* Posts by Arthur the cat

504 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009

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Sergey Brin building humanitarian blimp for lifesaving leisure

Arthur the cat
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Hindenburg

It is said to have been conceived for use with hydrogen, but evidently someone recalled the fiery fate of the Hindenburg.

It wasn't hydrogen as a lift source that was the problem, it was the fact they wanted it shiny and coated the envelope with an aluminium powder mix that was basically thermite, and when lightning struck the obvious happened.

Aka, how do you make an airship go woof?

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'President Zuck' fundraiser opens for business

Arthur the cat
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President Zuckerberg's first legislation

The 28th Amendment to the US constitution which bans privacy.

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Juno's first data causing boffins to rewrite the text books on Jupiter

Arthur the cat
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Re: "as well as knuckleballs and sliders"

"I'll assume you're not trolling... Both are terms in American baseball for two distinct types of pitches"

NASA uses a phrase incomprehensible to much of the remaining English-speaking world. So much for science communication.

"It's just not cricket" as I said to the chap at silly mid on while I was at square leg. Then the bowler delivered a chinaman and the striker was LBW. At that point the heavens opened and in the end it was all down to the Duckworth-Lewis method.

British sporting metaphors are so much more understandable.

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RightNow founder turned politician gets assault charge after 'bodyslamming' reporter

Arthur the cat
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No corruption here, move along

Gianforte's since been charged with misdemeanor assault, with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office finding probably cause for that charge but not felony assault. [My emphasis]

Which isn't surprising as Brian Gootkin, the County Sheriff, is a Gianforte supporter who's donated money to the campaign.

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

Arthur the cat
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Re: The encryption horse is free

If every home secretary for the past 20 years or so ends up crossing over to the dark side, I can only conclude that it's the civil servants that are pushing it.

Got it in one. My theory is that the only things they allow the Home Secretary to read are the worst crime statistics and Judge Dredd stories. (Blunkett presumably got audio books.)

Note also that there's now talk of having to prove your identity when voting. Given that not everybody has a driving license or a passport we obviously need another solution. In a Sir Humphrey voice: "Well Minister, how about introducing identity cards? Think how much easier it would make things - it could be used by the NHS and HMRC as well, which would cut costs."

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GPU-flingers' bash: Forget the Matrix, Neo needs his tensors

Arthur the cat
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What's a tensor?

To all the espers out there:

Tenser, said the Tensor.

Tenser, said the Tensor.

Tension, apprehension,

And dissension have begun.

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Blighty bloke: PC World lost my Mac Mini – and trolled my blog!

Arthur the cat
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Re: I'm barred from all PCW's....

Surely we can fix that by setting up an international regulatory body for the sport?

Doping. There's got to be doping.

Err, maybe there should be "checks" in there somewhere.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: Why oh why

And the worst thing? You can hear them. The sales people givein, *sob*, ADVICE. And you know you should intervene, and tell the customer to run.

A mate of mine works in a big Tesco that's literally across the road from a PC World, and he has regular horror stories about the way PCW try ripping off customers from those sensible enough to check out Tesco offerings instead.

The most common one is PCW's vastly overpriced cables - typically about $25 for a cable that Tesco sells for £2.50. This is usually on the grounds that "it's gold plated, which reduces noise and interference". This for cables carrying digital signals.

The most egregious example was back when Windows 7 was the latest version. Chap came in and asked about Win 7 machines and was pleasantly surprised to find Tesco were charging about two thirds what PCW were. He then asked "how much will installing Windows 7 cost?" My mate explained that it was pre-installed. "But PC World said they'd have to charge me £50 to install it!" They lost two sales that day, the guy they'd tried to rip off and the one passing who overheard the story and abandoned plans to go to PCW later.

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16 terabytes of RAM should be enough for anyone. Wait. What?

Arthur the cat
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Re: Just imagine

how long it would take to thread the sense wire through.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

Arthur the cat
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He was lucky

I had a DVD shatter in my drive(*) and it went into so many small pieces the only way to deal with it was to take the drive out of the computer and then dismantle the drive case as well to get the pieces out. I gave up counting them when I reached 30.

