* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

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Re: So, are the Swedes going to pay

Imagine you are him, and are presented with such an offer. Are you really going to take them at their word that you won't be arrested once you leave the embassy grounds?

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If he's a "first rate cock"

He'll probably still be able to pull the ladies, even with the 'possible rapist' allegation following him around the rest of his days.

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Trump won't want him

He LOVES Wikileaks, remember? He doesn't want to risk upsetting them by jailing their leader, they may have some stuff on him they can release. Given Trump's legal issues at this point, he could ill afford such a risk.

Payroll-for-contractors company named at centre of AU$165m tax scam scheme

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Re: Not surprised...

Run the numbers for how much you can collect on interest holding money for a couple days, and tell me how you are going to operate an entire company full of employees on that pittance.

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I wonder how long this scheme was running?

The catch was probably when contractors started filing their taxes. Until then, there's no way for ATO to know exactly they were being shortchanged - Plutus could simply report they were paying less in wages which would explain the reduced tax payments.

The catch comes when people file their taxes. What I'm curious about is this. Let's say I was a contractor using Plutus and I made $x over the course of a year, but Plutus paid taxes on my behalf based on a salary of $x/2. When they tax paperwork to the ATO (or IRS in my case) and to me, what number do they use $x or $x/2? If they use $x, the scam is found out about then, if they use $x/2 the ATO/IRS stays happy but if I file using that paperwork I'd be criminally liable for tax evasion.

Other than the downside of jail time, it would be tempting to just file on the smaller income number and claim ignorance if caught - "hey I didn't look at it too closely, I just gave it all to my tax preparer and he assumed like I did that the W2 (or Aussie equivalent) I was sent was correct".

If they've actually kept this up for multiple years then I wonder how the ATO never caught them. The IRS may be slow and lumbering at times, but this would be so easy to catch I can't believe it could work much longer than a year in the US. Even if they sent out fraudulent W2's, I have to assume some people would file their taxes based on their correct income numbers. Maybe that would avoid raising red flags about the company and keep the scheme in business for a few years until audits figured out where the source of the problem lay - but would also leave behind a lot of employees/customers who at minimum would owe a lot of back taxes and at worst could end up in jail.

I'll bet some of the principals who benefited from this moved their assets overseas to prepare, and hopped on the first flight to a country without an Australian extradition treaty when the bank account was frozen. I'd be really surprised if they catch them all.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not surprised...

When I suggested EXACTLY this scheme on a previous Reg article about this fiasco, I was shocked to receive downvotes from people dumb enough to think that a legitimate business could be run without charging clients - suggesting the insane idea that the interest off holding the money for a few days or a week or whatever between receiving it and paying it out could pay the cost of running such an operation.

I guess innumeracy is alive and well at the Reg...

Windows 10: Triumphs and tragedies from Microsoft Build

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OK, I give

What negative meaning would "Creators Update" have in Australia?

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Re: Putty ....

Surely the telemetry isn't down to logging all your keystrokes. Even Microsoft couldn't get away with something like that....citation, please.

Guess who's getting fat off DRAM shortages? Yep, the DRAM makers

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Re: History may not repeat itself ...

The capacity increases come from switching to a smaller process to make larger capacity chips, which cuts production costs so they will all do it, but it increases the number of bits produced by 50-100% (depending on the process jump)

That's where the glut will come from, and eventually another shortage will come when everyone takes advantage of the larger capacity chips and lower prices to install more memory. You know, like how phones went from being 2 GB of RAM at the most to 6-8 GB today. That silly specs battle in the Android world has consequences...

The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

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Updates are not always trouble free

Even though Apple has total control of both hardware and software, and has only a small number of models to worry about, there are still occasional problems with updates (along with various complaints from a few for every update that it "killed my battery life" or whatever)

Even if Google overcomes the hurdles and starts delivering updates more often, given their lack of control of the hardware and the massively larger number of models, the odds of issues are obviously much higher than with iOS. The more updates they do, the more problems there will be. That might keep OEMs from pushing updates even if they have the option - not to mention the incentive of obsoleting phones sooner so people have to buy another.

