* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

7523 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

No wonder Marvin the robot was miserable: AI will make the rich richer – and the poor poorer

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Noting that richest 10 per cent in the UK own five times more wealth than the poorest 50 per cent

Well of course they bloody do!

The bottom huge chunk of the population, will have negative wealth. By dint of having more debt than they have savings. So by just owning £1 and no debt, you're probably richer than over a billion people combined. That's not some shocking global iniquity, it's just fucking arithmetic!

It's also utterly meaningless in terms of the UK. In the sense that it ignores what we already do to correct wealth inequality. I am entitled to an index-linked state pension worth over £6k a year, that would cost something like £200,000 to purchase the annuity for. Plus entitlements to health, housing and unemployment cover, that would cost hundreds of thousands more to buy over a lifetime. What is that, if not wealth? It dwarfs the equity I own in my flat. And I bet would make a huge difference to that oft quoted 50% figure.

As to the AI report, I thought there was still a broad connection between economic productivity and overall wages? Obviously that would suggest AI, if it ever happens, would boost general wages.

Obviously some jobs would lose out, and if those people can't be retrained fast enough they'd suffer badly. But that's a problem that has happened for thousands of years. It's not new.

WikiLeave? Assange tipped for Ecuadorian eviction

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Re: The Emperor has no clothes?

The rape charges still stand in Sweden. For the next 4 years or so, til the statute of limitations runs out on them.

They've just given up persuing it.

They can get the old European Arrest Warrant out of the filing cabinet, dust it off, cross out the charges that have expired and get it faxed to the Met in an hour or so. If he's in the cells overnight awaiting his bail-jumping hearing, that's enough time.

So he can't leave, if he wants to avoid going to Sweden. Short of being smuggled out - at which point we might get pissed off and expel Ecuador's ambassador for doing it.

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Re: Time for a chat ...

Yup. Ecuador can abandon him any time. But that's embarrasssing since they made such a song-and-dance about how he was a wronged hero of the people who they were heroically standing up for!

Now they'd look weak and pathetic for backing down. Hence they've been trying to get a face-saving deal out of the Foreign Office for about 4 years.

But the FCO aren't offering one. Policing ain't out of their budget guv. So it's no skin off their rosy nose whatever happens. And sets a bad precedent if they do something shady, for no particular gain.

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In South America this is standard practise. El Presidente runs to a friendly embassy during coup. Claims diplomatic asylum, and avoids getting strung up by the mob. The new regime surround the embassy and demand his release for trial. A month later an emissary from the Pope turns up, and quietly negotiates a swift exit to exile in a third country on a private plane.

I don't think many countries outside South America practise diplomatic asylum though. It's not in the Vienna Conventions, so isn't covered by international law.

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Fuck that. Why should Assange get special treatment?

It's also not legal. The Foreign Office do not have the power to tell the police who to arrest, or not to - and nor do they have the power to tell the courts to issue a particular judgement.

Not that "quiet words" can't be had - but why waste political capital on this. He can just sit there and rot, until he comes to his senses, or he's waited out the Swedish statue of limitations. Particularly as it sets a bad precedent.

On the flipside, not only can the FCO not tell the police what to do. But they also don't have to pay for police budgets.

It appears that Blair's governmet did illegally give letters of assurance to certain IRA people that they wouldn't be prosecuted. Which we know about because one bloke used his a couple of years ago, even though it had been given to him in error. However that was done in the cause of peace in Northern Ireland - which is important. Julian Assange is not.

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Re: hang on a moment...

Bernard M. Orwell,

Different El Reg writers have been more or less sympathetic to Assange. So it's not like they've taken an editorial line on him. But Sessions has said that, so they reported it. Not that everything Trump's lot say is actually likely to happen.

There was talk of a secret grand jury being convened under Obama, and also suggestions during the Manning court martial that they were getting evidence on Assange. Doesn't neccessarily mean anything will come of it though.

