* Posts by RW

1101 posts • joined 23 Apr 2007

Plod punishes PC-reliant businesses

RW
Flame

Always demand a written, detailed receipt for seized evidence

Otherwise, you can claim "someone purporting to be a cop took it away and refused to give me a receipt.Here's a video recording of the incident. I filed a police report of this impersonation and theft."

You guys need a political party with a platform plank "purge police forces nationwide of Stasi types."

Just like management types, you would do better hiring random people from the nearest bus stop than using the current incumbents.

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Bot-wielding hackers crash eBay holiday giveaway

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Thumb Down

Ebay: "they just don't care"

That's not news at all.

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EU flags up wrinkly nuke-boffin knowhow loss threat

RW

Training? Or Education?

You can train a monkey, but you can't educate him.

This article inspires me with a nasty sense of schadenfreude. Dear, dear NuLabour and its idea that real education is filthy anti-egalitarian elitist nonsense improper in a truly proletarian society...well, they've sown the wind and in not much longer will be reaping the whirlwind.

You can't even design a decent sewage treatment plant without suitably educated boffins — and they need lots of post-educaction experience to properly ripen.

Sometimes I'm glad I'm inching into old-fart-hood, and won't be around when things start to get truly dire.

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Bittorrent declares war on VoIP, gamers

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IT Angle

Are torrent users butterfly collectors?

A gazillion years ago I glommed onto a huge number of fonts via usenet. The last few months, I've been gradually organizing these. There are thousands of them. I can say I have Old Style Horrible, and Sans Imperfect, and Minos' Penis, lucky, lucky me!

But aha! guess what? The vast majority of them I've never used for anything at all, and never will. They are cyber-clutter, essentially like all the crap I've bought at junk shops over the years and am now trying to dispose of. (Adobe, Linotype, et all can go back to sleep: my possession of these fonts affects their bottom lines not at all.)

Which leads me to the question: do the die-hard, insatiable torrent users actually watch, listen to, or use in any other way the stuff they download? Or do they merely use it as an ego-boosting mechanism: "yah, yah, yah, I have more tracks than you do!"

IOW, are they butterfly collectors whose passion is possession, not utility?

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Axl Rose may have undermined own case over Dr Pepper stunt

RW
Happy

Dr. Pepper delicious!

What other soft drink do you know of that's prune-flavored?

And besides, it's something of a regional delicacy in the American southeast, so deserves protection as a national culinary treasure.

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'Bloody' is an offensive word, declares ASA

RW
Boffin

pp. 66–68 in "Mrs Grundy, Studies in English Prudery"

by Peter Fryer. Publ. Dennis Dobson, London, 1963. An entire chapter devoted to "The 'Bloody' Taboo." Yes, it's a short chapter, but so what? With copious (one might say bloody copious) notes.

Sometimes I wonder how I ended up with a personal library that plays such excellent counterpoint to some of the more arcane El Reg commentaries.

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FBI warns NY officials of Thanksgiving Day terrorist plot

RW
Unhappy

@ The Other Steve

While smallpox was deliberately used as a biological on some Indian tribes in British Columbia and possibly elsewhere, the real depopulation of North America was due to influenza.

Look for the book "Plagues and Peoples" by William McNeill for a reasonably full, level-headed discussion.

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Aussie government muffs plans for internet filtering

RW
Boffin

And this shows what's wrong with proportional representation

First past the post at least keeps the fringe elements (aka nutjobs) out of office.

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Lords told to listen to science on cannabis

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Thumb Up

Re: If they listened to scientific advice (Anon Coward 11:25 GMT)

"Half the illegal substances would be legalised, tobacco would be banned immediately and UK faith schools would be prohibited from teaching creationism as scientific. Never gonna happen though."

You're too timid by half, Mr. Anon Coward. After giving the matter much thought, I have concluded that the only viable approach is full legalization of *all* recreational intoxicants, no exceptions. The present approach is utterly broken; it causes nothing but evil results. To wit:

1. No one who wants to use any drug has the slightest difficulty acquiring the stuff. Thus the law is brought into disrepute.

2. Users are at the mercies of producers and dealers, and can never be sure about the identity, purity, and potency of whatever it is they enjoy getting high on.

