* Posts by Jellied Eel

1838 posts • joined 18 Aug 2008

As we stand on the precipice of science fiction into science fact, people say: Hell yeah, I want to augment my eyesight!

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Pull my finger!

Also a bit limiting. With 10 fingers I want the full Swiss army knife, including a multi-bit screwdriver with torx bits

This is why we were designed to be tool users rather than risking obsolesence due to having the wrong tool for the job. It may also explain why our evolution both began, and ended with an apple..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Pull my finger!

I've had a spinal fusion and it certainly didn't turn me in to Wolverine.

I'm not sure I'd want to be Wolverine. Or have Molly fingers. 4cm monoblades under the fingernails could be one way to stop people picking their noses, and may even have been something Dr Kellog would have approved of. But snag to me is having to fuse distal & intermediate phalanges to fit a rigid blade, let alone Wolverine sized blades. Those would be a rather extreme form of carpal tunnelling syndrome I guess.

Did this airliner land in the North Sea? No. So what happened? El Reg probes flight tracker site oddity

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Obviously not GPS jamming

Inertial navigation drift is a bit worrying - shouldn't routine maintenance pick this up?

Nah, drifting's fine, just don't kerb it too much. So being a tad curious, the aircraft seems to be operated by Jota Group, who do motorsports stuff. So going around in circles is normal, as long as it's roughly on the right track.

But I guess it's one of those things. As long as the pilots know where they are, all is well. If they aren't sure, I guess they can always ask air traffic controllers, or hold a sign up in the window for the nearest Typhoon QRA. Or I guess it's one of those faults one detects when all the other navaids have failed, and it looks like you're set for landing in the North Sea. But I'd have hoped the avionics did some sanity checking so if the various navigation systems had a disagreement, there'd be some sort of warning, either to the pilots, or ground crew. I'd always thought that for an aircraft to be considered airworthy, especially carrying paying passengers, all it's systems were meant to be in order.

Not content with distorting actual reality, Facebook now wants to build a digital layer for the world

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: "The device will shine a white light to indicate when Facebook’s AR explorers are exploring"

Will an approching car or bicycle also shine a light inside the glasses or will wearers keep walking blindly in the pursuit of unseen objects à la Pokemon?

They won't be able to see Pokemon. They'll see exciting marketing messages colored and pulsed at precisely the correct rates to maximise calls to action! Or once hackers figure it out, Scorpion Stare, lifelike images of Cthulhu, or some old goat's ex.

On the other hand, Facepalm has a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the lack of privacy violates by the FTC, SEC, EEC and every regulator under the sun mandating all Facepalm employees wear these glasses at all times. With the results streamed for all the world to view. I'm still convinced that the best way to get companies to implement meaningful privacy and data collection standards is to insist that those companies publish those data for their executives, in real-time.

Financial Reporting Council slaps Autonomy auditor Deloitte with £15m fine over audit 'misconduct'

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: "Culpable of serious and serial failures"

I guess it's a matter of erm.. accountability. So the buck stops with the CEO, but the CEO is advised by CFO and auditors. And then err.. whether there's any audit trail saying Deloitte was OK with booking the cooks that way.

Research into deflecting potentially world-destroying asteroids is apparently not a 'national priority' for the UK

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Pay to play

We didn't "not fare well". It wasn't an open contest that we lost. We surrendered our entitlement by leaving the EU.

Or as you say, it's just the way these 'workshare' deals go.. Although possibly pre-empting our departure from the EUroclub. So Germany contributes the most funding, Germany gets the most work. And then given the number of contributors, work is shared amongst the remainder leading to design by committee. Or just bloated committees.

So it might be better for the UK and the UK's space sector to look at international project proposals and partner with Japan, India etc instead. Or even the US, where universities do some interesting projects. There'll still be aspects of pork barrel politics, but maybe less than within the ESA.

£2.5bn sueball claims Google slurps kids' YouTube browsing habits then sells them on

Jellied Eel Silver badge

By your actions shall ye be known.

Yep, obvious BS is BS. With some possible wriggle room. So plenty of videos get demonetised because they aren't advertiser.. I mean family friendly, or flagged as unsuitable for minors. So seems plenty to incentivise content creators to shoot for that demographic. Just not with firearms, because that kind of content is often demonetised..

And of course Google knows damn well that the age range it isn't for just happens to be a very valuable demographic for advertisers and nagware.

QR-code based contact-tracing app brings 'defining moment' for UK’s 'world beating' test and trace system

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Basket Cases

Grant Shapps recently stated the reason the "test" wasn't used at airports for incoming passengers was that it couldn't detect asymptomatic cases. In other words, even if it was mandatory for the very people you highlight as being the most dangerous, IT WOULDN'T WORK. That is not a real test.

I respectfully disagree. The test(s) is/are real, ie they produce a result with varying degrees of confidence. Problem is they're only a snapshot, and there's a delay between test & result. So problem is one of practicality. Screen all incoming passengers, then send them off to holding camps pending results. If negative, release, if positive, transfer to quarantine camps. But the test was on landing, and visitors may have picked up Covid in the camps..

Then there's interpreting results, so a test can detect antibodies. Yey, a new case. But that can mean the person has been infected, but not currently infectious. But if it's possible to be re-infected, then the results are potentially meaningless. Hence why there have been calls to test every day, which will be rather expensive and still has the problem of lag between test and result.

Then I think there have been issues with testing regimes. I think Iceland made the decision to test everyone, so had a snapshot of their population. But they have a small population. Other nations have been prioritising testing 'key workers', and volunteers who may have symptoms.. And that volunteer part seems to have been problematic with people being asked to visit testing centres miles away, or not having QR codes.. Which may be a symptom of technofetishism. I carry a medical alert card with my NHS number on it, which would seem fine for linking a test to.. As other routine tests I have are.

As for vaccines, there's an interesting comment here-


And I think issues between reporting and reality. For me, most notable is trials have either been small, or focused on healthy patients. And for the politics, the Oxford phase 1/2 trial had mostly young, white volunteers. So if BAME people are more vulnerable, why? And how they'll respond to any vaccine.. Along with the obese, diabetics, patients with existing immune system deficiencies etc. So we don't yet seem to know if candidate vaccines will protect the most vulnerable & the population we'd most want to protect.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Basket Cases

That it is unable to detect asymptomatic cases means it is not a real test.

If it's testing for the virus directly, or antibodies, then it's a real test. Might still have false positives & negatives, but real none the less. And also somewhat pointless if testing is voluntary, ie the people who go to get tests may be the more hypochondrically inclined, whilst the asymptomatic carriers won't get tested because they feel fine..

We live in interesting times. Especially for groundskeepers who painted circles in publc parks so groups of <6 from <=2 familiy groups can self-isolate on pain of large fines. Or just experience what it is to be a cat..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Basket Cases

It ill-becomes you to accuse the BBC of scientific illiteracy. I'm not entirely sure how to read your statement.

