* Posts by veti

3015 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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

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Re: Translation

No, he means exactly what he says. There's just no point in chasing Snowden down. It's not like there's anything more you can prevent him from leaking.

The only interest the bureaucrats have in Snowden at this point is as an example to others. In that respect, they want to make him as uncomfortable as reasonably possible, and I'm pretty sure that objective has already been achieved. He's not like Kim Dotcom, who lives in extravagant luxury on his dubiously acquired millions - Snowden is begging support from dubious governments who might at any moment decide to stop giving it, and he can never go home again.

The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

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Re: "disorientated"

To a serious pedant, 'disorientate' means 'to turn away from the east'. To lose one's sense of relative position or direction would be 'disorient'.

However, you need to be a real, table-chewing-level pedant to actually care about that. 'Disorientate' has been sanctioned by over 200 years of usage and, I think, every serious dictionary. The only reason to continue to hate it at this point is if you're the kind of person who gets really, really worked up about redundant syllables, and in that case "utilise" would be a much better target for automatic downvoting (it's "use", dammit).

Kim Dotcom victim of 'largest data MASSACRE in history'

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

If Sony wants to charge less for the version of its movie that's dubbed into Urdu, that's fine with me. I'll even undertake not to buy it just because it's a fraction of the price of the English version.

As for varying release schedules for blockbusters, it may surprise you to learn that Christmas in the southern hemisphere occurs on the same day as in the north. It's just that it's in midsummer. More pertinently, pick a blockbuster movie and look at its release dates (handily listed on IMDB): you'll see that the release is effectively staggered over anything from 2 to 6 weeks, and that staggering has no real relation to what hemisphere you're in. Example: Iron Man 3 released to cinemas:

UK: 18 April

Australia: 24 April

France: 24 April

New Zealand: 25 April

Vietnam: 26 April

USA: 3 May

Turkey: 3 May

Pakistan: 17 May

Given that the entire spread is less than two months, I'm not clear why that should affect DVD releases anyway.

"Invert the release schedules for North and South hemispheres" - you're talking from between your right and left hemispheres.

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Re: as always with dotcom

Dotcom is not just 'no choirboy', he's a serious sleazeball, and has been for many years - before he ever conceived Megaupload.

I really don't see why I should go to bat for this guy, just because his opponents are equally sleazy. Sure, I'll protest when his rights are violated, but I really don't see how that's happened here - he's had a tiff with a private-sector contractor with whom he had a relationship, and now he's crying victimisation. Cry me a river.

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

"What are those evil practices? Paying for artists to work to create joy for you? Oh yeah, really evil."

Since you ask, Sony's "evil" practices include, but are not limited to:

- Being one of the creators and prime movers of the scheme that limits DVD playback according to where in the world you bought your DVD player (even though copyright law gives no right to 'restrict the equipment on which a legally owned copy of a work can be accessed')

- Being one of the prime movers behind the 'anti-circumvention' laws that, globally, convert the abovementioned (stolen) right into a pillar of copyright law

- Developing and enforcing the same system on Blu-Ray

- Putting rootkits on its CDs

- When called on rootkits, defending their actions with the argument that "users shouldn't mind"

- Building DVD players that prevent you from fast-forwarding (or pausing, for that matter) through copyright notices.

All of these are things Sony did entirely voluntarily, wilfully putting itself right in the forefront of efforts to screw the law-abiding consumer at every turn.

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Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"Purely as a matter of interest, if you were to be accused of a crime, which country would you prefer to be in?"

How about: The country where the supreme court has repeatedly ruled against the government over various details of Dotcom's prosecution, and its rulings have been promptly enforced, much to the general embarrassment of the government.

I'll pick New Zealand, thanks very much.

Google's JavaScript challenger gains better tools, performance

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Re: Compatibility

I may be misunderstanding you, but isn't that what JQuery* is for?

Basically, that problem has been in the 'solved' bucket these six years or more.

*(Other libraries are available. This post is not an endorsement of any product or service, although JQuery is undoubtedly awesome. Void where prohibited, etc.)

