* Posts by MonkeyCee

646 posts • joined 16 Apr 2013

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Venezuela floats its own oily cryptocurrency to save the world economy

MonkeyCee
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Re: Are sanctions effective?

"Sanctions may have worked to deter Putin from even more intervention in Ukraine. They certainly brought him to the negotiating table"

That's a slightly different kettle of fish.

The normal sanctions, where one set of countries bans exports to another, have been used against Russia and made sweet FA difference. Caused more issues for EU suppliers to Russia than anything else.

The sanctions against specific individuals (and companies controlled by them) had, and continues to have an effect, because it fucks with the people at the top of the state/mafia power structures and prevents them from enjoying their spoils in the US, UK etc. It's also quite hard for the Russian state machine to do much in retaliation, which potentially makes Putin et al look a bit weaker.

So sometimes sanctions work, but they need to be pretty specific. Otherwise you're generally punishing a population for the actions of their leaders, and the same leaders can blame the external actors for the hardship.

We killed more Iraqis with sanctions than in two invasions.

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Why isn't digital fixing the productivity puzzle?

MonkeyCee
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Re: Our missing productivity was shifted to China

"So much for the EU Trading Union."

Erm.....

Even if you ignore the data in the article, where various EU countries are increasing in productivity, you can just look at the current levels of productivity.

The work done in 5 days by a UK worker is (on average) done in 4 days by a French one, or 3 for a German or Dutch worker. Exactly why productivity differs is up for debate, but that the UK is about the lowest productivity in the EU doesn't have much to do with the EU, since the rest of the EU seems to be improving.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Our missing productivity was shifted to China

" "Pay people more so they have more money to buy stuff" is the Henry Ford philosophy - he famously gave raises to people working on his Model T assembly line to a then unheard of $5/day, so that they would have enough money to be able to buy Model Ts themselves. "

And gave them a second day off a week (Saturday) so they could drive their car somewhere.

Ford is, despite his obvious business credentials, practically a Marxist in today's terms. He has written some very insightful opinions on exactly how the "free" market works, with particular vehemence for the bankers.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: It doesn't take a flashy report with pretty graphs...

"There's a way of measuring the gap between the rich and poor and turning this into a number, which corresponds quite neatly to how 'healthy' a society's economy is; "

The Gini index? That's the most common one.

Like all macro economic models, it's often quite good as an indicator, and pretty useless as a diagnostic as to why things are different.

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Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

MonkeyCee
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Re: Flip phones & their users are evolutionary dead ends?

It depends on what you're spending. I've had friends and colleagues who are confused that I own a house mortgage free, yet don't have a 30+ euro a month phone contract* and also can't manage to see the connection.

From my perspective, it seems to be mostly a sunk cost fallacy. The actual use you get from roaming data is often very small (YMMV), but since you've already paid for it, then it's all now "free", thus feels useful.

* or sky/netflix/spotify, anything that adds another utility bill. Never owned a car either, but that's only a money saver because I'm in town with public transport

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MonkeyCee
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Re: And also some stuff you just can't put in an ad these days.

Nah, the only offensive part was the bit where they flashed some Yahoo :)

Or that it's false advertising if you can't use your phone as a knife.

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Blockchain nears peak hype: UK politicos to probe crypto-coin

MonkeyCee
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Re: Of course, this ‘investigation’ conveniently ignores..

"Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure that Bitcoin will go the way of the tulip bulb bubble,"

If you want to make comparisons, then use something accurate. Tulipmania was almost entirely a futures market, whereas bitcoin futures are a fairly new thing.

The link you posted for tulipmania is just so terribly wrong it's not funny. Implying the mania went on for decades and that it was traded on stock exchanges.....

The whole tulipmania lasted, inlcuding all court cases resulting from it, about three years. Only about a year and change of that were people actually trading bulbs, offshoots and futures.

The actual trading took place in pubs, where a percentage of each sale went into a "booze and food" fund. That is what is held as the main reason why things got a bit out of hand, since the traders where getting pretty pissed at the same time.

The most valuable tulip bulbs had roughly the same value before and after the mania. It was the common varieties going by the pound that had the price exponentially rising.

Considering the vast number of financial scams and frauds, and the rather large numbers of currencies that have been issued and are now void*, there are plenty of other suitable examples to warn people off bitcoin. Tulip's just indicates that someone does not understand either bitcoin or tulipmania.

* often the losing side in any big war

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MonkeyCee
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Regulation rather than ban

"The probe into crypto-currencies should be fairly short. It funds terrorism, it aid paedos, drug dealers, ne'er do wells, it enables money laundering other than by the rich and elite, and it keeps transactions away from our prying eyes and money-grabbing hands"

Same reasoning applies to encryption, privacy, land records, British controlled tax havens, and pretty much all asset trading. So expect regulation, not a ban.

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A game to 'vaccinate' people against fake news? Umm... Fake news

MonkeyCee
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Fake news in academia

The issue with fake news, propaganda, advertising and the ilk, is that it can still work it's intended effect even while the end user is aware of it's nature.

