* Posts by bep

296 posts • joined 14 Mar 2011

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Pack your bags! NASA spots SEVEN nearby Earth-sized alien worlds

bep

Tides and stuff

Isn't part of the current theory of why advanced life evolved here that the tides, night and day and the seasons were important. These planets will lack all that. So maybe bacteria, Fred the chimp not so much?

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USA! USa! Udia! India! India! Apple nudges iPhone production base

bep

On the other hand

"Breaking news - there's a world outside of 'Merica. For the rest of us we don't care where the devices are made - since there is a global economy.."

Actually a survey published just today suggests that over 90% of Australians do care where things are made. This apparently self-defeating attitude is explainable because it's impossible for people to appreciate how much something would have cost if it was made here, they don't experience that so it has little impact. They forget how much TVs used to cost compared to what they cost now, and so on. On the other hand the local car industry is just about to shut down completely and I'm yet to see a convincing argument that this has made cars much cheaper; it's very hard to prove either way since there are so many assumptions required. Accurately describing an alternate past is almost as hard as predicting the future.

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Chevy Bolt electric car came alive, reversed into my workbench, says stunned bloke

bep

Re: Have you had problems with parking brake cables freezing? Or is this one of the FOAF things?

Yes, English persons have trouble accepting that English weather, while crappy, is actually quite warm compared to many other locales. I still don't know how people do hill starts on vehicles with floor-mounted parking brakes. The whole idea seems completely stupid to me, just put the damn handle on the console please!

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

bep

Re: Remember *Carnets?

Probably something like that, although these days there is much more paperwork done on-line. Those who think that leaving the EU will result in less paperwork either have short memories or weren't alive at the time.

Still, one potential area for employment growth is in customs staff and customs brokers and freight forwarders. You're going to need a lot more staff there.

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How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

bep

Re: I don't think this is a fair criticism of GSM at all

I also think GSM encouraged competition. Because you could take your phone to another operator and just get a new SIM, you could compare plans, including data plans. The operators might have been reluctant to do it, but they had to compete on data as a result of SIM portability. Because you could get reasonable data plans, it became viable to use bigger screens and download more complex web pages. So it's a bit of chicken and egg in my opinion.

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Poor software design led to second £1m Army spy drone crash

bep

Re the weight-on-wheels thing

Shirley with modern technology and computers and things, it should be possible to have a programmable weight-on-wheels thing that you switch on or off depending on whether you are landing the thing on a concrete runway or a dirt strip?

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Going underground: The Royal Mail's great London train squeeze

bep

Bit light on for technical details I thought

We know the trains are electrical and driverless, but that's about it. I wonder who built them?

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England OUT (of Euro 2016, not the EU) tops Twitter year

bep

Re: Not a football fan then Gavin

No, as a matter of fact most of them play as full-time professionals, some of them for quite decent teams in Europe. Iceland's record in qualifying was excellent, as it had been for several years previous, and their win against England was only a 'shock' to people who think a team called 'Iceland' should never beat a team called 'England', regardless of who is in said team, what their form is like, and who is coaching them.

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US election pollsters weren't (very) wrong – statistically speaking

bep

Re: 1 person 1 vote - is not true

Given that the US Senate provides for two senators per state regardless of the state's population, and given the powers of the senate to approve things like treaties and judges, it seems like overkill to me not to have the President elected by a straight popular vote. The tyranny of the many has been replaced by the tyranny of the few. Senators used to appointed by their state legislatures, but now they are popularly elected. When that changed, the electoral college should have been abolished at the same time in my view.

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Really weird quantum phenomenon spied lurking near neutron star

bep

Re: The abstract says 10^13G field strength. I presume this is Gauss

Reading the summary from a distance, it appears they have a beer fridge to put the beer in!

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Six car-makers team to build European 'leccy car charge bar network

bep

Re: Hi Elon Musk. Welcome to El Reg

"It is not a big step to the idea that no one owns their own car."

Welcome to the future, which is actually right now. Car ownership is declining and car sharing is growing. The world has lots of car enthusiasts who like to own their own cars, but you need to be reminded that there are plenty of other people for whom a car is just a conveyance. And forget about Musk, this agreement has nothing to do with him.

