* Posts by Paul Kinsler

335 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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The Raspberry Pi is succeeding in ways its makers almost imagined

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Programmer-archaeologist

... some of the requests for help on comp.lang.fortran get pretty close to this concept. :-)

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Exploding Power Bars: EE couldn't even get the CE safety mark right

Paul Kinsler
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Re: The CE logo looks better when compressed

Think of it as a sort of checksum. If the logo is altered for reasons of appearance, you can be sure that they are interested in only superficial criteria, rather than them actually being interested in meeting the required standards and specifications :-)

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Rise up against Oracle class stupidity and join the infosec strike

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Now Fuck Off And Die in an Orlowski thread.

Ah! a FOADIOT :-)

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What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

Paul Kinsler
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Re: fuzzy dot with visible rings around it

My son got an unremarkable telescope for xmas a year or so back (M&S kids special). Haven't yet managed to see Saturn as anything but a blurry dot, although the grey (light polluted) London skies are likely helping out there. Jupiter is a bigger dot, albeit one that you can't quite see any discernable stripes on, although the four big moons can be reliably seen.

Best thing was a few months ago when I managed to get it lined up to see Venus as a crescent. Although aligning it manually is a bit of a barsteward, especially since things walk out of the field of view fairly quickly with the more powerful eyepiece in.

Last year, with clear skies, I saw about one Persied every 10 minutes....

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W is for WTF: Google CEO quits, new biz Alphabet takes over

Paul Kinsler
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Re: "Don't be evil"

As has been oft said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of good is that evil men do nothing".

(I /think/ I remembered that correctly, didn't I..? :)

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Small number of computer-aided rifles could be hacked in contrived scenario

Paul Kinsler
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spin drift.

Interesting.

But in order to break the rotational symmetry (and get this `spin drift'), we also need something else, presumably gravity. So the bullet deviates right because gravity pulls it to (errrrm) sit slightly below the barrel's central axis, hence kicks off (in some sense) the bottom of the barrel (or the gas layer between bullet & barrel) harder than off the top ... thus a clockwise bullet deviates right.

So if the marksperson were to fire whilst hanging upside down, the bullet would (to them) deviate left; while to a non-upside down bystander, it still deviates right.

Any comments or corrections?

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This is TRUE science: Harvard boffins fire up sizzling BACON LASER

Paul Kinsler
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standard comment in laser physics:

""anything will lase if you pump it hard enough"

Not sure who to attribute it to, though.

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Chat about Safe Harbour all you like, the NSA's still the stumbling block

Paul Kinsler
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Re: The commentard probably assumed ...

You can't use the icons when anonymous (IME).

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Rise of the swimming machines: US sub launches and recovers a drone

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Question

I don't know either, but of the three options come to mind (optical, acoustic, wire) only by wire seems very stealthy and/or immune to interference. And I'd guess that optical would have the worst range limitations,and acoustic would be very good at giving away your (and its) location.

Wait, I forgot one: trained carrier piscines? :-)

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Roll up, roll up, for the Meta35: The hybrid snapper's data dumpster

Paul Kinsler
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Re: impossible to buy camera film?

Ah, never mind. Someone will write an emulator for all that quaint old chemistry, the camera design, and all that. You'll probably be able to run it on your smartphone just fine. And for the true believer, there'll also be a cardboard model you can make yourself, in which you mount your phone sideways. :-)

/runs away....

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What makes our planet's clouds? Tiny INVISIBLE CREATURES. True story

Paul Kinsler
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Re: but I suspect that would increase the DMS aerosol, ...