It's simple really. The BBC doesn't have any scientists on staff (AFAIK) and it's been churning out junk science in the guise of 'climate science' for many years now. Latest probably being California's 'record' heat that isn't.

On the other, perhaps you mean an ideal situation would be one in which everyone had had the virus.

Yup, so the population has developed herd immunity..

Firstly that would mean that a very large number would have suffered a very bad experience at the worst end of the symptom spectrum.

Yep. Such is public health. A very large number of people have had a very bad experience with job losses, restricted liberties.. So it's finding the balance. Is the cure worse than the disease? But a very large number of people may have experienced no symptoms, or very mild symptoms. There's been some stuff recently looking at exactly when the outbreak started, which may have been sooner than previously thought and symptoms just being regarded as flu. But over time, there's been a better picture as to who's most vulnerable, and who's least. So the young less vulnerable, over 80s a lot more vulnerable.

Secondly very many would have died; a greater proportion than actually died because the health service would have been overwhelmed.

Kind of. To date, the NHS seems to have been somewhat underwhelmed. Lots of patients sent back to care homes to infect people there (the elderly being particularly vulnerable), and lots of in/outpatient appointments cancelled. So a number of patients will have died as a result of those lockdown measures. That's one of those things statisticians are looking at, ie any deaths directly attributable to Covid, indirectly as a result of policies and I guess deviation from expected mortality.

Thirdly in some cases there seems to be long term damage to at least some survivors so in your ideal situation a large number of people would be experiencing that.

Perhaps. From papers I've been reading, this may be (sort of) normal. So virus infects, leads to viral pneumonia, and then potentially organ failure. The further that progresses, the more likely it'll create long-term damage.. Something it seems to share with other lung infections, ie the worse it gets, the more likely it'll create scarring inside the lungs. There seems to be less certainty that there's anything specific to Covid.

Fourthly we don't yet know how effective the immunity is.

True, and there have been reports of people reinfected. So for some at least, there's little, or short-term immunity.. Which also links into how effective vaccinations might be.

My ideal would be a vaccine that's at least good enough to need no more than an annual top-up until such time as the virus can be eliminated like smallpox was

Yup.. Although of course there are real risks with vaccines, especially if they're being rushed into production. A polio vaccine's been in the news recently for spreading polio. Then again, it'll soon be time for the winter flu shot. Tried and tested, millions of doses administered, and assuming we've picked the right strains for the upcoming season, rather effective. But there's far less certainty with current Covid candidates, other than some (the balm of Gilead) having little effect on anything other than Gilead's share price. But like flu, Covid's able to mutate, so like flu, it may need an annual shot to work against circulating strains. Which is also why I think it's unlikely that it'll be eradicated like smallpox.. Unless a vaccine does some general immunisation, but that's a whole lot riskier than one that just stimulates antibodies to a specific virus.

And there may be alternatives, ie some cheap medication, or combination of medications that can prevent symptoms progressing. Don't develop pneumonia, don't risk lung scarring.. Which is kinda back to early claims for stuff like quinine + zinc. I'm still not sure what the consensus is on that one.

But back to R0 and the BBC.. Experts have assumed it's been >1 since the outbreak started, so 'news' that it's over 1 isn't.. news. After all it's one of the variables that kick-started policy via dire predictions and models that have since been falsified by empirical evidence. But that evidence gets fed back into models, and R0 isn't the whole number, especially as outbreaks progress. So there's also the effective reproduction rate, or Rt, where t=point in time and the reproduction rate is against the susceptible population. So over time, Rt reduces, because people are no longer (or never were) susceptible through natural immunity or acquired immunity.. Or in the worst case, are dead. Herd immunity again.

But that's also one of the risks with policy, ie Rt <1 gets pushed back in time by ham-fisted control measures, so herd immunity doesn't develop, and as long as the virus is 'out there', the process has to start all over again.

And then there's the misuse of 'cases' rather than detections, and the BBC getting all excited that as more people are tested, more 'cases' are found. But hey ho, such is the latest incarnation of Project Fear.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

(Said bakery also finds that customers may not know how to scan a qr code, not all android phones do it in the same way for example.)

The last 'smart' phone I got didn't have any QR code reader installed on it. So I thought briefly about donating personal information to it's app store, finding and installing a reader.. But figured I CBA, and have yet to find I've missed out on anything.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Basket Cases


Since lockdown, we have been deciding how to react to falling cases. But now the R number has gone above the crucial level of 1 for the first time since March and is backed up by reams of data showing cases are growing again.

Ohnoes! Panic! Slap QR codes on people's foreheads! Tattoo QR codes on the unclean! One up Melbourne and implement curfews! Anyone out after 10pm will be shot! And fined!

Or bemoan the scientific illiteracy that's lead the BBC and its ilk to redefine terms like 'cases' to mean 'positive test results'. And then spread panic. As you say, the 'news' is unsuprising, and not necessarily bad. Test more people, yet more positive results. An ideal antibody test I guess would show close to 100% 'cases', ie everyone's been infected and developed antibodies, and the herd is now immune. Give or take any Covid mutations. Now, I wonder if people who've died from non-Covid causes due to hospitals being empty will get counted as Covid deaths. Or will those stats be quietly ignored, like care home deaths.

Oh, and there's that genius idea of testing people every day. Nice work if you're in the business of flogging test kits I guess.

VMware staff in Silicon Valley can leave a pandemic, wildfire-ridden zone – if they're willing to accept less pay

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: They may be in for a nasty surprise.

I've certainly had it applied to me (and removed) in the past, in the UK. I had a London weighting at one point, then I was moved to another office outside the catchment area and lost the London weighting.

Yup, I've seen that happen as well. Like you say, London weighting was included specifically in contracts, so easier to change. In the case I saw, it was tapered down over 3 yrs. Created some interesting arguments from London staff who wanted to keep the weighting to cover the costs of commuting..

But from my experience, US employment practices tend to favor the employer, as well as the need to comply with relevant Federal and State employment laws. Something various states have been using to tempt taxpayers away from California. From chatting with friends in SF and LA, rents are nuts, ie $3-5K+ and many looking to relocate to places like Idaho where they could rent a McMansion for that money. Or just save to buy a nice house for a fraction of what they'd have to pay in California. But that seems to be affecting both rents in Cali and starting to drive up property prices in the migration states. That also happens in the UK where former London staff relocate as well.

So we live in interesting times, where places like SF, NY, Chicago etc are already seeing outward migration, with obvious impacts to their tax base, as well as real-estate and services that have fewer customers. So combined with the effects of Covid, hammering food & retail, and retail of course having been under pressure from the likes of Amazon.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: They may be in for a nasty surprise.

California law lets an employee that has taken a pay cut file for what's called "under employment" payments. It's like unemployment, but the worker still has a job just is no longer making what they were hired at.

