* Posts by JLV

1929 posts • joined 4 Mar 2013

A once-in-a-lifetime Opportunity: NASA bids emotional farewell to its cocky, hardworking RC science car on Mars

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Re: Thanks Opportunity!

Speaking of xkcd, I’m probably the last person in the know, but:


seems relevant, unexpected-positives-wise. might sound clumsy, so rephrasing: awesome.

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A good book about the fanatical level of engineering,detail and planning going into remote probes is


$$$, but might get lucky at your library. better-cheaper-faster is addressed and so is manned-vs-remote.

well-done and unpoliticized, Space is a magnificent endeavour and comparatively cheap. hats off to everyone involved.

Hungover this morning? Thought 'beer before wine and you'll be fine'? Boffins prove old adage just isn't true

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Edit: on a Canadian Tylenol bottle warning says “may cause liver damage if: you take more than 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day”.

So... whatever on the “malarkey”, I really wouldn’t chance it. Keep in mind, the new warnings were resisted by its manufacturer and I assume they had studies justifying their resistance. You might be quoting one. Still got applied.

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> malarkey




they all say: little alcohol and tylenol => no problemo.

given the subject being discussed here, what do you think we’re talking quantity-wise, genius? i'm pretty sure alcohol warnings are currently on tylenol-only meds here in Canada.

Tylenol’s not my choice in general, no. I won’t avoid it if prescribed. But I also won’t use it as a boozing relief given this potential risk.

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i wish :(

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water + aspirin

don’t Tylenol - the active ingredient reacts badly with alcohol present and harms your liver, something pharma resisted warning about for years.

Uncle Sam to its friends around the world: You can buy technology the easy way, or the Huawei

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Good thing the Soviets were always shit at hardware and civilian tech, otherwise that would have been interesting.

This Huawei thing is weird in a way. Why all the fuss about one company if it’s the country you’re worried about? Do they want to limit spying? Limit Chinese encroachment on higher value tech? Send a message to Xi to start normalizing/rule-of-law-ing the way his country approaches IP? Play make-a-deal with bargaining chips? Get another casino license? Start a policy of China containment (because it could be perceived thst way)?

I don’t necessarily disagree that putting China on notice to somewhat behave is needed. But I’d feel a lot better if a more stable, huuugely more smart (genius is shooting way too high here), more consensus building POTUS was in charge. Obama’s pivot to the Pacific was somewhat clearer in intent, for example and even Dubya’d probably be an improvement over Trumpo in running international relations (imagine Trump in charge on 9/11, getting his cues from Ann Coulter and Fox n Friends).

It's OK, everyone – Congress's smart-cookie Republicans have the answer to America's net neutrality quandary

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i don’t understand the argument. net neutrality is all about the ISP not prioritizing different packets to a subscriber based on their origin.

it’s not about disallowing subscribers to pay more for higher bandwidth or lower latency. ie if Border Patrol needs higher speed Mexican webcams (doubtful in the first place) then net neutrality doesn’t stop them signing up for a higher tier service.

Who voted for these morons again?

p.s. though i don’t know the details “kids watching video means no telephone” is not necessarily true. QOS limits per application class might be allowed : i.e. “prioritize voice traffic over video”. but not “prioritize in-house VOIP over Skype”. anyone know about that?

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

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Re: Remember Y2K?

A buddy went to Tahiti to fix banking COBOL Y2Ks and never left :-)

German competition watchdog tells Facebook to stop combining user data without consent

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Excellent work, Germany. I don’t begrudge FB (which I don’t use) their existence, nor their advertising. But this obsessive snoopiness about activities happening outside of their core platform really has to go.

And while you’re at it it, the same arguments about forced agreement and power imbalances applies to Win 10 telemetry.

London's Met police confess: We made just one successful collar in latest facial recog trial

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Anyone else feel that ‘strong and stable’ as a slogan has a whiff of not entirely pleasant associations? Say 30s-ish. Not that I am making any real comparisons there, just seems like an unfortunate soundbite.

Fortunately, neither really applies.

Apple solemnly agrees to pay France $570m in back taxes, turns to camera, gives us a wink

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Re: "mes amies"?

