* Posts by Chris Miller

3333 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007

Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

Chris Miller
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'Twas ever thus

No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

'Notes On Journalism' in the Chicago Tribune (1926), Henry Louis Mencken

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Scotland, now is your time… to launch Brexit Britain into SPAAAACE!

Chris Miller
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Re: They're going to move it.

Hence why it's a part of Scottish history.

Dating back all the way to Queen Victoria. Highlanders wore plaids not kilts.

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Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

Chris Miller
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Diesel-electric locomotives and petrol-electric cars have some efficiency advantages (mainly that the engine speed is decoupled from the wheel speed, so the engine can run in its most efficient range more of the time), but require significant extra weight compared with a mechanical transmission. Extra weight isn't a huge problem for ground transport, but is a massive (sorry) issue in the air.

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Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price

Chris Miller
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"Just what you get for the extra $20,000, other than being one of the first 1,000 to get behind the wheel, has not been revealed."

Is it a sign pinned to your back reading 'kick me'?

Fanbois (and girrlz) may be happy to spend 24 hours in a queue to be the 'first' to have a new and untested piece of technology. Fleet managers, not so much.

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The Social Network™ releases its data networking code

Chris Miller
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Re: It's Monday morning, let's hope BT are already analysing the code on Git-Hub.

FTTP doesn't need some magic new protocol, it needs lots of horny-handed installation engineers, up ladders and digging trenches. That's why it's expensive.

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Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

Chris Miller
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@Zog

I drive a plug-in hybrid with a claimed electric only range of 30 miles. On a sunny summer's day on pan-flat terrain, given a light foot and driven at a constant 56 mph, that could well be achievable. But I live in the Chiltern hills, with lots of 15% inclines, and I've never seen better than 24 miles. In winter, when batteries are less efficient and there's extra demand for lighting, heating, wipers etc, I often see less than 20 miles. Manufacturers' range figures should be treated like mpg claims for internal combustion vehicles: a good standard comparator, but not likely to be achieved in real-world use.

As an aside, my car gets around 3 miles/kWh. Tesla claims for its Semi "< 2 kWh/mile" and a range of 300 miles (or 500 with a bigger battery option). So there must be at least 600 kWh of battery, and recharging that to 80% full in 30 minutes is going to need a 1MW supply. Connecting that safely and dealing with the waste heat is a non-trivial engineering challenge in itself. Dealing with 10 or 20 electric trucks simultaneously ...

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'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes

Chris Miller
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27 per cent of the universe is dark matter

That's on the assumption that 2/3 of the universe is constituted by the even more mysterious 'dark energy'. If dark matter exists (i.e. if our current understanding of gravity is correct) there must be about four times as much of it as ordinary matter.

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How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don't say 'regular patches'

Chris Miller
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Re: Satcom remote monitoring

A physical airgap would require duplicating a lot of equipment and cabling, which means significant extra weight - a huge issue for an aircraft manufacturer.

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Windows on ARM: It's nearly here (again)

Chris Miller
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If you can remember the '90s, you weren't really there, man.

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Apple succeeds in failing wearables

Chris Miller
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ARTHUR DENT: My left arm’s come off too. How am I going to operate my digital watch now?

(H2G2 - 1978)

Nothing changes ...

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The day I almost pinned my tushie as a Google Maps landmark

Chris Miller
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Re: This is why I keep reading Something for the Weekend, Sir?

"What has a hazelnut in every bite?"

Squirrelshit!

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Irish priests told to stop bashing bishops

Chris Miller
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Chapeau for whichever sub wrote that headline!

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How do you like them Apples? Farewell sensible sized fones, forever

Chris Miller
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Re: Dom Joly - the thinking mans futurist

Naah, it's rubbish!

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NASA tells The Reg: For crying out loud. We're not building flying taxi software for Uber

Chris Miller
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It's on that well-known fake news site, The Giradanu. I'm only surprised they didn't manage to weave in a reference to the Paradise Papers.

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Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy

Chris Miller
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Hillary's campaign spent $1.4 billion on the presidential election (Trump about $750 million). Coca-Cola spends $4 billion every year to persuade people to buy their fizzy water. The notion that the Russians could swing an election with a few hundred tweets is a risible conspiracy theory (unless you're desperately seeking someone to blame for your own incompetence).

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American upstart seeks hotshot guinea pig for Concorde-a-like airliner

Chris Miller
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Re: The British Airways LCY to JFK route is just silly.

But clearing US immigration in Shannon means you arrive into JFK as a domestic flight, and avoid the hellhole that is JFK immigration. Some flights from the Gulf pull the same trick.

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Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man

Chris Miller
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Re: No change

Every time I start an ICE I create external costs for everyone, that are way way worse than those that come from an electric car.

In the UK roughly 2/3 of the price of fuel goes in taxes. I think that ought to cover any externalities.

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Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

Chris Miller
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Pint

Re: In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

H L Mencken

I'm off to get my five a day. Cheers!

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Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

Chris Miller
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If God did not want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.

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UK.gov joins Microsoft in fingering North Korea for WannaCry

Chris Miller
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Re: Wait!

