* Posts by John H Woods

2776 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash

John H Woods
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At best...

"At best, it would have hit her at 11.5 m/s or thereabouts (24mph)." - Lee D

Firstly, and decent car can brake at 1g. An XC90 has a 100km/h stopping distance of 36m. So, a=v²/2s gives us a deceleration of 10.7m/s² or 1.1g

(Surely the car deceleration increases as the velocity drops, so this is a minimum.)

A single second (1.0s) of full breaking could therefore reduce the impact speed from 40mph to 16mph. Its still gonna hurt, but it's an order of magnitude less likely to be fatal. Even if your calcs were right and you can only get down to 24mph, it must be at least 5x more likely an adult would survive such an impact than a full 40mph impact.

Note also that you only need another ~0.5 seconds to avoid the impact altogether.

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No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

John H Woods
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Re: Dictionary anyone?

@Vimes: "It's a mistake to portray leave voters as stupid in my opinion, especially when the government itself didn't know initially what leaving would entail."

Insert the word "all" and I'd agree.

Before the referendum I engaged with over 1000 people about Brexit on social media and news media comment pages. Of those, 956 engaged with 2 or more responses to my questions. 37 of those were "it's just how I feel" type answers, and 9 had serious arguments that actually made me think.

All of the rest were absolute, utter, irredeemable morons. Now it's quite possible that 99% of remainers are also morons. But they were voting for the status quo, which is a slightly different thing.

Way back when I was a lad, people who had no real knowledge or understanding or interest in politics used to say so. Now it seems that a lot of those same people have unaccountably strong opinions. Here's a typical exchange:

Brexiteer: "Why do Remainers treat me like an idiot? Show me some respect and you'll see I have good reasons, I've done a lot of research"

Me: "Ok, give me your one best reason for voting Leave"

Brexiteer: "Well, there's so many, but probably the most important one for me is the status of the Commissioner. He's like a godlike figure: he's not elected, he can't be censured by the commission, and what he says goes"

Me: "Errm, he is elected, he can be censured, and he doesn't really have much executive power"

Brexiteer: "You see, you're just dismissing my arguments out of hand"

Me: "Not really, I'm just pointing out that, after "all that research" and the opportunity to give me your very best reason for voting Leave, you've just said three things that a few seconds of internet search would confirm to be false"

Brexiteer: "Well, I still stand by my original position"

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John H Woods
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Re: Politics..

Andy, it is the current crop of Brexiteers that drew the red lines. It isn't the fault of Remainers that these have been drawn in the places they have been.

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Da rude sand storm seizes the Opportunity, threatens to KO rover

John H Woods
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Re: Upvote Tor The Headline Writer

Yep, nothing we like more than to pick up an earworm from our first Reg check of the morning!

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UK.gov online dating tips: Do get consent, don't make false claims or fake profiles

John H Woods
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Mad

Luckily for me I met the out-of-my-league Mrs Woods in a nightclub where she made the first move, God knows why.

But we have a single friend, younger than us (i.e. 40s) who is nice, witty and in fabulous shape (possibly because she is an HGV driver delivering heating oil!). She's tried a couple of dating sites but just ended up with one-date utter bellends.

I'm hoping to find her a nice nerd who will appreciate her. Let's have a commentard photo/profile gallery...

(You won't need my photo as a) happily married and b) have the great misfortune to look almost exactly like Anders Brevik).

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

John H Woods
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Re: Perhaps I need a forwarding email address for every shop

A lot of web forms incorrectly reject it but a "plus form" address (RFC2822) is what you are looking for.

yourname+anythingyoulike@yourdomain.com will be delivered to yourname@yourdomain; but you can still see the originally used recipient name, so when you get spam/phishing to, for instance, yourname+CW@yourdomain you know who leaked it.

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John H Woods
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Re: Timing is interesting for me

Them: "Can I get some security information before we proceed?"

Me: "Can I ask you a question first?"

Them: "Well ..."

Me: "If I did have an account with you, what would be your advice about sharing security information with unknown people?"

They: "Oh, you should never do that"

Me: "Thought so. Goodbye"

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Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

John H Woods
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Re: Undecimate?

"But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation" --- Smooth Newt

How about 'cimate' --- I'm pretty sure the tithesis society would be gruntled with that.

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John H Woods
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Re: Undecimate?

decimate - remove one in ten (decem)

undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

John H Woods
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Re: Good luck with that.

