back to article Queue baa, Libra: People will buy what Facebook's selling. They shouldn't, but they will

"People love being sold to." The guests flicked glances at each other in disbelief but were too polite to say anything. We were at my old business partner's retirement party and he was giving the after-dinner speech. Did he just say what I thought he said? "I learnt early on that if you can sell something in the right way, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

    you are either using the Facaebook currency OR locked out of many things such is the power of Zuckfart these days. Even the Govenor of the Banks of England remarked on its usefulness in his speech at the Mansion House last night (Climate change protestors permitting).

    I state here that I will not EVER sign up for anything to do with Fartbook. i don't care if I can't access services (As I'm sure a load of HMG sevices will jump on the bandwagon in return for getting more data on out habits...) or not.

    I could go on but I'd probably get sued into oblivion if I said what I really think about Social Media. I will say that it is just as addictive as Computer Games have been proven to be.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

      I've blacklisted all Facebook (and associated domains, over 1,500) on my DNS server.

      Looks like I'll need to update the list again to catch Libra.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

        all Facebook (and associated domains, over 1,500)

        Sounds useful, is there a list somewhere I could access?

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

          https://github.com/jmdugan/blocklists/blob/master/corporations/facebook/all

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

            Thanks!

          2. Kiwi
            Pint

            Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

            Much thanks!

            Grab a dozen for each entry on the list!

          3. BugabooSue

            Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

            Thank you!! Xxx

      2. BillG
        Devil

        Google's First Law of Aquisition

        "People love being sold to."

        The correct sales expression is "People hate to be sold, but they love to buy."

        Look, least we forget, the world is ruled today by Google's First Rule of Acquisition:

        Once you have their data, do whatever you want with it. Privacy statements are for suckers"

        You have no privacy on the internet. Period.

        We can get outraged and all, but this is the reality of the situation. Online companies simply weigh the risk/reward of violating your privacy six ways from Sunday, and already know that compared to the profits to be had, the legal costs and fines add up to the corporate equivalent of change under the couch cushions. Microslurp and Faceslap and Gobble consume your data like a hungry vampire. We need to start with this truth if we are to fix this problem.

    2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

      That is a major reason I've moved over to MeWe in order to keep contact with other sysadmins all over the world without us getting Zucked.

      Shalla's blacklist should have this Libra poofty nonsense listed pretty soon.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

        Will MeWe catch on or fizzle out like DIaspora or that google bollox thing?

        I already hate the name.

        1. Kiwi

          Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

          Will MeWe catch on or fizzle out like DIaspora or that google bollox thing?

          I already hate the name.

          I hate DDG's name, but it's a lot better than the alternative!

          Might have to take a squiz at this thing..

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

            I find the anatidae name easier to deal with than something that suggests incontinence.

            1. Kiwi
              Pint

              Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

              "Anatidae" - a new word for me.. Thanks to living up to your name!

              I'm a bit bird-brained at the moment so I'll have to look up the definition another day :)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

      "i don't care if I can't access services (As I'm sure a load of HMG sevices will jump on the bandwagon in return for getting more data on out habits...) or not."

      I did an HMG security clearance vetting process a while ago. They asked for all sorts of personal information but DIDN'T ask about any online presence, social media accounts or anything related. I don't see HMG getting into bed with Facebook any time soon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because

        They already have your social media accounts. ;)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Because

          No they don't. Like many people here, I don't have any social media accounts :-p

          1. Jan 0 Silver badge

            Re: Because

            Yes, but they didn't ask because their search had already revealed that.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: As a Facebook refusenik I see a time when

      Don't worry, we're already past peak Facebook. What we're seeing now is a Facebook that's increasingly desperate to remain relevant.

      The press has turned against it, and politicians have followed. Now the politicians are starting - not a minute before time - to talk about treating Facebook as a publisher, rather than allowing it to write its own special rules, as it has for the past 20 years.

  2. macjules Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Icon say it all

    .. simultaneously grant them consent to roger your anus with a monkey puzzle branch on Tuesdays and Sundays

    PS: Will NOT accept Libra for a new keyboard.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Icon say it all

      PS: Will NOT accept Libra for a new keyboard. Or Lira for that matter!

    2. Frederic Bloggs
      Devil

      Re: Icon say it all

      Definitely Metaphor of the Month: "roger your anus with a monkey puzzle branch"

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Icon say it all

        And the winning challenge in the new adult version of Cluedo

        1. james_smith

          Re: Icon say it all

          I accuse Ms Whiplash in the dungeon with the ...

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Icon say it all

          That is brilliant.

          “Colonel Zuckerberg. In the Libra(ry) with the monkey puzzle branch”

  3. AMBxx Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Rant over?

    Seemed to cover all current whinges there.

    1. Stuart 18
      Joke

      Rant on forever more your Dabbsiness

      Title says it all...

      --There is no conceivable reasons for any discontent currently, eh?

      Definitely nothing to stop us taking the piddle :-)

      Love it <B

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Rant over?

      No. I do this every week.

      1. Nick Kew
        Pint

        Re: Rant over?