If Google was able to bypass the OEMs and carriers entirely and push OS updates directly like they do for the apps, each bungled update that caused problems for owners of certain phones would diminish consumer goodwill until people simply stopped updating to avoid the risk, and all the work to get to this point would be for nothing.

DougS Silver badge

Re: borrowed from Apple, who made a great fuss about its introduction in 2015.

When Apple does something before Android "big deal, it was on desktop years before". When Android does something before Apple, even if it was likewise on the desktop years earlier "Apple is always copying Android innovations!"

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Re: Google don't even Support Nexus

You can have a proprietary OS that gets updates for 4-6 years already. If you are willing to turn Android into iOS in exchange for security, why not just buy an iPhone?

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Re: No Skins please.

They want to differentiate themselves. Why would Samsung willingly give up their branding and experience to offer exactly what everyone else does?

The "I want unskinned Android" crowd is about the same percentage as the "I want to use alternate app stores" crowd on iOS - a few percent of the userbase at best.

UK.gov plans to overhaul £6bn in big IT deals 'watered down'

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If there's one way to guarantee a low bid

It is letting the incumbent know beforehand that you'll be renewing with them!

No laptop ban on Euro flights to US... yet

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Re: I keep thinking

You get drunk easier at altitude. 100 ml is probably about as much as the airlines want people consuming during a flight anyway.

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It is because of the Mosul airport

When ISIS took over Mosul, they had the run of its airport, which had been outfitted with the latest scanners that airports all over the world are using. That gave them plenty of time to figure out ways to package explosives in ways that evade detection.

Sorry Google, it's boring old workloads that are pumping up AWS and Azure, not sexy AI

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Google sure is full of themselves

They claim they have "a huge advantage in our data centers, in our infrastructure, availability, security and how we automate things", based on what? That only Google hires smart people, and Amazon and Microsoft do not?

Self-driving car devs face 6-month backlog on vital $85,000 LIDAR kit

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Re: "I'll give you the answer: Yes, they have already considered that."

Yeah, I'm not ready to assume they have worked out all the issues around interference if the whole road was fully of LIDAR vehicles, let alone the issues around spoofing if you wanted to induce a self driving car to think an object was suddenly blocking the road to make it stop (and then kidnap Liam Neeson's daughter, or whatever)

The first task is to get self driving working with individual cars, they can assume away problems of a road full of them like interference and security for now by saying "well, when the time comes for deployment surely the LIDAR manufacturers will have figured out a device using a dynamically modulated carrier that allows us to detect one car's LIDAR from every other car's and protect us perfectly against spoofing"

Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

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@Lord Elpuss

Thanks for the combination of a laugh and a realization "you know what, that describes the reality as seen by a lot of internet posters pretty well!"

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Re: Note 4 here

You list four problems and say they're trying to copy Apple, but three of those people have nothing to do with Apple. The iPhone doesn't have a "weird screen resolution" (though the 8 may be off 16:9 like all the other no-bezel phones) doesn't have any slurpware, and has never taken away capacitive buttons since it never had them. It does have a non-removable battery, but at least they're consistent in having that for every iPhone, instead of randomly switching back and forth like Samsung over the years. Maybe the Note 8 will bring that back for you, to cover their asses in case of another flaming Note incident...

Taking a bite out of our profit, Apple? Let's get legal, says Qualcomm

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Re: Someone is getting greedy

Samsung and Intel joined the FTC's antitrust suit against Qualcomm last week.

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Re: I'm not greedy at all

So buy their stock. They'll pay you a small fraction of their profits for every share you own, like they do me!

US judges say you can Google Google, but you can't google Google

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If Bing was more popular

And people were regularly using the word "googling" to mean looking up stuff on Bing, then it might be generic...

HTC's 2017 flagship U11 woos audiophiles and bundles Alexa

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Re: Awesome!

The DAC for the 3.5mm jack is separate from the DAC for speakers. Or at least they are in the iPhones previous to the 7, I don't know about other ones.

