Can you libel a fictional character?
The suggestion that the esteemed Mr Scrooge should be concerning himself with such ghastly humbuggery as those crackers is surely a foul libel.
441 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007
The suggestion that the esteemed Mr Scrooge should be concerning himself with such ghastly humbuggery as those crackers is surely a foul libel.
I'm pretty sure BT Cellnet was a UK headquartered outfit at the time of the 3G auctions.
Not really relevant. It ceased to be Cellnet in 2002, before the tax situation as seen at Vodafone hit the radar of the Chattering Classes.
So you're saying that if we had simply given them the spectrum, we would have reaped the same revenue in taxes as we received from the auction? Somehow I doubt it.
The first difference would've been cheaper prices to consumers, as the telcos would've had lower costs to cover.
Then there'd've been no big losses to offset tax against, so the carriers would have (other things being equal) lots more profit to pay tax on. Other things not being equal might be investment in better technology and infrastructure, and lower prices to consumers. The kind of thing that (at best) might reap rich rewards for everyone: a better experience for consumers, and more users leading to profits for the telcos and more tax for HMRC.
Really? The telcos borrowed to buy. The telcos then took the interest charges off their profits, and the tax revenues dropped afterwards.
True. But the more important element of that is that the telcos made big losses paying for spectrum, which they could then offset against profits in later years to avoid tax.
All Brown did was bring forward taxation, spent it, and then because he thought the good times would continue, carried on spending creating the deficit.
Worst of all (real) worlds. For the taxpayer, it was as you've already summed up. For Vodafone (being the only UK-headquartered mobile telco) it gave them an undeserved reputation as tax dodger. For everyone in the business it raised awareness of creative financial engineering and encouraged them to engage in it. And finally, it raised the barrier to entry for prospective new competitors.
Hmm, don't think I posted in that thread.
But you are putting up a strawman. If Google were to allow its search in general to become corrupted, they wouldn't hold their top position. But this is much more limited: an action concerning specific contents in one country, and provoked by specific legislation. Is the market for spanish news big enough for a rival to step in? They won't make enough to rival Google's R&D efforts, even without paying royalties on those links.
Just because Redhat can make a successful business of commercial Linux doesn't make it a business model that works for all.
In the webserver space, Covalent used to offer Apache with a similar business model. It works better as a small component of a wider portfolio (which is really what Redhat offers). It may be that nginx.com will go the way of Covalent and get bought by someone bigger.
nginx is a good product (and tengine - the chinese version - improves it). But some of the evangelism that compares it extremely favourably to apache (generally in configurations no apache person would recommend, such as mod_php) won't stand up to the scrutiny of going mainstream.
Easy to confuse those "b" and "m" keys on a qwerty!
The valuation looks a bit like a worldwide monopoly figure. For something at the optimistic end of how big "dial-a-vehicle" might eventually grow. How much will a day of Ellison's superyacht eventually cost through uber?
You could argue that question on the head of a pin. But if you narrow it from The Bible to just Events for which the Church of Rome were the moral and intellectual foundation, you have a long list topped by huge-scale events like the Crusades, Inquisition, and (within living memory) Holocaust.
... since Blair banned the glorification of terrorism?
This is a book that portrays the suicide bomber Samson as a hero in the act of his martyrdom.
And far worse, the Holy Man Elijah, who brings death and destruction to a godless people and then flees into the wilderness when the Powers That Be come after him. A role model for "9/11" on a much bigger scale, as well as for genocide of the followers of The (wrong) Lord.
Come to think of it, you don't even need a good blood&gore story to promote genocide when you have casual exhortations like "Blessed is he that taketh the Children of the Heathen, and casts them upon the stone".
If Google were to "discriminate based on a business plan" it would become useless to you and me, and we'd have to find an alternative.
Google got where it is by doing a better job than others of giving users the most useful search results. That is, useful to the user! If they were to throw that away they'd lose their users and become just another has-been.
Google's central business plan MUST be to continue to work for its users. Meaning it makes enemies out of spammers and ignorant politicians.
We seem to have a new consensus displacing the old consensus. Switch from carbs to fats. And the biggest demon switches from fat to sugar.
Am I allowed a healthy (or even unhealthy) scepticism about both old and new consensus? Since my career involves neither marketing nutrition nor publishing papers on the subject, I shall just continue on the general principle that moderation in all things is healthier than excess, and a little of what you fancy makes life worth living.
"The frustration comes from the fact that those who insist that we've got to have some non-carbon-emitting energy system are exactly the people ..."
