* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

6185 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Tax Google and Facebook for a job subsidy scheme? Sigh

I ain't Spartacus
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The UK has a problem of local news

We don't have many areas that can have a successful market for local news. The same problem we have with government, that the country is just physically small enough that government suffers from the delusion that centralisation can be successful. Without local news though, you can't really have effective local democracy. Admittedly that also requires voters to give an effective damn about local news, local democracy and bother to vote and stuff.

It's a real chicken-and-egg situation. If councils don't have power, people won't vote. But if you devolve them power when people aren't voting, you get corruption and stupid decisions. And if nobody's interested, no-one's reading the local press, so there's no scrutiny.

We had reasonably representative local government 100 years ago. You could get from being a leader of say Birmingham council to being a senior national politician in one step back then. Because the role had a profile. Maybe city mayors will make a difference here?

it's a really dull subject - and that's the problem. Because nobody will take it seriously. But it actually matters quite a lot. Otherwise local government just becomes a playground for non-serious politicians to push their pet projects, in a lot of cases in safe seats with little risk of getting turfed out by voters.

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UK Army chief: Russia could totally pwn us with cable-cutting and hax0rs

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Re: But seriously

Have you never heard of the internet-connected tin-opener? IoT is the future dontcherknow!

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Job ad for designer proves its point with MS Paint shocker

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Re: Polygraph Examiner

Surely the original tea-leavers were in Boston in 1773?

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Cyber-coin crackdown continues: Commission charges couple crypto-currency company chiefs concerning 'conned' customers

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Wot no B's

Bonkers Blockchain Bubble Brouhaha Becomes Breathtakingly Bad Before Bust! Brown-trousered Bankrupts Bemoaning Bad Bets.

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Nervy nuke-armed nation fires missile with 5,000km range

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Re: If your not on the list, you're not getting in

If Iraq or any other country REALLY had weapons of mass distruction, the USA could not attack.

sean.fr,

Wrong. Iraq did have them deployed at corps HQ level in Kuwait in 1990. They were still there when the.troops were captured. They also used them repeatedly in the 80s, against Iran and the Kurds.

As happens, the US didn't know that tactical nukes had been deployed in Cuba, so might well have invaded anyway.

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Re: If your not on the list, you're not getting in

Bottom line though is that US justification of attacking Iraq (that US had proof hat Iraq had WMDs) was patently false.

No it wasn't. We knew that Iraq still had WMDs in 1998 when the weapons inspectors finally got kicked out. Or at least, "knew beyond reasonable doubt". Iraq were still obstructing the team's attempts to destroy what was known about (let alone if Saddam had more that had avoided detection so far), to the extent of throwing the inspectors out.

So it was perfectly reasonable to act on that knowledge.

As you say, Iraq wasn't a threat to anyone but its own population in 2003. But it still had a vast army, a nice oil industry and a whole bunch of people who knew how to make chemical weapons. Plus it had a reasonably advanced missile program, as they'd been modifying and upgrading their own SCUDS for years - though I don't know if they were up to actually building their own engines.

So it could have made itself a threat again reasonably quickly. As I recall sanctions were up for renewal at the UN in 2003 and were expected not to pass. Even the French were talking about opposing them - though I suspect they'd have let the Russians take the heat for actually vetoing. Not coincidentally Iraq owed France and Russia billions for all the military kit they'd sold them, and also needed lots of spares and replacements.

Remember that the RAF and US Airforce were regularly shot at by the Iraqis, patrolling the no-fly zones to stop Iraq attacking the Kurds and continuing with the genocide against the Marsh Arabs. It's not like this was a stable situation that the evil US and UK were stirring up.

Who was to know that Saddam wouldn't immediately arm-up again and invade Kuwait and Saudi? There was nothing to stop him at the Saudi border in 1990 - and he could have made retaking Kuwait a lot harder if he'd continued over that border and destroyed places like King Khaled Military City. The logistics of desert warfare are a complete bastard. Not to mention the Saudi and Kuwaiti oil wells. And those are a global strategic interest. It's why we went to war in 1991 after all.

