* Posts by Allan George Dyer

1946 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Leeds hospital launches campaign to 'axe the fax'

Allan George Dyer
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Re: One word missing from the entire article.

@AC - "sends me emails that consist essentially of a https:// link to the place on their secure website (user handle and password required)"

This explains the amount of phishing emails containing links to fake login pages.

"online (password protected)" - We all know how good people are at choosing and remembering passwords.

"Axe the Fax" focusses on a symptom, not the problem of efficient, secure communication.

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Allan George Dyer
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Trollface

Ochib - "So you will need a encryption system that all the parties agree to and can use. Or you use a fax"

Yes, fax is so good at doing signatures. My standard method, when someone insists on me faxing a signed document, is to prepare the document in my wordprocessor, paste in my signature image and fax using my fax server. No-one has objected.

Fax fails on the 3rd and 4th requirements for electronic signatures that you quote. As soon as I have ever faxed a signed document to anyone, I no longer have sole control of the image. Image files are easily edited.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Dangerous

@martinusher - Secure? Hardly, they are unencrypted and can be intercepted anywhere along the POTS wires. Someone with the motivation could hook up a small device to record every incoming and outgoing fax.

In comparison with plain email, then you're only exposed to attackers who can access the wires, not everyone on the internet. In comparison to end-to-end encrypted email, then the email is a lot more resistant to attack.

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You'll never guess what you can do once you steal a laptop, reflash the BIOS, and reboot it

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Again,

Don't you find that the liquid nitrogen makes the sharks sluggish? You have seen the memo making sharks compulsory in moats?

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The Reg takes the US government's insider threat training course

Allan George Dyer
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General statistics do prompt some odd thoughts...

"67 per cent of spies have been civilians; 37 per cent had no security clearance;" - So your secrets can be stolen by people who shouldn't have access to them?

"84 per cent of spies were successful;" - Can you be called a spy if you haven't successfully done any spying?

"67 per cent volunteered to commit espionage; 81 per cent received no money for their services;" - Were 48% trying to improve the 'voluntary service' section of their resume?

"94 per cent went to prison" - That's a pretty good prosecution rate, but did you count the ones that weren't caught? Do you have any idea how many weren't caught?

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Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Anyone suggesting Parent/Child as a replacement for Master/Slave has no idea of how likely a child is to obey.

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Archive.org's Wayback Machine is legit legal evidence, US appeals court judges rule

Allan George Dyer
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Boffin

Re: Be careful...

@Herby & @veti - I totally agree with both of you. The Internet has both a VERY good and a *terrible* memory. It's probably some sort of quantum state, which is collapsed by the observer to the detriment of the person that would be most heavily affected. Thus, when a prosecutor goes looking, the result is incriminating records are found and the defendant is jailed, but when a defendant looks for exonerating records, they're not there and the defendant is still jailed. You're lucky it's only your Greybeard status based on your Usenet posts that is at stake.

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Fruit flies use the power of the sun to help them fly in straight lines

Allan George Dyer
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This article says black widow spider silk was used by the US because it was thin, elastic and durable, no mention of the web angle. Also, the UK used spiders from the Yorkshire moors. Have an upvote for leading me to an interesting topic.

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Allan George Dyer
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Could fruit flies be used as Britain's alternative to Gallileo?

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Flying Round in Circles

@LeeE - "the only problem with flying in a straight line is accounting for X-winds & turbulence.."

Are you a TIE Fidhter pilot?

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Voting machine maker claims vote machine hack-fests a 'green light' for foreign hackers

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Most Secure Voting Machine

@tom dial - Appropriate counting procedures make such malpractice impractical. My personal experience is with UK county council elections, where I acted as an observer. Each candidate could have observers at the count. Observers had to swear in front of a JP that they would not interfere beforehand. Ballot boxes were opened and ballots counted in view of the observers who could raise queries. Spoiled and questionable ballots were reviewed by the Returning Officer with the candidate's Agents. Ballot counters were mostly (all?) local government employees. Nothing is hidden.

It's all scalable - if you're a candidate with a chance of winning, you have enough supporters to act as observers; larger constituencies have larger pools of local government employees to act as ballot counters. A corrupt ballot counter is risking their permanent job, and has very little opportunity to act unobserved.

