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* Posts by Smooth Newt

874 posts • joined 6 Jul 2009

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ZTE to USA: Sure, ban us, but you cannot afford such victories

Smooth Newt
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Re: Protectionism

"Basically, the US has a monopoly of all smartphones and is prepared to use it in trade wars."

I don't think any smartphones are manufactured in the US. Almost all of them are made in Asia, along with most of the electronics and other components. And e.g. Samsung is a South Korean company and Motorola Mobility is owned by Lenovo, which is Chinese.

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BT rearranges deck chairs, launches good ship Enterprise

Smooth Newt
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Re: Translation Required

Do I take it that "leveraging synergies across business units to be more than the sum of our parts" has gone the way of the dodo?

Yes, the new wank word bingo phrases are "strengthen [...] services and products" and "sharpen our focus on customer service". It sounds better than "sell stuff our customers want to buy" and "have less shit customer service", although it is maybe a little less honest.

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ZTE now stands for 'zero tech exports' – US govt slaps 7-year ban on biz

Smooth Newt
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Re: I wonder how this affects me...

Except, if you're at risk of being snooped on by spooks, they'll be foreign spooks. With no interest in what you're doing, and a very high hurdle to coming after you in the unlikely event that they do find connections between you and suspected terrorists, child-molestors, or general dissidents

Not so much that, it is having your router and any computer connected to it used as a surrogate for said spooks hacking activities. Much better to use your IP address rather than their own. It makes it less obvious that it is a foreign state doing the hacking, and means you have to issue the denials about being the source of the hacking from your cell instead of them from their comfortable foreign ministry.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: I wonder how this affects me...

"I own and use a ZTE z850, and have been using it for a couple of years.

What risks am I actually running?"

The people who pwn it will be Chinese rather than American.

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NHS Digital execs showed 'little regard' for patient ethics by signing data deal

Smooth Newt
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Re: It only makes sense.

Being in the country Illegally SHOULD be treated as a serious crime.

Not every crime is a serious crime. Serious crimes cause major, life-changing harm. Things like murder, rape, torture, planting bombs, slavery, large scale theft. People must be strongly deterred from committing these crimes, and perpetrators stopped before they do even more harm, at almost any cost in Police resources.

Letting your dog shit on the pavement, nicking a Mars bar or overstaying your visa are not serious crimes. Fortunately for you, talking out of your arse isn't a serious crime either. Unless you are Boris Johnson, of course. What was the name of that woman in an Iranian slammer?

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Apple leak: If you leak from Apple, we'll have you arrested, says Apple

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: Leaking the anti-leak memo to Bloomberg

In 2017, Apple caught 29 leakers. 12 of those were arrested

These figures are meaningless without Apple also giving an estimate of how many leakers they didn't catch. e.g. if there were 10,000 leaks in 2017 then the odds of being caught were pretty low; if 30 leaks then the odds were very high. I am curious why the company didn't think it would benefit from providing this essential figure.

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Backpage.com cops to human trafficking, money laundering

Smooth Newt
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Backpage to front page

It takes a couple of years to get from the backpage to the front-pages. But if you engage in their type of activities you do make it.

Well it depends. If you publish people's adverts promoting evil things on the Internet, then you are a criminal who will go to jail. If you are a social network and let those same people put those adverts up on your site themselves instead, then it's not really anything to do with you. You might have some vague exhortation from a few politicians to "do your best" to take them down, but you are not going to jail.

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Data exfiltrators send info over PCs' power supply cables

Smooth Newt
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Re: Seeing the light

Has the 'paper' already been published on how to use the hard drive activity light for a similar purpose ?

Totally irrelevant theatre-style security, u prats.

It is an axiom of risk management to put serious effort into defending against highly likely scenarios rather than highly unlikely ones.

Exfiltrating data is usually pretty easy if someone has access to the machine, and getting access to the machine is supposed to be the hard part. If they have access to the machine then there is really not much you can do to protect your data apart from close the stable door when you find out, if they don't have access to the machine then all these side channels are completely irrelevant.

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Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte creating app to register 3m EU nationals living in Brexit Britain

Smooth Newt
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Re: Really?

Really? That is getting perilously close to making the environment not hostile to immigrants. Your thinking is subversive, the black van will transport you to Lark Hill shortly.

No risk of that. If it follows the usual pattern, the existing 85 page form will be reduced to a 190 page one before the project is abandoned in a decade or so because of massive cost overruns and a total lack of usability.

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Smooth Newt
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10-15 million pounds

For a simple form filling app with a database behind it holding a few million records? Nice work if you can get it.