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Re: If your not on the list, you're not getting in

jmch,

The UN Security Council didn't authorise the attack in 2003. They only legitimised the occupation afterwards. The legal basis was I think taken from the 1990 authorisation of force, and the fact that Iraq hadn't complied with the 91 ceasefire disarmament agreements.

Which he hadn't. He still had SCUDs.

They were also unarguably in breach of the 91 agreements on chemical weapons as they threw the weapons inspectors out in about 1997. With only about 70-80% of the known stocks destroyed. The inspectors had been crawling over Iraq for so long, that they knew in a lot of cases what equipment and chemicals they'd ordered or made, and so had a pretty good idea how many weapons that led to. They'd not accounted for it all, QED.

I've not read a report that's managed to work out what went wrong, so I don't know exactly what happened. Did Saddam give it away, like he sent most of his air force to Iran to save it in 1990? Or bury it? Iraq's big, but people would know, and senior generals have since joined ISIS and probably have gone and dug it up, so that seems less likely. Or did he destroy it himself? If so why? Why not get the UN to do it, and get out from under sanctions?

As you say, you can't prove a negative, so once they were gone there was no way back. Saddam had pretended to give up the whole program about 5 times in the 90s, then the inspectors had found more than he'd admitted to - and the whole process of search, find, admit happened again.

Hans Blix admiited Iraq weren't cooperating with his inspectors in 2003 - but said he didn't think there were any weapons even though he couldn't know. His credibility was blown because it was him in charge of the IAEA in about 96 who was about to sign off that Iraq had no illicit nuclear program, when the CIA found it, and he subsequently had to demolish it.

Iraq also had the scientists and the knowledge to rebuild their chemical program as soon as sanctions were off.

So it was a mistake to justify the invasion on WMD, because even if Iraq had it, they didn't have the capability to use it effectively (as they'd had in 1990). But sanctions were collapsing, partly because of the collusion of France and Russia, so Iraq would not have stayed contained for much longer - and that was why they went for invasion, because the existing messy containment policy was about to fail.

I think Blair's need to get UN approval was the mistake. He should have let the US do it alone, or had the courage to sell the case for doing it on its merits, not try to sex it up. Iraq wasn't an immediate threat, but could quickly have become so with no sanctions and all its oil revenue.

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Re: If your not on the list, you're not getting in

Red Bren,

I believe India never signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. So they were never bound not to develop nuclear weapons. It only applies to you if you sign it. Although as I understand it signatories aren't supposed to cooperate on civillian nuclear shinies with non-signees.

North Korea did sign the NNPT. And then developed nukes anyway. They also specifically agreed to halt their illegal development of nukes during the 90s famine, in exchange for aid. A deal they also broke. They haven't been invaded, and no evidence has been manufactured. They've tested nukes, so we know.

Pakistan and Israel also didn't sign up.

The point about signing a deal then breaking it is that your're automatically going to be less trusted. So the reason everyone joined sanctions on Iran is that they breached the treaty by secretly developing nukes - and then got caught. After years of sanctions, a deal has been agreed.

Iraq did have a nuclear program by the way. The UN demolished it in the mid 90s. I think the reason it was deemed legal to invade in 2003 was that they were still in breach of the ceasefire agreement from 1991 - which they'd never complied with despite ten years of inspections and sanctions.

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F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

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Re: Stealth Landings?

But any airframe, however stealthy, ceases to be stealthy when you hang a collection of bombs and missiles off the underside of it

x 7,

Not quite. As I said above, stealth depends on the angle of the plane compared to the radar.

For example if you're flying at low altitude to get under the SAM radars, then no radar can see the underside of the plane. So you can strap as much ordnace to it as you like. The only radars that are going to see you are above you - either on hilltops or on other planes.

Also, the plane is far bigger than the stuff hanging off it. So it's going to give the largest radar return - so the more you can do to mitigate that, the better.

Plus if the plane is front-on to the radar, and only has a few air-to-air missiles strapped to the wings, then they're really not adding that much to the radar cross-section.

As I said, stealth is about mitigation - it's not magic.

