* Posts by jmch

755 posts • joined 6 Mar 2017


US prosecutors: Hey, you know how we said 'net gambling was OK? LMAO, we were wrong

jmch Silver badge

"The Bible belt may come into play though and try to fight it."

Evangelical Christians against gambling? You're having a laugh!

It amuses me no end that if Jesus were alive today, these supposed "Christians" would be the ones he would be excoriating in his talks about pharisees. They champion the strong against the weak, have zero compassion for the downtrodden masses and poor immigrants, favour tax policies that allow the rich to get richer and give the poor the middle finger...

The only truly 'religious' position they have is anti-abortion and even then some of them seem OK with physically attacking abortion clinics and their workers

Army had 'naive' approach to Capita's £1.3bn recruiting IT contract, MPs told

jmch Silver badge

Re: Actually...

"Why does the govenment keep spend our money with orgaisations that have a record of failure in delivering govenment contracts?"

As with everything else, companies evolve to survive in their environment. The environment of civil service procurement is one in which the cheapest bid is reflexively selected even when it's clearly below standard, the quoted price is clearly too low, the provider has an awful track record* etc. There are also either no penalty clauses, staggered payments etc or when there are, the trigger thresholds are too weak or too fuzzy or else the penalty / bonus process leaves too much discretion in the hands of individual civil servants.

Therefore the companies that thrive are the ones that bid low, bill high and deliver the cheapest possible shit they can get away with

*incidentally, not delivering on multiple contracts is not an impediment, as the companies' "CV" is that they have been AWARDED such-and-such contracts, not DELIVERED

'It's like they took a rug and covered it up': Flight booking web app used by scores of airlines still vuln to attack – claim

jmch Silver badge

Surprised about El Al

The Israelis are usually paranoid about security, and in their case it is certainly real security as opposed to the security theater in the US and many 'western' states, so I'm surprised they wouldn't have fixed this properly when given the chance. Unless of course there's nothing they can do themselves because it's completely screwed up on Amadeus' side.

Want to get rich from bug bounties? You're better off exterminating roaches for a living

jmch Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Things may change in future

One of the things I love about the register is these little nuggets of information from a group of users who are extremely well informed across a vast range of subjects including such seemingly in-tech-related subj as cockroach extermination

Come mobile users, gather round and learn how to add up

jmch Silver badge

"Identical access control on development and production systems? What could possibly go wrong?"


"This is why test/development environments and production environments should never be the same network."

It's quite possible and sometimes desirable for developers to be connected to multiple environments at one time eg DEV and QA and/or UAT. It's possible and sometimes desirable to have multiple instances of the same application open at the same time, each pointing to multiple environments, and accessed using different credentials.

Of course best practice requires checking what environment I'm in before I run any script or execute any code etc, but sometimes it doesn't happen. For me what helps is development environment background that changes colour depending on server environment it's connected to. And even that sometimes fails.

The only way to be completely sure is for devs to simply not have access to Prod, and have change management to implement stuff in Prod... and that brings it's own host of issues

Q. How exactly do you test car seats? A. With this sweaty 'robutt' that twerks for days and days

jmch Silver badge

Re: They could have just paid me (handsomely)

Not to mention all of the above combined with heated seats...

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free

jmch Silver badge

Re: How many Shuttles could have been kept operative..

It's not just that...

How on earth are you going to patrol the wall? If it's made of steel, a few hours work with an angle grinder is enough to cut through. And I wouldn't put it past some enterprising persons to manage to create a hidden 'door' in the wall that is almost undetectable from the US side*. And unless you're going 'Game of Thrones' high with the wall, it can be scaled.

So wall will need to be patrolled with high frequency. Also, US will be patrolling their side, but can they patrol the Mexican side? (in this respect, makes more sense for the US to build the wall a couple of hundred metres inside the US so they can patrol both sides). But you need to patrol thousands of miles of wall with how many people exactly??

At best the wall will prevent large numbers of people crossing at once, but individuals or small groups could still get across

*Allied POWs in Colditz, Germany's most secure prison camp, managed to build 'doors' in brick walls that were undetectable to fairly close inspection, if the steel wall is in sections, disguising a door would be easy

jmch Silver badge

Re: How many Shuttles could have been kept operative..