3. The real addicts end up committing petty crimes to pay for their habits, to say nothing of the sad women prostituting themselves to pay for their next fix. Legalize all intoxicants, give them free to certified addicts and guess what? You could leave your front door unlocked.

4. The money that organized crime derives from the drug trade has utterly corrupted any number of countries. Plus there are those with a vested interest in keeping the present system of prohibition unchanged: cops, the incarceration industry, mafia dons, sleazebag politicians. You may be sure that the louder a politician squeals about the evils of drugs, the more money they're being paid by gangsters. [Hello, Wakkyjakky!]

5. Police manpower is diverted to drug law enforcement when it could be used to combat more serious menaces.

6. Drug law enforcement becomes a vehicle to justify further Stasi-fication of many countries.

7. Mankind, from its earliest days and quite likely before that, has always sought to get as stoned as possible as often as possible. You simply can't fight human nature.

I'm quite sure every El Reg reader can add other points to this list of "the evils caused by the prohibition of most intoxicants."

Yes, legalize even the dangerously addictive drugs like crack and meth.

I used to propose all this as a way of stirring up the shit, but one day I paid attention to what I was saying and realized that it may all sorts of sense.

Spread the word.

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Facebook wins record $873m fine against smut spammer

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@ Ted Treen

The Internet, the web in particular, wasn't intended for use by children.

I think it's time to reverse the way we do these things. Instead of assuming all websites are suitable for kids and then flagging a small subset of smut outlets, assume no website is suitable for children and enumerate the small set that are intended for tots.

And put the onus on parents to ensure their kids don't have access outside the kiddies' playroom. Easy enough to do with software, easier than the present ineffective method of trying to block indecent sites.

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DVLA under scrutiny over penalty notice dating game

RW
Alien

The solution is called "a postmark"

I used to work in a government department which had fairly strict statutory restrictions on its efforts. One was that notices of a certain type had to be mailed by a certain date, and the interpretation section of the act specified that "to mail" means to deliver into the hands of Canada Post. One (typically stupid) manager thrust these important notices into an mail bag of the government's in-house mail system just before the deadline.

The courts rightly held that the requirement had not been satisfied and that this particular batch of notices was therefore deemed not to have been sent in accordance with the law.

Funny thing, but we seem to take the law more seriously out here in the colonies than in the motherland.

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Home Office team continue work on net snooping masterplan

RW
Pirate

Public consultation? A minor annoyance to the powers that be.

"The results of the public consultation will be used to inform any decisions on the programme's preferred solution and safeguards and to determine whether future legislation is needed."

IOW, the louder the outcry against this police state system, the sneakier they'll have to be. I notice that they don't impute a subject to "preferred". Is it the population's preferred, or Wakkyjakky's?

Wakkyjakky and her gang of idiots have long since demonstrated their utter and complete contempt for democracy. "We know what's good for you, citizen, so shut up and take your medicine."

Burble: I've seen the name of "the Brain behind the curtain." It's some very senior cop who's had the ear of successive Home Secretaries for years. Typical plod.

Burble: Calling Wakkyjakky a crackpot. Exactly right! From where I sit in a distant land, it looks like "government by tabloid" where the latest circulation-boosting hysteria is always taken up as evidence that something (expensive) must be done.

Christ, but I feel sorry for Britain with that bunch of sleazy jerkoffs in charge.

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Social workers sacked over Gary Glitter email

RW
Linux

@ Sarah Bee

Given Wakkyjakky's penchant for "government by tabloid" you can expect to see her tabling "an act to criminalize politically incorrect thought processes" any day now.

Yes, it's Tux again, wide-eyed as ever at the shenanigans of W.j.

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GeoCities 2.0 auctions self on eBay

RW
Coat

@ Andy Barber

The proverbial cap with the propeller on top was a beanie, not a baseball hat.

For your further edification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beanie

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Government still losing at least a computer a week

RW

@ Ash

"We don't need a review of policies . We need hefty fines and prison sentences for INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE for the loss of equipment containing unsecured personal data. Simple."

