* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

MP caught playing Candy Crush at committee meeting: I'll ‘try’ not to do it again

veti Silver badge

Re: I got pulled up for that at work once.

Who is going to give an MP "a dressing-down"? Who, exactly, is their boss?

Their party leader or chief whip? Nope, all they could do (at most) is boot him from the party. He'd still be an MP. And he won't do that over an issue like this, because of that saying about urinating into vs out of tents.

Their local constituency party? Closer. They could deselect him, but that wouldn't actually sack him from his job - just mean he'd have to work a bit harder come next election.

His constituents? They can, in theory, boot him from his job. Unfortunately the notice period is pretty long ("until the next election"), and there's no way of finding their aggregate opinion, or delivering it to the MP, before that time.

Really, the most attractive thing about the whole job is the lack of accountability...

PlayStation Network blasted offline AGAIN. Just not Sony's decade

veti Silver badge

Re: El Reg Tombstone icon when?

Not quite. A more apt analogy would be "they tricked a bunch of chavs who had no idea where they were, and in most cases probably still, to this day, don't know they were there, into standing about in front of the door etc."

DDOS may not be Mission: Impossible level security penetration, but it's still a hack. (Not a hack of Sony, as such, but definitely a hack against them.)

What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again

veti Silver badge

Re: save how much ?@ a_mu

And you haven't even mentioned the cost of storing and analysing 48 meter reads per day, instead of one every 3 months.

But there are legitimate cost savings to be made from smart meters. Easier to read means, well, lower reading costs. More reads means less billing on estimates, which means less financial risk, which is something electricity providers have to pay for currently. Easier to disconnect customers? - again, lowers the financial risk. More accurate consumption profiles? - aids enormously when the company comes to reconcile the bills they issue to customers with those they receive from the network.

There are even, potentially, benefits to the consumer. In Texas, for instance, if your credit rating is shot, you have no choice but to get a prepay electricity meter. In conjunction with "smart metering", you can get one that will send you a SMS when your credit is running low, and - and this is important - you won't be cut off until your credit actually runs out. With a conventional meter, you'd be badgered by your supplier, and you'd stand a real chance of being cut off before your credit runs out - if for instance your consumption dropped suddenly 'cuz you'd gone on holiday. (Yeah, it's a barbaric place.)

I'm not saying it's a great idea and we should all rush to embrace it. But there's a huge bandwagon that seems bent on demonizing smart meters. I just think there should be a little more balance and reason in the discussion.

Social media data is riddled with 'human behaviour errors'

veti Silver badge

Re: No shit, Sherlock...


When I start suggesting that anyone be given control of the internet, go ahead and call me whatever kind of authoritarian seems appropriate to you. But I made no such suggestion in the above comment, and it seems a bit previous to take that shot on that basis.

"Democracy and liberty are messy things sometimes, but they beat the shit out of totalitarian control." - does that mean we shouldn't draw or pay attention to the messiness, and seek for ways to maybe tidy it up a bit? Is any - not even 'attempt', but mere 'wish' - to improve the status quo automatically, in your mind, tantamount to "totaliarian control"?

The closest I've ever seen to "liberty" on the internet was Usenet in the 90s, and I loved it, but you know what? Here I am (and you, for that matter) posting on a proprietary, moderated site. I believe vestiges of Usenet still exist, but I don't even know how to use them any more.

From your comment and examples I gather you're an American. If so, you can rest secure in the knowledge that the first amendment makes it illegal for Congress to attempt to define what a "journalist" is, or to restrict any moron from being a publisher. I don't know what, if anything, Hilary Clinton had in mind, but 'providing a proper "gateway" for information on the net' has been an avowed goal of dozens of internet companies for decades (in the 90s, it was AOL, Yahoo!, AltaVista and others; now it's mostly Google, but dozens of smaller companies - including most media companies - vie for their own market segments in just the same way).