""The Wall" might cost as much as 30 billion"

The US-Mexico border is around 2000 miles. $30 billion works out at $15m / mile.

The US government's own budget office estimates that the cost would be $24m/mile for the cheapest possible option, which is more fence than wall. Average US government projects overrun budgeted cost by a factor of 3.3 ON AVERAGE. So it's probable that the fence would cost almost $100b, and a proper wall at least half as much again, probably double.


jmch Silver badge

Re: How many Shuttles could have been kept operative..

"The $5.7B he wants in the budget is just the appropriation for this year. Several more years are required to build the wall that he promised Mexico would pay for."

And that right there encapsulates neatly both the emptiness behind the blustery facade, and the incredible gullibility / naivete of those who voted for him

Americans are just fine with facial recognition technology – as long as they get shorter queues

jmch Silver badge

Tech ignorance

The questions tap into the 'magical thinking' that many people have a bout technology.

How exactly is facial recognition going to reduce shoplifting? 'Recognition' means that you have to match the picture caught on your camera to a database somewhere. If Walmart et al are to have a database of known criminals, that has to come from law enforcement, who really should not be sharing that data at all.

How exactly is facial recognition going to reduce queues at the airport? There already are automated biometric systems, and the bottleneck in the system is the passenger themselves providing their passport. It won't speed up anything to compare a photo of him/her to tehir passport picture vs comparing a fingersprint scan to that stored on the passport.

All of that putting aside the fact that the technology itself is actually pretty crap at recognising anyone of interest as demonstrated so 'ably' by the London plod.

jmch Silver badge

Re: I think the real problem is...

"the younger generations mostly tend to choose convenience over privacy"

But the survey results show that the OLDER generations choose convenience over privacy more than teh younger ones!

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

jmch Silver badge

Re: Don't worry, it's only money

Phil, I agree on most of that....

"Free trade brings peace, empire-building politicians do not."

Yes, which is why I suggest one of the ways to 'fix' EU is more powers to parliament rather than commission. The major strength of the EU is in simplifying day-to-day living and business (ie economic rather than political integration). The grand plans to make a Europe-wide superstate are as stupid now as they were in the time of Napoleon.

"Migration needs to be tackled at source, before people leave their homes, not after arrival in Europe when it's too late"

Unfortunately not too much that the EU as a whole or any European country can do about that one. A lot of African / middle eastern countries are in a mess. This can't be forcibly fixed from the outside (vide Iraq, Libya etc) and can't be fixed by foreign aid that is easy for corrupt regimes to appropriate and/or is tied to strings attached such as use for buying stuff (including weapons) from the 'donating' country*. Also a lot of people are fleeing famine related to climate change that has to be tackled on a global basis and anyway won't have any quick fixes.

So in any case there will be a flow of refugees, and the EU needs to be able to welcome them humanely and integrate them as productive and contributive elements of society. Ghettoisation doesn't work. Racism is a big problem in this respect. For example there are huge Italian communities in Germany from migrant workers in the 50s and 60s but they are now 2nd or 3rd generation integrated and white. The Turks in Germany who arrived around the same time and in the same numbers are still treated much more as outsiders.

*Incidentally, this is really a form of state aid to their local businesses that the EU should step in to stop

jmch Silver badge

Re: Don't worry, it's only money

"If we leave without it being very visible painful for us then it opens the floodgates for other countries to leave. And lets be realistic, there are other countries that would be better off out of it"

I think one of the problems with the EU is that it's very real benefits founded on lasting peace and on freedom of movement of goods, services and people has become so intrinsic and basic to Europe a to be taken for granted. These are not some small fringe benefits, they are major drivers of the prosperity of Western Europe. People arguing for their country to leave the EU either do not understand how much benefits they are getting from the EU, or are willfully ignoring them in favour of straw bogeymen they have built up.

