* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Must watch: GE's smart light bulb reset process is a masterpiece... of modern techno-insanity

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

They missed the obvious fucking solution

Have a hardware button on the base of the bulb. If you unscrew it, the button is released. Screw it back in and button is depressed which resets it and then it can be reprogrammed as if it was new.

Tech jocks tell Trump: Tariff tiff with China will not achieve what you think it will achieve

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Trump can't make companies manufacture stuff in the US

If Apple/Dell/HP was somehow forced to make iPhones/laptops in the US it would be done in a huge factory filled with robots. He seems to think you can turn back the clock to the 1950s, but unions were much stronger back then (and it is his republican party that is primarily responsible for weakening them) so factory work in outside of the remaining unionized industries like automobiles are low wage.

Probably most US citizens wouldn't want a $10/hr job standing on an assembly line 8 hours a day fiddling tiny bits into phones or laptops. There are plenty of people who would take a job like that though south of the border. The same people who take the jobs Americans don't want in California's orchards, or the meatpacking plants in the Plains states, and so forth.

The problem is even at $10/hr it would be cheaper to do with robots, which is why the process is slowly becoming more automated. If Steve Jobs was still alive I'd be willing to bet iPhones would be made in robotic factories today - he was always enamored with that idea and had a super high tech factory at NeXT that used a lot of robots. Unfortunately it was decades too soon for that and one of the reasons NeXT couldn't turn a profit.

Kids can be so crurl: Lead dev unchuffed with Google's plan to remake curl in its own image

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Re: Google has a vision

Google purchased Google Maps, like they did with Android and every other successful product they've had other than search.

If Google develops something themselves, you can bet it will be one of the things that gets canceled after a couple years.

Arrays in a mangler, need new storage bed: Huawei and the US tech block

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China is also making RAM and flash, so Huawei will just buy that instead.

The latest FCC plan to boost US broadband? Prevent competition in apartment blocks

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Because he's almost unique in having no personal or professional scandals. He's too cozy with the cable companies, but that's pretty much par for the course regardless of administration. Obama's head of the FCC was a former cable lobbyist.

When Pai starts taking private jets for personal vacations, spends $30,000 on a desk or is accused of abusing his wife only then would he be on the same level as others Trump had or still has in his cabinet. By comparison he's the paragon of virtue, why would Trump get rid of his least controversial guy?

Brave urges UK's data watchdog to join Ireland in probing claim Google adtech breaches GDPR

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Re: Without going into the legal nitty-gritty...

What about when you login from home rather than from your company; even if you have DHCP your IP address is often sticky for days or even months at a time. Or if you login from your phone and your carrier is assigning you a fixed IPv6 address?

It's all in the wrist: Your fitness tracker could be as much about data warfare as your welfare

DougS Silver badge

Well sure if all it does is measure your steps it is pretty useless. But what if it had other capabilities like tracking your heart rate, blood sugar, sleep cycles, blood oxygenation, arrhythmia, stress hormones, and so forth? Some of these don't exist in (cheap) trackers/watches today, but some do and the rest plus others will come over time.

Remember where "smartphones" were 20 years ago? Most people felt like you do about your steps tracker, which is why hardly anyone wanted one especially at the prices they were charging. As they gained more and more capability they become something nearly everyone wants and uses in 2019.

I think the same will be true of smartwatches/trackers (I hesitate to call them smart "watches" because that's probably the least useful part of their functionality to a lot of people given how we are surrounded by clocks everywhere we go but they need a display so may as well show you the time) As they add capabilities they will be seen as useful by more and more people, and go beyond fitness to detecting evidence of health problems before symptoms become apparent when they are easier/cheaper to address - once it pays for insurance companies (or governments who insure the health of their citizens) to buy these devices for people then the market becomes as big as smartphones if not bigger.

Cyber-IOU notes. Voucher hell on wheels. However you want to define Facebook's Libra, the most ridiculous part is its privacy promise

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What the blockchain for is obvious

To get companies to agree to invest $10 million each in this endeavor, since there are still some companies that haven't got the memo that the blockchain hype is over.

