* Posts by veti

1321 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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What's the biggest danger to the power grid? Hackers? Terrorists? Er, squirrels

veti
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In proportion

Does no-one remember ANYfuckingthing from more than a few weeks ago any more?

Eight deaths? In 35 years? Boo hoo. In 2003, one software bug in the grid system - in America - killed 12 people in 2 days. Reference.

Software engineers - and, by extension, hackers - are way, way more dangerous than any number of rodents.

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Google harvests school kids' web histories for ads, claims its Mississippi nemesis

veti
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Well, now I've had time to read the legal filing (linked in the article), and I've done a complete U-turn. I now suspect the AG is completely right and may well have Google bang to rights.

The key point is, nowhere does he actually allege that Google is sharing the information. That detail is inserted, either by some PR flack who doesn't know what they're doing, or by El Reg, who really should know better 'cuz this is exactly how fake news spreads.

But apparently "sharing" is neither here nor there. Google promised it wouldn't even harvest or "process" the information, even completely internally, for commercial purposes.

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veti
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Have an upvote. This stinks of "A-G wants to get his name in the press".

My guess is, the only evidence he has is that students are seeing individually targeted ads. But of course that's what Google does - that in itself is no evidence that they're sharing squat.

On the face of it, it seems very unlikely that they would. As you say, sharing the data would (a) get them into trouble (as per this story), and (b) cost them money. Seems a very strange business decision.

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Stanford boffins find 'correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity'

veti
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What do you call the person who graduated bottom of their class from medical school? "Doctor".

Doctors say all kinds of things, based on whatever evidence they happen to have been exposed to. In some areas, that evidence will be tantamount to "none at all".

Now there's a new study, maybe some of those doctors will change their advice.

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

veti
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Please at least try to understand

Look: May has a difficult line to walk. Whenever a politician says anything, you need to think: who are they talking to? The answer isn't as simple as "their current audience", because they know their words will be reported and repeated through other channels.

52% (ish) of British voters voted for Brexit. Those 52% can be broadly divided into three groups:

A small number - let's say one-tenth - had actually thought through the issues and arrived at a decision rationally. (It is possible, even if you think their conclusion was wrong.)

A fairly large number - let's say one third - were merely expressing some incoherent dissatisfaction based on misinformation, spread mostly by the tabloids, over the last 30 years.

And the rest were expressing various shades of "get the damn foreigners out of my country".

Of course we don't know the actual breakdown of those numbers. Theresa May's guess may be more accurate than mine, or it may not.

But May's job, right now, is to appease the last of these factions. Nobody really knows how big it is, but thanks to Cameron's folly (compounded by Farage and Corbyn and the rest of those idiots, but the basic idea was Cameron's) - those people now think they are the majority. That makes them dangerous, and they need to be placated.

They are not, on the whole, very highly informed. They are not big on the subtler points of international law or diplomacy. May has to send the signal that she's doing their bidding, while simultaneously not burning Britain's bridges to Europe. (Keep in mind that the European leaders are politicians too - they understand her position better than most of us.) That is why she's playing her cards very, very closed at the moment.

In the technical sense, "hard Brexit" is undefined and therefore meaningless. But in the political sense, it's a bone thrown to the anti-immigrant crowd.

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Calls for UK.gov's tax digitisation plans to be put on the back burner

veti
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Re: Tax really is taxing

And that right there is the problem. "Simplify the tax code" translates directly to "change the project requirements", plus opens a whole can of worms labelled ""how, exactly?". No wonder it's running late.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation is part of the problem, because any real simplification of the tax code would mean the end of their meal ticket.

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Brilliant phishing attack probes sent mail, sends fake attachments

veti
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Re: Sigh. Not again.

If people are so clueless that they're scanning or photographing printed pages, then converting into a PDF that's just a big image file (per page), then yes, they deserve slapping.

But most PDFs aren't created like that: they start out as Word (or similar) documents, and in that case the text can be read from them perfectly cleanly.

I must say, it's a devilish clever attack. I've been thinking for years that the trouble with "security education" is, once it catches on, it's really pretty trivial for the phishers to up their game like this. And now they have.

We need a new protocol, because email has been breaking for a long time now and this looks like the last straw.

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Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

veti
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Well, actually it would. By mathematical identity, it would double their wealth. Most people would call that a big difference.

