* Posts by Suricou Raven

1501 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

Big blue Avatar movie spawns THREE SEQUELS

Suricou Raven

Re: Personally I'd like a pre-quel

Here's my idea:

That Unobtainium is good stuff. You think Earth is just going to leave alone? No, they are sending back a new ship, and this time going prepared. Not only does it have a real military force, but after the events of the first movie they know not to discount that 'spiritual' rubbish - there is proof that the planet has an interconnected neural network spanning species, and human technology is rather good at interfacing to neural networks now. After all, they can sync brains between a human and an avatar body.

Sully has been living the life of a native for the last ten years, and now fits in as one of their own - his off-world origins almost forgotten. He is happy in this life, but for one flaw: Children. His body is still half-human, and infertile, a condition that adversely affects his relationship with whats-her-name from the first movie - family lines are very important to na'vi, and is inability to sire a future priestess is an insult to the community.

One day Sully jacks into a tree, an is passed a vision by that transcended scientist woman, taken from the memories of a Na'vi from the area: The sky is falling. Great birds, trailing fire, dropped from the clouds. To the distant tribe this is a worrying and incomprehensable event - but Sully recognises the description of a spacecraft in reentry and landing. He knows that the tribe there knows almost nothing of humans - he is the sole Na'vi expert on them. So he and whats-her-name travel to this costal region to learn what is going on, and to defend Pandora if they must.

On arrival they find that the humans have been more sensible this time. Aided by mapping data from the previous operation they have set up in a less tropical region, where the local wildlife is a little less dangerous. Further, they are mining offshore - a costal base serves as a dock, while giant dredgers scoop unobtainium from a seabed deposit. This is promissing: They won't need to expel anyone from their land. What's-her-name expresses hope that maybe coexistence is possible - but Sully is suspicious, and concerned that the deposit will eventually be depleted. Further, there are already signs of water pollution from the toxic refining process. Sully tells whats-her-name the basic base layout.

Further strange activity is noticed too. The animal life is acting strangely. The locals report that the trees are giving them strange visions. Sully investigates this by jacking in himself, and sees strangely familiar things: Human writing, pictures and symbols. Things that have no place on Pandora. Still spying on the Humans, Sully, What's-her-name and one of the locals are caught and taken into the human base. Sully plays dumb, pretending to be a technologically ignorant native so he can try to observe inside - he sees scientific equipment through the windows, computer banks, screens displaying MRI data and networks and a bank of avatar interface tanks on his way to a holding cell before someone notices his extra fingers. This confuses the humans - they see an avatar body, recognise Sully, but say they have none themselves and ask where his tank is. Sully confesses that he no longer needs his human body, but this sounds impossible - he is dismissed as crazy.

Sully escapes - not using his knowledge, for Avatar isn't that type of franchise, but because the three of them are able to cooperate to break out. As they flee, Sully witnesses something even stranger: A dredger dumps its load into a floating barge, before a whale-analog swims up to the surface and starts pushing it towards the human base. This triggers a crisis of faith for the Na'vi: If the animals are aiding humans, that means Enwya is on their side. How could the Na'vi be abandoned by their goddess?

Whats-her-name cannot accept this, and nor can Sully: He has seen what humans do to a world. In a search for answers he attempts to make contact again with dead scientist - but this time when he jacks in, he is bombarded with noise and scattered imagery. Pictures of earth, chemstry, space travel, and through it all the sense of others - sensing him, reacting, chasing him down. Dead Scientist struggles through this chaos, but can only guide him to a key image stronger than the rest: A map.

Sully, whats-her-name and a few escorts are guided to the ocean and swim down where the map says. There they find roots - a tree of souls, made of coral and concealed below the water. The locals say they knew of this place, but it is a most holy site and approached only on the rarest occasions. The humans have found it already: Technology covers the natural formation, with cables running undersea towards the human base. Now he understands.

