Re: "They looked for the password on the CD . . ."
It's quite possible that the actual password was simply "PASSWORD". I've worked with more than one system where anything typed beyond the maximum password length was ignored.
109 posts • joined 10 May 2010
It's quite possible that the actual password was simply "PASSWORD". I've worked with more than one system where anything typed beyond the maximum password length was ignored.
Yeah, but at the time they also carried cameras, Walkmans, GPS units and more. Who does that any more? They're all subsumed into a single device now. Plenty of us don't even wear a watch any more, other than as a style statement. Bear in mind that, realistically, people don't actually have phones; that was just the evolutionary route. What they have are portable computers with more processing power than the supercomputers of a generation ago, that have replaced a whole raft of devices, phones among them. So I'm still waiting for even the hint of that "killer app" that will make everyone really want to buy an extra device and strap it to their wrists again - and, seriously, right now I don't think it exists. There's almost nothing that a smart watch can do, that a smart phone can't do as well, and often with better usability. Market penetration is laughable; there are, literally, more mobile devices out there right now than there are people alive - over 7.2bn at the last count. And smart watches have managed to sell a few million? Absolute chickenfeed; as close to zero as makes no difference. They have their uses, but basically these things are likely to remain niche.
Getting from the major road is even easier than now - you use a driver who is rested rather than one who has spent the last n hours concentrating on the (almost unchanging) road around them.
No, you use a driver who has just spent n hours of mind-numbing boredom staring at the back of the vehicle in front with no more variety than twiddling the steering wheel enough to keep that vehicle much closer in front of him than he is likely to be comfortable with.
I really hope the following vehicles have some sort of driver alertness monitor, because I don't want to be anywhere near that convoy after 3 or 4 hours on the road if it hasn't.
Great!, And how do they get to and from the "major roads" I wonder?
Apparently, the slaved lorries still have drivers, who are responsible for steering while they're "platooning". I presume that they'll simply take over and drive as normal at other times.
Can't say I'm wildly enamoured; it sounds a classic case of some bright spark in a lab getting unrealistically enthusiastic, and selling the idea to a government department that doesn't know any better.
"Anyone who tends to do this want to pop on an anonymous mask and give me a hand?"
Serious answer. I'm early 60s, and I don't do this. But I do have a suspicion - I think it has a lot to do with physical capability, reaction times, caution and confidence (rather like the well-documented tendency of elderly drivers to cling to the middle of the road). My own years of always driving like a bat out of hell, if they ever existed, are long behind me; now it's all about comfort zones. On dual carriageways I know, for example, that when I'm feeling wide awake and alert, and the road is reasonably empty, I can struggle to stop my speed straying well over the limit. Whereas if I'm very tired, I'm much more likely to potter along in the inside lane at a good 10mph under the limit - it may take longer to get places, but it's what feels comfortable and within my ability to react, at the time (and I know that my reaction times aren't what they used to be - and if I ever forget that, I only have to go play a video game or two against someone younger, to get my nose rubbed in the fact). And personal observation somewhat bears that out; for example, I remember a couple of elderly relatives of my wife, both of whom were medically fit and deemed competent to drive, but who in practice could be downright scary to be in the car with at "higher" speeds (which, in one of the two cases, by the time they stopped driving, was anything over about 25mph). I've noticed the same sort of thing with other, elderly friends, too - mostly, the older, the slower. So it could well be that those "35 mph everywhere" drivers are actually reckless, devil-may-care elderly speed-freaks, utterly ignoring the limits and belting along at what passes, in their cases, for comfortably flat out...
"The placebo effect is indeed clinically real. The real wtf thing is that there is still clinically measurable effect when the patient is told it is a placebo."
I've heard about this; seems likely to be Hawthorn effect. Just receiving attention has an effect in its own right.
