* Posts by Argh!

63 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010


Watchdog backs Top Gear in war with Mexico


I wish to register a complaint

"Not quite as odious but exactly as unfunny, exactly as tiresome and exactly as past their sell-by date. Time to call it quites, beeb."

Dear Register,

I find Mr Code Monkey's comments offensive to my personal religion - a major tenet of which is the freedom to watch buffoons prat about on TV whenever one feels the need. To that end his call for one of the few remaining sources of overblown buffoonery on television is particularly offensive to people of my beliefs. I would appreciate it if you could refer this to the "powers that be" and have him removed forthwith or at least a full page retraction printed in the Times.

Yours Sincerely

Someone with a very very thin skin who should probably just get over it.



"but the Mexican piece was so contrived and vitriolic it was like they were just seeking controversy rather than anything else"

... which is pretty much what they do all the time. Didn't seem to me to be any more "vitriolic" or controversial than saying a Renault was a "Cheese-eating Surrender Monkey" of a car. Or characterising the Australians they were hosting as a bunch of convicts for that matter.


George Lucas 'very happy' with 3D Phantom Menace



"People will flock in their droves to see this "

Sad... but probably true. If only the world and its people lived up to my hopes and expectations more often.


Didn't make it to the end?

You could try this:


I haven't had the stomach to watch anything TPM-related since being dumb enough to pay to see it at the cinema, but I understand that particular version is almost watchable and at least mercifully shorter.....

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"Still a back of shite, just shite in 3d."

Hmmm shite in shite sauce then?


2D Binks?

3D will make Binks 2D? Surely such a circa 200% improvement isn't actually possible no matter what the technology?

Jacqui Smith 'shocked' to discover we're drowning in sea of porn


That does seem to be the idea....

"Take note, chaps. It's the LAW."

Increasingly it seems the intent of UK law is "Being alive is illegal... we're letting you get away with it for now but if we notice you doing *one* thing we don't like we'll get you for the rest."




"Everyone knows it's taboo and not a true reflection of how life is and how people should act."

Except that increasingly it seems that teens especially and young adults *don't* understand that porn isn't reality and it's a direct concequence of this woman and her ilk that demonise porn and try to *make* it taboo.

So instead of being educated about what it is and it's place and function children find it by stealth and sneakyness and that only makes it more attractive and removes the possibility of any kind of adult or societical guidence that might promote understanding.

Porn isn't "taboo" just a natural function of human sexuality but like anything else you try and ban it only makes it more attractive.

OK some of it is pretty icky but that's personal taste and to my mind anything that's done between consenting adults is their business and that of anyone interested and everyone else can choose to ignore it. I suspect if politicians would stop being quite so sanctimonious and chest beating for cheap votes the country would be in a better state. "Not china"? Too late dear, we're already a good portion of the way there... and "Shocked to discover...."? Has she *heard* of the interenet? Or even Avenue Q? There's a reason for the famous song "The Internet Is For Porn"......

BBC apologises for Top Gear outrage


The spirit in which it is offered

"I'm welsh (can't help it)"

Well at least you were the perfect person to respond to the previous post - probably something to do with being used to hocking up a pint of flem over whoever you're talking to......

Of course I'm assuming and hoping you'll take that jibe in the friendly manner in which it was offerred or I'm going to have to go get a lawyer......


Double standard much?

" I expect, and enjoy, that kind of humour from Frankie Boyle, as that's his shtick; Offending people"

Uh, what? "It's OK for Frankie Boyle to go on extended race-centrered comedy rants, but not Jeremy Clarkson, he only gets 10 seconds" Who made up that rule?

"Not because it was in bad taste or offensive, but because it was rubbish."

Sez you. Top Gear's ratings vs. most other Beeb programs would seem to disagree. About the only way to avoid watching things you don't like or you don't want to hear is give up TV, at least you'll save your license fee.. oh and radio, and, well, talking to people I guess.



Don't dismiss too lightly

"Pity the nation whose major contribution to fashion is the sombrero or the handlebar moustache"

Oh come on... a major influence on porn films is nothing to be sneezed at :-)



"that okay then for 10yr old kids to hear foul language? still available at 11:26 on iplayer"

Yes, because I don't rely on the BBC to raise my children or teach them when certain language is and isn't appropriate to use and if they are 10 and not raised in a bubble I'll guarantee you they've heard far worse for at least 5 years in school.

The same argument applies as for the racial stereotypes thing. You can't expect everything you hear and see to be sanitised and non-offensive so you have to be *very* careful to seperate out the cases of genuine harm from the "just get over it".


Sorry you feel that way

" I think you need a few more appointments with your doctors to work on that "complex of superiority" problem."

*shrug* an overdeveloped superiority complex is a natural cultural trait from a nation that used to own 1/2 the world in much the same way that cats haven't got over being worshiped in ancient Egypt. See what I did there? Most of us laugh at our own stereotypical traits just as much as we laugh at others.

