* Posts by David L Webb

76 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Apr 2012


Will there be no end to govt attempts to break encryption? Hand over your data or the kiddies get it, threaten Five Eyes spies

David L Webb

Re: Will there be no end to govt attempts to break encryption?

It seems from another Register article that they will soon face Quantum Key Distribution as well as the mathematical challenges of public-private key encryption.


"Toshiba has said it is ready to start selling a commercial quantum key distribution (QKD) product, and will eventually move to offer QKD as-a-service."

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

David L Webb

The UK government have already said that they will not carry out full checks on imports for 6 months and that customs declarations and payments of tariffs on such imports just need to be recorded by the importing companies and dealt with later.


" For this purpose, importers will need to determine and state the origin, classification and customs value of the goods. However, as regards imports from the EU, it will be possible to defer customs declarations on standard goods by up to six months and also to defer the payment of customs duties on such imports until the declarations are made. "

Will Asimov fix my doorbell? There should be a law about this

David L Webb

Re: 3 laws for AI

Asimov's "The Feeling of Power" where the rediscovery of how humans can perform mental arithmetic which had been lost due to the reliance on computers leads the military to the idea of manned missiles



"And I see something even beyond this. It may be fantastic now, a mere dream; but in the future I see the manned missile!"

There was an instant murmur from the audience. The general drove on. "At the present time, our chief bottleneck is the fact that missiles are limited in intelligence. The computer controlling them can only be so large, and for that reason they can meet the changing nature of anti-missile defences in an unsatisfactory way. Few missiles, if any, accomplish their goal and missle warfare is coming to a dead end; for the enemy, fortunately, as well as for ourselves.

"On the other hand, a missile with a man or two within, controlling flight by graphitics, would be lighter, more mobile, more intelligent. It would give us a lead that might well mean the margin of victory. Besides which, gentlemen, the exigencies of war compel us to remember one thing. A man is much more dispensable than a computer. Manned missiles could be launched in numbers and under circumstances that no good general would care to undertake as far as computer-directed missiles are concerned"


Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever

David L Webb

Re: EU friends apparantly

The TCP/IP protocols were developed by the American's Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf also known as the fathers of the internet.


Though the World Wide Web was developed by a Brit Sir Tim Berners-Lee whilst working at CERN in Switzerland


'Independent' gov law reviewer wants users preemptively identified before they're 'allowed' to use encryption

David L Webb

"On the other hand the photo here


is a 2.5 megabyte JPEG, which is at least fifty times bigger than it needs to be, so perhaps these lawyers really haven't got a clue about technology after all...


Maybe he is worried about the government spying on him and has used steganography to embed a large secret message in the image :)

(The larger the image file the larger the hidden message can be without distorting the image.)

David L Webb

Re: Encryption == Firearms

That was just for the exporting of cryptography which were for that purpose regarded as munitions. The US would never equate cryptography with firearms for US citizens use in the US since US citizens have the right to bear arms protected by their constitution.

(This export ban was itself undermined by another right protected by the US constitution, the right to freedom of speech, when the code for PGP was exported in written form.)

UK.gov wants quick Brexit deal with EU over private data protections

David L Webb

Re: Diversionary tactics

"And so we all should. Article 50 wasnt written by us. It is an EU procedure to extract a member who voluntarily leaves the voluntarily group. "

Actually it was written by veteran british diplomat John Kerr — now Lord Kerr of Kinlochard


Conviction by computer is go, confirms UK Ministry of Justice

David L Webb

Further Translation: It worked for Tom Cruise in Minority Report, so by jingo it'll work for us!

I thought Minority Report had psychics predicting future crimes rather than computers trying and sentencing offenders.

Flight 666 lands safely in HEL on Friday the 13th

David L Webb

Re: Not a bit of it!

It serves no other purpose, which is why we don't see foreskins on animals. There is no equivalent removable label on the female body because women don't really count.