The prosecution submission alleged that Manning was getting technical help from Assange on how to get the information off the army servers. That I believe would count as espionage. If they could get him, that's anything up to the death sentence. If all they can prove is that Manning handed the leaks to Assange, then Assange is basically covered as a journalist, and is safe.

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Re: It's not complicated


In South America this might well be resolved by a mediator.

They recognise the practise of "diplomatic asylum". So when the military coup happens, various members of the deposed government run for friendly embassies. Then if the coup is put down, they're on hand to pop back out and resume governing. But if it succeeds, they hang around there for a bit, until a deal is done and they go into exile.

Military coups haven't been so widespread as they used to be in South America, but this still happens. The idea is that it's a lot better than being strung up from a lamppost, and as you're government might itself get overthrown, there's an incentive to keep that fall-back position open.

However diplomatic asylum isn't recognised in the Vienna Conventions. Which are the international law on diplomacy. And it's not something the Foreign Office holds with. According to my favourite UK ex-ambassador, Charles Crawford, FCO guidelines are to usher such people out of your embassy as fast as possible to avoid massive embarassment to both you and your host country. An ambassador can't be a discrete source of information and communication with between governments when he's personally involved in a noisy public dispute. Especially one that rudely exploits his embassy's diplomatic status to embarrass his host government - and make political trouble for them.

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Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

Of course if that pilot is a foreign national on a diplomatic passport brought in specially for the job, then there's not a whole lot they could make stick

Diplomatic immunity doesn't work like that. You don't just get a diplomatic passport and a free chance to go anywhere and do anything you want.

Diplomatic immunity has to be granted in advance.

Although there are circumstances where it applies to people in transit (such as to UN meetings) so the US can't stop people it doesn't like going to the UN - even though it's in New York.

That's why Ecuador can't just give Assange one of their own diplomatic passports and that be a get out of jail free card.

A country could get a normal diplomatic posting for someone who just happened to be a chopper pilot though, but the FCO might expel a bunch of their diplomats in a fit of pique for a stunt like that.

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Re: He may regret waiting

Trump may have been grateful to Assange for the help. But then there were allegations of links between Assange and Moscow. Specifically that Wikileaks got the DNC emails from Russian sources.

At which point he stopped being a useful ally, and became an embarrassment. At least if enough people believe those allegations - and there's credit to be had by dumping on him.

So the Trump camp have made a few noises about prosecuting him. But would they really bother? I presume it would need lots of prep work. Unless the Obama administration have already done most/all of it?

Then again is Assange's fear of US extradition a rational reason for his actions, convenient PR to cover his arse, or the product of genuine paranoia from a man who isn't all that mentally stable? Personally I suspect a bit of all 3...

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Lost all faith,

The charges haven't been dropped in Sweden. The less serious sexual assault ones have run out of the 5 year statute of limitations. So I guess that's the same thing.

But the 2 or 3 rape charges have a 10 year sell-by-date. The Swedish prosecutors haven't dropped the charges.

They've cancelled the International Arrest Warrant because their courts told them they had to act proportionately, and so cease pursuing the case if there was no chance of making any progress.

So the IAW is dropped - and half the charges have timed out. But they can attempt to arrest him again, as soon as circumstances change. Like him leaving the embassy.

Conveniently he's broken bail, so the UK plod have to arrest him for that, so the courts can get their pound of flesh out of him. That gives the Swedes the time they need to re-issue the IAW.

Unless Julian waits until we've left the EU, and presumably the IAW system?

Russia claims it repelled home-grown drone swarm in Syria

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We're not at war with Russia, you know.

We know that. Do they? I get the impression the Russians think they're back in the Cold War. Though a lot of that's for domestic consumption, because Russia doesn't have near the resources the Soviet Union did.

And Russia have done more to combat ISIS in Syria than we have so...

No. They really haven't.

