* Posts by veti

2215 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

veti
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Re: It stinketh

Doesn't matter if you do notice. The mere fact that you have to quote two separate numbers to make your point means that vanishingly few people will ever listen to enough of it to understand ... ooh, shiny!

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

veti
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Re: people were perfectly happy handing over their data to tech giants

You're going to have to explain to me exactly how ID cards will make it possible to increase anyone's certainty as to how many people live in the UK.

Are you assuming that the numbers of people who get multiple ID cards (for whatever nefarious, or simply incompetent, purpose) will exactly mirror those who refuse to get one at all?

BOFH: State of a job, eh? Roll the Endless Requests for Further Information protocol

veti
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Re: True to life

Oh, that much is an obvious result of an incentive system that grades people by how quickly they close their tickets.

Moral: performance incentives are harmful to performance. As far as I know, there are no exceptions to this rule.

Forget ripping off brains for AI. Butterflies and worms could lead us to self-repairing intelligent robots, says prof

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Brains are overrated

Human intelligence isn't confined to the brain. The nervous system extends all through the body, the brain constantly solicits - and gets - feedback from the legs, back, guts, loins and every other part. "Thinking with your gut" is a real thing, there are more nerve endings there than in the brain of an adult cat.

This is why sentient brains in jars is still science fiction, and likely to remain so. Also why uploading "yourself" is such a stupid idea. The brain and body can't be separated, at least not without effectively destroying whatever owned them.

GOPwned: Republicans fall victim to email hack

veti
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Re: The Russians are Coming!!!

If Trump gets impeached, there'll be a President Pence. I don't think either the Russians or the Democrats want that (although he'd certainly be easier to run against in 2020).

veti
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All we can do is wait

It'll be interesting to see who starts leaking, and how, and when.

If any of this information comes out within the next year, then it's a safe bet that whoever is doing it is trying not to damage the Republicans' chances in the next election. They may be shit-stirring for other purposes, but the timing would be designed to minimise electoral consequences.

If it comes out in mid-2020, that would look like more of an attempt to target the GOP's election chances.

If it all comes out at once, that would suggest a probably-naive, idealistic user who just believes in the Wikileaks ideal of "no secrets". If it's drip-fed week by week, that's someone trying to manipulate the news agenda. (This was my biggest beef with how Wikileaks itself handled the Clinton emails - the process they used simply wasn't consistent with their stated mission.)

If it doesn't come out at all by the end of 2020, then it's either routine opposition research by - whoever, could be anyone from the DNC to Mossad - or it's someone trying to either blackmail the RNC or to sell them a security service, or both.

And lo! Tim Cook becometh tech Jesus. But with more awards

veti
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Re: Yea, Verity, he Provideth Fake News

Everyone believes that "inclusion is achieved by excluding people who disagree". The only people who don't are armchair liberals who've never had the opportunity or the need to make the choice. But even J S Mill would agree that tolerance must have its limits.

What people argue so bitterly about is on what grounds people should be excluded. Some people believe it's people of certain political views. Some people believe it's foreigners, or fundamentalists, or Muslims, or non-Muslims, or people who don't speak a certain language, or people who speak it with the wrong accent.

"Excluding people" is the basis of all communities and all politics, everywhere, ever. Only when you've specified what people you're excluding, will people know what kind of community it is.

veti
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Well duh

He's making the case for his company, and its business model. What do you expect him to say?

Apple, together with Microsoft, is one of the companies I trust more nowadays. Of course they'll both soak me for every penny they can, but at least they tell me up-front what I need to pay them and what I'll get for it. In short, they treat me as a customer, not a product.

Incidentally, have you read Orwell's essay on Politics and the English Language? It might help. (Because my imagination just gave up at "the reins of the walled garden".)

Giraffe hacks printers worldwide to promote God-awful YouTuber. Did we read that one right?

veti
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Re: Get me a babysitter

@Small White Girl: I invite you to read this article. It's a very old article, some of the terminology is going to look very old-fashioned, but the principles are still valid. I think it might still help you understand what both YouTube and El Reg do.

veti
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Re: Get me a babysitter

Gosh, an awful (and I use the word advisedly) lot of new accounts seem to have been created just to post in defence of this one guy.

