* Posts by skeptical i

724 posts • joined 30 Aug 2007

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Ikea to start making electrified furniture. What could possibly go wrong?

skeptical i
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Devil

15th April is tax day in Amurka, interesting choice of release date.

After spending too many hours (or days) punching an adding machine, breaking pencils, and wading through forms, schedules, attachments, instructions, et cetera, 'Merkins will collectively decide that what they REALLY needed this tax season was a wireless charging station doo-dad thingie affixed to the dining room table that is buried somewhere under a mountain of tax-related papers (I know it's there, I can see the legs between the paper and the floor) and will thus stampede to the mall after dropping the tax returns in the mail in order to spend their anticipated tax refunds on just such a necessity. Not the most unreasonable marketing hypothesis I've heard.

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Watch out hipster nerds – Granny Beskind's behind you!

skeptical i
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Thumb Up

Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go!

Nice to see the Beach Boys' Little Old Lady from Pasadena is alive, well, and raising cane, albeit a little further north of Colorado Boulevard. Curious to know what's replaced her her four speed stick and her four-twenty-six shiny red Super-Stock Dodge.

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Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

skeptical i
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Pint

You really need a southwest desert bureau,

if only to compare and contrast Silicon Valley with a silicon- dusted valley. Also, it'd give y'all an expense-able reason to be somewhere not snowing in January, gotta' check in with the southwestern flank. :^D

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RIP Leonard Nimoy: He lived long and prospered

skeptical i
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Pint

_In Search Of..._ teevee series

Leonard hosted the _In Search Of..._ teevee series during, ahhh, the 1970s here in Amurka and I would watch it religiously. I'm sure that if I were to watch it now with "adult" eyes I'd think it kinda' corny, but watching a discussion of killer bees moving northward, of whether spontaneous human combustion is possible, et cetera was interesting enough to this young 'un. Good works and a good heart; you will be sorely missed, my friend.

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BOFH: The ONE-NINE uptime solution

skeptical i
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Pirate

Badges?

re: "all the plastic in the badges (with a vendor name no-one can remember any more) have started to discolour"

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don' need no badges. I don' have to show you any steenkin' badges!"

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

skeptical i
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Pint

Asking questions and being concerned about outcomes

puts you light years ahead of most of the herd, as others have noted above. If your skills are lacking in some area or other, I am sure others in the association will let you know and advise on how to correct this deficiency (if they are in fact interested in having quality members and not just on fattening their membership rosters). As the man said, "Swing the bat and run like hell; if it's a foul ball someone will tell you."

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Love rats show sex while drunk will sober you up, say boffins

skeptical i
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Pint

No surprise here

re: "they found that the [oxytocin "cuddle chemical"] reduces both consumption and cravings -- not only in rats, but also in humans"

So, if one is getting enough boudoir action to have elevated oxytocin levels, the need to escape into a bottle is reduced. Who'd 'a thought?

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Ready to fill out your US taxes? Cool. Got ObamaCare? Not so fast

skeptical i
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FAIL

And they wonder why we're not totally on board with this.

For those keeping score at home, we have: healthcare.gov can not find its ass with both hands and a map, insurance companies are losing customer data left and right, and now the tax forms are screwed up. And this was supposed to be BETTER than universal single-payer show-your-ID-at-the-doc's-and-you're-good healthcare? If anyone's lost a B-Ark, I think it's in Washington.

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Yahoo! Boffins! Improve! Face! Search!

skeptical i
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Big Brother

Pass the allswell ....

Am I the only one here who saw this headline + the "Snapchat wants $19 BEEELLION for your selfies" one and thought paranoid thoughts?

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First HSBC, now the ENTIRE PUBLIC SECTOR dodges tax

skeptical i
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Meh

Flat tax? [was: Two things]

re: "I say 20% on everything and damn the torpedoes"

Some unsolicited advice from the sunset side of the pond: every so often someone reintroduces the idea of replacing the epic tomes of U.S. tax law with a "flat tax", usually ten percent of income. This certainly sounds good, if only to save folks having to spend so damn much time on tax forms (plus a seemingly unlimited number of schedules, some of which may be applicable but it's not always clear).

