* Posts by Peter2

1117 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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What is the cyber equivalent of 'use of force'? When do we send in the tanks?

Peter2
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It was sort of "can we get these computers to communicate data between each other" in a lab.

You know those sort of projects that you do as a proof of concept expecting it to get properly developed and tidied up before release, and your bosses then just deploy it to live production?

That's the internet.

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Yet more British military drones crash, this time into the Irish Sea

Peter2
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Re: droning on

Meanwhile 100,000 phosphorus/thermite/shaped charge bearing drones descend on your camp/HQ/tank army

And these drones require say, one person to 4 drones to fly, attack, recover, rearm? I think that's optimistic, but assuming that you did manage one person to 4 drones then you "only" require 25,000 people. Plus transport, plus basic catering (food, water etc) additional munitions, charging stations, refuelling their vehicles etc. The logistics operation there probably added another 5k people, so your "cheap" drone army now requires at least 30,000 people to deploy.

For comparison the (entire) British Army has an authorised strength of 82,000. This includes infrantry, IFV's, Tanks, Recon, the Royal Artillery, the Army Air Corps with attack helicopters, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Logistics corps etc.

Not convinced, that your 30k people are on a winner, honestly.

This is what happens within about 2 minutes of locating your 30,000 people to within about half a mile.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZE-UoigCiM

This is likely to cause some effect on the sortie rate, as is attack helicopters turning up overhead, and tanks arriving which hadn't been noticed because all of the drone operators were busy digging deep holes to hide in.

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Peter2
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Re: droning on

Military drones have large amounts of additional complexity added. People using the civilian drones in the Crimea found that the Russians were doing radio location and then dropping artillery strikes on the operator.

When they then moved to flying fixed waypoints, they waited until somebody went to pick the (landed) drone up and then killed them.

Not entirely convinced that civilian grade drones are readily suited to operate in a military context against a functioning organised military.

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Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

Peter2
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Re: Be glad of the imperfect man

I'd say Pournelle has a slant that makes Heinlein look outright lacking in imagination and he describes himself as being to the right of Genghis Khan, but it's not shoved down your throat because he's an intellectual who posesses an intellect. Instead you end up at unable to identify a better solution than his often ruthless and brutal way of dealing with the problem. His political slant is simply the entire backdrop of his stories. He creates realistically large and complex situations and walks you through them step by step defying you to pick something that you can disagree with until the characters are left with an unpalatable set of options.

That's expressed simply in the Motes eye as the final choices being to exterminate the aliens, or blockade them in. And who's the person most in favour of extermination and arguing for it? It's the chap who starts off as a starry eyed liberal at the beginning. He's making a point there about the old quip "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." and most people don't even notice.

In the sequal, it's conquer the aliens to provide better management as part of an empire than the aliens manage independently as they provide holocausts like clockwork. That or let a fast breeding and warlike species colonise the galaxy and quickly outbreed and exterminate humanity.

In one of the Falkenburg books it's ruthlessly using military force to kill thousands of left wing political extremists to exterminate a political movement which would otherwise collapse civilisation on a planet killing tens of millions.

And in each case you'll finish up each gnashing your teeth but being unable to see a better solution or even identify where it would have been possible for the people involved to have made a change earlier, leaving you sympathising with the perfectly reasonable people stuck as a barely relevant cog in such a large situation that it's all but impossible for them to influence.

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Peter2
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Re: Jerry will be sorely missed

>"Western profligacy, that the USSR couldn't match, won the 'war'. SO it's just as valid to say The Beatles won the war, or Levi's Jeans won the war."

Wrong. I refer you to the second chapter of Jerry Pournelle's book that I linked to above. The one taught to at US Military academies for literially decades. It's got a rather strategic overview as to why simply blowing lots of money wasn't getting anywhere much in the 1960's and 1970's.

https://www.jerrypournelle.com/slowchange/Strat.html

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Peter2
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Re: Jerry will be sorely missed

For those who don't know, Jerry wrote and published "The Strategy of Technology" in 1970, which was a hugely influential work. Read it, and you'll understand what SDI was about.

eBook version of "The Strategy of Technology"

https://www.jerrypournelle.com/slowchange/Strat.html

Jerry was an advisor to the American president Reagan and I would say that it wouldn't be unfair to suggest that SDI was one of the most sucessful military projects ever undertaken. Simplistically every technology introduced requires a counter. SDI introduced so many new technologies that required disproportionally expensive counters that the Soviet Union was forced to negiotiate arms control treaties to eliminate the weapon programs because they couldn't afford to counter those systems. Eventually, the cost of trying to counter weapon systems they couldn't terminate with arms control treaties caused the Soviet Union to financially collapse without a shot being fired.

