back to article Imagine if Facebook could read your mind: Er, I have some bad news for you...

I never quite turned out to be the fine young woman my parents were hoping for. We're all a disappointment to our respective marbles and parbles but in my case I plead innocence: gender was hardly something I had any control over when I popped out at age zero. Not even in the Swinging Sixties. So it came to pass that I was …

  1. Oengus Silver badge

    Facebook can have them

    Facebook can have my thoughts on them... I am sure they need to add to their database of expletives.

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Facebook can have them

      Mine would make their AI go blind.

      And mad.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine if Facebook could read your mind...

    They're Pinky and The Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain

    Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain

    Narf!

    And people wonder why FB is shite...

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Imagine if Facebook could read your mind...

      Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight?

      1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

        Re: Imagine if Facebook could read your mind...

        We are going to do the same thing as we do every night... We are going to take over the world...

  3. Nick Kew
    Trollface

    Do you have something to tell us?

    I never quite turned out to be the fine young woman my parents were hoping for.

    So should we now call you Alice? Alison? Alicia?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Do you have something to tell us?

      Clearly he's not trying hard enough, but then although most boys like fine young women, it doesn't mean they want to be one.

      I have an answer to EM pollution and Facebook reading my mind, I suggest eating a tin foil every day, increasing it as the body adapts until you have aluminium skin. Ha! Then they won't be able to mess with my mind.

      In the meantime you could make a suit out of space blankets.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Do you have something to tell us?

      "Alice" is the name that baffled Starbucks baristas write on my cup.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere
        Headmaster

        Re: Do you have something to tell us?

        Might I suggest that the phrase "baffled Starbucks baristas" is redundant?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Do you have something to tell us?

        Then tell them your name is Vincent.

        Welcome to my nightmare ...

        1. Myvekk

          Re: Do you have something to tell us?

          Vincent... Price or Furnier?

          I'm just a wind up boy...

      3. LongtimeLurkerNewbieCommentard
        Thumb Up

        Re: Do you have something to tell us?

        Yeah... think ya mentioned it once or twice before... with pics as i recall

      4. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Do you have something to tell us?

        I’m confused, Starbucks cannot have baristas since they don’t sell coffee. I’m not sure the stuff they do sell, the very simple stuff with silly Italian names that don’t have piles of chocolate, whipped cream or flavoured syrups in them. That stuff is not coffee.

        I have a burr grinder and an aeropress* and here in Dundee we are deeply, deeply blessed with our own coffee roaster and tea merchant. Been going for more than a century and their coffee is wonderful.

        I recall we took our then teenaged daughters to Italy on holiday and they encountered proper coffee. When we returned they arranged to see their friends in, where else? Starbucks and came home crying that I had ‘ruined their palates’ by exposing them to proper coffee. The youngest now lives in the coffee nirvana which is New Zealand.

        *inverted with a metal mesh filter carefully timed.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Do you have something to tell us?

          Metal mesh? What heresy is that, unless you like your brew bitter? Paper tends to sorb (bitter) polyphenols.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Do you have something to tell us?

            "Metal mesh? What heresy is that, unless you like your brew bitter? Paper tends to sorb (bitter) polyphenols."

            A friend of mine is a coffee snob. He turns his nose up at anyone who adds anything to coffee. It must be black with nothing added, not milk and certainly not sugar! I'd not be surprised to learn that he also uses metal filters because the paper ones might affect the flavour.

            I did once suggest to him that coffee as we drink it is, by definition, adulterated before you even buy the beans but he was having none of it. I mean, have you seen what processing they do to the berries before they turn into the roasted beans you buy? It's not exactly a natural, unprocessed product, so if some people want to take those roast beans and process them further to their own liking and treat them as ingredients to be mixed with others, who are we to argue?

            1. martinusher Silver badge

              Re: Do you have something to tell us?

              You just have to be patient and tolerant of such people. Its a bit like the hi-fi enthusiasts who spend hundreds of dollars on a super thick power cable to connect their system to the wall outlet because,....well, whatever. Its still connected to the same home wiring, the same contact breakers and electrical supply....but its just best to let it pass. (Nod and smile....nod and smile......)

              Coffee lovers are right -- up to a point, of course. Really good coffee is magic and there's definitely a knack to brewing it correctly. Its easy to see how a person could become a fanatic.

              BTW -- I'm not sure what it is that Starbucks sells but I'm pretty sure its addictive.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Do you have something to tell us?

