* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5202 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Et voilà: Violated Versailles vagina might stay violated

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Er, why are we following this?

Not that I don't welcome yet another chance for the Register readership's expert art critics to post their revelatory opinions.

Speaking as the arts correspondent for What Gravel? magazine I've not seen this particular piece, and so couldn't comment on it. But in the aggregate I find this kind of artwork rather annoying.

I'd been in the Tate Modern for about an hour and a half, when I heard a voice saying, "this is utter bollocks". I looked round to see who it was who had so heinously transgressed, along with everyone else in the gallery, only to realise that it was me. At which point I decided that it was better for modern art, and myself, that I disengage from the bollocksworks on display and re-engage with a nice cuppa and a very large cake instead.

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NASA wants to send HEDGEHOGS to Mars

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Re: Damn...

You can do a giraffe, if you stand on a stool,

And no spaceman is safe from a Martian's green tool.

But you're safe just so long as you roll into a ball.

Oh! The hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

with apologies to Sir Terry

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The metal wheels on all three of the latest Mars rovers have had trouble (from memory), such that at least one of them now does a lot of driving backwards.

Tyres and caterpillar tracks would help, but both are high maintenance - and mechanics are in short supply up there. Once you throw a track, you're only going in circles - damage a single wheel and you're just less efficient.

Engineering something to survive harsh environments is, of course, proven technology. But making it light enough to stick on a rocket that has to hit escape velocity from Earth is much harder. Hence this experimentation.

Also, if you can make a swarm of light somethings, that have cameras and solar panels, then they don't need all that many other instruments. You scatter them over a wide area, and then whichever ones find the most interesting stuff tell you where to send the rover. Either in a later mission, or the one rover and 10 hedgehogs mission you've just sent.

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Huge SUPERHENGE erection found near Blighty's Stonehenge

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Who said they didn't have cranes and lorries? Haven't you seen that fly-on-the-wall documentary about the stone age family? The Flintstones wasn't it? They had cars and everything. He even worked as a crane driver.

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Re: Failsafe backup

Gods! Upgrade that old thing? What hat wearing oxen-herders installed that for you then? [sucks biro] Nah. You don't want to do that. These old 96 kilolith models are obsolete, you see. Positively neolithic! I know that a pointed stick was good enough for great uncle Ugg, but this is the modern age now. You don't want this slow old rubbish, you need to be measuring speed in megaliths.

Take old Fred, his henge is one of the brand spanking new types. Why not get one like that? Just dump this old lot here, and we'll build you a new one just down the road. I know a bloke who's got some old bluestone going cheap over in Wales. I could do you a deal on it, special like, and we could be up and running in, ooooh, well there's parts, logs, druids... Say 150 years do ya? Now I can't say fairer than that can I?

'Ere, I'm gasping. You couldn't manage a brew could you?

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SPACE WHISKY: Astro malt pongs of 'rubber and smoked fish'

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Re: Surprised

Well, once you've drunk the whisky, you simply top up the barrel with the aforementioned urine, but to fool the bosses back on Earth, you squeeze a few of the alcohol cleaning wipes into the mixture, and add in a bit of rubber, plus the previously present wood chips.

This should give a rough approximation of Ardbeg anyway. *Ahem!* [ducks and runs for cover]

Ardbeg is even peatier than Laphroaig, and is a bit on the TCP side for my tastes.

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Re: Who tastes the tasters?

to see if they mutate in to hideous blobs of alien material?

I believe that's what happens to your tongue the morning after you've polished off half a bottle of Ardbeg anyway. So I don't see why space whisky (spisky?) should be any different...

The normal cure is the liberal application of bacon, bread and tea.

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They’re FAT. They’re ROUND. They’re worth almost a POUND. Smart waaatch, smart waaatch

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Re: Perspective

Perhaps it is? If it was as slim as I expect a watch to be, they'd be showing it actually on someone's wrist.

Then again, quite a few of the hideously expensive luxury watches are bloody enormous. I don't want half a tonne of ironmongery on my wrist thanks.

