* Posts by Graham Marsden

6927 posts • joined 19 Jan 2007

Mugabe gets email snooping green light

Graham Marsden

Ah, but...

> Mugabe's defenders claim the laws are no different to anti-terror legislation in the US and UK.

Of course Mugabe's legislation is to protect the people from internal threats to their liberties, whereas... umm....

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UK government tunes out debate on DNA database

Graham Marsden

DNA does more than identify...

Chris Cartledge:

I suggest you think about whether what our leaders deem "necessary" is actually either needed or desirable (let alone really feasible).

You could also try watching the film GATTACA and ask yourself if that's the society you'd like to live in.

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Graham Marsden

Are you positive...?

Of course if those people who have been "matched" at those crime scenes are innocent, it's going to be very difficult to claim their right to the presumption of innocence since "we've got your DNA sonny!"

Can you say "False Positive"?

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Computer crash causes bad attitude on ISS

Graham Marsden

"Rotate the Space Station please..."

"I'm sorry Dave, I afraid I can't do that..."

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Iran approves death penalty for pornographers

Graham Marsden

What's the difference...?

At least our "freedom loving" Government only wants to lock people up for three years for possession of porn that they don't like!

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Privacy chief warns EU on terror laws

Graham Marsden

"When", Campbell? Or just "if"?

"when your lives or those of your loved ones or immdediate communities are destoyed by murders, rapists, paedophiles, terrorists or whatever all because data that would have prevented the actions of those above was not allowed to be collected let alone used..."

Ah, let's spread the good old FUD around!

But, wait a moment...

"[...] voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Herman Goering

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Graham Marsden

Rubbish?

Campbell:

You trot out the tired old mantra of "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" but clearly you haven't actually *thought* for a minute about what you're saying.

Does the expression "Presumed innocent unless proven guilty" not mean anything to you? It requires that if you are arrested for a crime it is up to the State to *prove* your guilt, you do not have to prove your innocence. Yet you are willing to sweep that right away because, somehow (gods alone know how) it will make you "safer".

If you have nothing to hide, would you be happy to give the Police the key to your house and let them wander round and just check? After all, you have nothing to fear, do you?

Or try asking the people arrested under Operation Ore and accused of being paedophiles because they were the victims of Identity Theft. I bet *they* thought they had nothing to hide, yet they were forced into the position of having to prove that they *hadn't* downloaded kiddie porn.

Why am I so scared? Because if you take a look at history you'll see just how the lack of privacy can be abused. Take a look at what the Stasi got up to in Easter Germany, for instance and ask yourself if you *really* want that sort of thing to happen in our "free" country putting *everyone* under suspicion.

You are endangering *everybody's* liberties with your glib and short-sighted arguments and I "fucking resent that".

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China runs out of surnames

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

"[...] the western alphabet is strictly off-limits, meaning no Fleur de Lis or Brooklyn Zhous in the foreseeable future."

Be thankful for small mercies!

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C of E blasts 'sacrilegious' Sony shoot-'em-up

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

So how many churches and cathedrals have featured in Horror movies etc before now? (Hint: Try Guildford Cathedral appearing in The Omen)

And if it's so bad, how come a "Substantial donation" will sort it out?

"The love of money is the root of all evil"...! 1 Timothy 6-10

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UK mulls admitting wiretap evidence in court

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

I have to wonder if the reason MI5 are worried about allowing wiretap evidence is that they'd have to admit they're already tapping lots of phones illegally!

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Big Brother housemate canned for racist slur

Graham Marsden

Slow news day...

Obviously there's nothing else happening in the world if this makes headline news.

Personally I think they should get American comedian Chris Rock on the next Celebrity Big Brother...!

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Substitute teacher's conviction for porn popups set aside

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

Cloudberry:

> ... forty years in jail for a couple of pornographic images? The mind boggles.

Yep, even the UK Government only wants to lock adults up for three years for possessing images which are entirely legal at the moment (and which will still be legal over most of the rest of the world even if they do get their way)!

See http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/proposed.html (ignore points ii and iii on the list of what the legislation proposes, they're just there to distract people from noticing that the first point will result in people risking being locked up based on entirely subjective opinions of whether an image "appears to be life-threatening" or not)

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Russia: our space atom rockets are bigger, nyah nyah

Graham Marsden

Hmm..

