* Posts by Esme

836 posts • joined 24 Oct 2007

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Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Esme
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Firefox isnt getting better in my experience

It's still managing to crash my PC every now and then, and more frequently than that, crashes itself, this on Linux Mint. And it;s slow. Mozilla needs to just fix the friggin' thing and then stop buggering around with it. I used to love Firefox, but nowadays it really annoys me, and I only stick with it because I can;t stand Google and thus avoid Chrome as much as I can.

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Luxembourg passes first EU space mining law. One can possess the Spice

Esme
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Re: Existing Sentient claims

@allthecoolshortnamesweretaken - Yep, for at least a decade previously Mr Heinlein in his historical document "Starship Troopers" released in 1959 was writing about space marines.. I still have a NEL edition showing lots of white space-suited figures with red weapons 'on the bounce' during combat on the cover. Still one of my favourite books, and far, far better than the dreadful film of the same name.

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Esme
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@macjules - y'don't want to be eating too many cabbages if you'll be wearing space-suits a lot - and don't even think about baked beans!

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The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

Esme
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Re: They're both faultless...

@TRT - I thought you were channeling Kenny Everett!

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Esme
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Re: If you're all in favour of strong female roles...

@AntiSol - thumbs up from me. Joanna Lumley was absolutely fabulous as the Dr for her all too brief appearance in 'The curse of fatal death", played the part exactly right and IMO would make a good Dr Who in the actual series any time they care to offer her the part.

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UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G

Esme
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Re: Install Spyware

@EricM - I don't like beer, but you may assail me with a nice cup of Horlicks any time you like :-}

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OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

Esme
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Re: Same here

@Voland's right hand - My brain misread that as a G4M2 Betty - if you actually ARE pootling around Europe in an antique propellor plane , may i just say how utterly envious of you I am? :-}

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Astroboffins spot tiniest star yet – we guess you could call it... small fry

Esme
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Hmmn.. interesting..

I did a quick search for the star by name and found this: https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.08781 where it remarks that the star " is one of the densest non-stellar-remnant objects currently known. These measurements are consistent with models of low-mass stars. "

Which is perfectly true. Starting with a planet the size of Saturn and piling extra mass onto it does not result in size growth to teh extent that you;d imagine, due to gravitational compression of the matter in the object. Similarly, one of the reasons larger stars are less dense than smaller ones is because the energy generated by the fusion proceses within make the thing swell like a balloon until the point is reached where radiation pressure and gravity balance out. A star only just massive enough to have any fusion going on at all would be very dense indeed, not generating enough energy to develop a greatly swollen photosphere, and probably the core would be the densest that matter can get short of being crushed into neutronium.

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Esme
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Best spacey-type series ever, no arguments!

Fireball XL5.

Mine's the brown one, as it happens..

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Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

Esme
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@bombastic bob - I'm well aware of the research on such matters, m'dear (I've read quite a lot of biomedical and psychological texts and research on the subject), but given some of my comments tend to the overlong, I was doing my best to keep it reasonably short, rather than write a dissertation! Well done, and have an upvote from me for a quite reasonable posting on the subject.

However, it's still true that on the whole, for most folk sexuality is not a matter of choice. If you're homosexual, the availability of potential sexual partners is much more limited than for heterosexuals, and social pressure can make it extremely hard to even locate suitable partners, never mind actually get together with them. I know that many women of my age who now identify as lesbian have been in heterosexual marriages before because they were lonely and saw no hope of being able to enter into a lesbian relationship, when they were younger. Extreme lonliness can drive one to extremes of behaviour, including going against ones innate sexuality, particularly with huge social pressure to conform pushing one in that direction. That doesn;t really equate to choice in the sense of free choice though, now does it?

The plain fact of the matter is that I'm just not terribly interested in guys that way, and that is NOT a matter of personal choice. I'm not anti-guys though, heck, some of my best friends are male... 8-} ;-}

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Esme
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Re: Wow!