Because I'm a university currently, most of the people I'll talk to about this are generally young, liberal (in the European rather than American sense) and not very cynical. They often believe (much like the academics) that if only people had the facts, then they would not come up with these horrid opinions, all the various bias and -isms would be cured, and we'd all live happily ever after.

But that supposes that people only base their opinions upon facts, and that they are not attached to the current opinions they hold. Experience generally indicates that neither of these are especially true, it appears more often that people will have an opinion or feeling, then any story that appears to confirm that feeling, even if demonstrably false, will be believed.

So even if you can prove to someone that say BoJo lied about EU regulations and enforcement in order to make funny stories, if they didn't like the EU (or what has been blamed on it), then whether those stories are true is immaterial. It's clearly just more evidence that the EU is evil. Same deal for Cameron and the pig's head, the "source" for the claim pretty much immediately distanced themselves from it, but it's still held as a "Conservatives are bad, mkay?" meme.

Fake news is *not* aimed at changing the opinions of people. It's much more about re-enforcing them. Just without any need to hew to a set of agreed facts.

The difference with normal news is that they will use certain of the same facts, and either present them in a particular fashion, or just not report them. The implied conclusion could also be as fake as fake news.

As an example, the Guardian reporting on the Mueller investigation when the indictments against the Russians where sent out. El Gruinuiard gave a lot of depth to the things that where done by the trolls that where pro-Trump/anti-Hillary, and then did their level best to twist the pro-Hillary/anti-Trump stuff to in fact being pro-Trump. Because "Russians tried to get Trump elected" is the conclusion that we are expected to draw, rather than "Russians seek to increase divisions in USA", which seems more likely.

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And lo! Crypto-coins came unto the holy land. And the wise decreed they must all be taxed

MonkeyCee
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Re: So how's this gonna work ?

Sorry, important disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, tax adviser or financial adviser. Please consult a profesional if swelling persists :)

"In the Dutch tax system, that means you pay your marginal income tax rate over 4% of the current market value of the asset. So if you're marginal rate is 30%, you pay 1.2% of the current market price."

This is a simplification, the actual calculation is more fiddly, as it changes based on your marginal rate as well as other factors. But it will get you in the ball park of what you pay for an asset tax.

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MonkeyCee
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Currencies versus assets

"At last, a government which recognises that bitcoin is a collectible item, like art or butterflies, and not a useful instrument of trade."

Firstly, quite a few governments have recognised it as an asset. So nothing new.

Secondly, it's an asset. Not a collectible, or a novelty, or more importantly a currency. Because assets and currency are treated differently for tax purposes.

So just be to be clear, assets include things like precious metals, land, property, royalty rights etc. Art, if held for investment purposes is, otherwise depends on your jurisdiction/accountant/lawyer. In general an asset can be valued, and thus taxed.

In general, collectible is used to describe something which is only an asset to a sub-section of the population. However, most people would be able to sell crypto (or land, gold etc) too a much wider market, hence why asset rather than collectible.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: So how's this gonna work ?

"At what price do you pay tax ?"

Don't know what Israel will do, but in the Netherlands they've been classified as an asset for 2-3 years. In the Dutch tax system, that means you pay your marginal income tax rate over 4% of the current market value of the asset. So if you're marginal rate is 30%, you pay 1.2% of the current market price. If you sell them, then you pay that 1.2% over the whole sale price. So for NL, current market price.

I don't know how the tax on assets works in Israel, but I'm presuming it's a capital gains system(rather than wealth tax) based on the article. Therefore it's probably 20-25% of the difference between the price you paid and the price you sold for.

"Or do people pay it when they sell them, which will make trading them a ballache"

Well, you acquire the tax liability when you sell them, you can probably pay the taxes at the appropriate time.

Can't see why it's an issue if you're trading. You make profits, you pay tax on them. Same as if you where trading fiat, oil or gold.

If your trading meets certain criteria, then you count as a financial institution, and thus you need to run it like a business.

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Kentucky gov: Violent video games, not guns, to blame for Florida school massacre

MonkeyCee
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Homicide

"About half of those deaths are suicides. Some countries do not count suicides by firearm as homicides like the US does. "

Homicide is the catch all term for a person dying as a result of a persons actions. Suicide, or even accidental death at your own hands is inherently a homicide.

Hence homicide rates and causes of homicides can be compared, and hopefully prevented.

Suicide versus accidental death can be hard to prove without other evidence of a persons state of mind. But a bullet in the head is a firearm homicide whether it's deliberate or a really unlucky negligent discharge.

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Oh sh-itcoin! Crypto-dosh swap-shop Coinbase empties punters' bank accounts

MonkeyCee
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Re: Cryptocurrency

"Teaching libertarians and ancaps why financial regulations exist since 2009."

Coinbase took money from customer's bank accounts. Or their payment processor did. But either way, a company was able to, without any customer input, withdraw money from a bank account.

Now, if coinbase had done that to another crypto wallet, it'd be headline news. But because it's a "feature" of the current banking system, the only news is that a crypto dealer did it.

