* Posts by Allan George Dyer

1900 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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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Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Allan George Dyer
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Go

Re: What a wonderful idea!

As a special service, for a mere $2222, I'm offering an Artisnal service to fill a genuine Fabriano Login & password index notebook with decoy usernames and passwords. Each entry will have a password lovingly crafted using one of over 30 password generation and obfuscation schemes recommended in these esteemed comments.

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Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Re: User-generated obfuscation

'Writing down "Tims Ford Prefect" isn't giving a whole lot away.'

Until Tim posts a photo of the car on Facebook with the caption, "Remember the fun we had, itzman?"

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They grow up so fast: Spam magnet Hotmail turned 22 today

Allan George Dyer
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single use

I don't know how many times I signed up to Hotmail back in the day, for website registrations and as an external address for testing my mail server, it was easier to create a new account than remember the address and password from last time.

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What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill

Allan George Dyer
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You think a hard hat can protect against decapitation?

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Google don't like pedestrians...

@Chris King: Google Maps is improving... the walking route from my office to my home currently includes taking one courtesy ferry to the floating restaurants, and a second one to the pier in Aberdeen. The previous route involved a leap from the second ferry to the bridge 14m above. A wetsuit would be recommended if your pole-vaulting ability is less than double the world record. To be fair, that route was considerably shorter.

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No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Fair enough, but as a matter of balance

@The Nazz - I used to feel a tinge of jealousy for the remedial students who got lessons in small groups in a comfortable room, while the top stream got > 30:1 pupil:teacher ratio in standard classrooms, but it was probably the most efficient use of resources in maximising the education outcomes for all students. While your anecdotal report might be accurate, it is an incomplete picture of the situation.

Also, what is an "academic foreign language class"? Is this restriction to language appropriate for foreign academies? No room for business, vocational or conversational language that might be useful to growing global citizens? "ie Spanish, German, French" - Oh, so it's code for "continued post-colonial dominance by western civilizational".

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IEEE joins the ranks of non-backdoored strong cryptography defenders

Allan George Dyer
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Black Helicopters

Re: I would think that the situation is simple

@Nick Kew - Maybe it was when the t-shirt went on sale. Did anyone get the Munitions T-Shirt?

Obligatory XKCD

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Amazon, eBay and pals agree to Europe's other GDPR: Generally Dangerous Products Removed from websites

Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Is it just me?

Did anyone else have trouble working out why the abbreviation of "Product Safety Pledge" was "PDF"?

Need... more... coffee...

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MSDN unleashes a fresh round of unintentional innuendo bingo

Allan George Dyer
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Boffin

You will be pleased to know that Wayne Kerr Electronics are still in business.

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Allan George Dyer
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Headmaster

Re: Does knob really have two meanings any more?

@TonyJ - "Dial"

Not really, I would say that a dial has an important measurement indication function, and may not have a control input function, e.g. a clock dial. Hence, a radio has a tuning dial (the measurement indication is important), and a volume knob.

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

Allan George Dyer
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Holmes

Re: The Standard Date Format?

@Mage: I take your XKCD Standards and raise you

XKCD ISO 8601.

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

Allan George Dyer
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Trollface

Application Support?

So Windows boots, but does it run Clippy and the BSOD?

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

Allan George Dyer
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Re: wireless cables?

@AC: "Could you fit any more oxymorons into a single phrase?"

Challenge accepted:

individually twisted shielded radio-frequency optical wireless monofilament cables

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Allan George Dyer
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Re: tamper-proof screws aren't

@jake - "I have a small fitted plastic case containing 154 bits that can be used to remove nearly every "tamper proof" screw known to man."

But did it contain the Apple pentalobes?

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

Allan George Dyer
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Black Helicopters

Re: Easy good passwords, here I go again...

@Tikimon - "it's a random string of letters"

Wrong!

"Start with a sentence you can remember."

This isn't a random start to the process, the following steps are deterministic, so the output is not random. Meaningful sentences in any language will have some statistical pattern to the initial letters. Worse, a memorable sentence is likely to be a quote, so the password crackers will drop a dictionary of quotations into their process if this becomes popular.

So, if you are using this scheme, the last thing you want is for everyone else to be using the same scheme... Therefore, you aren't using this, and you're a spook who has worked out how to crack this easily, hey, are those black helicopet//

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Creepy software knows what you are about to do... to that poor salad

Allan George Dyer
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Joke

This could have potential...