No we're not! There may be some overlap, and lazy journalists may like labels, but we're not at all the same.
As far back as the 1980s I tried to get involved in (for want of a better word) "green" activism. I was thwarted by the fact that back then I was unable to find an activist group that didn't engage in anti-nuclear nonsense, to which I was never prepared to subscribe. But things have changed since then: even in the early '90s I was able to argue Nuclear is Good for the environment, and whilst it was still a minority view it was at least not treated as ... hmmm ... Holocaust Denial.
When I first heard of seeding the oceans, the proposals didn't involve any dumping. Rather the deployment of big tubes, that would (powered by the waves) draw up sufficient nutrients from the ocean depths to seed algal bloom, which would then grow on sunlight. For example, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070926-warming-solution.html.
This plan, like any other, has a downside: algal blooms are hugely damaging to existing marine ecosystems. It could also precipitate large-scale climate events of its own if, for example, ocean currents are affected. But it appears nevertheless likely to be of net benefit on balance.
Of course, if it were to happen, it will only be a matter of time before someone proposes harvesting the algae for biomass energy. And then it gets burned ....
Also, killing a soldier fits uneasily with the word "murder": that way leads to branding all those very old men who defeated Hitler as murderers. Surely "treason" would have been the appropriate name for the crime, if the trial had had anything to do with "justice".
Not only does this look (as everyone has pointed out) like a big red flag for Orwellian surveillence.
But this use of the word "terrorism" is also pushing us one step further into Orwellian Newspeak. Back in the days of the IRA, the word "terrorism" implied a threat to innocent civilians. Yet now they're using it to describe an attack on a military target, where the perpetrators went to considerable lengths to make it clear that they were no threat to any civilians.
Oh dear. Time to get downvoted here.
If leaning forward over electronic devices is the cause of the pains that mean I no longer dare take an office-based job with my posture constrained by a regular desk and chair, I have a bunch of former employers to sue!
I say this on the basis of all those other "green" ideas that have gone wrong in the past in one way or another (biofuel, wind farms, high speed rail, ...)
Those are fundamentally different: cases of politicians "picking winners". That's always for reasons that, if not immediately corrupt, inevitably open the way to corruption. A carbon tax is the exact opposite: a neutral incentive to the market to go ahead and come up with new ideas.
See for example Wind power (and how not to do it).
Intuitively, carbon tax seems like a very regressive tax.
People who use lots of energy are people with more money than sense. Ranging from the ultra-rich to those of more modest means but very little sense.
The poor don't have cars (let alone superyachts), nor wander around in shirtsleeves when nature's temperatures drop below what's comfortable.
Speaking as an investor with quite a lot of my net worth in VC, including some in VC funds devoted solely to greentech ....
Some VC funds have gone big on greentech, and have lost lots of money for investors. Others have made modest investments so their losses in greentech are absorbed by gains elsewhere.
Others are making good returns on green tech itself. But these are funds specifically targeting government subsidies such as FITs and ROCs. Arguably not in the spirit of VCs, and the government have been tightening the rules to deny these subsidies to new VC investments in wind or solar power.
VC is supposed to be risk capital, but it certainly doesn't help when government is forever changing the goalposts. Investors are much more tolerant of legitimate business risk typical of VC (e.g. "the technology is unproven", "the market is untested") than of being robbed of a promise on a politician's whim.
Neither does it help when governments "pick winners" directly. Thus when solar panel manufacturers were clobbered by global oversupply, Obama bailing out his pick with taxpayer funds just damages the rest of the industry. Likewise when China and the EU squabble while industry (in both places) would much prefer just to be left to get on with the job.
It must be only the female whose arms are anatomically close to big wobbly bits whose movements are what it really detects.
I'll get me coat.
[am I allowed to post here without being a Trevor?]
Methinks those herrings in EU waters look rather reddish. Execution times? Power consumption? Isn't that pure background noise on an operational server? Or perfectly unmeasurable in an ATM machine?
Suppose you could indeed infer key size. You still face the original number of bits in the headline security level. But ... oh, hang on, key size wasn't secret in the first place. Whoops!
On the other hand, maybe your entropy generator itself might have a footprint. And maybe a modern-day Turing might have developed a database that could draw information from such a beastie ...
FWIW, a startup recently ran a crowdfunding campaign to address precisely the problem of the "digital legacy" of an individual. I forget the name, and I don't even recollect whether they were successful, but someone out there is working on it.
