* Posts by Alan Brown

12193 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

"If you want them to have a bit more of a sky thinking then maybe they could look at Maglev, but that is a LOT more expensive than a standard train"

Maglev levitation is relatively cheap. The Shanghai Maglev only needs about 15kW for the actual levitation part (it uses far more power for the airconditioning).

The massive power draw comes from punching a train-sized hole through the air at speed - and also comes with a LOT of complaints from the neighbours (the maglev system now runs at reduced speeds in the evening)

Hyperloop _is_ maglev - in a partially evacuated tube - Which reduces the power requirements dramatically (you use a lot less energy pulling a mild vacuum than fighting friction) along with the noise emissions.

Keeping cabins pressurised is a solved technology - we've been doing it on aircraft for decades and hyperloop vehicles can be made with considerably thicker skin. No, the pax don't get smeared if there's a leak. It's called airbraking and no, the vacuum tubes aren't needed below about 70km/h/40mph, so things can be routed at low speed without the "tubes" before moving to vacuum for high speed transit

The biggest problem with vac trains is economics. Transportation systems don't make money on passengers - passenger train systems need massive government subsidies everywhere. That means to make them work they need to be able to carry freight and to carry freight they MUST be able to be containerised which means making the system big enough to hold standard containers. As soon as the cargo needs repacking along the way, the economics of the trasport system are destroyed.

In a working system the routing system doesn't ovberly care if pods are passenger or freight. The only difference would be the origin and destination points

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

"As far as I know Hyperloop was not considered"

What the rest of the world considers high speed rail wasn't considered either. This is just express commuter rail

Vac train technology has been feasible and discussed for decades. The holdback has always been cost.

DidYouKnow: The USA once had the best public transportation systems in the world. The envy of all.

These were systemically dismantled and the technology destroyed in the late 1940s and 1950s.

As one example: it was possible to get across greater Los Angeles on light rail signficantly faster than it can be driven today - and many/most of Los Angeles' freeways are run on old light rail right-of-ways

As anti-brutality protests fill streets of American cities, netizens cram police app with K-Pop, airwaves with NWA

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: "Yes, Anon activists are back."

"The cop that did it is rightly banged up facing a murder charge."

The 3 others that didn't intervene _should_ be facing "accessory after the fact" charges.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: "Yes, Anon activists are back."

"Second, this isn't the first death of a suspect from being restrained by this technique."

Third this isn't the first, second or even third case of _this cop_ having killed someone or being disciplined for police brutality

US police are not "peace officers", they are a hostile, occupying, heavily armed militia - and one thing history tells you about wars of occupation is that the occupiers cannot win them if those being occupied don't want them there anymore.

The USA has a concept of "qualified immunity", bui that's been abused beyond reocgnition to provide judicial immunity to police deliberately breaching rights, etc - and then there's the issue that the police forces seem to have unlimited liability insurance no matter what happens. One of the fastest ways of bringing a rogue company to heel is to cancel or heavily limit their insurance cover.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: "Yes, Anon activists are back."

"You do get young anarchists "

What you're referring to as "anarchists" are actually "chaos monkeys"

Contrary to popular belief, _real_ anarchists are actually organised at a local government level - and in Barcelona they did a reasonable job of running the city for quite a while before Franco's fascists killed them all.

Watch an oblivious Tesla Model 3 smash into an overturned truck on a highway 'while under Autopilot'

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: It is autopilot but not autonomous

" Since the human braked, did that turn autopilot off?"

Since the human braked, why didn't he try to steer around the obstacle?

(Hint, if you watch the video the twat was cruising down the road lanehogging. One might call it Karma)

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: It is autopilot but not autonomous

"I mean the autopilot has been in planes for decades."

"Autopilot" in an aircraft ranges from something that will keep the wings level/heading constant (AND NOTHING ELSE - you have to watch your own altitude, etc) to something that can take off, route and land all by itself.

As such it's a stupid name for a cruise control - Winnebago found that out a long time ago.