Plus this is just the starting point, since the really big bucks come from the extra bits the client will decide they want bolted on as the project progresses.

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Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

Smooth Newt
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The problem

The aim is to create a 'problem' that feminists can then 'fix'. This is the first phase in the push for that old chestnut: equal pay for 'equal value' work.

I think it is another small victory for feminism in the ongoing jihad against men.

Most of the low paid cleaners around here are female, let's push up the average female salary by sacking them and replacing them with men?

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Is there alien life out there? Let's turn to AI, problem solver du jour

Smooth Newt
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

How are they going to train the neural network? It is not as if there is a whole load of data out there on the probability of different life forms evolving in exotic atmospheres.

Just because you write AI on the grant application doesn't mean you can perform magic.

Talking of which, I guess grant applications will be written by AI systems in the future, and some probably are now. There's lots of data on which buzzwords etc press the right buttons. Of course it will turn into an arms race sooner with better and better research grant writing neural nets pitted against better and better research grant application assessment neural nets.

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Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

Smooth Newt
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Re: Human-To-Vehicle communications

The answer is to fit not just bicycles, but all persons with human-to-vehicle location transponders.

I think Parliament was a little bit hasty in abolishing the Locomotive Act 1865. The subsequent locomotive acts which removed its restrictions should have only applied to vehicles under direct human control. The most important of these were the speed limit of 4 mph in the country and 2 mph in the city, and a man carrying a red flag walking in front.

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Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: Yeah... Right

We cannot get cyclists put lights, visible clothing and helmets and we are expecting them to use electronic beacons now?

If autonomous vehicles are so shit that they can't identify cyclists wearing high-viz and with lights, but need a further kick up the arse from a radio beacon then maybe they shouldn't be allowed on roads which cyclists use. And what about pedestrians - those buggers can be even harder to spot sometimes and can be even more erratic - are they going to be expected to wear some sort of radar reflective hat or something?

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That long-awaited Mark Zuckerberg response: Everything's fine! Mostly fixed! Facebook's great! All good in the hoodie!

Smooth Newt
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Re: Nothing to see here folks

We don't want third parties using the kind of power that we've been working for years towards leveraging.

Certainly not people paying cheap seat academic researcher rates for the data and then flogging it on. They will be paying the full commercial rates for it like everyone else.

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RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics

Smooth Newt
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Re: Well at least

"Amazon can deliver same day - via Prime Now."

Along with the associated increase in traffic and pollution.

Why would it cause more pollution if the van came today instead of tomorrow? The backone delivery network behind it also runs whether it has to handle a million parcels or a million and one. Even comparing Amazon with going to Maplin and buying some piece of tat, in my experience most Maplins are in our-of-townish retail parks so each an every customer has to drive there anyway.

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Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

Smooth Newt
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Exceptional access

The other problem with Exceptional Access Mechanisms is that will swiftly become Routine Access Mechanisms for snooping on political activists, sales and R&D divisions of foreign companies and the general population.

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MPs: Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'

Smooth Newt
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Re: Hmm

Tens? Not the 100bn euro demand that was laughed out of the room? Nor the 80bn?

40 billion Euros is a big step up from "go whistle".1 And the European Research Group - i.e. the pro-Brexit Tory MPs - said in September last year that “The government should stand firm and not be blackmailed in a multibillion-pound divorce bill,” and even suggested the EU should give the UK £10bn instead for its share of the European Investment Bank.

But feel free to forget all this and just pick the largest figure you have ever heard bandied around - the gross estimate of the UK's liabilities ignoring the UK share of EU assets and the rebate - and look upon incomplete devastation as a victory.

"cases relating to EU citizens in the UK can be referred to the European Court of Justice"

I would be interested to see this bit. Not seen it and wouldnt be shocked if May backed down, even though I hope the leave MP's force her not to.

Paragraph 38 of the agreement, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf

1The Foreign Secretary agreed with Philip Hollobone in Parliament when the latter said "Since we joined the common market on 1 January 1973 until the day we leave, we will have given the EU and its predecessors, in today’s money, in real terms, a total of £209bn. Will you make it clear to the EU that if they want a penny piece more then they can go whistle?”.

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Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: Hmm

Ha! So the EU's opening- you will pay X Euro (X being a moving number often calculated by laughter), EU courts over EU citizens remaining in the UK (more laughter) and the EU want a wall and the UK will pay for it (think of trump as you say it and so even more laughter). And that is before they are willing to negotiate.