Hitchhikers' Guide was WRONG, Earth is not in a galactic backwater

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In other words

... our galactic neighbourhood is analogous to Slough.

Or, for Americans, New Jersey.


Doctor Who? 12th incarnation sought after Matt Smith quits

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Re: Helen Mirren

Obviously, River Song can regenerate as, I dunno, Martin Clunes or someone.

Or they could have a same-sex marriage, and check off yet another box on the PC Lotto card.

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Re: Pull the plug

Blake's 7 has already been rebooted once, with considerable success in every department bar commercially - it was called 'Firefly'.

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 secrets REVEALED ... sort of

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Re: Still Metro, still unwanted.

We've been here before. The reaction to TIFKAM is eerily reminiscent, to me, of the reaction to the ribbon in Office. MS didn't back down on that, and much to my personal disgust it doesn't seem to have done them any harm.

I predict this will work out the same way. A lot of heat, not much light, and when the dust settles we'll all be using Win 8 or its successors - without a start menu - and getting used to it, because there's no real alternative.

I don't like it, but i have no idea how to do anything about it.

Forget the word 'cyberwar' says Marcus Ranum

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Re: Alternatively...

I dunno - is it war if I steal your car? That's a 'significant resource', shirley?

I don't think war can be adequately defined by the intent of the instigator. You also need at least some consideration for the nature and organisation of the participants, the scope of the conflict, and the criteria that might allow you to decide when it starts and ends.

Last time CO2 was this high, the world was underwater? No actually

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So what?

As a wise man once wrote: "You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right".

Did the ice sheets not melt back then? Great! Fantastic news!

Does this absolve us of the responsibility to stop emitting so much carbon? Hell no. Partly because, in case you hadn't noticed, the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere is still going up: 400 ppm was a milestone, not a goal. At present rates of growth, pretty soon we'll be asking how the icecaps will fare at 500 ppm, and by the end of this century it'll be (at least) 600.

This isn't a game of propaganda, where you score points for citing studies that support your point of view. This is the future of the human race, and the world my grandchildren are going to live in. Can we please stop the politically-motivated point-scoring and start concentrating on fixing the effing emissions?

'Hotmail, since you changed to Outlook, you've been a massive pr**k'

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A US judge

... finally talks sense on copyright (not patent) trolls, and all we can talk about is whether outlook.com's interface is more tasteless than Hotmail's?

I despair of this place sometimes.

First, the bad news: EA bags Star Wars games rights

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The good news

It's Star Wars. Seriously, you didn't expect anything good to come out of that franchise anyway, did you?

When Disney bought it, I thought they'd be hard pressed to screw it up any more than Lucas already has.

So clearly they decided to get some expert help. I look forward to seeing the release, and subsequent panning, of six new clones of Command & Conquer with skins to match each movie.

Is this the first ever web page? If not, CERN would like to know

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Re: Unfortunate choice of letters

In the Antipodes, it's pronounced 'dub-dub-dub'.

I know, I know. Bloody colonials.

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I miss the good old days, when I used to get irritated by people getting wistful about the good old days.

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Re: Wait...

Porn didn't appear until several minutes later. It was a slower-paced world in those days.

No, I'm pretty sure that to be authentic, the very *first* web page would have to be a list of reasons why Picard is better than Kirk.

UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

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Re: could this get worse?

So what you're saying is, "people acting criminally can rob you".

In that scenario, the corporation that stripped the EXIF "and claimed ownership" is acting fraudulently, and they know it, to the extent that those involved may well be looking at jail time.

The new law doesn't legalise fraud, for all Orlowski's ranting.

Student falsely IDed by Reddit as Boston bomber found dead

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Thumb Down

Re: Lazy Fat Americans.

While I don't think GMO belongs in this account (the trend was well established long before that became a recognised TLA), HFCS does have a lot to answer for.