You never know when you're going to want to do something like that. Plus you know everything about the ISS. So (a) practice it, and (b) find out how much information you can actually gather that way with that sat, and what your analysts can make of it - and what gets missed, as well. Why wouldn't you? Plus it's a great chance to eyeball the outside for damage.
Initial stages?!? The company hit the iceberg over 2 decades ago; the officers have been throwing crew overboard in an effort to lighten the load for years whilst pretending that everything's normal. It's just taken the passengers a bit longer than usual to spot the signs that it's been terminally holed below the waterline, and - despite its supposed unsinkability - is going nowhere but under.
"Trump has stated before that AGW is false."
that's because it _IS_ false. what part of "CO2 does not absorb infrared energy corresponding to normal earth temperatures" (and therefore can NOT be the 'greenhouse gas' everyone hopes it would be, so they can CONTROL PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOR in the name of reducing it) is NOT obvious here?
Well, gosh, you've convinced ME. Half a dozen paragraphs to demolish the career-long intellectual work of thousands of scientists, who agree to a man and woman that it's very real indeed. I guess they''ll all take one look at your simplistic argument, realise they've missed the blindingly obvious and been been wrong all this time, and go find other jobs...
It's not that simple. It never is.
So - is this BT as in "BT the infrastructure supplier", or BT as in "BT the telephony supplier"? In other words, is this going to work even if I nominally get my telephony from (say) Sky, or PlusNet? because if it isn't, then BT needs hitting with a VERY big stick until it gets the message.
I see nothing odd about it.
Doesn't matter where a company is based. Sovereign nations such as the UK have this quaint idea that they are - well - sovereign... ...and therefore have the right to make and enforce their own laws. They can, will and regularly have take action against companies that step too far over the wrong line. The degree to which they may in practice be able to enforce their decisions may vary, but that's a rather different issue. True, UK courts may not be able to compel Facebook to a particular course of behaviour worldwide (although in my observation, minor annoyances such as a complete lack of jurisdiction have regularly failed to stop US courts trying to do precisely that in the past); but the reality is that, if Facebook wants to do business in the UK, it will certainly need to do so in accordance with UK laws, or face consequences.
Well. Until Project Waltz I *did* work for IBM, and indeed at IBM Hursley. Very probably I was working on one of those products you mention. And I'd have to say that I totally agree with the article. IT Services have been a critical IBM source of revenue for quite a while now, whilst the market for its cash-cow software products is (or certainly was at the time I last saw figures) slowly but steadily contracting. I have nothing but admiration for the quality of many of the technical folk who, even now, work in the IBM labs - but when was the last time that IBM developed (rather than bought) a truly new software product? Decades ago.
Seen from the viewpoint of a mere grunt inside the company, IBM senior management seemed to have no "strategy" worthy of the name beyond pushing the share price at all costs, and amassing their personal stock options before moving on. Investment in people was near-invisible, and the overall atmosphere was pretty poisonous. From such things as I hear from my contacts inside the company, nothing much seems to have changed.
IBM has, in my opinion, been on a long, slow slide into oblivion ever since the bean-counters took over from the techies in the 90s; the only real question in my mind is how long it can keep the cracks in the facade sufficiently papered-over to stop the market noticing.
"Sorry AC, but you are wrong. The UK, for one, does not have a minimum speed limit on a motorway."
Effectively it does. It's merely not explicit.
It's an offence under UK law to drive "without due consideration" to other road users. Pottering along at some obstructively low pace, without a valid and sensible reason for doing so, would most certainly be likely to earn you penalty points if it came to court.
I seem to remember some of the early UK hackers being convicted of "stealing electricity" (because there was no other applicable law at the time - and never mind that the amount of electricity involved was trivial). It seems to me that anyone who attempts to do this without my approval is doing precisely that - just more overtly.