However, this idea hits low-income people hardest -- ten percent of poverty-level income could mean the difference between having shelter and homelessness, food or utilities, medical care or ... you get the idea, PLUS there are a handful of credits available to poor, poor with kids, elderly poor, et cetera, and if one starts carving out exceptions ("everyone pays ten percent except those in only these conditions") we all know what happens to the "only these conditions" list and then we're back where we started with forms to prove qualifications and so on. At the other end of the income scale, is ten percent of gargantubucks fair? Perhaps that would ensure more tax actually gets paid than under our current system of credits, exceptions, and whatever else the accountants are paid to gin up, but where exactly the line gets drawn would keep our Congress tied up ... dealing with ... lobbyists for a while. Maybe things are different over there?

Also, a flat tax eliminates the ability for various administrations to encourage/ discourage various behaviours by issuing tax credits (or rescinding them). I am not saying this is good or bad, only pointing it out.

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Boffins now one step closer to male birth control pill

skeptical i
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Boffin

Re: Hmm

Um, wow. If the honeymoon is over and "maintenance sex" does not appear to be on the table (or the floor or the desk or ...), certainly some couples counselling is in order? If one partner is no longer interested, there must be a reason (age, hormone fluctuation -- including that induced by birth control pills, stress, medical weirdness, tastes changing, &c), yes? Seattle sex advice dispenser Dan Savage -- http://www.thestranger.com/archive/dan-savage,columns -- wrote about this recently in his "Savage Love" column, if anyone wants to take a peek.

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PENGUINS are just TASTELESS, say boffins

skeptical i
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Pint

why "serve well chilled" is a warning

re: "taste receptors required for detecting sweet, umami, and bitter tastes are temperature sensitive. They don't work when they get really cold"

Any spiritous beverage wearing a "Serve well chilled" advisory should thus be seen as "tastes like kerosene but without the fine bouquet".

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Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

skeptical i
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Meh

But there is also the security update 3013455

Reportedly fixes a problem related to rendering of TrueType fonts that is exploitable by embedded fonts in websites (at least that's what I infer from MS's information), which is well and good except that certain fonts -- Arial and Courier New in my observation, Times New Roman also reported -- do not get rendered properly and look like I am seeing the internet through an old 640x480 monitor. No, this is not going to halt users in their tracks, but tracking down what exactly happened, rounding up OpenType fonts, and re-setting my browsers and text editors to use these as defaults (which will work as long as I don't visit any websites with a "font-face=arial" tag -- what's the likelihood of that?) until Microsoft issues a fix with the next update was not how I envisioned spending Saint Val's. Not the worst that could have happened given what other patches and updates have done, though.

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STINKY nerds: Sick of horrifying chums with your terrible BO? Nosey Google wants to help

skeptical i
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Meh

But does it detect that "just back from smoke break" aroma?

Or those who, by all evidence, swam through a moat of dollar-a-gallon eau de fuqme on the way to work? Or the wondrous breakroom aroma of microwaved casserole de who-knows-what that inevitably wafts throughout the building? Sorry, I think our culture has gone overboard in expecting people -- biological meatsacks -- to have zero aroma, must be the work of the cosmetics industry. (Not that I'm excusing those whose last meeting with a bar of soap was last week, mind.)

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FACEBOOK even from BEYOND the GRAVE: CHOOSE your Legacy

skeptical i
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Condolences.

re: "this is written through distressing, bitter experience"

I'm sorry, peace be unto the departed and serenity unto you.

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Lashed Saudi blogger Raif: Prince Charles has word with new king

skeptical i
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Thumb Down

So Saudi deals with accusations of doing bad stuff by ...

doing bad stuff? Huhm, OK.

I am reminded of a discussion some colleagues had recently in which one of my compadres absolutely railed against someone else. The substance of the accusations was correct, but the rest of us didn't think of that, we were too distracted wondering who pissed in my amigo's cornflakes that morning and those present who were new to the issue only took away that my amigo is an asshat.

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Amazing, cool, wow: Humans naturally use POSITIVE words, and that is GOOD

skeptical i
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Pint

Re: Here in Michigan there are two kinds of people

UP'ers -- for Upper Peninsula -- pronounced, as indicated above, "YOO-pers". The state of Michigan has two parts, the main "mitten" and the UP that is to the northwest and looks like an appendage of Wisconsin (which it is NOT, I hasten to add; stand down, esteemed Michigander commentards) separating Lakes Michigan and Superior. UP Michigan and mitten Michigan are separated by a bridge that I had cause to discuss with a colleague recently (can not remember why) but that conversation veered to the extremely tasty pierogies and other Russian/Slavic ethnic yummies in the UP.