            Gold mesh filters actually work quite well, impart zero flavo(u)r to the coffee/tea, and last virtually forever. Good ones are not cheap, but they have no on-going costs, either. Are they worth the money for your needs? Only you can do the math(s) and answer that question.

            Paper sucks flavo(u)rs out of the air and is the worst thing you can use to filter any beverage.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Do you have something to tell us?

          Friends don't let friends buy pre-roasted coffee ...

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Do you have something to tell us?

            I know! I can't believe there are people who don't roast their own nuts.

      5. ThadiasVonBasterd

        Re: Do you have something to tell us?

        no one has ever spelled my name correctly. not even my parents.

    3. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

      Re: Do you have something to tell us?

      My name is Jennifer and my room is pink.

      To add insult to injury my parents delighted in telling me that when I was out in the pram with my older brother some woman said "Aren't you lucky you've got one of each!".

      However this has in no way dented my masculine self image.

      .

      .

      .

      .

      {No, no, I'm fine. Just something in my eye. I think I may be starting a cold. Sniff. Sniff}

      1. Myvekk

        Re: Do you have something to tell us?

        A Boy Named Sue. - Johnny Cash

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOHPuY88Ry4

  4. WibbleMe

    Very easy 50% is looking to get laid, thats the male half

  5. GlenP Silver badge

    Gyms

    Add to the list:

    8. Unable to use any weight equipment 'cause prats* think it's clever to load up as much weight as possible then carry out 1 rep every few minutes, spending the intervening period chatting to their mates.

    *I think that's what the trainer called them, it may have been much stronger.

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: Gyms

      I avoid them 'cos ... dammit, too many Good Reasons ...

      The big one that would keep me away even if it didn't cost good money and was open-air so the smells of stale sweat and worse could disperse, is the dreadful thumping noise they all seem to pump out over some speaker system. I also avoid shops that inflict muzak on us.

      1. Kane Silver badge

        Re: Gyms

        I avoid gyms because I'm a lazy bastard and I like bacon.

        However, all reasons posted previously seem equally valid.

        1. Andy the ex-Brit

          Re: Gyms

          Going to the gym will allow you to eat more bacon!

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Gyms

            Ahh, of course! I see the flaw in my own logic now. By going to the gym, I can make a trip past the local cafe and pick up some bacon rolls!

            Good thinking!

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Gyms

          I also avoid gyms because I'm a lazy bastard and I like bacon.

          I compensate by raising my own hogs and curing my own bacon. That's exercise, right?

          1. Nick Kew

            Re: Gyms

            Of course that's all regular family banter. But should you really be posting about them in public in such terms?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Gyms

              Yer mum had no issue with it.

          2. Woza
            Joke

            Re: Gyms

            It could be exercise, depends on how high you raise your hogs, and for how many reps!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Gyms

              Are you suggesting I pump my hogs? How very dare you! I make no watery bacon here, thank you very much!

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Gyms

      I go to PureGym which isn't bad for the usual obnoxious gym behaviour, at least the ones I frequent. The noise is only bad if there's a spin class on and the trainer is shouting at everyone.

      There are quite a few people with obvious "show" muscle though. Wearing vests to show off their "guns" but the rest of their body looks like they're marathon runners.

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Gyms

      David Lloyd "Leisure" sent me a letter, arriving 2 days before the enactment date, to say that if I wanted to resign my membership that there would be a 3 month 'cool-off' period in which I would still be required to pay the monthly extortion. I promptly wrote back and asked them to revoke membership with immediate effect to which they responded along the lines of, "haha too late sucker, you are in it for 90 days"

      Arbitration suggested that their action was illegal and asked them to cancel it. In the meantime I now jog and have a proviso that if I die while out running that my nearest and dearest are to cremate me and then dump my ashes into the nearest David Lloyd swimming pool so that I can laugh at them trying to clean my remains out of their pool filters.

    4. Katy_B

      Re: Gyms

      I learned Fortran at Uni - I'd def have a heart attack if I went to a gym. Not to mention the sneary looks from young people.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Gyms

      I'm not going to waste my precious energy like that. It might run out.

  6. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    It could lead to a means for paralysed people to communicate in real time rather than the excruciatingly slow process of using current devices that rely on hand-clickers, or by detecting twitches or eye movement.

