* Posts by Just_this_guy

94 posts • joined 1 Dec 2011


GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan


They seem to be claiming that the 'identifiable' data will only appear in a 'bridging' database:

"Your date of birth, full postcode, NHS Number and gender rather than your name will be used to link your records in a secure system, managed by the HSCIC. Once this information has been linked, a new record will be created. This new record will not contain information that identifies you."

So the stuff that is offered on the open market will be 'less' identifiable. (The black market is another matter...)


Well, I'm torn.

There must be huge epidemiological research potential in collating that data, and if it was rigorously anonymised, heavily encrypted, credibly secured, transparent and accountable in operation, with a formal, unified, straightforward opt-out process, and with a cast-iron guarantee (backed by legal sanctions) that it will never leave the NHS, I'd be all for it.

But since instead it seems to have been deliberately slipped under the radar, with inadequate anonymisation, slapdash opt-out, all the usual hallmarks of government failing to take security seriously, and an overt intention to sell the data on(!!!), this fantastic research opportunity has been turned into an IT, PR and political train-crash.

Data greed kills clinical need. *Sigh*

Striking Amazonians warn: Don't rely on us for Christmas pressies


Re: Tip of the iceberg

Evening delivery should be normal, not a sign of problems! Most of us are out at work and then have to rearrange with couriers. Paying delivery workers a premium to work an evening shift might well be offset by reducing the waste time and administration in multiple failed deliveries every day. Somebody should try the experiment! 21st-century life is still plagued with 20th-century delivery services.

NASA opens its Jupiter photo album to honour Pioneer 10


Very jovial images. (SWIDT?)

You could lose the Earth in the Great Red Spot alone. Make an awesome splash. :)

GALACTIC YO-YO: Doctor Who’s trips to Earth... and beyond


Be fair, he does have a granddaughter here.

Google, Microsoft to drop child sex abuse from basic web search


I'm suspicious of any politician-led internet tinkering. But all the comments above seem to be saying only that this measure will be largely ineffective. Will it, in itself, actually do any harm?

HUBBLE turns TIME MACHINE: Sees GLINT in the Milk(yway)man's EYE


Re: I hate hype.

Well, we certainly DO have pictures of what our galaxy was like in the past. In fact, those are the ONLY kind we have!


You folks are arguing about half-full and half-empty: how much knowledge (measured in what?) does one need in order to not be "ignorant"?

Boffin says astronauts could hitch to Jupiter on passing asteroids


If you can form a viable biosphere inside an asteroid...

...what do you need to go to Mars for? I tell ya, the Martian theme parks are wildly overrated, and you can't make a decent cup of coffee at those pressures.

Goodbye cruel world: Robot 'commits suicide' in KITCHEN FIREBALL


Re: The 3 laws...

His death served as a warning that the hot plate was hot. Would you prefer that, by inaction, he allowed a human to come to harm?


Is it that android from "Alien"?

What was he called now... Ash?

Military strategy game? Nope, these 'battle cards' are an EMC sales tool


No dragons.

I feel cheated.

SPACE, the FINAL FRONTIER: These are the images of the star probe Cassini


Re: priorities

The stickman sez it better:




Re: bibles

"Me, I've suffered intollerance a couple of times from other christians and athiests"

...but not, apparently, from lexicographers. Why do so many christians struggle with the word "atheist"?

Worth noting that religious groups are mostly persecuted by other religious groups, or failing that, by regimes so ideologically dogmatic as to resemble religions. (North Korea, of course, is deeply supernaturalist, having the spirit of a dead man as its 'eternal leader'.)


Re: bibles

I expect that reading a quran or the upanishads is as much frowned upon as reading a bible. Certainly China persecutes the Uighir muslims, as well as the new-agey Falun Gong. Which religion claims to be the 'most' persecuted is irrelevant: persecution is wrong full-stop. Oppressive regimes persecute any group, religious, political or whatever, that threatens the power of the state. Hitler, for instance, counted atheists among his enemies.