I'm also very glad that these financial regulations keep us safe from bank runs. Except when, you know, a bank run actually occurs, and then the rules change. If you think your first 100k is insured, then have a look at what happened in Cyprus when they tried to use that regulation.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Cryptocurrency

"In this case, a handful of investors carefully manipulate the value until it starts going up, and then sell the idea of investing to a whole pile of people, and it continues to increase in value, until it hits a peak. Then the original investors sell a bunch of their investment, and the price drops"

That's not a Ponzi scam, that's a boiler room scam. Or pump and dump if you prefer. No person or organisation is guaranteeing you a profit, you are directly speculating in an instrument.

Pensions, social security and fractional reserve banking are Ponzi schemes. They can only continue to make the future payouts if there is a constant inflow of new "investors". The key feature is there is an opaque central fund which is claiming to be making a profit, whereas in fact the money is just being cycled.

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Essex black hat behind Cryptex and reFUD gets two years behind bars

MonkeyCee
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proce crash?

"his Bitcoin holdings were worth £500,000. Thanks to the recent crash in price, it was thought to be worth just £15,700"

Unless there's a typo here somewhere, the drop in price (roughly half from peak) can't explain that. Transferring 90% of the contents would tho.

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Remember the Yorkie pizza horror? Here's who won our exclusive Reg merch...

MonkeyCee
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Re: Northerners...

"Beamish Open Air Museum."

"cooked in beef dripping"

God, it's been over 20 years and those are still the best chips I've ever eaten.

It was helped by it being on a family vacation, and the two least culinary adept family members had been on dinner duty the night before. Hunger makes the best sauce and all.

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US states accused of skimming cash from 911 emergency call dosh

MonkeyCee
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Laffer curve

"go look up the Laffer Curve."

Dine that, wrote a paper on it. While it is true that extremes of marginal tax rates result in lower tax take, the important detail is where those extremes are.

In general, no-one really cares where the lower rate is, because the lower end is more affected by benefits, tax rebates etc. So you get benefit cliffs that aren't relevant to the tax rate at all.

However, the top end is very well documented. It varies by 3-5% by country, but the top marginal tax rate at which people will stop earning more money is..... 85%.

That is, if the top tax rate is higher than 85-90%, people will stop working once they hit that rate.

Any tax rate lower results in almost exactly linear responses in tax revenue. In other words, lower tax rates result in lower revenue, higher rates result in higher tax revenue.

So while the Laffer curve does exist, it only behaves in an odd fashion between 0-15% and 85-100% (for personal income tax). So if the tax rate being debated is between 15% and 85%, Laffer simply does not apply.

The US corporate tax rate is something quite different. Since they can hold off paying tax indefinitely, then waiting until there is another "once in a lifetime" opportunity to get a lower tax rate is simply a negotiating position.

If you could reduce your personal tax bill by half by simply not paying taxes for twenty years at a time, until such time as you got offered a good deal, would you not? I mean, it's hella immoral, but personally enriching, so probably not for those pansy waisted left whngers, but should be just the thing for the might-is-right, deficit not taxes crowd.

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BOFH: We want you to know you have our full support

MonkeyCee
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Re: They simply don't want you to call support

"A random stranger knocked on my door the following day, from a house a mile up the road. "I think this parcel belongs to you. I found it in my garden shed." "

My understanding is this is the current nature of disruptive delivery technology. Forget all this warehouse to customer nonsense, your parcel will get delivered to someone closer to you than the delivery center, and by a process of elimination end up at it's destination.

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Lloyds Bank bans Bitcoin purchases by credit card customers

MonkeyCee
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Re: "When did banks get to tell their customers what they can and cannot buy?"

" Directors can go to jail if they dont try and prevent money laundering. "

Hahahahahahahahahahahaahha! :)

If you have any example of this, I'd be really impressed.

As an example, HSBC admitted it was laundering cash for the Mexican cartels, paid the (at the time) biggest fine (1.6 beeeelion IIRC) and then..... nothing. No criminal charges against anyone in the organisation, no resignations, no suspension of banking licence, nadda.

If you have any evidence of any banker (or director) going to jail for failing to prevent money laundering I'd love to see it.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Wait...

"Can you not just get a BitcoinCard yet? "

I've got a debit card backed by bitcoin if that's what you mean?

No credit card tho, bitcoin or fiat. I'd rather borrow of my local mobster :)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: The banks don't like bitcoin.

" Bitcoin is used in criminal transactions and money laundering. Not all certainly but to a large enough degree that this makes sense."

Bollocks. By your own reasoning, then even if all bitcoin transactions where criminal, then it's a minute part of the banking system. Thus the majority of criminal financial activity must be within the current financial system.

The same investment vehicles and corporate structures that are used by the "legitimate" banking system are used by criminals, money launderers and tax dodgers. Are there going to be a crackdown on those? Don't be daft, there's proper money and power in there.

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Why is Bitcoin fscked? Here are three reasons: South Korea, India... and now China clamps down on cryptocurrencies

MonkeyCee
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Re: Basic economics killed Bitcoin as a currency

@ Naselus: I completely agree, it's not a Ponzi.