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Re: Stealth Landings?

x 7,

Stealth isn't all about being invisible so you can turn up and bomb their capital city out of a blue sky. It's about minimising your radar signature. How much stealth you apply to a platform depends on what role you want it to fulfill, how much money you want to spend, and how maneuverable you want it to be.

So if you're defending your carrier in air-to-air combat, and you can get a lock on the enemy fighters at 50 miles, and they can't lock you until you're at 40 miles - then you can have shot missiles at them and be running away before they can even get into range to return fire.

Stealth is about giving you an advantage. Not making you invisible.

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Re: Stealth Landings?

You can't land on an aircraft carrier stealthily, because youu're next to a giant 60,000 tonne ship that is as unstrealthy as a large building.

As for the radar cross-section of the aircraft, I doubt it makes much difference. Although stealth depends on what angle the plane presents to the radar anyway.

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Re: They hate the infantry

F18s need cats 'n' traps. The carriers weren't designed for that. A mistake I think.

However planes you use that way don't last as long as VSTOL. The airframes get knackered much earlier. So you may get cheaper ones, but have to buy them twice.

I don't agree with the MOD's decisions. But they aren't actually stupid. Thought has gone into them.

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Re: They hate the infantry

I don't think the A10 would be much use to the Navy.

I'm sure you could make it land on deck easily, it's tough enough, but it's not designed for air defence of the carrier and it's not got that long a range. There might be an argument for the RAF to have something like the A10 - but in most cases that kind of warfare is now being covered by drones. And give the job description is flying low and slow over the enemy, that's a great place to use drones too.

It is probably true that it's not really a saving to have one type of aircraft rather than 2. Sure you save on spare parts, training and the supply train, but you do end up paying much more for multi-role.

But this isn't so true with carrier aviation, as you've got to have air superiority and strike capability on a carrier - but you've only got one small group of maintenance people. If you need more close air support capability, you can fly Apache off the carrier as well as F35.

The MOD then made a decision to buy 140 planes to have one joint pool between the RAF and the RN. It may be that this was the wrong decision, or that it was part of the negotiations in order to get the B version built at all (with BAe getting work as a subbie). Hard to know the specifics of that negotiation.

If we'd gone Cats-and-traps we'd have lost that joint pool option, as it's much easier to do VSTOL landings than arrested ones, so you can have RAF part-time carrier pilots, only used for short periods on the carriers. Which wouldn't be safe otherwise. That would have probably resulted in having to buy many more aircraft, probably meaning you wouldn't make any savings buying cheaper ones.

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A380 saved as Emirates orders another 20 planes, plus 16 options

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Devil

Why can't people just be lowered in by crane, like in Thunderbirds? You could do them in batches of 20 say.

Or even have an automated airport. Have conveyor belt at the beginning, then a stunner like they have in abbatoirs. Then human cargo could just be shuffled conveniently round the airport stacked onto pallets. Though it would be better if everyone was stuck on individual boards - and whizzed round belts. No need of seats then, as you could just stack people in the planes. Security will be much quicker if you can just shuffle everyone through the perv-scanners at regular speed.

And as we're all zooming unconsciously round the airport on conveyors being touched up by security people, robbed by baggage people and perved at by the lot of them - the whole terminal could ring to the theme music from Thunderbirds.

You know it's the future. And it's not like there'd be a noticeable difference in the level of customer sevice...

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and there are some city pairs where a 1000-seater would be just the thing

I know this is true, but aren't quite a few of these short haul routes? Is the A380 up to that many duty cycles - or would they have to produce a special toughened version like Boeing did with the 747? If so, how much does that cost?

Or has design now changed, so that long haul planes can do the same number of cycles as short haul? I wouldn't expect so, because if you've got stronger materials you can make the long haul version lighter, and so more fuel efficient. Which is going to be more important to most of your users.

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Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

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Re: Microwaved

Alistair,

The sprout hate is strong. Even though they're yummy. Although I admit that it took me a while to get over my Nan's half hour boiled sprout surprise. The surprise being that they still hold together. Just. Until you touch them with your fork, and they sort of slide to pieces. In fact, her gravy was more robust than her sprouts - though I do like a nice thick gravy you can stand a spoon in.

