* Posts by John Smith

578 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Feb 2009


Gordon 'to sacky' Wacky Jacqui

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"Poor old Jacqui has simply been conned by them, because she's too stupid (former cooking teacher, remember) to understand the implications of their sinister plans."

Incredible as it may seem Jacqui is an Oxbridge graduate. Her subject was Economics, not Home Economics. I think hubby is more likely been living on microwave dinners.

I'd call her behaviour rather more a "Coalition of the willing."

Authoritarian power mad wing nuts that is.

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I have a plan to make money on this.

Compile list of most delusionally paranoid MP's

Find the #1 wing nut

Go to bookmakers (Shop in UK high streets for our Merkin readers)

Place large bet for them as Home Secretary

Collect winnings.

Airport ID cards only for the newbies

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Tenderising the fresh meat

That is all.

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This is a softening up process.

No ID card, no job. It will be made a condition of employment.

Unless *every* candidate who turns up says "No card. I go through enough ID checks. I don't want to spend serious cash on a something that's useless everywhere."

Of course the government that started this trial *might* not be the one that ends it.

Johnson handed Home Office brief

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I have checked his record

Pity. He seemed quite reasonable. His record is definitely loyal to the party and he is very strongly in favour of ID cards. He does not even have her Wackinesse's loony feminist defense. Looks to be on the authoritarian side of politics.

Mind you wasn't Shahead Malik pushing ID cards forward?

Remembering the true* first portable computer

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@Mike Flugennock

"So, I take it this was the granddaddy of the famous Saturn V instrumentation unit"

Yes and no. IBM built the guidance processor for Saturn.

As for the layout. All missiles aim to minimise unnecessary weight. So any pressurised structure usually has a round end. This ranges from c 17 psia on Saturn 1 tanks to 100s of PSI for something like a solid. Unless you want to expose that end to launch heating and balence the payload section on the extreme top you'll be wrapping a ring round it. Logically you'll suff the guidance sensors (Black Arrow did not have a guidance computer), computer and fine guidance fuel tanks here(Modern ICBMs usually have a liquid last stage to fine tune the trajectory). This allows 1 coputer to run the whole show. Ariane does the same and Aries will as well.

Mine's the one with a compu of the Saturn IU manual in it.

US Federal Trade Commission shuts down ISP

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Caution. Kiddie orn site is an excellent credit card scam

CC fraud charges stuff to site.

You query massive payout.

They email the site that billed you is "littles-raped.com" or whatever.

Site takes chunk off the top from CC fraudster or is actually doing the fraud themselves.

You site tight and pray they don't get raided and you are listed as kiddie fiddler.

This lot did do sound pretty nasty. But I am *highly* suspicious of such blatently names sites. Child molesters seem by nature to be devious and secretive. This looks more like a cover to funnel cash out of compromised credit card and bank accounts.

'Breathalyser for the hands' fights hospital superbugs

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"2 million infections a year"

OMG. The NHS can only *dream* of such a low number.

Mind you seems to help cull hte more coffin dodging sections of the population.

New Labour: Chainsaws out, maybe Contactpoint, too

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Shahed Malik?

The man sometimes described as her Wackiness'es #1 ID card henchman?

Still claiming it's all a big mistake, a man only has his reputation ete (same sort of stuff Lord Archer of Perjury was saying IIRC).

GO as in please, leave now.

Transition flying car into 'beta test': Deliveries from 2011

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Not too pretty but sounding quite effective

30sec to go from plane to car (and back again?). All parts retained on vehicle at all times.

I'm no pilot but I thought sports pilots are in it for the actual flight. Being able to drive to their hotel when they get where they are going (and a flight which is more comfortable and possibly safer than a microlight) are bonus features.

Data-sniffing trojans burrow into Eastern European ATMs

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so don't put your card into *any* ATM in Eastern Europe

I guess Eastern European banks are'nt worred.

None of theit local customers probably has an ATM card.

They still don't quite get the whole trusted financial institutions idea.

Blears is latest to scurry away from Brown's Cabinet

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They will re-elect her in Salford

They'd vote for a pig if it had a Labour rosette on it. They vote for the party, not the representative. She will think its's an endorsement of her work of cours.

Only an order from Labour HO will get her dumped. Of course the local party *could* de-select her.

But that would imply they (I don't know) *didn't * like her.

Failing that the last words are to Arnie

"I'll be back."

Scientists design picture projection specs

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Projected at 1m

I'll need one at 10cm to be readable.

However this looks more like head mounted displays as we'd *like* them to be.

