* Posts by Daniel Hutty

46 posts • joined 18 Oct 2007

God save the Queen... from Donald Trump. So say 1 million Britons

Daniel Hutty

Re: "Our trade in goods with China far exceeds that with the USA"

Regarding Symon's quoted figures - if the source's figures are correct, then the combined figures for the USA and China are $95.4B for the US and less than $90B for China*

For comparison, Germany (#2 in Export, #1 in Import) is $146.5 - that's over 1.5 times the figure for the US.

Remind me which of our trading partners it's a bad idea to alienate, again?

* Can't currently load the source link, but given that China's not in the top 5 for export, and the lowest in the top 5 is 27B, then china's total is less than 62.7B + 27B

Trebles all round: The BBC's won this licence fee showdown

Daniel Hutty

Re: Expanded it onto computers...

@John Robson

Apologies for the confusion - I misread your post as saying "like iPlayer or something", in which case the "yes" would have made sense. My bad!

Also, I'm confused about how my posts appeared in reversed order - possibly the order they were moderated in? The post with the link to, and quote from, the HuffPost article was actually posted first, that's what I was referring to.

To be honest none of us can be sure whether this will be iPlayer only, or all on-demand services; this is a proposed change to the legislation, the wording of which has not yet been published. However, I could easily see it being more wide-reaching; after all, the license fee as it stands doesn't just apply to those watching *BBC broadcasts* live.

If you watch, or record, *any* broadcast TV as it's being broadcast, via any medium - even if it's produced and broadcast from outside the UK - you are subject to the license fee. So, when they extend it to cover non-live broadcast, what's to say they'll restrict *that* to BBC-produced content? It could well cover All 4, ITV Player etc.

Daniel Hutty

Re: Expanded it onto computers...

@John Robson - yes, that's exactly what they're doing - see my other post.

My only guess as to why this has received relatively little coverage in the media is that the budget contained so many other resounding "f-you"s to the poor, that this one snuck through hidden among the bigger ones...

Daniel Hutty

Not just live TV, soon - "catch-up" included

Source: Huffington Post, July 6th 2015

"All users of BBC iPlayer's catch-up service will have to pay the £145.50 licence fee, the Government announced today.

In a big blow to many households without TVs, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said that he would bring forward legislation swiftly to allow the Corporation to charge for the first time for those who replay programmes on demand."

Silly Google's Photos app labelled black people as gorillas

Daniel Hutty


I heard a slightly different version of that story - in the version I heard, the US tried to teach an AI system to tell the difference between US and Russian tanks. However of course all their images of their own tanks were taken from close-up, whereas the images they had of Russian tanks were naturally taken from a distance, then enlarged; naturally the system learned to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality images, rather than between tank types...

Twitter direct message INVASION: How to stop EVERYONE spaffing into your DMs

Daniel Hutty

Really Opt-In?

I was seeing a fair amount of noise on Twitter last night suggesting that, for some people at least, the check-box was checked by default... I don't seem to have this checkbox yet (along with a few others I saw tweeting about it last night); guess the rollout of this "feature" hasn't reached me yet...

Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

Daniel Hutty

Re: 'Once we've improved their efficiency...'

"bicycles will outrun formula one cars and pigs will fly."

Nearly there with the first part...

Bike outruns ferrari

Now to work on the porcine aviation part...

Elon Musk's Tesla set to unveil home storage battery

Daniel Hutty

Re: Color me sceptical...

"It's funny we're not seeing actual specs about these batteries..."

Well, not really, when you consider they *haven't officially announced the product yet* ! This was an earnings call; I doubt he discussed the power-to-weight ratio of his cars, either...

"Funny" (in the "suspicious" meaning of the word) would be if, when they made the official press announcement of the new product, they *still* made no mention of the specs you mention.