Alan Brown Silver badge


It's an advanced cruise control.

More importantly the fucking owner's manual EXPLICITLY STATES that the car's autonomous systems CAN NOT DETECT AND STOP IN TIME FOR STATIONARY OBJECTS IN THE VEHICLE'S PATH when travelling in excess of 50mph/(80k/m for the sensible)

There are too many Tesla owners out there who clearly got their driving license out of a packet of Rice Crispies

Australia to refund $720m in 'debts' determined by dodgy algorithm

Alan Brown Silver badge

"I hope they pay big time."

Given that there has been at least one suicide, the words "contributory manslaughter" could be raised

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: WD Market Segmentation Blot

"I'm beyond my 15 days at Canada Computers"

No you're not - and the reason is simple consumer protection laws.

The drives are not as represented(*) and are unfit for the purpose for which they were marketed.

(*) They are MARKETED for home/SOHO "RAID and NAS use" - which means firstly they can't claim they're a business device being repurposed and secondly that consumer protection laws apply

Resellers are only belatedly becoming aware of the can of worms that WDC, SGT and Toshiba have handed them in terms of product liabilities and the ones I've spoken to are NOT HAPPY about it, however they're the ones who have to carry the can in most countries and will have to recover the losses from the HDD makers. At least one large distie has made a decision to withdraw all SMR product from their catalogs

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Forcing us to the Cloud 'Solution' and Subscription Hell?

"Best I can figure is all manufacturers have lost interest "

95+% of volume in HDD sales is to bit barns and it's arguable they should have gotten out of retail years ago.

Instead all three makers have burned a lot of trust and I can't see anyone with any sense buying SSD products from a company that's seen to have been willing to commit fraud (ie: ALL THREE makers). We'd already seen them willing to gouge prices and slash warranties in the wake of 2011 Thai flooding, along with drive reliability _PLUMMET_ - this latest stuff is just the icing on the gilded turd.

SSD makers are more pragmatic:

The _smallest_ Samsung drives you can buy in most ranges are 256 or 512GB for the simple reason that there's no profit in selling something that hits retail channels at less than $80

You can't even _buy_ a sub-2GB USB stick anymore, unless it's someone's refurb or been kicking around at the back of a warehouse for 15+ years

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Correction: HGST/Hitachi

"WD acquired the business in 2012 and rebranded it as HGST and from that time, it had absolutely nothing to do with Hitachi."

More precisely, it was rebranded HGST in 2012 because Chinese regulators wouldn't allow WD to merge the company, citing duopoly concerns.

They relented in 2018, after Toshiba was sold a chunk of WD's 3.5 inch manufacturing business (in the meantime Seagate hoovered up Xratex for their test equipment and dumped the drive arrays)

At the time I commented that the Chinese probably saw large SSDs being on the cusp of being cost competitive with HDDs - they were until a fire at Hynix destroyed a big chunk of flash capacity in late 2018

It's now clear the Chinese duopoly concerns were valid - and farming out stuff to Toshiba didn't "fix" that issue.

In the meantime, SSDs with similar DWPD figures to HDD "NAS" drives (180TB/year = 0.15 D[RW]PD and unlike HDDs, reads on SSDs are "free", so 0.2-0.8 DWPD for things like Micron's ION range is more than comparable) are now about three times the price of HDD "NAS" drives - coming with 5 year warranties instead of 3 year ones and built in power loss protection (Samsung's consumer 860 ranges don't have this, let alone the QVOs. Besides, the QVOs cost more)

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Silly way to drive customers away

Contact WD and demand forward replacements

They ARE doing it for UK customers

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Wrong credit.

The Datahoarder community did document it. Chris made no secret of the discussions in that or that I brought it to him in the first place

Other "journalists" have been less open about it, and there's been a lot of flat out plagarising of Chris's reports without attribution, or crediting him for the story without looking at what he wrote.