Except other mammals do have foreskins and there is one on the clitoris




UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

David L Webb


I was at a meeting yesterday where I was told that the Government had confirmed that they would not only implement the GDPR but wanted to make it stronger since they saw having strong data privacy in the UK as a selling point for the UK in a post-brexit world. This provision for implementation of government mandated backdoors in software appears to totally undermine this. After brexit companies doing business in the EU would no longer be able to rely on the UK implementation of the GDPR since the EU are bound to consider this as making the UK implementation unsatisfactory.

Tor torpedoed! Tesco Bank app won't run with privacy tool installed

David L Webb

Tesco and the dark net

Tesco are probably still upset about the fake Tesco vouchers which were apparently available on Silk Road in 2014 .



"One of the biggest pages on the dark net is The Silk Road (think Amazon of the drugs market). It sells more than 20,000 different products, the majority of which are drugs – though in April 2014, the most popular item was a counterfeit £20 Tesco voucher going for eight quid!"


Queen's Speech: Ministers, release the spaceplanes!*

David L Webb

Re: In the light of recent revelations...

However, every head of state in the UK since I don't know when has the ultimate power to dissolve government should they see fit.

As I recall there was a civil war fought to stop the reigning monarch having that amongst other absolute powers. The monarch can only dissolve parliament in accordance with the rules laid down by parliament which nowadays means in compliance with the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011.

Curiosity find Mars' icecaps suck up its atmosphere

David L Webb

Neither we nor our electro-mechanical devices are going to very cold [or hot or hot/cold] places at any time soon.>

I suppose that depends upon what you mean by very cold or hot - our electro-mechanical devices can survive a lot.

From http://www.astrome.co/blogs/how-do-satellites-survive-hot-and-cold-orbit-environments/


However, the typical range of temperatures was found to be from -170 ˚C to 123 ˚C for LEO satellites while -250 ˚C to 300 ˚C could be experienced in other orbits.


and of course landers have survived on the surface of Venus at 467C for upto 110 minutes.



There is even a planned mission to probe the outer corona of the Sun currently scheduled for launch in 2018



It will approach to within 8.5 solar radii (0.034 astronomical units or 5.9 million kilometers or 3.67 million miles, roughly 1/8 of the perihelion of Mercury) to the 'surface' (photosphere) of the Sun.


David L Webb

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

Our survival isn't really threatened by asteroids. The one suspected of wiping out the dinosaurs wouldn't wipe us out. It would push us back to the stone age, but we'd rapidly return to present technology levels, we wouldn't be starting from total scratch, we'd have notes and memories of things like rockets and aircraft are possible and how they generally work. There is great competitive advantage for a group to learn how to make firearms and rockets and computers again. I reckon it could be less less than 300 years we'd be back manufacturing computers.

Can you explain why you think a repeat of an impact which most scientists think caused an extinction event wiping out 70% of species on the planet - and practically all land species which were larger than about the size of a cat - wouldn't wipe out mankind completely ?

David L Webb

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

The time-delay would stop you doing anything which requires a quick response. So you wouldn't be able to hold a telephone conversation between Mars and Earth but that wouldn't stop you ordering a movie to watch later. Even from Pluto it only takes a radio signal about 5 hours to reach Earth.


But once you had enough people out there they would setup their own local internets which would operate as quickly as on Earth in their own region caching entertainment/news reports etc from the Earth and other parts of the solar system.

So I can't see lack of entertainment and the internet as much of an impediment to colonising the rest of the solar system. Improving our technology so that we can get a large number of people off Earth relatively cheaply and perfecting the technologies to allow them to live in these hostile environments are the bigger problems.

David L Webb

Re: More information please...

Mars' tilt is slightly greater than the Earths and the orbit is both larger and more elliptical hence the effect is larger than on Earth see



Of all the features of Mars, its axial tilt is most similar to Earth. Mars’ tilt is 25 degrees, just a fraction away from the Earth’s 23.5 degrees. And because of this tilt, Mars has seasons, just like the Earth. Of course, since Mars takes twice as long as Earth to orbit the Sun, the seasons are twice as long.

Mars also has a very elliptical orbit. Because of this, the difference between its closest and most distant point along its orbit vary by 19%. This extreme difference makes the planet’s southern winters long and extreme. The northern winters aren’t as long or cold.



