* Posts by Tikimon

616 posts • joined 3 Nov 2009

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You dopes! US state's pot dealer database pwned after security goes up in smoke

Tikimon
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Headmaster

Re: Serves them right

"The framers of the Constitution should really have thought about adding some clause that gave states the right to exercise some sort of democratic choice about their local laws."

They did, with deliberate and precise intent: Amendment X:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

It's quite clear with no doubt about what it says. The federal government has been ignoring and chipping away at it ever since, but states' rights over federal are built into the foundation of the country.

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It's been 50 years since those damn dirty apes took the planet by storm

Tikimon
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Headmaster

Here's a point to consider - plausible aliens

Space aliens in movies were kinda similar for a long time. Lots of humanoids (amazingly the same size and proportions as humans) or butt-ugly weird looking things meant to unsettle with their ALIENness.

Planet of the Apes did something totally different by using a future Earth full of basically Earth creatures. For the first time, English-speaking humanoid aliens made total sense. The humanoids are plausible because they're our genetic cousins, they speak English because that was a dominant language from their past. For all its gee-wow, even Star Wars had no explanation for why the inhabitants of a far-away galaxy were basically human. In Planet of the Apes it all made sense for once.

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To hack Australia and learn its secrets, buy second-hand furniture

Tikimon
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Angel

Re: You don't need magic encryption, OR a drill

No worries, simply pick the lock. I've done that at my office many times. Key lost, key broken, key locked in the cabinet (yes...). My best time to open a standard filing cabinet using a bent nail and paperclip is ten seconds. When I bought myself a pick set, that dropped to five seconds. Some are more difficult than others, such as the fire cabinets here with anti-picking features. Those take much longer, but I get 'em. Recently I had to pick the security lock on the electrical room (generator failed during power outage) because a manager had misplaced the key. Fifteen minutes to noodle that one, and avoided calling out a locksmith at 3:30 AM.

It's one of the best skills you can learn, and kinda fun as well.

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

Tikimon
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Facepalm

Shiny TOYS!!!

Bah, you have to imagine the mindset of peacetime defense interests. The Air Forces want new, shiny gee-whiz piloted aircraft. Solid, capable old birds like the F-18 and A-10 are sooo yesterday now, can we have a new airplane PLEEEASE? Complexity also means lots of contractors get a serving of Defense Dollars, including many who would get nothing by updating existing aircraft. Fixing design mistakes opens the money valve even farther.

But OMG it's costing more than we thought! Well, gotta find some cash to keep throwing down that hole... I know! let's kill off the old planes and bet the farm on the Shiny New Hangar Queen! And by NO means will they ever admit to having made a mistake, much less reverse it.

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Tikimon
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Devil

Re: The best option

Rubber bands. Really, really BIG rubber bands. They'll also work a charm to help slow aircraft on landing, so no pesky outdated caveman-tech catapults or arresting wires needed.

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Google slaps mute button on stupid ads that nag you to buy stuff you just looked at

Tikimon
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FAIL

Re: Nice PR

Show us on the doll where the bully's taunts hurt you.

Show us on the doll where being stalked by a stranger hurt you.

Show us on the doll where your mentally abusive spouse hurt you.

You, sir, are an ass to make such a statement. Do you tell rape victims to relax and enjoy it too?

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Virgin Media skulks in disused public toilets

Tikimon
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Company also hidden from job applicants!

Many moons ago I was broke and desperate in Washington DC during a recession that had engineers and lawyers scrabbling for newspaper delivery jobs. One of the job ads I replied to: armored car driver (Wells Fargo).

The ad had an address and that's all. The huge, windowless building was unmarked, with only one door to the parking lot. Door was unmarked, with a button and speaker grille. Bzzzt. The person who answered rudely demanded what my business was. On being told I was there for the job ad, lots of rude and irrelevant questions. Finally, reluctantly, they send someone to let me in. The interviewer was a rude, unfriendly bastard as well. They offered me the job a month later, but thankfully I had found a good job at a laboratory. Crappy job too.