Humans learned to control an avatar body. Now they no longer need one. They can be the animals. They can be the planet itsself. This time Enwya isn't going to come to their aid - she is too overwhelmed by the humans now hooked up.

Before the team can consider disconnecting the device, an ambush of very hostile wildlife arrives to claw and catch them. The local human defenders. The team escapes, barely - but as they look back they see the place heavily guarded by pandoran crabs.

Now things escalate. The local tribe are first disbelieving, then outraged at this sacrilidge. A war is declared - but Sully knows they cannot win this time. They defeated a mining operation before, but barely, and only with aid they won't have a second time. Now they are up against a full military force. Worse - flying drones are broadcasting a message: Hand over the human and avatar, or face destruction. No more nice hippy humans now: They are in a state of war.

Whats-her-name asks to trust in Enywa. Sully realises this could work - and Dead Scientist tells them how. Enywa is overwhelmed with alien thoughts - mining plans, ore transport routes, the idle background of the operators as they think of home. But that could go both ways. As war is launched (The locals riding into battle on giant mantas), a daring operation is carried out to capture one of the crabs and link Sully to it before the operator can disconnect. Contact established, Sully is able to use their own tech against them - disrupting the control system long enough for a whale to bite through the undersea cables. Even then the battle goes badly, with human weaponry slicing the incoming Na'vi before they can get close - but whats-her-name sees an opening. Flying overhead on her lizardbirdthing she dive-bombs, making an abrupt landing inside the base in the area Sully earlier told her was the environmental room. She doesn't know tech, but she can break things - pulling pipes, smashing controls, stabbing her spear through panels and tearing tanks apart. With the base now flooded with Pandoran air, the humans have no option but to set the auto-destruct and run to their shuttles.

Say is saved, humans defeated, Sully and whats-her-name once again hailed as heroes. Oh, yeah - they find an orphaned na'vi to raise too. Everyone is happy.

Cameron: If you use that, I'll settle for even a tiny 0.1% royalty - that's still a lot of money to me. And I want that gross, not net - I'm not stupid.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Truly there is no God

I don't understand why any studio would make even the first film. Did they even read the rest of the trilogy? If you tried to film and release those in the US, even toned down, you'd have a mob with torches and pitchforks turn up at the studio.

They were able to almost entirely remove the religious parts from the first story. It left a few problems, like villains that lacked any apparent motivation for their evil deeds, but overall didn't make the plot impossible to follow. That might be possible for most of book two. But by three? The religious aspect *is* the plot. Take it out, and you've nothing left.

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Tick-tock, Apple: Obama has just days to stop US iPhone iPad sales ban

Suricou Raven

Re: Wouldn't it be better

Or conclude that Apple is an important US company, Samsung is an important South Korean company, and that the best interests of the country he is supposed to be leading would be best advanced by tilting the scales of justice a little.

As president, his first loyalty is *supposed* to be to the US. Intervening would just be doing his job. Sure, it could be seen as an underhanded subversion of the legal process... but that's basically how the legal process works anyway.

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USB accelerates to 10 Gbps

Suricou Raven

Re: Potential

Even ethernet has too much latency for some applications. If you want low-latency, you use infiniband. Costs a fortune though. It's used for cluster interconnects, and I read that some high-speed trading operations are asking for infiniband connections now because 10gig ethernet just has too much latency for them.

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Suricou Raven

There's no reason for ARM to adopt even USB3 support. Their processors would struggle to keep up - they aren't made for speed. They are made to be compact, require minimal supporting components, and achieve a very impressive level of energy efficiency.

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Wikileaker Bradley Manning's court martial verdict expected today

Suricou Raven

Re: This is about a Soldier under an Oath of Fealty...How bout equal Justice!

The oath doesn't consider what happens when a soldier concludes (justifiably or otherwise) that the US government is not an enemy of the constitution. That's what happened here.

