* Posts by Loyal Commenter

2990 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

People say tabloid hacks are always looking for an angle. This time, they'd be right: Tilting disk of proto-planets spotted

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Re: And matter is just +ve -ve and electric force

Just for fun:

1) Light actually has perpendicular oscillating electrical and magnetic fields.

2) My sandwich must be a chicken sandwich because other sandwiches contain chicken. (Hasty generalisation logical fallacy)

3) Light (photons) can also come from synchrotron radiation, where a charged particle loses energy in a magnetic field and emits it as a photon. The energy for the photon comes from the charged particle's energetic state relative to the field it sits within. I'm sure there are other sources from which photons can come.

4) You previous three logical steps are false, so no. You can't conclude this.

5) Particle + anti-particle -> any combination of particles that conserves the charge/spin total. This may be a photon, but in many cases neutrinos are also produced to conserve quantum parity.

6) Nope. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_particle

7) Well, I guess we'd better tell the strong and weak forces, and gravity to fuck off then.

8) I bought some lights from Ikea. they definitely had mass.

9) Joking aside, it's worth noting that although photons are massless, the have momentum. Because they have no mass, they cannot travel slower than c. Conversely, particles with mass cannot travel at c, because relativity indicates that their mass would approach infinity as they approach c. I can assure you that relativity has been tested a lot more thoroughly than your ramblings, including experiments with atomic clocks to show time dilation in space, gravitational lensing, and all sorts of other craziness.

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Re: And matter is just +ve -ve and electric force

My BSometer started going of VERY quickly, with the talk of the Universe having a resonant centre


The universe has no centre, just like there is no concept of the surface of a bubble having a centre, or a circle having a 'start'. If you start talking about brane theory, then there may be a higher-dimensional 'centre' of our universe, in the same way that a bubble has a centre, or a circle has a focus. However, it's still up for debate whether the curvature of our space-time is open (like a hyperbola, which doesn't have a cental focus), closed (like a n-dimensional sphere), flat, or some combination of open/closed in diffent dimensions (e.g. toroidal, tubular, etc.). Not to mention the debate about how many dimesions there really are. Is it 3, 4, 11, 23, etc? - Let alone whether 'our' universe is just one 'brane' of many in a higher-dimensional space.

Brane theory (like string theory) is, of course, not even a proper theory, as it hasn't yet made any observable predictions (i.e. have anything you can measure and attribute to it). In other words, just like the surface of a bubble, the fact that the bubble itself has a centre has no effect in making any point on the surface any different from any other.

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Re: And matter is just +ve -ve and electric force

I think someone needs to cut down on the ayahuasca.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

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Re: "In short, it's a bad deal for everyone"

The EU has never been properly audited

Simply not true. https://fullfact.org/europe/did-auditors-sign-eu-budget/

0/10 - must try harder, see me after class.

What are you going to try to pretend is true next? Bendy bananas are illegal? The enitre population of Turkey is moving here? Jean-Claude Juncker is going to conscript you into an EU army and invade Kent? Tsk.

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Re: Wow, it's almost...

Careful, your class snobbery is showing. 51% of current MPs went to a comprehensive school.

I'm not disputing that, I'm talking about the Government - i.e. the smallish number of MPs from the (usually majority, but in this case minority) party that are led by the leader of that party. How many of Theres May's cabinet went to comprehensive schools? Because I'm willing to bet it's not representative of parliament as a whole, and even less representative of the country as a whole.

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Re: Wow, it's almost...

The big "issue" with P.R. that is that you can end up with either No government because they cannot get a majority or no decisions being made because no-one can get anything passed in Parliment.

I'd say that was a feature, not a bug. In general, if nobody can agree to pass a law, it probably mans that it's a law that doesn't need passing. You'll find that in countries led by "rainbow coalitions", the decisions that are actually important usually get passed, often after sensible compromise, and the ideologically led pogroms, like those of recent Tory governments, don't. Win-Win.

