* Posts by handleoclast

1061 posts • joined 6 Jan 2012

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Facebook privacy audit by auditors finds everything is awesome!

handleoclast
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PwC are ethical auditors

If you bribe them to do something, they stay bribed. They wouldn't take another, larger bribe from somebody else to go against what they were first bribed to do.*

*Certified by their auditors, who were bribed to say that. They, too, are ethical auditors.

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Kaspersky Lab loses the privilege of giving Twitter ad money

handleoclast
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Re: This is very strange

Try your luck with the Russians possibly having been given your data versus the US where the government can just help themselves.

You mistakenly used a joke icon. :)

Look at it this way. If you're an ordinary citizen of the UK or the US, the Russians have no interest in what you get up to, but your own government does (in case you're critical of them and what you're doing might get them voted out).

If you don't work with classified information or something sensitive, you have more to worry about from your own government spying on you than on adversarial governments spying on you.

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Creaky NHS digital infrastructure risks holding back gene boffinry, say MPs

handleoclast
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Re: 200GB to store a genome? Surely not!

No, this is just plain DNA sequencing data, which is strings of A, C, G and T.

Maybe they're storing them as actual strings. Not in ASCII. Not in UTF-8. But in UTF-32 (aka UCS-4). Four bytes per character.

You're about to retort that such an encoding would be incompetent. We're talking about the NHS here...

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BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

handleoclast
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Re: @anthonyhegedus

Isn't that a bit of a contradiction? If the base station either doesn't use or has batteries which aren't rechargeable, then the handsets won't continue to "work just fine" if the batts run out, will they?!

No contradiction at all.

The handsets work fine. Their display works. Their keypad works. Their RF section works. They work just fine. Without a working base station they're unusable (except as paperweights) but they do work.

I've upvoted you anyway for being a pedant. :)

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handleoclast
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@anthonyhegedus

Most people have cordless phones. How do they work in a blackout?

The handsets continue to work just fine, because they have rechargeable batteries in them,

The base stations, however, are a different matter. Most of them do not have rechargeable batteries in them.

The solution is to always have at least one standard phone. If you're sensible, you put phone sockets and a standard phone anywhere you have a handset charging station, because you never know where you'll be in an emergency (like a fire that incidentally happens to burn through the electrics and trip the breaker). Standard phones are cheap enough. You probably have the sockets already from back before you bought the cordless phones.

My view is that the reason you have a cordless phone is so you can wander from room to room as you talk (go to the kitchen for a snack, go back to the computer, have a piss, etc.) and you have an ordinary phone for when you've lost the cordless or in an emergency. YMMV.

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handleoclast
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Re: Oh well

@Gideon 1

Dunno why you got so many downvotes for what was an informative and correct answer.

For those who doubted you (and doubt me) I offer aintbigaintclever's video giving a walk-through of the kit installed at his house, battery back-up and all.

I also recommend his video on constructing a Penrose Triangle.

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Bloke fruit flies enjoy ejaculating, turn to booze when starved of sexy times

handleoclast
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So where can I get some neuropeptide F

The principles by which the brain processes reward are extremely conserved in all animals; this is a really basic every day machinery that helps animals survive.

Sounds like it would be fun.

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Pyro-brainiacs set new record with waste-heat-into-electricity study

handleoclast
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Re: Potential Use in Photovoltaic Cells or Other ???

That said I'm insulated from radical shifts in heating fuel prices...

You're insulated from radical increases in heating fuel prices. If they drop a lot (unlikely), you've paid out a lot more money than you needed to.

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How 'parasitic' Google's 'We're journalists!' court defence was stamped into oblivion

handleoclast
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Re: Iron

I didn't tear the page out, just went ex-directory.

Did you go NDQ as well? BT don't tell you that's an option and you have to specifically request it (and tell them you really, really mean it, you understand all the implications, and you still really, really, really mean it).

Hmmm, I googled for it (and alternative names it might have) and it seems to be completely absent as an option. Maybe they won't let you have it any more, or maybe they're being extra secretive. Not even mentioned in the option to pay them regular extra money so they phone the telephone preference service for you (once).