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bep

Ideal for car sharing

I don't own a car, I'm in a car share scheme. I'm not alone, car ownership in this country has been declining for a number of years. The charging station solution is ideal for car share schemes since the car can be plugged in at the dedicated parking bays.

As for the rest of the discussion, it seems everyone has missed that the standard these companies have agreed on allows much faster charging. Some people like to drive flat out to reach a destination but plenty of others, say with kids in the car, stop fairly regularly and have plenty of time to top up a battery.

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Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

bep

Re: Tell you what then,

My partner is a vegetarian, I'm not. My experience has been similar to yours, I expect.

When the subject comes up, as it inevitable will in a restaurant when she explains why she doesn't want to share a meat dish, the common result is a half-hour or so tedious discussion, invariably driven by the meat eaters. They seem to think that someone being a vegetarian is some sort of implied criticism of them that they are duty bound to respond to, usually by using the same sort of arguments used above, often with an attempt to 'convert' her to their way of thinking. Having experienced it first hand many times, I've no doubt who the 'loonies' actually are.

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Australian government never asked nbn™ to apply for private loans

bep

Hmmm

Well, if the government is lending the money to NBN at 'market rates', then they should be exactly the same rates that NBN could get borrowing directly from the market. But it is obvious that the market considers the current 'model' of the NBN a bad risk. So the conclusion is that the government can't be, and is not, lending the money to NBN at market rates (i.e. the government may be borrowing the money and market rates for the government, but it is not lending the money to the NBN at market rates for the NBN).

The problem is that the government is supposed to be trying to reduce the national debt. The NBN borrowing the money direct and recouping it when the network is sold would keep it 'off the books'. Instead the government has now taken on billions of dollars more debt - so not a good outcome.

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Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

bep

Bustenhalters?

"I even remember an episode of Yes Minister from the '80s where the plot revolved around the problems of European integration."

I remember an episode of 'Are You Being Served' that dealt with the same thorny issue.

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IoT insecurity: US govt summons tech bosses, bashes heads together

bep

Re: "law requiring landlords to arrange for updates of products they own"

I bought a new TV just last weekend and was surprised and delighted to find one that had no smarts whatsoever. It was not a name brand, however, and it sure wasn't UHD. Still, if it lasts as long as the previous one (9 years) then I've kicked the problem down the road a bit.

Basically, I want one (1) non-mobile internet-connected device in my house. One question that needs to be addressed before the others is, if I buy a 'smart' device and don't connected it to the internet, will it still work? That may need to be legislated in due course.

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AI, AI, captain: Royal Navy warships to set sail with computer officers

bep

STARTLE?

Captain: "STARTLE, what's that blip over there?"

STARTLE; "Kiss me Hardy".

Captain: "Pardon ?!?"

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nbn™ says nobody needs gigabit internet, trumpets XG-Fast at 8Gbps anyway

bep

Re: Why Nobody buys 100mbs

This is NOT a convincing argument in favour of Malcolm's Technology Muddle - the switch from all fibre slowed down the roll out by years in some suburbs. Now that Optus's hybrid network has been shown to be not fit for purpose the 'sooner' part of Malcolm's argument doesn't hold water. Discussions about foreign networks also muddies the waters. The purpose of the NBN was to give Australia a world-leading network to help us overcome the old Tyranny of Distance which has never gone away. You don't lead the world by simply following others at a discreet distance.

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Blighty's Home Office database blunders will deprive hundreds of GB driving licences

bep

Re: 259 individuals

Yep, the majority of people in the Western world these days are two pay days away from the street. If you live at home with your parents, it's possible THEY are two pay days away from the street. Banking is an essential service these days, as bankers realised long ago and charge accordingly, and an essential service should not be denied or removed without an appeals process.

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Don't panic, but a 'computer error' cut the brakes on a San Francisco bus this week

bep

Re: "Why not just use...the emergency brake lever connected to a drum like on cars"

Right, so lowest common denominator - young people who can't do 'manual', and people who don't get their cars serviced properly, means I can't have a simple system that works in MY car. A pity. I accept that you have to have different system in a bus where the moving mass is so much greater and no one is wearing seat belts.