(And to 'balance' your 'balance', an it guy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24864587 )

BT jabbed by ad watchdog AGAIN over fibre deployment fibs


Re: Basically...

"BT Broadband has arrived in much of Manchester!"

Less punchy? Yes. But on the other hand, MORE TRUE. What's so hard about that?

Singaporeans THANK government for BANNING IaaS site


Re: Affairs

"it should be treated like a web site that helps people commit crimes."

Is adultery a crime then? A quick google suggests that's not the case even in Singapore.

KRAKOOM! iPad Air explose in fireball, terrified fanbois flee Apple store


Re: Some missing elements

Linus TORCHvalds? Or Tim BURNERS-Lee?


Air today, gone tomorrow...

At least it was a really THIN fire, eh?

Wayback Machine hardware up in FLAMES (but interwebs' DeLorean WAS backed up)


"My second thought was: I wonder if they've ever tested their backups."

You mean, by restoring the internetz? It would be like Groundhog Day all over again.

MPs blast 'alarmingly weak' management of one-dole-to-rule-them-all


Re: Huh?

I heard a government estimate a few years ago (the practice was to round to the nearest half-billion!): benefit fraud - around £1.5bn; administrative & system errors - around £1.5bn... That's about 1% of welfare budget for each.



Savings of £38bn projected? Is that annual? The six benefits included add up to around £75bn*, so half of that is going to be lopped off? I dare say massive deprivation WILL save money, in the short term...

* http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending#zoomed-picture

Late with your ransom payment? Never mind, CryptoLocker crooks will, er, give you a break


Re: Initial reaction

However, hindering THEM doesn't help YOU, or any other victim.

None of your Bezos: Jeff's wife gives one star to journo's Amazon tome


Her prose sounds better than his.

Hard-as-woodpecker-lips MOUSE GOBBLES live scorpion, LAUGHS off stings to face



We will not resort to petty name-calling, it is beneath us, and we will not comment further on this matter until it is before the bench. But it's no accident that Himmler looked like a hamster.

Creep E Crowley

Director of Everything

Scorpion Solidarity League

PS. AND we've got more legs than you! Suck it up, quadrupedic losers!



Not for the first time, the so-called Terrain Living Small-mammals group slanders innocent scorpions, this time with a preposterous suggestion that the attack by one (or more?) of its members was some kind of scorpion sting operation. These smears and twisted tails are frankly tiresome, and we are once more obliged to consult our lawyers to consider our response. In the meantime, any responsible media with pretensions to impartiality should ENTIRELY IGNORE - and beware of repeating - the squeaking and bleating from the Nazi-fronting fur-bigots of the TLS.

Clawed Turibbons

Public Relations Tsar

Scorpion Solidarity League


I see that once again the right-wing media are giving us a bad rap. You will note that my unfortunate colleague was merely DEFENDING himself from the WHOLLY UNPROVOKED attack by that thuggish mouse - a mouse who still walks free.

Now, I have nothing against mice. Some of my best friends are mice. I am absolutely not a mousist. BUT! We do not suffer these assaults from OTHER rodentines. When did you last see a rabbit attack a scorpion? What horny arthropod was ever exercised by the violent attentions of a red squirrel? For too long we have tolerated these scorpiophagic killings in the name of 'political correctness', but there comes a time when a line must be drawn. These mice must be punished! And if the individuals responsible cannot be identified (and let's face it, you can't tell them apart), then the regrettable consequence is that ALL of them must be made to suffer! Which is why we have engaged the services of Mr Thomas Cat Esquire.

Jesus Thattertz

Scorpion Solidarity League

PS. Apologies if that sounded a little venomous.