A lot of the astroturfing pushing WD smells less of Stockholm Syndrome and more like having the same grammar and language constructs as the WD PR and manglement twats I was dealing with before I went to Chris.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Storm in a teacup?

"I'm curious as to why the rebuild actually fails."

Because the drives have a firmware bug and when given sustained non-sequential writes (ZFS RAID rebuilds aren't sequential. RAID5/RAID6 may not be either) after 40 to 90 minutes they start throwing bogus internal errors "Sector ID not found" - you can see this in "smartctl -x" views of the drive internal extended log) and throw a HARD write error back to the host computer

The only way to stop this happening is to idle the drive after 40 minutes activity for 1-2 hours to allow it to write out its CMR cache area (about 100GB) before you can resume the rebuild.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Storm in a teacup?

"I would like to see some proper data on how this affects the performance of the drives in their intended use"

I kicked this off with Chris because the replacement 4TB REDs I got ti replacing aging ones in my home NAS went from 18 hour RAIDZ3 rebuilds on the old drives to failing to complete after 21 DAYS and WD were blowing off complaints.

RAIDZ3 rebuilds were _still_ 18 hours on the old REDs, and on Toshiba N300s + Seagate IronWolfs purchased to crosscheck. The "New" SMR REDs were the same price as the CMR REDs they replaced but more importantly the CMR drives were simply no longer available anyway. The N300s and Ironwolfs were slightly cheaper than the SMR REDs

That's when I started digging, found out about the shingling and realised they had bad firmware - both problems WD were denying but were fairly well documented in tech circles. THEN I found out about the SMR Barracudas and realised "ghost" networking problems my group had been chasing for over a year weren't caused by networking issues - we verified it was down to the SMR drives choking the desktop computers they were installed on.

WD and Seagate were empathically _refusing_ to tell media or customers whether drives were SMR or CMR. It was only when Chris confronted them with retailer lists (skinflint.co.uk) that they relented and admitted it.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: up to 2TB, it makes no sense to go mechanical

"But when a drive failed, only about one third of the time was it preceded by SMART monitoring errors."

Conversely: IF you know what you're looking for, monitoring SMART can tell you a drive is having trouble long before it even issues a SMART warning

Alan Brown Silver badge

"But the competitors are SSD drives."

There's SSD and there's SSD.

SK Hynix have shipped some utterly shitty NVME drives (less than 140MB write speeds and 300MB/s read speeds) which HP have bundled into their desktops and sold as premium product - but because they refuse to publish specs on what they put in their products they got away with it.

HP Europe response to complaints has boiled down to "We got your money. Tough luck!"

Our response was "You blew any chance of future sales and jeopardised tens of millions of dollars of nationwide future contracts on the supply framework we use. Oh dear, how sad"

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Another good reason to be an El Reg reader

"And thanks to Chris Mellor's article, I specified the old 64MB cache version (model WD40EFRX, CMR) rather than the new 256MB cache (SMR) drive."

A lot of vendors are shipping EFAX models anyway. The retailers don't know the difference.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Chickens coming home to roost

(Disclosure: I'm the one who brought this mess to Chris' attention along with various tech mailing lists and notified ixSystems about the F/W bugs. Chris verified the issue, got admissions from WDC & SGT which they'd refused to give to consumers plus a voluntary statement from Toshiba about their use of SMR in consumer products - I'd assumed Tosh had been more ethical in disclosure up to that point)

ixSystems have withdrawn their recommendation for the SMR drives - and they verified my report of FW bugs in RED SMRs.

The reason they gave that recommendation was that WD RED CMR drives have been hellaciously reliable. My old REDs have run 8-9 years 24*7 without missing a beat whilst other drives tended to only last 5-6 years. WD built a reputation and trashed it in a matter of 18 months.

As for the Class Action - this COULD be a submarined way of WD heading off consumer protection "death of one million paper cuts" in US courts. By certifying a class in USA courts it means anyone filing in lower courts (small claims) is likely to find their claim pulled into the class action.

