* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2601 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Highway to HBLL: The missing link between DRAM and L3 found

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Re: Why?

DRAM has been produced at successively smaller scales. This reduces the power requirement per Mb and the latency per Mb. Both improvements have been trashed by the increased capacity. The CPU cache could be made bigger or faster - but that would cost speed or capacity.

Putting the cache on a separate die allows using a process dedicated to DRAM, which is cheaper than using a process that can create DRAM and a CPU on the same die. Also, using a separate die means the DRAM does not suffer from having to work at the CPU die's temperature, allowing the cache to be bigger, faster or cheaper.

SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

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Near miss?

At T+00:06:30 stage 1 goes past something visible on its downward pointing camera. Anyone know what is was?

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Re: re-use

Hopefully, in late March we can watch the stage 1 that launched CRS-8 launch SES-10. The Falcon Heavy Demo is currently pencilled in for late May: three landings for the cost of 1.5.

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

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Re: My username is...

Mr Coward, you clearly suffer from multiple personality disorder. Although some of your personalities have expressed their undying love for our president, others have called him a pussy grabbing loon and far worse. Your disparaging comments on the Department of Homeland Security were not welcome. Until it time for you to return home, will be staying at a Trump prison, which serves only the best luxury water at $5000 per glass. Now please hand over your online banking credentials my colleague, who will take out a loan in your name so you will be able to pay your bill promptly on your departure.

Please enjoy your stay in the US and return to us as soon as you can afford it.

Oracle hatches 'incubator' OpenJDK APIs idea

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Or the other way around:

Everyone and his dromedary who contributes to incubator APIs sues Oracle.

Toshiba chairman quits over $6bn nuclear loss

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According to wakipedia, Fukushima Daiichi was designed, constructed an built by General Electric, Boise Cascade, and Tokyo Electric Power Company. The first pages for the wikipedia entries for each do not mention Toshiba or Westinghouse, so at a quick glance, neither built significant parts of Daiichi.

Nuclear power need lots of water for cooling, so the obvious places to put them are coastal. All parts of Japan are at risk from earthquakes. Nuclear power stations run by Tohoku Electric Power which were closer to the epicentre of the earthquake survived because they had bigger sea walls. The site was not particularly stupid. The defences were inadequate and the warnings about them were ignored.

University DDoS'd by its own seafood-curious malware-infected vending machines

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Re: Lesson Learned

Don't use plain text passwords to control your botnet.

Oracle refuses to let Java copyright battle die – another appeal filed in war against Google

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Best interests

Perhaps the bast interests of Oracle's shareholders would best be served by not wasting any more money suing Google.

NASA bakes Venus-proof electronics

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Thermionic valves require a vacuum

Build a difference engine out of glass!

Microsoft touts cheap-ish anti-patent troll protection shield for Azure-hosted devs

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Trolls do not build the bridge they lurk under

Patent trolls do not like to be called trolls. The term these festering leaches prefer is "non-practising entity". They do not make anything, so they do not infringe any patents. Offering them a cross licensing deal results in a short burst of laughter followed by an demand for more money.

Do Microsoft have any customers dumb enough to pay $1000/month for no protection at all?

Vintage Space Shuttle fuel tank destroyed by New Orleans tornado

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Somewhere in Michoud ...

... is a machine that can shake the big cylinder the space shuttle got bolted to as hard as a rocket launch. Where is the headline about this giant vibrator?

Revealed: 'Suicide bomber Barbie' and other TSA quack science that cost $1.5 billion

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This will never fly

Imagine what would happen if government spending on pet projects could legally be halted just because there was scientific evidence that the project was a complete waste of time and money.

Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

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Time to change my password

How about "トランプぢゃんは馬鹿ですね". I could cut an paste it, but without the input system set up properly I couldn't type it.

Boffins build laser satellite data link

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Why mechanically wave a mirror?

Using a retroreflector to get the light back to the source and an electro-optic modulator reduces required laser power and increases the bandwidth. As a bonus, the device only needs to point at Earth, not a specific base station. If you send laser beams from multiple sites, all sites get (the same) data back.

Chinese hackers switch tactics for spying on Russian jet makers

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Look on the bright side

We could save a huge pile of cash by buying F35s from China.

President Donald Trump taken on by unlikely foe: Badass park rangers

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Re: About time

Did anyone else start reading John's rant, and go back to check to see if it was amanfromMars?

Trump lieutenants 'use private email' for govt work... but who'd make a big deal out of that?