Microsoft will rest its jackboot on Windows 7, 8.1's throat on new Intel CPUs in 2018 – not 2017

David L Webb

Re: M$

"Unix is not an operating system. It is an I/O multiplexer"

Haven't found the statement being made by Dennis Ritchie but certainly Ken Thomson made a very similar statement so Ritchie saying it would be very plausible

From this article titled "UNIX Implementation" by K. Thompson



The UNIX kernel is an I/O multiplexer more than a complete operating system. This is as it should be. Because of this outlook, many features are found in most other operating systems that are missing from the UNIX kernel. For example, the UNIX kernel does not support file access methods, file disposition, file formats, file maximum size, spooling, command language, logical records, physical records, assignment of logical file names, logical file names, more than one character set, an operator’s console, an operator, log-in, or log-out. Many of these things are symptoms rather than features. Many of these things are imple-mented in user software using the kernel as a tool. A good example of this is the command language. Each user may have his own command language. Maintenance of such code is as easy as maintaining usercode. The idea of implementing ‘‘system’’ code with general user primitives comes directly from MUL-TICS


Doctor Who storms back in fine form with Season 9 opener The Magician's Apprentice

David L Webb

Re: The ultimate paradox question

Assuming that the child really is the Davros - rather than Davros turning out to be a very common name on Skaro and this all beng a misunderstanding with Davros having remembered something else entirely - then can the Doctor actually produce a Paradox ?

Will Davros either have escaped on his own or always have been helped to escape by the Doctor ?

From previous episodes we know that bad things happen when a paradox as simple as saving Rose's father occurs and killing Davros would be a major paradox. The Timelords at their height would be able to deal with such a paradox (and possibly the Daleks at their height - though they would have trouble supporting a paradox which resulted in Davros' death and their own nonexistence). The only thing comparable was the Master's Toclafane paradox but to maintain that he had to convert the Tardis into a paradox machine.

New study into lack of women in Tech: It's not the men's fault

David L Webb

Not sure about lack of mathematical knowledge being the reason

I did a Mathematics degree at Manchester University in the early 80s and as I recall the male/female ratio was pretty even. I don't think you could say the same for engineering or physics but the fact that it was the case with Mathematics suggests that lack of mathematical knowledge wasn't and probably still isn't the reason.

YOU! DEGRASSE! It's time to make Pluto a proper planet again, says NASA boffin

David L Webb

>> 7- Pluto rotation around itself the day is equal to a month on Pluto

See 4. Also, I'm reasonably confident that there are asteroids that the inverse would be true of - fast rotation much less than their month. Are you arguing that they are therefore considered for the position of planet? Of course not, so it's a double standard not relevant to this.

And why fixate on the month. Venus has no major moon and hence no month but its day is longer than its year.

Ideal solar system for SECOND EARTH found – and it's just 186 light-years away

David L Webb

Re: Oh, dear...

Then we have humans. Creatures which possess all the same qualities of the rest of the species that we share this planet with. We hunt, we kill, we establish dominance and pecking orders. Some are vegetarians, others like steak. That said we also exhibit the best traits as well. We love, share and help each other.

Although we are still a long way from world peace with every human being co-operating for the good of all we are still the most co-operative species on the planet. No other species has such large groups of pretty much unrelated individuals as embodied in our nation states which work co-operatively together and which although falling short have at least attempted to put in place organisational structures to provide for peaceful co-operation between those states.

This might partly be down to our having self domesticated ourselves and partly because over time our wars themselves may have weeded out the most agressively reckless from our gene pool.

If true that together with the fact that a technological civilisation has to successfully survive without its agressive tendancies killing it off as its knowledge provides it with ever more powerful weapons suggests that an alien technological civilisation capable of interstellar travel would likely be no more agressive than mankind. That doesn't mean that they would necessarily be much less agressive than mankind since the other driver of our civilsation has undoubtedly been our competitive instincts.

Webmail password reset scam lays groundwork for serious aggro

David L Webb

Re: So why

Because it is part of these companies attempt to provide a type of two factor authentication for password resets.

The more important question is how did the crooks know the phone number associated with the account. That implies it is a targetted attack where they have had to spend time gathering information on their victim.