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skeptical i
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Happy

Hmmm.

re: "The researchers sourced the words from books, news outlets, social media, websites, television and movie subtitles, and music lyrics. They even collected 100 billion words in tweets."

That may be true (for some value of "true") for the sources used, since there is a sales aspect to all of the above. Life can be a brutal slog, most people "self-medicate" with occasional (or more) doses of happy patter, and capitalist industry steps up to sell the "medicine" (or snake oil, given what passes for entertainment) via books, teevee, social media, movies, et cetera, i.e., the sources reviewed. (Plus there's the "happy people buy more stuff" angle, giving advert-supported media an incentive to pump out happy twaddle as an incentive to keep the advert dollars coming.) When the researchers cull data from bars, support groups, crisis lines, therapists' offices, and other places where people spill their true guts then maybe we'll have something. Having said that, if we didn't have a predisposition to optimism (gullibility?), our species would have taken a hard look at the cost-to-benefit ratio and thrown in the towel a long time ago. [cue: Eric Idle, "Bright Side of Life"]

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You'll NEVER guess who has bought I Taught Taylor Swift How To Give Head dot-com

skeptical i
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Devil

Daaaaaammmn.

MarkMonitor has the best job ever: grab some beer, get your buddies around a table, put today's "name that needs protection" on the whiteboard, open said beers, and watch the number of potential "harmful" domain names grow. Multiply by latest number of dot-whatever TLDs. Register the fruit of this brainstorm. Invoice client, while also submitting regretful news that, alas, InsertNameHereLikesItLargeWithVatsOfButterAndOrangeGlitter.com has already been taken, should we summon the lawyers? I am SOOOOO jealous.

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Boy, 16, cuffed after posting selfie with body of kid he allegedly killed

skeptical i
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Re: parents...

Hi, Phil: I read this as the cops were called by the mum of the friend who received the piccie, not by the perp's mum.

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Official: Single people need to LOWER their EXPECTATIONS

skeptical i
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Well, yeah, if the group is small enough that I know everyone in it

(or know of most everyone in it) then I know what my options are and what is realistic to expect (or not). "I can't lie to you about your chances, but... you have my sympathies" -- Ash, _Alien_

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Robot vacuum cleaner EATS WOMAN

skeptical i
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Coat

"I DID wash my hair!"

I have no idea how that dust and cat hair got in it, just get the damn vacuum offa' me!

Looking for pocket comb -->

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The Paper Cinema's breathtaking Odyssey comes to London

skeptical i
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Pint

Wheeeee!

With too many movie makers defining "good cinema" in terms of explosions per hour, it is wicked cool that such creativity and persistence is still out there. I hope they sell out enough performances that they don't have to have "day jobs" getting in the way of their work.

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Bluetooth-enabled miracle washing orbs? Are you kidding?

skeptical i
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Devil

Duuuuuude! I can TALK TO MY SOCKS

when they're in the washing machine!!!

Jeebus, all we need are tiny cameras and lights in their own waterproof spheres for hours of "laundry cam" entertainment.

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Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*

skeptical i
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Meh

But do we WANT fecebookers to vote?

Quantity over quality issue, we have a similar discussion at some community meetings.

Q: "How do we get more people to attend?"

A: "Free beer and lap dances. Now, if you want people to actually do something useful ...."

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Plane crash blamed on in-flight SELFIES

skeptical i
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Facepalm

Wasn't that a "Far Side" cartoon?

The film from the deceased's camera showing the pictures taken to be of an annoyed bear from increasingly close distance? Alas, I think some people hold a camera and the brain misinterprets it as a shield of invincibility.

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Four senators call for federal probes into Verizon 'supercookies'

skeptical i
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FAIL

A colleague on Verizon claims to get phone calls

from people who say "you were just on our website, would you like to take a survey?" They must like abuse, they keep calling despite his responses that can not be printed where children might see.

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LICKED: Behold my TOAD-PROOF ERECTION, boasts Aussie boffin

skeptical i
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Devil

So that princess-kissing-a-frog thing

was really a princess kissing a cane toad and hallucinating the transmogrification into a charming prince? Glad that's sorted.

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Japan's death threat hacker collared ... BY A CAT

skeptical i
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Coat

No one escapes the long arm of the paw.