    It could also mean you could fly a jet fighter, but only if you can think in Russian.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Firefox: Think in Russian

      oh, I THOUGHT it was another firefox plugin, prostite!

      btw, offline google translator is depressingly good, at least for the broad vocab. Time to die...

    2. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

      You only need to think in Russian if you steal the jet....

  7. baud Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    I don't really see the point of the Linky smart meters, since I still have to check the numbers displayed/let the guy from the electricity company check.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      That sounds like French efficiency.

      Has anyone actually measured the EM output that's radiated from any complained about Linky? Did the bills go up with the extra draw required?

      1. baud Bronze badge

        I haven't check how the bills have changed with the new meters, I'm leaving that to my brother, since he's the one who's taking care of the contract. But since the new meters are supposed to be more precise, everyone's bill must have changed

      2. JClouseau
        Pint

        Ze Linky

        After years of just lurking I've decided to register (ah!) so I can add some more Gallic perspective. Hi everybody. I'm French and think Brexit is the worst idea since Napoléon tried to invade Russia. So there.

        Awesome site and very entertaining forums. Beers all around, a Friday special to Monsieur Dabbs.

        The "someone needs to come and check the numbers" thing is not the normal situation, the main reason why Linky is being installed being precisely to allow for remote checks, as it can be polled by your supplier over BPL (which I guess it's the case for most/all smartmeters in other countries).

        The fact Linky uses BPL is also the main reason why you have people complaining and thinking it can cause health issues. Not so much the "local" EM radiation, as measures showed that it doesn't emit more than your average Internet box, but more the fact that being a cheap box the communications are sent over BPL both ways : to the outside but also onto your local circuitry.

        I've had the Linky installed almost a year ago and nobody is complaining at home. And I now have bi-monthly "actual" bills, instead of the rough estimates from before with one yearly reading. So I'm sure remote polling works.

        But I do have a friend whom I consider as a rather serious and educated guy who had to install a low-pass filter between the Linky and his circuits because his wife couldn't sleep anymore. He did make some blind-testing and it seemed conclusive. The possible suspect is the "antenna" effect by the house circuits, increased perhaps by the additional "dirt" emitted by Linky.

        Now ENEDIS (the electricity "suppliers' supplier" in France, owns the Linky) says that it only emits (or rather, is polled by the supplier) in short bursts over a day, so no continuous emission...

        I don't have a strong opinion on this, again my family is not impacted, and I didn't understand most of my physics classes at school anyway.

        Which is probably one of the reasons I ended up in IT.

        There are other "fun facts" about the Linky here, like for instance the belief that the small LED on the front panel is actually a camera. Or that it can detect which appliance(s) you are using just by analyzing the signal, etc...

        Some people are selling "cages" so you can prevent the installer from opening the cabinet (if not inside your house obviously) and replace the meter without telling you (which happens sometimes, and doesn't add any love towards Linky).

        There is however a serious concern regarding Linky, even if not specific to the device : it happened a couple of times that the installer (often a young guy barely trained freshly hired by the ENEDIS "partner", eager to install as many meters as possible) didn't tighten the "mains" cable clamps properly (either too much or not enough), causing arcs and in some cases fire.

        I was watching VERY carefully when the guy installed mine, but he did use the ENEDIS-approved torque screwdriver.

        There is this nice ANFR site for technical questions, alas only the titles were translated :

        https://www.anfr.fr/en/controle-des-frequences/exposition-du-public-aux-ondes/compteurs-communicants/compteurs-linky/

        Disclaimer : I have NO vested interest in Linky installations.

        Now, folks, where can I find how to add bold/italic/etc... and hyperlinks in comments ?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Ze Linky

          Now, folks, where can I find how to add bold/italic/etc... and hyperlinks in comments ?

          Just use HTML for that. There used to be (maybe still is but I can't find it) a "how to" post.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Ze Linky

            Italics use em tags (for emphasis), bold uses b tags. Contrary to opinion in certain quarters these are a much better way to gain consideration for your arguments than SHOUTING. (Strike-through uses s tags.)

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Ze Linky

              "Italics use em tags (for emphasis)"

              Or you can use "old school" i tags for italic

              Also, IIRC, you can't use any HTML until after a certain number of posts. Sort of like being a learner driver :-)

              (Just checked. HTML is enabled after 5 successful posts. You need 100 posts before being allowed to post active links.)

        2. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Ze Linky

          "where can I find how to add bold/italic/etc... and hyperlinks in comments ?"