I think that could get messy. So if a person is employed and contracted to be in the office for Xhrs, and they've moved to Colorado, then they may be in breach of contract unless the employer approved that move, or a shift to being a permanent home worker. I saw that happen when I was an FTE. An engineer had a Spanish partner, and then married, and then moved to Madrid and worked out of the office there. I discovered this in a 'Where's Bob?' kinda way, and the answer was at a desk on the end of a phone or video call, and working just fine.

HR however was not amused because they hadn't been consulted. 'Bob's manager however had, because 'Bob' was a very good engineer and they wanted to keep him. So HR caved (eventually) and drew up a Spanish contract, and all was well. I suspect a less respected employee would just have been fired. Which was all a bit ironic given the employer was a large telco that sold remote working solutions, often redeployed staff internationally, but had a lot of senior managers who disliked home working.. To the extent that when a new manager appeared for my team, they insisted we were in the office every day, even if we were due to go visit clients. Most of my team & I soon left because the manager was an utter asshat.

But such is politics. Current events have given a massive boost to homeworking, and general improvements to employee's quality of life. Which for a sensible employer, should be great. Work's getting done, staff are happy, performance is good if not better. And the employer can save money in not providing X m^2 space per employee in some very expensive real-estate. But then that may also upset some employers, especially if they've spent a shedload of cash building 'flagship HQ's that aren't really needed in the 21st Century.

Disasters are a bit different, ie if someone's lost their home through no fault of their own, then a good employer should assist their employee. And if they can't work due to mandatory evacuation, then given the employer has a duty of care, they can't insist an employee stays put to finish that Powerpoint.

US military takes aim at 2024 for human-versus-AI aircraft dogfights. Have we lost that loving feeling for Top Gun?

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: A new missile race?

For example, really good/AI aiming systems for turrets mounted rifles, shrapnel 'grenades', a big net, diversionary utilities c.f. chaff to shake drones off, outmaneouvering e.g. altitude etc etc...

...Whether this will actually be possible in 3 years is another question

Been done, and in service, and apparently been effective in destroying drones, missiles and possibly an aircraft-


And apparently can be linked into air defence networks (ie radar, fire control) so operators can pick an appropriate weapon system to engage targets. The 2x30mm autocannons can fire frag rounds for a relatively low cost way to deal with low flying drones.

Sadly something I don't think the West has an equivalent for, but drone aircraft would seem a good way to deal with enemy air defence networks like Pantsirs and other missile/radar systems.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: A new missile race?

It was quite fascinating watching the AI vs Human dogfights. The scenario was limited to short range gunfights, and not sure if it included any damage modeling. Often the winner was heavily damaged in the initial encounter, so in reality whether they'd be able to keep flying, ie damage to control surfaces. Hopefully the next iteration would be more typical, ie a normal air superiority loadout & mission profile. I suspect the results would be the same. And then whether there'd be human vs AI drone, where the drone may have more offensive/defensive advantages as it doesn't have the meatware support systems onboard.

Desperately seeking regolith: NASA seeks proposals for collecting Moon dirt

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Vacuum adapted D9!

Ah, er.. I meant it as a sign to let lunar tourists know where to find the castle made by the Moon's former basket weaving inhabitants. Distant relatives to gabbleducks you know..

But it also got me thinking about how autonomous dozers/brick/lunarcrete drones could navigate around the Moon. Figured beacons would work, but also how reliant we've perhaps become with tech like GPS.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Vacuum adapted D9!

I think an autonomous.. err... Hilldozer would be more fun. So something that can trundle across the lunar surface scooping up regolith and analysing it in-situ. Like wot various Marsbots have been doing. But bigger!

And bonus points if they can ingest regolith, fuse it, and drop bricks behind itself. And more bonus points if it can be programmed to carve out... roads. That spell out 'Keep of the Grass!' when viewed from space.

But given the mass required, I guess that's something that would need an ISS-Heavy Engineering module to assemble Hilldozers in space, then deliver to the lunar surface. Civil Engineers in spaaaace!

Drone firm DJI promises 'local data mode' to fend off US government's mooted ban

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Flying sharks

You could test it by connecting both the drone itself and the phone controlling it to a network which logs all the packets.

Yup. I don't know how drones talk to their controllers, just seen people using their mobile phones. So seems a bit more challenging than slapping Wireshark or equivalent on a laptop/tablet. So then it'd be trying to monitor airside interfaces, and those being encrypted. Or the payloads being encrypted making packet analysis a tad tricky.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

I'm more curious how much code is per drone & controller. 20m lines seems excessive, especially if controller functions are/should be via the host OS. I like the idea of a local data mode though, but how local that can be in a system like Android or iOS is anyone's guess.

Accenture dares to enter site of US Air Force mega ERP-project disaster

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Proper Motivation Prevents Poor Performance

I feel bad for the 57,485 new graduates that are going to be put on airplanes week after week working on a doomed-to-fail project.

Airplanes you say? The client has those. So in order to focus the minds of contractor leads, I suggest a modest proposal. Like hold progress meetings inside the bomb bay of a B-52. Then project manager's beloved traffic light system would also be familiar to USAF personnel, although they may be more familiar with parachuting. Hold meetings say, over the mid-Pacific or Atlantic, and problems could be simply and swiftly resolved. As could snags using a sharp knife. Me, I'm not sure I'd give the Accenture execs a parachute though. I would familiarise them with clouds however..

US ponders tech export ban on SMIC, China's biggest chipmaker

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Red Scare

The use of a "obvious Russian poison" sends a clear message to dissidents and reporters that opposition to Putin puts their lives at risk and that Putin has no fear of the repercussions.

Or being an investigative journalist or corruption investigator puts your life at risk from your investigatory subjects, or people that might lose money. Serious Russian criminals don't mess around. As for repercussions, well, those are obvious. Russian poison, must be Putin, Sanction NOW!. Or in the US, demands for a full investigation followed by sanctions. Even though the US has limited investigatory powers inside Russia. And the prime witness is currently in Germany, which would hamper Russian investigations. And that key witness has until recently been in a coma, so unable to provide evidence.

But he fell ill, therefore deliberate poison, therefore Putin. So no real need to investigate who or how any poison may have been administered. Which would also be a challenge for any investigation, ie reports that he'd only drunk tea that day, and lastly from an airport cafe where he wasn't the customer. And nobody else was reported falling ill. So obviously that means a state action where the cafe had been infiltrated by agents who knew which cup of tea was destined for Navalny so the aide who bought them didn't give the wrong cup to the wrong person. Damn, those Russians are sneaky.. Even though the assassination target survived. Probably just a warning shot..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Red Scare

Except Rocket Engines, Uranium and Titanium. However, being all about "free markets", the USA only sanctions things that hurt their competitors and they do have a big chip on their sholders about the EU.