Oh, je n’accuserai meme pas l’extreme gauche de la stupidite des ami.e.s ;-)


notice the bit about the “long history of criticism”. People could still say that, 9 years ago. Now, you’d be hung for daring to voice displeasure at unnatural linguistic contortions to assuage the professionally outraged.

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Re: It's not bullshit

You’re right, but the complex shell games around inter-subsidiary pricings have been around forever. I remember 3M France, in 1992 at a conference, getting, very gently, joshed at by _friendly_ businessmen that they deserved congratulations for not making any profits with their (large) French operations.

Im pro free market, against excessive taxation and pro free trade, but multinational companies really shouldn’t be able to game tax rates that blatantly. It’s not healthy in the long run and shenanigans like this is why losers like Trump or Tsipras get elected.

So, yes, close those loopholes.

I won't bother hunting and reporting more Sony zero-days, because all I'd get is a lousy t-shirt

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Oh, come on, stop picking on Sony.

It’s not like they’ve ever been hacked. Or ever put users at risk by using rootkits.

Six Flags fingerprinted my son without consent, says mom. Y'know, this biometric case has teeth, say state supremes...

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Re: So I gather

> A photo on the season pass will be far simpler

exactly. how were season passes done 20 yrs ago?

nostalgia’s not always a good thing, but is zero need for this kind of police state behavior from corporations who will then guard your private data as fiercely as a horny teenager guards his virginity.

The Apple Mac is 35 years old. Behold the beige box of the future

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> 2000 more bloated

oh, pls.

we now have systems that can run database servers, application servers and multiple sundry microservices on one machine and OS. and reliably so, at least for dev. we can install new services and utilities promptly and reliably from the shell. yes, even on Windows, with Chocolatey. we have advanced scripting capabilities via bash (or even, shudder, Powershell)

that’s true with Linux, Windows and macos.

try doing that with DOS, Windows 3 or macos 8.

does the term “collaborative multitasking” remind you of anything?

does to me.

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Re: Typical el Reg

Hey, I’m an Apple user and I dearly wish they’d lower their price. No issues with El Reg poking fun at them :-)

The biggest gripe I have isn’t their base prices, because that could, by some, be argued to be due to exceptional this or that engineering (or the pleasure of not dealing with Windows).

No, what gets my goat is how extra we pay for each SSD or RAM increment. That’s _easy_ to compare with after market prices.

Straight outta Blighty: Readers, if you were a tech billionaire, what would you do?

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Re: brexit sentiment question

gotta say, for a mainstay of progressives (to the point where i find it cloying), the CBC here is colonized by hordes of nutwing Trumpy commentards.

they shut down commenting on stories involving Indians. each one generated a cesspool of racist comments, every time

post Trump win, I head there, expecting “woe on us, Hitler is nigh”, like from actual people here. nope, instead: “hey maybe that’s what we need here to shake things up”.

during our massive summer forest fires here in BC, Albertan comments: “screw those welfare hippies, serves them right for blocking our pipeline”.

anyway, to a lesser extent “eff them, take back control from lying Brussel”s a sizeable chunk of the Brexit comments I see on BBC. which given the site’s actual position seems odd. it’s not like CBC or BBC == Fox.

was just curious.

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brexit sentiment question

Reading the BBC comments, it seems way more people are defending Brexit, including hard Brexit, than you lot.

Any idea why?

An inquiring Canadian wants to know

Microsoft wins today's buzzword bingo with empowering set of updates to Teams

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it’s almost as if we’re speaking German.

or Old English.

sounds twattish tho.

xHamster reports spike in UK users getting their five-knuckle shuffle on before pr0n age checks

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Think of it this way. If you’re the Chinese govt, is it better PR to ban VPNs to stop porn? Or to ban it to stifle political dissent?

Ministry of Justice abandons key plank of £280m IT project

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Re: IT, fostering delusions since 1977

not to defend waterfall, but the article makes it seem it was an Agile shop...

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Re: IT, fostering delusions since 1977


But, no, you’d use 1700 napkins, just for the contract, so one actually working on the system, rather than the doc and contract, would have the time to become knowledgeable about the system as a whole.

Paperwork and CYA would trump working software. Agile it up to make it look good. Testing? Hah!