Even if they aren't, presumably the internal DAC would be unpowered if you are outputting audio via USB-C, and instead the dongle's DAC is powered, so my point stands regardless of how many internal DACs the phone may have.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Awesome!

The DAC requires power whether it is built into your phone or built into an adapter. You think the 3.5mm output built into phones magically work without power?

I assume the warning is because the adapter they are using isn't smart enough to tell when headphones are plugged in? Otherwise such a warning would be rather pointless, since the draw of the DAC in the adapter is hopefully a lot less than everything else that's powered up when playing music.

Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins

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Things aren't getting pushed apart

Space itself is expanding, like blowing up a balloon would be 'inflation' for a 2D universe drawn on its surface.

Gravitationally bound systems do see expansion, but it happens so slowly it wouldn't be something you could measure. The constant stream of charged particles leaving the sun, micrometeorites impacting the atmosphere of bodies in the system etc. would have a massively larger effect.

If the space in the solar system out to Earth's orbit inflates its diameter by a Planck length every "time period", how would you know? The Earth will stay at the same distance, whether the "time period" in question was a nanosecond or a year (I have absolutely no idea, though I'm sure someone could calculate this if so inclined) because the equations of gravity aren't going to be affected in any way that matters by such a tiny change. A pebble sized meteorite striking the Earth's atmosphere probably alters its orbit by more than the 10^-35 meters a Planck length increase in its distance from the Sun would, let alone what a big one does.

IBM's pension fund sells most of its IBM shares

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Re: I wonder how much the lost on Apple stock?

Who says Apple hasn't reached its peak? Are you able to tell the future, and know it is going to hit $175? If so, I wish to subscribe to your newsletter :)

I have a ton of Apple stock, so I'm happy about the rise, but if I wasn't in it for the long haul (my average cost is a bit under $40/share) I'd probably be taking profits right about now.

Anyway, as Jim says this is a pension fund, not a hedge fund. When one of your larger holdings goes up a lot you'll generally want to reduce holdings or sell entirely to reduce risk as the higher a stock goes above its long term running average, the larger its potential drop is in the event of a market shock like a major terrorist attack.

DougS Silver badge

Could be normal rebalancing

If you try to maintain a particular stock/bond percentage, when stocks have been going up a lot (not IBM, but others mentioned like Apple have) then you'll need to sell stocks and buy bonds to get back to your desired percentage.

Perhaps also they are changing their allocations to a lower percentage of stock, believing that the market is due for a correction. I'm not a big believer in market timing, but if you're going to try it, now is probably a pretty good time to reduce your stock holdings.

DougS Silver badge

I completely agree

Companies should never hold shares in themselves in a pension fund, that's a double whammy on employees if things take a major turn for the worse!

Particularly if IBM has a stock purchase plan for employees (anyone know?) since those interested in owning IBM stock will already have it, and don't need more shares through their pension.

How to reward an IBM exec for lower sales and shrinking profits? Promotion

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Probably management didn't give you a thank you because your boss's boss took credit for it and got a nice fat bonus!

Volvo is letting Android 'take over underlying car software' – report

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Re: Android. What can possible go wrong.

The Windows bug being exploited the last few days was "potential" until someone decided to use it in a ransomware exploit.

The gain from an Android exploit would be pretty small - who is going to pay ransom to unlock the data on their phone, given that the backup rate on phones is way higher than PCs (since both Android and iOS make it very easy to do, and free) while businesses and governments that aren't always so good about backups have the money to do so. Find a way to make as much money off an Android exploit as a PC exploit, and they won't be 'potential' for long.

The idea that Android is "infinitely more secure than Windows" is laughable. Its arguable it isn't even "more secure than Windows", given that Android exploits that are found today will still be good on the better part of a billion phones two years from now. At least Microsoft provided a fix for this weekend's bug in a timely manner, though the end user can disable/delay it, especially for corporate managed PCs. Google can provide fixes, but there is no hope even half the Android devices that exist the day a patch is delivered will ever see the fix.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Android. What can possible go wrong.

