Re: Welcome to capitalism
> If China wasn't such a repressive and aggressive imperial power
Ironic reading this, when I've just landed in Iraq.
48 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Mar 2008
I assumed when reading this that the effectiveness of replacing humans with robots was somewhere between $small_number humans/robot to 5.6 humans/robot, with a blended average of 3.4 humans/robot.
Since 5.6 is the scarier number, guess which appears in the headline?
"The only problem with that model is, who buys the stuff the business owners are making, if almost everyone is poor?..."
"Unless they realize this, close the gates, and just trade amongst themselves."
This danger has already come and gone for various economies, with a tried and tested solution: pay people to buy your shit.
This might, depending on whether you're a country, corporation or individual, be dressed up as equalization payments between regions, foreign investment into countries with lots of customers, or that 0% deal on your sofa - it's just pumping money back up the hill so that it can keep flowing.
So not unlike how you'd get your first British passport then. You apply for a passport, it's countersigned by someone who already has one, which was in turn countersigned by someone who already has one, rinse, repeat.
Spice up the process with decades of fraud and false applications, and as proof of ID, passports are pretty flimsy (especially when sat upon).
Funnily enough, GMail works really well for me in China, whereas my Western-hosted POP email doesn't connect.
In many ways, the Great Firewall of China is less effective than other countries' blocking efforts - plain ssh tunnels work fine in China, whereas in other countries I had to run ssh over ssl, and in any case seems to vary in the sites blocked and the rigour with which they're blocked by location and ISP.
I don't think it's so much a Great Firewall as a series of small bush-fires: scary, but easily permeable.
... apart, of course, from the public sector charging for the cost of providing you with a driving licence, passport, dental check-up, use of a car on a public highway, changing any record in various government departments (e.g. the Land Registry) and all the other real examples of the public sector applying direct charges for their services.
You don't necessarily have to know the content of the message to gather useful information from it.
Your https session is encrypted, but the DNS lookup of the page address isn't, nor are the initial exchanges with the server, nor is IP information. When you send an encrypted email, the recipient's email address, your email address and the server/mta data are all still visible. Lots of useful information in that.
GCHQ might not know what your message contains, but they'll still be able to see that email@example.com contacted firstname.lastname@example.org, and that email@example.com has lots of interesting friends. He might encrypt his calls and you might encrypt your calls, but the numbers are still visible, as are the locations (from tower triangulation, if the full cell data are recorded).
So it could be that you become a suspect simply because you happen to know someone who knows someone who happens not to be popular with the Government. Assuming the "7 degrees of separation" thing is true, we're all connected to terrorists somehow.
"Fill tank with hydrogen....Drive 250 miles emitting nothing but water....Pull in and fill up again."
Lovely, except hydrogen is a pain in the arse to handle and store, will leak at the slightest provocation (including /through/ the metal for a lot of common construction metals) and once leaked, needs very little energy to set it burning.
I'm quite happy with the idea that a cylinder could survive a reasonably high-velocity impact unscathed: enough LPG-powered cars have done so. I'm just less happy with the idea of coming back from holiday after 2 weeks to find the fuel tank empty and the passenger compartment full with invisible go-go-juice.
"but the era of high-profile, noisy megaworms like Blaster belongs to days long gone."
2008 is not all that far behind, or was Conficker not a high-profile, noisy worm? OK it wasn't /as/ destructive, but still caused some degree of damage to various systems.
Looking through the history of significant computer worms and viruses, there appears to be a major worm about every 5 years since 1980-ish. So set your clocks for 2013 and place your bets on which OS will bear the brunt...
>>What's to stop the punters installing ubuntu etc, and surfing and WPing merrily away to their hearts' content [or indeed their groins' content!].<<
Like anytime Linux is mentioned, nothing stopping you until you try.
Chinese input support isn't brilliant in Linux. scim and ibus are pretty good, but sadly Windows still does it better. Linux distros as a rule don't manage a good, working Chinese-language desktop by default (binary distros still don't compile for UTF8 by default, leading to much frustration and many "character not found" squares of confusion.) And then when you do run into difficulty, you have to be proficient in English to find a lot of the answers.
Linux is an option, and a popular one among those Chinese that have learned good English, maybe been educated abroad, had a good computer for a long time and can spare the time to do battle with scim and wine.
Central government are targetting the majority that don't know or care enough about computers to pick another system, or uninstall Green Damn.
It's not that hard, really and works in a similar way to T9.
On non-touchscreen phones, you tap in the romanised form of Chinese (i.e. Hanyu Pinyin) and optionally the tone, and the phone brings up a list of possible candidates from which you choose the one you want. The most common candidates are always first, so not too much scrolling normally.
There's also the option to input characters by stroke/radical, but I find this trickier.
