* Posts by Stern Fenster

48 posts • joined 17 Apr 2008

The dream of a single European patent may die next month – and everyone is in denial about it

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Re: Brexit voters will be happy

I rather thought the principal Remain strategy was to confuse Europe with the EU; thus anyone disliking the EU must dislike Europe, which means they dislike foreigners, which mean they're racist. Neat. Personally, I haven't grasped why it should be racist to dislike a fundamentally Thatcherite, neoliberal managerial empire like the EU; but then, I never mistook the infinitely fascinating collection of countries for the political organisation superimposed on them. See http://www.surmise.org/choler_brexit.html

(All horribly off topic, but I get bored with being called a racist...)

Adobe results show it is still creaming those subscriptions but its share price fell – why?

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- Yes i'm aware that buying adobe products outright is still an option.

Really? How's it done?

Did someone forget to tell NTT about Brexit? Japanese telco eyes London for global HQ

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Re: Honda's planned closure of its Swindon plant

Didn't Honda go to considerable trouble to point out that this was nothing to do with Brexit but entirely due to the state of the global car industry? (emphasis on *global*).

OK, Google? Probably not! EU settles on wording for copyright reform legislation

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>"The Commission simply implement the law and regulation passed by the Parliament "

Rubbish. The parliament (MEPs) has no power to initiate legislation, they're a rubber stamp with - at best - power to slow things down. Legislation is initiated by the commission (who act as the "government"), and frequently from shadowy bodies further up such as the Eurogroup. None of us has any significant power to remove the (appointed) members of the commission; they are appointed by the council of ministers in conjunction with the president of the commission and finally waved-through by the MEPs. So IF you could elect a new government in your own country and IF the appropriate new government minister decided to humour you and change their choice of commission member and IF the rest of the council of ministers were amenable and IF the result was approved by the EU parliament, then you'd have the (very oblique) power possibly to change 3.5% of the commission, if you were very very lucky. By no stretch of imagination could this be called "democratic". Tony Benn's "Five Questions You Should Ask Any Politician" are still relevant; the last is "How do we get rid of you?" and in this case the answer is self-evidently "You don't".

(This is to say nothing of sustained attempts by the largest member states to reduce the commission to sixteen members, meaning most of the smaller member states wouldn't even get their 3.5%).

As for the council of ministers: Varoufakis (a reluctant remainer) is worth reading on why elected ministers serving outside the context in which they were elected become intrinsically undemocratic. He's also written an entire book on his experiences in the Eurogroup (on which a certain freedom of action is conferred by the fact that it doesn't officially exist, despite setting the entire European economic agenda).

"Always amazes me" how little of this gets researched, or discussed, or thought about.

Worst-case Brexit could kill 92,000 science, tech jobs across UK – report

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>near-socialist view of regulation

The evidence would suggest the whole thing is fundamentally Thatcherite: a string of mandatory privatisation* directives ("all member states must open up their public infrastructure to private competition"), union-bashing (use of the ECJ - in despite of its official remit - against unions in eg the Vaxholm, Viking and Ruffert cases), imposition of ideological austerity regardless of situation (Greece etc). Basically what you might have expected from a trading partnership elevated quietly into a political organisation benefitting primarily a gang of multinationals.

But it's OK, here we've got a completely objective non-partisan report from a bunch of people capable of dealing with an atronomical quantity of intrinsically unknowable variables nobody else had the crystal balls for. Who needs evidence?

* If it had been honestly explained before the referendum that the privatisation agenda would include the NHS, do you think the result would have been 52:48 ? Omission of this discussion was the biggest single lie of the campaign.

NHS: Remember those patient records we didn't deliver? Well, we found another 162,000

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*** He said that, as part of the work, the team had looked at whether clinicians had stuck to processes introduced in 2015 that intended to improve the transfer of NHS documents – and discovered that there were about 5 per cent of cases "where that hasn't been happening". ***

Ah, so once again it's all the clinicians' fault, and not the overpaid fuckwit MBAs at the top of the organisational chain?

Neither businesses nor public services can function when run by people who suppose that management is a portable skill requiring no knowledge of what's being managed. Failed businesses can sink, but services remain necessary. The NHS won't work again until it's run by people who understand healthcare.

It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

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Re: Price gouging?

"Pound fell 19%, US company puts up prices 22%. That's actually fair: note that (1/0.81) = 1.23"

Pre-Brexit, pound was trading around 1.42 (if we discount the day immediately before, when the dim little currency gamblers believed the "remain" forecasts and talked it up to 1.50 in hopes of making a fat killing). This morning it's trading around 1.26. That makes a fall of 11% in normal arithmetic.