Anti-EU advocates in many nations talk a lot of bollocks about sovereignty and immigration, but you know what? The sovereignty of your parliamentary representatives is already bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists. The EU on the other hand has shown itself much more willing than individual national parliaments to stand up to corporate bullying. You want more sovereignty? Then push for the EU powers to be passed from the unelected EU commission to the elected EU parliament. Leaving won't solve anything.

And regarding immigration, do you think that being out of the EU will change (a) the need for foreign workers in countries where the population of natives is dwindling and aging (which is all the countries in the EU!) or (b) the fact that refugees from Africa, Syria etc continue to see the European countries as havens whether in or out of the EU? Immigration needs to be better managed but is not going to be stopped, short of surrounding Europe with barbed wire and machine guns

jmch Silver badge

Re: Wow, it's almost...

"a third had to Google what a banana was and then didn't bother voting."

The rules of the game are, whoever doesn't vote doesn't count. You might not like how it is, but that's how it is. You can't just assume that the non-voters would have voted one way or another.

For the record I am not UK citizen or resident but I think Brexit is a huge mistake both in idea and in execution. BUT ignoring the referendum result because you don't like it isn't how things work in a democracy. You want to stay in, got to have yourselves another referendum

jmch Silver badge

Re: How long until the new referendum will be called?

I guess that depends if a second referendum is 52-48 for remain vs 66-33 for remain. Of course it could return another win for leave...

jmch Silver badge

Re: Wow, it's almost...

"MPs are not delegates sent to do the bidding of stupid people who happen to be alive now. They have a duty to serve the national interest, and to honour the sacrifices of past generations and the interests of future generations."

For anyone not fully versed in the traditions of British Parliamentary Democracy, Edmund Burke's speech on the matter is considered a seminal text.


tl:dr - the MP has full independence in his votes in parliament

jmch Silver badge

Re: Wow, it's almost...

"there was an inconclusive result in a non-binding referendum in 2016."

Yes it was non-binding, but 4-point lead is pretty conclusive

Full frontal vulnerability: Photos can still trick, unlock Android mobes via facial recognition

jmch Silver badge

Re: Weird

Cold weather outside, gloves on = useless fingerprint sensor, AND in many cases impossible or difficult to enter a pin / passcode, since even with special gloves that allow touchscreen to detect their touch, there is the 'fat finger' effect. Bad enough having to hit the right keys with just my fingers, with gloves it's much worse.

Yes face recognition and fingerprint is less secure than pin / password. Yes, biometrics is more like a 'username' than a 'password'. BUT security isn't binary. Ultimately nothing is completely secure, it's just a question of cost / effort / time to break it, which really just needs to be greater than teh value of whatever it is protecting. For the vast majority of people, face recognition or fingerprint is secure enough.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?

jmch Silver badge

Re: surpass humans in specific intellectual tasks

"Are chess and Go intellectual pursuits or just a complex mathematical puzzles?"

Here's a thought experiment - introduce chess to a machine via images from a camera showing people playing it, and nothing else at all. No context as to what are the pieces are and how they move, that different colours are different sides, what the win conditions are, or even thet there is a 'win' condition at all...Leave aside for a moment being any good at playing chess, would the machine even be Able to work out the rules? And how would that compare that to the same exposure to chess to say an 8 or 10-year old?

American bloke hauls US govt into court after border cops 'cuffed him, demanded he unlock his phone at airport'

jmch Silver badge

Re: Just say "Yes Sir"

While US law formally grants the same rights to residents and citizens, and 'bill of rights' issues grant same rights to anyone 'just visiting', in practice citizens get better treatment than residents, who get better treatment than visitors.

As a non-US citizen I would just say yes, sir to any reasonable requests. But this guy, being a US citizen and also clearly clued-up to his rights (eg asking "am I under arrest, do I need a lawyer") quite justifiably stood his ground and had every expectation that the border officers would not overstep their mark.