None of which helps in the slightest with the problem I'm talking about, because all these "gateways" have one thing in common - they're not paid (because nobody has come up with a business model for doing that), which means they have no incentive to exercise editorial judgement in the interests of their readers, rather than their advertisers or sponsors or the random personal biases of their editors. The closest is paywalled news sites, but in practice they're competing with 'free' news sites, with the inevitable result that they sink to, pretty much, the same level.

veti Silver badge

Re: No shit, Sherlock...

I was with you up until the last paragraph.

"We have bred a generation of gullible morons and put them in charge of us" - but the most powerful people in the world are still overwhelmingly in their 40s, 50s, even 60s. So this "generation of gullible morons" is - well, I don't know how old you are, but I for one disclaim any responsibility for "breeding" them.

I think what we've done is, through the internet, we've democratised both news and science. Now, anyone can put out a press release saying they've done $STUDY and found $RESULT, and get exactly the same coverage and attention as someone who, y'know, actually takes the trouble to learn about statistics and populations and controls. And "journalists" - they can learn this stuff themselves and spend time investigating the stories that are flung at them from all directions, or they can just publish what they're given and let the readers sort it out.

As Dogbert puts it: "You can work or you can get drunk, but the pay is exactly the same."

So we have junk studies reported by junk journalists, and - and this is the key thing that we've thrown away, with the internet - no "trusted authority" who'll make at least some effort, no matter how corruptible or misguided it may have been, to differentiate between meaningful and meaningless "news".

(The closest thing we have now is sites like El Reg, which make a name for themselves by putting a strong editorial spin on the news. That's great as far as it goes, but it's not inherently any more reliable than just republishing the press releases without comment. It sells better, partly because it requires more work, but it's no closer to "truth".)

Are people less critical now than they were at some hypothetical point in the past? I see no evidence for that. I see lots of people on the Internet being openly sceptical, and congratulating themselves on standing out from the sheeple. What I don't see is any evidence that these "sheeple" actually exist, or are anything like as stupid as they're widely assumed to be.

'America radicalised me!' cries Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom

veti Silver badge

Re: Kim dot Blob is nothing if not inconsistent

He does have a working website - mega.co.nz. I haven't used it myself, but a colleague whose judgment I respect speaks very highly of it.

Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM

veti Silver badge

Re: Gigiya the Culprit

To be clear, Gigya is a company whose marketing pitch is "We'll help you stalk people who visit your website".

If only we had a complete list of everyone affected by this hack, we'd have a great list of websites to avoid in future. Not because they're insecure, just because they're scum.

Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

veti Silver badge


Just wondering - how many of those musicians volunteered to pay extra money to the treasury, when the law was changed so that they could continue to profit from what they did 50 years ago?

I get the principle: you did the work under a certain set of conditions, and now we're retroactively changing those conditions. But it's not the first time we've done it, and previously - very recently, in fact - you were benefitting from those changes. If you didn't raise the question of "compensation" then, why the hell should we listen to you now?

Renewable energy 'simply won't work': Top Google engineers

veti Silver badge

Blatant clickbait

I have rarely seen more blatant misrepresentation than this article and headline, even on El Reg.

To anyone who's read this far: please take the time to click on and read through the article on IEEE Spectrum, it's not paywalled or anything. And it doesn't say anything even remotely close to what this article claims it does.

I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!

veti Silver badge

Re: SOD Self Drivng

So long as we take the obvious corrollary step, and ban all amateur drivers.

Seriously, why is it that commentards here are simultaneously whining about how crap human drivers are, *and* predicting that software drivers will be murderously incompetent? You can't have it both ways.

If the car were a new technology, being invented today, a "driving license" would be something that cost tens of thousands of pounds and months of intensive training to get, and an independently verified log showing that you'd clocked at least 500 hours behind the wheel per year, without accidents, to maintain. It's amazing the idiots we currently allow on the road. If software does nothing else, it will give us some hilarious YouTube fodder.

veti Silver badge

Re: What GPS really needs

Sorry, but some roads are narrow. And some people, against all common sense, choose to live on those roads. What's a delivery company to do?

Use a smaller vehicle? That would add cost, which means they'd have to jack up their prices, and would promptly go out of business because other, less-scrupulous players would use their lower costs as a competitive edge. Or they could refuse to service those addresses? - same result, with added vilification from the would-be customer thrown in.