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John, please explain 'Illegal private emails'

As far as I am aware, government officials are not required to preserve private emails. Perhaps you could provide a link to the law making private emails illegal.

I think you could also benefit from reading the FBI's press release. As is well known Comey ignored FBI procedure in a scandalous effort to influence the US elections. His obvious bias shows throughout the press release, giving many scary short quotes suitable for twitter, which he promptly backs away from at the end of the paragraph.

So lets look at Comey's final summary: "Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."

Not "evidence of violations", he said "evidence of potential violations". This is a partisan government employee going out of his way to abuse his position to influence an election, and the best he can come up with is some weasel words that at best imply an unreasonable prosecutor has half an excuse to continue this witch hunt.

Comey 'excused' his behaviour by claiming he was pressured to disclose by republican senators who had received leaks from his subordinates. Perhaps these leaks containing sensitive information were sent by email to private emails from government officials to senators. Why have these people not been locked up?

Seven pet h8s: Verity is sorely vexed

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Zed Shaw's rant

People have already lambasted Shaw's ignorance of why bytes and unicode need to be different underlying types. He mentioned a combined bytes/unicode object, but shows no understanding of why it came into existence. (Lazy scripters waste lots of cycles encoding and decoding the same string. By keeping the unicode and encoded versions together, python can recycle an existing objects instead of creating new ones.) I noticed Shaw did not mention the new style classes available in python3 that make multiple inheritance work. It is almost as if he has left multiple inheritance in the tool box because he never recognised the right times to use it.

Python devs believed fixing python2's defects with multiple inheritance and unicode properly were going to require changes that would be incompatible with the existing language. They created python3. Shaw did not create a language compatible with Python2 that fixed the inherent flaws.

After a huge tiresome rant about the need for backward compatibility, Shaw recommended deleting python's legacy string formatting mechanisms. I could not find the words to express what I thought about that, but someone has helpfully created a suitable web page here.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Bah!

I have vague memories of the time wasted hunting for the miss-matched brace back when I first got my hands on a C compiler. Improved compiler error messages have helped, always typing }«left arrow» immediately after { avoids the problem much of the time. When there is a brace problem the best tool I have for fixing the problem promptly is decades of experience. Python indentation is really clear, the parser reports errors on the correct line, and more functionality fits on the screen because a C line with only a } only becomes a python blank line if it improves clarity. Dealing with a python indentation problem is easy for anyone who understands why a C compiler is going to scream if you save your code in docx format.

I have come across config files that use C style braces. When I find one, I want to find a machine belonging to the person responsible, delete a } in the middle of his configuration file and see how long it takes him to fix the problem with only the inevitable crappy diagnostics from his half baked parser.

One BEEELLION dollars: Apple sues Qualcomm, one of its chip designers

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Re: If Apple were to get the billion...

This is not about Apple getting a billion from Qualcom. The important thing here is how much Apple's lawyers can increase their budget.

Peace-sign selfie fools menaced by fingerprint-harvesting tech

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Re: what to do with the war head

So many possibilities. The first three ideas to spring to mind: keeping the veg fresh, using the tritium to make glow-in-the-dark key ring fobs and breeding giant mutant super intelligent gerbils.

In a similar vein, there is a use for a finger print scanner on a car. Set it so any finger activates the cameras and the cattle prod.

Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

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Re: it's easy to resolve...

"Being able to produce stuff that can be exported". So we are able to produce stuff, but don't, and it could be exported but we don't.

Imagine instead of buying bombs and bullets we buy are soldiers beer, and instead of fighting wars, our soldiers have parties. Still got manufacturing and employment for our GDP, but we make fewer enemies. I have confidence in our soldiers, but I am sure even they cannot drink our entire arms budget. Send the surplus beer to our enemies, and perhaps we will have more friends.

"tech advancement would grind to a halt". ROTFLAO.

FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

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Not proven

Finding pictures proves that pictures got there somehow. It does not prove the accused was detected by a NIT downloading them from the Playpen via Tor. Even producing code for a working NIT does not prove the accused downloaded anything. Was the NIT output was faked? Was the NIT deployed on the accused's favourite hidden bottle cap picture exchange site?

I would like the burden of proof set high: abusing a child or buying/bartering the resulting pictures. If you get accused because someone else copies child porn to your computer, how much evidence should be required for your conviction?

I would like to keep the world's paedos in doors wanking to pictures or drawings, and not have them out in the real world desperate for a shag. Unfortunately evidence based policy is too difficult for our current politicians.

Astroboffins glimpse sighting of ultra-rare circular galaxy

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Re: odds not that odd

Take a look at the asteroid belt, or the rings of Saturn. Gravity is good at making rings.