NDQ means (or meant) "no directory queries." Which means they won't tell anybody who phones directory enquiries and asks for your number (no point asking for NDQ unless you go ex-directory as well). It's worth asking, but be prepared to tell them that you really, really, really, really, really mean it.

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Cutting custody snaps too costly for cash-strapped cops – UK.gov

handleoclast
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Ummm

I'm puzzled (as usual).

They have a whizz-bang facial recognition system. How hard can it be to let it romp through the various databases flagging up possible matches for Fred Bloggs, 27 Green Street, Auchtermuchtie so that some plod can say "Aye, that's him" and delete the image?

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ID theft in UK hits record high as crooks shift to more vulnerable targets

handleoclast
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Beware quizes on social media

Most commentards probably already know about this, but for the few that don't...

There was a fad on social media about "porn star names." It encouraged people to share their porn star name created from their first pet's name and mother's maiden name. Example: Fido Smith.

Two common security questions used to be first pet's name and mother's maiden name.

*sigh*

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Size does matter, chaps: Oversized todgers an evolutionary handicap

handleoclast
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Re: Cock size

(2) it's for show, like a peacock's tail;

Possibly related to sexual selection. Perhaps embodying a little of Zahavi's Handicap Principal. Especially as humans (but not other apes) lack an os penis (a penis bone, also known as a baculum*). According to Zahavi's hypothesis, humans have to advertise their health by maintaining an erection without the benefit of a structural member.

Another hypothesis relates the size of the os penis to duration of intromission. For example, in chimps it is very small and their mating sessions typically last 7 seconds. So without a penis bone, human sex should last on the order of milliseconds. Hmmmmm. I'm sure I can do a little better than that.

*BTW, there is a Linux backlup solution called "Bacula." Which might be (I know very little Latin) the plural of baculum. The name was probably intended to resemble Dracula, but maybe...

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Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic

handleoclast
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Re: PET

as VIC was apparently a swear word.

German "v" is pronounced as English "f" (as is German "f" so "v" is redundant). Which gives "fic." Similar-ish to the stem of German "fichen" meaning "to fuck."

In some places, a computer called a Fuck 20 might sell very well.

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You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

handleoclast
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Re: Good Ol' Government Mentality

@FozzyBear

Friggin' muppets the lot of them !!!

"Muppet" is a trademark owned by Disney, who would not like your casual use of the term. Especially in combination with "Friggin'".

I suggest you replace it with "fuppet" (c.f. "fugly").

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Huawei promises to launch a 5G smartmobe in second half of 2019

handleoclast
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WTF?

"Retina experience" radio??????

"Retina experience" radio would be able to support a video 16K resolution at 120 frames per second

That's a gigantic improvement on all the radios I've ever seen. None of them supported video at any resolution or speed. Well done Huawei. Very impressive.

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Internet Engineering Task Force leaves home, gets own bank account

handleoclast
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Re: Also humming

Ah, one of the earliest error-correction techniques, the Humming Code.

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'Uncarrier' T-Mobile US to un-carry $40m for bumpkin blower bunkum

handleoclast
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That will teach T-Mobile

It will teach T-Mobile that they need to give Eejit Pie a bigger bung or he will hit them with bigger fines. This £40 million fine was a big clue as to the size of bung he expects next time.

Cynical? Moi?

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Latest F-35 flight tests finish – and US stops accepting new jets

handleoclast
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"marking yet another millstone for the UK"

FTFY

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Google's not-Linux OS documentation cracks box open at last

handleoclast
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Re: OOOS

If you're going to talk about OOP why would you mention Perl, especially when talking about developing an OS?

Don't you think it would be inconsistent of me to slag OOP for implementing a kernel and then suggest the kernel be implemented in perl, after I'd just explicitly stated that perl has OOP? Which is why I didn't say that.

I mentioned Christiansen's comment because he was one of the key people who added OOP to perl, so if anybody understands its weaknesses, he does. And he points out that it's slow. Not just slow in perl, but slow in any language. Which is not something you want in a kernel.

