* Posts by Matt Siddall

118 posts • joined 26 Jul 2007

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Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

Matt Siddall

Re: "By definition we couldn't"

Actually, there have been a few papers which claim to have found evidence for quantum activity within the brain (see for example http://www.kurzweilai.net/discovery-of-quantum-vibrations-in-microtubules-inside-brain-neurons-corroborates-controversial-20-year-old-theory-of-consciousness)

The brain is likely not a straightforward "machine" - of course that's not to say that we can't create the same thing with quantum computing etc...

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Money-for-mods-gate: Valve gives masterclass in how to lose gamers and alienate people

Matt Siddall

I may be in the minority here, but I think allowing for paid-for mods could be a good thing.

I do think that anything previously offered for free should remain so, but giving developers an incentive to produce good quality mods (or up-to-date iterations on older mods) can only be good for the playerbase. That said, the developer would have to get a reasonable amount of the money for this to work - say 70% to the developer, and then Valve and Bethesda split the remaining 30? Or 50% to developer, 20% to Bethesda and 30% to Valve, if Valve and Bethesda will police the paid-for apps.

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The Apple Watch: THROBBING STRAP-ON with a knurled knob

Matt Siddall

Re: Obvious reasons

I don't disagree with you - I'm sure there are definite advantages to having no browser or on screen keyboard, but the point is that it would have been nice for the article to at least mention the Android watches available, and let us know how the Apple watch differs - and possibly even which is better (or which the writer prefers)

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Matt Siddall

I’ll say this for the Watch, though: I’d rather have it round my wrist than Google Glass on my head.

But would you not rather still have an Android Wear watch that has a browser and on-screen keyboard? Why no comparison?

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Hungry Apple fanbois can now buy a lunch date with Tim Cook

Matt Siddall

Re: Rich People

I dunno. According to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2014/03/03/forbes-billionaires-full-list-of-the-worlds-500-richest-people/), the 500 richest people in the world are collectively worth $4.4 trillion. There are just over 7 billion people in the world, so even if the 500 richest gave every penny, each person in the world would get $617. I'd be impressed if that's enough to see off debt, homelessness, hunger, etc.

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Osbo: Choose a f*cking IoT fridge. Choose spirit-crushing driverless cars

Matt Siddall

Re: Am I missing something here?

I can see some benefit coming in the next couple of years. All we need is the expiry date encoded into the (or an extra?) barcode or an NFC tag and the fridge could let you know when things are going out of date, and you could check your phone at work to see what you have in the fridge for dinner to decide whether or not you need to make a trip to the shops on the way home.

Sure, it's not life-changing but could be very convenient.

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Last Pirate in Brussels: Put ME in charge of yer IP treasure chest. Yarr!

Matt Siddall

2) The CJEU also made clear that restricted content, accessed by a hyperlink - e.g. where the hyperlink circumvents some restriction (paywall or whatever) - would, without the permission of the copyright holder, mean the publisher of the link is committing copyright infringement pursuant to Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive.

Whilst I may not like paywalls or similar, I see the above as perfectly reasonable. i.e. not copyright infringement where made freely available by a rights holder, but in other circumstances may well constitute infringement. Reda is a little vague here. Specifics will follow I am sure.

If it's possible to circumvent your paywall or login system with a hyperlink, you're doing it wrong...

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Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

Matt Siddall

Re: Land Value Tax

In that case corporations pay Corporation Tax, not ordinary people. And VAT. You cannot say that it's the consumer that pays VAT and the landlord that pays LVT: they are the same thing.

The thing is that corporations are not people, and for tax incidence we are looking at which people have less money in their pockets as a result of the tax. The incidence of Corporation tax is split between three groups of people - customer, workers and shareholders. There have been numerous papers, studies, etc that show the customers wind up basically unaffected, and the incidence of the tax is split fairly evenly between the workers and the shareholders (the exact ratio depending on things like the rules around investment within the country).

I've not looked at VAT before, but a quick google shows us items like https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=IIPF63&paper_id=31 which state that VAT falls largely upon the customer. Not entirely sure why, but I suspect that this is due to it's being a form of transaction tax, rather than a yearly tax like LVT or Corporation tax.