Assad's policy before Russia intervened was not to fight ISIS seriously, but to only fight the other rebels. Which is why ISIS ended up controlling such large areas of territory virtually uncontested. This is also because ISIS was an organisation built in both Iraq and Syria (mainly from Al Qaeda and Iraqi ex army and Ba'ath party people), and was therefore strongest in the border region, which is remote from the areas Assad and his supporters cared about. Or at least had the resources to contest. Most of the Syrian army has spent the war in barracks, because Assad couldn't trust them to not desert. Whcih is why he concentrated on a few loyal units that have taken hideous casualties, and didn't have the ground troops to assault Aleppo until the Iranian Revolutionary Guard could get people on the ground. Plus some Alawite militias and Hizbollah troops from Lebannon.

Russia did not change this. IS were causing embarrassing chaos in Iran, and were a nice distraction. So in the first month or so of the Russian bombing campaign they hit 90% non-ISIS targets. They even attacked some of the opposition groups who were fighting against ISIS, in order to weaken the defence of Aleppo.

I'm sure this was partly strategy. Defeat the opposition that could be reasoned with, then leave the West with a choice between backing Assad as he later fought ISIS. But I suspect it was as much a lack of capability to fight on two fronts - and ISIS had much of their attention and forces in Iraq. So why poke the dangerous animal with a stick?

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Re: RE: "the missile to fly upside down it would immediately crash"

Eric "Winkle" Brown (often mentioned in this parish) was one of the test pilots responsible for developing counters to the V1 attacks.

He says in his book (Wings on My Sleeve) that you didn't have to touch wingtips, I think you had to fly with your wing beneath the V1 and that caused its to rise - as you were effectively generating extra lift. Then it slowly tipped over.

Incidentally there was another reason for the wing tipping. I don't think it was the V1s going boom when they hit the ground. There was the obvious problem of the fighters being slower - or similar speed, making interception harder. Also you had to blow them up when on a collision course.

So the big problem was they had huge warheads that would probably destroy the intercepting fighter in the explosion. Even in 1944 fighter combat was at very close ranges. Guns were sighted for only a few hundred yards. this isn't an ideal distance to blow up a half tonne warhead at a closing speed of about 800 knots.

There was another cunning plan too. Newspaper reports of the explosions were doctored, to suggest the V1s were landing long - falling the other side of London. As were intelligence reports from the large stable of double agents the British were running. That was operation double-cross I think?

This convinced the Germans to change their navigation settings, and left a lot of V1s dropping short in Kent.

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Re: The shape of things to come

Only for PR value. You can strap a much heavier bomb to yourself, than you can fit on a drone. Or even just carry it in a rucksack and leave it somewhere on a timer.

The whole death-cult thing is a huge disadvantage to these terror groups. Obviously it increases the horror of their attacks, and makes planning a lot easier. But the problem with killing all your people whether the mission succeeds or fails, is that you can never build up experience.

Obviously in Al Qaeda and IS there are leaders who are not called by God to get blown up. Although they are often called by Allah to live in relative luxury and send other people to their deaths. But most of the efforts in the West don't seem to have built much of a command network to plan the next lot of attacks, or train the next lot of people. That's obviously going to make higher tech attacks a lot harder.

The IRA got good at bomb making because they protected their bomb makers. They often didn't even go on the missions to plant them, so even if everyone was caught - they still had the skills and experience on hand.

1980s sci-fi movies: The thrill of being not quite terrified on mum's floral sofa

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Re: CGI is killing sci-fi

80-es was the golden decade of SciFi because the directors used story-lines from real books, not plot ideas borrowed from pulp print material geared to cater for the people with "unfinished childhood" syndrome.

That exactly describes some of Philip K Dick's writing. He wrote some of his books in two or three weeks, in order to pay the bills. I'm a fan, but his work is incredibly uneven. We Can Remember it for You Wholesale (Total Recall) is a short story with one clever idea - that became a much better film than the source material. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Bladerunner) is a fun book, but it's not great literature. It gave the idea for a great, but flawed film. But the greatness of Bladerunner was its design, that's what influenced so much of future cinema. This is a film that they had to slap an emergency narrator onto in post-production, because people couldn't understand it...