After all, whoever's sending the package - Amazon? - whatever, they don't give a damn' about the garden wall of some unrelated codger who'll never even know who was responsible for damaging it.

Damage to third-party walls (etc.) is an externality, that the delivery company doesn't have to pay for. As long as we allow such things to exist, the incentives will remain all to cock. We need to charge people for the things they break - even if nobody sees them breaking, even if nobody even knows who owns them.

And that, in a nutshell, is the case for a carbon tax...

GT sapphire glaziers: You signed WHAT deal with Apple?

veti Silver badge

Re: Was it a bad move?

An understanding "not in writing" isn't worth the paper it's not written on, surely.

A contract, in writing, would have spelled out exactly what each side's undertakings were, and would have given the company (at least) a non-moving set of goalposts to shoot for, and a solid "projected income" if they made the shot. If you have to start applying uncertainty to your projected income, suddenly the financial calculus gets a lot more complicated, and you end up hedging bets, putting off decisions and generally fscking up your manufacturing operations, until by the time you realise you're about to miss your obligations, it's far too late to do anything about it.

Northern Ireland website leaves front door open, spills users' data

veti Silver badge

Re: I don't that means what she thinks it means

"No evidence" doesn't mean "we don't know it's happened", just "we can't prove it's happened, possibly because we took one look at the logs and wiped them in a blind panic".

veti Silver badge

Re: Mission accomplished!!

How do you order the last two?

Are MPs smarter than 5-year-olds? We'll soon find out at coding school – Berners-Lee

veti Silver badge

Re: Weeell... sort of

Do MPs need to be able to run a restaurant, before they're qualified to vote on public health legislation?

Do we insist they should have served in the army, before voting on wars?

Do they have to run a factory, in order to have an informed opinion about minimum wages?

I can see a superficial case for all of those things, but a much more convincing case against them. Same with this proposal. "Being able to code" doesn't qualify you to decide what people should or shouldn't be allowed to do with computers. It's an is/ought question.

Ha ha, fooled you! Shares tumble over G4S fake website profit warning

veti Silver badge

Giving the game away

This seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a 5% edge in share price. And if you were going to go to that much trouble, surely you'd include a "proofreading" stage in your plan. Not doing so, makes it look as if the plan wasn't to manipulate the stock price, or even to embarrass the company - it was mostly a publicity stunt.

No, the cui bono? finger here is pointing from the second page of this story. Who benefits, if every company in the world has to pre-emptively register every conceivably connected domain name?

Domain registrars, that's who.

Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

veti Silver badge

Re: <s>Penetration</s> Testing the System .... Out of this World Style

Let's face it - if "deluded ramblings" were considered off-topic, this would be a very quiet website.

veti Silver badge

Re: Who?

Good investigative work there.

So... we have a nobody, with no relevant background, no relevant training or qualifications, no reputation, and most importantly of all, no political capital of any kind floating this proposal. Where are the actual politicians, you know, people who have to worry about votes, willing to put their names behind it?

Makes it look very much like a trial balloon, intended to be shot down so that the next marginally-less-outrageous proposal will get an easier ride.

Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians

veti Silver badge

I think you'll find that you pay VAT on phone calls, and have for a long time.

What's the difference?

WAITER! There's a Flappy Bird in my Lollipop!

veti Silver badge

Re: So it scrolls from right-to-left ...

There are already about 20,000 Flappy Bird ripoffs^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hclones out there. For a brief period, about two years ago, it was the choice for young developers who'd never made a phone app before and wanted to learn the ropes.

Before that it was the one with the creature that slides up and down slopes. Before that it was, I dunno, probably Angry Birds, or Sudoku. More recently it's been Candy Crush, 2048, I don't even care what else. Any game that gets a reputation nowadays instantly inspires half a gazillion clones, and there are no copyright issues with that so long as each programmer writes theri own code and creates (or buys) their own art.

Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech

veti Silver badge

Re: Mission Shift

(Something tells me this is going to attract more down- than upvotes.)