I'd suggest that given it was done deliberately it was a pretty sucessful project.

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A furious think-tank boss, Google, and an academic 'fired' for criticizing ads giant

Peter2
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Re: Journalistic cherry-picking

I suppose that depends if you beleive that Schmidt's telephone call brought no pressure to bear or not.

That would then influence your belief as to if other factors raised afterwards are reasons or justifications.

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Scottish pensioners rage at Virgin cabinet blocking their view

Peter2
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Looking at the very young age of the houses and the new wall, plus the atypically large space left one suspects that BT has installed first, and then the builder built the wall and house behind it. You've even got to wonder if BT has actually moved that left cabinet over by a foot or two as well judged by the brand new pavement that's already got a hole been dug in it.

I mean, Openreach is bad. But that has to be a set of builders. Even Openreach isin't *THAT* bad.

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Give staff privacy at work, Euro human rights court tells bosses

Peter2
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Re: Which is exactly why it is higher on May priority list

Which has no relevance to the ECHR. This example is worthy of the Daily Mail."

Exactly. Every other country is subject to the ECHR and nobody else has this problem and no other country's press and politician's whip up this sort of hysteria.

Map of the legal systems of the world:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_the_Legal_systems_of_the_world_(en).png

The blue shaded areas are using the Code Civil system, red us using Common Law derived systems. How many other Common Law systems are there in the EU? Penny dropped yet as to why we are the only country having these particular problems?

If fault lies anywhere it's with the English judiciary for it's occasionally bizarre rulings.

Please. Don't bash the judges for doing their work unless your actually a Daily Mail devotee. Judges are employed to strictly interpret what has been written in law and bizarre law results in bizare judgements. That's not the fault of the judge.

Judges should not be asked or expected to ignore law on the books. If laws don't make sense, they shouldn't be on the law books!

The blame is with implementing law to the UK's statue books that is both nonsensical and contrary to our system of drafting law. It could have been (and could still be) resolved by simply drafting the laws correctly for our law books.

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Peter2
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Re: Which is exactly why it is higher on May priority list

Most people don't have a problem with human rights law. Nobody has ever argued against the Human rights that have been floating around in the UK since the Magna Carta and the (1689 english) bill of rights etc. Most people are pissed off with an incompetent implementation of the 1998 Human Rights act, and to be fair I agree that it was incompetently implemented into UK law.

In the UK all of our law is based on a restrictive basis. Your inherently free to do anything, with the exception of very tightly defined laws which create things that you are forbidden to do.

Most EU countries invanded by the Emperor Napoleon use his system of law which starts off on the basis that the individual has no rights and laws create rights for the individual. In this sort of system, the human rights act creating such rights as "you have a right to a family life" was designed to ensure that future dictators on the Europeon continent would be constrained at least somewhat by their legal systems and grant to europeon citizens the rights enjoyed by Englishmen for most of the last millenia. It was in fact written by a committee of British civil servants precisely to this end.

However, by adding blocks of continental type law into the UK law books it ends up clashing. For instance, prisoners coming out and saying that being in prison is a violation of their right to a family life does quite understandably grate with the majority of the population, especially when they murdered people (violating their "right to life") to end up in prison. This is the much maligned part of the act:-

Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life

1Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

That's the much maligned "right to a family life" as found on the UK's law books. It's written absurdly poorly and is far to vague. It should have been written along the lines that:-

"There shall be no monitoring, recording, or interference with an individual's privacy in a public or private space without their consent, and there shall be no entry to property to search an individuals property without a court order or the individuals consent"

Doing this in a specific manner would have frankly solved the problems of the rather negative publicity when people jailed for murder or terrorism cry "you can't do that, it's against my human rights!" which tends to inflame public opinion against the act as after a number of well publicised uses of the act in this manner it's hardly surprising that people think it's just a charter for criminals which has no positive influence for the general public.

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Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

Peter2
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Re: Don't think his invention is the precursor to what we now call email.

I think the point is that he didn't invent anything. He implemented an existing standard to create a program that could send an email.

Implementation != invention.

I have written a very simple program that sent SMS texts to a SMS gateway when this stuff was somewhat newish. 2 entry boxes (to & content) with a 160 character limit. And a counter to show how many characters you had left, and a print button. Simple, but effective and it stayed in use for something like a decade. Doesn't mean I invented SMS. If I had of done then i'd have implemented a better queing system and failure notification for starters.

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Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

Peter2
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Re: How on earth can you tell the difference?

Talk talk actually got hacked though.

Chances are that somebody working for BT's Indian operation was offered a couple of (dozen?) times their annual salary in exchange for handing over a database to the scammers.

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Big Tech slams Trump on plan to deport kids

Peter2
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Re: Who started this ?

