* Posts by solarian

34 posts • joined 24 Feb 2010

Global strategic maple syrup reserves hit in Canadian mega-heist

IT Angle

The IT angle...

...is that maple is defined as "[a]ny of the trees or shrubs of the genus Acer".

In case anyone was wondering.

Mozilla: 'Internet Explorer 9 is not a modern browser'



> And he provides a laundry list of standards IE9 doesn't support,

> including Web Workers, offline Application Cache, HTML5 forms,

> JavaScript Strict Mode, the File API, and WebGL

...all of which are rarely used because of compatibility issues. Also, I wonder how useful that stuff actually is for most content, which is effectively rendered text and some graphics. It's a shame XML transformations, JPEG2000 and other stuff (which would help in this regard) is considered less useful -- even blocked by Mozilla, in the case of JPEG2000 -- whilst they wank about JavaScript rendering speed and so on.

'Tree Octopus' proves journos no smarter than 13-year-old Americans


Not quite

The statement "the research [...] asked the children to research as real information a species, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus" appears, at first glance, to be incorrect. The PPT merely says that "96% of 7th graders" (11 years old?) recommended http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/ "to another classroom, studying endangered species".

Although it *is* ambiguous, my reading is that the *other* classroom were the ones supposedly studying endangered species, and that the children who were asked to recommend that website did *not* have the opportunity to do any online research. That is, it seems they were shown that website and asked to make a judgment based on the information in front of them, on that single website.

It does raise questions about 11-year olds and whether they know that octopodes are marine animals, but it says nothing about online research -- it might just as well have been a page from a (fake) textbook.

Richard Chirgwin "could do better". B-

Anonymous pwns security firm that probed its membership



The reason they were able to launch an attack this strong on the guy is because they try to compromise the PCs of some "members" (by IRC vulns, for instance) as a matter of routine. They then have this in hand if ever they need it.

WikiLeaks dubs Amazon 'The Cowardly Liar'


@Ben Tasker

> Have a drink

Finally, someone on the internet whom I can agree with :-)



> "US gov’ illegal [...] acts

What exactly is "illegal" in these diplomatic cables, or military dispatches about Iraq or Afghanistan? Where is the evidence of illegality, precisely? And when are we going to see internal communications from Iran revealing massive vote fraud, torture, rape and murder? Or from Russia, that mafia state? Or China, with their widespread human rights abuses? Zimbabwe? Do that, and Assange might earn my respect. People like you think you have morals, obsessing about secret memos that reveal nothing bad, but you're so up your own arse that you don't see what happens in the world in plain sight.


Yes, presumably...

@Anonymous Coward re: DDoS: http://slashdot.org/story/10/12/01/206200/Wikileaks-DDoS-Attacker-Arrested-Equipment-Seized

What's more amusing than Assange's self-righteous posturing is his paranoia. I don't mean the term in an idle sense -- his years as a self-professed "International Subversive" have really had an effect on him, in much the same way that old spooks tend to develop chronic paranoia as a side-effect of the job. Just listen to his outrage whenever anyone suggests he might be a tool of, say, the FSB; then compare it with the self-confidence and certainty he has about all the supposed US plots he talks about.

Of course, in the end paranoia can become a self-fulfilling fantasy: in lashing out at what he sees as US imperialism, he has made it not only desirable but _necessary_ for the US to come after him. If/when he gets imprisoned for a long period of time, he will then say that he was right all along.

I don't think he is the tool of any government, but he is a modern guerilla a la Che Guevara, whose self-righteousness gave him the excuse to murder thousands of men, women and children in cold blood and with great gusto for the sole reason that they didn't agree with his point of view and his desire to "free" them. Assange comes from the same "progressive" tradition, and seems to have the same lack of concern for the consequences of his actions, particularly in regard to the effects of these leaks on Middle East peace and the stability of the two Koreas. Lefties don't believe in privacy rights any more than they do in property rights.

Wikileaks founder denied Swedish residency permit



...what you do is you go to a country (Sweden) that's at war in another country (Afghanistan), release a load of confidential documents with the potential to damage the Swedish/coalition effort whilst all the time complaining loudly about how Sweden is being manipulated by the USA to blacken your name and have you arrested... and then you can complain a bit more when they don't let you stay.

My heart bleeds.

US navy to battle Iranian mini-ekranoplan swarms with rayguns


Ah, those guys...

The Iranians excel at producing "weaponry" so primitive that modern weapons struggle to cope. Take the "Ambassador of Death", which some Israelis were concerned about because it flies so goddammed slow that they weren't sure if they could shoot it down properly. Now it's these flying boats that manage about 40mph at an altitude of less than 20ft and have no discernable military purpose. Why even bother to shoot them down? What are they going to do, unless we're talking kamikaze tactics? Even for reconnaissance they're no better than a microlight, in fact they're probably easier to shoot down and can't fly as high. Can't wait to see what happens...