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Allan George Dyer
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Most Secure Voting Machine

The pencil (with appropriate procedures)

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Intel Management Engine JTAG flaw proof-of-concept published

Allan George Dyer
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Now I'm going to have tell the henchmen to search the air-conditioning ducts for Tom Cruise... AGAIN!

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AI image recognition systems can be tricked by copying and pasting random objects

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Not just AI

I've never seen anyone confused by the invisible gorilla experiment. Surprised, yes, but not confused.

The "error" is quite different. The observers don't suddenly mis-classify existing objects when the unexpected object appears (e.g., think the ball is a coffee when the gorilla enters), they simply do not consciously notice it. This suggests we have the ability to turn on a filter below consciousness level when asked to focus on a task.

If observers were asked to identify all the objects in the video, there would be no mistake... but a lot of different answers (do people and gorillas count as objects? are clothes separate objects to people? etc.)

I'd like to suggest that the AI is at a disadvantage because it has no idea what an object is. In infancy, we spend a lot of time trying to touch things we see, and put them in our mouths, relating our vision to other senses. From this, we build our concept of objects and then we cannot be fooled by an elephant image pasted over someone's head.

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Muslim American woman sues US border cops: Gimme back my seized iPhone's data!

Allan George Dyer
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Newark Liberty International Airport?

Liberty? Is airport naming now following the ironic country naming convention:

German Democratic Republic

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

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Ex-UK comms minister's constituents plagued by wonky broadband over ... wireless radio link?

Allan George Dyer
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Re: A microwave link to populated areas?

@AC - power cable, chainsaw, cherry picker, three men... are you sure this isn't an old slapstick movie? Does one if them have a moustache and cigar?

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You want how much?! Israel opts not to renew its Office 365 vows

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Balls

@AC - '"there's video footage of IDF soldiers beating children, and shooting a nurse and disabled man in a wheelchair. That isn't propaganda."

Just last week : Palestinians ( Hamas really not Palestinians in general) fire 2 dozen rockets at Sderot, do you think that the Rockets know how to target "only" soldiers.'

So were those children, nurse and man accused of firing the rockets? Were they in the process of firing rockets? No? So what was the justification for beating and shooting them? A disciplined military force should be targetting combatants, not civilians. A police force should be arresting suspects, not beating them. Misbehaviour by the IDF ignored, if not condoned, by the Israeli government fuels support for those who want revenge, perpetuating the cycle of violence. The Northern Ireland Troubles are a blight on the record of the British government of the time, so that is not a shining moral standard for comparison.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Libreoffice is free and just fine.

@Terry 6 - Another slightly annoying LO issue is that any instructions I find seem to be for a slightly different version... Such as, in my copy (5.1.6.2), the Template Manager can be reached as you describe, or by File - Templates; and double-clicking on a template opens a new document based on it, and there's an Open button that does the same, with an Edit button next to it to edit the template itself.

Intuitive, of course, is highly subjective, until you've received proper indoctrination.

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Elders of internet hash out standards to grant encrypted message security for world+dog

Allan George Dyer
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@Ken Hagen - 'Both of these features sound like things that might be very useful to "law enforcement" critters once the case gets to court.'

But they would also be useful when you need to know whether it really is the Nigerian Minister of Finance offering you a cut of his ill-gotten gains, and when your boss denies that he told you to buy 1000 widgets on your credit card and claim it on expenses. Prevention is better than curesue.

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Security MadLibs: Your IoT electrical outlet can now pwn your smart TV

Allan George Dyer
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Re: ::hrrumpf::

"(the contractor (me) over estimated)" - I hope you gave yourself a good deal, you know what these contractors are like with overcharging ;-)

'There will ALWAYS be "dumb" power outlets available for sale.' - Always is a long time. Sooner or later, every standard becomes obsolete. Do you know anyone still manufacturing Wylex Plugs, for example?

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: ::hrrumpf::

What are you going to do when you need to replace your current appliances, and the only available replacements are all "smart"?

It's getting to the point where adding "smart" is minimal cost, and it allows the device to collect (possibly anonymised) marketing data, benefiting the vendor. Economics will make "dumb" disappear, unless we do more than passively say, "don't care, I'm not buying one".