The "taking away jobs" claim is about the easiest to disprove of them all.

It is?

What it means a lot of the time is that employers are able to exploit labour in appalling conditions in the fields at incredibly low wages. They also manage in many cases to further exploit the workers by providing accomodation (eg a caravan stuffed with a dozen people) which they can then deduct wages for, further reducing the amount that has to be paid.

The labour out in the fields is really a chimera. No, western workers with a decade + of education generally don't want to spend months outside in cold and rain, getting RSI and back injuries picking thousands of fruit every day. That's why the job has been automated in most advanced economies.

Eg, cabbage harvesting:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ3ZUoz6cWM

Or Rasberry/blueberry harvesting:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt73GOk4JRY

Equipment also exists for pretty much everything else. Simply put, if not for an excess of uncontrolled and illegal immigration giving a supply of people who would otherwise not meet the standards required in the immigration process then harvesting with swarms of seasonal labour would be something read about in history books. Companies would mechanise and this would create jobs in higher tech manufacturing, servicing and semi skilled jobs in the use of this equipment.

However, an excess pool of unskilled labour keeps wages down for everybody, and removes any reason for businesses to spend money on automating back breaking manual work as they can make more profit at the expense of their workers.

The question is not who started this, it's how to solve this in a manner that preserves a degree of humanity.

Quite. How about this?

Q: Were you <10 when you came to our country illegally, do you now belong culturally to our country and are you involved in any criminality?

if $result == yes&yes&no then status=grant citizenship

else status=deport

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Reality strikes Dixons Carphone's profits after laughing off Brexit threat

Peter2
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That's because when fashion trends are passed, the objects of said trend drop in value significantly.

Men can wear or carry three sorts of fashion accessories while being socially acceptable.

1) A (wedding or engagement) ring. Wearing huge number of gold necklaces etc would just make a man look a like a prat, as judged by society.

2) A wristwatch. (either a casio if you want to tell the time, or a uber expensive LOOK AT ME watch)

3) This years/months trendy phone which can be waved around in an extravagent show of wealth.

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Peter2
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Re: Blame everybody but us

The pound has continued to fall against the Euro but, if anything, this would lead to an increase in revenues outside the UK.

It would if you were a manufacturing company doing exports as well as sales within the UK.

The pound falling is good news for exporters, but bad news for importers.

Dixons and the Carphone warehouse are predominately importers from outside the UK selling within the UK. Hence, it's bad news for them unless they can find manufacturers within the UK for goods, which they certainly won't do for smartphones.

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El Reg gets schooled on why SSDs will NOT kill off the trusty hard drive

Peter2
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Re: Flash replacing Tape too

SSD's aren't going to be replacing tape anytime in the forseeable future. This is why:-

4TB SSD. £1300 ex VAT & delivery.

6TB LTO7 tape. £89.95 ex VAT & delivery. (50% bigger capacity, 14 times cheaper)

5 day tape rotation with 6TB LTO7's. £449.75 ex vat.

5 day disc rotation with 4TB SSD's. £6,500 ex vat.

Both figures feature RRP pricing. Yes, you can probably get either cheaper if you've got a decent relationship with a supplier and are happy to turn the thumbscrews on them a bit, but RRP is comparitive.

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Peter2
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I've said for ages that HDD's will be around for a long time yet. Still plenty of development going, and when there isin't then the HDD manufacturers will almost certainly ditch all of their R&D and concentrate on ruthless cost cutting on producing their last generation of HDD's which will bring the price down and keep them competitive.

I'd guess that HDD's are still going to be around in 10-15 years, although they might end up being a much more niche market.

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Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life

Peter2
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How old was your old car? My 1999 vintage car has ABS and if it's got modern high quality brake pads from a company like Pagid then braking performance shouldn't be too different from an old car to a new one.

Heck, Mintex make modern pads for cars dating back to the 1930's. The age of the car shouldn't matter significantly if it's well maintained and the discs & pads aren't rusted to the point of ineffectiveness. (and if they are, then they should fail the MOT and require replacement!)

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Oracle has to pay top sales rep stiffed out of $250,000, US court rules

Peter2
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Re: Quite a lot of money

10% wouldn't sound too outragous, especially if they were expecting the sales rep to be selling things worth a few hundred/thousand and having a lower base salary as encouragement to do deals.

When they turn up saying "I did a 10 million deal" then the bosses probably blinked and said "great!". Untill the bill landed for the commission. If Oracle didn't want to pay out the better part of a million in bonuses then they should probably have have drafted the contract better and put a ceiling to payments in the contract.

One can only imagine that the top level bosses weren't happy that somebody was earning as much as they were in the year.

