* Posts by AndyS

826 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

AndyS
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Re: it's already doing 17.46 km/hour

I imagine the Reg reporter made a slight error working with such unfamiliar units. If we could all just start using the Reg Standard Units, ff/f, there would be no such confusion (football fields per fortnight).

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Russian rocket snafu may have just violently dismantled 19 satellites

AndyS
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Does someone really have to mention bloody kerbels every single time any aerospace topic is being discussed?

Every time someone relates something in the real world to a game, or to fiction, all it does is advertise that they don't have any direct experience or anything to add.

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SpaceX 'raises' an extra 100 million bucks to get His Muskiness to Mars

AndyS
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Re: Universities actually teach how to be an 'entrepreneur'?

Yes. And it physically hurts when, as an engineering student, you have to sit through those lectures, trying not to let the buzzword bingo drill small holes through your skull to let your brain leak out. Surrounded by enthusiastic 1st year social "science" students, who are getting awarded twice the number of credits for exactly the same course.

For some reason, though, the University of Glasgow though that was a good idea 15 years ago. Maybe buzzwords still sounded exciting back then?

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London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

AndyS
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Re: I've never understood...

> I have no idea why Brits (and to be fair many other countries) tolerate the confiscatory levels of taxation that currently apply to fuel.

Meanwhile, we in the free world will never understand the bullshit that USians put up in terms of crap public services, expensive (or non existent public) education, abusively awful healthcare, failing infrastructure... It turns out that an ideological crusade against tax, run by corrupt idiots like Trump and Moore, isn't exactly a good way to run a country either.

Fuel tax is a perfectly reasonable way of raising revenue. Own a small cheap car, and minimise your use of it? Pay less tax. Own a flashy 4x4, and drive it all day every day? Pay more.

The alternative is a higher level of vehicle tax (an annual charge, which does not reflect the vehicle usage), or higher general taxation. Increasing general taxation isn't normally very popular.

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AndyS
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Re: Khan being an idiot on this one

I don't think that's how it was intended.

If you read it as "this new tech is great, people will convert to it but that means we will lose revenue, so we need to change our tax systems," isn't that a perfectly reasonable thing for him to say?

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AndyS
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Re: What about the downsides?

I know you're being facetious, but I think the article is slightly harsh on Khan here. He doesn't appear to be opposing the new tech, but recognising that it's likely to lead to a loss of revenue, largely because it is better. Hence the statement:

>A move towards new technologies like electric vehicles is likely to reduce taxation income for the government which could impact on the funding available for highway improvements

This doesn't say "new tech is bad", but the opposite. New tech is good, but we need to make sure we don't lose tax revenue.

Seems perfectly reasonable.

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DJI bug bounty NDA is 'not signable', say irate infosec researchers

AndyS
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What exactly is objectionable?

The article doesn't really go into what is objectionable about the NDA.

I'd assume that the signing of an NDA is a reasonable request. It also seems fair that, to be paid for a piece of work, you should hand that work over to the company paying you. Aren't you effectively selling your work to the company?

So, what have DJI slipped in there which people objecting to, and which is different from other bug bounty schemes?

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Apple succeeds in failing wearables

AndyS
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Nice to hear it's got a niche in which it is useful. However, do you really have to think to work out who doesn't own one?

Apple phones are about 40% of the UK smartphone market, and this article says 1 in 7 iphones sells with a watch. So by a very rough calculation, approx 5.5% of the UK own one.

I guess either they are all concentrated in a small area (which wouldn't be surprising, several of your uses make sense in London, but not so much elsewhere), or you mix with a really small cross section (also not surprising - everyone does to some extent).

Personally, I can't see a single compelling use. All those listed, perhaps with the exception of the Tube payments, are either such marginal improvements or are just a solution looking for a problem. Maybe if I lived in London it'd be a different story.

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Two drones, two crashes in two months: MoD still won't say why

AndyS
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Re: Accident Investigation

Skippy, interesting comment.

Do UAVs fall into the DAIB's remit, and is it likely that these crashes are subject to such an investigation? In which case, how long is the usual delay before publication? And why, when the author of this article contacted them, did the MoD not explain that?

