* Posts by veti

3015 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Two Brits face criminal trial for sending 'menacing' tweets

veti Silver badge

Re: Bit sexist really

These people aren't in trouble because they're sexist, they're in trouble because they were "menacing". You can be menacing without being sexist, and that will still get you in trouble; you can be sexist without being menacing, and that won't, at least not with the plod.

Unlocking CryptoLocker: How infosec bods hunt the fiends behind it

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Want to declare an interest?

"Thieving", "scourge", "menace", "gang of crooks" - while not unreasonable in context, are still strong words, and I can't help feeling they're not typical of the coverage usually given to viruses/trojans/etc on this site. There is an uncharacteristic degree of venom there.

In the interests of full disclosure, could El Reg clarify whether anyone involved in the writing or editing of this or other BitLocker stories has actually been affected by it at first hand?

One European copyright law-to-rule-them-all? EU launches review

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That's how "consultation" works

Lobbyists throw as much into the pot as they can, no matter how barking mad.

You'll note El Reg - which is in itself firmly in the tank for Big Copyright - doesn't mention the next question, directly below that one, which is:

Should the viewing of a web-page where this implies the temporary reproduction of a work or other subject matter protected under copyright on the screen and in the cache memory of the user’s computer, either in general or under specific circumstances, be subject to the authorisation of the rightholder?

A definitive, full-throated "No way!" to that one would amount to a significant loosening of the law as it's currently applied in many member states. It might even pave the way for a ruling to the effect that you don't "make a copy" of a program when you load it from disc into your computer's memory for execution, which would seriously weaken the legal basis of those EULAs we all love to hate.

Hello! Still here! Surface 2! Way better than iPad! says slightly desperate Microsoft

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That's the point so many people (including Microsoft) miss about the iPad:

It is a TV. A really little one, easily portable, with excellent battery life, and a whole bunch of added functionality thrown in. But at heart, a TV. Not a computer.

That's why you don't need to spend half your life updating, scanning and rebooting it. You just switch it on and select what you want to watch/play/read/hear right now, and you're good to go.

Compare that with booting a typical Windows laptop, with all its run-on-startup crapware, virus scans, auto-updates to about 23 different applications... you're doing well if you can actually get it to register a keypress within the first five minutes. An iPad is ready to go within seconds.

Whovians, your Doctor needs you: Take back the Day from One Direction

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Re: I don't think there's any overlap between Whovians and 1dimensionals.

What do you call 'gatecrashing' when it's announced two weeks in advance?

I think that would be 'marketing'.

I don't know which are the bigger whores in this story.

Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

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The Forgotten Doctor

Somehow, Peter Cushing never makes it into these lists. Even people who think of themselves as hardcore fans forget about him. But he brought a hammy intensity to the role that wasn't really surpassed until David Tennant (when it was promptly spoiled by the soppy romantic crap).

Hands up, who couldn't post to Facebook today? Oh, MILLIONS of you

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What will the headlines be

... when Twitter goes down?

Or will everyone be too ashamed to admit they were trying to use it?

Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware: Whatever you do, don't PAY

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Re: Perhaps good target for intelligence services

You're assuming the whole scam isn't being run by the NSA.

Gotta do something to claw back that money being sequestered out of their budget...

America: Land of the free, still home of the BIGGEST spammers on the planet

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If they want to be helpful, they could restore from an uninfected backup, then tell the user exactly how they got infected and not to do it again.

It might even buy them quite a lot of tolerance for their spyiing.

Windows 8.1: A bit square, sure, but WAIT! It has a Start button

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Re: @Kunari

"Because if people continue to ignore Windows 8 then Microsoft will have a serious problem on their hands. They couldn't afford this with Vista and they can surely hardly afford it now."

What happened with Vista was, they put together a patch that turned it into a decent system, called it Windows 7, and the naysayers flocked to it with gladsome cries, despite it containing (almost) all the previously-hated features of Vista. (The big exception being, they didn't try to push it on systems that were woefully underpowered. That, and it's stopped asking permission twice when it escalates privileges.)

In the same way, I'm hoping Windows 9 will be Windows 8 "done right". I'm not sure what that will involve, but if it is to Win 8 as 7 was to Vista, it'll be (a) much the same, and (b) pretty good.

Australian politicians 'resisted' debate on new spook powers

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Re: Not too quick on the uptake

Pretty sure they understood perfectly, and didn't want to share in the blame.

It's a no-win question. Whatever answer you come up with, one side or another is just waiting to shovel manure on your head and paint you forever as a dupe or stooge of $INSERT_BOGEYFIGURE_HERE. Any sane politician learns quickly how to recognise questions like that, and avoids them like the turd sandwiches they are.