What's even more ludicrous is the implication that Hollywood then ignored the goldmine that was the technology supposedly used, and that all of the SFX specialists involved in the "fake" also forgot everything they'd done, and the whole industry went right back to the same old low-tech SFX it had been using for years. You've only got to look at the moon and other "low gravity" scenes in "2001" (released only the year before the landing) to see the limits on what the industry of the time was capable of. But then again, such trivia don't bother crackpots.
"I also tend to make them use electronic kit in "open" areas of the house so I can see what they're doing rather than let them sneak off to their bedrooms. I suppose most parents do the same."
Not beyond a certain age. I think to a degree it may depend on the kids, but when mine were younger (they're all adults now) I took the attitude that openness and trust was a better strategy - treating them as adults to just as much a degree as they could cope with. We were all kids; we all know that, if you try and lock kids down, they'll just find a way of seeing or doing what they want to anyway, and most of the time you won't even know it. Whereas if you foster an attitude of trust, you not only hear about far more of it, but you get the chance to feed any concerns and thoughts into the discussion, and have your opinions considered and respected. I knew, for example, when my 15 year-old son was watching 18-rated films round at a particular friend's house, and what they were. We talked, I was happy with his attitude, end of story. If I hadn't been, we'd have found a way to sort things. Worked pretty well for me, anyway - I'm proud of the way they all turned out. (Although my daughter once told me that the most frustrating thing about me was that I never gave her anything to rebel against. Parental Judo. I took that as a compliment.)
What gets me most about utterly moronic pronouncements such as the one that prompted this whole discussion is the vacuous and unquestioning way in which so many apparently-intelligent politicians seem to have not only bought into the "copying is theft" meme, but the degree to which they seem prepared to accede to the very particular version of that tale being told by large corporate interests.
Copying is not only not "theft" (a simple and perfectly clear concept that everyone understands, despite the best efforts of those with vested interests to redefine it as something else), but utterly fundamental to human society and culture. From the moment we're born, we learn most of what makes us who and what we are by copying. Talking; reading; what's acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in our society; what things and actions are safe, and what are dangerous. If we see a good idea, we adopt it. If our neighbour finds a clever way to keep the slugs out of his vegetable patch, we try it. If we hear a good joke, we pass it on. If we hear a good tune, we whistle, sing or play it. If we like the new style of clothing we see someone wearing, we imitate it. If someone coins a useful word, we use it. Copying things is one of the most fundamental aspects of human behaviour that there is. The entire (and very, very recent) concept of somehow not having a right to copy whatever we choose to is utterly artificial, and utterly at odds with everything that makes us who and what we are.
Which is not to say that there's not a place for allowing someone to benefit from the fruits of their labour, up to a point - IF doing so benefits society as a whole. If it doesn't - well, no-one owes you, me, or anyone else (let alone some faceless corporation) a living. And most certainly not simply because having an artificial monopoly on something is the only way to achieve one.
Who knows? The point is that he was able to. It could have been a simple mistake. Although he was a test pilot, and he could have had a reason that made sense to him. Whatever, the hardware allowed him to do something that turned out to be fatally dangerous, presumably without giving him any indication that it really wasn't a good idea.
(There's a famous story of a Harrier jump jet test pilot asking "What happens if I vector the thrust nozzles during forward flight?" To which the answer was "We don't know - no-one's ever tried it." So he did. And nothing went wrong, and the Harrier's then-unique VIFFing manoeuvers were born. But there was always an outside chance that it would turn out to be a really bad idea, and that things could have gone horribly wrong, perhaps even killing the pilot. In which case we'd be asking what he was doing, doing something so stupid? Answer - doing his job.)
In my book, that's not pilot error. That's either a design failure, or a training failure, or a test pilot pushing the envelope beyond its limits.
"It's the same as asking me to pay for bank shareholders losses for a bank that I don't use."
'Which if you're a UK taxpayer, and don't bank with RBS, HSBC or Lloyds, is exactly what happened.'