Truth is, between rapacious and incompetent consultants and indecisive and incompetent bureaucrats, I have no idea, after working in software all my life, how you could systematically bring even medium complexity gov projects to satisfactory ending.


IBM insists it's not deliberately axing older staff. Internal secret docs state otherwise...

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Re: So Ginni should watch out.

Given performance of IBM...

She could should be next?

This is the final straw, evil Microsoft. Making private GitHub repos free? You've gone too far

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Re: As ever

Thats certainly one way to view it. Another is the POV of running a stack with a dev name recognition really only equal to Stackoverflow (Joel Spolsky is a Net-stack guy btw). Costing little to run and with huge amount of potential goodwill.

Had I just paid (overpriced IMHO) 7.5B$, again IMHO, I wouldn't be sweating the limited free account stuff. OR effin up people with privacy grabs/fails. Bigger picture is running free and charging next tier/cornering a market/making MS cool again/shaping dialog around “a huge chunk of tech online interest”. Not that I am huge MS fan. Im not. But a mostly benign/hands off strategy seems best at this time.

signed: Mr. Naive

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

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Yes, it was interesting to see the stock plunge. They well deserved it

Bitching about innovation isnt totally justified. Smartphones have reached a certain technological maturity. See PCs,, CPUs for examples thereof and no one company can reliably and repeatedly out-innovate everyone else at this point. Until the next inflection point. Not Apple’s fault, really.

But upping your revenues by increasing prices wo new value is a bit like stretching a rubberband. You’ll keep your customers. Until they leave and never come back.

Trouble is, APPL’s valuation is circa $100/ human being. That’s, roughly, profits expected pp, for everyone. Rich people, dirt poor 3rd worlders, 45 yr olds, 3 yr olds. Apple haters. Doubt they’ll get that selling the product lines they do, to their customer bases. How to move the needle?

They have phenomenal brand appeal, but they need to sell new things or new customers.

- cars. Well executed that’s a whole new ball park to chew up $100/pp.

- enterprises. Macos is almost a Linux. And Windows is bound to have upset more than a few.

- the 80-90% of people still running Windows PCs despite Win 10. Can’t do that w $3k laptops.

- product X.

- dividends???

I aint no marketing expert so certainly messing up. But they’ve reached peak capitalization unless they switch gears. $2k phones aint gonna do it. Nor will price wars with Android phones. None of the above options are risk free. Or necessarily even clever.

Bottom line: at this level of cap, I see them very much prisoners of their own success. And a bit of an indictment of capitalism’s expectations, much as I usually defend that system.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

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Re: You missed one...

Maybe when you're too inebriated to drive, but home's too far to walk?

If they're anything like rollerblades however, even minimal drunkenness can be very taxing when operating them.

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Re: Any computer game after 1994...

Dark Souls

Total War series

re. the robot sex, why is it that women talking about dildos => sexy/risque. men going about penetrating silicone implements or the like => creepy/desperate.

sexism much?

:-) '19, y'all.

It's a lot of work, being popular: Apple, Tim Cook and the gilets jaunes

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Re: Where history repeats itself

to be fair its fairly shit macOS 8.x didn’t help either. they’d failed, twice, at creating a new one (Taligent and Copland) and by then the poor thing was really showing its age to anyone else than the most uncritical fans or specialized industries.

i recall a Word resume-printing session with about half a dozen bomb icons in 30 mins.

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Re: Apple business plan

yes and no. high margin low volume is the lifeblood of aspirational luxury brands like Hermes or Louis Vuitton.

but if you look at cars, most of the luxury brands are parts of consortiums now.

the difference is that old style luxuries do not require heavy R&D nor benefit greatly from economies of scale.

Apple can choose to sell exclusively to the 1% (ok, 10-15%) but its fixed R&D costs would then be spread on too few units.

to be able to innovate they need volume. selling lots of phones cheap in India is however not without branding risks and would not necessarily result in much profit either. even if investors want to hear it.

i suspect they will have to find ways to deliver better value to midlevel consumers at some point. but that is somewhat complicated by their products’ relatively long lifetime. media-wise they seem expensive and locked-in and, to me, deliver less value than in hardware. apps are good, but bound to hit saturation on existing users

tough having to justify valuation of $100/human.