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Re: Wow, it's almost...

UKIP will put forward a list for MEPs and will in all likelyhood gain a third of the UK seats again

Given that UKIP have finally finished their trnsformation into the BNP, and have become too racist even for Nigel Farage, with dwindling membership and / or support, I find it much more likley that those who voted for UKIP MEPs will go back to the average UK citizen's default position of just not bothering to turn out to vote in Euro elections. Lack of engagement with EU politics goes back further than the brief history of one right-wing single-issue political party, and is fed largely by apathy from our own government, press, and populace.

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Re: Don't worry, it's only money

Considering the Royals bring in more than they cost...

Funny how when I saw that, my immediate thought was that there's another group of people who bring in more to the country than they cost. Can you guess who they are? I'll give you a clue; most quitlings really hate them.

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Re: Wow, it's almost...

When a Government writes to your house to say they will hold a referendum and will implement the result I would expect them to do so.

You might expect that. Given who the government was at the time (In case you had forgotten it was a government formed by a Tory majority with David Cameron in charge), you'd be naive to belive anything they said.

This is, however, beside the point. Ther are a couple of things to note here:

- A government can promise whatever they like, unless it is backed by a act of parliament it is nothing more than hot air. In this case, it was backed by an act of parliament that explicitly stated the opposite - that is that the referendum would be non-binding. That act of parliament trumps rhetoric, sorry about that.

- By convention a political party sets out promises in their manifesto and carries them out. Cameron promised that they would hold a referendum and carry out the result. Again, manifesto promises are nothing more than hot air. See the current government for multiple exaples of broken manifesto promises.

- A government has no power to set the policy or constrain any future government. Parliament is sovereign (yes, there's that word, this time used properly).

- In case you hadn't noticed, the guy who made these promises promptly resigned. As Danny Dyer put it, "he's off in Nice with his trotters up".

- The person who took over then went and promised to implement the result, said she wouldn't hold an election, then held an election in order to try and strengthen her position against manifesto promises to implement the result of the referendum. She lost her majority, so in effect got no mandate to do so. She is now in the position where only her (arguably misguided) self belief and stubbornness is carrying her forward.

Meanwhile, polling shows that most of the country wants a re-do, having found out about the electoral fraud and dodgy campaigning techniques used by the leave campaigns, and having now seen that what was promised isn't what they're going to get, because that magical land of "exact same benefits" rainbow-shitting unicorns not only doesn't exist, but isn't internally logically consistent or possible in any way.

The fundamental problem with referenda, especially ones that boil down a complex issue to a binary choice, is that they are incompatible with a representative democracy. One is basically a coin-flip biased towards whoever can shout the loudest; the other is a group of elected representatives who are supposed to weigh up all the complex issues and make decisions based on the best interests of their constituents, and the country as a whole. In case you have forgotten your history, the former were used to great effect in Germany in the 1930s to deconstruct a democratic state and put a fascist dictatorship in power, which is why refrenda are now nmot only not used, but actually illegal there. Maybe it's time to take a page from Germany's book and have a bit of electoral reform - ban referenda, ditch teh result from this obviously bent one, and reform the FPTP system so that parliament is more representative, then if people still want to leave the EU, they can vote in a UKIP government. Because that would more accurately reflect the "will of the people". My prediction, however, is that if this were to happen, we would end up with a parliament with MPs from many more parties, no overall majority for any party, and a House where the Government is formed from a coalition that approximates the population as a whole, rather than a bunch of Eton old boys who studied PPE at Oxford.

Typical! You wait ages for a fast radio burst from outer space, and suddenly 13 show up

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Re: 'Something big'

if an FRB lasts 3ms then whatever made it is no larger than 1,000km across

I'm curious about how you've arrived at this figure. My understanding is that the mechanism behind FRBs is unknown, nad there are several postulated explanations. Is this making an assumption that they are caused by one of these postulated mechanisms, in which case, which one, and can you give more details?