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Re: Microwaved

My steamer just lives on the hob permanently. It's got a big stainless steel saucepan underneath it, which is the perfect size for mash. And two steamer things that sit on top which can be set aside when I use it for that. But normally I can steam veg in it at the same time. Makes life much easier when you're doing a roast to have just one hob doing say cauliflower, french beans and peas. Admittedly if you're cooking for more than 6 people, it's not really big enough.

Oh, and sprouts are yummy. And make great bubble and squeak too. Steaming does mean you can't salt them, but that's healthier and also what the gravy is for.

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You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

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Re: Anchovies

Pineapple on pizza is the work of the devil.

Nope. Pineapple on pizza is the work of my mother. Like pineapple on gammon. Or raisins in curry (made with curry powder by no chilli or other spices).

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.UK overseer Nominet abandons its own charitable foundation – and why this matters

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Freudian slip

Does the article author wish to admit something? Having .cooking and .horse as the first two things that come into your head is rather suggestive. I could murder a lasagne...

Don't put horse in the lasagne! Neigh lad! That's a waste. Roast it instead and serve with tatties and yorkshires. And a nice glass of red rum.

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Unhappy

Maybe the plan is to stop making profits? Rather than make profits, give to charity, they could move to a model of make profits invest in stuff. But surely make profits pay higher bonuses would be far better?

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Crypto-cash exchange BitConnect pulls plug amid Bitcoin bloodbath

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wolfetone,

I moved from being a grudging remainer because leaving was too risky to deciding to vote leave on the day the ECB deliberately crashed the Greek banking system. Varoufakis is an interesting guy, although I suspect I'd probably only agree with about 5% of his book.

I didn't understand that was what you meant by your Bitcoin / dollar comparison.

I think you're totally wrong though. There is a huge difference. Firstly what's the gold standard worth anyway? Sure a currency is pegged to gold, but what's gold pegged to? It's an artificial left-over from the days when gold was currency, and then it was backed by nothing - other than the fact people wanted it.

The dollar is backed by the fact that people want it. If I have dollars, I can buy stuff from the USA. Dollars will always be valuable to Americans, as they have to pay their taxes in dollars. Therefore the value of the dollar will always fluctuate, but so long as the US economy is reasonably strong, my dollar is worth a relatively predictable amount. Should the US economy do a Zimbabwe/Venezuela, then the whole global economy is totally fucked anyway - and gold's no use to me either. That's when your currency becomes tinned food and shotgun shells.

Bitcoin is backed by nothing because there is no reason for anyone to want Bitcoin. I mean obviously there is today, and certainly tomorrow, and very probably next week. But what about next year? Can you guarantee that Bitcoin will still exist next year? Short of nuclear armageddon, the US still will. If I hold a dollar now, it'll get me something close to a dollar's value this time next year. By that time Bitcoin may have crashed, and all the users moved to Etherium or somesuch.

That's what people mean when they say Bitcoin isn't backed by anything. There's not much of a Bitcoin economy, and a lot of what there is, is criminals. I know there are legitimate users. But with transaction fees at $20 - I can see a lot of those users jumping ship. Some already are. The "investors" want it to stay valuable, but that only works in the long term if people keep using it. And the only reason the investors have manged to bid the price up so high, is that so few people use Bitcoin. So there are so few transactions between it and real currencies, that buying a few thousand dollars worth, can materially affect the price. So many people want, need and use dollars on a daily basis, that you can buy millions of dollars and have no price effect whatsoever. Sell a million dollars, nobody cares. Sell $1m of Bitcoin, the price will crash.

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wolfetone,

Is that Varoufakis' book? Might be an interesting read, but isn't he talking about the Euro and the EU - and the problems with them? Rather than Bitcoin. And I don't see how Bitcoin is the dollar even makes sense.

Also, there's an IT angle. Varoufakis used to be chief economist for Valve.

