* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

933 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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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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Didn't install a safety-critical driverless car patch? Bye, insurance!

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: It really

> A small, very small, petrol engine can provide a lot of power to charge batteries

I think you mean *energy*. Power is the rate of energy use. Further, an electric car that gets its electricity from burning petrol to turn a generator is a petrol-powered car, innit? Every joule of energy used in moving the car has come from burning the petrol. A plug-in hybrid answers that criticism, of course.

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Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Safety-critical updates?

> order all affected vehicles off the road

Nah, they'll disable it over the air: small print will call for a park_at_nearest_safe_location+switch_off() routine. They won't be willing to take the risk that the owner/driver has not kept patching up to date.

Will Plod be able to stop a driver-less car [1] and interrogate its software build ID? Enquiring minds wish to know.

[1] How?

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Please replace the sword, says owner of now-hollow stone

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: I prefer the more mundane explanation ...

That's a great image, but swords are not cast iron. They're forged from metal bars heated, beaten and folded many times, producing a strong and flexible blade - there are any number of YouTube videos illustrating the process. I don't doubt that ironworking would have been indistinguishable from magic to bronze age peoples. See Clarke, Sir Arthur.

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Linux kernel community tries to castrate GPL copyright troll

Jonathan Richards 1
WTF?

That sidebar...

Which says:

Copyright in open source? WTF? Most open source licences allow re-use of code, provided modifications are released under the same licence as the original. ... But it is possible for segments of code to be subject to copyright, too.

But, of course, ALL the open source code in the Linux kernel is copyright. If there were no copyright, then there would be no way of enforcing the GPL under which it is released.

I never thought I'd say this, but - bring back SCO. At least back then there was a more general understanding (among those of us who should understand these things), of how GNU Public Licensing worked.

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Release the KRACKen patches: The good, the bad, and the ugly on this WPA2 Wi-Fi drama

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Re: Web site encryption

For aeons, I've been using a bookmark for El Reg which explicitly had http:// prefixed. That meant that all the pages I visited here were also unsecured. I just changed the bookmark to be https://, and now wherever I go on theregister.co.uk, I get the little green Padlock of Reassurance. Simples, but I never bothered until this morning!

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Q. Why's Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

Jonathan Richards 1
Boffin

Goldfish (was Re: There is nothing two-faced)

Drosophila melanogaster [sic] is a fruit fly. A goldfish is Carassius auratus, but it can't remember that when it has to fill in a form. Allegedly.

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El Reg was invited to the House of Lords to burst the AI-pocalypse bubble

Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Up

Re: nice

> Encourage intellectual diversity

Maybe it would help if university academics didn't all have to compete *quite* so hard for research funds from the same committee that has been bamgoogled by the latest secular saint.

Good work. Keep it up.

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Q: How do you test future driverless car tech? A: Slurp a ton of real-world driving data

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Self driving car

For a four-way roundabout with an acute turn back as the first exit, satnav should say "At the roundabout, take the fifth exit to Watling Street, REPEAT *fifth* exit, count 'em, meatsack".

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Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride

Jonathan Richards 1
Big Brother

Who owns the camera feed?

from TFA:

> In theory, the more miles autonomous cars clock up, the more data they will have to learn by, and the safer they will be.

I want to know if there will be a record of the autonomous driving sensor feeds, and what will happen to them. I think the answer to the first part is almost certain to be "yes", since otherwise there will be nothing to help with crash investigations.

If the answer to the second part is "they're streamed or uploaded to Google | Tesla | Uber | Dept for Transport | ... " to assist with autonomous car development, then I'm much less happy.

FWIW, I can't see myself ever driving (or giving control to) an autonomous vehicle, and I don't look forward to sharing the road with them.

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Jonathan Richards 1
Stop

Re: Really??

> the human behind the wheel didn't brake ...

It was alleged at the time that Mr Brown was engaged in watching a movie on a tablet. He may not have seen the trailer at all. Of course, and if so, this was a fatal abuse of his vehicle, after which I believe Tesla stopped calling their software an "autopilot".

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German Firefox users to test recommendation engine 'a bit like thought-reading'

Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Down

Re: Bookmark Lock-In!

Vivaldi, at least, won't handle nested bookmark folders. Key user requirement, for me.

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Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Up

Re: Waterfox (was: Missing poll answer)

Self-reply, but hopefully useful. In order to make some of the extensions that I use work, I had to uncheck the option in about:preferences, General, Enable multi-process Waterfox. YMMV.