Trying to think what this reminds me of...

Marriott's Starwood hotels mega-hack: Half a BILLION guests' deets exposed over 4 years

veti
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Re: Being fair to Marriott

I thought that. I find it very hard to believe that anything remotely like half a billion separate people go anywhere near a Marriot hotel in any given five year period.

I mean, that's pretty close to the entire population of Europe and the USA combined. Including children. It doesn't pass the laugh test.

Huawei gets the Kiwi 'yeah nah'* as NZ joins the Chinese kit-ban club

veti
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As far as I know, no-one put a gun to Spark's head and forced them to commit to a 5G rollout by 2021. That was their idea.

If it turns out to be based on false assumptions, then maybe they should learn a lesson about risk management.

The antisocial network: 'Facebook has a black people problem,' claims staffer in exit salvo

veti
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Re: Global underepresented influencer strategic partner manager voice

The difference is, we hear all the time about how conservative white men are victims of discrimination from our shadowy online overlords. I mean, I don't think I've gone a day (online) in the past five years without seeing some version of that story.

But it's news to me that Facebook does the same thing to black people. I should have thought you'd be glad to know that victimisation wasn't reserved solely for your group.

veti
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Re: "it’s pretty disappointing to see you share our private messages"

So you'd be happy for any private message of yours to be published, then?

I'm going to have to press you for a yes-or-no answer. No "unless" or "except" clauses, because those are really a coded way of reserving the right to be asked permission.

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot

veti
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Re: Not just no

Hear, hear. BttF is probably the best movie trilogy ever released, and I for one am not about to lend even a sliver of encouragement to those who would batten their own lack of talent on its quality.

Heck, I'd rather see a remake of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With Tom Hanks and Jim Carrey, and the inevitable cameo by director Quentin Tarantino.

Tech bosses talk kids' books! Could they show a glimmer of humanity? You only get one guess

veti
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Re: When I were a lad ...

Arab scholarship stalled, not so much because "a priest stepped in" as because the Caliphate disintegrated into many independent, contentious kingdoms. Great science goes hand in hand with great empires. Disunity always slows learning.

And the industrial revolution didn't start in Europe, it started in England. Largely because the English common law tradition fostered the attitude that pragmatism should always trump ideology. Sadly, too many British people today have forgotten - or never learned, or understood, or internalised - that rule.

Seeing as Bitcoin is going so, so well, Ohio becomes first US state to take biz taxes in BTC

veti
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Stupid, or dishonest?

Sounds like Mr Mandel has taken a long position on BTC, and is trying to shore it up.

I'm trying to resist the temptation to speculate, because I really have no idea and it's quite possible that he's just stupid, not dishonest... but I wonder if he also has shares in BitPay?

Someone is going to go bankrupt pretty quickly over this. Probably BitPay. Let's just hope they don't take the whole state down with them.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

veti
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Re: OK, but why ....

While I will cheerfully agree that the UK rollout is highly stupid - clearly designed by and for the benefit of the big, incumbent retailers - there is a also a colossal amount of the most ridiculous FUD on this topic.

Security? As already pointed out, there is nothing of value to a burglar in tracking your electricity usage. There are easier, and more reliable, ways to find out who's not home.

Load control? Unless the rollout is even dumber than I've heard, that's not done by cutting off power at the meter. It's done by selectively cutting off individual major loads, usually an immersion heater. The rest of the house remains powered.

Disconnection? Covered by the same regulations no matter what kind of meter you have. Sure, they can be changed, but that's always been true and always will be. There is no reason to imagine that smart meters will make a difference, except that they make it much faster to get reconnected.

Power consumption? A smart meter uses a fraction of the power of your mobile phone. Your old mechanical meter probably used more.

If you want to complain, forget all this FUD. It's just noise, and everyone who knows anything about the subject knows it, so as soon as you start talking about it you mark yourself as someone who can be ignored. Talk instead about the decision to put the rollout in the hands of the retailers, and not even stipulate that they must stick to common standards of communication and encryption. That's what has given the UK the unpardonable situation where meters can be used as a barrier to competition. The correct solution was to give metering responsibility to some third party, whether govt-run or private sector, who are required to deal with all retailers on a FAND basis.