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Look on the bright side, Pebble fans. At least your gizmo will work long enough for you to get beach body ready

Tikimon
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Angel

"That's great for the 60s, but it's now 2018 and the time and date is available everywhere"

Everywhere YOU go, City Boy. Not me! I go places that are far from cell towers or chargers. Places that are soaking wet, or doing activities that would smash a mobile phone. My titanium field watch handles it all with aplomb and style, nearly 20 years and counting. Needs a three-dollar battery once every three years. It will still work when you are on your fifth smartphone after your current one.

Note to tech users: Your favorite widget is not the Only Way, may not be the best choice for everyone, and probably has use cases that you haven't considered. Don't be so confident declaring old tech obsolete and unneeded.

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Baywatch hero drone saves silly struggling swimmers Down Under from going down under

Tikimon
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Angel

ANY water can kill you if the cards fall wrong

I paddle a sea kayak, but mostly on inland flatwater and non-foaming rivers. I don't do whitewater or play in the surf. And yet, I have helped rescue about ten humans and one dog. Only one or two were for-sure lifesavers, but they were all facing hypothermia, possible drowning and/or being swept out to sea. Not one them got in trouble from being an idiot.

Well... okay, the DOG was kind of an idiot, romping out on a sandbar as the tide came in. He was cut off 100 meters from shore and the tide running out, too old to swim strongly. Plenty of stupid folks on the water, but the ones I've helped got caught by the unexpected. Except the dog.

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US shoppers abandon PC makers in hour of need

Tikimon
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Devil

Re: everyone replaces their PCs

"I think we'll see a surge in landfilled PCs, and no replacements bought."

Jeebus, will everyone please stop smugly predicting the utter and final death of the desktop PC? And the fax machine? And the other Old Skull Tech that persist in having a useful purpose in the world?

For us business types trying to get some work done, a good desktop and a couple of big monitors are pretty much required. Keyboards are faster than swiping or talking at a machine, mice and sticks are more accurate for selecting and placing items. I have four big tablets worth of screen real-estate for multiple programs and documents. Tablets and phones are not serious work machines.

So why slowing PC sales? I blame Windows 10. Why buy a marginally faster PC if you have to trade Win 7 for "Windows As A Spyware Service"? If the Old Box works well enough, no need to replace it.

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Ecuador tried to make Julian Assange a diplomat

Tikimon
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Facepalm

WOT? CCTV not sufficient???

I would expect the millions of cameras monitoring your police state to be sufficient to watch the exits of an embassy without requiring expensive meatsacks to do the job. Britain is obviously not reluctant to put up cameras on every pub and corner. Why didn't they simply add twenty more on the embassy?

I can answer my own question. The Pale One has defied the Stasi of the UK and US, they will stop at NOTHING to make him pay for it, and want everyone to know it. Cops are the same everywhere, they will never admit error, and they will never give up. The Sun will expand to a red giant and they will still be trying to extradite his decomposed remains to face trial.

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Heart of darkness: Inside the Osówka underground city

Tikimon
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Give 'em credit, the Krauts thought BIG

Have you seen the Flak Towers (Flakturm) that were built in Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna? Ranging from 150-250 feet tall, they were built so tough that many still loom over their host cities, too strong to destroy. Some of those were built in as little as six months.

As mentioned, slave labor and such helped get that done. But consider another massive engineering feat of the same period, done without slave labor in record time: The Pentagon. One of the world's largest office buildings was competed in 16 months by free men.

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Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Tikimon
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Thumb Down

Re: Public transport is already self-driving

"Good public transport would probably be more efficient and cheaper." I assume from your doubt that you've never done it. I have, in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. In both cases, it was twice as fast and a third of the cost to drive myself. Public transport is for those with no car, no cargo, and no errands to run.

In certain places public transit is the bomb! The Paris Metro is awesome, cheap and gets you there quick. But it's not a guarantee, and not always a practical replacement for a car.

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Tikimon
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Speaking in averages...

You don't care, someone might. Let's work it out! An American football field is 300 feet long. Truck and trailer size can vary, but the AVERAGE size of a truck-trailer combo in the US is 70 feet. Three of these end to end will total 210 feet, leaving 90 feet extra of the 300.

