* Posts by genghis_uk

403 posts • joined 3 Dec 2009


Australian court overturns 'Google is a publisher' decision


Because they are seen as an authority does not make it so - that is just down to ignorance of how technology works. There are many search engines, all have some degree of algorithm to improve search accuracy (otherwise they are useless)

You shouldn't legislate ignorance!

(See also Twitter - not a public square and yes, you can shout Fire in a theatre)

UK launches 'consultation' with EU over exclusion from science programs


Re: Reap what you sow

The UK changed its national medical regulations to allow vaccines to be used before they were fully licensed. Even if we had tried to hand them out to EU nations, they would not have been allowed to accept them because thy were not licensed! Basically, the UK moved ahead based on the data but the EU waited for the finished report.

Also, let's face it the UK was never going to get a s good a deal as the EU due to size of market - not quite the Brexit bonus it is touted to be although Brexit did allow us to act independently

(Note, France and Germany were also trying to act independently because the EU negotiations were seen as taking too long)


Re: Reap what you sow

But you have to admit they were a pretty important few months considering the circumstances.

Paying a bit over the odds to get life saving treatment does not sound particularly wasteful - unlike our disgraceful PPE contracts, T&T that did neither well and many other pork for 'friends of the Tories' projects.

Janet Jackson music video declared a cybersecurity exploit


Re: Lay off Janet

If it said nobody listens to JJ any more that would be untrue - hardly anyone implies that some do but not many.

I started a WTF post a few hours go but couldn't decide if you were trying to find offense somewhere like a woke teenage Twitter user, if you were an offended superfan who was just misguided in their musical preference or having a laugh and trolling... You may have answered that one - back to twitter with you!

Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape


Always the problem with wind power - the time you need it most is the time you don't get any.

High pressure gives clear skies and little to no wind. In summer it's very hot so air-con use increases, in winter it's very cold so heating increases... You're going to need a huge amount of storage to hold Spring/Autumn energy or use something else.

Solar is potentially at its best in high pressure situations but Winter is still an issue if you only get a few hours of sunlight (<6hours in Scotland - about 7 in England)

Let's face it, renewables are not here yet. They may get there when storage improves but in the meantime, we need Nukes to keep the lights on.

Google gets the green light to flood US Gmail inboxes with political spam


Re: Bias?

If you are going to get heated about this at least read the bloody report...

"We further observe that Gmail marks a significantly higher percentage (67.6%) of emails from the right as spam compared to the emails from left (just 8.2%). Outlook is unfriendly to all campaign emails, more unfriendly to the left than to the right. It marks a higher percentage of left (95.8%) emails as spam than

those of right (75.4%). Yahoo marks 14.2% more left emails as spam than the right emails"

But have you considered the idea that the company generating GOP emails may be tripping spam filters due to the way they are written? The filters don't know where these came from but they will trigger on certain elements in the email - write less spammy emails and they will not be marked as spam

Also, it was found that if a person shows an interest in the political emails, Google's algorithm very quickly adapted so there was minimal bias:

"Moving All Spam Emails to Inbox. When a user moves emails from spam to inbox, the spam percentage should decrease because the user is showing interest that such emails should appear in the inbox. The response of Gmail to the S→I interaction follows this intuition while that of Outlook and Yahoo does not. The negative values for both the left and right emails for Gmail show that Gmail starts putting a higher percentage of emails from both sides in inbox after just the first S→I interaction. Fig. 7 shows that after the five S→I interactions, on average, Gmail marks just 5.34% of the right emails as spam (compared to 67.6% in the baseline experiment)"

Incidentally, when the same move of email from spam to inbox occurred in Outlook and Yahoo, the bias towards the Right actually increased slightly.

"To summarize, due to the S→I interaction, the political bias in Gmail reduced significantly. However, unexpectedly, it increased in both Outlook and Yahoo because neither of the two services reacted noticeably to user’s desire to not mark the emails as spam that the two services were marking as spam"

Republicans are cherry picking the results and shouting loudly about bias without admitting that

1) Some form of bias is probably just a by-product of generic spam filters and the way the emails are formatted

2) Outlook and Yahoo are biassed towards Republicans

3) With very minor tweaks, republican voters can all but remove any bias in the spam filters

I can't speak to Twitter and Facebook as I don't use either and have little interest but this is largely another GOP attempt to play the victim card with little evidence

Apple tells suppliers to use 'Taiwan, China' or 'Chinese Taipei' to appease Beijing


Re: Can anyone answer the question, logically...