"The man who dies rich, dies disgraced" - Andrew Carnegie. I honestly wish the obscenely rich would feel more of an obligation to share their money. I don't know of any sensible way of forcing them to do so, but naming and shaming is perfectly reasonable.

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Trump's cyber-guru Giuliani runs ancient 'easily hackable website'

veti
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Re: The real issue

I fear you've put your finger on Rudy's real qualifications: loyalty to the Dear Leader, and an authoritarian streak as wide as the Hudson. He'll have no qualms about siccing the NSA/other TLAs on anyone who makes waves, and who seems disloyal to the regime.

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Donald Trump will take cybersecurity advice from, um, Rudy Giuliani

veti
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The pick is completely in keeping with Trump's established form for e-security.

But never mind, because Trump is totally gonna put up a firewall. The best firewall, a beautiful firewall. And the Russians are gonna pay for it.

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UK can be a 'world leader in 5G', you say? Er, our 4G still takes a beating from Peru

veti
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The point is, if the UK is the first country to roll out 5G, then lots of UK engineers will be able to put "5G experience" on their CVs.

Then go off and get better jobs in other countries who want to learn from the UK's mistakes.

That's one reason why academics and wannabes are always pushing the next big thing. "Trying to make 4G work properly" is boring. (To be sure, the benefit to actual users would be incomparably greater, but who cares about them?) 5G is sex on a stick, as far as they're concerned.

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Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

veti
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Can we please stop using "fake news"

... as a buzzword for anything from "groundless propaganda" to "spin that we personally disagree with"?

Or in this specific case, "historical revisionism"?

Real stories are complex, and there are many ways of looking at this one. Harford does make a valid point, even if he massively overstates it. To pretend that the iPhone sprang like Athena, perfectly formed from the head of Steve "Zeus" Jobs, is just as wankerly as the BBC's own bollocks.

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FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

veti
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So let's get this straight...

The guy hasn't been tried, much less convicted, but it's OK to publicly identify him as a paedophile? Did he upload anything? Not stated. How was he identified? Also not stated.

And who, specifically, signed off on the FBI running a child porn hub?

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TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

veti
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VoiceLaziness is a stupid idea.

Fixed that for you.

The problem isn't the means of communication, it's the bypassing important steps like "reviewing the results" and "verifying your credit card information".

If your computer is set up so that it can spend your money without you being there, then you have a problem far larger than voice activation.

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Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

veti
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Re: Why don't I just mosey on down and rob the bank

If I go to the bank, present my debit card and ask for $565, that's called "making a withdrawal".

Who was it who, when asked "why do you rob banks?", replied "that's where the money is"? That's just not true any more. You have to be pretty far down the bell curve to even think about robbing a bank nowadays - the payoff-to-risk ratio must be one of the lowest of any type of crime.

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Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

veti
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Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

They're undergraduates. What do you expect?

The whole thing is basically an exercise in demonstrating that they know how to plug numbers into an equation (which was given to them by a lecturer), crank a handle and get an answer. That's all it is.

There's no claim that any of the numbers are even remotely plausible, let alone realistic, and they're not being graded on that. Which is just as well.

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Snapchap snaps back: Snapchat Snapbrats' Snapstats are Snapcrap

veti
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Re: Who to believe?

You mean, you think there's a possibility that a web company isn't inflating its stats?

Now that would be news.

The alarming thing here is that, apparently, there exist people with money who are willing to invest it on the basis of numbers they see in a prospectus from Snapshat. Which they surely must know are bullshit?

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Ransomware scum: 'I believe I'm a good fit. See attachments'

veti
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Re: Macros

Word macros can be really useful. I used to use them to format documents for publication, they saved countless hours of gruntwork there.

But on the other hand, any applicant who wants me to enable macros in a document they sent to me - well, let's just say they're not likely to be a good fit, on the grounds that they're an idiot. Anyone who's sophisticated enough to use macros has no excuse for not knowing why that's a dumb idea.

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Russia to convicted criminal hackers: 'Work with us or jail?'

veti
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Re: How long would it take...

Russia's land border runs to more than 20,000 km, so quite a while. It would also involve strolling around some pretty dangerous places.

And once you've done that, you can swim through half the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Strait.

Send us a postcard, won't you?