There's a difference between exaggerated racial stereotyping for the purpose of humour and people who genuinely believe it. I realise it can be a little uncomfortable in a foreign country and you can get the impression everyone believes the stereotype - I've been to a few places where Britons are viewed as all football hooligans, others where they are seen as snobbish and posh, others where they are seen as clueless fools. Is it good? Not especially, but I'll take the harsh words over the sanitising of everyone's thoughts any day. Do you really want to live in a world where you have the urge to consult a lawyer before saying anythign for fear of offending someone?

As for Clarkson, the man's a buffoon and quite frequently says things that make me want to scream or cringe or possibly even hit him if he happened to be close enough at the time, but I'll fight tooth and nail for his right to say it because we're supposed to live in a free country. One bastion of gratuitous political incorrectness in a flat and dull sea of conformity? Personally I think there's room for a couple more and it's *exactly* what the BBC should spend money on IMO - part of the point of a publiclly funded oragnisation is to make less popular things that wouldn't otherwise get funding.

Of course, in this case the ratings would suggest that his buffoonery is actually fairly popular. You could see that as an indicator that peope agree with him, but I don't know anyone who takes him terribly seriously so I prefer to see it as a sense of humour in the population. I get the impression he doesn't always agree with himself and is playing up the image deliberately - self deprecation in that back-handed way also being a part of British humour.

Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say


But.. wait... what?

This is the stupidest thing I've seen in quite some time. "We can't tell you what the law is because then you might obey it"? I was under the impression that the object of law was not to trap people into prison, thugh I suppose that might account for the overcrowding.

Oh and "extreme" by *who's* definition? because there's never been problems with THAT before... I seem to remember Queen Victoria having some interesting ideas on extreme sexual behaviour for example.

It's so daft that this seems appropriate:


Talk about flaming mad.

Gov will spend £400k to destroy ID card data


Cost breakdown

£20,000 (generously) to destroy data

£380,000 to negotiate the hopelessly convoluted, labyrinthine and pointless bureaucracy to ensure beyond reasonable doubt that you DIDN'T leave it on train.

If that's what it is I'll take the ludicrous charge to finally put to rest one of the stupidest ideas of the modern age....

Small biz would pay more for simpler tax


Say it ain't so!

I am shocked... Shocked I say, at the suggestion that tax law might favour those who have millions of pounds to spend on bri.. er.. lobbying for "tax reform" instead of those that don't.

That can't *possibly* be right. The Company is your Friend, Citizen. :-)

Developer accuses TfL of 'fudging FOI requests'


Re: One thing that seems to be missed out here...

"if a public body were to spend £10K to comply with an FOI request on £100 pounds worth of information"

Are you sure? I've not read the FoI act in detail, but I know the DPA includes the facility for the recipient of the DPA request to charge a reasonable admin fee to collate and turn over the requested information. I wouldn't be suprised to find that FoI contains a similar clause. That, however, is a very different thing from trying to limit what someone does with the mandated information afterwards.

As for huge costs in what would appear at worst to be a regular data dump, as a sometime jobbing DBA I'm reasonably confident that even I could knock up a stored procedure for a database to do something like that within a few hours given the database schema and a language manual! I wouldn't charge THAT much :-)



"The reason this information is provided on the website is to provide value for money to London taxpayers and passengers. Saving information onto hard discs and sending securely through the post for one person is less cost efficient than making the same data available on the web for a large number of people."

Basically a top piece of political double-talk that if you read through it reads 'Information covered by FoI is not covered by FoI if we make the effort to provide it in an efficient manner ".

Now perhaps there's an argument to be made that if you design an API for data, you have the right to put restrictions on the use of the API whether the data behind it is FoI covered or not, but if you do it looks like the FoI would *demand* that you provide unfettered access to the raw data behind it as was requested in this case.

At that point there's a choice as to whether to simply give unrestricted access to the API or to proide the "raw" as requested in another manner, but surely the argument cannot be made that you can enforce conditions just because the access to the data already exists? If you could that would invalidate the act wouldn't it? "Freedom of information" means unfettered access.

If you *could* restrict on the basis of prior access you could simply argue "well our policy for information requests is to give a VPN access into the database in return for £10,000 for a 1 year support contract for the VPN and a binding contract to sell your camel to antarctica. Anyone is entitled to do so"...... "What? You don't want to pay £10,000? You don't have a camel? Then I'm sorry you can't have access, after all it was already existing and publically available before you asked."

Sony sues PlayStation 3 'hackers'

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An excellent idea....

"Yes, but I suppose Sony could offer to replace original discs, presumably physically validating the discs. Wouldn't be that expensive."

Extremely I'd imagine and hope, making it a fantastic idea. Once they've gone through the cycle a dozen or so times over say 3 or 4 years as each successive iteration gets broken in it's turn they might get the point that DRM doesn't work and that it has exactly the opposite effect that they intend.