In my opinion Dick's best book is A Scanner Darkly - which is magnificently paranoid and twisted. Also an excellent film.

Alien wasn't based on a book - it was designed as horror / sci-fi / slasher flick from the start, and the novel came later. It's a brilliant film - and again one of the main elements of its brilliance is the art and design.

I don't like comics. But the Nolan Batman trilogy is based on comics - and inspired by one graphic novel in particular. Which is critically rather well rated, as I understand it. And they're an extremely good set of films.

Guardians of the Galaxy was a wonderful funny film. I've heard great things about Wonder Woman.

Good books don't always make good films. Look at the mess that Lynch made of Dune, or the travesty that was Ender's Game. Good ideas make good films, and they can come from many sources.

Question: Was Ender's Game essentially unfilmable? Or did they just screw it up? I loved that book, must re-read it and see if it's still as good. Too much happens in his head, I suspect. Oh, and starting the film with one 7 year old (the hero) killing another, well that's not exactly easy to get away with on screen. I suspect the only way to get away with that on film would be to do it in flashback or something?

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Re: CGI is killing sci-fi

There are certainly faults in Disney's 3 Star Wars movies, but I'd say they've all been worth the money to go and see. Unlike the awful prequels.

I haven't seen the three other series, or read the books they're based on - so can't comment.

I don't think there's any era of film making (or any kind of popular culture) where there wouldn't be a cash-in on the success of Harry Potter and Twilight. So they were bound to go to the YA section in the book shop and see what they could get - though I've heard generally good things about the Hunger Games films.

I'm not saying everthing's great. Just that there wasn't a golden age. There were loads of shit films, and awful sequels in the 80s too.

I've seen some really enjoyable films recently. And found a film reviewer who's opinions I mostly trust (Mark Kermode) - so I've dodged a lot of the crap stuff.

Even in something as proscriptive and committee run as the Marvel studio they've allowed room for individual taltent, such that there are differences in tone in their films. So Thor 3 was very good (though maybe undercut its own drama by being too funny). Guardians of the Galaxy was so much more fun than I expected, when I got dragged to see it.

Nolan did great things with Batman.

But on the downside we also have Pirates of the Caribbean and all the Transformers films.

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Re: CGI is killing sci-fi

Too much of it, and stupid plots and storylines.

While reboots, remakes, and sequels are an appalling display of lack of ideas.

This is too easy an accusation to make. Because we forget all the shit that was made back in the day - and only remember the good stuff. But compare those few treasures with all the current output. And the 70s and 80s were as full of remakes and sequels as film is today.

Then people would make films using cheap effects out of laziness, when more imagination would have allowed them to do better with the same resources. Because there were as many hack directors and writers around then as there are now.

There's also a taste thing. I happen to like a bunch of the stuff that Marvel have been putting out. By no means all - but quite a lot of it. And I like a good popcorn movie. Artistic talent can be displayed by making say Solaris, but there are times when I just want a beer, some crisps and Arnie over-acting brilliantly in Total Recall. Which is a wonderful film (even if it is incredibly stupid).

As for sequels and remakes, that's nothing new either. The remake of Mad Max was great fun. Total Recall not so much.

Heresy I know, but I think last year's Blade Runner sequel might be better than the original. Partly because I'm not sure which version of the original is the best anyway - but also because the original is lauded because of its amazing vision and design. But the fact they had to paste the narrator back in (and subsequently remove him again in the director's cuts) rather suggests that they hadn't got the script right in the first place.

I really liked the sequel. I think it did some interesting and intelligent things - and updated the look and design as well, while still recognising the the source.

Every era has its good and bad.

Oh and I want a remake of Starship Troopers. Now that the technology is available to film the book. Mobile Infantry in their powered armour.

Supremes asked to mull legality of Silicon Valley privacy 'slush funds'

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One of my favourite judgements in the US was in California. Starbucks had been stealing taking a portion of the money from the tips jar and assigning it as part of the store managers' bonuses. I presume the rationale was that more tips = happier customers = better manager. Though we all know it was really about being low-paying slave-drivers.