Christmas Eve ERP migration derailed by silly spreadsheet sort

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If you want to screw something up, use excel

Excel genetically modified bugs.

Happy Halloween (OCT31==DEC25).

Chinese boffins: We're testing an 'impossible' EM Drive IN SPAAAACE

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Re: Anybody able to do the math for me?

Force from emitting light: 3.3µN/kW. The xenon ion thruster on Dawn is 9mN/kW.

Wikipedia's article on cold fusion mentions plenty of places where the fraud was investigated (the neutron spectrum graph 'changed' shortly after Pons was told his unreproduceable neutrons had the wrong energy). The cost of much of the research is not in the article, but for the research where figures are given, $71million was spent on cold fusion achieving nothing.

Pons and Fleischmann understand electrochemistry and described their experiments clearly. They used calorimeters (notoriously inaccurate even in the hands of experienced professionals) which led to the early positive results from students around the world. They described melted electrodes (dissolving that much hydrogen in platinum is going to change its physical properties). They tried to use neutron detectors (read the instructions and budget at least a month trying to reduce noise down to something sane before thinking about trying to measure neutrons from your experiment).

The EM drive descriptions I have read either contained mind bogglingly dumb errors in the algebra or were vague well passed the point of uselessness. There were pages of 'this is really amazing' followed by more pages of 'they are all being mean to me' before I got as far as the deliberate misquotes of NASA employees talking to journalists. This well was thoroughly poisoned long ago. Given the background, it is amazing that NASA spent any time on this experiment at all. NASA used sensitive equipment and took time to identify and cancel out as many sources of error as was possible with the limited time available. I am curious about where there error is, and hope it is something more interesting than someone not plugging the GPS into the atomic clock properly.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What if ...

My personal bet is the thrust turns out to be a measurement error, but lets call "a few mN" 5mN. Imagine three magic space ships, 500kg each (mass of New Horizons), launched from the ISS at the start of next year with 5mN of thrust. Lets race them against some copies of real space craft.

2017 Apollo, The Sequel returns from the Moon by the 7th of January.

2018 New Horizons 2 passes Jupiter in February.

2019 Messenger 2 passes Venus in March.

2020 Dawn 2 reaches Vesta in April.

2018 Messenger 2 orbits Mercury in February.

2024 Dawn 2 orbits Ceres in July.

2026 New Horizons 2 passes Pluto in July.

2042 Magic0 in a very low orbit around the Moon, ready to fire landing rockets.

2055 Magic2 passes Mars

2056 Magic1 passes Venus

2067 Magic0 docks with the ISS

2075 Magic2 passes Ceres

2090 Magic2 passes Jupiter

2092 Magic1 orbits Mercury

2101 Magic2 passes Saturn

2110 Magic2 passes Uranus

2117 Magic2 orbits Pluto

[Comparing Apples and Oranges: The other races are reasonably fair, but New Horizons could not possibly stop at Pluto and Magic2 needs a really big nuclear reactor that can last a century.]

Ad-slinger Turn caught with its hand in Verizon's 'supercookie' jar

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Re: Definitions

Perhaps Turn have promised to be open and honest with ad purchasers. Turn can promise to lie to targets about the functionality of to 'do not track' button. They can promise that customers will only pay for adverts that appear on the browsers of targets who have expressed a relevant interest. Customers can be reassured that Turn will be honest with them and keep promises just like they do with everyone else.

Non-existent sex robots already burning holes in men’s pockets

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Perhaps "near future" is ten years.

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Re: Washing venues

I could not find the "Bring it on" car wash fund raiser on you-tube. I remember "My brother wants to check out your rack", but I cannot remember if he buys a windscreen wash.

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Re: Cheap bots to solve over population?

The poor country equivalent of a pension fund is grand children. When there is a high child mortality rate, parents go for lots of children in the hope that one or two of them can produce grand children that survive long enough to look after their grandparents.

Reducing child mortality, and providing access to contraception and education causes parents to switch to a strategy with fewer children. It is safer for the mother and concentrating resources fewer children who are expected to survive results in healthier children with an education good enough for a higher paying job.

On the other hand, policies intended in increase crushing poverty provide a steady supply of sex workers and remove the need to create sexbots. (Try a web search for "Trump modelling agency")

Oi! Linux users! Want some really insecure closed-source software?