Musk is the CEO, not an engineer working on this particular project, and the article is about a comment he made during the course of an earnings call, not a press release or other written announcement regarding this specific product. That's not the venue for technical details; he's talking to financial types, not techies (or potential customers for the product); an earnings call is about whether his *company* is a decent investment, not about whether any particular *product* is suitable for any particular application.

'It's NOT FAIR!' yell RICH KIDS ... and that's a GOOD THING

Daniel Hutty

A thought on the 33.3% split

I wonder whether the difference between the 70/30 "no-go" and the 60/40 "grudging acceptance" is that if the non-decider is given more less than 1/3 of the pot, the decider is getting (from their point of view) "more than twice what I'm getting!" That's the kind of mental arithmetic that's easy to do on the spot, whereas in the 60/40 split, the mental shorthand might be more like "a bit more than what I'm getting", with "a bit more" prompting a much lower feeling of unfairness than "more than twice what I get", even though the difference between the two amounts is actually quite small.

Uber BLOCKS COPS to stop stings

Daniel Hutty


I'd be interested to know what exactly the law enforcement officials were doing with these accounts in order to hand out fines...

If they were using the app to identify drivers, then staking out said drivers to catch them in the act of taking a fare, then I can see how that fits within the law.

However, if they were using the app to *book a ride*, then issuing a fine when the driver turned up, surely that's entrapment? I.e. an officer of the law inciting someone to commit a crime, then booking them for it. It'd be along the lines of a plain-clothes cop offering someone a tenner to break a window for them, then booking them for vandalism / attempted breaking-and-entering!

Google kills CAPTCHAs: Are we human or are we spammer?

Daniel Hutty

Re: I'm not a programmer

> i'm not a programmer, but surely even if you have 10 checkboxes that will only kill 9 tenths of the spam.

Only if you have 10 checkboxes *of which exactly one must be checked*; the bot then has a one-in-ten chance of randomly guessing correctly. Otherwise it's not quite that simple.

Assume that there are 10 checkboxes, and depending on the images displayed, any number (including zero) of these may need to be checked for the solution to be correct.

That's 2 to the power of 10, i.e. 1024 possible combinations, which gives less than 0.1% chance that a bot deciding entirely at random whether to check each box will guess correctly.

If we instead suppose that we know that exactly 5 of the 10 boxes should be checked, but we don't know *which* 5, there are 252 possible combinations of 5-out-of-10 checkboxes i.e. 10!/(5! * (10-5)!) see here for an explanation of why).

This still gives less than 0.4% chance of a bot randomly selecting the right combination.

Either way, you'd expect it to kill over 99% of spam *generated by dumb bots guessing randomly*

However, add in even a fairly low-accuracy image-recognition module to your bot (as long as it beats a coin-flip) and things rapidly change. If your image recognition module is, say, 75% accurate, the chance of getting 10 images right in a row is now (3/4)^10) = 0.056... i.e. better than 5% chance of getting it right; still not great, but an improvement (from the spammer's POV of course!). Improve your image recogniser to 80% accuracy, and this nearly doubles, and so on.

'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P

Daniel Hutty

Re: WHy no RTG?

Another power source IS available - Philae has solar panels. However, they're not 100% sure that conditions on the surface will allow them to work sufficiently well to keep the bot going for any length of time*. Therefore they're assuming the worst - that the 64hr charge held by the battery is all they have - and are trying to fit all the high-priority tasks into that time; that way, any extra time provided by the solar cells is a bonus.

*Remember, this is someone we've never been before - at design time they had literally no idea, for example, how much dust would have been thrown up by the landing, and what it's characteristics would be - will it stick to and coat the panels, reducing their efficiency? Also at design time they had no idea how strong the sunlight would be at the landing site, how many of the cells would end up in permenant shadow from surrounding geography, etc. They'll now be finding out some of the answers to this - and this information itself is part of the data scientists will spend the next few years wringing as much knowledge from as possible. It's all exciting stuff!

US Supremes just blew Aereo out of the water

Daniel Hutty

Re: Are recordings fungible ?