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Banned! No streaming live democracy from your phones, US Congress orders reps

veti
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Re: Much Ado about Nothing

I wish the media would respond by simply removing all TV cameras from Congress. See how they like that.

Has adding live TV coverage significantly improved the quality of debate or governance in Congress? Has it made the critters more accountable? Has it improved voter engagement or turnout? Trust in Congress?

If the answer to all of the above is "no", then why not just remove them?

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Assange confirmed alive, tells Fox: Prez Obama 'acting like a lawyer'

veti
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Re: ...unlike his credibility

The way of releasing it, however, was not that of a whistleblower acting in good faith.

He could have dumped the whole lot out at once. He could have sent a routine press release to his media outlets of choice. Instead, he staggered the releases over several weeks, promised ever-rescheduling press conferences (thus catching more news cycles), and clearly colluded with the Russians in writing hack-job stories based on the contents.

I say "clearly colluded with the Russians", because time and again the stories were first published in RT or other Russian government-controlled media, and only then picked up and copied verbatim by US sources.

And while we're on the subject, "my source was not the Russian government" - think about what that doesn't mean. Specifically, it doesn't mean "my source was not supplied by the Russian government", or "my source was not working for the Russian government". Nor, for that matter, does it mean "I have personally verified my source's bona fides and confirmed that s/he never had any contact with the Russian government, because I have a foolproof way of doing that".

I for one would love to see Trump pardon Assange. It would remove his number one lame excuse for not going back to Sweden to face trial there.

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Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

veti
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I bought a brand-new Panasonic TV about two months ago, and I can assure you it's (almost) as dumb as the programmes it receives.

Yes, "smart" is coming. For your next TV, I recommend "not giving it your wifi password". The one after that will have its own dedicated cellular connection, and at that point you're probably screwed, but who knows, they might have fixed their security issues by then...

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Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

veti
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Fantastic!

Here it is at last, what every teenage girl has been waiting for - the hairbrush that doubles as a mic!

Now all you need to do is connect it to the PS or XBone, and open up a whole new hell of bathroom karaoke.

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Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

veti
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Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

Was Seth Rich the leaker? Well, I'm not aware of any evidence that he was. But even if he was - what follows from that? Does it mean Russia is innocent?

Hell no.

If Wikileaks had any interest in "full disclosure", then there was absolutely no need for the materials to be released the way they were - staggered across several weeks, with promises of press conferences and 'teasers' released to the media beforehand. That was a well orchestrated campaign, and I don't have the slightest doubt it was the Russians who orchestrated it, in co-operation with the Trump campaign. (Witness the time Trump referenced a story based on a misquote that had, at that time, only ever been published in RT.)

Putin's fingerprints are all over Trump's victory, with or without Seth Rich or any other stooge who may have helped out his little game of kingmaker. I suspect that a thorough investigation would find the same dabs on the Brexit result - at the very least, there's no doubt the trolls of Olgino were very active in the British media this summer.

But the interference in America was blatant. What's more, the CIA recognises it as straight out of their own playbook - it was exactly the kind of campaign that the US ran in Ukraine back in 2004.

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Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

veti
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Re: Lies and statistics

About the same time as the Hindenberg, the US navy was experimenting with airships (google "Akron class") that carried 60 crew, 8 machine guns, plus five aircraft weighing about a tonne each. And, presumably, it must've also carried fuel, arms and ammo for the aircraft. It's not huge, but it's considerably bigger than any truck I've ever seen.

And there's a possibility that technology may have advanced in the 80-odd years since then, and Amazon's version could be considerably larger still.

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A year in infosec: Bears, botnets, breaches ... and elections

veti
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It's an exaggeration to say that "the information is generally believed accurate".

The leaked emails are generally believed to be genuine. But how many people actually read them? Hands up if you've ever been to Wikileaks and read them for yourself?

What most people read, or watched, or heard, was news stories based on someone else's reading of one or more of the emails, and (very) selectively quoting from them. And those stories were the most misleading things I've seen all year (and seriously, it's been a biiig year for that kind of shit).

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US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

veti
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Re: Police: Your other devices tell us who murdered who and how...

So that's why Amazon is resisting: the cops are asking them to facilitate wholesale copyright infringement. It all makes sense now.

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veti
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Re: Dystopian future on the way?

"If that is what someone wants, they can go live in a prison" - seriously, is that an option? Where I come from it's quite hard to get in to those places, at least not without doing something quite distasteful. Their bouncers are harsh.