I'm still in shock from the three-in-a-bed episode... 8-O

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Esme
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@kain preacher - yeah, that's what fuckwitted bigots usually presume, that being gay or trans is a matter of choice, AND that gay and trans folk want to recruit AND that children are so easily suggestible that they can be persuaded to be gay or trans. Which of course completely ignores the fact that if children were so easily persuadable there wouldnt; be any homosexual or trans folk as the amount of heterosexual/cisgender-normative material and role models out there waaaay exceeeds those of the homesexual-transgender ones. And I've yet to meet a trans person who didn't feel the condition they were born with to be a painful one that they wouldn't wish on anyone.

I recently had the amusing experience of having a Christian evangelical woman striking up a conversation with me on the bus, and somehow she got onto the subject of not being able to compliment other women in case folk think you're lesbian. She clearly hadn't 'read' me (I am a lesbian) . Somewhat startled, I told her I thought she was being paranoid, I compliment women on therir appearance without anyone reacting negatively, I said. Just because someone tells you 'that's a nice outfit you're wearing' doesn't mean they want to jump you, seems to me it's the ones fretting about being thought lesbian that have sex on their mind the most, I continued. 'Nice hat', I said as I got off the bus. Her face was a picture..

Logic doesn't tend to be the forte of bigots.

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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

Esme
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Re: Well given that said columns are basically a vacuum

@MHFW - egad, I do believe you've solved a major problem in astrophysics! So that's what dark matter probably is!

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Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

Esme
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Nice one, Dabbsy!

Howsbout a message from the hereafter saying that the results have just come back and everyone that's been in contact with you should see their GP to get the jabs, pronto?

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Virus (cough, cough, Petya) goes postal at FedEx, shares halted

Esme
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Re: "Bastardware"

Nice name, but it's hardly new - the original virii's only purpose was to upset the users of the infected machines. It's just that modern malware has a new method of getting from machine to machine - the net.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Esme
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Re: Humidity control

@Gordon Pyra - interesting to hear you say that about how firms look after their kit. My first proper job was as a mainframe operator for SERC nearly 40 years ago now - the computer room had aircon (indeed, me and my team leader used sign language to communicate from one end of the compuer room to the other, the aircon was so noisy). Following that, I worked for Fedex on their mainframes - also in an airconditioned room. Twent years ago, and I was working for the local council, NOT in IT , but their equipment was in an air-conditioned room.

My impression has been that all companies keep their IT gear nice and cool, even if they don't care if their staff fry!

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The 'DUP' joins El Reg’s illustrious online standards converter

Esme
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Re: Let's not ask who really benefits from the Union

@JamieL - yup, me for one. Notionally, I've always been in favour of a united Ireland, but I've always loathed the RA and loathed the DUP even more, because , as noted, they actually do manage to make Sinn Fein look relatively good by comparison. If it weren't for the fact that it'd almost certainly cause further bloodshed, I'd be very happy for the UK to simply disown Northern Ireland, just to piss off the Paisleyites. I dunno what the so-called 'Loyalists' think they're loyal to, but it certainly isn't life as we know it in mainland UK. Both sides of that particular poisoned chalice should, IMO, be grateful that both the UK proper and Eire have been so patient with the fuckwitted but troublemaking minorities of all persuasions causing all the grief. Pity we can't weed them out and drop them on a nice uninhabited island somewhere so that the peaceful types in NI can get on with building a saner society.

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Esme
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Re: HMS Queen Lizzie

@Vic - that's a problem for most seaborne fixed-wing aircraft, not just the Harrier. I well recall how insanely difficult I found it trying to practice carrier landings in MMOL WW2 air combat sims, and at first feared I'd never manage them (which would've been a shame, as I played at the serious end of things, organised units and sides in proper scenarios, chain of command, etc..). Then I realised that typically planes would have near empty fuel tanks when trying to land, so I started taking off with only a quarter of a tank of fuel and no external munitions and found it rather easier. Still nerve-wracking, but with a lower stall speed and lighter all-up weight, unladen landings are somewhat easier and MUCH less dangerous than fully-laden ones. Aircraft undercart just isnt typically designed to take the weight of a fully-laden plane coming down, whether conventionally or otherwise.