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

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says it all...

(all on your own too, like a big boy, can’t be blamed on auto-complete)

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Re: old 70's song

J'ai besoin de partir, de nous donner de l'espace

J'ai besoin de partir, de nous donner de l'espace

Quelque part aussi beau qu'avant, qu'avant, quand on vivait

Quelque part aussi beau qu'avant, qu'avant, quand on aimait

C'est ta voix, c'est la voix, c'est ta voix que j'aimais

C'est ma voix, c'est ma voix, c'est ma voix qui te plaît


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oh, don’t be so harsh on the Dutch.

after all, the merkins picked someone who can’t lead for a slightly less frivolous role.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

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Re: I wonder if...

>For most of the time it's been dark and raining.

what, in the UK?

yes, yes, my coat ;-)

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Re: I wonder if...

how dare you forget Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin!

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

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Re: Good article. Assuming TheRegister is clean with our data.

>But politicians in general are the biggest liars of them all.

That is a totally unproductive and stupid attitude to have. Politicians's job is to get elected. If you've ever had to convince people of anything than you realize that you have to project some level of certainty in what you say. Some of it may very well be less than truthful. So, yes, it is a job where communication is highly scripted and has to fit the agenda. The agenda could be on the left or it could be on the right, but you will be getting political speech coming out.

Sometimes you get people who knowingly make a promise or a claim that they know in advance is wrong and it comes out later. It used to be that those politicians would get voted out of office.

But now you have people, like yourself, who actively hold all political actors as liars, all the time, regardless of their actual actions. That, to me, opens the gate to voter cynicism and stupid decisions. Why bother looking for a party with realistic policies? They all lie. Why bother assessing whether a given politician is honest or not? They all steal. Why vote for someone who proposes a hard road ahead rather than telling you what you what you want to hear? None of it means anything. Why vote out someone for underperforming? It doesn't matter, does it? Why examine

This level of angry irrational nihilism nurtures the kind of stupidity that has elected all sorts of losers and has the potential to elect many more. Syriza, in Greece, LePen in France, all the various incarnations of Putin in Russia. The biggest wanker of them all will remain unmentioned. It doesn't matter what you vote, as you long as you register your protest and anger, is your message.

You, and your kind, spend all your time telling how democracy is such a lie. And it is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not (just) because of the politicians. But because too many people believe angry disillusioned cynical ranters like you and then abdicate any responsibility as informed voters to make wise choices. "We didn't really mean X, we were just angry".

Consider this to be a lefty rant if you want. It's not. The Republican party has in the past had great leaders. Some of the leftist populist politicians waiting in the wings would be as useless as tits on a bull.

But this persistent insistence that _everyone_ who considers public service is a scum is a plague. It is not what our societies and forebears have strived for, and sacrificed to achieve, over centuries. Since Americans respect the Founding Fathers so much, would you care to speculate what they would think of people with your outlook?

It is, truly, the Facebook level of civic engagement so it fits this article very well.

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Re: Good article. Assuming TheRegister is clean with our data.

I think that, given Trump’s tendency for strident hyperbole and HUUUGEing every little thing, BB feels he’s dealing with a kindred CAPSLOCK soul.

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Re: Facebook's shadow profile.

in my case of FB stalking i’ll privilege the IP cross-matching hypothesis

i created a burner FB profile for Tinder. new pix, slightly different name (same age (: ). my phone, a near death wifi-only Android never left home. FB app had never been activated on that phone before. i never surfed anywhere while logged into this FB on my browser. never friended anyone from it.

yet within days i had tons of friend suggestions for people i did know, but barely. somebody’s cousin or mother for example.

seems to me straight that’s this was IP matching. creepy though.

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the more things change

the more they don’t. while FB is due for a nasty time on this, i’m willing to bet nothing will happen in the long term. no Friendster, no Myspace, no Friends Reunited

- FB is a classic example of a network effect. leaving it for greener pastures would mean being on a scarcely populated social network. many of you may think that would be a good thing. but that’s just not how most people, except for us, reason nowadays.