After that fantastic summary bounding up 100 years of difficult, sectarian politics into a single insightful comment, how could we fail to act in everyone's best interest... We'll get right on that - thanks for fixing it.

It's on: Twitter vs Elon Musk trial to start October 17


Twitter is allowed to be as biased as it wants - nothing saying it has to be fair and unbiased... Their company, their rules. If you don't like it go to a different company's platform with different rules. That's the way the free market works (anyone remember MySpace or FriendsReunited?)

Chinese booster rocket tumbles back to Earth: 'Non-zero' chance of hitting populated area


Re: I would say ....

If if could clip a bit off Fareham too that would be a bonus!

Browsers could face two regimes in Europe as UK law set to diverge from EU


UK Government and Internet

Why is it that every time I see UK Gov (especially MINI-FUN), and Internet in a sentence, I just know they are messing things up?

Government ministers are quite frankly, clueless about everything technical the internet - why do they keep trying to meddle? Mad Nad is on record thinking the internet is only 10 years old - won't someone save us from these muppets?

Tories spar over UK's delayed Online Safety Bill


Re: Authoritarianism

One of the scariest parts of this (there are many scary parts!) would give Nadine Dorries the final say on what speech is banned...

Given this:

"I am not an MP for any reason other than because God wants me to be. There is nothing I did that got me here; it is what God did. There is nothing amazing or special about me, I am just a conduit for God to use." – Nadine Dorries

And given that the UK is fairly secular in nature (we certainly aren't the US!), I don't want my speech regulated to moral standards set by a self confessed god botherer!

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall


Just keep away from the afterburner!

Viggen Fuel Use

Twitter claims Elon Musk bailed from sale with 'invalid and wrongful' reasons


Re: Is there a method behind Musk’s Twitter-deal weirdness?

Mike Masnik over at techdirt did an interesting analysis of Musk's Lawyers trying to get him out of the mess he's made

Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants


Re: even more safer to operate?

.. and government pressure to increase production meant that safety was compromised to meet their demand.

Tech world may face huge fines if it doesn't scrub CSAM from encrypted chats


Re: Ok, i'll bite.

Any solution is trivial to circumvent by pre-encrypting the image before you send it over an E2E channel.

The point is to be seen to obey the letter of the law to avoid fines.

This is all performative nonsense by a bunch of politicians that don't understand mathematics or engineering so I can't see anything other than a performative response.

Australia banned encryption that cannot be backdoored a while ago (basically telling engineers to 'nerd harder' when they said the mathematics would not allow it) but I have not seen anything to say this has ever been enforced - maybe I missed it?

Windows 11: The little engine that could, eventually


Hardware good enough

There is a lot of hardware out there, my 2017 Dell XPS15 included, that runs very well but does not have the TPM 2.0 device that Win11 mandates.

Why would anyone fork out on new hardware just to satisfy an OS upgrade?

US senators seek ban on sale of health location data


Constitutional Revisionism

If you really want to quote history, the Supremes just used a modified reading of the 1787 constitution to change gun laws in New York - however, at that time abortion was legal until 'quickening' i.e. the baby was moving so they had to find another 'historic' reason.

To overturn Roe, they used precedent from the 1860's (when the 14th amendment was ratified), rather than from the time of the original constitution. By this time many states had made abortion illegal but it is likely that these laws were technically unconstitutional when looked at from the 1780's viewpoint.

Basically, they started at the result and looked back to find something that worked and then said it was constitutional originalism.