2-way and nearlly small enough to fit in a pair of contact lens (externally powered of course)

If it can onlly go into production

DARPA killer AI robots to 'participate in own construction'

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A bit behind the curve

NASA have been running programs for decades with the idea of either optimising an existing structural design or having software generate a structural design to meet specified loads. AFAIK the idea was to (at least partly) to sidestep FEA and break a design automatically into sections then apply an optimisation algorith to each section, then re-combine the lot. Hardware's got a lot better since they started this. A UK company uses a similar approach to design turbine components. Instead of desgin part, study flow, tweak its a case of specifiy loads, program design blades to meet them. Lucien A Schmidt seems to be the main mover at NASA on this.

Mines the one with Structural Analysis for Dummies in it.

Bike kiosk grumbleflick shocks Spaniards

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Good Lord!

Bike kiosks. Whatever next!

ISPs frosty on Jacqui's comms surveillance plan

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I have read the consultation document

I note the Government are dead keen on getting all each CSP's (that's Internet, phone and mobile providers whatever they actually do) data queued up together so they can anwer *any* request instantly.

OTOH they admit most of this data will *never* be accessed.

So why should any CSP tie each and every item moving across their network to a user? I find it very hard to believe that it is less processor intensive to this than an on-demand build of 1 users data as (and *if*) its asked for.

Lets's hope the CSP's stand their ground. Let's get the All Party Internet Group involved if possible. CSP's need to decide are they broadcasters (who are responsible for what they transmit) or common carriers (telephone companies) who basically are not.

I will definitely be replying to this. On paper. Just to make sure it is received in its entirety.

Microsoft guns down 13 unlucky products

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Wonder if any of these could be turned loose

Back onto the market.

I doubt it. Steven is a Jealous God. If Redmond cannot make money flogging it. Kill it. Burn it. Bury the remains. Pours salt over the ground they are buried in.

Just a thought. Would there be a market for some of them if they weren't being crushed by the Redmond overhead?

Netizens tell court NebuAd's not dead

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Mr Goad the CEO

AS in "Goading the information out of the helpless suckers who use our partner ISP's"

And a "Chief Privacy Officer" Why did I read that as "Chief Piracy Officer"?

You could not make this up.

Microsoft buys gene-splicing software unit

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WE are Microsoft

All your genes belong to us.

PC-pwning infection hits 30,000 legit websites

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@ Jason Togneri

"you probably just fell for an old trick where your browser reflects your system environment variables back at you"

That sounds about right. However my usual response is *never* to click on something offered as a "Solution." Just dump the page. On the up side from the article the attack failed to find any of the silent gaps it would have used otherwise.

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Seen this on an academic website

Next thing I knew I was looking at a map of my local drives and a message saying I got a virus detected. Killed the tab instantly.

AVG site labelling reported the site was OK.

But 30 000 web sites invaded. WTF

Jacqui whacks shock jock crock

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Spelling correction needed?

should that not be Whiner, not weiner?

Fans decry tennis gal's breast-slash plan

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This operation is pretty risky

Heard of 19 YO old decided to get this done and flatlined at least once on the table.

Breast reduction is nowhere near the *relatively* straightforward job an augmentation is.

However if your looking at a world class career in tennis then this is a potential disadvantage. Substantial forces are being exerted and anything able to restrain her two perky friends is likely to reduce her flexibility for reaching those high shots over the net. I'll hope she re-considers but it is her choice.

Smart-map battle network for footsoldiers gets $12m demo

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Voice output or HUD output?

Only I can see trouble walking round with soldiers head down while unequipped opponents (keeping their heads up) just wait for some one to come within range.

And as Lionel Baden pointed out battery failure on *your* unit will be *very* unfortunate for your team membership.

And I think we all know what even someone as follicly challenged as Bruce Willis could do with access to his opponents radio.

Segway inventor builds shoe-controlled bionic arm

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Isn't the usual aim to blow soldiers legs off?

My recollection of the Viet Nam era dangers to US troops were land mines popping up to knee or groin height and literally chopping them off at the knees.

Still seems a popular attack mode for people who don't like Uncle Sam abroad.

Dutch cat skinner publishes critics' personal details

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Altogether now

Cat fight!

Cat fight!

I feel a YouTube moment coming on.

Gov spunks hundreds of thousands on mobe condom clip

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Interesting class comments

Like middle class children never get pregnant. Of course Mummy and Daddy can sort out either a nice discrete abortion. Or hire a nanny to take care of the little rug rat.

