* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

965 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Bankrupt Aussie Hells Angel scoops £750k lottery jackpot

Jonathan Richards 1
Paris Hilton

> That reminds me of the day I saw a big road bike driving past, with a small kids sized motorbike strapped to it.

You thought you did. But what you actually saw was the mating dance of the Greater Touring Motorcycle (Enfieldus triumphans), in which the smaller male mounts ... Ooops, NSFW, sorry.

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RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89

Jonathan Richards 1
Coat

Re: Space Education

> all the makings of a fine serial killer until I got lost in a nest of ethernet cables

Well, ethernet ain't exactly parallel so you could just take scissors and pursue both careers.

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Jonathan Richards 1

Pogle's Wood

Ah, yes. In which a family of society drop-outs rely on a plant for mind-altering experiences. Definitely a backstory there!

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German researchers defeat printers' doc-tracking dots

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Re: LX

@ I II III

Hoo, boy, you wouldn't believe how individual the placements of those dots are! Nearly as good as the mis-aligned letters on a typewriter, a forensic clue beloved of spy thrillers of yesteryear.

Something that the paper itself didn't seem to address in the anonymization-by-adding dots technique, is whether the serial numbers in human-readable form have some sort of error detection/correction, along the lines of check-digits in an ISBN, for example. The serial numbers are many digits long; much too long unless the manufacturers are planning to build billions of printers.

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Developer’s code worked, but not in the right century

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Because computer dates are numbers but real dates aren't

> cal 1752

[imagine a September where Wed 2 is followed by Thu 14]*

Really, that should be dependent on i10n; different countries switched from Julian to Gregorian calendars at different points in time (and hence with different adjustment days omitted). 1752 was the year Britain and its colonies got on board. Turkey held out until 1926.

*You have to imagine, because El Reg, he no let me paste monospaced typeface.

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Jonathan Richards 1

No standard for epochs - @katrinab

Those are epochs: the arbitrarily chosen t=0 point for the counter. Formats are the expression of dates in one's chosen calendar.

PS. In fact, Unix counts seconds since the epoch, hence the approaching Unix Time "Apocalypse".

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Wires, chips, and LEDs: US trade bigwigs detail Chinese kit that's going to cost a lot more

Jonathan Richards 1

Request for information

TFA talks at length about

> a list of products totaling $34bn

and I'm sure that thirty-four thousand million USD1 is a headline-grabbing amount of money, but it's not clear to me what the number refers to. I speculated that buying 1 unit of everything on the list FOB Shanghai might total to $34E9, but that doesn't seem possible. Does the USA import $34 billion dollars-worth of products on this list over some unspecified time period? If so is it the amount paid to China, or the value of the goods sold and used in the USA?

25% of $34E9 is $8.5E9. Has the US Treasury shared with the US electorate exactly (or even vaguely) what it will do with this extra income?

Perhaps some of it will need to be invested in anti-smuggling operations: some of the list items are clearly high value in units of $/kg, and 25% tariffs are worth avoiding.

1I suppose that they mean USD and not HKD!

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Apple will throw forensics cops off the iPhone Lightning port every hour

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Mixed mnemonics!

Ha! As the years advance, I have adopted a mnemonic I'm never going to forget: it's for the password ErR,'avI'ad-me-d1nner_y3t?

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Trump’s new ZTE tweet trumps old ZTE tweets that trumped his first ZTE tweet

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Tips and corrections:

Linkified at the bottom of every article with a mailto:

Easier than commenting!

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

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: RE: ah I see a problem!!

> Getting SC cleared

Given the amount of transferable knowledge and skills to be had in this arena, I'd think that Developed Vetting (DV) might be the appropriate level of clearance [1]. I have no idea if autonomous AI weapons research/intelligence is TOP SECRET or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

[1] United Kingdom Security Vetting [gov.uk]

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Jonathan Richards 1
Mushroom

Automatic or intelligent?

At its heart, this is a philosophical question. We like to think we're intelligent and exercising free will, and all, but get down to the neurological and biochemical level, and, well, were my punctuation decisions in this sentence driven by Ca/Na ion differentials across some greasy membranes, or were they 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."

By this definition, Phalanx is not intelligent, any more than a bucket of water balanced over a door. Not even if you hook it up to an IFF database is it really thinking. If you know why it works the way it does, it ain't intelligent.