Except that you DO use them. They finance the levy that guarantees that, if it's YOUR bank that goes tits up, you don't lose every penny you had in it.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: IBM, in its current form and under its current management and management culture, is moribund. It could be years dying yet, but that's what it's doing. The outside world possibly may not be able to see that clearly yet, but it's plain as a pikestaff once you get inside. And its problem isn't sell-offs per se - those are just visible symptoms of a wider culture of "money right or wrong" (and "money for my share options") that came in when Lou Gerstner replaced John Akers in the 90s, and the bean-counters took over from the techies.There's no money available for anything. Pick any 10 grunt employees at random, and ask them how much real education they've had in the last couple of years, say - you'll be shocked at the answer. There may be something in there worth salvaging - but it's not going to amount to anything under the current board, any board likely to replace them, or indeed the sort of middle management appointees that the culture fostered by the board produces.
"When even Tories..."?
No. Labour were just as bad. I'm an utter cynic in such matters, and the problem, IMO, isn't the Conservatives, or Labour - it's the unchanging common denominators, a.k.a. the Home Office, the Intelligence Services,the Police and so on. You can vote for any tint of government you like, but when the dust has settled, one layer down from the Home Secretary and the PM you'll still have exactly the same people scaring the new bosses rigid with the same intelligence stories and scenarios (accurate, exagerated and imagined) as they did the old ones, and pushing for the same "absolutely essential" measures (i.e. greater powers for them) that are needed "for the county's safety". Oh, and the terrible political consequences of not doing so.
It would take someone of serious integrity and moral courage to stand up to that sort of pressure, and sadly that's rarely found in the average politician. It seems to take the average government about two briefings to go native.
"Strangely enough, the Belgians didn’t feel man enough to take on the UK"
We all know that it's a basic principle that everyone spies on everyone. No surprises there. And presumably the Belgians are not stupid enough to actually think that there was any possibility that GCHQ wouldn't in principle pass anything they got on to the rest of the Five Eyes group (including the US). So they knew where they stood on that score. Whereas they possibly had a higher opinion of Germany.
Stonehenge was built as a playpen for mammoths.
Quite the opposite. Fortunately, we have an interview from the time to tell us otherwise.
"Well, what is it anyway? A henge? Well, what's a henge? You may call it megalithic culture, I call it vandalism! I suppose you realise this is about the last nesting place for mammoths in the whole of Wessex?"
- Michael Flanders, "Built Up Area"
"What the hell have you been smoking? BBC?"
Probably the best thing to do with the BBC...
...If it can be done, someone, somewhere will do it. And not tell anyone until it's a done deal. And try to make a shed-load of money out of it, probably by trying to patent something key.
If we can at least keep the more reputable academics in the loop by doing it ourselves, we ought to.
" The expenses scandal I'll give you though: that was good work."
I can't honestly entirely agree - and I've been a Telegraph reader for years. Once it started, it turned into something for too akin to a witch hunt to make me comfortable - day after day of page after page of anything the paper could rake up. The paper was clearly revelling in its own publicity, and determined to milk it for everything it could.
In particular there was far too much pillorying of MPs for absolutely anything that the paper thought wouldn't play well with the public, irrespective of likely dishonest intent. Yeah, absolutely there were some real outrages lurking. More power to the paper for finding and exposing those. But others? There were others that, frankly, had me fuming - ones that I had far more sympathy for, because in the MP's position I might well have made the same mistake. I'm talking about a slew of cases which clearly boiled down to naivety: an MP being told - probably by a senior civil servant - "This is what you can claim for"; assuming that whoever was talking, was doing so with authority, and taking what they were told at face value; and not stopping to ask themselves whether it was actually a good idea (and, in context, how it might play in the public stage if the detail came out).