Don't forget: WD, Seagate and Toshiba have been explicitly marketing SMR drives as suitable for home and SOHO use. That means the "Get out of jail free" card that was used against misleading advertising litigation in the past ("these are business devices and businesses must do their homework") is ripped up and thrown away. WD compounded the crime by selling the things explicitly as suitable for RAID use when what they meant was "Mirroring", then gaslighting consumers who complained (as did Seagate) and then issued press statements gaslighting the public (Say kids, Can you say "Exemplary Damages"? I knew you could.)

In this case the class action is targetting WD. I doubt it will be the only one and I'm doubtful consumer protection agencies around the world will sit on their hands - particularly when they look at the combined actions of the three companies

If the rollout of DM-SMR in consumer drives had been "coincidental", then at least one of the makers would have disclosed it on the spec sheets and/or would have released SMRs at a considerably lower price point than their CMR product and/or would have pointed out what the others were doing.

If it looks like a cartel behaviour duck , quacks like a cartel behaviour duck and walks like a cartel behaviour duck, it's highly unlikely to be a coyote.

Icon, because Micron have parked SSD tanks on HDD maker lawns.

You can buy their 5210 ION "cold storage" (meaning 0.2-0.8DWPD, something akin to archival SMR HDDs, not "powered off") SSDs for twice the price of Enterprise HDDs of the same capacity (or about 3 times the price of a RED/IronWolf/N300 - and the quoted endurance of 180TB/year for RED or IronWolf or N300 NAS drives is a lot LESS than 0.2-0.8DWPD)

Not bad for an ENTERPRISE drive that draws ~2W, has power failure protection and a 5 year warranty (the HDDS referenced above are all 3 year warranty)

RIght now on Insight, UK IONs are listed at £308/4TB($380), £580/8TB($680) +tax - and the way SSDs are still falling in price they'll rpobably hit parity with the Enterprise SMR drives by the end of 2020

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at International Space Station

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: this is only half the trip

"if you hit the atmosphere at the wrong angle you might never land"

Unless you're coming in on from an interplanetary trajectory, _parts_ of you can be assumed to land eventually.

Landing at the same time and in the same place is not assured though

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: May I recommend rsyslog?

It wasn't uncommon to syslog to a remote machine which would print. We were doing that in the 1980s in telcos

Watch SpaceX's Starship SN4 prototype accidentally self-destruct in a rocket test burn

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Think Titantic...

"The Titanic's problem was that it had a double bottom but not double bilges."

Bilges weren't so much of a problem so much as the "waterproof compartments" not being sealed at the top.

As each one filled up, the bulkheads were overtopped and water fillled the adjacent compartment. If they'd been sealed it would have been swamped but stayed afloat.

That's quite apart from the deficient crush structure White Star adopted vs P&O, in order to have the big open spaces internally and a reckless captain who treated the liners like speedboats (he'd already badly damaged Olympia off of Liverpool causing it to be dry-docked for months)

TItanic's best chance of survival would have been a head on collision with an iceberg - it would have killed the entire crew of ~200 stokers asleep in the forward compartments but the ship would have survived just fine. On the other hand we wouldn't have SOS and all the marine rescue stuff that resulted form the loss.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: And FAED to black

"I don't think that's what Scott was saying-"

Scott's hypothesis is that the fuelling lines broke loose - and he showed slowmo footage of the thing blasting itself into the ground when it vented methane out the top after pushing the 20 tonne mass adaptor sitting on top off at about 100km/h (which happened when the entire stack "jumped" thanks to the explosion under the base)

ie: This was a setup/ground crew error, not a rocket/vessel failure.

China's Tencent to order ONE MILLION SERVERS as part of $70bn digital infrastructure splurge

Alan Brown Silver badge

"It is also building lots of nuclear power stations, which is why it now seeks to build them for others"

most importantly, China's investing $$SHITLOADS into molten salt systems (far safer than steam bombs) and aims to get those into production sooner rather than later.