Betrayed by double agent Cata Hari.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

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Get off Twitter – and onto Google if you want to find TWITS and tweets

skeptical i
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Meh

exclude (source=twitter.com) option?

Twaddle (and the rest of the blithersphere) is not of value for 99% of my work, but could theoretically be useful on occasion (for example, if someone had posted live from a courtroom trial that was closed to on-camera media coverage). For the vast bulk of most of our search efforts, though, there IS a way to exclude results from twaddle, right? Like site!:twitter.com?

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DARPA: We KNOW WHO YOU ARE... by the WAY you MOVE your MOUSE

skeptical i
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Re: How a user handles the mouse could be distinctive and difficult to mimic

And typos -- a former colleague worked for a magazine and could often tell who wrote what by the typos in the text.

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Ex Machina – a smart, suspenseful satire of our technology gods

skeptical i
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Devil

Re: Actually...

re: "An AI will not have much in common with a young lady's behavorial logic."

It depends on the young lady, dunnit. :^)

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Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

skeptical i
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Headmaster

Re: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

I always thought "the grass that grows tall gets mowed" was more appropriate, since nails left sticking out call the workmanship into question. Happy to hear another interpretation, though.

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Bloke claims someone paid him 85,000 for a web glitter bomb factory

skeptical i
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Devil

As one of my fellow commentards noted a while back,

"You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter." Perhaps that's the upgrade deluxe package? Too bad that thought hadn't occurred to John Waters when he directed _Pink Flamingos_, it would have made The Marbles' "gift" to Divine even more ... intriguing.

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Panicked teen hanged himself after receiving ransomware scam email

skeptical i
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Unhappy

Much condolence to the family.

Losing a child has to be tough, but to lose one for such a bull$hit reason ... I just can't imagine. I'm so sorry.

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Drinking to forget? OK. But first, eat a curry... QUICK!

skeptical i
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Pint

1.5% of daily rations?

Presumably by weight (and not caloric content) ... trying to work out how much turmeric I'll need to distribute throughout my daily grazing (what percentage of turmeric is curcumin again?). And beer, of course, because it certainly can't hurt. :^)

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Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

skeptical i
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Pirate

first hit's always free [was: I'm free!]

"You get Windows 10 for the first year and then you pay for it yearly, like Office365."

As your local neighborhood heroin dealer has been doing since forever. Crimes of moral turpitude indeed.

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skeptical i
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Facepalm

NOOOOOOOOO! [was: I'm free!]

re: "Windows XP users however will be left to slowly die on the vine." I would never claim that XP is perfect, but has Microsoft offered anything since that would justify cost + time + hassle of "upgrading" and migrating all my goodies (some of which would have to be upgraded, unless MS' latest and greatest can really work an elderly version of Photoshop)? My choice to make, and YMMV.

Need an icon with Munch's "The Scream" on it, but facepalm will do for now.

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Snowden doc leak 'confirms' China stole F-35 data

skeptical i
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Re: If only you REALLY knew....

Hi, Mark: True, I don't know about the nuts and bolts of the F-35 but I trust the science and engineering/ design that have gone into it are pretty impressive.

But I DO know that (a) the Pentagram and the manufacturer (Lockheed?) have been less than forthcoming about the true noise impacts to neighborhoods and residents adjacent to the bases where this magnificent boondoggle will be bedded down, instead warbling on about potential impacts deduced from "noise modelling" which may be well and good, but what about some real deal flyovers with certified sound measurements? Nope, no can do, just trust us, it'll all be fine. Until it's not, as the citizens of Valparaiso found out.

And (b) the cost overruns have been staggering, yet the proponents of this aircraft have been careful to lard almost every state in Amurka with a piece of the construction work to ensure that most Congresscritters will support it for the "jobs"; had the production (and testing and et cetera) been concentrated in one or two states, I am pretty sure it would have had the plug pulled long before now.

So, I dunno, given the shenanigans used to get the thing approved (give every state a small slice of the action) and how American citizens near the beastie are being treated (read: disregarded at best and usually disrespected) for trying to protect their homes and kids -- and I shudder to think how we'll treat "furriners" with the misfortune to live near 'Merkin bases overseas -- I think I have all I need to know. But I'd he happy to read anything you'd care to share.

