* Posts by not.known@this.address

276 posts • joined 31 Jul 2009


2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

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HAL's acronym

Wasn't it Heuristic Algorithmic Logic computer?

And wrt Mother in Alien, Mother wasn't specifically described as an AI that I can recall - it was just what the crew called the computer when they were using it (her). Mother simply did what it (she) had been programmed to do and had less freedom of operation than, for example, the new software in Sky TV boxes (the version that thinks because you have downloaded something you missed while you were out, you must want it to keep Series-linking the show even though you delete the Link.




No Falcon Way: NASA to stick with SLS, SpaceX more like space ex

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I'm confused...

If SLS has never flown (and from what I've read here, looks like it's quite a way off from the first launch) then how can it be compared in a meaningful way to Falcon Heavy?

That would be like an aircraft manufacturer comparing a rival's in-service airliner to their own pie-in-the-sky, not even on the design boards yet, supersonic sub-orbital intercontinental wonderjet...

What I don't really understand is why, given how they managed to iron out most (if not all) of the problems with the Saturn 5/Apollo combination, they don't try building a new one with modern manufacturing techniques and materials rather than reinventing the wheel completely... it might not be exactly what they want/need but it would give them a current data to work with and it's better than PHBs wasting money in meetings arguing over how to waste the money quickest.

I look forward to any genuine rocket scientists who may have wandered in by mistake explaining why I'm wrong, and the rest of you giving me the giggles when you start quoting manufacturer's estimates as though they are accomplished results...

T-Mobile US let hackers nick my phone number, drain my crypto-wallets, cries man who lost $20k

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Big Brother

Re: Cell Phone != secure

Credas, I had to take all my documentation to my nearest government office (the local Job Centre) for sending to HMRC because the Verify providers said I did not exist... and I wasn't the only one with the same issue.

It was the same documentation the Verify provider said didn't exist...

‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’

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Re: you don't leave an important switch where someone might accidentally hit it

Similar situation happened to me at the Home Counties-based headquarters site of a well-known British aerospace company in the late 80s - we had to have the electricians in to do some work on one of the PDUs and, as they went to leave, one of them says "Is this the exit button?" and before we could yell "NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" he pressed the big red emergency power off button...

We weren't sure whether we should have been relieved that we didn't need to spend the next few hours rebooting various mainframes (the IBM and VAXs wouldn't have been much of a problem, the biggest headache would have been the ICL 2966s...) or extremely p***ed-off that the Emergency Power Off - intended to save our lives if anything went wrong like someone connecting themselves to 415v AC, remember - did absolutely nothing.


Not a gorram thing.

We went with p***-ed off, and the Data Centre Manager made sure scalps were collected from the muppets at fault...

A tiny Ohio village turned itself into a $3m speed-cam trap. Now it has to pay back the fines

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Re: Another vicious unprovoked attack on the motorist

Adeyjay, I downvoted you because you are missing the point - laws are supposed to be there to make life better, not to line the pockets of greedy people who think 'public servant' means the public is there to serve them.

This isn't about road safety, it's about abusing legal powers to raise money for vanity projects and not real benefits for the community, and certainly not to improve road safety.

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Big Brother

Re: "raise property taxes slightly"

"Here in Oregon, there's 3 towns I can think of off the top of my head that when you hit the "city limit" sign, you best be doing the posted speed limit. And if you're driving a semi-trailer rig, the fine is even higher."

Assuming you are being serious rather than trolling and setting aside for the moment that some places feel reducing speed limits is a better way to improve road safety rather than teaching idiots to keep off the road/highway and out of the traffic, there is normally a reason for the posted speed limit and you probably shouldn't be going faster.

I am a driver and I often complain about the speed limit on some roads (especially when the gits* in charge decided to change it purely as a revenue stream**), but I also understand that the limit is there for a reason and it is not up to me to ignore it just because I don't like it.

I have also seen the results of idiots driving faster than is safe for the conditions and would say that, without exception, the bigger the vehicle the worse the carnage - so why should being an idiot in a semi not be punished harder than someone being an idiot in a car?

*Git = 'Awkward or obtuse person', which describes some of the people responsible for deciding speed limits in the UK perfectly.