Well - I've worked in a large organisation, and it's my experience that even the most honest person normally just follows the rules on what can be claimed, and assumes that those rules have been agreed, vetted and cleared - and that their claims will be similarly vetted against those rules. If one rule happens to work to your benefit and you end up in pocket, that's the luck of the draw; another time, things will work against you, and you'll be shelling out (a good example might be a per diem allowance; sometimes it will be more than you need, sometimes it really won't stretch). Most people take the pluses and minuses as they come, and don't consider they're doing anything wrong or dishonest in doing so. The difference is, they don't have the national media crawling over their claims and accusing them of dishonesty for every time they end up two quid in pocket. And, yes, MPs are special, and every sitting MP should now fully understand that the public expects them to do that extra self-audit and act upon the conclusions. But, frankly, I doubt whether many of them had thought about that at the time of the "scandal". And, equally frankly, I had very strong doubts at the time as to whether some of the staff expense claims at the Telegraph would have looked any better if exposed to similar public scrutiny and expectations.
BBC News was just as guilty; on multiple occasions I heard headlines "reporting" (I use the word advisedly) the same highly questionable allegations as the Sunday Times as though they were simple, verifiable fact. Worse, the reports didn't even have the grace to contain the qualifier of "a senior government source has said" that at least graced the equivalent reporting on its web site. Utterly disgraceful.
"If you remember your bible, Jesus was born when there was a census. And this census was about 6 BCE."
Except I'm assured by historians that there's no record whatsoever of the Romans ever asking populations to move all over the Empire in the way the biblical verses require. Whereas there WAS an interpretation of Micah 5:2 requiring the Messiah to come from Bethlehem. Taking the two together, the "census" bit sounds suspiciously like a Monty Python-style skit:
"You're not making much progress on this bit, Luke. Writer's block?
"A bit, yeah."
"Let's see if I can help. Start with the easy stuff. He was born in Nazareth, right?"
"Bethlehem?! Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth!"
"He must have been born in Bethlehem. He's the Messiah, so it has to be Bethlehem."
"You're off your trolley. That's over 70 miles! Joseph wouldn't take a pregnant wife all that way! On those roads, too!"
"Well- maybe he had to. Maybe he had no choice."
"Oh yeah? Like what? Did Mary suddenly get cravings for some bread and fish from that little shop they saw in Bethlehem when they were on holiday? Or - did Caesar Augustus suddenly go mental and tell half the flamin' empire to go home so that he could tax them?"
"Say that again?"
"I said, 'Did a decree go from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be registered'?"
"Here, you've got something there. He wouldn't have had any choice, would he? That's good, that is. Let's see... '...should...be... registered.' Great. Job done; I'll fill in the detail later. So anyway ... what was that bit about loaves and fishes again?"
"Also, why does it have to look like a *bird* box, surely a plain wooden box would blend in just as well?"
I guess the logic is that (a) we're sufficiently used to seeing "bird boxes" that another one won't look out of place, (b) they'll be able to sell people on the idea of being paid to have one on the side of their houses because, cynically, it looks like they're being nature-friendly, and (c) they'll be less likely to attract "unwelcome" attention if casual observers don't realise what they are.
Pre-Enlightenment Philosophy at least had the excuse of incorporating aspects of what we now call science into early attempts to make sense of the world in which we live. Post-Enlightenment Philosophy has no such defence; it is the dry, shrivelled husk left over once everything with the remotest application to the real world had been removed, refined and and renamed the Scientific Method - a good place to go if you want an argument, but utterly sterile and incapable of reaching any factual conclusion. Quoting a "philosopher" such as Popper in support of your arguments on any issue of fact whatsoever is roughly on a par with quoting "some bloke I met down the pub".
>Gerrymander constituency boundaries - worth 20 seats - to make sure they win the next election.
I'll inevitably get seriously down-voted by the more leftward voting El Reg readers for this, but. If it were Gerrymandering we were talking about, the OP wouldn't be able to quote a number of seats ahead of time. This is something different (and, yes, it will inevitably work to Labour's disadvantage; if you actually believe in the idea of democracy in the UK, rather than giving lip service provided it always delivers the result you like, that's no reason it shouldn't go ahead).
