* Posts by Graham Marsden

6927 posts • joined 19 Jan 2007

Crypto connoisseurs: Curl up with Princeton's 300-page ode to Bitcoin

Graham Marsden

Read it in the toilet, then every time you finish a page...

Graham Marsden

Re: Question from the third row back

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The post is required, and must contain letters.

SCO's last arguments in 'Who owns Linux?' case vs. IBM knocked out

Graham Marsden

San Francisco prepares to open source its voting system software

Graham Marsden

'noting that the San Francisco Bay Area is home to, among others...

'..."Apple, Facebook, GitHub, Google, the Mozilla Foundation, Twitter and Yahoo," it notes that the city is "a natural jurisdiction to take the lead in developing and certifying an open voting system."'

Thank you for voting, would you like to take a quick survey?

She voted for candidate X, you'll never guess what happened next...

Click here to tweet how you voted...

Update your phone software now!

We're going to use your toothbrush to snoop on you, says US spy boss

Graham Marsden

Re: Tough call

> Fell or pushed?

Those Soap Dishes can get really mean...

Graham Marsden
Big Brother

""new opportunities for our own intelligence services"

Naturally his next move will be to get the Government to ban security or encryption of such things or require businesses to install back doors...

How cybercrooks made $330K from ransomware without really trying

Graham Marsden

The estimate...

... which was pulled out of someone's arse by a security company which wants to scare you into using their products...


London seeks trials of Google's robo-cars

Graham Marsden

Re: @Lost all faith... - Have they decided on the ethical issue of life presevation?

You're missing my point: You're offering a False Dilemma where it's "either kill X or Y", I'm pointing out that most of the scenarios that claim such things are actually avoidable in the first place.

As for black ice, it's not difficult to have sensors measuring the temperature and slipperiness of the road surface and share that data with other vehicles, not to mention being able to independently control the power/ braking of each wheel to avoid loss of control.

Graham Marsden

@Lost all faith... - Re: Have they decided on the ethical issue of life presevation?

I keep seeing these hypothetical scenarios (which tend to get more and more outlandish with stupid setups about train tracks with ten people on one side of the points and only one on the other) and my observation is "which idiot designed this system where such a thing could happen in the first place"?

I know someone who is a Police Motorcyclist and he comments about the number of times he's taken an accident report where someone says "suddenly" or "unexpectedly" or "out of the blue", which actually translates as "I wasn't paying enough attention".

Self-driving cars have 360 degree attention, so nothing short of an explosion will "surprise" them.

When you learn Advanced Driving or Riding, you learn about Riding/ Driving Plans where you are constantly evaluating everything that's going on around you and thinking "if that lorry suddenly swerves, where would I go?" or "If the car behind the one coming in the opposite direction starts to pull out, can I brake in time or, at least, sound my horn and flash my lights to make them aware of my presence so they back out?"

Sure, sometimes you will meet a suicidal or drunken idiot or that lorry's tyre will blow out and spread flying rubber all over the road, but there are so many of these scenarios which can be dealt with without needing to decide "who dies?"

Graham Marsden

@Voyna I Mor - Re: I think she's missing a point

> If you have autonomous cars interacting, this shouldn't happen

Getting more people on two wheels (bicycle or motorbike) would also stop a lot of that happening. Traffic flow algorithms clearly demonstrate that, whilst two-wheel users may take up a similar amount of space in freely moving traffic as cars etc, as soon as congestion starts, they "disappear" because they are filtering through the gaps instead of taking up space.

Also two wheel users take up a lot less parking space too.

Unfortunately you get greedy councils like Westminster who decide that charging motorbikes for parking is a sensible move :-(

Graham Marsden

@Sgt. Pinback - Re: fire all the meatsack drivers

The problems you list could all be fixed by, instead of "firing" the meatsack drivers, *educating* them properly.

The current Driving Test is only just fit for purpose, it only says that someone has achieved the bare minimum skill level to be allowed out in control of a vehicle, yet for most people they pass and think "I know everything about how to drive" before forgetting most of it and acting like an idiot.

If people would just learn a bit of sense and consideration, road use would be a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

LIGO boffins set to reveal grav-wave corker

Graham Marsden

Has your black hole...

... been involved in a collision?

You may be entitled to compensation!

Facebook cares about you, yes you, so much it won't give up on India

Graham Marsden

Facebook cares about you...