If you haven't gone shopping in a US supermarket, and looked closely at the labels on basically everything, you wouldn't believe how common the stuff is over there. It's not just in drinks and candy and cakes and things that you'd think of as sweet - it's also in bread and yogurt and FSM only knows what else. I've even heard of it being added to honey and other kinds of syrup. And if it's in there (so I've heard, although don't know how true it is), it screws up your eating patterns something fierce.

Sure, the fat and sodium and processed food do their bit too. But HFCS is probably the biggest *single* contributing factor.

Human rights groups rally humanity against killer robots

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Fairly obviously...

... various governments' stances on this are dictated, mostly, by how confident they are in their own militaries' ability to build and use such robots.

Hence, UK - 'no way, 'cuz we know we can't build a system we'd trust with that kind of power.' Expect this position to be reviewed every five years or so.

USA - 'keep humans in the loop for now, let's see if we can build up that trust level.'

I expect most countries would echo the UK's current position for now, with the possible exceptions of those (N Korea, Russia probably) who just don't give a damn' if a few of their soldiers get killed during testing.

After Leveson: The UK gets an Orwellian Ministry of Truth for real

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Good start, but incomplete

I think it's worth mentioning that the growing hysteria of the past few years hasn't been cultivated in a vacuum. Far from it. The US has, in many ways, spearheaded the demonisation of the mass media ("mainstream media", as many of them call it when they want to belittle one particular segment of it), and their arguments and, frankly, inherent paranoia have spilled over into UK discourse.

Today, the US media is so Balkanised that the two sides each literally have no idea what the other is thinking, despite the fact that their opponents publish all their thoughts in a never-ending stream in all available media. Last November, approximately half the country really thought that Romney was likely to win the presidency. Why? - because they had been taught for years to mistrust the media that tried to tell them differently.

I'm rambling now, sorry. But my point is: to answer the question "How did we get to this point?", you need to consider more than just the UK story in isolation.

Pint icon because the whole subject is too depressing to think of any other way.

Google in the dock over elephant ivory ads

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Re: Anti hunting hypothesis

What makes you think they're not doing it?

I remember having this argument years ago, about antique ivory. If the elephant was killed 100 years ago, surely it's not encouraging the hunting of animals now?

But the trouble is, all it does is divide the market. If you invent near-perfect fake ivory, now there's an exclusive, expensive market for real ivory, and a lower-class, more mass market for the fake stuff, plus of course a fraudulent market for the fake being passed off as real ivory. And now you've created plausible deniability for the trader ("It's fake ivory, nothing wrong with that" when talking to the authorities, but the opposite story when talking to customers).

But the rich customers will still want the real thing, and they'll go to great lengths to get it. Think the sort of people who buy 'wild salmon' or 'real caviar'. Some of them will be genuinely able to tell the difference. Others won't, but will still want the real thing to impress those who can.

Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

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Re: Fixing the wrong problem

It's an improvement because it makes the crime harder to commit.

Mugging to get a card and threatening to get a PIN? Easy-peasy. If you're quick on your feet, you can be back to the cashpoint before the victim has time to report the crime. (Assuming you have the elementary forethought to pinch his phone as well.)

Forcing someone to march with you at knifepoint into a public area where an unknown number of unknown people will see you both? Considerably harder, calls for a good deal more nerve and commitment on the part of the criminal.

Of course there's a workaround for the truly determined criminal. There probably always will be. But it becomes harder, and that reduces the total number of such crimes that get committed. That's a good thing.

Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

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Re: @John Smith 19

@Tom Welsh: I love it when people say "do the maths..."

A bottle of wine contains 750 ml of liquid. A unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml of alcohol. So to get 11 units in a bottle, you're talking about wine that's 14.5% ABV. I submit that if you're drinking "the cheapest wine you can get in a supermarket" and it's 14.5% ABV, your liver and stomach are in a world of trouble.

A more typical strength, particularly for cheap plonk, would be 11%, making for 8 units per bottle. Some wines are significantly lower (and none the worse for that - part of our current problem is that there's a tendency towards making beer and wine stronger - but that's basically for fashion's sake, there's no taste-based reason for it).