It *could* be considered a boiler room scam, which is pretty common in crypto. The good ol' pump and dump. :)

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Good news, everyone: Ransomware declining. Bad news: Miscreants are turning to crypto-mining on infected PCs

MonkeyCee
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coins stored locally?

"Miscreants can configure their malware to send back mined coins daily, but that increases the chance of detection"

That's a pretty odd configuration.

None of my miners collect the actual coins themselves. They are all mined to either a wallet address or to an account in a mining pool. Mining them to a local wallet just seems like asking for trouble even on your own system, let alone that you've gained illicit access to.

Using NiceHash miner seems a wee bit daft too, even ignoring screwing up the config. It's not exactl subtle software, and if you've got a GPU attached it will mine on that too. Which will generally be noticeable if only by fan noise.

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FYI: There's now an AI app that generates convincing fake smut vids using celebs' faces

MonkeyCee
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Re: Too much Daily Mail for my liking

"I only wrote that because otherwise some arsehole would say I was sticking up for child porn."

If you need to clarify a comment so that you don't appear to be sticking up for CP, then maybe you should rewrite so it doesn't appear that you're sticking up for CP.

"Writing this as someone personally responsible for the discovery, busting and jailing of a child porn pervert"

"I'm sorry if this sounds too unreal,"

"I'm no hero, I just reported stuff as I hope anyone would."

So did you bust and jail him or not? Because your story is now that you reported it, and nothing else. A LEO got a warrant, a LEO went and "busted" the guy (arrested), a LEO seized evidence, a prosecutor brought the case and a judge jailed the perp.

It's like someone saying "I personally reported and rescued two kids from a burning building" when all they did was call the fire department.

Your second post sounds more truthful, because you've toned down your bragging and taking of credit. Then you're back on your high horse :)

"that he has to warn me that technically I've broken the law too by having those files, but under the circumstances, there'd be no issue as long as I deleted them straight away."

"I was in charge of a server where someone was transferring child porn."

Put that in next time. That's the most important thing an IT admin can take away from the whole experience.

While you may have been given the all clear on your possession and viewing of those files, did they say anything about your role in supporting the distribution of them? That's the one with the biggest jail time attached, and the one you've admitted to.

"May be he shouldn't have speculated like that, but he did."

It's unusual practice for law enforcement to tell you anything about an ongoing case, unless you're a victim. Once it's gone to court, maybe, but until then revealing ANYTHING about an ongoing investigation to a member of the public can lead to a potential mistrial.

"your fucking issue isn't with me,"

Just with you taking credit for something you didn't do, in order to protect yourself from criticism.

"you are a nasty piece of work"

You boast about jailing a peado. Then you get shitty when your bullshit is challenged, and you spell out the actual story where you, in fact, do not jail anyone, but ran a server distributing CP.

"maybe the police you dealt with didn't like your vibe either?"

Eh, I think it was more to do with the person I reported (and my boss) being a freemason. The whole situation turned hostile pretty quickly, starting from the boss wanting to just make it all disappear.

Hence my advice to get a lawyer if you get caught up in this crap.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Too much Daily Mail for my liking

"First off, does CP mean "child porn" in this context?"

Yup, I just dislike typing it out.

" The relevant law in England is utterly disastrous and I am pretty certain that it actually discourages people from reporting known cases. It looks like your boss might have been thinking along those lines."

It was in NZ, hence the CYFS reference. While there is a lot of common ground between UK and NZ law, I wouldn't like to guess exactly how it works in the UK.

Your point is pretty much what I was trying to say, that unless you are a LEO*, there are a number of things that are illegal to possess or view. Thus if you "discover" them, you have in fact committed a crime and handing them into the cops won't excuse that.

Hence why I felt that the "I caught me a kiddie fiddler" was someone making shit up to try and support their argument. Unless said person was a LEO, in which case they where doing their job.

"the guy is an utter wanker and should not be anywhere near a uniform."

Hmm, I've obviously not communicated the story quite right. All the coppers involved where doing their jobs, where about as sensitive as they could be, and didn't overstep the normal procedures. Telling me I wasn't being prosecuted was part of the interview process, as you have to establish that I'm voluntarily giving evidence without being charged, arrested or being suspected. I'd have still been in trouble if I admitted to another crime in the interview, hence lawyer.

A lot of police work is procedural chasing down of all the obvious leads. If they fail to do something obvious, like interviewing and eliminating from suspicion the people who discovered the evidence, then any prosecution will probably get knocked down in court. The defence could claim I'd planted the evidence, and used a lack of investigation into me as reasonable doubt.

The harassment of my friend's brother was done by the cops, but again they where only doing their jobs. The instigators where the parents of the ex, who where absolutely abusing the legal system. They where/are a QC and a high court judge, so knew just what levers to pull, what sort of allegations to make etc.

If a report of a potential crime is made, then we generally expect the police to investigate. Being investigated or audited is never pleasant, and in the case with SWATing and false accusations can result in quite a lot of harm. Allegations about abuse of a minor are taken very seriously, and it's very hard (if not impossible) to strike the right balance between protecting children and protecting the rights of the accused.