Suspicion doesn't imply causation :-)

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Paul Kinsler
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Re: correlation doesn't imply causation

And while on the subject of trying to disentangle the two...

http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/faculty/pages/docs/elwert/Elwert 2013.pdf

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Your gadget batteries endanger planes, says Boeing

Paul Kinsler
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Coat

Re: more evolved than a baby

Umm. Babies, as next generation humans, should be /more/ evolved, shouldn't they? :-)

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Did speeding American manhole cover beat Sputnik into space? Top boffin speaks to El Reg

Paul Kinsler
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Re: 2.0013% of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

Hmm, interesting. If I calculate correctly, a 55ton yield gives about 55*4GJ energy (since 1Mton is 4PJ), so that if all the explosive energy turned into the kinetic energy of a 100kg lid, it would end up travelling at 0.0002 of c as well.

Perhaps that was the original calculation :-)

(bah - half ton lid ... so erm, 0.0001 of c)

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Paul Kinsler
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Re: 2.0013% of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

Maybe we should recalculate:

60e8 / 3e8 = 0.0002,

ie 0.02% of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

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New Horizons: We've got a pretty pic of Pluto. Now let's get our SCIENCE on

Paul Kinsler
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Are you worried by space probes pictured at the wrong angle for your eyes?

... if you think so, look here:

http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/models

load 'em up and rotate to your heart's content. There's one of New Horizons...

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Chinese takeaway, hold the Google: Xiaomi Mi4 LTE Android

Paul Kinsler
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Joke

Re: USB - a nonstandard one?!

Well, what's the point of having a whole /universe/ of different connectors to chose from, if you have to keep using the same boring old one over and over and over again? Defeats the point, doesn't it?

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Argentina finds messenger to shoot after e-vote vuln allegations

Paul Kinsler
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Re: "Democracy is in the counting" (Tom Stoppard)

Statistical test for irregularities are also possible: see e.g.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.3087

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Boffins demo 'memcomputer', plot von Neumann's retirement

Paul Kinsler
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Re: a Fourier transform in real time but it couldn't run a simple spreadsheet with ...

Your requirements might be different, of course, but my use for fourier transforms is much greater than that for spreadsheets (although, to be fair, I did use a spreadsheet about three years ago).

It can be quite useful to dig up old ideas and see how much further you can push them with modern technology. Perhaps we should wait and see how far they can get before turning on the full-strength pessimism.

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Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Scientists are trying to raise funding ...

Sure. But being scientists who work in the field of "flying space rocks", they're really quite keen on knowing all about flying space rocks, and you can be quite sure that if you give them money to spend on learning about flying space rocks, that's what they'll spend it on (although they might spend some of it on flying space icebergs, or some other field closely related to flying space rocks instead).

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Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

Paul Kinsler
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Re: we'll have splattered repeater Rosetta. D'oh.

There's little choice - Rosetta isn't in an orbit, the comet doesn't have enough gravity - Rosetta is being flown around the comet in arcs (IIRC). A gentle touchdown would at least keep Rosetta on the comet, but than a high-speed crash would be more totally awesome!

I'm not sure from this reporting what sort of `landing' will be attempted. I suspect, from the Philae attempt, it'd be a bit of a lottery anyway.

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British banks consider emoji as password replacement

Paul Kinsler
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Re: good luck writing it down on a post-it :D

But on the plus side, the chances of anyone /else/ being able to decipher the password written on the post-it are very greatly reduced.

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Glass door to the ancient past FOUND ON MARS

Paul Kinsler
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Re: How do they know there are algae in the crater?

They don't ... but if there was, a bloody great rock landed on its head, and then entombed it in glass - it sure as hell wasn't going to move very far after all that!

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Paper driving licence death day: DVLA website is still TITSUP

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Are they supposed to get a new code every few days?

Do you want a non-expiring code that can be kept by (or leaked from) the car hire company or its employees, and be (mis)used to check up on your driver record at some undetermined later date?

I take your point - but being able to pre-generate codes with fixed & limited future validity dates would be better. You could create a stack for sequential hires, if needed, but they wouldn't persist longer than necessary.

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Bill Nye's bonkers LightSail spaceship unfurls solar sails at last

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Hence momentum is a derivative of energy.