IT Angle

And yet again...

... is the crushing pointlessness of DRM highlighted for all to see.

"Piracy BAD", yes maybe but you don't stop it by annoying your paying customers rather than the people you're trying to stop. Any more than you stop a charging elephant with a sheet of cling film.

EU law not tough enough for online piracy, says Brussels


I'd dispute that

"stop paying for music, you'll see..."

See Mozart comment. And currently technology seems to allows artists to "find" themselves just fine and would probably do even better if the record companies folded because all their monopolies were taken away from them.

"when the artists have to go out and get a real job,"

To the best of my knowledge many artists have a "real job" already. Oh and by the way, if being an artist is not a "real job" then why pay forit at all?

"are you suggesting that if a recording company have recouped their costs then they should no longer charge people to obtain the music? older music should be fair game for piracy?"

No I'm suggesting that older music and other content should move into the public domain in a timely way.

Copyright is supposed to be an agreement between society and the creator granting a *temporary* monopoly over a creation as an incentive to create further works in return for which the work will pass into the public domain for the free use of anyone to aid cultural enrichment. Having started out at about 15 years if I remember rightly (a time that today is MORE than long enough to extract a reasnable profit out of any work not deemed valueless by the public), industry bri.. er.. lobbying has managed to increase that to "life of the artist plus 70 years if I'm remembering correctly.

Leaving aide how it "incentivises creation" to have the majority of copyrights held by corporations who do NO creation, how does a dead artist get incentivised to create exactly? And how does it incentivise a living artist to create further works if he/she can create ONE work and get paid for it for the rest of his life with no further effort?

"why should the first thousand people to buy a CD be paying so that the remaining million who want the CD can download it for free?"

Why should the first 500,000 people who buy a DVD pay £20 for it when in 3 months time it'll be in the bargain bin for £3? It's called a free market.



Kinda proves the point....

"Mozart died poor, didn't he?"

I believe he did. Which only underlines the ridiculousness of IP maximalists' oft-touted argument that without copyright support no-one would create music. Copyright may or may not incentivise creation (the current version seeming to incentivise money-grubbing middle men more than creators) but to suggest creation is, was, or ever will be done only under the aegis of "wealthy benefactors" or other financial incentive is absurd.

I didn't comment on the other bit about creators being poor. I've yet to see any compelling evidence as to whether copyright creates more or less poor "artists". The anecdotal evidence I've seen so far though seems to lean towards creators on average being perhaps about the same with copyright as without but it seems that fewer would seem to fall into the "moderately sucessful" category with copyright than is extrapolated would be the case without it. (Hard to prove with no collectable evidence of life in absentia of copyright of course).

The suggestion is that *more* artists would profit overall though perhaps not to such great extent as currently is copyright were removed or significantly reduced.

I'm not yet convinced either way on that one, but I *am* convinced that the current situation is appalling and that a "middle ground" solution exists that could be better for everyone if only governments would stop pandering to media companies that hand them large piles of cash..

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Yeah you have to wonder.....

"but what about introducing some legislation and enforcement to protected the people who have bought and paid for the rights to use the copyright material."

I'm always curious under what circumstances p*ssing off your legitimate paying customers with so many restrictions that they are all but forced to get a dodgy copy to avoid the pain seems like a good business model.

I wrote a bit of a skit on that elsewhere:

Cool, I'll buy the new [Insert band here] CD...

Oh but wait, I want it on my iPod... that's OK I'll buy the CD anyway and rip it.

Oh.. hang on I think that since 1997 or something I'm not supposed to do that am I? Perhaps I shouldn't...

Um.. I think I'm still allowed to because it's um.. a backup copy and I'm allowed that.. I think... well at least I'm buying it....I'll give it a go

Oh dear it seems to have broken my computer when I put the CD in.. I guess I better buy it off iTunes instead even though I wanted the cover and everything

Hang on a minute.. my computer's a CD player too.. aren't I even allowed to play it like a CD without copying it???

Oh well, I got it off iTunes that's ok.. except wait my car's MP3 player doesn't support the iTunes song. That's no good I want to play it in my car.

Oh that's OK I'm "allowed" to burn a CD of it - I can use that in the car.. seems a bit of a waste of my car MP3 player though... you'd think they'd all be compatible or something what the hell is "no rights to play song" mean anyway? I bought it didn't I?

That's all cool now.. got some more songs to go with it and burnt another disk with them all on.. this is great

Oh... I left the CD in the sun and it doesn't work any more and it won't let me burn another copy of the original song

It's getting worse... my computer died and the new one won't play the songs I bought.. it's asking for some password... I didn't know I had a password my mate set all that up for me.

And now I can't even add anything to my iPod because it says it has to wipe all the old stuff off first and it's the only copy I've got

OH S*D IT! I think I'll just ask my mate to get me a copy. He's good at that stuff.

I think they may be trying to add to this list:



Well thinking helps for a start

"How should the arts be paid for then?"