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

Esme
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Re: What's in a (nick)name

He should be fine so long as lovable Lesley isn't handling the navigationals.

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Microsoft admits to disabling third-party antivirus code if Win 10 doesn't like it

Esme
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Re: '34 years of development - Windows 10 is the result'

@Naselus - do you not think though, that a lot of the problem with user support at work is that most companies don;t seem to want to train their users in IT at all, and just go for the 'learn which options to select and which buttons to click, that's all you need to know' route instead? Thus because the suits that make the decisions dojn't want to rock the boat stick with Windows for various reasons (some good, some not so good) yer average workplace user's only experience of retraining is either being shown or discovering where the heck Microsoft decides to move that particular option to when the OS updates.

The amount of people sat at computers at work that simply learn by rote and don't have even the faintest clue of very simple stuff that'd help them immensely in their jobs is enormous, in my experience. Because companies won't ensure that their staff have even basic IT understanding (because that costs), they're kept in a state of thinking of IT as magic and fear using what they aren.t already using at work - which MS is fine with, because $ (naturally - that's what they exist to produce).

In effect, bosses don't want to move from Windows even when its practical through a combination of lack of understanding of IT and the retraining costs and because they know their staff will prefer the familiar because the bosses cant be bothered to train them properly, Yup -I understand well that there's lock-in on Windows due to machinery in some cases, and that doing anything about those is non-trivial for perfectly good reasons.

But I'd argue that just because MS managed to achieve lock-in on the desktop doesnt mean that Linux couldn;t do the necessary for a alrge chunk of users, because what most of them are susing these days are just browsers, so that they can access things like Salesforce. Even word processing, email and calndaring is or can be in the cloud (which personally I'm skeptical about but that's beside the point). So I'd disagree that Linux couldn't be used more widely in the workplace, I think it's essentially down to the hierarchy not understanding the issues and sticking with what they already know, in a lot of cases.

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Esme
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Re: '34 years of development - Windows 10 is the result'

@Patrician - I don't know what scenarios you have in mind that require using the command line in Linux, but I wouldn't use Linux if I had to keep going to the command line for everyday stuff, and I most certainly wouldn't reccomend it to friends if that were so. And yet I do use it every day at home, and have reccomended it to friends, most of whom are still using it. And I'm closer to being a user than a tecchie than most that frequent these forums.

Even with the UI, I find Linux easier to use than Windows (At home, I'm a long-term Xfce user, but can live with MATE or Cinammon. At work it's Windows 7). The WIndows Control centre is , to this user, an unintuitive mess, despite having had to use Windows at work since it came out, and using it at home for about four years when Win98 came out.

Sure Linux has its faults, but for the average user it's a damned sight easier to use and less hassle than Windows is, in my experience. I've had little problem with printers, webcams and graphics cards for years now. (I actually cannot recall the last time any hardware I wanted to use didn't just work once connected). As for the command line - what in gods name are you DOING with it?! You dont need it to start and close browsers, office software, games, media players - you don't even need it to install or remove software.

Of course, YMMV depending on what kit you have/buy/want to connect, but honestly, the non-tecchies I've introduced to Linux are happy as a wossname with it, and wouldn't countence having to mess with the command line at all. And Linux wins hands down on value, of course. (In the dim mists of time I have bought both Mandrake Linux and SuSe with support, but more to give back something to teh creators of the distros, as it turned out it worked so well I didn't need support). (shrugs. sorry, but to imply that Linux isn't suitable for non-tecchies 'because command line' just is not true for the vast majority of users, IMO.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Esme
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Re: What about Oxygen?

@Chemist - I thoroughly reccomend that you read the the literature on the subject, it's extremely interesting. The people who've already looked into it are qualified scientists, not wide-eyed amateurs guestimating numbers (which is what I would be, if I tried). In 'The Case for Mars' Zubrin goes into this in detail, pointing out various options,and how the exothermic reactions can be used to help drive some of the endothermic ones. Indeed he looks at the range of gases and metals and plastics that might be produced in situ and how the various setups to produce them could/would need to interlink for best effect.

