1863 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007
Re: James Micallef A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right? @h4rm0ny
"The present state is that Israel is willing to talk peace and discuss the two state solution"
Actions speak louder than words. If Israel was ever serious about peace it would never have built settlements in land that it knew it would have to give back as part of any peace agreement. Israel SAYS it's willing to have a 2-state solution, but only if it's allowed to annex parts of West Bank that it wants, and 'is willing' to give Palestine unwanted parts of it's territory in return. Wow, what generosity.
If Israel is serious about peace it would have frozen settlements a long time ago. Instead, in the last 10 years it has accelerated them.
Re Hamas greenhouses etc, yes you are right, Hamas are scum who do not want peace, I wasn't arguing anything different. My point is that Hamas have power only in Gaza, very limited influence elsewhere. Israel has all the power in the region, nothing can change unless they take the lead.
Re: Jamal Micaleff A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right?
a) I didn't say that there was no Hamas in the West Bank. I said that any threats to Israel from the West Bank can be dealt with without installing settlements there, and in any case, such threats are threats to some of Israel's population, NOT existential threats to the state of Israel.
b) Calling people 'funny' names by twisting their real names is teh behaviour of an immature 8-year old boy. Just sayin'
Re: Nor did the IRA.
@Tom13 - By no stretch of the imagination is Hamas an existential threat to Israel. Just like IRA with Britain, they can kill some civilians and cause some havoc. But Hamas has negligible military force compared to IDF, close to zero international political clout compared to Israel who has the US bent around her little finger.
Just because Hamas want Israel to be completely destroyed does not mean that it is in any way possible for them to do it.
Re: A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right? @h4rm0ny
"You should read a little history of the area in question... "
Thing is, no knowledge of history is any help at all to resolve the situation without acknowledging the present. And the present situation is this - Israel has de facto complete control over all Palestinian territories. It chose to exit Gaza because it was more trouble than it was worth, has a pretty successful blockade going there, and every few years flattens everything and anything that got through the blockade anyway. In the West Bank, it builds settlements with complete impunity, it controls water supply, it controls roads and transport, imports are also severely restricted, and there is a giant wall separating Israel + their settlements from "Palestinian" lands. The threat level that Israel faces is, for all practical purposes, zero. There might be a slight threat to some of it's citizens, but that is something that can never be eradicated, as people of New York, London, Madrid etc etc know very well. But there is NO existential threat to Israel, there hasn't been for many many many years, and there will not be for the foreseeable future.
So, whatever the end solution to the question is, Israel is the ONLY actor in the region that can do anything towards that solution.
And Israel has, by it's actions over the past few years, repeatedly shown that it's preferred solution is NOT a 2-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace*, nor is it a 1-state solution with Palestinians as full and equal citizens. It is a 'Greater Israel' where Palestinians are second-class Apartheided citizens, or else 'exported' to neighbouring Arab countries. This spying on innocent Palestinians is just a tiny part of an ongoing process.
*Otherwise why the continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank? Why even start building settlements in the first place, when a simple military presence + wall on the original border would have sufficed for security?
Re: A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right?
My downvote isn't because of "student politicians of the sixth-form common room", it's because the article clearly states the protested sigint is in "occupied Palestinian territories" AKA West Bank (who never voted Hamas into power), not the Gaza strip (who did).
Gaza has not been "occupied" for many years now
Re: Apple pay...
Depends what you're comparing to - Credit cards charge around 3%*, but as others have mentioned, there are advantages to the user such as fraud insurance. Banks currently charge a lot less for debit card transactions, but I don't know if that's comparable to 0.15% (anyone know??).
Cash transactions also have a cost - business expense to handle cash with banks, and added security requirements. Again, I'm not sure about the extent of that, but if I recall correctly I read somewhere that cash handling costs for businesses heavily exceed debit card transaction costs.