Back to guns, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There never was a right to bear arms unless as part of an organised militia who were really a community protection group. Interestingly, James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, tried to introduce State legislation in Virginia that would impose penalties on any individual who “bear[s] a gun out of his inclosed ground, unless whilst performing military duty.” So the author of the 2nd amendment tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to implement a law similar to the one the Supremes just struck down - the intent though is clear that guns could be legislated at a State level and were not for individual protection... Note: the law was not passed but not because it went against the newly minted constitution. State authorities regularly confiscated guns in the late 18th century if someone was deemed unsafe or disloyal to the republic - no loyalty, no militia service, no gun... there was no right to bear arms back then it has been invented since and history has been largely ignored to do so!

Majority of Axon's AI ethics board resigns over CEO's taser drones


Re: Follow the money

I know it is the in thing to blame the government for everything but the airlines and the airports are private companies. During the pandemic, they even took money to retain staff but somehow did not...

Covid restrictions were lifted a long time ago and it was bloody obvious that a lot of people would travel this year after lockdowns. This is a lack of planning on the part of the travel people not (unusually) a government mess.

World’s smallest remote-controlled robots are smaller than a flea


Re: Boffin?

They even got their own icon -->

(in the UK, boffins are highly regarded, scientists, maybe a little eccentric but that is not 100% necessary - think Turing, Einstein etc.)

Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says


Re: Oh, now sites are responsible for what's posted on them?

The size of the community is completely irrelevant - the law is the same for FaceBook, Twitter, Reddit, El Reg or the Vegan Forum (not my choice but one in the judgement). Everyone jumps on the big tech guys but you have to remember that this equally applies to this forum.

Basically the Government cannot force a private company moderate speech in any way. It is a very basic first amendment right.

Don't take my word for it, read the actual judgement and see what the appeal judges of the 11th circuit (lead by Kevin Newsom, a Trump appointee no less) makes of it: Judgement (pdf)

This also debunks the common carrier argument, the various misinformed cases such as Pruneyard and underlines the fact that using an algorithm to provide each user with their own feed is actually protected speech. 67 fairly short pages that should help to educate any who read them

US won’t prosecute ‘good faith’ security researchers under CFAA


Have you been watching the US legal system ... I was going to say lately but Judge Dredd was a parody of the US 'justice' system in the '70's and nothing has really improved since...

Telcos fear Big Tech will bleed them until they can’t afford network builds


This sounds like a pre-cursor to another attempt to get Netflix, Google etc. to pay Telco's for transport despite the end customer already paying for it.

Give it up guys - you are infrastructure!

China wants its youth to stop giving livestreamers money


I find I have to catch myself when my nephew (15) starts to talk about watching Youtube streamers... How many hours did I spend looking over someone's shoulder at arcades? There is not a lot of difference except most arcades in the 80's were a lot more dodgy places to be.

TV will rot your brain, go outside and kick a ball - as I was told in the 70's. Ok, I did spend a lot more time outside than the current generation but that has as much to do with a more permissive time when going out was actively encouraged - now kids are not allowed out due to (in my opinion, overblown) parental fear but when they spend all day on phones/tables/PC's it is a bad thing. They can't really win.

More worrying is what China does now 'for the children' Mad Nad from the Ministry of Fun*, will probably try next citing exactly the same reasoning!

*Should probably be MiniFun as she seems to be intent on stopping us having any!

Astra Space to launch satellites from Shetland


Re: Isn't it a bit far from the equator?

My (limited) understanding is that changing angle of orbit takes a lot of extra fuel fuel.

If you launch from the equator and want an equatorial orbit, all is fine and you can take advantage of the Earth's rotation. However, for any other orbit, you have to add an angle to transition from LEO to the final orbit and that is really expensive on fuel.

Starting from a latitude closer to the final orbit saves more fuel than you lose in take off...

(There are probably a lot of calculations involved - this is space after all!)

Mars Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance are talking again


Re: Idea...

There must be at least the weight of the helicopter blowing down or it wouldn't take off.

I assume the blades spin a lot faster to make up for the lack of atmosphere?

Putin threatens supply chains with counter-sanction order


Но не с Путиным!

Twitter faces existential threat from world's richest techbro


Re: The problem is that the rules are inconsistent

Unfortunately, when discussing Twitter and free speech, it is hard not to include the cult of Trump. They have been the ones shouting censorship (I see you fall for it too) when it is nothing of the sort.