I've seen many critiques of Zubrins notions for how best to explore Mars, mainly to do with radiation throughout the trip and perchlorites in the dust once at Mars (and personally, I think he underestimated the amount of living room required to keep people sane for such an extended trip). I've yet to see anyone say that he got his chemistry wrong.

To quote from the NASA refernce design for a Mars mission:

"1.3.3.2 In Situ Resource Production

The highly automated production of propellant from martian resources is another defining attribute of the Reference Mission. The technology for producing methane and liquid oxygen from the martian atmosphere and some nominal hydrogen feedstock from Earth is an effective performance enhancement and appears to be technologically feasible within the next few years.

The split mission strategy allows the propellant production capability to be emplaced, checked out, and operated to produce the required propellant prior to launching the crew from Earth. In addition to spacecraft propulsion, the production capability on Mars can provide fuel for surface transportation, reactants for fuel cells, and backup caches of consumables (water, oxygen, nitrogen, and argon) for the life support system."

http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/design_lib/NASA-SP6107.Mars_DRM.pdf

And that is the most critical assesment of the issue that I've come across - NASA saying that they think it'll possible in a few years, as against Zubrin saying that it's all known technology and could be made right now. If you feel like telling NASA that their chemists don't know what they're talking about, I'd be most interested in the response!

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Esme
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Re: Hmmmn.. pizza!

@ I ain't Spartacus - I live in the UK, though. Mind you, it's a tough decision - stay in the UK and be able to get real Italian pizza within half an hour, or go to Mars taking a pizzeria with me... hmmm... the lower gravity'd be good on these old bones of mine... - shame about the unpleasant qualities of the dust there though!

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Esme
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Re: What about Oxygen?

@Chemist - - sure - but there's an awful lot of a very thin atmosphere, and the production of fuel from simulant Martian atmosphere has already been tested, and it worked well - see Zubrin's 'Case for Mars' for the full story (I only linked to the article I did as it was the first hit I found and appeared to be correct). If there's one thing that IMHO there is little doubt of regarding Zubrin's plan, it's that in situ fuel production is entirely possible. Indeed, NASA's revision of Zubrin's plans for getting us to Mars also included in-situ fuel production.

Don't forget, people, that in order to get oxygen from the atmosphere it doesn't have to be either molecular oxygen or ozone - it can be chemically bound, and the Martian atmosphere is mainly carbon dioxide, so you take some hydrogen to Mars, use it to produce methane using the carbon in the carbon dioxide, and use the byproduct oxygen as the oxidiser.

So, as I said - in order to get exploration going, there's more than enough in the Martian atmosphere for that. Long-term, though, you'd be wanting to use non-atmospheric sources. Seiously, the numbers have been checked thoroughly by experts in the field, and the processes tested. It's one of the things about potential Martian missions that we can be very sure about.

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Esme
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Re: What about Oxygen?

@d3rrial - Sufficient, even in the atmosphere, to get things going on Mars, see

http://ccar.colorado.edu/asen5050/projects/projects_2000/trost/innovation.htm

But long-term, there's even more locked up in rocks and minerals, not to mention ice deposits..

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Esme
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Hmmmn.. pizza!

So I could order a lifetime's supply of pizza direct from Italy and get it delivered half an hour hence?

WIN!

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You wait ages for a sun, then two come along at once: All stars have twins, say astroboffins

Esme
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Re: Seems difficult to accept

The Sun has made about 20 orbits of the galactic core in its lifetime, travelling a total of about 3 million LY in the process - if one assumes that its orbit has been relatively unperturbed, which may not have been the case. That said, even minor perturbations over the 4 billion-odd years of the Sun's existence by the very large number of other bodies in the Galaxy could cause the Sun and any star that formed nearby to be in radically differnt parts of the galaxy by now. Note COULD. As stars out here are quite sparse though, it is still possible that an initially gravitaionally bound association of stars could remain reasonably close together. The Sun's current velocity relative to the galactic core as a fixed point is about 220 km/s, and relative to the average velocity of other stars in the neighbourhood is about 20 km/s.

Good luck trying to find any solar 'twin' out there! 8-}

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When we said don't link to the article, Google, we meant DON'T LINK TO THE ARTICLE!

