* Posts by John Smith 19

14801 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Tufts boffins track device location without GPS or towers

John Smith 19
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So people need more bandwidth to report their position, which they don't want to report?

Circular argument detected?

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John Smith 19
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On the upside it simplifes the equations so they can be run on local IoT nodes

IOW the accuracy of the fix is dependent on that software.

Which will be

a) Cut & pasted from Stackexchange

b) Written by some code monkey in some faraway software factory.

All with the scrupulous QC that is the hallmark of the IoT development process.

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John Smith 19
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Yeay for this. Just what the world really needs. A better way to track people.

AIUI tracks you to the relative distance of a bunch of IoT devices, and presumably works outward from there till you get to nodes that are a)Capable of saying their their map coordinates or b)Are at a fixed location which is listed on some kind of accessible data base.

Tuft University. Now on my list of ethics free engineering courses.

No doubt going to be eagerly snapped up by various keen users of this sort of tech.

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You've heard that pop will eat itself. Boffins have unveiled a rocket that does the same

John Smith 19
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Go

No casing?

Well there are a few options to avoid the weight of a casing.

One is to pull the top part toward the bottom with a pair (or three) of winches.

Another is to have no "top" and mount everything around the chamber, with rod being fed in by a pair of pinch rollers.

It's one of those "That's so obvious, why did no one else do it before" ideas.

But I don't think anyone has. Keeping the oxidizer from the fuel would in principal make for safer propellant.

On a flight dynamics basis I think that (unlike conventional solids) the shortening compensates for the mass loss so the CoG (roughly) stays in the same position, potentially making the control problem a bit simpler. Maybe.

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As Tesla hits speed bump after speed bump, Elon Musk loses his mind in anti-media rant

John Smith 19
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1st rule of Journalism. "If it bleeds, it leads."

And that has never changed.

How many times have you seen a headline that read "Medical staff did amazing jobs saving lives" rather than "Ten car pileup carnage" ?

Obviously as (some parts of) the world have become safer that's down to 1 car and one person.

Meanwhile the list of US school mass shootings will continue to rise without a murmur. It was 312 by mid 2017, What did it get to in the end?

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John Smith 19
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"..reality distortion field..perturbed by a normalisation ray..large emotive force..released."

Reverse the polarity?

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John Smith 19
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I've looked over coverage of Musk and I've *never* seen a tough interview. Ever.

He's done a lot of media "events" but nothing by any interviewer that's been well informed about the financial side of the business or even slightly critical.

Any actual questioning has been very low key and soft.

Anyone who thinks it's just the man himself is delusional. He has a hell of a support staff and a very good PR booking team. But ideal hands are the Twitter users workshop.

One general point. Some people have enjoyed phenomenal success in their lives. The smarter one know at least part of this is down to shear dumb luck (including just coming out of the right womb). The real challenge is what happens when things don't go their way and they have to admit to themselves that this time they failed.

In the long run that's what separates the "Masters of the Universe" from "Master of the Cardboard Box."

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Uber robo-ride's deadly crash: Self-driving car had emergency braking switched off by design

John Smith 19
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"This van digitally went 'KIIIIIIYAAAA!' and ran the human over.."

Ahh. The light dawns.

They plan to offer this as an option for military vehicles in foreign war zones.

Where "Put the foot down and run the furriner over" is not so much a crime as SOP.

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John Smith 19
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Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature

A feature that kills pedestrians.

Which (inside the head of Uber executives) means "Not anyone who pays us any money."

That about right?

I'd say that makes the Uber C-suite a bunch of Unters

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Zimmerman and friends: 'Are you listening? PGP is not broken'

John Smith 19
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Thinking. Email client --> file viewer --> Piece of P**s to write -->Anyone can do it.

Turns out not to be correct.

But the EFF's has not covered themselves in glory with this.

It's a tough question. Do you state which clients you know are insecure and which ones you know are not? Or just tell people to avoid certain ones as otherwise you'd be endorsing all the rest?

The nuanced answer would be "Disable HTML" and list those browsers that force you to use HTML.

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Electron patches patch after security researcher bypassed said patch

John Smith 19
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So here's the thing when you use a development framwork.

You inherit all its flaws/bugs as well.

1) Which the framework support team have to fix.

2) Which you have to roll out to any apps you wrote using it.

3) Which then have to be rolled out to any end users of your app.

Something tells me a shed load of people (who have no idea their apps were built with this) will remain vulnerable for years to come.

