* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5810 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

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Paul Shirley,

I've done a quick check around and it's hard to find decent figures, but as I suspected it looks like nobody is quite telling the truth here. Norway probably pays in about half as much as we do, but doesn't get anything back. Whereas we're full participants in the EU, so obviously receive CAP payments, regional funding and other stuff. Thus their net contribution is about 90% of ours.

I've seen Remain people argue that they pay 90% of what we pay and don't get our rebate - which is a huge distortion of the facts as that figure is being compared to our net contribution (payments less receipts).

Links:

http://infacts.org - a remain site

Their analysis probably slightly understates Norway's net contribution and overstates ours, but it's bugger-all difference in the grand scheme of things.

Norway's EU Mission site

The calcs are done on GDP per head on a pro-rata basis for each are of funding you choose to join in on. Net of whatever cash you get back.

There's an argument that we could negotiated to pay in less and still get Single Market access. But a lot of this money is cash we want to be spending. Regional funding to help boost the economies of Greece and Eastern Europe is something we'd have done anyway, after the Cold War. It was us that were one of the strongest voices calling for the EU to allow the ex Warsaw Pact countries in. And for the accession process with Turkey too, and there's a good argument that Turkey has only taken a turn to the authoritarian because it was clear that France and Germany (and others) weren't going to let them in. So they've been busily reversing all the rule-of-law reforms that they'd been implementing under EU pressure for the last 2 decades. I'd say the EU's great success is that the Eastern European countires have managed to integrate into the system and build working democracies. Compared to the appalling state of politics in the ex-Soviet countries that didn't get to join.

Anyway we'd be well out of the Common Agricultural Policy if we left, which makes up about a third of the EU budget, and our contribution. And is partly the reason for our rebate, in that our farmers in general get fewer subsidies from it.

But we'd want to continue infrastucture funding in Eastern Europe, I imagine we'd stay in the EU science and space programmes so contribute and receive from both. So I'd expect our net contribution to drop a bit, but not a huge amount. We'd lose the rebate, but then also lose the reason for it, and since Blair gave away a chunk of that in exchange for promised reform of the CAP that never happened, plus our lower GDP per head than Norway, I'd expect our net contrubution to drop a bit below theirs.

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Re: @I ain't Spartacus

Vines,

That depends on the area of policy. Short of armed force or economic pressure, no government can enforce its voters' demands on another. The difference with being in the EU is that it interferes with our legal system as well. Something we're quite vulnerable to, having no written constitution and a different legal system to the rest of the continent. Also Norway has to comply with "only" about 1,700 pieces of EU primary and secondary legislation. For us it's over 11,000. They're only involved in trade and free movement matters - we also have CAP, fisheries, foreign policy, energy, environment, justice, economic, tax etc.

Now the Swiss have democracy. They told their government to negotiate, it's tried, and looks to have failed. So the voters know what's on offer, and can choose the policy they want, knowing the cost.

If our government fails in EU negotiations, we have to lump it. Except in this one specific case. You can only do the referendum once a generation. Even there, we got the bare minimum it was thought might work, rather than a sensible discussion on desperately needed reform. That contempt for the voters may have destroyed the EU. Just like telling the Swiss voters to fuck off may destroy that trade deal. And ignoring the Italian, Greek and Spanish voters may eventually destroy the Euro. Actually and the German voters. They were also lied to when they joined the Euro - and their government are still lying now. Claiming Greece can pay them back. It can't. They could have bailed Greece out in 2010 for €10 billion. The cost now is at least 10 times that, plus much German and EU credibility, and also shame. They claim to be the moral ones now, but history will not be kind to Merkel.

I was a reluctant in voter until the day last year the ECB broke all treaty law and common sense to deliberately destroy the Greek banking system and democracy. Under heavy pressure from Germany. They also brought down the Greek government in 2012, destroying the Pasok party, and forced Spain and Italy to change policies under threat of destroying the credibility of their government bonds. Which also brought down the Italian government. Not a sad loss admittedly, it was Berlusconi's last. But democracy is important - and those actions crossed a line. Hubris may soon meet Nemesis. I'd have preferred reform though, it's safer.

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Hard to know for sure but countries that already have a trade deal with the EU are bound by EU laws and have signed up to the EU freedom of movement agreement

Disclaimer: I don't believe we'd be likely to get a free trade deal with the EU without allowing freedom of movement. Though it might just be possible after a decade or two of negotiation?