        And as a critic of some of your efforts, let me add I enjoyed this one. To the point, and you gave credit where it's due in contrasting it to bitcoin.

        Though my own gripe with Facebook isn't handing them information[1], rather it's an old fart's objection to their Enclosure of (what used to be) the Commons. I've resisted peer-pressure (from many non-techie friends) and never signed up for it.

        [1] I don't, though I'm not obsessive about it. If I cared about the backdoor ways they might learn something of me, what would I be doing posting on El Reg (even anonymously, let alone as myself)?

  4. LDS Silver badge

    The marketing trick...

    ""Calibra customers' account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook, Inc. family of products.""

    It doesn't mean what most people may think at a first read. It doesn't say that Facebook will never use Libra transactions for better profiling. Let's face it - to gain regulators approvals, Facebook may not use financial data and account information, true, as in some jurisdictions there are strict regulations.

    But what matters to Facebook is not your account (it has info FB already know), nor financial data, i.e. the amount of money you have (again, it can infer your health from other data it already has).

    What matters to FB is to know each transaction made - something it misses now to Close the Circle - and it can gather them by controlling how Libra is used. Whatever happens inside a FB application, sends data to FB - so if you buy something FB will know what you buy, where, and at what price (or even if you just send money) - without any need to look at Calibra financial data. Right now if a site redirects you to PayPal and is then notified you paid, the site know exactly what you did - no need to look at your PayPal account.

    Even if Libra would be usable outside FB apps, I guess that any seller accepting Libra will have to agree to share shoppers data with FB.

    Usual marketing tactic - "look at the squirrel!", while stealing your wallet...

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The marketing trick...

      Facebook has so publicly lied that even the mainstream media and ordinary people are a bit suspicious of Lbra.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And here's the bonkers bit: people will love it

    As your prediction that "people will love it" is a regular approach by the overwhelming majority of specimen of this Homo Chuckle Sapiens, those billions of eat-shitting FB flies are "normal", while you and a few other mutant refusenik flies are "bonkers". QED.

  6. vtcodger Silver badge

    Wasn't Calibra a half human monster?

    Wasn't Calibra a half human monster created by Shakespeare in The Tempest?

    OK, OK, that was Caliban. But still, the similarities seem uncanny. Deformed ... offspring of a witch... amoral... Not something most folks would want to embrace.

    1. Jemma

      Re: Wasn't Calibra a half human monster?

      Nah, it was a half Cavalier, half wishful thinking monster in the Vauxhall pantheon that had a habit of eating its 4 wheel drive system and costing 70% more in unsurance despite being the vehicular equivalent of a tranny truck driver doing an Arianna Grande cover (ie 85% spavined family saloon, including everywhere that could possibly count towards insurance).

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Wasn't Calibra a half human monster?

      Na, it was a General Motors* model that never really caught on.

      * Sold under the Opel and Vauxhall brands in Europe, Chevrolet in south America and Holden in Oz.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Wasn't Calibra a half human monster?

        Na, it was a General Motors* model that never really caught on

        Always thought that car was Sheep in Wolf's clothing

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wasn't Calibra a half human monster?

          It was a pretty nasty lager as well.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Wasn't Calibra a half human monster?

      Seeing Caliban as "amoral" seems like a rather resistant reading of the text to me. Indeed, he's more concerned with morality than most of the major characters. (Prospero rules by force, Miranda is naive; if anyone, Ariel is the amoral one.)

  7. Franco Silver badge

    The Day the World Went Away

    I was living in blissful ignorance of the fact that Miley Cyrus had butchered a Nine Inch Nails song

    1. Jemma

      Re: The Day the World Went Away

      I could have been worse, it could have been Cliff Richard..

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: The Day the World Went Away

        Now I have an image of Miley Cyrus butchering Cliff Richard in my head.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: The Day the World Went Away

          Now I have an image of Miley Cyrus butchering Cliff Richard in my head.

          Sssssh - don't say anything, I'm savouring that one.

          Be with you in an hour or so.

          :)

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: The Day the World Went Away

          Miley Cyrus butchering Cliff Richard.

          I would probably pay to see that.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Flywheel Silver badge

          Re: The Day the World Went Away

          butchering .. with the monkey-puzzle branch. Oh yes Matron!

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: The Day the World Went Away

      *Hands you a pint & raises my own in toast*

      I shall join you in that sentiment. I stopped listening to the video after about a minute as I was too busy barfing to pay any further attention. Trent should come back from the dead & slap the stupid out of her for desecrating his stuff.

      (Trent is a zombie. I read it on teh internetz!)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the fact that Miley Cyrus had butchered a Nine Inch Nails song

      Ha. You should hear Richard Osman's version of "Hurt" ...

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00066z4

      (few minutes in)

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Which digital company has the worst possible reputation for the mismanagement of the personal data of its customers?"

    But who are the customers and who are the product?

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    Unless FB is in my mattress

    They will never see my dosh! Also looking into alternatives to banks. The mattress still looks like the clear winner!

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Unless FB is in my mattress

      The sandwich-heavy portfolio always pays off for the hungry investor!