Pentagon out to 'destroy' Wikileaks, founder says


Oh, the irony...

Funny to see Assange showing *precisely* the characteristics that he projects onto others: megalomania and a casual disregard for human consequences, and a dislike of whistleblowers (like Daniel Schmitt). Don't be naive: he's in the game like the rest of 'em, and I hear rumours he's made friends with the Chinese now... just rumours, of course, but I don't see him publicly listing his sources of funding.

Mystery lingers over stealthy Stuxnet infection


Reality check

The comment from Mahmoud Jafari, to the effect that it was discovered merely on "personal computers" at Bushehr, and that no damage was inflicted, is probably inaccurate. The fact that they've been saying it'll take them some time to discover the depth of the infection suggests this is merely propaganda.

Sex, lies, and botnets: the saga of Perverted Justice


This guy...

...is what the verb "pwnd" was invented for.

Sussex police try new tactic to relieve snappers of pics

Dead Vulture


I'm somewhat disappointed El Reg hasn't been able to properly distinguish between this case and the others which concerned tourists and their ilk taking photos in public places.

This is (part of) what Plod had to say about the matter:

“The officer reasonably believed the tape contained evidence of a protester being assaulted by someone taking part in the march. It has been seized temporarily to ensure that evidence cannot be inadvertently lost or altered and will be returned, intact, to the owner as soon as possible. A 42-year-old man from Portslade was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm at the scene. He has been interviewed and released on bail until October while the investigation continues.”

A previous commenter here mentioned another incident where someone apparently ran over a copper's foot on a scooter, which is also being investigated. The film *may* contain both scenes -- read the comments from Plod at the link provided in the article.

Under the circumstances (as they have been presented) I really don't see what the problem is. Obviously the anti-fascist "journalist" in question, who admits he is "very well known" to the police, wouldn't have co-operated voluntarily, and this sounds like a passive-aggressive move on his part. After all, they hate the police on "principle". The notion that this was an abuse of police powers is absolutely laughable -- in my opinion the guy was probably concerned that it was one of his mates doing the (alleged) GBH and wanted to protect him. Why don't you follow this story up in due course, O El Reg?

Assange under fire from Wikileakers



It seems WikiLeaks "supporters" have access to the police reports on Assange, so can we expect them to be published on WikiLeaks soon? Somehow I doubt it.

If you read Jonsdottir's comments, and what has come out so far, it seems quite unlikely that this could have been some sort of US-backed smear, although I don't imagine the Pentagon is unhappy at this turn of events. Nevertheless, the allegations don't seem very serious and it will probably all blow over; but what has become clear is that Assange hasn't handled this at all well and is using the tried-and-tested "spooky" method of denying all allegations and making up counter-allegations in order to create a distraction. Jonsdottir has evidently realised this, and understands that Assange's conspiracy theory has the effect of delegitimizing the complaints of these two women whom he slept with, and being a left-winger and presumably a feminist she is probably a bit irritated at being played as a pawn in that game. Whatever one's view of the conspiracy angle, it's clear that Assange doesn't have much nous when it comes to relationships with women -- not a very good sign for someone who mixes in leftie circles ;-)

Croydon Advertiser blows lid on 'sinister' brothel



Reminds me of George Bush Sr.'s prime-time advert for crack. We're all shocked -- shocked! -- to discover brothels are doing business in Croydon.

OOXML and open clouds: Microsoft's lessons learned

IT Angle


Let me add my voice to the chorus of folks who definitely *did* understand what Microsoft were trying to do on OOXML.

Microsoft realised that government customers were demanding open document standards, so they decided they had to go along with it. They also realised that if they accepted the well-regarded ODF then their product would be compared with OpenOffice and people would realise it wasn't really much better at all, and not worth the money. So they decided to create their own standard, but given the pressing time constraints and impending legal requirements for Office to use an open standard they had to do it fast, so they hastily stuffed all the accumulated cruft of MS Office into a crappy pseudo-open format and forced it through the ISO in double-quick time and against heated international opposition at the national level and in apparent violation of the ISO's own rules, leading to a number of resignations and an ultimatum from IBM that ISO had better not pull anything like that again or they would walk out.

Yeah, I think we do understand what Microsoft were trying to do.

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


@Anonymous Coward

> So a single scientific report derails years of research

What, you mean like Mann supposedly refuting the Medieval Warm Period because of a single paper?