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

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Capgemini: We love our 'flexible, flowing' spade

Chris Miller
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I can see there may be some point to marketing bullcrap if you produce consumer goods, such as fish fingers or cars. But has anyone ever selected an IT service provider because they had a pretty logo?

IBM have their faults, but at least they kept the same logo for decades at a time.

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Grant Shapps of coup shame fame stands by 'broadbad' research

Chris Miller
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"So my village, probably to get me off their back, they came in and put FTTP in of 300Mbps. It's amazing, but then there is a gap between people taking it up and availability. Actually, largely that's because operators don't tell people it's available."

There will probably (and correctly, in my view) be a higher charge for the higher speed. If the alternative is 2Mbps, most people will pay, but if they can already get 20Mbps, why would they* pay extra for 300Mbps?

* Yes, I'm sure there are some exceptional use cases, and that many of them read elReg. I pay a few extra quid a month for 100Mbps VDSL rather than 17Mbps ADSL+ - but I'm fortunate that I don't have to choose between higher speeds and food/housing.

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Drone smacks commercial passenger plane in Canada

Chris Miller
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With apologies for uber-pedantry

Efficient modern engines use 2 or 3 fan stages

True, but only the first stage is used for bypass thrust, and hence can be considered analogous to a traditional propeller. The other stages compress the air prior to ignition.

if the [turboprop] blades are rotating, pedestrians need to avoid walking into them

And if turbofan blades are rotating, pedestrians need to avoid walking within several metres of them.

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Beardy Branson chucks cash at His Muskiness' Hyperloop idea

Chris Miller
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Re: Main benefit of HS2?

Chiltern trains are limited by the length of the platforms. They've been busy extending many stations, just to get from 6-car to 7-car trains.

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Chris Miller
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The West Coast Main Line, which HS2 will mostly duplicate, is at near full capacity during morning peak hours on its southern stretches

I call bollocks. The WCML is far from the most crowded of the lines into London. What 'independent' consultants showed was that if you cherry pick your data and forecast it forward for a decade and a half, you can show that there will be capacity issues. But if the purpose of HS2 is to relieve (potential, future) bottlenecks, there are far, far cheaper ways of doing this. They don't generate cushy non-executive directorships for retired politicians and civil servants, though.

When the history of the 21st century comes to be written, HS2 will feature in similar terms to the East Africa Groundnut Scheme.

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Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION

Chris Miller
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That EU 'protection' was in place when all this happened. It did a whole lot of nothing. Quelle surprise.

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Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

Chris Miller
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Re: More bullshit

Hillary's campaign alone spent $1.4 billion (Trump a bit less than a billion). Even if these numbers for an alleged Russian spend are real, and represent only 1% of the true amount ... that's still just a rounding error.

In 2004, the Guardian urged its readers to write to constituents in marginal Ohio, in an effort to swing the presidential election against Bush. I don't recall any howls that the evil Brits were trying to steal that campaign. And it worked so well, too.

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

Chris Miller
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@Ledswinger

I suspect in future we'll see near-continuous tracking via the satcomms, whether that will be fault resilient and tamper proof who knows.

Whatever systems we build (or retrofit) into aircraft, there will always need to be a simple means of switching them off - you need circuit breakers that can swiftly be pulled in case a fault develops that could turn into a fire and threaten the aircraft. So someone who knows what they're doing will always be able to disable them.

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30 strong fingers but still no happy ending for robotic back rub

Chris Miller
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"The Shiva physiotherapist massages with her own hands" – it says here, proving that workplace gender neutrality has yet to reach The Netherlands

Dutch (like many languages) has gendered nouns, so it's easy for an unsophisticated (or automated) translation to carry across the gender of pronouns, resulting in something that isn't quite fluent English.

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EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

Chris Miller
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Re: @Steve Evans

The whole concept is bonkers (unless they're in possession of some technology beyond the currently understood laws of physics). Electric cars work well (up to a point), but they're massively heavy because they're full of batteries. On a surface vehicle this isn't an insuperable obstacle, but aircraft designers grapple constantly with how to shed every excess pound. An aircraft (even a personal one*) with sufficient battery power for an hour's duration flight would be far too massive to get off the ground.

* Unless you're looking at something like the Gossamer Albatross or the Solar Impulse - but they're no-ones idea of a prototype airliner. A top speed of 75 kts would be a bit of a drawback, for a start.

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Why Uber isn't the poster child for capitalism you wanted

Chris Miller
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efficiency doesn't increase in response to competition, or at least not very much

I can't quantify 'not very much', but one way that Uber improves the efficiency of private hire (while reducing CO2s) is matching up return journeys. When my local private hire chap takes me to Heathrow (or wherever), there's a very good chance that he's coming back home empty. Uber offers the prospect of a paying fare back.

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Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

Chris Miller
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Obligatory xkcd

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Compsci grads get the fattest pay cheques six months after uni – report

Chris Miller
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Oxford? Tick. Imperial? Tick. Cambridge? Tick.

Bournemouth?? WTF?