> The Chinese leadership certainly hasn't felt the need to indulge in the sort of posturing seen from Vladimir Putin in recent days. This sort of thing is fairly routine for him, after all. Could be it's mainly intended for the folks at home

Phew! Good job Western Leaders don't feel it necessary to do this sort of thing to convince the folks at home that we're under serious threat every minute of every day so we have to surrender our basic freedoms and rights to "protect us"...

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40% of kids regularly visit forbidden sites

Graham Marsden

Load of bollocks?

Whilst I agree to some degree with the comments made by the first poster above, I can't agree that this is just a "Load of bollocks".

A lot of parents still need a wake-up call to make them realise that the Internet is not a child minding service and just because their kid is up in their room and being quiet it doesn't mean they can slob out in front of the TV and not consider themselves responsible taking care of their child.

Perhaps if more people took note of this fact we'd hear fewer hysterical demands for draconian laws to "censor the internet" by banning all access to some sites or making it illegal for adults to look at "dangerous pictures" on the off-chance that it might, allegedly, make someone do bad things.

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Facial drones spot passport frauds

Graham Marsden

Distort it with Photoshop?

Robert Grant

> I'd have thought the software was more granular and less likely to pick up on slight changes than humans are.

From what I've seen of such software in documentaries, it relies on absolutes such as the distance between the eyes, length of nose, width of mouth etc or some combination thereof.

If the eyes are a bit closer together or the nose a bit longer in the photo, that could be enough to fool the machine whilst the human eye (especially backed up with a bored brain!) is quite capable of ignoring or missing such changes.

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Graham Marsden

And then...

... all you need to do is snap a digital photo, distort it slightly with photoshop, re-photograph it on film and, bingo, something that looks enough like you to fool the eye of an Immigration Officer, but not enough to ring alarm bells on this system.

Meanwhile, of course, the people who do, by co-incidence, look like a "known terrorist"...

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DARPA to create brain-chipped cyborg moths

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

"M'lud, the defendant is accused of being a terrorist because he was sighted at the supermarket purchasing large quantities of fly paper..."

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DHS calls in sci-fi writers as consultants

Graham Marsden

Be careful what you read...

Hmm, maybe someone's recently watched "Three Days of the Condor" starring Robert Redford as a "Reader" for the CIA whose job is to go through SF and technothrillers in search of ideas they can use.

Of course someone maybe should remind them that Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were responsible for pushing Reagan into the Strategic Defence Initiative which, when it turned out to be completely implausible, suddenly (in a neat piece of ret-conning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retcon ) turned into an amazingly cunning plan to bankrupt the Soviet Union by getting them to waste as much money as the USA had on trying to develop unfeasible technology. Yeah, right...

PS Andrew Kirch - I think you're thinking of "Executive Orders" the Clancy book that immediately follows Debt of Honour and which deals in part with the aftermath of the attack)

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The Mirror website cracked

Graham Marsden

And...?

> Visitors to www.mirror.co.uk are met by a blank page.

And this is a problem because...?

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CafePress drops Buddha-snap doggie G-strings

Graham Marsden

Umm...!

"G-string underwear [...] emblazoned with [a] picture of Buddha"

In the game Shogun - Total War, when you're visited by a Buddhist Emissary, he sometimes leaves with the words "May you come to Buddha's hand some day"...!

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Microsoft waves in Minority Report-style computing era

Graham Marsden

Not that new...

Matt Houston http://www.tv.com/matt-houston/show/979/summary.html had a computer built into a coffee table back in 1982!

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Son of Star Wars test aborted

Graham Marsden

Charlie Brown...

Ross: Just a minor correction, the words were "Good Grief!" ;-)

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Telstra in Second Life 'Ayers Rock' kerfuffle

Graham Marsden

Inane or insane?

> Does [...] London prevent people from seeing Trafalgar Square without paying admission?

Well, under the "TRAFALGAR SQUARE AND PARLIAMENT SQUARE GARDEN

(AMENDMENT No: 1) BYELAWS 2002"

* * * * *

"GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY ACT 1999, SECTION 385(1) "

Acts within the Squares for which written permission is required

5. Unless acting in accordance with permission given in writing by-

(a) the Mayor, or

(b) any person authorised by the Mayor under section 380 of the Act to give

such permission.

no person shall within the Squares -

[...]

(11) take photographs or any other recordings of visual images for the purpose of

or in connection with a business, trade, profession or employment or any

activity carried on by a person or body of persons, whether corporate or

unincorporate.