          It has become rather hard to find, but here you go:

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/01/register_comments_guidelines/

          The info you want is a trifle over halfway down the page, look for "Formatting" and "Hyperlinks". I'd recommend reading the rest of the page, too.

          Welcome to the fray! The first round's on me.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Has anyone actually measured the EM output that's radiated from any complained about Linky?"

        Why worry about stuff like that if there's compensation to be had?

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Flame

      I thought the biggest issue with the Linkys was their tendency to spontaneously combust? (See icon)

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    Proposed card:

    We're sending our best wishes,

    On this very special day.

    The stork has brought your baby boy,

    But soon will take him back away.

    1. sbt Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Proposed card:

      How about:

      "This is the second bundle of joy your postman has brought into your home."

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Proposed card:

      The stork attempted your delivery three times but there was nobody in. Left under your neighbour's gooseberry bush.

  9. A K Stiles Silver badge
    Coat

    Cards for other events

    My best man gave me a card for our wedding that essentially said "Congratulations, you've managed a miracle and snagged a woman way out of your league".

    He also gave my wife a "With sympathy on your happy occasion" card.

    Bastard (even if he is correct!)

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Cards for other events

      I did a card for my brother-in-law with the words "Thanks for taking her off our hands!"

      Not sure if he ever showed it to my sister or not...

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Cards for other events

      One of my oldest and best friends did pretty much the same for me & mine.

  10. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Devil

    Wrong switch.

    It was bad enough to learn that smart speakers listen to and record what you're saying even after you have switched them off.

    They all have this 'off' button that you need a sledgehammer for.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Wrong switch.

      Wire cutters work also but the sledgehammer is more satisfying.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Wrong switch.

        Or, you could save a couple bucks (quid) and not buy into the con in the first place.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EMF sensitivity could be real.

    I'm posting this anonymously because I work in IT and I'd like to continue doing so.

    Having said that, I personally know 3 families or individuals who have started to suffer hallucinations after having a smart meter installed. 2 of them didn't even know what a smart meter was, and it wasn't until afterwards and someone happened to mention it and made the connection. One family startred having nightmares, and were convinced that there was ghost in the house. Their cat kept falling over, and the dog started acting strange. When the smart meter was taken away, all the problems mentioned went away.

    I know it's really easy to write these things off as "tin foil hat brigade" and it's really easy to take the piss, but I'm convinced there is something to this. And it doesn't seem so implausible as you might initially think. Is it not possible that certain frequencies could have an effect in your mammals brains that we don't really understand just yet?

    This is how science works. Someone has a wacky idea, and the present dogma calls it insane and discredits that person, and they never work again. Years later it turns out to be true and scientific understanding is moved forward (usually after the original nutcase has died). Sadly this holds back science, as people are scared to put forward anything too different from current thinking for fear of ridicule. Of course, throughout history there have been plenty more examples of people having wacky ideas which have proven to be just that.

    Anyway, I'd say some proper experimntation needed and don't just write this off. You know, a double-blind anonymised random trial with enough people. It would not even be that difficult to set up (unlike trials with diet, which are bloody difficult to control).

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

      Anyway, I'd say some proper experimntation needed and don't just write this off.

      It's been done.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

        Even the "it has been done" says at teh end:

        " This suggests that "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" is unrelated to the presence of EMF, although more research into this phenomenon is required"

        Basically there is still very little research, possibly exactly because mainstream science views it as 'quack', and therefore nothing to research. While actually, disproving a theory, even a very wacky one, has valid scientific merit.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

          disproving a theory, even a very wacky one, has valid scientific merit

          Absolutely agree with this What I dsagree with is that anecdotal evidence with no proposed mechanism to back it up, or experimental evidence on how to reproduce it is not a theory. It's hearsay.

          Now, if someone takes that hearsay and develops a theory from it, that actually meets the criteria for being a theory (i.e. has a postulated effect, is measurable, falsifiable, etc.), and if they can find someone to fund experimentation to test that theory, then that is science. What you've described falls so far short of actual science, it's no wonder nobody is going to waste their time trying to prove it one way or another.

          Also, you need to look up "theory" in a dictionary, because, in a scientific context, that word has a very specific meaning, which is obviously quite different to the meaning you are attributing to it.

          1. Mr Sceptical
            Boffin

            Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

            My two pence on this is I actually do have a very specific sensitity - mobile phones connected on GSM/2G (but not 3G/4G) while on a call held in the normal to the ear position.