The real question here is, are banks also charging something over and above the 0.15% that Apple takes? Or is Apple paying them for access to their systems from it's 0.15% cut?
* Technically the charge is to the vendor, but when all vendors are accepting credit cards for such a long period of time it's clear that this is factored into the rice of all goods and services that CAN be paid for by credit card even when they are not. And others such as 'cheap' airlines explicitly pass that charge on to consumers, so I'm only looking at the amount charged.
Re: environmental cost
"a long way from matching the exponential increase in demand."
I think you're making up the "exponential increase in demand". Firstly, world population is not increasing exponentially, growth is actually slowing down as countries get richer. Rich countries already have stable or even declining populations, and as the developing world develops, they will also slow their growth. UN estimates over 50-odd years is that world population will eventually cap at around the 12 billion mark, and if eventually some time in the future the whole world is stable and at least as comfortable quality of life as current 'west'*, population might even start to decline.
Second, individual consumption is also not increasing exponentially. Instead of using more stuff, we do more but use stuff more efficiently so individual use does not increase. There have been past cases where consumption increases exponentially but only for short periods of time, you can't extrapolate continued exponential increase from just a small period of it.
* We can all dream, can't we?
Re: environmental cost
Thanks for the follow-up. I tend to agree that 'peak oil' doesn't really matter so much in energy terms, the only thing is that it starts getting wasteful when you need the equivalent energy of 7-8 barrels of oil to extract the equivalent of 10 barrels. Of course, it's still a net gain but still seems wasteful. Not to mention the CO2 release.
In the end if/when oil/hydrocarbons become more expensive, we'll shift to photovoltaics / nuclear / some future technology.
"So we'll use more expensive energy then, won't we?"
Exactly! The last 50-odd years, energy has been dirt cheap anyway, that's why we waste so much of it even while we use loads of it to improve quality of life worldwide. More expensive energy will just mean a bit of a slowdown in global economy (not a bad thing, maybe we can invest more in 'real' stuff and less in financial gimmicks,leading to less boom-bust cycles) but allow developing countries to increase quality of life without continuing to trash the environment.
Re: environmental cost
Very interesting article as usual Mr Worstall. Just one question, you alluded to peak oil being a fallacy, explained by other minerals (tin and iron) having new deposits that are easier to access. However as far as I know in the case of hydrocarbons, the newly discovered deposits are deep offshore, shale / tar sands etc which are more expensive than drilling in Texas, Middle East etc. So is it the case that newly discovered deposits are not always cheaper / easier / higher quality than existing ones?
Also, in the case of minerals, we know that pretty much once they are used they can be recycled and reused all over again even if we ever (unlikely as it is) run out of ore. In the case of hydrocarbons, when we get energy from them by burning, we can't reuse them again. Effectively they are hundreds of millions of years' worth of stored sunlight. Now, I agree completely that we have plenty of energy in the form of uranium, solar etc,however using the argument that minerals are effectively 'infinte' as a way to argue that no peak oil exists does not make sense to me.
Are there any more convincing arguments that you have against peak oil?
Re: Flexible spine
I guess the 'cheetah' reference is more apt because it can "sprint" for only a short length of time before running out of battery. Still quite impressive. And do you REALLY want them to add a flexi-spine and tail and up teh speed so they could actually hunt people down??
Re: Sounds like a good decision.
What does battery warranty have to do with dealerships?
It was a good decision, and really the same reasoning should apply nationwide
Re: Ded game?
"To succeed it needs to maintain the volume of players currently battling upon its servers"
In a way this looks to me like the Facebook model... not spend lots of effort on good 'machine AI' baddies since you can have players match off against each other. Just as users putting their data online for free is what attracts other users to FB, it's having intelligent experienced gamers on board that make the platform sellable to other gamers
Re: It will be business as usual.
@Spartacus - Re the Euro, membership definitely was not part of any new accession negotiations. None of the new entrants in 2005(?) were forced to adopt the Euro, neither were Bulgaria and Romania later. Malta chose to join the Euro later, not sure about the other 2005 entrants.