I don't have the actual numbers to hand, but I'm pretty sure a lot more gets spent on traffic law enforcement than on counter-terrorism. So "the victims of reckless driving" aren't being ignored.

where “interesting” could mean paedophiles, terrorists, or peaceful protesters being a thorn in the side of a corrupt and authoritarian regime.

Yes, it could mean that. But this bloke, who is in a position to know far better than you or I, claims that doesn't happen, and couldn't happen without an enormous culture shift at GCHQ.

Of course we don't have to take those claims at face value. But in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I'm inclined to give them some weight. Your mileage may vary.

"State surveillance", by definition, is not something you opt in or out of, any more than you can "opt out" of being in your timezone or your weather. If you, through the established political process, can put together enough support for the proposition that "this should be done differently", then you can change it. Until then, you can either put up with it, or emigrate.

What you don't get to do is decide unilaterally that "I should be immune to what the government decides to do to me". That's not how democracy works.

Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM

veti Silver badge

Re: Special

On one side you get the supplier trying to pull the wool over your eyes and whispering to your higher level management that you're not up to the job or, even worse, you're being 'unreasonable'. On the other side, you get your own higher management blaming you if it doesn't pass because of 'minor and easily fixed' shortfalls

It's a game. A nasty, brutal, sociopathic game, but a game nonetheless.

Wherever you fit in the hierarchy, your job is to regulate pressure. You need to apply pressure downwards, into your own workload (and your underlings, if you're lucky enough to have any). But more importantly, you also need to apply it upwards to your own managers. If you don't tell them that the job is impossible and you need more something, they'll assume everything is fine. And if you don't tell them this on a daily basis, they'll assume that whatever you were complaining about yesterday is all sorted and they don't have to worry about it any more.

If your management is going to "blame" you for failing the software based on "minor and easily fixed shortfalls", then you don't really have signoff authority, and you need to explicitly delegate that authority (always upwards). Present your manager - daily, or weekly, whatever they'll tolerate - with a summary of all outstanding and resolved defects. (If you're feeling helpful, you could do some mathematical modelling and predict how long it will take to get the software into a state that meets the predefined UAT criteria, but that's risky, 'cuz you'll be held responsible for it.) But make it clear that you are prepared to continue testing at this rate until (a) your retirement, (b) the end of the world, or (c) the UAT criteria are fulfilled, whichever happens first, unless s/he - your manager - tells you to stop.

And when she does tell you to stop (or gives you another assignment, which is the same thing) - bingo, there's your signoff.

Martha Lane Fox: Yeuch! The Internet is made by men?!?

veti Silver badge

Re: Just wait.

Really, there's pr0n? On the internets?

Won't somebody please think of the children?

veti Silver badge

Re: Compulsory voting ...

You've always had one of those.

The name changes from time to time. For a long time they were known as the Liberals, then Liberal Democrats. More recently they've changed their name to UKIP.

veti Silver badge

Re: Choice quote

It's our own fault. We expect the BBC to maintain all these correspondents, despite the patent fact that at any given moment, most of them have nothing useful to do. So they have to go out and find something they can pass off as news.

"I'll cover big news and I'll cover little news, and if there's no news I'll go out and bite a dog." - the journalist ethos in a nutshell.

Come to think of it, what do you think this story is doing on El Reg?

veti Silver badge

Re: Barking

I have no strong opinion about compulsory voting. I have a long tradition of turning up to spoil my ballot in person anyway.

A few years ago, I would have thought it was actually quite a good idea. But then came Tony Abbot, and he sort of put that into perspective. Now it just seems another way of picking at random from the worst possible options.

Greedy datagrabs, crap security will KILL the Internet of Thingies

veti Silver badge

Re: Sorry, no.

Why would I expect the fridge to track what happens to the beers after I take them out?

I'm not asking for my fridge to tell me "Buy more beer". That's no part of its job, that's why I need a separate "shopping list" app, and that's where I would worry about how much and what kinds of beer I want to have around the house this week, including beers that never go anywhere near a fridge at all. And my fridge would then interface with that app to answer the much more limited question, "How much beer, and of what type(s), is in it right now? Assuming the bottles all contain what they say they do."

veti Silver badge

Re: Sorry, no.