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2016 just got a tiny bit longer. Gee, thanks, time lords

veti
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Joke's on you...

Those of us with the presence of mind to be in a GMT+ timezone get our leap-second in 2017.

So nyah.

And yes, I know there's no guarantee 2017 will be better. But "regression to the mean" is still a thing, right? So there's at least a good chance.

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Did EU ruling invalidate the UK's bonkers Snoopers' Charter?

veti
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Re: I feel sick

"How can spying on innocent people be legal?" - well, how are the Plod supposed to know who's "innocent" before they've done any investigating?

Seriously, this is the 300 kg gorilla that never seems to get mentioned here: you can't spy on terrorists and kiddie fiddlers without also spying on you and me. It's logically (and very likely legally) impossible. If we don't want that to happen, then the Powers will also need to find (stick to) alternative ways to spy on Bad People.

"If I disagree with government policy and try to look up stuff from an opposing view, then they know all about it. They can visit me in night and silence me." - well sure, but only if they're willing to do that to (quite literally) half the population, and nobody has time for that. Not yet, anyway.

"How is it legal to make laws that only apply to certain people?" - short answer, Parliament can make whatever laws it likes, subject (to a limited degree) to precedent and constitution and international treaties. Longer answer, this is by far the worst aspect of the act, and if you want to point to an aspect that is totally indefensible on any plausible grounds, this is the weak spot.

"I pray we get invaded" - please drop the hyperbole. Being invaded is never pleasant. If you genuinely wish for that, you're an idiot.

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Sayonara North America: Insurance guy got your back when Office 365 doesn't?

veti
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Re: Business Decision

And if you keep it in house, then who are you gonna fire and fine when it all goes TITSUP? Or are you only advocating punishing managers who want to make changes?

A decision not to change is also a decision. If the IT/CFO is answerable for the result, then that needs to apply whichever way they make the decision. And of course failing to make it at all is always wrong.

Chairman/CEO: "I think we need to check it again. We'll get back to you."

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veti
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Re: Blind leading the blind

You can't call it "fake news", because it makes no pretence to be "news" at all.

It's editorial. Or more likely advertorial.

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veti
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Three words:

Kings. College. London.

If you manage your own servers in-house, a serious failure can screw your entire business for much more than just a day.

The "compensation" clause in the service contract isn't about compensating you, it's about aligning your provider's interests with yours. If my cloud service goes down for as long as 24 consecutive hours, the compensation will wipe out the provider's entire year's profit from my business. Ergo, they are strongly motivated to make sure that doesn't happen.

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China gives America its underwater drone back – with a warning

veti
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Re: Erm...

"We left-wingers" laughed at Obama when he talked about 57 states, just like we laughed at Bush's cunning linguistics.

But Trump is in a whole different category. Bush was a dimwit, and Obama weak, but both of them were at least genuinely trying to do their jobs. Trump has no intention of trying to do anything but enrich his own dynasty.

America? Stick a fork in it. It's done.

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Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged

veti
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Re: This is great news...

Non-existent? As I type, it features prominently on the UK pages of the BBC, Guardian, and The Times. Mainstream enough for you?

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Non-existent sex robots already burning holes in men’s pockets

veti
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Re: A more achievable solution ...

You wouldn't use hydraulics. Electric motors are more than capable of all the movement you need. Hydraulics are expensive, messy, heavy and power-hungry.

Leave them out, and you also solve the power supply problem, because now you just have to find a space for a decent sized battery, which could easily fit inside the ribcage, skull, and/or perhaps inside the thicker "bones".

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veti
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Re: Imagine the potential leaks

Pah, I switched its default password with my TiVo's. So if you used "chunkyLover53" to hack it, all you're going to see is Simpsons reruns.

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MPs suggest introducing web blocking to tackle suicide rates in UK

veti
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Suicide is not particularly prevalent in the UK, its rate is well down in the pack of first-world countries. What would these MPs consider an "acceptable" rate of suicide, exactly?

Serious question. If these bastards are talking about restricting your internet freedom yet further, the least you can do is press them as to what precisely - i.e. what reduction in rates - they hope to achieve by it. And while they're at it, let them define an unambiguous failure condition - if this reduction is not achieved over the next five years, the rule should automatically be removed.