Hmm, not really: energy & momentum have very distinct conservation laws:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noether's_theorem

Notably, a perfectly elastic collision can change momenta but not energy. The fact that typical collisions involve both energy and momentum transfer is not quite the point.

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RAF Eurofighter gets a Battle of Britain makeover

Paul Kinsler
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Re: What devious weapon requires a tank full of gravity?

If you think that's bad, wait til it points its Entorpy Ray at you :-)

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Chap mines Bitcoin with PUNCH CARDS and ancient mainframe

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Did he feel bored one day?

Nah. If he'd been bored, he'd have tried it using an abacus :-)

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Mobiles at school could be MAKING YOUR KID MORE DUMBER

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Another thing entirely is to ban mobile phones in class and enforce the ban.

Read the article: they take into account estimated compliance rates.

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Paul Kinsler
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Re: Hmm

See fig.2, with 95% confidence limits indicated.

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Google DOG WHISTLING fails to send URLs across the room

Paul Kinsler
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Re: I can see it now...

... and just think of those offices/workspaces with some radio station playing in the background...

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Metadata scope creep sees Border Force ask for access

Paul Kinsler
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Re: People think Arachnaphobia was a fictional film

.... a fictional film that used Avondale spiders from New Zealand, I could add. Although Australian spiders may be more deadly, apparently they lack the "star appeal" of large, sociable spiders from the other side of the Tasman.

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Look out, law abiding folk: UK’s Counter-Extremism Bill slithers into view

Paul Kinsler
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Joke

Define 'extremist'.

How about this: "Anyone who can be found using the method of Lagrange multipliers". Women who have had children are a case in point: they might be an Extremum.

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Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT

Paul Kinsler
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Re: You're really set on this left/right thing.

Well, as I said, it's commonly observed in most western democracies. But I agree it isn't the only possible distinction - it might be the dominant split in Scottish politics turns out to be more along a pro- and anti- UK line, or whatever other distinction makes sense to the Scottish electorate.

Perhaps there'll be a Scottish Tea Party vs Scottish Not-Had-Your-Tea Party distinction :-)

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Paul Kinsler
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Re: every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction,

Alternatively, the reaction may be instead a split in the SNP into left and right leaning parties; both "nationalist" to some nontrivial degree, but otherwise mimicing the left/right split of most western countries. Or maybe the Scottish Conservative party will part company from the UK Conservative party, call themselves the "New Scottiish Progressives" or somesuch, start wearing kilts and Saltires, and so present a Scottish version of the centre-right, whatever that might turn out to be.

It may be generally agreed that the Scots are more left leaning than the rest of the UK, but I'd be surprised if the current level of SNP electoral success is sustained over the long term over the whole of Scotland.

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Amstrad founder Lord Sugar quits 'anti-enterprise' Labour party

Paul Kinsler
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Re: actually voting for their local [..] MP

Isn't that /all/ we get to do in any case? There's no box for Party-X, only for named candidates (who can even switch parties at will if they choose to do so). So while many might think that they are "voting for a party", actually they are really voting for the candidate endorsed by that party during the election.

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You say you want a musical revolution. Actually, have three

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Theremin 1928?

Not as early as '28,but also the Oramics Machine is worth a mention...

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Paul Kinsler
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never mind the journal ...

here's the arXiv version :-)

http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.05417

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Boffins set to reveal state of play on fully duplex comms - on the same FREQ

Paul Kinsler
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orbital angular momentum proposals ...

Since these typically generate a bit of debate here on the Reg, the interested reader might also look at this recent paper:

Orbital angular momentum modes do not increase the channel capacity in communication links

Mauritz Andersson, Eilert Berglind and Gunnar Björk

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/17/4/043040

The orbital momentum of optical or radio waves can be used as a degree of freedom to transmit information. However, mainly for technical reasons, this degree of freedom has not been widely used in communication channels. The question is if this degree of freedom opens up a new, hitherto unused 'communication window'supporting 'an infinite number of channels in a given, fixed bandwidth' in free space communication as has been claimed? We answer this question in the negative by showing that on the fundamental level, the mode density, and thus room for mode multiplexing, is the same for this degree of freedom as for sets of modes lacking angular momentum. In addition we show that modes with angular momentum are unsuitable for broadcasting applications due to excessive crosstalk or a poor signal-to-noise ratio.