Toblerone's Brexit trim should be applied to bloatware

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Brexit did not "cause" the pound to drop; this was caused by a bunch of brain-dead currency speculators panicking afterwards.

I'll say it again: I quite see why, for practical reasons, we must pay attention to the level of the pound; what I don't see is why this is supposed to tell us something about the state of the world, as opposed to just the state of fear in a group of individuals with the intellectual reach of a stoned slug.

US citizens crash Canadian immigration site after Trump victory

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Not commensurate

Brexit did not involve handing nuclear triggers to a narcissistic psychopath. It did not involve a central "personality" at all. The only connection between Brexit and Trump is the dissatisfaction of a very large number of low-level workers screwed-over by globalisation. One solution can work, the other can't.

I'll just wearily point out once more: There is a perfectly repectable (non-xenophobic, non-racist) left-wing tradition of opposing the EU, because The EU is a deeply right-wing, neo-liberal, explicitly pro-privatisation and anti-union setup superimposed on Europe to the benefit of a gang of multinationals (see: European Round Table of Industrialists, Vaxholm anti-union case etc etc).

I did postgraduate study in Utrecht before we were even in the Common Market; I've worked all over Europe all my life; my partner is Norwegian. Study, work and travel in Europe did not commence with the EU. Persons supporting Brexit are not automatically stupid or fascist. Please stop knee-jerking, and do some research.

Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

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A few minutes basic research reveals the following (please don't downvote without checking):

• The EU is heavily pro-privatisation (a string of directives going back to the "Rail Directives" of the 90s promote this; it's behind every pointless UK privatisation from Railways to Royal Mail. The NHS is next).

• Via the ECJ, the EU has brought a series of court cases systematically undermining unions (eg the Vaxholm, Viking and Ruffert cases with judgements including the chilling sentence "the right to strike is not absolute", putting industrial relations back into the 19C).

• MEPs have no power to originate legislation; this is done by the Commission, who in turn follow the dictates of something called the European Round Table of Industrialists, a group of the 50 leading multinationals in Europe (Shell, BP, Volkswagen, GlaxoSmithKline, all the usual suspects).

Did anyone say during the infantile pre-referendum so-called discussions "We'd like you to vote for a deeply right-wing neo-liberal economic agenda which is going to hand control of your life to a bunch of your favourite multinationals and privatise everything out of existence"? The biggest lie was the lie of omission by Remain, in ignoring this right-wing privatisation-and-control agenda; the loathsome Farage is insignificant by comparison. All we got was "Be afraid about foreigners" vs "Be afraid about money".

It seems the entire political establishment (together with the comfortable metropolitan middle class) is now unanimously right-wing, and couldn't give a toss what us proles think. It would be nice to feel someone was representing me in return for my vote, and not colluding in the profitisation of national infrastructure.

Robots blamed for wiping 10 per cent off the value of sterling

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I understand why, for practical reasons, we have to pay attention to the value of sterling. I understand that certain people will be attracted to all that money that is available through currency speculation. What I don't understand is why we should take these pathetic little brain-dead gamblers as an indicator of anything at all about the state of the world beyond their own self-entitled fantasy bubble.

Brexit: Time to make your plans, UK IT biz

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Whose agenda?

I'm puzzled as to why so much so-called EU "debate" in the media is so utterly focussed on immigration.

The EU has a built-in, right-wing, neo-liberal economic agenda; a string of directives promote privatisation of national assets. Remember what Greece was forced to do :- "now that we've tied you to the Euro by ignoring the entry conditions for you - ensuring you're economically non-viable in perpetuity - you can only have a bail-out loan if you privatise your ports infrastructure" (what connection is there between these, save an ideological one?) The utterly opaque, unaccountable non-democratic structure (four chambers, only one of them elected, with MEPs who do not have equivalent powers to Brit MPs) is perfectly calculated to support this.

Being concerned about this is not a matter of being a "little-Englander". I'd guess the slogan "a vote for the EU is a vote for NHS privatisation" would help a lot of those "dont-knows" make up their minds pretty sharpish. But I ain't holding my breath for the necessary media coverage.

Go No! Google cyber-brain bests top-ranked human in ancient game

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Artificial Intelligence for Artificial Situations?

Calculation isn't intelligence; Deep Blue beat Kasparov by mere brute-force permutation rattling.

