* Posts by Eclectic Man

338 posts • joined 4 Jun 2010


Tesla to build cars made of batteries and hit $25k price tag about three years down the road

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Re: Applefying the car

Your comments on quality compared to other electric vehicles is interesting. The last time I got my 21-year old Ford Focus* serviced I asked the mechanic about electric cars, and he claimed that Teslas were much better than the others. (I have no personal experience of electric cars outside the dodgems at fairgrounds.)

*About 130,000 miles, and still gets 46 mpg at a steady 56 mph on the motorway, not bad for a 1.8L petrol engined car, methinks (I await correction from the petrolheads of el Reg).

We're not getting back with Galileo, UK govt tells The Reg, as question marks sprout above its BS*

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Re: ...

According to BBC1's Panorama last night (Monday), the UK has the most effective money-laundering banks IN THE WORLD. Pretty much 'world beating' in fact. (Or is that not something we should be proud about?)

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Re: Hoots Mon

@ Danny 2

Please accept my apologies for misinterpreting your post.

If we ever get out of this Covid-19 pandemic, I'll buy you a drink.

We don't hate the Scots, BTW, we envy your sexy accents, single malt Whiskies and mountains. The only reason people voted for Boris was that the SNP for some unknown reason chose not to have any parliamentary candidates south of the border, otherwise the UK would now be run from Edinburgh.

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Re: ...

Well, Boris has recently announced a Moonshot...

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Re: Hoots Mon

Which posting by Danny 2 helps to explain why I've never been any good at politics. I'd ask why you hate the English so much to inflict all this on us, but frankly I think I know the answer (basically 'history' of English oppression, theft, murder, perfidious Albion etc. of the brave Scots people).

Although legally British / English, I'm descended from Eastern German jewish heritage and lapsed Irish Catholics with some Welsh thrown in for good measure (and I'm gay too, so if you're prejudiced, basically you can take your pick) and not inclined to defend the English history of actions against the Scots.

Note to self - DO NOT POST AFTER 22:00 - you always regret it.

Sleep tight, everyone.

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Re: You are joking?

I'm not sure that anyone is actually in full possession of the facts about the EU, it is far too complicated for that.

The most sensible reason for leaving was the intention for "an ever closer union", meaning financial and political union of Europe is the end destination, and the UK's wanting only to be in a free trade area, maintaining its political and financial independence. I cannot help feeling that the Brexit campaign was mostly about 'foreigners' and 'money' purely as a scare tactic to achieve a result, rather than have a sensible, rational debate about membership. David Cameron's 'deal', to persuade us Brits that the EU was really OK was frankly far too little to persuade anyone.

Theresa May's 'deal' whereby the UK would be bound by EU rules but have no say in them was clearly a non-starter (three times, in fact). Most people asked 'in what way is that leaving the EU?'

The confusion over the UK's sovereign satellite geo-positioning system is just par for the course for this administration.

(FYI, I voted remain, as I didn't think the politicians in Westminster were capable of negotiating a sensible exit agreement, or indeed organising a piss up in a brewery ... I fervently hope to be proved wrong.)

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

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INS drift and Nostalgia

I realise that Inertial Navigation Systems do drift a bit, but 70 miles in such a short space of time does seem like a fault. I would have expected INS drift to occur for the whole of the flight incrementally, not suddenly 90 degrees change of direction. When they were first introduced, BAe put one of their INS in a car and mapped the roads of Scotland, quite accurately, according to the BBC's Tomorrow's World program.

I worked on the BAe 146 aircraft when I had a vacation job at Hatfield in 1978, I even had the commemorative (kipper) tie. I didn't fly in one until a holiday to Bhutan, where it is (or certainly was) the only commercial jet certified to land and take off at Paro , Bhutan's international airport. (Nostalgia, eh, what would we do without it?)

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Re: Is this an attemp to stop Scoland leaving the UK

When Mayor of London, A B de P Johnson likened the GB economy to a Ryvita* with a blob of jam on London. He claimed the way to get more jam for the rest of the Ryvita* was not to spread it out, but to put even more jam on London so that it it sort of spread out of its own accord. I remember thinking that a more persuasive argument for Scottish independence would be hard to find.

*Other inedibly dry comestibles are, I believe, available.

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Conspiracy theory alert

There is always the possibility that KAL007, was deliberately sent to excite the USSR's radar and check what happened when a civilian airliner 'accidentally' intruded into USSR airspace near Sakhalin Island. The whole thing was eavesdropped by US AWACS, right up to the firing of the missile which killed all on board.