So while I've heard some terrible things about NZ cops, and seen some really dodgy stuff done by them in court, all the ones I've personally dealt with have been reasonable and fair. They seem to be drumming a lot of the cowboys out too.

I'll repeat my advice, if you discover something illegal or suspicious, you should report it to the authorities AND get a lawyer. Lawyers are remarkably cheap compared to potential alternatives.

* law enforcement officer, to cover the range of flavours available

** technically presumed false, since I can't actually say for certain what happened.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Too much Daily Mail for my liking

"(Writing this as someone personally responsible for the discovery, busting and jailing of a child porn pervert)"

Wait, so you're somehow in a position to discover CP, then confront the suspect, and then jail them? So you're an investigator, a cop AND a judge?

Or just trying too fucking hard?

My experiences with CP (or accusations thereoff) are that you need to get you own bloody lawyer as soon as you've come anywhere near it.

Client dropped laptop in for data recovery. I ran data recovery, checked some of the files to ensure they've come through OK, and found some highly disturbing images.

Because I'm not Judge Dredd, I then called my boss. Who started making excuses for the client, so I told him that I was stepping out to find myself a lawyer, he should do the same and the client should too. I then called the cops.

What follows is not a lot of fun, as anyone who actually dealt with the filth. As part of the interview I was informed that while I was guilty of both possession of and distribution of CP* (and had admitted to it) that the CPS was *probably* not going to prosecute me. But that I should expect that I might be treated as a suspect, and to expect all the usual crap that goes with it, and to not delete or dispose of anything that could contain data, leave the country etc.

I had pretty much every device in the office confiscated, even if it had not been involved with data recovery. They even took the printer. I got almost all of it back within 6 months, with a fair bit of nagging from my brief.

The cops/CPS also told me very little as regards the case, other than they didn't me to testify as I'd already given my statement. Oh, and that there had been many more dodgy images, since I'd only seen a couple and obviously stopped there. So no idea if the client got jail time, or being able to internet boast about "jailing a perv".

The other, much less pleasant, experience was in a friends acrimonious divorce case. After a number of shitty tactics having failed to work, her ex accused her brother of being a kiddy fiddler. The evidence being that the kid said so, once, with no other witnesses. The ex's parents where a QC and a judge, so the cops had to follow the rules, so the brother got arrested (at work) and had all his electronics seized.

No evidence found, kid wouldn't say anything bad about her uncle to either of the shrinks, CYFS and shrinks interviewed both parents and nothing found. Brother is released, manages to keep his job, life goes on.

Three months later, the ex repeats the allegations. Rinse, lather repeat, expect the brother doesn't keep his job and there's a lot less electronics to seize as he hasn't got his phone and computer back yet. Again, no evidence, no testimony to anyone independent.

Four months later, brother has managed to get another job. Then he gets arrested again, at work, and one of the cops makes it clear to his workmates what he's being arrested for being "a pervert kiddy fucker".

Guy gets bailed, gets a lift home from his sister and hangs himself later that night.

I want to see scum locked for the horrible things they do, but it's never as simple as people would like to portray it.

If you discover CP (or a brick of coke, bag of money, warm firearm etc) then don't assume that "I'm a good guy" is going to get you anywhere. Call the cops and get a lawyer, the sharp edge of the law not only doesn't care if you're guilty, it will actively assume you are.

* Laptop was in my possession at the time, data recovery involved taking the drive out and cloning it onto my PC, hence I'd copied the data, which can count as distribution

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All your base are belong to us: Strava exercise app maps military sites, reveals where spies jog

MonkeyCee
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Re: @ DougS

"Do you know where US carrier fleets are at this time ? "

No.

But 30 seconds on google gives me: (from stratfor)

"Carrier Strike Groups

The USS Carl Vinson CSG is underway in the Pacific Ocean for a western Pacific deployment.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt CSG is underway in a deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

The USS John C. Stennis is underway in the Pacific Ocean for routine training.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting test and evaluation operations.

Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units

The USS America ARG is underway in the Pacific Ocean returning to its homeport.

The USS Essex is underway in the Pacific Ocean for routine operations.

The USS Bonhomme Richard is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting routine training."

I await my hot water....

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Fancy coughing up for a £2,000 'nanodegree' in flying car design?

MonkeyCee
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Re: 2k

"I wish - it's costing my son £9000 per year for his degree at a UK university."

Well, with all the friends he'll be making it'll pay back in no time. Presuming he's at a Russel group uni, the jobs for the boys should see him through.

If he's not, then I'd seriously suggest getting him onto a German or Dutch university course that's taught in english.

Netherlands is about 2k a year. Germany is free, but you need to prove you can support yourself (~9k euro for a year). Academic entry requirements are about the same as UK universities.

If he's living at home while studying it might be cheaper. But if he's living out, it would appears to be pure insanity to study in the UK. Well, in England. I hear it's still free for Scots to study in Scotland.

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MonkeyCee
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2k

Two grand is tuition for a year at most EU universities. For courses towards a real degree.