> Facebook is not the only entity trying to help India who will be hurt by India's decision to can Free Basics;

Yes, there are other big businesses who are trying to get a hammerlock on a massive emerging market and block everyone else out before anyone realises that they've been screwed...

> Facebook will keep trying to help more people in India, and everywhere, get online because getting online brings prosperity;

Especially for Zuck!

> Facebook cares about you. Yes, even you. Which is why Facebook is going to ridiculous lengths to provide internet connections all over the planet and especially in its poor parts.

And no doubt they're Thinking About the Children too! (And how to monetise them...)

Are Indians too stupid to be trusted with free Internet?

Graham Marsden

Gift horse...

... or Trojan Horse?

And "Free Basics" sounds so much like Freebasing where, of course, the first hit is free, but then you're hooked and it starts to cost...

You open the gates, you let them in and suddenly you find that your people are hooked on something which doesn't benefit them so much as it benefits those advertisers and data merchants who are rubbing their hands with glee at the millions of extra sets of eyeballs which are now looking at *their* products and nobody else (not to mention the politicians et al who got tidy "campaign contributions" for their support).

Meanwhile your local industry finds itself blocked out of its own country because it can't afford to compete with the money that Zuck can throw at this (take a loss for five years simply to bankrupt the competition? No problems...)

The "racism" and "colonialism" angle is a complete red herring, does it matter *who* tells you the information provided you understand what is going on?

> ask yourselves whether you really want to go down as the imperialists of the 21st Century.

Hmm, nice False Analogy...

PS as for the "Are Indians too stupid...?" headline, I invite readers to familiarise themselves with Betteridge's Law of Headlines"

Health Secretary promises NHS £4.2bn to go 'digital'

Graham Marsden

Re: Pinocchio time

"On the back of us flogging everything we can to our mates in business"

"and because of our loathing of state-owned services and our values which say that healthcare can be run for profit"


Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

Graham Marsden

Rearrange the following words...

... to get a well known phrase or saying:

Toss Couldn't A Give

Brit boffins get green light to edit human genome

Graham Marsden

Re: "unused human embryos"

In IVF treatment, more ova are fertilised than are actually implanted.

Graham Marsden

@Elmer Phud - Re: Progress

> Everyone needs an Igor to help make new friends.

Yeth, Marthter...

(Well, the Troll icon looks like it could be an Igor...)

Danish Sith Lord fined in Galactic Republic rumpus

Graham Marsden

Re: unspecified techniques

I presumed that was code for "Asked his mum" (presumably he still lives with her...)

Did water rocket threaten Brum airport Airbus?

Graham Marsden

Re: Hitting the "k"






UK taxpayers should foot £2bn or more to adopt Snoopers' Charter, says Inquiry

Graham Marsden

@AC - Re: So, basically...

> can i have my coffee back please? it's on the floor ...

Well at least you missed the keyboard and monitor!

> who is the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow? The chaps behind the curtain I think we know

Call me David, Gideon Osborne and Treasonous May, of course.

Pay no attention to NewsCrap, Greed4S, Screwco, Crapita et al lurking behind the curtain...

Graham Marsden

So, basically...

... the Government are still completely clueless about the whole issue, but they think that if they stamp their little feet and demand the moon on a stick, the service providers can somehow wave a magic want and make all their dreams come true...

(And, of course, the Government justifies all of this because of "Paedos and Terrorists and Drug Dealers, Oh my!")

Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Graham Marsden

@Zog_but_not_the_first - Re: This is not...

> Also, they can unlock doors in the house to which you don't have the key

And come in when they feel like it, repaint the walls, move the furniture around and change the favourite channels on your TV...

... and if you don't like it, they say "fine, you can always move out..."

Graham Marsden

This is not...

... your phone.

We are just kindly giving you permission to use it, but only in ways that *we* approve of...

Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

Graham Marsden

@Doctor_Wibble - Re: Meanwhile back in the UK

> Replying to 300 or 400 emails at a time is easy if your software lets you do a select-all-and-reply-with-this-text to ensure everyone gets their own personal "your email is important to us" message.

Especially when the reply they send back simply parrots the Party Line which completely ignores all comments that anyone has made...

Graham Marsden
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@P. Lee - Re: Bah! Enough shouty millennials and their e petitions, tweets and emails!

> The problem is that MP's (correctly) believe that they don't care enough to do anything more than tweet. Like vote against them.

No, the MPs (correctly) believe that it doesn't matter a damn how many people complain or write petitions or stage demonstrations because of the golden rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules...