By thinking about creative ways to give people reasons to give you money for things and not neccessarily assume they will or must for something that is infinitely available. By not assuming that something that works right now for marketing will still work in a year's time and by not assuming the world owes a living. Certainly not by assuming that just because something made money before it'll make MORE money in future without any further effort.

In the case of music I like the idea of micropayments as one possible route - a small amount per track, most of which goes direct to the artist a small amount of which goes to prop up the web-based distribution service. With practically non-existant distribution costs (and for music usually not high creation costs) and a potential world-wide audience it would take little else to make some decent money. In a shop for physical media you could simply have a streaming connection and a CD burner/printer that creates the physical packaging on the fly for a fee if you still want the thing in your hand. Then the shop gets to charge for the service to customer and the same fee goes to the artist/service providor. Of course to do that would cut out the huge barrel of pork that seems to get stuck somewhere between the vendor and the artist around about the "record label" level.....

If you're interested there are some examples of alternatives that worked for some people here.


"Before we had copyright laws music was made by people who had a rich benefactor or who were independently wealthy. ."

[Citation needed]

Mozart for example composed many of his most famous works while unemployed in Vienna as I understand it.

Speed-cam stats to be published, indicates gov


The police too....

It appears even the police think that the object is to generate a many speeding convictions as possible....



Try reading closer and not out of context

"I have looked at the facts over and over again"

Looked at these ones?


They seem to have done a fairly thorough job and present reasoned arguments based on evidence. I have yet to see any such analysis on the other side. If you have a link to such a thing by all means post it as I would be interested in the view.

"This is not a war on speeding"

The goverments entire public road safety policy since the early 90's has been focussed on "Speed Kills" and "Slow down" campaigns and enforcement has drastically increased:

Speed camera offences 1996 - 262,000

Speed camera offences 2006 - 1,865,000

While behind the scenes they occasionally do something more useful like re-engineer accident blackspots, the face presented to the public and the direct effect on drivers is a draconian enforcement of speed limits and the lowering of speed limits in many areas in response to political or public pressure rather than an analysis of the road in question.

What would you call that?

"Do your training courses give people improved depth perception to notice a change in speed of the car in front and better eyesight to notice a brakelight at 400m (travelled in 5 seconds at 80mph)?"

Strawman. The point of training as I said before is to give you the tools to ANTICIPATE a potentially dangerous situation BEFORE it arises - in your example one would see the HGV and ANTICIPATE that there is a potential for a hidden car and slow accordingly removing the reaction time problem. The fact that you suggest that an 80MPH speed limit would have any effect on this is exactly the problem. Arbitary and ruthlessly enforced speed limits and the focus on them creates the illusion that "driving within the speed limit" is the only thing that needs to be done to be safe on the road, which is simply not true. You seem to have completely ignored that portion of my post though.

"Given how transport decisions are made by balancing cost, accident risk and environmental factors with time saved by drivers, if getting rid of speed cameras didn't decrease accident risk then they'd go."

[Citation needed] Any evidence to support that claim at all?

"I presume you give the new variable speed limit areas your full support as well? They do change to reflect changing conditions at any point in time"

Having regularly driven through them, no in fact they don't and that's not a suprise - there is no way an automated system could detect and take account of the number of variables involved and even if they could the safe speed could potentialy change minute-to-minute if not second to second and it would be ludicrous to change the posted limit that often

Perhaps they help to some extent and would certainly make sense in areas that have a specific variable danger - I would rather see variable limits around schools for example than on motorways.

Again, try reading this as it's very similar to what I think about it


*Correct* speed limits are useful, variable or otherwise but still no substitute for the responsibilty and correct judgement of the person behind the wheel.

"But I stand by my earlier statement, get the political backing and get speed limits (on motorways only if you like) removed you really believe that they are not currently suitable."

You really weren't listening were you? I don't WANT speed limits removed. I want the focus and reliance on them removed and the myth that driving to the speed limit makes you safe removed and the reliance on cameras that cannot make a subjective judgement of safey removed and the soundbite and patently false "speed kills" campaigns removed. I want all these things replaced by a genuine effort to improve the safety of our driving before we become like Belgium.

And yes, having found an organisation that believes the same thing I will support them. However, being cynical about how gullible the average member of the public can be when it comes to being told something is true over and over, and knowing how little effect political lobbying has unless you have millions of pounds to spend I expect my support to be an empty gesture at best. Reasoned argument has little place in politics.




"The accident stats and speeding stats even if accurate do not demonstrate beyond doubt that there is a link between speed and accident rates"

While poking around today prompted by this topic i found this site:


Which was a bit of a "where have to been all my life" moment for me.

You can argue they are biased, but they seem to have done a decent amount of analysis


Argue coherently about their point


and put forth an argument for measures to fix the problem


which are based on reason rather than faith and soundbites.