Even if they WERE forced to join the Euro, it might be a better option than going it on their own if they are frozen out of the pound.
Regarding Schengen, I'm not aware that new members are asked/forced to join either. It would be political suicide for the EU considering that one of the prospective members is Turkey. Common Schengen border with Iraq, Iran and Syria? No thanks!
Re: It will be business as usual.
"Scotland would have to apply to become part of the EU, which would mean accepting to join the currency on membership and also the Schengen Agreement"
Yes, Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership, however there are plenty EU members who are not in the Euro nor Schengen. I don't see why Scotland would not be allowed into the EU without signing up for Euro or Schengen.
Re: What’s in a name?
"retain Liz as Queen of Scotland (which, historically, is correct because she's descended from James IV)"
I though they were German??
Re: What's in a name?
" Former United Kindom (FUK)"
We have a winner :)
Re: Geneva Convention
@Spartacus - excellent post, cutting to the chase a lot of the BS that's been floated around this issue. One point to clarify re "Scottish financial services though, are 12x the size of their economy. In Cyprus it was only 7x, and the Eurozone decided to punish them for it"
The problem with Cyprus wasn't so much that the financial services were 7X the economy, but how those financial services were structured. Both Luxembourg and Malta have financial services sectors many times their economy (Malta close to 8 times ), but neither of them had any problems.
I don't know how the Scottish financial services are structured but I'd bet they are far less riskily structured than Cyprus.
"All the things that will need to be duplicated that are currently shared"
I don't think there will be that many duplication. It's not like for every organisation there is a "British office" that is 100% in England or Wales, there will be branch offices in Scotland. Post-split you would just have the duplication at the highest level, with pre-existing offices reporting to their new chain of command.
For example, Scotland does not need to build from scratch a new health system, new social services, new this new that, it already ha them, and just needs to have somewhere central to give leadership. Given they have had their own parliament for years I am sure they already have a 'scottish-only' civil service to deal with it that might need to be expanded.
Same with companies, they just set a 'scottish' head office but their branches around Scotland won't just disappear and nee to be rebuilt. A lot of this 'command-and-control' is fairly flexible anyway (in business, not in Government)
Independant Scotland would have 1 major problem - currently it gets a lot of incoming revenue from wealth redistribution from the rest of UK, so taxes need to go up or spending down or both. Frankly given that situation, I wonder why the rest of UK isn't happy to show them teh door.
Re: Geneva Convention + EU considerations
The only reason EU would not want Scotland is political BS. As mentioned in the article, Spain would want to block Scotland so as not to encourage Basques/Catalans etc. MB* might want to block out of sheer vindictiveness (though in the end I doubt it would).
But if one were to think abut this practically, there would be no substantial reason for EU to refuse entry to Scotland. Culturally and economically much more integrated in Europe, Economically and politically already within EU norms. The EU can't really with a straight face allow Croatia entry and flirt with the idea of allowing Turkey, Ukraine etc in, while refusing Scotland.
So bottom line there would still be free movement of people, and free movement of goods and services across the border. In fact I doubt there actually would be a 'proper' border, it will be like driving between say France and Germany where there are some old unmanned border posts but for practical purposes free movement. Scots would still have a UK passport allowing free movement in the EU and pretty much worldwide, and eventually a Scottish passport would be accepted by other countries round the world just like a British one is.
*Currently GB = Great Britain, in future MB = Most of Britain?
no exact number?
I love this phrase: "between zero and 249 national-security-related requests"
I guess that maybe legally they are not allowed to state an exact number of requests received, so ""between zero and 249" is another way of saying "249"
Well, the non-smart meters last 20, 30 years or more. No reason they shouldn't function properly for that amount of time. The real question isn't whether they will still work but whether they will become obsolete as networks change around them.