As others said, OOP is designed to be better understood by humans. But missed the fact that the understandability depends very much on the problem it's applied to. Where OOP is a natural fit to the problem it is more readable; where OOP is not a natural fit to the problem it is a pain in the arse to understand and maintain.

With a non-OOP kernel you can always add an OOP wrapper if that makes your app easier to maintain. With an OOP kernel it's hard to wrap it in a way that gets rid of its OOPishness, and certainly can't compensate for the speed penalty.

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handleoclast
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OOOS

Oooh, Object-Oriented Operating System.

That means it's going to be radically different from Linux. Either a fuck of a lot better or a fuck of a lot worse.

My experience of OOP is that it can be very good in some problem domains and a right cunt in other (most) problem domains. Some problems are a very good fit to OOP and many problems are a very bad fit to OOP (which is probably why many OOP languages let you escape from OOP hell if you need to).

I'd expect an OOOS to be a bad fit to most things that run on it.

Yes, I expect a lot of downvotes from the OOP fanboys. For them I offer this quote from Tom Christiansen's Object-Oriented Tutorial for Perl (emphasis below is mine):

Using a code reference to represent an object offers some fascinating possibilities. We can create a new anonymous function (closure) who alone in all the world can see the object's data. This is because we put the data into an anonymous hash that's lexically visible only to the closure we create, bless, and return as the object. This object's methods turn around and call the closure as a regular subroutine call, passing it the field we want to affect. (Yes, the double-function call is slow, but if you wanted fast, you wouldn't be using objects at all, eh? :-)

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Worried we'll make ourselves extinct? Let’s be scientific about it

handleoclast
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Re: Well ...

There are obvious differences between groups of people who are having lots of kids and those who have few.

The central concept behind Kornbluth's The Marching Morons and The Little Black Bag. And also Idiocracy.

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handleoclast
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Re: Well ...

We've essentially changed the meaning of "evolution"

No, you have changed the meaning. Biologists, however, continue to define evolution as the change of relative allele frequencies over time.

As it happens, though, relative allele frequencies in humans are changing. Our inventiveness means that alleles which were formerly necessary for our survival no longer are necessary. Spectacles mean that alleles for good eyesight are no longer as important as they were, so their relative frequency is declining. So we are still evolving. It's just that we're evolving to become far more dependent upon our technology and less likely to survive without it.

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UK defines Cyber DEFCON 1, 2 and 3, though of course doesn't call it that

handleoclast
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Re: I see a flaw in the plan

Yeh, but how do do that if the internet's not working?

Telephone. The old-fashioned POTS.

Oh, wait, BT plans to switch it all to VoIP.

Looks like we have to use RFC 1149.

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British government to ink deal for yet another immigration database

handleoclast
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Happy

What could possibly go wrong?

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Data exfiltrators send info over PCs' power supply cables

handleoclast
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Give everybody a laptop

The batteries ought to even out the current draw sufficiently.

Maybe. :)

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B-Ark passengers to control most IT spend from 2019 onwards

handleoclast
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@.stu

Given the unstoppable rise of the mobile phone, telephone cleaners may be about to make a comeback.

How do you reach that conclusion?

A shared telephone may spread germs. Hence the need for telephone sanitizers. As more people get mobiles, fewer of them will be shared.

Your conclusion appears to be the opposite of reality.

Of course, if you were making a joke, it would have helped to use the appropriate icon so people didn't take you seriously.

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Skype for Business has nasty habit of closing down… for business

handleoclast
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Re: Utter bollocks

composting windows manager

At first I was going to point out your spelling error. Then I realized it wasn't.

A pile of decomposing, smelly garbage just about sums it up.

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Penis pothole protester: Cambridge's 'Wanksy' art shows feted

handleoclast
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The dog that didn't bark in the night

Unless I missed it, not a single commentard (so far) remarked upon this paragraph in the story:

Another resident, Sarah Hobbs, commented to Cambridge News: "We can see those potholes coming now."