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Maverick internet cop Chrome 64 breaks rules to thwart malvert scum

MonkeyCee
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Re: This is why you should use adblockers

"Bitcoin miners...Duurrr."

I know you meant it as a joke, but it's quite effective as a micropayment mechanism.

Want to read my articles on improving your mining performance? Then hash me some Monero :)

It's a few cents per visit, and no need to serve up ads that I've got no real control over.

Most of the crypto community is fine with the concept of a dev fee being paid somewhere.

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Apple: The exclusive sales channel for an, er, AI toothbrush

MonkeyCee
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Re: Cheaper to pay for a trip to the dental hytgenist

"You seem to know a cheap dental hygenist"

The toothbrush is 140 quid. My hygienist is about 40 quid for 25 minutes.

Maybe the Apple approved hygienists are more expensive :)

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You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

MonkeyCee
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Re: Anchovies

Bill English, one of the many delightful kiwi politicians, not only makes "pizza" with pineapple and spaghetti hoops as toppings, but considers it worthy of instagramming it.

Anchovies are tasty, albeit strong. They are also a good way of stopping people from nicking your pizza :)

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Cyber-coin crackdown continues: Commission charges couple crypto-currency company chiefs concerning 'conned' customers

MonkeyCee
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Re: Swisscoin

" had literally dozens of 'invest now' swisscoin scam/spam emails"

In much the same way that legitimate pharmaceutical suppliers rarely resort to spam or untargeted ads, any ICO being pumped the same way usually stinks to high heaven.

I'm yet to see any actual ICO result in any real world product. There seem to be a lot of promises made by people who don't have the technical nous to even make their own coin, so they have to piggy-back on an existing one.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Aren't all Crypto Currencies

Ponzi schemes are specific form of scams.

Generally things like pensions or social security are not considered to be a Ponzi, despite the fact that there are more liabilities than assets and they only survive by a flow of new money and increasing their future liabilities.

Even things like commodity markets which are 90%+ paper* are not considered Ponzi schemes, despite the potential similarities. Because you can, in theory, convert your paper gold/beef to a real one.

Just because something is a speculative investment does not inherently make it a Ponzi.

In general it's only a Ponzi scheme if it follows this pattern:

1. Investors are promised returns based on the company doing x with their capital

2. The money invested is *not* used for x

3. As there are no actual returns from x, any payouts come from the invested capital

If at stage 2 the money is invested in x, and then all the money is lost, then it's not a Ponzi. It's just a failed investment.

I for one am glad that the SEC et al are treating crypto as an asset, and ICOs getting the proper amount of scrutiny that anyone asking for investment from the public should do.

Also kudos to the reg for finding an actual Bitcoin Ponzi, as compared to a normal Ponzi which used Bitcoin as it's "we're investing in x".

* for every steer sold, there are about twenty beef futures. For every physical ounce of gold traded, about sixty ounces of paper gold are traded, and so on

16
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User had no webcam or mic, complained vid conference didn’t work

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: @Dropbear -- I've had this quote hanging on my wall for years.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

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Baywatch hero drone saves silly struggling swimmers Down Under from going down under

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Shark bait....

What Martin said.

It's very easy to misjudge the ocean. I've been caught in a rip when swimming off NZ, and while I was within a couple of hundred metres of the shore I could have quite easily done myself in if I'd not been aware of what to do. Without obvious landmarks you can be swept quite a long way without realising just how far you've gone.

Much like being in a skidding car, to start with you want to avoid getting in the situation. When you are in it, stay calm as panicing probably cause you to make the instinctive (and wrong) decision. You steer into a skid to gain control, you swim laterally across a rip (or float and wait it out). Going against the motion will make things worse.

So in my case the rip was going out to sea, so I swam roughly parallel to the shore until I could angle back in. I was in the water for less than an hour, and had about half an hour walk back along the beach but I felt like I'd run a marathon. Some of which was swimming, but the panic wears you out.

Another time I've had to restrain a kid from going to try and rescue their dog (river rather than sea), which is another common mistake. Pet or child gets into trouble, adult dives in to help, adult also gets in trouble, rescue services manage to save child+pet while the adult drowns.

The dog was OK in the end, after going through some rapids.

16
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'No evidence' UK.gov has done much to break up IT outsourcing

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Why outsource

It may be different in your neck of the woods, but round these parts consultant and contractor are quite specific things. Since I'm doing one or the other quite a lot these days,I'll try and explain the difference.

A contractor is hired to produce a specific, measurable result. Typically this is a physical thing in exchange for cash, so you might contract Bob's Building Service to build a you a shed for a hundred quid. The contractor should provide the agreed products at an agreed price, along with folloiwing all the applicable laws etc.

A consultant is someone whom is giving their professional (r expert) opinion, and is obligated to act in the best interests of their client. However, you aren't expected to actually produce anything other than a report. The traditional example is getting advice from a lawyer. You pay them, they tell you their opinion, ideally backed up by the appropriate legal points They might even go as far as to write this ins a letter to the lawyers of the other party.