**There are several roads in the south-east of England that were, for many years, "national speed limit" roads and people rarely had accidents on them. Then, when the local authorities could keep (some or all of) the revenue generated, these same roads suddenly became accident black spots and the gits reduced the limits on a load of them but somehow managed to forget to put the new signs up where they could easily be seen (A24 Michelham Bends between Leatherhead and Dorking was the first and best example to spring to mind - there are many, many more!). Or they will slowly extend "temporary" reductions brought in for road maintenance work and "forget" to remove these when the work is completed.

F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus

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Re: Colour me surprised

"Fleet personnel" are responsible for keeping airframes in the sky, where they belong. Lab rats are responsible for making sure software behaves the way it is supposed to.

Whist these are not mutually exclusive, what works well in a laboratory will not necessarily help when you're stuck on a steel postage stamp in the middle of a storm at sea with a pilot screaming at you because some relatively insignificant (in a lab) piece of hardware failed and nearly dumped him - and his $90m whizzjet - into the ocean, so the maintenance crew will find ways to use (and abuse) the software to try to prevent that happening... which is also somewhat at odds with the "just-in-time" manufacturing and minimal stock levels so loved by beancounters and management everywhere, and which is a very poor way to keep any sort of war machine actually doing what it is supposed to do rather than sitting awaiting repair while the parts get manufactured and shipped out to the combat zone.

Judging whether or not ALIS is fit for purpose has little to do with whether the REMFs certify it does what the salesman said it would in the lab but everything to do with how many airframes are in the air and not decorating the hangars...

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

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Re: Reminds me of a story

Ken Hagan said: "I doubt whether 40-somethings were really into Pong. They probably reckoned that was the machine surrounded by the younger generation and therefore best avoided."

Ken, I'm pushing - rather forcibly - on the upper end of that group and I certainly wasn't playing (or avoiding) Pong; even in the $Deity-forsaken armpit of a town I lived in had *much* more advanced games than that... in addition to such new-fangled amusements as Space Harrier and Outrun, one of the local watering holes had the proper sit-down Afterburner cabinet!

(And despite their best efforts, it wasn't the younger generation on top of the high score tables either...)

It knows where the gravel pits and power lines are. So, Ordnance Survey, where should UK's driverless cars go?

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I wish to be first to welcome our Giant Robot Overlords - mine's the one with the "I was an Emperor Driver before Pontious was a Pilot" and "Wipe your feet when you step on a tank" patches... (since the gaming geeks seem to have deserted El Reg, it behoves me to quote from the internet's oracle of everything [E&OE], "CAV or Combat Assault Vehicle is a miniatures wargame by Reaper Miniatures.")

Also, doesn't 'autonomous' suggest it shouldn't need to be connected while working, or am I missing something?

Sysadmin crashed computer recording data from active space probe

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old lessons well learned

I still use the date format from my VAX/VMS days - dd-mmm-yyyy - as it makes it very, very hard for someone to blame me if they mess up te date for something...

We're cutting F-35 costs, honest, insists jet-builder Lockheed Martin

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x 7, practically the entire US Aircraft industry exists because of this style of technological development (let someone else bear the costs to invent and develop it, offer to share some whizzo bit of kit you bought/stole/swapped from someone else, then forget to hand over the stuff in return when you get what you want...) - assuming you don't simply relocate the brains behind it to a US location anyway.

Boing, so quick to accuse other people of getting unfair Government subsidies, seem to forget that they get a lot of Tax Dollars to fund their military conversions of their civil aircraft - and the development thereof - plus free access to anything NASA do... which is also taxpayer-funded.

Of course, it would have been a LOT harder if our own politicians and the shareholders, accountants and /or management of the British companies hadn't been so keen to put short-term profit ahead of long-term viability...

We won't need to go outside if these haptic tricksters have their way

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Re: Where is my

Lawnmower Man clingy jumpsuit with lots of electrical wiring and gaffer tape?

Ex-staffer sues UK's DWP, claims superior blabbed confidential medical info

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DontFeedTheTrolls, I guess you've never worked with someone who seems to get more time "off sick" than the rest of the team get between them if you add all their holiday allowances together...

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Or it could have been a p***ed-off, stressed-out team Manager not impressed by the team Malingerer getting another taxpayer-funded holiday due to "medical issues", sending an email to the poor sods working their butts off covering for the clown saying "Can you effing believe it? The skivving bar steward is having another month off sick!".

Some employees know they can have a certain length of time off with, for example, a "bad back" and then return to work just long enough to "earn" another chunk of sick pay. I once asked someone I worked with why one of the company drivers was off so much and he explained it to me - the git knew exactly how to milk the system so he only did half the hours he should, leaving everyone else to take up his workload as well as their own...

