Re: Pause for thought
Gin and Tonic looks like water when in a water bottle.
What is this "tonic" you speak of...?
5128 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
Gin and Tonic looks like water when in a water bottle.
What is this "tonic" you speak of...?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
Or his boy-wonder sidekick Youthy McPimpleyface.
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.
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?
What's the collective noun for the group of people who resort to the clichéd 'sheep' epithet?
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.
Has anyone else seen the classic German film Das BootyVonBootface?
The problem comes when you can no longer tell the sheep from the Goaty McGoatface...
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...
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.
Nope. They have chucked rubbish in them before, but mostly that gets burned up in the European, Japanese and Russian delivery vehicles, which can't return.
I presume NASA wanted an equipment return capability because Dragon was the only one of the ISS supply vehicles designed after the shuttle was retired. And that could fulfill this requirement before. There's barely room in Soyuz for the 3 astronauts, let alone any extras.
But they're always doing experiments that require a sample return. So they send baby mice up there, to see how they develop, in comparison to ground-based siblings. Then bring them home, and before they can gloat to their mates about how they're space mice, it's off to the dissection table for everyone.
Similar stuff with fruitflies. Then there's been mini school experiments in Kinder Egg plastic toy pods, and tests on long term exposure to radiation outside the ISS. I'd be surprised if they aren't taking blood samples from the astronauts as well.
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?
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.
This is the Russian response to US plans to put an anti-ICBM launch site in Poland
No it's not. That might be their official whine, but that system is not designed to deal with Russian missiles. It's designed to defend Europe from Iranian ones. Russian missiles live in Siberia, and would be fired over the North Pole.
This is part of the system the US have been working on to deal with threats like Iran and North Korea. Which is why they've so far deployed only someothing like 20-odd missiles, to Alaska and Guam. Although the US and Japan both station several Aegis ships around, specifically to deal with North Korean missile threats - as the SM3 can shoot ICBMs in space. Again Russian ones would be going the wrong way, and anyway there are too many of them for one or two ships only able to launch 1 or 2 SM3 at a time.
Obama cancelled the Polish site at one point. To keep the Russians happy. I think it only came back on the agenda after the invasion of Ukraine, though I've forgotten the current status.
You are however correct that the SS18 must have needed an upgrade pretty soon. Trident is expected to be upgraded in the 2030s, and that went operational in the 90s. But it's solid fuelled, so I'd have thought would expect to last longer. Also it goes to sea, but sealed inside a warm sub, whereas the SS18s have to live in Siberia - and I bet their silos aren't all that well heated.
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 email@example.com ones.
I was approached in Clinton Cards yesterday. I could have 4 cards for the price of 3. Very nice. Tthank you. As I've got about 7 birthdays to go to this month, that's actually quite useful.
Please just give me your mobile number. Huh? My email sure. I've got a spam folder, and an unsubscribe button if your mail is annoying. But nope, you don't get the mobile, so you can call me with pointless crap when I'm busy.
Just getting this from estate agents now, as they've a legit reason to ask for my mobile when booking viewings, but of course I also have to suffer the weekly "courtesy call" to see if I like the look of one of their places, but somehow am too dim to be able to phone them and book a visit.
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?).
I don't think BT-EE was so much the problem. As BT didn't have their own mobile operator. But Orange and T-Mobile maybe shouldn't have been allowed to happen. That rocketed EE to being by far the biggest provider, and at the time 3 were way behind the big 4, and also EE ended up with a huge monopoly on spectrum. And were then outrageously allowed to launch their 4g service on the virtually free spectrum they had from way back in the 80s/90s - while others didn't have enough to launch and had to wait for the auctions.
But Ofcom were singing the praises of having 4 operators before 3 came into the market. I remember reading a piece years ago about how Ofcom thought our mobile market was superior to the rest of Europe, as many of them only had 2 or 3 operators, and Ofcom didn't want us to go below 4. I guess that's still their thinking?
This came in useful yesterday.
Bit of personal help for a colleague with her Outlook.com. I do the company IT that I don't outsource (i.e. I fix and de-louse the laptops), but this is personal and I've never used Outlook.com. 'The spam folder is eating everything.
OK, she admitted to me that she'd turned the setting back on that puts everything not in the addressbook into Spam. Even though I turned that off last week. She'd googled it, and apparently decided to try it, but that was admitted upfront.
So I said, have you been right-clicking on the good stuff in the spam box, to tell it that it's not spam. "Oh yes." A quick Google from me later, and it appears that Outlook.com may not recognise moving stuff from Spam to inbox as a "this ain't spam" so when done on the mobile there'll be no effect. Checked, have you done this on desktop as well as phone? Oh yes.