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Disbanding your security team may not be an entirely dumb idea

Peter2
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Re: deregulation

The question is, would having members of the department advising the manager that this is illegal and or sending a memo to his boss if he ignores them be any less effective than the security department screaming YOU DID WHAT! after they find out?

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Peter2
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Re: deregulation

No, he's trying to make a point that you should always consider if the way that your doing things is the best way of doing them.

In this case, he's asking if instead of having one large security group that is responsible for "security" if it'd be more sensible to (for instance) spread the security trained people out into the wider business and make the departmental managers responsible for operating securely, with a smaller security group supervising them and reporting elseware to ensure that operations are done securely and effectively.

Would this be just as effective? Who knows. But it's right to ask the question.

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Elon Musk among 116 AI types calling on UN to nobble robo-weapons before they go all Skynet

Peter2
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Re: Nice in theory

It comes down to an actual definition of what AI is.

The Bloodhound missile was launched by rocket boost to get to mach1+ and then fired off a pair of Thor Ramjets to reach a range of 190km with a semi active radar and a digital computer to "decide" what was and wasn't jamming to hit a real target as opposed to a decoy. Is that AI? Because it entered service in 1958 and was taken out of service in 1991.

Pretty much anything can be classed as AI depending on if somebody wants it to be or not. And i'm with Streaky on not making too many assumptions about British R&D being light years behind the USA's. Simply looking at tank's, Britain developed the 105mm gun, and the 120mm gun, both of which are the standard guns used worldwide (including by the USA) In terms of tank armour, Britain developed Chobam armour, which was also adopted by the USA. Later in Iraq a British tank took 30+ RPG's and then limped away for repairs without injuries to the crew. In the finest tradition of militaries pointing and shouting "I WANT SOME OF THOSE" the USA then purchased the newer Dorchester armour and did an upgrade on their tanks. And just look at Britain's next generation armouring: a single news article suggested that honest to god working polarised armour straight out of science fiction had been demonstrated to top military staff back around 2000. Since then, dead silence on the matter.

I'd suggest that good operational security and a lack of press releases on military developments shouldn't be assumed to be a lack of competence in R&D. Evidence seems to suggest precisely the opposite.

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Peter2
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Re: Geneva Convention?

Patriot has already killed at least 2 British Tornado pilots (on approach to Dhahran, their IFF failed and they were shot down......about 10 years after the Iraq war; no-one thought to turn the Patriots off).

[Citation needed]

That was one aircraft with a pilot and navigator and took place 3 days into the Iraq war, not ten years after it. The missile was fired by a human being, not by an AI.

Frankly, in my view weaponry isin't going to be a serious problem as the military already has "remove before flight" physical locks preventing the use of weapons etc. At the moment, if AI suddenly went skynet on us, it can't do anything to me. Nothing attached to my network can be controlled remotely to do any harm to anybody. Moreover, I can immediately control the AI through walking downstairs and tripping the main breaker and that's the AI immediately eliminated from my eviroment. If everybody else has the sense to do the same, that's problem over.

Then you simply have to disconnect everything and restore from your (hopefully offline?) backups.

AI starts to become an actual problem when AI's have control over things like autonomous cars because there would be a lot of them capable of doing a lot of damage. It'll get worse if more things get connected to the IOT that become capable of doing harm to people.

IMO the remedy should be physical off switches on things that cannot be overridden with software. In most household appliances this is going to be the "off" switch on the power, or the main breaker. In autonomous cars, personally I think they should all have a physical key in the circuit to the Engine Control Unit as old fashioned cars did. Not using key fobs, cards (or anything else that can be overridden by software) ought to be mandated in the same way that physical linkages are required for steering and brakes.

Preventing serious danger from AI is pretty simple: just assume everything that can be compromised will be, and put safeguards in place.

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Cognitive Services, Clippy? AI's silent infiltration of Microsoft's Office stack

Peter2
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Oh, wonderful.

We can now experiance the joys of "It looks like your writing a letter. Would you like some help with that?" again.

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Peter2
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Re: been there - seen that - never been shouted at to that extent (yet)

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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President Trump to his council of industry CEO buddies: You're fired!

Peter2
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If somebody can't win a reasoned argument with a skinhead neo nazi as judged by the general population, and are concerned that neo nazi views will resonate with the public to the point that they have to be stopped from getting their message out by physically attacking them in a riot then it is an implicit admission that:-

1) The rioter can't win an argument with an uneducated skinhead. (as judged by the general population)

2) The rioter is less convincing and persuasive than an uneducated, criminally violent and psycopathic skinhead. (as judged by the general population)

3) The rioter is concerned that neo nazi views will gain traction with the general public, which is an implicit admission that they think their views and politics are actually less attractive to the public than actual neo nazi facism.