(*) It had a small crack when it arrived, I'd hoped to be lucky enough to read the data once before binning it. Lost the gamble.

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Fire fighters get grinding on London man’s trapped genitalia

Arthur the cat
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New icon(s) needed

Crossed legs and/or a face with a very pained expression.

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Capita's huge role in UK government should go under the spotlight

Arthur the cat
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"three million [licence] enforcement visits were carried out in 2015–16"

Where, FFS? They hassled me by post for the best part of 10 years(*) and I never once had an inspector turn up at my door. 3 million is about 1 household in 9, presuming 1 visit per. I wonder if they only target sink estates?

(*) I renew by direct debit but I've an odd address their licence checking database system couldn't handle. DB programmers shouldn't presume all addresses look like "123 Letsby Avenue".

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Intel gives Xeon a makeover to bring us colour-coded clouds

Arthur the cat
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What colour are

the ones without remote vulnerabilities?

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Red alert! Intel patches remote execution hole that's been hidden in chips since 2010

Arthur the cat
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Re: See!

I only run computing hardware on processors I designed myself!

Not good enough, unless you run your own fab line to make them. There is plenty of research on hardware level back doors, some of which take only a few gates.

If your fab lines are controlled by Intel chips, then you're down the rabbit hole and into the realm of Ken Thompson's Trusting Trust paper.

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Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

Arthur the cat
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Trollface

Re: STERCULIUS

Terda was a heroic attempt, though.

More fibre needed in the diet then.

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Linux kernel security gurus Grsecurity oust freeloaders from castle

Arthur the cat
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Linux

Re: I don't care about Grsecurity or Linux

@ Spasticus Autisticus

Many thanks (and an upvote).

Sadly I'm lactose intolerant and can't eat cream cheese. I wonder if hummus would work? I feel a weekend food experiment coming on.

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Arthur the cat
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Pint

I don't care about Grsecurity or Linux

but I do want the recipe for those penguins-onna-stick! (Particularly, what's the stuffing in the bottom half?) Maybe a Friday afternoon special article?

Beer icon to wash the nibbles down with.

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Boffins supercharge the 'hosts' file to save users plagued by DNS outages

Arthur the cat
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the system's fingerprinting breaks on sites that use HTTPS

Given that there's a push towards https everywhere, and the combination of Let's Encrypt's freebie, low fuss, certificates and Google down rating non-https sites, this is a solution which probably won't last long even if it is adopted. I suppose it might do until DNSSEC is rolled out more widely, but I'm generally suspicious of sticking plaster solutions.

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Ministry of Justice scraps 'conviction by computer' law

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

Justice dispensed by Government IT project

What could possibly go wrong?

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Have we got a new, hip compound IT phrase for you! Enter... UserDev

Arthur the cat
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Reminds me of Pete

At one job, I had an amazing resource called Pete. If there were such a thing as a British Standard Fool, Pete would have rated as about 1 Megafool - he'd do the most mindbogglingly stupid things, and when you got over spluttering and asked him why he'd just say something like "Dunno. Seemed like it might help". I got into the habit of getting him to test my code first, and he'd invariably break it, but by the time I'd got it Pete-proof I had no worries whatsoever about letting the rest of my users loose on it.

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Can you make a warzone delivery drone? UK.gov wants to give you cash

Arthur the cat
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Re: Existing system?

Can't they just use Amazon like everyone else?

Every grunt goes into the field with a Bullets-R-Us Dash button.

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Opportunity rover gets bored of spot it's explored since 2014

Arthur the cat
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Re: Football field

I thought Americans knew even less about football than I do

American football. What a friend of mine calls "almost rugby played while wearing ladies tights and moped helmets".

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Arthur the cat
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Last I heard, NASA is American, funded by Americans, so if they want to measure in corn dogs, that's their prerogative.