The border officers clearly didn't know where their limit was (possibly exactly because everyone else just says "yes, sir"). And let's face it, has anyone ever heard of a similair story where the US citizen in question was a white guy called John Smith rather than someone with and Egyptian* descent and name. There's no direct indication of racism, but as the Italians say "to think badly of someone is sinful but many times you get it right"

*and by the way I wouldn't trust US border officers to know the difference between Egyptian and Arab

jmch Silver badge

"areas 100 miles from ANY airport that allows international flights to land/depart"

That, plus 100 miles from any coast effectively means close to 100% coverage of the population

jmch Silver badge

Re: Like many laws, a smokescreen for dominance

"The US Government has the option of allowing it to be sued"

erm... citation needed? I thought the law courts there were pretty independent and take a very dim view of government interference. I don't think US gov can seriously claim this as a matter of national security, when it's clearly some border agents pushing the line too far because usually very few people push back.

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

jmch Silver badge

Re: 'Murica never ceases...

Culling deer - good both for deer population and for the forests

Poaching - bad

Everyone willy-nilly having a firearm just because - also bad

Justifying everyone having a firearm because crims will also have - ridiculous

Rather than just losing hunting privileges, these chaps should have also lost firearm privileges. No need to catch them hunting - find them in possession of a hunting rifle and in the slammer they go again.

Talking about 2nd amendment is just blather. A constitution isn't written in stone, that's WHY you have amendments in the first place. If stuff that's in there is outdated / not working / just plain wrong, you change it. Otherwise you'd still have slavery

Who's watching you from an unmarked van while you shop in London? Cops with facial recog tech

jmch Silver badge

Re: 650 willing crowd subjects

"Can't they just test it out in the House of Commons? "

Not a good test, because 100% of targets are criminals

Fraudster convicted of online banking thefts using… whatever the hell this thing is

jmch Silver badge

Re: £Half a million for 20 months, great hourly rate?

"great hourly rate?"

You don't know if any of the 500k was safely stashed away where he can get it later, nor if he managed to stash anything else away unknown from the police, so the best you can say is he has board and lodging free for 10 months. Otherwise, who knows?

Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving

jmch Silver badge

Re: long tail

"On my drive this morning (in the dark). etc etc"

Which is why step 1 is to get cars behave autonomously on motorways. There's still hazards, detours etc but (should be) no pedestrians / cyclists and very limited junctions. It would already be a huge win if I could drive my car to the motorway myself and then switch on self-driving. Have it linked to GPS with planned destination so it alerts driver before the exit and makes sure they are awake and ready to take control as soon as the exit is taken. And add a fuel sensor combined with GPS data of petrol stations along the way to stop when refuelling is necessary.

Off-motorway the conditions are much more complex and infinitely variable, but at least we can automate the simple parts that also tend to be the longest / most monotonous / boring.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

jmch Silver badge

Re: Why?

"Hence the large steam machines in hipster coffee shops."

That's not just for hipsters, it's for anyone who likes their coffee. Small domestic machines heat the water and generate pressure 'ad-hoc' and so can fluctuate. Industrial espresso machines have individual boilers for steam generating the pressure to push the water to the coffee, and for the water itself, so that both are always at the optimal temperature / pressure.

jmch Silver badge

Re: Why?

1. The article says "We contacted LG to find out how much the beer brewer would cost but have yet to hear back. ", so I wouldn't say it negates the cost factor. I guess it will be considerably cheaper than buying from a pub and cheaper than supermarket, and more expensive than full-blown home-brew, but without an exact price it's difficult to see where it fits in. Either way, all the way along the range from full-blown homebrew to going to the pub, you're trading convenience for cost, and this slots in into a currently unoccupied position on that scale. So it's almost certain that the cost/convenience ratio will work for some people.

2. I'm quite certain that unless they have some DMCA-type technology to only allow their own capsules to work, that some enterprising bods will find a way to reverse engineer the system and tweak the recipes / substitute their own capsules.

So, it's not for me but it might be a niche hit

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it

jmch Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: "... and will always be in Europe"

"Geographically, obviously, at least for a while as continents don't move too quickly - but under the political and economic perspective? Will it be aligned with continental Europe, or will shift towards other areas? US? China? India? Russia?"

Airstrip One is part of Oceania. It has always been at war with Eurasia.

