* Posts by Ed Deckard

81 posts • joined 3 Apr 2007


French mock British G-spot probe

Ed Deckard
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Dr. Odile Buisson

"I don't want to stigmatise at all but I think the Protestant, liberal, Anglo-Saxon character means you are very pragmatic. There has to be a cause for everything, a gene for everything. It's totalitarian."

To think of the time and energy I've spent online arguing with francophobes and then the good doctor goes and says something like this.

China's doomed attempt to hold the world to ransom

Ed Deckard

OK, see, this isn't "cornering" rare earths...

The Chinese have no need to monopolize a resource they've already got a lock on (at current prices) - this is an attempt at using their existing (effective) rare earth monopoly to create better-paid, skills-intensive jobs in high-tech manufacturing rather than getting stuck with the low-added-value stuff (like, uh, mining) while other guys do the really profitable jobs.

This strategy of forcing your foreign clients to buy finished products instead of cheap raw material near the bottom of the industrial chain isn't exactly exclusive to the Chinese, either - Japan does it for such relatively pedestrian stuff as fancy steels.

Will the strategy work?

Maybe. As the author pointed out, people in other countries could start mining the stuff if the price made it worth their while; on the other hand, the Chinese could ensure they'd remain the most competitive by simply not raising the price of the raw stuff and providing a labor pool at significantly lower cost than your Western worker. Which, you know, is what they're famous for.

The only things I can think of that would make this not work would be if a) capital costs for setting up a new factory in China outweighed the benefits or b) our lords and masters got around to slapping a reasonable import duty on Chinese products.

(By the way, (b) just isn't going to happen, boys and girls).

The author is also right that we don't know how tech is going to evolve. Rare-earth stuff could be completely obsolete five years down the line - or the stuff could be 10 times more valuable as new products that use it evolve. What won't change is that highly-skilled jobs will be more valuable than low-skilled jobs, and the Chinese are doing their best to ensure they get their fair share of the skilled ones. I just wish we could say the same.

More holes open up in Green Dam Youth Escort

Ed Deckard


"Falun Gong" is no more a political term than "Scientologist."

Why the IWF was right to ban a Wikipedia page

Ed Deckard

Err, hold up

"All traffic from affected ISPs now looks to Wikipedia like it comes from the same IP address. That causes a problem for Wikipedia. It doesn't mind who looks at its pages – but it wants to control who can change them. It has its own blacklist, a list of people from certain IP addresses who are forbidden from changing Wikipedia's pages. Wikimedia does this because it does not like what they write. So its criticism of the IWF is hypocritical."

Wikimedia and/or the hivemind may censor stuff (I recall something along those lines to do with "naked" short-selling and another case involving a shady Indian guru) but merely recording and controlling who does what, where does not constitute proof that they practice censorship in any meaningful way. Preventing vandalism, spam, etc. != censorship, as the nice mod person for this comments page should know, and an IP address is necessary for such actions.

I say this as someone who hates wiki-wankers as much as you do, probably more.

Jezza Clarkson cops flak for 'truckers murder strumpets' gag

Ed Deckard

Clueless Yank here

"Brian Tobin, director of The Iceni Project, "a charity which had helped some of the murdered prostitutes in Ipswich", described the gag as "highly distasteful and insensitive"."

How does one help murdered people, exactly?

Morning voting in America

Ed Deckard

I think (hope) chris was being sarcastic

Was in line before 7 AM, waiting for the polls to open to elect the President of Texas and those other, lesser, States. Had a voter registration card, four different utility-type bills in my name, a state ID and passport in hand, just in case my right to vote was called into question. The legal guns-for-hire representing the Republican party, doubtlessly fooled by my pale complexion, vaguely Anglo-Saxon name and business suit into believing I would cast a vote for their candidate, chose to let me through unchallenged. Those fools.

SanDisk reinvents 1980s personal stereo for the noughties

Ed Deckard

@ Epic Fail

"@ Ed Deckard: I don't know where the £16 came from , the article says £8.60. You reeled a few in though!"

It came straight from the article, which may have been altered since then.

Ed Deckard


"SanDisk will initially release the player into the US for $35 (£20/€25) - each pre-loaded SD card costs $15 (£16/€20)."

You guys are getting -screwed- on the SD card price.

Linux at 17 - What Windows promised to be

Ed Deckard

@ Doug Bostrom

"The English language has never been displaced--- to be replaced by a whole-cloth reimplementation-- but instead has seamlessly morphed to support changing requirements."

You got the wrong end here by picking a living language for your example. English has replaced a huge number of other languages, and presumably may be replaced itself at some point.

El Reg drops in on Bletchley Park

Ed Deckard

Second the T-Shirt idea and

propose you sell us some books too. Crypto-related stuff seems appropriate.