The main issue here is that with Aero, you *wouldn't* be watching the "copy your neighbor recorded".

With Aero, as with CableVision's "Remote Storage DVR" (which was ruled legal in 2008), each user has an individual copy - they don't "only keep one copy for all the people that recorded it" as you suggest. Yes I know that would be the sensible, efficient way to do it, but they don't, specifically because they thought that doing ot the "inefficient" way would make it legal.

Simply put the reasoning is that since:

* each user has their own antenna,

* each user makes their own seperate recording, using their dedicated antenna, and only accesses the recording made by their personal antenna,

then it is functionally equivalent to them having the antenna and recording device in their house, which is legal.

By Aero's argument, what they have is a data-centre full of DVRs, each remotely controlled and remotely accessed by an individual customer - so they're not a cable company, they hire out DVRs housed in their datacentres.

For a bit more on the legal background, I recommend this article from the Harvard Business Review blog network, which explains some of the previous rulings Aero's reasoning is based on. IANAL, and I found it refreshingly clear and free from "lawyerese".

Daniel Hutty

@AC "Inefficient Design"

"... did this service really use 1000 antennae to record the show 1000 times on 1000 different data store locations? ... If yes, that's one hell of an inefficient design"

Yes, but that's exactly what they did., on the grounds that the efficient way (1 antenna per show being recorded, record it once and distribute that 1 recording to many users) was obviously illegal but (they thought that) the 1-antenna-and-1-recording-per-user model would be legal as it's functionally equivalent to a hired, remotely-located DVR with a tech-support agreement in place.

Scottish council muzzles 9-year-old school dinner photo blogger

Daniel Hutty

Re: 9 year old?

AC seems to have assumed the kitchen she was raising money for was for her parents.

I suggest friend AC reads the article, in future - the lassie in question was raising money for a charity called "Mary's Meals"


Google is your friend. That, and reading the article.

So, LOHAN: What's it to be?

Daniel Hutty

"Highly Autonomous"

"Low Orbit Highly Autonamous Navigator" gets my vote because:

* "Low Orbit High altitude" seems a bit redundant - since "low orbit" rather implies "high altitude"

* "Helium Assisted", while accurate, isn't really the distinguishing feature of this project over PARIS - which was balloon-launched too. What sets it apart is it's ability to fly itself back home*, so surely that should go in the backronym?

* Of course, whether it will manage this is another question! Here's hoping...

Reg hack applauds asinine augmentation

Daniel Hutty

Perhaps it's too obvious but...

If the name has to start with B...

How about "Bea"?

(Short for Beatrice if you like, or as-is)

(Beer icon 'cos it sounds vaguely like Bea)

Facebook tightens privacy after friendly warning from Germany

Daniel Hutty

It's not just what you tell Facebook...

...it's what others tell Facebook *about* you. How can you "opt out" if you have no account, but someone else pokes your email address or other identifying info into some Facebook app (e.g. Friend Finder)? But then this isn't unique to Facebook - you'd be as compromised, or more, if they posted your details in their blog, on twitter, etc.

Some responsibility for privacy has to rest with users - for both maintaining their own privacy, and that of others.

MOSSAD SPY VULTURE seized in Saudi Arabia

Daniel Hutty


Just because a news article appears ridiculous, does not necessarily that the reporter's the one being stupid. Sometimes life really *is* that dumb.

'You own the road!': Google gets spanking from media giant

Daniel Hutty

Arguments based around mixed metaphors

As Mr Gumby above suggested, Drummond's response was wrong for Kallen's metaphor.

A more accurate one might have been "there are other highways, people just like prefer driving on ours". But that sounds less snappy.

Possibly a better analogy (for UK readers) would be one of the various rail routes out of London where you have the choice to make a journey in one of Mr Branson's shiny Virgin trains, or a train from a different provider (i.e. more than one provider can get you from A to B).