So the judge ruled it illegal and made them stop. Then because they'd got records of the missing money, he made them find all 45,000-odd people they'd employed in California over the last 15 years - work out how much they'd lost (it was probably only going to be a few dollars each for most), track them down and pay them back.

I don't think it was all that expensive in terms of money paid out - but the admin cost and hassle must have been a right bastard. So a nice disincentive.

Boffins use inkjets to print explosives

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Re: Four PhD Supervisors?

Ah well. She may have had trouble with multiple PHD supervisors. But now she can print a letter or t-shirt that will burn your face off - so they'll probably be a lot nicer to her in future...

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Re: I can't be the only one ...

I approve of blowing up printers, and / or hitting them with big hammers.

What I'm not so sure about is giving them control of explosives. Printers are mischievous, if not actuallly evil, and should not be trusted with such power.

it'll all end in tears terminators. You mark my words!

Mystery surrounds fate of secret satellite slung by SpaceX

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Re: Probably the work of SPECTRE

Obviously not bitter enough. I've just remembered it was an Octopussy watch.

Pop quiz, which is worst out of Moonraker Octopussy and View to a Kill?

Poor old Moore needed a stuntman just to run up a flight of stairs by that point.

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Re: Probably the work of SPECTRE

I'm still bitter, because the bastards had run out of their View to a Kill 007 digital watches, by the time I'd eaten enough Shredded Wheat for the tokens to get one. It was waterproof, played the theme tune in really cheesy beeps, with about ten different alarms and had cool red buttons.

Back in the days when I thought digital watches were a really neat idea...

Memo man Damore is back – with lawyers: Now Google sued for 'punishing' white men

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Re: 2 Points

What happens if the company has an internal, authorised, polical discussion board? A stupid idea in my opinion, but there you go... And then further what if someone else releases what an employee wrote on that board and it starts an internet sensation?

Has that employee still "brought the company into disrepute."

If he'd puplished it off his own bat, then he should take the consequences - it was done at his own risk. But management apparently, tacitly at least, authorised that statement.

I've not read his memo, but I've seen bits of it. Maybe his argument is clumsy, maybe wrong, but he seems to at least have made an effort.

He may not come out of this well, and of course he's been publicly sacked which doesn't help his career. But it makes Google management look pretty shit as well. And doesn't show their internal culture in a good light.

I don't think we have the information to know if he was sacked unfairly or not. But I'd say you'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to feel at least a little sorry for someone whose life has been ruined (at minimum for a year or so) - for trying to reasonably express an opinion when invited to.

SpaceX delivers classified 'Zuma' payload into orbit

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Re: Long term planning

Not the first. Spirit and/or Opportunity held that, then Curiousity. Admittedly they're not terribly impressive speeds - but they were still the fastest ever when they did them.

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Re: Sunday Sport

That's all very well, but how are SpaceX going to find Elvis?

If Australian animals don't poison you or eat you, they'll BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE

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It'll turn out that Wagner made a little-known trip to Australia - and in fact plagarised the Ride of the Valkyrie from birdsong that he heard...

Wait! Before you fire up that HP lappy, check the battery

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Re: Now do you get it?

Where's the space in that vision for selling printer ink at prices higher per litre than vintage champagne?

The healing hands of customer support get an acronym: Do YOU have 'tallah-toe-big'?

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My theory is swearing.

We all know that 50% of computer problems can be solved by a swift reboot. A further 10% will just go away if you leave the thing alone for five minutes. 10% take lots of work - and the remaining 30% will go away if you swear at the computer enough.

I think because I've sworn at so many computers while fixing or setting them up, that I'm over my quota for many of them. So as soon as I walk near to them, they fix themselves - as I'm in obscenity-credit.

Thus friends and work colleagues are amazed by the things just working as soon as I'm even vaguely close to them.