Laptop search unravels scheme to fake death for insurance cash

veti
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I must be a bit slow...

Because it's only just now occurred to me that the name of 'Reginald Iolanthe Perrin' was artfully crafted for the initials.

GNU David Nobbs.

When selling security awareness training by email, probably a good shout not to hit 'reply all'

veti
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Re: Holland was clearly making a point..

In my organization we frequently have triparty exchanges where everyone could contribute.

One word: wiki. Email is just a silly medium for those discussions.

Talk about a cache flow problem: This JavaScript can snoop on other browser tabs to work out what you're visiting

veti
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Re: JS - just for a change

JS is too often the lazy option.

Well, yes. But saying why it gets used does not really get us any closer to preventing its misuse.

Whatever the reason, the fact is it's very, very widely used, and you can't simply turn it off without breaking a (very) large part of the web we have now.

It would be more helpful to identify the specific JS functions that are used in this attack, and how they could be rewritten or redacted entirely to suppress it.

veti
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Re: about:config

Well, problem sorted then. I don't see how you could be more intuitive than that.

</sarcasm>

Did you hear? There's a critical security hole that lets web pages hijack computers. Of course it's Adobe Flash's fault

veti
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The problem with redoing from scratch is, there is no reason to believe you'll do any better job than the original team did. Sure you'll avoid their mistakes, but you'll make plenty of your own, including many that they thought of and avoided.

Health secretary Matt Hancock assembles brains trust: OK, guys. Let's cure NHS IT

veti
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Re: Oh, great

Great, that's much less work. Now "all" you need to do is set up a data exchange hub, and publish a list of standards it will accept. (The choice of standards would be mostly dictated by "file formats that can be securely and reliably validated".) Make it available, and this is the killer, for free to all licensed medical practitioners and centres.

It will probably become evident quite quickly that there are requirement gaps that the open standards can't cover, and then the body may turn its attention to sponsoring the development of new standards to cover those. But there's no reason why it can't start right now with what is already available.

Britain may not be able to fend off a determined cyber-attack, MPs warn

veti
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Private wires would probably be more secure, yes. But there's a reason why they were abandoned, y'know - it wasn't an evil conspiracy to sell out the national infrastructure to The Enemy, it was an attempt to save money.

The UK gov't needs to decide whether it wants private, competitive utilities or public, monopolistic ones. If the latter, then regulate prices but also mandate spending and services. If the former, then regulate competition and let the market sort out prices - that's how it works. But don't do this neither-fish-nor-fowl bollocks that's been wreaking havoc since the 1990s.

Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?

veti
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Why are "tax breaks" even a thing?

Look, laws are meant to be laws. That is to say, uniform for everyone. If they don't meet that basic test then they're not really "laws" at all, they're just "what some bod in a funny hat feels should be done today".

So pass your (city/state/whatever) tax laws, and then enforce them. If someone wants to know what they can get for bringing a business to your city, point them at the already-published laws and tell them to start reading. And if that doesn't work out for your city, change the laws by all means - but change them for everyone.

Anything else is just crony capitalism, which is essentially feudalism in a nice suit.

Russia: We did not hack the US Democrats. But if we did, we're immune from prosecution... lmao

veti
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Re: Wikileaks and Trump?

It's possible Assange may have thought he had a deal with Trump, but - like many others before him - he's since realised what that's worth.

Also possible that he was even more of a mug than that, and acted out of malice toward Clinton in the vague hope that a grateful Trump would reward him later. Because Trump and gratitude go together like a horse and marriage.

But personally, I think he just couldn't resist the temptation to make more headlines about himself, and would cheerfully have taken and published dirt from anyone for any reason if it would make a good splash. His co-ordination with the Trump campaign was limited to timing the announcements and leaks to maximise publicity.

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

veti
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Re: It's not a compass.

My guess is that "commercially viable" will be available about the same time as fusion power.