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Source: nbn™'s fibre-to-the-kerb will be VDSL at 100/40Mbps

bep

As to flamewars

This is pretty tame compared to some other sites. Part of the reason is the pretty obvious sockpuppets that appear on any tech site whenever the current Government's approach is criticised. Subtle they aren't. Re the 'wasted' $800m, I believe the Optus deal was a pre-condition for Telstra signing off on the 'sale' of their hybrid network, so it's a little harder to determine if NBN got value for money.

The question not answered by this story though is whether this is a shared 100/40 or is that what's delivered to each individual premises? I'm also still not sure what happens with multi-dwelling units that have, say, 12 apartments. And I'm not asking that just because I live in just such a block, really I'm not.

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nbn™ dumps Optus HFC, will use fibre to the kerb for ≈700k sites

bep

Re: 80%+ on 25Mbps or slower != high speed

No one is going to pay more for high speed connections that they don't believe will be delivered. Calling big users 'data hogs' is quite a joke: Labor's original projection was pre-Netflix and pre every news site loading three auto-run videos on every page. Still, the original NBN was designed to cope with such increases in demand. I've got no idea what the Multi Technology Mix (now plus yet another technology) was designed to handle.

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She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

bep

Re: Displacement

But at what condition? Full load? Light ship? Back in the Washington Treaty days warships could be compared by Standard Displacement, but nowadays it's rarely stated, and it's quite possible the same condition is measured differently by the two navies.

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Microsoft thinks time crystals may be viable after all

bep

The good thing about this article

is that you can't get hold of the wrong end of the stick, because you can't even find the stick.

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Boffins ID bug behind London's Great Plague of 1665

bep

No face masks?

They must be pretty confident the bacteria can't live for a long time in wet, dark, muddy surroundings! Better them than me.

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Typo made Air Asia X flight land at Melbourne instead of Malaysia

bep

Re: Airbus software

I understand what you're saying, but I also have heard that if the Airbus had actually obeyed all the pilot's inputs, then the impact with the Hudson River would have been significantly more dramatic, if the plane had got that far.

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Newest Royal Navy warship weighs as much as 120 London buses

bep

If your firth isn't Forth but one much further north...

that's a Moray!

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the cod, delicious!

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Turnbull's Transformers intend to test single sign-on to Gov.au on the offshore, public cloud

bep

Since Malcolm is my local member

I'm thinking of writing direct to him explaining why this whole thing is a bad idea in principle, without worrying about how screwed up it's going to be in practice.

What the Feds haven't yet grasped is that while a one-stop-shop is appropriate at some levels, it's completely inappropriate at others. At the local council level, yes it's good to do everything in one place. At the State level it's debatable but defensible. At the Federal level it's a nightmare. I don't want anyone but the tax office having access to my tax data, and I don't want anyone but Medicare having access to my medical data etc. If this data is all merged then we will have 'customer service reps' who aren't experts in any area having too much access to too much data. If the data remains siloed, then the MyGov single-sign on just becomes another layer of obfuscation keeping me from the people in the relevant department who might actually know the answer to my question. When you add on the potential for identity theft when it is all screwed up it's definitely a bad idea.

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IBM used dud DoS shield for failed online census says Oz PM

bep

Yeah but

the Government cut the ABS budget which left if with little alternative but to go for a primarily web-based approach, so there is plenty of blame to go around. I suspect the responsible Minister will still be standing after all the other heads have rolled, but we will see.

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Early supplier on UK.gov's G-Cloud slams 'dying' framework

bep

Whatever it is

Their problem seems to be right here:

"We briefly tried hiring some 'traditional' salespeople, but their tactics were incompatible with our high integrity and our technical, introverted culture was at odds with their own."