Touchscreen phones and handwriting recognition are big in China. Even the 600RMB no-name, dual online SIM, NucleOS-running cheap-phone I currently use has full Chinese handwriting recognition (and a valiant effort at English characters too). Still can use Hanyu Pinyin, though.
>>I read Koine Greek, Classic Latin & Aramaic like a native ... <<
>>Then why is it that classic & modern paintings & photographs are pretty much universally agreed upon across humanity when it comes to "good" vs. "bad"? We may not all agree upon fine art, but we can all agree that it IS art, as opposed to crap.<<
An appeal to authority and a strawman in the same post! That was clumsy...
The subject at hand was colour perception, not art. Art of any type, as any fule do no, is as much about subject and composition as about colour. (Otherwise how could black and white photos, or uniformly-grey stone sculptures be considered "art"? Whoopsie, that I suppose would be my own "art straw" man...)
>>Or perhaps ThePowersThatBe[tm] would contemplate putting me into the loony bin in your version of reality.<<
Doubt that, since when not poking holes in the careless parts of your arguments, I agree with you. Unfortunately Mithvetr has a point that the standard of discourse among infidels has dropped somewhat in recent years... something for which I think Dawkins is largely responsible. (He's another one getting careless in his old age).
I have high hopes for your roses this year... should be well fertilised now.
>>"My challenge to you wasn't to describe how red works."
>Red's red. All our brains perceive it the same way, or so fMRI seems to suggest.
We might all be running on essentially the same meatware, and it might be doing all the same processing in all the same meaty brainy chunks, but there's no way to prove that my colour map isn't perfect and yours isn't completely fucked up.
If you can accept the philosophical assertion that humans are not experiencing reality but living in a simulacrum of reality produced by our brains operating on input from the senses and its chemical environment, then the assertion that the mapping of physical input to mental reality is unique and imperfect becomes plausible.
If your rendering of reality allows for the existence of fairies at the end of the garden, then they are perfectly real and natural to you, even if they fail the plausibility test in my reality.
I do love a little bullshit on a Monday...
... are a really great combination. Actually, this happens for me with both VbV and SecureCode.
Go shopping, input credit card details, click "buy" and get directed to VbV website. Enter VbV password, click submit. Web browser then reports that it's blocked an XSS-style request and wags its electronic tail. Online merchant then reports the transaction failed.
Doesn't stop the buggers billing my card, though. Cue time wasted on the phone to a call centre trying to get my money back.
The solution is, of course, to disable XSS-protection when shopping online, or to put exceptions in for that site. For every shopping site. Which kinda defeats the point of browser security, no?
There's also (shock horror) nuclear power. Negligible CO2 emissions for the lifetime of the power station and lots of lovely non-dino electricity for powering up electric vehicles.
Suggest putting a slightly leaky Nuke near "Tele commute" AC's house. That should guarantee he never loses his right to vote...
The same Yahoo! that happily forked over details of dissident bloggers to the Chinese government?
The Yahoo! that happens to control the servers with the emails on, and may or may not be keeping a backup?
Surely it's simpler just to provide a court order to Y! and have /them/ publish the account. They have form, after all...
... in a market rammed full of Small Cheap Handset makers. No-brand handsets like Huawei or Lenovo Mobile simply won't sell if pitched at more than 1000RMB, which barely covers the cost of 2001-standard hardware (ARM7, 1MB internal memory), let alone OS and patent licensing. If Chinese customers want to pay more for their phones, they buy Western-familar brands (Nokia, SE, Samsung, Moto and LG).
Nobody really wants the product, so who'd buy the company?
>I've been saying for years that they should depolymerise plastics etc to recycle the raw materials but the "conventional wisdom" was "it's too complicated and costly".<
And the "conventional wisdom" was right. What has happened is that the price of oil has risen and the price of recycling technology fallen to the point where it /starts/ to become cost effective to begin research into industrial-scale plastics recycling. While oil and natural gas are cheap, there's no incentive to do any kind of research or investment because you're too busy making a million dollars per hour per process unit on your refinery complex, without doing any work at all. Lazy? Yes - it's called "making hay while the sun shines".
It has been known for decades that chucking plastic into the front of a steam hydrocracker will break the plastic down into something useful. Like propylene, ethylene or benzene useful. The problem has always been how to feed enough plastic in to sustain the reaction, as solids handling is a pain in the arse. Any technology that can turn plastic into a stable liquid at low(ish) temperature is just perfect and allows "conventional wisdom" to "recycle" existing "chemical plants" into "plastics recycling plants". With or without the quote-mark abuse.
My own employer simply changes the terms of warranty for network-connected boxes to exclude unknown/internet attacks. Let the owner beware.