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The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

AndyS
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Re: Cool, but why?

I think the (very real) engineering challenge was to create a super-sonic land vehicle. All previous supersonic vehicles have been firmly in the air. Solving engineering challenges like that almost always have knock-on effects in terms of general increase in understanding of physics.

However, since that was achieved with Thrust SSC, I'm not sure exactly what science will be advanced by this incremental speed increase.

Bloody exciting though, I'll give them that!

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Sick burn, yo: Google's latest Pixel 2 XL suffers old-skool screen singe

AndyS
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Re: What did you expect?

So, your calculations are nothing to do with the phone in question. Why post then?

Even at that, you are out by a factor of 12 or so:

Solar radiation is around 150 W/m^2, of which about half is visible light.

So, a normal phone (6x11cm screen), screen area approx 1/150 m^2, receives ~0.5W of (visible light) radiation when faced directly at the sun.

Assuming 20% efficiency (as you do), that gives us 2.5W, not the 30W you calculated.

So your estimations are both not relevant (by your own admission), and comically wrong. Hence my original question of who, on a tech site with a supposedly educated readership, was upvoting such drivel? It's not hard to see how irrelevant and wrong it is. Back to one simple test - does your phone get as hot as a kettle? No? Then your calculations are wrong.

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AndyS
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Re: What did you expect?

> So, your device needs to dissipate about 0.5 W/cm2, or 10 W/cm3 (assuming it is 0.5 mm thick). This roughly what your kettle is dissipating when it is boiling - so expect to have some thermal issues.

Why on earth has this drivel been upvoted?

Does your phone get as hot as a kettle? No? Then it isn't dissipating that much heat. "Thermal management," as you call it, doesn't magically make heat go away.

Let's look at your numbers. 0.5W/cm2, on a 5" screen, would be over 30 watts. The Pixel 2 has a 2,700 mAh battery, or 10 Wh. So, by your calculations, having the screen turned on would drain the battery in 20 minutes.

Say what you like about battery life or heat, that is clearly bullshit.

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EU: No encryption backdoors but, eh, let's help each other crack that crypto, oui? Ja?

AndyS
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Re: Refreshing

> the pyrrhic victory of "no deal"

Ah yes, the "stabbing yourself in the head just to prove how independent you are" victory.

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AndyS
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Re: Refreshing

> How very refreshing to hear this from the EU...

If only there was some way we could benefit from the relative sanity of this massive, powerful union, standing up to the sort of nonsense that May and Trump spout. Oh well.

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Aviation industry hits turbulence as Airbus buys into Bombardier’s new jetplanes

AndyS
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Re: Missed a point...

I presume the "country of origin" has to add a certain amount of value to a product. Final assembly of an aircraft fits that category - there is a huge amount of work, and a very significant percentage of the value of the final aircraft, added during assembly and finishing. Assuming major air-frame components continue being manufactured in the same locations as currently (NI, Canada, China and the US, and sub-assemblies from all over the globe), if the aircraft is then assembled in Alabama, the only reasonable country to name on the "made in" label would be the USA.

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'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

AndyS
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Re: Actually, I think he is right

> I've learned from firsthand experience that edge cases don't stay edge cases and that truth is stranger than fiction (see Edward Snowden).

OK, so what happens when someone has a super-encrypted message which can save the world if it's delivered to the right person, but he's arrested by an enemy state who have the back-door keys to the encryption protocol?

See, typing nonsense scenarios doesn't help an argument. What helps is to look at the history of how things have actually happened and, very roughly, it has gone like this:

1. Government can snoop on specific people, with a court order.

2. Communications go digital. US government (imitated by many others) discovers it can freely ignore law and intercept all communications of everyone, everywhere.

3. Snowdon leaks reveal extent of illegal government spying. Government does nothing about it.

4. Tech companies and consumers move to apps and platforms which encrypt communications by default. Back to step 2 (via bugs, covert software, and hardware attacks against specific targets)

Most likely, any attempt at banning encryption will be entirely unworkable. Either in the physical sense (and it will be ignored), or the legal sense (and courts will rule against it).