If Zuck asked them "will you invest in Facebook Cash" he would have been laughed at.

DougS Silver badge

You will never get 100% agreement for anything

Especially in a radio station poll. If they asked "will you let us murder you?" they'd probably get a few percent yes from smartasses.

If 95% of people are saying no, the real "no" number is higher - some of those who said yes are just doing it to mess with the poll, the rest don't even know what they're answering but think "I like Facebook I'll try something new on it" but will shudder in horror when they go to the signup page and it asks you to give Facebook the details of your bank account.

Like I said above, they'll have to offer people freebies and basically give away money to get anyone to sign up, and once those go away so will most of their users. There won't be enough left after that to keep the service alive, so it'll be quietly shut down next year. The Libra service, not Facebook itself...sorry!

DougS Silver badge

I think they want to be able to have links on Facebook that take you directly to "buy" something, and having Facebook currency reduces the friction of the transaction.

The question remains what is the incentive for Facebook users to turn their money in Libra bucks or whatever this is - which would probably mean linking Facebook to your bank account because I doubt they're going to let you mail them a check. I remember Google had a "Google Pay" back in the 00s for internet based transactions and they basically bribed people to use it via $10 off offers. I think maybe Microsoft did the same too? Groupon did the same early in their life.

The problem is, once those incentives go away so do most of the users. That Google Pay thing is long gone I'm sure. I haven't seen a Groupon promotion in several years, so I don't even know if they still exist. If Facebook gives you free money I might be willing to link it to one of those prepaid debit cards you get for rebates if they allow that, to take advantage of them for purchases I was already going to make off eBay or Amazon. And then never use it again once the freebies are over.

DougS Silver badge

Investors are "pouring in" a pittance

$10 million is nothing to the banks and eBays of the world. They're doing it "just in case" it takes off. It isn't like they can't easily take their money out if it goes nowhere, since it can be directly exchanged at a price set against a basket of currencies. Worst case they lose a few percent of their investment.

Facebook has had too many privacy scandals over the past couple years for people to trust them with MONEY, it has no chance. The idea that millennials will "be all over this" is particularly laughable, they are the ones fleeing Facebook the fastest or if not fleeing completely reducing their usage to a "few times a month". It is the older people especially baby boomers who are most resistant to leaving Facebook, because it is their only social network and it helps connect them to distant family and allows them to see photos of grandchildren etc.

There isn't a core group of people to make a Facebook currency happen. Five years ago they could have done it easily, it is too late now.

After years of listening, we've heard not a single peep out of any aliens, say boffins. You think you can do better? OK, here's 1PB of signals

DougS Silver badge

Re: A significant part of the problem

The artificial light on the night side isn't uniform, if the Americas and Europe are facing you you see a lot of it, if the Pacific is facing you you see very little of it. So if you're basing estimates on size by the amount of light captured, you'd see a planet with a varying size, and Occam's razor would tell you it is the amount of light that is varying.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A significant part of the problem

DVB-T2, 5G etc. is still easily recognized as an artificial signal even if an alien race would have no hope of decoding it.

The big problem is that alien races may use something totally different than radio to communicate. We didn't know it existed until the 20th century, so we might have imagined a race on Mars communicating with us using flashing lamp semaphore signals like navies use.

Unless we want to believe we've discovered all there is to know about how physics works, who know what we might discover 1000 years that opens us up Vernor Vinge's galactic Usenet. Hopefully with an easily decoded FAQ that tells us how to post / upload and etiquiette / code of conduct!

Deepfake 3.0 (beta), the bad news: This AI can turn ONE photo of you into a talking head. Good news: There is none

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Re: Altered congressional record

Trump already enjoys this, he says something untrue and his supporters believe and spread his lies. Fox "News" is even complicit in helping him spread some, though they do correct him some of the time. Must be quite the tug of war in their newsroom between the journalists who want to report the truth (perhaps with a right wing slant to counter what they see as left wing slant from other sources, but still truth) and the partisans like Hannity who are totally in the tank for him and are willing to spread big lies to further his cause.