Spaniard sues eBay over right to sell the Sun

David L Webb

Re: Prior claim

"Tangible" means that you can touch it - it's from the Latin.

A tenner says you can't..

Even if we restrict touch to probably its narrowest possible definition ie

"The sensory response to pressure on the skin"

then the Sun can touch you.

Photons from the Sun exert pressure on surfaces they hit.

If you travelled into the Sun in a spaceship and it could survive long enough without burning up then both the ship and yourself would be crushed by the pressure of the solar atmosphere as you travelled deeper towards the centre.

David L Webb

Re: Prior claim

"Tangible" means that you can touch it - it's from the Latin.

A tenner says you can't..

It can certainly touch you just like fire can - just go outside on a hot day and feel the photons on your skin that it is throwing at you.

Of course to really touch it you have to go up close, eg by being in a rocket fired into the sun. I wouldn't recommend it but I'm pretty sure you would feel it before you died.

David L Webb

What A joke to think anyone can own a sun. How sad of what we become as human beings

Land ownership like money is a human construct. The borders of countries are what they are because that is what powerful groups of people decided. The borders of many ex-colonies were just drawn on a map by english civil sevants who had no knowledge of previous tribal claims eg India/Pakistan, Arab states, Many African countries.

At the moment ownership of land on the moon, other planets in the solar system and even the sun is pointless. In the case of the moon and other planets people can't get there to settle and in the case of the Sun there is no way of exploiting it. That will probably change and colonisation of the moon and mars for instance may well be possible in the centuries ahead. There might even be commercial possibilities to exploit the Sun at some point - though that is very speculative.

At that point ownership will be determined - hopefully without bloodshed. It is though very doubtful that any past claims such as embodied in Dennis Hope's moon ownership certificates or this Spaniard's Sun ownership would play any part in determining ownership.

In the longer term if travel to other solar systems becomes practical then people may own whole solar systems - there are enough of them in the Milkyway alone. Of course any natives might object but then that didn't stop the imperial powers in the past.

David L Webb

The visible surface of the Sun - the photosphere - is a layer about 100 km thick.



Hence it is perfectly possible to uniquely identify volumes consisting of an area on the visible surface projected towards the centre of the Sun without allowing that volume to encompass other bodies in the solar system. The areas can be defined using Carrington heliographic coordinates. If this was approximately a square area then the volume would be a square pyramid with the point at the centre of the Sun.

For any particular choice for the distance between the visible surface and the centre of the Sun adjacent plots would be uniquely defined and the fact that the top area was within the photosphere would restrict how far from the Sun the volume could extend. This would be no different from someone (or a nation) owning an area of the earth described by latitude and longitude co-ordinates and all the airspace above that area and rights to all minerals below the surface from that area to the centre of the earth.

David L Webb

The problem with selling bits of the Sun, even that way, is...how do define "surface"? It's gas all the way through

I'd assume she would sell plots which are areas on the visible surface of the Sun with rights to the sub-surface volume of those areas projected to the centre of the Sun. I'd think she should be OK with maintaining the uniqueness of each plot by using Carrington heliographic coordinates which define a longitude which rotates with a period approximating the mean solar rotational rate and has a prime meridian defined to coincide with the central meridian of the Sun (as seen from Earth) at a specific time on 9 November 1853



This being one of the co-ordinate systems used to study solar activity



The advantage of this system being its attempt to incorporate the Sun's rotation.

David L Webb

Re: Prior claim

Ha! I own the multiverse, you still owe me rent for your universe.

Ebay are on a sticky wicket by claimng that the Sun is not tangible - it has mass which affects every body in the solar system, it will burn you if you get too close , it will blind you if you stare at it and from spectroscopic analysis we know what elements it is made of.

However your claim for rent for the multiverse will have to wait until someone proves that such a thing actually exists.

David L Webb

Re: But they allow you to buy bits of the moon on ebay

Lets see, in say 50 years when we can be arsed to send man back and colonise it, how many of those "deeds" are actually A: legal and B: honoured...

Almost certainly none but the guy who claimed the moon back in 1980 has made a mint selling it off.