A truly intelligent autonomous weapon system might read the manifesto of the opposing forces, and decide to change sides.

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Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park

Jonathan Richards 1
FAIL

Seeing steam...

Long ago, as but a callow youth, I worked a summer at a dairy/creamery which had a milk pasteurising plant. For a couple of weeks there were complaints of milk spoiling in the bottles (see, I told you it was long ago...) but it was impossible to take the time to break down the entire rig (pasteuriser, holding tanks, bottling machine, and all the pipes and valves that join them together) in order to work out where the nightly cleaning-in-place process was failing. The solution was, after cleaning was done, to use live steam to bring all that shiny stainless steel up to 100C to kill the bugs. The steam source was a heavy-duty hose (designed to deliver hot water, actually, by mixing steam and cold water at the taps on the wall). Muggins took the heavy-duty hose, and pushed the business end into the empty milk holding tank. Returning to the wall, I left the water off, and turned the steam full on. This was a Bad Move - the high-pressure steam couldn't drive the water out of the hose fast enough, subjecting the hose coupling to full pressure and blowing it apart. In the split second it took me to turn and run, I could see REAL steam: a perfectly transparent stream of it in the clouds of "steam" that enveloped the tank room. We had to shut down the steam generating plant, and wait half an hour until there was a cool enough breathable atmosphere in the tank room to get back in with a nice strong jubilee clip. I was lucky not to have been scalded, of course.

Sorry, no IT angle here, move along...

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Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Up

Re: Had the fire brigade called to a five star hotel, in Malta....

> laying down a ring of mustard approximately 100cm diameter on the side of a burger wrapper

Cripes! I know BK is the Home of the Wopper, or whatever, but a wrapper a metre across!

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Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

"... failed to live up to Lord Amery's pitch"

TFA quotes that pitch as saying "[Concorde] has every chance of securing a substantial part of the world market for supersonic airliners. This is a chance that will not return."

The first sentence was clearly borne out. There was no other supersonic airliner in the market, Tu-144 notwithstanding. The second sentence is a hostage to the future, of course, but the chance hasn't returned yet, 56 years after Amery said it.

Thanks for an interesting article. Having seen Alpha Foxtrot outside in all winds and weathers for so many years, it's good to know that it is now in from the cold!

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Incredible Euro space agency data leak... just as planned: 1.7bn stars in our galaxy mapped

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: You know you're old when...

Prompted by the remark re. quasars (discovered 1963), I pulled from my bookshelf a volume which I read a great deal when I was young, although it was published some twenty years before I was born. "The Wonder Encyclopaedia for Children" has an initial chapter on The Universe, which conveys the impression that the "spiral nebulae" that are observed with "the best telescopes" are clouds of gas from which a new star (singular) may be born. The caption to a photograph of Mars, with all the resolution of a charcoal pencil drawing, says 'Some astronomers think that Mars has inhabitants, and the lines which you can see are canals for irrigation'. Progress involves un-learning a lot of things!

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Europe fires back at ICANN's delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year

Jonathan Richards 1

Contact email

> an anonymized email address for every domain name owner so people's real email addresses are not published online.

Isn't that just postmaster@example.com (SMTP) or webmaster@example.com (HTTP, HTTPS) ?

RFC 2142: MAILBOX NAMES FOR COMMON SERVICES, ROLES AND FUNCTIONS IETF, May 1997 (emphasis added)

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Can't log into your TSB account? Well, it's your own fault for trying

Jonathan Richards 1

@Chris G

... who requested a linky.

Try this: Lesbian Vampire Killers

What, you don't want any combination of lesbian, vampire and killers in your search history??

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Oh dear... Netizens think 'private' browsing really means totally private

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Like with a cloth or something?

A Microsoft executable that takes arguments delimited by hyphens? Last time I looked, CMD used slashes, e.g. dir /s

To be fair, I haven't looked for quite some time...

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Jonathan Richards 1
Facepalm

re Long version

Exactly so. The survey results might be explained by ICT (Impulsive Click-Through) by users entering private browsing mode(s), or perhaps by participants never using such modes, and just guessing the answers.

I just checked what Chrome tells one when opening an Incognito window:

You’ve gone incognito

Now you can browse privately, and other people who use this device won’t see your activity. However, downloads and bookmarks will be saved. Learn more

Chrome won’t save the following information:

-Your browsing history

-Cookies and site data

-Information entered in forms

Your activity might still be visible to:

-Websites that you visit

-Your employer or school

-Your Internet service provider

So in this case at least, there's no good reason for the misunderstanding.