Why are fervid Googlers making ad-blocker-breaking changes to Chrome? Because they created a monster – and are fighting to secure it

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Re: Simply my ass

That problem is why I've set up a man-in-the-middle proxy specifically to retain visibility into my data streams.

How exactly do you do that for connections which you don't have a certificate for?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Simply my ass

Nevermind that they could easily rotate through IP addresses and use a new one regularly, optionally sharing them with content during that rotation, so you can't block a specific IP or assume that a certain netblock is all ads. i.e. when they put them inside Amazon's or Akamai's cloud, you lose any ability to block them.

Any strategy that depends on blocking a connection is doomed to fail. As is one that tries to snoop the content to determine if it is ad related, since like everyone else they will use HTTPS for everything in the future.

There really is no alternative in the long run but looking at the page source, and relying on a third party to provide blocklists.

DougS Silver badge

Letting people write code means they can write evil code

You can either let them write and run anything (the Windows approach) let them write stuff but require approval (the Apple App Store approach) only allow "blessed" apps to run (the corporate locked down PC approach) or remove all the APIs that you think can be dangerous (the Java approach)

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Simply my ass

Advertisers work around far more complex methods of blocking ads than that. What is your "simple" method going to do when they use IP addresses instead of hostnames to reference the ads?

It only works today because about 0.1% of people do ad blocking via hosts files / DNS. Once it crept out of the shadows enough for advertisers to notice, they'd step around it as easily as one might step around a dog turd in the park.

HPE unveils Primera storage tech, vows 100% availability – anyone fancy breaking, er, putting that to the test?

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Re: 20% of the cost of the Primera?

You missed the point of my post. They have huge margins, so offering a 20% refund in the event of downtime is no different than offering a 20% discount to a subset of customers which they can easily afford to do in a world where they offer discounts as large as 75% to some. A 75% customer who gets a 20% refund would go from 75% discount to 80% discount. At that price I'm sure they still make money.

DougS Silver badge

20% of the cost of the Primera?

Given that high end storage is marked up something over 500% that's not exactly a bold promise. Maybe it isn't quite that bad anymore, but I've been involved with GSA schedule purchases of Symmetrix arrays at 75% off list!

There's no practical difference between 5 9s and infinite 9s. Somewhere between 3 and 4 9s human error becomes the dominant factor for outages, and even if the hardware is 100% bulletproof you can't stop stupid.

Do you want a Kool-Aid with that, Huawei? You'll need one after watching boss chat to US mavens

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Or worse

It indicates that Trump believes national security is something open to negotiation.

Greatest threat facing IT? Not the latest tech giant cockwomblery – it's just tired engineers

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Re: Estimating Software Projects

Its too bad he only considered that in the face of lacking sufficient evidence of Iraq's WMDs and not in the face of how difficult it would be for the invasion to be as easy as the neocon regime changers believed it would be. All those known unknowns and unknown unknowns eventually produced ISIS.

Now we wish for someone as smart as Rumsfled in the Trump white house, and instead we get the worst neocon of all, John Bolton, and he's hot and bothered to make the same mistake with Iran.

DougS Silver badge

I think I billed a little over 350 hours one month

Unfortunately as a consultant I didn't get OT, but sending in an invoice for over $50,000 was pretty sweet!

The funny thing was that probably 75% of this time was not really work. I was fine tuning a complex script to do replication of an SAP instance (for a upgrade/replacement SAP environment that was soon to go live) from production to a remote site for DR, which would then create another replica and give it a new identity to work as a reporting instance. We were so far on the bleeding edge of EMC's offerings at the time and running beta firmware there was a bug in SRDF caused by the then-new technology of striped metavolumes that made it take a very long time to complete.

Which meant that every time I made fixes to the script and re-ran it I had to wait several hours to see the results. Several hours of billable time, where I was surfing the web when I was in the office or watching TV when I was in my corporate apartment or back at home (connected by dialup, wheeeee!)

UK Home Sec kick-starts US request to extradite ex-WikiLeaker Assange

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Re: Oh, the irony !