That's supposed to be better? Android had several iterations of a bug that could be triggered remotely via SMS or MMS. Couple that, with a bug that lets you get out of the infotainment system into the CAN network, and a hacker halfway around the world could "brick" your car and ask for bitcoin ransom to re-enable it. It would make the current ransomware epidemic look like no big deal by comparison!

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Re: Future updates/upgrades/patches/security

Pretty much. After the first couple years, I wouldn't expect bugfixes except when (not if, when) bugs are found that let you get into the CAN network and control the car.

Luckily it is just in the infotainment system, which is an extra cost item you can ditch. Who wants to pay $2000 for a 7" screen, nav system, and the same apps you can get on your phone?

If they integrate it to the point that it controls your radio, climate, and everything else, then I guess you tell them where to go by buying another make that doesn't integrate it outside of an option you can decline (or pull the fuse on if you buy a used one that comes with it)

NASA nixes Trump's moonshot plan

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Re: Well Played NASA

How do you figure the odds have been slashed? The odds went way up the past week, entirely due to his own actions and statements!

Japanese researchers spin up toilet paper gyroscopes for science

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This is hilarious

Never in a million years would I have thought you could identify people this way, but it makes sense. Bravo to these researchers.

I have no idea what use personally identifying people on the toilet is, but given that this is Japan, maybe they are developing a toilet that will check the 'contents' as you flush to see if you have colon cancer, kidney disease or other conditions that may be detectable via your #1 and #2.

I guess if it figures out you have something wrong with you, the next time you snag some toilet paper a voice will come out of the toilet "please check with your doctor, you may have colon cancer!" That surprise toilet voice would be good for people suffering from constipation!

Comey was loathed by the left, reviled by the right – must have been doing something right

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Re: Rod Rosenstein

There's no dispute that Rosenstein wrote the letter. The claim is that when Rosenstein found out that Trump's administration was using it at their sole justification for firing Comey he went ballistic and threatened to quit.

This is understandable, as he enjoyed wide bipartisan support, but letting himself be used like this makes him look like a Trump lackey, something his reputation is unlikely to ever recover from.

Trump "fixed" it later with his admission that he was going to fire Comey no matter what, but it still makes Rosenstein look really bad.

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Re: Regardless of Hillary

Yes, Hillary's statements about the emails were ever changing as new evidence came in. She suffered from the same disease that almost every career politician has - when confronted with wrongdoing or mistakes, deny deny deny. Every president I've been around for from Reagan to Trump and all the ones in between suffered from this problem.

It would be nice just once to see a president who admits wrongdoing, apologizes and moves on. Instead of having scandals dragging out forever, they'd take the one hit and be done with it. Maybe it wouldn't work, I don't know, but surely it is worth someone trying??

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Re: The truth?

If there are recordings, they would have been made by Trump, and he'll never voluntarily surrender them because he's a serial liar and unless he's truly for real delusional knows he was lying through his teeth and the tapes would prove that. Only a fool believes his assertion that Comey told him he wasn't a subject of the investigation. Even if it didn't violate all bounds of ethics, a former prosecutor like Comey would never say that the leader of an organization that was under active and growing investigation is not a subject - even if he wasn't at the time there's no way to predict where things would lead.

Trump's autocratic style, born of his business background, guarantees that everything will lead directly to orders given by him. Recent reports indicate that evidence has been found of collusion, if so it will eventually be traced to Trump's orders (or immunity will be granted in exchange for testimony of same)

This is why Trump asked Comey for a "loyalty pledge", and probably did of everyone else too. He's naive enough to think that a power hungry person willing to give such a pledge with fingers crossed behind their back will fall on their sword and serve time in prison for him. They'll turn on him the first chance they get, starting with Flynn. The only person in the White House truly loyal to him is Ivanka...and maybe Jared. No one else cares about him, the way that leaders like Reagan and Obama inspired loyalty in their staff.