* * * * *

Of course how they can actually tell the difference between a "professional" and an enthusiastic amateur isn't made clear, but apparently this doesn't stop "Heritage Wardens" from hassling anyone who has more than a snapshot camera...

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Ofcom rules on Celebrity Big Brother racism rumpus

Graham Marsden

Hmmm...

Why can't Channel 4 just apologise for inflicting a bunch of no-account nobodies with nothing to say and nothing to do on the British Public by showing Big Brother in the first place?

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MySpace to turn over sex-offender data after all

Graham Marsden

Are you a registered Sex Offender Y/N?

How many paedophiles do you think are actually going to use their real names and addresses to log in if they plan on attempting to approach children? Ok, sure, some will be stupid enough to, but probably not most.

And what about those "registered sex offenders" who are not paedophiles, but who have, for instance, been convicted of indecent exposure for taking a leak in a public place after a few too many drinks?

And once again, it seems that because some *parents* are too lazy or ignorant to take sensible precautions to protect their children *everyone* must be treated as a suspected sexual predator.

PS to Dan Goodin:

"porn sites so shocking and vile they aren't fit for adult viewing let alone viewing by children."

Well, it's nice to know that *you* are out there standing up for the rights of adults to make up their own minds what is or isn't "fit" for them to view...

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Net censorship growing worldwide

Graham Marsden

"normal laws" and "illegal" versus "censorship"

BKB:

The point about censorship is that it is the power to *control*.

In 1984 Big Brother created "New Speak", a language that would effectively prevent the people from even *thinking* unacceptable things (Thought Crime).

If censorship is to happen it must be done on a stringent case-by-case basis and it must be done on "proof of harm". It's not enough to simply say "I don't like this, so you can't see it", there has to be demonstrable proof that allowing it would cause more harm than denying it.

For example the UK Government wants to make it an offence to possess "Extreme pornography" and some want to to block access to websites that show this material (even though it's entirely legal in other countries) based solely on the personal tastes and opinions of some prudish Home Office officials and the erroneous claim that it "caused" the death of Jane Longhurst (even though they admit that there is *no* credible evidence to prove a link between pornography and violence!) arguing that if someone doesn't see this stuff, they won't try to copy it (so what happened before the net existed?)

With child porn there is, of course, evidence of harm, but John Reid now wants to outlaw entirely fictional CGI images and, by association, Hentai Manga without any evidence of harm (and what's next? Outlawing Vladimir Nabakov's book Lolita or the Kubrick film of it?)

So it's not enough to say that "everyone agrees with this", censorship is a big hammer that threatens the rights of adults to make up their own minds what they see and read and it's not enough for a government to say "we're going to stop you seeing this for your own good".

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Graham Marsden

Hmm...

Of course censorship is increasing.

The last thing Governments want is for people to find out what's *actually* going on in the world!

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Train driver asks passengers to get out and push

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

To quote Sir Topham Hatt (the Fat Controller from the Rev.W.Awdry's railway series books):

"My doctor has forbidden me to push."

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100,000 'erroneous' records on DNA database

Graham Marsden

How many records...?

> How many records have got the wrong data attached to them?

We'll find out when people start being arrested in Newcastle for crimes committed in Newquay...

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Judge in tech trial says he 'doesn't know what a website is'

Graham Marsden

Umm...

Does the expression "Popular Beat Combo" ring any bells?!

Not to mention Not the Nine o'Clock News' version of the gag...

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Fraudsters feast on credit card scam

Graham Marsden

Follow the rules...

> London restaurants should be wary of any orders they may receive over the telephone where the customer wants to pay with more than one credit card, especially when punters say the order will be collected by taxi.

This sounds like those restaurants have failed to pay attention to the rules set down by their Card Processing service.

Nat West's Streamline cautions users that any transaction, especially Cardholder Not Present, where the purchaser offers to pay with more than one card should be treated as suspicious and that goods should never be handed over to a third party.

Also if someone offers to pay CNP and then comes to pick up the goods, the retailer should cancel the CNP transaction and process the card physically.

I don't doubt that other Card Processors have similar rules.

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MySpace stands firm on paedophile data pressure

Graham Marsden

Try a little rational thought...

> MySpace and every other social networking site should be very willing to help law enforcement get these people off the street and not offer the opportunity to molest again. It is because of attitudes such as this, which makes these perverts feel safe to continue to ruin live of people.

