* Posts by Loyal Commenter

2539 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

Australian central bank says 'speculative mania' and crime fuel Bitcoin

Loyal Commenter
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Re: So much Education still needs to be done

"Do it today .. send $100 of BTC to someone .. out the other end spits $25 ..days or weeks later !"

A slight misrepresentation perhaps?

The nature of the blockchain means the hashing difficulty is tuned so that the time between blocks is approximately 10 minutes. In practice, as more mining hardware is added, the actual block time is usually a little under ten minutes.

To confirm a transaction, the number of blocks required is usually six (which makes a cryptographic attack against the blockchain, for instance to double-spend, impractical). In other words, if you send someone BTC, they will usually see it in less than ten minutes, and be able to spend it in less than an hour. Not days, and certainly not weeks.

Yes, the value is volatile, but it doesn't crash by 75% in an hour. You might find that $100 is $85 when it gets to the recipient. On the other hand, it is equally likely to be $125.

On the other hand, if I do a bank transfer, it can take several hours or days. If I give someone a cheque, they have to pay it into their bank, and then it will take around a week before the funds are cleared.

The advantage of the blockchain that I can see, is sending funds overseas. I don't know about you, but if I want to transfer £10 to someone in Ireland, my bank will charge me an addition £9.50 for the privilege.

The transaction fee for bitcoin may currently be 'around $20', but it is also worth remembering that the transaction fee is actually optional, and can be set at any amount (it goes to the person who mines the next block, and that person doesn't have to include any transactions, so if your fee is low, it may not get included until several blocks later).

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UKIP appeals against ICO request for info on Brexit data dealings

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I think the problem is that the official government 'remain' campaign didn't do their job very effectively (partly because it was organised by an incompetent government in the first place), coupled with the fact that using targeted social media campaigning is a little less that scrupulously honest, so more likely to have been used by self-serving hard-right individuals such as certain frog-faced failed stockbrokers.

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Maybe because, like everyone else, they are legally bound to comply with the regulations surrounding the collection and processing of personal data, which include responding to the ICO with the appropriate information when they ask you to.

It's not unreasonable for the regulator to expect the information to be forthcoming without having to take the subject to court to comply.

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'DJI Mavic' drone seen menacing London City airliner after takeoff

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Re: Meh, the risk to planes from drone strikes is overblown. El Reg already told us so.

If a commercial aircraft hits one of these things, it may or may not cause damage. What it WILL cause is a need for the aircraft to make an unscheduled landing, most likely back at the airport it took off from (given that most planes will be well above the ceiling of drones not long after take-off).

The knock-on effects of this are the delay and rescheduling of other flights, as well as the cancellation of the flight that has just had to land. The plane will need to be fully checked over before it can go anywhere. The passengers won't be happy.

The possibility of loss of life is not the main concern here. It is all the associated costs with dealing with a mid-air incident.

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User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'

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Re: It's all black

I did exactly this with an android phone a while back. Once changed from Simplified Chinese to Simplified English (US), it required a USB cable and adb on my desktop to install a package that then allowed the change of the language settings to something sensible, such as Traditional English (UK).

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Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

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Re: Are we surprised?

I remember when that serial killer was on the loose in Ipswich, the police said they'd collected 80,000 hours of video material in a week. For one, small city. So the logistics of that are still too hard.

It is also worth noting that the killer in question (Steve Wright, the 'Suffolk strangler') was caught not because of CCTV evidence, but because his DNA was found on one of the bodies, and was already on file because of a previous crime he had been convicted for. Up until this point, the plod in Ipswich had actually been pursuing and had arrested another man, whose identity had been leaked to the press. Which all goes to show exactly how useless our ubiquitous CCTV is.

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You're such a goober, Uber: UK regulators blast hushed breach

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Re: Funny really...

The principle reason, as far as I am aware, is so that drivers can rate passengers, in the same way that passengers can rate drivers, so that drivers can avoid picking up people who are likely to be abusive, or violently ill in their car.

The amount of data required for this presumably would be pretty small (an identifier, and a set of ratings), and I wonder what other associated account data Uber actually hold (such as identifying information and billing info), as well as how much of this data they need to hold, and whether it was leaked.

The whole thing does indeed look pretty dodgy - from the fact that Uber didn't 'fess up to the breach at the time, and haven't revealed the nature of the stolen data, to the pretty amazing admission that they paid the criminals to delete the data that was stolen. I can see no way that they could verify that the crims actually did this, rather than taking the money and holding onto / selling the data.

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Borat creator offers to cover mankini fines. Is nice!