If* the whole infrastructure was properly designed in the first place it would have taken into account that any upgrades/updates in the utilities' infrastructure for the next 20 years would need to be backward compatible with the current smart meters.
*That's a big 'if', I know
Re: OnePlus One
I always prefer (where available) products that 'advertise' by word of mouth and allowing the quality of the product to speak for itself. Breakdowns of smartphones repeatedly show that the component cost is tiny compared to the retail cost, and when you're selling many millions, R&D and advertising costs per phone are also tiny, hence the fat margins.
Also, for a different phone but this is the cost breakdown for fairphone:
That's for the initial run of 20 or 25k units, so it's easy to see that for a larger scale operation selling millions of units (and purchasing components in millions), the unit cost to them isn't going to be a lot more than €250, however much they spend in R&D and ads
Good for Microsoft!
Re: Couple of words about the Swiss
"The Swiss are as corrupt as any other 1st world nation so I don't see why they should be anymore trustworthy"
The point isn't how holy or not the Swiss are, the point is that if Snowden arriving safely in Switzerland to testify is important enough TO THEM, they will make it happen even if it pisses off the US. In fact if they want him to testify it is EXACTLY because his testimony can give them bigger leverage vs the US
Re: Would the US risk a diplomatic incident?
" a few multi-billion dollar fines for Swiss banks for tax evasion..."
The thing is, Switzerland and the rest of Europe are getting fed up with the US's extraterritoriality provisions. Nothing of what Swiss banks did was illegal under Swiss law so US is treading a very fine line with the concessions extracted from Swiss banks in the last few years, the mega-fines it has already inflicted on French banks etc. If they push the line too far, the rest of the world might decide that operating in the US is more trouble than it's worth and just say <Cartman> "screw you guys, I'm going home" </Cartman>
Re: direct flight
" the Chicago Convention allows any state to require any aircraft overflying its airspace to land, whether or not it's scheduled to. And once it's landed, they can search it."
Yes, but do Poland, Germany etc have access to passenger manifests? If it's a direct Russia-Switzerland flight, why should they? And given that for example Germany are mightily ticked off with the US about the Merkel phonetapping, why would they pluck Snowden out of eh sky for the yanks, even if they knew he was overflying?
Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?
"The killer app for a smartwatch is that it will have the correct time, automatically"
How often is it that having correct to-the-second time on your watch is of vital importance? The only reason I can think is train timetables, and even then (a) you can sync your watch with the station clock, it will stay synced for a few months at least unless your watch is REALLY crappy and (b) how often are the trains on time anyway??
Re: siri et al
That's been my experience. Disclaimer - never tried Siri, but both Google/Android and Blackberry voice recognition seem to understand me around 50% of the time in normal speech and maybe closer to 75-80% with very careful choice of word pattern and enunciation. Either way, it's not yet good enough to significantly improve the useability
Re: As a motorbike rider...
@G R Goslin - I was referring specifically to the impact detection and emergency call-out, not to the additional gadgetry. However, to be more specific, I think HUD is helpful as instead of shifting gaze down to instruments and shortening focus, then head up again and change focus again towards road, a rider can see instrument readouts without changing gaze or focus. Of course HUD should show readout for instruments - speed, revs, fuel, gear + temperature/oil warning lights. NOT sms messages.
Music can be distracting or not... but certainly audio isn't in itself covering any other noises such as approaching cars. Typically engine + wind noise is anyway drowning out these other noises anyway
As a motorbike rider...
... I fully agree that this is the best instance of truly useful wearable technology since the wristwatch.
Re: The final conclusion
Have to agree with veti here. One of the fallacies of modern democracy is that the sum of everyone's votes leads to some ideal, or even fit-for-purpose solution in government. This sort of solution works well in local affairs where people are intimately familiar with both the issues at hand and the people/solutions being voted for. It doesn't scale up well at all to millions of voters and highly complex issues
"what we need to do is to start with education"
Yes, that is true. Unfortunately the education departments, teachers' unions etc are, in the majority, conservatively clinging on to early-20-th-century educational methods, teach the status quo because that is all they know, and have structures as rigid as a rusted robot with a poker up it's bottom.