4) The rioter is a complete, total imbecile.

Physically attacking people to temporarily supress discussion is a contemptible level of discource that strenghens these groups by attracting football holigans and the like who just want to riot and fight who probably will actually be attracted to their views.

Peaceful groups protesting what from a reasonable observer might consider reasonable (such as being against violent mobs vandalising public statues) end up being radicalised if they are attacked or exposed to violent nutters. The population as a whole ends up being entrenched in views of "violent nutters assualting non violent people is ok" or "violence has no place on our streets" which makes it rather harder to persuade people with reasonable discussion.

In short, the violent nutters on both sides are contemptible morons and deserve to be denounced. The people who are being violent who have the supposed benefit of an education should be able to reason out why their course of action is counterproductive to their aim. If they can't, then their education was clearly a considerable waste of time, money and effort.

Before and during WW2 facist literiature such as Mein Kampf was widely available in the UK. It was debated, riddiculed and logically and methodically destroyed in reasoned debate and remained widely available during the war. Did Britain end up with a huge number of 5th columnists?

Uh, no. Facist 5th columnists were much less of a problem than the communists who were in fact actively sabotaging military production up until Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, at which point communist activity focused on increasing war production and shipping more weapons to the Soviet Union.

Winning an argument is much better than winning a riot where the riot is won, and the argument is lost.

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She's arrived! HMS Queen Lizzie enters Portsmouth Naval Base

Peter2
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Re: Oh no!

No, I imagine they probably did fit that many.

It explains why the carrier cost is £3.5 billion.

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Peter2
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Re: Worth it?

I really don't see any truly international fleets happening a y time soon, particularly with Brexit parting us from the economic aspects of Europe. That alone could lead to some grudging cooperation.

Ah, we'd better pull out of the international fleets that we are part of then.

Europe will be wary of annoying us too much as they want to be able to continue to use the Northwood operations base. For reference, Northwood is the HQ of :-

1) Headquarters, Joint Forces Command

2) the Permanent Joint Headquarters

3) the Multi National Headquarters

4) the Commander Operations for the Royal Navy

5) the NATO Allied Maritime Command

This is not because it has a nice cricket pitch. It's because the cost of duplicating the C3 infrastructure there would be similar to buying a new aircraft carrier, and politicans in the EU prefer vote buying schemes to military spending.

Hence, nations in europe wanting to use our facilities such as the Northwood command centre, and get resupplied on operations by the Royal Fleet Auxilery won't be keen on upsetting us too much.

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GoDaddy gives white supremacist site its marching orders after Charlottesville slur

Peter2
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Re: There are rumblings

I thought the whole point on anon was that it's a random bunch of people without any centralised control?

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Dismayed by woeful AI chatbots, boffins hired real people – and went back to square one

Peter2
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Re: The number of suitcases a person can take on a plane

I spy with my little eye:-

1) An SLA that all calls must be answered with a maximum of a one hour waiting time.

2) A person working for the council negiotating with the provider who had never watched "Yes Minister", and had little imagination for ways of meeting the letter of a rule whilst comprehensively violating the spirit of that rule.

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Uber bros kill car leasing program after losing nine grand per vehicle

Peter2
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Re: No word on

Here's the problem with Cloud services. The name is everything and its winner-take-all. How does a new taxi service get noticed

Google -> "Taxi in "$location".

Doing that in a moderate sized town resulted in a websites for two established companies that both offer an app download, online booking, corporate accounts and a telephone number if you just want to ring them and book.

I can fully beleive that some people will struggle with that, but it's hardly winner takes all otherwise the competition wouldn't exist.

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Peter2
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Re: No word on

Neither is running a taxi service, but they're losing billions doing that, too.

Which AFAIK is because Uber charges less to the customer than it pays to the taxi operator to drive down prices.

As soon as Uber gets beaten into following laws where they operate, and stops charging less than it costs to run the service then their prices go up to that of the competition, and they get obliteriated by that competition.

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Manchester firm shut down for pretending to be Google

Peter2
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I have a fierce, and occasionally stressed receptionist who has my written authority to take out any anger or frustration she has on salespeople who try and bluff their way through reception to me.

She finds it quite theruputic, apparently. (although i'm not convinced salesdroids do) It's certainly effective at sharply reducing the number of calls (and in person callers) I get.

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Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork

Peter2
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My article aside, if you read Damore's piece and concluded that it was well researched and persuasive then you either have very low standards or you willfully ignored large chunks of it.

As per George Miller, (evolutionary psychology professor) of the University of New Mexico:-

(http://quillette.com/2017/08/07/google-memo-four-scientists-respond/)

When the memo went viral, thousands of journalists and bloggers transformed themselves overnight from not understanding evolutionary psychology at all to claiming enough expertise to criticize the whole scientific literature on biological sex differences.