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Self-driving cars will be safe, we're testing them in a massive AI Sim

Allan George Dyer
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Joke

@ Destroy All Monsters - "I want to see actual SELF-DRIVING. Like this: Terminator 2 Truck Chase Scene"

1) Driving in a restricted area without authorisation

2) 00:07 collision with a stationary obstruction (car wreck)

3) 00:22 not giving way when crossing a road resulting in near-collision, causing other road users to sound horn

4) 00:27 collision with stationary obstruction (shopping trolley)

5) 00:28 collision with stationary obstruction (wall)

6) 00:33 collision with stationary obstruction (bridge)

7) 00:39 throwing an object (broken windscreen) from a moving vehicle

8) 00:44 collision with a moving vehicle (motorcycle)

9) 00:51 driving without working brakes

10) 01:08 collision with stationary obstruction (wall)

11) 01:11 collision with stationary obstruction (other wall)

12) 01:14 collision with stationary obstruction (first wall, again)

13) 01:15 loading/unloading passenger when the vehicle is not stationary

14) 01:18 collision with vehicle (motorcycle)

15) 01:29 collision with stationary obstruction (bridge)

16) failure to report an accident to the police

I probably missed a few...

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Allan George Dyer
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Headmaster

Re: L5

@Steve Davies 3 - "How would the L5 system handle crossing of a Ford?"

I would hope it would handle it exactly the same way as crossing of a Chrysler.

Icon - obviously.

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What happens to your online accounts when you die?

Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Re: My carefully curated online presence

"Imagine if Ansel Adam's photos were all deleted once his Google Pixel account closed, or if Dickens had published in the form of a blog, or the Goon show was a podcast - and all were deleted because the service provider 'owned' them ?"

Or if the BBC deleted the Dr. Who tapes because they wanted to reuse them?

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Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early

Allan George Dyer
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Holmes

Re: Usually gets worse, the bigger the company ... 4 Allan George Dyer

@Stevie - "Closing out the cards dinged-up our credit rating (because the model assumes if you close an account it is because of debt consolidation and hence you are a bad risk)."

If I were cynical, I'd suggest that your behaviour had flagged you as the sort of person that manages their finances so that they don't end up paying high interest rates for years, so, yes, a bad risk of the bank not making enough profit.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Usually gets worse, the bigger the company ...

@pschonaut - "credit card numbers dont die. even if you get a new card, there is still an authorisation to use the old number and it cannot be blocked"

I found the same thing when I was changing ISPs. Fortunately, I was planning ahead, I didn't want the ISP to 'forget' to stop charging me, so I called my bank and told them I was de-authorising the ISP. They told me I couldn't revoke the authorisation and I tried explaining that I could: I signed the form authorising it, so it was me who could revoke it. They didn't agree. So I cancelled the card. All complete before the ISP's next billing date.

A nasty trick is when you find you've taken a loan for future service. A friend was pressured into buying a course of beauty treatment, "pay with your credit card and it's only this much a month". She had the first session, found it painful and didn't want to continue. When she tried to cancel, it emerged that the beauty company had already been paid up-front by the credit card and she couldn't back out (note: your applicable consumer protection laws may be different).

TL;DR: credit card companies will collude with anyone to screw you over... whether by paying when you don't want them to like this, or by not paying when you do want them to, like in the On-Call story.

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EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

Allan George Dyer
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Joke

Re: EU Standard plug

I came here to propose all European phones should have a BS 1363 plug integrated into the case, but I see people are already thinking in the right direction.

Take that, Brexit!

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Kids are more likely than adults to submit to peer pressure from robots

Allan George Dyer
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Trollface

Re: RTM is well on its way, but not here yet

@jake - "99 times out of 100 I'm on the correct line, it's the paint that's in the wrong place"

Couple of questions:

Is that what you told the Police?

Did you really have 100 accidents?

Have an upvote for arrogancerighteousness!

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Google Spectre whizz kicked out of Caesars, blocked from DEF CON over hack 'attack' tweet

Allan George Dyer
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Re: and the moral of the story is....

Macau.

It has all the familiar casino brands, plus the friendly Chinese security services.

Oh, wait.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: It's to be hoped that the conference organizers vote with their dollars...

@GrapeBunch - But "attack" isn't slang, it is a general term that can be correctly applied to any harmful or destructive act... even chess players use it. Terms like Zwischenzug are highly specific; hackers have lots of specific terms, too.