No, it is because of attitudes like yours that people cannot have a rational discussion of this subject and want to sacrifice all of our fundamental liberties because of fallacious "think of the children!" arguments.

> Loss of these civil liberties is a very small price to pay to keep a child alive

No, it is too high a price to pay because parents are lazy.

It is the job of *parents* to take care of their children, not the State and not Myspace. The internet is not a child minding service which will look after the kids whilst the parents put their feet up, if you have a child you cannot abdicate your responsibility to someone else running a program at the end of a broadband connection.

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MPs must act on runaway ID project

Graham Marsden

Err, yeah, you've got a point...!

> Colin Langham-Fitt, acting chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary [...] described how non-convicted suspects might become stigmatised by having their details retained on criminal databases.

Phew! It's a good job that sort of thing isn't happening already with people's DNA, isn't it...?

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US 'war czar' to attack internet safe havens

Graham Marsden

Oh well, that's ok then...

Don Mitchell:

> I for one am not happy about the anarchy of the internet. When someone post a video of a kidnapped contract worker being beheaded, we should be able to locate the origin of that post and get the people who did it.

Absolutely, after all, we should surrender all of *our* basic rights and freedom of expression etc as long as there's a vague hope that somehow, at some time, repressing all those liberties might save a single life...

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MP questions police computer policy

Graham Marsden

DNA Records?

> his concerns were initially prompted by the case of constituent who had been wrongfully arrested and received an apology from the local chief constable, but whose details have remained on the PNC.

And, presumably, since he was arrested, his DNA has also been taken and recorded and we all know that the Police are *so* willing to take DNA details off their databases...

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Useless government IT adds self-nomination features

Graham Marsden

Yes, but...

"he executed the e-petitions strategy which has resulted in many millions of people engaging with the website..."

They forgot to add "and being ignored or fobbed off with bland platitudes and irrelevant twaddle."

Still, as long as it makes the little people feel as if the Government actually gives a damn about what they think...

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US states press MySpace to give up sex offender data

Graham Marsden

Yes, but...

So there may be paedophiles operating on Myspace and it would help law enforcement agencies protect our children if Myspace turned over their data to them.

Great, after all, who could argue against something to protect children?

Except witchhunts like Operation Ore comes to mind. What happens if (when!) someone is falsely "identified" because they have the same name as a genuine offender or they're a victim if ID theft or simple human error?

And then what follows? Will the Department of Homeland Security start demanding information "just in case there's any terror suspects using Myspace to plan attacks"? Or people just expressing "Un-American sympathies"?

This sounds to me like another data mining/ fishing expedition by those who think the best way to "protect" our liberties is by knowing everything there is to know about us and ignoring that fundamental liberty called "Presumed innocent unless proven guilty"...

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Biofuels are the 'next environmental danger'

Graham Marsden

Nuclear fission, no thanks

Andrew:

Fusion doesn't yet work and probably still has many years of research and a lot of money before it does.

Fission just leaves an expensive mess for the future to sort out.

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iPods 'mess with pacemakers'

Graham Marsden

MP3 players and heart rate monitors

I've noticed that my MP3 player can sometimes cause interference with my heart rate monitor (Polar brand, with a chest strap and wrist readout) to the extent that I sometimes get a reading of 233 beats per minute.

It seems to be mostly when my wrist is close to the player because the distance between the player and the chest strap doesn't change.

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UK ID card costs climb £600m in six months

Graham Marsden

Schengen

Silas:

John Reid said "A modern society also required people to prove their identities when they crossed borders"

It doesn't matter whether we signed up to it or not, unless he's saying that those who are members of the Schengen Agreement are not "modern societies" he's talking out of his backside (again).

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Graham Marsden

Well that's ok, then...!

So let's see what John Reid has to say:

1) In "a modern society", he said, people needed to prove their identity when they applied for jobs, allowing "businesses to vet new employees more effectively".

Well, I run my own business, so I don't need to prove my identity to myself. And unless he's going to try to force ID cards on people in India, how's he going to stop people in call centres playing fast and loose with our data?

2) "A modern society also required people to prove their identities when they crossed borders, and when they opened a bank account."

Well a) we *have* got passports already, Mr Reid, but we don't *need* one to be allowed to walk down the street if we don't plan on crossing any borders. (Oh and does the name "Schengen" mean anything to you"?