As AG, Roxon couldn't avoid it, so naturally she was anxious to share the blame as widely as possible. Unfortunately for her, she failed to dress it up as something more attractive.

MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

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Re: Douglas Adams'...

Sadly, MS did listen to Adams, and they put "smart quotes" in and made them the default. Thus ensuring that you can't translate a Word document to a web page without making random squiggles show up in half the browsers out there.

One of the first things I do, on receiving a document from anyone else, is search-and-replace-all quotes with quotes. First double quotes, then single quotes. And because my copy of Word has the "replace straight with smart quotes" disabled, the new ones it inserts are straight quotes. So I guess I have to hand it to them, at least they made it easy to fix.

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Re: Keep Text Together

"Keep with next paragraph" is better than nothing.

But "keep with previous paragraph" is more useful, and that's not included in any of the formats I'm familiar with.

To the suggestion of WordPad: that's fine if your document is up to about two pages long. But if you're trying to write a 300-page book, then it's nice to have some way of navigating it. A fully functional word processor, whether it's Word or WordPerfect or Libre Office, provides that.

Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates

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Re: Digital signature conundrum

Seems to me that the techniques you describe (basically, inserting meaningful noise in the picture) will also play merry hell with every content-compression algorithm that depends on the majority of pixels being similar to those around them, and the majority of frames being similar to the one before them.

So that's, basically, all compression algorithms.

So basically, if you want to get rid of that sort of watermarking, all you'd have to do is convert it to an MPEG-4 or similar format.

Which leads me to conclude one of two things must be true. Either we're all radically missing our guesses as to how this "watermarking" will work, or Hollywood's emperor is still standing there in his best birthday suit.

I give it 50-50.

EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

veti Silver badge

If I were Apple - I'd put the charging port on the phone, as required by law, but (unless this too is explicitly required) I wouldn't provide a cable for it, only for my own Lightning connector. Then if anyone has problems with the port, blame the 3rd-party connector.

Alternatively, if the law *does* require you to provide a connector, make it unusable. Make the plug part so wide that it takes 3 socket spaces to plug it in. Put an annoyingly bright light on it, so that it keeps you awake all night if used in the bedroom. Basically, there are plenty of options to make sure no-one ever uses it.

The NSA's hiring - and they want a CIVIL LIBERTIES officer

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Sounds to me like the Law of Inverse Relevance

"The less you intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about it".

Constantly talking: it's the best way to distract attention from what you're actually doing. Ask any stage magician. Obviously, the NSA wants someone to do that talking full-time.

15% of Americans still holding off from this newfangled interweb thing

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Makes sense to me

There is enough content available offline, that you could spend your entire life reading/watching/listening to it, and never have to repeat anything.

It's not self-evident that the content available online is qualitatively any better than offline. There's "more" of it, certainly, and if you believe you've got some way of filtering or searching it for "high quality" work then it makes sense to try; but I, for one, have lost faith in such mechanisms. Basically, our best chance is "a publisher with consistent quality standards", and how many of those are left?

So I don't blame anyone who wants to stay out of it. Good for them, I wish them every happiness.

UK.gov's e-Borders zombie still lurks under the English Channel

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Re: @MrXavia - again, welcome to Shengen

Why do you think the UK *hasn't* signed up to Schengen?

Fewer genuine asylum seekers implies fewer bogus asylum seekers (because the latter rely on a healthy population of the former to hide among). Fewer bogus asylum seekers implies less slave labour for employers too tightfisted to pay minimum wage. Less slave labour for them means less backhanders to their MPs, and fewer people getting incensed enough to buy the Daily Fail/Depress/Etc.

Once you realise that *nobody* involved really means what they are saying - the press are every bit as hypocritical as the politicians, and the activists are mostly being played by someone who's making money - it all starts to make a lot more sense.

Grand Theft Auto V: Violent, sweary and amazingly ambitious

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Re: Rome II - "Superfluous detail"????

To be fair, the strategic side of TW games is kinda weak. It's as if TW is stuck in the 1990s. People have been complaining ever since then about things like random behaviour of AI armies and factions, the insanity of the diplomatic model, and about the sheer weakness of the strategic simulation (history shows that real empires *don't* richer and more stable as they grow bigger).

But the TW series doesn't address any of that, it's too busy ramping up the eye candy.

THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla

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On the ingredients list, it usually appears as "natural flavouring", or "natural flavoring" if you're Left-pondside. There are strict rules about what you can call "vanilla", but almost none about what you can call "flavo(u)ring".