There are many great educators in the world. Most of them are outside of established school systems and need to be actively searched for. Many of the great educators stuck in the existing school systems are 'misfits' who are hated/feared by their colleagues because they are different / try to change things
Voting is just a first step, but there are many other related problems, politically:
- parties are basically the same with a different veneer on top. Ideology blah-blah is radically different, actual policies quite close to each other, real implementation of policies almost indistinguishable
- So much of the country is now run by quangos and civil service departments that politicians come and go but the people actually taking and implementing decisions mostly stay the same.
By the way this isn't just UK but pretty much everywhere
Stepping back from political and looking at the bigger picture, a lot of this stems from basic human cognitive disabilities that have been repeatedly demonstrated:
- cognitive bias, accepting what we already 'know' and rejecting evidence for opposing views
- horribly skewed 'intuitive' risk assessment
- horribly wrong 'intuitive' feeling for numbers, especially very large ones
- terrible short-term-ism
- etc etc
Unfortunately, significantly changing anything in our social / economic / political systems requires a constant struggle against not only the status quo but against millions of years of evolution that have left humans as a species woefully incapable of properly adapting to modern life.
"The people in the club will rant & rave when not in power but when they get their turn they continue the programs"
How true. If ever a politician genuinely wants change, there will be a "Sir Humphrey" to explain to him exactly why that change is urgently needed, highly advisable, but, alas, cannot be implemented without certain tragic* consequences.
'Yes (Prime) Minister' - Painfully True in all respects, even 30 years later
*for the politician concerned
Re: had to think for a sec there
Book Starship troopers certainly my no. 1 and poll results seem to be leaning that way. Predators are another good mention, as are Daleks - the modern ones that fly at least.
I'm inclined to discount any form of 'quantity over quality' (droid army, normal army, zombies etc), as any movie, video game etc ever made shows us that quality ALWAYS beats quantity.
Re: Life in the suburbs
... not to mention less drive-by shootings
"the only possible effect of the economic sanctions is usually the strengthening of the regime they are applied against."
Yes, they strengthen the regime's INTERNAL hold on power, but it significantly weakens them with respect to the outside world, especially in smaller cases (Cuba, N korea) with limited local resources. Russia is a different case, they have huge supply sources of energy, food and raw materials
Re: Country / company
" gearing ourselves up on the basis Russia would become a full member of the WTO"
Russia under Putin wants to write it's own rules and will not abide by those of any outsiders, whether it's trade laws or international / territorial treaties.
" Russia – one of the world’s largest markets"
erm... technically correct, 8th largest country in the world by GDP. However that is less than 3% of global GDP. Unless you're focused almost entirely on selling to Russia, no problem. For anyone who IS mostly focused on selling there, well, you should have known the inherent risks in dealing with the devil, and you probably made a mint while the going was good.
Problem is, how do I as a user know what security a site is using? Some of them actually do front up and say "we use salted hashed tables" (usually after a breach has occurred), most sites are mum on the issue (citing security concerns, but most likely these are the ones with rubbish security, and attempting security through obscurity)
What I do is pretty close to MS recommendation - use 1 common password for all unimportant sites / forums etc, and different passwords for important sites. I *hope* that email, bank, e-commerce sites DO have the requisite security to prevent user info being stolen in the first place, and I also *hope* that in that eventuality the passwords at least are secure.
The 1 site that I know (rather than hope) I can trust is my bank's e-banking site, because in the T&C's they explicitly say that THEY are responsible for security breaches of "their side" of the site.
Re: "a battery life of up to two days"
"Why not charge as you move using Seiko Kinetic or Citizen Eco-Drive?"
