* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5820 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

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Can't we keep the stewardesses, and make the piloting self service?

Everyone gets on the plane and it's taxiied to the end of the runway by one of the stewardesses. Meanwhile all the passengers are playing Microsoft Flight Simulator (or possibly Ace of Aces off the Amstrad CPC464) on their seatback entertainment systems. The one who scores highest, gets to fly the plane.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...

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Devil

The article never mentioned whether there were aliens driving the comets or not.

The intergalactic version of Uber have been illegally testing driverless comets in this sector of the galaxy unfortunately, but only a few planets have been destroyed, and none of them had voters on, so it's not too much of a problem.

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Re: The finest scientific processing software

If it wasn't done in Powerpoint*, I'm not buying it!

*Displayed in Comic Sans naturally...

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Re: Arthur C. Clarke quote

The odds of there being a viable short-cut across the gulf between the stars are exceedingly low.

Another thing they couldn't stand was the perpetual failure they encountered while trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralyzing distances between the farthest stars, and at the end of the day they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually impossible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning in this way: If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, it must have finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea... and turn it on!

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Happy

and people yelling at each other in languages from the Galactic South.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

My, oh, my, what a wonderful day

Plenty of sunshine headin' my way

Till a Dyson sphere blocks it, and gets in da way.

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Who will save us from voice recog foolery from scumbags? Magnetometer!

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Re: Next version will use camera

It's not that hard to chop ears off...

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Re: Condescending much?

That's what my economics teacher used to say to me. "Yes, that idea is very interesting. However..."

I don't believe he ever used the word "wrong" in any of his lessons. But I soon learnt to make the word substitution automatically.

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Personally I place a thin sheet of metal over my own head, cunningly fashioned into a hat. This has the bonus that not only will nobody ever be willing to get close enough to me to record my voice, but also blocks the voices of the alien lizard overlords that I can hear when not so-equipped.

The only problem is that they're still putting stuff in the water, and the only way I've found to combat that is to only drink whisky. Or meths...

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Donald Trumped: Comey says Prez is a liar – and admits he's a leaker

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Re: Why The Fuck

You are aware that you don't actually have to read the article? And that El Reg even give you a clue as to the contents, in the form of a headline?

You don't need to thank me for solving your problem for you. You can just move on to the snarky articles abotu Apple, and carry on with your day in peace.

The Register has always been about whatever the hell they want to write about. Which includes astronomy, why everyone should hate/fear/despise/mock Facebook/Wikipedia/Google/Apple etc., stories about Australians getting blow-jobs at 90mph, killer robots, spaceplanes launched from balloons...

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Re: "Upvoted purely on that. Excellent work Sir!"

Comey himself said that he only had something like 3 one-to-one meetings with Obama. A last minute arranged dinner on a Friday evening sounds pretty odd. Actually dinner sounds pretty odd. A working lunch or breakfast I can well believe, but dinner seems a lot more serious and formal.

Though you do have to account for the fact that Trump isn't a professional politician and doesn't do things the normal way.

However at senior political level meetings would normally be conducted with trusted civil servants / advisors. People who keep a note of proceedings, and arrange the follow-up meetings, points to be actioned etc.

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Re: Puzzled.

In a word: Deniability.

If you're intelligent and want to do something that's going to get you into trouble, or is even illegal, you don't ask someone to do it directly. You allow them to form the impression that you want this situation dealt with, and leave them to make their own decisions. And of course encourage those who fulfill your unspoken desires by promoting them for it.

You also have meetings with people one-on-one, so evidence of anything will only be your word against theirs, so it would require at least two people to give evidence against you for a conviction.

The downside is that your underlings may sometimes draw the wrong conclusion if you lose your temper about a situation and spout off about it. Then go and do something you didn't actually want.

Hence Thomas Becket. Or maybe not. Henry did pennance anyway, to make up with the church, whether he was guilty or not. Walked on his knees for a mile, while the Canterbury catherdral monks whipped him. Although I'm sure that it was made clear to them in advance that he was still the bloody king, and there'd better not be more than the token amount of blood drawn to give the neccessary impression.

Perhaps Trump could walk naked down Central Avenue while being pistol-whipped by FBI agents in robes?

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Re: @ Sparty...

Ian Michael Gumby,

What point are you trying to make? That Hilary Clinton was soft on Russia because of... Something non-specific from emails that we get through the source of possible Russian hackers via Julian Assange? Some specifics would be nice.