If they get it working, it solves the "nuclear waste problem", makes the entire uranium enrichment system clearly military in scope and drops the price of the fuel by a factor of 200 whilst improving safety by a factor of at least 1000 and thermal efficiency of the generation plant by 50%

What do you do when your light water plants are shown up for being the crude, dangerous rube-goldberg contraptions that they are?

Raspberry Pi Foundation serves up an 8GB slice of mini-computing goodness

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Pi a great project

"That BBC Micro naming is *why* there are A and B series Pis"

Where's the raspberry Electron?

Alan Brown Silver badge

"another RPi to sit in my desk drawer"

OpenHab - just a thought.

Playing with tasmotas here

Alan Brown Silver badge

"640 Kelvin is the temperature the next generation of Raspberry Pi is going to run at"

Fahrenheit 451, shirley?

Clearview AI sued by ACLU for scraping billions of selfies from social media to power its facial-recog-for-cops system

Alan Brown Silver badge

"There's also the question of whether downloading an image and using it for a commercial purpose is a breach of the photgrapher's copyright."

That's not a question, it was settled long ago. The answer is "yes" and is why we have image libraries

Alan Brown Silver badge


I wonder how many EU citizens are in Clearview's database without permission - and if Clearview execs - or anyone using their data - is planning to travel to the EU in the reasonable future?

That customer list looks like pretty reasonable warrant fodder

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Alan Brown Silver badge

5G might not give you coronavirus, but it is quite likely to transmit Hentai viruses if you don't practice safe hex

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

Alan Brown Silver badge

"Sure they just change the socket 90% of the time just to force us into that extra upgrade and not because some new chip model actually requires it"

Intel: yes

AMD: no

Even to the point where the latest AMD APUs use the same AM4 socket but can't be run on older boards due to bios constraints (the older APUs can only address 16MB in real mode) and vice versa. There are some kludged workarounds coming to allow it on enthusiast boards but they involve serious hackery of the underlaying codebase to make it all fit

Intel would change the socket and force the issue

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: $$$

for comparison: Intel were flogging 24 core Xeons for $5-7000 apiece this time last year. I drew the line on one system because the CPUs the user wanted were $13,500 apiece.

Having convinced him he could survive on 8 cores less per socket, we were able to knock $12k off the total price

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: $$$

Price doesn't scale linearly with number of processors. the 16 and 24 core ones are a relative bargain

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: AMD Dreams

I was just thinking about that quote myself.

Memories of sitting in computer class in 1982 and calculating that the current rate of memory increase in systems, 1GB would be the norm by Y2K and be pushing 64GB systems by 2010. Then thinking... "nahh"

It wasn't just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victims

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: On this Michael O'Leary has a point

Ah, yes... "cheap flights"


Chicago: Why I just grin like a dork... It's my kind of Bork

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Jumped up quiche?

which makes you wonder how desperately hungry someone was, to eat snails,considering that without mountains of flavouring (and a lot of butter) they have a taste and texture not essentially different from "chewy snot with lumps in it"

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Also Microsoft

"Wow that's really going to screw over Applied Materials."

At some point, US companies are going to start decamping North America

DBA locked in police-guarded COVID-19-quarantine hotel for the last week shares his story with The Register

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: How far away is home?

"I lost count of the number of people who were very surprised at this asking how we travelled so far in a day."

I lived in New Zealand - which is only about the same size as the UK. Driving 100 miles each way for a decent coffeehouse and night out wasn't considered unusual. Even in a country that size it was perfectly possible to live places where the nearest neighbour was 20-30+ miles away.

Then again, consider it can take 2-3 hours to drive the 19-20 miles _across_ London, vs under 2 hours to travel the ~100miles between the ring motorways connecting London and Birmingham or that it's 90-120 minutes on the commuter network from the outer London suburbs to St Pancras Station, vs a fraction over 2 hours to Paris from St Pancras).