Esme
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Re: Not so easy...

@Notas Badoff - whilst I take your point if the only information available is in digital format, I find it astonishing that the world has come to this. How on earth did the world cope before the internet? DId people learn from history then? Well - sometimes, same as now. There was a lot less information gathered, and a lot less retained, and the world got by sufficiently well to get us to the internet age. Which rather suggests to me that most of the extra information gathered these days (aside from scientific research) is pure fluff - of little or no benefit to society (but considerable consequence).

Indeed, I'd argue that quite a lot of the extra information gathered - that from 'social media' sites - is, on the whole, detrimental to society, constituting a massive invasion of personal privacy for little compensatory gain.*

*Yes, I'm aware of instances where things like FB have had a positive effect - like the White Wednesdays movement and FIN. But contrast that to the downsides of 'social media', and consider whether anything that's done on 'social media' platforms couldn't be done just as well using email, newsgroups, IM,SMS and online fora - without the easy data-slurping and privacy invasion that we currently see.

Anyway - I find it a tad peculiar that a court'd make such an exception for investment fraud over other kinds of fraud, but given that the court had done so, IMO Google absolutely should have followed the letter of the law. Google is not an elected government nor an independent judiciary, and indeed, behaves rather like a totalitarian regime that likes to throw its weight around and tell everyone what it feels is best for them, when what it actually means it's what is best for Google. Ditto Zuckenberg and FB. Neither FB nor Google seem truly willing to accept responsibility for the negative consequences of any of their actions (bit like a lot of politicians, really, except we don;t get to even vote for what Google and FB do).

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Connectivity's value is almost erased by the costs it can impose

Esme
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Woah, hold on there..

"If things become just a little more hostile out there (with four billion people using the Internet, that’s pretty much assured) the scales could tip in favour of disconnection, isolation, and a descent into a kind of stupidity we haven’t seen in many years."

I'd argue that the stupidity has been increasing for many years, in that too much stuff which absolutely needs to be handled securely in order to work as intended has been shoved onto the internet with too little appreciation of the fact that the internet was not designed with security in mind, it was designed for robustness in getting messages from A to B. Such security as there is has been a long series of bolt-ons, and as history has demonstrated, some of those bolt-ons have had more than a touch of the Heath-Robinsons to them.

IMHO paring back what is connected to the internet and what gets handled via the interent to only that which actually needs to be handled that way would be a boon to humanity. I like technology, appropriately used - but there are way too many Clarkson-equivalent types out there who seem to think that the best solution to everything involves sticking it on the internet. IT and t'internet are tools, and like all tools have inappropriate use cases as well as appropriate ones.

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Capita call centre chap wins landmark sex discrimination lawsuit

Esme
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Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

Lefty feminist clocking in, etc.. Nice one, Mr Madasar Ali, well done! The sooner (and more often) dinosaurs like Crapita are given a right kicking over blatantly unequal treatement like this the better!

I'd like to buy that man a beer (or suitable substitute if he's a teetotaler)!

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Golden handshakes of almost half a million at Wikimedia Foundation

Esme
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Re: High School Math question

@ version 1.0

Very roughly, I estimate forty-eight weeks, five days per week, 7 hours per day; that gives us about 6 million paid-for seconds per working year. If paid at a rate of a penny per second, that'd be an annual salary of £60,000p.a. I recall seeing a recent artilce somewhere saying that it takes about 12 seconds for mammals to do a wee, irrespective of size, so an exective level wee is going to cost at least 12p. Divide annula salary by 60K and multiply by 12 for weeing, and again by a constant to cover how much longer doing a Nr 2 takes over having a wee, and there's your answer.

8-}

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Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

Esme
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Re: Its a different world

Absolutely, Adalat. And it surprises me how many folk still seem unaware of the Bigelow Aerospace habitats - those give much better radiation (and meteorite) protection than the ISS does, and similar technology could be used for trips to and from Mars.