Note, they don't go for a "speed limits are for losers we can drive as fast as we like" policy, which is how supporters of cameras often seem to try and paint opponents, but instead focus on getting speed limits right and the enforcement of them right - stomping down in cases where it matters, letting it slide when it doesn't (i.e. HUMAN enforcement)

I found what seemed to be an external link to a hard Canadian study very interesting:


It makes very interesting reading and I'd reccomend it to everyone whether you agree or disagree.


RTM? Possibly RTFM

RTM isn't the problem, the problem is the way the statistics are created in the first place. If the sample size is too small the data is meaningless. Which is pretty likely consdiering as far as I am aware 3 "serious" accidents in a year is sufficient to mandate a speed camera, which would mean even if 3 is your mean value and not an abberation icovered by RTM-type arguments t'll take you many years (not a statistician but hmmm what? 10 years maybe?) to determine what the mean value of accidents is.

Then you need a similar value counted in the same way (which it has been suggested is not the case with different sample areas before and after camera installation) with and without cameras - oh and it helps if the road conditions remain the same though the sample periods (doesn't sound too likely if you're talking about 20 years - in the last 20 for example ABS was invented and became more common).

That to me suggests that there's no way any statistics released produced since the widespread use of speed cameras are likely to be shakey at best and totally manufactured to corform to expected values at worst.

A more sensible approach would seem to be an overall analysis of accidents against spped camera use and statistical analysis of trends there. That's what these guys seem to have done:


You may not believe their conclusions about the links to speed cameras but they make a reasoned argument and support it with data of a decent sample size.


It's easier than that....

"if you had never been on that road before you could easily have started at 40 then ended up at (gasp!) 42 for a massively dangerous 20 seconds."

Potentially 46 in that scenario actually. Speedos only have to be accurate to within 10%, which is why speed cameras (and mobile traps) are not *supposed* to nick you until you are doing 45 in a 40 zone or 67 in a 60 zone (limit+10%+1mph).

So in actual fact you could easily be going faster than the posted limit (44mph in the example) and not know it unless you happen to have a satnav which will record (constant) speed more accurately. If you have one, try it sometime on a straight stertch. You may well find that your speedo is out by a noticable amount. So much for hard limits.


Speaking of missing the point.....

"Firstly, the limiting factor on the car's reactions is your ability to perceive hazards ahead, which will be less good than you think it is."

Hence suggesting increased training to give people a better appreciation of their skills and the means to ANTICIPATE rather than perceive potential hazards. You do know the difference between anticipation and perception, right?

"Secondly, there is a "sheer speed" issue with respect to HGVs, which can only travel at 56mph, and gives a raised accident rate. This gets worse the faster the rest of the traffic is moving."

Hmmm 85 vs 56? How is that different to 30MPH versus stationary vehicle? Also I limited my example to a clear road - the stretch I mentioned you can see about a mile an a half, enough anticipation time don't you think?

If you'd read the rest you'd also have noted that I don't believe that even if the speed "limit" was 85 that it would be safe to drive at that speed at all times so you're pointing out a non-existant flaw.

"Finally crash barriers can't cope with much more energy than that of an average car travelling at 70-75mph."

Being a function of the momentum of the impacting object it turns out they suck at much lower speeds than that if you hit one with a van or a lorry or an HGV and also depends significantly on the aangle of impact which it turned out in collisions was often different to what had been anticipated when the barriers were designed. That would be why, once they discovered that, barriers started getting replaced with concrete blockers in the central reservation to better reflect the impacting vehicle back into the carrigeway. so that would be an irrelevent point too then.

"just to show your confidence in other drivers' judgements."

As I've said several times in posts in these comments I don't have *any* confidence in other drivers judgements, which is why I advocate increased driver training rather than a pointless and irrelevant "war on speeding".

The examples I gave were very specific to demonstrate that a speed limit is, by neccesity of being a static measure, unable to take account of prevailing conditions making it all but irrelevant in determining the safe speed at a given time, which will often be much LOWER than the posted limit. Extending that logic it becomes clear that draconian enforcement of speed limits under the pretext of "safety" is pointless in addressing the root issue and is simply a way to tax car drivers while giving the government the appearance of "Doing Something".

Now please come back when you have something more cogent to argue with than irrelevant "facts" and pointlessly emotive and equally irrelevant "think of the children" wailing.



Was it?

"The link between speed cameras and revenue was broken some time ago by the Coalition govt,"

[Citation Needed]


I suppose it had to come from somewhere

"Just like all those unfortunate burglars, benefit cheats, murderers etc who got caught?"

Nice to see that you totally buy in to the government line:

Speeding = Theft + fraud + murder

Good to know. That's such a perfect analogy and not at all a vastly overblown and utterly irrelevant comparison that I have trouble grasping the full beauty of it.



It really is astonishingly beside the point

"If you don't want to get caught by a speed camera, or the police, don't speed."

