* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is why you write down your constitution

Yes the Supreme Court does answer questions about what the US Constitution and its amendments permit or deny, but a basic question like "can the president undo existing law legally passed by congress?" is not something that would ever be at issue. The Supreme Court considers cases regarding stuff that's not specifically covered in our constitution, like the legality of abortion, exactly what limitations can be put on gun ownership, etc.

I'm sorry, but the question of who has the power to unmake existing law is pretty basic, so if you need a court to determine the answer to that... Like I said, if the PM can remove the UK from the EU without Parliament having any say, then he can pretty much do anything by undoing any previous acts of Parliament. Arguably he could put the Queen back in charge and take both himself and Parliament out of equation setting UK history back 350 years or so.

For that matter, wasn't it an act of Parliament that stripped Charles II's royal power to arbitrarily suspend laws passed by Parliament? Did they really mean to remove that power from the King, and give it to the Prime Minister? Could the PM undo that, or undo the Reform Act of 1832? If you take the position that the PM can unilaterally pull the UK out of the EU, you pretty much have to concede he has similar power to that of the King after the Magna Carta was signed as he can undo any law he wishes.

DougS Silver badge

This is why you write down your constitution

Instead of relying on oral history or tradition or whatever the heck it is you lot are relying upon here. I will say you won't have moved much past having a King if the PM is able to undo by himself an Act voted upon by the whole of Parliament over 40 years ago.

It is one thing for the man in charge to have veto power, as the president in the US does. But his veto power only extends to something passed by congress that is not yet law. If he signs it, it is law, if he vetoes it, it is not law. The congress can override him with 2/3 vote in both house & senate but in today's partisan political world that's almost impossible to imagine. The president most certainly cannot veto something retroactively, which is basically what your PM would be doing if he is determined to have the power to unilaterally serve Article 50 notice to the EU and this is judged to have met the EU's conditions for constitutionality.

What would the PM who unilaterally removed the UK from the EU do for an encore, repeal the Indian Independence Act of 1947 so the UK legally considers India its colony once again?

New phones rumoured as BlackBerry cans BB10 production

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Re: Bit of a prediction

Why? How many remaining Blackberry fans are there who haven't already switched to iPhone or Android, and of those how many were there for the UI, versus for Mail/BBM or the physical keyboard?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hmmm.....

It was over for Blackberry in 2010, when sales of the iPhone 4 began catching fire and Android became able to reach low end market segments, allowing it to begin the long process of replacing all the cheap feature phones.

While this was going on Blackberry was still stubbornly selling their early 2000s technology with their heads in the sand, and nothing they did in the future with BB10, Android or anything else was going to matter. All the money they've lost since would have made a nice severance payment to the employees who ended up losing their jobs since, or will in the final death throes.

What's more shocking to me is that Microsoft ended up fumbling this as well, despite owning the catbird seat in the IT enterprise from which to push their way in and an effectively unlimited budget.

Mozilla emits nightly builds of heir-to-Firefox browser engine Servo

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Re: Let me get my hands on the idiot

This is an engine, not a product. The interface it has now only exists to support easier testing.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hmmm.

Stuff like the JS engine and crypto libraries are details to be worried about after the browser engine is complete. They aren't pitching this as a product, just an engine - over which they helpfully threw a basic HTML interface on to insure it actually gets some testing.

I'm happy to see Mozilla is looking beyond the hoary bloated Firefox/Gecko world to the future, with security being considered from day one. The article doesn't say but I think it is safe to assume it has been designed with threading in mind from day one as well, considering that even phones have multiple cores these days.

Hopefully in a couple years Firefox will go away and be replaced by a superior product, just like the product named Mozilla went away and was replaced by the superior product at the time, Firefox.

fMRI bugs could upend years of research

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Non open source "must be assumed to be dodgy"

I sure hope you don't mean to imply that open source software can be assumed to be not dodgy. That didn't work out too well for people relying on e.g. openssl, which in the past year or two was found to have some bugs that were just as old as the bugs in this research software - despite being used by FAR more people and being FAR more critical to get right. Yeah, openssl code was rather messy, but research software is generally the ugliest code you've ever seen.