OK, then she says, how do you mark it as not spam again? Right click. I don't seem to be able to do that. So I show here, for some reason the menu disappears really quickly. So she's done it. Then I ask, you know you've been saying you've been doing this - but you've just demonstrated you didn't know how to? Have you been clicking stuff isn't spam.
Yes. Honest. I must have just forgotten how to do it. Really? Oh yes. I pause... Really? Are you sure? Oh yes. I think it took 5 minutes to get an admission - and now the problem I couldn't understand is solved. It was amazing how many bemused queries it took from me though.
I'd love to try Ortolan, but that's outlawed now.
That's OK. So long as no little bird tells on you...
I know. They're all quackers...
When my brother was looking for a country pub, one of them did fancy french grub. And they had a duck press. They're sufficiently expensive that it was individually named as part of the fixtures and fittings coming with the lease.
It was the place's signature dish. As I understand it, the waiter brings your roast duck to the table. Carves it, then shoves the carcass in the press. Crushes it, strains the resulting juices, adds a tonne of port, and serves that as the gravy.
I like gravy, but it's not exactly the nicest process that goes into making it. There can be offal, fat, juices from the roasting, other odds and ends, flour... I can't imagine why you'd want to look at it, just before you sit down to eat.
It's giant mutant space jellyfish getting between us and the star. Obviously.
It was probably a low-grade security clearance. Remember that classified secret isn't all that secret. Although in the UK the lowest classification is "restricted", don't know what it is in the US.
When the Manning/Weakileaks stuff came out, it was reported that something like 200,000 people had access to that database. There's no way you can postively vet that many people, so you just have to make sure that there's nothing in there too sensitive, and that you've got decent controls to stop people from dowloading huge chunks of it.
The kind of vetting that you give to people with access to really secret information is quite manpower intensive and takes months to do. It's simply not practical for lower level clearances. Relatives of mine have been postively vetted, and they were sending questionaires round the family (and I'd assume friends and professional contacts) - where they're looking to catch discrepancies that might suggest that lies have been told in the application process. I've also known someone who got a job at the MOD in June, and wasn't allowed to take up his post until October, to give time for his security clearance.
You wouldn't expect her to know anything about it. They're no different from the chuggers, who may be wearing a badge for the charity they're collecting for - but usually know nothing about it.
There's then a choice if the mark complains. You can either try and bluff it, or admit to a total lack of knowledge and just say this is your job. This depends on whether you're an alpha salesdroid, ready to bullshit your way through any objection to bring down the wildebeest - or a beta salesdroid, hoping for that vital sympathy-sale.
Of course, option A is almost bound to fail, as a genuine alpha salesbeast should be doing rather better than credit card sign-ups and chugging in shopping centres.
So SpaceX have given us their cargo price to Mars. What would they charge to deliver a giant rocket full of gin, and another full of tonic to this marellous source of pure ice?
I guess a big-old wedge o' lime price will also be required.
To properly fulfill boyhood dreams, they need more fins and to paint everything silver.
Who is to say tech isn't smarter than cats.
Lies around all the time in warm places, constantly demands to be fed, completely unreliable as to whether it will follow instructions or not, never sure whether you in fact own it - or it just tolerates you...
Are you sure they're not actually the same thing?
In the case of Australia and its wildlife, we should nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
I still think that should be the title of a Doctor Who episode, or one of those airport thrillers with a picture of a gun and a briefcase on the front.
Didn't Rory Cellan-Jones, and the guys from the Economist and GQ just give him £5 each, so that he could send them back from the same address as some famous Bitcoin transaction - thus entirely failing to prove that he was the founder in a more complicated way than just giving them an early Bitcoin each?
So, he's made £15 profit! Now if they also bought him lunch somewhere nice, you can quadruple that.
Here! BBC. Over here! I'm Lord Lucan. Now buy me a nice dinner, there's a good chap, and I'll tell you all about it.
Excuse me! I'm the only one around here who's not Spartacus!
Trump is actually far more shrewd than this looser, he knows when not to go claiming something that he might actually have to prove.
I call bollocks. Trump claims to have hair!
As opposed to what he actually has, which is a dead cat, stapled to his chrome-dome.
I've noticed Apple's weird relationship with album art. It keeps changing. I don't know why, because when I ripped the CDs it created a folder on my PC full of the stuff. Some was wrong, but I didn't really care, so long as it was obvious what it was. But there must be some process by which it randomly goes off and gets some more, as it's now maybe 8 years since I started using iTunes - and some of my albums are on their third covers on the iPad. The music app for which has become steadily more unuseable every time they update it. I think my next tablet is going to be a Lenovo Yoga for half the price.