Additionally, people who are going to commit attacks still will, either using unencrypted platforms (as per the Paris attacks, which were discussed and coordinated over SMS) or, if they are going to take serious planning (eg 9/11 attacks), over proper secured channels. Or even in person.

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AndyS
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Re: Actually, I think he is right

> What about ongoing black projects which have to be denied they even exist, whose revelation could bombshell major government relations if not start a war?

You like your bullshit hypothetical situations, don't you?

The whole point of a suggestion like this is to prevent a scenario like you describe. So, don't get your "democracy" doing things which could bombshell relations and start a war when they become public. Because, you know, a democracy should be working for the people, not against them? And since it often needs pointing out, "people" isn't limited to "Americans".

Or maybe, as per your other comments, you're a masochist?

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AndyS
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> It used to be the case that in the physical world, using warrants to force physical access (backed up with coercive force where required) was a well-worked out system with checks and balances that (mostly) worked well to balance privacy and law enforcement concerns. Encryption technology has borked that balance...

I would agree with most of this, but actually I believe the wide-spread use of encryption isn't what has borked the system. That was the wide-spread use of domestic spying, tapping every phone line in the world, eves-dropping on every conversation, and data mining every single electronic communication.

Wide-spread use of encryption has been a direct reaction of the tech companies to that (following the Snowdon leaks), and has not broken the balance, but helped to restore it. Remember how the spooks still managed to break into the single iphone, in their physical possession, in the San Bernando case? That is how things used to work, and is clearly acceptable.

Nobody every opened every single envelope to read and catalogue every bit of physical mail sent. Why should they have the right or ability to do that now?

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Rattled toymaker VTech's data breach case exiting legal pram

AndyS
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Re: Long ago

I have 3 young kids, and absolutely hate VTech, with a passion.

Cheap, nasty, hard plastic, blaring out non-stop noise, continually. The sort of "Why aren't you playing with me any more? I'm a train, come and push me on the track" attention seeking crap that actually destroys creative play.

We have a few which slipped through the net, but I took the batteries out. They're still hard, nasty, cheap plastic rubbish, so as soon as the attention grabbing noise stops, the kids almost instantly lose interest, and they can be reassigned to the box in the attic as soon as possible.

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Overdraft-fiddling hackers cost banks in Eastern Europe $100m

AndyS
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> the average amount around $5m (in cash)...

> In all cases, the theft took place using normal withdrawals from various cash terminals outside the bank's originating country.

Where does one find cash machines which can hand out this much cash? Aren't most limited to around £300 (or the local equivalent) per day, or at least per transaction?

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BAE confirms it is slashing 2,000 jobs

AndyS
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My heart goes out to anyone losing their job.

But rejoices that, in this case, it appears to be because the world is buying fewer machines for killing people. Long may that trend continue, and the best of luck to those affected in finding new, more morally productive, work.

I wonder what the ratio is of people killed by each Typhoon to those employed building it?

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How many times can Microsoft kill Mobile?

AndyS
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Re: Dutch East India company, GEC, TWA, Pan Am, Sperry, DEC, Kodak ...

FYI, you're using the word "whom" wrongly.

"Who" is a subject, "whom" is an object. In both cases, you've used "whom" as a subject. It's the same difference as "I kicked the ball" vs "me kicked the ball."

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You may not have noticed, but 'superfast' broadband is available to 94% of Blighty

AndyS
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Re: Just FYI

Fivemiletown is in Ulster. And it is in Northern Ireland. That's OK.

Donegal is in also Ulster, in the bit that is in Republic of Ireland. That's also OK.

I know people love to get offended, but this is more than a bit silly.

Still, the Reg has removed all references to Ulster, so I guess everyone can put away their pitchforks until something else offends us all.

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AndyS
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Re: Just FYI

Aye, whatever. Fivemiletown is is in Tyrone, which is in Ulster.

Sadly Dundrod (Antrim, Ulster) chugs along at a regrettable 600kb/s or so on a good day.

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German Firefox users to test recommendation engine 'a bit like thought-reading'

AndyS
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Re: Get real Mozilla! There are more important things to fix:

I would humbly suggest that blocking all images is such an unusual install case that changing an obscure setting as a one-off after install is, in fact, perfectly acceptable.

