* Posts by Loyal Commenter

2366 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Loyal Commenter
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Re: People DO hate adverts

I have to confess that ads don't really bother me much. I seem to have developed an internal filter so that I don't even see them whether online or in real life. They might be there but they never register.

The word you are missing on the end there is 'consciously'. This is why you are exactly the target of advertisers. You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. From 'brand awareness' (The subconscious process of hey I've heard of X brand, they must be better than Y that I've not heard of) to finding yourself humming a jingle while stuck in traffic.

This is my basic objection to most advertising; it's mostly not basic honest, "Buy Johnson's Soap," kind of stuff but designed to affect you on a psychological level. An adept advertiser knows that the human psyche can be manipulated very easily. Just ask Derren Brown if you don't believe me.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

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How about a respectable newspaper like the Times?

Ahahaha hahaha haha *cough* *splutter*

Owned by Rupert Murdoch. Totally respectable. Just like the ScumSun.

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Law Commission pulls back on official secrets laws plans after Reg exposes flawed report

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Whilst not directly elected, a general election is a pretty good proxy for it. And to be fair, she was elected the head of the tories, something like 30 people got to vote, wasn't it?

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

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Re: They walk amongst us

http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: They walk amongst us

There is no such thing as a proper homeopathic practitioner. Any GP prescribing a homeopathic treatment would either be doing so as a placebo, as an adjunct to proper treatment, or to 'treat' a psychosomatic illness, or be guilty of malpractice. It's not like they don't spend five years at medical school learning how to treat patients scientifically, followed by two years of junior doctor training in a hospital setting before even starting to train as a GP.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: But seriously though folks.... @Seajay

You have to be careful looking at things like survival rates for cancer, as the numbers can be misleading due to a combination of two factors:

- firstly the figures quoted are often survival rates over a period of time (e.g. five year survival rate), since as time tends towards infinity, survival tends towards zero.

- secondly, due to much better tests and diagnosis over the last 20 years or so, people are getting diagnosed earlier.

So, if you get a tumour that will kill you if it is untreated, but only get diagnosed when it has metastasised, your survival rate is essentially zero, but if you get diagnosed when it is at an early stage, removing the entire growth and completely curing you is a very real possibility. In these cases, you will often be given chemotherapy as well as an insurance policy against there being a few abnormal cells remaining.

The problem with chemotherapy is not that it doesn't work - it can be very effective, but that cancer is not a single disease. With few exceptions, every single cancer is its own unique disease, so what works for one patient may not work for another. Cancers are categorised by the type and location of the tumour, so for example, you might get a melanoma, but it won't be the same as someone else's melanoma even if the symptoms are the same.

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Riddle of cannibal black hole pairs solved ... nearly: Astroboffins explain all to El Reg

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Re: They solved nothing. Just fairy tales.

It must be wonderful to exist in a world where science, mathematics, and rational deduction play no part, and where 1+1=potato.

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Loyal Commenter
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Fact Check

Laydeez and gentlemen, I give you, The Brontosaurus.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Cosmic palaeontologist?

The universe may or may not be infinite. However, its age (since the big bang) is not infinite, and neither is the speed of light, meaning that the furthest we can actually see is a smidge under 14 billion light years.

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Facebook, Google, etc: Yeah, yeah, we'll work on the nasty stuff about bombs – but we ain't doing no backdoors

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The problem with censorship

Is that, like Pringles, once you pop, it's very hard to stop.

I think most people would agree that taking down the sites of terrorist organisations such as ISIS would be a good thing, but defining what is and is not a terrorist organisation is a tricky business.

It would start off being Daesh / ISIS, would get expanded to Hezbollah, the 'Real' IRA, then quasi-political organisations such as Combat 18, Britain First, then minor political parties, then end up encompassing any political opposition to the ruling party. We'd end being a 'democratic' totalitarian state such as North Korea. Theresa May would love this sort of thing.

For this reason, defining terrorism should never be put in the hands of politicians; it's like giving a psychopath a gun and telling him not to shoot anyone.

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

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Facepalm

It just requires simple legislation saying anyone sending packets that can't be decoded (encrypted or random, doesn't matter) goes to prison.

Did you just say random numbers should be illegal? Because I think you did...

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Nuns left in limbo after phone line transfer hell

Loyal Commenter
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Re: I'm surprised they needed to go to court...