"UK tort law starts with having to show a "loss", and your time is worth .... nothing." --- JimmyPage

But, if you can't fix it yourself, and you pay someone to fix it for you, I think* their time is worth something, and you might well be able to claim that having to pay them is a 'loss' you might expect to be at least partially reimbursed.

Perhaps, by making the updates compulsory, MS have increased their exposure to such claims?

*IANALBIPOOTI

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Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

John H Woods
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Hi Vis...

... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

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John H Woods
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Re: Ah FUBAR

I like the military moniker NFG for equipment that is no good.

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GNOMEs beat Microsoft: Git Virtual File System to get a new name

John H Woods
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Why V?

It's not really virtual at all, is it? It's a sort of lazy initialization / deferred loading / caching system. Let's call it ... Block Storage On Demand.

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1,300 customers of Brit bank TSB defrauded due to botched IT migration

John H Woods
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Another false claim...

... prepared to bet my life that there's quite a few people who feel more for those customers than he does. Quite a few of us here, for starters.

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Five actually useful real-world things that came out at Apple's WWDC

John H Woods
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Re: Scripting

On Android you can do all that with Tasker

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Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

John H Woods
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Re: Indeed on the pork ...

I'd have worn a bow tie... Medics wear them for similar reasons.

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Boffins quietly cheering possible discovery of new fundamental particle: Sterile neutrino

John H Woods
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Re: I presume that public money is spent on this.

Money doesn't just disappear from an economy.

If you give researchers, or any normal citizens, money to do stuff, you'll get some back immediately in tax. The rest will be spent on goods and services, and more tax will come back, ad infinitum.

The only way to "disappear" money is to give it to the people who are equipped to move it out of the country where it escapes national taxation. And where, even if it is used, none of that money comes back because even if it is subjected to taxation, it now benefits other national economies.

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Stingray phone stalker tech used near White House, SS7 abused to steal US citizens' data – just Friday things

John H Woods
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Re: I am still surprised

On the other had I wouldn't be surprised if they are still sending and carrying unencrypted material by post or handler... How long is it since the last load of sensitive documents was accidentally left on a train or in a taxi?

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Experts build AI joke machine that's about as funny as an Adam Sandler movie (that bad)

John H Woods
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Re: A career in television?

Episodes was pretty funny

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Headless man found in lava’s embrace

John H Woods
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Re: One does wonder

Robert Harris' eponymous book heartily recommended... The first half is almost an engaging documentary of Roman life, the latter half an unputdownable thriller.

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John H Woods
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Hmm.... What we have here...

... has got to be a world forensic record for easiest to read scene ever found

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A Reg-reading techie, a high street bank, some iffy production code – and a financial crash

John H Woods
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Re: Or...

@tea hound

Fairy nuff. I've upvoted you for giving me a laugh!

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John H Woods
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Re: Or...

@handleoclast

I wasn't joking, but I was very unclear. Apologies, I was "thinking out loud" - for some value of thinking.

The three bits of code aren't meant to be a replacement for the loop but various ways of defining the operation "sum" which is then written only once.

Elsewhere collections would be summed using sum(array) in a functional approach and array sum (or array.sum() if you prefer C++ type syntax) in an OO.

The central point that I struggled to make is that I believe it to be simpler, more elegant, and less error-prone to use such a method rather than cranking out a loop every time you want to sum elements of an array. The definitions are just to emphasize that both functional and OO paradigms allow you to add such capabilities even if they aren't part of the base language and libraries.

But it was very poorly explained and I appreciate the downvotes!

----8<----8<----8<----8<----

Smalltalk note: Well, I might have used the first one; in a Smalltalk world no one would bat an eye at the inject:into:) construct.

However, I'd have probably have written...

totalExposure := positions exposures sum

... had a method on the Positions class to return the exposures...

Positions>>exposures

^self collect: [:each each exposure]

... and would be relying on a method called sum in the Collection class...

Collection>>sum

^self inject: 0 [:each :sum | each + sum]

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John H Woods
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Re: explicitly code a loop?

"For each X in Y" is pretty clear, no? Why shouldn't that be explicitly coded? -- David Nash

Ah I may have been unclear. Of course "for each" is a much better way of writing a loop than "for i=0; i<total; i++"

My problem is explicitly coding a loop to sum a collection. Most language / library combinations will already have a method to sum a collection of elements.