Clarkson: 'I WILL find and KILL the spammers who hacked me'

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Re: Stupid little boy

Well - not really. Because the law you quoted says "intending that the other would fear it would be carried out...".

In other words: the test is what Clarkson intended them to believe, not what they took it into their heads to believe. It would be trivially easy for his lawyer to argue "my client is well known for shooting his mouth off about all kinds of things and has never been known to follow through on a threat of serious violence, there was never any question that anyone would seriously feel threatened by him."

At which point, there's no case to answer, and no evidence to suggest otherwise. Indeed, if required, I'm sure the lawyer could come up with several other examples of the defendant making similar threats in a similar tone, none of which were ever meant seriously.

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So some hackers-and-spammers get killed, and Clarkson goes away for a nice long stretch in jail...

What's the downside here? Sounds like a perfect outcome to me. I'd offer to hold his coat for him, but that might make me an accessory.

Iceland thinks long and hard over extreme smut web ban law

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Re: Parental Responsibility

@Graham Marsden: Perhaps you will accept that society (whatever that is) does have some responsibilities to parents and children? And there's no reason why parents shouldn't be allowed to ask for whatever restrictions they think would be helpful, from the rest of society?

Whether The Rest Of Society, working through the democratic process, chooses to give them what they ask for, or something else, or nothing at all, is a different matter. But there's nothing wrong with them asking, surely?

And if you seriously don't think you have an interest in helping other people's kids to grow up into basically decent people, I suggest you rethink what 'growing up' implies. Those kids are the people who are going to be driving the ambulance when you collapse in your sheltered accommodation.

Love in the time of the internet: A personal memoir

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Re: @veti - Things I learned in several years of 'net-driven dating

Well, between 10 and 20 years ago the 'neutral environment' of choice (my choice, at least) was Usenet. More specifically, alt.fan.my_favourite_writer, though I hung about in a number of groups for a while.

Now, probably any number of web forums devoted to topics that interest people of both sexes. There must be *something* you're interested in that's not an instant turnoff to all women, surely?

The important point is that you don't go to these places just looking for love. If you do that, then you start viewing everyone through a weird filter that's not unlike having four pints of beer inside you, and your powers of discrimination start out about 60% below par. Instead, ou go to discuss something you enjoy, then to meet online 'friends' of all sorts.

When I first 'met' my spouse, I didn't even know what gender they were. Username and postings gave no clue. They were just one among several dozen online friends I'd made at that point, when we started exchanging e-mails and getting more personal.

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Things I learned in several years of 'net-driven dating

... before I met my spouse (on Usenet):

1. If a service or site expects you to maintain something called a "profile", don't use it.

1a. This rule goes double if the profile is supposed to contain a photo (of you. Photos taken *by* you are another matter.)

1b. The reason behind this rule is: anything a person has deliberately and premeditatedly written about themself, in a profile, is 50% likely to be unadulterated bullshit, 45% likely to be just extremely misleading. (A small proportion are true, but mostly by accident.) If you want to know someone, read what they write *about everything else*, not about themselves.

2. If a service or site advertises itself as helping you to find love, or a date, don't use it. You don't find love by looking for it, you find it by meeting people - of both genders - in a neutral environment.

2a. Corrollary: if a service or site differentiates between users on the basis of gender, don't use it. You need friends of both genders. Without that, you have no way to calibrate your feelings when you do start to feel mushy.


US company aims patent-gun at Australia’s e-health system

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If an Australian company tried this on a US state...

... the US media would go to town on ridiculing them.

And rightly too. The claims asserted in those patents swing wildly from "mind-blowingly obvious" to "mind-blowingly stupid". Apparently, insanity is patentable now.

Patent US8121855 specifies: "The method includes assigning a toll-free phone number individually associated with and dedicated to the consumer for private fax and voice communications from a health care provider..." Curses! If only there were some alternative technology that could replace faxes!