Former Santander bank manager pleads guilty to computer misuse crimes

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A £300 fine and £85 "victim surcharge" in response to a reported £15000-worth of "computer misuse" crimes? I would be interested to hear the judge's reasoning on that one...

It is unfortunate that she lost her job for what could be a case of simply being naïve and trusting but she is now training for a role in HR? Where she will once again have access to people's confidential information? It would be nice to assume she has learned her lesson and will NEVER hand over information to anyone except a permitted recipient again but human history unfortunately suggests lessons will not be learned...

Smut site fingered as 'source' of a million US net neutrality comments

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Re: American democracy

Mexico, Greece or Canada if you don't mind (if they can con their way in to those countries) - the UK has enough useless wastes of oxygen already, thank you.

F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

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Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"The amount of STEM grads is low and you are doing your best to block skilled immigrants to make it up."

When the education system switches to valuing nonsense degrees called something like "David Beckham Studies" or "Using Social Media Is Better Than Fixing Computers" then of course STEM courses will be ignored - why do a degree where you actually need to learn and remember stuff when you can 'earn' the same level of qualification for watching football or "analysing trends" on Farcebook and Twatter? And don't forget that the political parties who seem to do most to encourage these types of courses are also the ones who claim to care most for the 'working man'...

And bringing people in from overseas because your own students are either too lazy or too short-sighted to do something 'technical' is a really bad idea - what happens if those people came over so we paid them while they got free training then they 'went home' and took their jobs with them (or is that not what "off-shoring" really means?). Not exactly solving the skills shortage unless you can persuade them to stay... And guess what, the same political parties that seem to think you can keep a car running because you can quote how many views Kim Kardashian has had or fix a network outage by quoting the latest ill-advised Tweet from the White house are the same ones who put more effort into paying for training foreigners than trying to increase the local skills base...

Capita's UK military recruiting system has 'glitches' admits minister

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"How is ROYAL AIR FORCE recruiting going now?"

"BRITISH ARMY recruitment is proceeding according to our (cough, mumble 'revised') plan, thank you."

I guess that goes some way towards explaining why we are getting computer-controlled aircraft that won't (can't) fly without an always-on connection to the permissions database - we don't need real pilots any more, so it doesn't matter which Service they come from.

Russia claims it repelled home-grown drone swarm in Syria

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Black Helicopters

"Spy" planes

Regarding the P8 flying 'nearby', a more relevant question is "Was this the first time it was lurking near the Russian base?" since 'we' often fly as close to 'them' as we can and 'they' often fly as close to 'us' as they can, all without promoting a shooting incident (diplomatic protests are one thing, loss of life and/or hardware is a totally different ballgame).

A spyplane flying nearby much of the time is a sign of wanting to know what the other guy is up to and trying to catch him as he does something while a spyplane appearing at exactly the same time as an "anonymous" attack is either almost unbelievably stupid or propaganda...

Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

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Re: Has the collective IQ of the tech world hit rock bottom?

Shiny sells, Marketing and Finance don't care about what might happen a few years down the line as much as the bottom line today. Shareholders don't care about the product as long as they get their dividend. Management don't care about customers other than as a source of income. Customer Support is seen as a necessary evil that gets the bare minimum of funding to put a layer of separation between the people making decisions and the customers who enjoy the "benefits" of those decisions.

This is obviously an exaggerated description and not representative of many companies in the Real World but it does, unfortunately, seem to bear an annoying resemblance to some of them, from IT suppliers to retail businesses, vehicle manufacturers and holiday companies...

US Homeland Security breach compromised personal info of 200,000+ staff

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Big Brother

Chicken, meet Egg.

Which came first, the discovery or the investigation?

As I read it, the "criminal investigation" used as an excuse not to tell everyone they might be in trouble earlier was the desperate scrabbling to find out what he'd done with his copy of the database and how he'd got it rather than something else being investigated and someone noticing this person getting up to mischief.

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Black Helicopters

Re: 'I wonder who they will find to extradite to the US for this one?'

The people who bear ultimate responsibility for most of these incidents tend to be several paygrades above the people who do the dirty deed - hence looking at the culprit and others at the same level but quietly ignoring the decisions that allowed the problem to occur in the first place...

Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief

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Re: Sly

From the Office of Naval Contemplation :-)

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Re: Cut off the UK?!?!

Androgynous Cupboard wrote "If only there was somewhere else to turn, perhaps a continent of half a billion like minded souls some 20 miles away. We can but dream of such a world."

I assume you don't know anyone who ever worked for a haulage company or on a fishing boat, used a ferry or the Channel Tunnel or flown on an airline affected by the "like minded souls some 20 miles away" whenever the farmers, air traffic controllers, truckers or other group decide to cause trouble....

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Typical BBC double standards

Werdsmith wrote: "BBC website comments sections are a very powerful looney-magnet."

True - but not all of them are visitors. Following a slightly dubious accident during a Formula 1 Grand Prix, I posted a comment asking if some of the posters on the BBC sports page would make their (nasty, rude and sometimes borderline psychopathic) comments if face-to-face with the driver but apparently the BBC Moderators consider it acceptable to make threats against sportsmen *and their families* but not to ask "would you say that if you were in the same room?"...

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Re: Oceania has always/never been at WAR with Eurasia/Eastasia

It's only really the latter half of the 20th Century that beancounters have had any "real" power - bankers might hold the purse-strings but a strong enough force could come along and pry those purses from the cold, dead fingers of the bankers (why else do you really think that the Eurocrats are so determined to reduce national Armed Forces below effective strength while creating an "internal security force" that can overpower any individual member state's defences?).

Unless you really believe that all wars since history began were fought because of a few money-grubbing merchants rather than because Religious Group A and Religious Group B disagree over which deity was/is stronger or whether it is Followers or Family who inherit control when the leader dies, or because one highly charismatic man manages to convince a large number of others that one hair or eye colour is inherently superior to all others then blaming the beancounters - however tempting - is to ignore what happens when nobody tells the playground bully to wind his neck in and play nice with others.

For goodness sake, stop the plod using facial recog, London mayor told

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Re: Oh that, Chelsea Flower Show v Notting Hill Carnival Question of where to 'trial', hey Amber?.

This is a valid point because there is so much crime at the Chelsea Flower Show, isn't there? In a similar vein, maybe they should put the cameras in nursery school since so many hardened bank robbers are found crawling in the sandpit or doing handpainting - not.

On the other hand, it would certainly prove there was something shonky if they suddenly arrested half the exhibitors and many of the customers for violent assault and burglary with menaces...

I would be interested to hear how many people really think there is more danger of criminal activity at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show than at the Notting Hill Carnival, and what they would say when some poor misguided victim of society commits a crime because all the local bobbies are keeping an eye on the daisies at Chelsea...

Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

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"Scrutiny might be warranted and prudent but assuming that Jihadi John is a British citizen, he should have the same rights as any other British citizen."

Last time I checked, murdering people and inciting racial and/or religious hatred are against British law so Jihadi John and his cronies have chosen to ignore the protections said laws offer other people. And if they think the law doesn't protect others then they should not expect the rest of us to let them hide behind those same laws. Either the protection exists or it does not.

Jihadi John and his "friends" think it is acceptable to kill people just for disagreeing with them, so by the "same rights" logic it is more than acceptable that they should be targeted with extreme prejudice too...

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and all that.

UK Data Protection Bill lands: Oh dear, security researchers – where's your exemption?

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@Tom 38, you could also point out the fun the left-pondians have with "Wooster Sheer Sauce" - the norm seems to be something akin to "War Sez Ter Shire". Just because it is spelled "Worcestershire" is no excuse.

Similar for "Edin Burg" etc...

Missed patch caused Equifax data breach

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Re: Patching

Going down due to a Security update, or up and running and plundered by the bad guys?

Hmm, hard choice...

Capita still hasn't found what its looking for: A CEO

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Gissa job!

I have absolutely no experience in this role, which suggests I could be an ideal candidate if their reputation is anything to go by.

Obviously commercial sensitivity prevents them telling us how much the salary really is but I'm prepared to do it for £1M a year plus benefits... and a generous share package of course. :-)

15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

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Liberate mei?

or Liberate tutamei ex inferis?

(apologies for the spelling, I didn't do Latin at school)

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Re: But sadly...

Dammit DougS, you've just given away the plot for Star wars Episode 9!