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There are solutions

I have not tried to fill in PDF forms, but a quick web search showed several options. The one I would go for is pdftk (tutorial). I found evidence that Okular and Evince did not handle US tax forms in 2014. There is a list of GUI PDF editors here and here. People have reported success running some Windows PDF software with WINE.

The good news is that Adobe appear not to have heard of ARM or MIPS. I considered trying QEMU on a Pi, but I am too lazy to read Adobe's EULA.

PayAsUGym breach exposes passwords

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Re: Err ... What?

Easy. Businesses just install a certificate for their own fake signing authority on all their PCs. They can then man-in-the-middle all https communication without causing the browser to show warning messages.

… in a loop. Cisco warns Nexus 3000 upgrade could get you stuck ...

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Re: MD5 is error detection, not the fault

I am not sure we have geometry free media. Try: hdparm -g /dev/some_modern_block_device

CHS numbers have been completely meaningless for at least a decade, but they are still a part of block devices just in case you have something dumb enough to look at them. Even GUID partitions includes a protective MBR with fields for CHS.

Future proof media? Going back 21 years means floppy disks, zip disks (daisy-chained printer port!), DDS-(2or3) tape, Parallel SCSI, PATA, USB ports (without OS support) and expensive CD-R. USB flash was not available commercially until about 2000. It is possible that I could get my dusty zip drive to work with a USB/printer bridge. Nothing else I had in 1996 stands a chance of working today. (My DVD writers claim to be able to write CD-R, but are lying. I can still read CDs, but could not write them in 1996).

At a guess, by the time the 2038 bug hits, USB will be radio or optical to avoid damage from fake USB devices destroying computers by sending 200V pulses on the data lines. It is possible that some of my current devices might work with an optical to USB3 bridge at that time. 10 years of future proofing has been practical. 20 years worth is not a good bet even with access to hardware from a museum. Me surviving another 20 years is not a good bet either.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

MD5 is error detection, not the fault

The fault is incorrect assumptions about geometry. Back in the stone age, hard disks did not know the number of tracks per disk, heads per drive or sectors per track. This information was stored in a tiny battery backed ram in the _computer_. There was a copy on the disk that might have the right values, but could not be accessed until the BIOS knew the geometry.

Before bolting in your new disk, you had to copy the geometry onto a post-it note so you could select the correct menu item in the BIOS. Eventually new hard disks appeared that did not match any of the available menu items. Later, disks had more than 1023 cylinders or more than 63 sectors per track, but no worries. All you had to do was lie about the number of heads (up to 255) and a chip in the disk would decrypt the lies to handle disks up to 8GB. As disks got bigger the lies became more and more contrived and incompatible.

I would like to think that now 8GB is becoming the minimum size for a µSDHC card, we should be shaking out the final geometry related bugs. The pessimist in me says that geometry will still be causing problems in 2038.

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Re: IF X .assign. 20

Learn to read code. If you ever hear 'equal', you have got it wrong. Practise saying 'assign' and 'compare' instead.

View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

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Re: AMBxx

Try reading the title. Reg titles can be humorous, misleading and clickbaity, but this time there is no excuse. The title was clear, accurate and succinct. With a little practice you can decode even the more cryptic titles, recognise that the article/advert will be of no interest to you, turn on your television set and watch something more boring instead. The great thing about watching television is if you do not like it, instead of turning off the television you can write an angry letter to the BBC, which could be read out and ignored by commentards busy reading comments with less pointless noise.

Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

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If he finds Tracy Island ...

... problem solved.

'I told him to cut it out' – Obama is convinced Putin's hackers swung the election for Trump

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Re: Let me get this alt right

Because some people, including commentards believe what they read in Wikileaks, instead of the author of the source material miss-attributed to Blumenthal in an email modified after it was hacked from Podesta.

US Supreme Court to hear case that may ruin Lone Star patent trolls

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Extra cases are great business

The judges cousin owns the hotel were the lawyers are staying. A juror's brother runs the cafe were the lawyers have lunch. In a sparsely populated district, patent litigation related business could account for the majority of the income.

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Re: Number6

Patents must be obvious. The easiest way to avoid prior art is to include something so obvious that it would never be explained in a technical journal. Journals do not publish articles on topics so elementary that anyone with the faintest interest in the subject would already know because that would be a boring waste of advert space. Patent examiners recognise this trick at once and approve the patent immediately because the rules define non-obvious as "not published in a journal". Also, if your patent really is non-obvious then there is no-one infringing it for you to sue.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Why we need the patent system

Let's pretend you are an engineer and you have a new car engine design.