But the point was if ebay allows the selling of these certificates for bits of the moon why ban some other loony/entrepeneur from claiming and selling bits of the sun through their site.

David L Webb

But they allow you to buy bits of the moon on ebay

There are adverts for certificates for land on the moon advertised on ebay



Hardcore creationist finds 60-million-year-old fossils in backyard ... 'No, it hasn’t changed my mind about the Bible'

David L Webb

Asimov's explanation

The short story "How it Happened" by Asimov explains how the real explanation had to be simplified



My brother began to dictate in his best oratorical style, the one which has the tribes hanging on his words.

"In the beginning," he said, "exactly fifteen point two billion years ago, there was a big bang and the Universe--"

But I had stopped writing. "Fifteen billion years ago?" I said incredulously.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm inspired."

"I don't question your inspiration," I said. (I had better not. He's three years younger than I am, but I don't try questioning his inspiration. Neither does anyone else or there's hell to pay.) "But are you going to tell the story of the Creation over a period of fifteen billion years?"

"I have to," said my brother. "That's how long it took. I have it all in here," he tapped his forehead, "and it's on the very highest authority."

By now I had put down my stylus. "Do you know the price of papyrus?" I said.




My brother thought awhile. He said, "You think I ought to cut it down?"

"Way down," I said, "if you expect to reach the public."

"How about a hundred years?" he said.

"How about six days?" I said.

He said horrified, "You can't squeeze Creation into six days."

I said, "This is all the papyrus I have. What do you think?"

"Oh, well," he said, and began to dictate again, "In the beginning-- Does it have to be six days, Aaron?"

I said, firmly, "Six days, Moses."


First published in 1979 in Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov_short_stories_bibliography

NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

David L Webb

Re: It doesn't matter...until it does

It makes sense to run a deficit in a recession - it's a way to get out of it - but you must run a surplus during the boom, or the debt will become too high to pay.

Not so long as the economy grows enough and inflation eats away at the debt.

As I stated earlier surpluses since the 1970s are extremely rare and were just blips with subsequent deficits wiping them out in short order.

Unfortunately the Keynsian goal of running a surplus during the boom and spending your way out of a recession with a deficit is harder to achieve than to talk about.

Firstly it goes against human and political instincts which are to spend during the good times and cut back during a recession. This latter tendancy was bolstered by Margaret Thatcher's popular but flawed comparison of the country's finances to those of a business' or housewife's budgetting.

Secondly it is difficult to accurately determine the position in the economic cycle. The cross-over point from bad times to good or vice-versa can often only be determined a few years later after all the stastics have been collected and been corrected a few times.

The only governments since the 1970s which came reasonably close were the Labour governments starting in 1997 which probably by luck as much as judgement followed the economic cycle reasonably well up until about 2006. No other government came anywhere near as close which makes the Conservative charge that Labour should have got back to running a surplus before the financial crisis a bit rich.

David L Webb

Re: It doesn't matter...until it does

The interest may be small as a proportion of GDP, but it's still more than we spend per year on Defence or Welfare or Education.

And by the way you are wrong.

The interest payments for 2014 were £47.7 billion total

Total Defense spending was £44.3 Billion

Total Welfare spending was £112.4 Billion

Total Education spending was £90.2 Billion

Total Pension spending was £143.2 Billion

So the interest payments were only bigger than the spending on defence not the other areas you mentioned.

That is central + local government if we just take the central government figures then you get closer

Interest payments £47.4 Billion

Central Government Defense spending was £44.3 Billion

Central Government Welfare spending was £58.0 Billion

Central Government Education spending was £41.9 Billion

Central Government Pension spending was £143.2 Billion

But spending on Welfare is still well above the amount paid in interest payments



David L Webb

Re: It doesn't matter...until it does

The interest may be small as a proportion of GDP, but it's still more than we spend per year on Defence or Welfare or Education.

But apart from the period 2000-2010 and one isolated year in 1992 it is the lowest level of interest/GDP we have had to pay since the first world war.

It has averaged around 4% of GDP since the second world war rather than the current level of just under 3% and was even higher between the wars peaking at 9.60% in 1932.