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Makes a change...

...from all the drunken Brits on stag dos in the Czech Republic.

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Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

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Re: The world owes me a living ... wage.

You get what you pay for. Paying people not to work seems an odd thing to do.

Looking at this form the other angle, is the fact that a rich economy like ours can easily afford to make sure that nobody is without a roof over their head and a meal in their stomach; even the most feckless in society shouldn't be left to starve or freeze to death. At the moment, these safeguards are being provided by charities that struggle to achieve this, which is why we have seen a massive increase in rough sleepers and food bank usage over the last few years. Where I live, there is barely a doorway that doesn't have cardboard and a sleeping bag in it.

Anything above and beyond supplying those basic needs, sure; work for it. Nobody is advocating a situation where work doesn't pay. Not even Karl Marx.

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Re: Inflation

if everyone gets X amount, it'll cause costs of stuff (food, fuel, gas, electric, telecoms, transport, loans, mortgages etc) to increase as people will have more money to pay.

That belies a basic misunderstanding of economics. In short, you have assumed monopolies (or price-fixing cartels) on all those things, and no competition. Unless, for instance, all food producers decide to increase their prices in unison, the producer that puts their prices up by 10% loses business to all those who do not.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Welcome back Stalin

You are confusing the evolved innate tendency for humans to believe in agency, with the necessity of that agency existing. You then throw in a mix of the misguided idea that belief in some agency is a prerequisite for moral behaviour (which is neatly disproved by the observation that atheists give more to charity than people ho identify themselves as religious).

Basically, you start from the position that the universe is inherently meaningful, then argue for that position by claiming that anything else is a sign of sociopathy.

You should probably take a look Here, tick off the pitfalls you have fallen into, re-examine your arguments, and start again.

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Boffins on alert: Brace yourselves for huge gravitational wave coming within a decade

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Hey, aren't you the same guy who was busy being offended on behalf of other people yesterday? Good to see you're not wasting your time.

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Loyal Commenter
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So which is it?

100% chance in 10 years, or "longer than the current age of the universe"?

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Mm, sacrilicious: Greggs advent calendar features sausage roll in a manger

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Re: Assuming the OP is a Christian...

You assume wrong then don't you.

Well, if they're not, then they are just being offended on behalf of someone else, presumably without their consent, in which case they can just fuck off.

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Assuming the OP is a Christian...

Better forgive whoever hurt your feelings then.

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UK Home Sec thinks a Minority Report-style AI will prevent people posting bad things

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Amazon makes recommendations

...it doesn't predict what you are going to buy, it tries to make you buy stuff.

By this logic, does Rudd think that FB et al should be recommending terrorism to potential terrorists? Or does she just need to learn about cause-and-effect?

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Irish priests told to stop bashing bishops

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Here's the link for those who don't like to copy and paste:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pGcE7IvCTs

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Brit moron tried buying a car bomb on dark web, posted it to his address. Now he's screwed

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Re: Time to start deporting the problem fast before it gets much worse!

Wow AC. Just wow. I'm amazed that you managed to actually form two correctly punctuated sentences there. How did you avoid the urge to eat your keyboard and then defecate on the desk?

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Re: the vast majority of terrorist incidents world wide are linked to Islam

How many western countries currently have the death penalty for apostasy or homosexuality or adultery?

Unless those countries you are thinking of are specifically theocracies, they will have a separation of state and religion, and thus their laws are a cultural, not a religious artefact. Don't conflate what are societal norms in a culture with religion. Very few countries have the death penalty for apostasy (although there is no excuse for those that do), and several sub-saharan african countries that are nominally Christian have the death penalty for homosexuality or adultery.

The fact is that Islam encompasses a vast number of people from different cultural backgrounds, and you are insinuating that they all behave like the lowest common denominator. It's the exact same faulty thinking that equates all Christians with racist bible-belt gun nuts.

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Give us a bloody PIN: MPs grill BBC bosses over subscriber access

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Re: Who would pay for BBC access?

Um non of those are produced my amazon. Mr robot is USA show which has commercials.

I never said they were. They are, however, available as part of the Amazon subscription.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: News

Labour claim the BBC is biased towards the Conservatives.

The Conservatives claim the BBC is biased towards Labour.

The problem is that, in trying to appear 'unbiased', the BBC tries to put forward every viewpoint, no matter how out-of-whack with reality, hence the promotion of idiocy on the same footing as rational thought. For instance, with climate science, where 99% of scientists in the field hold the same opinion, but they will always wheel out a 'contrary opinion' from a fossil-fuel lobbyist and treat them as if they each carry equal weight.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Who would pay for BBC access?