Clearly the first thing to do is get a job to live on while you spend years getting your patent through the system. Finally, your patent is approved, are you shop around for a manufacturer. You get sent packing by all of them, but Faultswagon starts selling an engine copied from your design. Off you go East Texas, and your patent lawyers ask for money. You sell your house, then the wife and children but it is still not enough to feed the lawyers. You are then offered a deal from General Monsters: They will take charge of the law suit, pay for it and you will get 10% royalties. After you sign in blood Faultswagon and General Monsters agree a cross licensing deal. No money changes hands and you get 10% of nothing.

Last decade, properly defending a patent cost at least $10M. If you want to win that way, do not bother doing any R&D. Just patent jibberish and send out infringement complaints to random small businesses. Some will settle, and use that cash to annoy bigger and bigger fish until you can afford sue Microsoft. Microsoft will 'settle' on the condition that you use the money to sue Google.

Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

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Re: Emergency boot partition

Clueless newby (to any Windows after 98) question: What if my new Windows VM tries to get an IP address via DHCP?

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Re: Wake-up call

How many wake up calls were there?

Mine was:

Install Linux, copy /home from old disk, copy a few config files backups from /home/backup to /. New Linux machine complete with a tested recovery procedure in under an hour. Never needed to do a full restore.

Install Windows 95. [Install driver, reboot]x5. Do not install two drivers in a row without rebooting. Failure to comply will require re-installing Windows 95. With practice, I got this down to 11 hours + time required to install software (just games, I did not trust Windows with valuable data).

A more modern example would be Microsoft repeatedly screaming that the value of Windows 10 to users was £0. They phrased that statement as: "Do not click the x to avoid a secret upregrade to 10 when you are not watching."

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Re: Alternatives to skype

If the requirement is VoIP, then get something reliable. Ekiga runs on a Pi.

Linus Torvalds releases 'biggest ever' Linux 4.9, then saves Christmas

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Re: What's wrong with a CLI?

Although PHB's from the 80's could do something constructive with the command line, it is too terrifying for the determinedly technically illiterate to contemplate. A small number of monkeys clicking at random on the options presented by a GUI can occasionally achieve something by chance. Using a CLI requires thinking, reading and understanding: skills totally out of the reach of a pure GUI monkey. A GUI monkey has to take the CLI away from his colleagues or his limitations and low productivity will be obvious by comparison. There are some tasks that are well suited to a GUI, but would be time consuming and unpleasant using only a CLI.

Techies learn to use a variety of GUI and CLI tools, and pick the most appropriate for the task. A technically illiterate GUI monkey is too busy suffering the death of a thousand mouse clicks to learn anything new.

Getting started with the command line. Start a terminal emulator and:

1) Type "man 1 less" and find the key that exits from less.

2) Type "man 1 man" and find the option for searching for a key word.

3) Type "info info".

man pages give details of the operation of specific commands. info pages give more background information useful for selecting the right command.

Governments 'one step behind' tech firms in tracking tax – Meg Hillier

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Re: yes its legal but...

So much to half agree with ...

Not just legal, but a requirement - to maximise profits for my pension fund their shareholders. I have confidence that if our government finds a way to get an extra few billion out of Apple then they will find projects to waste it on and need higher person taxes to organise that wastage.

Yes Apple should pay the same taxes as a UK based company. We have about 17,000 pages of tax laws in the UK. That should be enough for every UK company to avoid paying any tax at all, just like Apple.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: find users who cut cat tail

Yes, the rest is utter nonsense. I clearly did not take Poe's law into account. By not smoking, you avoid paying tobacco products duty, just as by riding a bike to the chip shop instead of driving I avoid petrol tax. Fishing (in fresh water with a rod and line) requires a license that costs money, so it is only a tax avoidance activity to the extent that it is cheaper than some other hobbies.

Thank you for mentioning $DEITY. The Church of England has a turnover of about £1billion/year, but is tax exempt. Christianity is covered in fishing analogies, but I bet they do not have a rod license. Lock them up!

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Oh no! They are obeying the law!

Tax avoidance is legal. (Tax evasion is illegal). If we are going to hunt people down for tax avoidance, perhaps we should start with the non-smokers who avoid tobacco tax. Round'em up and pump them full of nicotine until they are addicted. Next up: the tea totallers followed by the people who do not buy lottery tickets. Believe it or not, some people are avoiding VAT by buying food, which is zero rated. Starve the bastards!

Russian hackers got Trump elected? Yeah, let's take a close look at that, says Obama

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As a leftist loon ...

Only a leftish loon would say the election was rigged - and I have proof: Trump did not win by a landslide.

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