Although it looked OK otherwise, assuming the gold on the case isn't going to come off and turn your wrist green within a week...

I don't really see much point, except the fitness controls, and controlling music you're listening to. But you can get inline controllers for your headphones to do that. Then again, I know plenty of people who say they don't see the point of proper watches - and I'd not be without mine, even though I probably only use it a few times on a normal day. I suppose I have to admit that I'm wearing it as much for the way it looks, as what it does.

Then again, on other days I'm using it constantly to get to meetings and trains on time.

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Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail

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Simon B,

The bank aren't allowed to steal the money. I believe this is one of those legally complicated areas. Sometimes, the bank are allowed to just acknowledge the error, and sweep the money back. Sometimes they'd have to ask, and only pay you back for your mistake, once they're paid.

What they wouldn't be allowed to do is get the money back, and leave you out of pocket.

In the case of an erroneous transfer on their part, then they would try to get the cash back, but would have to compensate the account holder they took the cash from.

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Re: Not worth it

An ex colleague of mine was doing the normal treasury work for a smallish company. He sent about £100k off to the overnight money markets one day. When he checked the company's account the next day £7 million had come back!

He did consider transferring it to his own account and seeing how much interest he could earn on it before having to give it back.

Clearly that should be enough to make the trip to Brasil.

What was the calculation in the Cryptonomicon? A programn that created an index of property prices and inflation to work out the exact amount of "fuck you money" - where once achieved you never had to worry about money again.

I think for me I'd want a nice place in the city and another in the country. So maybe a couple of million. Then £50k a year spending money would probably be enough - although I do actually fancy a boat, which ups that quite a bit.

But things like places abroad and boats can be hired, just as easily as owned. Unless there's somewhere that you love and keep going back to multiple times a year. If you're buying property in London or New York as an investment, why not also let it out for extra cash, and get a suite at the best hotel for the week a year you might actually want to be there?

You should be able to buy a portfolio of property and shares that gives you well over 5% return over the long term - so £12 million should do. £2 mil to spend, £10m to invest for an income.

Although "fuck-off money" means not having to count. I've got modest tastes, but I'd want to do quite a bit of long-haul flying, and no-one wants to go cattle class. Those first class tickets soon add up. So maybe £22m, to give £100k a year income is better?

Then you've got to consider the cost of laundering that kind of money as well.

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Re: Windfalls

As I understand the current law, you can't keep the money from an error like that. Unless the employer choose to let you. But if you've gone out and spent it, they're not allowed to just not pay you the next month, or demand the whole lot back in one go. So you get it as an interest free loan, to pay back in monthly installments.

Although HMRC can decide at the last minute that they've calculated your PAYE wrong, so that you get paid almost nothing for the last 2 months of the financial year, because the rules are different for them.

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Boffins build magnetic field cloak 'wormhole', could help MRI scanners

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Re: Easy...

What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move with no hope of rescue:

Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far.

Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far (which, given your current circumstances, seems more likely):

Consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer.

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Anonymous UK 'leader' fined for revealing ID of rape complainant

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Re: Presumably

If the accused is cleared and proved innocent then the accusations are either false, erroneous, wrong or malicious.

This is incorrect. You've missed out, impossible for the court to say.

And that's very important, as people are innocent unless proven guilty.

I've been on several juries, and you have to deal with multiple lots of conflicing testimony. With the knowledge that if you get it wrong, then you're either sending an innocent person to prison or letting a guilty one off. Neither is a nice feeling, and I'd say the unhappiest jury I was on were the one letting someone off they mostly thought was guilty. But the evidence wasn't up to the job.

In most rape cases you've only got 2 people who were there, and that makes it even harder. And the same is going to be true of a false accusation of rape, where you have to prove intent beyond all reasonable doubt, which is very hard to convince a jury of. I'm glad I never got a rape case.

It's why the rape conviction rate is always going to be low. Unless we all start wearing video cameras that upload to t'internet at all times.

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BEELION-dollar lasso snaps, NASA mapper blind in one eye

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Re: Site visit?