To be fair to Auntie, there are a few things worth watching - for example the excellent work of the wildlife unit. I'm not sure this justifies the frankly steep license fee - the best part of £150 doesn't compare well with, for example Amazon Prime at around half the price, especially when you consider that Amazon give you several products for this price (such as free postage, Twitch prime, etc.) and a few programs you'd actually want to watch, even if their catalogue is sparse.

It is a shame that so much of its other output is populist drivel, but then the commercial channels aren't exactly better in this regard, but Amazon do manage to give a few high quality offerings, such as American Gods, Mr Robot and Ash vs the Evil Dead. I can't remember the last time the beeb gave us any programming of that quality, although I'm holding out for Good Omens...

The public service broadcasting, such as the news should arguably be paid for out of general taxation anyway - it's not like they're exactly independent of government.

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Transparent algorithms? Here's why that's a bad idea, Google tells MPs

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Re: My car doesn't decide where it should go... I do...

I don't check my texts when driving (you know, because it's dangerous and illegal), except for the rare occasion when I am already stopped in stationary traffic with the handbrake on and I need to let someone know I am delayed. How would this almost certainly apocryphal traffic management system help me?

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Walking directions?

If your taxi driver starts off by blindfolding you, you should be worried.

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Loyal Commenter
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Security by Obscurity

It is mildly ironic that security by obscurity is a concept so thoroughly debunked that all you have to do is google™ the phrase to find out why.

To quote the first result (Wikipedia):

Security experts have rejected this view as far back as 1851, and advise that obscurity should never be the only security mechanism.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Playing devils advocat for a moment ...

Is that some sort of horrible yellow alcoholic beverage?

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Black box

More importantly, with a car or microwave, it is perfectly possible to take it apart into its constituent pieces to determine how it works (whether this is advisable is another matter). For instance, if I were to disassemble a microwave, I would find things such as:

  • A metal enclosure
  • A door with a faraday grille to prevent radiation leakage
  • a power transformer
  • Control circuitry
  • A magnetron
  • Control dials
  • A hinge switch
etc...

With each of these parts, I would have a decent chance of identifying it and its purpose. If Google's software was open-source, and well designed (which I'm sure it is), I would also be able to go through the exact same process, class by class. If it's properly documented, then it would be even easier. None of this would prevent Google from holding copyrights (and 'software patents') on their code, in the same way that the manufacturer of my microwave no doubt holds design patents, and copyrights on it.

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Paradise Papers were not an inside job, says leaky offshore law firm

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If there is no definitive evidence that any data had left [their] systems, how do they know it was the work of a hacker, and not a leaker? Presumably all they can prove is that they were hacked, not that the hackers stole the data, so if they cannot show otherwise, it is entirely plausible that a mole used this as a cover to leak the data.

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$10,000-a-dram whisky 'wasn't even a malt'

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To be fair, I can tell decent gin from cheap crap in a G&T. But we did a "tasting" at a friend's leaving do and went through a nice bar's gin selection. Yummy! From Gordon's up to the £40 a bottle boutique stuff, and the only one I could taste any real difference with was Gin Mare. £35 from Waitrose, and very nice indeed. Not sure I'd pay that for it as a mixer though. For martinis I might.

If you are tasting gin, you really should do it neat. Take a small amount and swill it around your mouth until it stops burning, then swallow that and take a swig to taste it. Gin Mare is one of the few that is nice neat at room temperature, as the olive and Mediterranean herbs soften it a little. If you are looking for a G&T, you may as well go for something cheap and full of juniper, or something with a strong flavour that isn't damaged by the tonic, like a rhubarb gin.

...and if you like Gin Mare, it's cheaper closer to the source, around €30 a litre in Barcelona.

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Guy Glitchy: Villagers torch Openreach effigy

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Re: Lies, damn lies and BT excuses

It's "whomever", not "whoever".

Whom cares.

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Those IT gadget freebies you picked up this year? They make AWFUL Christmas presents

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It's quite common for shipments from German eBay sellers to come with a small packet of Haribo[0] sweets.

Also the case with purchases from qwertee...

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Rob Scoble's lawyer told him to STFU about sex pest claims. He didn't

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...except that's not actually feminism, it's misandry, which is the complement to misogyny, and qualitatively indistinguishable. In other words, hating men for being men is just as wrong as hating women for being women.

Hating specific men, for things they do to women, on the other hand, is a different thing altogether.

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Re: Fantastic

Technically, it's a shibboleth.