So not just graffiti of cocks, but graffiti of cocks spurting jizz.

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Get ready for the Internet of Battle Things, warns US Army AI boffin

handleoclast
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Ob XKCD

Here and here.

Take your pick as to which outcome you think more likely.

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Fear the Reaper: Man hospitalised after eating red hot chilli pepper

handleoclast
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I hear eating hot peppers cures hemorrhoids.

Doesn't cure, but makes them a lot easier to live with.

Your intestines release mucous because of the irritation from capsaicin. That softens up the stool. It comes out a lot easier. I eat enough chillies to soften a park bench, let alone a stool.

Warning: if you overdo the chillies and something causes you to cough hard that can result in a penguin walk home for clean underwear.

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handleoclast
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Re: The Carolina reaper...

and washed the Marigolds I was wearing three times before the bursting bubbles of the soap lather stopped hurting my eyes

I always remember my mother's advice: never masturbate after chopping chillies.

Oh, and you're a wimp for removing the seeds.

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handleoclast
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Re: The Carolina reaper...

Tesco were selling them last year (and I hope will sell them again this year when they come into season).

Even a tiny bit made the whole meal inedible.

I found that half of a large one, all of a medium-sized one, or two small ones added just the right amount of bang to a meal.

That was just the right amount that, 30 minutes later, there was a very warm (but not quite fiery) sensation when I had a piss. More than that and it becomes painful to piss. Less than that and it's not hot enough in the mouth.

YMMV.

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White House: Is it OK to hijack, shoot down, or snoop on drones? Er ... asking for a friend

handleoclast
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Re: Why now?

So why not just use trained pigeons if you want to blow something up?

This was actually considered by the US military at one point. Touch-sensitive TV screen. Pigeon trained to peck at a particular building. Fore-runner of the cruise missile.

Problem is, it takes time to train pigeons. Once trained they're only useful for the target they were trained on. Once you've written the s/w to keep a drone stable and to navigate between set points you can copy it to a fleet of drones and then get a guy to direct it to a chosen target, perhaps even a moving target.

Payload size and weight is also an issue.

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handleoclast
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Re: Why now?

Amazon, eBay and increasingly powerful microprocessors.

Drones have become ubiquitous and deskilled to the point where any moron can operate one with little or no training. They pretty much fly themselves and they're cheap.

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Uber JUMPs, slurps San Francisco bike biz

handleoclast
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A nice, cheap source of batteries

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How life started on Earth: Sulfur dioxide builds up, volcanoes blow, job done – boffins

handleoclast
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Re: Sulfur?

Could be worse.

In Welsh it's sylffwr.

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There's security – then there's barbed wire-laced pains in the arse

handleoclast
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Re: auditors

They seem to be stuck in the last century and believe that forcing users to change their passwords every 30 days is best practice.

Show your auditors this advice from CESG (a part of NCSC, which is a part of GCHQ).

If they refuse to accept what it says, I suggest you expire your auditors and set new ones. No need to do it every 30 days, though, unless the new ones are as fuckwitted as the old ones.

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Police chief wants citizens to bring 'net oligarchs to heel

handleoclast
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Re: Civil laws

The last time I mentioned something like this, I got more downvotes than upvotes. But I'm a persistent bastard...

They seem to have plenty of resources for lots of things that don't matter very much.

Actually, those things matter a great deal. They really do.

Those are the things that count towards performance targets and are easy to achieve. It really is that simple.

Figuring out who committed a burglary and proving it is a lot of work and your chances of succeeding are small. Not much chance of improving your arrest and/or conviction count.

Arresting somebody on littering charges for dropping a fag end and stamping it out is easy.

If you were in the police and your only hope of a pay rise was hitting your performance targets, would you go for the easy ones or the hard ones?

The performance targets are badly flawed. If we were sensible, we wouldn't put such a high emphasis on arrests, and we'd put a far higher emphasis on reduction in reported crime. Except, of course, that would encourage the front desk to tell people to piss off. Even so, the aim should be to get crime rates down, not arrest rates up. Probably hard to get right, just as the current situation encourages lots of arrests for trivial offences.