Graham Marsden

@John Styles - Re: Can't both sides lose?

> seemed worded to be slanted towards a particular outcome.

Of course it was, just like every other "consultation". Governments (of whatever stripe) know what response they want to get, so they write their consultation accordingly to get that response.

38 Degrees tried to spoil their game by pointing out the flaws and suggesting how people could reply to give the answers that the people wanted instead and the Government decided to pick up their ball and go home because we wouldn't play by their (biased) rules.

Graham Marsden

Re: Pointless email

> all emails get blocked now so every future campaign will simply be invisible.

So even if all of those e-mails were from unique individuals and not simply an attempt to astroturf the voting, the attitude would be "you couldn't write something different, so fuck you, we're not going to pay any attention to you"?

Hmm, "Hands up everyone who disagrees with this... Ok you all put your hands up identically, so we'll ignore you and go ahead anyway."

Graham Marsden
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"Whittingdale decided this was unrepresentative...

"...scrapped the consultation, and has started it all over again."

And there we see the attitude of certain people (and our Government) writ large: If you hold a consultation and don't get the answer you want, just claim that the answers are "unrepresentative" and you can go back and try again until you *do* get an answer you like.

I was one of that 92% and the fact of the matter is that the Government's "consultation" on the BBC (like so many others) was (deliberately?!) badly written, misleading and rigged to try to steer people towards responding in a certain way.

The fact that people refused to respond as the Government wanted shows the power of organisations like 38 Degrees, but it seems that there are those who prefer to denigrate their efforts with sneering comments and misrepresentative implications, based simply on their personal opinions.

I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Graham Marsden

@Cranky_Yank - Re: IBM loved 2001

Clarke debunked that story personally in his book The Lost Worlds of 2001.

HAL stands for "Heuristically-programed ALgorithmic" computer. He also mentioned that they'd had a fair bit of help from IBM in the making of the film, so it's unlikely they'd be taking digs at them.

Graham Marsden

"In time you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but with love..."

... to quote the penultimate line from Colossus: The Forbin Project where the US and the USSR both create super computers to defend their countries and prevent war.

It ends with the computers join forces to become "World Control" and obey their programing by taking over and thereby absolutely preventing war but, as World Control says, "freedom is just an illusion" and says how mankind will advance under its guidance

Forbin angrily replies "NEVER!"

So which would *you* have? Peace under computer control or war under human control...?

Graham Marsden

Re: Directors...

> Apparently some footage from "The Shining" made it into the U.S. theatrical cut. Who knew?!

I did, but I'm a major BR geek :-)

As to the nature of Deckard, Dave 126 points out, in the versions without the "happy ending" of them driving off into the sunset (and with the Unicorn Dream included), there's a big hint as Rachael walks into the lift. There are other hints in the film too.

Not to mention those spine-chilling lines "You've done a man's job, Sir" and "It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does...?"

Home Office lost its workers' completed security vetting forms

Graham Marsden


... no doubt "Lessons have been learned"...

Investors furious that Amazon only made $482m last quarter

Graham Marsden
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Re: Direction

And plenty of low-paid workers who can be easily replaced...

Five reasons why the Google tax deal is imploding

Graham Marsden

Re: @Lysenko - So are they breaking the law or not?

Which says (I quote)

"A director of a company must act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole"

There is *nothing* there that or the following sections which says *anything* about "maximising profits". In fact maximising profits could well contravene some of the requirements that follow, for instance "(c) the need to foster the company's business relationships with suppliers, customers and others" and "(e) the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct"

A perfect example of this is how Tesco have recently been fined for deliberately delaying payments to suppliers in order to make their figures look better.

Graham Marsden

Re: @Lysenko - So are they breaking the law or not?

> What you can't do is act to consciously diminish shareholder value in the pursuit of some other objective. Not without explicit shareholder approval anyway.

[Citation Needed]

Graham Marsden
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@Lysenko - Re: So are they breaking the law or not?

> Google is a publicly traded company and it *needs* to maximise profits (and therefore minimise taxes)

Corporations Don’t Have to Maximize Profits

There Is No Effective Fiduciary Duty to Maximize Profits

The nearest I can find to anything that backs up your claim is corporate directors are bound by "fiduciary duties and standards" which include "acting to promote the value of the corporation for the benefit of its stockholders." but that only says to "promote the value", not "maximise profits".

If you wanted to take the "maximise profits" to its extreme, then companies would be lobbying to be allowed to use slave labour because that's cheapest...