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Duncan Large,

The Blockchain doesn't prove that you owned the coins. It proves that you had access to the wallet for however brief a period. As various Bitcoin related scams have shown.

I admit it gives more security on the transaction. But it still won't save you from mis-typing the amount you're paying. Bank errors do happen, but not all that often, and I don't buy blockchain stopping that. Or saving you from fraud. Yes it does require a trusted middle-man (such as the current payment processors in the banking system) - but it also requires a lot more security savvy and embuggerance for the users - so the risk you save by using blockchain over third party banks, you lose in having to secure your wallet / wallets.

I just don't see crypto-currency solving any current problems other than, "how do I transfer money untaxed and hidden from the police".

I agree that blockchain may well turn out useful for the Land Registry. Or software licences.

A use the Bank of England are looking at I think is loan collaterol. Say a bank wants to borrow £1m from the BofE or another bank on the inter-bank loan market - they currently would pledge another asset as collaterol against the loan (this would be a government or corporate bond or other security). This is what's always happened. They've looked at a system to run this. Then both banks (and regulators) would be able to know how much uncommitted capital the banks have at any one time.

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Anon,

Why do we need blockchain?

Personally I suspect that Bitcoin is toast, because people will enentually move their transactions to other blockchain based stuff that scales better. And at the moment there's clearly a demand for it.

However why blockchain? Why encumber all transactions with records of previous ones? The global payment transfer systems like SWIFT and VISA all work perfectly for moving money around the world. And are cheaper too. And don't waste vast amounts of electricity mining to do it.

Criminals struggle to use that system - and they'll always find a way to move money. Their transaction costs have always been huge anyway. But with Paypal, credit cards and bank transfers all being so cheap, I don't see a huge use case for crypto currency.

Blockchain looks like a much better system for keeping track of assets or software licenses.

The thing the internet could do with is some sort of system for micropayments - but I don't see crypto currency being any better at that than the current system. Certainly not if it's got transaction fees you have to measure in dollars.

As for your other points, the miners nearly control Bitcoin already. When it comes time to stop printing Bitcoin, if it survives that long, they'll vote to print more coins.

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Re: Looking forward to the complete collapse of crypto-currencies

I thought the mining had moved beyond graphics cards and into ASICs nowadays?

So are you sure it isn't the evil supercomputer people that are now making your gaming more expensive nowadays?

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Re: Hodl o-on loosely...

You're right. I just looked it up. Remember Glenn Hodl?

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Scam alert

BitConnect promised patrons the ability to earn interest on Bitcoins by lending them.

This is a scam. They might be a perfectly legitimate exchange, but anyone offering to borrow or lend in Bitcoin is a scammer.

The thing that the Bitcoin fans used to go on about in the good old days, before it turned into this mad bubble recently, was inflation. It was where the gold-bugs all went, after the gold price collapsed. There couldn't be inflation in bitcoin due to limited numbers allowed, corrupt governments, evil banks, etc. etc. etc...

So Bitcoin has deflation built in. At the moment it's in hyper-deflation. Inflation is where the value of money falls, hyper-inflation I think is defined as when that's by more than 50% a year. Deflation is when the value of money rises.

Why's this a bad thing? Well I'm going to use one example, lending. It's awful for other reasons too, but without lending you can't have investment. Without investment, you don't get productivity growth. Without productivity growth, you don't get richer - you just move the same resources round amongst your population. Growth then only comes from having more people.

If there's 100% inflation, that's bad for the economy. But I can still invest. If I borrow £1m for a year to upgrade a factory - then I've obviously got to cover the interest - but in a year's time I'm only going to owe the equivalent of half that. It would now cost £2m to buy that same machinery, but I only owe £1m to the bank. Obviously this means they'll be charging me high interest, but then the price of the goods I'm selling is also doubling every year. This is still bad for the economy, but the point scales down to 5% inflation - I just did it to make the numbers easier. And it explains why developing countries can cope with inflation of 10-20% and still grow.