This is much better. But it's still an artificially closed situation: a precisely-defined starting point, a precisely-defined endpoint, and a field traversed by a (very) small repertoire of precisely-defined moves.

Life ain't like that.

Indonesian comms ministry orders 'gay emoji' block

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I'm a member of the public

and lots of things offend me. Can I have them all banned?

So why exactly are IT investors so utterly clueless?

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"Gargantua & Pantagruel" contains a lengthy discussion as to the best material for the purpose at hand, and rejects kittens fairly early on.

As I recall, the final decision favours the neck of a goose.

Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

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< ads themselves aren't just means of persuasion. They're information too. >


JK Galbraith [from "Money: Whence it came, where it went" 1968]:

"Only gravely retarded persons need to be told that the Imperial Tobacco Company has cigarettes for sale".

When I need information, I look for it.

Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

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I recall Blackwells in '73 having a blackboard inside the entrance, saying they were sorry but because of the increasing thefts they were going to have to cease their former practice of allowing you to wander off with whatever books your train of thought required and paying for them at some time in the future. That would be the hippies "liberating", of course. I rather regret the passing of that little patch of innocence.

Cambridge University Hospitals rated 'inadequate' due to £200m IT fail

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Re: I was there

< I really want to know who I can blow the whistle to in the hospital IT hierarchy. Any ideas? >

No point, except as a sacrifice. Almost all whistleblowers come to a bad end, despite comfy Trust regulations telling you how much your input will be valued. Here's one: http://www.surmise.org/choler_klng.html . I know for a fact it went to ministerial level. She had regs ostensibly protecting her. They didn't.

V&A Museum shows Guardian's destroyed MacBook as ART

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Re: It is art

"As for Clegg...Labour 2 points ahead in his seat. Come on lads, one more push! "

Shouldn't that be "One last heave"?

Ah, the poetic justice...

Bloke in Belgium tries to trademark Je Suis Charlie slogan

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Re: I'm 50/50 here

<The world would be a much happier place if we could all stop doing things we know will upset somebody unless there's a good reason to do it.>

Don't hold your breath.

I see things which "upset" me every day. I don't reserve the right to kill people over it.

Hide your Macs, iPhones and iPads: WireLurker nasty 'heralds new era'

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Re: OK so let me get this straight.

***The point is that Apple users are complacent. Apple OSX or iOS isn't magically more secure. It's just been a smaller target.***

Oh Jesus H Christ, not more of this...

NO intelligent user of ANY OS supposes it to be "magically" completely secure (the ones who do don't count).

Many users however can make an intelligent distinction between "completely secure" and "relatively secure".

Unix systems are not magically "secure" but they are demonstrably "more secure". Their use across the web does not constitute a "small target".

Let's say it yet, yet, yet again: There are currently no viruses proper - at all - for OSX (there will be, sometime, but this isn't one of them). There are however Trojans - ooh, must be 6 or 7 now. There already were Trojans - nothing has changed. Trojans require stupidity to work. No system, however secure, will guard against stupidity. Is this news?

I (and a load of other people) use Macs for serious work, not because they're hip or shiny but because they're nicely thought out and work well. I do not imagine they are immune to nasties. But I have observed, from evidence, that they are comparatively immune. I'm sick to the back teeth of the yah-boo-sucks level of "fanbois" discussion (isn't that something to do with wooden ventilators?), the eternal repeats of the same old same old. Get a life, for Chrissake, there are different systems - just get over it.

In other news (a few articles back):

"Malware monitors PandaLabs says 227,747 new malware samples are released every day.

The findings from its recent survey found 20 million samples were created in the third quarter of 2014.

Three quarters of infections were trojans while only 9 percent were viruses and 4 percent worms.

The number of trojans rose 13 percent over the last three months, displacing viruses which fell by 10 percent over the same period."

Where do you suppose the overwhelming bulk of this stuff is targeted?

It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future

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Chip fab, the ultimate selective example?

Globalisation: yet another one of those words that cover several things, so can be used by different folk to argue in completely different directions. OK, chip fab needs that scale of capital, but that's exceptional (it certainly doesn't apply to farming, nor to most ordinary things). The bulk of complaint against globalisation is focussed on companies who abruptly close down workplaces and leave everyone in the shit merely because there are still some places around the planet where people haven't heard about money yet, so fat profits can be made... for a short time.

Of course, though it took us a couple of hundred years to organise the collective leverage to get workable wages, it's not going to take these other people anything like that long; after which we'll be looking around going "Oh. Where did all the skills and all the plant go? Why is our culture just flapping about selling insurance policies to itself?" But the guys responsible will have long since vanished with their bonuses by then.