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

jmch Silver badge

Re: There is no advantage in universal ID

"There are plenty of "database nations" out there where every single bit the government has on you (even your parking tickets) is organized in a central database and neatly indexed by your national ID. A lot of them are actually at least as free as UK and have better human rights/surveillance/etc situation"


IT professionals used to handling unique IDs across multiple systems should understand that having a unique identifier for each citizen is not substantially different to having multiple identifiers such as passport, driving license or whatever, which can anyway currently be linked if they have a mapping between the various ID types (which for example GCHQ certainly have).

The defence against oppression and invasion of privacy comes from oversight and transparency. Not having ID cards is just a fig leaf without that.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

jmch Silver badge

Re: Interesting idea

"Huh? Small-scale production is less efficient and more expensive than mass-production in just about everything, and energy production is no exception."

True, but what you lose in efficiency you more than make up for in volume.

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

jmch Silver badge

Re: Reminder

"No problem, you say, use a group calendar! And then due to reorgs/scope creep/laziness, "your" groups calendar falls into disuse. Or the mailing list gets retired. Or the recipients filter annoying certificate-provider emails to trash."

Yep. I was thinking - how about the issuing certificate authority, which knows all the certificates issued, to whom, and when they expire, sends a notification to certificate holders whose certificates are about to expire, but same problem remains - who do they send it to?

That's the problem with medium term certificate duration. If it's issued for 20-25 years it would be obsolete by the time it has to be changed (but too insecure). If it's valid for max 6 months or 1 year there would be enough attention on it to not forget about it, renewal would be something that gets done in the quarterly or annual business cycle (but too frequent might be a PITA). 2 or 3 years is the sweet spot for it to be forgotten about!!

jmch Silver badge

Re: Don't feel so bad Ericsson, you probably did us all a favour!

"I don't recall random passengers striking up conversations with others on public transport then either"

Me neither. Before phones there were books and newspapers. And the current craze for giant headphones instead of tiny earbuds is just a re-run of the late 80s / early 90s although of course back then they weren't noise-cancelling and actually broadcast the sound to the outside world as much as to the listener.

Forget ripping off brains for AI. Butterflies and worms could lead us to self-repairing intelligent robots, says prof

jmch Silver badge

"...anthropomorphising something which is an innate instinct"

Well, what IS instinct? We tend to use it as a collective way of saying "This animal shows that behaviour and we have no real idea of how that happens, except that it seems to be inbuilt". And if it's inbuilt behaviour that means there is a mostly genetic component to it.

The twist here is that while 30+ years ago it used to be thought that genetics were mostly fixed, now we know that certain memories / experiences can be genetically encoded and even passed on to offspring. So it's not unreasonable to surmise that a some memory / experience is coded as genetic change, which can survive the metamorphic process.

Of course all that is highly speculative on my part and I am in no way an expert on any of this stuff... and of course, yes, they could be anthropomorphising

Naked women cleaning biz smashes patriarchy by introducing naked bloke gardening service

jmch Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Why is it sexist

"Actually I'd settle for any body else doing the housework to be honest."

Amen to that!

jmch Silver badge

Re: Why is it sexist

"If women what to make their money that way why is it sexist?"

It's not so much the nudity that's sexist as the work allocation. If naked cleaning (ironing, cooking* etc...) ladies was considered sexist, the answer is to provide naked cleaners of whatever gender. And if they want to expand their service to gardening, they can provide naked gardeners of whatever gender. Having naked cleaning ladies (but no male cleaners), and nakes male (but not female) gardeners is sexist.

Otherwise I agree that as long as people do it willingly, are not abused on the job and are fairly compensated, they should be free to choose whatever they do.

*PS I would have though naked cooking rather unhygienic, no?

OM5G... Qualcomm teases next Snapdragon chip for phones: The 855 with a fingerprint Sonic Screwdriver, er, Sensor

jmch Silver badge

Re: 5G skeptics

Of course 5G is 25% more deadly than 4G. Right?

For wearable analysts, the glass is always half full

jmch Silver badge


Don't really understand the point of wearables as a 'general purpose' do-everything device that is also basically a slave device to a smartphone. And it seems like most people don't either hence the massive tanking of smart watches full of bells and whistles, while the real success stories are those that do one job very well (eg fitness tracking).