For instance, in SQL, surely it would be a bit weird to use a FOR EACH loop instead of a SELECT SUM()?

Every time a coder manually bashes out a loop to sum elements they run the risk of getting it wrong. Reusuing a fully tested age-old function (or Collection class method if we're talking OO rather than functional programming) is surely preferably to cranking out a brand new bit of code?

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John H Woods
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Re: Or...

Will someone please tell me why I am wrong to say that no-one using a modern language (of a higher level than Assembler or C) needs to explicitly code a loop to sum [attributes of] the elements in an array?

NB I'm not objecting to downvotes, I'm just interested in discussing it with people who know more than I do.

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John H Woods
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Or...

You don't need verbosity with a better programming paradigm

Smalltalk...

totalExposure := positions inject: 0 into: [:pos :sum | pos exposure + sum]

Java / More general OO approach...

totalExposure = map.values().stream().reduce(0, Integer::sum);

F# / General Functional approach...

totalExposure = [1..n] |> List.map exposure |> List.sum

NB indicative pseudocode, but the general point is that few people writing business software need to be explicitly coding a loop these days

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Russia to Apple: Kill Telegram crypto-chat – or the App Store gets it

John H Woods
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Re: lowest common denominator

More numerate types should remember: it's a thin line between them and the lowest common denominator

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Overhyping AI doctors, language translation goes open source, and new jobs on the cards

John H Woods
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Strength of GoogleFu

Yes, some people just can't search and/or evaluate results. My daughter's partner is always saying "Hey Siri..." and then managing to bork the question in a way that would make it almost impossible for an intelligent human to decipher.

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Max Schrems is back: Facebook, Google hit with GDPR complaint

John H Woods
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Re: How can just a new privacy policy be compliant

"but they're not supposed to remember it"

Not without your consent, what's your point?

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Uber robo-ride's deadly crash: Self-driving car had emergency braking switched off by design

John H Woods
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Re: Presecutions

It's probably in the orthinology book

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John H Woods
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Should have gone to SpecSavers

You might want to stop driving until you do.

Any reasonably alert and competent driver could have (should have) been able to reduce the speed of the vehicle from 43mph to at least under 20mph in that time, even looking at the (possibly artificially darkened) YouTube footage. If, as it seems, the area is more brightly lit, they would have had time to stop the car.

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John H Woods
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Six seconds at 43mph (18m/s) ...

... is plenty of time to slow to dead stop at 0.3G, it's hardly emergency breaking and how the hell would it be 'erratic behaviour' ... slowing down, even gradually, to avoid impact? Are they really prioritizing a "smooth ride" over not actually bumping into stuff?

If Uber want to spend 4 seconds waiting for the driver to do something (why?) they could still have dead stopped at 0.9G in the last 2 seconds which, though uncomfortable, was still easily doable (especially in the prevailing road conditions). Even a single second of full braking would probably have avoided the fatality, and anyone with more than half a brain must know that once you are in the last second there is ZERO chance of effective back-up driver intervention, and the system might as well do the very best it can from that point on.

The rental car I'm currently driving can already stay in lane; follow the vehicle in front at a set distance if that is less than the set cruising speed; and still brake the car hard if there's an object in front of it (while displaying a BRAKE NOW message and sounding a shrill alarm). This vehicle, in that mode, is doing more "self driving" than Uber was doing on that day, and if I hit a pedestrian because I was, say, responding to a new route suggestion on the Sat Nav, nobody would accept the excuse "but this car is supposed to be self-driving"

Uber basically put a person in a car that doesn't really qualify as self driving, told them it was self driving, and crossed their fingers. Absolutely disgusting behaviour, even by their own bottom of the barrel standards.

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You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

John H Woods
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Re: Smart TVs?

I wouldn't be too sure we won't end up with devices with WhisperSync like technology or mesh networking that doesn't rely on your own network.

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UK chancellor puts finger in air, promises 15 million full fibre connections by 2025

John H Woods
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There is a magic money tree*

Not a big fan of Corbyn but we've got to realize that questions about how things "are going to be paid for in reality" are, at least to some extent, enthymematic, and the enthymeme they contain is, at least to some extent, false.

A national economy with its own central bank and a still decent national credit rating is not 'like a household budget' and the ingrained idea that it is, in my opinion, perhaps the worst legacy of the Thatcher era.