We already have Clinton's policy record on Russia. She wasn't soft on the Russian regime, they hated her (hence attempting to help Trump to beat her) and this is all public knowledge.

Trump was the one saying nice things about Putin, hence the allegations that he might have ulterior motives to do so.

You need to come up with clear points, or it just looks like you're throwing round shit in an attempt to distract from Trump's obvious wrong-doing. Bog-standard irrelevant whattaboutery.

Not that I'm accusing him of having taken Russian bribes. I think his support for Putin was shallow, and was about differentiating himself from Clinton, as well as his general ignorance, stupidity and lack of foresight.

But sacking Comey in order to try and stop his administration getting investigated is wrongdoing. It might not be bad enough to be criminal, but it's still the wrong thing to do. Trying to get political influence and "loyalty" from the head of the FBI is wrong. It's not how the system is supposed to work. Various US Presidents have done things like this, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all used the IRS to investigate political opponents for example. But those actions are all wrongdoing.

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Re: The nub of the biscuit.

It didn't take pressure on the intelligence agencies to get them to report that Iraq had a chemical weapons capability. Iraq had repeatedly used chemical weapons throughout the 80s, that they had developed themselves with a massive indigenous program on an industrial scale. Iraq had chemical weapons on the front lines in the war in 1990/91. The UN had destroyed abut 2/3rds of the Iraqi stocks during the 1990s. Iraq spent the whole of the 90s denying that there were any more, until the UN inspectors found the next batch, then they'd admit to that batch and just a little more, which would be destroyed only for the whole process to start again.

What Iraq didn't seem to get is that a couple of British inspectors had seen a bunch of the ministry of supply's purchase records in 91, when they got to Baghdad. However they were held hostage in the ministry carpark until they gave those records back. What Iraq didn't seem to notice is that they held out for 2 days in that car, and had a copier or a satellite fax in the boot.

So the UN weapons inspectors reports from the 90s show what they actually destroyed against what chemical supplies Iraq had bought, and calculated the difference to be what Iraq had left.

Plus, Iraq still had the scientists who did all the work. So whatever they did with those remaining weapons, re-building the program (given their vast oil wealth) was easy, once the sanctions came off.

They were also under UN Security Council sanctions until they gave up their long range missile program, which they never did.

So basically what you got was groupthink. Everyone just assumed they had chemical weapons. Whether they'd completely got rid of the program or not. Though it was much less clear whether they still had the program, or actual usable weapons. It didn't help that they weren't cooperating with the weapons inspectors, even though Hans Blix said that he didn't think they had cheical weapons.

Of course Hans Blix had a slight credibility problem. In that he was just about to sign-off on the report saying Iraq didn't have a nuclear weapons program, when he was head of the IAEA in the mid-90s. Then the CIA found it, and the IAEA had to do a quick u-turn and wander back to Iraq to supervise its destruction.

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Re: @eldakka Impeachment?

This is why you really don't have obstruction. Comey admitted that Trump didn't say go do X which would have forced Comey to do X, or resign because to not do X would be insubordination. Many don't understand the law, and those in Congress who do are willfully being ignorant for their own political gain.

Ian Michael Gumby,

You've got the sequence of this wrong. Having a private dinner at short notice with the head of the FBI whose substantial content is about an ongoing investigation into your administration is almost certainly not grounds of any kind of criminal proceedings. It's stupid, probably immoral and was almost certainly aimed at interfering with a criminal investigation - but almost certainly not enough for normal court. Let alone the higher standard of an impeachable offense which needs Congress to fire the starting-gun.

However, when you later fire that same guy, because he didn't do what you wanted (at least assuming we believe his account of the meeting), then suddenly that looks a lot closer to something like obstruction of justice.

The fact that Trump then stupidly put into his letter firing Comey that he was pleased Comey had told him that he wasn't under investigation just makes him look even guiltier.

And of course, Comey has some credibility when it comes to testimony, Trump doesn't. He's flat denied saying stuff that he said on TV a couple of days before.

I still doubt this will meet the standard of evidence required to get Congress to take the extraordinary stop of launching an impreachment. But don't rule out that Trump will do something even more blatant and stupid in the future, or maybe he's even done it already and it just hasn't come to light yet.

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Re: @Mi Tasol

His recollection of the events differ from those of Trump. Since they were the only ones present this becomes a he said, she said issue.