But, Canada have a trade deal without. Most of the EU's trade deals don't involve freedom of movement. It's a political decision to insist on it around here, which I'd say is unlikely to change. Though there's talk of a free trade deal with North Africa, and I bet there won't be freedom of movement on offer there But then Norway and Switzerland are both in Schengen and the Single Market (well only partially for Switzerland). Which is different to a free trade deal.

Although Norway and Switzerland are agreed to free movement (or disagreed in the Swiss case), they don't have to harmonise access to benefits in the same way. So were we to leave we could refuse to pay in-work, unemployment and child benefits to people we don't choose to, and I assume the same might be true for the NHS, we could make people pay an insurance for that too, until granted "permanent residence status" of some kind. There are many options, which we might use to reduce low-skilled migration. Although one of the best ways to cut the migration numbers to the UK would be if the fucking Eurogroup would sort their shit out, and actually fix the Eurozone! But there's not much sign of that happening any time soon. The latest IMF prediction in the bail-out debt sustainability analysis, is that Greek unemployment will fall from it's current 1930s Depression level of 25% to about 12% by 2040! Now that's how to run an economy! And quite a lot of that fall is expected to be achieved by emigration. Well with youth unemployment at 50%, wouldn't you?

Also, Switzerland and Norway are only signed up to something like 20% of EU rules by being in the Single Market. That still leaves them the ability to sign their own trade deals, and out of the Common Fisheries and Agriculture Policies. As well as safely out of the Euro, and the Foreign Policy and tax harmonisation stuff.

Any country that exports into the Single Market is subject to large chunks of the same regulations, in order to make their products compliant. In the same way that you have to comply with lots of US laws in order to trade in the US.

The upside of being in the EU is that you can influence the rules. Subject to getting outvoted. The downside is that you're subject to a lot more of those rules than any flavour of leaving (either EEA or even fully out).

In my opinion the only sane option on Brexit is the Norway option. Nothing else can be negotiated in a sensible time. But done as a temporary deal with more negotiations to slowly follow. That means we pay in a bit less cash and get a bit less inward migration, in the short term and that gives everyone time to calm down and come up with a sensible agreement.

Either that or the other governments accept a 2 speed Europe, which is what we actually have anyway with some countries unwilling to join the Euro. If they'd done that, then Cameron would have won the referendum easily, but they only gave the minimum concessions that looked likely to work - and that may now backfire spectacularly. To be honest I still think it's more likely than not that the Euro will implode when the next recession comes (not that Souther Europe have ever really got out of recession) - and quite possibly take the EU with it. But the Italian economy is now smaller than when it joined the Euro, with deflation, youth unemployment of 40%, extremely low growth and a huge government debt which it can only service with some growth or inflation. Plus a half-collapsed banking system that the new Eurozone banking rules make it impossible to restructure. That's the quiet crisis currently going on. Spain, Cyprus and Ireland are doing OK-ish, Portugal is too small to matter if/when it goes wrong again, and Greece is a shameful stain on the reputations of the governments that have fucked it up for short-term political gain.

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It's possible certain that the UK government will pass all sorts of rubbish laws in the future. As will the EU. The difference is that we can get rid of UK governments at regular intervals, and replace them with ones that will fix some of those laws. It is admittedly true that democracy is a blunt instrument, unless you go for the Swiss referenda-on-everything model, so only a few bad laws are going to get enough public focus to be changed.

But that's still better than the EU model. Where once the hugely complex rigmarole of passing EU laws has happened, there's not only no political will to fix the problem, but there's active resistaance from teh system to go back and look at stuff again. And there's no democratic pressure that reaches that level. Youth unemployment in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain has been over 40% for more than 5 years now, and there's still no serious moves underway to solve the Eurozone crisis. And that's despite massive political turmoil in those countries. What chance anything like patent law problems getting any political attention?

Not that there aren't many good reasons to stay in the EU, and shape policy. But if you can't at least see the huge democratic deficit then you're just not looking properly.

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Man dies after UK police Taser shooting

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Re: Although Tasers were introduced as non-lethal weapons.....

Indeed, tasers should only be used as a last resort to protect the officers/public from a dangerous criminal who is likely to inflict harm.