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

AndyS
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Re: Conspiracy theories @ Mi Tasol

It is possible to have systems which cannot be disabled from the flight deck, but not always desirable. In fact it was such a system which led to the search area - the engines had an independent coms system which performed a satellite handshake once an hour. Although it exchanged no data, the time it took for the signal exchange allowed a rough calculation of how far away it was from the satellite at each hour.

A much more complex system, exchanging GPS location and flight parameters etc, would almost certainly need to be designed such that it could be disabled from the cockpit. It's impossible to say if the systems were actively turned off or failed through some catastrophic event, and even if they were deliberately turned off it's impossible to establish malicious intent, but it seems likely that, in the case of MH370, a more complex sat-com system would also have been disabled at the same time as the other systems.

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AndyS
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Conspiracy theories

This is an absolute tragedy, but also an illustration of the limitations of the technology we have available.

Sadly, the publication of this report will pull all the conspiracy theorists out of the woodwork (as already in this thread). The truth is probably much more boring. It had all coms turned off and lost presurisation, (probably related, perhaps malicious), and flew on until fuel exhaustion.

Since nobody is monitoring the centre of the oceans, and the satellite coms were mostly turned off or disabled from the aircraft (except the hourly handshake direct from the engines), we don't really know where it is.

The reality, sadly, is that this could easily happen again, since nobody is magically going to start actively monitoring remote oceans, and systems can always be disabled from onboard the aircraft. Remember, it's not that we COULDN'T know where the aircraft was, it's that the system for locating it was turned off (or broken).

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'Dear diversity hire...' Amazon's weapons-grade fail in recruitment email to woman techie

AndyS
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Re: ???

> So this statement is either claiming that women and minorities are MORE competent than white men, or (more plausibly) that you can pay equally competent women and minorities less for the same work.

Debate the figures if you like, but this is a false dichotomy. The reason for increased profits is that a diverse workforce makes better, more balanced decisions. To push the stereotypes, men take more risks than women, so having an all-male board means a higher chance of bankruptcy.

More generally, a workforce (and particularly management) which reflects the target customer market is more likely to be successful within that market. Do you think, for example, that Snapchat would release Blackface filters if it had more black employees who understood the offence that would cause? Or that Instagram would release facial recognition that doesn't work on black people if they had a few kicking around to test it?

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IKEA flat-packs TaskRabbit to crack assembly code

AndyS
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@ Prst. V.Jeltz

> Complaining about other people's literacy levels

> Writes "skillz"

Tell me, what were you talking about again?

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NASA, Roscosmos: We're building a lunar space station!

AndyS
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> that refuelling diagram broke my brain...

Yes, slightly crazy mission. It was clearly a show of strength, designed to demonstrate that the UK could penetrate the Argentinian air defenses and reach the Argentine mainland if required. Each mission used a million litres of fuel, for a single effective 450 kg unguided bomb to actually hit the target (21 bombs carried, and dropped in a line across the target each time).

I guess it helped that Argentina probably didn't know, at the time, just how unreliable the aircraft being used actually were.

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AndyS
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I guess you can use as many rockets as you like to stock the station up there, and then one rocket can make it from there to Mars and back. So the rocket that carries the life support system, the crew, the vehicles etc doesn't also need to carry enough fuel to get it all from Earth to Mars and back.

A bit like how an aerial tanker can extend the range of a mission. In extreme cases, you can have fleets of tankers to refuel the tankers which provide fuel to the tankers which refuel the mission aircraft multiple times along its path - Operation Black Buck illustrates this nicely, along with a handy diagram showing how the fuel flowed between the aircraft in flight.

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EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

AndyS
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Re: Small steps...

> (3) using some form of chemo-electrical reaction to create the electricity needed. No idea what, I'm not a chemist.

Using some sort of magic fairly dust to keep the plane in the air for free. No idea what, I'm not a magician.

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Welcome to the future: Bluetooth jackets you can only wash 10 times. Gee, thanks, Google

AndyS
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Re: @Martin 33

> and why do millennials compromise by getting an Android device instead of an iPhone?