Generating random passwords is easy. All you need is some combination that's not in the dictionary and is quite long. If someone's got a rainbow table for all passwords up to 20 characters long, then you're stuffed whatever you do - and however well generated it is. Otherwise it doesn't really matter, within reason.
Personally I'm unlikely to remember total randomness (or even an approximation of it). But a short, non-grammatical phrase with random capitalisation, the odd special character and words spelt wrong, mis-ordered and interrupted should be good enough.
I'm quite good at remembering passwords, so this may not work for other people. But I pick themes. I have a simple password for sites like El Reg, where I don't particularly care if I get hacked. Although perhaps the pain of 1,000 downvotes when my hacker fills the site with campaign ads for Donald Trump will change my mind?
But when I was being forced to reset them for work regularly, I could pick the Persian Wars of the 5th Century BC. You've then got Platea, Thermopylae, Xerxes, Marathon to play with. Nice unusual letters, but obviously vulnerable to dictionary attacks. But I can remember the capitalisations and breaks introduced into the words to split them up once I've remember the word - and there's only a limited number of words to pick from. So I can remember what I've done, and it's easy to find a new password at short notice. Then pick a new historical event, or theme (say types of sportscar) - once you've mined the previous one.
I could use a password manager, but I don't trust them. They seem like a dangerous single point of failure to me. Two factor authentication on the bank and hope for the best.
I quite like Swordswain myself.
No, that's not quite right.
Never get between a bank and its money, unless you can keep at least 5,000 miles between the bank, ant its money (and of course yourself too).
Making a mistake is not a crime. And remember that the banks weren't checking carefully, but also the mortgage applications require you to say you can pay the money back. So you have to lie in order to get the money. Also, in a housing market with prices rising at silly rates like 10% a year, it's not that big an issue. If you can't pay after 5 years, you just sell, and everyone gets their money back - with you making some profit.
My brother quit as a mortgage underwriter in 2006 because he was sick of arguing with his bosses about whether to put through applications that were, in his opinion, dodgy. But even if you could prove that company did commit fraud, it wouldn't be on the people they lent to. It would be because they were then packaging up the mortgage debts and selling them on as CDOs - if you could prove that they were lending in cases where they believed the mortgages were riskier than they actually were.
Anyway the subprime mortgage crisis is not really a tale of fraud, but of market failure. There were two problems. The theory of CDOs was that you often packaged good mortgage debt with bad, in order to make the bad more sellable. Then even in a crash the good would still keep paying, and the repossessions would cover most of the loss of the bad. You sold the debt at a discount, so it was theoretically exremely low risk. Hence the AAA ratings. Unfortunately, this turned out to be bollocks.
The theory was actually correct though. Most of the UK packaged mortgage debts (CDOs) are still paying back at better than the worse predicted failure rate. So they weren't fraudulent, the calcs were correct and a lot of it was actually worthy of its AAA rating. There was some high risk paper, that was trading at bigger discounts, so you'd make more profit it it went right, but that wasn't AAA and so nobody could complain if it went wrong.
The second problem was that the market failed. Everyone panicked. Nobody trusted anybody else anymore. The banks wouldn't lend to each other, as they were scared the other banks were holding loads of worthless paper, and might go bust at any time. Which of course meant nobody would admit to what they were holding, which reinforced the crisis. Since nobody properly understood these CDOs, nobody was able to value them, so they became unsellable. Even though it's turned out that most of them were in fact correctly valued. So if you had a load, and needed cash, you had to sell at 50% of book value (to companies that have made a very nice profit since) - but that meant you were burning through twice the amount of reserves you needed to for a given amount of cash, which meant you didn't have enough reserves. That's why the banks needed bailing out. Most of them were in fact perfectly fine, but a crisis of markets and confidence made their survival impossible - hence we needed Central Banks to save the day. Which is why most of them have paid back all those loans. Hence the oft-quoted line about giving the banks money is bollocks, we lent them money because they were solvent (but illiquid) - which is the job of a Central Bank. Some we re-capitalised, and took shares in compensation.
Doh! Sorry. Basic counting error.
There's a higher limit for withdrawals from branch, although in that case you might have to fill out a form (to get larger amounts), and you'd have thought they might notice. There's also cashback on debit card transactions (if they do that in Oz), and of course they may have higher ATM limits. I'm sure I could get mine raised, but have never needed to.
The point being that it takes conscious effort to get large amounts of cash out of a bank account. Which requires thought, which implies planning, and at some point that planning may become criminal. What you need to determine "mens rea" - i.e. Did you know your actions were wrong.
OK, it's not my money. It's just resting in my account...