Long time ago? Galaxy far, far away? You ain't seen nothing yet


Re: Just curious

Nothing is moving IN space faster than light. The space itself is expanding. There is no known limit on the speed of expansion,

(Separately, both galaxies will be moving in space, but their 'local' velocities will be negligible compared to the effects of expansion. They might even be moving towards each other!)


Re: Just curious

Inflation was over in the first second (or thereabouts) - not really relevant here. But note that estimates of the width of the universe apply to the OBSERVABLE universe: if inflation theory is correct, then the observable part is to the entire universe as a pinhead is to a planet.

But suppose that when the universe was 1 billion years old a galaxy was 1 billion light years away from here. Light set out from that galaxy towards 'us' on a journey that should have taken 1 billion years. But space expanded behind the light, pushing the galaxy further away; and space expanded ahead of the light, giving it further to travel. At all times the light travelled THROUGH space at light speed. When it arrives, there are three distances to be distinguished: the distance to the galaxy when the light set out; the distance to the galaxy now; and the distance that the light has actually travelled - ie. for a travel time of around 13 billion years, that's 13b ly.

Space is complicated. Can't be helped.

Wozniak: Please, whatever you do, DON'T buy me an iPad Air


But can't he stream this stuff to his iPad? It's all on YouTube! - Oh wait...

THIS is the kind of clout a British Prime Minister has: Facebook pulls ONE beheading vid


Re: @Just this guy

I'm not saying that what matters is whether it's legal: I'm trying to FIND OUT if that's the concern*. If it IS legal, then in what sense is it not "acceptable"?

(*Of course, folks here, and Cameron too, might not all be concerned in exactly the same way.)

On your other point, slippery as it is to define "porn", sexuality is usually involved. A hypothetical Saudi execution video seems an unlikely candidate for that categorisation. If, as you say, beheading videos are illegal under UK law (which?), then presumably that law will be invoked and enforced against facebook?


Well, child sex abuse is illegal regardless of whether it's filmed; and child porn is illegal even on an age-limited site. But to further distinguish the case, let's say the dedicated site contains only LEGAL beheadings - such as those routinely carried out in Saudi Arabia. Now there's no law being broken all the way along the line. Is this still something that should be opposed? And if so, by law?


"By that logic, FB needs to allow Gary Glitter's browsing material of choice too. Stupid argument."

Watching child porn is illegal. Watching a beheading is not. For good or ill, so long as that's the case, facebook can address this however they wish. They could even put a beheading on their homepage if they chose.

And suppose I got a kick out of watching beheadings. I'm not actually harming anyone, nor are they being harmed to order. Is there an argument for denying me my harmless (albeit distasteful) hobby - even if I pursued it, let's say, not on facebook but on a properly age-limited dedicated beheadings site?


In the absence of a guaranteed happy medium, I'd rather have Zuckerberg let me see too much than Cameron let me see too little.

There are billions of images and videos uploaded to facebook monthly. It can never be fully policed, nor will the standards they choose to police entirely align with your own. If you're worried about what your youngsters will see, don't let them on it until you think they're mature enough to take responsibility for their viewing choices.

Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson battles bullfighting


Re: Odd - Alternative Poll Required

I invoked 'consent' to distinguish between human-human combat and human-animal combat, not to distinguish between different forms of animal exploitation. But if you seek to articulate a reason "to override culture and tradition", a common view is that harming animals for sustenance is justified but harming them for trivial entertainment is not. It's not my position, but Pam & PETA will be figuring that it's sufficiently widespread (or spreadable) to be worth pushing. Just as the animals can't see much difference between being slaughtered for food or for sport, so they won't much care if they are saved by realpolitik rather than unassailable principle.


Publicity is not an end in itself, it's a campaigning lever. The campaigning is highlighting a case that can be made relatively easily: even many a meat-eater will get on board against bullfighting, as they see the one as 'necessary' and the other as gratuitous . This may lead to a victory (compare foxhunting in the UK, albeit an imperfect win) and incrementally raises consciousness regardless.