Some might prefer the Virgin trains (newer, shinier, faster), some might prefer the others (stop at more places en route besides the maor cities, so might get you closer to home).

The point is, there's a choice. There's more than one company providing a comparable service (train travel/internet search) on the infrastructure (the same rail line / The Internet) Just because one company gets more custom than another, is no reason to start shouting "monopoly". Google does not own the Internet; it does not "own the highway".

On many lines in the UK, you have only one train operator, hence no choice - if you want a ticket from A to B, you pay company X, or don't take the train. That's a (limited, local) monopoly.

Intel offers non-Jewish Saturday workforce in Israel plant row

Daniel Hutty

"Work on Saturday or be down-sized"?

The majority of comments here seem to be railing gainst the Nasty Religious Types, who are obviously saying no-one should be allowed to work on a Saturday, right? After all, they're Nasty Religious Types, and thus irrational by definition...

Except, according to yairmohr, the only poster so far who actually *lives there* (or at least the only one who seems to have mentioned the fact, sorry to any non-stated Jerusalem-ers), Intel actually said "you MUST work on Saturdays or lose your jobs".

Now, if the protest was against the plant being open on a Saturday at all, then I agree with the majority here, shame on the ultra-Orthodox for trying to force the thou-shalt-not-work-on-Saturdays rule on the workforce as a whole.

However, if the protest was against the threat of downsizing, then that in my opinion shifts the black hat well and truly onto IBM's head, and I'll re-phrase the above; shame on Intel for trying to force the Thou-SHALLT-work-on-saturdays rule on the populace workforce as a whole.

But either way - surely "only non-Jews may work on a Saturday" is not the way out of this problem, as it requires the hiring of a whole bunch of people *on religious grounds* ("Wanted: Saturdy workers. Jews, orthodox or otherwise, need not apply")

Surely "no-one will be forced to work on a Saturday if it's against their religion" ought to be an amicable sollution?

Magpies hold funerals for fallen feathered friends

Daniel Hutty

Ritual? Or curiosity?

I think I'd need more than one account before I could see the Ceremonial Laying On Of grasses as a crow funereal* ritual.

However, whether it's a one-off incident or a ritual which might be performed for any Fallen Feathered Friend, it's certainly interesting.

As I see it, it could be explained by curiosity as easily as emotion (Pecking at it to see if it reacts; nope. Balance things on it to see if it shifts and knocks them off; nuh-uh. Well, guess it's really dead then. Wonder what else is going on?)

Or a combination of the two ("Bob? you ok mate?" *poke* "Bob! Wakey wakey!" *poke* Oh God, check 'is breathing... *grasses dumped, remain in place* "No, he can't be dead!" says other crow, repeats the grass test. Eventually they come to terms with the loss, observe a moment's silence and fly off to grieve by themselves).

Don't think you should claim "funerals" (note the plural) without evidence that it's a frequent occurrence (one datum is not enough to base any theory on!) It could be evidence of Corvid emotion, or Corvid curiosity, or even that Corvids have the concept of checking-for-life-signs-before-pronouncing-them-legally-dead - but in whatever the theory, needs quite a few more examples before making general statements about how these fascinating creatures actually see the world.

*Just in case: Not a typo.

Aussie Sex Party in evangelist head-to-head

Daniel Hutty
Thumb Down

@sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

You do realise (being Irish and all, I'm sure you must, what with your genetic knowledge of all things pagan... *rolls eyes*) that Samhain and Beltaine are linked to the progression of the Sun, not the (modern, Christian - Gregorian, as in Pope Gregory) calendar?

From what (little) reading I've done on it, both are either on, or on the nearest lunar cycl start to, the "cross-quarter days" marking the mid-point between an equinox and a solstice, with Beltane (and I believe the spelling is disputed, especially since the Druids didn't use our current, Latin alphabet) being between Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice, and Samhain being between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

But do correct me if I'm wrong, you are Irish after all.