I'm predicting he won't get a 'life' sentence, but will get a fixed-term sentence considerably longer than any human can reasonably expect to live. Probably something like twenty charges, ten years a charge, served consecutively. And he'll be classified a security risk, so he'll spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement. There will be a brief period of outrage, but as time goes on the public and the media will eventually forget about him.

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Bank of Thailand bans Bitcoin

Suricou Raven

The sort of miss the point.

Bitcoin is very hard to regulate. That's the whole point - the currency was designed by libertarian ideologists who dislike all regulation. It runs on maths.

You could catch a few people using bitcoins too openly. But that's all. You can't search for them at the border, there are no companies to subject to regulations.

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Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Suricou Raven

Re: Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

But there are ways to dodge this too. A CEO might be paid only a token salary, but also enjoy a few extra benefits - a company home (small mansion), a company car (lamborgini), a company jet for those vital business conferences with other managers in Hawaii, company health insurance plan, etc. Plenty of ways to enjoy the wealth without actually legally owning it.

It's the same trick used by many televangalists in the US - they have as much of their property as possible owned by their church (ie, tax-exempt organisation) and just rent their mansion for a $1/yr peppercorn.

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A drone that can walk home

Suricou Raven

Re: One has to ask, but why?........

Seeking cover.

1. Fly onto roof.

2. Crawl into place behind chimney/statue/air-con out of sight.

3. Poke camera around concealment.

Flying takes a lot of power. A drone capable of landing and moving to a hiding place nearby could operate for days on battery power, even weeks with a few solar panels and a power-savings mode. Just the thing for a stake-out, monitoring the comings and goings of people at a building. Someone can always collect it for reuse later on.

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Apple's shock treatment: An authentic charger-spotting guide

Suricou Raven

Re: Test your RCD monthly!

This is China. The RCD is probably fake too.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Spotting a clone

First, because Apple. It's a status symbol, to a large extent. If you've gotten yourself one of the most expensive phones on the market, you want to flaunt it - not buy a cheap-looking charger.

Secondly, USB charging isn't quite that simple. It is on the iPhone - that's a basic USB power thing. Give it five volts and it'll be happy to draw the 500ma USB permits. The iPad, however, demands a bit more power than that - which means it can't just run off of any charger or USB port, it has to be a device that supports both the high-current mode and the negotiation to tell the iPad it is safe to draw that much. This is why the iPad won't charge normally from the USB ports of most non-Apple devices* or USB power adapters not specifically designed for such devices.

The situation isn't any different on Android tablets. It's a basic law of USB: If you draw more than 500mA without checking the device is ready, you'll either crash the USB controller or trip the polyfuse.

*I understand it will charge but only when in sleep state - there isn't enough power available to run the pad and charge the batteries at once.

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'First' 3D-printed rifle's barrel splits after single shot

Suricou Raven

Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

I can envision some governments banning the sale of pipes of internal diameter suitable for holding a bullet without too much leakage.

I can also envision gun-printers producing plastic pipes of just the right external diameter to fit inside, and just the right internal for a bullet. Then the strong metal outside prevents explosion. That should work, so long as you don't fire too quickly and melt the plastic part of the barrel.

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UK gov's smart meter dream unplugged: A 'colossal waste of cash'

Suricou Raven

Re: " smart meter ... cutting people off from their supply"

Hello, giant UPS!

Once they turn the power back on, I'll suck all the energy to charge the batteries.

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Free cloud server self-destructs in 35 minutes

Suricou Raven

Spam.

I see one very likely use.

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Paypal makes man 1000x as rich as the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE

Suricou Raven

Re: Interest

Doesn't matter. Paypal are a payment service, not a full bank - so they don't pay interest.

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Psssst: If you wanna be rich, make the next privacy Robocop app

Suricou Raven

Re: No shit, Sherlock!

Only partially effective, unless you want to verify every time the code comes down. Javascript can be altered easily. Sending every user a 'null operation' script would get notice, but they could easily target it at anyone the NSA's algorithm considers suspicious.