One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

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Re: Nothing magical about next year

It's important to realise that GCHQ didn't create itself. There's a genuine political and economic story behind how it came to be and how it grew so powerful, and Scottish interests are a large part of that story. Remember, it wasn't until Scotland was tied to England that the Empire got underway, and the whole show was largely driven by Scottish business ambitions.

So to imagine that an independent Scotland would have no, or even reduced, need to interest itself in the affairs of other countries, including the secret intelligence thereof - is just fantasy.

Life … moves … in … slow … motion … for … little … critters … like … flies

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Re: There is a problem with that idea

Memory is notoriously unreliable, particularly when it comes to trying to recall (a) colours and (b) timeframes.

Quick - without looking, what colour socks do you have on right now? And how old are they?

If you'd had, as I did, to work in a magazine publishing office where every freakin' day was punctuated by readers phoning up and asking "That article you ran about 3 months ago..." - and then having to trawl back through five years' worth of publications to find it - then you wouldn't cite your own memory as evidence of anything remotely time-related.

Apple slugs Australia with iPhone tax

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Everydamnthing is more expensive in Australia. Don't take my word for it, check out the stats for yourself.

Looks like Apple is charging a premium in the ballpark of 15%. That's a lot better than, e.g., a 33 cl bottle of Coke, or a pair of Levis or Nikes, or a Big Mac, or a monthly gym subscription, all of which are between 50 and 100% more expensive in Australia than in the USA.

It's almost as if serving a market of 300 million people gives economies of scale, in comparison to a market of 22 million. Go figure.

Kim Dotcom quits Mega to head new political party, fight extradition

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"Publicity whore does what publicity whores do"

I.e. "Absolutely anything to get another week's worth of headlines."

Remember this story, for instance - about what he's going to do for us all, with money that he doesn't have and (he knows damn' well) he never wiill?

Or this one, which was being refuted within hours?

This is a self-made millionaire who made his money by crime (yes, real crime with real victims, not "copyright violation" accounting-crime - he served time for it in Germany). And now he's playing the New Zealand system (because it's so amateurish and ripe for playing - frankly, he'll fit right in alongside the other idiots who've founded minor parties based on nothing but their own egos), and the world media is going along with it because anything, absolutely ANYTHING, is better than having to turn their attention to real problems.

Beat the UK's incoming smut filter: Pre-censor your grumble flicks

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If you want to set up your own site, and edit the films your own way...

... I promise not to visit.

Web showered in golden iPhone 5S vid glory - but is it all a DISTRACTION?

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Re: @AC 28th August 2013 15:25..

"Taking someone else's idea and polishing it" is precisely what makes you an inventor. Polish is important. In the end, the only real difference between an inventor and a crackpot is -- whether people buy your product.

"... [A]ll ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament. ... It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone or any other important thing -- and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite --that is all he did. " - Mark Twain

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Re: @uhuznaa What's interesting

On the other hand, maintaining market share at the expense of profits is just plain stupid, if your goal is to run a profitable company. It works for Apache, because they don't aim to make profits - which is all very fine, but not everyone can afford to do that. It notably doesn't work for Microsoft, whose XBox arm has cost them billions over the years, and who bleed money in China and India for exactly this reason - they don't pay enough attention to the profit margin.

Apple has a strong presence in the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, the Middle East - basically, where the money is. It hasn't tried to conquer the Chinese or Indian markets because, in its (pretty well informed) opinion, there's not a lot of money to be made there. That will change - probably within the next ten years - and then no doubt we'll see a change in focus. But for now, they're happy to let Android blaze the trail and make the mistakes.

That's their MO. Don't pioneer - it's too risky. Let someone else feel the market out first, then steal it.

Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA

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Re: Not that daft

We'd all like to believe that people are way shrewder than they appear to be. It's oddly comforting to think that people, even our enemies, actually know what they're doing.

But my experience is, t'ain't so. I've been a journalist, and I can assure you most journalists are pretty much as dim as they appear. There are exceptions, and also it's common for outsiders to misread them because of failing to understand what they're trying to achieve - but super-geniuses keeping forever one step ahead of the Law, they ain't.

Read Adam Curtis on the depressing and sordid history of MI5. Then consider that, in fact, most professions in the UK - including journalism - are exactly as incompetent as that. And then consider that MI5 is not the least respected organisation of its kind - sure, the CIA and NSA may rightly deride it, but that contempt goes both ways, and they still work with one another - and you'll realise that this level of useless is actually a global phenomenon.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity". There's a reason that saying took off.