Our refusal to bend over and open our rear orifice being a fairly good choice.

That is exactly what the UK Government agreed to in the Phase 1 talks in December. The UK committed to cough up tens of billions of Euros and that cases relating to EU citizens in the UK can be referred to the European Court of Justice. Except for the wall, the UK agreed not to have a wall on the Irish border.

Despite the rather pathetic attempt by the Government to back-pedal on these agreements, I would say that the orifice is definitely open for business.

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Smooth Newt
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Self inflected nightmare

Think we’re going to need the Queen to ask God to save us from this self inflected nightmare.

It's not self-inflicted. I didn't inflict it on myself, neither did millions of other people. Blame Johnson. Gove, Rees-Mogg and the rest for their lies, and a broken political system.

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Ghost in the DCL shell: OpenVMS, touted as ultra reliable, had a local root hole for 30 years

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: The sky is falling in

Perhaps you are unaware, but the US DoD is still using VMS systems. Patriot missiles used to have a microVAX as a guidance computer. Some banks still use VMS.

So this exploit having existed for 30 years is a big deal.

It's a privilege escalation problem. You need a login before you can escalate its privilege. Not sure how many Patriot missile battery guidance computers you can log into over the Internet. But I would guess that the number is a big fat 0.

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What do you press when flaws in Bluetooth panic buttons are exposed?

Smooth Newt
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Black Helicopters

Re: What moron would trust Bluetooth for anything critical ??????

Why does it need to communicate with anything else locally? Its basically a pet/granny tracker with a button on it. Why not just include the mobile phone and GPS chips inside it, like these other devices do?

Black helicopter, because carrying an always-connected-to-the-network mobile phone can have its downsides if you are a protester, human rights worker, or the like - groups the Duo blog post suggests these devices are also used by.

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Dodgy parking firms to be denied access to Brit driver database

Smooth Newt
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FAIL

Re: Whatever ....

So they get denied access, fold the company, start up a new one with the same address, staff etc. then get access again.

Another waste of time.

Yeah, they should have linked the ban to the company directors (and connected persons), not the company. But I guess this meets the usual Government criteria of generating favourable press coverage without actually changing anything. I wonder what bad news it was used to cover up.

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

Smooth Newt
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Re: And the job opportunities?

And the job opportunities?

They should be very good indeed.

In fact, if any nanodegree graduate is, for some bizarre reason, unable to immediately find a job writing software for flying cars then their enthusiasm for this course shows them to be ideally suited for a lucrative career in scrap metal.

As it happens, I am in a position to sell them the rights to a large wrought iron lattice tower that the French Government is keen to dispose of.

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GitHub shrugs off drone maker DJI's crypto key DMCA takedown effort

Smooth Newt
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FAIL

Re: Github has some responsibility

Github now clearly know that they host code that enables modding of drones to let them fly illegally in dangerous airspace. The[y] have a responsibility to take down the forks purely on public safety grounds.

No they don't. Most tools are dangerous if misused, and they are not a wing of government censorship. For instance, they also host encryption software, stuff which could be used to make kiddie porn, interfere with radio communications, help with espionage or even assist with copyright infringement.

Put your ban-hammer back in your trousers.

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No parcel drones. No robo-trucks – Teamsters driver union delivers its demands to UPS

Smooth Newt
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Re: Horse carts vs delivery trucks again.

What happens when humans get dead-ended? Forced into a corner, they usually fight back: either by turning to crime out of desperation or rising up a la the Luddites.

More seriously, they vote for Trump and Brexit and a host of other stupid, self-destructive things. The elephant curve has a lot to answer for.

Society, and these companies through the taxes they pay, does owe the poor they create a living. Even the Romans knew that with their bread and circuses. Not for moral reasons, which count for nothing in our globalist corporate lobbyist world, but to prevent civilization imploding.

Let me put it this way. 1920s mass unemployment. 1930s facism. That didn't turn out well even for the very rich.

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Swipe fright: Tinder hackers may know how desperate you really are

Smooth Newt
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Re: Once more, into the breach... with boilerplate!

We take the security and privacy of our users seriously.

I bet the person who first thought up that phrase wishes they had copyrighted it and charged a fee for its use. They'd be richer than Jeff Bezos.

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Smooth Newt
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You don't really need to hack Tinder

Just look at the person holding the phone. If they are male, then they will be swiping right on pretty well everyone; if female then swiping right on practically no-one. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1607.01952.pdf etc

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F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

Smooth Newt
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Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

Despite what the article says, in Royal Navy service there is no difference between the two types. The Royal Navy will get the same overall effect by deploying its non-existent, and stupidly sold off, Harriers as it would by deploying its non-existent F-35's. i.e. no effect whatsoever.