To be any good, encryption needs to run at the client end. What we really need to see is integration into something like Thunderbird.

Not that it matters. People don't actually email that much any more: The masses just communicate through facebook messages.

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Unreal: Epic’s would-be Doom... er... Quake killer

Suricou Raven

Re: Ah yes

That would be Facing Worlds, where you could snipe straight into the enemy spawn area.

spawn-snipe. spawn-snipe. Spawn-snipe.

I wrote a UT2k4 mutator that replaces the sniper rifle with the 'petrifier rifle' - those it hits don't just die, but their corpse is frozen as a statue in mid-death. Makes some nice statue gardens around spawn. It's gameplay purpose is to provide a visual indicator of areas under sniper fire.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Technically brilliant, incredibly dull.

By ut2k4, it was inverted: Meshes were far faster to render than world geometry, to the point where the approved map-making technique was to use world geometry for rough shape but then static meshes for all the fine detailing.

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Suricou Raven

Re: I've

It took me hours to figure out the exit!

You need to activate a switch, then leave the room, go down a hallway, and wait at the end for a platform to arrive.

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Acer silences Thunderbolt

Suricou Raven

Re: Makes no difference

"Are you sure about that?? Have you tried moving around a few hundred gigs of data over USB2 any time recently??"

How often does the average person do that? Maybe a couple of times a year to back up the family videos*. The only people who routinly shift such large amounts are pirates and professionals in a few data-heavy fields.

*Hah. The average person doesn't make shif backups anyway.

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Suricou Raven

Mature market.

The PC market matured. There's no more massive expansion, because everyone who needs or wants a PC now has one. There's no more upgrading, because the technology reached the point of 'good enough' around the Core 2 Duo - ancient chip now, but still quite capable not just of office work but playing games too. There will always be some sales for replacements and general economic/population growth, but the big boom is over.

Phones and tablets are advancing fast enough to keep the upgrade demand high - the average life of a phone before replacement is still only a couple of years.

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Jelly Bean finally overtakes Gingerbread in Android share

Suricou Raven

Re: Old version == second devices?

And hand-me-downs. Dad gets a phone, mum gets his old one, oldest child gets her old one, and so on down the pecking order it goes until youngest-child is SMSing from a three-line text-display on a numeric keypad.

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Inventor lobs spherical, throwable camera

Suricou Raven

Bad example.

Radio doesn't work very well in fire. Fire is, surprisingly, actually a conductor of electricity. Test it if you want - get a flame and poke multimeter probes into it, measure resistance. Blue flame works better.

You can get voice through, but high-bitrate digital isn't going to be at all reliable.

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HTTP 2.0 interop tests slated for August

Suricou Raven

The core of the internet generally lets any protocol through - that's how it was designed. It's all those NAT/PAT boxes at the edges that are the problem - the ones used on almost every single company network, and every home with more than one connected device. Yet another problem that IPv6 would solve.

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Dell explores wearable computing as PC base crumbles

Suricou Raven

Bluetooth interface, vibration alert, make it the ring indicator for your mobile.

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Suricou Raven

Re: really? Nobody saw the iPad coming? Netbooks HELLO!

It doesn't help that OEMs themselves killed the netbook - from a business perspective, the race-to-the-cheapest just isn't profitable. The margin on netbooks was terrible. Once the 'ultrabook' class came along with much higher prices and thus the possibility of a higher margin, it doesn't take a business genius to realise that every netbook sold is potentially an ultrabook not sold.

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Brit server maker Avantek puts its back into ARM servers

Suricou Raven

I see a use.

So it's only good for loads that need lots of computing at very low cost-per-watt, but a minimum of communication between processes? Cryptanalysis comes to mind.

I'd say to ask the NSA, but they already know.

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Optical archival system - where to buy from?

Suricou Raven

A little googling shows the per-gig cost of even the largest capacity cartridges are far above hard drives, even excluding the drive. So far above, you could afford to double up the drives for redundancy and still come out ahead.