This is logic/common-sense. No quasi-hippy cliches (yurts, sandals, tree-hugging etc etc ad nauseam) required to subscribe to it.

You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data

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Re: New Noun


"Mining" = verb. Compound "data mining" = gerund, functionally a noun.

Excellent phrase either way.

Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

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And it only remains...

So it's agreed that "happiness" is good, and now the only thing that remains is to define what it actually is.

Is it lying on a sofa with a large box of chocs watching X-Factor, or rowing the Atlantic single-handed?

Is it looking at the world as hard as possible, or blotting out the world in order to see as little as possible? Does it involve learning things or not learning things?

Until we figure that out, the word isn't useful.

Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

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Public confidence?

No, plods, the Snowden revelations have not "damaged public confidence in our ability... to use data in an appropriate and proportionate way"; you did that yourselves, very thoroughly. Snowden only showed us what you were doing. If you'd had nothing to hide, you'd have had nothing to fear.

Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

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Re: I'm astounded

> Even more astounding, he's a member of a political party and he managed to keep his brain.

"When in that house MPs divide,

If they've a brain and cerebellum too,

They've got to leave that brain outside

And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to".

(WS Gilbert, "Iolanthe", 1882)

Nothing changes.

Hunt's paperless future: NHS watches £60m vanish down plughole

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Paper at least has a rudimentary id check system built in (the person presenting the prescription at the pharmacy will usually be the same person that collected it from the surgery). If it's been sent on ahead, watch out for the generalised pick-up scams.

Russia to suspend US GPS stations in tit-for-tat spat

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Re: Where have you been Murphy?!

"I seem to remember May 8th was Victory in Europe day. Perhaps you might want to understand exactly who was responsible for the lions share of that victory."

Russia, wasn't it?

NHS patient data storm: Govt lords SLAP DOWN privacy protections

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Re: Talking to Patients

The GP who was sufficiently worried to start the care.data site ( http://care-data.info ) is perfectly clear that this is NOT about clinically useful sharing of data:

"This ... is not about sharing your medical information with doctors, nurses and other health professionals outside of your GP surgery.

It's not about the ways in which your GP shares information about you as part of providing essential medical care.

It's not about ensuring that hospital specialists have the information that they need when you are referred to see them."

Good site and worth everybody's attention.

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

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Just what we need...

More f***ing Unskilled Management suits screwing up something that worked in order to further their own miserable kiddie-brained mini-empire. How much is this dim ignorant half-arsed principle-less space-wasting excrement-lobed cognitively-flatulent smug gutless cowardly sneak-weaselling spunk-bubble of a so-called CEO paid, do you think? More than a volunteer? Let me guess...

Disgusting scum. Just like in the NHS.

Adobe price hike: Your money or your files, frappuccino sippers

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Users uninterested in being shamelessly gouged by Adobe might like to add themselves to the petition, which is doing quite well:


Verity Stob and the super subjunction

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@Richard Jukes

Personally, I found it funny without benefit of whisky. It's as if you have a down on linguistic practicality.

Ah no, sorry: It's *like* you have a down on linguistic etc. "As if" is now a standalone with a quite different usage.

And hey, can we bring back public floggings for people misusing "parameter"? (it does NOT mean "perimeter", you scumbrils. "Within the parameters" is COMPLETELY EFFING MEANINGLESS).

Defra gifts £22m to payments quango

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"is genuinely conducive to good governance"

Side issue: anyone know what "governance" actually signifies? Presumably it's about governing, and I know two meanings for that word. One is what governments do, and we're only talking about managers so it can't be that. The other is the mechanical meaning, where a few bits of mutually-opposed deadweight spin round with a great fuss on top of the machinery and prevent it working as fast as it otherwise would, and obviously that can't apply to managers either.

A local NHS trust hereabouts has an "Information Governance Manager". You could substitute "control" for "governance", but it's still a tautology and achieves nothing that "Information Manager" doesn't do on its own.

Surely, "governance" won't turn out to be yet another word pressed into service to make smalltime bozo management feel bigger? I mean.... that would be dishonest, wouldn't it?

Oh, and Natural England used to be English Nature, if that helps anyone. They recently advised me how to stop badgers digging into my graveyard (I live in an old church) and bowling skulls out into the field - worried passers-by kept calling the police. Gotta be worth millions.

Researchers: Arctic cooled to pre-industrial levels from 1950-1990

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1840 ?