Why wouldn't the fridge be able to cope with multiple users? That seems to me an unreasonably pessimistic assessment, unless you insist on charging out and buying "version 1" the moment it's announced without waiting for a few years' development to make it half-way useful.

Don't get me wrong, I have yet to hear a convincing use-case for this 'IoT' idea. But to assume that it will all be permanently stuck at a "proof of concept" level coded by know-nothing numpties who've never had to sell a product to an end user - seems unnecessarily harsh.

I can imagine a fridge that can tell me what's in it being useful - if it can interface to a shopping list app on my phone. Sadly, that's a piece of the jigsaw that no-one I've heard has actually mentioned yet, so I'm very much afraid it's been relegated to the "oh, that's just packaging" pigeonhole in the engineers' minds.

Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

veti Silver badge

Brave words from the Anonymous Coward there. Good to see people standing up for what they believe in.

Except that if you trouble to read the fine article (I know, I know), you'd see the author has already covered the "it's not how much, it's what you eat" canard.

I suspect it's already an offence to shout that (conduct likely to result in a breach of the peace). I really look forward to reading of the first person to be jailed for it, though. Remember: it's not civil disobedience unless you do it openly and take the consequences. Anonymous passive-aggression on Internet forums doesn't cut it.

Researchers: Trolls have dark tetrad of personality defects

veti Silver badge

Re: Trolling for suckers

Surely you realised that that para in TFA was trolling you?

Maybe you do, and you in turn are trolling me.

But as you say yourself, "most mainstream media" now sees trolling as not only valid and useful, but pretty much required tactics. And El Reg is a part of that.

Hey, non-US websites – FBI don't have to show you any stinkin' warrant

veti Silver badge

Re: So why bother to send a letter of request to a foreign country...

I imagine GoDaddy would be upset in that scenario, but I don't see how the FBI would be involved.

Actually, I sympathise with the FBI this time round. If you want to conduct a search in foreign territory, where do you apply for a warrant? Whom do you serve it to? What if the territory concerned has no concept of a "search warrant"?

Clearly, what they should have done is to apply to the Icelandic police to do their dirty work for them, because they'd have the framework in place for jumping through their own administrative hoops. But I can well imagine scenarios in which that would be contra-indicated (e.g. if you don't trust the Icelandic plod not to say something to someone), and then they'd end up right back here.

I really don't see how you can blame the FBI for not following US law outside the US. If you want to criticise them for breaking Icelandic law then go right ahead, but that's a different rant entirely.

New EU data chief: 'We share common targets with the United States'

veti Silver badge

What does this mean?

"some data protection rights for Americans shall be extended to non-Americans"?

In the first place, what data-protection rights do Americans have, exactly? What is it about those rights that restricts them to "Americans only", and how are those provisions legal under the 14th Amendment?

How are you going to "extend" them, and what recourse will non-Americans have if they are breached? How is, say, a British citizen supposed to pursue a case through US federal courts and even the Supreme Court, without voluntarily putting himself within US physical jurisdiction, with all the added costs and risks that would entail?

I'm not a lawyer, but I know enough to ask those questions. If anyone knows where to find answers, please do let me know, because the press isn't even trying.

Man brings knife to a gun fight and WINS

veti Silver badge

Re: I think the use of the term "male" by law enforcement is entirely justified.

I disagree. If "male" is the only adjective you have, then by all means use it - once. But to keep repeating it as the only noun used to identify the suspect - that seems to give it undue prominence, as if his sex were the most important characteristic of this person.

Call him a "suspect", or "perpetrator", or even "person" if you really must. But "the male"? That's just gratuitously sexist.

Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

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Re: It's Dr Who

Sorry, that rebuttal doesn't work. What part of "basic, secondary school level physics" allows for - well, any of the points in the post you replied to?

What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!

veti Silver badge

Re: I recall the 8088 machine I learned on...