Pepper spray, TASERs, choke holds, generally grappling with people or just hitting them with big sticks are all alternatives to firearms. But they're all dangerous, to both the person in question and the police. For pepper spray you've got to get close, and I believe people have died after inhaling that as well.

So in a lot of cases there is no "safe" method of dealing with people, and the police on the spot get to choose their poison. Hopefully they do a good job. The downside of giving them something like a TASER is that they're obviously going to be tempted to use it rather than risking getting bruised, or worse. But then the upside is the same thing, fewer police injuries. And you can bet than in a physical fight serious enough to injure an officer, there's also a risk to the other guy. So even they might be better off getting tasered, even if they do also miss out on the pleasure of punching a copper...

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Re: ...behaviour and welfare of a man. A man subsequently died.

A man gets a name once there's been a chance to tell his relatives.

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Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

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Linux

Re: But, seriously...

Rubbish! Until they can get it to run Linux, it's no sale.

Actually Antikythera is quite a good name for a distro. Or when Ubuntu go past Zebra, they can go for oscure pieces of technology. So Awesome Antikythera, Brilliant Beam Engine, etc.

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Gizmo, obviously.

Or if you want a word that's a bit more old fashioned, gewgaw.

Greek geeks grok great gyrating gewgaw.

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Fresh hell for TalkTalk customers: TeamView trap unleashed

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Re: Blame the customer

TalkTalk are not good value for money. They're cheap. There's a huge difference. I've not looked into it for a while, so don't know how much more you'd have to pay to get something better - and obviously if they're the cheapest, and money is tight, then you may be stuck with them.

But as well as costing less, they're also much less reliable. Certainly given the number of times I've had to go over to Mum's house and sort things out, and she's had engineers out 3 times in the last year or so - including a new router and YouView box. Their routers seem to be worse than the usual ISP crap, and their YouView box seems to have a 386 processor. Or possibly an abacus...

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Unhappy

I thought TeamViewer generated a new password each time, even if TalkTalk had saved the ID number (that doesn't change). Certainly that's how it's worked when I've used it, even when you have to reboot it (unless you use a particular setting) it restarts with a new password.

I'm pretty sure it is from a data leak on TalkTalk though. As my Mum got a call on her mobile, from people who knew her address and that she was with TalkTalk. In their case it was to fix her YouView box, which really was playing up at the time. There was a story that their call-out engineer database had also been breached.

Caller had a strong Indian accent, but then TalkTalk themselves use call centres out there - and many of their own staff don't have the finest english skills. This person manage to persuade her to download TeamViewer, but only in order to take her to the Western Union website to do a money transfer. I spent a while checking the PC, and that seemed to be all they did when in control of it, and she turned it off and called me when that came up, because nobody legitimate uses Western Union transfers and TalkTalk obviously already have her bank account details.

She's since been getting several calls a day to her mobile - so she used TalkTalk's withheld number blocking service. Which promptly blocked all the NHS calls to sort out her sister's cancer treatment, because the NHS annoyingly blocks caller ID. So the fuckers have done real harm - although I'd say that's equally the fault of the NHS (for that policy) and TalkTalk for not warning of the obvious consequence of their blocking. Also for not even allowing withheld numbers to go to voicemail - given that scammers and spammers rarely leave messages. What a fucking mess!

I'm a dutiful son. I did warn her not to use TalkTalk. But it was a couple of quid cheaper. I have quietly suggested she move away, but I think that was interpreted as an "I told you so", even though I was very careful to not even imply that I had.

Oh and I think TalkTalk must have got hold of some old 386 processors for their YouView boxes. The software's not actually that bad, but the fucking thing takes 60 seconds to boot, and sometimes 15 seconds just to load the EPG. Utterly crap company.

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Happy

Re: Still, look on the bright side.

Personally I prefer to drink white spirit, as it's much more effective. But each to their own...

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

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Do remember not to run the escape tunnel too deep either. Unless you want to wind up fried on the underground tracks. Or squashed. Or both...

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ISS 'nauts to inflate pump-up space podule

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In Space, No-one Can Hear You Fart!

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Happy

Re: Not very inflaty

Yeah, but you've got to go outside and put the thing in a giant bowl of water, so you can find where the leak is first...