"... actually began in 1840, before the industrial revolution had even begun."

Not begun in Russia, do you mean? Because by 1840 we sure had one hell of a lot of railways, foundries, coal mines and dark satanic millery round Blighty way.

Ballmer, black turtlenecks, and Microsoft's next big idea

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"Microsoft has not stopped innovating..........It's just that with so many of these projects, Microsoft is a follower not a leader."

Spot the logical discrepancy.

Microsoft never had any "vision". They were standing in the right place at the right time. They had it phenomenally lucky, courtesy of bozo Unskilled Management the planet over - their success exactly co-incided with the age of manager-worship. And now it's the long slow lights-out.

Maybe with this concrete off our ankles one day, things might get interesting again.

Doctor Who attempted to overthrow Thatcher

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BBC lefties?

"The Beeb has been well to the left for 30 years now"

Funny, I seem to recall Alistair Campbell not sharing this opinion. Or did I miss the Murdoch scumbunch asking awkward questions about WMDs, Kelly etc?

Surely it couldn't be the case that *anyone* in power is likely not to want to be challenged? I mean, that would be self-serving dishonesty, wouldn't it?

Meet Phorm's PR genius

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Local jobs for local people

I've never understood this jobs argument.

Auschwitz created lots of jobs. It wasn't thought to be a good enough reason for keeping it open.

Apple muffles PC noisemakers

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"When acoustic annoyance exceeds a user's preferred parameters"

Just remind me how you can exceed a parameter?

Not you too, Reg....

Online advertisers team up on privacy principles

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@sarah bee

Mmm. And you're OK with deep packet inspection, then? Regardless?

Librarians redubbed 'audience development officers'

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"this is not Policial Correctness, it's Managementspeak"


Microsoft spits out ODF plans for Office 2007 SP2

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Thumb Down

Damned if they do, damned if they don't????

Er...... where's the "do", then? You mean mouthing off a bit about "openness"? That counts as "do" for you, does it?

Brits decline to 'think outside the box'

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Always thought it was Manglish

Managerial English, that is ........ the sharp end of the cutting edge.

And how about we reclaim the useful word "parameter", currently conflated with "perimeter"?

Bring back flogging, I say......

Safari 3.2 update leaves Mac fanboys' balls in a spin

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No problems

Nah, all fine and solid here. And I *am* running SafariBlock.....

PlusNet customer invited to opt-in to BT's Phorm trial

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Still trying

As soon as the Phorm crap blew up (seems years ago) I asked PlusNet about their angle on it, and got the same response quoted above - "we want nothing to do with it". I then asked BT if, as PlusNet use their infrastructure, we're all going via Phorm anyway. Many pulled teeth later, they answered: If PlusNet say your traffic ain't going through Phorm, then we sure it isn't. Not reassuring. I've been trying to get a firmer answer ever since. Wondering about trying a solicitor's letter.

Hedging bastards....

Dawkins' atheist ad campaign hits fundraising target

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Erroneous Posters Everywhere

<Incorrect, an atheist says that there is no empirical evidence that there is a god, that existence of a god is not falsifiable and therefore not fit for research, and therefore the atheist lives their life as if there is no god. An agnostic believes in a higher power but has not decided what it is.>

Er, no. Atheist is from a-theos (= no god). Agnostic is from a-gnosis (= no knowledge). That seems pretty clear.

Dawkins is annoying precisely because he treats atheism, which by definition is not a religion, as if it was. His pseudo-science appears to be faith-based. Anyone see him on telly declaring that "oh yes, we call it the *theory* of evolution, but that's just a convention, it's the truth" ? That's not science. The point of science is that you never get *the* truth, you just get the best truth yet.

I'd like to spend my time fighting off idiot fundamentalists, not people who pretend to fight fundamentalism by simply reversing the polarity.

Multi-threaded development joins Gates as yesterday's man

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The Transputer didn't "fail". INMOS (a government-funded research outfit) was knocked on the head by Thatcher, who "didn't see the point of blue-sky research without immediate return". 'S what happens when you let a grosser run the place.

Microsoft teases mobile developers with 'big' Silverlight deals

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"Microsoft, go and invent something new and useful instead of copying"

Why start now?

Red Hat scurries away from consumer desktop market

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@Anton Channing

"Overall though I get frustrated by the single button mouse and the lack of right click context menus. I still find myself trying to right click sometimes, and then wondering what I'm supposed to do instead."

Macs have had right click for years. Just switch it on in the mouse control panel. Or use Control-Click for contextuals if you wanna be really retro.


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