Ah, but which individual is responsible, pray tell? The lowly flunky who had the misfortune to have a laptop stolen while refreshing himself after an arduous workday? Or his manager, who clearly didn't *manage* him? Or the operating policy wonks who fill notebooks inches thick with detailed, explicit policies, but never trouble themselves to tell the troops about them? Or, God forbid, the minister responsible for the department at fault? (BTW, what ever happened to the concept of ministerial responsibility? Did Wakkyjakky have her way with it? <shudder>)

Ash's emphatic demand that _somebody_ be held accountable is understandable given the repeated demonstrations of public sector IT muppetry, but I fear his proposal would become an excuse to make the proverbial lowly flunky a scapegoat for more profound failings much higher up in the hierarchy.

And thus serve as a mechanism for those truly responsible to escape all blame. Since it seems to be a guiding principle of NuLabour that all blame must be avoided, you can see how the proposed policy would play into the hands of Those We Love to Hate.

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Firefox millions - only 12 per cent Google free

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Linux

With or without, it would happen anyway

I've been a Firefoxer for over a year, and only when I read this article did I pay the slightest attention to the search engine drop down. I'd long since manually added Google to my tool bar anyway, as I expect most people have.

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Filesharing ambulance chasers get into the gay smut racket

RW
Stop

With a little luck

Someone can convince a learned judge that Davenport Lyons is engaged in frivolous lawsuits and get them disbarred.

And maybe someone needs to send the principals of Davenport Lyons lots and lots of spurious claims for damages that they have to defend or be found guilty by default.

And how do DL prove that the legal papers have actually been served? Do they use registered mail with return of receipt? No other method is viable, short of sending a bailiff around to deliver it by hand.

"Joe Smith? Sorry, never heard of him, try the house over there."

The whole business constitutes abuse of the legal system on a par with Scientology's.

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PC virus forces three London hospitals into computer shutdown

RW
Gates Horns

Windows in critical functions?

Surely you jest.

MS's attempts to propagandize otherwise notwithstanding, Windows was originally designed for single-user standalone machines (no network connection), with heavy lashings of "home use". The heavy burden of legacy attitudes and design principles at MS means that Windows, even dear Vista, has not, and cannot, break free from these implicit constraints.

Linux may not be the answer, but Windows is definitely not the answer.

Old news to El Reg regulars.

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Wacky Jacqui's £12bn gIMP could be unleashed by 2012

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Thumb Up

A long-overdue move

Now people will be forced to use encryption routinely.

A silver lining to the cloud of Wakkyjakky's malformed mind.

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Roachzilla menaces Florida

RW
Joke

I can't resist

Maybe that should become the new code name for Wakkyjakky: "the hissing cockroach."

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Ubuntu 8.10 - All Hail new Network Manager

RW

What Canonical should do

Mimic the system Burroughs used for releases of their large systems MCP eons ago: explicitly alternate releases between "new features" and "faster, smaller, more efficient."

Otherwise the bloat endlessly becomes moreso.

Footnote: "Eons ago" when you chased a pterodactyl down the street and caught it if you wanted a warm lunch.

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Sweden judges back Pirate Hunter Act

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Flame

@ Paul Smith

As sung in "The Mikado", make the punishment fit the crime.

$10,000 for stealing a copy of a copyrighted work that no one much is willing to actually pay for is on a par with transporting to Australia a thief who stole a loaf of bread.

Pull your head out of your ass, man.

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Judge says tech-addled jurors undermine justice

RW
Go

Technicalities

Whenever evidence is rejected "on a technicality" it's because the plods took some kind of shortcut. There's almost always an alternative method that would have rendered the same evidence admissible.

And supposing you do start overlooking "technicalities"? Where do you draw the line? Is it a technicality when the plods break into your house without a warrant to search for evidence?

It's just like Bush and his illicit wiretapping. There was a special court established specifically to hear requests for warrants to do so, but no, the cowboys couldn't be bothered with going through channels.

I'm all in favor of rejecting evidence on technicalities, esp. when the learned judge tears the coppers new assholes for failing to do their job properly. Keeps them on their toes.

Remember the old adage, better a hundred criminals go free than one innocent be punished.

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Auntie Beeb's amazing, evolving, ID card stories

RW
Linux

The Beeb has, indeed, gone downhill

It's first on my list of bookmarked news sources and has been for a long time, but the decline in quality has been noticeable over the last I don't know how long. Some of the grammatical gaffes and tortured phraseology that turn up from time to time suggest they have near-illiterates writing for them now.