My brain internally conflated that with shoggoth, which is probably a sign that I need more sleep, but is probably also a good description of some of the posters on here, who I am going to go ahead and label as Social Injustice warriors, as they seem to be hell-bent on campaigning for a return to the times where women were considered chattels.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: This article = manginism, at its best

I hate to break it to you, but there are millions of people out for casual sex every Friday and Saturday night.

I hate to break it to you, but there are more people out every Friday or Saturday night who don't want your sexual advances, and who don't want to be groped in that night-club, or assaulted in that alleyway. If you can't work out which are the consenting ones, then maybe you should stop trying to have sex at all, because otherwise you are going to end up committing a crime.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: This article = manginism, at its best

Doesn't follow at all. I couldn't possibly shoot someone because I don't have a gun, doesn't mean that I think shooting is OK.

It's more like suggesting that it would not be possible to shoot someone with a gun you don't own. Try explaining this one to all the folks that get shot by toddlers in America each year.

To claim that sexually harassing people isn't sexual harassment because you are not "in a position of power" is disingenuous at best. To admit to sending (presumably unsolicited) explicit descriptions of sexual acts to a recipient and claim that this is not sexual harassment is just plain wrong.

We still live in a world where equality of the sexes is far from accomplished. As a white middle class male, I can state categorically that I have seen many instances of other men harassing women, and can fully believe women when they tell me that it happens on a regular basis. However, I have never personally experienced this sort of behaviour from a member of the opposite sex (or from another man). This alone should tell you that sexual harassment of women by men is a widespread and serious problem, as is sexual assault, and rape. Being an apologist for this sort of thing is inexcusable.

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Let's make the coppers wear cameras! That'll make the ba... Oh. No sodding difference

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Not really. An automated clone/area heal tool plus adding your own clock.

What makes you think there would be no checksum / cryptographic protection? It's not as if the manufacturers won't have thought about the potential for evidence tampering, and the police who are using these will almost certainly have procedures to ensure a chain of custody for evidence.

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Re: Rational vs irrational behaviour

Unless, of course, someone particularly devious plays to the camera and exploits lack of context to get off or get the cop in trouble.

That sounds like a pretty risky strategy to me, one that if it doesn't pay off (and is likely not to) could end up with you also facing a supplementary charge such as obstructing the course of justice, or assisting an offender. For instance, try making a case in court for why the camera showed you pretending to be assaulted whilst an officer was making an arrest.

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Re: Better justice is the difference

+1 for use of the phrase, "out of their gourd".

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Re: Alternative Comparison

Pretty much the first question they ask is "Have you got CCTV?".

Seems like a perfectly reasonable question to ask. If there is CCTV clearly showing someone committing a crime, and it is of sufficient quality, then it will identify the perp. The police can then go and arrest the right person, and the CCTV will form useful evidence in court. The CCTV may also indicate other things that the police can bag-up (such as clothing, weapons, etc.) as supplementary evidence to gain a better chance of a conviction.

On the other hand, if you don't have CCTV footage, they will have a necessarily harder job to do. There is a trade-off between several factors such as policing resources, severity of crime, and likelihood of a successful prosecution that may mean they are better off using their increasingly limited resources to detect other crimes.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Or simply

Police know that if they video evidence of them doing something naughty it will be lost or they can rely on a carefully picked jury to ignore it.

Meanwhile, back in reality, the vast majority of footage on BWCs will show mundane interactions of police with the public. Despite some of the hysterical responses here, the vast majority of police are honest, hard-working (and under-paid).

There may be a public perception that they are all corrupt, and up to something, and this may be true in a tiny minority of cases, but it is hardly surprising that BWCs are not turning up evidence of widespread police misbehaviour because it is not that common.

When Police commit a crime, it gets high-profile attention, and rather than a slap-on-the-wrist, people get prison sentences. For instance: Officers in the Bijan Ebrahimi were sentenced to gaol, and in this case, they were guilty of neglectful incompetence, rather than violence themselves.

What BWCs are actually useful for is gathering evidence when the officers have to interact with someone who is a suspect, or is committing a crime. This is, after all, a fairly common scenario. The recordings can be used as evidence in court, for instance, to show what a suspect said or did, without having to rely on witness statements and cross-examinations, which cost court time and therefore money. In other words, they aren't helping the police, so much as the CPS (there is a common misunderstanding amongst the public that the police are responsible for prosecuting cases, this is fully the remit of the CPS, the police are primarily involved in preventing and detecting crime, and arresting and interviewing suspects. They will often be called to court as witnesses, but the prosecution will usually be made in the name of the Crown).