I guess the only way forward is to so flood the internet with stupid shirt pictures that the fools overload and burn out.
Anyone know where I can get a shirt like that? El Reg, earn your journalists stripes and tell us!
Galileo recanted his science and avoided getting burned at the stake. History remembers him as a great scientist, but in his own time he was in trouble.
Malala Yousefzai took a stand against bigots who attacked her. Now a huge celebrity and looks set for a life at the top. But nothing (yet) to go down as much more than a footnote in history. More a Rosa Parks moment than a Martin Luther King dream.
Looks like this scientist has gone for the Galileo option. For history, not his own lifetime. A natural reaction from a rabbit caught in the headlights of a wave of bigotry that had never even crossed his mind.
This is a scientist, not a TV personality. He's on camera because he's involved with a newsworthy event.
What does it say about our Thought Police that they can be watching him ... not to marvel at a feat of engineering ... not to be gripped by a "will it work" cliffhanger ... not to learn something of the science it supports ... not to draw lessons from the experience ... but to stone the heretic? Have they lynched the creators of Lara Croft yet? Better not tell them about Italy and Renaissance Art, where the ladies are often not merely central to the pictures, but naked!
 Lesson: when sending a scientific vehicle into space and where it *might* fall long-term in deep shadow, the marginal extra cost of equipping it with on-board nuclear power is probably worth it.
Are you sure you're in the right publication? Aren't reg readers far more likely to be the people cleaning up the mess than the ones making this kind of startup mistakes?
How will this affect my crossbow?
How many of us ever heard of "fairphone", before El Reg mentioned them to tell us noone buys them? Not I.
If a mainstream manufacturer - a Samsung or HTC - were to start talking up ethical values as a principal selling point, that might tell us a lot more about whether anyone cares. Especially if noone else joined them.
BTW, three Ts? I live near a current Tungsten mine, and lots of old Tin mines.
Think it was a Dave Allen joke. The catholic girl and protestant boy see each other naked: I didn't know we were that different, you protestants and us catholics ...
Or vice versa.
You mean the SF Bay area is getting so overcrowded as to suffer some of our UK-style problems? Like when they cleared out those not fortunate enough to be Rachman's tenants from under London's Embankment.
This is an interesting one.
Noone can compete with google on merit: giving us the users genuinely useful search results. So wannabes attack them through the courts and sometimes through the meeja instead.
Now next time there's a fuss about something in google results, all they need to do is run a big publicity campaign saying the Goog isn't doing enough, and look, here's something they can and should (nay, must) do ... it's all there published ... criminally negligent that they're not doing it already. Kerching!
 Jihadi John threatens feminist troll with copyrighted video of under-age kiddie involved in Bad Things ... hmm, Lord of the Flies, or Wozzeck, or ... well, you get my drift.
I don't know if Picketty tries to make this distinction. The rest of the world fails badly, and indeed sometimes turns it upside down.
We should distinguish between Good Capital and Bad Capital.
Good Capital is the classic entrepreneur and his/her investors, putting their resources (money, time, effort, etc) into things which are in some way a net benefit. Note that that includes those who work in a productive field and derive an income for their efforts, as well as those who invest their money.
Bad capital is the monopolisation or consumption of the commons: finite and indeed scarce resources. If you own property you can derive huge advantages from it, yet it's a zero-sum game: what I own, you are denied. Furthermore you expect the long-suffering taxpayer to support your monopoly, so If I and my very big mates decide to move in to your house, you'll turn to the police to restore your rights. In other words, people much poorer than you are required to pay to uphold your monopoly.
OK, having a house to live in is not a bad thing, but it's still less deserving of reward than Good Capital (the house being its own reward). But what about the property empire? That weekend home that stands empty most of the time, and could otherwise house some hard-pressed local family? Or to take another case, the destruction of the commons by burning of fossil fuels? These are Bad Capital, in that ownership of them confers no benefits but imposes actual costs on society.
Good capital should be encouraged. Bad capital should be taxed. All too often, our society does the exact opposite.
 Maybe even a more dubious field like writing provocative articles for some dodgy online publication.
Didn't the article say contactless?
You'd have contactless access to $random-bod for some time if you just sit around somewhere public, like in a cafe or on a train. And if you're serious about $particular-target, you watch for an opportunity and deliberately sit at the next table and order your coffee.
Indeed, but not entirely unique. The open sourcer has an element of that mindset. And even the big faceless corporation may do: look at how Novell stepped in to the SCO case at a time when it was just SCO vs IBM.