In both cases, the person hiring you has NO say about who delivers the product. It's a business to business relationship, there is no formal employment etc. You can't call Bob's Building Supplies and insist that Wendy comes and does the job, since Bob gets up to all sorts of nonsense.

From my experience of many of those self claimed IT con-artists, most are neither contractors (they don't produce anything tangible) or consultants, as their opinions are obviously not evident.

In general, if a problem is complicated (like in house IT for a government department) then outsourcing it will only make it more complex and therefore less likely to produce positive outcomes. Make people take ownership, give them some control, and ensure there's some level of feedback.

A bunch of my conslutery is going and talking to the helldeskers, and translating their thoughts into management speak. Which will still be partially ignored, but since I tend to focus on incremental improvements, a few things will get done.

In political terms, I'm mainly brought in to help the group who wants to maintain the status quo, rahter than the "grand vision" chaps, of whom I'm naturally suspicious.

"There may be skillful, honest & hardworking contractors & consultants - I just haven't come across any yet"

There are. I've even met other ones :)

The uniting feature is that they turn down the majority of gigs they get offered, since they know it'll be a shitshow.

2
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UK's Just Eat faces probe after woman tweets chat-up texts from 'delivery guy'

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: RLY!?!

"he had contact information available, thereby opportunity,"

What the actual....

No, just no.

If someone has *given* you their phone number, then contacting them out of the blue is OK. If you've "obtained" it by any other means, then it's really not cool to contact them. It's certainly not cool to ask them out on a date or enquire as to their relationship status

How is this even something you have to explain?

If you're interacting with someone where you or they are acting in a professional* capacity, then flirting may be acceptable (YMMV) but making a pass isn't. If you're not sure if something could be construed as hitting on someone (like asking if they have a boyfriend), then don't do it.

If you must hit on random women, do it in an environment where it's consider vaguely acceptable (bar, party, swingers club), where if the other party isn't interested they can back out of the situation gracefully. Texting, calling or showing up on your doorstep without invitation is an invasion of privacy.

* or at least getting paid for it

10
1

Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

MonkeyCee
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Duck and cover revisited

"Only after they establish a substantial strike capability would things change"

In so much as they can wreck the US, they already have that. There's pretty much nothing you can do to stop someone lobbing a nuke into space, popping it off at ~30km, and let the earth's magnetic field do the rest. The norks aren't interested in neutron bombing the US for lebensrahm, it's a deterrent to US invading them.

Assuming only the US has it's grid fried, and no-one else took any serious damage, you're still looking at 80% of the country with no electrical power for the first couple of years. Assuming all the worlds production of power transformers is then used for resupplying the US, it should only take about eight years to rebuild the grid.

That alone will kill many more Americans than dropping a bomb on a single metropolis. Starvation, disease and lack of heating/AC will. A decade of living like the nineteenth century might just topple the US from it's current perch as the dominant empire.

I mean, it's not like the Chinese would benefit from such a conflict.....

17
4

Junk food meets junk money: KFC starts selling Bitcoin Bucket

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Oh the irony

"On the other hand, I learned something : it costs $50 to make a Bitcoin transaction. "

While I appreciate the point the author is making, that statement is pretty much bollocks.

https://bitcoinfees.info/ will give you a rough estimate, which is about $20 for a rapid transaction. Maybe $10-12 for a slow one. You can make it effectively less if you have multiple transactions to complete at once, since you can do multiple input/output for a single transaction fee.

In general I assume that paying for anything less than a tenner with bitcoin would be a bit bonkers. There's (quite literally) thousands of other crypto currencies that are much better suited to micro transactions, both on speed and cost. Plus services that allow you to pay in one coin and have the receiver get their desired coin.

Why the hell KFC can't offer a payment provider that accepts that, which would actually be useful, rather than a pointless headline grabbing.... oh wait, that's why.

8
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Nvidia: Using cheap GeForce, Titan GPUs in servers? Haha, nope!

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Miners great cancer research FU.

"Equally, if you have 80 students being taught macine learning you should apparently be spending £180K+ to get a DGX1..."

That's pretty much happens at school. Well, not the DGX1...

You get shown how to do stuff using a GPU as part of a general ML and inductive inference course (it's usually an optional lab). The university won't spring for a GPU of any flavor, so you get to use whatever gaming laptop the students have, or a remote session on your fun box.

I'm going to have to remind them that they can't do it in data centres now....

2
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MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Why would one want to use Nvidia?

"I know which I prefer."

Horses for courses surely.

You can overclock AMD cards to a level that if they crash then you need to reboot. Nviida generally stops you from doing this, and their crash recovery is pretty quick (2-3 seconds).

On stock settings, both are pretty impossible to crash the drivers. With a modded BIOS on AMD, you can get quite a lot more performance (dependent on silicon lottery) wheras you pretty much can't edit the BIOS on nVidia, and that limits OC options.

AMD will also provide drivers based on workloads, so you can get actual blockchain drivers and settings to avoid unexpected mem speed jumps from p1 to p2.

So it comes down to what your planning to do with the card, how much protection from messing with the firmware do you want, and what attitude you expect from the manufacturer.