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Jonathan Richards 1
Pint

Re: Waterfox (was: Missing poll answer)

Thanks for the pointer. I hadn't come across Waterfox, and was looking for an alternative when NoScript stopped working properly in the most recent Firefox update [1]. I looked again at Vivaldi, which is nice in a lot of ways, but their script blocker didn't seem to have the functionality of NoScript, and the killer is that they don't support nested bookmark folders. Heck, I've got bookmarks nested five and six deep. I just grabbed the Waterfox binary package from https://www.waterfoxproject.org/blog/waterfox-55.0-release-download, and it has imported all my Firefox settings, and seems perfectly stable, though the console is full of Javascript warnings!

Thanks again. Enjoy a pint!

[1] Scripts were being blocked, but the UI to control NoScript was missing, and the extension was labelled "Legacy" :-(

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Hipster disruptor? Never trust a well-groomed caveman with your clams

Jonathan Richards 1
Go

Re: Douglas Adams already pondered thusly...

+1

I always wondered whether the script for Ford's little outburst had been bowdlerized for broadcast on Radio Four. 'Stick it up your ...' would not ordinarily suggest 'nose' as being the next word. But then, he did come from Betelgeuse.

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

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: planet is surrounded by spy satellites

>it does have enough resolution to resolve a contrail

I don't know that you're right. The contrail might be more than a kilometre long, but it's only about 70 metres wide. The difference in the reflectivity of the ocean and the ocean viewed through the contrail might not be enough when blended across 1 km pixels to be able to 'join the dots'.

OT: Oi, El Reg! The wavy red line of disapproval appears beneath the word when I write kilometre, but disappears if I swap the last two letters. Please load a proper English dictionary! (Or in this particular case, a French one, I guess).

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ISIS and Jack Daniel's: One of these things is not like the other

Jonathan Richards 1
Mushroom

Re: Hmmm.

>many bottles of JD

You jest [1] but this joke is older than you think. During the middle '80s, when the actual *definition* of war was a conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact (anything else was a military operation), I worked with a translator of military journals, including some publication from the Red Army, the name of which I have forgotten, but aimed at a readership within the ranks of that army. It was always full of articles warning of the dangers of drinking moonshine, rubbing alcohol, varnish thinners, brake fluid... You get the picture. Apparently this was a major problem - Russian squaddies would drink anything. My colleague came up with the best strategy I ever heard for defeating the WP rolling into Germany [2]: a strategic withdrawal leaving cases of Johnny Walker (Scotch being the preferred weapon) beside the roads. He reckoned the advance would be halted in two days.

[1] That is, I suppose you jest!

[2] One of the options at the time was the so-called Enhanced Radiation Weapon, commonly called the neutron bomb. It kills people by radiation poisoning, but limits actual blast damage [icon]. We reckoned the only thing worse than an advancing WP tank division was an advancing WP tank division driven by crews who knew they only had a day or two to live.

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Users shop cold-calling telco to ICO: 'She said she was from Openreach'

Jonathan Richards 1

Facebook fined €1.2m by Spain for… you'll never guess what

Jonathan Richards 1
Joke

Unacceptable language

> Belgium Privacy Commission

There's no need to diss the Privacy Commission to that extent.

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Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

Jonathan Richards 1
Stop

The fallacy of acronyms

> Nazi = National Socialist Workers' Party

Yeah, also DPRK == Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

I rest my case.

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Jonathan Richards 1

Re: IT angle

So was that a mini or a mainframe? If it wasn't a personal computer, it must have been one or the other.
I'll assume that's not willful misunderstanding. In the context of computing history, 'personal computer' and 'PC' don't mean the same thing. IBM made the first "PC", in 1981, though there had been 'personal computers' for years before that. Because the BIOS interface was easily reverse-engineered and cloned, many companies then built machines billed as "PC-compatible". Now the distinction is blurred, but deserves to be sharpened, otherwise we get discussions like this, at cross-purposes.

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Jonathan Richards 1

Re: BYTE

> No, Dr Dobbs. Ask STOB

To illuminate a little more, here's that magazine title in full:

Dr Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia

Running light without overbyte

---

Sad to know that Jerry Pournelle is no more; he leaves a lasting legacy.

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China: Cute Hyperloop Elon, now watch how it's really done

Jonathan Richards 1
WTF?

Re: Pressure suits?

TFA:

> long-distance cargo and passenger routes at its top speed [of 4000 kph]

DougS:

> let's ... accelerate at 1 g.

OK. To reach 4x103 km s-1 accelerating at 9.8 m s-2 will take 113 seconds. That's nearly two minutes of unpleasantly high acceleration. (Civil airliners only have a thrust ratio high enough for about 0.3g).

Given that s = u.t + 1/2 . a . t2, I think distance travelled until full speed is reached is about 62.9 km. Thirty-nine miles of the toughest takeoff you ever had unless you've flown a jet off an aircraft carrier.