There's a certain type of boffin - and for reasons that are pretty obvious when you think about it, they're often a type that loves working on govt-funded R&D projects - who think that once they've demonstrated an effect in principle, everything after that is just boring donkey-work. This is the demonstration-in-principle, now it's "just" a matter of bolting six of the things together, reducing space, weight and power requirements by a factor of 10,000, and manufacturing costs by a thousand times that, and fixing all those annoying glitches that they still don't fully understand but managed to work around for demo purposes...

How hard can it be? - as they said about fusion, back in the '70s.

And then someone will have to interface it to Android and iOS. That's where things will really get tricky.

Bloke jailed for trying to blow up UK crypto-cash biz after it failed to reset his account password

veti
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So we're in favour of massive police DNA databases now, are we?

Sheesh. Every time I start thinking I might want to come back to England, I see something like this.

I found a security hole in Steam that gave me every game's license keys and all I got was this... oh nice: $20,000

veti
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Re: People will [..] share out of a desire to show off

Some people will share to show off, sure.

But if you ever again want to have access to software that's been developed by a team of more than three people, that's not going to cut it. Many/most coders enjoy the process of creation, quite a few even like design. But very few enjoy rigorous testing and debugging, and even fewer believe in documentation. And as for project management - it's hard enough to get people to do that when you are paying them...

GDPR USA? 'A year ago, hell no ... More people are open to it now' – House Rep says EU-like law may be mulled

veti
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If you take every reasonable precaution but still get wrongfooted by something you couldn't have foreseen, then that's not exactly a right way to drop them, but at least you haven't done anything wrong.

Accidit stercore, as the legal doctrine has it.

veti
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Re: I don't care what they do

"Anything" would be an improvement?

I've learned never to say that. People tend to take it as a challenge.

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

veti
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Unfortunately, those "policies" are more like guidelines, which management will tweak constantly and may well violate randomly with ad-hoc decisions from day to day.

Publishing them would reveal to the world how amateurishly it's being run. I don't know of any company, in any industry anywhere, that would be up for that.

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

veti
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Re: VAT

VAT is collected from the party that sells the thing. That's a sales tax. Yes, there's some extra accounting that goes into it, designed to make it fairer and avoid accumulating, but the end result is that 20% or whatever it is of the total turnover goes to the treasury.

veti
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Re: VAT

Of course the tax is ultimately paid by the end consumer of the item. And who the heck else do you imagine is going to end up paying this tech tax, if the EU is dumb enough to pass it?

OP is spot on: VAT, aka sales tax, is the only fair way to tax big companies. A tax on "profits" inevitably ends up with a lot of very fat accountants, and angry headlines in the tabloids about how some billion-dollar business is paying $4.93 in tax.

Web Foundation launches internet hippie manifesto: 'We've lost control of our data, it is being used against us'

veti
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Re: We already have the solution

Translation: "If everyone were more like me, there'd be no problem."

That's not what we earthlings call a "solution".

Slabs, huh, what are they are good for? Er, not quite absolutely nothing

veti
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Re: Odd middle ground

It's a screen that you can put wherever you like, that turns on instantly (zero boot time), that can be propped up against the toaster to show a recipe, or shared with the whole family if need be.

The big mistake people make is in thinking that it's a type of computer. It's not. It's a media consumption device, it has more in common with a TV than a laptop. Think of it in those terms, and you might understand the use cases better.

veti
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Re: Not surprised...

My 8-year-old iPad 2 is still going, still more than good enough for web browsing, video streaming and older games. It still gets used quite a lot, but I see no likelihood of replacing it when it finally flakes out. The spouse will just have to give in and get a smartphone like everyone else.

Google: All right, screw it, from this Christmas, Chrome will block ALL adverts on dodgy sites

veti
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Re: It's out of control

Meh. If a forum uses an ad server to insert its own bespoke emojis, rather than relying on Unicode, that's on them. Can't blame Google for that.

30 spies dead after Iran cracked CIA comms network with, er, Google search – new claim

veti
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Re: Commander-In-Chief to blame

The political system in the US has been hijacked by a modern day praetorian guard who think they know how to run things better then the politicians.