Firstly, courtesy of the LibDems throwing their tantrum over the Tories not letting them dictate how the Lords should be reformed, we're overdue an adjustment of constituency boundaries (the reviews of which are carried out at intervals, by law, by 4 non-political Boundary Commissions, by the way).
Secondly, after past adjustments, and in particular the fourth such review back in 1995, it has been generally agreed by independent political commentators that Labour activists have consistently beaten the Tories hands-down at gaming the commissions system to their party-political advantage. I doubt that left wing voters need fear that THAT's changed much.
The big thing that's different about the proposed legislation is that it would require all constituencies to be of roughly similar size. And that would kick into touch the built-in, but manifestly unfair, electoral advantage that Labour currently gains from the UK having a large number of small, inner-city constituencies. Well - if that's Gerrymandering, all I can say is, not before time. If a party of any hue can't convince the electorate on a level playing field, it doesn't deserve to be in power. Although for my money, I'd prefer a system in which my own vote actually counts for something each time (I've lived all over the country, but never yet voted in an election in which the constituency result wasn't a foregone conclusion).
Sad but largely true.
Depends why you play games. There's nothing at all wrong with Go or Chess if you play games for the intellectual challenge above all, but if you want a pleasant social gathering with a group of friends of mixed backgrounds and tastes, where the games aren't necessarily trivial but the company and the personal interactions are also a huge part of the pleasure, neither Go nor chess is going to fit the bill very well. Whereas there are a huge number of very good, mostly commercial games out there that would - but equally that most people have never even heard of (and, sadly, are unlikely to even come across, precisely because of the "board games are just for Christmas with the kids" idea that still seems so prevalent).
The huge temptation with Roborally is to get out lots of boards and then string out a massive course across them all, tucking the checkpoints into fiendishly-hard-to-reach places to boot. Whereas to my mind the BEST games tend to take place when all the checkpoints are easy to get to and the route weaves back and forth across the middle of a mere one or two, fairly-easy-to-navigate boards. That way any lead player is forever having to negotiate his or her way past the rest of the field, who also get the chance to influence the outcome. Oh - and ditch the rule about number of lives; having your robot destroyed is quite enough penalty, and no social game needs a player elimination rule unless it's vital to the game.
If you have an electric grill on your oven, turn it on set to max before you go any further.
Make an ordinary omelette mix by beating a couple of eggs and a splash of milk together with a fork.
Melt a generous nob of butter in an omelette or small frying pan on a medium-high heat, then add and fry a teaspoon or so of curry powder mix in the butter for 30 seconds or so before you add the egg mix (Tikka Masalla works well; the pan wants to be hot, but not TOO hot at this point, or the spices will burn rather than fry, and the result will be pretty disgusting).
Add the egg mix, and use the back of the fork or a spatula to move and spread it around enough so that most of the mix gets exposed to the heat and sets, and the bottom of the pan is covered reasonably evenly.
Once the mix is reasonably solid, take it off the ring and nuke it immediately under the hot grill until the top is also set (as David Roberts correctly points out, you get a fluffier, better-cooked omelette that way - although the spices in the mix tend to reduce the rise).
Take from under the heat, cover generously with a strong, tasty Cheddar (sliced or grated), and shove back under the grill until the cheese is melted.
Turn out folded in the traditional "half-moon" shape, and serve immediately. One of the fastest cooked snacks known to man, and downright delicious.
Virgin being late doesn't matter; if they end up providing cheap competition, by contrast, that's incredibly important. The real way to get mankind off the planet - if you'll forgive the purple prose, the true future of space exploration, and possibly even our survival as a species - lies in having lots of competing, self-interested, commercial parties capable of getting into space and making money from being there. Governments won't get us into space to any degree that matters; we've had four decades of watching how THAT one pans out, and they have completely the wrong priorities. But when there's money to be made, and lots of competition looking for new ways make it - sit back and watch the REAL Space Race begin.