I'm going to buy those anyway, might as well give the money to a museum instead of Amazon.

Dell axes 900 jobs in Austin plant shutdown

Ed Deckard

3 billion!

Well, maybe if you count all the money they "save" by not buying components for the computers they not going to assemble anymore.

(Thought up facetiously, but perhaps closer to the truth than I first imagined?)

Mine's the orange one with the longhorn emblem on the back.

Harold and Kumar go to Comcastle

Ed Deckard
Paris Hilton

Ahahahaha oh wow

For someone who accuses people who disagree with you of "living in a dream world of secret manipulative forces, evil wizards, fire-breathing dragons, scary ghosts and freaky monsters," you do a pretty good Green Ink comment yourself. Evil Internet regulators are eeeeeevil. Consumer rights advocates are even more eeeeeevil. Hilarious.

Lets get back to talking about Paris Hilton and leave this sort of thing to "conservative" talk radio please.

Pirate Bay aims to sink BitTorrent

Ed Deckard

I didn't get this bit

"In July 2006, version 6.0 of the BitTorrent protocol was the first released without the source code."

I thought a "protocol" just meant the rules for the computers to talk to each other.

How does that have a source code?

Should it read "BitTorrent client"?

If the protocol itself went "closed," how do independently developed clients like Azureus, uTorrent, etc. keep up, or did they stay with 5.x?

If it's just the client, how is this important or indeed relevant to the stuff TPB is concerned about?

I request a :confused: icon. Maybe a big question mark by itself, or in a yellow truangle like the exclamation icon.

Europe grows more (and more) GM crops

Ed Deckard


"The news comes as a four year study by boffins at Newcastle University has shown that organic produce, although variable, has higher levels of nutrients such as antioxidants, and lower levels of fatty acids.

The research has promoted calls from organic standards body the Soil Association for the government's Food Standards Agency to shift its official position on organic food."

Because research has shown people in Western, First World nations such as the UK have severe nutrient deficiencies. Except for the vegan/fruitarian/raw food contingents. Absolutely.

Reg Standards Soviet defines temperature, force and weight

Ed Deckard


"That said, I hereby petition the Reg Standards Soviet that the Jub standard be rightfully defined as a unit of mass. The conversion should be set at 3.42 kg as that is the mass of water required to fill 2 Bulgarian funbags at 0 Hn."

Okay, so what is the mass of *silicone* required to fill two Bulgarian airbags at 0 Hn?

Dead dog floors 68 Namibian villagers

Ed Deckard

68 people, huh

Must've been a really big dog.

Suicide website creator arrested for murder

Ed Deckard


Females actually choose poison far more often than males do, at least in the United States.


On another topic entirely, I was also looking forward to a torrent of desu and exploding van posts. What happened?

American-style casino opens in Iraq

Ed Deckard

Just one more thing...

for the Mullahs to use as an example of how the secular Satan-inspired Americans are out to destroy everything that's good, right and Islamic.

I'm starting to think the whole "Clash of Civilizations" thing may be accurate, if only as a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Church hall bans 'unchristian' yoga for nippers

Ed Deckard

Is this even Yoga?

It sounds like Ms Woodcock is just sticking the name on whatever the hell she's teaching, ignoring the original meaning. I suppose the same could be said of most contemporary Yoga instructors, anyway. Ultimately harmless but could to some confusion, for example from the good Rev?

Nepal fixes Boeing 757 with goat sacrifice

Ed Deckard

Come on guys...

I can't be the only one who propitiates the Machine God with a sacrifice to fix an unstable network/dodgy Windows install/whatever.

It works at least as well as calling Support.

Yahoo! seeks dismissal of China human rights lawsuit

Ed Deckard

Re: The State of American Business

Union Carbide, United Fruit, Standard Oil, Colorado Mining Association...

Free software campaigners stonewalled at BBC

Ed Deckard

Re: Tell you what

"When the open source coders produce a reliable antipiracy DRM system for Linux, the content providers will allow the production of players like the BBC's iPlayer."

Err, Microsoft doesn't produce a "reliable antipiracy DRM system." Neither does anyone else, as far as I know.

French teen held over online Potter translation

Ed Deckard

Re: sacré bleu !!!!

"WOW! I bet the French were really pissed off at this! An ENGLISH book topping their best seller list! I'm surprised they didn't get a court injunction to stop it. Maybe they tried?"

Pay attention: it was the French who bought the book so it could be a bestseller. Do you think they got pissed off and tried to get a court injunction against themselves?

On topic, JK Rowling has the worst attitude towards her fans of any writer I know of.

AK47: the open-source weapon that took the world by storm

Ed Deckard

BREN assault rifle?