Pretty much every system tends towards authoritarism over time, the question is how much. How much more authoritarian is the UK today versus a century ago? The US today versus a century ago? How much worse will they each be a century from now?

But yes, it isn't human nature to share "equally" amongst millions of people so you need an authoritarian infrastructure to support a communist government. Communism could work without requiring force in the size of a small town where you know everyone or at least know someone who knows them, but not a nation.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh, the irony !

North Korea calls itself a "democratic republic", are you going to argue they are democratic? They aren't totally free market but they are far more of a free market economy than any other country that has ever called itself "communist".

Anyway the point is that they are authoritarian, whether the underlying system is communist, capitalist or socialist doesn't matter - the problem people in Hong Kong have is with China's authoritarianism, not their remaining communism.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh, the irony !

Most of the communism has been replaced by capitalism, but the one part of the former communist government that was kept and has been strengthened is the authoritarianism. Even if they wiped away the last vestigates of communism the situation wouldn't change for its citizens (other than the poorest and most vulnerable)

Calling China communist in 2019 is just plain wrong.

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France protects its citizens?

So where would they stand on extraditing Assange who is not a citizen of any of the countries in question?

DougS Silver badge

Re: While he is a twat

As a US citizen I'd be happy if you keep the turd. Whether or not he's guilty what's done is done and Wikileaks' reputation is so tainted the only way he ever gets any attention again is via a trial in the US. The worst punishment for narcissistic types like him is for everyone to ignore him.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh, the irony !

Hong Kong has had an extradition agreement with the US for decades, so there isn't anything changing which deserves protest.

Being extradited to China is a clear and present danger for Hong Kong citizens who aren't terribly fond of the Chinese government and have used their freedom in the past to make that known. Considering how people who make controversial statements on Chinese social media will sometimes "disappear" (not saying they are killed, probably just "re-educated" and strongly encouraged to stay away from social media in the future) I could see where people in Hong Kong would justifiably be worried.

Will something you posted five years ago criticizing the Chinese president get you arrested? Nobody knows, but since Chinese repression has been increasing rather than decreasing over time I sure wouldn't want to be in a position where I had to either leave the country I'd lived in all my life or bet my freedom that they will ignore me.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sweden

I totally agree, the idea that he had to hide from UK authorities to dodge being extradited to Sweden to avoid being extradited to the US is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of!

It would only make sense if the UK didn't have an extradition treaty with the US. Only an idiot would believe this excuse.

Nope, we're stuffed, shrieks Apple channel as iPhone shipments enter a double-digit spiral

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Re: Have you seen how much a Ferrari costs?

A Snapdragon 845? Don't make me laugh. That's slower than an iPhone 6S!

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's all about price

You don't have to buy new, there are refurbished phones for less. You are essentially using a "used" phone now that gets older every day, so getting a slightly less old used phone isn't really any different.

The main reason you aren't getting a new phone isn't solely the price though, it is because the SE does everything you need from a phone so you don't see any reason to replace it. The lengthening replacement cycle everyone has been talking about.

I'm using a X now, which I've had for almost two years, and before that had a 6S which I had for two years. My X will be two years old this fall but I'm not planning on replacing it and will hold off until fall 2020 so my replacement cycle looks to be growing by 50%. The upcoming models look like they are mostly improving the camera (which I don't use a whole lot, my girlfriend is the photo bug and is looking to replace her 8 plus to get the better camera) and the usual upgrades to performance but my X is plenty fast.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sniffing

They won't lower price or "destroy stock", they'll just make fewer of them. When demand goes up they make more, when demand goes down they make less. Selling last year's model at $100 off is sort of "lowering price" but it is scheduled not in response to slow sales.

They have fiddled with price some in other markets, but it is usually related to exchange rate or tax changes. The price drop in China that got so much attention a few months ago was due to a reduction in the sales/VAT tax that applied to them. Probably not much Apple can do to help sales in China now though no matter what they did with price. Thanks to the trade war and campaign against Huawei in particular, they will never recover their former market share.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Have you seen how much a Ferrari costs?