@Robert E Harvey: I suspect that's what the writer was thinking, but if so, he needed to work harder at it. As it was, it was an awful ending - no real explanation, just "magic" and a touch of "happily ever after" that, once again, would have been more in place on CBBC. Oh, and on a planet of 7 billion people, the pivotal individual just "happens" to be a pupil at Clara's school? Well - there was a vague hint of another Missy connection; but if it was meant to be significant, it needed laying on with a much, much bigger trowel.
I don't make a point of going around discussing Doctor Who, but it's come up in conversation a couple of times, and I haven't yet spoken to anyone who claims to be liking the current series. And the plaint isn't Capaldi - it's the abysmal plots. I'd really love to know what the viewing figures look like - because I have a nasty suspicion they're nosediving.
Personally, I think it was a huge mistake to start into the whole Doctor/Clara/Danny triangle without giving Capaldi and the writers a few episodes to find his character. Yes, it probably makes perfect sense when considered in the abstract - Clara struggling to come to terms with the new Doctor - but as a viewer, I find it's not easy to get interested or involved in something like that when I'm still struggling trying to buy into a new Doctor myself!. And it certainly doesn't seem to be helping that both Capaldi and the writers *also* still seem to be struggling to settle on a real character for his Doctor - to date he still seems more like a ragbag of quirks and traits than a rounded character we can empathise with. It doesn't help, either, that we've had some pretty ropey story lines and scripting along the way, and some downright embarrassingly bad ones (the schoolboy science errors in Kill the Moon were frankly appalling scripting). As for the putative "Missy" subplot... it feels utterly tacked on; it certainly hasn't hooked or intrigued me. And if anyone wants to disagree, fine - but as a simple fact this series has been weak enough to completely lose the interest of my wife, who has casually enjoyed watching DW with me since the early '70s.
Just my opinion; YMMV. But this has NOT been, so far, a shining example of DW at its best. Nor am I convinced it stands a great chance of becoming one.
Years in the industry left me jaundiced - I simply don't trust MS to have my best interests at heart. And I don't trust IE. I stopped using it waaayyy back when MS took their blatant management-driven decision to force its roots down into the OS, so that they could claim to the US courts that they couldn't possibly unbundle the two (Win 98? I forget; long ago) - and thereby opened a shed-load of unnecessary security holes that took years to close again. And even though that's ancient history now, and my attitude is in all probability now antediluvian and entirely illogical - I still avoid it like the plague. I only ever fire it up on those rare occasions when I hit a web site that I absolutely MUST use, that is so badly (or parochially) coded that I can't get another browser to work on it - and then I go have a good wash to get rid of the unclean feeling.
It's been said that it takes years to gain trust; it takes minutes to lose it. Never were truer words spoken
So, indeed, do most people.
Getting to Mars is a publicity stunt on a par with the original moon landings - and likely to be about as long-lasting in terms of any related space program and exploitation of the achievement. It's hard to do, but not as hard as it would have been a couple of decades ago, and I doubt that many serious scientists feel it isn't do-able. But once it's done, the politicians (and, sadly, the public) will lose all interest.
Getting to the moon and actually doing things there, by contrast, has little of the sexy, public appeal of Mars (and even less of the vote-grabbing power) - but it's far more do-able, and the opportunities it presents (both commercially and internationally) are enormous. I strongly suspect that, as far as western nations are concerned, at least, though, it's going to take the involvement of the private sector before it happens; political interests are simply too divided and short-term.
Expect the US to get far more interested if Russia, China et al. start to look as though they might actually achieve something; as others have pointed out, even as a simple platform the moon is potentially unparalleled military "high ground", and as a base for making further, sustained progress it has even more potential.
"If you can see the pixel grid you're sitting too close / your TV is too big for your room!"