Royal Mail lawyers demand closure of postcode lookup site

Daniel Hutty
Thumb Down

@why not.....

Because if they have IP on *all* postcodes, then they have "prior art" on your postcode, so you couldn't trademark it in the first place?

US drone crashes on Sunni party offices in Iraq

Daniel Hutty

Accident, but not a coincidence

Perhaps the crash itself was an accident - but the drone's presence near the Party HQ would hard;y be a "coincidence".

"Oh yes, we just *coincidentally* happened to have a spy-plane in the vicinity of the HQ of a political organisation which has declared itself opposed to us. Who'd have thought it?"

Government swiftly backpedals on vetting scheme

Daniel Hutty
Black Helicopters

@AC, "This is a load of BS"

"... what difference does it make if I prefer Psycho to Snow WHite?!?!"

Well, if they're vetting for both killers and kiddie-fiddlers, I guess either of those would flag you up - and having both on your list? Instant "regulation"!

Japan gets to grips with train-grope websites

Daniel Hutty


Point of order - of course it's a sexist concept, by definition - although not "outrageously" sexist, so I guess i can't disagree with your comment.

It's sexist because it discriminates against one gender - one gender is excluded from those carriages reserved for the other gender, without (as far as I understand it) having single-sex carriages of their own. Imagine the uproar if toilets came only in "Ladies" and "Unisex" varieties...

Don't get me wrong - women (or men for that matter) should not have to feel at risk of such undesired attentions, and single-sex carriages are a good start to this. But the system as it stands seems to mean that one gender has access to more carriages of a train than another - meaning that the latter may have to contend with even more crowded conditions (on an already crowded system).

Solution - Male-only, Female-only and Mixed-occupancy carriages on all trains. That way, those (of either gender) who feel threatened by the presence of the other in such crowded quarters, have the option to avoid it. (This doesn't solve the problem of same-gender assault - which is where the cameras etc. come in I guess!)

Virgin hijacks empty pages

Daniel Hutty

Misleading screenshots...

After the "www.nottheregister.co.uk" example of the first screenshot, the reader would be forgiven for assuming that the second screenshot was what Virgin's add-site - sorry, "helpful assisted search tool" - serves up in response to the same address.

In which case, having the top two links return links to Virgin Media would, indeed, be a laughably-obvious attempt at self-promotion.

However, the URL typed for the second screenshot being "www.virginmedia.CMO", the links shown are, in fact, the most useful links it could have provided.

In other words, a laughably-obvious attempt at producing an amusing screenshot.

DHS killing satellite self-spying program

Daniel Hutty
Big Brother

The "War On Turrurr"..

...is, I suppose, aptly named if you believe that sheeple whose lives are totally controlled will be totally safe, and thus totally content. Thus, no more terror.

Except for those who don't want the Gum'mint (a.k.a. whoever can convince The Masses, by force of personality, that they should be allowed the keys to the whole shooting match) watching over their shoulder. But if they don't want the Gum'mint watching them, they must be the Bad Guys, right?

Either that, or they voted for the other guys...

...Wait, what was the destinction again? Oh well, never mind.

Ooh look, our spy-sats have spotted the starts of an illegal protest march. better send in the choppers. Yeah, the black ones.

PETA cooks up gory game in Cooking Mama protest

Daniel Hutty

Is it just me...

...or is PETA - supposedly an animal welfare group - now in fact just a coalition of militant vegetarians, vegans, fruitarians and other such?

I'm all for the ethical treatmant of animals in farms, I'm dead against factory farming and think all the creatures destined for our tables (be they four legged, two legged or scaly and swimming) deserve to live before they die for our insatiable apetite for flesh. However, as an avowed omnivore (God, Mother Nature and Father Darwinism made us that way, why resist?) I'm not going to stop eating them. I do, however, intend to stear my consumption away from factory-farmed produce.