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Unless FB is in my mattress

      This was already doing the rounds when Usenet was still useful and given many recent events, it appears still as true as ever:,

      I work for an investment bank. I have dealt with code written by stock exchanges. I have seen how the computer systems that store your money are run.

      If I ever make a fortune, I will store it in gold bullion under my bed.

      - Matthew Crosby

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Unless FB is in my mattress

      Why not? It's all good data as far as FB are concerned.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Mr Robot

    - But if you are asking then I am saying. It's unconstitutional, you can't make your own currency, that is the federal government's job. We simply cannot let you make loans in Ecoin that you wouldn't make in dollars. [...]

    - With Ecoin we control the ledger and the mining servers. We are the authority. I will make sure you have visibility into every single wallet that's open, every loan, every transaction [...] This is going to be controlled by a good old-fashioned American company. You want to regulate it? Be my guest, regulate the shit out of it. I'll give you back doors, side doors, tracing, whatever you want

    Link

  11. stevo42

    Regulating Cryptocurrencies

    So when the world eventually gets round to regulating CC (AMLS Directive 5 in EU, not too far away), and then all exchanges will have to do KYC checks against all account holders, will FB then need to demand proof of ID from anyone wanting to use this Libra thing? Then they have even more PII data on everyone, to cross-reference against voter records and a million other databases, thus having even more advertising leverage.

    But hey, if I can then log into absolutely everything, including my bank account, with just my FB ID, that's a win! Right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Regulating Cryptocurrencies

      If I'm not mistaken it's somewhere tied to a fiat currency, and you'll need to do some exchange between FakeBro Libra and fiat to enter this system. It's there that you'll hit mandatory KYC and AML anyway.

      Where the fun starts, however, is in-system value gain. Due to the tie with fiat I reckon that will be taxable, probably in your country of residence so if FB is not formally asked for that data I think you can be damn sure it is already coughing that up voluntarily and Mr Taxman is just waiting to see if you add it to your next tax return too (otherwise they can take a lot more in the form of penalties).

      You best avoid getting in between a government and its ability to extract the money from people that it can subsequently waste with gay abandon, that way lies trouble. The other fun side effect is that FB may face auditing because it stuck its toe in financial waters. That's what 99% of the crypto coin exchanges I looked at don't get: if you want to be taken seriously by institutional finance, you will have to embed the same processes. Zuckie boy may not like the restrictions that come with that.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Regulating Cryptocurrencies

        Libra isn't really a cryptocurrency. It's a transfer system using blockchain like transactions and tied to a basket of currencies, as it's intended to be used internationally.

        IBAN and even PayPal sound much better.

        Anyway I have zero FB apps and only use physical cards, cash, IBAN or PayPal, and only do IBAN & PayPal on my own ISP via laptop that doesn't store financial related passwords.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Regulating Cryptocurrencies

          Picking at Straws Dept.

          I'm pretty sure Libra is a digital currency. Calibra is the financial services eco-system that surrounds it to make it user-friendly, and this is the bit that FB announced this week. So if you like, Calibra is the PayPal bit of the money.

        2. sprograms

          Re: Regulating Cryptocurrencies

          -and good luck preparing your tax return once the SEC and IRS get done with Libra.

      2. Insert sadsack pun here Bronze badge

        Re: Regulating Cryptocurrencies

        1) "in-system value gain" is already taxable as capital gains. Don't let YouTube hucksters convince you otherwise.

        2) Facebook already has external audit obligations because it's a publicly-traded company.

  12. Milton

    Half the population—

    You hear it repeated often enough, sorry: half the population has a below average IQ. Past studies have confirmed that the distribution is similar to other continuously measurable human features, being a bell curve showing that most people cluster around the average with fewer and fewer at the extremes.

    But we live in The Age Of Stupid.

    I submit that the curve is no longer a bell with its bulge centred on 100. It ain't a normal distribution any more.

    My theory is that it's a 'Snail Curve', with a massive hump (shell) focused around the 80 mark, a dip around 95-105, a second bump (head) centred on 130, then tailing off waaay slowly up towards 200. (Possibly we need to invent some dodgy new statistical methods to make this work.)

    Don't ask me to account for this. Some scientists suggest air pollution has been reducing IQ. Others wonder about TV, the net, education. Perhaps the ETs broadcast a Stupid Ray through the entire planet in 1999 and it's been slowly taking effect ever since.

    It's just that stupidity seems to be thriving, and the sheer number of verifiable, self-revealing dolts is massive. More come squirming out of the woodwork every day, some to perch on stools in TV studios and talk blatant balderdash. Some are in marketing at Facebook, and stupid enough to think that anyone believes a word that they say. Others, more worryingly, are that stupid. There are now too many Stupids for them all to fit comfortably into politics. A particular worry is that so many are below the 85 mark, meaning that they are literally too stupid to realise how stupid they are. (Observe candidates for Britain's premiership for some extremely funny, if tragically dangerous examples.)

    Brexit. Facebook. Trump. bigotry. Google. The Daily Mail. Reality TV. Climate denial. Racism. Fox News. Tories. The evidence is all around us.

    How to account for this raging epidemic of abject cretinism?