Re: Odd - Alternative Poll Required

"many of the people I know would go to the mat for an animal (an ambulatory cheeseburger!) but would happily approve of and queue up to watch their fellow man kill one another."

Perhaps you know some odd people. Have you any polling to check your impression?

In any case, permitted combat sports, such as boxing, involve informed consent from all parties. Bulls are not competent to offer consent.


Re: Rodeo?

Will this do you? People can protest two things at once.



This act of cruelty is justified because worse acts of cruelty occur in other times and places. Or have I misunderstood?

"banning bullfighting does not mean herds of happy bulls living a long and fulfilling retirement - it means no fighting bulls at all."

The existing bulls are destined for a harsh death anyway. Ending bullfighting would mean fewer animals being born into the system in the first place. Animals that are never even conceived are purely notional: they cannot suffer hardship by not being born, since they cannot suffer, or undergo any other experience, at all. They don't exist. I know it's a duh point, but it appears to need emphasising.

PC addict RM finally quits its building habit, plans to axe 300 jobs


Re: Schools can do better

"far less uncomfortably flattened keyboards"

Of course I meant far FEWER...


Re: Schools can do better

Not entirely. Student-facing kit is subject to constant low-level vandalism, just as rocks are subject to erosion. RM's toughened laptops were designed with that in mind, though still not perfect. (Kids love to remove the keys from laptop keyboards, and the more creative vandals will rearrange them to spell out profanities.)

A simple example of a useful innovation that an education specialist could supply (though no one seems to): moulded legs on desktop keyboards. Kids break the legs off. Dunno why, never happens to me; but simply moulding them on instead of making them as fragile moving parts would result in far less uncomfortably flattened keyboards in the nation's classrooms, at the cost merely of slightly thicker packaging.

A more significant example is that in schools a thousand logons might happen simultaneously, several times each day, and the back-end needs to be designed to support this. Any good supplier can do this, of course, but specialist knowledge of school environments is important. (I can't speak as to whether RM displayed this knowledge or used it well...)

Lumia 2520: Our Vulture gets his claws on Nokia's first Windows RT slab


I've seen an Android tablet - with keyboard - on sale for £50. I'm sure it's naff, performance-wise, but this Nokia costs TEN TIMES as much. Would it really feel TEN TIMES better?

Granted, I speak as a "consumer", but if I've got £500 to spend on a tablet, RT is not even on the list!

Comet ISON perhaps NOT GARBAGE after all - glows GREEN in latest snaps


Re: boffins?

I'm not sure you CAN actually discredit El Reg...


And it was a fun name to say. Not like yer modern comets, here one month, gone the next. I remember when this was all (star)fields.


Re: Spelling?

I thought it was called that because the comet IS ON its way..?

Getting my coat now.

HUMANS all come FROM AFRICA: HERPES does not lie


Dear Mr Mammoth

Get back to where you came from, you johnny-come-lately habitat-enchroacher!


Mr Terry Lobite

Deploying Turing to see if we have free will


Read the T-shirt, dudes:


Web-email king Mail.ru gulps $15k fine, fights govt demand to slurp data


Careful what you Putin your e-mail...

Hypersonic MEGA METEOR pulled from lake, then Russians drop it


Re: stroll on

I'm game. He apparently believed that one or more demons lived inside a human, and that he could and did transfer said demons into multiple pigs. The only way that's not insane is if he was correct. This is a million miles from the default assumption, as many other explanations are much more likely. (He was deluded; he was a charlatan; he was using a metaphor and didn't expect to be taken literally; the events were honestly but incorrectly reported; the author was a liar; later revisions exaggerated or omitted details...)

("Insane" is a deprecated term in mental health circles. I'm suggesting JHC (if as described) was deluded.)


Re: @JDX

" Ever heard of the universal acid that Dawkins speaks of ?"

That was Dan Dennett's phrase, from "Darwin's Dangerous Idea".



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