Using mixed units of football fields and corn dogs was what lost them a Mars probe.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Arthur the cat
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Re: Poor alternatives

Shame Bill Boaks is long dead, he might actually have stood a chance this time, on the grounds that he'd have the most sane and rational policies.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: This goes to show one thing

But will May get the two-thirds majority in parliament that is needed to pull off this move?

Corbyn has already said Labour will vote for an election. I think that gives May the 2/3rds majority she needs. Of course, whether all Labour MPs will vote that way is another question entirely.

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So, you're 'ISO 27001 accredited', huh? Just saying so doesn't cut it

Arthur the cat
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Standards are biased towards large companies

Whereas I'm in favour of standards as a principle, they act as a barrier against the entry of small companies to the market.

I wholeheartedly recommend simply sending a couple of people on an ISO 27001 Implementer or Auditor course. It's a few days and a couple of thousand pounds well spent

Fine for large corporations, but if you're a startup of two people, working from home seven days a week to get off the ground and living on ramen, then a few days out and a few k just isn't feasible. The problem is that standards tend to get formed from the practices of large companies, and even if they are not consciously trying to shut out disruptive startups, the resultant standards have that effect. What we need are gradual versions of pretty much all standards that increasingly apply as a company grows. Startups get a half page check list of absolute no-nos to work on, with dirt cheap (maybe even pro bono) auditing, working up to the full standard when/if the company hits a certain size or turnover (with clauses to prevent gaming it by splitting into subsidiaries).

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

Arthur the cat
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Should someone point out to the EFF that the US constitution for free speech covers individuals and not organisations?

I have no idea how the 1st amendment is interpreted in US law, being a Brit, but I'm pretty certain the article was written by a human being, not the incorporated entity that is the EFF.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: EFF Lawyers are EFF'n Stupid

Wow! A window with a counter, counting down! In 1999! Probably 15 years after such a thing first appeared in civilian systems and 30 years after the military had it.

Actually a countdown is much older than that. The Wikipedia article mentions its use to start a Cambridge rowing race in the 19th C, and Fritz Lang used one in his movie Frau im Mond, released in 1929. Putting a countdown in a computer window should count as a trivial and obvious extension, so not patentable.

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Three indicted over sex trafficking operation run on Backpage.com

Arthur the cat
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I thought it was going to be about Three, the mobile phone company.

Ditto. It would have given "Feel at Home" a very different meaning.

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BT's spam blocker IDs accident claims as top nuisance call

Arthur the cat
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Any chance of getting the top ten offender companies directors names and addresses onto a kickstarter fund for a hitman?

Tempting though it is, I think the Constabulary might have something to say about that. Let's just get their email addresses and telephone numbers on as many spammers' lists as possible.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: it could divert 1.6 billion nuisance calls a year.

Lets assume BT make a profit of 1 pence per call.....

Not sure about profit per call but BT's 2016 financial report says turnover was 19 G£, profit after costs and tax was 2.6 G£. (To two figures in each case.) That's 13.7% profit margin.

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Nerd Klaxon: Barbican to host Science Fiction exhibition this summer

Arthur the cat
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Re: The first?

How about Bishop Godwin's The Man in the Moone published in the 1620s. A swan powered flying machine to the moon.

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Arthur the cat
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Abid is acting as his own attorney

"The man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client" -- old legal saying

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Dieting cannibals: At last, a scientist has calculated calories for human body parts

Arthur the cat
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Devil

Re: After 20 days on a desert island ...

...using your colleague as bait

I asked him if he'd be my chum, and he said yes.

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Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

Arthur the cat
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Ban JCBs

They take the jobs of 10 men digging with shovels, or 100 men digging with teaspoons.

That's the logic of this report.

Actually, the real reason for it was reported in the Grauniad:

Even some lawyers risk becoming unemployed. “An intelligent algorithm went through the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions and found patterns in the text,” the report records. “Having learned from these cases, the algorithm was able to predict the outcome of other cases with 79% accuracy ... According to a study conducted by [the auditing firm] Deloitte, 100,000 jobs in the English legal sector will be automated in the next 20 years.”