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

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Re: Wrong letter?

Presumably, that would make it "Brogrammed Software", as in software programmed by some insufferably smug hipster?

New Horizons snaps finish buffering: Ultima Thule actually two dust bunnies that got snuggly 4.5 billion years ago

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Re: Astronomical

But still they clump?

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?

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Re: Ancient but not unchanged

Large inner solar-system objects ike Earth have a lot of things going on that Kuiper-belt objects do not. Apart from the amount of energy being pumped out from the sun, which tends to un-freeze a lot of stuff that would otherwise be frozen in the outer solar-system, the Earth is large enough to have things like plate tectonics going on, not to mention that pesky life thing. The inner solar system is also orders of magnitude busier than the Kuiper Belt, so collisions are much much more common, especially ones involving planetary-sized bodies. We can gain some information from things that hit the Earth (such as chondritic meteorites), but only after they have been cooked by aero-braking, and then battered by litho-braking. That tends to alter the chemical and physical properties quite substantially.

The amount of 'weathering' outer solar-system objects will have receved will be largely limited to the effects of solar wind particles, and the further you get from the Sun, the less those effects will be.

Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

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Re: Cancer rate would rise by 50%

So if you have a 2% chance of dying from cancer it would rise to a whopping 3%? On no!

That's 50% increase for something the size of a human. Since you only need to get cancer in one cell, and it then spreads, if something is irradiating you, the larger cross-section you have, the higher the chance of one cell getting hit. Megaladons were quite large (60 feet, 130 linguine, or 2 double-decker buses) so would have been affected much much more than a human. Larger animals also tend to breed slower than smaller ones. There would have been a cut-off point in size, where that 2% would become high enough to kill things off faster than they breed, which would cause extinction.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

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Re: Bah!

Offence can never be caused; it's a choice the offended person always makes to be offended.

Whilst this is undoubtedly true in some cases, I wonder whether you would agree that, for instance, daubing racist graffiti on someone's door, in human excrement, would be deliberately causing offence, or whther the victims are just being "snowflakes", because you'd have a hard time defending that position in front of a magistrate.

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Re: Bah!

"Please do not adorn your house with optimistic depictions of male genitalia as having all the windows in your house broken by passing neigbours can cause offense can cause arrest of the perpetrator for criminal damage".


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Re: Well done students...

...of if it's an 'assured shorthold tenancy', as I believe most are these days, assuming they have been there for the tenancy period on their contract (6 or 12 months usually), give them 1 month's notice of termination of their rolling contract without need for a reason.

One of the bad things about the UK is how little protection tenants have compared to other European countries, especially when it comes to things like rent increases, or the landlord deciding to sell up to someone who no longer wants to let the property.

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Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

I think his thesaurus may be broken. Offensive? Maybe. Deeply so? Only if you think 'deeply' has the same meaning as 'marginally'.

In a world filled with things that are much more offensive in many different ways (I mean, seriously, I can think of several off the top of my head), one wonders why we still have people who seem to get offended just for the sake of being offended. $Deity only knows how this person would react if he had to take a bunch of schoolchildren to a city farm. Presumably, he would have the blindfolds ready?

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

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Re: Why use a revision control system?

Your tapes shatter on spin up?

You're holding them wrong.

Maybe not shatter, but tape can demagnetise or otherwise degrade over time. Plastic becomes brittle and perishes with age. Do you know what state the tape from a 1990s backup is in right now without trying to restore from it?

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Re: Why use a revision control system?

If there's something broken, one would restore from tape (or at least, restore the offending file from a tape).

Hahaha. No.