What they needed was project manager types who could rein in the worst excesses of the extroverts while simultaneously succeeding in getting the introverts to actually deliver. This is a speciality but such people do exist and they should have hired a couple. The majority of government 'red tape' is actually the result of legislation intended to ensure public money isn't wasted (faint hope) while meeting environmental, probity and other requirements. You can't just wish this stuff away, it has to be taken into account and dealt with.

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This is how the EU's supreme court is stripping EU citizens of copyright protections

bep

Yeah well

First of all, the only way anyone can 'steal' my family photos is by breaking into my house and taking the shoe box they are stored in. Someone may be able to COPY digital COPIES of such photos, but that doesn't cause me to lose them.

On the other hand, I agree most of the analogies to hyperlinking fall down. The hyperlink isn't just a pointer, it's also often the means for accessing and downloading the content, regardless of where it is hosted. So it matters if the hyperlink takes you to a page from which you may download the content. or directly to the content itself. That would seem to make a big difference in this context.

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Buggy vote-counting software borks Australian election

bep

News to me

I thought they actually counted all the votes. That's what they should do, even if it is hard. Otherwise they should get out of the job of being the Australian Electoral Commission.

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UK eyes frikkin' Laser Directed Energy Weapon

bep

Nice videos and all

but if my understanding is correct Phalanx has never shot down an actual missile fired by actual baddies at sea.

Shooting down even artillery shells from a stable land-based platform is a lot simpler than hitting a sea-skimming missile from a platform that is rolling, heaving and pitching. Soft kill apparently works better (decoying, jamming, spoofing). There is an explicable logic as to why this should be so. The ship will always have access to much more computing and electrical power than can be put into a small missile, so the ship should always be able to use that to out-think or simply overpower the missile. This also eliminates the issue of the missile being a much smaller target than the ship. The caveat is that the ship systems have to be continually updated to deal with the current threat. Anyway I'm sure Phalanx is good for morale.

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Google to kill passwords on Android, replace 'em with 'trust scores'

bep

Re: Lost in a foreign country....

Um, you can't get access to your phone, because it doesn't think it's you, because you are in 'foreign'. So you better hope there is one of those old-fashioned internet cafes nearby, or you're boned.

This 'idea' has Catch 22 written all over it. I especially loved the part from the quoted 'expert': "gaining data and insight about their customers," Yep, that's what it's all about alright.

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Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

bep

Small plane

Britten Norman Islander if I recall correctly. Short flight from Trincomalee to Colombo. They get two monsoons in Sri Lanka, one East coast, one West coast. When the West coast one is happening the giant black clouds roll in regular as clock work in the afternoon, huge lightning bolts, drenching rain, you get the idea. Now, sudden turbulence is certainly scary, but looking out the window as you fly directly towards a monsoon storm with no possibility to go around it; that's pretty scary.

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Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

bep

Correction

"I won't even go into Indian English or, God help us, Australian English (Jesus wept...)". Excuse me, old chap, that should read "Australian English (spare me days!)".

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A modest proposal: dump the NBN mess on Telstra

bep

No copper

I think the NBN is very much an election issue, in that it will affect the way many people will vote, regardless of how much each party chooses to talk about it. Everyone knows who initiated the NBN i.e. not the Liberal Party. Most people, I think, will believe that Labor will deliver a 'fairer' NBN whereas the Liberal Party will sell out to the highest (only?) bidder. My solution to the current mess, now that the Telstra and Optus hybrid networks have been bought and Telstra has been contracted to upgrade them, would be to for everyone to get either a FTP or hybrid service going forward, no more FTN, with a promise to replace all the FTN points 'eventually'. Certainly not ideal, but better than what we are getting at the moment.

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'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks

bep

Re: Old old news

Yeah, unsubscribing you to podcasts because you haven't listened to them for a while is one the most insanely frustrating things about iTunes. Apple can't seem to cope with the idea that every week isn't the same as every other week. Some of us go on holidays, for example, and like to listen to podcasts on the beach. Obviously this does not compute in Appleland, where every one loves their jobs (see what I did there?) so much they would never dream of going on holiday.

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Bali banking bandits foiled by probing penetration tester

bep

Miserable security

Is it too much to expect that every morning the staff at the bank go out and physically inspect the ATMs at the branch to confirm this sort of crap isn't installed? Why does it take two weeks to find these things?