But that applies to any other such framework as well.

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You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

John Smith 19
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Holmes

Maybe she was on to something.

You think?

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UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather

John Smith 19
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Note the target is called the "Coyote"

Because if it was called "Road runner," they'd never catch it.

Beep, beep.

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UK's spy auditor: What should we ask when reviewing super-slurp warrants?

John Smith 19
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Gimp

"We welcome responses from any interested party."

Which suggests the El Reg readership might have a chance to influence this area.

Keep them focused and skip the jokes.

There are a lot of issues that should be considered.

Remember the usual excuse data fetishists trot out is there is no other way to find these people.

But point out what that "Doomsday" scenario means.

A person who has no history of radical beliefs

A person who is not radicallized by viewing any known web site/FB page/YT channel/Twitter feed

A person who needs to make no purchases to carry out their plan

A person who makes no contact with any known offender (or potential offender) to carry it out.

So when I explain it in calm, non hysterical tones, does this sound plausible to you? Or does it sound like complete bu***hit?

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AI and robotics legend Joanna Bryson to kick off MCubed

John Smith 19
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Just waded through another batch of AI papers. I hope she can manage concise and crisp

F**k me sideways the number of adjectives these people use.

The number of times I've found myself thinking "Get to the f**king point, NOW"

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London's Met Police: We won't use facial recognition at Notting Hill Carnival

John Smith 19
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Funny how they need a "Legislative framework" for people to stop it but, but none to roll it out

Is it not?

Hence the lack of any "Legislative framework" for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (and storage)

Of course if all you need is "Machinchine pings, they's a wron'un" device then job done.

Like the KGB (and its successors) always said "We may not know what you did this time, but we're sure you've done something sometime, so this is just us catching you."

Mine will be the one with the old, well thumbed copy of the Gulag Archipelago..

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Servers crashed and burned. So, Qualcomm's back to Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V'ing Arm cores into phones

John Smith 19
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Bigger *always* looks better.

Not always so.

Likewise setting up a major bet-the-company project that's run by an outsider is something with more like a 50/50 shot at success to me.

Of course hindsight is always 20/20.

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EmDrive? More like BS drive: Physics-defying space engine flunks out

John Smith 19
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"Don't you have to apply KW of electricity to see this effect, as per the original experiments? "

Funny you should say that.

Because that's just about what current Ion thrusters need to generate milliNewton thursts from a big tank of (expensive) Xenon.

Until they run out of course.

IIRC Most people thought Shaylers explanation of how the thruster worked was BS.

However several teams claim to have demonstrated thrust is being generated. And if you don't understand how something works how do you know what it's safe to ignore (or just leave out) in the design? "I left the power transformer out of the amplifier I built but it should work fine anyway." WTF?

The really attractive part of a propellantless thruster is not that it could drive a probe out to Pluto (with a fission power source of some kind).

It could then bring it back afterward.

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Swiss sausage sizzler 4.0 hits 200 bangers per hour

John Smith 19
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Judging by the mugshot I'd say he definitely deserves a "Man In Shed" award.

Clearly a fellow with a fine shed of delights to work in.

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Brit Attorney General: Nation state cyber attack is an act of war

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So STUXNET *was* an act of war by this standard.

Actions have consequences.

Who knew?

Be careful what legal precedents you set.

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UK.gov's use of black box algorithms to decide stuff needs watching

John Smith 19
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IOW "Computer says no," and we don't have to tell you why because

"Computer says no,"

Again.

One more f**king time.

It's not "government" data.

It's taxpayers data.

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Big bimmer bummer: Bavaria's BMW buggies battered by bad bugs

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a note on QNX

QNX was a well regarded OS for embedded apps. It's major features being a very modular architecture, so your custom build could be very lean. because it was built for profit and customers would complain if it was too buggy (given how expensive bug fixes in the field are) the code was reasonably quality.

It powers the BlackBerry 10 phone and the Ontario states equivalent to the BBC Micro project.

Car makers. You are now in the IT business.

Get used to it.

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Brit water firms, power plants with crap cyber security will pay up to £17m, peers told

John Smith 19
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"Perhaps they'll also penalize the idiots who insisted on foisting insecure "smart meters" on us."

Starting with the Peer who inserted the relevant clauses-for-cash in the necessary Bill.

This is not an EU requirement.

It is driven by Tony Blair wanting to stuff up Gordon Brown.