Another Korean Airlines plane was shot at by Soviet Migs when allegedly 'flying over the North Pole navigating by magnetic compass' it ended up over Murmansk. The pilot only landed after the cabin was pierced by several bullets from the Migs killing a couple of the passengers.

It will not surprise you to know that I have never flown Korean Airlines.

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

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Re: "They're using our own satellites against us"

It is gravity and our lack of technology that stops us getting out.

A long long time ago, someone got drunk and mis-behaved with a time machine, and was marooned on Earth with the instruction to evolve into a more responsible life form.

Judging by the current state of the world, we have yet to complete our sentence. :o(

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Re: People. We can't stop an asteroid, ok? We just can't. Deal with it ;)

Sunlight could be our friend here:


If (admittedly a big if) we can find it early enough we could put reflective sheets on one side of the rotating body to alter the orbit using sunlight, which would then heat different ties of the asteroid differently. Of course we'd nee a great deal of reflective material and some way of tethering it to the surface.

OR we could use the reflective material to reflect the sun's rays onto one side of the asteroid, so it gets hotter, which might also work. we cannot 'stop' an asteroid, but, as has been stated, changing its orbit by a small amount might be enough to save life on Earth.

Online fraud prevention biz fails to prevent CEO's alleged offline fraud

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Anyone remember Barings, or BCCI?

A certain 'Nick' managed to make himself his own auditor on his 'lucky' 888 account at Barings.

And the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) seemed to have been set up in order to defraud investors (to the tune of about $4Billion if memory serves).

Allowing someone to be both CEO and CFO, and also be the only one with access to the accounting facilities (spreadsheet), must surely be contrary to USA law or financial 'best practice'. I would have thought the remaining directors should face charges of at least incompetence, and possibly malpractice. But then what do I know?

Your anti-phishing test emails may be too easy to spot. NIST has a training tool for that

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This is serious

I don't know entirely how 'they' did it, but fraudsters, having stolen lots of my post from financial institutions managed to:

1. Create an account in my name at HSBC. Which stayed open for almost two months AFTER I'd alerted them to its fraudulent nature.

2. Managed to empty one one my pension funds into said HSBC account and then transfer the money elsewhere (after 1).

3. 'They' were in the process of emptying another pension account when I contacted the provider to warn them, which stopped that.

4. Emptied two access only by passbook and signature building society accounts over the Internet, transferring the money via a fraudulently set up account at said Building Society in my name to said HSBC account.

5. Emptied a shares account AFTER I had warned the company by e-mail of scams, and said company had replied saying they had communicated it to the relevant department.

6. Set up two Direct Debits on a current account taking almost £9,000 before I found out.

These people were / are professionals at their 'jobs', and almost got away with about £100,000 of my money* (I didn't work hard for it, I suffered incompetent management, bullying, lack of promotion, ignoring my sensible ideas - until 'suggested' by the manager I'd just been talking to - you know, standard IT 'career progression').

Anything that raises awareness amongst staff at companies of phishing and fraud is good in my opinion.

And guess what: The UK fraud investigators cannot be bothered to investigate because, as I've got the money back* I have not suffered a crime!

BTW: There is a Panorama program on BBC 1 tomorrow night about how HSBC allowed transfer of illegal funds.

If you stop getting post from banks, building societies, pension companies, credit / debit card statements etc. be warned, and let them all know, if only so you can tell them it is their fault if they get done. Note, at no time did I authorise in any way any of these transfers.

*(Fortunately as I was able to show that it was entirely the fault of the organisations, I got my money back, eventually.)

Still get worked up about this, 'cos, I know you are all paid your true worth, b ut £100k is actually a lot of money to me.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

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In the good old days of Kermit* I remember someone saying "do not underestimate the bandwidth of a truck of computer tapes on the M1".

Of course, now I can go into my local shop and buy a 4 Terabyte hard disk for under £100. If a truck was filled with those, how would its bandwidth at a legal 70mph compare with fibre to the premises these days?

*(The communications protocol, not the frog.)

Feeling bad about your last security audit? Check out what just happened to the US Department of Interior

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Plus ca change

I remember once doing a follow up security review of a customer 2 (two) years after a colleague had done one. Half the people I interviewed said that there had been a review before and nothing had been done. So when I came to write up my report it was no surprise that not only were the faults described by my colleague two years previously all still there, they had managed to add some new ones.

(As Major Bloodknock* might say "Well, there's progress for you".

*The Goon Show, BBC Radio: "King Solomon's Mines".)

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

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Re: New Opportunity

I think that crematoria already check for pacemaker implants before the ceremony, too many actual explosions, although gold and platinum rings survive the process quite well.