They were going to, right up until the time someone pointed out that the coffee would freeze, and the doughnuts would float away...

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TREE-HUGGER? Your WOODEN HAREM is much BIGGER than thought

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Surely it should be treemail?

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French hacker besmuts road sign right under Les Plods' noses

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I remember DSK's defence was quite interesting. His lawyer said in court that, with their clothes off, his client was unable to tell a prostitute from a woman of quality.

Perhaps when you think the sun shines out of your own arse, you genuinely believe that all women just want to throw themselves at you. So why would you have to pay women to attend? I remember that when I lived in Brussels there was a huge swinging scene going on. A lot of it seemed to be amongst the Eurocrats. And they were always desperately trying to attract extra women. My theory was that it was the men who were therefore the driving force in getting the parties going, and their wives were there to supervise, but weren't so interested in joining in themselves. Either that, or the guys were only interested in younger women. There were very clear that single blokes need not apply, but all young single women welcome. Seemed to be a very odd scene.

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West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless

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Re: Other issues

Just remember: "rare earth" elements aren't that rare - just hard to extract under-cooked.

I much prefer the medium-rare earths...

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Re: Spot price doesnt answer the exam question

Gordon 10,

The Siemens factory, and the CFL one menitoned, didn't move to China. They just thought about it.

As I recall they managed to double prices at one point. The problem is that most rare earths are only selling in the low thousands of tonnes a year, if that. Didn't Worstall say at one point that global annual demand for scandium was only something like 40 tonnes?

So they made some extra profits, but prices for some things are now less than half what they were before the whole monopoly game started. So as that only lasted a couple of years, they're almost certainly in loss. Of course this was more about the Chinese government playing silly-buggers than it was the producers trying to make a quick buck. Hence the idea that they'd stop exports, and force all high tech manufacturing using rare earths to move to China.

Also, as global supply has increased and prices have dropped, anyone with any sense should now have got a stockpile of the things they need. After all, you're only talking a few tonnes of the stuff - so it's pretty easy and cheap to salt away in the corner of a warehouse somewhere. That way, you'll be covered if this happens again, until non-Chinese production ramps up.

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Giant sea scorpion which prowled ancient oceans revealed

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Re: Thank $deity

Normally I quite like spiders. But if the wife complains about finding one of these in the bath, she's on her own.

We're also going to have to re-write that song about the old lady who swallowed a fly. I don't think a bird is going to cut it, when it comes to dealing with this spider. Which I'd imagine won't so much wriggle, as rampage...

I know an old lady

Who swallowed a lion

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The Raspberry Pi is succeeding in ways its makers almost imagined

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Re: The human mind is amazing

Though can you imagine the flame wars between Leibniz's tribe and Newton's boyz 'n' girls?

Choco Leibnitz are delicious! Fig Newtons are horrible! End of debate.

Although, Jaffa cakes are better than both.

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Re: The human mind is amazing

The internet is amazing. A woman sitting next to me on the train asked me for directions to somewhere obscure in London. I'd no idea, but I did have a smartphone.

I support all our company's IT (under ten people, and we pay for Cloudy solutions for the many things I can't do). Years ago I used to struggle to fix PCs. I'm not in IT, I just use the things. Now I can just hit Google, find the right page on Microsoft's site (I wonder if they've fixed internal search on there yet?), found that there's a troubleshooter to fix Windows update, searched the code number it gave out, fixed it. Admittedly I should have thought to try the troubleshooters, as MS have written many of them, and they often now work, but I only fix a pooter every few months, so forget most stuff. But now the internet can remember for me. And I can search on my iPad, while the laptop is in front of me.

Or Google solved the worst emergency possible this Saturday morning. I'd forgotten to make bread on Friday night, as we were too busy drinking cocktails. Yum. What were we going to have with our bacon?!?! But I had some left over sour cream, and maple syrup. Can you make American pancakes with sour cream instead of buttermilk? Theoretically it's acidic, so should do the job. But what if our breakfast goes wrong and I'm forced to go to the shops before I've eaten my bacon? The thought was too horrible to contemplate! Found a couple of nice looking recipes in but a few taps of the iPad, made vanilla pancakes, and the recipe said that warm maple syrup was a human right, so I warmed it up (and it is indeed nice).