Printers seem to work differently though. They're swearproof. The more angry and frustrated you get with them, the worse they get. They'll be totally impervious to all fixes in the ten minutes before you have to leave with some documents for that vital meeting or deadline, then work perfectly as soon as you get back. Perhaps I need to video myself taking an axe to one - and have a still from it as my screensaver. Or just use it as my printer test page on all the ones I install...

Skynet it ain't: Deep learning will not evolve into true AI, says boffin

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Yeah, but in fusion research we have many groups using different methods who regularly achieve actual fusion. OK it might only be lasting for microseconds, and is currently using more energy than it puts out - but the point is that they can point to success and claim that all they need to do is refine the process.

Whereas we've currently observed one type of natural intelligence, and still don't even know how that works. Meanwhile we're busily trying to replicate it, using a completely different set of physical mechanisms.

So given that fusion is just 20 years away (and has been for 40 years), how far are we from working AI?

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We'll have AI the day we ask a question and it answers it can't be arsed to care.

So you're saying that printers achieved AI decades ago. They've simply been too smart to let us find out and do even more horrible things to them than we already want to do to printers...

Jocks in shock as Irn-Bru set to slash sugar and girder content

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Re: How to be English in Three Easy Steps

Just looked it up. And Irn Bru has all the good things!

Sunset Yellow and Ponceau to make it radioactive orange. Loadsa sugar to give you energy. Caffeine to keep you awake. And quinine, should the Scottish midges ever decide to upgrade their attacks to include malaria.

Oh, and ammonium ferric citrate. Which is apparently used in water purification.

Which all suggests that Irn Bru should be prescribed on the NHS.

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Re: Guess what?

I had some Tizer recently, out of a sudden onset of nostalgia. It was horrible. In a completely different way to how horrible Irn Bru is. So they aren't the same drink.

In fact, I just looked it up. Obviously they're both just sugar and fizzy water, but there's a different set of flavourings in the two. And Irn Bru contains quinine. So if global warming ever heats Scotland up to the extent that it's at risk of malaria, the Irn Bru will keep them safe.

Barrs also make dandelion and burdock. Loved it as a kid, tried it recently. It covers your teeth in horrible furry stuff. Yuck. Also way too sweet.

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Re: How to be English in Three Easy Steps

We don't. We're too busy hating the French.

(joke, for those that don't spot the icon)

What is this vile slur? What kind of pathetic excuse for an Englishman are you?

Of course we hate the French!

Disliking France has been a cornerstone of British foreign policy for nearly 1,000 years! We only relinquished the claim to the French throne around 1800...

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Re: Is nothing sacred?

It's radioactive orange, sweet and brewed in Scotland (from girders). That's all you need to know about the stuff.

Brazil says it has bagged Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean for £84m

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Yup. Sorry. My rubbish memory. It was Argus.

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Re: Whats in a name

It's a great idea. But I for one am not volunteering to go aboard HMS Capita. It'll probably manage to sink itself. Or half of its own fleet.

HMS Rentokill?

In an Iain M Banks stylee, we should have a ship called HMS We're Only Here for the Booze.

I also really think it's tempting fate calling your ships things like HMS Invincible. Particularly considering what happened to it at Jutland. That's almost as bad as having an HMS Unsinkable.

We ought to have called one of the S class submarines HMS Surprise as well. Still, we could always have an HMS Boo!

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Re: All I would like to know is.....


We decided to have less stuff, so we could spend less on defence. Or at least grow the defence budget less fast. Partly because the previous government had committed to ten years of defence equipment procurment that was two or three times as much as our actual equipment procurement budget.

Plus they'd been spending quite a lot of the defence budget on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - and emergency kit purchases for those (particularly new vehicles). The army now have a lot of shiny new armoured vehicles, that probably wouldn't have been bought otherwise.

So when the coalition came into power in the depths of the severest recession in 70 years, they decided to cut stuff - I'm not sure it was in the best way for our defence capabilities, but I think they'd hve had to considerably increase the defence budget if they hadn't.