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Matt Siddall

Re: Land Value Tax

LVT would not make any difference to development of land. Amending the planning system would do that. LVT is a stupid tax as will tax people who have no income but lots of value in their home, e.g. pensioners. So will they have to sell their home and move to a cheaper land value property?

Hypothetically speaking, why not? Suppose you have a house in London that someone bought for naff all 20 years ago and is now worth £1m+. They have a couple of options - sell up and move to whatever house they want outside of London plus have enough money to live on for the rest of their lives and free up the valuable housing for someone who needs to be in London for work, or stay there and either get relatives to pay the tax (if they are hoping to inherit at least) or let it accumulate against the value of the property until the owner dies or the property is sold.

We seem to make a religion of "your house is your home" here, and anything that might possibly cause someone to have to move is forbidden - even if it would be better for everyone.

Or will there have to be lots of exceptions - which complicates the tax system and downgrades its efficacy and efficiency.

Not lots - you just have to allow payment to be taken as equity in the property, with a proviso that the state can't do anything with it (such as charge rent or try to sell) until the house is sold or the owner dies.

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Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

Matt Siddall

Whether or not it is harming them, theft is a specific term which has a meaning incorporating the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use. It is not accurate to use it in the case of copyright infringement.

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Matt Siddall

Re: @Fluffy Bunny

1998 called. It wants its argument back.

So your counter-argument, which you've had 16 years to prepare is...?

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Matt Siddall

Re: Copyright contract with the public is broken.

The Public Domain Day backfired badly, because no matter how you slice it, it means privileged white college kids want to stop paying black people. Living black artists.

Straw Man much?

Given how wealth allocation was skewed 50 years ago (and now, for that matter) I would think that actually having copyright come to an end in a reasonable time would impact white artists a lot more than black artists.

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Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

Matt Siddall

Re: The right way to tax Google in the UK

Except that doing so would place us in violation of EU law. Not that I normally give a crap about EU law, but the people in power probably should pay some attention to it...

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Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

Matt Siddall
Stop

Re: Sorta - Stalinist?

Private rail isn't a great comparison, as they didn't actually allow for any competition (if I want to go to London, I have to use a Southern train), plus they are required to run the trains throughout the day, even mostly empty.

A proper capitalist "privatised" solution would allow for different train lines to run trains on the same routes, thus allowing for price competition. It would also allow them to only run the trains when there are enough people to make it economical to do so, and to allow much greater changes in pricing.

I can see why they do it the way that they do, but it's really not privatised in any meaningful sense of the word.

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Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians

Matt Siddall

Re: Not such a bad idea

"That's fine in a mostly agrarian economy where economic value is derived from the land"

Not really - land used for agriculture tends to be ridiculously cheap compared to land zoned for residential or commercial properties. LVT would be a fairly minor charge on farmers, and a massive charge on London housing.

To give an idea of the scales (although the figures may be slightly out of date), farm and forestry land makes up about 80% of the UK by area, and has a total rental value of approximately £1.7bn. Residential on the other hand makes up 3.5% of the UK by area and has a total rental value of ~£200bn (commercial is 0.4% and ~£30bn).

LVT would not charge a flat fee per acre, it would instead charge a proportion of the rental value of the land - meaning that farmers pay next to nothing.

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You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

Matt Siddall

Re: Yeah...

Logic on that doesn't quite work... Try this:

“It is known that there are an infinte number of numbers, simply because you can add 1 to any number to make another one. However, not every one of them is odd. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average number of odd numbers that exist can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the all numbers are even, and that odd numbers you run across are merely products of a deranged imagination.”

But then, I've never really been a Douglas Adams fan.

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

Matt Siddall

Re: No files ?

Given the likelihood of false positives, I'm not sure I like the idea of AV solutions checking the registry as well. If they screw that up (and they will) the machine could easily be bricked.

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Mr Almunia, how many more times can Google rewrite Euro search 'dominance' settlement?

Matt Siddall

Google has been given three separate chances to revise its concessions on search, in part, because Almunia has stuck so firmly to favouring such an outcome that, he argues, will restore competition more swiftly than forcing the multinational down a so-called Statement of Objections route.