There are only two ways to validate the output of research software like this. One, have a second version of it developed completely independently to act as a check - but who wants to "waste resources" on writing and maintaining it? Two, have someone occasionally work out the results "by hand" to check. I realize some may object it say "what if it needs a million calculations, it would take someone a lifetime to do that" but you can still do it with computers, you just need to break it down into its components and do the calculations separately piece by piece without referring to the standard research software at all.

Even these aren't foolproof - what if the method is based on a paper someone wrote 20 years ago and it turns out there was an error in the paper that no one ever caught? In such a case the software would be "right" in terms of following the formula exactly, and separately developed software or calculations performed manually would show a matching - but wrong - result. Science is hard.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Good science / USGS manipulating data

OK, so the same thing as the Denver Post story I linked above. Has nothing to do with climate in terms of global warming, but of measuring contaminants in the environment.

The poster who made the original claim in this thread didn't understand the article and instead saw what he wanted to see, "manipulation of climate science", causing him to make made a false claim. I'm sure he's not the only one making that mistake - he may not have made the mistake himself, but saw an article written by someone who made the mistake (or was trying to deliberately mislead people) and quoted a few blurbs out of context making it sound like the USGS was manipulating climate data like temperature records.

Some on the other side will point to stuff like this trying to make the case that all claims of climate manipulation are false or misunderstandings - even when they know damn well that's not the case.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Good science

The only Denver Post story I found on July 1st 2016 was about falsifying test results of chemical analysis for toxic metals, apparently done in an attempt to "correct calibration errors" on a mass spectrometer.

Nothing to do with climate data.


One in 200 enterprise handsets is infected

DougS Silver badge

Re: What are the number again?

If someone has downloaded that many apps, the chances that one could be considered malware in that it tries to trick you into typing in your iCloud or Google Drive password could possibly reach 0.5% I suppose. But so what, anyone who has that many apps on their phone still only uses a handful of them. If you don't run the "malware" app then your phone is just as secure and someone who doesn't have it at all. Apps that can break the security of the OS itself instead of relying on social engineering are very rare indeed. Nonexistent on iOS, I'm pretty sure, at least from the official app store.

Looking at my phone I've got around 100 non-Apple apps on it, most of which I tried out once or twice but haven't ever bothered to delete. Social media sites like Groupon, Linkedin, Google+ etc. that I no longer use. Some games I picked up because there was a special where they were a free download for a weekend to promote them and thought I'd try it out. In certain categories like weather, biking, etc. I downloaded a half dozen different apps trying to find the best one. It is easy to just leave all the crap there, but this makes me think I should probably do a little cleanup instead of just isolating all the stuff I never use on faraway screens.

Again, not counting Apple's apps, I count 14 that I can recall using in the past month. Another 10 or so if you go back to the past year.

DougS Silver badge

Every vendor who sells protection against mobile malware says this

If it is so prevalent, how come I've never met anyone who had malware on their phone, whether iOS or Android? Is it so silent and well-behaved that it is on there and they never find out? Possible, but I doubt it, as typical malware is anything but well-behaved.

Maybe there is something on these phones, but when I run commercial malware scans on a Windows box it will flag really stupid shit like cookies as a problem. If COOKIES count, then I can easily believe their stats. If they mean "a device that's p0wned to the extent that your email can be read, passwords stolen as they're typed in, etc." then I'd be surprised if the number is a thousandth of what they claim.

I don't doubt mass malware infestations on mobiles are coming eventually, but as far as I can tell they haven't arrived yet except in the minds of those who are using scare tactics to sell a product.

Microsoft: Enterprise Advantage will be 'a step in quite a long journey to modernize our licensing'

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Re: Moron's law of Microsoft

Corrected your typo.

Man killed in gruesome Tesla autopilot crash was saved by his car's software weeks earlier

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Re: One near miss and a not miss within a couple months?

The truck driver claims he heard audio from Harry Potter (witnesses who arrived after say they didn't hear this) but police did report that a portable DVD player was found in the car's wreckage.