Except for the fact that no Android phone comes close to an iPhone in performance. The fastest SoC in Android land is two years behind Apple's.

Now you can argue they have a bigger trunk or allow you to customize your dashboard or whatever, but you can't argue they have a better 0-60 time.

DougS Silver badge

I wonder if the new capability to have a hard separation between personal and work usage will cause them to change that policy? iOS 13 will create a separately encrypted filesystem for each and if the MDM provider (i.e. your work) does an "erase device" instead of erasing the whole thing it'll only erase the 'work' portion. That makes it easier for BYOD usage since you don't have to worry about your work erasing your phone. I think Samsung has something similar.

If they want to actually own them they'd probably continue doing it the old way, though only a company run by assholes would insist on everyone carrying a second phone when it would be possible to allow owners of certain brands to carry only one. If I worked there and had the option of buying my own phone out of my pocket and letting them create a little partition on it for their stuff, or carrying a second phone, I sure as hell wouldn't be carrying a second phone!

DougS Silver badge

Re: SE no longer supported end of 2019

They dropped phones that shipped with 1 GB of RAM, most likely that was the determining factor. Perhaps the work they did to further speed things up on older phones uses more RAM for caching etc. so they had to cull those.

Still, it isn't like this FORCES owners of 5S/6 to upgrade. If dropping updates was all it took most Android phones would need replacement 18 months after purchase.

Hacking these medical pumps is as easy as copying a booby-trapped file over the network

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Re: My only question is ...

You think nurses are in the room with the patient 24x7? They need some sort of connectivity back to the desk at minimum so the duty nurses can monitor stuff, check alarms and so forth.

I don't see any reason why they need a full network connection though. What's wrong with serial, or some other protocol that doesn't involve a full networking stack?

Hongmeng, there's no need to feel down: It's patently obvious this is Huawei's homegrown mobe OS

DougS Silver badge

Re: Interesting...

Google already has pretty much NO presence in Chinese Android phones. They all use AOSP and layer China native tools like Baidu, Wechat etc. in lieu of Google's and of course do not use the Play Store. Google lost China years ago.

What Google is worried about is Huawei successfully selling non-Google Android phones OUTSIDE OF CHINA. If they can get them accepted in Europe, it would be a disaster for Google. Most likely you will see them trashing Hongmeng at every opportunity, because if it succeeds Google's Android model is in serious jeopardy outside the US. And maybe eventually inside the US, if Hongmeng becomes a standard non-Google Android version supported by other big companies like Samsung, instead of a Huawei only thing.

Own goal: $280,000 GDPR fine for soccer app that snooped on fans' phone mics to snare pub telly pirates

DougS Silver badge

Re: "this application wants access to your microphone"

Easy to do on iOS, app doesn't ask for permissions when it is installed it asks for permissions when it starts up. If you don't give it permissions it wants it may not function correctly, but they'd have a tough argument to make that it needs to grab your address book.

Luckily no one I know has ever asked me if I'm on whatsapp so I have no reason to install Zuckerberg's steaming turd.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "this application wants access to your microphone"

Why? Just deny it that permission and use it for the purpose you want to use it for, and not the purpose they want to use you for.

Their problem was trying to do this on the sly, instead of being upfront and compensating people for using them in this way. I'm sure plenty of people would be willing to do it if they were clear about what it would and would not do, and were getting something for it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Data Spoof

Why not simply deny permission to access things it doesn't need to access? That app had no reason to access the microphone unless it also lets you give it commands like "show me the score of x vs. y". So the question is, why did people enable that permission in the first place?

What the app writers should do is be up front that they're doing this to catch illegal misuse of their broadcasts in commercial establishments, that nothing you say in front of it will be saved, and provide some incentive for people to enable the listening. Maybe it lets you stream one free game every month or something.

Google: We're not killing ad blockers. Translation: We made them too powerful, we'll cram this genie back in its bottle

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They just don't like that they were caught

They can't back down or everyone will know what it was all about, so they only have weak defenses to offer. Hopefully news of this makes it outside the tech press into the general public so there's a large exodus from Chrome. We thought Microsoft being in charge of the defacto "standard" browser was bad, having Google in charge of it would be 10x worse!

