* Posts by Graham Marsden

6927 posts • joined 19 Jan 2007

US flies visa control kite over Pakistani Brit 'terror suspects'

Graham Marsden

Suspicious people...

Having once been fined £45 and £25 costs for the heinous crime of having a Black and White licence for a colour TV, it seems that I am now such a hazard to US National Security that I cannot qualify for the Visa Waiver Programme.

Well, thanks, USA, but I think I'll just skip visiting you instead, along with everyone else who dislikes the idea of being considered a potential terrorist just because you've dug yourselves into a hole so deep that you can't see you way out.

Right-to-reply website launches

Graham Marsden

But who is going to bother...?

Newscounter says "One of the main reasons for newscounter is how hard it is to find two sides of a media story online."

I beg to differ! It's very easy to find two sides of a media story online, in fact you can easily find a *dozen* sides at times.

So why is anyone going to go to Newscounter and expect anything other than self-serving propaganda?

Euro Data watchdog warns of database creep

Graham Marsden

Ok, it's great but...

'Frattini noted how individual privacy was threatened by technology that made "identity theft, discriminatory profiling, continuous surveillance, or deceit" possible.

'Privacy enhancing technologies could do something about this, he said. They would ensure that "breaches of the data protection rules and violations of individual's rights are not only something forbidden...but also technically more difficult".'

The question is, though, whether our great and noble leaders and security services are going to be willing to allow us such "privacy enhancing technologies" or assume that because we have "something to hide" we must "have something to worry about" and consider us potential criminals and terrorists...

MoD to publish secret UFO files

Graham Marsden

The Truth is Out There...

... but Lies are in your head.

- Terry Pratchett.

Home Office promises proactive powers for info commissioner

Graham Marsden

And of course...

This will also apply to Government databases etc, won't it?

After all, the Data Protection Act says that:

"Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes." and...

"Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed." and...

"Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes."

etc etc.


So if, say, a Government or Police Force was holding data on a large number of citizens and decided to introduce ID cards or a National Identity Register or a DNA Database (including people who'd not been convicted of a crime)...

Japan wants levitating trains by 2025

Graham Marsden

The German Red Herring

The accident in Germany is no argument against Maglev.

Not leaving maintenance vehicles parked in the way of *any* sort of train is a good idea and having adequate safety precautions to stop this happening is what is needed, on Maglev *or* metal rails.

'Traffic Taliban' moots speed cameras in cats' eyes

Graham Marsden

The obligatory Paul Smith comment...

Ah, it's a speed camera story, so there must, of course, be the obligatory comment from Paul Smith of his self-styled "Safe Speed" campaign.

But before people start cheering for his selfless campaigning on our behalf to save us from the "Scameras", I'd invite people to visit his site at http://www.safespeed.org.uk/ and start doing some thinking about Mr Smith's figures statistics.

It rapidly becomes obvious that his claims are as dubious as Richard Brunstrom's: he makes predictions based on "trends" which are nothing more than speculation (and which don't, subsequently, happen), he makes statements like "5,500 more people have died that would have been predicted in 1993" but then draws the conclusion that this *must* be the "consequence" of speed cameras which is nonsense. He cherry picks figures which fit in with his arguments and ignores or minimises those that don't.

Mr Smith has an axe to grind but before giving him the air of publicity it would be sensible to see if his claims actually make any sense.

Operation Ore: evidence of massive credit card fraud

Graham Marsden

Paging John Reid...

We read stories like this and yet John Reid wants to go ahead with plans to create a new offence with punishment of an unlimited fine and up to three years in prison for possession of cartoon or computer-created pictures if they appear to feature "child sex abuse".

So anyone who's downloaded Anime or Hentai images could be on the list.

I wonder what is next? Perhaps anyone who has taken a copy of Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" out of the library will be targetted...

DXG dishes out 5Mp camcorder with games

Graham Marsden

Is the price right...?

Is the $199 = £100 the actual retail price, or just a conversion put in by the author?

I'll be impressed if we don't see a Rip Off Britain price of £199 applied here...

Commercial child abuse websites growing

Graham Marsden


Robert Grant:

That's most probably what the Government is counting on.

They hope that nobody is going to have the guts to stand up and point out that this is a blatant violation of people's rights to decide for themselves what they can or cannot see for fear of "what the neighbours will think" or because they'll find themselves on some Home Office "target list" if they manage to push this draconian law through Parliament.

Graham Marsden

Just a thought...

So, despite massive international co-operation and millions being poured into stopping the propagation of child porn, these sites are still out there and, indeed, expanding.

It rather puts into perspective the UK Government's proposed go-it-alone "Dangerous Pictures Act" where they want to give people three years in jail simply for possessing images of consenting adults engaged in consensual behaviour because (in the entirely subjective view of prudish members of the Home Office) it is "extreme or violent pornography" which they think "appears to risk serious injury or death", even when posed by actors.

Once again I mention that over one thousand eight hundred people signed my petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website calling on the Prime Minister to abandon these plans to create a "Thought Crime" http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Violent-Porn/ yet despite two months now having passed (and another reminder being sent), there is *still* no reply from Mr Blair.

I wonder why not...?

Hormonally challenged teens refrain from abstinence

Graham Marsden

Remaining abstinent....?

But were the missing 56% "remaining abstinent" because they didn't want any or because they're the unpopular/ unattractive/ geeky with no social skills bunch at school who just don't *get* any?

Go green with a double-glazing mortgage, say Lib Dems

Graham Marsden

Just a thought...