With wearables the obvious benefit of being on the body is that it can monitor the body, hence obvious applications are fitness and medical-related. Most people already have a phone as a general-purpose mega-powerful device that can have multiple apps and also act as a hub for multiple subsidiary devices. There's no point in having BOTH a smartphone and a powerful, super-smart smartwatch.

Of course the evolution of the 2 could lead to a smartphone that's essentially a giant watch that covers the whole forearm like Predator's

Terminator icon in lieu of Predator :) ---------->>>

Intel eggheads put bits in a spin to try to revive Moore's law

jmch Silver badge

Re: Amazing stuff

Damn you, AC... and everyone else who followed the bait!!

How the hell did the comments section about a genius technical innovation end up being full of effin' Brexit again? There's plenty of such threads on articles that actually ARE Brexit-related.

To get back on track - the article mentions

"magnetic spin is non-volatile"

"current is determined by the direction of an electron's spin. That provided an efficient way to read out the state of the multiferroic"

"an electric field alters or flips the dipole electric field throughout the material, which alters or flips the electron spins that generate the magnetic field"


All of these seem to be applicable to memory / storage, but not to logic circuits. How can the state of one of these atoms be used to direct current flow one way or another in a logic gate?

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

jmch Silver badge

Re: Strangely in the last week or so....

"Does seem stupid that leaders of the 3 main(tory, labour SNP) parties voted to remain but still we plough on for a minority vote to leave. (36% isn't a majority) "

I also find it strange that the leaders of the 3 main parties voted remain but the political process still grinds onwards towards 'leave'. I find it unfathomable that more people voted leave than remain. I can't begin to understand why so many people who were sold a lie are happy to continue to be lied to because they can't accept they were wrong in the first place.

BUT, that "36%"* is a crock of shite. Democracy has it's rules. Only validly cast votes count, and you can't just assume whatever you want about those who did not vote. The best translation of an 'Abstain' vote is "I don't really care one way or the other". The result was 51.8%-48.2%, not 36%-64%

By your reasoning one could argue "Why would we not leave if less than 35% wanted to stay?"

*Actually 51.89% from a turnout of 72.21% voted leave (37.5% of voters) not 36%

jmch Silver badge

Re: Strangely in the last week or so....

" we will end up with an outcome that will please nobody "

It's 100% certain that there will be a lot of unhappy people whichever way this pans out. No-deal Brexit or any-deal Brexit are both very far from the utopian visions being offered by Brexiteers pre-referendum. Pro voters were sold on pie in the sky and have found that close up it's more like a shit sandwich

jmch Silver badge

Re: Actually, this may be a well-disguised win

"this pertains to defense applications, for example dropping a GPS guided munition down a bunker"

Presumably said missile being launched from an as-yet-unavailable plane that will be flying off an aircraft carrier that is as yet unable to catapult the as-yet-unavailable plane?

Seriously though, does the British military not already use GPS for this? Are they anticipating that the yanks are going to cut them off?

jmch Silver badge

Re: Strangely in the last week or so....

"she reluctantly calls a second referendum to break the impasse, at which point the slim majority of the country that can perform basic maths votes to remain and she walks away, holding up her hands and saying "I did my best" while privately thinking "thank fuck for that"."

I HOPE that this is what is going to happen as I believe that's the best outcome for UK. It's more likely of course that this is going to end up with no-deal. Either way if whatever happens is the result of some grand master plan I'll eat my hat. It's just a random outcome of clueless muddling through.

From Motown to lockdown: Detroit bathroom bung IT exec gets one year in the clink

jmch Silver badge

'behind bars'

"...will be spending the next 12 months behind bars for bribery.

Parimal Mehta was given the month prison term on Monday, along with a year of supervised release and a $10,000 fine".

How does 1 month prison and 1 year supervised release translate to "12 months behind bars"?