            Used to be quite a pronounced effect back in the day, but advances in mobile phones have meant the microwave power required for a call have dropped. Sensed as an uncofortable vague tingling sensation on side of the head. I don't consider myself 'hypersensitive' and it would be quite a limitation to kill all my wifi connected kit!

            My own experiences lead me conclude it's merely sensitivity of nerve cells to microwave warming effects/nerve impulse actvation/disruption. Neither of which are implausible from a physics or biology point of view.

            However, the idea an electric meter has a Magneto scale EM field seems a bit much - did anyone try sticking a faraday cage around the meter? Or even wrapping it in tinfoil and grounding it?

            Should also be fairly easy to test a meter in a physics lab too.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

            "Absolutely agree with this What I dsagree with is that anecdotal evidence with no proposed mechanism to back it up, or experimental evidence on how to reproduce it is not a theory. It's hearsay."

            I agree. But, to play devils advocate for a moment, considering the many, many smart meters installed, and the tiny, tiny numbers of people claiming a deleterious effect from them, reproducibility under controlled conditions would be a nightmare. It could be something as weird as a reflected EMF wave interacting with the original in a specific place in the house. There are so many variables and so few data points that it'll be nigh on impossible to prove anything other than there doesn't seem to be any effect when testing for it.

            1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

              Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

              Very often, medical experiments are conducted on a limited number of patients.

              In the case of the 13 households, it could have been better to propose some experimentation, have two meters installed side by side and do a blind test using one meter or the other, without letting the family know.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

                In the case of the 13 households, it could have been better to propose some experimentation, have two meters installed side by side and do a blind test using one meter or the other, without letting the family know.

                I would think that would be an easy test as well. I also suspect anything from a low-level vibration (still enough to cause problems with people) to electromagnetic effects exciting the parts of the brain that let some of us know where magnetic north is.

                Many years back I knew a guy who'd claimed he would wake up during power cuts, being able to sense a change but never being able to say what he felt. A mutual physicist friend set up a simple experiment with a room with a lot of cabling in the walls, some current passed through, and a remote switch where the guy had no way to fell if the walls were live or not. In testing, not only could they confirm the guy would wake from sleep but if he was awake he could tell when the current was changed - not if it was on or off but changed. I don't know if further work was done or if any one else was tested, but I do know first-hand that some people are aware of EM fields to some level - or to heating/cooling, or magnetic effects (yes I know what EM means), or to physical vibrations such as 'mains hum', or...

                Probably should post this anon... :)

        2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

          "although more research into this phenomenon is required"

          Duh: this translates as "this research is kinda fun, please keep funding it."

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

      You are describing some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Get the gas equipment checked.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

        "You are describing some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Get the gas equipment checked."

        Or even a simple gas leak. It's possible the smart meter was improperly installed, and when it was replaced the new meter's connections were sealed well.

        Or it could just be a ghost trying to get rid of the smart meter.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

          Or the smart meter installer partially blocked an exhaust vent, and the dude/tte who replaced the meter unblocked the vent. The first part happened to a local here in Sonoma. If their carbon dioxide detector hadn't gone off, two adults and four kids would probably be dead.

          (Hint: Get modern exhaust on all your ventilated gas appliances ... Part of the reason the bit on the outside is as large as it is is so it can't be blocked very easily.)

          My money is on the ghost ... but only because I got good odds. Very good odds.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

      Switch mode PSU emitting ultrasound?

    4. Sloppy Crapmonster

      Re: EMF sensitivity could be real.

      You're Unbelievable.

  12. big_D Silver badge

    Better here...

    Looking stupid in front of other people

    Really? I don't give a toss.

    Feeling self-conscious next to other people

    Na. I've accepted that I'm overweight and in bad shape.

    People judging my body shape

    It is a gym, you are going there to improve your body shape, so it is irrelevant if it is not that of a body builder on day one, and who knows whether you have been going every day for 10 years or it is your first time? Most of those with a better body than yours are probably so self-absorbed it wouldn't register with them if you are a regular or not.

    Not knowing how to set up the machines/equipment

    Here there is a legal requirement that you are given an introduction to each piece of equipment and a training session with an employee of the gym (trainer), before you can use the kit on your own.

    Not being strong enough or fit enough to use the machines properly

    See the point above, the trainer should have sorted you out with equipment you can use to help you get into form.