But note

We *do* have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe (AFAIK. The EU is a lot bigger than it was so some squalid corner of the former Eastern Block may be worse) and the Netherlands was the lowest. IIRC the age of consent there (*between* minors) is 12. They accept relatively young children do have sex with each other.

I went to a good school. My Sex Ed. classes were pretty good. God knows what would have happened if it had been left in the hands of my parents.

However there is the fact that quite a lot of girls *like* the idea of being pregnant. They like the respect of being a parent (they have no real idea what it means as they have probably never had a proper parent), the chance of their own home and to be treated better as the have a child to look after.

Summer debut for Judge Dredd computer smart-rifle

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I hope it does not use Windows.

It reads motion and tells you when to fire, but it can be over ridden. Sounds like quite a well thought out UI. No fumbling around with screens, thumb balls or boot sequences.

How well it works in the field is another matter.

And I think you'll be needing a White Phosphorous option for sale to Israel.

If they can break the law, why can't we?

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The usual justifications

when some one gets caught doing something like this. In no particular order we have

Our job is *damm* hard.

We're *never* appreciated. It's just our way of getting a fair reward.

Everybody hates us until they need us.

The job's so poorly paid we had to find other ways to make ends meet.

Every one else was doing it

Only someone with the virtue of a saint and/or the intelligence of a moron wouldn't do it. I am not that person.

Does any of this sound familiar? The “I thought I was within the rules at the time” is something of a speciality of politicians, local government officials and civil servants.

Miss-posted in error to another thread. Apologies

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@Ed Blackshaw

My list was never meant to be comprehensive. it was meant to illustrate the range of countries who use a system of PR.

Italy is *always* mentioned as the company that *proves* PR cannot work. Nearly 1 government a year since the late 1940's. Fragmented democracy. Coalition governments by default. Elected a media baron supported by his newspaper and TV interests who went on to retroactively legislate his way out of an insider dealing charge. Small parties having disproportionate power. Israel. Bit more stable but rather similar situation. Slightly more consensus across parties.

However people forget that Germany is also a PR country. It has stable effective governments over decades. Strong growth and a solid social security system that does not rely on people currently working to bank roll the pensions of current retired people.

Hence my point that if they are all (nominally) PR but the outcomes are *so* widely varying it seems pretty clear that the details make a very big difference.

But I was aware that most (all?) other countries in the EU use PR.

As for Greece. What have the Greeks ever given us?

Mine will be the one with a copy of the Life of Brian in the pocket.

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Countries with Proportional Representation




Do you get the feeling that the devils in the detail?

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Vote Alan B'Stard for honesty in government

You know he'll make whatever law the man with the biggest bag of cash wants making.

He's corrupt. But he's honestly corrupt.

And remember his advice. "The British people are infinitely gullible."

BT Global Services' own Clouseau bags massive bonus

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"over-optimistic contract projections "

Well that's what the Board call it. I think fraud might be quite a good description as well. But of course IANL.

I wonder what the majority shareholders (that would be assorted share investment funds) have to say. Not much I should imagine. They don't really think of themselves as owners

IBM goes live with Smart Cube appliance server

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Funny. I never had a problem

And I developed on one. 100s of users. Large interactive system. It was only moving to Windows that I had to start worrying about stuff.

Databases that can't lock to the record level.

Server rebooting on a daily basis as routine.

Databases that would not scale because their developers did not understand (or care) about the issues.

Umpteen dozen viruses each week.

The biggest problem for the AS400.

No drama.

None of the epic marathon network, software or storage problems that Windows admins regularly had to show that they were indeed doing something.

Not a problem in Windows.

Companies that knew what their business was and wanted to do business bought AS400's

Companies that liked messing about with IT bought Windows.

I'll wish them good luck with this.

US military shows off hack-by-numbers battlefield gadget

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The usual justifications

Our job is *damm* hard.

We're *never* appreciated

Everybody hates us.

The job's so poorly paid we had to find other ways to make ends meet.

Every one else was doing it

Only someone with the virtue of a saint and/or the intelligence of a moron wouldn't do it. I am not that person.

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Soldiers bring home souvenirs

Something tells me some of these will go MIA.

Just a feeling. It might all work out alright.

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Someone's been reading William Gibson

Expect surprise airborne assult near Kiev soon.

You know what's in my pocket.

IBM euthanizes aging Power gear

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@Scott Handy

So if you have them you can still get them activated and that will continue after July 1st. And if you don't have the hardware in the first place you cannot order any more of them.

That sounds a lot more reasonable.