Yup, that's business. The EU is/was the world's largest economy, and then there's been China's economic growth. Mostly aided by the desire to outsource & offshore transfering rather useful skills and knowledge. So China doesn't just ship cuddly toys, it now ships iPhone killers. So I think there's some method to the madness, ie 'encouraging' more US manufacturing and less reliance on offshore, especially for stuff deemed critical to the US economy. That may hurt US companies short-term, and may be too little, too late.

But some of the other stuff is in hand, so the reinvigorated US space programme reducing the need for Russian launches, or Russian/Ukrainian engines. But that's also a competitive market with nations like China and India making inroads. The US will still need it's own capability for sensitive stuff, like the upcoming last Delta IV launch, and bunging SpaceX a wad of cash to support vertical integration of a mystery package. Uranium shouldn't be a problem given the US produces it.. Give or take that odd Uranium-1 deal under Clinton/Obama, but can also be sourced from other friendly nations. Rare earths have also been in the news, but they're not always that rare, and the US probably has some kicking around. Make Geologists Great Again! or something.. :p

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Red Scare

Low mortality rate? Just puts the victim through huge physiological trauma and into a coma for days.

So that's alright then.

Nope, not at all, but such is politics. But based on the evidence, Novichok doesn't seem very effective. It's also not alright because given the publicity, far more people are aware of those agents. Especially as an intent behind them was to allow their creation from easily available precursors.. Which means other people could be making, or trying to make them. And then Germany seems to be witholding evidence, yet demanding Russia conduct a full investigation.

And then there's the reporting, and a very swift claim of deliberate poisoning. And of course blaming Putin, who despite being an evil genius, doesn't seem able to organise a simple assassination. And then there's the way Navalny's described as an opposition leader, which is slightly true, yet he and his party hold no political power in national or regional government. And of course he's made other enemies. He was pro-Crimea annexation, he's been pro-Belarus democracy protests, and he's claimed to have been involved in some dubious deals. And most recently he was ordered to pay 'Putin's Chef' 88m rubles. Prigozhin apparently wanted to enforce and bankrupt Navalny, which will be harder to do if Navalny's dead, or having a rather strong claim to asylum in Germany.

So all rather strange, as well as being a bit off-topic. It's right to demand a full, thorough and plausible investigation, but it seems like the conclusions have already been reached.

But that's also back to the topic in hand, ie the wielding of sanctions and their effects. Which so far seem to have been to create stronger ties between Russia, China and other targets at the expense of the EU, and other nations. Or the US itself given the number of US companies that use SMIC, and won't be able to if they're sanctioned.. Which is probably the intent, ie forcing those companies to bring more manufacturing back to the US.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Red Scare

Right - like the blatant use of Novichok.

Err.. right. The world's deadliest nerve agent with a rather low mortality rate. Possibly administered by the victim's aide via a cup of airport tea. And against a target who's not the Russian opposition leader, but a minor one. And Putin is so evil that he'd use an obvious Russian poison against an obvious Russian target so everyone can go "Those evil Russians!".

Over which the Trump administration is sanctioning the hell out of Russia........oh.....hang on a sec...

The US hasn't got much left to sanction. There is, however, a little gas pipeline coming soon (maybe) that would impact US LNG exports, reduce the need to transit Ukraine, reduce sales of LNG from Middle Eastern countries, and a long list of usual suspects who'd like to see Russia made to look bad.

Brexit border-line issues: Would you want to still be 'testing' software designed to stop Kent becoming a massive lorry park come 31 December?

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not a problem at all ...

You are happily in the simplest conceivable situation, where you manufacture and export a single product. Do you think everyone does that?

Nope. I'm sure there are many manufacturers who don't know what they're producing. Me, I run Heisenberg's Widgets, so just print multiple declarations based on the probability of what'll be in the box once it's opened.

Otherwise, companies should know what they're producing and shipping, and it's a legal requirement for the EU to publish accurate tariff information. Often in helpful categories. Like cars. It's a car, therefore tariff is X. It's a box of car parts, so duty is Y.

While we are talking about manufacturing, what is the duty on hypothetical widgets that the EU is now going to start charging you that they didn't before?

Who knows? But what is known is customs declarations are already needed to ship to non-EU countries, of which there are many. Some may negotiate FTA's with the UK, in which case duty may not be applicable. But again it's been 3yrs, with the possibility of 'crashing out' of the EU, and trading on WTO terms.. And of course those tariffs have been published since the WTO sprang into existence.. Along with rules like MFN, where the applicable tariff is usually the lowest published by the EU. Unless of course the EU's planning to sanction the UK..

How does that affect sales in the EU, especially with all the competition from EU-based manufacturers who don't have to pay this duty?

Well, one of the sticking points in the Brexit Exit is the EU's demand for a 'level playing field'. Which means the UK shouldn't be unduly punished, and UK producers should be able to compete on roughly equivalent terms. Or maybe the trade deals the UK's been working on, so it'll be more profitable to trade with non-EU nations where we've agreed an FTA. Then along those lines, if the UK... disagrees with the 'level playing field', then we may be able to implement some 'protectionist' policies to support UK industry. Which is kinda what the EU's afraid of, ie the UK will no longer be burdened by their bureaucracy.

But no, the sky is falling. We'll wake up on New Years day to find barriers have risen from the seas around the UK, and there'll be a run on brie & camenbert. Luckily Somerset dairy farmers make some nice ones, so just buy those instead of French stuff. After all, under WTO terms, products from the EU will be taxed as well.. Kinda why EU producers are also keen on a deal given the UK is a large export market for them.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not a problem at all ...

It is coming to an abrupt halt in less four months time, and there is no time to hire and train people, to rejig all these companies to handle these processes and so-on.

It's been over 3 years since the vote..

...and you will now have to fill in declarations, pay customs duty and submit to inspections every time you go shopping.

So I produce widgets. I ship those to the EU. I can look up the widget's TARIC code and check with the EU's ECIP system that I've got the right paperwork, which is then included with the waybill package. Whether the boxes of widgets are then inspected is up to the relevant border agencies.. Some internal stuff already is, some external stuff isn't. Largely due to that thing called smuggling, or just the sheer volume of goods traded between nations.

As for duty, the EU changed the rules a while ago on VAT making that more complicated for SMEs. If they've adapted to that, it's an incremental step to print out a customs declaration. Plus of course one of the sticking points in 'negotiations' is a desire for a free-trade agreement. If that happens, then there's less paperwork, ie if there are no tariffs. And again the challenge is greatest for any business that exclusively deals with the EU. If they're already trading with the ROW, they'll already need the correct paperwork for their trading partner(s).

...in identifying the correct phyto-sanitary documentation needed your your week's groceries.

Much of which already exists, ie if UK produce meets EU standards now, it'll meet them on 1st January. And some of that documentation is already required on account of trying to limit the spread of animal/plant based diseases, or invasive species.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not a problem at all ...

Yes sure but do you expect the government to look for any such help and besides the problem is about the time running out for having it up and running properly.