How about handing out dictionaries to hotel staff and the police?

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Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Is that legal now?

@DougS - "Electrical/fire code almost always has some basis in safety, even if a pretty theoretical concern"

Two appliances within touching distance would have 415V AC between them, and the insulation on each is approved for 240V. Theorhetically, even a single layer of the insulation would be over-engineered enough to withstand the higher voltage.

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Should I infect this PC, wonders malware. Let me ask my neural net...

Allan George Dyer
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A whole new world of unintended consequencies

"When it spotted the right person in front of the PC, it provided the key needed to unlock the payload so it could be executed, and hold the system's documents to ransom."

While it will make it difficult for analysts to work out the intended target, given the state of AI image recognition, the developers won't know the effective targets, either. Sure, they trained their AI to recognise Bill Gates [other multi-billionaires are available] and empty his bank account, but maybe it triggers on a dog or guacamole.

On the other hand, if you can recognise a neural network being used to provide a decryption key for an encrypted payload, you can mark it as "highly suspicious" without bothering about when it will trigger, or what the payload is.

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Click this link and you can get The Register banned in China

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Not the entirity of China...

@Alan Brown - "Sail them into KowloonVictoria harbour and launch paper aircraft off the bow?"

FTFY

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Allan George Dyer
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The blocking seems to be highly variable. Hotels used by westerners seem to have less restrictions. A link might work, but fail with a timeout a few hours later. After a while, every foreign site might fail. Certain Chinese keywords might trigger heavier blocking.

You could put this down to rubbish infrastructure, or a subtle plan to make the Great Firewall undocumentatble.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Not the entirity of China...

@John Savard -

"When Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997, statements publicly made at the time made it clear that "One Country, Two Systems" was limited to 50 years," - Yes.

" and, more importantly, was not part of the essence of the agreement." [citation needed] - I don't recall that.

But this is besides the point. China made the promise of "One Country, Two Systems" to the people of Hong Kong, in the form of The Basic Law, which the National People's Congress adopted in 1990. It is The Basic Law that says we [I am a British citizen living in Hong Kong with permanent residence, so that includes me] can watch films about Winnie the Pooh (Article 27, Freedom of Speech). However, many people here are worried that the protections under The Basic Law are being eroded before the supposed 50 years are up... for instance, the abduction of booksellers (Article 28, no arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment).

As to Britain's involvement... no-one here is under any illusion that Britain has the military might to fight a war over HK. I don't think anyone wants a return to British rule... even the Hong Kong National Party (soon to be banned), who often wave the colonial flag at protests, advocate independence, not colonial rule. However, the Joint Declaration was an agreement between China and Britain, therefore, Britain has every right to speak out when China breaks the agreement. Sadly, the value of trade with China and the pressures of Brexit make it likely that Britain will turn a blind eye.

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Allan George Dyer
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Not the entirity of China...

"ban pretty much any mention or image of the stuffed animal in the entire country"

Nope. The film is in cinemas in Hong Kong and Macau. One Country, Two Systems!

[Note: One Country, Two Systems policy is a time-limited offer, and not guaranteed to apply in cases of abduction of booksellers, disqualification of opposition lawmakers, banning of a political party or at the Kowloon Express Rail Link Terminus. Please enjoy the film, while you can.]

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Porn parking, livid lockers and botched blenders: The nightmare IoT world come true

Allan George Dyer
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Re: What exactly is the Internet-of-Things?

@AC - Can you try to be a little more original in your posting? You posted the same list 9 days ago.

Release your creativity, after all, you are anonymous.

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DEF CON plans to show US election hacking is so easy kids can do it

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Hack the politicians?

@Someone else - "...or, to find themselves out of a job because the election has been hacked."

Maybe they're not worried, because last time there was an election hack, and they got in?

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Y'know... Publishing tech specs may be fair use, says appeals court

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Ok, put it another way...