"And, depending on the definition of an "assault rifle", there is that Czech invention, the Brno-Enfield 303 light machine gun, more popularly known as the Bren. It was man portable and had an excellent range and accuracy and pre-dated the German "assault rifle" !"

If we're going to include the BREN under the "assault rifle" category, then there's a whole bunch of earlier designs. Take the Chauchat, the French light machine gun from WW1. At 9 kg it was about 1.25 kg lighter than the WW2 BREN, and much lighter than other LMGs of the era [Brit-issue Lewis (12.7 kg), German MG08/15 (18 kg and belt-fed)], designed to fire from the shoulder, had a fixed barrel and fed from a bottom-mounted magazine. In short, except for firing a full-powered round (8mm Lebel) and being a bit on the heavy side, it had the same features as a modern assault rifle.

Intel revolted by its own 'insensitive and insulting' ad

Ed Deckard

"African-American" revisited

"I heard of an American lady on holiday in Britain who met a black man. She thought in puzzlement for a moment then referred to him as a 'English African-American'."

Not as bad, but from someone that really ought to know better (or at least his editors should): In Angels & Demons, Dan Brown (of DaVinci Code fame) refers to one of his characters, a black Englishwoman employed by the BBC, as "African-American."

On-topic, (and speaking as a non-white male) I think this sort of thing offends no-one but the PC pundits, and distracts from real issues of discrimination.

The cold, cold heart of Web 2.0

Ed Deckard

Bad examples.

For me, Amazon's recommendation system is just another source of potential reading material, and not a very important one at that. I get much more out of other sources, such as reviews, references, friends' recommendations and plain old bookstore browsing. Even if it -could- replace those, it won't, because it sucks. Based on a few one-off purchases their system has built up a completely wrong image of what my interests are. I suppose one can waste some time trying to fix that, but who would bother?

Others have already pointed out the flawed thinking in blaming Web 2.0 for the flash-in-the-pan careers of musicians.

I'm a bit cynical about the whole Web 2.0 concept because it's dumb and ineffective, not because it's too effective, as the author imagines it is. Web 2.0 isn't going to "break" anything that hasn't been long broken by TV, video games and Web 1.0.

RFID a 'technical blunder', report says

Ed Deckard

RFID not that cool yet, maybe quite cool later

Okay, so RFID is expensive, unreliable and not really well understood. Sounds like every new technology, ever. I say let the early adopters work out the kinks and pay for the development costs. Once they do the advantages would be gigantic for someone in my line of business (retail management).

Having the computer let me know I'm running out of 12oz Acme Beef & Gravy dog food, have only 3 packets of BBQ flavored brand X chips on the shelves, there's 2 cases of Texas Hot Queso Dip that expire this week sitting in storage and 8 cases of Leeton's Mint Tea hidden behind the beer in the cooler would make my job a heck of a lot easier. Of course, having adequate labor hours, storage space and maintenance budget would be even better, but that would require an act of God, not mere technology.

Iran's 'Rescue Nuke Scientist' game battles US game studio

Ed Deckard


"Does this entirely Iranian product run on entirely Iranian hardware?"

I imagine it's mostly made in China?

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale

Ed Deckard

Won't work...

... unless the underlying assumptions of how individuals react to events and how they influence each other are correct, as well as a way to objectively quantify how they react (subjectively!) to a variety of events. Psychohistory (as in Asimov's Foundation stories - this is what the program amounts to, right?) would require ridiculously accurate measurements of stuff we have no idea how to measure at all right now, plus it would probably have a pretty near "event horizon" after which predictions would have such low probability as to be useless. Add to that the capacity of individuals and small groups to influence events all out of proportion to their size (think al-Quaida) for the butterfly effect and... yeah, useless or worse than useless.

The way to test it would be to set the program at some point in the past and let it run to a given date, then check the predictions against actual history.

It will probably make the most awesome strategy game engine, ever, though. Can't wait for "Sentinent World: Rome" to come out.

US states press MySpace to give up sex offender data

Ed Deckard

Email registration?

"(MySpace's) statement went on to call for the passage of federal legislation requiring sex offenders to register their email address."

Presumably so they could block said sex offenders from registering.

How in Cthulhu's name do they propose this should be enforced? I've probably had a few dozen email accounts and the only ones that could be traced back to me (I think) are the ones from work and my ISP. Maybe someone could do some magic with static IP addresses, but then I'd just have to get on someone's unsecured wireless or dialup to preserve my email's anonymity.

Passing the buck or just clueless? I demand an in-depth investigation from El Reg!


Slammed by the WTO, slammed at home

Ed Deckard

Good article, however...

"Towing the party line" should be "toeing the party line."



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