But Trump has a problem here. He has zero credibility. He has been repeatetedly caught lying in public. His whole political schtick is basically damn manners or the truth, I'm just going to spout my shit. And you either like the cut of my jib, or hate me (in which case I don't care).

Well that's all very well for winning an election on a minority vote, against a rubbish candidate. But when it comes to whether people believe your given word, it has some serious drawbacks.

Whereas Comey has used the lawyer's/investigator's habit of writing a note of what happened straight after the meeting.

By the way, in a he-said-she-said situation, the courts will put more weight on the person who wrote it down at the time than the one who didn't.

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

And you end in a situation where some people are more equals than others. What is the justification to the fact that if you live somewhere your vote does not have the same weight as if you live somewhere else?

Some countries have constituencies. This is not a difficult to understand or unusual system. And most federal systems have mechanisms to balance the power of more populous/powerful states.

I agree, it was designed so the most conservative part of the country is overrepresented: it's stability by conservatism

How would the writers of the US Consitution have been able to predict which states/areas would be more conservative than others 250 years into the future? Especially as they only represented 13 colonies/states, not the 50 that the USA has now?

The system was designed to limit the powers of the federal government as against those of the states who joined together to form it. As well as to have counter-balances to those states with larger populations.

Ancient Egypt was not a democracy, nor operating in the modern era. Nor particularly stable when it came to changes of rulers / dynasties.

The US has managed to keep, while gradually evolving, the same constitution for 250 years. In a modern, much faster moving, era. Very few other countries have managed that level of stability.

Even if you discount the French revolutionary and Napoleonic periods (when they got through about 7 different constitutions in 20 years), France has had two different constitutional monarchies, one empire and 4 republican constitutions since 1815. So that's 6 goes at it in only 200 years.

It's hard to create a stable constitutional settlement - and there's no such thing as a perfect one.

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

No. The US system was specifically designed not to allow pure majorities to elect the President.

Otherwise huge states like California, New York, Florida and Texas would get to run the country. As they've got more than half the population between them.

It's the same reason that the US has a Senate with equal representation from each state, even though some are much tinier than others.

It's still perfectly democratic to have checks-and-balances within a system to stop larger constituent units of a federation from totally dominating its political life.

I'm no fan of Trump, but him winning is a fault of the voters and the other politicians for being so shit. Not a fault of the system.

The US Constitutional system has lasted for a long time, compared to almost any other country's political system. So they must have got a few things right when they wrote it. Even if it's obviously not perfect.

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They may not be meaningless political points.

My personal suspicion is that Trump won't turn out to have any direct financial links to Putin. It seems to me that he's too loose-lipped, incompetent and lacks the attention span to carry out a proper conspiracy.

And he's probably only pro-Putin in the sense that he's ignorant of global affairs, it gets him points with some voters with more extreme points of view who seem to favour Putin (on both left and right), and it's a way of thumbing his nose at the establishment.

This seems to be further confirmed to me by the complete lack of any progress at all in relations with Russia. Trump is too unstable a partner.

I'm sure lots of him campaign team have dodgy links in various places, because the people without a shady past wouldn't work for him. And everyone remotely senior in Washington circles will have met the Russian ambassador.

So my feeling is that the most likely explanation is cock-up rather than conspiracy. And that Russia were working against Clinton, so had congruent interests with Trump.

However it's vitally important that this be investigated. Because the type of people who successfully pull-off conspiracies (genuine ones being quite rare) are the type of people who currently run Russia. Ex-KGB / FSB officers. So it might be true.

Trump is totally untrustworthy, so you can't just ask him. Not that he might not get himself into some other scandal first. He is, after all, on tape admitting to sex-crimes.

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Re: "Leaker"? No !

That's a bit like the distinction from Yes Prime Minister:

Leak is an irregular verb.

I give confidential press conferences,

You leak

He has been charged under section 3a of the Official Secrets Act

Anyway in normal political-speak to leak is to put out an unauthorised communication to the press. Most specifically when it involes documents or accounts of conversations with several parties. So if an account of a conversation involving an appointee and the President comes out that's definitely a leak.

I rather doubt that "leak" is a legal term - and so I'd be surprised if it has a technical description. It's obviously not a crime to leak non-classified information though, but could still be grounds for dismissal.