UK taxman spent six times more with AWS last year than cloud firm paid in corporation tax

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Re: Corporation tax should be abolished

I agree but the best way to do that is to incentivize companies to distribute their earnings via dividends, which can then be taxed. Perhaps the best way to do that is to eliminate preferential capital gains treatment for passive investments like owning stock in a company you aren't on the board of, and allow deducting dividend distributions from the sales price to reduce capital gains taxes to make it dumb to

retain earnings beyond what is needed for the operation of the business.

The only investments that should get a preferential capital gains rate are those that you are actively involved in managing like a business you own/operate and a home you live in. Buying art, owning stock, buying an apartment building and paying someone else to manage it should not get preferential rates for capital gains.

DougS Silver badge

A tax on turnover is a terrible idea

That disadvantages businesses with low margins and high cost of goods and labor like retail or restaurants, and greatly reduces the tax burden on high margin businesses that don't sell physical products - you know like software or advertising. A locally owned restaurant might do $1 million a year in sales and earn $50,000 for its owner if they're lucky. Add a 5% tax on turnover and they're out of business.

A tax on turnover is a dumb idea borne out of the "look at all the money Facebook and Google make at high margins since they don't sell anything physical, here's how we can get money out of them" without considering the little guys.

If you want to tax their business model, do it directly by instituting a sales tax on advertising.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Corporation tax should be abolished

So because it is too hard to tax corporations properly they shouldn't be taxed? I guess you could say the same thing about billionaires, since all the same applies. Let's just tax the average person because it is easy to tax wage slaves and leave the 1% alone, amiright?

I think abolishing corporate taxes would be fine so long as you tax stock buybacks, dividends, transfers of stock to employees (i.e. stock grants / options) and compensation over a certain amount. That way corporations would pay taxes when they transfer wealth out, which is the easy place to tax it. That leaves the problem of corporations that will just sit on a giant cash pile (like many US companies were doing of late) hoping for the laws to change - something would need to be done to address that.

This isn't going to satisfy people where corporations in other countries are concerned though - a company making use of resources in a country (like Amazon using roads in the UK to help deliver its products) wouldn't be paying anything for their upkeep. You're basically transferring that onto the residents of the country, whether or not they use Amazon personally.

DougS Silver badge

Don't feel bad

Amazon paid $0 in US taxes in 2017 (not sure if 2018 numbers are public yet) so you're doing better than we are.

Clearly there is something very wrong with everyone's corporate tax code.

These boffins' deepfake AI vids are next-gen. But don't take our word for it. Why not ask Zuck or Kim Kardashian...

DougS Silver badge

When it comes to elections

You don't need to fool many people at all, because people WANT to believe something bad about the "other guy". Even if it the video looks a bit odd to many of them, and some people are saying "using analysis program XYZ it is clearly a fake" if the "other guy" is on video doing/saying something bad they'll believe it.

A lot of that will be because the hardcore believers (who would follow their guy even if he murdered someone in front of them) shout the loudest and will proclaim anything criticizing the legitimacy of the video is propaganda from the other side because he got caught. That's the amplification you get from social media, the hardcore believers are the ones posting thousands of times to get their message across and drown out more reasonable voices. That makes it easier for those reasonable voices to question themselves and come to accept the view of the hardcore believers.

Hate your IT job? Sick of computers? Good news: An electronics-frying Sun superflare may hit 'in next 100 years'

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Devil

Carrington Event

Perhaps that was a superflare, so we're good for another couple thousand years or so right?

Bear insistent on playing tonsil tennis with you? Just bite its tongue off

DougS Silver badge

Carrying a gun

Carrying a gun big enough to stop a bear might not be permitted, but being arrested for carrying a big gun out of season would be preferable to wait for a bear to put its jaws around your head so you can have a go at biting off its tongue!

If you are already doing something illegal collecting antlers, adding a second illegal act by carrying a gun doesn't really matter much.

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