Oh look! A troll! There, under that bridge!

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Insteon and Wink home hubs appear to have a problem with encryption

AndyS
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Re: What do we care ?

> If some of these do get cracked, they probably won't blame us, if they do we will just send out our press release blaming ''the bad guys''

Remember to include the phrase "we take security very seriously."

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Australia commits to establish space agency with no budget, plan, name, deadline …

AndyS
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Re: How difficult can this be?

I suggest Australian Research and Space Exploration. Or maybe the Australian Space Society.

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Sputnik-1 replica used to test the real thing goes under the hammer

AndyS
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> it demonstrated that the Soviet Union was more technologically advanced than the United States

Oooh, controversial! Just wait, you'll be getting angry tweets from the Idiot in Chief.

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Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code

AndyS
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Plateaue

So if after training on 10 moves, it plateaued in it's ability to solve at around 6 to 7 moves, does it logically imply that training to a higher number of moves will improve the ability to solve from a higher number?

I'm not sure it does. If it can't solve reliably beyond 6 or 7, then what difference would training for 12 or 13 moves make over 10?

Also I don't know much about neural networks, is there a way to "deepen" the network, to allow more analysis or computation time, to improve reliability with further training?

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You lost your ballpoint pen, Slack? Why's your Linux version unsigned?

AndyS
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> Comic Sans?

This has my vote.

Reg, pretty please, can you implement the use of Comic Sans when quoting any obviously-bullshit canned statement in the future?

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Ducks ding dongs in face of stiff competition

AndyS
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Re: Sounds a bit like Liverpool on a Saturday night.

Sounds like an ideal solution to a Saturday night in Liverpool.

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SpaceX releases Pythonesque video of rocket failures

AndyS
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> Must have taken determination and deep pockets to keep on sending up the rockets until they had worked it out

The primary mission, of each and every flight, was to deliver the payload into space. The secondary mission was development of the return.

So, despite the fireworks, each and every one of these landing RUDs was actually a successful mission, and presumably profitable - previous attempts, after all, simply dropped the vehicle into the ocean after the flight.

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

AndyS
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Re: Sound

Why on earth would you link, without comment or explanation, to a Chinese (Japanese? Korean?) website on a UK-based, English language news forum? How many people do you really think that is going to be useful for?

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Twitter is just randomly deleting people's lists – and no one knows why

AndyS
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Re: A decade of work stored on Twitter?

> It's funny, isn't it, how a human twitter aggregator can call themself a journalist without any shame or irony.

Right, I don't use Twitter, and can't really be bothered with it, but is it beyond comprehension that journalists would use it as a tool to gather information?

If a journalist read a book on a topic, would you complain that all they ever do is regurgitate published works?

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Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

AndyS
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Re: 1971 ....

To speak to someone?

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Futuristic driverless car technology to be trialled on... oh, a Ford Mondeo

AndyS
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Re: Nominet

I guess the car probably has a fair amount of on-board coms and connections, so maybe having someone who knows about networking makes sense?

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Korea extends factory automation tax break, is accused of levying 'robot taxes' anyway

AndyS
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Re: Robots don't pay taxes...

AC, those are interesting stats, care to share where they are from?

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AndyS
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> the former Microsoft man wondered why human labour is taxed but robotic replacement workers contribute nothing to government coffers

That's an interesting question, but I guess it's missing the point slightly. Tax is levied on exchanges, so the purchase, maintenance, leasing payments, spare parts etc required for automation will all all be taxed. The idea of taxing a tool would be obviously ludicrous - what, fundamentally, sets apart a hammer, a tractor, and an automated riveter?

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Google has some sort of plan for not favouring its own shopping service

AndyS
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Re: Off topic, but...

Thanks AC, interesting response.

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AndyS
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Off topic, but...

...I am always curious about these legal deadlines.

Is there someone sitting waiting in an office, staring at their phone, waiting for Google to call? Do Google have the number of the exact person, and does that person never sleep?

What is the advantage of leaving submissions of this sort to the last minute, and what is the incentive for the party (in this case the court) to allow submissions out of office hours?

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Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

AndyS
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He ensured that in this new no-disk world, there will be no new disk-wold.

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