    Not being able to use the chest press because it's occupied by an arsehole whose been sitting on it for 20 minutes doing nothing but yelling into their mobile phone

    Not here, but the typical German disease of laying claim to poolside loungers is also prevalent in the gym, they leave their towels hanging over equipment, whilst they go outside to use the phone.

    Having to keep raising the audio volume on your earphones because the same arsehole is now using the weights and keeps screaming "yesss!" and "huuurgh!" like a demented James Brown

    I have to turn mine up to drown out the god-awful music that they play over the tannoy.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
      Joke

      Re: Better here...

      "It is a gym, you are going there to improve your body shape, so it is irrelevant if it is not that of a body builder on day one, and who knows whether you have been going every day for 10 years or it is your first time? Most of those with a better body than yours are probably so self-absorbed it wouldn't register with them if you are a regular or not."

      May I remind you to watch "DodgeBall" again: "At Globo-Gym, we're better than you... and we know it!" You're not allowed to be so non-judgmental on the Internet, especially in America!

      Sigh... if only Americans actually WERE that non-judgmental about how other people (or even themselves) look. But if they were, there go entire industries such as fashion, cosmetics, and even gyms / fitness clubs, not to mention the therapy for people to be able to accept themselves when they don't fit the Standard Hollywood Appearance Tally (SHAT*).

      (* Yes I came up with that myself, but feel free to use or improve.)

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Better here...

        Standard Hollywood Image Tally ?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Better here...

        There you go, painting all Americans with the same brush in the name of "humo(u)r" again. Honestly, kids, it;s getting tedious. Don;t you have any original content?

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Better here...

      I'm in shape. Round IS a shape.

      :)

    3. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Better here...

      "the typical German disease of laying claim to poolside loungers"

      I didn't know it was a German disease, I always thought it was a pandemic.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Shit, It's Twins!'

    Been there, done that. Echo the sentiment.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: 'Shit, It's Twins!'

      Oh yes. When my twin boys were born, we joined something called the Twins And Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) and quickly discovered that, almost invariably, whatever plans for offspring numbers the parents had started out with, the twins (or triplets, quads, etc) were always the youngest, even if they were the first. Make of that what you will.

      And don't anyone try to tell you twins are twice as much work as one - they are at least 1,437 times as much work. And that's on a good day!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Shit, It's Twins!'

        I remember walking around seeing parents with single buggies and the accompanying solitary child and thinking 'Amateurs!'.

        ... and then seeing those with triplets, quads, etc. and thinking, '"You poor, poor bastards!"

  14. Dr_N Silver badge

    French Tinfoilers

    They are very prevalent:

    Anti-Vaxxers

    Homeopathy

    Anti-(EM)wavers

    Still it's not all doom-and-gloom. If you die from a heart attack, whilst engaging in extra-marital sex with a total stranger, on an overnight business trip it's classed as a workplace accident.

    Very civilised.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HOW much EM, exactly? [rant warning]

    How much does a smart meter contribute to my overall EM -- especially RF -- exposure compared to everyone's mobile phones, work/home Wi-Fi, the microwave in the kitchen / kitchenette, Bluetooth devices, other near-field devices... not to mention broadcast radio (AM/FM/HD) and digital terrestrial TV, plus various other unshielded lines (VDSL at home, Ethernet at work) running all around?

    And in my car... Even more exposure to radio, TV, mobile phones, Bluetooth, plus GPS (and similar) and CAN* bus (which could be shielded, but let's assume not because that adds cost and weight to the vehicle).

    * Could also be LIN, FlexRay, or actual Ethernet, but the gross architecture is similar.

    Really, the presence of ONE additional EM/RF device combined with the normal EM environment us Western Civ First Worlders are exposed to 24/7 is tuppence. If you believe otherwise, you probably also think you can stick your head in a microwave and get yourself a tan; go try it out and leave the rest of us alone.

  16. David 18

    HHM

    And there was me thinking early on reading the article that I could post the first comment recommending people get Charles McGill to represent them!

    Thumbs up Dabbsy for referencing the excellent Better Call Saul.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Cuddles Silver badge

    Electro-sensitivy

    You know, that's not actually a bad excuse. My electricity provider has just started nagging me about having a new meter installed. Instead of just ignoring them as I have done so far, I can instead claim that their imaginary benefits will aggravate my imaginary medical condition. Maybe the French aren't all nuts, they've just figured out the loophole in the system.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Electro-sensitivy

      Why do you care if you have a smart meter or dumb meter, unless you are saying it is vulnerable to hacking and someone sitting on a bed weighing 400 lbs could shut off your electricity?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Electro-sensitivy

        Why would anyone want a bed that heavy?