And the other day I found the legislation on consumer contracts and wrote a nice letter for a friend's Mum and got her back the £2k that some scumbags had legally scammed her out of. They forgot to update their terms and conditions when the legislation was updated in June. Ooops.

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French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

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I am willing to believe that they may *eventually* cook their testicles.

I know the French eat some weird stuff, but surely even they draw the line at that!

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Re: KU the pedants

It's not the satellites that I'm worried about. It's the emissions from all those bloody pigeons! Only I'm really worried that my tinfoil hat won't stop Coo band radiation...

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Ashley Madison hacked potential competitor, leaked emails suggest

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Die! By the Pork Sword of Boromir!

Oh sorry, cultural references clash there I think. Mine was probably from a more specialist source, for the discerning gentleman only.

I'll get my cloak...

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Oh no Wikiwon't: Russians plan own version of 'distorted' Wikiland

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Re: Delusional or deluded?

It's an interesting question. All the Russians I've spoken to were well aware of Soviet era media censorship/fabrication. And they had that joke about there being no News in Pravda and no Truth in Isvestia.

So are people fooled, too scared to say, or deliberately allowing themselves to believe stuff they'd know was propaganda if they bothered to think about it? People are perfectly capable of holding contradictory political beliefs simultaneously, just because so few people think too deeply about politics, given they're rather busy leading their own lives.

I remember having several online discussions with a Serbian guy. Said he was a political liberal (whatever that label meant in Serbia a decade ago). He was aware that their media and education systems had been distorted with propaganda for years. He now checked foreign and domestic news sources to get his information. He was glad Milosovic was out of power.

And yet still, Serbia were the poor, misunderstood victims of everyone in the Balkans. And it surely wasn't that Serbia had been aggressive to most of its neighbours in recent years.

It was very odd. Intellectually he knew he'd been fed a whole bunch of propaganda, but I guess it's hard to then go back through your assumptions and memories, and re-assess what's true and what isn't. And any time I might score a point in a debate, then it would obviously be because I'd fallen for the propaganda put out by my own government... Not that Western governments aren't above trying that, but they neither control the press in their own countries, or ban foreign media - so it's much harder to put lies out, without the facts also being avaible. Although there are always things that are kept secret. But if you're aware of the risks, you should be able to stay relatively well informed, and unspun.

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Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

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Re: Stribrnice

And that's what I told my wife, when she caught me having sex with that fish. But she wouldn't believe me...

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I saw a news story from Wales, possibly in El Reg a few years back. It was painted on the road in Welsh. It should have said something like "Give Way to oncoming traffic". But what it actually said was "I am currently out of the office and will return tomorrow".

They'd sent the email off to the usual person who did their translation, and painted the response on the road. Oops.

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Re: Machine translation is always good for a giggle!

Ah yes, reminds me of my favourite restaurant in Brussels. Now long since ruined. Although, I've not been in a while, so I can hope for redemption.

They had menus in 6 languages. But the English translation of tete de veau was "tete of veal". Which is all very well if you remember that tete means head - but if you just think it's a french cut of meat, then you're in for a surprise when you open the stock pot and there's a baby cow's head staring up at you.

There weren't many screams while I was eating there, so I can assume that not too many people made that mistake.

Or perhaps the waiters were aware, and warned people. My brother bought some horse from the butchers, when on holiday in Sardinia. It was deliberate. But the butcher knowing that the English are traditionally squeamish about eating horses tried to make sure, to his credit. He didn't speak english though, so this involved making ear signs with his fingers while blowing out his lips and making brrrr and whinnying noises.

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Prof Hawking cracks riddle of black holes – which may be portals to other universes

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Re: There's only one bit of 'information' I want from another universe

I've got copies of all the Firefly box-sets. Only mine are from the alternate universe where it was written and produced by David Hasselhoff. Did I mention that he also starred as Captain Mal Reynolds?