    How to cure it before it's too late?

    1. Alien8n

      Re: Half the population—

      By it's very definition the average IQ is always 100. That doesn't mean that an IQ of 100 today is the same as an IQ of 100 50 years ago though.

      Personally I'm of the opinion that the only solution, given humanity's inherent selfishness and inability to think for itself, is to wipe the slate clean. Looking at pretty much every dystopian future that has been portrayed in science fiction I reckon they've been too optimistic. Despite knowing of the issues facing future generations now for decades we are still heading towards a future of overpopulation, food shortages, energy depletion. Wars are being fought for resources, both military and economic. Eventually those resources will be gone, we'll need new ways to power our homes, our vehicles. We'll need to create new electronics as precious metals become depleted. This, assuming we don't destroy the planet completely beforehand.

      1. Semtex451
        Pint

        Re: Half the population—

        "raging epidemic of abject cretinism" to whom do I address the royalty payments?

        Where is the place where intelligent types discuss thoughts about what I call the 'final cure' of this epidemic?

        Do not say FB

        1. Temmokan

          Re: Half the population—

          Well, comments at El Reg may be first place to try.

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Half the population—

        Judging by the report "Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System" by the IEA, I think power generation is no longer an issue with the first Thorium based reactors coming online as early as late this year..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Half the population—

          The word 'thorium' doesn't appear in that report. What is your source for the claim that the first thorium based reactors will be coming online this year?

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: Half the population—

            The molten salt SMRs in the report are Thorium based - you will also find it back in current reporting on international collaborations such as taking place between Europe and China in the Taishan plan which was ready before all the other participants. There's a part of that at Hinkley Point too.

            I can't quite see any solid fuel (pebble) based reactors being tested, but I haven't looked that hard.

            It's a good thing there's a lot of international collaboration on this, but the harsh reality is that China has presently the best manufacturing capabilities plus a seriously good incentive to get on with it as it helps a lot with their pollution issues. Anything that cuts down on fossil fuels is a win there, also because it cuts costs and dependency.

            Where it gets interesting is that these modern reactors start to change the price equation. Nuclear energy has not been cheap due to fuel inefficiency, the need for extreme long storage of waste and all the safety measures that have emerged to barely cope with degradation and calamities.

            These new reactors, however, use stupidly cheap fuel that is nigh ubiquitous and cheap to prep (so no natural resource blackmail required), and actually use some of that very dangerous original nuclear waste to get the reaction going, turning it into something with a much lower halflife, and they fail safe due to different operating principles. They're also much smaller, which makes them suitable for point solutions where previously nobody would have even considered a nuclear reactor.

            The result is clean continuous energy at a competitive price point, based on a resource that is nigh impossible to exhaust. The one place where this will not be welcomed is in the country that relies on oil sales in their national currency to prop it up: the US dollar. They're *not* going to be happy with that..

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Half the population—

              @Fred, As the AC who asked for a reference - thanks. I hope I didn't sound too curt. While I'm interested in the potential for thorium reactors, as you can see, I don't know enough to know what to search for! :-)

              1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

                Re: Half the population—

                Not a problem - I know from experience that it's a lot to take in if this is the first time you're exposed to it.

                It took me a while to get over the WTF feeling when I discovered just how good this tech is. I forgot to mention something: molten salt is a critical element of what makes a Thorium reactor so efficient because the resulting liquid is used both to carry the heat and to carry the thorium for recycling - it's that cycle that enables a Thorium reactor to actively use over 99% of its fuel (that's why MSR is certain to be a Thorium reactor, doesn't make sense for Uranium based fission).

                The other fun fact with MSR is that it needs the graphite in the core to sustain a reaction, not to dampen it down as in the current reactors. You take the graphite away and fission stops, which is why they are so safe: if something goes wrong, the reactor contents will dump in a lower container. Due to the absence of the graphite required to sustain the reaction, the thing just stops. You just end up with a slowly cooling box in the basement (which, by the way, you could probably put back in use in a new reactor). No radioactive kaboom due to explosively expanding steam (there isn't any in the radioactive part), no meltdown because of a now unregulated reaction, no new hole in the ground where even robots have a hard time going.

                I suspect that iiIf it wasn't for the fact that the specific salt in use is the mother of corrosiveness on materials, these reactors would have come online way before, but they have only "recently" (last couple of years) managed to address this.

                Anyway, keep an eye on it - there are some seriously heavy political side effects to being able to generate energy on teh cheap without a need for fossil fuel or permission, and some will involve buggy whip manufacturers who may scheme like mad to hang on to their business..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Half the population—

          "first Thorium based reactors"

          I did not know about these. Made me very angry to read that cleaner sustainable nuclear was ignored in favour of the dirtier more unstable method for the pursuit of a weapon that arguably ended WW2.

          The world's a strange place.

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: Half the population—

            I did not know about these. Made me very angry to read that cleaner sustainable nuclear was ignored in favour of the dirtier more unstable method for the pursuit of a weapon that arguably ended WW2.