They'd probably need permission from the Mother Superior to chmod, and I'm not sure +666 would go down so well

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UK Home Sec: Give us a snoop-around for WhatApp encryption. Don't worry, we won't go into the cloud

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Re: Deadworld ahoy

All crime isss committed by the living, therefore life itsself isss a crime. Prepare to be Judged!

Fooooolsss! You cannot kill what doesss not liiive!

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Loyal Commenter
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get ready for a gov U Turn on this when they realise how impossible this will be

*cough* brexit *cough*

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Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

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@LeeE

You're making an assumption about which edge they're talking about. Galaxies aren't two-dimensional, and IIRC, 750 ly is about right for getting to the 'top' edge.

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Plusnet slapped with £880k fine for billing ex customers

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Always cancel the DD with your bank

Don't rely on the payee deciding to stop collecting payments. If they think you still owe them something, they can bill you for it. It's a lot harder to argue once they have your money.

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BOFH: Don't back up in anger

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@TRT - Re: New technical terms.

No, but did you understand it?

Not sure I'd want an MRI taken with this technique, given the phrases, "adsorbed hydrocarbons", "nanoscale magnetic tip", and more importantly, "slice".

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Trump, Brexit, and Cambridge Analytica – not quite the dystopia you're looking for

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Re: Everything counts, in large amounts

I think this has less to do with carefully targeting the right lies, and more to do with basic psychology.

In essence, people are more inclined to agree with things that feel, or sound right to them - this is a basic bias that is present in everyone (myself included). The problem is that reality is complicated, and things that are true don't often translate into simple soundbites in the same way that outrageous lies do.

The result of this is that printing big numbers on the sides of buses and implying that large amounts of money might go to the NHS gets people's gut feelings, despite being almost entirely devoid of any factual content.

The more subtle argument about how sending lots of money to the EU in 'membership dues' actually saves the country money that would otherwise have to be spent on things like paperwork, trade tariffs, coordinating international policing etc. etc. gets sidelined, and even worse, gets negated by the loud (and easy) shouting down and name-calling from those who are prepared to come up with those 'truthy' soundbites.

The cause of this is basic human nature - we have two decision making processes; gut feeling and critical thinking. One is easy (and often wrong), and the other is hard, and needs to be taught. Those who would like to control the masses also don't really like to have them doing too much of the latter, so critical thought is discouraged (historically in a religious context, and now increasingly in schools). Those who base their decision-making on facts and evidence are maligned as 'educated elites', 'liberal lefties' and 'so called experts'.

In this country we also have a culture of underachievement (those who try hard in school are bullied for it) so when we don't work hard, and expect a cushy job, we act all surprised when someone comes in from another country and undercuts us because they have a better work ethic. The 'easy' answer here is to blame immigrants, the fact-based one is that if we applied ourselves, we would be able to out-compete them, since we don't have the disadvantage of having to move to a foreign country where we don't speak the language. Obviously, this is an over-simplification; another element to this is exploitative employers who can more easily mistreat foreign workers who may not know, or be willing to apply their legal employment rights. Again, immigrants are not to blame here, and to suggest that someone from another country is coming here to 'steal' jobs is the sort of xenophobic drivel you'd read in the Daily Heil.

Anyway, I've wandered a little off-topic. My basic point here is that good decision making skills are not innate in human nature, we have evolved to make snap decisions and to be led by consensus. Whilst these traits can be manipulated, this can also be mitigated by teaching critical thinking to our children. If we did, we might not even have to point out that people should fact-check things they read on the internet...

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Loyal Commenter
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... Theresa May's Brexit speech from January generates a 67 per cent openness rating, making her "liberal and artistic" rather than "conservative and traditional", and a 99 per cent score for her being a man. To be fair, a political speech is a controlled and stylised piece of writing...

To be fair, the software is based on evaluating truthful speech, and I reckon this just shows that Ms May is lying through her teeth, which is a fair assessment if you've ever heard her speak.

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Prisoners' 'innovative' anti-IMSI catcher defence was ... er, tinfoil

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Re: Wouldn't it be cheaper...

"Chicken wire's also probably too big a mesh to block a mobile phone signal, due to the ratio of the holes to the wavelength."

A quick google (which I did before posting my comment) would inform you that the wavelength of a GSM signal is in the order of tens of centimetres.