So cutting some Harrier squadrons, but keeping others, still leaves you with almost the same maintenance and support costs. So they thought it would be a terrific wheeze to dump the whole aircraft type, when they could still get money for them by selling to the US Marines - and obviously that allowed them to cut the carriers early, rather than continue the capability until the first new one became operational around 2020.

I think the big problem was that a bunch of new kit was due to be purchased at roughly the same time - even though a lot of it will last for 30 years - and the biggest chunk of that was the Navy. Which is why the navy got clobbered hardest.

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It's 20 years old, and has been heavily used. It's been replaced. The options are to spend loads to extend its life (not a bad idea but the RN are short of crews), mothball it, scrap it, or sell it.

Given it's 20 years old and needs a major refit - it's probably not worth that much. Oh, also, not many countries operate ships this big. And a bunch of those won't buy ships they haven't built themselves for political reasons. So there are only a handful of potential buyers in the world. Unless someone like Bill Gates wants it as a super yacht...

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A helicopter carrier with room for embarked troops is actually a very useful and flexible ship. You can use it to invade places of course. But even if you never fight a war - it can offer military support to friendly governments (as it did in Sierra Leone), but is also great for disaster recovery (something it's done a lot of in the Caribbean after hurricanes), plus anti-piracy operations in the Red Sea. I think we also used it to help out with the Ebola epidemic 2 years ago - ferrying people to hospital ships and medical staff around the affected countries.

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Re: RE: I ain't Spartacus

How did you find out this was how the sale went? Security! We have a breach of protocol!

The MoD just assumed that If someone launched a nuke at Hull, nobody would notice...

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Surely it's not coffee and bread for warships? I'd want the smell of jet fuel and distant explosions.

Obviiously nearby explosions are a bad sign...

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Re: All I would like to know is.....

The armoured cruisers were another failure of design theory - but also victim of technological change. Ships were getting massively faster in the era, so the Canopus class battleships were doing under 20 knots, Dreadnought was about 21 (5 years later) and the early battlecruisers could only do 24 knots. By 1916 the Queen class could do 28 knots, and yet were armoured like battleships - and were still good enough to be effective fighting units for the whole of WWII.

That speed change meant the armoured cruisers could no longer catch the smaller cruisers they were supposed to have been built to dominate. I guess they didn't want to just scrap such modern ships - but they should have.

The battlecruiser wasn't obsolete, just too expensive and shiny. It should have been used to scout for, and then run away from big ships - while being able to outrun and destroy anything smaller. Plus be used for dealing with raiders to protect the ocean lines of supply. But they were just too shiny not to put in with the main fleet. And then Beatty was rubbish at commanding them anyway.

So the Battle of the Falklands in 1915 was their real job, destroying von Spee's German cruiser squadron that had earlier won at Coronel - because instead of sending the proper battlecruisers to do the job, the Admiralty sent the obsolete Canopus and a mixed bag of cruisers. 1 modern, 1 auxilliary and 2 obsolete armoured ones, almost as bad as Cressy.

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Re: Few corrections Gareth

We'll know for sure if there's ever an HMS Tesco...

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Re: Whats in a name

It's not a boat, it's a ship. Hence the "S" in HMS.

Although submarines aren't called HMB, and they are boats.

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Re: Or...

Remember, it's got a nice flat top, so just leave a small helipad - and cover the rest with a nice golf course.

I also think you forgot the fake diamonds.

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Re: All I would like to know is.....

If you use something for 20 years, you don't expect to make a profit on your purchase price when you sell it. This isn't trading, it's selling a used car. One lady owner from new, in this case...

As for the other stuff, all military purchases will always be fucked up to some extent. Because the stuff is complex, there are political factors if you order working old kit from foreigners, rather than new kit from domestic suppliers. Old proven kit may become obsolete very quickly sometimes - if technology changes. The Royal Navy in the late 19th Century were building whole classes of ships, then having to scrap them ten years later because they were obsolete.