I'm not sure where the problem lies. UK imports/exports from/to non-EU countries, so presumably HMRC has systems to do paperwork for those. Much the same with UK logistics companies. So figuring exporting into the EU means using whatever paperwork & processes the EU requires, which have been in operation at the EU's borders for many years. From EU into UK I guess means importers needing to meet HMRC's requirements.

Unknowns seem to be stuff like duties payable in either direction, but the EU, UK and WTO publish tariff data & tables that presumably get imported into logistics systems. I'm thinking places like Harwich/Felixstowe that are large UK ports, and points of entry into both the UK & onward into the EU.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not a problem at all ...

As all government ministers know: us IT people are magic, so a small amount of programmer pixie dust sprinkled on a vague agreement on 31 Dec will result in a well polished & documented system that can be tested against on 1st October.

I'm a bit puzzled by this. So the EU consists of 27 countries. The rest of the world, somewhat more, many of which have been happily trading with the EU for a few decades. Much of that trade arrives in EU-land in containers, some even with lorries attached to those. Some even gets shipped from mostly English speaking countries.

So this being the 21st Century, presumably software capable of meeting the EU's paperwork already exists, and presumably can import tariff data from EU systems.. After all, given the volume of imports, surely the EU provides tools and support to meet their bureaucratic requirements. After all, logistics was one of the earliest business sectors to adopt computers. OK, a lot might be proprietary, but surely there's some COTS packages out there already..

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: corporate employee or fulfillment center associate

On the surface, they're just two words for two different kinds of jobs. An associate does physical things in warehouses, an employee works at headquarters writing code or planning things.

I think it can just be management BS. Employee smacks of some permanence, or at least employment rights. HR dislikes people as resources, to be accounted for in much the same way as paper clips. So associate entered the lexicon. I've mostly seen it used for sub-executive level positions, so helps create the proper hierachy. And of course it makes it easier to disassociate at the push of a button, or tweak of an algorithm.

You Musk be joking: A mind-reading Neuralink chip in a pig's brain? Downloadable memories? Telepathy? Watch and judge for yourself

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Elon-gated kit

Once again, confusing subsidies from consumer incentives/disincentives. Subsidies are provided to corporation, "NY again" means nothing, not sure what your point is.

NY again meant 1 state with a variety of subsidies. One large slab to build the Gigfactory, the other your 'fossil fuel subsidy' where that's negative, and becomes an increased tax on driving ICEs. But NY has to do something given the state is bleeding cash. Building a factory for the world's most valuable car maker won't have helped..

If credits are 100% pure profit and they accounted for 85% of operating profits then they would still have 15% operating profits and therefore still be profitable? Your maths is as good as your argument...

My math is fine, your argument is.. familiar. So in the last 2 quarters, Tesla padded it's income by $354m and $428m, up considerably from last year. So net income was $16m and $104m. Now here's the tricky part.. 16-354 is...? and 104-428 is...? I realise you'll struggle with this, but the effect would have been -$338m and -$324m, or what is known in the trade as 'negative income', or loss..

It would be great for no manufacturer to need to buy credits as they are all selling EVs in sufficient quantity, a win for everyone (expect the petroleum industry of course)

Ah, well..


Finally, the pure electric cars (BEV) also showed encouraging results. Registrations jumped from 23,400 units in July 2019 to 53,200 just one year later, and the offer increased from 28 different models available to 38. New models like the Peugeot 209, Mini Electric, MG ZS, Porsche Taycan and Skoda Citigo buoyed the figures. Tesla posted a 76% decline to 1050 units following shipping delays to Europe, as a consequence of production challenges in its Fremont, California plant.

Oops. 38 models of EV to pick from, and Tesla only accounting for 1.9% of those. I'm sure once it's spent a pile of cash building it's assembly plant in Germany, things will be fine, and Tesla will be swimming in credits again.

You keep going back to hyperloop which is being progressed by different companies at the moment.

I'd hardly call the 'Hypeloop' progress..

Only gas or natural hydro are cheaper - coal and nuclear certainly aren't. Check the amount of money that the hornsdale battery plant has saved the region.

Coal and nuclear are cheaper on account of them being nice, reliable baseload capacity. Hornsdale is.. fun. So NSW leaped boldy into the past and 'invested' in renewables, which were unreliable. So then invested A$161m in a large pile of batteries to try and solve the problems created by those renewables. Mostly to do grid stabilisation because despite it's size & cost, it's unable to provide power for very long. And then of course it'll need recharging.. Hopefully it won't shoot it's load on a calm night.. And then of course there's the increased electricity demand from decarbonisation. Only Greens can turn costs into 'savings'.

I'm starting to worry, even your reading comprehension is failing. At least you're "scientifically literate" with your "work in this field when you were at Uni", LOL.

Well, it was a few decades ago, and using SQUIDS instead of implants, on account of those needing a lot less paperwork. But I'm sure Elon's loyal fanbase will approve of his animal experimentation..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Elon-gated kit

Nope, plenty of cash left and profitable. Public subsidy is given to ensure employment and taxes for a region. It is up to that region to decide what that is worth and set strict criteria against it. Which they have.

Ah, yes.. So Musk threatening to move out of California to Texas if Tesla wasn't allowed to break Cali's Covid restrictions. Or Buffalo, NY, home of the 'Gigafactory'. Built by NY, donated to Tesla on a promise that it would employ people and a home that it would boost NY's tax revenues..

Or the fossil fuel subsidies that are still given to this day.

Or not. NY again. Increasing tax on petrol and diesel sales. Or for the UK, petroleum companies face higher taxes. But Greens tend to wibble about 'subsidies' by assuming environmental costs as 'subsidies'. Which is also an issue with EVs, ie they're subsidised road users by virtue of credits, lower VED and of course no fuel duty.

You're conflating two different things. The credits towards buying a car were for the consumer and were stopped at a certain volume. The requirement for a certain level of average CO2 across a fleet still exists and for another car company to pay Tesla for some credits goes a long way to ensuring they develop their own EVs so they don't have to. That is a good thing, isn't it?

Not really. You're right about 2 types of subsidy, one being directly public funded (tax credits), the other indirectly (regulatory credits). Neither is a good thing. Unless you're Elon-


Over the trailing 12 months to June 30, Tesla has booked over $1 billion in regulatory credit revenue. While that number accounts for less than 5% of Tesla's total revenue over that period, it contributed a whopping 85% of operating profits.

So without the regulatory credits, which are 100% profit for Tesla, it wouldn't be profitable, wouldn't have met S&P inclusion criteria and wouldn't allow Musk to hit his bonus. Which means he wouldn't be able to sell/borrow against his shares to prop up his other ventures. But that's not good news. So yes, it may have stimulated competition. Currently say, Toyota has to buy credits to hit 'fleet' CO2 targets. The policy has helped reduce emissions, ie lower CO2 emissions per ICE. But if Toyota produces an EV, then it generates a credit against it's ICE sales. Other pure-EV manufacturers can also emulate Tesla and sell the credits generated.