I think you've done this, honestly.

Taking a further paragraph of yours:-

It was a terrible hack job that doesn't stand up to even basic scrutiny. There is a reason why this blew up, and it's because it was bad.

The same professor says:-

For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history. I know a little about sex differences research. On the topic of evolution and human sexuality, I’ve taught for 28 years, written 4 books and over 100 academic publications, given 190 talks, reviewed papers for over 50 journals, and mentored 11 Ph.D. students. Whoever the memo’s author is, he has obviously read a fair amount about these topics. Graded fairly, his memo would get at least an A- in any masters’ level psychology course. It is consistent with the scientific state of the art on sex differences.

Terrible hack job that doesn't stand up to even basic scrutiny? He appears to disagree.

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Peter2
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Re: This Article

In my world we would extract the key claims he makes in the text and, if there is some debate or uncertainty about them, put them to the test. Because it does seem that much of what he says may have some truth in it, even if you would prefer it not to be so.

But the reaction is not and was never going to be reasonable. A large group of bigots* in our society respond to any attempt at reasoned argument on an ever expanding set of subjects that they consider to be objectionable with attempts to supress the argument.

* bigot

noun

a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.**

**Definition correct until updated in the next version of newspeak.

The end result of this is dangerous. Why? Because if a bunch of extremists locks down freedom of speech to an extent that venturing an opinion on virtually any subject is "thoughtcrime" then it's effectively impossible to exercise freedom of speech, and this eliminates both the centre ground and sensible discussion and moderate opposition. Arguments are not won, they are simply not voiced.

This leaves only extremists in opposition and you end up with a choice of two agenda's, both from extremists.

This culminates in Donald Trump & Brexit.

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If we're in a simulation, someone hit it with a hammer, please: Milky Way spews up to 100 MEELLLION black holes

Peter2
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Coat

If we're in a simulation...

Then we're doomed.

What are the chances of the OS still being supported and patched properly after a few billion years? The big bang must have been last time it crashed and rebooted and you know how skiddies will happily try and crash the host for the lolz at which point if the OS has serious bugs in it then everything is going to go bang!

Not particually worried though. At present there is absolutely no reason to think that we are in a VM beyond the observation "hey, computing power keeps increasing a lot and we might be could be living inside a VM!" There is more credible evidence to prove that a god created the world in 6 days, and then spent the seventh creating a billion galaxies, with over a billion stars in each, and countless billions of planets.

Personally, I am not inclined to beleive either and won't do until somebody produces some convincing evidence.

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Corporate criminal tax offences likely to further increase HMRC's use of dawn raids, says expert

Peter2
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Re: Time to rein in the use of dawn raids

And the Guardian, as the Guardian Media Group (like many other large companies) is well known to use wonderfully creative accounting to evade paying any tax. Just because they write articles attacking these practices doesn't mean they don't do it themselves.

But seriously, there is no difference between turning up unannounced at a civilised hour of the morning to turning up at 5 in the morning unless you have evidence to suggest that people are sitting over the evidence with a can of fuel and a lighter and you desperately need to catch the culprits in bed asleep when you hit the target to prevent destruction of evidence.

11
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70% of Windows 10 users are totally happy with our big telemetry slurp, beams Microsoft

Peter2
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Re: spends most of its time updating

To be fair, the less often that you use a bit of software like Winx the worse it gets. If you only turn it on for an hour a month then it downloads and starts installing all of the updates, you turn it off in disgust as it's used half of that updating and then try again a month later and it does the same thing then your going to have a pretty poor view of it.

5
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Google's macho memo man fired, say reports

Peter2
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Re: I now wouldn't take the risk of hiring a diverse team

Whole situation has been cooked up recently to distract the masses and once caring liberals from more important matters such as climate change and such. It's a crafty political strategy that ironically, benefits right wingers who would rather youth and feminists are wound up about self than protesting at fracking sites in Cumbria.

You are actually giving too much credit to the opposition for deliberate subtle planning. The truth of the matter has more to do with the loudest voices in favour of bringing in many legislative changes is financial interest. Who financially benefited from tinkering with electricity in the name of climate change? Well, the electricity price has gone up by 50% so not the consumer. Carbon emissions haven't dropped by an amount in any proportion to the price increase, so the enviroment isin't really a winner. But do check out how much emissions trading is worth a year.

Simply, people supporting "the cause" were essentially useful idiots for a group who's now quite rich and has retired from politics.