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Processor activations

Dumping these on older hardware makes a mockery of on-demand processing. How big a difference to their supply chain will this make? I guess the only hope is enough big customers put pressure on them to reconsider as (I presume) its impossible to simulate an activation key.

Understandable but perhaps a bit Draconian behaviour from IBM.

Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

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Microsoft SOP surely

"The great draw of PHP is that it allows less experienced programmers to solve small problems quickly"

AFAIK MS has always sold its development tools on the hello-world-is-just-2-lines-of-code routine, neglecting the small mountain you'll climb to wade through all the docs, "features" and actual (but not admitted) bugs to do anything significant.

MS have been convincing programmers that with *any* of their tools any project is a piece of cake, despite the inappropriateness of the package. (AI in COBOL, with Developer Studio its a snap). No change there then.

Although an admirably restrained piece from Ted.

BT rejects wholesale price changes

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@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

"The powers that be don't have a clue and unless it involves lots of spying, money changing and spin, nobody is going to get cluebyfoured up about it too neither."

Perhaps its time to go low tech. A written letter to the all party ISP group pointing this out. Nothing works quite so well as an actual demonstration that something has already been done.

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France sounds a good model

They appear to act purely as an infrastructure (IE hardware) provider. Even telephone service becomes a competing service.

What an idea.

Government procurement now wrapped with training red tape

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"Train these scum"*

They'll only leave for a better job.

*Traditional UK management attitude.

E-cars are a dangerous myth, says top boffin

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“There is a very simple solution to all this – Hydrogen.”

Only if you don't look too closely.

“...and it's not much harder to store, transport and refuel than LPG.”

I think that sentence should end “I hope.” You might like to compare it with Propane (the P in LPG)

Propane boils (at 1 atm pressure) at -44c (a cold calm day in Siberia). Hydrogen boils at -253c (a calm day on Titan). At 1 atm Propane is about 8x denser than Hydrogen. LPG and LNG pipes can use foam insulation with bolted joints. LH2 uses welded double layer pipe forming a vacuum jacket. LPG pipes with faulty insulation build up a layer of water ice. LH2 pipes condense Oxygen, which will encourage anything combustible to burn.

But say you go with GH2. Hydrogen is *very* good at diffusion. Using the natural gas network would loose a lot of H2 for 2 reasons. Its mostly mild steel with bolted connections. GH2 normally used welded stainless steel as certain grades are much more diffusion resistant. You could always make the H2 on site from Methane, air and a lot of heat, perhaps by burning some of the Methane.

You're right that H2 can be made by bacteria (first efforts seem to date from 2006 covering at least 2 different universities) but so can Methane (and there are signs of Propane production in ocean sediment due to bacteria as well). Such processes run 24/7, unlike a solar furnace (I've never heard of one in the UK). You might also consider micro-hydro. The UK has a lot of rivers. Some never freeze and all run 24/7. Now about cars. Current H2 cars use either the 5000psi GH2 method or the cryogenic (double walled vacuum tank) system. The Honda Clarity has a TNT equivalent of about 4Kg (Hydrogen is explosive over a very wide range and the high pressure is a safety hazard in its own right. H2 in O2 has been detonated by visible light)

My point is Hydrogen is a very poor energy carrier with virtually *zero* infrastructure in place. Upgrading the (effectively laying new) gas network would be staggeringly expensive. It's physical properties are extremely inconvenient. If your concern is CO2 keep in mind 2 things. 1)It is much easier to manage CO2 release from a single very large source, which can justify complex hardware and special procedures to do so. 2) energy carries using carbon are carbon neutral *if* made from biological sources like animal carcasses, faeces and starch. This could include domestic waste incineration to make electricity. If you must have a carbonless energy carrier you might look at Ammonia. It has been made using solar thermal methods (in Australia) and has been tested under EU grants in fuel cells.

You might like to read alternative "Alternative Energy without the Hot Air."

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@Paul Crawford

“We are running out of electricity capacity in the UK and unable or unwilling to sort it out” properly” this probably is *the* ultimate elephant in the tent. IIRC 20% of UK electricity is nuclear and those sites are getting past their sell by dates. The nub of this is the generating companies like *big* gobs of capacity. They hate the relatively titchy gobs by micro-hydro (we have a lot of rivers in this country and the force of gravity is unlikely to fail any time soon), the wind turbines or even rubbish burning (which considering what they burn should be close to carbon neutral). In perspective total UK generating capacity (any unit over 1 MW) is c58GW. A usual sized landfill gas driven gas turbine is 1MW. Of course the UK has a lot of landfills but they do have finite lives.