Patent US8117045 includes "assigning a destination address individually associated with the consumer account... The destination address can be a phone number or email account." Surely trivial to work around - if the Aussies were even contemplating doing that in the first place, which sounds pretty dumb to me.

The most the Aussies should offer to appease them is a free holiday to swim with the crocodiles.

Why you need a home lab to keep your job

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Have you been reading The Onion again?

"Vendor says people need his company's kit. Film at 11."

What's next: "Tim Cook says get the girlfriend an iPhone, so she's got someone to talk to while you're in the home lab"?

UK minister: 'There must be a limit to what the gov knows about its people'

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Re: People should not be afraid of their Government...

Paranoid bull.

Fear is no basis for a healthy relationship. If governments are afraid of their people, they will plot against them.

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And I don't own "my employer".

What was your point exactly?

Schoolgirl's Hello Kitty catonaut soars to 93,000ft

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Re: catonaut

No, a 'catonaut' ('katanaut') would be a home-loving person who is against sailing entirely. Or possibly a submariner, who sails in a downward direction.

One who navigates cats would be an 'ailonaut'.

This comment brought to you by the Overwhelming Urge to Counterpedantry.

Nokia tries its luck with a sub-£150 Win Phone 8: The Lumia 620

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Re: A bargain

@Manu T:

Nokia was the company that invented downloadable ringtones in the first place. If they've recanted on that, I for one will be flocking back to them.


Wii-U boat torpedoes Nintendo's '¥20bn profit' into ¥20bn loss

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Re: Good

You want to remap controls, get a PC. (Contrary to what you may have heard, PC gaming is very much alive and well. Just ask Valve. It just doesn't appear in shops any more. Just ask Valve again.)

Consoles are specifically for dumbed-down gaming, that's the whole point of them.

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Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

if an iPod were a ton of metal that you had to keep in a special room and sit inside in order to listen to and cost several months' pay, then you'd have a point.

But the DS/3DS and the mobile phone do have a lot in common. They're the same size bracket, and the same price bracket. On top of that, they both compete for the same resources (pocket space and charger slots), and they both fulfil the role of 'cheap on-demand electronic entertainment'.

The fact that the phone has a whole bunch of other functions as well just makes it harder for the DS to hang on to its niche. The 3DS was a nice gimmick, but it's only a gimmick. In the long run, handheld consoles are dead in the water - unless they can come up with something that smartphones just can't do, and they haven't managed that yet.

I say this with regret, as a longtime Nintendo fan and owner of all major versions of the DS (one original, one DSi, one XL and one 3DS). But the comparison of sales between the DS (all models) and smartphones is not inappropriate.

Muslim vid protest hackers turn web-flood hosepipe away from US banks

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Remind me: when did nonviolent direct action become evil?

And thus we show that the basic premise behind their action was correct: their attack did make enough people care to get Google to do something about it.

To be honest, I can't see the problem with this. Sure, someone has the right to make this infantile 'trailer' (for a movie that was never going to be made, mind you), and they have every right to put it on YouTube. BUT by the same token, every Muslim in the world also has the right to make their feelings known about it, and to protest by whatever means they can get away with.

So long as no-one actually gets hurt or robbed, fair play to them. I have no problem at all with Google caving in to massive public pressure. Even if it is coming from TEH MOSLUM MENACETM!

Greenland ice did not melt in baking +8°C era 120k years ago

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Re: Odd, I'm beginning to think Lewis has an agenda...

Of course Lewis is paid to troll. It's the job of writers on a site like this to get pageviews. By any means necessary.

That's a surprisingly fine line to tread. If you just start making sh*t up out of nothing, no-one will take any notice. Conversely, if you just report what everyone else is reporting, no-one will take any notice.

One approach that does work, however, is to take stories that are true, and put a spin on them that will be hugely popular with one significant audience niche. It's what Fox News does, it's what Drudge Report and Media Matters and Huffington Post and basically all US political partisan blogs do. If you do it consistently, you can build up a fanatical loyalty with those people who are desperate to have their prejudices confirmed on a regular basis. And the debate in the Comments section is even better - that allows you to get people coming back multiple times to view the same page!