Wow, cracking observation (well except for once being pulled and almost ticketed by the police while doing below the legal limit because they *assumed* I was speeding having accellerated rapidly off a set of lights that they happened to be watching from round the corner). Except that the stated purpose of speed cameras is TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY not to catch people speeding. No conclusive evidence exists that they do so. Until someone can come up with hard and impartial evidence to the contrary I will continue to complain about something that goes against logic and the anecdotal but fairly compelling evidence that I have seen so far.

"If you want to go at 80 on a motorway, campaign for the speed limits to be changed - don't blame the cameras."

Hmm i can remember a number of campaigns for exactly that, including those backed by motoring organisations:


How far do you think they got against a backdrop of rabid governmental antipathy towards cars, cries of "think of the children who are maimed and killed by cars" and people who assume that there must be a good reason for a law or it wouldn't have been passed, right?

In fact for all the campaigning along those lines the speed limits are actually going DOWN on some motorways to 50 or 60.

I'm starting to be convinced it is government policy to return to the practice of having someone run in front of cars with a red flag again. Totally solves road accidents since few people will be able to break 20MPH and then only for short bursts, decreases obesity due to lack of excercise and you can mandate that anyone out of a job must take the position solving unemployment too. Three for the price of one - makes total sense... right?




"Like by offering people caught by speed cameras the chance to go on a speed awareness course rather than get points you mean?"

No I mean like by making the driving test actually include something other than theory and basic mechanical control of the car. Like teaching and testing situational awareness, like the abilty to judge speed and distance accurately and convergance rates, like skid training, like what a car feels like to drive in as many road conditions as humanly possible, like *demonstrating* physically stopping distances rather than it being basically theoretical.

Hardly perfect but even simulating such things with todays technology as part of driver training would vastly increase awareness and possibly get at least a few of the bad habits out *before* they become habits - otherwide you're just treating the symptom again. To fit a number of such simulators in every test facilty in the land would, I'd estimate, come in rather cheaper than any one of the national hate cars policies.


Nope not really

"Yes motorists pay a lot of tax, but they cause a lot of pollution, congestion and other problems too. The alternative would be to reduce motoring taxes and vastly increase income tax to compensate. Would you prefer that?"

Pollution? As opposed to a cow for example? Or a power station? Or a water treatment plant? That's really the only alternative you can think of?

Perhaps some of the congestion could be solved by taking some of the massive amounts of money paid by car drivers and investing to come up with an alternative form of transport or at least a transport policy that delivers ways to get the right things from A to B and means people have to drive cars less? According to government's own statistics solving such a thing would save billions in policing, hospitals, maintenance etc and so would pay for itself.

Buses and trains? A limited solution at best that could replace a fraction of the uses of cars (vans etc) but isn't being targeted at what those solutuions are good at anyway and yet is the only thing other than various "traffic calming" measures that government seems willing to throw money at as they provide worse and worse service at higher and higher prices to the consumer.

"No, but neither is it always the pedestrian's fault, the cyclists fault or the motorcyclists fault."

Actually by policy it turns out it IS always the car drivers fault. I know of a case recently where a car hit a cyclist who'd cycled across a give way line without stopping. The cyclist all but admitted as much in the claim against the car driver and the drivers insurance company agreed that it was the cyclist who was in the wrong. However despite this the insurance company resused to contest the cyclist's claim citing the unlikelihood of the case being found for the driver if it went to court - they admitted that if another car had been hit in those circumstances there wouldn't be any question, but that courts will in a majority of cases find for a cyclist or pedestrian over a driver no matter the circumstances.

Perhaps that may be a contributing cfactor in the increase I've noticed over the last decade or so in pedestrians wandering across the road without so much as a glance behind them just assuming any oncoming car will see them and stop.

"There is no obligation to use a cycle path and sometimes it is inconvenient to do so, and on rare occasions, dangerous to do so."

That one I agree with - in fact, being a cyclist in London myself, I wouldn't recommend it as a form of transport to anyone who does not enjoy the prostect of imminent death on a day-to-day basis. So much for alternatives to the car.

"cycle path put in at great expense"

I dont object to the cyclepaths.... I think they are a great idea - or at least would be if they were actually considered instead of being a nod from the government in the direction of "being green" - too often the government's pet policies collide in this area - I've seen a cyclepath put on a road then a few months later a bus stop on that path built out into the road so that the bus stopping at it blocks the road.

That not only seems to be a waste of money designed primarily to annoy car drivers at a stop that doesn't get enough people to warrant the extra pavement space, but then forces cyclists back out into the stream of largely unobservant cars who mostly blithly drive in a straight line and therefore too close to the bus stop to allow a cyclist room. Because most car drivers, if they notice a cycle path at all, then just assume the cyclist will be in it and therefore not a problem, that kind of fail in planning makes the cyclepath *more* dangerous for the cyclist than nothing at all.

I wouldn't object to the massive and ever increasing taxes on driving a car at all if there was any sign that even a percentage of it was spent on transport infrastructure that MADE SENSE instead of urinated away on pet projects to look good rather than do anything useful.