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You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

Jonathan Richards 1
FAIL

This happened in early March? And yet https://foipop.novascotia.ca still re-directs to a "System Unavailable" notice, even at Mon 23 Apr 10:38:23 UTC 2018.

I was about to exercise my leet skills with wget inside

$ for n in $(seq 100 199); ...; done

I hope that the prosecutors see sense, and charges are dropped/not laid.

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UK.gov expected to quit controversial harvesting of schoolchildren's nationality data

Jonathan Richards 1
Big Brother

Fact check for Vogons

> instead of being allowed to get a minimum wage job behind a shop counter , these days kids have to stay in school until they are 18

This is only true, and then only approximately, in England.

You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.

You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:

- stay in full-time education, for example at a college

- start an apprenticeship or traineeship

- spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

See the source [gov.uk] for information about Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

And here I was, thinking that Vogons simply loved bureaucracy.

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There are 10 types of people in the world, but there is only one Melvyn

Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Up

In Our Time, and repeated at a later time

The morning broadcast is actually live, and so it often has the features that Verity describes, with lurches of logic and certain academics trying to hog the microphone. I listen to these on morning drives, and then often hear the evening repeat. The latter has had the benefit of attention from the editing suite, and often there are entire segments that have been shifted so that things make more sense, and fluffs have been taken out. I guess the polished versions are the ones that make it onto iPlayer and the podcast platforms.

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Tantalising Tabby's Star teases watchers with big dimming event

Jonathan Richards 1

Periodic, at all?

With that many data points, a Fourier transform or something might reveal some one or more periodicities. Has anyone attempted that? No time to look for myself at the moment.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

Jonathan Richards 1
WTF?

Re: The Swiss are in it

>Free of un-elected bureaucrats.

Good grief, chap, it's like you never watched the documentary series Yes, Minister.

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Facebook's inflection point: Now everyone knows this greedy mass surveillance operation for what it is

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: "It's compliemtary. It's not free." Words to *always* keep in mind.

The inscription on the statue was fictional, of course. Shelley said that he was reporting a traveller's tale: Ozymandias. How I wish I could write like that! And it was published just on two hundred years ago, I notice. In another two hundred years, Shelley's poetry will still be justly admired, and all today's Facebook posts will have long since disappeared.

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User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Re: Feeling Old...

@Duchess

> the whole development of personal computing was driven by the desire to play games

Now you learned something, Your Grace.

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Bad blood: Theranos CEO charged with massive fraud

Jonathan Richards 1

Theranoses...

...Theranoi?

This is as good a place as any to second the comment waaay above, about how can the blood-testing market be worth all these billions of dollars? How many of the 326 MegaYanks get their blood tested in any given day?

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UK data watchdog raids companies suspected of 11 million nuisance texts

Jonathan Richards 1
Stop

Re: Prediction...

> We will have people in your area next week... Can we do your driveway?

Translation: I have a mate who can "divert" a load of tarmac from a roadworks contract he's working on, and we can lay it for you for a bodge job that'll have weeds growing through it in 3 months, no problem.

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La, la, la, I can't hear you! Apple to challenge Bose's noise-proof cans

Jonathan Richards 1

Fact or opinion

You can read it as a factual statement that Sony and Sennheiser both boast of superior audio quality, although [citation needed], and that wouldn't be the ordinary idiomatic meaning.

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UK peers: Is this what you call governance of facial recog tech? A 'few scattered papers'!

Jonathan Richards 1
FAIL

Interesting...

> google kingdom litter fines

I didn't use GoogleTM, but searched with Ixquick. :) The url http://www.kingdom.co.uk/services/environmental-protection/ (deliberately not linkified) returns an error unless one allows http://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js to run some JavaScript. I didn't do that, either.

I'm sure this sort of thing isn't what TBL had in mind when cooking up the WWW ...

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President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Up

Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

OK, I detect the sarcasm, but

> So makes solar more viable for the rest of us

is a non sequitur.

Global warming does not mean more solar energy reaching any particular solar panel. The sun (we trust) will continue to shine next year just as it does today. There could be more clouds generated by warm seas, though, and the warm seas will fuel hurricanes that may rip the panels off roofs and solar farms, and the sea level will continue to rise, and so on. Global warming is not good. For anything. I reckon we can agree on that.