BWCs are also useful where there are allegations of excessive force by the police. There has been at least one case of a youtube video that appears to show police using excessive force when restraining someone, which conveniently omits to show the run-up to the restraint where police have approached a suspect and the suspect has become violent. The BWC in this case has shown the allegations to be false, which in turn saves the IPCC time and money that they would have to use to investigate a complaint unnecessarily. It turns out people like to accuse the police of brutality all the time...

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Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

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Re: The universe will now disappear

"If reality doesn't match theory, discard reality"

Ah, so you're a climate 'scientist'?

Ah, so you're a climate science denier.

If you liked denying climate science, you may also like:

  • Denying evolution
  • Homepoathy
  • Crystal healing
  • Donald Trump

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Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

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Re: Eh?

Where the 'Dell vs Lenovo' analogy breaks down is that if TfGM are Lenovo, who is Dell? They don't have a direct competitor, because they are the only tram system operator in Greater Manchester. Their prices should therefore reflect the cost of running the service (including salaries, rents, maintenance, etc.), plus a reasonable profit for the shareholders. Why any of those things should be a secret, or indeed relevant to how competitive they are is a mystery to me. Unless, of course, that 'reasonable profit' component is not so reasonable.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Unless..

...or a Heisenberg ticket, where you can know your destination, or the price, but not both.

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Combinations? Permutations? Those words don't mean what you think they mean

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...Maybe she was doing it deliberately, and the irony went over your head.

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Re: re: pseudo-maths

Also 'Pling', which is the one I heard when at school many moons ago.

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Google adds planets and moons to Maps, but puts bits in the wrong places

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North is up

...but which North? Local North? Magnetic North? Solar North? North relative to the plane of the ecliptic? Galactic North?

Personally, I'd probably define it as parallel to the axis of rotation of the body, in whichever direction happens to be pointing in roughly the same direction as ecliptic north, but I don't know how well that will work for bodies that are noticeably titled relative to the ecliptic.

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Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs

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FAIL

Re: Nope.

Then, you have to pay to go out and correct all the signs...

Try reading the article before heading straight to the comments section. Specifically the last paragraph:

He wants the current symbol 38, denoting footballs on traffic signs, to be updated so that future street signs are done correctly. "I appreciate updating all the old ones might be considered a misuse of taxpayers' funds," he said.

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'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

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Re: Francis Walsingham

...just to add a little more, to illustrate that history is littered with examples...

From the wikipedia page on the Royal Mail:

In 1653 Parliament set aside all previous grants for postal services, and contracts were let for the inland and foreign mails to John Manley. Manley was given a monopoly on the postal service, which was effectively enforced by Protector Oliver Cromwell's government, and thanks to the improvements necessitated by the war Manley ran a much improved Post Office service. In July 1655 the Post Office was put under the direct government control of John Thurloe, a Secretary of State, and best known to history as Cromwell's spymaster general. Previous English governments had tried to prevent conspirators communicating, Thurloe preferred to deliver their post having surreptitiously read it.

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Re: Francis Walsingham

But he didn't monitor ALL communication. Only that to/from a specific person. Something easily permitted with a warrant.

IIRC, he monitored quite a lot of communication between various people. At the time, there wasn't really the concept of having a warrant to do this.

If you want a more recent historical example of mass-interception of physical communications, I would encourage you to visit the STASI museum in East Berlin, housed in the actual headquarters of the STASI (also used for the rather good cold-war drama Deutschland 83).

I would draw your attention to the room on the first floor (second floor if you are American) where they have a section about how the STASI did exactly what is being described, along with examples of the steamers they used to routinely open the mail of ordinary people.

The STASI were a perfect example of this sort of surveillance taken to the absurd extreme. Some people seem to think that rather than being a warning from history, they should be held up as an paragon.

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Dumb bug of the week: Outlook staples your encrypted emails to, er, plaintext copies when sending messages

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Re: By default...

If I could upvote this more, I would. Email is, and always has been, an unsecured plain-text protocol. You might be able to ensure you have SSL between you and your mail server, but then as far as the protocol is concerned, that SMTP server could be delivering the message to the next relay by semaphore, or by shouting it across a busy pub.

If you want to send something securely by email, send an encrypted attachment, don't depend on the protocol to do the work for you. Even then, you have to consider that your attachment in its encrypted form is visible to world+dog, and that if someone wanted to brute-force it they probably could, so a password-protected zip file isn't going to be much use to you unless you like typing in long high-entropy passwords.

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