The 1st amendment gives Americans the freedom from Government censorship, it does not give you the right to an audience on a private platform (here come the downvotes again). Sorry if that is not the way you want it to be but that is the way you wrote your constitution - take it up with SCOTUS.

Other than a somewhat biased set of examples, I can probably find dozens of others from all over the world given the motivation, I agree that much of this should also be taken down but "Whataboutism" does not excuse the fact that the bitchy, whiny arm of the GOP (I note not all Republicans), complain more loudly when they have clearly broken rules - and have been warned on several occasions. It has almost become a badge of honour to be banned (like dear leader) There is probably a bitchy, whiny arm of the Liberals that complain too but, ironically, they don't seem to have as many places to moan about 'censorship' while clearly not be being censored

Again, moderation of a platform of this size is guaranteed to produce mistakes, miss things and block things that shouldn't have been. They cannot get it right 100% of the time which means you will always find examples, it does not mean that the platform is biased (reports and analysis have shown little bias, here is one: https://psyarxiv.com/ay9q5).


Re: The problem is that the rules are inconsistent

Unlike some, the likes of Putin, Khomeini, Hamas, Hezbollah (is there a thread to those you call out?), they have not directly broken Twitter's rules of posting.

They are undeniably horrible people but if they stick to the rules why should Twitter remove them? Who gets to decide if someone is horrible enough to remove them? It rapidly becomes deplatforming or 'cancel culture' that the right keep harping on about...

Trump, MTG, Alex Jones etc. broke the rules (call for violence, Covid misinformation and abusive behaviour) - no soap box for them, but if Putin tweets about fly-fishing and butterflies should he be banned? (I'm sure he doesn't but you get the point). Nothing hypocritical there as far as I can see.

None of this is 100% though, mistakes happen and with the sheer quantity of tweets, mistakes will happen often - the goal is to get a balance though


Re: Do what?

The analogy is incorrect - the soap box is not in the park i.e. in a municipal space. Twitter is not a public forum - no, it really isn't despite how often people think it is!

Twitter allows you to come over to their place where they give you a soap box if you agree to play by their rules. Break the rules and they have every right to remove your soap box and send you on your way.

Both left and right have idiots and those idiots will get banned for rule breaking - generally though, the more Trumpian types bitch and whine about it more to play the victim card. "I've been censored" they say on Gab, Facebook, Parler, Truth Social (well they would if they could get on), Fox News, OANN, Breitbart etc... This 'censorship' rubbish is just another thread in the culture war tapestry.

Free speech in the USA is the right to be free from Government censorship i.e. banning you from saying something anywhere. If you want to get a soap box and stand in a park spouting rubbish, then you are more than free to do so but why should Twitter allow bigots a platform and host potentially dangerous misinformation?


Re: Most of us don't give a toss.

Can't be bothered to argue as I know when I'm 'talking to the hand' but have a read of Yishan Wong's (ex reddit CEO) take on social media


Elon Musk set to buy Twitter in $44b deal, promises stuff


Re: If..

If you are going to discuss freedom of speech, may I suggest that you don't use 'Fire in a crowded theatre' as a talking point?

To anyone in the know about this, it is a red flag that you don't have a clue...

1) It had nothing to do with freedom of speech - it was written by Justice Holmes in relation to (a really bad) ruling about anti-draft pamphlets breaching the espionage act

2) The case was actually applying some really draconian restrictions on freedom of speech so this probably is not saying what you think it is

3) The case was overturned in the 60's so hardly on point

4) Given the above, everyone seems to miss out the important word in the quote which is

"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man FALSELY shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic" (he was wrong!)

Robots are creepy. Why trust AIs that are even creepier?


Re: its all puppetry

Ahh, '20 minutes into the future' - they warned us!

Zik-Zak corporation taking over the world, always on media, blipverts...

Swedish firms ink deal to make green hydrogen with wind power


Re: That's the future

Small Modular Reactors can be built relatively quickly - not weeks but not decades either. Being modular the cost is reduced too - although not to wind levels but then again, they work better than wind not being reliant on UK weather!