So the that's a bit of a slow-motion train wreck. If EV competition increases as a result of consumer demand, or regulatory policy (ie banning new ICEs), the number of EV credits produced increases, Tesla's share reduces and the value of those credits reduces. So Tesla can't rely on the $1bn it made over the last 4 quarters, which is problematic, especially as Tesla's market share is declining. There's also the bit about the change in revenue recognition for those credits, ie if Tesla's pre-booking those to hit it's 4Q's of 'profit'.

So look at how long the Jubilee line or crossrail took compared to the timescales of that tunnel. Some of it is just about getting projects done quickly.

They're a different scale, either by way of complexity or ability to transport far more passengers per hour. TBC has boldly re-invented the drainage pipe making it just about large enough to drive a car through. Something Hollywood did years ago..

So you just make them as safe as possible to mitigate the risks, surely. If we only did things that were 100% safe you'd never leave your 'unpowered' house.

But then there's physics, and boring engineering. So the idea is over 100yrs old. We know about making vacuum chambers and pressure vessels, so the forces involved in creating a hard vacuum between LA & SF. Then how to insert a pressurised 'pod' into that unpressurised tube, and propel it.. Which is a whole lot harder, and why several years after the Hypeloop was announced, the reality is something slower than a boring old high-speed train or maglev.

As for battery fires, you know there's been no battery storage facility explosions, but plenty of Oil disasters and a few nuclear disasters.

...Yet. There are relatively few large-scale battery banks, but the Green lobby is demanding more, so give it time. But those are another aspect to the technological revolution that Greens tend to ignore. So if you have cheap, reliable power, you don't need large batteries. If you try to rely on wind & solar.. you do, not to mention those being far more expensive as well as unreliable. And then there's increased demand for cheap, reliable energy due to EVs, and decarbonising transport and heating.

Kinda known about for a very long time, as much as 300 years ago.

Yep, so again nothing new from the Hypemeister. I did some work in this field when I was at Uni and remember a doc from probably 50yrs ago where scientists hooked sensors to a patient's optic chiasma and displayed grainy images via a DIN connector on the back of their head. That's progressed since to higher resolution (and safer) experiments. But the scientifically illiterate have been impressed and amazed by Musk's incredible dancing pig..

Did you lose a lot of money betting against Tesla shares recently by any chance?

Nope. I'm just amazed that 'investors' keep buying in to the hype. But it's not the shorts, but the usual problem of the bigger the bubble, the bigger the bang.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Elon-gated kit

Besides his efforts to decarbonise road transport, reduce urban road congestion with tunnels, develop solar power infrastructure and grid storage, push for high speed rail systems as an alternative to internal air travel, set up a research to group to keep an eye on potential threats from future AIs, and inspiring young people to become engineers by making cool rockets?

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Sucked in billions in public subsidy, and burned most of it. Tesla's only vaguely profitable thanks to financial engineering and EV credits. The latter being.. dubious given those were supposed to end once volumes were hit. Plus Tesla's competitors are now making their own EVs, so won't need to buy credits from Tesla. And then of course there's the general competition, ie people buying VAG EVs, not Teslas.

Then there's the boring stuff, so the Hypeloop, or just the Vegas convention center's 'mass' transit system. Which went from artists impressions of pods to parking lots for Model 3 'pods'. So handy to cross-sell 'pods' from Tesla to TBC to pad sales figures, but capable of carrying fewer passengers than say, Heathrow Express or the DLR. But at least Vegas conference atendees won't run the risk of explosive decompression because there seems to be a slowly dawning recognition that vac tubes aren't new, and would be f'ng dangerous.

Then there's solar. Again nothing new, but keeping it in the family lead to Tesla bailing out SolarCity. Solar tiles announced, then withdrawn, a few fires (Walmart) and kind of spared becoming the next Solyndra. But part of the great, battery powered future that's sucked up more public money for large battery packs, with a few potential.. snags. See for example-


This paper presents quantitative measurements of heat release and fluoride gas emissions during battery fires for seven different types of commercial lithium-ion batteries. The results have been validated using two independent measurement techniques and show that large amounts of hydrogen fluoride (HF) may be generated, ranging between 20 and 200 mg/Wh of nominal battery energy capacity. In addition, 15–22 mg/Wh of another potentially toxic gas, phosphoryl fluoride (POF3), was measured in some of the fire tests.

And now there's lipstick on a pig. Conventiently announced just before Trump announced a large slab of public funding for AI research. Throw more money Elon's way, and soon they'll have the world's first self-driving pig! Yey!

But funding aside, there'll be the tricky problem of any human trials, and outcomes of those trials. Like avoiding infection, rejection, brain damage. But on the plus side, once humans are fully wired, think of the revenue potential from flogging feature licences! Oh, and if you want to uninstall, well, that'll be some expensive and risky neurosurgery. But nothing new in this announcement from the world's greatest showman.

CenturyLink L3 outage knocks out web giants and 3.5% of all internet traffic

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: IPv6

It gets complicated, but then proper multi-homing always has been. Issue is basically if you have PA IP addresses (Provider Allocated), then the provider advertisers the aggregate, then other providers base their route filters off that. So you can't advertise a more specific PA address via another ISP.

So 'solution' is to either get PI (Provider Independent) addresses, but then you need to route those via multiple ISPs.. Which then (generally) means BGP, which means getting an ASN (Autonomous System Number) and creating/maintaining RADB objects.

And from the sounds of things, wouldn't help in this case if Centurylink was advertising L3 routes externally, but they weren't reachable internally.. So traffic would still go towards Centurylink, and then end up in an internal bit bucket inside their cloud.

It's possible to kludge it locally with 2 ISP connections, and run a router/traffic manager to prefer 1 link over another, but without BGP from upstreams, you wouldn't have a routing table to do any fancy route selection, and wouldn't be able to force return path. So you could prefer outbound over 1 link, but return traffic may still end up trying to go via L3/Centurylink and fail.

Huawei mobile mast installed next to secret MI5 data centre in London has 7 years to do whatever it is Huawei does

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: You've heard of Tempest?

I'd put three GPS units on the roof in different areas, feed the signals via fibre-optics into the building and then compare the signals before trusting anything. I'd keep a couple more units in the basement and swap them with a roof units at intervals to make sure the outside units don't get hacked.

Not always that simple.. Especially in shared datacentres eg London Hosting Center, where you may be err.. powerless to do that. Challenge is your collo provider may be sub-letting space on a floor which is leased from another provider in a building owned by someone else. Which means getting permission can be a major PITA, along with getting costings. Especially given roof rental is a thing that building owners profit from.

And then there's paperwork. Like risk assessment, method statement, proof of insurance and proof that the installer has completed the safe working at heights course & won't sue if they fall off. Which can be less of a risk in large data centres given their height, although someone could still sue on the deceased installers behalf.