But given NuLab's totalitarian instincts, it should come as no surprise that they would convert the BBC into mouthpiece for the party line. The thought processes behind this process are pretty easy to guess: "NuLab's goal of creating the New British Man by eradicating elitism and classism, and by instilling in all comrades a sense of their importance as elements in the social matrix: this goal is so wonderful, so good, so admirable that any means is justifiable in attaining it. Providing citizens with correct news and viewpoints is an important part of the program and such issues as accuracy and independence on the part of the BBC cannot be tolerated if they interfere with the transformation of British society into a workers' paradise."

Or something vaguely along those lines. I will allow that the goal might actually be "stay in power" rather than "transform British society."

IOW, the old "ends justifies the means" bullshit.

Tux because he's so wide-eyed at the political spectacle in the UK.

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CRB database wrongly labels thousands as criminals

RW
Pirate

Re Good Stuff (13:11) & @ AC 13:45

Smells to me like "Good Stuff" is a troll who doesn't deserve the dignity of a reply. If not, then the Home Office is goofier and stupider than previously thought, given the transparently shillistic nature of his posting.

13:45 : "This lunacy will finally end, when having criminalised 50% of the population, the state will start to use the logic that the other 50% MUST be guilty of something, as they've not yet been found guilty of something."

Isn't it said that given the number of laws in force, we're all guilty of breaking one or another of them? But just think of the savings that will result when this old saying is exploited to merge the CRB database with the National ID one! I imagine that dimwit totalitarian Jacqui will then circulate to all denizens of Britain a questionnaire asking you to list the crimes of which you are guilty. Cripey: that sounds just like Scientology! And failure to fill the form out will be itself a crime, and failure to fill it out 100% accurately will be one too. <mode=sarcasm>After all, this is a government database and no errors or omissions can be tolerated.</mode>

Perhaps it really is time to start alleging various misbehaviors on the part of those in government. "I saw Jacqui Smith commit a terrorist act: she dropped a candy wrapper on the pavement!" "Gordon Brown is a nasty criminal: he farted in public!" "Ooooh, that evil Harriet Harman: she bits the heads off chickens in a manner that is not pain-free."

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UK's 'secure' child protection database will be open to one million

RW
Boffin

That "special" database for MPs' children

It'll just be a flag on the record so when the MP loses in the next election his kids can be restored easily.

And who's going to guarantee that the programmers writing reports and DB access routines will always remember to omit the flagged records? Mr. Brown? Ms. Jacqui? Ha ha ha ha!

Britain needs to build a nice big new nuthouse, round up all members of the NuLab government and incarcerate them for "demonstrable madness and disconnection from reality."

PS: I am wrong if NL intends to have a permanent majority, but we know what happened to the political party in the US that tried that little stunt.

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RW
Boffin

@ Nomen Publicus

A good point about why the NuLabour fixation on gigantic national databases. A smidgen of history might help us understand better what's going on:

In the mid-1960s the Rand Corporation published a book proposing ways to use computers and databases in local government, "A Data Processing System for State and Local Government".

In essence it proposed a single comprehensive database with everything connected to everything else, land, people, schools, welfare, you name it. I found this book in a remainder bin somewhere and bought it as a curiosity, but with time I came to the realization that it was proposing a privacy-destroying Big Brother system — about what you'd expect from the Rand Corporation.

One has to wonder if that little book is behind NuLabour's fascination with all-encompassing databases; the parallels are too close for comfort.

PS: Copies of the book seem to be readily available, though not in great numbers. Anyone with a serious interest in the erosion of privacy via IT should familiarize themselves with it, if only so they understand how long the NL attitude has been around.

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Anal whitening biz drops one million clams for Vibrators.com

RW
Happy

@ Big Pete

You've led an overly sheltered life, m'boy.

Please note: no Paris icon; she would be just t-o-o obvious.

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Hotmail holdouts grumble about 'pathetic' new interface

RW
Unhappy

Reminds me of eBay

eBay has changed the semantics of its search so a carefully tailored search argument for very specific items now throws back in your face all manner of non-hits. If the object of your desires is uncommon — and the longer the argument string, the more likely it is — you end up having to scan the hits visually, thereby eliminating the utility of a search function.