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Twitter whacks 270,000 terror accounts, majority flagged by internal tools

handleoclast
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Re: Blah blah free speech blah blah

The bigger problems with censorship happen in the 'political correctness' realm, ALL of the time, from outright bullying to actual policies squelching "unwelcome" opinions.

Hah! I happen to agree with your conclusion. But I suspect we may have reached it for different reasons.

I doubt that people who truly seek equality for minorities hate free speech. I strongly suspect that those who want to suppress certain types of free speech have latched onto political correctness as a disguise that many will not question. Suppressing certain types of free speech is the end, and political correctness the pretence used by some to achieve that end.

I agree strongly with John Stuart Mill. Everyone should have the freedom to say anything, no matter how wrong we believe it to be, no matter how offensive we find it (he gives lengthy justifications for this). Everyone. Even you, bob. :)

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Is there alien life out there? Let's turn to AI, problem solver du jour

handleoclast
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Boffin

Re: Wow!

Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer, said the probability of the formation of just one of the many proteins on which life depends is comparable to that of the solar system packed full of blind people randomly shuffling Rubik’s cubes all arriving at the solution at the same time.

Hoyle knew astronomy, astrophysics and mathematics well. Some people even like his SF. But here he was talking total bollocks. His entire output regarding evolution is complete and utter bollocks.

Yes, if you're talking about nothing but random chance, then the odds are astronomical. If you're talking about evolution, they're not. And if you don't understand why they're not then you don't understand evolution. Hoyle did not understand evolution.

Come to that, he didn't understand biochemistry, either. For example, haemoglobin isn't a unique molecule where you have to hit on that precise molecule or it's game over. Haemoglobin is different in each different species. Small differences, but it's not "everyone has to solve their Rubik's cube." Haemoglobin isn't even the best solution: in your last 7 months as an embryo you had foetal haemoglobin which is better at binding to oxygen than the adult type. Then there are the arthropods, which use copper-based haemocyanin instead of haemoglobin.

Hoyle calculated the odds of a perfect bridge hand. One where the hands are clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades in that order. Where the first cards dealt are the aces, then the twos, then the threes, etc. The odds against that happening are enormous. Fred knew how to calculate probabilities. What he didn't mention is that every possible deal has those same odds. And what he didn't understand is that the calculation he ought to have performed were the odds of you and your partner being dealt a winning hand (50/50).

No doubt somebody is already doing the maths. And coming up with the fact that the odds of hitting haemoglobin by nothing but random chance are mega-hyper-ultra-super-astronomical. And that even allowing for a million variants of haemoglobin/haemocyanin that still leaves the odds as hyper-ultra-super-astronomical. And that will be because they understand as little of evolution as Hoyle did.

Single-celled animals don't have haemoglobin or haemocyanin because diffusion carries sufficient oxygen. Small multi-cellular animals don't have haemoglobin or haemocyanin either because the square-cube law means they're more "surfacey" and diffusion suffices. Water can carry around 1/20th the oxygen of blood (at human body temperature) so animals that are small enough don't need anything better than water. There's even a species of antarctic fish without haemoglobin because water dissolves more oxygen at low temperature and they are so sedentary they can get by without it.

Up to a certain size, water is sufficient. Slightly larger than that and you need something better than water, but it doesn't need to be 20 times better (as haemoglobin is). It only needs to be fractionally better. Over time, your descendants may be slightly larger than you and need something slightly better to carry oxygen than you had. Enough time, and enough size increases and you need, and end up with, via a series of small improvements accumulating over time haemoglobin or haemocyanin. Never, at any stage, was there a jump from getting by with water to your children needing haemoglobin.

Hoyle made a straw man. Kicked the arse out of it. Set fire to it. Stamped the ashes into the ground. Then pissed on the ground. The creationists praise him for demolishing evolution, but he didn't. He destroyed a straw man. He probably sincerely thought what he was attacking was evolution, but it wasn't. Hoyle's comments regarding evolution are unmitigated bollocks.