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Re: Not very inflaty

The skin is multi-layered, and therefore quite thick. And this is only a test module. Bigelow Space have got either one or two (can't remember) already in orbit themselves, for testing purposes. But this is only a little one to go on the ISS. Remember it was only a portion of the cargo in a normal Dragon re-supply launch, where as the full-sized beastie will want a launch all to itself.

Weight is the issue. You can't make the walls of a metal spacecraft thicker without dramatically increasing the weight. So everything in space is pretty bloody flimsy. At which point, you're going to be working with composite materials anyway, so why not use something flexible and expandable. That means you can get something the right size to stick on the top of a rocket that'll expand a bit in space. The gains might not be huge, but you're still doing better than you otherwise would have been - and your living space is no longer limited to the diameter of your rockets.

Inflating your walls - and them thus being thicker (even if now less dense) is also an advantage in improving both radiation and impact protection. There are also gels that can be applied that expand on exposure to air - so if you apply these in the right place, punctures below a certain size will be self-healing. Maybe not enough to save the habitat, but enough to save the astronauts inside it, who can seal the airlock and bugger off to a different bit of the station. They can then either write the habitat off (and replace it), or fetch the puncture repair kit and go space walking.

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Happy

Elmer Phud,

And what is wrong with astronauts having a nice play on a bouncy castle... IN SPAAAAAAACE!

I for one would love a go on a spouncy castle. Particularly if I can have space icecream. Talking of which, do NASA also produce space candyfloss?

In fact, I propose a piece of important scientific research. I wish to investigate the effects of a huge sugar-rush on humans exposed to microgravity. I suggest myself as the first guineapig. I propose that I be sent to the ISS with an entire Dragon or Progress capsule full of fizzy cola bottles, foam bananas, christmas cake, space dust, wine gums, jelly babies etc. Better include a few sick bags as well...

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Hulk Hogan's sex tape, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a $10m revenge plot to destroy Gawker

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Happy

I'm gay, and so is my wife...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: These 10 Reasons Are Why Your Clickbait Site Might Be F**&ed

Surely the headline should be: 140 Million Reasons Not to Act Like Total Bellends

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90 days of Android sales almost beat 9 months' worth for all flavours of Win 10

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Re: provide Nokia with the basis for some excellent phones

But shippable & good/desirable aren't the same and you need willing buyers as well as a shipping product.

I think Microsoft have managed "good" twice in the world of mobiles. Desirable not so much...

Windows Mobile 5 was good, back in 2004. It wasn't wonderful and you mostly needed a stylus, though you could peck through making phonecalls with your finger. You had barely acceptable emaill, OKish satnav and a reasonable phone, in one package with reasonable battery life. I seem to remember they were up to 50% smartphone share, as a disappointed Sony Ericsson P800 owner (UIQ Symbian that was imcompatible with Nokia's Series 60 Symbian) I'd played with both sides a bit. We had some O2 XDAs (or similar) for work.

MS just failed to update it. Was it crap management, disinterest, or the desperate attempt to get Vista to market consuming all their programming and management resources? Or a combination? Or had Gates been pushing mobile, and Ballmer didn't care as much, so it died in the transition? Anyway, they were singularly unprepared for the dawn of the iPhone and the arrival of lots of devices with capacitative screens. No sylus any longer, and a much, much nicer UI required. It took 2 YEARS for Windows Mobile 6, which was a no-man's land that they'd already announced was a quick-and-dirty update to be replaced by the incompatible Win Pho 7.

That was nice, but incomplete. I bought it, because I got an OK smartphone for £120, when the cheapest usable Android was about £200 for last year's model that was no longer receiving updates. And my HTC Wildfire was a shit slow processor and crap memory in a beautifully designed case, and required reboots a couple of times a week, and Android 2.2 was sometimes quite flakey.

Work foisted an iPhone on me, which was OK. But I've got an iPad for apps, and so when that died (our batch of 5s had all failed within 30 months - 2 with 2 years - and 2 were replaced under warranty before that!), I tried Win Pho 8.

So MS scrambled, rather painfully slowly to Win Pho 8, a year late, which was pretty damned good. A bit of polish and some apps were all it needed. But two years later Win Pho 10 still isn't ready.