I hardly bother with eBay since they did this. Yes, you can invoke the old search, but it requires clicking through multiple screens and simply isn't worth the effort.

Hotmail and eBay both violate a fundamental rule of website design: design it for the users, not for your own internal needs. No one cares about those!

Fuck eBay. And fuck Microsoft.

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Vintage IBM tape drive in Apollo moon dust rescue

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Go

@ Stuart Gray

Asked he: "Is it really so hard to recreate the hardware from scratch?"

Quite possibly there are proprietary details to the construction that were only documented on a need-to-know basis and have been lost to retirement and death.

In situations like this, it helps to be a Buddhist and to thereby understand that change is always just around the corner.

I used to smile at the dimwit managers I worked with who'd read "Paperless Offices for Dummies" and thought they understood the issues. 'Twas amusing to ask them how could we read the big floppies that stored ancient files from a Xerox word processor back around 1980. Or the lovingly preserved tape backups of IMS databases dating from 1985, where the program source code had long since been junked, and even if still extant, could no longer be compiled.

There really is data that demands long-term retention. Military pension data is one, because sometimes ancient soldiers marry sweet young things who become entitled to a widow's pension. The US Civil War ended in 1865, but some participants (drummer boys, e.g.) were quite young, say 15 y.o. at the time. Thus a geezer born in 1850 could in 1930 (aet. 80) marry a 20 y.o. born in 1910 who today is a mere 98 y.o. and still receiving a pension check every month.

It's really quite surprising how quickly information becomes unusable. I have what purports to be a list of the addresses my family lived at from 1936 on, but between garbling of the information, the building of freeways and interstate highways, changes in street names, renumberings of street addresses, and alteration in city boundaries, I have been unable to pin down several of these addresses using Google maps.

Such is life.

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World's ugliest mutt pops paws

RW
Go

There is no ugly dog

Unless ugly is defined by behavior, not appearance.

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DNA convictions fall as database doubles in size

RW
Stop

Just another demonstration

That an über-plod has the ear of the Home Secretary. After my last inquiry here about the history of the Home Office's love of Stasi methods, I ran across the name of the particular cop who has access to The Ear.

Here's the root problem: Wacqui Jacqui and her predecessors don't understand that they're not in office to help the police on the q.t. The police are quite capable of helping themselves. WJ et cie are there to rein in the police and make sure that in their plodish way freedom is not tossed into the trashcan.

Better that a thousand criminals go unpunished than one innocent person suffer.

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Serial commentard vents steam through ears

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Coat

@ Funneh AC

Oh, God, no! Spare us! And spare your humble servant, El Reg, from lolcatization.

http://www.icanhascheezeburger.com/

is a compendium of words, phrases, sentences, and sentiments not henceforth to be expressed, implied, or ambiguated on these sacred pages.

Those allergic to extremely silly humor are warned off.

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Webcast quango: One-third of UK teachers are creationists

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Boffin

@ AC 13:41 GMT

AC: "Evolution is not fact, is that far more important thing, a scientific theory. Science should be about scientific theory"

Some theories and hypotheses eventually are agreed to be facts. Evolution is such a theory.

The evidence supporting evolution is so voluminous, and there is such a paucity (i.e. none at all!) of competing theories that explain the evidence, that no thinking person can any longer disagree with the concept. In particular, scientists now agree that Darwin's theory is true, not merely speculation.

You might argue that no one has seen evolution in action, but every so often these days new species are seen to arise. Example: sudden oak death is a new species of /Phytophthera/ evidently formed by natural hybridisation of a North American species with an Asiatic species imported by accident into California. There are other examples as well.

I'm hot on this topic because the creationists will chirp "but evolution is just a theory" as though "theory" means "stab-in-the-dark guess made by some Joe-the-Plumber." Not at all; the Sarah Palins of the world are not the intellectual equals of Charles Darwin and their ill-informed opinions do not merit comparison to Darwin's immortal insight.