Do we really need to restore competition? Why is that the business of the EU? If we all prefer Google, are they going to force some people to use Bing, or Yahoo?

Search is contestable, and economics tells us that we don't have to worry about a contestable monopoly. If Google start to really misbehave or if someone else comes up with a better product, then Google's days are numbered. In the meantime, can we not just let them get on with what they're doing (providing a search service that 90% of Europeans think is better than any of the alternatives)?

(I still remember using AllTheWeb back in the good old days of university - wonder what happened to them...)

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Chromecast hack Rickrolls Google's TV stick

Matt Siddall

One of the dependencies is aircrack - so there's a good chance it can get onto the Chromecast's wifi network using that

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NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'

Matt Siddall

Dropbox

If I want to store things securely, I won't be using a cloud service at all. For storing pics and files for easy sharing and access, Dropbox works. Just don't put anything there that you wouldn't want to get out

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EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers

Matt Siddall

Re: Long shot, I guess, but any chance

They're getting better - the LG G3 for example lets you uninstall the bloatware that comes with it (I too have no use for Twitter or Facebook).

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OnePlus One equals 'killer' new mobe running CyanogenMod

Matt Siddall

Re: 3G frequency support

The 3G bands that it uses have been released already:

1/2/4/5/8 (850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz) so there shouldn't be any issues.

The 4G banding is limited to 1/3/4/7/17/38/39/40/41 , so you may have issues with 4G with some suppliers in the UK (from memory, EE is fine but most others not so much).

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EU gives Google JUST WEEKS to submit stronger search biz concessions

Matt Siddall

Erm

From what I can see here, Google hasn't actually done anything illegal. The EU commission is having a go for supposed "Monopoly" behaviour, but they've got a near-monopoly because they're the best at what they do. If someone came up with a better search engine, there's nothing stopping us all from moving to it (and I'm sure there are some people who do use Bing and the like).

So Google have done nothing wrong, but the EU is threatening them with fines because their competitors are unhappy about them doing so well. What's wrong with this picture?

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HUMANITY STUNNED - Apple Retina iPad Mini arrives. A solemn moment

Matt Siddall

Re: Retina?

"Good luck with your HTC One X, that little beauty has a nice GPU overheating defect.... blank display not happening yet? Be patient it will..."

Oh, it gets plenty hot enough if it's plugged in and I'm playing games, but I can live with that. Generally if it's plugged in, I'm at home - so can just use my pc instead. If it's not plugged in, it gets warm but not excessively so. The only other thing that makes it excessively hot is the camera. I accidentally turned it on in my pocket once and a few minutes later it was starting to really heat up (at which point I noticed it and turned it off).

I'm starting to get occasional glitches with the touchscreen. All fixed by turning the screen off and on again though. It is nearly time for a replacement, so I'm not overly concerned about fairly minor issues that I can deal with without too much effort.

All told, I'm very happy with it. The Nexus 5 does have me quite interested in upgrading though - just have to see what's around next April :-)

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Matt Siddall

Re: Retina?

To be fair, the original retina display was just meant to be as good as a human eyeball (iball?) can see at 12 inches. I dunno about you but that's where my tablet tends to be. My phone is a good deal closer though, so higher numbers could have value for phones.

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Matt Siddall

Retina?

Any word on the actual resolution? It seems to me that Retina is becoming a bit meaningless these days.

Let's see. According to the Apple website, the 5S has:

"4-inch (diagonal) Retina display

1136-by-640 resolution

326 ppi "

Whereas the new Nexus 5 has 4.95 inches, 1080p, 445 ppi.

Hell, my old HTC One X (which has been around for a year and a half now) has 4.7 inch, 1280 x 720, 312 ppi...

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Do+ you+ use+ Google+? Seemingly+ you+ DO+

Matt Siddall

Re: @AC 07:35

I dunno - maybe I'm weird but I prefer G+. When I (briefly) had a facebook account, I kept getting emails, notifications, all sorts of spammy game things - I spent as much time clearing out the messages from people I didn't know and didn't want to interact with as I did actually interacting with friends. On G+ I get no annoying "see what your friends have been up to" emails and just get to look at what I want. It's there when I want to have a look, and otherwise leaves me alone. I much prefer it.