They got to 10% marketshare in Europe. There was potential for improvement. But not enough resoureces, either marketing or OS programming, have ever been committed. Management seem to care just enough to waste billions, without doing enough to actually succeed. And this has been consistent now for over a decade. Androids at the £100 are now fine to excellent, and Nokia/MS only had one top-of-the-line phone that was truly outstanding, with a super camera, and barely marketed it. Plus MS were too cheapskate to license or buy the tech off Nokia, and so lost any chance of a unique top-of-the-range phone, so no obscene profits for them. While Apple and Samsung can happily charge £500 for flagship phones that probably make them twice as much profit as tablets, where prices have actually fallen, using identical parts.

It's a shame. At least, when I go back to Android, I'll be able to customise it. I resent having to work to get a decent phone UI, but on the plus side I'll have the use of a decent App Store. Sadly the advantage of a company that cares about keeping the software up to date is wasted, as Google commit the resources, but then fail to force the manufacturers to actually distribute the updates.

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Re: sometimes I'm easily pleased

I'm still on Windows Phone 8. And so far avoiding upgrading. Incidentally, to be fair to Orlowski, he's been a fan of Win Phone, but been consistently rude about 10 as well.

I'm happy at the value end though. I don't believe in spending north of £400 on a phone. I want something cheap and cheerful, that works well, with decent battery life. Apps are for the tablet. For me it's a phone first, with texts, email, calendar and sat-nav in that order. I sometimes use it for the internet, but I'd much rather tether my iPad. My Mum really likes hers too. I've recommended Droids to most other people that have asked, or iPhone if that floats their boat.

But Microsoft just don't seem to be properly arsed. It's like they've bought into the idea for the last 15 years that they need to be big in mobile, they've made enough effort to be big players (they had half the "smartphone" market in 2004), and as soon as they get something half decent out there - they just stop working on it. For all the upgrade nagging, Windows 10 is nice. 7 was great. 8.1 would have been good too - if only they'd spent the effort on hitting us over the head with Metro on the desktop on Win Phone instead, then it and Win Phone 8 might have been brilliant.

But again, they're failing to bring out nice new handsets - and not bothering to put the final polish on Win Pho 10. And they'll deserve to fail. I'll be sad. And I guess my next phone will be a Droid. Which is fine, but I'm not a huge fan. I do lust after a Galaxy Note, but I don't believe in spending over £200 on a handset.

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Re: Chinese Manufacturers

So are lots of Samsung's. But that's not the point. The interesting thing is that Chinese companies are doing their own design and marketing.

Being the outsourced manufacturing destination of choice is not a long-term strategy for the Chinese economy. Their wages have gone up, and so they're now facing competition from elsewhere. Those jobs won't all disappear overnight though, they just need to start moving up the value-chain, if they want China's economy to keep on improving.

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

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Happy

Re: How crackable are alien languages?

No one's ever hacked my accounts:

User: mouseorgan@bagpuss.com

Password: weeewillmenditweeewillfixit

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Crappy sandwiches, cantankerous nerds: Put user back in user group

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Trollface

Re: Webex?!

I'm happy, as long as it works with IE4...

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Reavers! Google patent would affix pedestrians to car hoods

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Happy

Re: Great!

Yeah, but they'll be able to sell their mobile phone video to You've Been Framed for £200. There's a silver lining to every cloud...

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EU mulls €3bn fine for Google

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Re: itunes

tiggity,

I'd be amazed if Apple have a monopoly. If you don't actually have a monopoly, you can't be accused of abusing it.

There was a brief period when I thought Apple might get into trouble, because the iPhone was so powerful in the smartphone world, and the iPad completely dominated tablets.

Again, there was a period when iTunes was an effective monopoly in music downloads. But with Amazon, Google and others in that space, as well as the music streaming services, I'd be amazed if they still are.

It can certainly be argued that it was that monopoly that made the iPod king. But then very few people buy any MP3 players anymore, it's all done on phones. So that ship has sailed. The monopoly has probably gone, and regulators don't tend to move that quickly. After all, the Microsoft browser monopoly thing came a whole decade too late to save Netscape! IBM successfully did the lawyer dance for the whole 80s, until the US DoJ got bored, and were never convicted. MS got caught due to having written stuff down, and I'd say Google are mostly in trouble because they took the piss. They had a friendly Commission for years, thought they could lobby, delay and bluster their way out of it - and might have got away with it. Except Juncker was about to get "vetoed" by Cameron, and so did a deal with the German press (Axel Springer), who hate Google, and they pressured Merkel into abandoning her support for him. Whether the commission would have been anit-Google anyway is anyone's guess.