There are easily sufficient number of people who would like to go to Mars, are aware of the hazards, willing to take the risks, and either already have astronaut training or could pass astronaut training, given the opportunity. And if sickness not curable whilst on the mission is a problem, then, lets face it, drugs usable for voluntary euthenasia could be provided. It's not a nice thing to have to contemplate, but it is a sensible one to consider. Exploration is never entirely safe. If exploration is wanted, let those who want to do the exploring judge whether they're happy to go under the circumstances, not a bunch of folk who'll never get off-planet (and probably wouldn't want to).

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The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems… but not in the way you think

Esme
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Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

I don't quite agree entirely with what you''ve said in the article, Kieran, but thumbs up from me for a thoughtful analysis of the situation. Now we just need to post a copy to every MP or wannabe MP in the country and ask for their comments.

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Utah fights man's attempt to marry laptop

Esme
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Re: Marrying a laptop is silly but...

If corporations are legally persons, I wanna sue some past employers for their abusive behaviour towards me!

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Nest leaves competition in the dust with new smart camera

Esme
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Shurely shome mishtake

Shouldn't it be recording the faces of the people it does NOT recognise, who are presumably burglars, so that you can give a mugshot to the authorities?

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Google can't spare 113 seconds of revenue to compile data on its gender pay gap

Esme
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Re: My anecdote

@Bahboh - feminism isn't man-hating. Feminism is about trying to make the world more equal for all. (And for those thinking the usual question, It's called 'feminism' because of where it started, in a world where women were legaly chattels, and is still called that because the world (ie: all of the countries, not just yours or mine), as a whole, still tends to treat women less well than men (and even in the country I live in, women still tend to be paid less well than men for the same jobs, on average,according to overnment figures, whilst we're on the subject of pay).

Boys are behind girls at every stage in education now, where you live? Ok, that's a datum that needs to be worked on, and we - us feminists - are all behind doing something about that, but take a look at history, take a look at large chunks of the world right now and see how many women are being denied an education at all.

Cherry-picking one datum that shows an inequality in how well males and females are doing in favour of women - in the country that you live in - doesn't invalidate feminism, as I am sure you're quite intelligent enough to realise.

And if we're talking about equality, why should it be down to just us women to fix the problem of boys under-achieving? Don't men have a stake in doing that as well, or are you denying all respondibility for the upbringing of young males? Are you being a good role-model for them, demonstrating what the benefits of a good education and socially responsible behaviour are?

I'd also urge those critical of feminism to read up on the subject, find out why it has been such an inspiring idea for so many women. Yep, feminism has had (and still does) its share of extremists and weirdos who don't seem to be in quite the same reality as the rest of us, as does every political movement. And it has its share of the inarticulate who feel frustrated that they can't explain well how they feel about it all and that may resort inadvisedly to just yelling and swearing at those who don;t share their view. But it's just as wrong to tar all feminists with the same brush due to inappropriate or even self-defeating actions of a few as it is to tar the members of any group with the same brush for the aberrant actions of a few.

Thankfully, most men I know are thoughtful types, so no, I am not a man-hater, and nor are the vast majority of feminists, who are, believe it or not, heterosexual. But its irksome that the anti-feminists (of whatever gender) trot out the same old bullshit arguments year on year as if with one simple statement they can render feminism valueless. If you're amongst them, then think on this - if you're so dismissive of something that so many women hold dear, then might you, perhaps, be part of the problem?

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

Esme
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@Cynic_999 - you obviously follow the news far closer than I do, as you're talking about a case I haven't heard of - and then abusing it to make an egregrious personal attack on me. Now, I don't claim to always make the best reasoned arguments (I'm not by nature a political animal), but I do at least try.

Anyway, let;s have a look at what you've said - so, the police shot an innocent on one occasion (and if there's been one, there may possibly have been others), but have failed to collar a lot of 'known suspects' of terorism on numerous occasions, until after something tragic has happened. So what's YOUR explanation for this? Do you think that the police en masse don't want to nab terrorists before they hurt someone, but are quite OK with going in guns-blazing against innocents?

Or could it be that one the occasion you speak of a small number of police went off the rails and handled a situation badly whilst elsewhere the bulk of the police - human beings like you and I and just as variable as everyone else in society - are doing their damndest to try to tackle terrorism but can't do so as effectively as they'd like because they are bound by due process of law, which they respect?