And this isn't about to change since the interest is fixed with a long maturity profile.

David L Webb

Re: It doesn't matter...until it does

The national debt whether in nominal terms or as a percentage of GDP doesn't really matter either. What matters is the amount of interest we have to pay on it and whether that is going to increase to unsustainable levels. The current amount of interest we pay on this "colossal" national debt is less than 3% of GDP which is less than we were paying in the 1990s. UK debt also has one of the longest maturity periods in the western world at around 14 years meaning that we have in effect fixed our interest payments for a long period.

And in historical terms this "colossal" level of national debt compared to GDP is closer to the historical norm than that in recent decades. Since 1692 the national debt as a percentage of GDP has been above the current level about as much as it has been below it - with the biggest peaks being in 1819 at 260% of GDP and in 1947 at 237% of GDP. Although the latter wasn't a great time - rationing etc - it was also the time when we managed to build the NHS and welfare state and that was with a debt/GDP ratio three times that of today.

As to surpluses there have hardly been any since we came of the gold standard in the early 1970s.

The Conservatives managed it in 1988-1990 and Labour in 1998-2001. But these were mere blips being dwarfed by the subsequent deficits the same parties had during their subsequent time in office.

David L Webb

Re: An excellent example ...

"States may not go bankrupt, but currently hospitals in Athens are running out of painkillers and money to pay nurses. We may be about to see how close they can get to bankruptcy."

States often default on their debts which is as near to bankrupcy as you can get for a state. However in the current world of fiat currencies this is pretty much only ever necessary if the debts are in a currency which the state doesn't have full control of. Hence Greece is in trouble because it doesn't control the Euro. The UK and USA in contrast have full control over their currencies and their debts are overwhelmingly denominated in those currencies. Taken in its totality the Eurozone is in a similar position to the UK and US. However in the UK and US mechanisms are in place for fiscal transfers which mean that imbalances between different states or the constituant countries of the UK are evened out. Whereas in the Eurozone the northern nations in particular Germany are reluctant to see permanent fiscal transfers to nations such as Greece.

Virgin Media takes its time on website crypto upgrade

David L Webb

Re: TLS 1.2 intolerant == not patched is Total rubbish

OK thanks for the correction - I'd never heard of TLS intolerance as a specific term with that meaning and hence assumed that it equated with not supporting TLS 1.2.

I'll be more careful before posting in future.

David L Webb

TLS 1.2 intolerant == not patched is Total rubbish

"Yes, the RC4 issue isn't particularly practically exploitable based on the information that is known publicly, but – as pointed out to VM – the service is also TLS 1.2 intolerant, which means that the software they use can't have been patched in years and is therefore, by definition, going to be security vulnerable to other issues."

I don't know what operating systems Virgin is using but there are tons of systems which can't use TLS 1.2. For instance Redhat Enterprise 5 doesn't support TLS 1.2. This is still widely used and will remain in production support until March 2017. That doesn't mean that the systems haven't been patched in years just that Redhat backports fixes to an older version of OpenSSL but doesn't add new features.

ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

David L Webb

Re: More than a coincidence?

It has been suggested that Bodes Law arises because of orbital resonances between planets in relatively circular orbits but even in our solar system it fails once you get to Neptune. We already know of solar systems containing large planets in very eccentric orbits which would presumably disrupt any Bodes Law pattern in their system. Hence it seems a bit of a stretch to attempt to calculate the average number of planets in the habital zone using such a law.

ATTACK of the FLYING MOUNTAIN: 2004 BL86 goes by like a BULLET

David L Webb

Re: Certainty?

How can anyone be certain that this is the only large rock to pass near Earth for the next 200 years?

The article says that this is the closest this particular asteroid will approach Earth for 200 years not that it will be the only large rock to pass near Earth for the next 200 years. Indeed the article starts by saying

NASA has warned skywatchers that a huge asteroid will pass over European and North American skies on Monday and that this will be the biggest space rock to do a fly-by of our planet until 2027.

So it is already known that a larger asteroid will be getting close to Earth in 2027.