Would you like me to post them to you? You can have them for free...

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Re: Experiement

Surely we just send BT's crack customer service commando unit. The black hole will give up all its information in self defence, after the 3 millionth iteration of Greensleaves and attempt to get through to the right department.

I know that confession under torture is inadmissible in court. But is it acceptable for scientific papers?

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NASA's Dawn gets intimate with Ceres

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Re: "Crater" and suspiciously close "mountain"?

Ceres is where the Buggers' forward base was in Ender's Game, if memory serves. So it could be either the Clangers or the Buggers. [Now there's a sentence I never expected to be using.]

Funny how they just became the bugs for the film, for some strange reason... Unfortunately, about the only decision they got right.

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What's Russia smoking? Kremlin bans Wikipedia for dopey article

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Re: Crowd Control

hplasm,

If the police are equipped with vodka cannons, then - I predict a riot.

Personally I will be looting all the tonic and limes I can get from Sainsbury's - and then waiting for the police to come and quell the angry mob.

Note to self: Must remember to loot some snacks as well.

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AshMad search outfit Trustify to El Reg: 'Trust us, we're the good guys'

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Re: Scary

If you've got a gmail/hotmail/outlook/yahoo address, then it might be quite likely to see your email address randomly turn up on there, if it's not too unusual. Similarly if you own something like johnsmith.com.

My 6 year old nephew has been sending me messages in his school IT lessons via the company website contact form - as he doesn't have an email. But he knows enough to fill in the mandatory email field with hisname@hotmail.com. So I'm sure an AM user can manage the same.

As my email address is obadiahfullentrousers@spankmonkey.com, I'm not too worried...

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FBI probed SciFi author Ray Bradbury for plot to glum-down America

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Re: FBI sponsored?

But William had an invitation. He was coming to build a mobile phone network...

I think that's also why no-one ever seems to mention the French invasion after John reneged on Magna Carta, which only stopped after he'd randomly snuffed it, and the barons got together under William the Marshal and told the French to bugger off - oh and by the way thanks for the help.

I guess it comes under the general heading of foreign help in civil war, rather than invasion.

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Re: Jesus

That particular carol is unspecific as to crapping and puking though...

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White Stork mates with ISS, delivers bundles of resupply joy

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Re: Dehydrated beer...

Does that mean if I take some, mix with water and put in a sodastream I'll get lager?

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Re: RE: dehydrated beer

But there is plenty of urine up there already...

Astronauts wouldn't give a XXXX for anything else...

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The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

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Re: umm...

Journalists usually get public interest exemptions to various laws. Given that part of their role in society is finding out information they're not supposed to know from peple who aren't supposed to tell them.

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Google reveals OnHub WiFi router, complete with GLOWING RING

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Re: If you like this

Can we not have the GCHQ Doughnut home router? The shape is both nice looking, and will remind us of how lovely their building is.

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Are you a digital leader or a high-maintenance digital dunce?

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Re: "batting mobile out of the park"

So what you're saying is that companies should be like a monomaniac, emotionally repressed, psychopath with a nice line in S&M clothing and go to very expensive parties. Great! Where do I sign up?

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Facepalm

This article leads me to two conclusions:

1. Should you be taking advice on how to run your business from HP? How much did they spend on Autonomy again? Also they've not been notably successful at picking CEOs, or mergers, or making consumer tech that isn't horrible or writing printer drivers less than half a gigabyte in size...

2. Actually HP aren't totally stupid. Their metric of being an IT leader is if you spend more money on HP kit. And everyone wants to be a leader. Those nasty laggards only spend their budget on maintaining what they've already got. So Booooooo to them, I say. Booooo!

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Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

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Re: WTF?

You know you're not actually forced to read it don't you? Worstall articles are pretty easy to spot, so just don't click on them. Then your problem is solved.

If you can't cope with reading contrary opinions, then you'll be kept nice and safe. Although I notice you haven't actually pointed out anywhere where Worstall is actually wrong...