If there's a Harry Potter DVD in the player then I think the truck driver's account is pretty solid, and substantially all of the blame must be placed on the moron driver for thinking "autopilot = autonomous driving". I'd put the rest of the blame on Tesla for calling that feature "autopilot" when it is nothing of the sort (yeah I'm sure they caution people against treating it that way, but they are hardly the only car with such a feature but they are the only ones using a name that implies it can do the driving for you)

The truck driver's driving record isn't very good (neither is the Tesla driver's) so it is possible he did something wrong too, but that's why the car's driver needed to pay attention. If an accident resulted every time I made a driving mistake (pulling out in front of someone I didn't see, that sort of thing) I'd have been in a thousand at-fault accidents in my life instead of just one, as would just about anyone else if they are honest with themselves.

DougS Silver badge

One near miss and a not miss within a couple months?

Seems to me the problem was the driver relying on the car too much. In the "near miss" video the truck coming from the left was visible long before it tried to turn into the car. If I was driving I would have sped up a bit to keep that truck behind me. I never trust someone changing lanes exactly parallel to me, and neither should any decent autopilot software.

DougS Silver badge

Visible light cameras only?

There is a lot more spectrum than the portion humans see, the car should be looking in those as well as using some form of radar or sonar (or better yet both) so "white car, white sky" should NEVER be a problem.

If it is, then Tesla's autopilot isn't fit for purpose and shouldn't be used because it is obvious that people will become complacent and not pay attention when it is in use regardless of Tesla's instructions on the matter.

Can Ireland's grid green satisfy Facebook and Apple?

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Re: irrelevant since the datacenter is an expense?

Amazon's datacenters are an expense. The fact they use to sell services that generate income is irrelevant from a tax perspective - the services revenue is booked in the country in which those services are sold, the expense for the datacenters is booked in the country where the datacenter resides. If all they had was datacenters in the US which they used to sell services in the UK they'd show a big loss in the US and a lot of profit in the UK.

Anyway, Amazon earns next to no profit, and some quarters shows a loss. It isn't like they're raking it, though you couldn't tell that from their inflated stock price.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Fantasy

If Iceland was in the EU I'll bet Apple, Facebook et al would be flocking there to build datacenters since their geothermal power is effectively unlimited and arguably even greener than wind/solar. Ireland is probably the best of the various EU options in terms of the labor force they need, renewable energy they desire, and a climate that minimize the cooling demand for a datacenter.

The tax issue for Ireland is irrelevant since the datacenter is an expense, not directly income generating. They'd rather have it in a HIGH tax rate location, all else being equal, to reduce their tax bill there.

DougS Silver badge

Is Ireland's grid connected to any other countries?

If so, it really isn't a problem. In the US the state of Iowa being roughly 60% larger than Ireland currently has over 6300 MW of current wind capacity and is on target to generate over 40% of the state's electrical demand by 2020. Measured in kilowatts per square mile it is the densest wind power state in the US by a long shot. No grid stability issues at all, since it is interconnected with much of the central US.

One issue I could see for wind power in Ireland are the roads. How the heck can you move those huge turbine blades along those narrow winding roads? There are probably a lot of good turbine sites that go wanting because the logistics of erecting one there are too daunting.

BAM! Astroboffins now have a second way of picking up black holes' collision super kicks

DougS Silver badge

Re: "remnants of the black holes..."

How can there be "remnants" of black holes unless they are broken up somehow? If they are, doesn't that violate the whole "what goes in never comes out" (except as Hawking radiation) dicta of black holes?

Is there an actual astroboffin in the house who can explain this? I imagine the article has been translated from science-speak to journalist-speak a few times along the way and lost some of its meaning, rather than black holes actually having remnants flung about.

Cracking Android's full-disk encryption is easy on millions of phones – with a little patience

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Re: Others

Those cheaper SoCs may not even support a secure CPU separate from the main one.

DougS Silver badge

You do realize

That 256 bit encryption is not 3x stronger than 88 bit, but rather 374,144,419,156,711,147,060,143,317,175,368,453,031,918,731,001,856 times stronger, right? Assuming no weakness in AES is found that seriously compromises its strength, and no true quantum computers appear, AES-256 will likely be secure for our lifetime. Certainly for the lifetime of the phone you are carrying today.

Besides, worrying about compromise of AES-256 letting someone decrypt your phone's filesystem, when there are a metric shitload of exploits against it that can do all that and more, is rather pointless.