And another thing! At 4000 kph, a 70 ton train will have 8.64 x 1010 J of kinetic energy. Supplying that in 113 seconds will consume 763 MW, a significant chunk of the output of China's largest nuclear reactor. Those are going to be mighty big power cables, and the brakes are going to be pretty hot when the train pulls into the station. I'm all mathed out, and can't be bothered to work out whether 86 GJ is enough to melt a 70 ton train.

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Jonathan Richards 1

Who wants it?

> a very large capital investment and so would be worth while only on routes between very large population centres.

I give you the last supersonic transport system between large population centres on this planet, viz. Concorde. It didn't sustain itself, and give rise to successor systems, because not enough people (need | want) & can afford to travel that far that quickly.

Also the physics is a bit dicey. If you're accelerating a train at 0.5g, as others have suggested you need to do to reach 4000 kph before you reach halfway to your destination, then the track experiences the reaction, and can't be built on piddly little concrete pylons. Similarly when changing direction: fast aircraft use a "half-rate" turn of 1.5 deg per second. For a 4000 kph train changing direction from N to NE, say, the turn will take 30s, and to limit the sideways acceleration to 0.5g, the radius of the turn is near enough 28.6 km (17.7 miles). Around the curve [1], that's about 28 miles of track that has to be braced to support a force equivalent to 122% of the weight of the train. See 'piddly pylons', supra.

I don't say that it can't be done. I just don't expect the engineering investment to be justified by the economics of the business case.

[1] I've simplified. In reality, you have to turn gradually into the curve, and gradually out again, along an 'Euler spiral'

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For once, Uber takes it up the tailpipe: Robo-ride gets rear-ended

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: The big question

I think this is quite simple. No autonomous driving system should be allowed on the road unless it can reliably pass the real-world driving test that every human driver has to pass [1]. Since updates essentially change the autonomous driver into something else, it must be retested every time an update is issued. Demonstrating that the robot can negotiate a test track just doesn't cut it. It has to cope with normal human (i.e. unpredictable and risky) behaviour from road users of all types, and in the fullness of time with the latest behaviour [2] from robots of many sorts. My prediction is that we're still a long way off seeing these systems on public roads, especially non-urban UK ones.

[1] Such a shame that the UK driving test no longer includes hand-signals.

[2] OT: why do I get the wavy red underline of disapproval for my spelling of behaviour?

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US watchdog alert: Don't fall victim to crapto crypto-coin cons, people

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Processing Power

> Iceland to keep it cool.

More likely Iceland for the cheap electricity. That's also the reason that much US alumin(i)um production has migrated to Iceland, at the same time as server farms in the US have pushed up the price of power.

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Living in space basically shoves a warp drive into your blood stream

Jonathan Richards 1
Boffin

Re: Prevention is better than cure.

@Colin Ritchie

I think that we'd have to check that assumption before investing (hugely, as others have pointed out) in gravity-substitutes. Maybe it's the zero-g, maybe it's the radiation sleeting through the body, or circadian rhythm disruption, or angst about being separated from the rest of humanity ...

A decent test would be to set up a hostile radiation environment on the ground at 1 g, and keep the subjects in it for six months, with regular blood tests.

Volunteers, one pace forward!

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Boffins bust AI with corrupted training data

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Unintelligent artificial intelligence

Sarcasm of that sort, sir/madam, will get you nowhere many upvotes.

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New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

Jonathan Richards 1

Shedload of cheap Lumia phones

@Herby

Not sure why all the downvotes...

I guess that 're-purposing' is ruled out on security grounds. NYPD can't invest in one-by-one updates to Windows 10, and by the same token can't engage in one-by-one sanitation of the devices so that they can be sold outside the department.

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'Driverless' lorry platoons will soon be on a motorway near you

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Odegra

You must be new around here.

https://www.ixquick.com/do/search?q=Odegra&l=english_uk

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Did ROPEMAKER just unravel email security? Nah, it's likely a feature

Jonathan Richards 1
Stop

Re: Why Do People Expose Themselves With HTML E-Mail

The irony here is that your markup thus:

*was*

is rendered in bold in my Thunderbird email client. Plus it will linkify a URL. This is just about the limit of anything one could want in marked-up email. CSS is *way* over the top.

Old-school? Possibly. Immune to smart-arses with nefarious style sheets? Certainly.

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US Navy suffers third ship collision this year

Jonathan Richards 1

HMS Queen Elizabeth...

...still belongs to her builders at the moment: she's a commercial vessel. Dunno what happens when she's handed over and put into commission.

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