I don't buy that argument. The definition of theft in the UK is to take property belonging to somebody else with the intention to permanently deprive them of it.
Taking a bit more overdraft than you're allowed, not believing your luck and getting an extra few nights out is not theft. The bank screwed up, tough titty.
Taking millions of dollars of money that's not yours, systematically over a long period of time, because someone else has obviously screwed up, knowing that you'll never be able to pay it back is another matter entirely.
There's a point at which any reasonable adult has got to say to themselves, there will be consequences. Sure, the bank offered her a loan. But we're all adults, and we know what loan means. Loan means: Repayment. With interest.
If she successfully argues that she can't count. Or was too stupid to be able to manage her money, or too stupid to realise that it wasn't her cash allowing her to literally spend millions - then fair do. I just spent the cash until the card was declined, that's how I manage my finances - could be a valid defence. Execpt when you start taking out thousands of pounds in cash, or buying Gucci handbags. Then you surely know what you're doing.
My cash card only allows me to take out £500 a day. So to get a million in cash out of my bank, I'd have to daily go to the cash machine, and take out the full whack, for 200 days! That would be, by any reasonable definition, a calculated act.
The bank fucked up. No sympathy. They put huge temptation in her way. But she took it. At some point, giving in to that temptation was a choice.
If I find £1,000 in cash somewhere, that money isn't mine. Keeping a fiver you find is fair enough, it's impossible to trace. Good luck to you. If you find £1,000 though, someone's going to seriously miss that.
She took advantage of an obvious mistake. Not obvious I'm sure, when she took the first couple of hundred of free overdraft.
Maybe she's just not competent, and kept spending. But you'd have to be pretty bloody stupid to not notice once your overdraft has hit your monthly salary. And it stretches credulity, once it's passed your annual salary.
But surely at the point when you look, notice you're overdrawn but not being charged interest, or are but the limit's not stopped growing - you make the decision to try and make your first $1,000 purchase or cash withdrawal. Surely at that point, you're doing it knowingly. It takes quite a lot of effort to spend or withdraw millions in cash. My daily cash machine withdrawal limit is only £500. And I think anything more than £1,000 over the counter has to be booked in advance, and a form filled out.
Any other argument is just sophistry. Although the bank put serious temptation in her way. So it's not like they deserve any sympathy. And they deserve to lose most of the cash when she inevitably declares bankrupt.
Reckless lending isn't a crime. Though it's obviously a stupid thing to do. It's interesting as to whether the customer committed fraud. You have to prove intent to prove fraud. And this was a cock-up by the bank apparently, not a deliberate plan by the customer. On the other hand, if you're making your tenth, twentieth or thirtieth withdrawal of $10,000, which you know doesn't belong to you, and you can't pay back, surely at some point you're doing it with the intent of stealing it. The first time is a lucky accident, and a windfall. Can you still say that by the 20th?
If I give you the bag with my wallet in by mistake, instead of the one with your birthday present, does that give you right to spend all my money?
Oddly the law is not, "finders keepers". At least not in the UK, I can't speak for Australia.
I haven't used mine in ages, and I think the bank took it away a couple of years ago. But when I first opened my account with them I had £50 of free overdraft. This meant that if I made a small mistake, I could borrow £50 - so long as my monthly salary was paid into the account. That was free.
I did briefly also have an agreed overdraft. I think this was about £200. So I could spend this extra money. But at the end of every day I'd be charged interest on it. I think it was about 10% (when the base rate would have been around 5% at the time). So whatever a day's worth is of that.
There was once an error with their cash machine software. I was £10 overdrawn, but instead of showing O/D £10 - the machine showed O/D £10,000.00! Which caused me a moment's panic, I can tell you.
There's a third type, which is the unauthorised overdraft. Some banks or accounts don't have one of these. In which case they'll just bounce the cheque, your debit card will be refused, as will direct debits and cash withdrawals. Mine would allow this. But every time you went into the unauthorised O/D they'd charge you a £10 fee, the interest rate was something like 50% annualised - and they would also charge you £20 to send you a letter to tell you to pay it back, if you were above your authorised limit for more than a couple of days.
When I lived in Belgium, I don't think even rich people were allowed overdrafts. I can't remember if it was a legal issue, or just that the banks didn't do them. Even credit cards were different. You couldn't put debt on your card, as you can in the UK. It didn't take money out of your account when you spent on it, but all the outstanding money came out of your account on the last day of the month.
Am I being downvoted for the suggestion of a sort of post apocalyptic Big Brother in Las Vegas for our televisual entertainment?
Or is it because I suggesed taking away the petrol? You have to do that to stop people escaping, but I do now realise that it massively limits the potential for Mad Max style chaos. For which oversight I apologise.