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Electro-sensitivy

          Activities other than sleeping?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the EM sensitivity thing is real..

    .. then London's City must be hell for such people.

    For my sins I've wandered into London for a few days, and I was at St Paul's in an office connecting to a WiFi setup. It's a good thing the lists sorts by strength because I would have needed it in portrait format to fit on the screen. I really wonder if it's not possible to design a torch that uses that energy to charge - there's plenty of it in the air there.

    Add to that full 4G connectivity and I'm certain the air must almost glow there at night.

    1. Mr Sceptical
      Flame

      Re: If the EM sensitivity thing is real..

      That's why it's the London Heat Island and hardly ever snows (dammit)!

      Add to that the total congestion of the radio spectrum stil hasn't fixed the mobile reception dead zones that exist in the canyons of the City and you wonder why we bother...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: If the EM sensitivity thing is real..

      "I really wonder if it's not possible to design a torch that uses that energy to charge - there's plenty of it in the air there."

      Not sure about a torch, but what you describe is how a crystal set radio works. There have been cases of people setting up large induction loops under power lines to steal power, eg in the roof of a barn. Not sure of the details or veracity, I read about it years ago.

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: If the EM sensitivity thing is real..

        In the 1960s my father had a 240v fluorescent strip light in the garage that was under the main power wire to the house from a pole in the pavement outside. If you went into the garage in the dark you could see from the faint glow from the fluorescent before you turned it on. My father, a pragmatic man, said that as it was before the meter and he wasn’t getting billed for it why fix it...

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: If the EM sensitivity thing is real..

          45ish years ago, I accidentally kicked in the 750 Watt linear amplifier connected to my CB radio ... and promptly outed myself. I was playing the "fox" in a fox-hunt ... and was parked under the awning of the Texaco station in the north-west corner of the San Antonio & Middlefield intersection on the Palo Alto/Mountain View border. The RF lit up the overhead fluorescent lights ... To the best of my knowledge I never made anyone ill with the setup, not even the odd hippie I gave a lift to.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Not sure of the details or veracity, barn lofts

        Oh it's true, in one case at least. Droitwich, the primary MW/LW transmitter for England & Wales, suffered transmission drops back in the50s? 60s? long time ago anyway, leading to widespread complaints. The signal drop was traced to a farmer who was powering his home (and his bloody milking parlour!) from a Tesla Coil in his attic.

        Whether that was just one of many such incidents, or the seed for a thousand urban legends, who can say?

        Droitwich was also well known for the engineers' habit of scaring visiting dignitaries by carrying fluorescent tubes through the RF gallery, whereupon they would light up with the light of a thousand suns (well, of a couple of fluorescent tubes, at least), and for the story of the staff tog, taking photos for the 50th anniversary edition of the Radio Times who decided the RF gallery would make a wonderful image. Holding his light meter high to get the perfect exposure, the resulting arc welded one of his shoes to the gantry. He survived, but the remains of his shoe became a favourite subject during safety inductions for a long time afterwards.

  19. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Weird Al is the obvious choice

    Can't believe Dabbsy missed this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urglg3WimHA

    Edit: Forgot to mention how crappily thin the foil available in France is - no wonder it doesn't work!

  20. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Block Facebook. Always.

    As I pointed out in another thread yesterday ... it isn't enough to just "not use Facebook" ... you have to block them. If there are no Facebook addicts in your household, block them at the router. Otherwise, block them in your hosts file.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Block Facebook. Always.

      No good. They'll just use it (they MUST, as they have to use say Whatsapp for work, it's a REQUIREMENT--and no, there are no other job offers) outside your purview, associate you anyway, and you're screwed through no action of your own.

      You don't want Facebook to learn about you? Forget it. They can find out everything they need from everyone else: no input on your part required. Big Brother is already here, and if it isn't Facebook, it's someone else: likely some Gibsonian transnational megacorp able to get around any laws you try to throw at them.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Block Facebook. Always.

        And the name of said Gibsonian transnational megacorp able to get around any laws you try to throw at them is Google.