Beware the ad-punting crapware-laden Firefox, warn infosec bods

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Re: Firefox WTF?

At some point you have to ask: what is a version number for, exactly?

I can only come up with one good purpose, and that's for support queries. Since most of those are of the form "what the hell did you do with Control X?", that particular issue would pretty much vanish if they'd just stop arsing about with the interface six freaking times a year.

Honest to god, the internet isn't changing that quickly.

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins

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Re: Logic error detected.

You've heard of "upgrades", right?

Maybe they couldn't do this before, but they can now because the system has been improved, for values of "improved".

Really, there's no need to invent any more conspiracies here. The ones we know about are bad enough.

Webcam stripper strikes back at vicious 4Chan trolls after year of bullying

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Re: This ain't trolling

Well, from a utilitarian perspective - intentionally making someone else miserable is wilfully, and for no good reason, reducing the net amount of happiness held by other people, so yes it is morally indefensible.

From a Kantian perspective, you could justify it, provided you think you'd be happier in a world where everyone did this, to everyone else including you, all the time.

Immoral? Yep, I think so.

veti Silver badge

Re: A troll is a troll is no longer a troll

I agree. 'Troll' is a formerly useful word for a skilled, if somewhat sick, form of online sport that's now been lost to us.

From the jargon file:

1. v.,n. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase “trolling for newbies” which in turn comes from mainstream “trolling”, a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don't fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also YHBT.

The best 'troll' postings are those that look as if they're on topic, and don't contain a single rude word or personal insult against anyone. What they do is rile up a segment of the readership so much that they just can't help but reply in a predictable, usually angry, way.

Much like this whole story, in fact...

End of an era as Firefox bins 'blink' tag

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Re: Noooooooooooooo !

You can implement something like it with CSS *now*, sure. But try viewing that with 1995 technology, assuming you can find any, and see what it gets you.

veti Silver badge

Re: Bootnote

I already can't type ' £ ' (that one was copied from your post). Time was I could just type ' £ ' or ' £ ', but those don't work any more. Now, if you don't happen to have the symbol on your keyboard, you're pretty much boned.

veti Silver badge

Re: In other words

Bits of it were, bits of it weren't. In other news, both Comic Sans and {color:green} are still supported.

But quite a lot of things were better then. If you linked to a web page, there was a reasonable chance that its content would still be the same when someone followed that link the next day - as opposed to the modern trend, which is to continually revise the content to make the writer look less stupid.

And people discussed the really *important* things, dammit. None of this "I CAN HAZ CHEEZEBURGER?" nonsense, we were too busy refuting all those laughable "reasons" why Picard was "better" than Kirk...

Apple patents laser, incandescent projector for laptops, smartphones

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This is what Apple does best

And I mean that in the sincerest, least tongue-in-cheek way imaginable.

Remember the iPod? It wasn't the first MP3 player by a long shot, but it was the first one that sold - all its predecessors were commercial flops.

Remember the iPad? Not the first tablet, but the first one that actually shipped more than about 3 units.

So pico-projectors have been tried before, and failed, and Apple thinks it has a technology that could make them successful. Well, just possibly they've looked at what was wrong with the previous attempts, and come up with a technological solution that makes them better.

I won't be buying one, but obviously someone - who's paid to be better informed than me - thinks there's a market out there. Maybe they're right.

US Republican enviro-vets: 'Climate change is real. Deal with it'

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Re: Whatever.

What would "actual proof" look like, in this case? Can you put together a thought experiment that would convince you?

If not, you're just blowing smoke.

Microsoft's earnings down on slow Windows sales, Surface RT bust

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Re: Hiding corpses...

OK, this is why Orwell argued that mixed metaphors are so bad. Are you aware of the image you just created, by using the phrases "wiggle room" and "cock-up" in the same sentence?

Personally, I think the reorganisation is Ballmer's rather sad attempt to evoke Microsoft's glory days by inviting the reader to complete the couplet "... to rule them all, etc." Sadly for him, the comparison of Microsoft to Sauron isn't anything like as compelling now as it was ten years ago.

Screw it, says NSA leaker Snowden: I'm applying for asylum in Russia

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@Matt Bryant

Does not compute.

If the police don't have the authority to board a plane parked at Heathrow, then it makes no difference who is on board nor what paperwork they have, because they have no way of knowing either fact. For all they know, the plane might have been carrying Lord Lucan and Elvis Presley. Without passports.

US Congress proposal: National Park will be FOUND ON MOON

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Re: idiot democrats

Yeah, that would be the same treaty that says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty"

In other words, if you're based in the USA, then you'd better follow US law on the Moon.

veti Silver badge

Re: WTF?