Also a bunch of small reactors can be rotated for maintenance or dynamically brought online/offline to react to load in a smaller granularity that the larger reactors. Back on topic, I seem to remember seeing something about using heat from reactors to split Hydrogen for fuel but I can't remember what that was all about...

Elon Musk buys 9.2% of Twitter, sends share price to the Moon


Re: I hope he does take it over

Well, your wish is starting to come true as they just appointed Musk to the board...

I just hope BlueSky isn't a casualty, it may be the only thing to save Twitter



Re: No, sorry

<quote>The 'constitutional right' is a cheap excuse, because platforms like Twitter pick whatever suits them, i.e. they are either a publisher or a mere data transporter.</quote>

They are neither, in fact they are an 'interactive computer service'.

If they write posts themselves (including the fact check posts), they are publishing but otherwise they are just hosting other people's speech. They have no requirement to host speech that violates their rules and no real requirement to be unbiased - their house, their rules. They are also not a public forum nor a common carrier as many erroneously think.

Just because they have a huge number of people on their site, the same rules apply as to this site or any other... are you saying the Reg can't moderate because it is a public square/publisher/common carrier?

Russia mulls making software piracy legal and patent licensing compulsory


Re: re: countries that haven't ventured an opinion on the invasion and shelling of civilians

Putin doesn't feel threatened, that is just a smokescreen to justify his invasion while trying to strong arm the West into acceptance of unreasonable demands. Invasion was always the end goal.

He is trying to turn the clock back to the 1980's as he never accepted Russian 'defeat' in the cold war. Not that there was really a winner/loser there but Russia lost significant acreage. He wants to Make Russia Great Again(tm) by recreating the old empire and has been gradually working towards that - ask Georgia, Crimea, Chechnya. Ukraine is the latest and the nearest to Europe. Finland may want to worry if you look back to their borders at the turn of the 20th centrury

IBM looked to reinvigorate its 'dated maternal workforce'


Re: Millenials

I hate to tell you but the 50 year old's of today are not Boomers - we are Gen-X!!

The forgotten generation, Thatchers Children, latchkey kids etc...

We were also pretty much the last generation to have the old school apprenticeships, taught by wartime craftsmen and early Boomers. It sounds like you had a similar experience at a young age - complete with clips round the ear :) Can't do that any more!

Writing off Gen-X (and Boomers!) is a very bad idea - while Millennials and Gen-Z never knew a time without computers etc. we grew up through the transition, innovated and invented. I personally, can't think of any peer who would not help and encourage a young engineer as we were (I have had my own apprentices) so maybe you have been unlucky where you work.

UK.gov threatens to make adults give credit card details for access to Facebook or TikTok


Re: 1060

Next to the half pack of cigarettes?

GCHQ was rebuked for ignoring spy law safeguards as pandemic hit Britain


Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

People called Romanes they go to the house?

Google sued for firing staff who claim they tried to follow 'Don't be evil' motto


Re: Politics, not Good

I was about to say the same - if the Mail (generally considered UK's FOX News) is central, just how far right is the rest of the US media?

Kremlin names the internet giants it will kidnap the Russian staff of if they don't play ball in future


Re: it's an "arms race" with "loony" protestors getting more and more extreme

Our media is only as right wing as you want it to be - read the Mail, Express or the Sun and you get what you deserve...

The Observer, Grauniad, Independent etc. are all left of centre - unless that is not left enough for you... Morning Star maybe?

As the BBC is regularly hammered from let and right they probably are not as biased as you may think although they have been traditionally centre-left. Governments from both sides have tried to de-fund them by tinkering with the license fee.

Black Helicopters

Re: reports of armed men loitering outside Google's offices in Russia

I'm not sure where the Google office is located but if it was in Moscow, there are 4 cathedrals in the Kremlin so maybe they were checking them out to see if the spires measured up to the 123m Salisbury one.

Zuck didn't invent the metaverse, but he's started a fight to control it


As someone who has ben using a Quest for a couple of years on an Oculus Developer account, I am waiting for it to be turned into a brick when Facebook withdraw support as I do not have a social media account (next year, I think). If they insist on having an account for future hardware (as they do for Q2), they are going to miss out on a lot of technically gifted people as a large number refuse to have anything to do with them.