What should also be noted is that this is only for the HMI - the actual control and monitoring tends to be done in a different box running an appropriate OS (OK I've only ever used Wonderware to monitor Triconex ESD systems). The result of crashing the Wonderware instance is similar to turning the monitor off on your PC - irritating but hardly critical.
When exploits start appearing for the DCS or ESD logic solvers, then I'll panic.
"Seeing as you can buy a legit copy of XP in China for $3" ... no you can't. You can buy a picture perfect <i>copy</i> of XP in China, complete with holographic CD and licence key sticker, for $3, but it's no more genuine than this $9 note I have here. You can buy a legitimate copy of XP for $15 (120RMB), though. And yes, people will still choose the fake one because it's 1/5 the price.
For Linux, not so many people use Linux because Windows is so cheap and has all the software (ok, just QQ then) that people want. But when we do use it, we like Red Flag, mainly because it actually works with Chinese, rather than adds it as an afterthought.
SuSE and openSuSE have not the webpage written in Chinese. Doesn't inspire confidence. So I think this is not a serious effort.
"personally I wouldn't want to eat anything that spends half its life licking its own arse and the other half licking its balls." but eating animals that spend half their life eating their own vomit (cows/ruminants) or faeces (rabbits), or anything that will fit in its mouth (pigs) doesn't upset you?
Dog is actually quite tasty: very lean meat, firm texture, slightly nutty flavour. Try it sometime - you can have my neighbour's yappy little thing after I kill it for waking me up at 6am on a Saturday next time!
I prefer salted and dried dog (like biltong, only with salt).
Like here: http://www.emersonprocess.com/smartwireless/index.asp
Field instruments communicating with the DCS in non-critical control loops don't need to transmit a lot of data, but may find themselves in hard to reach (or even on moving) locations which would ordinarily be difficult to wire up. Even if mesh networks find no friends in the domestic market, they're proving quite interesting to Industry.
"No longer just for socialist dreamers" - but for Big Oil as well ;-)
Once you have handwriting recognition capability for hanzi, then spotting japanese, korean, thai, even arabic characters is a simple change. Start with the most complicated first, yes?
If you don't use that, then sending 520 is to your girlfriend is good, sending 5201314 is better. But sending 748 to anyone is very very bad.
As so many modern bikes have an aluminium frame, aluminium engine, alloy wheels, the only bit of the whole bike that will be affected by buried induction loops at lights are the brake discs. Perhaps bikers might do better to carry a 10kg iron barbell weight, or wear a chainmail vest?
Where I learned to drive, there were 50 million bicycles. One learns to look all around whenever changing direction - bicycles don't 'arf scratch the paint!
"Here's how you shop with POLi:
1) Select the POLi logo.
2) POLi will present you with a list of banks- select your bank.
3) Login as you normally would to begin an internet banking session.
4) POLi calls up your "pay anyone" screen and automatically fills in the merchant's details and the amount of the purchase.
5) Simply click "Pay" to purchase with money that's in your bank account. "
So I have to trust the merchant's website enough to allow a script to remain active while I log into my bank account, answer all the usual security questions and then have it fill in the payments form for me?
Not meaning to be paranoid, but how can I be sure that the merchant's website is anymore genuine, and the POLi script anymore trustworthy than the average phishing email? Using an ActiveX control, as it does, I'm also forced to use MSIE, which I don't like...
Also, of course, when I pay with Visa or Mastercard, I have some insurance against fraud. When I bay by BACS, I have none.
It's a lovely idea, but flawed, no?
We in China have had ID cards for a long time. We've only just got machine readable ones. They are tied into many tiers of life - banks, schools and colleges, employers, all need to see it, but they were until recently a photo stuck on a laminated card. Now they're a piece of plastic.
Are they forgable? Yes. Does it matter? No. In China you can go through your whole life never having to present ID, if you're very poor or very rich. They only burden the middle class.
BTW we can and do complain, also protest, also in some regions elect politicians. Does it matter? No more than in the UK - there's no such thing as representation democracy and you kid yourself if you believe there is.
It's not really so odd if you've ever worked in a Chinese office. Most Chinese are pretty clueless about malware - every home computer, 'net cafe computer and even many major organisations are riddled with it. When it comes to the internet the majority of Chinese have almost child-like trust of what they find. So most computers have download managers, password managers, cute little desktop games, funny icons and all the other standard vectors for malware.
That's fine for home users - home PCs aren't switched on as much as they are in the West. Problem is that most Chinese companies exhibit the same child-like innocence, so few have even the most basic policy in place for controlling their workforce's habits. Result is that staff happily spend large chunks of the day on QQ and other social sites, happily downloading cute little desktop games, funny icons, etc all to their work PCs.
Certainly there are spam/bot controllers there - it has to be in Chinese language after all but they're helped by universal ignorance in the rest of the country.