With 100% deflation - it all goes horrible. I buy a machine for £1m. After a year I can now buy that same machine for £500k! But I still owe the bank £1m! Disaster! Obviously they can't charge me much interest, or I'd be going bust. Worse lets say I was planning to sell 1m gewgaws a year, made with this machine, at £1 each. By year 2, I'm deflation means I can only sell them for 50p each. That money still buys me the same stuff, so it would be fine. Except I had to borrow the year before when money was half as valuable - so I'm screwed and will never be able to pay back my debt. I don't believe there's every been hyper-deflation before, becasue it causes economic collapse at even low levels. So congratulations to Bitcoin for that...

Anyway my point here is that the gold-bugs are wrong. Deflation is awful. Inflation at low levels is fine, at high levels it's bad, but not as catastrophic as deflation. And deflation destroys banking. So anyone claiming to do Bitcoin banking (rather than just doing money transfers) is an idiot or a fraudster.

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If cryptocurrencies are a bubble

Crypto currencies are a bubble. Even if they were the best idea in the world, the massive zoom up in price over the last year shows that they're a bubble. Something that isn't even vaguely stable in price, is no use as a means of exchange.

(and there's plenty of evidence showing that they're simply Banking 2.0, with adoption accelerating every day)

Where? Is adoption increasing? Steam just pulled out of Bitcoin saying that transactions were taking an hour to process and costing $20. Reports I've read since suggest that's only got worse.

Anyway Bitcoin isn't Banking 2.0. It might just possibly be transaction processing 2.0 - it isn't, but you can dream. But it doesn't even approach all the other services that banking provides. Banking is about liquidity transformation - turning short term savings into long term loans - everything else in banking is just database work and customer service.

Bitcoin as investment looks to me to be killing Bitcoin as currency. Maybe after the inevitable price collapse it could go back to "normal", as it did after the last major collapse you mentioned.

But it's still a piddling amount of money/transactions in the whole Bitcoin ecosystem, that it's failing to deal with. International banking deals with massively more transactions far more cheaply. It only costs £10 for an instant CHAPS transfer to buy your house in the UK, and same-day BACS (up to £20k I think) is free, as most are on free-banking, and business are only pay a few pence.

it will take a hell of a lot more than the closure of a shady, two-bit British outfit to collapse something like Bitcoin.

That's true. Though Bitcoin's history shows that most/all of its exchanges seem to be shady, and the ones that grow to be the biggest tend to go bust after a while (for various reasons). That's a huge problem if you're foolish enough to invest in Bitcoin, as you've got to find a trustworthy exchange to get your money out with. And come the inevitable collapse of the bubble, they'll probably start dropping like flies.

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Apple iPhone X: Two weeks in the life of an anxious user

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Re: "Like I say, there’s no user guide to tell you what all the icons means."

Steve Todd,

How hard would it be for Apple to have a simple user guide available on the damned phone? I'm sure they only don't do it becuase they want to blather on in their marketing about how intuitive and easy to use it is.

Not that I'm saying it's hard to use. But there's a lot of totally un-intuitive gesture controls in smartphones nowadays. Those you can only learn by being taught them - and they're different for each OS.

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Re: "Like I say, there’s no user guide to tell you what all the icons means."

Mr Dabbs,

Proof yet again that there's no point going to a vendor's site and trying to find what you need, and bloody well know is there.

Search on Google, and they'll find it for you much quicker. Something everyone's long said for finding stuff in Microsoft's knowledge base when Windows is playing up. I wonder if Bing is as good at that as Google nowadays?

Last time I had a 'droid (HTC Wildfire) there was no manual at all. Google had left the Android manual to the OEMs, so it came with a basic paper booklet and there wasn't a manual for Android 2.2 anywhere. I was able to find developer documentation, so I had the info for the APIs - just not how to set up email accounts.

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Re: "Like I say, there’s no user guide to tell you what all the icons means."

I think it's a bit like the original green screen Nokias. They had a really simple UI, but partly because they didn't do that much. About the time the first iPhone came out, I had a work candybar Nokia dumbphone. It had a colour scren and all sorts of fripperies like mp3s, radio camera WAP, email But all that meant was that you had a bloody complicated menu system, that made it a truly rubbish phone. And email on a non 3G phone with no data tarrif and no WiFi is just silly anyway.