You can easily identify naval aircraft operators by the colour of their aircraft. US Navy aircraft are silver, Russian Navy aircraft are green and Royal Navy aircraft are invisible.

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UK.gov denies data processing framework is 'sinister' – but admits ICO has concerns

Smooth Newt
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UK.gov denies data processing framework is 'sinister'

“I hope that by the end I will be able to convince noble Lords that this is not quite as sinister as has been made out,” Ashton said in his opening remarks in the discussion.

To be pedantic, this is not a denial. "I hope that by the end I will be able to convince [you]" isn't the same as "it's not true". The sentence simply expresses the speaker's aspiration to make the listeners believe something, regardless of whether it is true or not.

And as Teiwaz has already pointed out "Not quite as sinister" still means it's sinister, just a tiny bit less than supposed.

I hope he was very much clearer in denying it during the rest of the debate.

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Boffins split on whether Spectre fix needs tweaked hardware

Smooth Newt
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Re: Non-timing side channels?

There are plenty of applications that need high-precision timers: media synchronisation, in-process threading, etc.

They may need high precision timing, but perhaps not with a resolution of one clock cycle. And the register would not be removed, but just having access limited to it so that timing side channel attacks become harder.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: Minor problem

Isn't it under warranty? If I bought a dingy and it leaked, I would expect the shop I bought it off to fix it for free. Doesn't it work the same way if you spend £3.5 billion?

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Mozilla's creepy Mr Robot stunt in Firefox flops in touching tribute to TV show's 2nd season

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Groupthink

"Shield Studies must be approved by

- a Firefox Product Manager

- Data Steward

- Legal

- QA

- Release Management

- AMO review

- a member of the core Shield Team."*

Did none of these people see a problem with this?

*https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Shield/Shield_Studies

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Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief

Smooth Newt
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Re: Keep feeding the terrorists

Keep feeding the terrorists with all the info they need. Why do we in the West keep on blabbing about everything that would do the West damage, inspiring generations of terrorists.

Does this not appear to anyone as being particularly stupid????

You mean does the first paragraph of your comment appear to be particularly stupid? Definitely.

I could try to explain to you that as an innocent bystander, you are more likely to be killed by a bee than a religious or politically motivated murderer (if that is what you mean by a "terrorist"), or I could talk about the physiological phenomenon of social amplification of risk which makes negligible risks appear important just because people talk about them, and the related concept of the availability heuristic in decision making which helps drives it, but I suspect there is very little point in trying to drag you from the world as fed to you by tabloid newspapers and Donald Trump into reality.

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Brit film board proposed as overlord of online pr0nz age checks

Smooth Newt
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Re: get that nipple off the screen

Heaven forfend that vulnerable minds ("Of course, it doesn't affect ME") should see other humans having it off, but at least they'll still be able to watch atrocious violence, abuse, terrorist executions and the rest on all the other non-porn websites

I've always been a bit skeptical about the vulnerability of those minds. Humans have been around for 200,000 years, and our human-like ancestors living in similar conditions for about 3.5 million years. And those conditions weren't suburban terraced houses.

There must have been a lot of public shagging going on when we lived in caves, and mud huts usually have just the one room. So that's about 140,000 generations exposed to public rumpy pumpy before it was declared harmful. I would have thought that natural selection would have long since eliminated any debilitating sensitivity.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Oh, wow...

And there was I mistakenly thinking it was the parents role to educate the children, both morally and intellectually.

This isn't about parenting. Most parents are competent enough to look after their children properly, including dealing with this sort of issue.

It's about retaining the votes of both the "something must be done" blue rinse brigade and the ardent feminists who believe that even gay porn objectifies women (except when they are watching it themselves). Neither group can get it banned outright, but "think of the children" is an obvious lever to restrict it as much as they can. The endpoint is making age verification so costly and inconvenient that it has much the same effect as a ban.

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Smooth Newt
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'The government said the BBFC had "unparalleled expertise" in classifying content'

Why is that relevant? Does it mean that they are going to be classifying web content then?

If so, who is going to be paying for that? Let me guess, they will be saying to website owners "if you don't want your website blocked, then give us lots of money for classifying it".*

A bit like the traditional "if you don't want your windows broken, then give us lots of money for insurance".