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Microsoft outlines some ground rules to prevent it from nicking your IP

handleoclast
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Get into bed with Microsoft

and you will get fucked.

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Shhh! Don’t tell KillBots the UN’s about to debate which ones to ban

handleoclast
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Re: Cynical? Moi?

But my original point is more about the moral or ethical right thing, rather than practical physics, engineering or medicine. It's about behaviour.

I do not think one should isolate moral ideals from pragmatism. Doing the wrong thing because it makes you feel good (or for virtue signalling) is undesirable. Even if you thought, because of insufficient analysis, that what you were doing was a good thing.

Standing aside because you can't be arsed is undesirable. Standing aside because you've carefully examined all the options and concluded that standing aside is the best that can be done is a good thing.

YMMV.

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handleoclast
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Re: Cynical? Moi?

We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful.

Sounds good in theory. And most of the time, it is. But...

Remember the days before seat belts? In a crash, people would be catapulted through windscreens. Some of them weren't killed. Passers-by would endeavour to make the victims comfortable. Often by removing a coat or jacket, rolling it up and putting it under the victim's head.

Problem is, that kind of accident can result in broken cervical vertebrae. Moving the victim's head to slip something underneath can make matters worse. The victim, who might otherwise have fully recovered in time (given correct medical treatment), becomes paraplegic, quadruplegic or dead.

Sometimes (not always) attempting to make things better ends up making them worse than if you'd done nothing.

I'll see your Schumacher and raise you "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

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handleoclast
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Coat

Does this mean

that they're going to ban Uber autonomous cars?

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handleoclast
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Re: Or GOGEOTHCPTTCOPOROTUOCCWWMBDTBEIOTHIE for short.

Based in Wales?

Too many vowels to be a Welsh word.

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*Thunk* No worries, the UPS should spin up. Oh cool, it's in bypass mode

handleoclast
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Re: Creative Purchase Orders

At a place I worked, many years ago, a salutory tale was recounted to me. It was of a time when company beancounters decided to place severe restrictions on capital expenditure. A bit of a problem since the various departments had a lot of test equipment and the older stuff needed to be replaced once it could no longer be repaired and/or brought into calibration. Without working test gear the departments could no longer perform the stuff they needed to do in order to make money.

Non-capital purchases, however, were fine. That year Maplin sold a lot more oscilloscope kits than usual. Factor in the time of a skilled technician or engineer to build the scope and it worked out more expensive, but it kept the beancounters happy (until they balanced the books at the end of the year).

Then there was the time (same company) when the beancounters decided cost-centre accounting was the big thing. They'd long had cost-centre accounting, in that they kept track, but now all cost centres had to run at a profit. Including the mail room.

Prior to this wonderful idea, the mail room delivered mail (much of it trade mags which people read to look for jobs as well as to learn of technical innovations) to the desk of each recipient. Afterwards, the mail for a department got dumped on a table and you had to look through it to find your own. You don't need to be familiar with Knuth's Sorting and Searching to realize how inefficient that was. But it was egalitarian: everyone, including the Chief Engineer of the department, had to search through the pile. Hooray! The mail department had cut its costs by sacking a couple of juniors who used to distribute mail. The extra costs imposed on every other department, however...

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handleoclast
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Re: Floodplains

How the hell does the monster raving loony party have a more sensible answer to this than the actual government?

They frequently do have more sensible solution. To the extent that an idea which first appears in an MRLP manifesto is later adopted by one or more of the "sensible" parties.

There are more ways of taking the piss out of conventional political parties than by standing candidates with silly names. Coming up with better policies is even funnier.

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handleoclast
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Re: I, for one, can't wait to read about the sequel.

It's called Fukushima.

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I say, I say, I say: What's the difference between a king penguin and liquid?

handleoclast
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Pint

Re: I say, I say, I say: What's the difference between a king penguin and liquid?

Have an upvote.

Even though you said exactly what I was going to and I therefore hate you forever.

Anyway, my comment would have been far better. I'd have said "Blendtec."

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