Hmm I think I'll put my soap box away and get a mop


Thumb Up


"The fact is speed is way over emphasised as a safety issue, were actually its careless driving that is the real cause."

I agree. To put "speeding" into perspective (i.e. directly related to the posted speed limit) while still focussing on speed as a problem, consider he following:

A motorway has a posted speed limit of 70MPH. In good conditions on a good stretch of road (just for example that 4 or 5 lane straight bit of the A1(M) before Peterborough) can anyone say that it's not safe to do say 80-85MPH?

Conversely, if conditions on that SAME stretch of road are bad e.g. foggy with visibility less than 50yards, wet slippery roads like when it gets wet on the dust of prolonged sun, you'd have to be practically suicidal to tank along at 70MPH

Conclusion: the posted speed limit has little to do with the actual "safe" speed on a road and is more useful an indicator of possible conditions of that section of road (in theory it can be assumed that a lower speed limit indicated some sort of "danger" ahead of which you may not be aware) and this small data should be added to your trained observation of the conditions around you in order to drive safely.


Not so clear cut

"The assumption that speed cameras are juicy revenue streams is in many cases a fallacy."

A similar question came up on another site I read:


Which prompted me to go look and find:





Which would suggest the matter is rather more open to debate than you indicate.


No not whining - realistic

"Would the people who say speed cameras should be abolished and more police should be out on the roads enforcing the laws put their hands up to pay more tax to fund the policing?"

Can I vote instead that every penny spent on speed cameras, speed bumps, traffic calming, constantly naffing around with traffic light phasings, putting in pointless roundabouts where they don't fit, rebuilding roads with a bend in to "slow thetraffic", big flashy signs and an ever more rabid obsession with "speeding" in the face of falling speed limits is spent on driver education and training so that people are correctly equipped to be able to judge for themselves what is safe in given conditions rather than relying on an arbitary average number that bears no relationship to reality in most cases.

If it doesn't work we will at least be spending money on the cause rather than the various syptoms.


Or alternatively......

given how much safer by design cars are today over 10 years ago, the roughly static RTA figures would indicate that the standard of driving is getting worse, and hence needs more policing to get nutters off the road"

Given how much safer by design cars are today over 10 years ago, the roughly static RTA figures would indicate that the standard of driving is getting worse, and hence needs better driver training and education to reduce stupidity on the road rather than pumping more and more money into things aimed at the effect rather than the cause such as speed cameras, traffic calming and ludicrously sited traffic lights, roundabouts and wasting the police's time.

There....... FTFY



Works both ways

"bear in mind road surface improvements"

I seem to remember some testing done that was reported on the Beeb that modern road surface is actually *less* good and more slippery in at least some conditions (something inevitably to do with cost as I recall) .

There's also the argument that accident statistics include *all* accidents on a stretch of road including perhaps the random guy that jumped off an overpass bridge or deliberately stepped into traffic.

Added to that in most sites the numbers are likely to be small for a given camera area and a "30% reduction" or even increase in accidents doesn't statistically mean much if you're talking about 3 accidents a year and not much more of you're talking about 20 (a reduction of 4 could easily be normal varience).

It's also worth saying since I am one of the people that loath(e) speed cameras that I've been driving a fair number of years and over the years have had a fair number of accidents some my fault others not. In not one of them was any party involved driving above the speed limit. In fact having polled people I know on this subject, of every accident involving those people (which amounts to more than 50 accidents) I wouldn't run out of the fingers of 1 hand counting the number in which any kind of speeding was involved which suggests to me that "speeding" (as opposed for example to "driving too fast for the conditions", which is a completely different thing with only a peripheral relationship to speed limits) is not a primary cause of accidents.

In every accident I've been involved in or know directly about the major factors are either errors in judgement usually caused by inatentiveness or lack of driving skill such as responding badly to an emerging situation e.g. a skid (and yes I include myself in this too).

I've yet to see anyone explain how speed cameras help what the evidence I can see suggests is the real problem and likewise I don't see how publishing some random (and probably misquoted, taken out of context by both sides, and doctored) statistics will improve things.

Yes! It's the Reg Top 5 FUTURISTIC GUNS Thanksgiving Roundup!


just fire one of these into the room before risking your skin

That presumably is rather the idea, though hopefully they'd use the flashbang-type round! That's standard practice anyway, this'd just make it more effective.

'Looking and acting like an employee' didn't make him one


Funny would be.....

.... if following such a legal ruling he used it to claim back all the tax etc from the IR, because I'd lay a small wager he *was* consdiered a de-facto employee for IR35 tax purposes. Probably more than he'd get for unfair dismissal...

MP wants age verification for net smut



So... let's see if I read that right:

You propose that if you seperate IP addresses according to national (legal) boundaries you can then police the boundaries and within the range?