I wonder how long it will be before the Tories jump in and say "oh, yes, we're planning the same sort of thing too..." given the way they seem to be trying to "reposition" themselves on the political landscape, mostly by lifting Lib Dem ideas!

UK boffins are going on an alien hunt

Graham Marsden

Alien DRM....?

Now here's a thought:

If alien signals are encrypted and we do manage to decrypt them, could we find ourselves faced with an inter-planetary lawsuit for unpaid royalties...?

Carphone Warehouse leaves caller hanging on telephone

Graham Marsden

Say No to 0870

Whilst it won't help with unconnected lines, Say No to 0870 will often provide an alternative, landline number which will be much cheaper (or possibly even free!) to call.


Also you've still got a few hours left to join the 42,600 or so people who have signed up to the Say No to 0870 Petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/saynoto0870/ but hurry because it closes today!

UK gov mulls child porn changes

Graham Marsden

Coaker's at it again

There is a possibility that the UK Government is now surreptitiously trying to back away from their plans to outlaw "extreme pornography".

Government replies to two petitions on the Number 10 Downing Street website, one calling for even R18 material to be banned and another calling for the Obscene Publications Act to be scrapped have both received comments saying that "We continue to believe that the OPA is a flexible tool with which to tackle a wider range of obscene material according to the standards of the day. There are no plans to re-examine legislation in this area."

Interestingly, however, my petition, signed by over 1,800 people calling for the Government to abandon their plans to make it a criminal offence to simply possess anything that, in the subjective opinion of Coaker et al, is considered to be "extreme or violent pornography", is still waiting for a response, despite it closing well over a month ago.

So it seems that now the puritanical members of the Home Office are trying to find another way to grab the headlines and introduce a law expanding what they can declare to be "illegal".

Of course what they don't mention is that the Legislative Reform Act would then give them the power to redefine the law by Ministerial fiat *without* even consulting Parliament and allow them extend the law to ban anything they don't like.

Once again, by using "scare tactics" such as "think of the children" they are trying to push through a law which is most probably just intended to further restrict our freedoms which are so inconvenient to the desires of our Nanny State Government to control what we can see or read or view.

Will there ever be a real 'Lie Detector'?

Graham Marsden

Just a thought...

Whilst I agree with Craig Hall's comments, there is a certain attraction to the idea of applying lie detectors in a "top down" configuration, starting, say with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

"We have no plans to introduce..." BUZZ!

"This project has a confirmed budget of...." BUZZ!

"These proposals will make the country safer..." BUZZ!

"I have no plans to resign as Prime Minister..." ....

UC Davis shpreads beer schience goshphel

Graham Marsden

Just a thought...

"Good beer production is long and difficult. It involves soaking malt barely, boiling the solution with hops, cooling and fermenting with yeast and the release of Co2 and ethyl alcohol."

Err, better not mention that last bit too loud, otherwise we'll have people calling for beer to be banned for contributing to global warming...

French succumb to Franglais

Graham Marsden

The purity of English...

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." James D Nicholl - rec.arts.sf.written

FBI agents 'abused Patriot Act powers'

Graham Marsden

Never mind...

So what's the problem?

After all, I'm sure none of the people whose information was illegally obtained has anything to hide, so they don't have anything to worry about.

Do they...?

South Korea to detail robot etiquette

Graham Marsden

Langford's Laws...

Don't forget Dave Langford's alternative Three Laws of Robotics:

(1) A robot will not harm authorized government personnel but will terminate intruders with extreme prejudice.

(2) A robot will obey the orders of authorized personnel except where such orders would conflict with the Third Law.

(3) A robot will guard its own existence with lethal anti-personnel weaponry, because a robot is bloody expensive.

US greenlights human/rice hybrid

Graham Marsden

Another pause...

When your anonymous poster at the top paused, it seems they didn't pause for long enough.

In biology a "species" is defined as "a taxonomic group whose members can interbreed", in other words you can interbreed grains with other grains, roses with other roses or dogs with other dogs, but you can't interbreed grains with dogs!

These experiments, however, are trying to do just that, crossing the "species barrier" without any knowledge as to what the results may be.

Now that, I think, gives *me* pause and "let's give it a try and see what happens" is hardly a good justification for messing about with DNA in this manner.

Sky goes dark for Virgin Media

Graham Marsden

Just a thought...

It seems that Sky are acting like the Microsoft of TV broadcasting.

They want more and more control over what you can watch and you have to pay more and more to get what you want, whilst being saddled with a bunch of extra stuff that is of no interest to you.

Why should we need to pay for a whole load of channels which we don't want to watch just to get the ones we do want to see?

NASA moves fast on hail damage, astronaut madness

Graham Marsden

Just a thought...

> The manuals apparently instruct a space-going master-at-arms to "talk with the patient while you are restraining him", and to "explain what you are doing".

But what if it's the "space-going master-at-arms" who goes nuts...?

BitTorrent Inc offers legal downloads

Graham Marsden

But will this be Rip Off Britain again...?

"BEN plans to offer films at around $3.99 each for new releases or $2.99 for older titles. TV shows would be sold for $1.99 per episode"

Who wants to take bets that these prices will be "translated" into £3.99, £2.99 and £1.99 when this gets to the UK and it will be impossible to download from the US site at virtually half the price?

Darwin Mr Popular again in Kansas

Graham Marsden

Believe what you like but...

... to quote Philip K Dick: Reality is that which, when we cease to believe in it, still exists.

Clarins unveils anti-aging satellite defender

Graham Marsden


Tinfoil Hats in a can, what will they think of next?!

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