However, they won't drive nuts-to-butts in the Real World. Divide that 90 feet of leftover by two gaps and you get a mere 45 feet of following space between trucks. That's not far enough for tractor-trailers, even empty.

So three tractor-trailers traveling in a line will take up MORE than 300 yards/meters of road. In this case, it's not a journalistic exaggeration.

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UK.gov puts Suffolk 7-year-old's submarine design into production

Tikimon
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Re: Lighten up Francis....

Ohhh, we're digging it, and I'm happy for the kid. But ya gotta admit, it's too good an opportunity for humor to pass up!

I hope someone makes the kid a remote-control version to take home!

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Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

Tikimon
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FAIL

Re: So that's what it is!

"keeping compatibility with a large user base on old versions of Windows restricts its ability to innovate."

No, it restricts MS's ability to drag its customers away from a mature product that meets their needs, and force a spying platform with a horrible UI on them instead. Fixed that for ya.

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Elon Musk lowers his mighty erection for test firing: Falcon Heavy preps for maiden voyage

Tikimon
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Happy

Re: Kiss goodbye to that roadster

Nah, it's coming back down, it'll be famous. Elon will sneak aboard the rocket and ride it up. Then he will suit up, climb in the car and fly it back through re-entry to the wailing tones of "Radar Rider". Hopefully he pops the drag chute before landing, unlike the '57 Corvette in Heavy Metal.

Oh yeah, Elon's been wanting to replicate that scene for a loooong time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_KXgFpguE0

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

Tikimon
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Re: I did wonder about cause and effect

I wonder if the color Red might have something to do with it? I'm thinking of a great incident where some photographers were trying for pictures of golden eagles in a snowy area. They were cutting pieces of meat to toss out and bring them in for close pictures. It happened that the knife had a bright red handle, and one of the eagles swooped in and grabbed it. They got some awesome pictures of a friggin' eagle flying around holding a knife! Talk about Death From Above!

Anyway, they seem to be drawn to reddish, meat and blood colored things. Might relate, might not...

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Tikimon
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Angel

Re: Do they do it accidentally or deliberately?

"Why do we have such difficulty in giving other living things credibility for an iota of intelligence?"

Good question! There are a few influences at work here. The greatest blame belongs to Religion, which usually states that we are divine creations in the image of the gods, and animals are dumb vermin-ridden beasts. It's very important for religions to claim humans are separate and special, so there's a default setting of "animals are dumb automatons, we're smart thinking beings not like them".

I lay a fair bit of blame on psychology, ethology and such for perpetuating this attitude. They reflexively dismiss as "anthropomorphizing" any suggestion that an animal might be doing anything we do, or worse, for the same reasons. When it was assumed that humans are a Special Creation that kinda made sense, but not since we know that we're all related.

The newness of Science plays a part as well. When we started looking for natural explanations for the universe (and us), there was a tendency to treat any discovery as the Complete Answer. We're finding out now that most things are far more complex than that first answer we found. That's OK, it's the scientific method at work, moving ever closer to the final truth.

I don't make any distinction between genus Homo and our fellow critters. We're all related from the same origins, and we for sure can share behaviors and motivations. Throw out the preconceptions and you'll see all kinds of animals doing amazing things that nobody much notices or gives them credit for.

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

Tikimon
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Angel

I call it Mechanic Effect

Long before digital widgets invaded our lives, I did a fair bit of freelance car repair. Half my repair supplicants would bring me to their car, look confused and say "It's not doing it now." Thus I labeled it Mechanic Effect, but it inevitably happens with any new tech as well.

I'm not mystically inclined, I have no valid reason to ensoul the inanimate. Cars can't possibly have an awareness and personality, nor aircraft, washing machines, or computers. But somehow... they KNOW. They know a Fixer has arrived, a holder of arcane knowledge and exotic tools, a dealer in hacks and workarounds when the Accepted Method doesn't work. Someone willing to use them without restraint or remorse. The smart ones back down and behave, seeing the door to hell cracked open is warning enough. The others? The ones too dumb to spot a Fixer or too stubborn to straighten up?

(cracks knuckles menacingly) Okay then... let's have a look!