Brexit-bored Brits back to bashing the bishop after ballot box blues

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Re: Says everything that there is to be said

Damn, that is a good deal for one day's work! Is there any requirement that the PM be a UK citizen? If not, I'd like to throw my name in the hat for consideration.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Says everything that there is to be said

My impression as a yank with no real investment in the outcome is that a lot of those campaigning for Leave did so under the assumption it would fail. They wanted to burnish their credentials as someone who wants change from the status quo, but many probably didn't actually want to Leave. Since Leave actually won, a lot of them are running and hiding from their previous statements, because they don't want to be associated with the mess that follows.

Regardless of the long term success or failure of leaving the EU, there will obviously be some suffering in the short run which the Leave campaigners have now realized they will be on the hook for. So once it becomes apparent how the UK leaves the EU, they'll make sure to position themselves in a way that says "no, that was wrong, if you had done it how I said everything would be roses". The problem is they can't yet say how they want it to be done because they have to know how it will be done so they can be sure they say something different!

I am very intrigued by the possibility that the UK won't leave at all. You still have to provide Section 50 notice to the EU, and who exactly is going to do that? Will you put in a new PM who will do it on his own, or will it require assent from Parliament? If the latter, well that's a problem since 2/3 of them don't want to leave - perhaps more now that some of the Leavers who only staked it out as a political position but didn't want to actually leave have been served a dose of reality. What you will need is a PM for a day who can serve Section 50 notice and then resign the next day, and conveniently take the blame for the fallout from his successor. But no one wants to be the fall guy for that. You lot really have inherited yourselves a mess... It is rather like the US involvement in Iraq where we planned right up to taking out Saddam but not for what would happen after.

Fear and Brexit in Tech City: Digital 'elite' are having a nervous breakdown

DougS Silver badge

Re: Looking the wrong way

As more and more jobs go away people WILL go "Ludditing away" because that will be the only way they can insure their survival. Otherwise everyone with an IQ below a certain level (that rises over time) will be obsolete in the workforce at some point, while those that own the robots claim the income they would have formerly been making.

There are three choices in such a future:

1) those people vote themselves a better deal (for some value of "better deal"...could be socialism/communism, could be outlawing robot/AI workers, lots of options)

2) revolution

3) the owners of the robots turn their robot army on the now-useless masses and exterminate them

DougS Silver badge

Re: Really its up to Boris to take the lead now

Boris doesn't want the next PM job, he wants the next next PM job. They need to find a victim who will take the job, serve section 50 notice and then resign, clearing the way for Boris (or whoever) to place ALL the blame for the big mess that ensues on the sucker.

That assumes a PM can unilaterally serve notice without getting Parliament to agree. Any UK residents know whether that's possible? Even if that's not really allowed, could he do it anyway and claim his resignation was over the potential illegality of what he did?

The question is, who is going to be dumb enough to take the job now? It will have to be someone either very old who just doesn't give a damn because he won't live to face the consequences or someone who would otherwise never have a chance in hell of being PM who just wants to see his name in the history books as having been PM, even if only for a couple days.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Looking the wrong way

Exactly. The US isn't in the EU or anything like it and yet millions of jobs from manufacturing to coding to accounting / legal work to radiology have been outsourced to lower cost countries like Mexico, India and China.

The main difference is that the people of the US have (in theory) the ability to vote out the people who make treaties or laws that allow / encourage such things to change them. The success of Trump's campaign shows that this isn't so easy....I guess you can argue that his success IS people trying to affect such change but even if he's elected as President he doesn't have the power to unilaterally abrogate existing treaties like NAFTA, or change the law to make outsourcing more difficult. The republicans in congress will still be firmly on the side of free trade, and many democrats as well (at best half of democrats would side with him, based on Bernie Sanders' results, but they might take a page from the republican playbook with Obama and decide to unify and be obstructionist against Trump and hope it makes him a one term president)

In contrast, the UK has traded their sovereignty in some matters to the EU so the only way to make such changes is to leave the EU entirely. Instead of free movement into the UK (for coders, effectively as if the US had unlimited H1-B visas) so the work is done and taxes are paid within the UK, now those jobs will be outsourced. Those city companies won't hire junior coders for more money to work in the UK, they'll have their junior coders working in India and only have the senior level people based in the UK. Future startups might happen in Berlin or Barcelona and leave the UK out entirely. Instead of UK resident junior coders having their jobs priced down, they'll be eliminated completely - and the tax revenue the UK was collecting will go away.

