* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1574 posts • joined 23 May 2011

Google agrees to break pirates' domination over music searches

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"What if a small news website had a post about how the Tory government is failing the NHS?"

It's taken five years of negotiation for this to happen. I think that will give us time to spot the Tories trying. Or even, possibly, vote them out.

(And if they really did delist a story---or, more plausibly, delisted a site promoting stories injurious to the music industry---the delistee could still publicise themselves on social media or forward their stories to the mainstream media, as well as creating a story our of the delisting which would certainly be of interest to sites like El Reg.)

The questions we should be asking are things like "Who decides its a pirate site?" and "Is there an appeals process to handle mistakes?"

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It's a slope. How slippery it is, remains to be seen.

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Oracle refuses to let Java copyright battle die – another appeal filed in war against Google

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Trollface

Re: Watch, listen and learn

You are clearly biased. And if the court's find in Google's favour, they are biased too. Because I am the ultimate arbiter of bias, and to disagree with me is to be biased.

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Big blues: IBM's remote-worker crackdown is company-wide, including its engineers

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Headmaster

Re: Taking the piss....

Right then, detention for the whole class.

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US tech giants take brave immigration stand that has nothing to do with profit whatsoever

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Trollface

Re: "that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled workers into the country"

" I get young keen coders who want to do the latest cool stuff and have to teach them, sometimes by their own mistakes, sometimes (I hope) by example, that business runs on more than widgets and that it's all the art of the possible. I keep hoping to retire, they keep upping my salary, because (so far) I am the only one standing with that worldly knowledge of How Things Really Work."

So what you're saying is you've taken passionate developers and blunted their enthusiasm to the point where they all moved on?

Sure, the boring stuff pays the bills. But there are plenty of boring jobs that pay bills -- many of them pay a lot better than IT. Doing the cool stuff is why we put up with the boring stuff. And there's a balance to be struck.

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O gracious and benevelont dictator! O wonderful and almighty tyrant!

Shouting down Trump doesn't seem to be working. So maybe there's mileage in playing on his ego: telling him they're on side and asking for a teensy exception. A few exceptions here, a few exceptions there, and pretty soon the vainglorious fool has undermined his own headline policy.

It's not pretty. But the only other option seems to be to hiring an assassin -- and I'm more morally opposed to that.

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Coming to the big screen: Sci-fi epic Dune – no wait, wait, wait, this one might be good

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Re: Lynch's Dune was good, lots of people agree

"It might not be referenced in the film but it is explicit in the source book - which also leaves it completely open as to whether Deckard is a replicant."

What setting have you dialed into your Penfield mood organ? Because it's central to the plot that Deckard is a human. (The android's can't do shared consciousness.) Although Deckard does run into an andy who thinks he's an Android-hunter.

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Re: I am obviously alone in this.

"...or enormous baroque fish-tanks being wheeled into an emperor's audience chamber..."

IIRC, when the Navigator turns up in Dune Messiah, that's exactly what happens.

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Felted! AI poker bot Libratus cleans out pros in grueling tournament, smugly trousers $1.8m

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Terminator

"Not sure what sort of computing power is needed for this software"

Do you know why the AIs will beat us? Because they actually pay attention to what they've just read:

Over 20 days, four human poker players stared at multiple computer screens for ten hours a day....Libratus gobbled up approximately 19 million core hours of computing....

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'Mafia' of ageing scientists, academics and politicos suck at picking tech 'winners'

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Re: The more reactors become "small"

Nice link. Worth a read.

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'Treat your developers like creative workers – or watch them leave'

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Re: The Mythical Man Month

"How come it's always the project that comes in late and overbudget, and never the Budget that was badly specified in the first place.? "

Part of the trouble is that the errors only have one sign: there are very few mistakes that cause a project to take less time. Compare that with estimating a length, where you can undershoot as often as you overshoot. (And cost is a function of time.)

I have a few statistical workarounds for this. But they produce estimates nobody wants to hear.

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Re: "Spreadsheets are a stupid answer to whatever the question is."

"They allow the mathematically illiterate to play with numbers and find new ways to invoke Murphy's Law."

In fairness, you can be highly mathematically literate and still have your arse handed to you by floats.