"1,712 videos of 52 different actors" ... "predictive accuracy at 40 per cent"

With development, they could show the AI the pilot of a new TV show, and get it to write the entire series. The only downside might be the predominance of salad-preparation scenes in the next Game of Thrones.

Or did they mean "person told to prepare salad", not, "person paid to lie to large audiences"?

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Computer Misuse Act charge against British judge thrown out

Allan George Dyer
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@Khaptain - "Shouldn't it have been the responsability of the Guildford Crown Court to ensure that the preciding judge did not know the girls mother"

How could they know? The clerks will just see "name of address" on the witness statement, not a list of everyone the witness knows. Even if the witness list was shown to the presiding judge, they might not connect the daughter of Judge Holt to the different name in front of them and then only realise when the witness took the stand.

Maybe she was accessing the documents to find the name of the presiding judge, or the contact number for the appropriate clerk.

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Youth crime falls as kids stay inside to play Grand Theft Auto instead of going out to steal cars

Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

Who commissioned the study?

As this appeared only as the last possibility: "The authors also note numerous schemes to work with at-risk youth may have worked.", I assume it was not by the supports of said schemes.

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PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

Allan George Dyer
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I'd think your first problem would be finding a vegan fish... most seem to follow the "smaller thing equals food" rule, OK, there's filter feeders, but have you ever seen one spitting out the zooplankton?

As for land animals, do you remember how Mad Cow Disease happened?

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British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update

Allan George Dyer
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Boffin

Re: Pointless emojis

@Locky - "I did not fight my way to the top of the food chain to eat salad...."

Top? Tell that to the mosquitoes.

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Tor-forker Joshua Yabut cuffed for armoured personnel carrier joyride

Allan George Dyer
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Re: I'm curious..

@Danny 2 "they don't know what killpower is in the back of the APC" - Sounds like an excellent reason not to get in line for a turkey shoot. It's supposed to be us Brits that are keen on queuing, but even that doesn't extend to a suicide queue.

Better to get ahead and make sure the APC is surrounded when the occupants get out. If they are unarmed / lightly armed, then tell them they're surrounded, come quietly. If heavily armed, then observe and retreat until adequate resources arrive. Do the cops actually carry anything in patrol cars that can reliably take down a guy in full body armour and equipment?

In this case, they knew which base the vehicle was from, so did they have any information about how many personnel and guns were missing.

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Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

I'm curious..

Why do American cop cars form long lines for a chase? This is a particularly fine example, but there are many others, including Hollywood depictions, like the Blues Brothers.

It reminds me of junior school soccer... everyone chases the ball, with no thought for tactics, position, passing etc. In this case, they could spread out on parallel streets, in case the target turns or to get ahead to form a decent roadblock (OK, can't use a stinger against a tracked vehicle, but maybe borrow a large construction vehicle or two). The ones at the back aren't going to be useful at all, and could go back to their normal patrols (it could be a diversion!). In the worst case, the APC could reverse, and the pack at the front will bunch up and won't be able to escape safely.

So, why is this long line chase a sensible tactic?

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RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds

Allan George Dyer
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Holmes

Re: Colour me sceptical

@AndyS - "pick out fights outside bars automatically"

That can be done without sensors of any kind:

if (bar == "The Blind Beggar" and time == "closing") then fight = true;

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Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Helium?

My father (b. 1915) had a similar memory of a Zeppelin over Portsmouth.

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Softbank's 'Pepper' robot is a security joke

Allan George Dyer
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Re: problem is not IoT, it's no "home (as in private) networks".

@Astara - All those devices already meet certain design and safety standards: toilets prevent the output contaminating the fresh water supply; toasters meet fire and electrical safety regulations; fridges don't leak dangerous refrigerant. The problem is, we don't have IoT security standards that manufacturers have to follow.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: too much security

@Adrian 4 - "Security belongs at the borders."

No, you should have defence in depth. A mischievous employee could mess around. Malware can turn a device on your network into an entry point for launching further attacks on vulnerable devices like Pepper. Only securing your borders is eggshell security: strong, until it cracks.

Pepper is being deployed as a receptionist, and in banks, medical centres and restaurants, which are all public or semi-public areas, where visitors might be connecting to the organisation's network.

We need the manufacturers to give users control of the device security, so let's see more of these security fail articles.

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Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Re: Default password ?

@Pascal Monett - "I mean, how hard can it be to allow for changing the bloody password ?"