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First Allied submarine lost in World War One, found near New Guinea

Tikimon
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Re: MH370

Apples and watermelons, no comparison. The submarine is several hundred tons of steel, mostly intact on the seafloor. At 55 meters long, it's a relatively large target.

MH370 was lightly-built of mostly aluminum. It most likely shattered into thousands of pieces on impact with the water. The biggest chunk you may find might be an engine, which is vastly smaller than that sub wreck. It's a needle in a hayfield, and with the best of will and technology we may never find MH370's wreck.

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Nest's slick IoT burglar alarm catches crooks... while it eyes your wallet

Tikimon
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Thumb Up

Re: What real use are they?

Deterrence: not total, but pretty strong. Most crooks would prefer to break into a house or car that will not scream and give them away. If your place is alarmed (hah) then your neighbors without one look much more attractive.

Damage-control: If your alarm is yelling for help and may have called the cops, the intruder will make it quick and get out. Otherwise a burglar has lots of time and privacy to ransack the place.

Unfortunately I can vouch for this. I lived in a terrible part of Atlanta for nine years and we were burgled about five times. Each time they grabbed the TV and computer but totally missed the good stashes of jewelry and other slightly-hidden Good Stuff. Given time to root around, they would have found all that.

So not perfect, not total deterrence, but they do have value.

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Tikimon
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FAIL

Re: "far more pleasant to have a voice than a beep"

That Beep is shorthand for a longer statement, one we are familiar with and does NOT need to be read out longhand every flipping time. It's a time saver and convenience.

Imagine the horror if the simple one or two beep security arming for vehicles was replaced with voice responses. And for what gain?

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Ey-up, mardy Rochdale council has dropped plans for ban on swearing. Thank f$ck!

Tikimon
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Angel

Re: The response to this is well known

"If they were to bring in this rule then people will simply use alternate swear words"

Or alternate languages entirely! I already do that as a way to threaten and disparage computers in front of my users. I found too many who knew what the common French or German cusses meant. So now I unleash the vilest rants imaginable in Hungarian and Russian and nobody is the wiser. Except for two of my users who asked to learn a few choice phrases for personal uses, gotta love 'em.

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'I knew the company was doomed after managers brawled in a biker bar'

Tikimon
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Angel

Coffee Darts FTW!

I had a phone job in a call center separated by a 6-foot wall from another department. They had lots of rubber bands, and eventually they were sailing back and forth over the wall as we playfully "shelled" each other. Well, rubber bands lack range and accuracy, hardly the weapon of an American rifleman.

So I invented coffee darts. Cut two slits in one end of a plastic coffee stirring straw, slightly offset. Punch a staple longways near the other end and bend up the outer "arm" a wee bit. Slip small pieces of index card in the slits for fins. String a rubber band between two fingers, hook the staple on for a launching hook and let fly. They're accurate to quite long range, and simply lack the mass to hurt when they get there. Your target often doesn't notice being shot if they didn't see it. Of course, never aim for the head or face, but they're a blast. Also good for startling cats, lol.

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Foil snack food bags make a decent Faraday cage, judge finds

Tikimon
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Devil

Re: Colella is now an Uber driver...

That sentence seems rather harsh.

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The six simple questions Facebook refused to answer about its creepy suicide-detection AI

Tikimon
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Thumb Down

Re: Depression —> Paranoia

Or callously exploited?

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The NAKED truth: Why flashing us your nude pics is a good idea – by Facebook's safety boss

Tikimon
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Thumb Down

Re: How long before ...

Is anyone addressing the real danger here? This is Facebook, who never ever delete ANYTHING, no matter if they tell you they did. They will keep every nude photo uploaded forever. It's run by a sociopathic asshole who cares nothing for anyone else's rights or lives. I wouldn't put it past YuckyZuck to use them as a personal amateur porn stash. ICK!!!

I'm sure they'll justify permanent retention to themselves, for psych research or to train image recognition or some such BS.

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Those IT gadget freebies you picked up this year? They make AWFUL Christmas presents

Tikimon
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I ask my users to give me any unwanted USB sticks they collect at conferences. They are the "See ya, thanks for all the fish" loaners I'll never see again.

Please sir, can I have some more flash drives?