However PETA seems to think that this behaviour - the eating of poor defenceless animals - is immoral by definition. I find it insulting to have this bunch of holier-than-thou seed eaters imply that anyone who enjoys cooking meat must automatically glory in the pain of dying creatures, and seek to do them in in the most painful way possible. I'm a fscking pussy when it comes to any kind of suffering - humane killing is always the way forward.

Incidentally, I also wonder what PETA thinks would happen to all the cute little lambikins and calfikins if they ever succeeded in their aim of turning us all veggie. Would farmers keep breeding them out of the goodness of their hearts, keeping them in the peace and harmony of a new ovine/bovine utopia? No. We'd need their fields to grow all the extra fruits and grains which would then be our staple diet - there'd be no room in the great scheme of veggie-farming for baa-baas and moo-moos. Surely it's better for these animals to have a short yet comfortable life (as long as suffering is avoided) than *no life at all*?

Bush makes last-minute grab for civil liberties

Daniel Hutty

@Webster Phreaky

So you implicitly trust, not just the government, not just each and every government agency, not just the MEDIA, but *every single employee* of all of the above who might get hold of your details?

Every under-paid Joe Bloggs in, for example, border control who could concievably have access to your address, and from your travel records establish that:

(a) rich enough to afford regular trips abroad; that

(b) you go away on holiday the first week of month X each year, and that

(c) his cousin Billy-Bob lives in the area and owns a crow-bar and a pickup truck.

You trust every member of each of the above services - AND THE MEDIA - to be a fine honest upstanding citizen who embodies the ideal of the American Way? No Joe and Billy-Bob Bloggses?

Good to see the indoctrination program is progressing nicely...

tl;dr - While it's true that only the guilty need fear the innocent, only a fool would trust *everyone* to be innocent.

Canuck faces life sentence for nude girl webcam scheme

Daniel Hutty

Life - not that surprising, really

Regardless of age - this is 14+ cases of blackmail and extortion, which, even at the low end of the possible prison terms, added up and served consecutively would go a fair way towards a life sentence. Plus several cases of unlawfully gaining access to a computer system - it all adds up. And that's before you take into account him obtaining pictures of these girls by mis-representing his identity - even if they were all adults, I'm sure there's at least a couple of charges per instance they could bring (identity fraud and sexual harrasment perhaps? I have no idea).

My point is that, even if these girls had been adults, if you take into account all the charges and add up the terms (i.e. assume they're served consecutively), it'd be coming up for a life sentence, surely.

Spooks want to go fishing in Oyster database

Daniel Hutty
Black Helicopters

Anyone remember

the MET's recent guidance on behaviour for which you should report someone as a "Suspected Turr-ist"?

I have a feeling that "Swaps Oyster Cards with someone else mid-journey", "fails to touch-out", or even "tops up their Oyster with cash" may be added to this list in future...

US firm demos 'thought into speech' neckband

Daniel Hutty

@Anonymous Coward

As I understand it, the thing recognises neurological impulses - the electrical currents your brain sends down your nerves to "tell" your muscles what to do, rather than "muscle twitches".

Also, your brain doesn't "translate thought into speech". What happens in your brain IS thought. The sound waves emitted by your vocal cords is speech. What converts the electrical impulses in your brain to the sound waves in the air is the transmission of these electrical impulses, via nerves, to a sound-wave generating aparatus - in most people, the vocal chords.

Basically, in this application, the Audeo is a replacement set of vocal chords. And yes, it can only make a certain range of sounds - but so can your vocal chords. The Audeo's range is way inferior to vocal chords - but it's way better than NO vocal chords...

Anyway - the Audeo translates neurological impulses into sound. If that's not "thought to speech", could you define for me what you understand by the term?

Jedi to open Surrey academy

Daniel Hutty

Looking on the bright side

If these guys take even one tenth of one percent of those who would otherwise have fallen into the clutches of $cientology, then in my opinion they will have done the world (and the recruits) a great service.