There are clearly some very good reasons for controlling the amount and type of government spending (a quick look at the litany of failures of command economies is instructive) but "where's the money going to come from?" isn't, as far as I can see, a very useful question. Better to ask, for instance, "will spending this money now be worth it, in terms of economic growth (or indeed some other social good)?"

* In fact there are two magic money trees: both the state (public sector), and the banks (private sector), can simply create money. I'm not saying whether the existence of these trees is good or bad, or which it is preferable to eat from: I'm just saying "there is no magic money tree" is, purely and simply, not actually true. Those reluctant to borrow should say: "we don't want to spend that amount of money on that issue, and here's why" and those who want to borrow should say: "we think this is a good investment and here's why" --- then we can have a proper debate and get away from this "sorry there's no money left" nonsense.

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John H Woods
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by saying something...

and it's just a short step from there to

I hear by / hearby / hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow ... that everyone should get slightly less crap broadband speed.

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Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

John H Woods
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Whilst I agree ...

... many people already drive far too close.

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Boffins detect antimatter thundering down from Hurricane Patricia

John H Woods
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Re: Fascinating!

"Too little radiation and you don't get the chance of potentially beneficial mutations occurring in living organisms" --- [sequence of mainly digits with a hidden 'I']

Pedantic note: there are plenty of sources of mutations even without ionizing radiation, and even without any radiation at all: I should imagine the errors in the genetic processes themselves are a significant cause.

But I have no idea if anyone has attempted to quantify the relative rates associated with relative causes; I can't see anything obvious out there on the web and I'm no longer in academia. Anyone got any ideas?

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Military brainboxes ponder 'UK needs you' list of AI boffins

John H Woods
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Re: Automatic or intelligent?

'My proposal for an agreed definition of AI: "It seems to do things that look to us as if it's thinking, but we have no idea why."' --- Jonathan Richards 1

Isn't that just the Turing Test?

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It could be you: National Lottery hands £16m to England's Jodrell Bank

John H Woods
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This is fabulous

n/t

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Sysadmin hailed as hero for deleting data from the wrong disk drive

John H Woods
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Let me remove all these intermediate compiler files...

rm *.o

<sticky shift key>

rm *>o

OK, now I have just one file with one character in it. On the plus side, I have plenty of disk space.

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Das blinkenlights are back thanks to RPi revival of the PDP-11

John H Woods
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Re: Basic skill of slide rule

I used to teach remedial maths to biology undergrads. Nearly all of them had been taught that logs were historic and related to the time before calculators, and they weren't that happy to hear that they were fundamental to science. One day, one of my mature students, who understood the maths back to front but nevertheless dutifully turned up to even the maths tutorials, asked if we'd like to see his slide rule. "I'm an old fossil" he explained apologetically.

By the end of the hour the three students still struggling with the concept of logs had got it absolutely solid. The "old fossil" gave me the slide rule and I used it for years: some people massively benefit from a degree of "physical learning." I think the same must be true for computing and projects like this are invaluable.

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Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

John H Woods
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Don't Panic, Fellow Commentards

Video games are off the hook. The problem is too many doors!

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Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

John H Woods
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I love Three ...

... as a network. As a phone provider? KILL IT. KILL IT WITH FIRE.

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Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

John H Woods
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In my unpopular opinion...

Seats lift for *cleaning*. If you lift the seat to avoid dribbling on it, presumably you don't mind urinating on the rim? So if you have to lift the seat, you should probably be sitting down anyway.

A quick postmictural survey with a UV torch explains why civilized gents sit unless either using a urinal or relieving themselves outdoors. But manufacturers and buyers need to up their game ... few relish penis-to-porcelain contact!

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Open justice FTW! El Reg fought the law – and El Reg won

John H Woods
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"There are a few others left"

Can be a bit hit and miss, but Private Eye needs an honourable mention.

El Reg - Well done, we're proud of you.

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German IKEA trip fracas assembles over trolley right of way

John H Woods
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Re: Ikea trip rules...

Learn the shortcuts!

+1

Look for doors that look like they're missing a staff only sign!

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Engineer crashed mega-corp's electricity billing portal, was promoted

John H Woods
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Re: I can forgive 'Matt' for all of his sins...

Sorry, but literally doesn't literally mean literally any more.

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Virtue singing – Spotify to pull hateful songs and artists

John H Woods
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"First they came for R. Kelly, then..."

... they came for the other paedophiles?

Not bothered, sorry.

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