Boffins: It's EASY to make you GRASS YOURSELF UP for crimes you never did

David L Webb

There is an earlier article by the same person explaining why you should get legal advise before saying anything



So, this is where it gets interesting. The main and most important difference between having legal advice and not, kicks in here, and it’s something that many of you will not have considered.

If you have a solicitor, or accredited police station representative (same thing for the purposes of PACE), that advisor will have been given, prior to your interview, what’s called ‘disclosure’. An interviewing officer does not have to disclose very much at all about why they suspect a person of having committed a crime. They only have to disclose enough that the legal advisor can reasonably advise the suspect as to whether and how they may have committed that offence. Sometimes not even that information is forthcoming. The advisor will hear the disclosure and then probe it, pushing for more disclosure, and testing it for evidence. An experienced advisor can read between the lines, and even tell from the officers’ body language whether or not they have a strong case, or even a case at all.

A game of bluff and double-bluff may take place at this point, with the stakes being high where you are concerned, whether you ultimately gain a criminal record or not. They will be looking to see if there are witness statements, or if the witness has refused to tell the police what they saw, if there is identification evidence, describing the suspect, and if that fits the client.

There can be CCTV footage, or the potential for fingerprint or DNA evidence, which may not be available on the day of the interview. Anything already said by the suspect at the time of their arrest has to be considered as to how much that may have already ‘damaged’ their case already. They can also ask what the likely result may be in the event of a confession, i.e that their client has no previous convictions and so is eligible to receive a ‘caution’, more of which later.

A right to silence?

The advisor will then have a private consultation with you in which they will outline what their view of the strength of the evidence against you is, what offences you may have committed, any lawful defences you may have, and most importantly, what you should or should not be saying in interview. All throughout this process, the lawyer will be weighing up the strength of the evidence, and deciding how their client’s case will be best served, whether that be by remaining silent, or by answering questions.


David L Webb

In the UK the police caution is


‘You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’


Hence if the police have little other evidence and the case is unlikely to get to court saying nothing may work but if it is likely to go to court then silence may not be in your best interests.




‘You don’t have to answer the questions, you can remain entirely silent if you wish, or reply ”no comment”. This is because you are entitled to have the case proven against you, you do not have to convict yourself by your own words. But, if you have a defence (and I will advise you if you do), you should consider putting forward that defence now. If you do not, and your case goes to Court, and the first time you mention your defence is in Court, then the magistrate is entitled to think, or the judge is entitled to tell the jury, why is that? Wouldn’t an innocent person want to tell the police at the first opportunity that they were innocent? And they might think that you’ve made up that defence in the meantime, and that what you’re saying is not true. You are perhaps less likely to be believed if the first time you mention your defence is in Court.’


Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

David L Webb

Re: As for other things about this episode...

Even if not, however, we don't really know how many regenerations the Master had left; he'd undoubtedly spent at least five, and probably more.

As I recall The Master used up all his regenerations in the classic series but he found ways around that such as stealing Tremas' body in "The Keeper of Traken"

He obviously regained the ability to regenerate at some point after that but how many regenerations he has used up since then is an open question.

David L Webb

Third, it is also clear that we still really have no proper clue as to just who (or what) Clara Oswald really is. She was a Dalek once - more faulty technoology, a Victorian governess come Torchwood associate, and once more a school teacher in 21st C London. She has already been dead twice and yet seems to have the endurance of the Energizer rabbit - or a Time Lord. I vote she's really the Rani.

You obviously missed the "Name of the Doctor"

where the Great Intelligence jumps into the wound in time at the heart of the Doctor's Tomb - his abandoned Tardis from after his death - in order to rewrite the Doctor's History turning every victory into defeat. Clara then also jumps into the wound and is split into multiple versions scattered throughout the Doctor's timeline each dedicated to helping the Doctor and countering the effects of the Great Intelligence.

David L Webb

Yes but I think this is the point RC Robjohn is making. We can't complain about Doctor Who ignoring the rules of "proper" writing and character development, when it is so obviously skewed towards bending those rules for the sake of the programme.




Normal dramatic rules don't apply to Doctor Who, so you have to have big Reset Buttons at the end of each episode, you have to have crazy coincidences every week, and you have to have convoluted plot twists to protect the main characters from irretrievable death.

