked for the Library in Alexandria, and had the name of Hero. He also developed a steam engine (the aeliopile) and the world's first vending machine.

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In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning

Maty

subside veggies = subsidize your grocer

They tried this hereabouts in BC- lowering the tax on fruit and veg to encourage healthy eating. The tax is lower, but the base price is higher as the supermarkets simply jack up the price again to what the market will bear.

If the average customer is prepared to pay $3 and no more for a cauliflower, then $3 it will cost, no matter what the price/tax split.

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Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

Maty

Don't give up on Indiana

The judges in the appeal ruling were pretty clear

'Before conducting any further proceedings, the trial court shall hold a hearing for purposes of determining whether this case should be dismissed pursuant to Trial Rule 41(E), based on Zavodnik’s repeated, flagrant, and continuing failure to comply with Indiana’s rules of procedure. '

That looks to me like the green light to counter-sue or at least get the case dismissed - with costs.

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'Whites are taking over': Race storm hits heart of Africa's internet body

Maty

Re: unfortunate but real legacy of race oppression

Rhodesia did not have an apartheit system. That was unique to South Africa.

Rhodesia did have a government which deliberately slanted voting qualifications - through property and education and other values - to favour white minority rule but it never went the whole hog and legalized racial discrimination.

It might sound like a distinction without a difference, but remember that back then places like Texas were not doing it much differently.

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What's holding up Canada's internet?

Maty

not news

From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation today ...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cellphone-deals-canada-1.3587744

For those who just want the skinny - its the story of a woman who gets to make cellphone calls in Canada at half the price Canadians pay. Because she lives in Paris, and her provider offers that much better a deal than the Canadian telcos.

Everyone knows the CRTC is a bad joke.

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A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Maty

Kessler syndrome

Wasn't the point of the Kessler syndrome that space damage is exponential? That is, debris hits a satellite in an explosion creating lots of junk, which increases the risk of another satellite getting hit, creating even more junk until there's a sort of orbiting band of destruction that nothing can get through.

(and communications go back to the 1950s)

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Cops deploy StingRay anti-terror tech against $50 chicken-wing thief

Maty

Oddly enough, I was watching Person of Interest just before I read this article. That's fiction right? For now anyway ..

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The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

Maty

Not just web pages ...

Web pages may be getting heavier, but so are FPS games.

Thanks to a hard disk crash I've had to re-download the Guild Wars 2 image. 18GB so far, and counting. ....

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Google found 760,935 compromised web sites in a year

Maty

Um ... why does the picture that goes with this article show a bunch of ancient Spartans and Athenians? (Spartans because that upside down V is a Lambda, for 'Lacedaemonia', and Athenians because the other shields have Athena's owl.)

As far as I know neither ancient civilization had any problems with their web servers.

Trojans? Nope, those aren't Trojans.

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NZ Pastafarians joined in noodly wedlock

Maty

Re: Pastafarian literature

It is called 'The loose canon' I believe...

http://www.loose-canon.info/page23.htm

It starts with the book of ProvHerbs.

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Furious English villagers force council climbdown over Satan's stone booty

Maty
Stop

There's always one ...

A friend of mine used to live in Namibia. His work used to involve driving across a bit of the Kalahari desert that was so flat and empty that there was no road - you just took a compass bearing and set off.

In all those kilometers of emptiness there was one tree - a baobab. It was such a distinctive feature that it was marked on maps. Then one day someone drove a truck into it, irrecoverably damaging the thing.

If that tree got hit, then a rock in the middle of a highway stands no chance. Sooner or later some idiot will always come along.

('Stop' sign, obviously)

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

Maty

take care folks ...

IANAL

But it's my understanding that if you access really illegal porn - i.e. CP on a computer you are repairing, the cops might decide to charge you as well if you report it.

The point is that it's illegal to view this stuff unless you are properly authorized. And repairing a mate's computer does not count as being authorized. So if you show any great familiarity with the contents of illegal porn folders, you might be in trouble.

I strongly urge you to look up 'Strict liability' as a legal term - as a non-legal expert, my reading of the law is that why you saw the porn, or your intentions (mens rea) don't count. You viewed it, so you're guilty. From a moral standpoint, you have to report this stuff if you find it, but it might be worth thinking hard about reporting how you knew what the material was.

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Flying blind: F-35's radar software fails in the air

Maty

I was thinking more of something like:

'Hello,this is Lockheed technical support. Press 1 if your radar is malfunctioning, 2. if your plane is dropping out of the sky and 3 if you are experiencing a serious software failure during combat.'