I fail to see what advantages this offers over archiving to disk or tape. What's wrong with magnetic storage? It works, proven history, widely-supported and usually very reliable.

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Tickle my balls, stroke my button and blow the fluff from my crack

Suricou Raven

Re: Mac Right Button

You still can.

Apple trackpads and the Magic are capable of right-clicking too, but under OSX this capability is disabled by default. Once you tick the box in system preferences, right-clicking is just a two-finger tap on the pad or a click on the right-hand side of he Magic.

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Suricou Raven

Re: I have a 7 button mouse for gaming ...

FPS Gaming is an area where buttons are good: You can't afford the fractional-second delay of moving a hand on the keyboard. Even a bumbling FPS player online is going to need at least four buttons (Fire, alt fire, next weapon, previous weapon), with two of those being handled by the scroll wheel. If you want to be at your best then most games can use more. If you can bind center button to 'Bloody enemy just rocket-jumped up onto my sniper position, get out the shotgun' then you've found a way to save yourself a precious half-second of scrolling through weapon selection or moving a hand from the movement keys to weapon select and back. Half a second really matters when the enemy is turning to point his rocket launcher at your face.

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EU crackdown will see tougher sentences for stupid cyber-badhats

Suricou Raven

Re: Impose Maximum or Minimum Sentences?

Neither. The directive is for a minimum maximum. Confusing, I know.

What it means is that all members must have a maximum sentence for the covered 'cyber' crimes that is at least two years, or five for infrastructure.

That doesn't mean members have to sentence everyone convicted to five years - it means they are required to give judges the option of at least that sentence. Judges are free to sentence to less, and individual countries are free to set a maximum higher than the directive requires.

So in most situations, this isn't going to change anything. The only times it'll have any effect are when someone either commits a crime serious enough to earn a sentence higher than the a previous maximum since increased by this directive, or when someone upsets the Powers That Be in government and earns themselves a 'throw the book' order whispered in the prosecution's ear

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US Navy coughs $34.5m for hyper-kill railgun that DOESN'T self-destruct

Suricou Raven

Re: Revolutionise what?

It's been done. Japan and France have used them. The planes are tiny, and used folding wings to fit into the bay. They weren't used for combat, but reconnaissance. Obsoleted by improvements in radar and sonar tech.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Nifty

5) Winning the pumpkin-launching competition.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Revolutionise what?

With a 200-mile range, I'm thinking shore bombardment. Easier than shelling logistically, and none of the risks of flying bombers.

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Patriot hacker 'The Jester' attacks nations offering Snowden help

Suricou Raven

Unimpressed.

Wow, he took down a public-facing website and email server for a low-security government sub-sub-subdivisision. He's yet to successfully steal any information or down any target of real importance. The only time he has done anything other than pathetically unskilled DoS attacks was a XSS exploit to inject some fake articles into some rather low-circulation newspaper website.

The Jester is full of hot air. All he does is DoS the most vulnerable of targets and brag about his 1337 5k1115.

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US states: Google making ad money on illegal YouTube vids

Suricou Raven

Re: Don't most people use AdBlock?

The minimum age to purchase alcohol in the US is 21, with most states setting the same limit for possession. The forged identity document is a rite of passage there - no-one wants to wait until 21 to sip their first beer.

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Bolivian president's jet grounded so officials can look for Snowden

Suricou Raven

You'd need Russian operation for that. If he is slipping away, it's down into a basement somewhere for some pliers-assisted questioning. I can't imagine Russia giving up a haul of intel that juicy. They've probably got more bugs than Windows ME in his hotel room right now.

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Suricou Raven

Re: last month the US was complaining about China's spying as though nobody ever did such a thing

Only because they don't have access to the fibers. The UK is probably tapping all internet traffic in and out of Belgium though. Guess where the ocean-spanning cables land.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Stop the Pigeon

It's more complicated than that. The studio liked to reuse their popular characters in different settings: Dick and his sidekick appeared in three programs: Wacky Races, Perils of Penelope Pitstop and Stop that Pigeon. Penelope appeared in two of those, as did the Ant Hill Mob - but not appearing as the same named characters or professions.