Wrong question. How did they fix the OS so that the root password was unchangeable? They made a very special effort to mess it up this badly!

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Smut site offers VPN so you don't bare all online

Allan George Dyer
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Big Brother

Plausible deniability = freedom of speech?

You don't have to use it to look at porn. When Oppressive Government finds it on your computer, you look sheepish and say you were hiding your porn habit, and hope they don't notice the hidden volume with all the subversive material.

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

Allan George Dyer
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@tim292stro - "I agree with other posters here that there needs to be a federal fine and probably a prohibition on Uber ever going near AV development again."

While I'm in general agreement, I would suggest that the entire Uber Board of Directors and the VP with direct control of this project should be jailed for manslaughter.

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Boffins: Michael Jackson's tilt was a criminally smooth trick

Allan George Dyer
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Re: skinny and bulky

Rather than Marines vs. distance runners at chin-ups, you could try Marines vs. Rings gymnasts at chin-ups. Specialist vs generalist, it all depends on whether the competition is the specialist's speciality.

How about Marine in a pentathlon? The Marines have the training for everything except the equestrian show jumping.

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IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Revenue Streams...

@ZeroSum: "No ISP charges for IPv6. Customers will not pay for as it."

OK, there isn't a separate item "IPv6", with an item cost, it is part of service package, and only the top level package includes IPv6. For example, I got this answer from one local ISP in Dec 2016 (contract length 24 months, I'll be shopping around at the end of this year again):

"For your information, the broadband service that we currently can provide is IPv4 and there is no planning for migrating IPv6.

By the way, we can provide Secure DIA Premium Always on service (using IPv4) which is able to support IPv6."

There are 3 levels of service package, the monthly pricing I was offered:

Broadband

4M/4M, 8 fixed IPv4 addresses HK$698

1G/1G, 1 fixed IPv4 address (free O365 license, laser printer) HK$648

Secure DIA Always on

(no quote)

Secure DIA Premium Always on

10M/10M 16 fixed IPv4 addresses, IPv6 HK$3500

20M/20M 16 fixed IPv4 addresses, IPv6 HK$4300

30M/30M 16 fixed IPv4 addresses, IPv6 HK$4600

The DIA services include guaranteed international bandwidth, mean-time-to-repair, proactive fault management and network management.

So do you think the infrastructure they have to support 1G broadband is not capable of supporting IPv6? If it is capable, they could roll out IPv6 at minimal cost. I conclude that they choose not to because, for them, squeezing the customers who really need it is more important that supporting the transition to IPv6. For me, IPv6 is a desirable feature, not a pay 5x as much essential requirement.

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Allan George Dyer
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Revenue Streams...

With the current situation, ISPs have two revenue streams:

1. Renting fixed IPv4 addresses

2. Charging through the nose for IPv6

Why would they destroy those streams by making IPv6 a standard service feature?

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Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

Allan George Dyer
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Re: 7 million people, less than 10 gun deaths in 10 years?

@Charles 9 - Sure, there's a massive cultural difference, so it might be worth looking into the differences. Cultures can change, look at sexism, sexuality and racism over the last 50 years, if enough people want the change.

I wouldn't lump the whole Far East together, there are big regional differences. As for trusting Governments, plenty of examples of... uh forcible leadership change.

The China mainland's effect on crime in HK is complicated.

I'm not saying HK is perfect, just that you're missing an opportunity for comparison if you dismiss it with "large cultural difference".

Note: I was inadvertanly misleading with the HK gun homicide figures for the past decade, I checked: the most recent gun homicide in HK was 2006. Fortunately 0 < 10, so my claim was technically accurate.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: 7 million people, less than 10 gun deaths in 10 years?

Hong Kong.

city: a large town {Cambridge Dictionary]

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: $0.02 from a gunless veteran

@mrobaer: "I live in a town with a population just under 52,000 and it's rather diverse. I believe we've had less than 10 homicides by firearms in the last 10 years."

My town has also had less than 10 homicides by firearms in the last 10 years. Population: about 7 million.

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Did you even sweat, tho? Plaintiffs told to amend claims in Apple headphones suit

Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

Re: Found the solution. Tim Cook give me a shout if you are reading this

@Solmyr ibn Wali Barad - "Maybe using jack-type connectors on both the wire and the iDevice"

But that could give the consumer the idea that any accessory with a similar jack-type connector could be plugged in, which could be dangerous [to Apple profits].