There is some truth in that...

... but not as much as you and your upvoters may be thinking.

See, the thing is: using the command line (whatever the heck that even means on a modern PC) and "playing under the hood" - don't really help you to understand what most modern software apps are doing.

Take Word, for instance. Type two words. Press [Home] to return the cursor to the beginning of the line, press [F8][F8] to select the first word, then press [Ctrl-B]. Now use the mouse to click on the second word, click again to select the whole word, then locate the 'Strong' style from the styles list.

The two words are both bold. They look for all the world as if the same thing has been done to each. But it hasn't: the two processes have had very different effects, and those differences will unfailingly rear their heads and bite you in the arse at the worst possible moment.

And don't even get me started on what happens if you copy and paste from a different document...

That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

veti Silver badge

Re: Funny money

I've read the article, and I still have no idea where that "140 pounds" comes from.

The value of data isn't "whatever some random self-selected sample of people claim they'd let it go for if someone hypothetically offered it to them". It's "what someone, who presumably has a business plan in mind for making use of it, will actually pay for it".

The number of active profiles on Facebook, according to Facebook, is about 1.3 billion, and their market capitalisation is about $200 billion, which implies that the value of Facebook's total assets - including the company's brand recognition, physical, logical and human assets, legal and financial relationships, as well as just the raw data - is in the region of $150, or 93 pounds, per active user.

Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?

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Re: Will the preaching hate law ...

Only those who don't belong to one of the ruling cabal of parties. It's one of those irregular verbs. "I speak my mind, you are a demagogue, he has been charged under Section 17 of the Public Order Act 1986".

A BNP politician who preaches hate? Bang to rights.

A Tory or Labour backbencher? Rap on the knuckles, possibly booted from the party if the press won't shut up for long enough.

A Tory or Labour frontbencher? It becomes official party policy and is officially no longer "hate" but "honest and open discussion".

Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

veti Silver badge

Re: I wonder what the true version number will be?

The way I hear it... Microsoft (discovered with Vista) that they can never again use a "x.0" version number, because too many apps used brain-dead version detection of the form:

if (majorVersion >= 5 && minorVersion >= 1) { run } else { forgetaboutit }

... which is why Win 7 is numbered 6.1, 8.0 is 6.2, etc.

Seems to me it wouldn't be too rocket-sciency to include a "compatibility mode" that just pretends to be a working version of Windows when running apps like that, but what do I know.

Labour outsources digital policy, Tories turn up to finish it

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Fairly obviously

... the consultants are writing promises that, they reasonably hope, will provide plenty of nice cushy jobs for themselves and their cronies, and a limited pool of largesse that they get to hand out to those they want to patronise.

And because none of the actual party faithful, on either side, has the remotest idea what they're talking about, it all goes uncorrected.

In Labour's case, the sad part is that once upon a time, it would have called its friends in the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association and other unions, and they would speedily have told it exactly what was wrong with Uber. But post-Tony Blair, they don't seem to be making use of those contacts any more. They're just getting (bad) advice from the same professional wonks as the other parties.

Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights

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Inspiringly enough...

Next year - 15 June 2015, to be precise - will be the 800th anniversary of the signing of the original Magna Carta.

Isn't it high time the British mania for meaningless anniversaries was turned to some useful account?

'Trust ASIO': Australia passes spook's charter Part A

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Australian media drops ball

Film at 11?

Seriously, the entire Australian press is cartoonishly incompetent, and "having complete amnesia about anything they couldn't easily google" is par for the course. Particularly when the subject is something serious, with minimal celebrity involvement or nudity.

This is the sector that gave us Rupert Murdoch. What do we expect from it?

'Could we please not have naked developers running around the office BEFORE 10pm?'

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It's not just the grocery duopoly...

... everydamnthing is more expensive in Australia. Citation.

As to why Australians put up with this... well, I put it down to low population density, which makes for a much less organised consumer lobby. But the simpler view, that "the dollar is about 30% overvalued", seems about equally convincing. Take your pick.