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Unlocked: The hidden love note on the grave of America's first crypto power-couple

Jonathan Richards 1

OT: Re: @John Bentley

> So, when HP1 was published, she was from Scotland, no?

I think you underestimate the scale of parochialism that operates amongst the British. Clue: the scale is microscopic, and eternal. Someone born in Gloucestershire can never be said to "come from Scotland", indeed people in the same county will stoutly defend "coming from" individual towns and cities. This operates down to village level, and I can give you examples from within villages that you can, with a good arm, throw a stone clean across.

The words "You aren't from round 'ere, are ye?" is not generally a perfectly friendly greeting :)

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Time's up: Grace period for Germany's internet hate speech law ends

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Well this could get messy...

OT, I think, but Muslims do not worship the prophet Mohammed, (which is why the 19th century term "Mohammedan" is now disused), rather he is believed to be a prophet of God, not (as Jesus of Nazereth is believed to be by Christians) God incarnate.

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Re: Ask for refund?

Oh, certainly you can ask. Don't expect a returns label to be issued before, say, April!

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How Google's black box Knowledge Graph can kill you

Jonathan Richards 1
Stop

Amen, Brother [1]

> Genealogists have been at it for centuries...

Let's name names here [snerk]. Ancestry.com is full of user-generated "family trees" with egregious, ridiculous, totally fruitloop genealogies, which replicate themselves in exactly the way xkcd 'Citogenesis' illustrates. People who think they care about their genealogy, but clearly don't, find a marriage record for, say, Mary Smith and Robert Roberts, and think "Ooo, that must be my great-granny". In she goes, and the next time someone searches for Robert Roberts, Ancestry dishes this relationship up as a fact! And at the top of the search results! I rarely rely on user trees, don't consider undocumented relationships, and check the documents when they are cited. I'm clearly not having as much fun as some people...

[1] This is metaphorical brotherhood. I have no Syntaxes amongst the relations I have found so far.

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Jonathan Richards 1
Alert

Re: People unfortunately aren't diligent fact checkers

> an unshielded fusion reactor

Yeah, except that it is sort of shielded. As long as we've got an ozone layer...

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Q: Why are you running in the office? A: This is my password for El Reg

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: NaN

> Uniqueness is important in identification.

I think you would be surprised at how unique gait is. I was looking for someone recently across many in-use sportsfields, and I eliminated many possible people at several hundred yards away, simply because they didn't move in the way the search subject did.

The El Reg headline makes a good point, though. This is interesting from a data classification point of view, but useless as an authentication method. Won't work e.g. in the back of a taxi where I can't do a bit of typical walking around...

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Coming live to a warzone near you: Army Truck Driver for Xbox!

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: "used drones to observe the Ukrainians' movements"

> Starting from today, how many days would it take the Russian Army to reach the Channel and be prepared to cross?

It took the Wehrmacht 15 days from the beginning of the offensive against Belgium, France and the Netherlands until they had the BEF with its back to the sea at Dunkirk. [1] Of course, the Russians might have to cross Poland and Germany too, or maybe they'd take Ireland first with an amphibious landing? Granted, the reverse-D-Day operation would take much longer to mount, but not as much as you might think, if the situation got to that point.

In any event, one wouldn't have time to train conscript troops to the standard required for modern land warfare, and possibly not enough time to mobilise anything more than a short-notice regularly re-trained reserve. [2]

Operation Seelowe (Sealion), the German plan for invasion, was not mounted because the Germans couldn't achieve air supremacy over the English Channel. But it was touch and go...

[1] You've seen the opening credits for Dad's Army, right?

[2] As far as I know. I Am Not A Strategic Military Planner!

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Mm, sacrilicious: Greggs advent calendar features sausage roll in a manger

Jonathan Richards 1
Joke

Re: Sausage roll in a manger

Apparently not, since TFA refers to pork mince. A poor choice for representing the infant who was later to become, arguably, the world's most famous Jew! Now, if only Greggs made a proper Cornish pasty...

Ref.

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Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: How cute

Yep. Helicopter drop height, as reported:

3 km

Kármán line (edge of space):

100 km

Orbital height of ISS:

405 km

We should call this Rary. As in, "It's a long way to tip a Rary".