Where I live now, I can _see_ Canary wharf on a clear day. It takes 2 hours at best to get there (3-5 on a bad day). Brighton Beach is 3 times further away but I can be there in 45 minutes. You eventually start thinking of things in terms of travel time rather than distance

It's a common failing of organisations outside the UK to assume all distances are equal when planning appointments for technical staff - which can lead to some "interesting" conversations with manglement who really don't understand that "it's only 5 miles, how can it possibly take 90 minutes??"

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: How far away is home?

"those of us who don't fully comprehend Australian-style distances"

Australia is about the size of the US lower 48 - or would completely cover western Europe right up to the Russian borders: https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/country-size-comparison/united-kingdom/australia or https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/country-size-comparison/united-states/australia

Darwin to Sydney is about the same distance as London to Moscow (or London to Tel Aviv, or Seattle to Houston)

China is about the same size as Australia: https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/country-size-comparison/united-kingdom/china or https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/country-size-comparison/united-states/china

Plugging in a few equatorial countries (try Ghana vs United Kingdom) can give an understanding just how distorted the standard Mercator projection makes our view of the world. It's a navigator's map, not an accurate sizing one.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Perfect example...

"suggesting there was an initial wave in UK/Europe last autumn..."

1918 seems to have started around Kansas - already deadly when it struck there and travelled to USA military camps - and went to Europe. It changed and came back to the USA. Nobody tries to argue that what left the USA was "Wave 1"

In the case of what's been found in Europe/USA, it's clear it was out and circulating sooner than people thought - but that could have been a less virulent form too. My GP is already suggesting the "extreme flu" I had in late December-early January (and still suffering after effects from) was Covid, although I'm personally doubtful and tend towards H1N1. Without swabs at the time or accurate antibody tests it's anyone's guess. (Amongst other things I lost smell entirely for a couple of weeks and went completely deaf for 3 days/impaired for 5 weeks)

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Perfect example...

"You had a cumulative known total of 321."

That was a cumulative total of people who had died in hospital after confirmed diagnosis, when there were no fucking diagnostic kits available.

You can warp stats around in any number of ways if you restrict the way you express your datasets

The best overall proxy for covid19 death rate is the excess population deaths over the 5 year average deaths for this time of year and that's painting a VERY bleak picture.

It was only when the FInancial Times started weighing on how appallingly bad things are that the rest of the media started sitting up, stopped reportng the govt "official" figures as if they were gospel and started making noises to say "hospital deaths" or other footnotes to say the numbers were incomplete

https://www.ft.com/content/40fc8904-febf-4a66-8d1c-ea3e48bbc034 - currently pointing out that ONS stats show 50,979 deaths vs the govt's claimed 32,065 - the curves showing at the bottom of the page are nice, but they make it clear that this is the FIRST wave of the disease and there is worse to come(*)

At the time the UK government was saying "22,000 deaths" the figure was already PAST 45,000 and when they said 32,000 (after "Adjusting for care homes") they're still missing out around 1/3 of the recorded deaths above the baseline.

An awful lot of people are dying at home, or in care homes _without_ the benefit of a covid diagnosis and medics are afraid to put "possibly covid" on the death certificate without a test result as the health authority manglement have been making various noises about funding, etc. They know they're going to be facing corporate manslaughter investigations and the better they can make numbers look, the harder it is for prosecutors

This is going to be the Potters Bar event for public health investigations and politicians will be held to account. There have been too many deaths for the to deflect to 3rd parties.

Opening up too soon will result in things taking off like an exploding boiler. Wuhan, Singapore, South Korea(**), Germany and other places are already finding this out the hard way

(*) Every pandemic in the last 150 years has had multiple waves with the second being significantly larger than the first (even the last Ebola outbreak). looking at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/three-waves.htm should be eyeopening

Some countries actually TEACH this stuff as part of history due to the impact it had. Samoa lost almost 1/3 of its entire population in 12 days in 1918 - and the British governer behaved almost exactly like Boris - refused to allow quarantines, then to accept responsibility, running away to New Zealand as fast as he could - leaving his assistant to deal with hundreds of grieving families - then back to England when investigators tried to detain him for a commission of enquiry. Most Pacific Island countries saw 20-25% death rates - that's why they locked down tighter than a snail's arse when this one came along.