The reason why this is wrong is nicely illustrated by the following hypothetical situation:

You get in at 8am and find there is some urgent configuration work to do and your cient needs it all working by the end of the day. The changes aren't simple, and after making and testing several revisions, you're finally ready to go at 4:30 pm. You're just about to run your scripts, and you discover that you've accidentally deleted the folder they are in because windows explorer had the focus when you thought you were hitting the Delete key in a Word document (because you are documenting everything, and you are working over a laggy connection to a VM in another office). Do you:

a) Restore from a tape backup and repeat 8.5 hours work. This will take 24 hours to retrieve the backup tape from the secure off-site storage, followed by 3 hours to verify, find and restore the file in question. Or it will do, once you have got management authorisation to make a request to have the tape retrieved. Lets hope the backup compelted succesfully, eh?

b) Retrieve the last good version of your script from version control and reapply the last 0.5 hours of work.

Tape backups and version control systems are different tools, for different jobs, and both have their places. I wouldn't use a git repository for database backups, and I wouldn't use tape for version control.

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

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The country is heading for disaster and you're spending your time thinking of clever names for each other.

Well, there's not a lot else we can do until we get a Poeple's Vote is there?

Also, in typical school playground style, "they started it". Quite frankly, anyone still standing up for Rees-Mogg after all he has done to push this country down that road to disaster deserves a little push-back against their nonsense slogans. After all, they won, so they should get over it.

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US told to quit sharing data with human rights-violating surveillance regime. Which one, you ask? That'd be the UK

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This was my thought too. The US has a not-great record, but the failings of the US govt. shouldn't preclude others who happen to hail from that country from criticising others. Even if it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, that doesn't affect the blackness, or otherwise, of the kettle. In reality, nobody is squeaky-clean, but that shouldn't preclude us from getting the Brasso out to brighten things up a bit, and stretch this analogy to death.

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You know you're doing something wrong...

...when voices from the US say you're holding onto too much information gathered from spying on your own citizens.

NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

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You may jest, but it is a bit of a bold statement. The Moon*, for instance, is generally not thought to contain an iron core, due to the mechanism of its formation. UNless you define a "rocky planet" as havingthat structure, you can't really claim that it applies to *all* rocky planets, everywhere.

*Yes I know the Moon isnt' technically a planet, but if it was in its own orbit aroud the Sun, it would be considered to be one. It's not a lot smaller than Mercury.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

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Re: History lesson

A super-rich, arrogant little twonk sets himself up against the government that invented modern democracy several hundreds of years ago and has been dealing with run by super-rich, arrogant little twonks ever since.


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Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

Whilst the sentiment here is somewhat appealing, I'm not sure you could make the case for trying someone for treason who isn't a subject of the country doing it. The last time I checked, Sugarheap wasn't a British subject.

Well that's just spliffing: UK Amazon merchants peddling Mary Jane

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Re: What a waste of time

Oh, that was a bit knee-jerk.

The original commenter was only quoting from, you know, what actually happened.

I suggest you allow a little leeway for other opinions.

The OP was being a little selective with the truth, picking one instance of where the police let the community down badly (and I won't argue that they didn't), and drawing a biased conclusion about the ethnicity of those involved, largely because although this sort of crime does, very sadly, happen too often, it makes more headlines when those involved happen to be of Asian ethnic origin.

This is exactly what the convicted football hooligan "Tommy Robinson" (an alias he uses to hide his identity) was doing - "reporting" only on crimes committed by non-whites, and doing so in such a way as to prejudice (and therefore jeopardise) ongoing trials. He was convicted of contempt of court, because if he'd kept up his "free speech", sooner or later one of those trials would have collapsed as a result.

As for what the police were doing "instead". I suggest you look at some crime statistics. A big old portion of police time is spent dealing with domestic violence, which, given that most of the population of this country is white, consists largely of white-skinned scumbags beating up their partners. Sadly, this is so common, and goes on so much, that it never gets reported in the media because it's non-news.

It's not a case of "allowing leeway for other opinions", its a case of calling out bullshit.

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Re: Blarg skunk

...and hope that the local police helicopter doesn't spot the suspicious heat signature from your shed, followed by a visit at 4am from a squad with the Big Red Door Knocker.