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Car insurers recoil in horror from paying auto autos' speeding fines

Jonathan Richards 1
Alert

Re: Look! Fun games ahead!

> the vehicle should permanently immobilise itself

It seems I am the first to say

I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that

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Jonathan Richards 1

Re: So I'm liable for my Volkswagon exceeding CO2 emissions?

> equating speed with risk is primarily done because it is easy to enforce (and fine).

You didn't get any downvotes from me, but I'll just observe that the kinetic energy of you and the vehicle you're in goes up as the square of your speed (velocity, really).

If you have E joules of k.e. at thirty m.p.h., you'll have 1.77E joules at forty.

Since higher energy collisions do damage proportional to the energy involved, a small increase in speed can result in much more damage, so that does lead to increased risk.

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Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash

Jonathan Richards 1
WTF?

'sOK ...

... now that we have a shiny new Secretary of State for Defence ... Who has never even held a ministerial appointment in his life before now. Oh, hold on!

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Hewlett-Packard history lost to Santa Rosa fires

Jonathan Richards 1
Unhappy

Re: How ironic

@Brian

What makes you sure they made copies? For that to be true, the archive would have had to have been photographically copied in an age before digitization. If you're going to copy paper documents, you have to put them on a photocopier, or microfilm them. If such a copy archive existed, I'd expect reports to have mentioned it. Sadly, it seems on the face of it that much important information has gone up in smoke. See icon ->

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Whois? No, Whowas: Incoming Euro privacy rules torpedo domain registration system

Jonathan Richards 1
Facepalm

Alister most usefully posted,

> ... at least one of the following applies: (a) the data subject has given consent

whois can continue if every registrant gives permission. I know I did whenever I registered a domain in the past. It does mean that my contact details are available to the public, but then, so are my websites. I'm a damn publisher, so why should I think that I need some sort of anonymity?

Now, if someone takes my personal information from whois, and abuses it then that someone is the villain, not the domain registry system.

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UK.gov: Use police body cams to grill suspects at scene of crime

Jonathan Richards 1
Holmes

@DougS

> might increase the chances of a confession given after they've been notified of their right to an attorney

Being questioned without legal advice

Once you’ve asked for legal advice, the police can’t question you until you’ve got it - with some exceptions.

The police can make you wait for legal advice in serious cases, but only if a senior officer agrees.

The longest you can be made to wait before getting legal advice is 36 hours after arriving at the police station (or 48 hours for suspected terrorism).

Source: Being arrested: your rights [www.gov.uk]

So it would seem the best way to avoid being bounced into a confession under the influence of cortisol and adrenaline would be to ask for legal advice immediately after being cautioned. False confessions are a real thing.

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National Audit Office: We'll be in a world of pain with '90s border tech post-Brexit

Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Up

Re: "It's going to be a total failure."

Puckoon!

Hold on a minute, Father, de cat's pissed on de matches

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Your data will get hacked anyway so you might as well give up protecting it

Jonathan Richards 1

The fatal flaw...

> they should be able to revive your brain if it’s iced immediately after your death and safely stored as far from the Haagen Dazs as possible.

Yabbut, why would they? Just suppose that ol' Walt is in a revivable condition when the technology becomes available to revive him. What's the incentive to get the geezer out and pop him in the hugely expensive human popsicle defroster? You'll just end up with an old, terminally ill Walt Disney that will immediately require yet more hugely expensive medical treatment to become an old, moderately healthy Walt Disney. If Walt believed that his heirs and assigns are going to thaw him out in the future, he just didn't think it through. Oh, and if it becomes necessary to fit disembodied brains into spaceships and asteroid mining gear, then some still-warm individuals are going to find themselves involuntarily drafted. That'll be so much easier than defrosting somebody who's been dead for ages.

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Jonathan Richards 1

Re: 01/01/80

> first leap year of the 20th century

I think that Sarah has been gone long enough for me to risk pointing out that the 20th century didn't begin until 1 January 1901. Thus 2000-02-28 was the last leap day of the 20th century. CE dates are not origin-zero!

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Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

Jonathan Richards 1
Unhappy

Bit risky...

Beyond the risk of being caught oily-handed, I'd have thought one would need to spread the weight of a Mini (kerb weight somewhere north of 600 kg) across more than four floor tiles, especially if one is thinking of removing a tile or three and then of getting underneath. Hands up who has seen a collapsed raised floor?

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