You tell me which sounds most logical and likely. Not being in the police force myself, I can only speculate logically on the matter, and might, of course, be wrong. If you have actual information on the subject, let's see it and discuss it reasonably - is that OK with you, or do you just get your jollies flaming folk?

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Esme
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@Graham Cobb - can't give you enough upvotes for that. I was trying to explain to someone yesterday why untrammelled access to our communications isnt going to suddenly make things better, and why it's downright bizarre to think that the correct response to those who'd like us to live in a dystopian police state is to turn ourselves into a dystopian police state...

What's needed is for the legal framework to be in place to allow police (and if necessary, medics) to intervene earlier. It's clear that they know who a lot of the folk likely to do this kind of crap are, and clearly they;d love to collar them - so what's stopping them? It must be the legal framework in which they have to opertate. So instead of trotting out plans to abolish privacy, why don't Parliament get the legal framework the police have to operate looked at and adjusted, where necessary, in order to let them intervene earlier?

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Life is... pushing all the right buttons on the wrong remote control

Esme
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Call em a luddite but

I play DVD's on my PC screen. No remotes needed or used (unless you count a mouse on a USB extension cable for when I want to watch from over on the sofa), VLC's sane controls does the trick.

I do have a telly, and it has one (1) remote control, which, every now and then, decides to turn subtitles on unasked for, despite the fact that it stubbornly refuses to give me any options to turn subtitles on or off no matter which buttons I press. I have to reboot my TV and handset to fix that, if I cant be bothered to wait until teh remote automagically decides to remove subtitles on a random whim.

Spawn of Satan, remotes are, and their designers should be lowered slowly toward a vat of boiling oil until they apologise and promise to build something that works properly!

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Intel pitches a Thunderbolt 3-for-all

Esme
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Re: Dare I ask

I know more non-tecchies than tecchies that use Linux (Not claiming that's a general thing,mind, just true in my case). Non-tecchies just want something that works with least hassle, and Linux fits the bill beautifully except for hardcore gamers (and even there things have improved greatly this last few years)

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DARPA orders spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days

Esme
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Ahahahahahaha!

'Boeing', 'cheap', 'reusable' in conjunction with rocketry - funniest joke I've heard in days...

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Google wants to track your phone and credit card through meatspace

Esme
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We're already being asked for email addresses at the till

Here in the UK some companies are already asking for ones email address at the till. This first happened to me some months ago in Lakeland, but has now happened about a dozen times in various other shops. My response each time is the same - to refuse to give my email address. I'm also increasingly tending to withdraw cash from a cashpoint prior to going shopping, and purchasing with cash, because I strongly object to all this unwanted invasion of privacy.

I'm getting heartily sick of this corrosive invasion of privacy that's taking a stranglehold on society - even Aunty Beeb is at it, saying they're going to make a sign-in a requirement for use of iPlayer, purportedly to give one a personalised experience which personally, I do not want (I've contacted them to ask what the real reason they intend to insist on a sign-up is, as it's onl'y a bonus to users if it's an optional requirement).

In my opinion, governments worldwide need to get a grip on this tendency to corporate snooping, and make it absolutely clear to corporations, via legislation, if necessary, that corporations exist to serve society, NOT the other way around. As for Google they can drop dead and die so far as I'm concerned, the unethical shits.

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IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Esme
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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Lancia - you and me 'till the wheels fall off - L7

Cadburys - 'Heaven' (far too many to list)

Crapita on behalf of TV Licencing - 'Stand and deliver' by Adam and the Ants

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'Tabby's Star' intrigues astro-boffins with brief 'dimming event'

Esme
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No infrared excess

The problem with notions about either large comets or a planet breaking up (?! What the heck could be causing it to break up!) or an incomplete Dyson spehre is that in such cases radiation from Tabby's star incident on the obscuring objetc(s) should be re-radiated as infrared radiation, thus causing an excess of infrared radiation over what we'd expect to see if Tabby's star is unaccompanied. And thus far, no infrared excess has been seen.