(**)Seoul: 1 carrier, one epic pub crawl to celebrate the night of the easing of lockdown. 30 confirmed infections already, another 7200 people exposed. It only takes a couple of carriers to restart the blaze

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: due to the ineptitude of Boris and his cohort of fuckwits.

Really? http://offloop.net/covid19/ (which I assume you're looking at) shows "reported hospital confirmed covid deaths", not "excess deaths above baseline" for the UK. That big jump in the curve was when it was adjusted to "reported hospital and carehome confirmed convid deaths" for the week.

In reality it's up near Belgium and Belgium has 1/6 the population, mostly geriatic. Offloop's admin is aware of the ONS API but it runs a week behind the government announcements ( I asked him to plot UK excess deaths as a separate line)

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: What a shit hole

and 32,065 "hospital deaths" is significantly different to 52,000+ "excess deaths above baseline"

Unless there are some REALLY stealthy ninja assassin squad carving their way across the UK countryside it's a sure bet that Covid19 is the culprit for most-if-not-all of the line above the "normal for this time of year" figure.

(especially since "influenza" "road crash" and other "accidental" causes have taken a general dip - the first for general reporting reasons, but the other two because they genuinely have dropped - it's even more pronounced in South Africa where the rise in Covid deaths has seemingly been outweighed by the drop in the murder rate.)

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: What a shit hole

"Population density seems to be a bigger factor."

Not really.

Packing hundreds of confirmed infected seniors off to care homes and telling those care homes that they will lose ALL funding immediately if they don't take them (yes, really) is on par with trebucheting infected corpses over the wall into a beseiged town

It's no wonder care homes across the UK are seeing staggering death tolls with most seeing between 1/2 and 2/3 of their residents die in the last month - one site reported losing 85% of their residents in a single week.

The words "corporate manslaughter" are appearing more and more often in connection with covid deaths

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: What a shit hole

"Competent countries do actually have pandemic plans in place"

Whereas the UK fared so badly in BOTH of the last 2 pandemic planning exercises (the germane point being they were under the same government) that UK dot gov kicked the results under the carpet and ignored it whilst whistling loudly if anyone bought the subject up and talked about the exercises before those.

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: What a shit hole

"hiding behing the science and the data "

Except there was clearly none of either, as what was being pushed was party line, not WHO recommendations or in line with what any sane medic was recommending

Covering a turd with vanilla sprinkles doesn't make it any more edible.

Users of Will.i.am's Wink IoT hub ask 'Where is the love?' as they're asked to pay for a new subscription service

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Let's start a new fad

"the convenience factor is being able to instantly adjust the lighting or heating as you walk in or out of a room "

Get it _right_ and the lighting will adjust as you walk in/out of a room, heating will sort itself out and NOT come on in rooms with the windows open, etc.

It's a bit more fiddly to setup and put the sensors/bridges where needed but if you tie it all together it means you have a system which works and you don't need to touch anything - and if you really want you can even setup some old fashioned "light switches" (433MHz transmitters) wherever you find convenient rather than where the sparky decided to shove 'em 40 years ago.

Alan Brown Silver badge

cloud == someone else's stuff

openhab on a pi :)

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

Alan Brown Silver badge

Laser Brooms (Re: Irresponsible?)

It's been pondered - and the general concensus is that lasering from on-orbit is impractical and even more problematic than lasering from the ground.

Laser Brooms are perfectly feasible NOW. The problem is that they can be used to bring down other countries' satellites as well as debris and technically the debris that's up there is the responsibiilty of whoever made the mess

Unless/until there's an international treaty and an international organisation tasked with doing the job that has FULL transparency/oversight from all parties, any one party deploying one could be construed as an Act of War by other spacefaring nations

Good luck getting the USA and China in the same room to agree on this, let alone China and India or India and Pakistan


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