- no provider much respects privacy. so while Zuck and co may be pondscum, who’s going to be the paragon of trust and virtue that most people can switch to? (yes, i can see earnest claims about peer-to-peer FB clones coming up...).

the best _likely_ outcome would be a serious fine (GDPR?) and a credible and factual commitment to keep data in-house. FB has a niche and is relatively safe, as long as it doesn’t commit enough criminal acts to motivate a breakup it can’t lobby itself out of and doesn’t earn itself a nasty enough reputation to wake up the slumbering sheep.

i don’t much like FB - been years since ive used it and my router blocks DNS on it. but I am cynical enough to doubt much will come out of this, with the exception of a share price dip.

(and, yes, i’ve had the same creepy friending suggestions happen to me)

Suunto settles scary scuba screwup for $50m: 'Faulty' dive computer hardware and software put explorers in peril

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did i misread or 55.7$M award > $5M legal fees?

ie the claimants got more benefits than the lawyers???

nah, must be too much holiday grog yesterday. surely it’s $5/claimant or the like.

Oh Deer! Poacher sentenced to 12 months of regular Bambi screenings in the cooler

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research on Swiss military gun access also found it strongly co-related with higher rates of suicide.

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Haida Gwaai, a bigish island in BC, never had deer. The Canadian govt helpfully brought them in. But they have no predators there so they’re literally like rats, overrunning the whole island. Deer will jump over a fence and nuke your garden or farm quick as you please.

Next the Canadian govt wanted to bring in (also not native to the island) cougars to control the deer.

Thankfully the local Indian tribe had by that time enough say-so to give that miserable idea the boot.

But if you like deer hunting (im not a hunter) there is no place in Canada with freeer rules than Haida Gwaii ;-)

Home users due for a battering with Microsoft 365 subscription stick

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Re: Never guessed...

actually this brings up a good point.

when you buy a Dell, say, it comes with Windows. FWIW to you, I realize. that OS is yours as long as that machine, sold to you by Dell, but without MS being directly involved, still works

if MS moves Windows to a subscription basis, then what would be the contractual effects to all parties if the Dell basically becomes an expensive paperweight if you stop your MS subscription?

would they be held liable for that? an easy solution would be for Dell to make a Linux distribution available to take over. not good for MS.

another might be legal verbiage by Dell warning that their shiny won’t work without a sub. not good for Dell.

In 2018, Facebook is the villain and Microsoft the shining light, according to techies

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Re: Legislate, regulate

started out well, lost steam by “giant govt project, forbidden anonymity and we decide the truth ministry”.

i’d be happy with big data breach => jail time if egregious misconduct or gross negligence. a lot of the rest follows from there: no data, can’t go to jail.

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Re: Some what does MS do with the data?

whatever they’re doing with it, it does not extend to making a stable OS.

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Dear MS, all your Telemetry is forgiven.


Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

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Re: Interesting idea

specious argument.

no one outside of homeopathists takes their claims seriously.

yes, climate scientists DO gain employment from climate change concerns.

but someone who managed to scientically debunk climate change, using good old science - i.e. a sound theory with reproducible results - would immediately achieve scientific superstardom.

and it’s not like there aren’t tons of people willing to bankroll that line of research. Trump and the US coal industry come to mind.

Or... there’s always the remote possibility that you are wrong. What level, if any, of proof would it take for you to adapt your worldview to new facts coming to your attention?

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Re: Interesting idea

Germany’s fail is that climate change is too much of a problem to allow the Greens much say in solving it. We agree on that much.

For the rest, your ranty ramble is fairly content-free. If climate change is happening, something accepted by almost all scientists in the field, costs will be immense over time. Think of the effects on agriculture and losses from coastal real estate flooding.

All for what? To resist changing the way we generate energy? Yes, it will change economies and yes there will be losers, but people will end up being employed in the new jobs, new companies will grow and life will go on pretty much as before. If youve been paying attention you realize a lot of hardnosed capitalist corporations ARE increasingly banking on climate change being a problem. Because, well, the math and science add up. If it’s happening then it’s just a physical phenomenon, not a political one.

But, yeah, just keep on putting your head in the sand cuz it doesn’t fit your world view.

Brit bomb hoax teen who fantasised about being a notorious hacker cops 3 years in jail

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not the greatest video, music or vid-wise. and kinda mean-spirited to boot.

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