Much as I'd like it to be a Dyson-sphere in the making, it seems rather more likely to be something we simply haven't thought of yet. Assuming it is something orbiting the star that's causing what we're seeing, it's interesting that the period seems to be close to two years, which given the mass of Tabby's star, would put the orbiting body about central to the local 'habitable zone' around the star, if my mental arithmetic is right.

I can't wait to find out what's actually causing the variability in Tabby's star. But until we do, it's certainly fun trying to work out what might be the cause!

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UK Tory party pledges 'digital' charter, wants Verify to back online gov

Esme
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Re: One must ask ones self

I was a recipient of free milk too, and loved it! Never had any problems with milk being off, and I always volunteered to deal with any extras left over, sometimes consuming thee or four bottles of the stuff. Just about the only happy memories I have of school, outside of science lessons.

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Proposed PATCH Act forces US snoops to quit hoarding code exploits

Esme
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Re: Headless chickens to a man with much ado about nothing which can be done

Good heavens amanfromMars1 that was nearly entirely coherent! Well done! 8-}

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PC repair chap lets tech support scammer log on to his PC. His Linux PC

Esme
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Depends on my mood

I've had about a dozen such calls over the years, and have done everything from simply put the phone down on 'em through to playing dumb as if I were a computer illiterate trying to follow their instructions - which, as I have only run Linux at home for many, many years, are completely impossible to follow anyway (That can be fun, depending on how IT-illiterate and patient the scammer is)

Occasionally I've sworn at them and told 'em I don't talk to criminals (one actually phoned me back to tell me I was rude! Not wanting to disappoint, I was rude again before I put the phone down again), and I've tried telling them politely that they're incorrect as I don't have a Windows PC, I use Linux, only to be told that they can see that I do have a Windows PC, at which point I asked them to tell me where it is then which resulted in about another minutes conversation with an increasingly confused scammer who'd evidently never heard of computers being anything other than Macs if they weren't Windows boxen.

I so hope I get such a caller one I've got a Haiku box up and running... :-)

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Boeing details 'Deep Space Gateway' for Mars mission staging

Esme
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@JJKing -I can't tell if you're being tongue in cheek with the ridiculous stuff you wrote there or if it;s just that you don't understand the science/numbers well enough.

With regard to the mass of the moon being affected, rock on Earth comes in at about 3-5 times the density of water, so 3-5 tonnes per cubic metre. Let's say that mining operation removed a cubic kilometre of material from the moon - that's be one thousand million cubic metres or about 3-5 thousand million tons or rock excavated. Some (most?) of that wouldn;t be useful material, and would doubtless be piled up in spoil heaps (or used to fill holed made by early mining efforts). But even if it were ALL removed, compare that humoungous amount of material with the bulk of the moon, which is something over 3000km (that's 3million metres) in diamter. The effect of removing an entire cubic kilometre of material of the moon (which really is a staggering amount of material) would be so insignificant that tides on Earth just would not be noticeably affected.

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London app dev wants to 'reinvent the bus'

Esme
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if that's the answer, then someone asked the wrong question

Just like here in Birmingham, where I commute to work every day via train. Centro appear to have actually spent money on providing free streaming wifi, videos and ebooks o the trains, presumably to 'improve the customer experience', when what us reglar commuters actually want is more carriages so we can sit down more of the time, and more staff to deal with miscreants faster (or indeed, at all). Oh, and the last thing we want is even more noise pollution from folk watching films, listening to music on the trains, even in the marked 'quiet areas'. (Hint to Centro - just marking an area as a quite zone doesn't make it so. You have to actually enforce it to make it stick, and you can;t do that without sufficient staff on the trains).

We could do with a few less mindless audio messages at train stations, too, so that we can actually make out the ones we need to listen out for about train problems and platform changes - when the train operators can be bothered to give out such information in a timely manner.

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Facebook fake news: Sort it out yourself, readers

Esme
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Seems like they're trying to explain the need for critical thinking, which IMO, if it hasn't been learnt by the time one leaves school is probably not goingto be learnt.

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