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Re: Pedant Alert

Thumb up, because, well, why didn't I think of that? And you cheered me up, a bit.

Feeling more and more like a personality prototype. Here I am, brain the size of a planet ....

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Re: Yes, but No.

"Huge problem in real world implementation"

No1: Setting off every security check alarm when entering any venue, airport, football stadium etc.

Everyone would have to be frisked by a person, so vastly more human security guards will be needed.

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On second thoughts...

The article finishes with "Anyway, when and if we get there, I'll have the one with the extendable [that's quite enough of that – ed]. How about you? "

Now if we could fit each politician on standing for office with a nose that extends when they lie, that would be a great boon to democracy.

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Pedant Alert

The article states the humans have the most powerful computers on the planet in their heads.

However, the average volume of an adult human brain is about 1260 cc.


The average volume of an adult sperm whale brain is 8000 cc.


There are of course considerations of brain size to body size ratios and folding of the neocortex etc. to be considered, but the Scientific American article shows it is quite a complicated issue, and we simply do not yet know who is the smartest species of them all.

All I know is that it is Friday, I'm TIRED of Brexit and Covid-19 and my personal brain hurts, and is not feeling very clever at the moment.

How do you solve 'disruption' at the UK border after Brexit? Let's call Peter Thiel! AI biz Palantir – you're hired

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"Those only apply to EU member states, third countries don't get to hand European data over to their, possibly dodgy, governments and still be Regulation compliant."

I thought that the 'National Security' card trumped everything, as it is being done by a sovereign state, rather than a private company. OK so HMG can be prosecuted for breaching GDPR, but the defence of acting in the 'National interest' or 'National security' applies, much like the personal defence of acting in 'the public interest' can apply when, for example, journalists refuse to divulge their sources of government or state actor wrongdoing.

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Re: Hmm

I believe that a major problem is the UK's refusal to allow refugees to apply for asylum in the UK while being geographically in France. Were the UK to open an asylum claim processing facility in, say, Arles, or Toulouse, all the emigrants who wanted to come here would first go there to apply and there would be much less trouble on the Channel Crossings.

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There are National Security clauses in GDPR (and in the previous Data Protection Act) permitting government organisations to process personal information 'in the national interest', which managing 'our' borders counts as.

But I am confused, several years ago there was a government procurement for an electronic borders system to manage people coming into and leaving the UK, surely that system could just be enhanced a bit to cope with freight, or was it the resounding success that so many major UK Government IT procurements become?

Astroboffins reckon evidence of Martian life has probably been destroyed where liquid acid flowed on the Red Planet

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Ah, well, actually ...

APOD, 1st march 2020, a Hole in Mars:


But it is a little one, only about 20m deep.

Fingers crossed.

Open access journals are vanishing from the web, Internet Archive stands ready to fill in the gaps

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Hmm, a possibly 'solution':

reckon I might just spread the pearls of my intellect before the accumulated 'wisdom' of el Reg readers (fine, fine people). Free to publish, free 'peer' review, and I'm sure all the comments are archived forever. Of course, referencing my 'publications' might be tricky:

[nn] Man, Eclectic, comment 75 (or thereabouts) on article in 'The Register' 2019.

Then again, I do like the paper copy, so maybe not :o(

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Re: OA publishing

I believe that they also get reviewers to review submitted articles for free too. The business model for academic publishing seems to be highly profitable, except that no one seems to be able to break into it with a more equitable arrangement and maintain the quality of content. Maybe academics should start a union or something?

(Mind you, it is not foolproof, I understand the editor of Nature rejected a paper outlining the Polymerase Chain reaction. And 'The Lancet' published that anti-vaccine article on MMR, fallaciously linking it to Autism.)

Vinyl sales top CDs for the first time in decades in America, streaming rules

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Re: You are all thieves

"SACD / DVD Audio / HDCD Audio etc: Variously 1995 to 1999 introductions. All dead."

https://www.marantz.com/en-gb/shop/sacdcdplayer/sacd30n . £2699

https://www.whathifi.com/marantz/sa-10/review £5999

https://www.whathifi.com/chord/blu-mkii/review £6395

http://www.metronome.audio/index.php/en/metronome-range/gamme-classica-gb (Basically how much do you want to spend?)

Personal data from Experian on 40% of South Africa's population has been bundled onto a file-sharing website

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Just wait, they'll claim it is a back up:


Typical '80s IT: Good idea leads to additional duties, without extra training or pay, and a nuked payroll system

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Re: Ah Arcserve

I once, as an external consultant, visited a client whose backups were kept on tape, on top of the server, in the top floor server room, which got hot over the weekends as the air conditioning was turned off. It was a 'secure' site, so the combination lock on the door was how to gain entry, only they'd lost the key used to open and change it when the previous incumbents left a few years previously.