Darwin was a wise enough man to see the holes in his theory, and his theory of evolutionary mechanisms (gradual, progressive change) is merely one competing theory. Perhaps the most prominent other theory of evolutionary mechanism is the "punctuated equilibrium". But that theory in no way goes against the fundamental understanding that species can, and do, and have, changed into other species via natural mechanisms.

As for the concept of "scientific theory", there's the Popperian definition that a scientific theory is one subject (in principle) to disproof. So far no one has discovered a fossil that could not be slotted into a grand family tree of all life. Creationism, on the other hand, by its dependence on the arbitrary involvement of a Flying Spaghetti Monster or other such supernatural entity with creative urges, is simply undisprovable. It does not lead to the exclusion of a wide range of possible phenomena, unlike a strong scientific theory. Creationism, via its fundamental arbitrariness is simply not scientific.

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Morning voting in America

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Thumb Up

@ Thomas Bottrill

The problem is that in the US, election day is *all* elections at all levels of government. Plus, the elections at each level may be surprisingly complex.

Thus, at the Federal level you vote for President & VP; your Representative; and every six years, a Senator. At the state level, you vote for governor, other state-level officials (depending on the state) and state legislature member(s), plus assorted propositions, initiatives, referenda, and maybe even a recall or two. And at the municipal level you will be voting for mayor, city councilman, dogcatcher, judges, etc.

Keep in mind that in the US, a great many more official positions are filled by election, rather than by hired guns or appointees. It is much more of a democracy than many outsiders realize.

Putting it on paper is a mess. Those old mechanical voting machines are a wonder.

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Government Gateway login details found in pub car park

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Happy

@ Paul Buxton

"[Government ministers] want to keep their own details off all of the planned national databases"

I'm willing, once again, to bet a jelly donut that even the ministers in their lofty offices are going to be in for some rude surprises. Instead of actually purging their information from various databases, simple booleans will be set to indicate "invisible data", so when ministers leave office, all their data is easily restored.

Programmers being what they are (esp. the outsourcees) they won't always follow the prescribed logic in generating reports, so ministerial secrets (size of underclothing, preferred brand of personal lubricant, eyeglass prescription, dates when hair was cut) will pop out into view sporadically. And if the hackers penetrate the DBs, no secrecy at all.

And since the current UK government knows no limits to its sheer snoopiness, you may be sure that we'll even discover how many pairs of red lace crotchless panties Mad Jacqui owns.

Stay tuned. The show will be even funnier than the Saturday morning cartoons I used to watch on TV as a child.

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IPS dismissed 14 over data protection

RW
IT Angle

I wonder if there's a need-to-know principle operating

So employees only see the specific fields they need to see for their work.

Or is this a bargain-basement system that will show everything to everyone logged on?

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Touchscreen robo-pharmacist calls for more CCTV snooping

RW
Coat

"preparing medicines:

ITYM "counting pills"

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Volt is 'go' for Oz as charging-point deal unveiled

RW
Alien

Charging points

In the colder parts of Canada, every parking space has an electric outlet so you can plug in your engine block heater. Indeed, the presence of such outlets defines "colder parts of Canada".

No, I don't know what wattage block heaters are, but since ignorance has never stopped me from babbling like a fool, I'll hazard a guess that it's on the order of 10 watts.

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MoD's London brass resist job cuts

RW
Pirate

Bureaucracies

Over half of any bureaucratic workforce are useless drones that, at best, merely retard work slightly, and in worse cases actively interfere. You could turn the drones into cat food without anyone much caring, except for the kitties.

Unfortunately, the drone concentration increases as you go up the ladder, and drones protect drones, so if a "fire half of them!" order comes down from on high, you'll lose many more useful than useless employees. Also, non-drones tend to be rather short-tempered with the idiots around them, so have reputations as being "uncooperative", "not team players", etc, which are convenient excuses to use when purging the ranks.

Footnote re kitties: they probably wouldn't eat canned drone. Mine took one bite of a venison cat food and said "fuck off, meow, that stuff is inedible." Maybe it was laced with melamine?

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Forgotten what an egg looks like? We can help

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Paris Hilton

Where is the Register's sense of humor?

If El Reg is going to reprint the story & pic of an egg, I would have expected a photo gallery of other, better egg pictures, by gum!

Paris...just because!