Nothing else.

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John Smith 19
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WTF?

"But, but that would mean less profits to our (overseas) owners" Boo hoo.

Note that HMG doesn't mind all UK water companies being foreign owned, or that some of them are owned by government operated foreign utilities.

Just as long as they aren't on the hook for any EU water quality directives caused by decades of (government) under funding.

Note that dividends over security or dividends over asset security is a Board choice.

You want to use the internet instead of private leased lines? This is the price you pay.

Historically only BT offered leased lines (IIRC) but maybe now it's something other providers might y'know provide? "Thames water telemetry. Brought to you by Sky" ?

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Slurp up patient data for algos that will detect cancer early, says UK PM

John Smith 19
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"People are also becoming much more aware that their data has value,"

They are, but very slooooooooooooly.

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John Smith 19
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Again it's not the NHS's data to hand over. Still the same arrogant DoH attitude.

It's the patients.

And no, they did not ask for this.

It might work if the job was done in house with skills transfer provided by 3rd parties.

Handing "anonymized" data over to an outsider is basically BS.

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John Smith 19
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"Ha, I bet she was scared to be there"

$Deity, yes.

This is the woman who (as Home Secretary) wouldn't go out in London at night.

With armed police bodyguards and an official armed response a radio message away.

What can you do with such a (self) limited human being?

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John Smith 19
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Holmes

"Late diagnosis of..treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths,"

So maybe the NHS should look at how other countries manage to do better (because several other countries do much better in Europe than the UK) first?

Mad woman continues to demonstrate madness by making mad statements in a speech most would describe as "Barking bats**t crazy."

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

John Smith 19
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IIRC most of the US AI research came from DARPA grants.

That would be the (Department of) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Now, wheather you needed actual security clearance to work on them is another matter.

Blackboard systems. Speech recognition, driverless vehicles, message understanding (note that word "understanding," as in what does it mean, not what does it say). Even optimizing freight packaging on board ships (which save more money for the USG than all DARPA AI programmes for the last 40 years cost)

My view is after you've got the SC you'll be shocked at what a clusterf**k their systems are.

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John Smith 19
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A truly intelligent..eapon system might read the manifesto of the opposing forces,

True.

The solution was described in the ABC Warriors.

Artificial patriotism.

The system is designed to believe its side is right and stimulated to feel valued and rewarded when it does it's job well. Call it "Artificial pride."

How you implement such strategies is left as an exercise for the reader

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Boffins detect antimatter thundering down from Hurricane Patricia

John Smith 19
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Surprised they trigger spallation of electrons.

Y'know, antimatter. Hit regular matter and annihilates itself in X & Gamma rays.

OTOH I've not considered relativistic effects. I do recall high energy cosmic rays were found surprisingly low in the atmosphere due to time dilation of their lifetimes.

So. Extreme weather events even more extreme than we thought they were to begin with.

Mind you I'm racking my brains to recall the last hurricane over Denver....

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10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

John Smith 19
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60million people versus 490million It's not a playground fight John, then again

Tell me that after the UK tries to negotiate any new trade deals and isn't part of a 550million person trading block and 1 of 1 instead of 1 of 28.

Back here in 2022 say?

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John Smith 19
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Joke

Apparently, Europe are going to realise they need the UK and accede to all Brexit wishlist

May: How are the talks going Boris

Boris: Very well. My sources tell me my plan is working perfectly, although the other side continues to posture for effect.

May: Who exactly are your "Sources" Boris?

Boris: I've been using "The European Research Group." I find them very sound on the important stuff.

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John Smith 19
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Is there something which..prevents these people..understanding how the internet functions?

Yes.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." as Upton Sinclair put it.

Sinclair ran for Governor of California in the late 1940's.

His Campaign Manager was a certain Dr RA Heinlein.

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John Smith 19
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I will..go full revolution on all their asses, no..putting the bins out, I'll stop paying the tv tax

Nice.

Nearly thought you were serious there. The "Strongly worded letter to the newspapers" nailed it.

Or in the words of media mogul CA Magnusen "You can do what you like in Britain. They are a nation of herbivores. I try everything in Britain first. If it works there I try it in a real country."

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John Smith 19
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Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?

Who thinks the the UK Government matters and who does not.

And wheather they turned up to the relevant EU Commissioner hearing instead.

60million people versus 490million people in the rest of the EU.

So that's making "Making Britain stronger" means, as one of my British friends put it when they voted Leave.