They also stored the staff record files in a filing cabinet, whose key was kept in a desk drawer, which was locked and the drawer key 'hidden' somewhere outside office hours, despite having HMG cabinets with Manifoil locks. (At least they didn't keep it in the server room.)

The management were strangely muted on receiving my report, and did not invite me for a drink afterwards :o(

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Re: "the discovery that a backup was not all you hoped it might be"

I sense a pay rise coming on for one lucky person :o)

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Re: Oh good grief....

We only bought the one ExaByte DAT writer/reader, so not a problem :o)

(And no, it didn't fail, it backed up the ginormous 512 KB disk really quickly, much quicker than the 1/2 inch tape drives I had previously used.)

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Re: whoops - wrong disk

"Computer commands are often ambiguous."

Not just computer commands. My first vacation job was at British Aerospace, in the Systems Reliability section, collating statistics on failures in aircraft. (Everything is collated from light bulb failure to total loss of aircraft.)

Well, one incident report explained that the service manual for a fuel valve stated:

"Remove the valve. If it is worn, replace it."

So the engineer replaced it, right back in where it came from.

The aircraft crashed.

Manual amended to state:

"Remove the valve. If it is worn, replace it with a new valve."

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Between two stools

I worked for a major IT company, and one of my friends there had a nice new 'Laptop computer. He had an application on the Laptop which was necessary for his work, and eventually as these things do, it stopped working. The company had recently split suppliers for maintenance of all IT resources, so said friend called the 'Help' desk.

010 IT Support politely explained that their contract was only to support applications on desktop PCs, he needed 'Laptop' support.

020 'Laptop' support politely explained their contract only supported the laptops' hardware and OS, he needed IT support.

030 GOTO 010

You're all wet: Drippy chips to help slash data centre power consumption and carbon costs

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'Waste' heat?

I was just wondering whether the 'waste' heat from the chips could be used to generate electricity? After all, classical power stations (i.e. not solar or wind) basically boil water into steam to turn turbines which generate electricity (which is passed into the national grid down aluminium* cables to transformers down more cables to my home where I use it to heat an element in a kettle to boil water to make a cup of tea). A Stirling engine attached to the system would surely be whirling away.

*( "aluminium" because I am English, not North American. )

Q: How does hydrogen turn into a metal? A: Hang on a second, I need to train my AI supercomputer first

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Don't 'grrrr' at me, it was the IAU wot decided to demote it to minor planet.

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Re: Since we can't build a planet

Building a planet in our solar system would be very dangerous - it would have to be bigger than Pluto, Ceres, etc. to qualify as a planet, and therefore would have sufficient gravitation to perturb the orbits of nearby planets, such as the Earth, and asteroids, potentially endangering life on Earth by lumps of rock an ice falling on us. I vote against it.

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Re: Beware The Gosling effect

"That binding is so common and so fundamental, that the oscillation pattern for that binding must be pretty simple."

Your reasoning, please. IN my experience, just because something is fundamental and common does not mean it must be simple.

Shine on you crazy diamond: We don't know who needs to hear it but NASA's explained the weird shape of the Bennu asteroid

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I think the Japanese probe has collected some asteroid or comet dust (too tired / lazy to check) to be returned to good old Earth and introduce alien pathogens which will take over the entire planet and make it ready for our overlords to arrive, or some such thing.

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And here I was hoping they had found a giant Space-Wombat and that Bennu is its poo:


(All together now:

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.")

(I'll get my coat, its the one with the Star Trek communicator badge.)

Pension scheme cold caller fined £130,000 by UK data watchdog

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I wonder..

if the company could have been guilty of 'obtaining a money transfer by deception'. That is a serious offence in the UK Under the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996, publishable by an unlimited fine and a prison sentence not exceeding 10 years on first offence.


Of course, as I am currently trying to figure out (no pun intended) how to invest my pension and so as to provide for myself in my later years, I am somewhat biassed against thieving b%^&*(rd pension scammers who ought to be %^&* (*%%(*^ and %^&*()ed, IMHO.

Old and busted: Targeting servers and web bugs. New hotness: Pwning devs with targeted poisoned stacks

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Re: Not quite so simple...

Well, it is not as if automatic patching has never broken anything that worked really nicely before Windows 10 decided to update, for example, Microsoft webcams, non-MicroSoft peripherals like printers, scanners etc. or bricked your nice shiny iPhone with the non-Apple repair.