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NCC hires three Bank of England cyber experts to beef up assurance business

Chris Miller
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My buzzword bullshit detector is now wrapped around its endstop. Thanks a lot, ElReg.

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Weird white dwarf pulsar baffles boffins as its pulsating pattern changes over decades

Chris Miller
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Your boss asks you to run the 'cloud project': Ever-changing wish lists, packs of 'ideas'... and 1 deadline

Chris Miller
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Re: 'utilise our resources to leverage the actioning of the process-driven outcome'

Don't forget to "counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor".

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Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

Chris Miller
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@Credas

You can use a very similar argument to 'prove' that you don't pay income tax.

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Chris Miller
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VAT is chargeable, but mostly reclaimable by businesses on their purchases, which means that it is (in effect) a consumer tax.

VAT is paid on value added (the clue is in the name), which is similar to (but not the same as) gross profit - if you're not adding value, you won't stay in business very long. As a consultant, I have minimal outgoings to offset against my VATable earnings, so it certainly feels like a tax to me when I write out my cheque to HMRC every quarter.

Anyway, as Tim Worstall (late of this parish) would have pointed out, corporations (being merely a useful legal fiction) can never pay tax; it's always ultimately borne by people, whether customers, employees, suppliers or owners - there's no-one else.

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44m UK consumers on Equifax's books. How many pwned? Blighty eagerly awaits spex on the breach

Chris Miller
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Re: Crucifed

The class action lawyers (in the US) are already recruiting. This is going to cost Equifax a minimum of 9 digits.

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Brit aviation regulator is hiring a space 'n' drones manager

Chris Miller
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The UK is the second largest satellite manufacturer (after the US). So not too ridiculous.

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Retail serfs to vanish, all thanks to automation

Chris Miller
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Why should freight be carried from New York to Chicago by railroads when we could employ enormously more men, for example, to carry it all on their backs?

Economics in One Lesson - Henry Hazlitt

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Thousands of hornets swarm over innocent fire service drone

Chris Miller
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Re: Eek!

Hornets (the European ones found in the UK, anyway) are much less aggressive than wasps. They have little interest in your picnic sandwiches, either, their main food source being other insects.

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Argentina eyes up laser death cannon testbed warship

Chris Miller
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@Voland's RH

The Argentinians not having the capability to buy (or get as a present) the data from the Chinese, Russians or anyone else who keeps an eye on them from space.

If the Russians could spot submerged nuclear subs from a satellite, we'd have bigger problems than Argentina to worry about. But they can't. They can tell how many boats are in port (as can a tourist with a pair of binoculars), and that's about it.

At least at one point this year there was not - the Admiralty unintentionally leaked the fact by stating which one is in for repairs and which one is participating in various junkets (all away from there).

There are three commissioned RN nuclear hunter-killer submarines, with three more under construction in Barrow, and a seventh planned.

The problem with the Falklands in 1982 was that there was only a token military presence (a couple of dozen Royal Marines) and no way to reinforce by air (the runway being relatively short), allowing the Junta to calculate that they could quickly occupy the islands with minimal risk of casualties on either side. This is no longer the case.

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Dell's flagship XPS13 – a 2-in-1 that may fatally frustrate your fingers

Chris Miller
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Re: "Prices start at £1,299/US$999."

True, but when the exchange rate was ~£1=$1.50 IT kit was still (often) priced at $1=£1. 'Twas ever thus!

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Chris Miller
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"Prices start at £1,299/US$999."

I realise the £ has fallen against the $ (and one includes VAT and the other doesn't), but that's still a bit harsh!

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Headless body found near topless beach: Missing private sub journalist identified

Chris Miller
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If this were the plot of a Scandi-noir novel, it would be dismissed as ridiculously implausible.

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Disbanding your security team may not be an entirely dumb idea

Chris Miller
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Whether you call it "appetite for risk" or "tolerance of risk" is not a big deal. But the point is that this isn't (shouldn't be) a purely IT decision, because security is not purely an IT issue. Businesses exist in order to take (and share) risk - but how much risk they're prepared to take is a question that is ultimately for the owner(s) of the business to decide.

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Chris Miller
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It's never (well, hardly ever) the job of Security (or IT in general, for that matter) to say "No". It is their job to point out the costs and risks associated with a particular course of action. Given that there's no such thing as absolute security, security is always about managing risk. The appetite for risk varies greatly between different (and different types of) organisations, which is why 'one size fits all' security solutions are few and far between.

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NotPetya ransomware attack cost us $300m – shipping giant Maersk

Chris Miller
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"He says he learned that there was nothing that could have been done to stop the attack"

Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.

Marcus Aurelius

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Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

Chris Miller
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Re: Out of Date Discussion

IBM has had in various forms an active and successful policy of employing and promoting strictly on merit since the 1920s

The argument is not about whether such a policy is a good idea, but whether you look at a resultant situation where there is a significant disparity in male:female ratios and conclude that therefore we are not promoting strictly on merit and must apply different criteria to male and female candidates in order to rectify the perceived discrimination.

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