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Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

veti
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Oh, that'll work

Because there's no way a horny 13-year-old could ever figure out how to remove a porn-disabling chip from a computer.

I can see a bright side to this: a marked uptick in the average engineering skills of SC's teenage male population. Oh, and presumably it'll create a market for some SC business, which may or may not be owned by the governor's brother-in-law or someone, to make the chips in the first place.

So all in all, not too bad.

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London's Winter Wonderland URGENTLY seeks Windows 10 desk support

veti
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Re: Sounds like MS could get some free publicity

You don't think anyone at Microsoft knows how to run that software configuration, do you?

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UK Home Office slurps 1,500 schoolkids' records per month

veti
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What the flying fuck do you think you know about "my 'agenda'"?

I know the majority of people I know in the UK are decent. But I also know that whenever public opinion is systematically tested on the subject - through a process called "elections", or more recently "a referendum" - the results are not consistent with my subjective impression. So, I conclude, my experience is not representative.

That's science. When the real measurement contradicts your eyeball impression, the more rigorous version is deemed to be correct.

It may well be that "a majority" of people in the UK are still "decent". But if so, those people need to get off their arses and make their voices heard, because right now they are rolling over and allowing the cunts to set the agenda.

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veti
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Schools should be a "hostile environment"? Yeah, can't see how that could possibly go wrong.

If the goal is to reduce the number of people in Britain, then nice job, Home Office - because I and my children are staying right here, where people are mostly decent. That's three British citizens you've successfully driven out. Give yourselves a high five.

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Trump meets Google – exclusive transcript

veti
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Re: Whow, this Trump sounds awfully coherent.

It's not new. George W Bush was famous for mangling the language, and his enemies completely missed the point by calling him "dumb" because of it.

In the UK, Tony Blair was a leading exponent of the art. But I'll admit, Trump has taken it to another level.

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IBM boss pledges to hire 25,000 Americans in next four years

veti
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"New collar jobs"?

At last, it's about time we had a new euphemism for "interns".

It strikes me that IBM employs what, 60,000 people in the US? If the average employee stays for 10 years, then over 4 years you would expect a churn of about 24,000 just from natural turnover.

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Snowden: Donald Trump could get pal Putin to kick me out of Russia

veti
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@BillG - no, that's not true. Fascists are quite different from centrist politicians like Obama and Clinton. If Obama were governing like that, Snowden would have been pardoned years ago.

What centrists do, and what virtually every US president has done, is to pay lip service to their base while doing deals with their political opponents. That's why every US president in living memory has routinely been described by their own keenest supporters as a traitor.

A fascist doesn't worry about appeasing the opposition, he just revs up his own base and if you don't happen to be part of his favoured demographic - well, sucks to be you. It's a leadership style that America hasn't seen in living memory. Although Europe has, and bits of the Middle East and Asia are enjoying it now.

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veti
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Trump is a fascist. We're seeing this more clearly every day. Consider this story, or this one, or this one.

To be a successful fascist, you need to keep throwing red meat to the people you rely on to support you. And meat doesn't get much redder than Snowden.

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veti
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Re: Live by the sword.

Snowden wasn't remotely anti-Hillary. You may be thinking of Assange, although how people can get the two mixed up has always bewildered me.

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CIA: Russia hacked election. Trump: I don't believe it! FAKE NEWS!

veti
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This *was* brought up before the election

Ad nauseam.

You lying sack of trump.

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Germany warns Moscow will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree

veti
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Re: "misinformation"

Oh, for fuck's sake...

Please, do us all a favour and go read some of those incriminating Hillary emails we've heard so much about. Not the digests on your news site of choice, go to Wikileaks and read the originals. In full. With context.

When you send "wrong information", but you put it in a huge quote and prefix it with something like "This is what Mr Journalist is saying:", that's not exactly the same thing as lying.

The liars would be the ones who take it out of context and pretend that was the burden of the original email.

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veti
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Re: And we are off to an early start!

The trouble with Keynes was that, smart guy though he was - he didn't take politics into account. Politics is what makes it impracticable to run up the government finances during a boom.

I still remember the jeers in the House of Commons when Nigel Lawson announced that part of the government surplus would be used to pay down the government's debt. I find it the supreme irony that the only government in recent times to attempt to adhere to true Keynesianism - was Thatcher's.

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