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VbyV password reset is childishly simple

RW
IT Angle

Where and when did the banks go off the rails?

Banks have been doing online business of one sort or another for decades and you think by now they'd have the security angle down pat. Quite the contrary, they seem to be retrogressing and bringing in notably insecure systems like VbV.

Wha' hoppen? Did the stupid, lying marketing departments sink their fangs into system design and drag the dead body of security back to their loathesome lairs? Did the people who Knew Security all retire with no one troubling to ensure transfer of expertise? Did system design get off-shored to a cut-rate shop in Kathmandu?

Myself, I rather suspect that marketing departments have gotten involved in matters they wot not. Some years ago i got a gushing missive from my bank (Royal Bank of Canada) "oh, gee whiz, aren't we special! you can do online banking now, just do this, this, and this." I phone their help line and said "disable online banking on my account, it's not secure." (And running Win98 as I was at the time, that's an understatement.) "But sir, it's perfectly secure!" "No it isn't; some marketing wonk turned it on without my say-so." <silence>

Having online banking disabled has caused a minor problem or two, but I'd rather that than discover someone has cleaned out my hard earned retirement savings!

Where do the banks find these idiots? If they feel a marketing department is a sine qua non, why don't they at least follow standard security measures and keep the marketing wonks locked in cages in a sub-basement away from anything of importance?

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Civil servants' pro-Labour memo reignites child data controversy

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Heart

@ Sarah Bee

Dear Sarah: it's sweet of you to suggest <rant> but encouraging brainlessness is not in the best traditions of El Reg. In point of fact, amidst the humor, sarcasm, and fanboi nonsense, there's penetrating comment on the political aspects of IT and its misuse. <Rant> will tend to diminish that and discourage thoughtful comments.

So go ahead, sweetie pie, and encourage the verbal sputtering and incoherency in extenso because, as the old adage has it, sometimes dogs vomit up pearls.

I still think the Manfrommars deserves his own icon.

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Government tied in knots by bondage protest

RW
Unhappy

@ Graham Marsden

I conclude, then, that there is an inner circle of police and pro-police-at-all-costs types within NuLabour. Or that has mesmerized NuLabour.

An unelected, unaccountable clique at that.

I weep for Britain and the Mother of Parliaments.

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RW
Boffin

Sex is bad: thus spake Jacqui

¿But, aha! is it *really* Dear Jacqui, the UK's very own Precious Leader, who is at the center of this nonsense?

I can't help but think that one of two situations prevails: either this is all driven by one screwy person with a great deal of power in Whitehall, or it's an entirely cynical move to further the Stasification of Britain.

In the latter case, one can well envision a bunch of cops and their sympathizers being behind it all.

We're all familiar with cops being so sure they know who's guilty that they don't hesitate to fudge the evidence; it's an attitude that comes with the job and one of the reasons civilized countries keep the cops under firm control by a magistrate who refuses to buy into their lies.

Tell me, someone, has this kind of nonsense been going on since before Precious Jacqui got her grubby little mitts on the levers of power?

And tell me, which of the two situations outlined seems more likely, given the available evidence?

Meanwhile, since unsupported allegations will be listened to, I suggest anonymous complaints to the Thought Police about Labour MPs' family members to the Nth degree might have some interesting consequences.

PS: it strikes me that maybe there's a third possible situation. Labour is trying to entrench itself so only party members in good standing qualify for much of anything, just as in the Soviet Union party members were the creme de la creme and everyone else a second-class comrade. Perhaps all these Stasificatory moves are merely intended to sweep, say, 95% of the UK population into the "suspected" category leaving behind only 5% to dictate the life of the country. Suspect? Can't vote. Suspect? Can't work in the public sector. Suspect? Automatically guilty on nobody at all's say so.

Discussion, please, if the Divine Moderatrix doesn't mind.

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BBC clarifies location of England

RW
Thumb Up

I approve of the BBC's map

It doesn't assume the reader knows where England is.

And forget not that the same map may be generated in who knows how many other languages: does the average speaker of Lower Slobbovian necessarily know what the geographic relation of Wales to England is? Thought not!

In point of fact, the maps on the BBC website are among the best to be found anywhere on the web. Some of their stories are too "popular", but cartographically they're about the best to be found anywhere.