            Ah, slow down. That's the cynical view, but there's a bit more to it. At the time, they had to take a decision and the view was that there was already more expertise on the uranium approach. With the knowledge they had at the time, the feeling was that they would have quicker results and it would be safer because they knew more. The kaboom factor certainly counted, but there were more considerations.

            However, once this industry had embedded itself it did what all industries do: it protected itself against competition. One of the reasons it is now nigh impossible to run Thorium test reactors for research is because of regulation. If you want a Thorium reactor of a size large enough to get meaningful results in the US, you would get more energy from burning the associated paperwork. They made it pretty much impossible.

            European nations are actively collaborating with China and India on research. The latter two see these reactors as a way to cut both pollution and national energy expenditure which will make them even more competitive on the global stage, and Europe is riding along as it too has a power and pollution problem that needs to be solved.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Half the population—

              Yep, I had just done a cursory wiki based on a comment above. Initially had my tin foil hat on but asked the question what would I have done if I had been asked the question as a four star general charged with winning the war and coraling Oppenheimers scientists. This adds another dimension for me. I think :)

              Pretty interesting stuff though and I'm sure there were mitigations to this theory but it makes we wonder what would've happened if nuclear power had been pursued in a time of peace and Thorium had been pursued instead.

              Just meditating on the wonderful karmic balance that seems to be showing itself.

              More reading required for me.

      3. Mage Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Half the population—

        IQ doesn't measure Intelligence. The guy that devised the system said so (French?). I think US Military were first to think it measured intelligence. The inventor claimed it was only a way to compare people with the same educational, ethnic and class background. It doesn't work to compare people from different backgrounds.

        However, one does wonder about gullibility and something, given media stories, which books, TV, Cinema, music is popular, Politics.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Half the population—

          IQ measures certain types of abstract reasoning in a somewhat culturally dependent way and is a fairly good guide to the relative abstract reasoning powers of WEIRD* children and students. That's it.

          It is believed to have gone up in real terms as a result of an increasingly abstract school curriculum and the exposure of children outside school to more electronic media.

          It became very popular in the US because black Americans did significantly worse on IQ tests designed around white Americans and so various WEIRD people who should have known better - including a few Nobel prize winners - used IQ to "prove" "racial" inferiority in black Americans and so justify their socio-economic disabilities.

          *White, educated, industrialised rich democracies - which probably represent 90% of subjects in psychological studies.

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Half the population—

      I submit that the curve is no longer a bell with its bulge centred on 100. It ain't a normal distribution any more.

      Actually, it never was Gaussian although "they" tweak the tests (there are quite a few) to keep the numbers output somewhat close to a normal distribution no matter what is going on with the underlying population. There is also something called the Flynn Effect which seems to say that folks might be slowly getting smarter although it may only say that folks are getting better at scoring on intelligence tests. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient

      In any case, I think most of us would agree that there remains considerable room for improvement.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Half the population—

        "Actually, it never was Gaussian"

        I don't think few if any distributions of real things are. Running off to infinity at the extremes bucks reality.

      2. Gustavo Fring

        Re: Half the population—

        there are plenty of people who voted for the Brexit party , who are intelligent. SO intelligence doesnt mean a better world. Maybe when AI takes over ..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Half the population—

      Idiocracy (2006)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Half the population—

        Welcome to Facebook, I love you.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Half the population—

      "Don't ask me to account for this."

      I think it's simply this: if you don't use it you lose it.

    5. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Half the population—

      Back in the good ole days, whenever there was a challenger to the title of village idiot, there would be a contest to see which could find the most unusual way of bringing their life to an abrupt end, using only everyday objects and a penchant for using them in a fashion that no other sentient being had previously conceived.

      That ensured only one idiot per village, preserving the bell curve distribution, by keeping the lower quartile in its place.

      I can only conclude by reiterating those immortal words - It's 'elf and safety gone mad!

      We've legislated ourselves into this mess and we need to start marketing Strychnine toothpaste as the trendiest whiter than white glean, at £100 a vacuous celebrity endorsed tube at a time..

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Half the population—

        What happened when BOTH candidates won the Darwin Award?

        1. OssianScotland

          Re: Half the population—

          Like busses, there'll be half a dozen more along in a minute

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Half the population—

            There are NO buses in my area (no trains, either).

    6. Kiwi
      Pint

      Re: Half the population—

      Some scientists suggest air pollution has been reducing IQ. Others wonder about TV, the net, education. Perhaps the ETs broadcast a Stupid Ray through the entire planet in 1999 and it's been slowly taking effect ever since.

      Game consoles and TV - but not directly.

      When we was kids we used to be sent outside and play. Who knows what the parents got up to but they didn't hover over us or keep any tabs on us. From the age of 4 or 5 we were trusted to walk or bike miles to and from friends homes, with the instructions limited to "be home by dinner" or "home before it gets dark".

      The more stupid among us found ways to end our boredom that would've made Darwin wet himself. Some of us survived our exploits but there was a good chance we wouldn't be having kids. And of course the ribbing from our friends (now "bullying" and "hate speech" etc) often discouraged stupidity and encouraged more sensible (if more conformed) thinking (OK, I admit I probably am a bad example of this - or would I be much much worse if it wasn't for the hassling I got as a lad?)