And b) Yes, we need to prove our identities when we open bank accounts. Why? Oh, yes, it's because your predecessors have *forced* banks to adopt schemes to stop us all from using our bank accounts for money laundering. Exactly how successful has that been given the amount that has been stolen from credit cards recently...?

3) "Our own, unique, identity is inexorably becoming our most precious possession. But when so much of this is now done remotely, how can we be sure who we are interacting with?"

A very good point, Mr Reid. How can we be sure *WHO* is accessing our "most precious possession"? How can we be sure that the people *you* are employing are honest and trustworthy and above suspicion...?

4) He said identity cards would make people "feel" safe. "This is not about control, Big Brother, or the loss of liberty.

Oh well *that's* ok, then! Now I *really* feel safe, John Reid has spoken and that's all that needs to be said.

There won't be any function creep, there won't be massive databases with all our details on, nobody's going to be checking our ID cards just for being out after dark or wanting to buy something with a credit card or for "looking suspiciously black".

I feel so much better already...

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Banks put customers in Swift Catch-22

Graham Marsden

You want to transfer money...?

Certainly Sir, just sign here, drop your trousers and bend over, someone from the USA will be along shortly...

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Amnesty backs Google shareholders

Graham Marsden

Google - Censorship? Us...?

This is, of course, the same Google that delisted Inquisition 21 http://www.inquisition21.com/ after it pointed out that large numbers of credit cards from the "Landslide" database in Operation Ore were being used fraudulently:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/19/operation_ore_fraud/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/21/google_delists_inq21/

Curiously enough they never seemed to have explained *why* a site, disseminating information which appears to be clearly in the public interest, doesn't get indexed by them...

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Credit card fraud fears cloud Operation Ore

Graham Marsden

Operation Ore Fiasco

Jim Gamble smugly said "90 per cent of arrested suspects in the investigation pleaded guilty when confronted by the evidence against them. "That's people who - the allegation has been levelled against them, the evidence has been collected and they, at court or through accepting an adult caution, which 600-plus of them did, have said I am guilty of this offence," he told the BBC. "That's not about credit card fraud."

But what he doesn't mention is that when someone's given a choice between admitting to something they didn't do and taking a caution or spending the next couple of years with the stress of a pending court case, large legal bills, having their name plastered across the papers with the subsequent damage to their reputations ("ooh, there's no smoke without fire"!) and the possible ruination of their careers or destruction of their family life, many will consider the caution to be the lesser of to evils *EVEN WHEN* they are entirely innocent.

And that doesn't include the 39 people who couldn't take the stress and committed suicide such as Commodore David White who took his own life after being suspended by the Navy.

The inquest into his death heard that computer equipment and a camera memory chip belonging to Commodore White had yielded no evidence that he downloaded child pornography, and a letter was written by Ministry of Defence police to Naval Command on 5 January this year indicating that there were "no substantive criminal offences" to warrant pressing charges.

Bravo, Mr Gamble.

For more about the fiaso that was Operation Ore see http://www.inquisition21.com/

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Don't let Paris Hilton do bird

Graham Marsden

And the next video...

Featuring Paris Hilton and Big Momma!!

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Yahoo! launches! mobile! search!

Graham Marsden

Comment!

Don't! You! Think! That! The! Joke! Of! Putting! An! Exclamation! Mark! After! Every! Word! In! The! Title! Of! A! Yahoo Story! Is! Wearing! A! Bit! Thin! Now!?

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Oregon boy in double spider ear blockage horror

Graham Marsden

Bomb... Boom...!

> the woman is referring to what we Americans call 'bug bomb', or insecticidal spray. We would never use actual bombs on our own homes, ha ha!

Unless of course, you use too much of the stuff and there's a naked flame or a spark... BOOM!

See Mythbusters or Snopes for more details http://www.snopes.com/humor/follies/bugbomb.asp

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RFID mirror automatically insults your fashion sense

Graham Marsden

How long before...

Disney starts suing for copyright breach?

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...

(Yes, I know they didn't originate the idea, but when did *that* ever stop someone suing?!)

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MS launches 'unlimited potential' campaign

Graham Marsden

The next 5 billion....

And there was me thinking that "The next 5 billion" was the next $5bn that Micro$oft plans to screw out of the public for a sub-standard product that has been forced on them...

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Granny waxes lyrical in 'txt laureate' challenge

Graham Marsden

Hmm...

Thr 1nce ws a txt frm Nntket...

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