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skeptical i
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Pint

Re: Laughter compounded

Touche. :^)

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skeptical i
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Devil

Laughter compounded

Then some mid-level lackey brought press coverage of citizen uproar in Valparaiso, FL, and other states where the Pentagram has threatened to base the F-35: "But check this out, it's a voracious money-sucker, has failed most of its test flights, and the Great Satan's own people hate it to the point of lawsuits yet, *snigger*, they keep going forward with it -- deep in hole, keep digging! Bwah-hah-hah-hah, we will so own their asses!"

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Just WHY is the FBI so sure North Korea hacked Sony? NSA: *BLUSH*

skeptical i
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Devil

Re: Would have been more impressive (and believable)

What? And stop the distract-a-thon that a shedload of badmouthing emails will provide? If people are getting wrapped up in the internecine warfare that is Hollywood celebrity culture, they won't be asking questions, will they.

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PROOF the undead STALK Verizon users: Admen caught using 'perma-cookie'

skeptical i
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Re: Hangin's too good for 'em.

I allow for the possibility that they have bills to pay and might not be able to switch jobs easily. Although they should have wikileak'ed a workaround, huh. Hmmm.

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skeptical i
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Devil

Hangin's too good for 'em.

re: "Turn absolutely respects a consumer’s opt-out preference when expressed in the only way the online ad industry is sure to recognize[.]”

Hire Keanu Reeves and Bruce Willis to dive through the matrix to Turn's offices and reduce them, their machines, and their cloud to a smoldering hulk before frog-marching the perps responsible for this idea to the public square to be tarred and feathered? (The managers and CEOs, not necessarily the worker bees punching out the code.)

This "if you use our service, we can do with you what we like" sense of entitlement has really gone too far.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: 1.5 MILLION SCOVILLE masala omelette

skeptical i
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Pint

Tequila.

The wisdom imparted to me is to quench the fire either with real (i.e., full fat) dairy products, and/or with alcohol (solvent). Beer is of course lovely, but is mostly water so spiritous liquors are called for. Also, some chilis (like jalapenos) create "afterburn" (great Batmobile imagery, cornz!) while other chilis (reportedly habaneros) do not.

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FERTILISER DOOM warning! PESKY humans set to WIPE selves out AGAIN

skeptical i
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No feedlot runoff?

While agricultural runoff has been a problem for some areas (and, as has been pointed out above, many farmers are taking steps to keep the ferts they pay for on the land and in the plants), wasn't there also concern about feedlots being a problem? Large numbers of livestocks pooping out piles of manure that may or may not be secured on-site against a hard rain?

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Saudi govt pauses flogging dad-of-3 for Facebook posts – after docs intervene

skeptical i
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FAIL

But what will this achieve?

People will be more careful about covering their tracks when posting online, and bow a little more deeply before statues of the Great Leader in public. But if their hearts and minds become a little more skeptical, what has the government won?

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$500 TEDDY BEAR teaches tots to spit up personal data

skeptical i
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Devil

The name alone isn't creepy enough?

Teddy the Guardian sounds like a comic book character, a beloved Teddy bear that got into a vat of radioactive marmalade and decided to go on a jihad against evildoers after seeing his companion Quackers the Calico Duck get chewed apart by the family dog.

Agree with the above postings, whoever thought this up must only have kids in short visits and not 24/7 but will be laughing all the way to the bank.

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Icelandic brewers knock up whale 'nad beer

skeptical i
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Devil

Same joke, different bottle.

"Why was last year's smoky balls brew so nice while this year's is nasty?" asked the customer, to which the barkeep replied "Sometimes the whale wins."

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Bloke in Belgium tries to trademark Je Suis Charlie slogan

skeptical i
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How then should one depict Mohammed? [was: I'm 50/50 here]

As a turban floating in space (a la Garry Trudeau's depiction of G.W. Bush as an empty cowboy hat, helmet, &c? -- http://ldc.upenn.edu/myl/llog/DoonesburyInOtherWords2.gif --) with a large Madonna-style 'M' on it?

As long as there are whackjobs claiming to act in the name of $DEITY, cartoonists will be making comments -- that is simply the way the world works -- and these comments will, duh, involve pictures. Were I a gambling man, I'd wager that Mohammed himself would likely not care one way or the other about being depicted, per se (although he might question how he is depicted, as would anyone), but those who use religion as a cudgel have found a great way to quash or discourage questions and dissent.

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