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Giza geezers' muon-geyser visor reveals Great Pyramid's hidden void surpriser

Tikimon
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Angel

almost...

It's good, but it would improve with "Giza GAZERS' muon..." Unless the research team had some really old folks in it "geezers" is the wrong choice.

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Tikimon
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Re: Do things the hard way...

Flying bots sound lovely, but don't forget you're asking your transmitter to penetrate around 100 feet of near-solid rock to reach the drone. That's a tough order, not to mention sending your camera feed back to the pilot. You could go autonomous, but that's asking for disaster when so little is known about what might be in there.

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Tikimon
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Facepalm

Re: What this guy says

"The major disappointment is that there are no comments."

I've noticed that cranks and crazies and rabid ideologues often don't allow comments. They really don't want to hear anything that contradicts their utter BS.

I've also noticed that many sane folks often don't allow comments. They really don't want to deal with the cranks and crazies and rabid ideologues who chime in with utter BS.

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Tikimon
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Angel

We should have anticipated this...

Only today a forgotten fragment of an old papyrus revealed the answer. It's the private Love Shack the Pharaoh was to use in the afterlife. Breaking with known traditions, its decoration makes extensive use of red pigments and long-haired animal skins (shag carpet being four millennia away). There's a small cold-box for beer and light snacks. The walls are covered with provocative erotic artwork, and lined with lavishly painted chests that hold the divine sex toys. There used to be a highly-polished reflective panel on the ceiling, but its frame deteriorated and it fell long ago.

Seduction pads haven't changed much in 4000 years.

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Competition law could help solve data-slurping monopolies, peers told

Tikimon
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Facepalm

"Indeed, thinking about it, I'm a lot more comfortable with a bot knowing about my internet habits through my usage than a person, because a person might tell the Daily Mail..."

How stupid can a man get? Does he not know the bot's purpose is to find "interesting information" and hand it on to HUMANS?

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Juno beams back first closeups of Jupiter's unsightly red acne

Tikimon
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IT Angle

Re: Voices

I heard it read by Emily Lakdawalla. Yez, I iz a space geeeeeek...

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Why are we disappointed with the best streaming media box on the market?

Tikimon
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Devil

Re: Personalisation

Don't let the words spoken blind you to the true intent. Personalization is merely the justification offered for why they're spying on you 24/7/365. So don't expect personalization to work or bring you any benefits, because it's NOT FOR YOU. It's only a cover story, and it doesn't work anywhere for any purpose that I'm aware of.

If they wanted to truly personalize products (make them tuned to ME), there would be a large, easy to find and activate "Do Not Personalize" button. But that would break their Big-Data surveillance business plan.

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AI bot rips off human eyes, easily cracks web CAPTCHA codes. Ouch

Tikimon
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Facepalm

CAPTCHA as anti-privacy weapon?

I run my browser as locked-down as I can manage it. I block scripts, spying, Faceborg "like" spy-buttons, etc. It might be my imagination, but I feel like more web sites are tying their CAPTCHA challenges to the basic site scripts. Block anything and you've blocked the gatekeeper challenge as well and can't use the site at all. Could be coincidence, could be my paranoia, could be a real thing.

"Prove you're not a robot, and let us track you for profit."

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Tikimon
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Devil

Re: What about...

"Yup, all we need is replace this stupid s##t with even stupider s##t like "30 cows in a field, 28 chickens how many didn't?" then wonder why the correct answer is "10"...:"

This went around my office a few weeks ago. I happened to be the only one who got it right. Doesn't bode well for puzzle-challenges.

Computers will eventually be better than humans at ANY of this, and inevitably the challenges will become unusable to humans but easily solved by machines. So what's left? Something involving body fluids? "Press the Auto-Pierce pad to collect a drop of blood and verify you are a human. We're sorry, your challenge failed, please re-sample and try again."

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Robot granted Saudi citizenship has more rights than Saudi women

Tikimon
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Devil

Re: Good to know

Lol, if the Saudis get awesome sex bots, it might be a good thing for the real women. I wouldn't expect that chauvinistic mysogynists who treat women as semi-sentient property would be very nice or good in bed. The women might enjoy a reprieve from the selfish grunting pig.