Because a Seiko Kinetic or Citizen Eco-Drive uses much less power than a 'smart' watch. By at least an order of magnitude and maybe even 2 orders. WiFi and colour display are both hogs for battery life.
Re: G00gle is
" ultimately, if somebody is paying you, you can't publicly slag them off and expect the relationship to continue"
Well, that's not what Code Club is saying though. Their blog post claims that they are free to say anything they want about their sponsors*. Someone is telling porkies.
*Of course their sponsors are equally free to withdraw their funding, so seeing what motivations are involved, my money is on Code Club being the party telling porkies
Re: Financial IT spending
Thumbup Steve Todd.
I would also add that since banks want to minimise risk, even if they do upgrade their legacy core systems to something more modern, they wouldn't touch 'cloud' with a bargepole. They'll still use their own data centres and VPNs
"the idea that women without men..."
It's clear from one of the quotes that the women do not live without men, just that the men there are either married or closely related.
"...live in harmony"
In a small closed community, there is going to be more resentment under the surface than is apparent because of the necessity to keep good relations with people you depend on. Not sure whether this would be more the case with all-women (or all-men), or whether it's not gender-specific at all.
Adding a few eligible bachelors to a community with a lot of single women could increase that (accusations of 'you're stealing my boyfriend' etc), especially if their stated aim is marriage i.e. exclusivity. On the other hand, there might be just the right proportion that women learn to live together without jealousy, 'sharing' the men among them, or else getting nothing at all - A bit like 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', but with genders reversed
you're right - i stand corrected
As far as I know, smartphones need a SIM to work. You can switch off the radio to airplane mode, but if SIM is not there you can't use camera, WiFi etc. So burning out physical SIM connections WILL brick the phone
But how does the kill switch actually work? Is it done by the user, requiring not only the device ID but also some sort of password*? Or can authorities simply brick phones based on device ID, at their own whim?
*and what happens if user forgets password? And if it requires the user to go through an operator or police, who is checking that the user actually owns the phone they're asking to be bricked?
Bohemian Rhapsody... I like it, but if you don't rate it, fine.
Dissing Led Zeppelin: Burn the heretic!!
Getting anything to travel at the speed of sound though air (over 300 m/s) underwater would be a massive technological achievement. I wouldn't sniff at it just because they aren't going at the speed of sound through water.
Besides, breaking the sound barrier underwater might not be desirable, sonic booms underwater could cause all sorts of havoc
"he has to show firstly that he had a reasonable expectation the data would be stored/processed in the EU, and then secondly, that the data was transferred outside the EU without his permission?"
No not really. EU law allows transfer to US if US offers equivalent protection to EU. FB taking data to US, saying US offers equal protection when clearly US does not protect privacy at all,let alone to EU-required standard. So, in EU at least, he has a case.
Re: "Like any other manufacturer/service provider, they sell what the punters buy"
I wonder if a constitutional* change could be in order - Political parties need to present in their electoral manifesto not just 'blah-blah' but proposed legislation. Parliament procedure is run by civil service and by constitutional law, only laws in the manifesto can be proposed.
I know parties will argue that this binds them to much, doesn't allow flexibility etc, however I would argue that this is exactly what is needed. A lot of legislation is knee-jerk reaction to current situation and poorly thought out / rushed through, and mostly unneeded and based on political posturing about the 'cause du jour'. If legislation is good, it will always be applicable. legislation made for special cases is usually super-crappy. And if they want 'more flexibility' that's easy - limit governments to 2 or 3 year terms
*yeah, I know UK hasn't one, but equivalent basic laws on governance that cannot be changed by the party currently in power, needs national referendum 2/3 majority to change type-of-thing
- Analysis iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?
- First Crack Man buys iPHONE 6 and DROPS IT to SMASH on PURPOSE
- First Fondle Reg journo battles Sydney iPHONE queue, FONDLES BIG 'UN
- TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
- Vid Reg bloke zips through an iPHONE 6 queue from ZERO to 60 SECONDS