You're missing the point: the people who live with the consequencies of your nightmare flat are not the people who decide what is built or buy the new builds, therefore the free market does not work to the benefit of the residents or society. Would you buy a 128 sq ft flat at US$2500 per sq ft? Around here, developers are building these, and marketing them as luxury nano flats, and speculators (mostly ou-of-city money) are buying them while poor people are renting cage homes. The ever-inflating prices must be a bubble, but it's lasted for 20+ years and the free market is slow to correct while people live with chronic overcrowding. https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/02/25/govt-says-will-consider-setting-minimum-limit-apartment-sizes-nano-flat-trend-continues/

I'm advocating a balance between regulation and market forces, so I don't want rules to tell you what colour your sofa should be, but I do want rules to generally improve people's lives, even if they are not strictly safety issues. Can you take a more holistic point of view?

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Ok, put it another way...

@DougS- In a democracy, the government is the people, but a purely free (=unregulated) market is controlled by the capitalists. If building codes were about safety above all, then flammable furniture would be banned. If you want to say that the free market is best because the USSR failed, the free market's track record is not that long, surely absolutist monarchies have survived for thousands of of years. I'm saying find a balance between regulation and market freedom. Regulation needs to step in where the consequencies of decisions are external to the buyers and sellers.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Ok, put it another way...

@DougS - very few people build their own home, and the rental market in particular is stuck with what is there. The codes were written before we had a massive increase in appliance numbers, so they should be updated to current conditions.

Is that the argument you wanted?

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Ok, put it another way...

@DougS - it's not the safety issue (except when the nearest free socket is the other side of a gangway). It's the additional cable, tangling with all the other cables, gathering dust, falling down the back of the cabinet and being inconvenient.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Ok, put it another way...

@GrapeBunch - "put electrical outlets on walls every x feet (when say x + 2 is also a reasonable number, or was last year)"

No, x + 2 wasn't a reasonable number, last year or ever. x / 10 might be. Even when I had my place rewired, and I specified as many as I thought I would need, a few years later they were all full, and I've been buying socket strips ever since!

It's probably some sort of Parkinson's Law variant.

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Mmm, yes. 11-nines data durability? Mmmm, that sounds good. Except it's virtually meaningless

Allan George Dyer
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Re: An object by any other name

So they set their pricing per object, and your beancounters insist on your entire data store being one object. What could possibly go wrong?

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Allan George Dyer
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Coat

Re: heard from Salesdroids

This isn't an urban legend, the moment when the salesdroid told his colleague, and the fix were recorded for posterity.

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Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

Allan George Dyer
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Re: New version of Cluedo

But it is always the BOFH/PFY that does it...

OTOH, the game could be to discover who gets the blame...

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AI threatens yet more jobs – now, lab rats: Animal testing could be on the way out, thanks to machine learning

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Only 57%?

The LD50 value is the experimental result, the percentage that die in the experiment depends on how you search for the value. For example, test 1, dose 10mg, result: 100% survival; test 2, dose 20mg, result: 90% survival; test 3, dose 40mg result: 30% survival, test 4, dose 30mg, result: 50% survival. Over the 4 tests, the experiment has killed 32.5% of the animals. Another experiment on a different substance could have a much higher lethality. 57% is an average over many experiments, so maybe the experimenters are, on average, fairly good at predicting the toxicity of a substance.

But, you miss my point. Part of the procedure is, something like, 'at the end of the experiment, dispose of the consumables according to standard safety procedures and clean the lab', where 'consumables' includes lab rats, and the standard safety procedure is kill and incinerate. None of the animals leave the lab alive, even if they survived the dose.

On your big question, I would hope that the reviewers at Toxicological Sciences would reject a paper that only 'predicted' the training data, but it would be nice to see confirmation.

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Allan George Dyer
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Holmes

Only 57%?

"experiments resulted in the death of the poor critters 57 per cent of the time"

You have to use fresh animals for each test (so previous exposure doesn't influence the current test), and I don't see retirement homes for ex-lab rats, or a big demand for ex-lab rats as pets. So, don't the survivors get killed at the end of the test?

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Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

@a_yank_lurker: "effective for erictile disfunction; reinforcing your point"

Yes, yes it does.

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US military manuals hawked on dark web after files left rattling in insecure FTP server

Allan George Dyer
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Boffin

Oxymoron alert

"insecure FTP server"

Not setting a password is like leaving the door open; anyone can walk in. FTP is an unencrypted protocol, so if you set a password, it can be sniffed; easy enough for a competent hacker.

Good thing this wasn't part of an organisation that needs to defend against elite, nation-state-funded hackers. Oh wait!

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