Happened to an acquantaince of mine, who keeps reptiles. Apparently the signature from their heat lamp was suspiscious enough to get a visit from the plod.

My advice would be to not smoke so much weed that you need to grow your own. I've no problem with people smoking the stuff, but by f*ck does it make you a boring person if you smoke a lot of it.

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Whilst there is such a thing as police incompetence, I think the root cause of the above is that fact that if you slash police funding, you end up with fewer police. That's political incompetence...

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Re: What a waste of time

I tihnk you need to join some different Facebook groups, rather than the "FREE TOMMY ROBINSON!!eleventyone!1" and "IMIGRUNTS RUINING ARE CUNTRY!!" ones you seem to be engaged with.

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

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Re: Starship

@ WonkoTheSane - beat me to it!

I'd suggest "Proft Margin", "Screw Loose", "Funny, it Worked Last Time...", or possibly "Revisionist"

TalkTalk hackhack duoduo thrownthrown in the coolercooler: 'Talented' pair sentenced for ransacking ISP

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I carry my lathe and mill in and leave them in the kitchen every night, it's true.

I certainly wouldn't keep either of those in a shed in a field. I'm thinking more like a properly secure warm, dry workshop attached to your house, and if it is anything other than a tatty old foot-operated pole lathe, a decent alarm system too.

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Earlier this year, Harding attributed the hack to legacy technology she described as "the IT equivalent of an old shed in a field that was covered in brambles."

I don't know about you, but I don't keep anything of value in a shed.

A 5G day may come when the courage of cable and DSL fails ... but it is not this day

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Re: Dead birds?

Simple solution for those who get mysterious ailments 'caused by' mobile masts / wi-fi / bad energy, etc.:

1) Put up a great big dummy mast somewhere obvious.

2) Wait for all the loonies to be attracted to it

3) Meanwhile install the real masts in peace and quiet.

4) Publicly announce that the mast that all the loonies have been protesting about and camping outside is in fact a dummy mast and that their illnesses are all psychogenic.

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

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Re: One argument in YAML's favour: a good DIFF

In JSON, whitespace is irrelevant, so you could put the comma on the same line as your new item. Not that I'd recommend doing it, but it would be valid JSON.

On balance, whether it shows as one line or two in a diff isn't the highest thing on most programmers' agendas.

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Is it Turing Complete?

Nope? Move along...

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

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Re: @A.P. Veening Economists - In 1889?

it's heavier than led

That's because LEDs are light...

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Re: Sad case of science ignoring the evidence

I don't know, but I would guess that the economists and others would had been against it much because 40 prototypes were produced to start with.

Except both platinum and iridium are more expensive than gold.

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

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Re: What about Windows 10 that Office is sitting on?

It's 4% of turnover... still a not small amount.

Technically, it's either 2% or 4% (depending on teh type of infraction) of global turnover. One wonders how easy it would be to actually calculate MS's global turnover, and also where the limit is on determining what applies (i.e. parent and related companies). I expect MS's corporate structure is less complex than some (for instance, a different legal entity in each jurisidiction it operates in, rather than the labyrinthine structures employed by some multinationals to avoid tax), but if they do get fined, this could be an interesting test case.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

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Re: Security overdone

People may not be aware that in general, embedded chips are *dumb*.

In general, these things work by picking up a small amount of induced current via their aerial (the coily bit round the outside), doing something with that in the chip in the middle, and re-emiitting the result. They are only limited by the computational limits of what can be achieved with the power induced from the supplied pulse. This certainly doesn't limit them to responding with a fixed response. If they did, your RFID bank card would be trivial to clone.

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges

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Re: Fractured

A similar "statistic" is the quite odd one that the average person has less than two arms.

Not strictly correct; the average person has two arms. However, on average, people have less than two arms. The first is the average of people, the second is the average of people's arms. It's a subtle, but important, difference in semantics.