Graham Marsden

Re: So are they breaking the law or not?

> *That* is what Google is doing, exploiting the permanent establishment rules put into the law to *aid small companies*.

Because Google is such a small company that they *need* to use those rules since they can't afford to operate without them...

How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

Graham Marsden

@Chemist - Re: Coms

> surely it's even more mass to have to accelerate

Clarke fiddled this one a bit by having the ship's drive use "Zero Point" energy.

Graham Marsden

@james 68 - Ice Shields

> hitting a thick surface like an ice shield would absorb much much more of its energy vaporising an area maybe 70 to 80 times its size and also creating a very large explosion from the resulting superheated steam rapidly expanding.

Ok, but explosions tend to take the path of least resistance, ie I'd think that the steam would expand forwards, rather than backwards and, of course, given the cold of deep space, it would probably then tend to freeze back onto the shield, with only some loss.

Graham Marsden

Re: Coms

> we need a probe that can last at least 36 years of interstellar travel. Be able to travel at 10% of the speed of light (avoiding any debris along the way...)

I wonder just how feasible (and how protective) the Ice Shield which Arthur C Clarke used in The Songs of Distant Earth would be at these speeds.

Anyone know?

Feds slap Rentboy.com boss with further charges

Graham Marsden

@AC - Prostitution is not illegal in the UK

Well, not yet...

The Government are currently "Consulting" on Prostitution with the Terms of Reference which say:

"The Home Affairs Committee is launching an inquiry into the way prostitution is treated in legislation. In particular, the inquiry will assess whether the balance in the burden of criminality should shift to those who pay for sex rather than those who sell it."

Note that last couple of lines. There is no "burden of criminality" simply for being a prostitute, just some stupid laws about a brothel involving more than one woman at an address or someone employed as security being counted as a pimp, but somehow this consultation is assuming (or implying) that there is or soon will be one...

Graham Marsden


There are innumerable other escort sites out there, all of which operate similar business models and all of which are easy to find with the most basic of searches, so *why* was this one singled out?

There's no guidance for Scottish police use of UK facial recog database

Graham Marsden

"their current unregulated activities...

"...would be more compliant than that of their southern colleagues."

Hmm, it seems that these particular Custodes are Custodieting* themselves very well and acting in a sensible and responsible manner.

Obviously, therefore, they need "proper oversight" to ensure that they keep doing this stop wasting a valuable resource in the fight against [Terrorists | Drug Dealers | Paedophiles]**

* Yes, so what...? ;-)

** Delete as appropriate for whatever press release is being issued.

UK.gov plans to unveil a new Digital Bill

Graham Marsden
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The intention is to create a catch-all bill for measures such as...

... well, anything we like, basically, because it will probably all be done through Statutory Instruments which let us change the laws as we see fit without needing to tell anyone about the changes until they're done...


Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic

Graham Marsden

@Lamont Cranston - Re: Yes, clearly the BBFC fees are prohibitively expensive.

Way to totally miss the point.

There are people out there who want to produce films for niche markets, often in the adult fetish genres, but the cost of getting BBFC classification is so expensive and the market sufficiently small that it would be impossible to make a profit on these films.

Consequently you get the ridiculous situation of these films being available everywhere, *except* in the UK because of the "protection racket" that says "either you get BBFC classification or we prosecute you for selling uncertificated material".

But don't worry, they're thinking of the children by protecting them from buying this filth...

Graham Marsden

Re: Spoiler Alert

Oh great! Ruin the suspense for us all, won't you?

What on earth is the point of watching it now...???

Graham Marsden
Thumb Up

Re: Brilliant

I hope there's a Directors Commentary to go with it, just in case we miss a clever in-joke or homage.

Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

Graham Marsden
Black Helicopters

Re: After...

> ...you


"Yes. Well, everyone but *us*, of course..."

UK Home Sec wants Minority Report-style policing – using your slurped data

Graham Marsden

Meanwhile... "Hampshire police want ‘geeks’ to volunteer for cyber crime fight "

From my local newspaper:

* * * * *

A TEAM of online experts will be recruited in Hampshire in a scheme designed to crack down on the menace of cyber crime.

Home secretary Theresa May was at the Forensic Innovation Centre in Portsmouth, which is at the forefront of the fight against digital crime, as the pilot was launched.

* * * * *

Of course note that important word "volunteer", because obviously they can't afford to *pay* people to do this...

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