IIRC, a mesh is an effective Faraday cage if the gauge is in the order of half a wavelength or smaller. Chicken wire has a gauge typically in the order of tens of millimetres, so very roughly 1/10th of the wavelength, and perfectly adequate.

I wonder if the 'phone in the tin' works because the tin, rather than acting as a Faraday cage, is in close enough proximity to the phone's aerial to couple to it via inductance and act as an aerial extension? Admittedly, it's a long enough time since I did any proper physics for this to possibly be complete nonsense, but it feels feasible...

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Loyal Commenter
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Wouldn't it be cheaper...

...just to surround the entire gaol in chicken wire?

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We found a hidden backdoor in Chinese Internet of Things devices – researchers

Loyal Commenter
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'fully open source' hardware?

I hope you like breadboards, and soldering.

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Alert! The dastardly Dutch are sailing a 90-ship fleet at Blighty

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Re: Chatham

They'll probably just placate the racists by bringing along 'Black Pete' as an easier target.

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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

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"The pocket computer had a multitasking rich operating system and application suite, but was best known for making touch typing possible on a relatively low cost and convenient device"

They seem to have done away with the idea of touch-typing on this one, as those pictures seem to be missing the little raised bits on the home keys.

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Oh, irony of ironies: Gov.UK's transparency report reveals... nothing

Loyal Commenter
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Not that there were ever experts in government, but there used to be a time when government would listen to experts outside of government - people who actually know what they are talking about, rather than what we have now, which seems to be politicians who don't know what they are doing but rather than admit it, and defer to experts, prefer to vilify 'so called experts', and cover up their own incompetence.

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Loyal Commenter
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This is our post-expertise government...

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Loyal Commenter
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"or the commercial interests of any person"

Says it all.

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Stick glue on a drone. Fly it into a flower. World hunger solved, bee-lieve

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Good Freekin' Lord...

Ah yes, the Haber process. I'm not sure that the process developed for mass production of ammonia, for the use in munitions, is the right way to go about controlling population growth though.

If you accept that a planet of finite size cannot support an infinite population, then you have to accept that there is an upper limit for population. On the other hand, if you have developed a way to fit an infinite amount of mass into a finite space, then can I have a trip in your TARDIS please?

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Vapists rejoice! E-cigs lower cancer risk (if you stop smoking, duh)

Loyal Commenter
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I'd say it's actually the opposite. The stuff sold for vaping generally contains known compounds, most if not all of which will be chemically stable under the conditions they are exposed to (evaporation), compared to the cocktail of combustion products generated from burning tobacco, paper, and various treatment agents and pesticides, which will mostly be chemically unstable reactive species such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides which are very definitely harmful.

From a given vaping 'mix', it would be trivially easy to pass the products through a gas chromatograph / mas spectrometer and isolate and identify all the compounds in it. Since cigarettes will vary from one cigarette to another, and the combustion products will vary from drag to drag depending on how hard the smoker inhales, and how far down the cigarette they have smoked (not to mention inhaling gas/petrol fumes from their lighter when they light the thing), it is similarly impossible to characterise all the chemicals breathed in from smoking a cigarette.

Now, I'm not saying that vaping is good for you, but to say it is going to be anywhere close to as harmful as smoking burning shredded chemically treated leaves wrapped up in paper is total nonsense.

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Juno how to adjust a broken Jupiter probe's orbit?

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Minimising delta-V - The kids are using bi-elliptic transfers...

+1 for the IMB reference...

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Loyal Commenter
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Fry: Oh, man, this is great! Hey, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus.

Leela: I don't get it.

Farnsworth: I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all..

Fry: Oh. What's it called now?

Farnsworth: Urectum.

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Hacker: I made 160,000 printers spew out ASCII art around the world

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Holy crap!

I remember those old Epson LQ series dot matrix printers. I think the one I had was the LQ-400. They were a seriously well engineered piece of kit, unlike modern printers which are on the whole made from flimsy plastic parts.

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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Loyal Commenter
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With a moronic and clichéd comment like that, it's genuinely impossible to tell if you are a bot.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Absolutley Brilliant

They could have The Doctor regenerate into Clarkson, be immediately killed by falling masonry, and then regenerate again.

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Loyal Commenter
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Ed Byrne. Who wouldn't love a sweary stoner Irish doctor?

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Gary Newman?