'I'm sorry all our operatives are busy with other calls right now. Please hold for the next available operator. Your aircraft is important to us. Please hold.'

Have you heard of the new, updated F-36 with new, innovative features? Contact your congressman about it today!

Thank you for your patience ...'

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NASA's Dawn gets intimate with Ceres

Maty

Obscure agricultural god

For some of the speculation here, I'd recommend the obscure Roman agricultural god Sterculinus. He's the god of manure-spreading. (Seriously)

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Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

Maty

to summarize the FBI position

(Which the writer of this article appears to be endorsing)

Unless you give up some of your rights, criminals will get away with it.

Of course, (replacing criminals with 'enemies of the state') totalitarian states have used this argument for decades. Conversely if you do give up your rights - for any reason whatsoever - you WILL get a totalitarian state. Police and governments can't help themselves.

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Everything bad in the world can be traced to crap Wi-Fi

Maty

IT and presentations

A whiles back, I was giving a talk at a fairly prestigious London institution. The IT guy asked to look at my talk so he could throw the slides onscreen at the appropriate moment. Then he took my only copy and vanished.

Since I knew the topic intimately (which is why I was asked to give the talk) it was not hard to adlib my way through the hour, every now and then looking up at the projectionist's box and asking for 'next slide please'.

Afterwards, the IT guy came and asked rather heatedly why I had not stuck to my script. Apparently this should have been showing on the flat screen built into the lectern. However, no-one had told me this, or turned the thing on.

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How exactly do you rein in a wildly powerful AI before it enslaves us all?

Maty

Re: Let's just hope AI's will be smarter than these researchers

'Can an arbitrary entity possibly create an intelligence greater than itself?'

Let's ask Einstein's mother.

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Donald Trump promises 'such trouble' for Jeff Bezos and Amazon

Maty

wait for it ...

The Republican party contains some real wingnuts who believe the Donald is 'right on' with his overblown rhetoric. There's a lot of others who are - in their words - 'mad as hell' about how the current system does not benefit ordinary Americans, and they are using Trump as a sort of rabid attack dog to scare the mainstream political establishment into actually considering their needs. (This appears to be working, for now).

These two groups are all that Trump needs to sew up the republican nomination, so why should he not speak to them? Then once he becomes the Republican candidate, wait for the pivot, and we get the moderate, toned-down Trump who talks to the average undecided voter. Problem is, I'm not sure the real Trump is either the attack dog he is now or the moderate he will become. It's going to be an interesting year.

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Maty

Trump on Amazon: "If I become president, oh do they have problems. They're going to have such problems"

If.

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FBI says it helped mess up that iPhone – the one it wants Apple to crack

Maty

Re: This is despicable.

Another quote for the list -

'Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem' - Ronald Reagan.

He also said

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help. "

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TalkTalk CuffCuffs 'ScamScam CrimCrims'

Maty
Devil

ah yes .... support?

A while back I got a server with faulty RAM. Called the support line of the company (I won't say which one, but it rhymes with 'hell').

'Ah', says tech chappie 'I am seeing from your order number that you are in education, so I am to be transferring you to that department.' (cue ten minutes of classical music)

'Faulty RAM?' says education chappie. 'I am to be transferring you to hardware.' (cue ten minutes of classical music)

Says hardware, 'This is an education order so I'm transferring you to them ...' (cue ten minutes of classical music)

Needless to say I've never purchased another box from them, and advised my colleagues against doing so. Multiply by X dissatisfied customers, and how much has their 'low-cost' support service cost the company?

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

Maty

Well, we now have a better idea of where Simon lives - anyone who has played booze roulette on the underground and ended up trying to take a cab home will know that 'Sorry guv,' but cabbies 'can't take you sarf of the rivah.'

Uber is Karma.

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Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Maty

Dear Pesant

It's 'peasant'.

Your Pedant.

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Boffins baffled by record-smashing supernova that shouldn't exist

Maty
Pint

Re: No H or He?

Thanks for taking the time to explain. It did indeed help.

Have one on me.

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Maty

Re: No H or He?

'Space didn't "travel" faster than the speed of light, it just expanded faster.'

Ah. thanks for clearing that up. Now when space was expanding faster than the speed of light, at what speed was the border between space and non-space moving?

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Going on a date, and it's just the two of you? How ... quaint. OkCupid's setting up threesomes

Maty

Conversation got hit by a troll. And you fell for it.

Be ashamed.

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