      We got out more, we did more, we engaged with the world more, we had much more interesting lives, and[modern kids]SHUT UP YOU BORING OLD BASTARD, TRYING TO WATCH TV!

      I do think it's a part of things. Kids today do less problem solving, less adventure, and (aside from diabetes and clogged arteries) are less likely to meet any real risk.

      Life was great at weeding out the stupid, but life is locked outside these days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Half the population—

        And what did they tell the grieving parents of those who DIDN'T make it home by dark...nor at all?

        1. Kiwi

          Re: Half the population—

          And what did they tell the grieving parents of those who DIDN'T make it home by dark...nor at all?

          This was a time way before you were born. Kids could be out till all hours of the night. The most dangerous person in town would probably talk with you about a religious views your parents didn't approve of, things like that. The most dangerous child molester would make sure you were home safe, walk you home if he felt you were out too late, and talk with your parents before leaving you on your own (that or the people who tell me I was such a cute lad have been lying to me)

          For the most part, most of the time, we got home fine. In May of 1991 two of my closest school friends lost their lives to an errant driver while walking home during the day near Patea. Yes, I get it Charles, bad stuff happens, but in the 70's and 80's (and even earlier) you could go anywhere, do anything you felt like, and get home safe (or with minor cuts and bruises - normally). It was very rare around these parts for people not to make it home, or to get hurt.

          We were outside, free, active, healthy, exploring, experimenting, learning, growing, being creative, and enjoying life. There were risks, but at least our parents didn't have their kids who were too fearful to step outside the door, or who were suffering from serious weight-related diseases at a young age. I could tell you what was said to the parents when Craig Woodhead died while 'car-surfing', but you'd just turn it into some stupid "but WHAT if THEY were PROFESSIONAL GAMERZ!!!!q1!!1 or some garbage like that.

          We got out, got hurt, learned from our mistakes (most of us), spent our time wanting to be out of hospital and out of the cast so we could do it a different way that hopefully worked better. Some of us got broken, and yes we did lose a couple of good people in stupid ways, but we kept trying and learning, getting back on the horse and going again.

          This is why the younger generation tend to be a bunch of worthless self-obsessed (and phone-obsessed) snowflakes with a sense of entitlement beyond their experience or earnings, while those of us gone before knew that a university degree meant you still first picked up the broom and learned to sweep the floors. Given the chance, most of my generation would ride a horse bareback and unbridled if that was the only way we could ride. Or we'd spend a day helping rebuilt a friend's bike engine to spend 5 minutes on it next month sometime. Today's generation? You wouldn't even get them away from their screens long enough to even see a real blade of grass let alone a horse.

          And that's the point of my earlier post. These kids see nothing of the outside world, have no concept of learning the limits by pushing their bodies to (and sometimes beyond) breaking point (or seeing someone else snap an arm or lose a finger (thankfully teachers were quick and surgeons were good back then!) - and the lack of getting out perhaps is a big contributor to the the lack of intelligence amongst today's youth. You don't try to think through solving a problem with limited tools and limited experience. I can be dropped in bush with no food, no tools, and a broken leg and find my way out or survive till I'm rescued, because I learned how to make tools and shelter from having to as a kid. You'd be dropped in the same area with a month's food, the best gear money can buy, no injuries, every tool every imagined, and be dead within an hour because no electricity for your phone - how could you live? Kid's today haven't had to learn how to do things for themselves, thus their brains are largely mush (much like mine is right now - sorry folks).

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Half the population—

            "This was a time way before you were born."

            I beg to differ. The four most-drilled words in MY childhood were, "Don't talk to strangers." Thing was, by the time I was in my teens, molesters, kidnappers, and worse stopped asking. This was the REAL real world I faced, and the problem reached problematic levels with mothers sobbing for their lost one-and-onlies, lawsuits, electoral turnovers, and everything. How do you tell a grieving mother, "You just failed at parenting"? Because that's what I saw with my own two eyes (that and the death of a cousin of mine). If life's harsh, you have to also agree that it can easily be TOO harsh.

            1. Kiwi
              Pint

              Re: Half the population—

              If life's harsh, you have to also agree that it can easily be TOO harsh.

              Yes, I know that quite well. What I haven't seen with my own eyes I've learned from those close to me.

              I also know how we built abilities to survive and not only just merely survive like many do today, but to actually get above what has been done and be useful to society.

              As to "time before you were born' - well your posts generally make you out to be a teenager, sometimes around 13 or 14 sometimes perhaps as old as 22 or 23.

              (I realise mine often make me out to be a complete idiot but that would not be true - several parts are missing!)

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    They are convinced that hideous cars are beautiful.

    You are talking about the Nissan Juke, right?

    1. Semtex451

      One among many

    2. David 18

      The new(ish) Mercedes ranges, which look like they were accidentally left on top of a hot stove and have started to melt and droop at each end?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        To me, the line on the bigger Mercedes models all make me think of hearses, which is weird because I haven't see a hearse in ages.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Anything with animated lighting or stylised DRLs (or, indeed, DRLs at all) ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They haven't been proper Mercedes since they started having those huge badges in the radiator grille so that 3rd world Mr. Big knows everybody recognises he has a Merc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          OK, but from a pure design perspective I do like the dotted geometric grille that is part of the AMG styling, even though I agree with you that the overal screaming "I am driving a Benz" logo trend is evidence that style cannot be bought.