It could be seen the animated equivalent of the same actor appearing in many different films playing different characters, but always the same archetype. Think someone like Laurel and Hardy: They played different characters every film, but really they were always playing their own act and everyone loved them for it.

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AT&T patents P2P content tracking system

Suricou Raven

Re: ... Insert Foot

You'll need to throw in a distributed CAN/Cache too, otherwise the first viral video is going to bring half the network down.

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Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

Suricou Raven

Re: That's fine

Then we need to encrypt absolutely everything that can be encrypted. The sheer volume of data that flows over the internet would too much for even the NSA to store. They have to justify their budget to someone - asking for another billion dollars worth of hard drives is going to cost some political favors.

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US cops make 'first ever' Bitcoin seizure following house raid

Suricou Raven

It does make one difference: Once the case of over and offender sentenced there will still be the issue of what to do with the coins (assuming they have the wallet password). Potentially they could be treated as siezed assets and turned into funding for the department, either via exchange into dollars or selling at auction. It's possible the police department may wish to do that, but they could also face pressure from above by administrators or politicians who do not wish to 'legitimise' bitcoin as a currency, and will instead order the wallet be simply deleted.

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Idaho patriots tool up to battle Jihad with pork bullets

Suricou Raven

Re: Square bullets

Not more effective. Just more painful. The idea was round bullets would penetrate easily casing a lot of deep internal damage, while square bullets would catch at flesh and leave a shallower but wider, more severe wound. Round bullet means target drops dead, square means they drop in agony and slowly die of blood loss.

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Play the Snowden flights boardgame: Avoid going directly to Jail

Suricou Raven

Re: Alternative explanation..

Thus all the journalists. If the Russian government wants to disappear him for interrogation, they'll have to be very careful about it - there'd be terrible political fallout if they openly displayed the Bad Old Days were still running.

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Suricou Raven

Re: Private , he going to have to go private

He won't be funding anything right now: The US will certainly have ordered his assets frozen, so all he has to pay his way is the money he could carry, and that's probably almost all gone on the flight to Russia. Wherever he goes, he'll need someone to foot the bill.

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Snowden dodges US agents in Moscow, skips out on flight

Suricou Raven

Re: @sisk It's not illegal, but it is uncool

But they have a warrant: It says to hand over anything and everything. That makes it legal. The place is described (everywhere) and things specified (all of it).

It's obviously violating the spirit of the constitution, but that isn't important. The law isn't about spirit, and it's barely about intent. It's about what the words actually say.

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Privacy expert dismisses PRISM-busting typeface as 'art project'

Suricou Raven

Correction:

PGP/GPG rely on the prime-number thing. Truecrypt does not. It uses a different type of encryption entirely. Somewhat amusingly, two of the three cyphers it supports were developed on behalf of the US government.

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Telly psychics fail to foresee £12k fine for peddling nonsense

Suricou Raven

Re: They are not alone in promoting nonsense

They have seperation in law, but not in practice. We have seperation (mostly) in practice, but not in law.

Really it comes down to democracy. When the population is intensely religious then politicians pandering to them, promising to protect the religion and spouting off about their faith will get elected - regardless of what the law has to say on the matter. While if the population is less religious, and regards what religion they have as a purely private affair (as most of the UK does), politicians attempting the same stunt will be laughed out of office. A democracy reflects the views of the constituents. That's the idea. Even if those views are in conflict with the law - though that situation, if persisting long enough, will self-correct as the law is revised.

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HPC geeks ponder 100 petafloppers and quantum supercomputers

Suricou Raven

How do you rank them?

If quantum computers can be made practical, there will be call for the 'quantum top 500.' What would you measure the capability of a quantum computer in?

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