Serpent imprisons rattled Yorkshire family

Paris Hilton

What's the problem?

Sounds like an entertaining visitor.

Paris, because she too is always thrilled to have a snake in her undergrowth.

nCircle purges posts after researcher's arrest for explosives

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Nice one boys

I'm so relieved this dangerous potato-gun wielding maniac is off the streets, who knows what "mischief" he might have attempted otherwise! Let's hope they nab Dennis the Menace too, who must surely still be in the area.

Zuckerberg advises UK.gov on using Facebook

Black Helicopters


Why don't we just put it out to tender for the Russians and the Chinese, whilst we're at it? I hope this idea gets shot down pretty quickly...

Facebook forces users to expose or remove connections


Bye then

That is definitely the last straw.

Megan Fox not world's sexiest woman: Official



The FHM staff have clearly gone blind, for some reason.

Skewing statistics: Booze, money and sex


[Sop for Title-Freaks]

"policy-based evidence making" is one of the best lines in modern politics, and its justified use is to be commended.

Met launches net café spy operation



It seems inappropriate to describe this as a measure intended to help win the "battle of ideas", although it is part of a broader strategy which does support engagement with radical ideas by "respectable" clerics and their ilk. This is basically the only option besides net filtering to prevent websites that would be illegal in the UK from being accessed in the UK, and whilst it may seem unpalatable, it could be described as representing the middle ground on this issue, and it can only be hoped that it is successful, so the government doesn't end up doing something a lot harsher. Nobody except crazy socialists actually want there to be a police state in order to enforce the state agenda, and whilst the radicalization of Muslims is mainly an educational problem, there is also a sharp end to their actions, so it is not enough simply to offer them a carrot. Remember, in the UK, these sorts of websites would be shut down, so people wouldn't even have the opportunity to visit them.

Female porn director turned pol grabs Kent by the ballots


yeah, right

Speaking as someone living in the consituency, I look forward to receiving her mailshot [sic], but it turns out she is actually a Labour supporter: http://www.easyote.co.uk/erotic_home/about.html

UK is safer from al-Qaeda 'bastards', says security minister


The Sealords are coming

Shouldn't that be "First Sea Lord", not "First Sealord". The latter sounds a bit gay -- not that that's a bad thing, I just foresee a range of p0rno spinoffs.

Google boss says something will happen in China 'soon'



...we should consider bombing China?

'Negatively strange' antihypermatter made out of gold



You should try the Lewis Page drinking game: on Fridays, someone with a laptop tries to count up the number of times the words "boffin", "boffinry", etc., have cropped up that day (or week, under international competition rules). Then, at the end of the evening and after a few bevvies,line up one shot per mention. Compounds such as "warboffinry" count as double. The first to finish the shots wins. Today I count 8.

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx changes its spots


reminds me of...

Reminds me of the way the BBC always depicts Labour Party apparatchiks. Always with a purple background. Yikes!

Forget SETI, this is how you find aliens: Hefty prof speaks



Another marvellous article from Lewis... we're not all sci-fi drones. A couple of brilliant quotes stand out as particularly scary:

"A more realistic hope is that an alien civilization has built a powerful beacon to [...] serve as [...] a warning"

"it may still be that intelligence is [...] a counter-survival trait which tends to wipe its possessor out"

The anthrax scare: Case and flask closed

Paris Hilton


I didn't read the PDF, but assuming the summary is accurate, I think it curious that whilst this guy believed he was being monitored he still (presumably) thought his own "counter-surveillance" efforts would go unnoticed. Well, I suppose he was a bit stressed out.

Paris because... sometimes we all know we're being watched online.

British Library wants taxpayer to gobble the web


Finally, an answer!

I sent a request to ask the BL whether they could archive some of my online work several years ago, for copyright purposes. I suppose this is an answer of sorts.

I know they were having extended discussions about how to archive the data, since digital degrades horribly -- is there any word on that?

It's pretty neanderthal for people to be worrying about the trivial cost of this. I use the BL quite a lot and am thankful that it has archived stuff that a previous commentard would think "irrelevant" from the 16th Century, at far greater expense I might add.

US unveils planet-hugging London embassy


Yeah, right

When this was first announced it was quite clear that it was because the owner of the Mayfair building had put up the rent and that the US State Dept. was unwilling to pay for it. I don't mean to sound unfair, but the rest is spin.

Thumb Down

oh yes...

...and just one final point: would you (USA) please stop making reference to a "special", "cherished" or other "relationship", "partnership", etc., etc. The weirdness since the Obama election vis-a-vis the journalists is a case of tail-wags-dog and is just getting extremely tedious now. So if you wouldn't mind, let's just stop the navel-gazing.


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