Ok. How do you intend to allocate how many IP addresses each country gets? What happens when they grow outside the allocated bounds? Possibly with IPv6 you cold manage this.

Once you've accomplished that, why would you *want* to restrict yourself to UK only content? That defeats the whole point of the internet as a *GLOBAL* communication tool. Skype anyone? MSN? Google?

Google.co.uk : IP: - United States - Cary

www.ibm.co.uk: IP: - United States - Somers

lovefilm.co.uk IP: - Germany

The internet cannot be split into geographic regions because the flexibility to host your data wherever in the world is most cost effective is the whole point as far as companies are concerned and if you are a multi-country company it makes no sense to keep a data centre in every country.

Even if you did want to restict yourself to UK only content, that's still an enourmous job checking that every site within the UK is legitimate.

As for proxy:


Pick one.... any one. Your children can connect to a UK address, which is unlikely to have been blocked (unless you're using a white list, which kinda defeats the object of your idea in the first place) and it will magically tunnel everything from anywhere else on teh planet through the address they're connected to. https is all it needs.

And yes, if you "re-align" all the IP addresses in IPv4 then each company currently using that IP address has to do work to change it's externally presented adddresses. Work costs money. Multiply by the number of affected companies globally and ... well perhaps I was being too optimistic.

Alternatively you could:

Just accept that even every such countermeasure has a work around and will never ever be 100% effective and most likely won't break 10% effective (Take DRM for example)

Realise that even if you managed it porn will *still* be available to children like it always has been

Spend the time effort and money you were going to put into pursuing such changes instead educating children better so the root of the problem goes away rather than being afraid of something that's been around since the beginnings of human civilisation.


Re:Tories would like to get rid of democracy too (like previous Labour did)

Ummm I'll put you down for a "D" or something like it then shall I?

Perhaps my sarcasm missed - if you've read my other posts in the comments you'll see I'm fairly firmly in the "D" category. I was just wondering where everyone was on "the other side" to argue their corner given that it "must be the will of the people" if our elected representatives are pushing such drivel so frantically.


restriction of access?

That's what I get nervous about. Restriction of access for the "young" or indeed anyone rarely works and often has the opposite effect to the one intended - people in general and younger people in particular tend to become more interested rather than less in something "banned" for them.

Telling a child not to do something is often a sure-fire way of guaranteeing they'll give it a try. On the other hand de-mystifying things and explaining *why* it's nto good will tend to get the opposite result.

And how do you set the age limit anyway? People are different - I've met children who are under 16 who could probably if it were explained to them (or would admit to knowing anything about it) could probably have a fairly mature and abstract discussion about sex. On the other hand I've met adults that you'd think might become an axe murderer if they watched the wrong disney film.


You could raise that 1% to 100%

And you think that'll stop ANYTHING? How would you police what goes on each of the 4billion + IP addesses (trillions more when the core goes IP V6)? going to check each one personally? And how does that work when you can simply use a server in whatever suuposedly "safe" zone is allowed as a relay? heard of VPN tunnels? https proxy? Billions and billions of pounds worth of change to accomplish nothing? sounds like a plan


mind bendingly badly put there.

I get the feeling the sarcasm didn't translate well - at least I *hope* it was sarcasm. Let me summarise how i re-read it the 3rd time after almost ranting back:

Don't talk about parents controlling what their children do you dummy - that's no better than trying to control the internet. It's about building trust and understanding with children and educating them about reality before the internet or their freinds ake care of it for you.

Am I close?



I've noticed that after 3 pages of comments on this, at the time of writing not one seems to support the idea that trying to censor the internet in any way is a good idea.

Do you think that's because:

A/ We scared off all the people who disagree?

B/ The Reg editors removed all the conflicting opinions they didn't like?

C/ Reg readers are all perverts?

D/ Reg readers can pick a computer out of a lineup and recognise a network best out of 3 and know it's a really stupid idea?

E/ All of the above?

F/ None of the above?

Answers on a postcard please.

Police to get greater web censorship powers


Re: Oh, Look! Police State!

Let me summarise that list for you:

A Bunch of police types that have an interest in an easier life and controling what you do

A bunch of government types with no clue and a vested interest in "doing something"

A bunch of organisations that can make money from the deal

1 guy to represent the interests of everyone to be shat on so that he can be duly shat upon.


I find myself spluttering in disbelief

I'm stunned, nay flabbergasted, at the breathtaking ... well.. EVERYTHING... of this idea...

But... but... Innocent until proven guilty?

But.. .. due process?

But.... um isn't the internet INTERNATIONAL?

But... isn't the internet ultimately based on IP ADDRESSES not domain names?

But.. .can't you have mutiple domain names pointing to the same place?

But.... isn't DNS distributed and cached anyway?

But.... hasn't this kind of thing been repeatedly proved pointless?

but..but.. but...

Oh please please go win a Darwin award or something you silly silly nominet people! (AND the people "pressuring" them for this drivel)



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