I don't think there's much doubt about it - they do know how to run things better than the politicians.

The problem is that this leaves out the important question: "better for what exactly?" That's what politicians are supposed to decide, but instead they spend their time trying to micromanage, mostly in the hope of scoring points off each other.

If politicians would stick to their jobs and let the intelligencers do theirs, then the system would have a chance to work. But until then, expect this pointless power struggle to continue.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

veti
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Re: It wasn't that long ago

And Charles Darwin used to be on the £10. Way back, Stevenson was on the £5.

I'd say scientists (and engineers) haven't done so badly on Bank of England currency. (The Scots have their own hangups, as usual.)

50 ways to leave your lover, but four to sniff browser history

veti
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The big question here

Why in the name of all that is noodly does any feature of CSS need a frickin' API?

The server sends the data, the browser presents it to the user. CSS makes suggestions about how it should do that, but suggestions is all they are. If the browser is sending information back about how it chose to present it - frankly it's time to tear down the whole Web and start over.

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

veti
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Re: Lack of science in schools

You're asking for an awful lot of analysis from a minimum-wage mailroom drone.

From today, it's OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret

veti
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Re: DRM didn't protect anything, ever.

Good grief, you name a couple of turkeys and present that as evidence that Hollywood is dead? Would you care to name the golden age in which there were no sucky films produced?

Hollywood is doing very nicely, thank you for your concern. The complaint about everything being remakes and sequels has been made routinely for the past 20 years, and it's never been true. Just look at the programme at your nearest multiplex right now: is there really nothing new there?

Of course the quality is completely hit and miss. It always was. But off the top of my head, since the alleged death of Hollywood, I've seen: Life of Pi, Saving Mr Banks, Gravity, The World's End, Frozen, Lincoln, Wreck-it Ralph, Pacific Rim, Death of Stalin, Zootopia, Moana. All of them pretty good, of their kind. If over the same period you've seen nothing but turkeys, remakes and superhero pap - I'm afraid that's on you.

Euro eggheads call it: Facebook political ads do change voters' minds – and they worked rather well for Trump in 2016

veti
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Re: Gosh

This isn't about "advertising your opinion". If that was what people were doing, we wouldn't be talking about it.

It's about ads carefully designed and directed to create a false impression of facts. Not opinions.

Of course you can reasonably retort that the press does that all the time, and that's a whole separate argument we can have. But first let's recognise what's happening here: the ads are not about argument or persuasion, they're not even about spin or slant - they're straight-up lying.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

veti
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Re: QA Prestige

More than that, because testing is only as good as the documentation that comes with it. Before you can test, you need - something like an actual spec.

That rules it out for about 30% of all companies right away.

And the spec needs to be reasonably clear, complete, accurate and up to date. That probably strikes out another 50%.

Without that documentation, QA is always getting the mushroom treatment.

Alternatively of course you could just write comprehensive user documentation. (Then tie it to the leg of a passing carrier pig.)

Facebook names former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg head of global affairs

veti
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Re: I'm not missing the opportunity to flip this...

If Labour hadn't adopted its "members elect the leader directly" constitution...

If the Scots had voted to leave the UK... or if their referendum had never happened at all...

If the Germans had treated the Greeks a little better...

Heck, if Philip II of Spain had succeeded in invading England in 1588...

I could play "things that could have prevented the referendum" all day. But I've got things to do.

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

veti
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Nobody has convicted him of rape. True.

But what I don't see is anybody suggesting that he should be jailed for that without a trial. If you have seen such a suggestion, could you point to it?

veti
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Re: Please, someone set up a GoFundMe

If you could create a self-cleaning cat litter tray, you wouldn't need GoFundMe. Venture capitalists would be falling over themselves to shovel money at you.

Google Cloud chief joins Saudi shindig exodus over journalist's worrying disappearance

veti
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Re: Lets face facts

Ruthless, "no-nonsense" leaders have a long and distinguished history across all civilisations and religions, there's nothing distinctively Muslim about them.

Consider, e.g.: Stalin, Mao, Franco, Mugabe, and many more of their ilk.

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