* Current rate varies between £2.91 and £7.16 per minute of video. Plus VAT of course, since the Treasury wants its cut too. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/industry-services/additional-information/fee-tariff

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Watchkeeper drones cost taxpayers £1bn

Smooth Newt
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Re: long-term reserve

Never mind long term reserve, if MoD ordered 54, now have 45, and have been very reluctantly forced to admit they've broken four, what of the 5 unaccounted for?

Spare parts to keep those 45 drones flying?

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UK emergency crews get 4G smartmobes as monkeys attempt to emerge from Reg's butt

Smooth Newt
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Go

Re: Just curious

The Airwave system is an old creaky thing that runs the TETRA system. The system they are moving to, eTETRA, runs on a modified LTE specification that adds the bells and whistles that the emergency services need.

The Airwave systems is an old and creaky thing that works. The system they are moving to has fancy bells and whistles which are less useful than the core functionality of voice communication, and the price they are paying is that they lose that core functionality, along with all those fancy things, in many locations.

It's a bit like swapping the old bicycle you use to get to work for a car with a CD player, air conditioning and go faster stripes but which only starts some of the time. If you absolutely must get to work, then you are better off sticking with the bicycle until someone offers you a reliable car.

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Level 5 driverless cars by 2021 can be done, say Brit industry folk

Smooth Newt
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Re: Post-pub car downside

Okay. It's 7.00am, and my driverless car arrives from the depot to drive me to work. Due to an oversight, cleaning did not happen and the part digested kebab helpfully left there by a 3am clubber is still on the seat. And the floor, and the door. Oh, and a used condom... Meatware will always be a factor.

That's why it is called a Johnny Cab.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Exactly...

Will also pretty much dispense with the need for a personal vehicle since you just 'call' one on demand, so in theory, less traffic, more parking, less accidents.

I am not sure I want to share a car with the remains of the previous occupant's kebab or worse, as it looks like the major use case is taking pissed people home. At least a taxi driver cares passionately about keeping his vehicle clean because he has to sit in it too.

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From Vega with love: Pegasus interstellar asteroid's next stop

Smooth Newt
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Happy

I wish we were able to examine it.

I wish we were able to examine it. Such an endeavour would have required a small automated science craft, atop of a very powerful rocket, ready for launch at a very short notice. IMO it is unlikely our governments would choose to spend tax money this way, if they can buy votes instead

I think these objects are rather common, it is just that only within the last few years have astronomers had the motivation and equipment to look for small objects outside of the solar system's orbital plane. Computer simulations of the Oort cloud show that the majority of comets are ejected from it, and it most solar systems have an Oort cloud, then interstellar space must be teeming with comets. So, a bit like buses, there will be another one along in a minute.

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DNS resolver 9.9.9.9 will check requests against IBM threat database

Smooth Newt
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Unhappy

Re: Naive hippy nirvana

Those protestors were probably damaged goods long before the undercover cops showed up.

damaged goods: (noun, infomal) a person who is regarded as inadequate or impaired in some way.

I can see you don't particularly like people protesting and expressing alternative views. But how do you think democracy works? Have you ever campaigned for or against anything? Perhaps you would really would be more comfortable living somewhere where people can't protest, like China or North Korea.

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Smooth Newt
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Naive hippy nirvana

So? How well do you think undercover ops would work if the undercover officers had to tell the truth? Time for you to climb down out of your naive hippy nirvana and rejoin the real world.

Well, there is telling the truth, and telling the truth. "Two undercover police officers secretly fathered children with political campaigners they had been sent to spy on and later disappeared completely from the lives of their offspring" https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jan/20/undercover-police-children-activists Perhaps those children and their mothers wouldn't have been so damaged if the Police had been a little more honest.

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UK.gov told to tread carefully with transfer of data sets to NHS Digital

Smooth Newt
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A particular aptitude

Has anyone worked out what the government does have a particular aptitude for? Something good I mean.

Well, they seem to be mostly seized by inaction, what with the distractions of Brexit and trying to control the bag of fighting cats that is the cabinet etc. Just think of all the things they could royally screw up if they had the time and ability to pass more legislation. Let's spin their aptitude as "masterly inaction".

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Another UAV licence price hike? Commercial drone fliers rage over consultation

Smooth Newt
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Re: Stunning Logic here

You might have thought the CAA would be motivated to try to increase the proportion of drone owners who are properly qualified to fly drones. If I was interested in taking it up as a hobby, then I would be inclined to get properly trained and licenced even if I had no interest in flying them commercially, just to improve my own skill, ability and safety. But the CAA seem to be going that extra mile to discourage this sort of behaviour.

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