One of HMS Ocean's predecessors was a Canopus class battleship. Entered service in 1900 - obsolete by 1905! Along with all the other battleships in the world, when HMS Dreadnought was built. Canopus itself was basically useless in the fuck-up that was the battle of Coronel in 1914 - because it couldn't keep up with modern German cruisers - that it could probably still sink if they'd only cooperate. It would have been slaughtered by a dreadnought or even a battlecruiser. And Ocean got sunk by a mine in 1915 - when it got used in the Dardanelles campaign, along with most of the other useless pre-dreadnought battleships.

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Re: Basic arthimetic

small and stupid,

Ships have a sell-by date. That often gets extended for useful ships, but it does mean ripping out large chunks of the stuff in them at some point, and replacing it all. Engines, machinery, electronics, radars, controls.

Lots of this is planned. HMS Ocean was built on the cheap. It was built to civilian standards with less damage control, redundency and space for upgrades. To keep using it would mean spending lots of cash. The carriers can cope with the helicopter movements for deploying marines - but specialist ships would have to deal with any boats they wanted to use.

One of the things they try to build into warship designs is space to put new shiny stuff that hasn't been invented yet. And they tend to plan for mid-life upgrades.

So often the quoted prices for MoD purchases are actually a total life cost. That is the cost of the ship and all the shiny kit on it, plus a couple of planned major overhauls and often a mid-life total refit taking a couple of years - to be done by the builders. With a guesstimated cost for the new radars and weapons that haven't even been designed/developed yet. Plus new / reconditioned engines and machinery.

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Re: Whats in a name

Matthew Smith,

Seems an odd name to complain about.

The Royal Navy has a whole bunch of historical names, and a lot fewer ships to pin them on. But a quick check online shows that Ocean is a traditional capital ship name - and was used on wooden ships of the line, then a pre-dreadnought battleship and then a WWII carrier.

The capital ship names now get used for big stuff like carriers and also submarines (mostly). Though the latest Astute class are using traditional old sub names. But the S and T classes that preceeded were all traditional battleship names.

It used to be that light cruisers got city names and heavy ones got the county names - while destroyers were a mixed bag of different ones, often starting with the same letter. Or classical mythology. Then in WWII we had the Flower class corvettes.

Now they pick a rule and some old favourites when they launch a new class of ships - so the Type 23s were all counties, the Type 42s were cities, the Type 22s were traditional destroyer names beginning with B. The Type 45s are D names.

Iranians resist internet censorship amid deadly street protests

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Re: Huh?

Mark 85,

OK. So we'll go back in history to humour you. Peterloo was in 1819. So that's just shy of 200 years ago. Before meaningful democracy in the UK, as the electorate was massively restricted before the reforms of 1832 (the franchise really started growing after 1867).

Even then, it wasn't a deliberately ordered massacre, so far as we can tell. More the case of not having a civil police force to deal with mass demonstrations, and is probably one of the reasons they created one in the next decade. The death toll was about 15. Note that it was singular, there weren't other massacres, though there was a rather panicked crackdown on dissent. But ten years later the Chartists were allowed to use mass demonstrations and petitions for over a decade - one of the things that led to the 1832 reform act, and that carried on into the 1840s - when the movement petered out.

So even 200 years ago, when the UK wasn't a meaningul democracy, the state didn't use the level of violence that Iran used on the Green movement - who were protesting the rigging of the 2009 vote. That violence resulted in the death of hundreds, systematic torture (including rape) in certain prisions, and far more mass arrests than the British government felt the need to use in the crackdown after the Napolenonic War ended.

So, as I said above. There's no equivalence. Not only with the reactions of our governments now, but even from 200 years ago.

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Re: Tor metrics

Surely you meant, "Holy See Batman!"

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it's a rather different situation. There is no equivalence.

Not that European governments have supported any violence (or even the protests). They've called for Iran to allow dialogue and not to use violence against the protestors. And otherwise kept a watching brief.

Remember the last time there were major street protests in Iran, the regime used massive levels of violence against the protesters. Including sending out masked Revolutionary Guards paramilitaries on motorbikes with big sticks and guns - and imprisoning and/or torturing thousands - and "disappearing" quite a few of them too.

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