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Top prosecutor warns against growing state power

RW
Boffin

A ray of hope

They'll hire EDS. The project will never be finished nor will it ever work.

Jacqui needs to be put in small, quiet, well-ventilated cell somewhere with a single text to meditate upon: Oliver Cromwell's immortal line "I BESEECH YOU IN THE BOWELS OF CHRIST THINK IT POSSIBLE YOU MAY BE MISTAKEN."

With an eye on the future, I'm going to suggest that all UK-resident readers of El Reg write letters to Conservative MPs and functionaries asking "what are your plans to dismantle the surveillance state that NuLabour has installed over the last eleven years?" Snail mail, short, polite, preferably hand-written.

My own experience with The Bureaucracy is that short, well-written letters carry surprising weight. When the Conservatives note an apparent groundswell on this topic, it is within reason that they may start to shift their own position. They have no ego invested in NuLabour's Stasi-like nonsense; one hopes that they are therefore more flexible on the subject.

The Liberal Democrats are also candidates for such letters, as it will encourage them to make it an election issue.

It may be important to specifically say that terrorism and the protection of children are mere smokescreens for the destruction of privacy and civil liberties.

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UK.gov plans 'consensus' on PAYG phone registry

RW
Flame

She's lying!

I think it's established now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Jacqui Smith lies about whatever stupidities the Home Office is currently planning.

You can't use that kind of language in Parliament, but I defy her goons to pry me out of my Canadian hidey-hole for saying the plain truth: the woman is a liar. And her spokesmen are liars too, though they have the excuse that they're paid to lie.

What's worse, she doesn't lie because she doesn't know any better. She lies quite knowingly for political ends.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

I once knew a dignified retired professor of mathematics, a widow of extreme couth, who remarked about a mutual friend "If my husband Jack were still alive, he'd say she needs a good screwing in the backseat of an old Oldsmobile."

I imagine if Phoebe's husband were still alive and tuned into Jacqui's madness and penchant for lying, he'd say the same thing about her.

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UK.gov says: Regulate the internet

RW

We need to start speaking up about the merits of porn

Porn allows people with unfulfilling sex lives, or no sex life at all, to vicariously enjoy some approximation to a good sex life. it doesn't matter if the root cause is age, weight, appearance, an uncooperative husband/wife/partner in sin/one-night-stand, taste in sexual matters, physical incapacity or disability, or whatever: the simple fact is that without porn a lot of people would lead lives of considerably greater sexual frustration than they do with it.

What I smell in this nonsense is the Dworkian nonsense "all intercourse is rape" transmogrified into "all depictions of sex are BAD and DEGRADING TO WOMEN."

In point of fact, when some lame-brain feminist made just that assertion, someone asked, well, what about boy-boy porn? This produced a reply that it still objectified women (in some mysterious way). A real Jacqui Smith kind of reply, wouldn't you say?

All together now: PORN IS GOOD! PORN IS GOOD! PORN IS GOOD!

But what about the children, says some idiot? Maybe it's *good* for children to see depictions of adults having sex? It should produce a generation with a lot fewer sexual hangups than those that have gone before. I've yet to see any objective evidence that exposure to porn harms children.

As usual, HM govt lies about their real motives. Somebody in govt thinks porn is dirty nasty stuff so it has to be suppressed. Otherwise how can they create the truly-clean minded New British Man?

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Hoon: Not building überdatabase would be terrorist licence to kill

RW
Happy

@ Norman Andrews

Quoth NA: "Couldn't we just give the pair of them a pile of each other's personal data to mine? That would keep them both happy ,and the rest of us safe from their retarded concept of 'civil liberties'."

I guess I have a dirty mind. A pile of each other's soiled underclothing might be more to the point. Hoon could contemplate the metaphysical significance of Jacqui's crotchless red-lace panties embroidered with logic-free feminist slogans, while Our Jacqui could carry out DNA analysis on the skid marks in Hoon's boxers while verifying that he wears proletarian brands of small clothes, not elitist versions.

Disgusting, both of them, ditto their inane boss Gordon. Likewise all the spineless NuLab MP's who sit on their hands and bite their cheeks instead of following the example of the small boy in "The Emperor's New Clothes".

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