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E-cigarettes help save lives, says Royal College of Physicians

bep

First paragraph

The key term here is 'harm minimisation'. Doctors know everyone is going to die eventually, they bury a lot of their patients one way or another, so this gives them a particular perspective. They tend to look at person who is already an addict and ask "How can I make his/her health better?" Meanwhile rates of smoking in most Western countries have declined as restrictions on use, anti-smoking campaigns and heavy taxation have had their effect. I'm personally opposed to anything that might tend to reverse this trend, so I'm definitely opposed to 'vaping' being treated as somehow different from smoking. Sorry folks, it still stinks to me, and I don't want you to do it in a restaurant, a train, a bar or an office. I think that allowing that tends to discourage people from quitting completely or, just as important, never becoming an addict in the first place.

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Larry Ellison's Brit consortium in 'advanced talks' to buy Aston Villa

bep

Re: Football... the easiset way to burn your money.

Yep, as Sir Thomas Lipton allegedly said "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it." Mind you, he did end up selling a lot of tea in America.

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Obama to admit Moon landing was faked?

bep

Re: Overround (underround bookmakers fee)

Yeah, the bookies get it wrong more often than is commonly supposed. I would have thought that Leicester would have quite a lot of irrational season ticket holders who would have cheerfully had a ten quid punt (or more) at those odds.

The only football match I ever bet on was an England - Australia friendly. When I looked at the odds and the potential score spreads it didn't make much sense to me, given that football is a low scoring game and essentially a two-horse race. Then I looked at the odds for different goal scorers and realised that they had players listed who weren't even in the respective squads! I decided to have a punt, easily covered the various probable scores and...profit! I didn't get addicted though, since it was obvious the bookies just hadn't done their homework on this particular occasion.

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Czech Republic to rebrand

bep

Fitba reference

Austria are playing Hungary in the first round of the European Championships - Mitteleuropa derby!

Seriously though, this whole thread just goes to show the Common Market was such a good idea.

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Blighty starts pumping out 12-sided quids

bep

Re: April Fool

Mattocks!

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Oz uni in right royal 'indigenous' lingo rumpus

bep

Re: Invasion of Europe

Well if you compare the two events you can easily see why the refugee influx is not an invasion but what the British did in 1788 was. Fully armed and ready to use said weapons? Check! Alienating land and resources without adequate compensation? Check! As for Captain (actually Lieutenant) Cook, well everyone knows he didn't 'discover' Australia, the whole reason he was sent at all was because other Europeans had been here first.

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Spanish launch heroic bid to seize Brit polar vessel

bep

How about...

It's_a_ship_not_a_boat_you_landlubbers!

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nbn says Telstra's copper in better shape than expected

bep

So my leccy then?

How much of it and how much will it cost me per month? If there is a technical fault will they be able to blame the electricity supply and force me to involve yet another party, the electric company, in isolating and rectifying the fault? Who pays for that (as if I didn't know)? Mr Morrow's 'NBN' is a dog's breakfast and I'd rather not be forced to eat it thanks.

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Flying Scotsman attacked by drone

bep

Re: It's science!

Hmm, the last sentence of your post may be correct, but the preceding explication is somewhat dubious I think:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/11/17/4351644.htm

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Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

bep

Re: Indeed

I used to keep my home computer updated on a weekly basis. I've just given up because Microsoft have made it far too hard to weed out the genuine security updates from the other crap. This is not a good outcome for me, for Microsoft or for the rest of the internet that might get cross-infected by whatever trojan or virus my computer now acquires, but Microsoft have succeeded in making me not care. Some result.

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Why I'm regulating the 'sharing economy': An Italian MP explains

bep

Ah, taxes

It seems to me that Uber doesn't really care how much tax it's drivers pay. It only cares how much tax Uber pays, and it would prefer to pay none. Since I'm paying for all the other infrastructure Uber is using to make a profit (roads, traffic lights etc.), I'd prefer them to contribute, and the only way to get them to do that is to have them pay tax where I live.

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