No, if you can see the 'pixel grid' you're sitting too close FOR THE RESOLUTION.
If you're viewing something low-res on a high-res screen, it's going to take multiple actual pixels to display "one" pixel from the low-res image. So a distance that is perfectly fine for viewing 4K material will potentially make older stuff look pixelated from the same distance. That's not the fault of the screen, or its size, or its distance, and it's certainly not an argument against 4K per se; it's down to a mismatch between content and display.
I'm not a big apologist for "new" media tech. Tube technology has gone, plasma screens have more or less died the death, and LCD is cheap to the point of being commodity; the TV hardware industry is clearly at a point right now where it desperately needs to find a "next big thing" to get everyone replacing their sets and revive its business. That, it seems, wasn't HD; it was never going to be 3D; it most certainly wasn't "curved screens" (!). 4K? Perhaps. Maybe. I don't know. I'd happily put a larger screen in the corner of my room, IF the quality of picture was good enough, and *if* it was comfortable to watch. Right now, my screen is at the "right" distance", for its size and resolution, for comfortable viewing - I did quite a bit of work to get those factors right before I bought. So I'm not going to simply boot it out and buy something else that's supposed to be "better" unless it genuinely is - and in MY house, to boot.
@AC: 'I've been in the car and have been stopped for "dangerous acceleration".'
That's perfectly reasonable (if not necessarily well-explained to you). ANYTHING you do whilst driving on the road or a public place can be an offence, if you go about it in a way that could cause problems for other people (including pedestrians). Check the legislation and you'll see that our main road offences were quite deliberately framed with broad-brush terms such as "reasonable consideration", "due care and attention" and "dangerous" - with the interpretation of what constitutes such left, in the final analysis, to the courts and case law. It's an approach that removes any wiggle-room for getting away with blatant infringements on technicalities, whilst leaving room for common sense to prevail. It's also one that has, on the whole and in my own personal opinion at least, worked pretty well. (And it's also one that means that the government's high-publicity "attack" last year of "new" offences for middle-lane hogging, etc., was a wholly-unnecessary PR exercise - everything was already perfectly well-covered by the existing legislation - but that's a different discussion).
The fact that they got ANY result from the control shows that they had a problem of SOME sort. And unless they repeated both experiment and control, each set up again from scratch each time, and the results from each were similar each time (but different between control and experiment), it could simply be that the instrumentation problem was weaker on one occasion than the other.
I'm with others on this. I'd love it to be verified - it would not only be potentially revolutionary, but throw a spanner in the works of current orthodoxy - rarely a bad thing. But frankly this feels a lot like cold fusion did when it was first trumpeted. Sorry - exceptional claims (apparent violation of conservation laws) require exceptional evidence, and I'd say the jury is still decidedly out.
"Now where's the equivalent UK vote on whether we'd like Scotland to stay or go? It's not all about Scotland..."
Well - for my money at least, in that question is the nub of the problem facing the "Yes" campaign (or would be if they were actually having a sensible discussion, rather than just promising that everything will be wonderful). Because, on the one hand, they want the people of Scotland to have the sole vote on whether or not to leave the UK; but on the other hand, they keep trying to pretend that (of course!) Scotland will get to share pretty much everything it currently enjoys as part of it.
Sorry, guys - make your mind up. Those two positions are not compatible. In particular, when you're a member of something, and you decide to cancel your membership, it's almost unheard of for you to continue to enjoy the rights and benefits that membership gave you. If you want to have an equitable share in what the UK has - effectively, to divide the current UK into two parts - then those of us in the rest of the UK have a right to expect a reasonable say in the decision-making process. If you want to make the decision unilaterally (which is what Salmond et al. have opted for), and you end up choosing to walk out, then fine - but don't expect to simply pick and choose what you get to take with you. At that point, it makes very little sense for the rest of the UK to start from any other negotiating position than that it's basically ALL ours until otherwise agreed.
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