The first iPhone didn't do too much. And even when they brought out the 3, that did, there weren't many gesture controls. So it was dead easy to use, although even then there was nothing to tell you to try a long press as a sort of smartphone equivalent to right clicking a mouse.

But now iOS has loads of different gestures, and screens that swipe down from the top, up from the bottom and in from the sides. Yet still Apple think it's easy to use and intuitive. But it no longer is. I'm nnot saying it's hard or bad (like that awful Nokia), but it does now need a short explanation. A How To gestures app on the homescreen, or a thing that pops up and says try this, or a simple UI manual built in.

At least MS had the weird writing that slightly overlapped the screen on Windows Phone - as a visual clue to tell you that if you swiped right there was more stuff.

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Former Cisco CEO John Chambers says insects are the new lobsters

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Re: Nothing too see here

I've had ants and grasshoppers. And they weren't very nice, even disguised by being coated in chocolate.

Although I'm told that mealworms are actually quite tasty. And that's by people who were given live ones to eat.

However I think if insects do have a future it's going to be as a processed protein to be put in other stuff that tastes nicer. Processed foods or non-vegetarian versions of Quorn/tofu.

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Re: Insects...

The only question is who is footing the bill in case of the rather inevitable incident when they escape from a farm.

That's what the hedges are for. Plus the locust dog, to round them up if they do escape.

The only question is, how do you milk them?

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How many Routemaster bus seats would it take to fill Wembley Stadium?

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Re: Disappointed!

So we're talking a spherical Routemaster in a vacuum right?

But if there's no up or down, how will the teenagers know which is the top deck?

And as he's got to stand on the open plate at the back, won't the conductor's legs get cold?

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Drone crashes after operator failed to spot extra building site crane

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Re: Not sure going straight up is safer.

Not sure the hi-vis would help. The drone can't even see a bloody great crane...

But on a serious note, I'd have thought going straight up is a bad idea. Though the CAA seem to disagree, as they reported that this is what the pilot said he'd do in future, and don't seem to have disagreed.

Helicopter pilots are taught to only hover if they need to, and to always be moving horizontally if possible, as that gives much better options for recovery from an engine failure. Much harder to auto-rotate from hover - plus your own downdraft reduces available lift. Then again the second doesn't apply so much to small drones with electric motors Plus I don't know if they're even capable of auto-rotation - although they do have multiple motors and rotors - so do have some recovery abilities.

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Butt plugs, mock cocks, late pay and paranoia: The world of Waymo star Anthony Levandowski… by his kids' nanny

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Re: Don't those things always come in pairs?

When counting nipple clamps, do you count them individually, or as a set?

Why? How many nipples have ye got?

Just asking for a friend. Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, as happens. Can you tell I was listening to Good Omens on the iPlayer last night?

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Perhaps she wanted money, not to file the lawsuit? This looks sort of blackmail-y - given his current legal situtation - and the weird randomness of the stuff released. How can information relevant only to his other lawsuit crop up in this filing otherwise? Surely any sensible lawyer would just edit it out. Even if you put in all the minor footling complaints about having to stand too long or having your sandpit thrown away.

Weird.

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Another round of click-fraud extensions pulled from Chrome Store

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Re: Store benefits

To be fair to Google I think they have a problem with corporate culture, rather than that they're just evil and greedy.

Although I also think they're greedy. Oh and arrogant.

I wouldn't use the word evil though. They brought that on themselves by saying don't be evil - but I'd use another of their quotes, "we want to go up close to the creepy line but not cross it." So creepy and greedy seem fine. And smug. Did I mention arrogant?

But I think that Google genuinely buy some of their own bullshit about how you can solve all problems with computers and completely free information. They also use it as an excuse to steal peoples' personal data or abuse peoples' copyright on Youtube for gain. So like most of us a mix of some clever long-term planning, some idealism, some greed and a large dollop of self-justification.