As stated, this is a problem with globalization, especially with regard to high speed worldwide communication making it almost as easy to work with someone in India as with someone the next floor up.

The big problem with the EU is the alliance between rich and poor countries, with everyone trying to maintain their own budgets and standards of living. The poor countries only joined to become richer, and much of that happens due to the free trade and free movement. The US is a bit like that with the states, where the richest like California and New York are net contributors to the federal government and others like Mississippi are getting more money back than they put in, but these things move in cycles. When the confederate states tried to leave they were the richest ones and they supported the north. Maybe in 150 years Mississippi will again be among the richest states, who can tell?

Amazon slashes mobe prices to get more eyes on lockscreen ads

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Re: Who's going to bother with that?

And if they put audio ads in between the songs, like radio?

DougS Silver badge

Does Google allow this for Android?

I know Amazon can do it since they have de-Googlified their Android, but could say Samsung offer a discounted S7 that had lock screen ads or do Google's TOS prevent it?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Who's going to bother with that?

The same people who sign up for Pandora for free and take the ads rather than pay for it and avoid all the ads.

Honey, why are porno apps on your Android?! Er, um, malware did it!

DougS Silver badge

iOS updates for older versions

There is precedent for them creating updates for older versions of iOS, they did so a couple years ago when they introduced a security update for iOS 6 six months after iOS 7 came out. If there was some serious malware they'd very likely do something similar - though perhaps not all the way back to iOS 6.x as the number of 3gs devices still in use has to be a rounding error at this point.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Within the next 18 months there will be a massive Android infection

I should add the key to its long term survival would be making it so it doesn't really hurt the phone owner that bad. Nothing that makes it super slow, runs up your data bill, texts premium numbers or stuff like that. Just have it "click" on ads silently, and rely on sheer numbers to make money for you. You don't even have to care if all the ads are yours - in fact you don't want that so it isn't immediately obvious who is behind it.

From my perspective this would even be a good thing, as anything that makes mobile advertising less valuable is a good thing in my book!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Within the next 18 months there will be a massive Android infection

Why buy a new phone, when firmware flashing is enough?

For Reg readers, sure, a firmware flash is an option. Not so for the typical smartphone customer, if you think it is you vastly overestimate their technical competence. These are people who bought new PCs by the tens of millions each year because malware infected their old one and made it "slow", even though reinstalling Windows would have licked that problem.

As for the factory reset, the article says the factory reset may not be enough. If you hide code needed to reestablish the infection in the firmware, re-flashing is your only way out. And that's simply not something the typical Android user is going to be able to do.

DougS Silver badge

Within the next 18 months there will be a massive Android infection

Malware is getting better, and starting to become more profitable. All you need is something like this that lies dormant for a few months before 'waking up', that manages to get included in some Android apps in the Play Store - probably via a library multiple apps will include like something for advertising.

Hit the wakeup day and suddenly 50 million phones are infected with something that is effectively impossible to remove, where you have to live with it unless you want to buy a new phone.

Not saying this is impossible to happen to iOS, of course, as that would be the more lucrative target, but the restrictions Apple places on what apps can do would make this trick harder to achieve - and Apple could deliver an iOS update to kill something like this off within a few days.

Apple, Amazon and Google are screwing us, warns Elizabeth Warren

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Surely she could have come up with a better example for Apple

I'm not aware of any restrictions Apple is placing on competing music streaming services. Heck, Apple has only had its own music streaming service for a year now, it has a single digit share of the overall streaming market, and is only available on iPhones which themselves are a minority of the US market. There's nothing stopping me from using Pandora, Spotify, Google or Amazon's music streaming on my iPhone, or making it more difficult than it was 18 months ago when Apple wasn't in that market.

Perhaps she could have used a better example like Apple only allowing apps to be downloaded from their own App Store and not permitting alternate app stores unless you jailbreak?