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Re: Wrongdoing

So if some nutter came up to you in the street, and told you they were going to sneak into your house and murder you, and then asks you for your address. So you say "10 Downing Street". Now, are you guilty of a) nothing b) being a dick or c) attempted murder?

If there's a genuine expectation that the nutter thinks that's where you live (he is a nutter after all) and will murder you, then yes. Especially if you don't immediately report the threat to kill from the nutter to the police.

With the example you give, you also have to take into account that "the man on the Clapham Omnibus" would know that you won't live at 10 Downing Street, so for this reason, a court would probably exonerate you if the nutter went ahead and killed the PM. I think in this case, there would be a number of bigger questions to answer anyway!

If you gave a false address where it is not reasonable to expect that the nutter knows it isn't your address, then I think at the very least, you would facee some grilling about why you didn't report the threat.

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I can't see why these guys aren't being prosecuted for murder

The guy who called in the SWAT did something deliberately that he knew could cost someone their life. Qualitatively, that's no different to firing a gun into a crowd of people.

The guy who egged him on and gave a false address also did something he knew could cost someone their life.

As for the cop who shot the victim; I don't know how it works in the US, but in the UK, there has to be an investigation every time an armed officer fires their weapon.The officer is suspended automatically, whilst the IPCC investigates, even if it is clear-cut that they they acted correctly, such as shooting someone who is rampaging with a knife, in order to disable them.

Some responsibility also has to lie with the police call operator who took the 911 call, or with the people in charge of their operations. The call came from another state, it should have been easy to verify that it did not come from the alleged perpetrator.

I know for instance, that if you call the police in the UK on 999, the first thing you get is confirmation of the number you are calling from, because everyone here knows that false polcie reports are a thing. I can't believe that they would not be able todo the same in the US, so there is a systematic failure there somewhere.

We definitely don't need more towers, says new Vodafone boss scraping around for €8bn savings

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Re: Age discrimination?

My thoughts exactly.

Cheeky cheesemaker fails to copyright how things taste

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Let me tell you about latex...

Technically, latex is a sol (solid marticles in a liquid medium), whereas cream cheese is an emulsion (liquid-in-liquid). Both are colloids, but then again, so is smoke.

Latex can cross-link to become rubbery, in which case it forms a gel (liquid in solid). If your cream cheese does this, I'd suggest it's time to throw it out. Although technically soft and medium-hard cheeses are probably gels as well to some degree or another.

France: Let's make the internet safer. America, Russia, China: Let's go with 'no' on that

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Re: "And I also have a bridge to sell you..."

Anyone who thinks letting the EU have a say in how the internet is controlled is a good idea, especially within a few days of the same person suggesting the creation of a Central European Army controlled by Brussels

Do you have a citation for Macron suggeting this? I'm not being funny about it, but this doesn't ring true. Not least because any such motion would require unanimous assent from all 28* member nations, and any national leader proposing it is likley to find themselves in prompt receipt of 27 vetoes.

See history for the trouble they had getting approval for the Maastricht treaty, which, for all the bickering was not much more than a broad agreement that everyone should agree. Whenever anyone brings up an 'EU army', it usually has a very strong smell about it.

*28 for now at least.

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Re: "Macron said he will keep trying to bring the US back on board."

I'm sure he watches "Dr Strangelove" at least once a day

This leads me to wondering which character he most associates with? I'm torn between General Ripper and Major Kong. Not, presumably, President Muffley...

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

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Re: Did you accept the USB?

But of course (b) requires that you know how to reformat it and that you are running an OS that gives you the option of reformatting a USB device before its filing system is accessed.

That's little use if it presents itself to the USB bus as something other than a file system, for example as an input device.

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But these utterly despicable abortions of nature respond to a boss, who in turn responds to management, who in turn responds to upper management, who in turn responds to the board who in turn ...

...more often than not come from a background in marketing and PR.

There's your problem, right there, and it's cultural, not technical or political in nature.

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