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

Tikimon
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Angel

Re: Beware break failure.

What, no appreciation of a possible pun? The brakes break, leading to failure. Many jokes rely on technically-incorrect spelling.

Just sayin'...

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There's a battle on over two US spying laws: One allows snooping on citizens – one bans it

Tikimon
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Painful to have your illusions revealed, isn't it?

We could believe our governments really weren't as bad as the old Stasi for decades. Problem is, it was simply impractical to run a Stasi without people noticing the pervasive spying activities. That spying had to be done in person more often than not, required lots of operatives. It was impossible to Get Away With It back then.

Now it's very different. A few mouse clicks by a single cop can steal millions of data records, which are helpfully gathered in insecure silos by misguided tech companies (who believe Big Data is the future). Nobody has to visit and break in or tap the phone anymore. It all happens behind the scenes. The public bits are made secret by threats from the cops.

So now, freed from the physical constraints of raiding file cabinets, the cops are running WILD doing everything they would have if they had only been able to 20 years ago. They were ALWAYS nasty backstabbing bastards, they simply didn't have easy databases to raid and store and search against.

The implication is that the cops will run amok being as illegal as they can manage. Period. The very bodies tasked to protect our rights are leading the charge to destroy those rights. There's no stopping them, and the only ones who might could help us - the tech industry - are instead racing headlong to IOT spying which will give the cops more ways to spy on us.

Because Fishing Expedition database queries are always easier than fighting crime.

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Brit cities overrun with middle-aged dronies, reckons survey

Tikimon
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Angel

"Mid-life crisis" is a pejorative term that needs to go!

The assumption is that us aging types suddenly get a longing for our long-lost youthness, and start flinging money at inappropriate things to try and recapture it. I ripped a post here a while ago who similarly claimed that only Oedipus-fixated young guys and desperate older women had sex together. It's accepted as canon by the ignorant, and it's totally, insultingly false.

The fact is that we have ALWAYS had these urges! What little boy didn't want a motorcycle? What teenager did not grow up coveting attractive loud cars? Most of us lacked funding and permission. Our parents rightfully spent the cash on food and shelter instead of a pony or spaceship but the longing never goes away.

So now here we are at Middle Age. We have our own money now, perhaps no kids to support, and why the hell don't we finally do that Thing we always wanted? WHY NOT? It's not an illogical crisis in quest of lost youth, it's the realization of a long-deferred reward. I refuse to feel silly for any of mine. If people are confused when I don't act like the kind of boring old fart they expect to become, that's not my problem.

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Uber's revolting sexism, the movie

Tikimon
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Angel

Re: Who would pay money to see it?

If you would come off your smug little pedestal, you might see how these can be non-exploitative. Granted that most "war movies" are merely trying to sell tickets. But some of them tell the true stories of participants who may have kept silent or been overlooked. They help friends and families and co-workers understand what the soldiers have gone through and probably did not talk about. They can help civilians understand the wars our nations have been involved in, why, how it all turned out for whom.

I present as an example: Saving Private Ryan. After decades of rah-rah movies and angst-ridden political commentary, someone finally told the (fairly straight) story of the troops in the field. I knew of several people with WWII vets in their families and most were glad to see this, to get a glimpse of the life-changing events their loved ones may have never spoken about.

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Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

Tikimon
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Re: Mini - not really

A VW Beetle decided to roost on the roof of my high school in 1979. Sat there for weeks. We also had a visit from a life-sized fiberglass Stegosaurus "borrowed' from a mini-golf place 25 miles away.

Irrelevant bonus trivia: I talked with one of the dinosaur guys later. They had slipped into the closed park at 2:00am, wrenched the Stego loose from its mounts, mahandled it over a fence and into a pickup truck. Some of them sat in back to stabilize the thing. So far so good! Of course with no traffic anywhere the very first traffic light catches them. So here's a truck filled with teenage guys and a dinosaur stopped at the light... and a local police car pulls up across the otherwise empty intersection. The cops look at the truck. The kids look at the cops. Anyone would know the dino belonged 100 yards up the road at Jolly Golf. The cops look at each other... and burst into laughter. The light goes green, the cops drive away. Awesome.

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