Google Spain raided by Agencia Tributaria in latest European crackdown

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Re: why tax corporations at all?

If country A doesn't tax corporate income at all, how does that translate into an incentive for corporations to spend more money in country A? They would instead prefer to move that spending OUT of country A into country B that does tax corporate income, in an attempt to reduce their corporate income (and therefore taxes) in country B.

Lightning strikes: Britain's first F-35B supersonic fighter lands

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Re: Obsolete already?

Lining the pockets of defense contractors of course. Once the F35 program is mostly complete, then you'll see the Pentagon and MoD being touting the need to get the autonomous drones that replace manned aircraft in these roles. But they'll manage to make them cost $100 million each because they've now learned that making one plane that's jack of all trades but master of none makes them ridiculously expensive.

Somehow they'll argue that expensive planes are needed even without a human onboard, at least until conflict with the cheap drone squads that China will create in the meantime and sell to its allies eats us alive in a future Middle East war and we are told we need yet ANOTHER expensive program to close the gap!

DougS Silver badge

4 refuelings versus 15

I imagine the big reason for going overboard with safety margins is that given the bad press the F35 has received both here and in the UK, having your maiden delivery lost at the bottom of the Atlantic due to a refueling issue would not make that press more positive!

Win 10 has Update date

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't foget this trick

I never said it would go to zero, I was just disputing the idea that Windows 7 going out of support in 2020 isn't a problem because PCs will have been replaced by then. Look at how hard it was to get rid of Windows XP, despite 1) a much longer life 2) a much shittier OS and 3) far more performance/technology advances during that time.

Windows 7 looks to be Microsoft's new XP, though it will be much harder for them to get rid of - which may be why they have been so aggressive in trying to force upgrades. In the end I suspect they'll have to bring back free upgrades to Windows 10 (assuming they actually do shut them off) and hope the worries about lack of security fixes is enough to push people off.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't foget this trick

Are you really suggesting an upgrade is needed to replace an SSD or a battery?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't foget this trick

Why would you assume someone will be buying a new machine by 2020? Unless your current one breaks, what is the motivation? Intel is giving us 3-4% performance boosts each year, so it isn't like the performance of a 2020 PC is going to blow the doors off a 2015 or even 2010 model.

Cali bloke accused of illegally trousering $68k using mom's Apple AuthenTec gobble tip-off

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Re: $68000

The big guys are smarter about it. If you get a group of people who all have insider info and effectively each throw our information into a hat and draw one someone else's info and trade on it - in dollar amounts that would be similar to dollar amounts you normally trade in.

It is easy to prove if your brother works for the company being bought and you stretch your finances to the limit to buy as much as possible when you normally don't trade stocks at all. It is almost impossible to prove if they can't even prove I know an insider, and my inside trade looks indistinguishable to other trades I make that are not always successful. Then the SEC can't prove anything beyond that I got "lucky" buying Authentec.

Facebook crushes Belgian attempt to ban tracking of non-users

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Facebook doing business in Belgium is key

Or should be. If I set up a random website that has a forum section here in the US, and someone in the UK, someone in Belgium, and someone in China decide to access it, I shouldn't be held to their country's laws. After all, I just put up a website, and I'm not doing anything to restrict who can access it. Not like Belgium could do anything to me either, other than I suppose block me from visiting their country if they were upset enough about the situation.

Now if Facebook has some sort of operation to sell ads targeted at people in Belgium then I don't think they should be able to escape Belgian law just because the servers and data are elsewhere. Otherwise a company could avoid being covered by anyone's laws by insuring the servers for a particular country's users were always in a different country! If on the other hand there is no way to purchase ads targeted at those in Belgium, just like there is probably not a way to purchase ads targeted at Antarctica (to sell bikinis and suntan lotion to those accessing it from McMurdo) then I don't think Belgium has much ground to stand on here.

Bacon is not my vodka friend

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Infusion is illegal in a lot of US states

But if you want bacon vodka, never fear, that's available on the market already made:


This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pound vs Dollar vs Euro

The Euro took a hit of only 3%, that's a bit more than typical daily volatility but nothing like 10%. The main reason the euro took a hit is because those selling pounds bought dollars, and all that dollar buying made it go up against the euro. The euro didn't "fall" so much as the dollar rose - the dollar rose against every currency.