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Re: Seriously...

You clearly don't understand competition law. The Commission clearly do. Which is why they're doing what they're doing.

Whether they're right or not, is another matter. These things are rarely black-and-white. But most countries have laws against abuse of monopolies, because all economists recognise an abuse of monopolies as bad for the economy. It makes markets less efficient, leads to overpricing and restricts innovation. This is why we have regulators - and mergers of big companies have to be approved by government.

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Work begins on Russian rival to Android

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Re: Ruskies robbed!

Surely even after 20 series and a writers strike, even the most desperate of producers for the X Files wouldn't resort to a plot-line about the Eurovision Song Contest being rigged by Aliens or the CIA? Surely that's too dull even for daytime TV...

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Re: The Diff

"Its that the western media is an utter disgrace."

Save El Reg, of course

No. The Register is far worse than that.

It's totally Belgium, man.

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Re: hold the opinion that Snowden is a traitor,

I certainly agree with you, that Snowden is innocent unless proven guilty. So by that definition he's not a traitor. And not being a court of law, I am in no position to determine whether he's a traitor or not.

My argument wasn't about that. In fact your post supports my argument here. I was saying that a US media source calling him a traitor does not invalidate its credibility. To call him a traitor is clearly a rhetorical device in this context, as they aren't a court of law either. My only argument in this threat is with the ludicrous claim of some equivalence between the faults of the Western media (which are many) and the deliberate design of the Russian media to hide the truth.

In almost every way imaginable, our political system is better than the Russian one. It is best that we concentrate on fixing our own problems, and dial down the preaching to everyone else. But I refuse to put up with this moral relativism crap. So I'll argue against it.

As for Snowden, it's complicated. In my opinion he did a great thing in telling the world about mass data collection. But then he's also released information on US (and UK) legitimate electronic spying on unfriendly foreign powers. The first one of those is whistle-blowing and a good thing. The second is treason. He seems to have released an enormous amount of information, some of which would have been better kept secret. I personally wouldn't call him a traitor - but I also don't approve of everything he's done.

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Re: "Trusted"

And yet you know about this, because it was reported by a free media!

Proving the point I was making.

The media has biases. But different bits of it have different biases. Which is also self-correcting.

<blockquote.I initially said that you could hold the view point that all media lies and that it should all be ignored.</blockquote>

You could hold that viewpoint. But it would be bollocks. And when the Russian government pay people to espouse that viewpoint it's for malicious reasons. Which efforts we know about partly because of the Western media. I've seen interviews with the people that work there.

Also, there's an important difference between deliberate wrongdoing, and people making mistakes. The Sun didn't deliberately lie about Hillsborough, at least so far as we know. They reported lies told to them by the police. Their reporting of those lies was however horrible, because Kelvin McKenzie is a horrible man. And that was their house style under his editorship. The rest of the press called them out on it. And the market forced them to issue various grovelling apologies. Not that it helped their sales in Liverpool.

Now I'd not particularly trust the Sun. It's not really about news. But I would have a lot more trust in the Guardian, the Times, or even the Telegraph (despite their recent plunge in editorial standards). They have biases, so you need to know what you're reading, but they're more likely to get the facts as correct as they're able, given the pressures of time and budget. And if you read them the next day, they'll have more of a complete picture. They will get stuff wrong, but in the main they are trying to report stuff as it happens.

I wouldn't trust Russia Today at all. They are deliberately setting out to lie to me. That is their purpose.

It's a completely differnet thing. One system is imperfect, but is mainly attempting to disseminate accurate information. With constraints of time and money. It has checks and balances, and often corrects itself when it screws up. The other systems is deliberately designed to conceal and to confuse. In intention, execution and outcome there is no fair comparison between the systems.

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Re: The Diff

The Western media isn't a disgrace, because it reports on this stuff. Nobody has ever doubted that WEstern governments have been spying. Stuff like Echelon was in the public domain for years. The press make periodic efforts to find stuff out. When the Snowden stuff got revealed, the Western press covered the story. So what exactly have they done wrong?