I.e. the lawyers who rip off the public with exorbitant fees are sweating and want the lawyers who sit in Parliament to ensure they're featherbedded for life.

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D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Arthur the cat
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Re: Can't Stop the Encryption

You don't need a computer to do encryption; using computers is merely faster and easier.

A deck of cards is sufficient. See the Solitaire cipher.

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Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

Re: Pity the poor civil servant

Anything that requires a second's thought will be ignored, palmed off with a letter written by an office junior about how wonderful some idea of their own is that sounds almost like it might be pertinent to your question as long as you don't actually read any of the words...

Definitely true. My wife tried engaging with Rudd several times when she was minister for energy & climate change. Ignored or meaningless form letter every time. My wife was employed as a consultant by DECC at the time.

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Arthur the cat
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Pity the poor civil servant

who has to take Amber Rudd's witless meanderings and try to find some semi-plausible misreading that might just have made sense if you're being generous. That's not a job I'd do even if you offered me a premier league footballer's salary.

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UK digital minister Matt Hancock praises 'crucial role' of encryption

Arthur the cat
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Re: I think they genuinely don't see the problem.

There is no incompatibility as they see it. Only encrypted messages involving terrorists, paedophiles and other designated bad guys will be revealed for what they are

Which will be signalled by "the necessary hashtags" according to Amber Rudd. No doubt she's about to propose a law which will make it illegal to communicate about terrorist attacks without adding #terroristattack to it, and similarly for other possible offences. In which case, she'll need to have #talkingbollocks tattooed on her forehead.

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Cambridge wheels out latest smart city platform, ready for devs

Arthur the cat
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Unhappy

Re: Litterally

I've got one: Stagecoach.

Stagecoach isn't just a problem, it's a problem looking for more problems to breed with and flood the world with problem offspring. Classicists believe Stagecoach was one of the things Pandora found in the box.

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Carnegie-Mellon Uni emits 'don't be stupid' list for C++ developers

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

To download the document

you need to pass a CAPTCHA. A security measure better defeated by AI than humans.

Sigh.

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Airplane bomb fears spark America's laptop, tablet carry-on ban

Arthur the cat
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force them to watch the drivel the airlines want you to watch

That has to count as a cruel and unusual punishment.

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DNS lookups can reveal every web page you visit, says German boffin

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

Re: Now we know..

Just use your own local DNS server.

I do. The staticly assigned IP addresses are a bit of a give away though.

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Beijing deploys facial scanners to counter public toilet abuse

Arthur the cat
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Re: IZAL

Description says no longer manufactured.

The end of an era.

Thank $DEITY. It should have been banned under the Geneva Convention.

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Bloke cuffed after 'You deserve a seizure' GIF tweet gave epileptic a fit

Arthur the cat
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Take your meds. NOW!

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GCHQ dismisses Trump wiretap rumours as tosh

Arthur the cat
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Re: partial denial

It's alarming that the president of the USA is one.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

A quote from HL Mencken

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Arthur the cat
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User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

Arthur the cat
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Re: I pulled a ...

Small children, spread enhanced bread products and VCRs were a combination made in hell. I helped out a few friends with rug rats over the years. Cleaning peanut butter, jam, or worse Marmite, off video heads is a tedious pastime.

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Google Maps' Street View can now lead you into a bubbling lava lake

Arthur the cat
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A bit like the old Adventure game

Did anyone find a way out of the cave system ^W^W caldera by clicking on the arrows, or do I have to say "xyzzy"?

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Today's WWW is built on pillars of sand: Buggy, exploitable JavaScript libs are everywhere

Arthur the cat
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Trollface

Javascript can't run arbitrary code though. It can only call APIs.

Despite the hype, webassembly is even more limited. Arithmetic only.

Paging Herr Gödel and Mr Turing. Herr Gödel and Mr Turing are wanted in the mathematics of computation lecture theatre where Signore Peano is waiting.

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