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Punter strikes back at cold callers - by charging THEM to call HIM

Matt Siddall

Not sure this is worthwhile

So he gets 7p per minute? That works out to £4.20 per hour. My time's worth more than that...

For what it's worth, I don't seem to get any spam calls - Not sure if this is because I don't really use the landline though - my father in law is the only person who ever calls it.

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Google scientists rebel over company's support for 'climate-hoax' Senator

Matt Siddall

Re: God?

"2. Every time it rains, god cries on you."

That's not tears...

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PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

Matt Siddall

So?

"What it stops is little Jonny 5 yr old from finding what is there in the first place."

So? I remember when I first found out about the mechanics of the whole business. I was about 8, and I remember thinking something along the lines of "errrrgh!" I just figured adults were wierd, and I'd never want to do that. I certainly wasn't interested in porn, and the naked female form held no appeal for me. If I had stumbled onto a site full of it, I'd not really have known what it was all about and I'd definitely not have been interested.

The point is that seeing sexual images is not going to do Little Jonny any harm unless there's already something wrong - he'll just shrug and move on to pokemon, or moshi monsters, or whatever the kids are into these days.

What harm does it actually do?

(now if we're talking about child porn then I can see that there might be odd assumptions created in little Jonny's brain - and incidentally it really bugs me that there's no H in his name, even though he doesn't exist - but that stuff isn't easy to stumble onto and is already hidden/removed as quickly as possible)

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US Senate vote to add internet sales tax this week

Matt Siddall

Re: I'm confused

"How do you work that out?

If no one is paying taxes now, it's a level playing field (sale price - costs).

If everyone pays taxes it's a level playing field (sale price - tax - costs).

In fact it gives smaller companies an advantage."

Not quite. If all companies have to deal with 9,600 separate taxing districts, there's a certain overhead involved. The costs of preparing for such a thing are fixed (get lists of tax rates, setup software, etc) so someone like Amazon would hardly notice it, but it could be a massive chunk of the profitability of a smaller firm.

Generally speaking, regulations favour the bigger companies.

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British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'

Matt Siddall

Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

"THEN they discover they've bought into proprietary DRM-saturated Hell."

How do they discover this? When all the books they buy from amazon automagically appear on the device? When the books they buy elsewhere can be fairly easily converted and transferred to the device by plugging it in to the computer, or by sending an email?

If Amazon prevented you from loading your own books onto the kindle and made it so that every book on their had to be purchased from them, I'd agree with you. But they don't.

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Matt Siddall

It's not even locked in really

Use something like Calibre, and download books from anywhere you want - Calibre can convert them to kindle format.

I can particularly recommend Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/

Also, it's very handy being able to email books onto the kindle. My dad has one, and when he's run out of books, he calls me and we talk about what I have and what he fancies reading next, then I just send an email and it appears on his device as if by magic. It really is easy!

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Bradley Manning to speak in public for first time in two years

Matt Siddall

agreed

Why is it ok when those working for a private sector company spill the beans on their dodgy activities (whistle blowing) but not when someone working for the government does the same?

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Foxconn won't sue over fabricated radio brickbats

Matt Siddall

Re: Anyone else getting tired..

Not that I'd ever encourage anyone to buy apple, but:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/01/30/the-apple-boycott-graphically-explained/

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Sun hacks cuffed after being DOBBED IN by News Corp

Matt Siddall
FAIL

The point being

If the people involved were terrorists, then there might be an actual danger to someone, so justifying dawn raids, etc. In this case, surely the purpose would be served just as well by the police showing up at 10am and showing some degree of respect to those arrested - after all, "innocent unless proven guilty" ?

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Brit pair deported from US for 'destroy America' tweet

Matt Siddall
Thumb Up

no need to hack

You can do it completely legally (well - it might be in violation of Twitter's T&Cs) by just creating a new account with a name that's an awfully like that of the person you want to get into trouble.

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Five firms to create HD-centric DRM for SD cards

Matt Siddall
WTF?

and once again

they make it so that the pirated versions are better than the officially purchased versions - can't they see why this is a problem?