So now Lewis has a fanatically loyal following of people who think AGW is a huge fraud, and look to him to explain why the latest story is nothing to worry about. To them, it's reassuring. To the rest of the world, it's trolling.

Chinese boffins crack cloaking tech for camouflage

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History teaches us...

The Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942) went down in history as the first naval battle in which ships from the two sides never actually saw each other. I imagine some future land engagement will be "the battle in which soldiers from both sides completely failed to detect each others' presence in any way whatsoever".

Should make for a good 'Call of Duty' game...

Top Gear isn't TV, not when it's on YouTube

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Re: Ahh the old, "you don't have kids" argument from authority fallacy...

So wind your neck in, and accept that plenty of childless yet responsible people interact with your darling offspring every day and manage not to strangle it, push it under a bus or cause it any amount of unnecessary pain. In return all they ask is that you do your part in raising a decent human being to join the rest of us and not expect them to rearrange their lifestyles around you and yours.

While it's true that many childless people do manage not to murder or torment kids on a daily basis... I think you're missing my point.

When you say "don't expect them to rearrange their lifestyles" - I don't think you've fully though through what you're saying. We all rearrange our lifestyles around each other, every day. When you drive, you take care to avoid other cars and pedestrians, observe signs and signals and so forth. You refrain from playing your stereo at full volume at 3 a.m. And so forth. (I'm assuming you're a reasonable, civilised person here - if any of this doesn't apply to you, then I think others have reasonable grounds for asking you do rearrange your lifestyle.) So the question isn't "Don't tell me how to live my life!" - that ship has sailed, centuries ago, unless you live in the middle of a hundred square miles of isolation in Montana or somewhere. The question is "What level of interference are we all willing to settle for?"

Someone mentioned the 'watershed' on TV. I happen to live in a country that doesn't observe that convention, but it's worth mentioning as a good example of compromise - an example of how people do rearrange their lifestyles around each other, and most of them are willing to accept it.

What set me off was the rant They're your f-ing kids. Take responsibility for a change.. That could only have been written by someone who, as I said before, has never given a nanosecond's thought to what the hell they're talking about, and I'm fed up with reading it, or variants thereon, time and again in every single thread that touches on this topic.

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Spoken like a confirmed non-parent. Has it occurred to you that 'making a safer environment' is part of 'taking responsibility' for your kids?

You do your best. You put child locks on the drawer with the sharp knives, and most of the others as well if you've got any sense. You buy a car with a decent secondary safety rating, you fit smoke alarms, you make sure that the climbable furniture isn't sitting directly beside the openable window....

The TV is part of their environment. Once they're old enough to know how to turn it on for themselves, how exactly do you propose we keep them away from it? Throw it out? - then they'll go around their friends' house, where they'll spend every minute glued to it because it's forbidden at home.

If you don't have kids, which I'm currently willing to bet a months' salary you don't, then you have absolutely not the first beginnings of a notion of a clue of a breath of an idea what "taking responsibility" means. So, while I respect your right to watch whatever you want on your TV/interwebs/whatever in the privacy of your own home - please respect my right to express my opinion as to how those things can be more helpfully controlled.

Thank you.

Obama calls for study into games ‘n’ guns link

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Re: And television sitcoms cause ...

Actually, the evidence suggests that banning guns would lower suicide rates. Compare US (12 suicides per 100,000 people per annum) with UK (6.9).

Shooting oneself is just easier, and looks more painless, than so many other ways to top oneself. It lowers the barrier to entry, so to speak.

Swartz prosecutor: We only pushed for 'six months' in the cooler

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Re: Please use other sources to research the actual case before posting more idiocy

@AC 18:49

My words about there being no difference between holding a gun to his head and pulling the trigger are emotional for a good reason and are certainly worth considering. They are soley to bring attention to this tradgedy.