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Biometrics: Better than your mother's maiden name. Good luck changing your body if your info is stolen

Allan George Dyer
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Re: US Verification

@Adam 1 - "Date of birth + gender + post/zip ... uniquely fingerprint a single person in well north of 80% of occasions"

So it's an Identification system that fails 20% of the time. Meh, I suppose it's good enough for targetting ads and vilification.

It isn't an Authentication system.

It isn't even sufficient Identification for "beyond reasonable doubt" that should be required for a criminal conviction.

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Great Scott! Bitcoin to consume half a per cent of the world's electricity by end of year

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Great Scott

@Lee D - "It's not like they aren't PAYING for the electricity"

Are you sure?

Power spike leads Chinese police to 600-machine mining rig

"That someone legitimately pays for a product, transforms it, and sells it on... why is that a problem?"

Externalities, opportunity costs: We die from pollution and global warming, and don't solve world hunger because of the extra electricity used and the rising cost of power.

Also, it makes Governments look dumb for asking people to use energy-saving lightbulbs.

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

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Surely though

@Adam 52 - It's not a 98% false positive rate, but it isn't a useful result either.

The problem is, we have no idea how many people in those hundreds of thousand were in the "wanted" database. It's sort of infeasible to find out, I suppose you could ask everyone there, "Are you wanted by the Police?", but there's the possibility someone might lie.

However, big crowds attract pickpockets, and at least some of the pickpockets would be in the "wanted" database, so it's safe to say there were some people in the crowd the Police would like to find. The facial recognition found NONE of those people, but it did cause 94 interviews with entirely innocent people, and one with a person no longer of interest. This was a waste of Police time, those officers could have been looking around for people sneaking wallets out of pockets and bags instead.

Cancel the facial recognition system, and charge its developers with Wasting Police Time.

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Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency

Allan George Dyer
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Joke

NCA warned... "Investment in UK property"

We all know Landlords are thieving bastards but it's a surprise to hear the NCA agrees.

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Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

Allan George Dyer
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Terminator

Re: AFAIK audio CD has no way to name songs...

@windy_miller- Could be worse, I have a CD of a Mongolian children's choir which I uploaded to my media server and found had the Artist "Dixie Chicks". Much hilarity whenever it comes up on a playlist (for small values of hilarity).

I assume the CD mastering kit was once used for a Dixie Chicks album, and no-one could be arsed to change the info. Icon: our final defence against the robopocalypse will be Bad Data.

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Shining lasers at planes in the UK could now get you up to 5 years in jail

Allan George Dyer
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@Fursty Ferret: Wait, Jeremy Clarkson is still a thing?

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Scrap London cops' 'racially biased' gang database – campaigners

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Problem with nominative determinism

@batfink - "in North London. ... they were a mixture of black, white and asian. A proper sign of integration at work..."

I can personally attest to the long history of integration in North London, 20+ years ago, I was accosted by two muggers near Archway, one white, one black.

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Allan George Dyer
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@Lost all faith: OK, the GDPR doesn't apply to prevention or detection of crime and capture or prosecution of offenders, but the report says the data was shared with borough officials and other public authorities:

"Typically, however, the police openly shared information about named individuals on the matrix with all who attended, with little clarity or safeguards around how the data should be used or shared," (my emphasis)

There is a big difference between:

Chief Constable: "We're seeing a high involvement of black youths in violent crime, we should discuss ways to change that"

Mayor: "I'll see if we can organise some youth training schemes and get them into jobs"

and:

Chief Constable: "We're putting Joe Bloggs on our gang database, we're sure he's involved, but we can't pin anything on him yet"

Mayor: "Joe Bloggs? I think he was applying for an internship, so you think he's high risk?"

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Microsoft reckons devs would like an AI Clippy to help them write code

Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

"shows top recommendations based on 2,000 open-source projects on GitHub to second guess what you are likely to want"

Aren't the code fragments that are most discussed going to be the ones that were going wrong?

So it plagiarises someone-else's errors?

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UK's Royal Navy buys £13m mine-blasting robot boat

Allan George Dyer
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Devil

Why mine the Strait of Hormuz?

Wouldn't a more effective plan be to take your own tanker(s), blow the tanker up in the middle of the strait to block it, then blame the 'attack' on your enemies?

Cheaper than paying maintenance on tankers that aren't doing anything because of sanctions.

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