FDA approves cloned animal products

Daniel Hutty


I'd question "cloning" in both of these cases.

I take your point about vegetables - although growing multiple genetically-identical plants from cuttings of an original isn't really "cloning" per se.

And embryo division - if you're talking about splitting a very-early-stage embryo and implanting the two (or more depending how many times you do this) resulting embryos into surrogate mothers - at least starts with a genetically-recombinant embryo. The original embryo, at least, is created from an egg and a sperm - a new individual, a new combination of genes. What embryo division does is effectively increase the percentage of "multiple births" - although rather than twins it's more likely to be sextuplets or more, and they happen to be born from different mothers.

However, like cloning, both of these methods reduce genetic diversity and move the population towards a monoculture - which many agree is a Bad Thing. (Also, the probability of inbreeding down the line is increased, increasing the likely effects of any bad genes left in the now-impoverished pool).

Daniel Hutty


Erm, we're talking about clooning here, aren't we? Not genetic modification? Because it's GM which allows you to "implement genetic traits that never were part of the species' gene pool".

Cloning a sheep will not produce "penicillin-producing, medicinal drug-dispensing lamb chops". It'll just produce more plain, ordinary lamb chops.

I'm not saying that the use of cloned animals for breeding stock is a good plan, however, as it will likely reduce the genetic diversity of the breeds. Here's the scenario: a particularly big, juicy-looking bull is bred by normal means. Farmers want *their* beef herds to gain some of this big-ness and juicicity. Ergo, they all buy clones of this super-cow (Uber-milch?).

So suddenly, the next generation of each herd shares a lot of the same DNA, as each calf, in each herd, born from one of these clones effectively has the same father. Now, follow this through each generation, with the "best" bull being cloned and each herd getting one of these clones - pretty soon we have a very genetically uniform population.

Now, imagine a new bovine disease (BSM v2.0, or somesuch). In such a uniform population, all individuals will have about the same succeptibility to the disease - none will have more natural imunity/resilience than the rest. So if the disease is virulent enough, the population could be decimated, with no pockets of resistance to recover from.

A big risk to take for a juicier steak...

Japanese whalers lash protesters to mast

Daniel Hutty

"Why shouldn't they eat whales?"

To all those defending the Japanese's "right" to eat whales (and especially, to those claiming that this is a race issue) I say, please consider this in terms of more than "Japanese vs Non-Japanese humans".

Whales are not the same as "pigs, sheep, cows, goats, ducks, pheasents, and well lots of other animals". Whales take immensely longer to reproduce than any of the above. Their global numbers are also lower (well, maybe not lower than pheasants, I'd have to check that...) and they do not reproduce well in captivity so "proper farming" is not really feasible.

And to those who who, like Tony Barnes, say "If we do get to the real point of extinction, and someone who controls the waters deems it illegal, then yes, they need to stop" - two points. First, no-one controls International Waters. Are you saying that all's fair on the high seas? If so, can I start dumping nuclear waste there tomorrow? After all, no-one controls the waters to tell me otherwise... And second - fin whales are endangered already, and the Japs are hunting them now.

I do, however, agree those who accuse Greanpeace et al. of using blatantly emotive language to get their point across - but have you seen teh Japanese media's take on the situation? Two can play the play-on-their-emotions-not-their-reason game.

And I agree Sea Shepheard are a bunch of nuts who do their cause more harm than good, and that the boarders got exactly what they deserved - and they could well have got a lot worse. I can see the headlines - "a terrible accident while attempting to illegally board another vessel caused the tragic loss of two lives today"...

Messenger skims past Mercury

Daniel Hutty

Johnny FireBlade

The craft taking this picture was heading towards the sun - hence the background stars would have been drowned out. In fact, the picture would have had to be adjusted (brightness, contrast etc) to bring out a clear image of the planet against the background glare...

Germans debut kitesurf-powered autonomous windjammer

Daniel Hutty

Only 1%? Best not bother then...