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Regardless of Hillary

Trump's firing is an obvious attempt at obstruction of justice. If he was being honest when he claimed there is nothing to the Trump/Russia thing, then he wouldn't care that it was being investigated - he'd look even better to his supporters when he was vindicated in the end. If he was really firing over the Clinton business he would have fired him his first day in office, and his supporters who wanted to see Clinton up on charges would have blisters on their hands from applauding so much.

Trump's actions since he took office show how little understanding he had of the constitutional limitation of presidential powers before becoming president. He admires dictators all over the world from Putin to Duterte and others he's spoken well of because he's jealous of their total control of their country's government and media. Which is why he constantly lashes out at the media, at judges, and at congress when they go against him, because he can't run the US the way he runs his companies, or Putin runs Russia.

He thought he could shut down the investigation that was starting to get too close for comfort when they began looking into his business dealings in Russia by firing Comey. He was by all accounts shocked at the reaction, assuming the lame excuse he cooked up with a sadly compliant and now permanently tainted Rosenstein would satisfy everyone. Reportedly Steve Bannon told him this wouldn't be a good time to fire Comey - if the resident bomb thrower thought he was going too far, maybe he should have listened!

Having Russians and their state media alone in the Oval Office the next day shows how poor his decision making is, and then his tweet about "tapes" that brings echoes of Nixon that were already present with the Comey firing attemping to shut down an active investigation into himself should demonstrate to everyone how utterly out of his depth this rather feeble minded man is.

He's dug himself too deep, at this point it is a matter of when, not if, he's impeached. I assume the only reason republicans in congress haven't started turning on him en masse at this point is fear that the Trump loyalist voters will knock them out in primaries in 2018 as punishment for rejecting their orange snowflake master. Which may be a real fear, I grant you, but the flip side is if they stand by Trump then democrats will be able to run on a "checks and balances" platform in 2018, which along with the anger over Trumpcare, will relegate republicans to minority party status in both houses of congress and Trump will be impeached anyway.

Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

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Re: Who created the rules Atos is operating under?

I'm not trolling. I'm not from the UK so I don't understand how your system works, and really don't understand why an IT company is making these decisions. Why/how did your government farm that off to them? I would be equally baffled if IBM was making choices on benefits denials in the US.

DougS Silver badge

Who created the rules Atos is operating under?

Was it Atos or NHS? Presumably the latter, so they should be getting the blame. I doubt Atos has decided on their own to deny rightful benefits since they aren't on the hook for funding the benefits they allow. Probably NHS developed the criteria, or has put "incentives" into to place for Atos to try to minimize the number of approvals they grant.

And why is an IT company doing this at all, is it because a computer program makes the decisions and Atos maintains the computer system running that program?

DougS Silver badge

Fun with statistics

In August 2015, statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that 2,380 people had died between 2011 - 2014 soon after being found fit for work through disability benefit assessments.

Out of how many people? You'd need to compare the percentage that 2,380 people represents of the total 2011-2014 "fit for work through disability assessments" who died versus the overall population adjusted for age, sex, health record, etc.

Quoting a number like that also doesn't take into account the reason the person died. If someone had a back injury and was on disability and later found fit, if they died of a heart attack that's no fault of the "fit for work" assessment. If they had a heart attack, were found fit and then had another heart attack a week later, maybe they weren't fit, or maybe it was just bad luck - people who have had a heart attack are more likely to have a second one.

For now, GNU GPL is an enforceable contract, says US federal judge

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Re: Double edge

Whether anything has been "lost" is irrelevant. If someone uses software covered by the GPL without following its terms they are guilty of copyright infringement. The law specifies penalties of $150,000 per instance of infringement, so the way to deal with it could be "either you come to an agreement to follow the terms of the GPL, or we'll sue you under copyright law at $150K per violation and bankrupt you!"

That might not be a Stallman-approved way of handling it, but I think it would work better than dancing around the issue. The GPL relies on the fact that GPLed software is copyrighted to function, so use that.