It would be nice if El Reg could get a tame lefty to come on and mud wrestle with Worstall though.

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Neither main party is much of a good representation of their base. That's because they want to get elected. But the two big parties memberships have hollowed out over the years, such that the majority of their supporters and campaigners seem to be further from the centre than their MPs and leadership.

Which is why you find almost as much anti-Cameron vitriol in the Telegraph as you will in the Guardian or Mirror. And I'd guess why Cameron has consistently polled as more popular personally than the Conservative Party.

The Americans have a similar situation, where Donald Trump appears to be appealing to the Republican base at the primaries. But I suspect would get slaughtered at the national election. Although early leaders in the primaries do tend to get slaughtered before the end.

If Corbyn doesn't win at this point, it's going to leave painful scars, and either Burnham or Cooper will have their work cut out to heal the party.

But if he does win, I can't see Labour's parliamentary party holding together. They might be no formal split, but they will be totally unable to work together. There's blame on both sides for that, but a serial rebel like Corbyn has no right to claim anyone else's loyalty. And there have been some pretty hair-raising comments from some of his supporters about purging the opposition.

Even if he had the best policies in the world, if he can't command the loyalty of his own party, he can't win an election. Miliband was given a reasonably easy ride by the Parliamentary party. There was no more grumbling than any other leader has to face - and he did well at keeping the party united. Corbyn has no hope of that. If he wins it will be a horrible mess.

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Re: Bonds

Tim,

Sure. QE could die a natural death. But at some point, might some future Chancellor not be tempted to say - "we've got low inflation and there's £umpty billion of QE bonds coming due next year, so we're simply going to write them off, and not pay the BofE"?

In a few years, QE will have already caused what inflation it was going to. And some future Chancellor will be looking at the extra interest payments if that debt is sold back to the markets, and feeling sad about the next election. I'm sure some will be, to mop up excess liquidy, I'm surprised the Bank of England haven't done a bit of it already.

So they'll maybe keep rolling the bonds over at the BofE, paying them the interest and then taking it back as profits - and that's going to start looking increasingly silly, so why not just write the whole lot off? In ten years time, is anyone going to care all that much?

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The Guardian are a Labour paper. They think Corbyn will knacker the party they support. Opposing him therefore makes sense. I've seen no smears in there against him, please point some out if you have. All I've seen is disagreement. Which surely is part of normal politics. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

It may be we need PR. So we can have centre left and further left parties, as well as centre right, libertarian, green, nationalist and whatever else. Then we'd get to see who really supports what.

The problem then, is that you've no idea what you'll get after the election. Which is the reason I don't like PR. But politics have to work, and if not enough voters can agree on being in the two main parties, then PR is a better solution that watching them becoming more and more remote from teh voters.

Also, remember the vitriol is not one way. The number of Corbyn's supporters who've been screaming that anyone inside Labour who disagrees with them is an evil Tory is unpleasantly large. It's looking uncomfortably close to splitting the main opposition, and leaving us with an effective one party state - until we get a new opposition sorted out. And that worries me as much as Corbyn's policies (which I also believe to be economically illiterate).

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Re: ha ha ha

What's wrong with Corbyn-bashing? As long as it's polite, and is attacking his policies.

As many people believe that a lot of his policies would have seriously bad effects, it makes sense to point that out before he's elected Labour leader. People can then make their own minds up as to whether that criticism is fair or not.

As a Conservative voter, I still believe in a strong opposition. Parties that are in power for too long lose their grip. They risk becoming corrupt, incapable of having new ideas, riven by factions, or all three.

It is my belief that Corbyn is un-electable. Someone viewed as competent with Ed Miliband's policies might well get a good hearing from the electorate. Corbyn appears to be further to the left of him. Being seen as principled I'd imagine will be good for his political image - but on the economy I think he's too far out of step with the majority of the electorate.

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Re: Not impressed

Joe Harrison,

in the context of the current worldwide insanity (central banks printing like crazy to buy up bonds and stocks)

This isn't total insanity. I believe QE worked in Japan in the 1930s. But it's the mainstream response to people studying the 1930s depression over the intervening years. Economics tried to learn someothing from why that happened. Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve made his name on the topic, and so happened to be in the right place at the right time to test his theories. And seems to have done a retty good job, there was no repeat of the Great Depression.