          Good design speaks for itself, the goes for clothes too.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a particular fan of Boris...

    But dragging up a tape from 30 years ago, he could have done four separate 2 year stretches in nick, each having expired under the

    Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 before committing the next, and still not have to declare the last one FFS!

  15. StuntMisanthrope

    dabbsey.token

    Spot price the #strawman The new market is ERG arbitrage. When the geometer says climate at the ball, I'd be down the pub #ish. d:-) #billyjoel

  16. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Big Brother

    got one of those credit card robocalls last week.

    The nice east Asian gentleman said he could lower my interest rate "below five percent and close to zero".

    He kept repeating that exact phrase when I attempted to get an actual number from him. I asked if the rate would be below one percent. Same response. Finally, he admitted that it would not be. He seemed disappointed when I told him that if he could not commit to a rate below one percent, we had nothing to discuss.

    ...not that I would have given him my credit card number anyway. And for the same reason I would not trust Facebook (dumb f*cks) with any of my information, financial or otherwise.

  17. Notas Badoff

    Faecesbook, so...

    'cacalibra'?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Faecesbook, so...

      Well played, sir.

  18. Claverhouse Silver badge
    FAIL

    A Barmpot For The Ages

    Boris Johnson is not remotely 'the most popular candidate to be the next British prime minister..

    The most that can be said is that he is the most popular candidate amongst the present group of Conservative MPs. As much as I despise democracy, this is a minute subset of the population. Also not hurting for money as individuals.

    Now, it is true that in a two-party state, voters for a party will eventually come around and vote the party line, no matter how abhorrent they found, or now find, the chosen one: that is not love. Also most people will vote for their chosen party to champion them against life. The usual suspects, like The Guardian have a flaccid moaning of the fact that the wider Tory membership is male blah, white blah, over 55 blah, blah, and thus influences The Party or something: it's not easy to see why this is the Tory Party's fault: any loon can join ; and if they want influence in a party no political party today is rejecting prospective members, nor their donations either.

    I can't think of any reason on earth to select Boris, my own theory is that being a man who is beloved by women, like Trump [ whom he used to slag off ], it is the male MPs' wives who are forcing them to vote Johnson; it's as plausible as any other theory. But he makes most men nervous.

  19. Sloppy Crapmonster

    The US Dollar is worth something because it is backed by the "full faith and credit" of the US government. Believe what you want about the full faith and credit of the US government. Why is Bitcoin worth anything? Because you can (maybe) sell one for some multiple of a US Dollar? How does that make sense?

    Chuck-E-Cheese makes you put US Dollars into their changers to play their games, and you'll notice there isn't a CEC credit-to-US Dollar changer at the exit. Why is that? Sure, there are bigger suckers than you right now, but will they be there when you want to get out?

    But here I am again, screaming into the void Register comments section, which I said I wouldn't do. Dammit.

    1. MonkeyCee

      Hard power

      "Believe what you want about the full faith and credit of the US government."

      I believe they've got the two biggest air forces in the world (USAF, USN), ten carrier strike groups and enough nukes to end us all ten times over.

      If that doesn't buy some faith and credit not sure what will.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Hard power

        If you can trust that they will pay you because of that.

        If they suddenly decided not to honor debts bought by the Chinese, or europeans, then it is difficult to use an aircraft carrier to persuade people to accept your currency

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Black as your soul, I'd rather die than give Facebook control

          If they suddenly decided not to honor debts bought by the Chinese, or europeans, then it is difficult to use an aircraft carrier to persuade people to accept your currency

          So once upon a time, a certain Libyan dictator tried to expand his influence and threatened to start selling oil for Euros. Said dictator is no longer with us. Various other attempts at de-dollarisation are ongoing, eg Russia-China trade. And of course there's a slew of cryptocurrencies already floating around for non-dollar denominated (or backed) trading. Facepalm, being global and having a fair stash of dollars behind it may get some trade share depending on how many people sip it's koolaid and buy into Calibra.

          And NiN > Miley, and perhaps prophetic "Bow down before the one you serve, You're going to get what you deserve." Possibly a pile of virtual currency that can't be exchanged for anything but pixel crack in Farmville.

          And I still think Fiat should introduce it's own cryptocurrency.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Black as your soul, I'd rather die than give Facebook control

            YAAc was writing about the reverse situation - the supposition that the US would default on its debt. If the US was in serious default, the dollar would tank and international trade in dollars would go the way of the ruble.

            Qaddhafi and Hussein were threatening to sell oil in Euros and the US went to war to defend its monopoly of oil trade. But in 2019 that monopoly is already creaking at the seams.

            The crunch will come when everybody stops buying US debt and Trump will have to raise taxes, increase tariffs or default on a loan. The Saudis and Omanis cannot prop him up forever, Israel is a cost centre.If he tries to use military means to make people buy US bonds, what are the people going to buy them with? Zimbabwe dollars?