That culture causes some of these mis-steps (like trying to do all the app store testing automatically and not with humans). I'm sure the greed bit applies here a bit too. But then the huge dose of arrogance kicks in, in not fixing the problem when it should be obvious that you can't just solve these problems by chucking more processors at them.

It's why I think Google will generally fail in the consumer electronics market. They don't do messy stuff like customer services or admitting that could possibly have got anything wrong. And they assume that everyone lives in a world of having data connection (and infinite allowance) whereever they go. And they just seem to prefer computers to people. As I said creepy. And arrogant.

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Re: Users stung?

Well in a lot of cases Google actually profit from click fraud. As do big sites like Facebook and the other ad networks. Which is probably why so little effort is made to avoid it.

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Re: Store benefits

Well to be fair, other vendor's stores seem to be relatively safe. It's Google's that keeps coming up repeatedly, and Google that do the least checking of what they allow in.

So while the idea of a vendor store isn't perfect - I'm not sure if the problem isn't actually Google.

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Today in bullsh*t AI PR: Computers learn to read as well as humans (no)

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Re: The usual potential " jobs threatened" stuff

Actually the marketing is the creative bit here. It's the journalists / churnalists that could be replaced by an AI. All they're doing is changing the order of the press release a bit, so it doesn't look like they copied it. Including putting a few bits in quotes from the bit of the press release that is a faux interview with one of the researchers, to make it look like they've done an actual interview.

Then they go to their house style guide that says AI stories are reported as "threat to millions of jobs" and paste that bit in.

Then they just need to complete the piece. To show their journalistic integrity. This means you can't have a story from just one source! So you go to Twitter, find a relevant quote from someone, paste that in. Job done.

I'm sure someone could write code to do this in a couple of hours. That's assuming papers like the Express and Telegraph (that seem to have sacked most of their newsroom) haven't done this already...

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Frenchman comes eye to eye with horror toilet python

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Re: ah ha!

It wasn't just trying to bite him, but to eat him!

Proof!

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Don't-a forget-ta to viper afterwards. And re-mamba to wash your hands!

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Junk food meets junk money: KFC starts selling Bitcoin Bucket

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Does it involve tulips?

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Maybe they only sold one, for the PR?

It was a really, really limited special offer.

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Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

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Re: It's not my fault, the Software made me do it!

I disagree.

If you as a developer provide a critical system which has two menu items next to each other - you have to expect someone to mis-click at some point. Everyone's done it with their email program at some point, and sent something to junk mail, or deleted it or whatever.

Only this is a safety critical system. With email it doesn't matter so much, though the menus could be better designed.

In this case a distressing and potentially panic-inducing false alarm was issued. Which is bad enough.

In the worst case scenario, there's a real incoming nuclear attack and someone hits test - and no alert gets issued.

By these early accounts, it's a shit design.

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North Korea's nuclear tests haven't been that big. Though the last one was much bigger than the first two (20-30 kt), which were Hiroshima sized. By WWIII standards the first ones were all tactical nukes.

And that's assuming the bombs work properly, and don't fizzle (giving a smaller yield).

But they're not going to destroy whole cities in one go. They might kill most people within a 1 mile radius say, but outside that distance being in shelter is likely going to save you. Plus if you're further away, avoiding fallout is a really good idea.

Also, North Korea's missiles are pretty shitty, and not accurate enough to aim at specific targets - like cities. So it would have to be blind luck to get a hit - but a successful launch would still cause fallout. And being indoors is going to help with that.

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Worst-case Brexit could kill 92,000 science, tech jobs across UK – report

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Re: Brexit

Answer: Nope. There was a big vote, and everything...

Did you sleep through it? It seemed to go on for long enough.

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Re: Something doesn't add up for me...

We make a net contribution to the EU overall. But get more than our fair share of the research budget, because we have the best universities in Europe. At least according to the global rankings...

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Butcher breaks out of own freezer using black pudding

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Re: Let's hope that the button manufacturer...

But that just means there'll be a slight delay before nuclear armageddon, while the President sits in the Oval Office, furiously beating his sausage.

Your idea is close, but no cigar.

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