  21. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Stop

    Gym

    When I was a lad, gym was a big smelly room at school smelling of stale sweat that everyone had to job round for an hour or two once a week. Apart from that, it was rumoured that professional athletes had gym equipment at home to keep themselves fit. When oh when did it become not only a THING for adults to go to a gym, but practically mandatory? The kids today (20 somethings) where I work seem to lug huge bags of stinking, sweaty daps, shirts and shorts* around wherever they go. My last manager spent an hour working out every lunchtime! The result is a horrible sort of self-inflicted body-fascism where anyone who doesn't look like they could run a mile without breaking a sweat is regarded as some sort of weirdo freak. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it affected things like career progress, too.

    What the fuck?

    * I assume, I've never checked - obviously. No, of course I haven't been inside a gym since I left school.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Gym

      Sorry, only one upvote available.

    2. DasWezel

      Re: Gym

      My "gym-alternative" which I like to refer to as "get arse off sofa and go and do something" seems to be considered a pretty radical option based on reaction.

      People are weird. :-(

  22. cd

    Sir, there is a Linky in my rim.

  23. Katy_B

    Faraday's titfer

    Tinfoil is so . . . er, old hat. As advertised on the interwebs thingy:

    QuWave Tabletop Harmonizer™

    The Tabletop Model is our most powerful Harmonizer to Protect you from EMF and to improve your Well-Being.

    Now available in three different styles:

    Tabletop Harmonizer

    Triple Tabletop for maximum power!!!

    Briefcase Harmonizer a Harmonizer Briefcase for super power

    Get a Tabletop Harmonizer NOW to protect your entire Home!!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Faraday's titfer

      What was that about fools and money? Well done to someone for spotting an opportunity.

  24. Cagey Bee
    Pint

    I like "smart" meters because I get to watch everyone's usage with a cheap SDR. Only costs a few shekels. https://hackaday.com/2017/12/21/read-home-power-meters-with-rtl-sdr/

  25. First Light

    EMF-sensitive here

    My personal datum on this issue: I moved from Berkeley California and when I visited 4 years later I had constant ringing in my ears until the visit was over. I'm assuming it was related to the installation of smart meters on all buildings, which had happened in the intervening years. I was sleeping in a house with the meter right outside my window. The walls were thin and included little cement.

    I also experienced that using a cheap "feature" phone in India for conversations more than 30 minutes caused my hand to heat up and actually ache. Probably no shielding whatsoever, no idea what the mechanism of injury was.

    I don't believe it's impossible to set up a study of these issues. I really hope 5G will be withheld until they have a clue what it's effect will be.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: EMF-sensitive here

      "I moved from Berkeley California and when I visited 4 years later I had constant ringing in my ears"

      We all have that. It's the constant whining of the greenaholics, SJWs, homeless & druggie advocates, hand-wringers, namby-pambys, curtain twitchers, the anti-gun set, violent anti-military folks(‽‽), and the like ... It's worse just across the bay in San Francisco and almost as bad in Oakland.

      This is what happens when you offer the loudest loonie with an agenda lots of money, at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of us. The loonies come flocking for the free handout.

      1. First Light

        Re: EMF-sensitive here

        I guess that explains it, then!

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: EMF-sensitive here

      "caused my hand to heat up and actually ache"

      Cheap phone design. It was the battery heating up. Your hand wasn't cramping up because of the phone's electronics, it was cramping up because you were holding it in a position your hand wasn't built to be held in for any length of time. You only became aware of it due to the heating. Try holding an old-fashioned checkbook to your ear for half an hour or so while having a conversation. I'll bet you a plugged nickle your hand will start cramping up.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: EMF-sensitive here

        Then why didn't it happen so much with cordless phones, which can create the same conditions and predates ubiquitous cell phones by a decade or so?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: EMF-sensitive here

          The battery didn't heat up on the old cordless handsets because of a lower current draw and different battery technology. The hand cramping, however, did happen. It happens with my old Western Electric model 500 corded phone, too. Again, I invite you to try the checkbook for yourself.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: EMF-sensitive here

            Don't need to. I've had to use a cordless phone during a Hell Desk call in the past. I don't recall cramping being much of an issue, though I also recall that I can be ambidextrous using a phone, so perhaps I simply switched hands whenever one hand got uncomfortable.

  26. gerdesj Silver badge
    Gimp

    French just as weird as Britons

    Funny thing that.

    When deciding where to live, why not decide what style of oddness you need your neighbours to display and then move there.

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