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Black as your soul, I'd rather die than give Facebook control

              Qaddhafi and Hussein were threatening to sell oil in Euros and the US went to war to defend its monopoly of oil trade. But in 2019 that monopoly is already creaking at the seams.

              Yup. Oil still at low prices. Which should in theory be good for consumers and the economy given energy prices tend to be tied to oil.. Yet at least here in the UK, no sign of those cost savings being passed through. But cheap oil is a bit of a problem for the US, both for it's shale producers, and the owners of it's shiney new East (and West) coast export terminals.

              A little war with Iran could 'correct' oil prices though. Thus far, we've seen an attack that apparently could only have come from elite state special forces that did little more than make a small hole. I guess if (when) the SHTF we'll find out what real Iranian mines can do.

              The crunch will come when everybody stops buying US debt and Trump will have to raise taxes, increase tariffs or default on a loan.

              I think the EU has the same problem with Drughi's endless QE and bond purchasing. Plus there'll be the inflationary effect of more dollars/euros in circulation than traded.

              1. Speltier

                Re: Black as your soul, I'd rather die than give Facebook control

                Ha. The problem is, they are trying to increase inflation to the 2% mark.

                This is a crock, the ideal inflation is 0%, although then the brainless financiers have to struggle with numbers less than zero ("deflation", horrors! Oh wait...). 2% is a sop for Wall Streeters who continually sing the growth song, and for cutting workers salaries by not giving pay raises (virtuously also raising profits from the mirage of "inflationary growth" when workers don't get paid more).

                Draghi is far better than that loser Trichet who blamed the last financial meltdown on American mortgages when the EU was swilling the Kool Aid just as fast as Americans, and most of that wasn't mortgages (the entire American mortgage market is 11 trillion, smaller than the losses incurred to date. But people still swill the the idea that subprime mortgages are the cause of the recession).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Black as your soul, I'd rather die than give Facebook control

                  "This is a crock, the ideal inflation is 0%"

                  No, the ideal has to be above 0 in order to keep people from hoarding money. A small amount of inflation means money loses value if it's hoarded, creating an incentive to keep it moving. And economies rely on money that's moving around.

  20. Trollslayer

    Privacy Badger

    Nice little browser plugin, blocks tracking cookies etc. with Farcebook etc. caught be default.

  21. earl grey
    Angel

    OH ye of little faith

    It's your turn.

    Bend over and grab the ankles in the appropriate position.

  22. katrinab Silver badge

    One thing you are forgetting

    Facebook is for people who were young 15 years ago. Many of those people now have grown-up children, and those grown-up children place Facebook in the same category as LinkedIn.

    If those grown-up children want to receive $5 from their Australian grandmother, they will open up their Revolut app, set up an Australian Dollar account and give the account details to Granny. She can then do a local bank transfer which would be much easier for her to manage than dealing with some cryptocurrency. Granny is someone who is about my age, and is very comfortable with doing online bank payments from a website.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: One thing you are forgetting

      You are making me feel old. Curse you. And have an upvote...

  23. Fatman
    Joke

    RE: "sell something"

    <quote>"I learnt early on that if you can sell something in the right way, people simply adore it."</quote>

    So, that is how Autonomy got HP to overpay???

  24. Kiwi
    Pint

    Someone made a good guess!

    From a couple of comments on last years story on "Criminal justice software code could send you to jail and there’s nothing you can do about it" :

    Original comment at https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/all/2018/08/13/criminal_justice_code/#c_3587059 :

    It's only a matter of time before they start targeting (Education? Segregation?) people based on an algorithm that determines how likely they are of committing a crime even when they haven't, it'll probably use social media data as well.

    And the response at https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/all/2018/08/13/criminal_justice_code/#c_3587417 :

    You can bet Facebook / Google etc want in on this. 1st-round is matching / targeting ads. 2nd-round is hoovering up financial-transactions / patient-health info. 3rd-round is being involved in every transaction or event that has any kind of data aspect etc.

    Someone was on to it!

  25. Dr Gerard Bulger

    You are right. It will be popular because there is one thing that sells. SlothApp. Anything that enables sloth sells Plug and Play.

    Could not care about privacy control: it works, click on messenger, sent.

    EU and USA for that matter should insist that third parties and other fledgling systems out there trying to do the same thing should have a place to be able to add their click and send systems onto all Facebook apps. The monopoly must me killed at birth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what if Facebook just buys them all up. It's hard to stop a de facto monopoly because it comes about strictly through market forces.

  26. Frumious Bandersnatch

    I am Nakatomi Plaza

    Any you owe me £5!

  27. joegwill
    Coat

    re: Calibra

    "Six gears, Mavis"

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    it doesnt matter how bad any org gets (just look at Talk Talk)

    There will always be a hard-core of around 41% of their peak user base who will keep on voting for them; no matter how stupid things get.

    Let this phenomenon forever be known as the "Trump Conundrum".

  29. rdembski

    Miley? HA!

    Devo's version is MUCH better.

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