I'm sorry, you don't get to decide whether your words are "worth considering", at least not by anyone except yourself. As for "bringing attention" to this tragedy - good grief, it's had headlines on every media outlet in the world and a good fraction of all known blogs - how much more attention do you think you're bringing exactly?

That Swartz cannot have his day in court to prove his innocence... - is tragic, sure. But let's be honest - he was never going to "prove his innocence" in court, because he wasn't innocent. He broke the law, he knew he was breaking the law, and he knew there was plenty of evidence to prove he'd done it. The best, the very best that he could have achieved in court was to make a few speeches about how stupid the law is and how it needs to be changed, which might or might not have made a few rumbles of publicity but, let's face it, nothiing like what he's got now.

Civil disobedience is a fine and noble thing, but when you break the law you have to be prepared to face the consequences - no matter how just your cause. Thoreau knew that. So did Gandhi, and Solzhenitsyn, and Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks, and everyone else who ever achieved anydamnthing by those means. These people spent time - long time, in some cases - in jail for what they believed.

And if they hadn't been willing to do that, we'd never have heard of them.

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Re: Obama's Justice Department is Cruel and Vindictive.

@AC 16:30: That the Obama Administration is in the pocket of Big Media should surprise nobody who's been paying attention for at least a couple of years. A hypothetical Romney administration might have been less so, but only because it would have been so busy scratching the backs of his supporters. (For instance, I have no doubt at all that if Romney were in the White House, the FAA would never have ordered the grounding of all Boeing 787s.)

So let's not pretend there is a political solution to this mess, at least not one that involves any party or structure currently existing in the USA. Politicians just don't give a rat's arse about the occasional martyr, right up until the point where he manages to achieve global headlines.

I guess maybe Swartz knew that, and he saw there was one, and only one, way in which he could make those sorts of headlines. Maybe he was looking to immortalise himself in the same way as Mohamed Bouazizi. If so, I wish he'd been right, but I very much doubt it. Martyrs don't cut that much ice in the west - we're too busy arguing about whose brand of scumsucking demagogues is better or worse than the alternative.

White House rejects Death Star petition: '$850qn too pricey'

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One word:


'Doomsday' asteroid Apophis more massive than first thought

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Re: "It certainly doesn’t sound as ridiculous as sending Bruce Willis up there."

OK, so Apophis has an estimated mass of approximately 27 e9 kg, and its mean orbital speed is about 30 km/s.

Bruce Willis is quite a big guy, has an estimated mass of about 95 kg. Let's call it a nice round 100 kg for ease of calculations.

If we could somehow accelerate him to 0.1 of the speed of light, then ignoring relativistic effects, he'd hit Apophis with a kinetic energy of 45 petajoules. For comparison, that's about the energy of a 1 MT nuclear bomb. If we timed him to hit Apophis at the point where it had just passed Earth and was heading back out into space, he would speed it up by a paltry 11 cm per second.

The good news is that if Apophis were in geostationary orbit at the time, he would be enough to knock it out of Earth orbit completely. The bad news is, it wouldn't be enough to knock it out of the Earth's orbital path round the sun, and thus prevent it from threatening us again.

Could we use him to knock Apophis into a different orbital plane, thus ensuring that it would only cross our path once every several thousand years? Ah, I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Delay climate mitigation, escalate the costs: study

veti Silver badge

Re: In order to pass the Bridge of Eternal Peril, you must first answer this question...

After 5 years of constant fiscal stimulation, US inflation is storming out of sight at a hair-raising -- 2% per annum. That's hardly Zimbabwean.

As for "how do I spend USD20 per tonne of CO2" -- that's not even a hard question. If the political will existed (ha!), you'd spend it in tax, every time you buy fuel or energy. And manufacturers, distributors and the like would be spending it on the same basis, meaning that it would be factored into their expenses, and thus into every price you pay.

None of this is groundbreaking, it doesn't even require any significant new paperwork. Of course in real life it *will* require that, because in real life it will be implemented by people whose primary goal is to generate work for their cronies, but that's because we still choose to build our society on this tragic everyone-for-themselves model.


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