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Hordes spaff cash on Chip titchyputer to rival Pi (maybe)

Paul Kinsler
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Re: "Folks who are fine with systemd and Gnome"

If it'll run Debian you can probably get other linux distros to run on it just fine.

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Singapore's prime minister releases source code for his hand-coded Sudoku-solver

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Haskell

And Haskell can (might) help you learn physics :-)

http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.4880

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NASA's Messenger craft SMASHES into Mercury: See ya later, alien crater

Paul Kinsler
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Re: building our cities underground

This would also be handy for hiding from Shelks; I'm pretty sure we could hang on down there until Tumithak turns up to free us from the domination of Venus.

I think you mostly get Tetrahedra from Mercury. Underground cities are not required to deal with them, you just have to wait until it rains :-)

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Calamity cargo capsule DOOMED: Space station pod in fireball re-entry

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Hang on...

Good point. Perhaps they mean that they'll continue to try to re-establish contact, but instead of trying to save it in the event of successful communication (as they had been), they'll instead try to manage the crash trajectory (hydrobraking, not lithobraking?)

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MAYHEM in ORBIT: Russian cargo pod spins OUT OF CONTROL

Paul Kinsler
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Re: "rotational spin"...

Well, perhaps they wanted to distinguish it from other types of spin, such as that of an electron :-)

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Why recruiters are looking beyond IT's traditional talent pool

Paul Kinsler
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Re: story vs analogy

These are different things.

If you look at mathematics papers, for example, they will do things like state a theorem, then give a proof - no story or analogy required. Physics papers - theoretical ones - might well start with a premise, the basic model (e.g. Maxwell's equations) and then proceed through a derivation with rearrangements and approximations along the way as motivated by the authors and their aims. You can consider this the "story" of why the result (e.g. on ultrafast optical pulse propagation) is valid and/or useful. In contrast, an "analogy" of something as specific as a scientific paper is simplified (almost) beyond recognition and might involve talking about tennis balls instead of protons, or the like.

It may be the "storytelling" in the article referred to analogies - indeed I rather suspect it did. But here is also the possibility of having a true technical narrative which /doesn't/ compromise in the way that analogy does.

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Paul Kinsler
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Re: narrative vs hard statistical maths

Well, the trick really is to combine them. As you point out, storytelling which isn't backed up by solid analysis is likely to be waffle (hence probably misleading), but then a solid analysis which everyone (else) finds impossible to understand is not going to help progress either.

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US hospitals to treat medical device malware with AC power probes

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Whats the sense [in Whatsupdocs] when you can fix things easier in software?

I refer the honourable gentlebeing to the sentence in the article which reads:

"They say the need to secure embedded systems without modifying code is critical for sectors such as healthcare which cannot due to risk or regulation easily patch zombie machinery."

Presumably, fixing it in software /and then re-using the device/ isn't easy if each change requires the thing to be re-certified (in a regulatory system which probably isn't set up for it).

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SEX: Naughty female stegosauruses offered it on a PLATE

Paul Kinsler
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Re: "if that's the only explanation they can come up with, well then it must be the truth."

Quote from the article: "Differences in stegosauruses' armour plating may have had distinctly sexual origins, the University of Bristol's Evan Thomas Saitta suggests"

Note the two words "MAY", "SUGGESTS". Neither of those two words supports your contention that Saitta thinks the idea "MUST be the truth"

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UN: E-waste's 42 MEELLLION tonnes represents 'valuable' (and ‘toxic’) urban mine

Paul Kinsler
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Re: Mining [a] planet for the things previous generations have jettisoned

I think you've just invented the fossil fuel industry :-)

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