Note that the things governments got wrong were:

To stay on the gold standard too long, which caused the money supply to collapse. Causing deflation, which lead to a drop in demand and businesses to sack people they could no longer afford to employ.

To let the banks go bust, destroying confidence in banks leading to a cascade of failures.

Cutting government spending too much, leading to an even bigger drop in demand in the economy.

So most governments did make cuts, but much more slowly, and they compensated by lowering interest rates, doing QE and bailing out the banks.

Note that the Eurozone is a bit like the gold standard in our current example, and so those countries in trouble have struggled to fix their problems, hence the problems in Spain, Ireland, Portugal etc. And the total disaster, and hideous policy clusterfuck, in Greece.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Oh puhleeze

A bit too ranty, and very much too ignorant of basic economics.

Inflation is too much money, seeking too few goods. That pushes the price up, as you've only got so many goods to go round - however much money you have. Hence the spectacle of billion mark or Zimbabwe dollar notes.

If the government sells bonds, then someone has to buy those bonds. With money. They give that money to the government in exchange for the bond. So the government can spend that money. So the money supply has remained the same.

If the government has printed money, and therefore not sold a corresponding bond, then the money supply has grown. Thus there is now more money around, so all things being equal that will result in the price of goods and/or labour going up.

Obviously if you're way below full employment, then wages need not rise. The government of Greece say could easily print a few billion (if only they were allowed to) and pay some of those unemployed people to do something useful. That would grow the economy, as they'd then have cash to spend on other people's goods and services - and yet with unemployment at 25% - you need to employ a lot of people before you start pushing wages up.

Actually it would cause some inflation, but as Greece currently has -2% inflation, that would actually be a good thing for their economy.

For Britain, which has much lower unemployment and is now getting some welcome small wage inflation, printing would be inflationary. Inflation is low, we might even get away with bit anyway. But the hit to the credibility of our government might be disproportionately large, such that inflation expectations suddenly rise, leading to an inflationary devaluation in the currency - and the requirement to have higher interest rates or inflation than otherwise needed.

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Who's pursued "austerity at all costs though"? The UK are still running a budget deficit of nearly £80 billion. Down from £150 billion in 2010. Sure there have been cuts, but not as huge as some people would have you think. The US continued stimulus for longer, and then had some pretty steep cuts because of the gridlock, and not renewing various tax cuts.

Now austerity at all costs was imposed on Greece. With truly disastrous results. But even then, there was an alternative. If Greece were willing to leave the Euro, they could have a sane economic policy.

Ireland, Spain and Portugal have had some pretty heavy cuts though. But again - that's more part of being in an unworkable currency union and trying to force economics to submit to politics. Which they're still managing to do - but I'm not sure how long they can keep it up. Of course they only made less than half the cuts that Greece was forced to, and 2 of them are back to growth.

The really ideological austerity fetishists are in Germany. Who are running a budget surplus, despite having the cheapest government borrowing in their history available - and infrastructure investment at a low. But they're also running at historically low levels of unemployment and huge levels of exports. Actually I'd argue that's a bad thing, Germany is becoming a less equal society and damaging the Euro because of it.

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China shutters 50 websites for spreading explosion 'rumours'

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Re: Anybody know what the rumors were?

It's so hard to calibrate the paranoia when an authoritarian system responds to something like this. One story I heard on the BBC World Service was that a bunch of journalists researching the company whose warehouse it was tried to get on the Chinese company registration database. I guess trying to find who owns them, or how big they are. Only to find a notice on that website that it was down due to being switched off to stop the spread of unhelpful information.

I'm not sure whether that means it's owned by someone or some entity that would be embarrassing, or if this was just the kneejerk reaction of "hide everything!"

It must be hard to run a company in a country where vital business information resources can just disappear for a while due to an embarrassing media story in a different city from you.

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