(The First Order have a half-constructed Starkiller Base 2 that the Resistance think is not yet operational so they send a small group to the forest moon of NotNamedYet where they meet the incredibly cute and highly marketable cuddly StrangeNamedAliens who show then a sneaky way into the deflector shield control room just in time to save the whole Resistance fleet that has just arrived and discovered Starkiller Base 2 may not be complete but the Flippin' Big Gun is already fully functional and ready to blow up starships with no blowthrough even though it appears to use the same energy to vapourise an entire planet many magnitudes bigger than the starship...

(Darn, forgot the first half of the film where Rey, Chewie, Luke and someone else - possibly Maz Kanata? - have to return to Jakku to rescue Finn from where Unkar Plutt has him mounted on a wall...)

User thanked IT department for fast new server, but it had never left its box

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Big Brother

Re: Praise or accusations of work not done?

Reminds me of the time when our System Managers rang the Hell Desk to say that one of our DEC clusters had a problem and would need to be shutdown for a short time for the fix to be applied. He gave a brief explanation of what the problem was, what the fix was and what needed to be done as the Users of this particular VAXCluster were those rare beasts, Users who actually *did* understand how the computers worked and would appreciate what the situation was. This was in the time when Users had no access to the fault call logs and could not request copies, so some of the comments were less than complimentary.

Unfortunately the idiot who took that particular call did not recognize the name of the person calling him so didn't realise that, not only did the caller know what he was talking about and had the authority to shut the machines down, but he also had full access to the call logging system...

I suppose the idiot realised, in hindsight, that writing up the ticket advising the Second Line support team "This idiot doesn't know what he is talking about. Please ring him and tell him the systems is still up" wasn't the smartest thing to do, although I suspect the rather angry phone call from said System Manager to the Hell Desk Manager might have played a part...

And he had always seemed such a mild-mannered and polite System Manager 'til then!

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Re: you can fool some of the people, some of the time...

PT Barnum, referring to his Flea Circus... except it was "...fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but not all of the people all of the time."

I guess some budget holders have never heard this observation on human nature.

75 years ago, one Allied radar techie changed the course of WW2

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Given how stressed they get when someone says something they disagree with or Farcebook or Twatter go down for a short time, I don't hold out much hope for a 'Red Dawn'-style reaction if the sh*t hits the fan.

With most schools now teaching that competition is bad and that striving for mediocrity is to be applauded (you can't tell someone they are not as good as or are better than everybody else at something - you might hurt someone's feelings), I would rate the chances of anybody having a clue beyond 'look it up on wikipedia' as not very high either.

Boffins blast beats to bury secret sonar in your 'smart' home

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Re: "There are a number of possible defenses"

The size of the device limits the effective range - plus sonar doesn't work so well through walls.

If you want to spy through walls, you need something that won't get bounced back by a couple of inches of brick or concrete - and if it's powerful enough to get through that, the soft pink squidgy meatsacks wandering around the room won't show up. Plus the volume would need to be so loud that you'd need to convert everyone to Heavy Metal fans...

Oldest flying 747 finally grounded, 47 years after first flight

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Re: Poor Design

Err, no. :-)

British Airways fitted the spall liners at the cost of a couple of passengers due to weight; Air France decided to put profits first. And this was done years in advance of the fatal Air France accident. I still wonder why the execs and beancounters responsible were not brought up on charges of corporate manslaughter.

Biometrics watchdog breaks cover, slams UK cops over facial recog

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Re: ACPO, the Home Office's ever helpful "arms length" not-a-company

Renaming something does not change its function - whether it is an Association or a Council, it is still the same people doing the same things.

A rose by any other name, and all that.

Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding

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Re: Do you drive a car?

Someone asked the local council in Farnborough where they got their accident figures and they said from Hampshire police, so they asked Hampshire police where they got their accident figures from and they said...

"The Council".

This was after a road was classified as an accident blackspot "after a number of fatalities" - which was strange as it was one of the most accident-free parts of town! Surprisingly since it was between the shops near FAST and the roundabout near the Aerospace Center, where cars often pull out without really looking, there had only been one fatality in the ten years I lived there - and that was a drunk who stepped out from between parked cars at night, and the driver had no chance to see him let alone try to avoid him.

It was also around the time that various police forces were found to be counting each car involved in any incidents as individual "hits" in the statistics - so if a lout walked down the road keying a dozen cars, that would be a dozen car 'accidents' even if the owners/drivers were tucked up in bed asleep when it happened!

Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.

Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

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Re: So he knew how to fix it anyway?