Also, $10k fine? As per the article, this guy was paying thousands of $ in bribes, presumably with the intent on getting a far higher rate of return. And if this was going on for many years (before 2013), then at least some of that projected 'ROI' must have already been realised. Given the context, $10k fine on it's own seems rather low, unless this was also accompanied by the city clawing back payments from any contracts they signed with the guy's firm.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

jmch Silver badge

Re: The elephant in the back seat

"if there is no driver giving signs of life, how the feck does the car manage to carry right on as if there is?"

Spot on. This is not the correct behaviour, the car should *ALREADY* have slowed down, pulled over and flashed hazard lights.

However with regard to the article highlighting the times that autopilot has crashed - it's 5 times with 2 fatalities. You can be 100% sure that if there were any others, they would be well-known and very public, because, Tesla and because, Autopilot. So how does 5 crashes and 2 fatalities in approx 3 years and god-knows-many-miles since deployment compare with human-driven cars.

Without that comparison the criticism is meaningless. Self-driving cars don't need to be perfect to be deployed, they just need to be better than the average human (which is actually quite a low bar), and will improve from there.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

jmch Silver badge

Re: Apparently flamingos and unicorns also

"mythical beasts, either tends to offend the reactionary who seem to never tire of the yearly indulgence in the tired old trappings of the season, totally unaware most of the current yearly decor comes only from the Victorian era, and is not an eternal tradition."

Mythical beasts such as flying reindeer? :)

Incidentally while many 'tired old trappings' might indeed be Victorian-era, actual Christmas Trees date from the 1600s while tree-worship and the hanging of greenery indoors around winter solstice time predates Christianity. Saint Nicholas as a bringer of gifts is also a much older idea, and many European countries celebrate 6th December, his feast day, with the arrival of 'Sinterklaas', 'Samiklaus' etc

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

jmch Silver badge

Re: Define "security"

"Tell them that any modifications to public security methouds must be immediately & unilaterally mirrored to the government & military security methods"

The usual question of quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Of course the problem with 'watching the watchers' is then who watches the watchers who are watching the watchers who are watching the watchers who are.... and so on ad infinitum.

So in the end the solution to that problem is that the watchers are watched by whoever they are watching. Full reciprocity might be a dream, but... FOI requests that cannot be refused... full release of all government official data in 5 years, with even the most secret documents that have to be released after 10 years. The only guarantee of good behaviour is scrutiny. The cops etc believe this should only be applied to the plebs but it is far more appropriate for those in power

jmch Silver badge

Re: Quid pro quo, Clarice...

As mentioned in the article, it's a question of trust. GCHQ etc have broken their trust and if they want to rebuild it, more than empty words are required.

In principle I am not against law enforcement having access to the communications of nasty people. BUT they need a warrant that is targeted at a specific person or small group of people, and limited in scope (what they are looking for) and time (limited to a few months and needs to go through full process to reauthorise). Also, to guarantee that the powers are not being abused, the intercept HAS to be done through the 3rd-party service provider (eg Whatsapp) not directly by GCHQ etc, and these providers need to be paid by law enforcement to provide their services, AND most importantly be allowed, nay, required, to publish frequently and in detail how many intercepts they are being asked to make. Plus any other safeguards as may seem necessary including truly independent external oversight and heavy penalties (including jail time) for abusers.

Now, law enforcement might look at that list and say... but that's really restrictive... to which we reply THAT'S THE BLOODY POINT!!!

NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

jmch Silver badge

Re: Power?

"The solar panels are 2 2.2m diameter solar panels producing about 600W at the start of the mission "

OK I've been wrong before :) ... that doesn't seems a bit low, though: That's about 7.6 sqm of panel... so panels are producing about 0.079 kW/sqm, Mars is around 1.5AU from the sun so inverse square law so should be around 2.25 times less than Earth (1kW/sqm), so 0.44kW/sqm.

So efficiency of solar panels would be barely 18%, while the best available panels are close to 40% efficiency. Is there that much dust in the air on Mars to reduce efficiency so much? Or maybe NASA are estimating 600W initial as teh absolute lowest worst-case, and in reality they could have quite more?

jmch Silver badge

Re: Power?

"@jmch you are about 1000x out on W/sqm on earth!"

<homer>D'Oh! </homer>

I knew there was a 1 in there, a small matter of forgetting the 'k'



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