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We don't want to alarm you, but PostScript makes your printer an attack vector

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Re: @Pompous Git - Maybe I'm thick too, but ...

The "convergence" (whatever you mean by that in this context) has nothing to do with it.

But if you read the article more closely, you'll see they use postscript (a Turing-complete programming language) to write a dummy web server that defeats the browser's built in CORS protection. The question is does the subset of postscript commands available in PDF also allow that?

I think PDF lacks the showpage operator. And its restricted nature means it's probably a challenge. But I'm not a PDF expert.

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Has President Trump’s executive order on 'Public Safety' killed off Privacy Shield?

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I don't think they could organise an apocalypse in a munitions factory. They just want to make America white again and see consequences as something that happens to other people.

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Mumsnet ordered to give users' real life IDs and messages to plastic surgeon they criticised

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Re: Messages

"I've just sent some anonymous private e-mails to a couple of your co-workers telling them that you have been slagging them off behind their back and spitting in their coffee."

Since you've admitted guilt, there's no need to dive into your private emails.

But no plaintiff shouldn't be entitled to every piece of private communication between the parties -- only that which is germane. Suppose, for example, one of them is suicidal and has been talking it over with the other. (Or that one of them has been having an affair. Or that the conversations contain any intimate details.)

I would appeal the decision using the ECHR right to privacy. This is disproportionate.

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Former Mozilla dev joins chorus roasting antivirus, says 'It's poison!'

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Re: If MS AV is the best...

"As to how good it actually is I have no personal knowledge of,"

I don't how good it is at reducing infection, but I haven't noticed it running. Which, for AV, makes it really good.

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UK.gov tells freelance techies to slap 20 per cent on fees as IR35 tax hike looms

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But all those questions can be answered as you specify, and yet if you work month-in-month-out for one company, and are fully under their control, you're employee for the purposes of IR35.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"1. Offer genuine IR-proof contracts."

And again, you can't offer a "genuine IR[35]-proof contract". IR35 is a smell test: if it looks like an employee and smells like an employee then, for tax purposes, it is an employee; no matter what bit of paper it signed.

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We burned chips in 2016... but then semiconductor sales got healthy again. Whew

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Uber coughs up $20m after 'lying about how much its drivers make'

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Coat

Re: "anyone" is singular

"Which word would you use in its place?"

I'd used its; it's the only other gender neutral pronoun in English.

My coat? Yup, that's him.

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Boffins link ALIEN STRUCTURE ON VENUS to Solar System's biggest ever grav wave

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Re: Wrong planet

Somewhere there's a star child going, *facepalm*

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

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Re: Defaulting to WTO?

"The UK is a WTO member in its own right. It takes only a few seconds to verify this."

But so is the EU a member in its own right. And in many cases we share quotas with the EU. So we have to work out how to split them. And those quotas were set in 2004 when the EU only had 15 member states so nobody knows what those quotas actually are.

Bottom line: this will produce a new WTO agreement that will need to be approved by all WTO members.

Here's a nice summary.

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CBI: Brexit Britain needs a 'sensible and flexible' immigration programme

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Re: Facepalm indeed

"Seeing as the UK is a member of the club, maybe they should have put some work in to devise the mechanism for a swift and painless exit."

*cough* If it wasn't for the UK, article 50 wouldn't exist. *cough*

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You know what, maybe Tabby's star ate a planet, ponder space eggheads

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Re: reading this late on a friday afternoon.

"any force sufficient to push a planet out of a stable orbit into something that approachs its primary close enough to pull it to bits - is probably enough to shatter said planet anyway."

There's a M dwarf companion which could disrupt planetary orbits and send them on a slow inspiral.

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Now for a really cool micro-drum solo: Boffins chill gizmo below quantum limit

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I expect they're using microwaves because the wavelength is tuned to the diameter of the cavity.

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Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

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Re: Oh dear, Lars

@Ledswinger Greece aside, I don't think either of your options need happen. If there are no massive external shocks or internal revolts, then internal devaluation will produce a continent where every country is as efficient as Germany, with a commensurate rise in the euro. For Germany, it would be a slow and painfree slide into mediocrity; I mean, imagine if the Italians could produce cars every bit as well engineered as German ones.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Oh dear

I'm a remainer. But the euro is a whole different kettle of piranha.