Voltaire would approve.
Damn, I have a premonition some idiot might feel compelled to take issue with my focussing on petrol and ignoring other burning of fossil fuels. So let me preempt any such correction by pointing out that I know very well I'm addressing just one of many issues when I focus on it. I just happen to think it serves well to demonstrate my point about political problems, given the history.
Jack of Shadows, if you think like that, no nation will ever meet its needs. Think of it as a variant on Parkinson's law: needs expand to exceed the resources available to meet them.
Look at so-called "fuel poverty". There is the expectation in Britain today that everyone should be able to keep their houses warmer in winter than even the Queen could probably have managed when she was half her present age.
Or look at housing. We have more house per capita than we ever have in history, yet we're always short of them. That's rising aspiration, at the bottom where even students want their own room, at the top where owning multiple homes has become far more common, and in the middle where many now turn their noses up at the "first time" homes of yesteryear.
Carbon tax is indeed the rational solution. If fossil fuels were held to environmental and safety standards comparable to those we (rightly) impose on the nuclear industry, burning them would become an expensive luxury: a scented candle for special occasions, rather than an everyday thing.
However, we can't hike petrol to £100/litre overnight, we should do it gradually, giving people time and incentives to change behaviour, and industry time and incentives to develop alternatives to today's big polluters. The incentive is of course the knowledge of that rising price.
The politics are another story. John Major introduced just such an escalator for one major polluter. It was accepted at the time, and survived the beginning of Brown’s stewardship of the economy. But in 2000, someone set up a website, and a huge meeja campaign grew up against the escalator, now labelled one of Gordon Brown’s “stealth taxes”.
First there was a campaign, supported with millions worth of free publicity from the likes of the BBC, called “dump the pump”: motorists were exhorted to boycott petrol stations every Monday in protest at “high” prices. Come the first boycott Monday, the petrol stations reported no difference: if anything a slight increase in trade. After the second week, they abandoned the campaign: the silent majority had decisively rejected it.
So, after a couple of months of quiet, they took a different tack. Instead of looking for public support, a few thugs took “direct action”, the kind of thing that would probably be described as terrorist today. But they had support from some prominent public figures: notably the Tory leader of the time: a raving demagogue who shortly afterwards took his party to their worst (but best-deserved) election defeat in … well, certainly in my time. And more importantly – indeed crucially – they again had the support of the meeja: if I might make a cheap jibe, London journalists want their cheap travel to their country cottages (having already priced local people out of the market)!
Having dispensed with the idea that the public (indeed, the motoring public) would support a peaceful campaign, the terrorist campaign was extraordinarily successful. Instead of standing up to the thugs and taking all necessary measures to ensure essential services were maintained (as Mrs Thatcher certainly would have done), the government cravenly capitulated. Green taxes were effectively abolished.
Now, does that mean they're politically dead for the foreseeable future? Very likely: the current government contains some sworn enemies of the planet (Osborne and Pickles spring to mind) in powerful positions, and noone to take a contrary view. I have tried to suggest an alternative approach: basically tie rising green taxes to an equal fall in tax elsewhere, and concentrate on a target for the falling component (my suggestion being complete replacement of both halves of so-called "national insurance", thus returning money both to people and companies).
... because Nokia's phones with proper keyboard have gone from wonderful (the E71) to a bug-ridden pile of s**t (the E6-00). And blackberries are a fair second-best in terms of a comfortable fit in the pocket and the hand without it feeling like moving around in plate-armour!
Will Lenovo make a decent product combining portability, usability, battery life, and a proper keyboard? If so, bring it on!
I've got Debian on this box, and aspects of it are indeed (surprisingly) painful.
I may revert to Slackware next time. See if that's still honest.
Many years back I lived for a time in Sheffield. Not one of our wealthier cities by conventional measures, but they're doing something right and - if it hasn't changed beyond recognition - I'd much rather return there than other big cities I've lived in like Bristol, let alone London!
Furthermore, I can point to a completely hard-nosed economic measure of happiness there. When I came to take out household contents insurance, I found the heart-of-student-land premium to be the same as for a small Somerset village where I had lived immediately before. Intrigued by this I investigated further: just one Sheffield postcode (S4 - Attercliffe/Brightside) had a slightly-elevated premium, and even that was many levels below the cheapest postcode in London or Liverpool, and at the cheap end compared even to the more rural postcodes of other big cities such as Manchester, Leeds, or Bristol.