13
1
MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Sounds like good news....

" e-coins use proof-of-work algorithms that aren't GPU-friendly"

Eh, no. More the other way around. The PoW coins are almost all set to use GPU/CPUs and not ASICs, and often have a hard fork planned if they do become mineable on an ASIC. The PoS coins are the anti-miner crowd, PoW pretty much requires miners.

While some in the crypto community don't like miners, some groups actively encourage them. It depends upon whom you wish to depend upon for your processing, and how distributed you would like it to be.

Even the ones aimed at being only viable on CPUs are able to be mined on a GPU. That's the biggest appeal of the Vega's, that they can crack 2k hash on monero.

I'm curious where el reg can get a 1080t for those prices.

As for the article, surely the way around this is to add the word "blockchain" to any process that you're running. Or add a low intensity mining process, so you're doing blockchain processing as well as whatever nVidia wants you to do one their super expensive GPU.

It's the same crap as when a "workstation" GPU costs five times the equivalent of a consumer grade one, despite being having the same innards.

17
2

UK security chief: How 'bout a tax for tech firms that are 'uncooperative' on terror content?

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Tax Laws

"How many of the world's 5 largest economies are in the EU?"

2, Germany and UK. Unless the pound has had a terrible day, in which case still 2, Germany and France :)

Of the largest 10, 4 are. Germany, UK, France and Italy.

2
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Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Eh?

"I wouldn't wish Ikea furniture on my worst enemy, they're flimsy."

Bollocks.

Ikea make a range of furniture. That most people decide to buy the cheapest, and are then amazed that it isn't as good as the stuff costing more has always bemused me.

I've got two office chairs from Ikea. One cost ~20 euros, and gets uncomfortable after about three hours of use. The other cost ~250 and I've yet to get a sore arse or back from it.

They are also the cheapest place around for getting a sealed surface for use as a countertop or desk.

Also when people bugger up one part of a MDF construction, they seem to toss it. As long as it hasn't been rained on, I'll grab the panels and knock up some more shelves.

6
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MonkeyCee
Silver badge

GFX fail

I am the only one who considers a GTX 1050 2Gb to be a pretty low end graphics card? I mean, for a corporate box email and word bpx, sure. But not even 4gb?

You can pick up a gaming laptop with a 1060 6gb for ~1500 or a 1070 8gb for ~1800. They have 256gb SSDs and 1Tb spinning rust, and one gen previous processors.

I'm curious about it's build quality too, since about 80% of the surfaces in my university crowd didn't survive past six months*. Macbooks, ultrabooks, gaming laptops and chromebooks seem to be what prospers.

Then again, I hate carrying around an expensive machine. I'll leave my 200 super basic laptop on the table in the library when I go to the crapper, and I'll let my 3 year old watch stuff on it without panicking when he pokes sticky fingers at it.

* as surfaces. Some are doing fine as desktop machines, but that sort of defeats the purpose

4
2

When neural nets do carols: 'Santa baby bore sweet Jesus Christ. Fa la la la la la, la la la la'

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Christmas isn't Christian

"Incidentally, doesn't this demonstrate that those churchmen who get upset about the santafication of Christmas have a very good point?"

Surely it's the other way around? Christians deciding to nick an existing holiday, then get pissy about people still liking the original.

IIRC Christmas wasn't celebrated for the first ~300 years of the church, there where extensive arguments over when Christ was born, and the original date chosen was the winter solstice based on that being Christ's conception. The whole "sun dies for three days and is reborn" is widely prevalent in winter solstice celebrations predating Christianity (and Judaism) by thousands of years.

For quite a while (~800AD) Epiphany, the 12th day*, was the major religious celebration. It was a secular event (coronation of on Emperor IIRC) on Christmas day that started it as being the focal point.

In fact, the majority of festivals that people actually bother celebrating are the same ones we celebrated way before any of this monotheistic ideologies came along. It was far easier to just claim the holiday as being part of the new thing rather than try and oppose the will of the people.

So stop this santification of santa :)

* There's also the whole Julian/Gregorian calander issue, which is why the coptics celebrate Christmas on 7th Jan, that being 25 Dec in Julian IIRC

4
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Beyond code PEBCAK lies KMACYOYO, PENCIL and PAFO

MonkeyCee
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Fictional law firms

...that bear no resemblance to any real world ones, my favorite is Carter-Fuck, see Eyes passium.

2
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Bigmouth ex-coppers who fed media MP pr0nz story face privacy probe

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: What confidentiality?

"I assume by "iffy", you mean child porn or other illegal stuff, otherwise any reasonable employer would issue a warning, not fire on the spot, unless the boss was Mussolini."

Depends on your legal locale. For countries with labor rights, this probably runs afoul of various laws. Not that this ever really stops employees pulling this, but if you want to lawyer up you'll probably get a job or a payout from it. If you're in a "at will" state, then that's kind of the point. Boss wants you gone, you're gone.

If you're using a secured machine for browsing porn, I'd fire you for being a dumbarse. Or force you to undergo security training, which is probably worse.

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