4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM

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Re: Saying they have "respect" for her

"Respect" takes many forms. It's not necessarily incompatible with lust, and certainly not with fantasy. Once you add the word "objectification" in there it becomes harder to justify, but still the first definition of "respect" I get from Google is:

"a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."

- which doesn't automatically rule it out.

Emma Watson urges UN to back feminism – trolls threaten to leak her 'nude selfies'

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Yeah, 'cuz 4chan's droids are so scared of lawyers...

I'm willing to bet there's a substantial number of 4channers who firmly believe themselves to be so 'leet that no lawyer will ever be able to trace them, and have just the right amount of testosterone to convince themselves that they'd be striking a courageous blow for freedom by doing this.

If they have the pics.

veti Silver badge

Re: No ugly feminists

The Brontes did use noms de plume. Anne Bronte published as 'Acton Bell', Charlotte as 'Currer Bell', Emily as 'Ellis Bell'. Beatrix Potter was some generations later, and even then her attempts to publish about scientific subjects were rejected - the only things she was able to get into print were nursery-level children's stories.

veti Silver badge

Re: But will it make a difference?

@MyBackDoor: Where does the article "target men", blindly or otherwise? I see nothing in it that prejudges or assumes the sex of anyone involved, except Ms Watson. It doesn't even use any gender-specific pronouns or insults.

And it in no way assumes or implies that "mean people" equates to "sexists [sic] men". It's your imagination that's interpolated that into the article. Which, I submit, says more about you than anyone else concerned.

Dotcom owns up: my name was 'poison'

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Re: Kiwi complacency

Never ascribe to malice, that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Or in this case, rank incompetence.

NZ's media is painfully amateurish to watch at any time. They were just as feeble in dealing with Helen Clarke as they are with Key. There's no conspiracy here, they're just idiots.

"You cannot hope to bribe or twist/Thank God, the Kiwi journalist;

But seeing what the fool will do/Unbribed, there's no occasion to."

- after Humbert Wolfe

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Re: Please

In each of those cases, there's a legit business in selling a good/service, and what other people choose to do with that - is on them, not on the business that sold the service.

Kim Dotcom, on the other hand, has a long and dishonourable track record of taking other people's money and using it for his own purposes. He's still doing it today.

THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

veti Silver badge

Re: Where's Worstall?

GDP (currently) *includes* "cars, physical things", but it's not *synonymous* with them. It's entirely possible that if we completely stopped making cars, today, forever, GDP would go *up* as a result.

That was what Thatcher did, and it worked.

Cars have a utility to people, which is reflected by how much money they're willing to pay for them. If you can take those same resources and convert them into something that people will pay more for, then you'll be adding more value. That's why cars replaced carriages in the first place.

There's a classic fallacy in production engineering, where the output of a process is hard to measure, so you measure the input instead and assume that it's related. This can work for a little while, but if you keep it up for any length of time, you quickly find that the input is going up and up, and the output (as far as you can tell) remains flat, i.e. the process rapidly grows less efficient. That's how we got into the mess of the 1970s. It happens because of one of the iron rules of management: You Get What You Measure.

This "equating input to output" is endemic in our political system. It's why we've historically spent so much time arguing about things like "teacher/pupil ratios", "time spent per doctor's visit", "miles of road built/added", "numbers of people in work", rather than what we really care about in each case (educational outcomes, health outcomes, traffic/productivity, generation and distribution of wealth). Because in each case, the output is hard to measure, but the input is far easier.

Focusing on "things produced" is another way of measuring input rather than output. "Producing things" is not the goal. "Making people's lives better" is. Measuring GDP as a whole, without trying to judge or differentiate between "good" and "bad" production (e.g. manufacturing vs services), is the closest we currently have to a way of measuring that.

veti Silver badge

Re: If you give a politician 1£ ...

Budgeting by referendum is certainly one way of ... hurtling to disaster faster than the current trajectory.

If "the people" could be trusted to manage their collective finances, they wouldn't have got into this mess in the first place. Politicians have bought popularity, because that's what people voted for. What makes anyone think they'd vote differently, if they had direct control of the budget?

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