You don't get more hard-nosed than the insurance industry. I *think* the major reason for Sheffield's success was the amount of open green space, and that this wasn't just ugly urban parkland (the Hampstead Heath phenomenon) but felt like a real spur of the Peak District on one's doorstep.
Why does exercise incur a cost? Noone charges me for a swim in our local rivers or the sea. Cycling isn't free, but it's cheaper than other ways of getting from A to B.
The main barrier to exercise is highly-polluted and car-infested roads making it thoroughly unpleasant to go anywhere!
It's not just moving goals. Different measures can tell very different stories, and we're all different.
When I had a health check a few years back, they found me obese measured by BMI. But they also measured my body fat at 17%, bang in the middle of healthy range, or in what Wikipedia calls "fitness". Make of that what you will!
 Nuffield health. The check was a perk of my then-job.
Got a 4G hybrid device: provides a choice of wifi or USB connection. Great for travel within the UK, including time spent on the train.
But worldwide roaming charges? No thanks! Just never book accommodation without free wifi. At least, unless travelling on business and spending all day somewhere with it!
OK, Worstall, how much have YOU, as an avowed capitalist, invested in clean energy, energy efficiency, fuel cells&storage, and related areas that advance the cause of a future in which our kids can enjoy a developed-world lifestyle in a less-polluted world?
I agree with your thesis in principle: it's just a shame politicians are so two-faced about it (in the current government we have Osborne and Pickles prominently supporting much more pollution). Capitalists work best when we put our money where our mouths are, which is why in the past year and a bit I'm pleased to have added Blighty's biggest and best energy source to my portfolio, with investments in two tidal power projects to add to those in lesser (for our geography) sources like solar.
People running Apache: if you think you may be at risk, watch Planet Apache for a solution built into the server!
I'd take issue with the assertion that CGI+bash is likely to be the most usual vector. Applications (CGI or otherwise) that invoke bash through system() or equivalent may very well be more widespread.
Some of those could be running under a standard server. For example, SSI "<!--#exec cmd ...", or a filter running under apache's mod_ext_filter. The latter is recommended as a security measure in at least one well-reputed security book, albeit not actually running bash!
Also worth noting, Linux is particularly vulnerable. Most scripts use #!/bin/sh, which is normally old Bourne shell. Linux doesn't have Bourne shell, but uses an emulator for #!/bin/sh, and that emulator is usually bash.
Our high streets have been saturated with mobile phone shops for a long time. You'd've thought there should've been a shakeout at least a decade ago.
As for phones4u .... was it not a case of neither fish nor fowl? If it's neither a network's own outlet nor an independent vendor for all the networks, then what niche does it occupy? I'd've thought that as soon as it lost one major network, it would lose its value to the others.
I bought a new monitor just a couple of months ago. Not to replace anything, but because I got a treadmill desk, and wanted a big monitor for it without changing the monitor at the old sit-down desk.
It never even occurred to me to consider a touchscreen beast.
On the other hand, when I bought my ultrabook, the touchscreens were so common I had to make a conscious effort to avoid them. I expect that's where the market really is.
Sorry to ... erm ... piss on your protest, but for the police to say "could be" may be entirely reasonable.
Technically even if they were shooting GCHQ employees with guns rather than cameras, police could only say it "could be" against the law. It would be for police to prosecute, but the decision would be one for a court.
It would be ironic if it were indeed deemed illegal because it violated someone's right to privacy!
Housing in the UK is not a market by any normal definition. But that's nothing new: every government initiative since 1945 (and probably before) has done damage in one way or another.
There's just too much public money in it. Housing benefits push rents upwards, which in turn raises yields for landlords, which in turn pushes "market" prices up. Whereupon politicians see it's unaffordable and throw yet more money in, both directly and by proxy such as loose lending, not to mention a succession of initiatives in the name of "low cost" or "affordable" housing. Wave upon wave of ill-conceived and poorly-built houses since 1945 that just serve to put massive pressure on any half-decent stock. And finally, paying builders incentives to build more (like today's "help to buy") just serves to push the price of land up another notch.
As for rent controls, they do tend to be counterproductive, though data is short on what is actually to blame. The 1977 rent act may have been the biggest disaster of all, but it did a lot more than just impose rent controls to kill the market off.
Anyway, rent controls would be quite superfluous if we didn't do so much to push rents upwards!
In summary, the housing market is a mechanism for transferring wealth from the productive (taxpayers - bearing in mind hard-earned income is the only thing we really tax seriously) to the rich (property owners).
Oh no. Don't tell me someone believed that?