As of this moment 0.91%* (0.3GW) of our electricity is being produced by the wind fams that have increased our electricity bills by ~50%. 50.14%* is being generated by the gas plants that were built to "back up" the wind capacity. Excluding the aging nuclear plants generating 23.55%* of our electricity the only notable "green" power generation going is biomass plants, which are coal plants converted to burn trees which are cut down in america, pulped to pellets and then shipped from america. It'd be more sensible to just burn the sodding fuel used in transporting that lot directly to generate electricity, except the result would be counted as polluting rather than "green energy" and so wouldn't generate the carbon credits required to offset the emissions for the coal plants that are needed to ensure that pensioners don't freeze to death in the winter when the lights go out.

* correct figures at time of writing. (http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk)

We are literially in a position where if the loony bins keep fiddling with energy policy then the lights are going to go out so don't encourage them.

As a country we've been extracting gas from the ground in the UK since 1896 without the world coming to an end so pumping up gas to power the gas plants that were built to "back up" the wind turbines (backups that usually produce 15x the amount of what they are backing up?) is hardly going to be a serious issue, and will mean that we can stop going to war to prop up despots in the middle east to ensure a flow of oil/gas.

So let the utter loons on the extreme left get involved with harmless issues where they can't do serious damage, But FFS don't encourage them to further fiddling with power generation for the next five or ten years if you want to keep your lights (and computers/ipads) turned on and western countries out of wars in the middle east.

5
3

Google diversity memo: Web giant repudiates staffer's screed for 'incorrect assumptions about gender'

Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Dare I say

eah... The issue is that a CV sent by a black woman gets less answers than the same exact CV sent by a white male. People's judgement is tainted by the race and gender of applicants. Which is unfair, right?

And how pray does one tell from a CV that it was sent by a "black woman"? Was that information volunteered on the CV? If so, WHY?

I have read my fair share of CV's and interviewed and hired people. In one particular case we had the recruiter strip names & dates of birth from the CV's sent to us to remove any "unconcious bias". The only one I personally ditched on a basis that could be called discriminatory was a CV/covering letter which was VERY long on explaining how important their religion was, and very short on explaining why their qualifications and experiance were relevant and why they would be good at the job.

We interviewed four people, and recruited three. Two were the best qualified and interviewed well, the other had a good deal of relevant experiance and interviewed well. This turned out to be two men and a woman. That was purely based on CV's with names & DOB's stripped. A query for curiosities sake revealed that three woman had applied out of about 150 applications. The other two applications were discarded with about 120 other (male) CV's in the good old first pass method of "discard CV's with gross spelling mistakes as you've got to get the pile down to a sensible size somehow, and if you can't be assed to spellcheck your CV then your not likely to work hard."

I'm not convinced that there is a huge level of deliberate discrimination. If there was, then somebody would be hiring all of these good candidates up and outperforming the companies that were deliberately excluding the best people from their workforce.

What I think there is is a lack of woman wanting to work in IT and STEM generally, knowing a few of the sucessful woman in IT I think it's down to upbringing from way before school. The highly sucessful woman in IT & STEM that I know do their own servicing on their cars and are members of local engineering groups because engineer parents encouraged them to do non traditional things when they were younger and they enjoy it, and this is a far wider issue than "men are systematically excluding woman from STEM!".

Hell, there could well be a measurable collelation between woman working in STEM and woman who were allowed/encouraged to play with lego & mecanno instead of dolls at the age of <5.

39
7

DJI drones: 'Cyber vulnerabilities' prompt blanket US Army ban

Peter2
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Nonetheless, ease of use, a relatively low price point (something DJI prides itself on, to the point that nascent US rival 3D Robotics found itself unable to compete with DJI in the drone hardware market) and availability tends to trump security concerns.

Unless military units are using these devices in places where they offically aren't present and are concerned about it being provable that they were in a location other than that publically declared, or worried that GPS coordinates being beamed back might be read by a third party with intercept capability and the will to drop things that go "BANG" on the people flying them.

Both are problems not really faced by legal civil use, and I can see either issue being significant concerns in a military context.

10
1

CMD.EXE gets first makeover in 20 years in new Windows 10 build

Peter2
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Re: They are bonkers

Yes, it is.

Personally however, I only use the classic black & light white command prompt. It never had colours when we had black and white monitors, so why change now? ;)

Or maybe that's just very 1980's of me. Personally, i'd prefer that the engineering time was put into something i'd notice such as putting the start menu into server 2012 as an alternative to the mobile phone interface.

40
0

Another day, another British Airways systems screwup causes chaos

Peter2
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Re: "If you know why BA's shonky IT keeps going to sleep in the mornings...."

And if you could get the best people, it'd cost as much (or more) than it does as hiring your own employees and nobody would bother offshoring.

5
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Sputtering bit-blasters! IBM's just claimed densest tape ever record

Peter2
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Re: Long live tape !