Not that I'm any supporter of trumpety-wumpety. Or whatever bollocks legal statements he puts out. It's never a good sign in politics when you have to get your lawyer to attempt to rebut a story...

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Whisky snobs scotched by artificial tongue

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Re: Holy s**t 10K-135K Euros a bottle

I only clicked to post something pedantic about tongues, so I'll do it here.

I'd be surprised if anyone could tell much about whisky with their tongue. Almost all taste comes from the nose. Hold your nose, and you can't tell the difference between apple and onion.

Now as some whiskies are sweeter than others, I'd imagine that you can tell those apart with tongue alone. But almost all the other distinguishing features are going to need your nose.

So I reckon I might be able to tell the difference between a Balvenie and a Bells with tongue alone, but doubt I could tell a Balvenie from any given speyside.

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Science megablast: Comets may have brought xenon to Earth

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Re: Comets? Why bloody comets?

We need to stop publishing these articles!

If we don't, Jeff Bezos is going to read about useful things being delivered by comet, and he's going to upgrade the Amazon drone program. Given he's already building Blue Origin, this could mean a cometary capture mission in as little as a decade. Then even Bruce Willis won't be able to save us!

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In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

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Re: The Prisoner is currently showing on Freeview 'True Entertainment'...

Edge of Darkness was truly brilliant. A wonderful piece of telly. Must dig the DVD out and watch it again.

The Prisoner is too hit and miss for my taste. It's got some good bits (or at least so I remember from watching the box-set with a mate years ago), but I've no patience for the self-indulgent bits in between, of which there are far too many.

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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

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Re: Honest question

As I've told a few people (and done myself), if ever you think you might end up in court, write stuff down at the time! Notes of phone conversations, with time and DATE. That's the important bit. Courts give extra weight to contemporaneous notes, as they're almost bound to be more accurate than later recollections from either side.

Plus courts are run by lawyers, and that's what lawyers do.

Obviously it gets sticky if both sides have done it, and disagree. But that's a good reason to follow up a conversation with an email saying what was agreed, then if they don't disagree at the time, you've got them.

In this case, who'd trust Trump, over anybody? He's a lying arsehole?

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Kremlin hackers' new target: Montenegro

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Re: Montenegro

I saw it on ITV a few years ago, and they dubbed it to Trigger. Not very well. But last time I saw it, they'd left it alone.

However I heard Peter Jackson interviewed and he said that it just wasn't worth the arguments with the money people and the studios. It really doesn't matter what the dog's called, so it's better to change it rather than needlessly offend people. It's not like this is a serious attack on his artistic freedom. Or just write the dog out of it.

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Re: Montenegro

My Nan used to buy wool for knitting in "nigger brown".

I'm hoping that's been changed in the last few decades...

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Meteor swarm spawns new and dangerous branch

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Re: This is true!

Could I get something to pipe all this glorious sunshine to me here at ground-level? Say a 20,000 foot long tube with mirrors inside. We could call it a sunbrella. Hold it above your head, while walking down the street, and be bathed in sunshine, whatever-the-weather.

Right, I'm off to email Dragon's Den. Offering them 0.001% of my company for ONE MEEELLION POUNDS!!!!!

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FAKE NEWS!

The regular and often-unspectacular Taurid meteor shower

I would like to object to The Register publishing fake news such as this.

I live in England. There is no such thing as a spectacular meteor shower!

Perhaps someone needs to publish some research on the power of astronomical events to cause cloud cover. It's almost as if they're hiding...

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Devil

Re: I welcome our new meteor overlords

I'll have heaps of pepperoni, spicy beef, ham, salami, chicken, basically all the ones for carnivores.

The meteor the better.

This is true. The problem is it's also likely to be topped with a lot of long-pig.

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Busted Russian casino hackers had an appetite for drugs and chocolate

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Would be very disappointing if all that chocolate wasn't happily boiling away in a big vat without lid (tsk! Health and Safety fails again!), just conveniently positioned for some poor minion to get thrown into it.

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Obama's intel chief says Russia totally tried to swing it for Trump

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Re: Trump,WUN

I'm having a flashback to reading Feersum Endjinn.

Bring back amanfrommars, all is forgiven...

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Re: erm

The problem with Trump is that appearances actually do matter in politics. As do stupid words.

Admittedly the orange with weird hair thing would matter much less if he wasn't a total arsehole. Though would still be used by opponents, because people are just like that.