Any long running series which places them in mortal danger will have the lead character(s) leading charmed lives - that is the nature of long running series. However although we know they will survive they should act as though there was a real possibilty they might die.

And that certainly doesn't mean that "Normal dramatic rules" don't apply to the rest of the story.

Perpetual use of crazy co-incidences and deus ex machina escapes are just a sign of bad writing where the author has either painted him/herself into a corner and cannot work out a logical way forward or hasn't even bothered to work out a logical way forward but just opted for an easy lazy way out.

David L Webb

Re: Dear Brid

Even a six year old could understand why CyberDanny had emotions. Ugh, I could go on but maybe it's best that I simply ignore your drivel.

Please explain - since I obviously have less understanding than a 6 year old.

I really don't understand why his emotional inhibitor was off - or for that matter why these Cybermen would have a control panel to turn it on or off on their fronts.

In the past the Cybnermen haven't required their converts to agree to conversion so Danny's pressing or not of the delete button is irrelevant - they would just have converted his body, downloaded him and turned on the inhibitor. Their not turning the inhibitor on doesn't make sense to me.

David L Webb

Re: It pains me to say this (naaah)

Bollocks it was. Pay attention. He was last seen hesitating over the delete button. And his inhibitor isn't switched on. Don't know why they needed both but it's there before you

Whether he hit the delete button or not should be irrelevant since the Cybermen have never required their converts to agree to conversion and have always turned the inhibitor on.

In the past the inhibitor though was built into the Cyberman head directly attached to the human brain - this is the first time that I've ever seen controls for turning it on or off being attached to the front of the Cyberman. Why would the Cybermen want to make such controls accessible since an enemy could conceivably use those controls to turn the Cyberman's emotions on again ?

As others have mentioned other people converted have been able to rebel against the Cybermen but in those cases they did it despite the inhibitor operating.

So no I don't think it was really explained why his inhibitor was turned off.

David L Webb

Good SciFi stretches reality by introducing ideas which go beyond our current scientific understanding but which aren't totally implausible. Good Fantasy stretches this even further incorporating things such as magic and spells which are implausible in our world. Even in fantasy though there have to be limitations to what magic the protagonists can deploy and hence rules governing the use of magic.

In both SciFI and Fantasy and indeed any other type of fiction the actions of the characters and plot development have to fit into the logic of the situation and follow the rules of the world as described in that piece of fiction.

The trouble with Dr Who is that the writers no longer seem to be capable of this and seem to have pretty much given up trying to maintain any consistency with respect to characterisation, motivation or logical plot development. Maybe, as some others have said, a return to the older format of stories taking three or four episodes would help by allowing some of the plotholes to be filled in and the motivation of the characters to be more fully explained.

I will pick one nonsensical occurence at random; whenever the Daleks come across the Doctor they always pause and he is allowed to speak - is this realistic? No. I know this will happen every time but it does not take away my enjoyment.

Yes we know DR Who is going to survive, just as we know James Bond isn't going to be shot the moment the bad guys catch him - we know that in the real world that is very unlikely but it isn't totally implausible so we live with it. Good fiction seeks to minimise such unlikely scenarios but in a long running series you can't really kill off the main character everytime he gets captured by the bad guys. Though in the Doctor's case his regenerative abilities do allow that to occur on occasion.

David L Webb

Saving the child

For no apparent reason the device which could save Danny only had enough power to save one person and Danny is then faced with the choice of saving himself or the child he had killed. OK I can just about live with that but where does the child get its body from ? If Danny had chosen to save himself where would his body have come from - hadn't it been reanimated as a cyberman and then burnt up ?

David L Webb

Re: I'm with Brid-Aine on this

I'll give the writers the benefit of the doubt over the whole cyber-pollen thing, even though it's a blatant rip off of borg nanites, but I'm not having this conjuring up armour from thin air.

And why unlike Borg nanites would it only affect the dead ? Surely a much better plan would have been to have converted the living as well - hell if the nanites colonised the brain you could even get the living to search for pieces of metal to aid in their conversion.