They can still hold the opinion that Snowden is a traitor, and cover the story and not do any damage to their credibility. Whereas Russian state media regularly get caught lying, and don't even apologise. They simply deny it and move on, because it's deliberate. Thus you should never trust Russian state media at all. But you can usually trust Western media, a least to some extent. So long as you're in a position to verify their story. If they do make a mistake (or even lie deliberately) it's usually their rivals that catch them at it. So you may not be in possession of the facts immediately, but you'll usually find stuff out relatively quickly.

This equivalence point is utter bollocks.

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Re: "Trusted"

Remember those timeless hits such as:

"1 in 5 Muslims' Sympathy for Jidadis"

"The Truth" (the infamous front page from The S

...snip...

wolfeone,

We do remember these stories. Which is precisely the point. BIts of the media screwed up. Or you might argue with any story based on a survey, were misleading semi-deliberately. But the other bits of the media reported on the stories, and after a very short time the story was correct. In the case of the guy who was libelled, he got apologies and compensation for the mistake.

A free press (which we broadly have) is not perfect. Neither is it free from error - or sometimes malice. But the individual outlets have commercial rivals to help keep them in check. Rivals who'll point and laugh when they screw up. And we also have police, court and political systems for redress as well. So in the case of the phone hacking scandal the police initially failed, but the Guardian didn't.

That's a free system of checks and balances working. It's not ideal, but tell me a better system? And compare and contrast to Russia, where there are much worse checks and balances, a lot of journalists get murdered and the government frequently puts out propaganda unchallenged.

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UK.gov pays four fellows £35k to do nothing for three months

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Happy

Re: Pause for thought

Gin and Tonic looks like water when in a water bottle.

What is this "tonic" you speak of...?

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Re: Been caught both ways on this one

Ah, the Stalingrad approach.

According to that nice Mr Anthony Beevor, the prudent quartermasters in the Germany 6th army at Stalingrad put asside rations for a snowy? day. They had a feeling that Winter wouldn't be going too well, and they were awfully far away from Germany when the inevitable Russian counterattack came. Lots of units had had to fight surrounded during Jan/Feb 42 - after the Moscow attack broke down. And they were closer to air supply.

What happened once the pocket was formed, was that army HQ took over all the individual units' food, and distributed "fairly". This meant that those who had saved it lost, and those who'd doled out all the food they had got the benefit. Their troops also had a tiny bit more body fat, and so the death rate from starvation was higher in the units with the prudent quartermasters.

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Curiosity find Mars' icecaps suck up its atmosphere

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Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

NomNomNom,

In just one solar system there are truly vast amounts of mineral resources, hydrocarbons and free solar energy kicking around. Even if we can't leave the solar system that's going to become progressively easier to utilise. Of course it might take a while.

But the idea of mining an asteroid for all the goodies to build space stuff, and then living in the hollowed out middle isn't totally insane.

We'll need to solve some materials science problems in order to get people into and out of orbit more easily. But once you can start some kind of production facilites in space, they can help expand themselves, and most of the resources are available to do so.

In 200 years time it might be that enviornmental regulations on Earth make most minining impossible, because it can be done with much less pollution and disruption in space.

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Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

I suspect actually the biggest threat isn't from asteroids, but from the very technology we would develop to repel them. Once we get a better control and footing in space it will lead to a militarization that hasn't yet happened. Id be more worried from a species survival aspect about a future war in which nukes or something nastier pour from orbit onto Earth, Mars and other colonies than about the danger of a single giant asteroid hitting us today.

If we have spaceships able enough to be called military ones - then nukes aren't going to be required for planetary bombardment. You simply drive over to somewhere that's got a source of rock with some metal in it, stick that in your linear accelerator / rail-gun, point it at your target and Kaboom!

After all, assuming you have spaceships, ICBMs suddenly become a damned site easier to intercept from space - but ships in orbit will only be dropping limited numbers of warheads - which might be within the capabilities of even current missile defence systems to deal with.

If you're really feeling particularly militant, you could move an asteroid into the orbital path of a planet - and wait for the bang.

In which case your original argument about asteroids might still stand. You're doing survivable damage, with resources on hand to rebuild with. Or the victor's space marines land and create a new imperial slave-planet.