This is a reality that he seems to stupid to realise. He thinks that he can just tweet bollocks to his heart's content, and this won't have any effect on actual policy and diplomacy. I guess because he thinks it's just business, which is all about the money. But of course now he's playing in politics, which isn't all about the right decision, it's also about appearances, perceptions etc.

Also business isn't all about the money anyway. As anyone who's ever negotiated can tell you. You can get a bit more by being difficult sometimes, but that tactic can equally blow up in your face and get you less than just asking politely.

There's an argument that it's all just noise, and the little stuff obscures the big stuff. Plus the crying wolf argument. That's the game Putin plays relatively successfully. But on the other hand, there's so little evidence for these Russian links allegations that if Trump wasn't such a monumental arse, it might have died down by now. Obviously there was hacking and fake news, but I suspect very little in the way of direct, provable links to Trump's team. I'm sure Clinton's team will have had meetings with the Russian ambassador too, it's actually part of an ambassador's job to meet the teams of all the likely candidates before an election.

Also trust matters. Putin is in strife in international relations because he thinks he can make a deal, then break it, then laugh in people's faces when he admits lying to them. Because they eventually will have to deal with him. But that game has a very limited lifespan, and that's why Russia is still under very painful and expensive sanctions 2 years after they invaded Crimea, even though there's clearly a deal to be done because they've got stuff we want from them.

Power is important in politics. So is trust. And so are appearances.

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Re: This is getting a bit tiresome

And you don't think there are any valid worries about Russia's various policies at the moment that are worth reporting on?

It comes up in the news, because it's an issue.

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Re: Shit-for-brains

Isn't Bahrian a naval base though, and Qatar where they base a lot of the aircraft? Obviously aircraft are more important for dealing with ISIS than ships. Admittedly there are other bases, but Turkey are not proving the easiest to work with at the moment.

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Russia is struggling to keep its cybercrime groups on a tight leash

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Re: Comparable in intent but not execution

Russia has been arguably braver (choose your own adjective here) to push the envelope of developing an aggressive capability (in this case, not defensive; separate question) which has greater rewards and some risks.

Russia is much poorer. They ranked 12th in the world on nominal GDP last year - smaller than Italy, Canada or South Korea. Although obviously labour costs are lower - so for something manpower intensive they're at much less disadvantage.

There's an ex diplomat that I read sometimes, Charles Crawford. And one of his sayings when talking about Putin's policies is, "chaos is fair". Hadn't realised it was a quote from The Joker until I looked it up.

The idea being the the Soviets lost the Cold War on the economy but if the ex-KGB people running the place can be cleverer, then unleashing chaos knackers everyone equally. But they're willing to take more pain (well inflict on their own citizens who have no choice in the matter), than the West is - and maybe they also bet that they can dance better...

There's a bit of a 1930s feel to the Russian leadership, we didn't lose the Cold War, we were betrayed. The German 1918 "stab in the back" thing again. Because I guess the alternative is admitting that the system they served was both evil, and useless. Even though I doubt many were believing communists, as the KGB even then was plugged into organised crime.

They also profitted from the chaos of the Yeltsin years, so why not again? The same playbook two, making money via criminal gangs, or via exploiting the privatisation of state enterprises - or later stealing those off the people who originally stole them, to entrench their powerbase.

The question is, do they have an objective? Or is more a case of fuck the lot of you, if we can't have everything we want we'll screw it all up for you as well? I suspect they're quite a nihilistic lot. They joined the Communist party in the 70s, when it was already clear to many how badly it was going - but that was the only way to get ahead. And the way to get luxuries (or even neccessities) was corruption and the black market.

So I guess this is just their normal playbook now. And damn the consequences.

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Wowee, it's Samsung's next me-too AI gizmo: The Apple HomePod

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Re: How the world changes

You can get a reasonable system for £200. You can also get something totally awful. If the volume isn't turned up to distortion level, I wonder how many people could actually tell the quality difference in a blind test.

Between a £2k and £20k Hi-Fi, I suspect some audophiles might not be able to tell if they were tested blind - and would then be very annoyed about it.

This is a bit like the Pepsi challenge. More people preferred Pepsi when tasting blind, but more people preferred Coke when they knew what they were getting. The power of marketing winning out over what isn't that huge a difference in taste.

But let me give you a concrete example. I set my Mum's first digital telly up for her. It was widescreen when many terrestrial shows were still in 4:3. She had a Sky box, and so I got that to manage the picture, and not the telly - which did an awful job. They got out of synch somehow.