To quote Aladdin Sane,

"He phoned his office to consult with a colleague and instead got stuck dealing with his boss.


Can GCHQ order techies to work as govt snoops? Experts fear: 'Yes'

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Re: What if...


"So, Mr Boss, why did you fire my client?"

"Well, he refused to... erm, I can't really say."


"...but please speak to the nice Men From The Ministry who are waiting at the back of the room to take you for an extended stay at Her Majesty's Government's displeasure. Have nice day!"

BA passengers caught in crossfire of Heathrow baggage meltdown

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Re: Baggage load

Several thousand staff used to cover several shifts to move all the baggage around Heathrow, most of whom have been replaced by a complex system that makes Spaghetti Junction look like a Roman road... Instead of having to trundle the baggage half-way around the airport to get it from the gates to the Arrivals lounge (or from Departures), the baggage handlers take it from a point much closer to the aircraft you actually flew in on and leave it in the tender care of the automated routing system.

If the automated system goes down, you suddenly need to find the staff to drive the tractors pulling the baggage carts as well as the staff to unload the carts and put the bags onto the carousels instead of just pulling them off the 'plane and onto the conveyors...

Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

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Re: Survivors

I was an Apprentice with MessyBeast at the Top Gear test track (although we called it something else back then) in the late 80's, working on the Plastic Pigs (aka Harrier GR5s) and asked why part of the main hangar roof was a different colour to the rest; I was told that it was due to someone working on the roof putting his foot through one of the skylights but that didn't explain why the nearest skylight was about 5' away... and coincidentally about 5' away from where one of the aircraft spent most of its time loitering...

Ta-ta, security: Bungling Tata devs leaked banks' code on public GitHub repo, says IT bloke

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Re: Outsource it all To India

Korev said " People's location and nationality are not good indicators of competence."

No, but repeated screw-ups, terrible customer service, staff who cannot understand the difference between a non-technical user and a desktop support tech with 10+ years of experience ("no, switching it off and on FOR THE 4TH TIME in 1 call will not help - the hard drive is making horrible grinding noises and is knackered - I just need a fault reference number to give to the client!"), relentlessly sticking to a script when the user is able to give a perfectly good explanation of what the problem is, etc etc etc... *these* are good indicators of competence, and I've experienced these - and more! - since a bunch of Cowboys (allegedly) Supporting Computers 'onsourced' our hell desk to another continent.

The Big Blue Chopper video that IBM might want to keep quiet

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Re: Fuel saving

PhilipN asked "Did the pilot choose to save fuel by starting up only when the passengers were on board?"

Probably not fuel saving - self-loading cargo has the unhealthy tendency to ignore the warning signs saying "Do not walk into the rapidly whirling planks of death" and make rather a mess.

It may also have been a way to cut down the chance of loose articles of clothing or bits of paperwork - or wigs - getting blown into something vital...

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Re: I'm no pilot...

It's a lot easier to turn with the main rotor than against it; going the 'wrong way' puts more strain on the tail rotor transmission, uses more fuel and can make a LOT more noise - though that's not so much an issue with the Fenestron tailed cabs - while going with the main rotor lets torque do the work at a slight loss of lift, hence the way they get slightly lower as they turn.

It also allowed the pilot to make sure he was clear of the nearby trees and anyone who might wander a bit too close - you can never be too careful when your life depends on a million tiny mechanical bits and pieces suspended from an 'ignorant drainpipe' and getting too close to the local triffids can be a quick way to convert a fast and reliable means of transport into a very expensive bonfire, and the number of people who do not understand "keep clear of the moving blades" is rather depressing... (Yes, I know the pilot would have seen where the trees were when he landed but it never hurts to check!)

'Tabby's Star' intrigues astro-boffins with brief 'dimming event'

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There's A Light (over at the Frankenstein place)...

Fred Saberhagen's Berserkers, SoaSE's Vasari-chasing nightmare from the galactic Core, Strephon's Dark Lady from Traveller: The New Era/MegaTraveller, the Great Old Ones preparing for another visit (anyone checked how right the stars are recently??), someone else's version of Morse Code... there must be a simple explanation somewhere :-)

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The prototype for StarKiller Base undergoing development trials?

PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

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Re: P is for PayPoint

"They are names sound similar" is only a "that" away from being good English phrasing and I've seen far worse abuses of the language in bestselling fiction...

What's the opposite of a 'Pedantic Grammar Nazi'?


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