Actually, I think the relevant part of the treaty is Article VI, which says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space ... shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty".

So if you're based in America, any foray you make into outer space (including the Moon) is subject to US law. Likewise if you're based in, say, France, then it's subject to French law.

What this measure would do, if passed, would mean that any US-based operator that landed on the Moon and then interfered with these sites could get into trouble. That's all it means. In principle it would have no effect on operators based in other countries, although in practice it would be a brave astronaut who put that to the test...

OFFICIAL: Humans will only tolerate robots as helpful SLAVES

veti Silver badge

Too right. You know what else? Road markings! We're being conditioned to follow instructions that are literally just painted on!

And the government even employs people to wash off any markings that aren't authorised. Calling them 'vandalism' or 'graffiti' to stigmatise and marginalise them, but of course the real agenda is about control, maintaining the government monopoly on painting ton fixed surfaces.

And those mechanical arms that go up to let you out of the car park? You actually have to give money to a robot in order to be allowed to go on your way! It's horrifying, the things we're being conditioned to accept!

veti Silver badge

Re: Intolerance to robotic assassins?

Good point, and one made all the more telling when you consider how hot most of them are.

Look, can we just forget about Snowden for sec... US-China cyber talks held

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Re: but when I check the fail2ban logs of my server...

That tells you absolutely nothing about the location, ethnicity, affiliation or agenda of the attackers.

All it does tell you is that China has a lot of poorly-secured servers, which shouldn't come as a big surprise.

France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

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Re: @ Daniel B. - Nice.

The "you wouldn't steal a car!" ad deserves some kind of anti-award as one of the most brain-buggeringly backward pieces of propaganda ever - umm - propagated.

The worst of it, I think, is that someone made a brief video demonstration of how to shoplift and snatch handbags, and then tacked it, unskippably, onto the beginning of DVDs aimed at children.

I daren't let my 3-year-old watch 'The Wizard of Oz' unsupervised, not because of Margaret Hamilton's hamming, but I don't want him to get the idea that's how you go shopping.

PRISM leaks: WTF, you don't spy on your friends, splutters EU

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Re: Not News

It's not news that diplomats are spied on. The Vienna Convention contains a number of loopholes, I assume deliberately, to allow for that.

The convention does list some things that are supposed to be "inviolable". One of these is "the official correspondence of the mission". However, it also explicitly allows for that correspondence to be conducted in code or cipher - hence, it implicitly assumes that "inviolable" doesn't necessarily mean "will not be read by third parties".

There's a fine line there. But really, what's going on here is that the Europeans have got cold feet about a free trade deal at this politically difficult time, and Snowden's revelation is an excuse for dumping it.

Schwarzenegger says 'I'll be back' for Terminator 5 reboot

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The movies we deserve

I like ripping on Hollywood as much as the next commenter, but it's simply not true to insinuate that only sequels/reboots/etc. are being made. Check out a list of recent releases, and you'll see a hell of a lot of reasonably original work.

What is true is that it's the sequels/etc. that get the big budget release treatment, and actually get to run in a cinema near you for more than about two days. But that really says more about public taste than Hollywood.

In other words: it's our fault.

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Re: Reboot reboot sequel reboot

I have it on good authority that "Independence Day 2" will feature aliens in tripod-shaped fighting machines, with a deadly heat ray, shouting 'Ullah!'

See, it's completely different and wholly original.

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Re: Like there never was a matrix 2 and 3

Personally, I thought even T2 was jumping the shark. OK, so they had some cool ideas for FX, but that doesn't excuse 'ignoring the whole premise of internally consistent time travel that they'd put hard work into developing in the first movie'.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they explain why cyborgs age.

And it's good news, because - I don't know about you, but I'm not greatly looking forward to robots that roam the streets destroying phonebooks and shooting women whose only real offence is some questionable fashion and lifestyle choices. But I am looking forward to robots designed to help the elderly, and what better poster boy for that cause than Arnie?

Obama says US won't scramble jets or twist arms for Snowden

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For an answer to that question, I refer you to Isaiah Berlin's seminal lecture on 'Two Concepts of Liberty' (1958).

America's grasp on the distinction between 'positive' and 'negative' liberty was never that strong (Joe McCarthy was a big exponent of 'positive liberty' in his day), but - speaking as an outside observer, y'understand - I think the stage where this point was abandoned completely was sometime during the Reagan administration. And no president since then has said or done anything to suggest that they understand the distinction at all.


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