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Re: Never trust a user's machine

Surely not!

I cannot believe that VW, etc. managed their engine management software builds to prevent rogue computer software writers inserting the emissions test fooling software into the final build without testing first and checking no adverse side-effects. After all they are a German company and we all know their attitude to strict procedures and record keeping.

Oh hang on a minute ...

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Agile development, anyone?

Reminds me of my first impression of agile software development:

Have an idea:

Write the code:

Work out what it should do:

Repeat ad nauseam.

Lots of sprinting and deadlines and 'rah rah' teams, and lots, really lots of effort and bugs. (Fortunately I was on the sidelines, watching as a 'security' consultant, i.e. ignored except for "will you sign this off please, you don't need to read it first?")

My personal experience of writing code is that once I draw the flow chart first, the only errors in the code are typos. When I code directly, I spend a lot of time de-bugging unless it is a really simple idea.

When classes are online, how do you get out of school? Florida teen cuffed, charged after crashing cyber-lessons

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Re: Someone will give him/her a job!

Re: "Virtuous Laziness (Bill Gates allegedly once said he'd hire a lazy person to do a hard job as they will find an easy way to do it)"

In his book 'On War' von Clausewitz said that the intelligent and lazy soldiers should be in central High Command, they'll actually work quite hard to make sure they don't have to get up at 2:30 in the morning.

(The stupid and industrious ones have to be got rid of because they will cause no end of trouble. Who could I possibly be thinking of...)

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Re: Anyone else think this is odd?

In the UK there are several different Police forces, we have the standard Police Areas, (London Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley Police etc.) British Transport Police for transport areas, then there used to be others, like the Royal Parks Constabulary, taken over by the London Met Police only in 2004. We also have the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, responsibly for guarding civil nuclear establishments (I know because they had a recruitment stand at the local Gay Pride event a few years ago). HMRC officers have warrant cards and arrest powers anywhere in the UK.

The USA also has lots of Police-type forces, Sheriffs, US Marshall service, as well as the Border Force, and those people who wore unmarked paramilitary uniforms and abducted people from the streets of Portland into unmarked vans during the BLM protests and riots recently. Plus, of course the FBI, the Secret Service and possibly some we don't even know about. The fact that Florida has a dedicated Schools Police force in a country with a truly worrying number of firearm attacks on and in schools should not come as a surprise, really.

China proposes ‘Global Initiative on Data Security’ forbidding stuff it and Huawei are accused of doing already

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Item 1?

What does the first item on the list actually mean?

"1. Approach data security with an objective and rational attitude, and maintain an open, secure and stable global supply chain"

As for the PRC promoting ICT security, well, everyone is in favour of that, but who believes that any state actually practices what they preach on this subject? Respecting other states' sovereignty is all very well, until you reckon that there is information they have which would protect your sovereignty. The USA is quite adamant in declining to join the ICC, because it would mean USA soldiers could be prosecuted for 'war crimes' in a court outside the control of the USA Supreme Court.

I can only assume it is some sort of PR event by the Chinese until they prosecute a Chinese company for helping the Chinese Communist Party obtain data from a foreign entity without the foreign state's approval.

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

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Just a thought - not all trade with the EU is by truck via Dover

I wonder what airfreight are planning to do? Heathrow does handle quite a bit of freight (as do other UK airports), and has somewhat limited parking (compared to Kent). Of course not all of air freight into the UK comes from or goes to the EU, but they will have the same problems, plus, of course, some products go by air as they are perishable or urgent delivery.

I expect someone has already mentioned this, but it is almost as if HMG did not have a completed, thought through and worked out plan for this Brexit thingy after all.

I suspect that one of the problems is this current government's propensity to build everything from scratch anew, rather than looking around to see what is available that actually works, or could be made to work reasonably quickly, despite the fact of Not Invented Here.

(Not expecting any replies or thumbs as there are now over 200 comments on this thread, and I confess to not actually reading all of them before posting, sorry.)

Astronomers get more than they bargained for, as Mars probe InSight's instruments detects solar eclipses

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Re: Let’s be franc

If the Fonze is the unit of coolness, then many of us (myself included) will be measured in micro or even nano-Fonzies. :O(

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results

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Re: This device is far less unreasonable than it seems.

Correction, the article on miscarriages is in the 8th August issue of New Scientist, pages 40-43.

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Re: This device is far less unreasonable than it seems.

Very sorry to hear about the miscarriage. New Scientist recently published and article about miscarriages. They are much more frequent than realised, and seem to be due to the foetus lacking the ability to produce the correct chemical signatures:


Or hardcopy in 5th August edition form your local library.



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