Warm, wet, mysterious... sound familiar? Ah, yes, you've heard of this second Neptune, too

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This all seems rather obvious

As the article says, heavier planets are able to hold onto a gassy atmosphere, which means lower levels of metallicity by default. The larger the body, the more gas it can collect, the less that a rocky/metallic core way down deep can impact the overall metallicity percentage.

It makes sense there would be exceptions with lower metallicity like this one, presumably because there just happened to be less supernova debris available in the system where the planet formed (planets forming around Population I stars would have zero metallicity, because heavier elements didn't yet exist when the system formed)

What would be an interesting and unexpected find would be gas giants with a significantly HIGHER metallicity than what we've observed so far.

Cloudflare goes berserk on next-gen patent troll, vows to utterly destroy it using prior-art bounties

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Hardly a unique patent troll

Patent trolls that are lawyers / law firms is pretty common.

Could US appeals court save us all from 10 years of net neutrality yelling?

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Re: Might not stay with the 9th circuit...

Just because Hannity claims it, doesn't make it so. It is overturned more than average, but two other circuits are more overturned. Per Scotusblog:

6th Circuit - 87 percent;

11th Circuit - 85 percent;

9th Circuit - 79 percent;

3rd Circuit - 78 percent;

2nd Circuit and Federal Circuit - 68 percent;

8th Circuit - 67 percent;

5th Circuit - 66 percent;

7th Circuit - 48 percent;

DC Circuit - 45 percent;

1st Circuit and 4th Circuit - 43 percent;

10th Circuit - 42 percent.

All are overturned a lot because an appeal won't be granted if the lower court got it right (unless there is another case that with a different ruling, in which case an appeal will be heard that will affirm one ruling and reverse the other)

FCC: Take your spam and shove it, slacktivists!

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"rationally persuading people who don't agree with you"

No, what displaced this is the level of partisanship, where each side thinks no reasonable person could possibly disagree with their viewpoint, so the other side must be nuts / communist / fascist / stupid / racist / etc. More recently it looks like one side wants to have its own news and own facts, which only widens the gulf further.

I suppose you can persuade people in the middle who aren't invested in either side's craziness, but the ones who turn up, whether they are rabid Bernie/Stein supporters or rabid Trump/Cruz supporters, are exactly the sort of people you do NOT want representing your "side" if you want to see those people in the middle to agree with your viewpoint.

RBS is to lay off 92 UK techies and outsource jobs to India – reports

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It says "contractors" are being let go

So why the hand wringing? The whole point of contract positions is that they aren't permanent, so those contractors shouldn't assume that their contracts will be renewed indefinitely. Contracts are not "laid off", they are "not renewed". Big difference!

Now sure, customer service at RBS may get worse...though based on comments I see here and other places about them, it seems like that would take some doing!

FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

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Re: They should make a deal

The issue with Hillary's email isn't that there's more to uncover, but whether she should have been charged for mishandling classified material. Republicans were unhappy she wasn't and believed at the time that the fix was in since Comey was an Obama appointee (though he was a republican) The way Comey derailed her momentum with his "October surprise" when he could have at least waited the weekend to get preliminary feedback from the agents proved the fix wasn't in, he's just incompetent.

We couldn't trust someone who works for Trump to make a fair assessment whether to charge her given he and his people were cheering on "lock her up" chants during rallies, so if that's going to be looked at again it would have to be an independent prosecutor with republicans conceding in advance that if he decides against charges that will be the end of the matter.

Republicans would need to think hard about going this route though, if there is ANY truth to the rumors that use of personal emails is rampant in the Trump White House to avoid leaving paper trails. That's not only a potential violation of mishandling classified material, but violating records laws. If Hillary is charged, it will set a clear precedent that democrats would no doubt be eager to follow when they regain power (which may be as soon as January 2019, thanks to Trumpcare being far less popular than Obamacare)

Plutus Payroll pledges to pay IT contractors' wages within 72 hours

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Re: Could it be...

That's a possibility I suppose. If they always had a few million in their account at any time from the float, they could invest half of it in risky trades and pocket the gain.

That might also explain the tax authority's involvement.

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