You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS -- Hopefully this will mean cheaper planes

Well, tanks are a different matter because of the armor and relatively slower speeds at which they travel. Having a million unarmored unmanned tanks does you no good, as they would be easy to destroy so the only hope they'd have of stopping a good tank would be having so many burning carcasses in the way the good tanks couldn't get past :)

Since planes aren't armored (at least not to any degree that matters in terms of the ability of other planes to destroy them with large caliber bullets, let alone missiles) and travel much faster, a horde of cheap planes could do a lot of damage. If they relied on kinetic kills they wouldn't need to be all that big, and could probably be made for a few hundred thousand dollars each. A simple jet engine good for 400-500 mph could get it in the ballpark of its target, and a solid rocket booster on the back could give it some extra pep in its step during the last couple seconds to maximize the damage and make it harder to avoid.

Yeah yeah, you can clear the sky of them with a nuke, but I'm kind of assuming a war wouldn't go in that direction. If you're using nukes, every other piece of equipment in a war like planes and tanks becomes irrelevant anyway. It will be ICBMs and sub launched nukes with mutual assured destruction, and the world is fucked.

As for it being a bad idea to make a war cheaper, I'm not delving into the morals, I'm thinking in terms of what a military should do to best prepare itself for the conflicts they'll face in a decade. If the US decides "well we don't want to make war cheap, that's a bad idea, so let's keep throwing money away on manned boondoggles like the F35" while China and Russia are making the drone horde I outline a reality - and selling it on the open market, the US is going to be screwed in a conflict. Wouldn't matter if his plane had perfect radar invisible stealth, a human pilot facing a horde of a few dozen of those things will end up dead if he doesn't run away.

DougS Silver badge

Hopefully this will mean cheaper planes

Without the need to protect a human life inside, it seems like the correct strategy would be to make them cheap and numerous, rather than loading them up with all the bells and whistles like stealth and supersonic capability. Heck, maybe they don't even need missiles, if they're cheap enough they can just ram their targets.

I doubt the US will go the "cheap" route because that would mean less profit for the aerospace industry, but you can bet the Chinese will. If it ever came down to an air war between the US and China, where the US has a few thousand $100 million AI drones and the Chinese have a few tens of thousands of $2 million AI drones, I know which side I'd place my bet on.

Hillary Clinton: My promises to America's tech industry

DougS Silver badge

I doubt Hillary, or any President, would be micromanaging spectrum allocations. That's the FCC's job, just like a President wouldn't be deciding on how big of a gun a next generation tank would have or what OS the IRS should run when they try to modernize their operations.

Meet the grin reaper: Password manager now snaps login SELFIES

DougS Silver badge

Re: Stupid

Store the one time pad in the secure enclave, and problem solved. That's why you need it added as a built in 'official' app, rather than letting various third parties cook up their own (since they have no access to the secure enclave)

DougS Silver badge


What's wrong with an app on the phone that produces one time codes? You can have it protected by a password, a PIN, a fingerprint, facial recognition or whatever your phone supports, or nothing at all if you wish to assume your phone won't be lost or stolen.

I currently use this system for logging in to a corporate VPN, but I have to use an external device that uses a smart card. I wish I could just use an app since I have my phone with me all the time anyway. I wonder if Apple built something like that into iOS and supported loading certificates if corporate IT security types would be interested in supporting it? Then you wouldn't need an app for LogMeIn, an app for Cisco, etc. but even that is a better idea than this ridiculous selfie scheme.

Down and out in the Middle Kingdom: Beijing is sinking

DougS Silver badge

California's central valley

Is also sinking - reported last year to be sinking at the rate of 2 inches a month due to water extraction from aquifers to irrigate crops in the face of the several year long drought there. Some areas are reportedly 6 to 10 feet lower than they were in the 1930s.

There's not much construction there, certainly no skyscrapers, so it is all related to water extraction. Personally I doubt the weight of even a city like Beijing has much influence - otherwise you'd see this is in other rapidly built cities like Dubai.

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