So she's watching some soap or other when I go round. The Sky box was stretching the 4:3 into widescreen and making it all fat looking, but the telly had then converted it back into 4:3 - but was also in some weird zoom mode - which meant that the picture had been stretched, squashed to a different size, then zoomed - but had black bars on both sides and top and bottom. It looked truly horrible and very weird. I asked Mum how long the telly had been going wrong like this, and why hadn't she asked me to fix it, and she said, "like what?"

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Re: How the world changes

Not everyone cared about HiFi then, just as they don't now. To some extent you have to train yourself to hear the difference. Though obviously some speakers are so awful anyone can tell.

But having done sound for live events, it was amazing how many mistakes you could get away with making where almost nobody would notice - except the other people who've done sound before.

My little £250 Denon CD player and bookshelf speakers system from John Lewis makes an absolutely lovely sound. Sure I could get better, but I'd have to spend much much more money. And I don't think it's worth it. It's like the difference between a good £10 bottle of wine and a really nice £30 bottle. You might be able to taste it, but the more you spend, the harder it gets. And as with the wine, I doubt many people could tell.

Then you get people buying the Sonos speakers, which sound OK and are easy to set up and give you lots of options (if you buy enough of the buggers).

Also I don't know many people who just sit down and listen to music while doing nothing else. In fact I can only think of 4 (and one of those is me). At which point, music is part of the background of your life - and the quality probably becomes less important.

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Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

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Re: Look

It's Buzz Aldrin. And it's his Mars Cycler.

It means you can have a big enough ship to be comfortable for the trip to Mars, which I think takes 3-4 months, instead of 6, and also of course that ship is reusable. So every time it swings by Earth you send it some more food and supplies, and then the astronauts can get on it when it's ready, but do it in a smaller craft that doesn't need so much fuel to match speeds.

It does mean you have to spend longer on Mars though. As Aldrin's plan means the cycler has to come back to Earth after they get off at Mars, and then fly back to them - so I think minimum time on planet is about 7 months. Unless you built two cyclers. Obviously that would allow you to have more supplies as you wouldn't need to carry supplies for the journey back - your on Mars stuff sees you through if there's an emergency and you can't land, and the cycler can be re-stocked on its swing past Earth. Though I doubt that's a risk anyone would actually take.

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First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

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Devil

Re: "and thought it was ok to include the production password?"

Let me bring my IT expertise into play here. You're all wrong of course!

Obviously database passwords shouldn't be written in public documents. They should be kept on a post-it note on the screen of one of the shared PCs.

What's wrong with you people for not knowing this basic piece of security best-practice!

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EU wins approval to waste €120m on pitiful public Wi-Fi

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Re: Pork Barrel politics?

It's more gesture politics than pork barrel. The EU telecoms roaming stuff is popular. And also most people are aware that it's an EU initiative. Putting nice flags on infrastructure paid for by the EU is another way of advertising how good it is. But normally EU stories are stuff put about by the governments about why they have to bring in some new unpopular law (or ban something popular) because of EU regs. Even if those governments voted in favour, they can hope nobody noticed...

So Juncker (the Commission President) is looking for a few popular things that people might notice. In this case though, there'll probably be so few hotspots that people won't ever come across them.

I'm sure he'd like to do pork-barrel politics to buy votes, but there isn't the available budget, and the member states won't vote for any more. With Brexit, the budget will end up going down, meaning the EU will be able to do even fewer popoular things.

Of course you might well argue that the Common Agricultural Policy is quite literally pork barrel politics, but that's been in place for decades now, and only benefits a tiny number of people. So probably won't make a huge difference.

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Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

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Happy

Re: boobys

Gullible? You really skua'd them there, as it tern's out...

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The nuclear launch button won't be pressed by a finger but by a bot

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Re: Public sector?

People value what they've paid for. People value even more what they've paid even more for.

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Well of course the Bachman Books 'Running Man' is based on real events that happened in the 1920s/30s. They had these dancing endurance competitions (dance marathons), by the Great Depression people were so hungry and thus desperate to win that they'd would sometimes literally die on the dancefloor from exhaustion. There are stories of hotel staff just dragged off as if they'd fainted, and competition would carry on.

Of course the Lawnmower Man is the story from that book that really got changed when they filmed it.