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The harbingers of Doomwatch: Quist is quite the quasi-Quatermass

John Smith 19
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That episode was based on a book called "Mutant 39: The Plastic Eaters"

I think you'll find it's the other way round.

IIRC there were several novels done by Read & Pedlar, using roughly the plot of an episode but losing the Dept of O & M connection.

When oil had just quadrupled in price (I looked it up. to $12/barrel) and people thought the human race would wise up (and a big mainframe had a whole 512KB of core store).

What should really scare people is that 4 decades later the human race has not wised up.

In Thunderbirds "The Hood" was an occasional hazard for International Rescue.

IRL he's the new British Home Secretary :-(.

The world did not get Space:1999. It got Captain Scarlet and the even more sinister UFO.

But don't worry. A short visit to "Dr Jackson" and you'll forget about such inconvenient memories.

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NASA’s new exoplanet-spotter survives sling past the Moon

John Smith 19
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The different perspective it shoots suns out should ....

have read.

"The different perspective it shoots suns (potential extra solar plants transits) at should also pick up candidates (for extra solar planets) that probes in the ecliptic plane do not."

Apologies for the quite intense level of confusion that paragraph may have caused.

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John Smith 19
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Impressive use of orbital design to extend probe life without increasing weight.

The different perspective it shoots suns out should also pick up candidates probes in the ecliptic plane do not.

I look forward to a rich data haul when it starts operating.

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Google's socially awkward geeks craft socially awkward AI bot that calls people for you

John Smith 19
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Big Brother

Just to be clear Google wants to mediate *all* conversations between humans everywhere.

Still not sounding creepy enough for some people?

Creepy Eric.

Still creepy.

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John Smith 19
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let them talk, indefinitely, to a mumbling AI that asks them repeatedly to go over the amazing offer

I think you've actually found a benign use for this technology.

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John Smith 19
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I genuinely feel pity for anyone that is excited at anything mentioned.

That's because you're not the CEO of a US giga corp that makes it's money shoveling as much of your personal data as possible into it's data bases to sell ever more advertising at ever higher rates to ever more customers who are desperate not to be left behind in online advertising, who you also happen to generate most of the statistics for.

If you were you'd have been hugely tumescent listening to the presentation.

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Open justice FTW! El Reg fought the law – and El Reg won

John Smith 19
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Clearly this will make setting up a carosel fraud harder.

Wheather that is a good or bad thing will depend on wheather you're

a) A UK taxpayer seeing one guy (allegedly) trouser £750k from HMRC

b) A person actually planning a carousel fraud

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

John Smith 19
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FAIL

Crony Capitalism at it's best

Like the clause in the DMCA that means copyright on a digital recording is not owned by the artist but by the recording company.

Helpfully inserted by a Senatorial staffer who later joined a large record lable.

How many Senators actually wrote this law?

How many will read it?

How many will actually understand it's implications?

And this is the benefit for no life limits on Congressional seats in either house.

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UK Supreme Court to probe British spy court's immunity from probing

John Smith 19
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About f**king time this was challenged.

Funny how that idea of "Taking back control works" isn't it?

Conservative party. "We know we said we wanted Brexit so Parliament could 'take back control' but that doesn't actually mean they can control us as well."

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Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

John Smith 19
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French not only won more battles during the Hundred Years War but won the war overall.... :)

Was that in points overall or was their a ref's decision?

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Astroboffins spy the most greedy black hole yet gobbling a Sun a day

John Smith 19
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I wouldn't say my Black Hole was fat.....

I'll be here all this week.

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Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

John Smith 19
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Trollface

both a list of criminals and..Nottinghill carnival are going to have..high percentage of blacks

Subtle.

Unfu**ingbelievable 98% false +ve.

Hard to believe after so many years this is still so s**t.

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UK's Rural Payments Agency is 'failing on multiple levels' – report

John Smith 19
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""UK's Rural Payments Agency is 'failing on multiple levels'""

Which is notable.

But not in a good way.

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John Smith 19
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WTF?

That is why food is expected to be cheaper even after the fall in the GBP when we leave.

Because it hasn't fallen hard enough or far enough already?

In the year prior to the referendum it had hit 1.24E/£. At referendum it hit 1.23E/£.

It's now around 1.14E/£.

Well done. You've cut the exchange rate by 8.7%.

I'd say EU prices are going up, and going to continue to go up on that basis.

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