When your currency can't go down, wages end up cut to the bedrock, unemployment increases and companies (and individuals) incur massive debt (which probably end up bailed out by the government leading to cuts in public services). Such "internal devaluation" is far, far worse than the 5% inflation we might get.

With a name like Lars, you're probably from a country whose currency should have risen. So I'm sure its very nice for you; the UK would have been in the same position, if we'd joined. It's too soon to know whether joining would have been a stroke of Machiavellian genius or whether we've avoided an almighty day of reckoning. Given what the Greek's have accepted so far it may be joing would have been cost free. But part of the reason Brexit is happening is because people have blamed the EU for the crisis in the eurozone periphery.

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You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

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"I'm not sure quite what the answer is - just that the current proposal isn't quite it."

We could have had an independent regulator. Ofcom doesn't get every situation right or make decisions that accord with everybody's taste. But it stays in the vicinity of the tightrope.

However the tabloids wouldn't have it---not with a "business model" built on defamation---so they squealed about censorship so much the government took fright and said, "Okay, you sort it out." They didn't. Mosely has.

I feel sorry for El Reg being caught up in this, but if big media had taken a reasonable position, we'd have a reasonable solution. Instead they took an extreme position and we've ended up with an extreme solution -- one that has the potential to be extremely punitive on the press.

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Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

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Pirate

Re: retro?

"I was here when Atlantis was a thing."

Atlantis isn't a thing anymore?! When did that happen???

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British military laser death ray cannon contract still awarded, MoD confirms

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Say what? Speak louder; I can't hear you!

I suspect, like F1 cars, they'll end up artificially ramping up the noise to make the fans squaddies happy.

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Most appropriate headline picture of 2017?

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Fatal genetic conditions could return in some 'three-parent' babies

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Re: Prediction...

"Got anything to back that up ?"

To add to what John says: genes turn on and off in response to environmental cues; mitochondria have a large influence on the immediate environment. There's work on animal models (fruit flies and cephalopods ) mentioned in one of the linked articles, and talk about mitochondria forming a co-evolved system with nuclear DNA. I'm slightly sceptical about the latter, though; sexual reproduction introduces genes from the father that didn't evolve in step the the mitochondria.

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Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment

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Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

>>"But I imagine that, say, titanium wire bound round a femur to hold it together could just conceivably form a multi-turn coil, in which case it might be dangerous due to circulating current in a rather high resistance metal."

>Only if you have some magical overriding law of physics that surrounds you and turns titanium into a ferromagnetic metal.

The "magical overriding law of physics" is known as Lenz's law. You'll get eddy currents in a titanium loop. (Titanium's resistance is on a par with the iron used in transformer cores.)

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How Rogue One's Imperial stormtroopers SAVED Star Wars and restored order

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Re: Grunts

I'm a Mary Gentle fan. But Grunts ain't great.

Stan Nicholls has a trilogy Body Guard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder, and Warriors of the Tempest (anthologised as Orcs) which also makes orcs the protagonists, but without sending things up. I found it amiable but predictable; not adding anything beyond the choice of protagonists.

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Sexbots could ‘over-exert’ their human lovers, academic warns

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I thought it was Three Stigmata you were probably thinking of. I read them the wrong way round and I don't recall The Days Of Perky Pat clarifying much. They're the same concept used to different ends.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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The Days of Perky Pat. With a reprise in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

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View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

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Re: Two things about UBI

"It would mean that taxes will be higher and higher on people creating value, while transferring money to people who don't."

But this is coming, one way or another. Machines are going to diminish the need for low skilled jobs. So the people who can create value will have to be pay for those who can't. Perhaps we hand the money over to them without strings attached. Perhaps we insist government create jobs -- e.g. by paying for social care. But the people who earn are going to have to shoulder a bigger share of the burden.

"There's a reason Germany is where it is, and other countries struggle."

And that reason is the Eurozone periphery is holding down the prices of German products, making them cheaper than they would be if they were priced in Deutsche Marks.

In a sense, the Eurozone is the same problem run with nations instead of people. Germany needs to pay for the rest of the Eurozone but the Germans insist they haven't inherited some structural boon and it's really the worth-ethic of the Mediterraneans that is at fault.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"...since the taxes of the people who work will be paying for your relaxed lifestyle."