And then there's more paperwork, ie what procedures and charges should apply if you need to get back on the roof to test/replace any kit up there.. Which may mean being accompanied by someone from your service provider who's safe* to accompany you.

*Back in the day, it was fun sunbathing on the roof of Telehouse while waiting for BT/spares/Godot. Which involved either playing cat & mouse with Telehouse security, or checking if one of the helpful ones was on duty first.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Redacted

Is yours the one in the Faraday cage?

No, and Mr Faraday is just fine in his cage. Human rights cease upon death (ish) & thus a reanimated version is our intellectual property.

But cages. Best way to identify a suspicious data centre is not via the planning register, but by checking for permits to keep wild animals*. So if generic industrial unit has licences to keep leopards and sharks.. they may be bitbarns of interest.

* Sysadmins require neither permits nor licences. Yet.

Jellied Eel Silver badge


Although local councillors and planning officers were told of the new mast's precise location, MI5 did such a good job of being unobtrusive that nobody in local government appears to have realised the implications.

Or why local government planning departments would need to know. They might know it's a list X site, or they may be blissfully unaware. So just follow usual planning processes, publish the application and see if anyone objects. Then the objection may go to BT's liason folks who might then quietly withdraw the application. Or the spooks may be ok with the idea because they've done a risk assessment and decided it's not.

Multiple customers knocked offline as firefighters tackle flames at Telstra's London Hosting Centre bit barn

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: not-so-cloud

From memory, there were some.. issues around the building ownership (financial engineering <cough>) and the division of spoils following the collapse of PSINet. So Telstra got some assets, Cogent got the US, and GTT/Interoute the European network, Then some floors leased out to other carriers, including Reliance as a result of FLAG also going titsup and leaving it's transatlantic cable dangling there. But several large/strategic carriers having it as a core PoP & collo site for their wholesale customers. I've done business there in the past for capacity as there's been reasonable physical seperation & fibre availability. When a big PoP goes <pop> though, it's always a good test of capacity planning & management.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Local 'languages'

Have you ever lived and worked in the Kingdom of Fife? As an Englishman, I felt I was in a foreign country. Even the Scots think Fifers are weird.

I've visited a few times, and like the place. Main weirdness I noticed was something all too common, ie the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible around St. Andrews. If they were off clubbing haggis, it makes some sense, but signs warning about 'proper attire' less so. Unless that meant 'ridiculous attire'. I'm afraid I'm with Mark Twain when it comes to that 'sport'. Nice place though, and visited Falkland Palace, which may explain some of the weirdness.

So basically envy, and maybe some linguistic drift as an accident of history. So thinking it was a Pictish 'kingdom', then a Royal centre and gained wealth via trading with the Dutch and Scandinavians. Which lead to some.. frictions and invasions, as well as probably explaining why the Acts of Union go on about salt. But a nice place for a spot of hunting/shooting/fishing, unlike the dark satanic mills of Glasgow and Edinburgh. But a bit of a linguistic melting pot, ie Pictish/Celtic so Irish Gaelic with some Dutch, Norse, French and English thrown in.. Which to me is also interesting wrt the idea of 'Scottish' given Scotland's rich history and varied influences.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Local 'languages'

The same is certainly not true of gaelic. Thus scots could be a dialect and gaelic a language.

Or wait for official recognition. AFAIK the Scottish government recognises Gaelic and English, and hasn't standardised or translated stuff into 'Scots'. If/when it is recognised, that will create opportunities to grab funding and power over creation of the official 'Scots'. If that's hypertext, then regional variations might be more easily supported, or it'll lead to further North/South divides over whether lowlanders and weegies are true Scotsmen. Or figuring out if 'Scots' is the most appropriate name for a dialect.. I mean language comprised mostly of loan words. Which may or may not lead into micro-independence and the dozen or more original Scottish Kin.. Persondoms springing back into existence. Or schoolkids can look forward to studying Macbeth in the original 'Scots'.

The truth is, honest people need willpower to cheat, while cheaters need it to be honest

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Going further...

How does it detect a sociopath?

From the sound of gunshots. Or the presence of the operator inside the MRI scanner, along with a bag of assorted nails. But this is also an example of Roko's Basilisk, where knowledge of an outcome increases it's probability. Or the cheater may just claim to be extremely claustrophobic and refuse to stick their head in the scanner.

UK national debt hits 1.46 Apples – and weighs as much as 2 billion adult badgers

Jellied Eel Silver badge


£1=1.25cm^3 approx

Therefore debt is roughly equivalent to:-

998.8542 Olympic sized swimming pools

431313200.3232 footballs

And of course

4774637127.5783 gf (grapefruit)

Conversion to walnuts would almost certainly lead to an explosion of squirrels, and thus the BoE is not considering it at this time. In a bid to provide jobs* however, 1,000 new swimming pools would be a great way to ease congestion** and get the nation back to health.

*Which gets me thinking. Could you build 1,000 new pools for £2tn or less?

**Unless each pool contained 431,000 footballs as a store of wealth. Given the cost of a football exceeds £1 however, this would be inflationary, although provide additional jobs managing inflation.

While the world pushes back against COVID-19, Facebook has a pandemic of a different sort – medical misinformation

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: A cure for wellness..

Hmm $10 for a cure or $200 for an actual doc...

And farcebok makes money on running the dishonest ad....

Netflix has a series on the 'Wellbeing' industry, which is worth billions, and often pseudo-medical. One episode close to my heart (or liver) was on fasting. Patients paid presumably a lot more than $200 for a supervised 28 day, water only fast. Promoted as a way to lose weight and 'cure' diabetes. One is a given as it's basically starvation for a month, the other is probably only temporary. It also included the doc running the clinic stating that patients shouldn't go back to eating 'greasy, slimey, rotting dead flesh'.. So presumably a militant vegan.

Being diagnosed as T2 diabetic, I did a lot of reading on the subject, figured it basically meant I was carb intolerant. So I cut most of those out of my diet and switched to 'OMAD', or one meal a day. So a form of fasting. But I make sure that meal is nutritionally complete and still include meat or fish for fats and proteins. As a result, I lost 20kg and my HBA1c levels are normal. But I suspect if I went back to eating the NHS or WHO dietary recommendations, those would go back up because those recommend a carb-heavy diet.. which is kinda bad for a diabetic, and probably why T2 diabetes is such a problem.

But a simple, and fairly obvious lifestyle change that didn't result in me wasting money on any of the fad diets or health supplements advertised on Facepalm, or other lifestyle/wellness sites.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: All about the money

I think it's where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and a case of if, then, PANIC! So a lot of anti-vaxxers seem to pick on mercury in vaccines. Mercury is toxic, therefore vaccines are toxic. Just overlook the quantity being tiny and falsely correlate with a perceived rise in autism. And more importantly ignore the far more severe risks of kids catching the diseases they should be immunised against. There may have been a better argument around some adjuvants, ie shark-derived ones may make you grow sharp teeth, fins and lazer beams.. Or not given we produce squalene naturally ourselves.