On the same topic, I though Chris Morris was making satire of news programming in the 1990s. Apparently the industry thought he was making training manuals. Sometimes I see a headline and am convinced it must have been written by Morris.

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'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

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Devil

Re: BBC Model Bs?

When I were at school lad we 'ad to get t'druids to put up our code on t'new 10 megalith machine at Stonehenge, and then wait 6 months for the messenger to bring the results back to our cave. Also it were ruinously expensive in virgins, so we were only allowed to use it once a decade. And that's when there wasn't a bug in the code, or the messenger got eaten by a sabretoothed tiger.

Young people today...

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Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again

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Teal and Coral aren't real colours.

I'll accept black. But people in marketing have been getting away with making up new colours for years now. I'm not sure I can cope with more than about ten. Say the colours of felt tip pen I had as a kid, plus black and white...

I presume they've forgotten about the people who already wear glasses.

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

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Re: Boom

In Soviet days it used to be 200 cities in the UK that were individually targeted. Doubt thats changed much.

No cities are supposed to be targetted. Assuming the Russians (and we) are sticking to our post Cold War agreements. That de-escalation was agreed with Yeltsin in the 90s. Along with the removal of tactical nuclear weapons from deployment into storage. This means that it takes an extra few minutes to launch, and supposedly gives more time to think - as well as reducing everyone's readiness state a little.

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Re: Boom

And that maintainance is only a contractual obligation. I'd be VERY surprised if the Navy didn't have people with the required skills available to do the work if needed.

According to Peter Hennessey's book on the RN submarine service since the Cold War (that I'm currently on the last chapter of) that wouldn't be so easy.

With Polaris we had a maintenance facility at Coulport. So we'd pull missiles from the joint pool held in the US, bring them over to the UK and maintain them for a while ourselves. Only sending them back for major refits - or more likely permanent replacement. Obviously that gave us stocks of spares and trained personnel.

The US offered to share the maintenance of Trident, which was accepted as it saved money. The reason for this appears to have been that Trident was newer, and so designed to need much less maintenance. Supposedly you could load a Trident missile into the sub, and leave it there in the silo for ten years, before it needed a total refit. Plus they're designed so that maintenance can be done on them in-silo. According to his RN sources, this meant we could carry on operations without US support for longer with Trident, even without maintenance facilities and spares stocks of our own. Which is where that 6 months to a couple of years figure comes from.

I'm sure we could reverse engineer physical parts, with sufficient applications of money. But the electronics would be much tougher. I'm also sure we've got maintenance experience, and several other solid rocket missile companies manufacture in the UK - so I suspect they could keep a diminishing number of missiles going for a while, by cannibalising the others for parts.

We also licensed MIRVs with Trident, rather than using our home-grown Chevaline. That has the star-trackers and countermeasures, but not as many, and though you get to hit more than one target with your warheads, I think they have to be reasonably close together. Given our satellite industry, I'd have thought MIRVs would be much easier and cheaper than they looked in the 70s.

We ought to be able to design a good-enough solid fuel missile in 5-10 years, given a crash program and lots of cash. I'm sure BAe would be delighted to help...

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Re: Single Point of Failure

Subs that don't float are unpopular with crew members.

Not for long though...

Wasn't it the USS (should that be CSS?) Hunley in the Civil War that sank 3 times. Killing 21 members of those 3 different crews. Only managed to get into one battle, won (just barely), but sank on the way back to port in water too deep to raise it. So no more Confederate crews had to suffer.

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Re: July Gold Boojum

NATO doctrine for most of the Cold War was to use nuclear weapons first, in certain circumstances. Mostly to wipe out large Soviet tank formations breaking through NATO lines. There was an awful lot of theorisiing about nuclear escalation paths, and the difference between tactical, theatre and strategic nuclear weapons. Not as much in reality as people hoped, I rather suspect...

Trident is accurate enough to use as a counter-force weapon. Though the UK hasn't ever held that nuclear posture, as it would have been too expensive. So our policy has always been limited but massive retaliatory strike as deterrent.

Where the enemy has liquid fuelled ICBMs (say North Korea), a first strike with your solid fuelled (quicker to launch) ones may be a possibility, if you're convinced they're about to fire.

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Re: Another Clueless Report, Eh?

Are you sure that he didn't mean there's been rapid improvement in AI written in BASIC?

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I thought Windows for Warships was based on Windows 2000, rather than XP?

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