I'm still using a much earlier tape format here because it's installed and still task adequate, so I just googled the price of the LTO7 tape and cited the price Misco offered & the 4TB SSD.

I'm sure I could get both the SSD & tapes cheaper through suppliers if I was trying hard, but it's a reasonable guide as to the retail price difference between both.

2
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Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Long live tape !

"I don't see a future for tape at all. We are already at multi-terabyte SSD."

4TB SSD. £1300 ex VAT & delivery.

6TB LTO7 tape. £89.95 ex VAT & delivery. (50% bigger capacity, 14 times cheaper)

5 day tape rotation with 6TB LTO7's. £449.75 ex vat.

5 day tape rotation with 4TB SSD's. £6,500 ex vat.

Just because it's old technology at base doesn't mean that it's either bad or irrelevant.

18
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Microsoft won't patch SMB flaw that only an idiot would expose

Peter2
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Re: Enough said

Not really on the internet, but guess what caused the so-damn-fast spread of the wannacry in the NHS... the nationwide private WAN has SMB wide open to and from basically anything. And it is still open now.

When I was working in NHS IM&T we treated the N3 as an externally facing internet connection so every site had it's own firewall. No doubt you can find single site trusts basically without IT staff that are incompetently setup, but there is really no such entity as "THE NHS", it's a patchwork of hundreds of different trusts all running things in radically different ways.

0
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Google tracks what you spend offline to prove its online ads work. And privacy folks are furious

Peter2
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Re: This is why you want anonymous payments

I think the point is that if you buy in shops with cash and don't use loyalty cards then tracking your purchases is impossible. The most you'd get out of my financial records is a reasonable view of where i've taken money out, which rarely corresponds to where i've visted.

Personally, I find that it's easier to not spend cash as handing over large numbers of notes feels like you've made a big purchase and when I start running low on notes I know i'm spending too much. I don't get that same feeling with cards (which is probably why they get pushed so much...)

13
1

Autonomous driving in a city? We're '95% of the way there'

Peter2
Silver badge

Nor does taking any firm trying that to a small claims court for violations of your rights under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, Part 1, Chapter 2, section 28 (delivery of goods).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/section/28

"(2) Unless the trader and the consumer have agreed otherwise, the contract is to be treated as including a term that the trader must deliver the goods to the consumer."

So saying "we drove up outside and sent a text saying "PICK THEM UP FROM THE CAR PARKED OUTSIDE WITHIN TEN MINUTES OR WE CANCEL YOUR ORDER AND CHARGE YOU 10%" won't fly because they weren't delivered and the trader is therefore in breach of contract.

You don't be able to get around statutury rights by including a line saying "by using our service you waive your statutory rights" as the courts of England and Wales are of the opinion that they decide points of law like this, and not companies trying it on and so have a habit of simply declaring the entire contract null and void, hence lawyers inserting lines like "if one provision is declared unlawful then whatever remains shall stand" in the hope that the judge will be a bit more restrained and not strike out literially the entire thing.

Additionally, even if this was changed, you'd have to overcome :-

"(10b)the trader must without undue delay reimburse all payments made under the contract in respect of any goods for which the consumer cancels the order or which the consumer rejects.

All you've got to do is say that you had a bad back and didn't accept the delivery, and by exclusion it becomes a rejected delivery and a full refund is due.

And i'm not even a Solicitor! Think how many holes an expert could blow through something as fundementally illegal as this.

7
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Sysadmin jeered in staff cafeteria as he climbed ladder to fix PC

Peter2
Silver badge

A workplace where there is an accurate map of where each wall port is physically located?

Such a utopia must be a mirage

I don't get this. One of the self assigned jobs I did at my company years ago was bringing in a scale ruler and walking around with a cheap multi functional laser measure like estate agents use that I bought from boots god only knows how many years ago.

Once I had a floor plan (drawing boxes the right size and shape with a ruler isin't rocket science) I just wrote in where power and data points were, with extra markers for risers etc. It only took an afternoon to do and has probably saved me that much time in looking for things since.

If you haven't got documentation and you want it, there is rarely anything stopping you from writing it yourself.

8
0
Peter2
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Re: What is this ?

No , devices are named after their asset tag. Always. There is no other acceptable thing to name a machine. (possibly excluding servers)

This. I still have nightmares about the site where the chap in charge named devices after the (normal) user of the machines.

The problem comes in when you pull spare machines off the shelf of spares that are already named identically to things on the network so can't be on the network, yet they need to be on the network in order to get your admin details from a DC to rename the PC or remove it from the domain.

After you've run into little gems like that which result from crap naming practices then you start caring a lot more about just naming things after the asset tag. There is a network visible "computer description" field which you can use to store user or location information if required.

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