Then of course there's social media, which gives anti-vaxxers a voice. Or allows us to learn more about the science and in theory make informed choices.. Unless that's censored, in which case it can just add to the conspiracy and become Big Pharma trying to hide the TRUTH! Luckily that hasn't hit RetractionWatch, yet.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: All about the money

The light begins to dawn. Insulated as I am by the NHS it had not occurred to me that basic life-saving inoculation was so expensive in the USA.

Yup. But also probably quite profitable. Given the history and quantity of standard childhood innoculations produced, I somehow doubt they cost $1,000. But it's also an issue with potential Covid vaccination where cost per dose is reportedly high, may only provide 6 months or so protection.. And some countries are suggesting vaccination will be compulsory. Where it will be, it'll be interesting to see if that also means free, and paid for as a public good.

Nonetheless, I don't really believe that antivaxxers at the (not going to be) consumer level are necessarily making that judgement, attractive though the logic is: I think instead a lack of knowledge of the relative risks and a serious belief in 'if it wasn't true, they wouldn't be allowed to say it' is equally a driver. What I don't know and can't figure is what the people leading the campaign are getting from this... Donations? Flogging their own snake oil?

I suspect it's a combination of things. So there's some mistrust around 'Big Pharma', sometimes justified, eg Purdue & OxyContin. That may also be based on the way dodgy statistics gets used to promote products.. Which is an area where relative risk is misused, ie with statins. So 2,000 people are enrolled in a trial with 1,000 being given the drug and the rest a placebo. 2 in the placebo group get ill, 1 in the drugged group. Use relative risk to market drug as improving outcomes by 50%. Sell your product, even though it has very little effect.

Which is also the problem with Covid vaccines. Gilead's seems to have very little effect, and maybe only a minor improvement in outcomes if people are already ill. Moderna's trial consisted of only 45 healthy patients, 50% of which suffered side effects, so might be bad in a wider trial where patients have a wide range of pre-existing conditions. But it hasn't stopped governments pre-ordering millions of doses. And to make life even more interesting, vaccine makers are being granted immunity from liability because it's a public health emergency and products are being rushed to market. And then there's quinine.. If that works as a preventative medicine, there may be no need for expensive, untested vaccines. Which means less profits for 'Big Pharma', and incentives to create negative PR.. And there seems to be more data suggesting quinine has some positive effect. But Trump said it's good, therefore it's bad, and never mind the science. And quinine was 'fact checked' long before any real trials were conducted.

But such is politics. Personally, I won't be rushing to get vaccinated, and want to wait to see the outcomes of proper clinical trials. Or the outcome of mass-vaccinations with relatively untested vaccines or anti-virals. And I think there's a real danger in that if there are negative outcomes, or just not much in the way of postives (ie limited immunity), then the anti-vaxxers will seize on that to create even more distrust in 'Big Pharma'.

We live in interesting times..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Masnick's Impossibility Theorum

First identify the problem. For some stuff, it might be easy. 1+1 != 3, Pi !=4, and the Earth isn't flat*. All problems with lots of history to support the conventional wisdom. Even if 1 is a bit of an odd number, at least judging by the proof.

But throw in more controversial topics like global warming, or the sudden appearence of a 'novel' virus and the truth can be less certain. Quinine's potential effectiveness was 'fact checked' long before any real trials had been conducted, and even when they were, there were problems. Model assumptions about spread and lethality have been shown to have overstated the risks, but to be slightly fair, those predictions were made when little was really known about Covid. And the Lancet had to retract papers after discovering problems with data quality.

So when world leading, peer-reviewed journals can't spot problems, what chance would the likes of Facepalm, when all they're really interested in is hoovering up data & flogging ads. Not to mention regulatory aspects around being platform or publisher, and the potential for litigation involving anything medical.

*So.. Easy way to see the Earth's curvature is to set out to sea, or a large lake, and watch the shore or other vessels disappear below the horizon. But take away the water and you end up with a large, flat surface like salt lakes, where the effect may not be as apparent. So obviously when there's water present, what you're really seeing is the effect of sailing up the meniscus caused by surface tension. Now back to drilling for turtles..

Physical locks are less hackable than digital locks, right? Maybe not: Boffins break in with a microphone

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: So we need to upgrade the physical locks....

How about a lock with a loudspeaker that plays white noise when touched by a key? Just drown out the clicks.

Don't go giving them ideas. Coming soon, the 'smart' lock that will seize the key and refuse to turn until it's played you a 30 second advert. Could even combine it with your phone and car location data so it won't let you in until it can prove you've made a purchase.

Oh what a feeling: New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: That's settled, then.

Seriously, the OBD2 code reader devices are now very cheap.

Yup. Also interesting you can get diagnostic apps to use on your iPhone. But diagnosing apps on your iPhone is a lot more locked down. Apple says 'no peeking (or poking) under our hood!'

Challenge I guess is getting the data to translate codes into something meaningful, and having read/write access. From watching car vids, it sometimes seems easier to change settings via a phone app than navigating down into the bowels of the cars official UI.. Something auto makers possibly borrowed from MS. I've also been amusing myself watching some car tuners, and the ECU interfaces in tuning software makes that increasingly user friendly.. Although not for the new Corvette C8, where the providers haven't yet seemed to crack that car's brain.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: That's settled, then.

Then we temporarily pull the head unit from the dashboard, locate the essential antenna pins in the wiring harness, remove said pins from being locked into said harness without damaging any components, and replace the head unit back into the dashboard.

And then your car refuses to start, and displays a simple 'check engine' light. Which if you can read the ODBC stuff might then tell you the onboard diagnostics has discovered it can't phone home* and has thus disabled the car (not your car, you just think it's yours) until it can.

So it'll probably end up needing an emulator to spoof the vehicle's brain into starting. See also Tesla's various onboard brains that utilise encryption so you can't simply replace boards.

*Or more likely hasn't been able to phone home in X starts/miles/days, but at least in EU-land where it's needed to support road charging, any simple way to bypass this 'black box' would prevent that policy from being implemented.. So it won't be made as simple as removing a SIM.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: That's settled, then.

Reports location *and* speed to Police, in plain English. Totally for automating fines, of course.

No no no.. It's to help improve road safety and reduce speed-related deaths and injuries. At least that's phase 1. Swiftly followed by road charging. Various governments have been talking about that as a way to fleece motorists for years now, but somewhat stymied by a method to implement it.

So now new cars will be fitted with the necessary hardware, and there'll be a few years of data collection to help refine charging models. Then there'll be an EU Directive, and it'll be for the good of the environment. And as it's a black box for all new cars, it covers EVs as well so they can be included in replacement tax scams to cover losses from fuel duties.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020