“Infrastructure. I live in a 3rd floor flat, how do I charge a car overnight?” This is a lot easier to handle. With an agreed Europe wide plug standard it would make sense for the government to encourage charging points in car parks, particularly the ones at train stations and large office blocks. With one plug fitting all whatever rolls up can be dealt with. Rapid 10 min charge necessity eliminated. Boris Johnson's announcement in reg hardware may be relevant on this point.

“Battery chemistry. Do we have the natural resources to make the proposed batteries in the quantity needed” If the infrastructure is mostly chemistry neutral and can handle any reasonable current/voltage range it only becomes an issue on vehicle re-sale. The range of rechargeable battery chemistries available is quite large. Outside Li types NiCds and even the humble Pb/H there is the Air cell under development in Scotland, Metal Hydride (Normally Ni but presumably could be other core metal), and the high temperature (270-350c) ZEBRA cell which is a molten Na salt system. ZEBRA's core materials are Al, Na and Ni. It does run hot but not very hot, so cheap insulation is feasible (rock wool, vermiculite, glass fibre). It's claimed to have reached about the 1800 cycle range already.

“Pollution. Even with 'clean' electricity, which is currently a minor aspect, what about the process of doing (3) in (most likely) a cheap labour and lax-environment-law country like China”

AFAIK the cells out of which batteries are made are highly standardised. I'd be very surprised if all standard cell sizes are not manufactured on integrated and fully automated transfer lines, where raw materials enter at one end and the complete cell pops out the end. So no labour to squeeze out.

So most of his comments can be dealt with fairly easily, but the capacity issue is a big one. OTOH the actual use of the infrastructure is likely to be slow enough that capacity could be grown. And given nukes don't like to be ramped up and down overnight recharging seems like a better use for the electricity.

But hey maybe some people like pulling down big gulps of ground level ozone, partially burnt hydrocarbons and particulate combustion products. A shorter life, but a happier one.

London to become Europe's e-car capital, says Mayor

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"but what about vehicles which require hundreds of times more torque? (Trucks, vans, semis, trains) I am, as of yet, unconvinced."

You are, as of yet, uninformed.

The torque curve for an electric motor can be a lot steeper than that of an IC engine. The mass of the rotor of even a large motor is likely to be substantially lower than the rotating bits of an IC engine (pistons, crankshaft, piston rods), much better balanced and therefore accelerate its vehicle better than an IC engine. The GM "Impact" project was designed to demonstrate that an EV could be a sports car even with lead-acid batteries.

Regarding trains pretty much every underground system in the world is electrically driven. Large locomotives typically distribute motors over several or all of their carriages.

It might help you to know that the UK has 4 companies either making electric commercial vehicles or electric vehicle conversions. IIRC One of them Smiths of Luton is in line to supply most of what will be Ford's US electric truck offering. Ford will no doubt do enough in country to earn the Made In USA sticker and attached federal funding.

AFAIK anything up to a large panel van (including pickup truck size) is available in some form of EV. No one has done an EV HGV. But then what is a goods train?

You may still be unconvinced. Your a little less uninformed.

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Lets hope they all use the same plug

Otherwise we are looking at 3 *separate* charging networks across London. A complete mess.

While on the subject I hope Bozzer will ensure that a map of where these charge points are is readily available. Ideally for download to satnavs. But putting *some* of them at railway stations may be the most important part. Allowing people who don't have allocated off street parking (or a house) access to charging at work or at railway (or bus) station may be the key in getting people to take them up quickly. Making them a requirement for new developments will only help longer term (and it's likely developers will whine about the cost and try to avoid the obligation in the way they have with allocating some of their units for key workers)

Of course making cars that people want to buy or lease with a battery pack that can last 5 years (that's c3654 cycles given a 2 way trip each and every day ) is another.

But thumbs up for maybe getting something done.

US lawmakers put Canada, Spain on piracy 'watch list'

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Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus

Guess the Merkins now know who the RIAA & friends have been contributing to lately.

Hope someone's copied a list of the honourable gentlemen.

Will anyone be surprised if at least a few of them turn up as fans and sponsors of that model of fairness and justice, the DCMA?

There world view is clearly "alien"

Google brands ebook monopoly critics 'shortsighted'

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To put it simply

We are Goggle

All your orphans belong to us.

DHS to field Star Trek 'Tricorder' medscanner

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And of course there is inverse triage

As practised by special forces units following terrorist incidents.