As for Meta, I have seen what happens in the current multiplayer apps - from personal experience EchoVR is great fun but can be totally ruined by kids being assholes.

Then, if you look at the reviews for Venues and the other social apps, they have one thing in common - lots of complaints about people being harassed, kids playing up etc. Rude, shouty youngsters (and I meant sub 14 not just teens) are a problem now - what will this be like when you add the rest of the facebook GenPop? Luckily, VR is still niche enough that most of the idiots are not on there (a bit like mid-90's internet), but that would change with Meta. If we think abuse on FB and Twitter is a problem now, just imagine how much fun it will be to have a racist bigot shouting at you in person while you try to remember the commands for 'mute'

Now that's a splash down: Astronauts spend 8-hour trip to Earth in diapers after SpaceX capsule toilet breaks


They need the Wolowitz Zero-Gravity Waste Disposal System...

Thinking about it, maybe the problem was that they did have the Wolowitz Zero-Gravity Waste Disposal System ;)

One click, one goal, one mission: To get a one-touch flush solution


Re: Almost needed a new keyboard there

This one got me too.

Unfortunately, my mid-morning tea did not fare quite as well so I am now typing at an odd angle while it drains out of my keyboard - you can nearly hit CTRL-Y in one keystroke from this angle ;)

(I would say you owe me a new keyboard but have a pint for the entertainment)

Assange psychiatrist misled judge over parentage of his kids, US tells High Court


Re: How about ...

From the Wikipedia entry for Lamo:


In May 2010, Lamo reported to U.S. Army authorities that Chelsea Manning, then Bradley Manning, had claimed to have leaked a large body of classified documents, including 260,000 classified United States diplomatic cables.

Lamo stated, in an article written by Kevin Poulsen in Wired magazine, that he would not have turned Manning in "if lives weren't in danger ...

WikiLeaks responded by denouncing Lamo and Poulsen as "notorious felons, informers & manipulators", and said: "journalists should take care."

According to Andy Greenberg of Forbes, Lamo was a volunteer "adversary characterization" analyst for Project Vigilant, a Florida-based semi-secret government contractor, which encouraged him to inform the government about the alleged WikiLeaks source. The head of Project Vigilant, Chet Uber, claimed, "I'm the one who called the U.S. government ... All the people who say that Adrian is a narc, he did a patriotic thing. He sees all kinds of hacks, and he was seriously worried about people dying.


I think Assange is a narcissistic cockwomble of the first order but he did not turn Manning in. Sorry if this goes against your established belief

Remember when you thought fax machines were dead-matter teleporters? Ah, just me, then


Re: "Era of innocence, my arse"

I think that should read:

You are more likely to be called on things that may be perceived as hateful or inflammatory to anybody who really tries hard to be hurt or inflamed though

Give it 2 minutes and someone will probably prove my point... Here, have a pint and chill -->

First, stunning whistleblower leaks. Now a shareholder lawsuit lands on Zuckerberg's desk


Re: "what's been revealed about Facebook's operations [..] has harmed investors"

What has 230 got to do with FB algorithms?

Section 230 removes liability for what users post and allows the platform to moderate without having to face expensive litigation. Actually, most 230 cases are really 1st amendment but 230 allows an easy test to throw a case out before it becomes expensive.

This is all about how FB presents the posts and what rules are applied (or not applied) during moderation - nothing 230 about it


Ignoring the overblown comparison between some moderation by a social platform and a regime that potentially killed millions...

Others have already pointed out some of the errors in this post i.e. moderation is not censorship and a private company does not have any first amendment obligations (funny how a lot of people in the UK know more about American constitutional law than those in the US - did no-one listen in Civics 101?)

I will agree with one thing though - Facebook (and others) do not implement their rules consistently. If they were at least consistent, people would know where they stood. It is good that the FB Papers call out the bias toward VIP posts.

Judging by the way your face lit up, my inbox just got more attractive


Thanks for cheering up my Friday, once again!



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