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Re: cold, dry and nasty

Then they're helping to terraform theplace. Doing something useful. Their corpses will also provide excellent materials to create a viable topsoil. If it turns out that the place is too habitable too early, well I sugges that we utilise NASA's recently demonstrated ability to create nuclear powered laser tanks. NASA can charge people to have a go, thinning out the herd, and incidentally make a nice profit to spend on science.

I'm struggling to see any downsides really. This is an almost perfect way to bootsrap the space industry. And ensure this new commercial phase is not as patent-encumbered as the tech industry has turned out to be.

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Re: cold, dry and nasty

Elon Musk has stated that he'd like to retire to Mars. So I suspect not.

Well actually he put it rather more pithily. "I'd like to die on Mars, just not on impact".

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We're calling it: World hits peak Namey McNameface

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Re: Friday and there is no

Or his boy-wonder sidekick Youthy McPimpleyface.

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Re: Pah!

That's a bloody bad idea.

The moment that humanity cracks that code, is the time that the aliens know we've deleloped sentient computers, are now a threat, and so it's time to destroy the Earth.

Or it's a practical joke, and designed to send our nascent sentient computers insane. In which case we also lose, as we're stuck on the planet with them - while they deploy all the drones, robots and internet 'o' things crap in an effort to destroy us.

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Happy

Re: Watergate McGateface

At least the "plebgate" scandal had the redeeming feature that it involved a real gate.

What happens if there's another break-in at the Watergate building by the way? Will we have a Watergategate scandal? Or will the universe simply implode?

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Re: McSheepFaces.

What's the collective noun for the group of people who resort to the clichéd 'sheep' epithet?

Stupid Flockers?

Actually although the phrase is annoying, it does provide a useful guide to what to ignore. Like a spam filter scoring on words like viagra, my bollocks-filter level is raised by use of such terms as, sheeple, MSM, EUSSR, New World Order (which seems to be making a comeback of late), Zionist media, a recent survey says, etc.

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Has anyone else seen the classic German film Das BootyVonBootface?

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Coat

Re: Enough

The problem comes when you can no longer tell the sheep from the Goaty McGoatface...

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Salesforce.com crash caused DATA LOSS

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Re: Oh well, these things happen ...

Clouds aren't shiny. They're fluffy.

If you're flying into a cloud, and you see shiny, that means there's a 747 hiding in it...

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Dragon capsule bids adios to ISS

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Re: When does the Dragon breathe fire?

Can this version of Dragon do that? I thought it was the man-rated Dragon 2 that can do that, which they're due to start testing next year.

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Dwarf planet intumesces before astronomers' gaze

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Re: 1920x990

Well I suppose we know the Moon is a giant space egg, thanks to that recent BBC documentary.

Which just leaves the question: Where do we find the space bacon?

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Russia poised to unleash 'Son of Satan' ICBM

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Re: Two steps forward...

The problem with getting Russia onside is - what if you don't trust them?

Someone on this thread mentioned how Russia has almost no national debt, and compared unfavourably with the US, which has much. But Russia voluntarily reneged on most of its national debt in the 1990s - at a time when they could have paid at least some of it. Thus they can't borrow easily, because nobody trusts them. This is why Greece can borrow on the markets cheaper than Russia, even though Russia has a huge oil income, and Greece is basically bankrupt. But Greece is trusted to at least make an effort to pay back.

Even the Russian government don't trust the Russian government. Which is why so many of the elites keep their money outside the country. Which is one of their many economic problems, because there's only money to invest when the oil price is booming. But they actually need to invest massively in their oil industry now, as much of their kit and wells are from the Soviet era, and need replacing.

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Brexit campaign group fined £50k for sending half a million spam texts

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Re: Translation

I imagine they text you the voucher, to get round that. Like places now emailing you the voucher, rather than just putting you on a mailing list, with all the other m-mouse@disney.com ones.

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Windows 10 build 14342: No more friendly Wi-Fi sharing

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Re: Adblock on Edge

I dislike the UI of Chrome (and am not a huge fan of Google either). I like Firefox, but it's getting slow and unreliable again. IE is much improved, so I'm considering trying some new ones, including that. I guess Edge is worth a go, but I want proper menus, not everything accessed through one, enormous, un-navigable one.

Just had a look at Edge. Seems quick, but the user interface is no better than Chrome (possibly a bit worse?).

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