But you, too, could put up your feet and make do on UBI. Why wouldn't you? And why are you annoyed that other people are prepared to make the compromises you won't make? Because it's thinking like that which has turned social security into regime more punishing and more impoverishing than an open prison.

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Re: Two things about UBI

House prices are localised. Much of life's other necessities are globalised. So you'd be able to get buy, provided you lived in a tent.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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I'm a fan of UBI, but...

There's a good chance that if we had it, the level would be too low for disabled people and they would need additional top ups. (Tim Worstall was in favour of it---although the price of accepting it was abolishing the minimum wage---but he set the level much lower than the current disabilities benefits.)

We already have an age-based guaranteed basic income. The qualifying age is moving up because the rich won't pay for it we can't afford it. The level is pretty close to poverty, too.

Much of what you outline is problems with the benefits system. We could simply fix these problems.

Scroungers are vastly overestimated. And so what? Do we really care if people want to lounge around all day getting drunk? Because a system that can prevent free riders is a system so intrusive and authoritarian that no-one would want to live under it. And much of the problem with the benefit system is we are halfway down that road.

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WINNER! Crush your loved ones at Connect Four this Christmas

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Joke

Re: It depends on what the 'point' of the game is

"Well, maybe not in your house...."

Exactly. The only reason to bring life into this world is to have someone whom you're guaranteed to be superior to, thereby boosting one's self esteem.

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Security! experts! slam! Yahoo! management! for! using! old! crypto!

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Re: Teach, train, don't complain only...

I'm sure it can be done better or worse. (Didn't /etc/passwd used to use the first two letters of the user's username?) And I'm not sure I know the difference. But any form of salt is a massive improvement over none.

AIUI a per user random string stored in the DB would be best. (You can store it at the start of the hash.) If that's not possible, add user specific component (the username) and a global, site-specific component, that's the same for all users on the site, in case the user uses the same username and password elsewhere.

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If you bought a dildo in Denver, the government must legally be told

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Re: Behaviour of a Stereo typical communist state

"....knowing that your bank was DDOS'd by several million dildos..."

That's the first positive case for the internet of things, I've heard.

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Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

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"(2) who do you think owns all those US T-bills that financed the F-35 and all the rest of it?"

Trump might conceivably default. If you've started a trade war with China, why bother honouring your debts to them?

"A trade war with China would nuke the Chinese economy;"

And I think China know this. Which makes it interesting -- in the Chinese sense of the word "interesting". The question is who's the bigger bully and who's got the most to lose? So far, in this game of top Trump, it's one-nil to the orange one. But we might end up finding out how effective those F-35's are. *shivers*

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Only Nixon could go to China. But only Trump could go to Taiwan.

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Europe to launch legal action against countries over diesel emissions cheating

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Re: Oh, here we go again!

Exactly!!11!! The EU's demonstrating its part of the globalist neoliberal whatsamajig!1111!!!!1! And its determined to keep car prices high for the common petrolhead!!!!11!!!!!1! What a bunch of communists!!!!111!"!!

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Botched Microsoft update knocks Windows 8, 10 PCs offline – regardless of ISP

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Re: What is going on exactly?

The ISPs generally issue the router. So if some routers contain a non-conforming server, it could be the ISP's problem.

That said, it looks like Microsoft have screwed up. But even if Redmond are in the right, they'll have to implement the fix.

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Trollface

Re: Only Britain? Short answer: No.

> Would that be the box thats from a 3rd party site, about the windows Technical Preview, about upgrades written "MARCH 18, 2015 6:50 AM"

So we don't need fake news. Out of date information is sufficient to flaw El Reg's readers Microsoft haters.

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HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'

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Re: Arseholes

Trump is working on that.

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NASA spunks $127m on SSL-powered robot to refuel satellites in space

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Re: "should be capable of refueling satellites that haven't been designed for the job."

"...you first have to grab hold of the satellite..."

A big lasso. Because: "space cowboys".

A clue, ape: astronauts only have two, rather small hands. A robot can have "hands" that are as big (or as small ) as are necessary, and it can have as many as are needed.

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