If everyone with a possible idea to reduce the ecological impact of their industry were to think "Oh, even in the best-case, idealist's-wet-dream scenario that'll only make a 1% reduction on emissions worldwide - what's the point in bothering?" then I'd hate to think what state our planet will be in a couple of decade's from now.

Yes, it's a small improvement, even at best.

But let's say it reaches even a 0.5% worldwide improvement. Then imagine that 9 other people have ideas which bring about similarly small improvements. Suddenly we have a 5% reduction. Start to seem worthwhile yet?

If this was going to do something aweful like cost the tax payer a few more pennies of their income (shock horror!) then I could see an objection - but when it not only saves on emissions but on cost as well, I can really see no reason to pooh-pooh the idea.

And also - isn't the idea of huge ships being pulled by giant kites just inherently *cool* in and of itself?

Geminids warm up for annual light show

Daniel Hutty


Three things things - firstly, "a few dozen meteors per hour" is for the U.S. where they'll miss the peak due to it being during their daylight hours - thus that figure is for when the show's tailing off (comet, tail... hat, coat, taxi...)

Secondly, if you don't find shooting stars impressive, and know this in advance, then fair enough - no-one's making you watch. And noo-ne (I assume) made you read the article when you knew in advance you'd find it annoying... so why did you? Personally I enjoy watching shooting stars - although it's always nicer if you're doing so with someone you love - your wife, girlfriend, kids, or a combination of the above (your wife wife *and* your girlfriend? Hey, it could happen...)

And thirdly - who killed your puppy, dude? "Wet blanket" is an understatement here...

(This post needs more "Cheer Up Emo Kid" icon)

Boffins slashed in big-science budget blunder bloodbath

Daniel Hutty


Riiight... so the jobs of boffins across the country are at risk because the Gum'mint don't want the older facilities shut down incase it upsets the poor Mancunian support workers? Sounds sensible... </sarcasm>

Although the Government's point of view I guess it makes sense - dis-satisfied boffins spread across the country has a minor affect on voting figures, hence a group of dis-satisfied support workers *all in one constituency* is more of a threat to their position... which is, of course, all most politicians really care about.

@Jason Togneri - I agree - perhaps "bashed" would have been better? Or "bludgeoned"?

Huge jellyfish pack slaughters 100,000 salmon

Daniel Hutty
Dead Vulture

Some people have too much time on their hands...

(Title says it all...)

Music in China: The Inside Story

Daniel Hutty

An excellent article

Just a thought - maybe the labels ought to give up on making (much) money through the songs themselves, and concentrate on performance and/or pruduct-based revenue (t-shirts, posters, etc. etc. - all the things you can't just bluetooth to all your mates once you've somehow got your mitts on them).

In fact, it might do them good to bung out a few free copies of songs by bands they want to promote - but ensure that they've got the full range of meta-data intact so that any of the Chinese kids who gets hold of a copy and likes the band enough, will at least be able to find out who they are. That way next time they happen to be shopping for a band t-shirt, or a poster, or whatever, and see that band, they'll at least be mor elikely to recognise the name and think "ooh, I liked them - one of those, please, Shopkeeper!".

Delhi's deputy mayor killed by monkeys

Daniel Hutty

Sounds like a great plan

So to combat the problem of a monkey invasion, they're training them to fight?

Nope, can't see aproblem there...

Fire service may charge for shifting fat people

Daniel Hutty



if you think about it, it IS fair to charge you more than someone who weighs less, as it does in fact cost more to transport you (more aviation fuel is required to lift your mass than that of someone lighter). It's likely to be a very small difference, but it'll be there.

Imagine, if you will, two identical flights, and the total luggage etc. weighs the same, but everyone on one flight is a skinny young 5-foot lass, and everyone on the other is a 6-ft-plus rugby player. I bet I know which would use the most fuel. (I also know which one I'd rather take the spare seat on... ;) )

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