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Pirated software hard drive on display as art

Matt Siddall
FAIL

It is important to be precise

Technically speaking there is a cost for the replication, be it in clock cycles, bandwidth, power consumption, or whatever. By your argument, since human beings can be replicated infinitely, they too have no value.

It is also worth considering the cost of information, and the value of relaxation. Value is a very subjective thing.

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HTC: Apple and Samsung won't steal our lunch

Matt Siddall
Thumb Up

Root, Cyanogenmod and S2E gets around the space problems - you can format part of your SD card and have the phone treat it as internal memory and use it for storing apps.

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Security takes a backseat on Android in update shambles

Matt Siddall

I'd say so - it's so much more customisable than the sense interface, and runs really well.

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First private-sector space station docking delayed

Matt Siddall

Repeat after me

Jobs are a cost, not a benefit!

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'Hands free' pissing contest games installed in boozer

Matt Siddall

Next thing you know

What's the betting that this will be installed at the houses of Parliament. They're already adept at pissing away our money...

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Eurozone crisis: We're all dooomed! Here's why

Matt Siddall

I think the main issue is that we have a significant amount of transfers within the EU. The home counties pay a lot more in tax than they receive in services, and a number of places receive a lot more than they pay.

So it could work across the whole EU if Germany were willing to give large chunks of cash to places like Greece, Italy, Portugal, etc. Oddly enough, the Germans are not overjoyed with this idea...

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Matt Siddall
Headmaster

<pedant>

It's not feasible for the govt to take 100% of the GDP as taxes. Even after Labour's stealth taxes and the like, we're still only at about 50% here, and the Greeks are well known for under-collecting.

But even if the Greek govt could collect 50% of the GDP as tax, then it would be like someone with an income of £10k owing £32k.

According to http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/48/27/41498733.pdf the 2006 %age of GDP taken as tax revenue was 31.3 (2006 is the latest I could see, but I didn't look that hard). at 31.3%, it's the equivalent of someone earning £10k who owes £51.44k. So the original statement was actually pretty close...

</pedant>

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UK.gov moves to close VAT loophole on etailers

Matt Siddall
FAIL

If MW3 were under £15, then you might have a point

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OPERA review serves up a feast for physics geeks

Matt Siddall
Alert

I was wondering

I'll preface this with the fact that my knowledge of quantum physics and relativity are both rather shaky, but I did have this thought:

Given the references to the Supernova, in which case the Neutrinos travelled 160k or so light years and arrived 3 hours before the light itself; and comparing with the OPERA experiment where the difference was relatively bigger (scaled up to 160k light years, the OPERA result would have meant the Neutrinos arriving about 4 years ahead of the light); I have to wonder if matter plays a part.

Hypothesis: Neutrinos are able to travel slightly faster than c through matter (whether by quantum tunnelling or some other method).

This would mean that the Neutrinos in OPERA would travel slightly faster than C for a significant part of their journey, whereas those from the supernova would travel faster than C for a very small part of their journey (as there's not a lot of matter in space - but there is a little space dust and the like). So then the effect would be more pronounced in OPERA than it was with the supernova - as observed.

I've put a post on my blog about it that lays it out perhaps a little more clearly (http://thoughtsonmorality.blogspot.com/2011/10/those-neutrinos.html)

Anyone know if this is possible, or measurable?

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Dutch court rejects Samsung iPhone ban bid

Matt Siddall
Facepalm

I thought the issue was that Apple had refused to license the patents previously. What happens if they can't agree terms now? Can Samsung just be unreasonable (one meeeelllion pounds!) ? I'm guessing not, given what the judge said, but in that case who decides what's fair?

Do Apple just get to pay the same as anyone else who's licensed it? And if so, what if they refuse?

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Scientists discover Tatooine-style world 200 lightyears off

Matt Siddall

There were rather a lot of pebbles just a few systems over, roughly where it used to be...

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Matt Siddall

Charitably?

Given that our sun's diameter is about 870,000 miles, I really don't see how 0.5 million is a charitable guess. I'd say err on the side of caution (i.e. to downplay your results) and go for 1m each, at which point they're only 21 diameters apart.

Bear in mind also, as others have noted, that unless you're viewing them from a perpendicular direction, they will appear to be closer than this (hence eclipses being possible).

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