Gary Oldman

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Protest against Trump's US travel ban leaves ‪PasswordsCon‬ in limbo

Loyal Commenter
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Re: What a twat

You appear to be unable to distinguish between someone who has demonstrably committed a criminal offence* and someone who happens to come from one of a number of countries, despite not having demonstrably committed any offence, on the grounds that other people from the same country might be terrorists.

This is like another country banning US citizens from entering their borders because they might be crazed paedophile psycho clowns. You know, just like John Wayne Gacy.

*whether or not the act should be regarded as such is a matter for another discussion.

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Loyal Commenter
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"Virtue Signalling"

Is this the new idiot's buzzword, like 'alt. right', 'liberal elite', 'alternative facts', 'so called experts' et al, used to try to shut down people who don't agree with you, without having to have a real argument to back you up?

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IETF 'reviewing' US event plans in the face of Trump's travel ban

Loyal Commenter
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Re: an anti-intellectual and racist presidency?

The Aussies blocked the same set of immigrants who are trapped on a bunch of islands off the coast of Australia because they (Australia) recognized the threat posed by immigrants from these countries.

I don't see the world up in arms over it.

Maybe you just weren't paying attention to all the people saying Australia's immigration policy is racist and discriminatory?

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Coming to the big screen: Sci-fi epic Dune – no wait, wait, wait, this one might be good

Loyal Commenter
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Re: I thought Arrival was decent.

...or the plot, "Bad guys go back in time to try to kill good guys but fail. Party on dude / I'll be back."

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'I AM TWEETING TRUTH TO POWER: AND YOU CAN'T STOP MY FACTS, MR PRESIDENT!'

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Yawn

So uninterested, you just had to go to the comments section and post your fascinating thoughts on the matter?

"So sad."

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President Trump tweets from insecure Android, security boffins roll eyes

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Sean Spicer too

Nice Lovecraft reference there in the comments...

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One BEEELLION dollars: Apple sues Qualcomm, one of its chip designers

Loyal Commenter
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Re: All Apple needs to do...

...In China

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Annoyingly precocious teen who ruined Trek is now an asteroid

Loyal Commenter
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Shut up Wesley.

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All the cool kids are doing it – BT hikes broadband and TV bills

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Vodafone are far cheaper

AFAIK, Vodafone are a BT reseller. They may be cheaper, but if you have a fault on your line be prepared for no end of buck-passing between Voda and BT about whose responsibility it actually is to fix it.

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

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Muddling through

Ah, the only thing worse than a Daily Mail reader is someone who believes the crap they read on the internet.

Like the widely reported 40-60% rise in reported hate crime after the referendum vote? Based on figures from official sources, such as the police.

Perhaps some rudimentary fact-checking of your assertions would make you look less wrong.

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Loyal Commenter
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As usual, Ms May is right in there with the misinformation from the start

"Her logic, she said, was that UK had voted overwhelmingly to end open borders"

This is simply not true.

Firstly, the UK voted in a referendum by 51.9% to 48.1% to 'leave the EU'. This is hardly 'overwhelming', especially when you consider the turnout, and those who were ineligible to vote.

Secondly, 'leaving the EU' is not 'ending open borders'. People voted 'out' for a myriad of reasons, only one of which was having open borders with the rest of Europe.

Furthermore, it is worth reiterating that the referendum was non-binding, by design. In the briefing paper that all MPs received before the vote to have the referendum, this was explicitly pointed out, along with a proviso that if any vote were to be binding then it would need a 'supermajority' of 66% of the vote (and a minimum turnout) in order to be binding.

It is in the job description of every MP to read and understand the briefing papers on commons votes before voting on them, so none can claim to not know this, and actually be doing the job they are paid for.

The briefing paper for the referendum bill can be found here.

Section 5 explicitly states:

[the bill] does not contain any requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented. Instead, this is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions.

Section 6 discusses thresholds in referendums, and what would be expected if the referendum were to be binding (which it isn't).

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Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II

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I won't be impressed...

Until the whole thing can be powered by a potato

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Europe mulls treating robots legally as people ... but with kill switches

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Legal persons, not natural persons

I can see a rather massive flaw with this:

When you sue a company as a legal entity, and win damages, that company pays up.

If your autonomous car runs you over and you sue it, does the car write you a cheque?

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Opera scolds stale browsers with shocking Neon experiment

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Re: Chinese now?

so is the VPN endpoint in Washington or Beijing?

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