* Posts by Twanky

343 posts • joined 17 May 2017

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Pakistan's Punjab province tells citizens to get jabbed or have their SIM card blocked

Twanky

I started by up-voting for suggesting the CIA's described action was horrible. It was.

I ended up down-voting you for suggesting 'undermining trust in medicine ought to be a war crime'. What? We're not allowed to have different opinions on what is good medical practice any more? So me doubting whether the annual 'flu vaccination does any good is a war crime? Fuck off.

Twanky

Re: Momento mori

I'll not be fully vaccinated until mid October, but even then I'll be wearing a mask and social distancing all winter.

From this I assume that in the Spring you expect (or hope) to stop social distancing and take your mask off. What do you expect (or hope) to have changed at that time? Is it just the odds of meeting someone infected?

Twanky

Re: Makes no sense

BT, O2, EE etc who are all supposed to know who has bought SIM cards

That does not seem to be correct. You can buy a sim card for cash in Tesco. You can buy a top up for it for cash in Tesco. You can buy a phone to put it in for cash in Argos. I've done it. Are BT, O2, EE (same as BT) really supposed to know who I am?

PrivacyMic looks to keep your home smart without Google, Alexa, Siri and pals listening in

Twanky
Boffin

Preaching to the converted

Being aware of possible threats motivates people to take responsibility for their own privacy.

So where can we find articles that describe the possible threats in terms that non-Reg readers will understand? When I try to explain to family they just roll their eyes and try to change the subject.

An anti-drone system that sneezes targets to death? Would that be a DARPA project? You betcha

Twanky

Based on an idea described in 1955...

...by John Wyndham in 'The Chrysalids' (for USAians: 'Re-Birth' (thanks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chrysalids)).

Wyoming powers ahead with Bill Gates-backed sodium-cooled nuclear generation plant

Twanky
Trollface

Easier

Sodium-potassium alloy is a better bet as its liquid at room temperature so easier to handle...

I think we have slightly diverging views on what 'easy' might mean.

To borrow a phrase: It scares the willies out of me.

Deadline draws near to avoid auto-joining Amazon's mesh network Sidewalk

Twanky

Re: Is this USA only (for now)?

They'll have to name it 'Pavement' here in Blighty

Twanky

Opting in

Owners of Amazon Echo assistants and Ring doorbells have until June 8 to avoid automatically opting into Sidewalk

Mostly won't happen. The people who have this sort of kit want it to connect and be as useful to them as possible. The idea that their 'smart' speaker or whatever might fall off the network if PlusNet (other ISPs are more available) has a hiccup is abhorrent to them.

When some bastard screws them over by inventive use of these features their response will not be to blame Amazon or tighten their own security but to want a new law to stop people doing 'This Sort of Thing'.

(Side note: I was *very* pleased that a relative had the good manners to turn off her Echo device when I visited her recently.)

South Korea's first fully indigenous rocket now on launch pad, ready for tests

Twanky
Mushroom

...defect

If they fly over the border there will be something of a diplomatic incident.

icon: obvs --->

Google employee helped UK government switch from disastrous COVID-19 strategy, according to Dominic Cummings

Twanky

Re: Not exponential

Certainly a superposition of Gompertz curves from multiple outbreaks would appear chaotic but it is not a good explanation for the observed data and implies an assertion that the only reason the first wave of deaths in early-mid 2020 fits a Gompertz curve so neatly is that there was a single outbreak which spanned the two countries (ie there was a single patient 'zero' in England and Wales (yes, I know that's a misnomer for patient 'O')). I find that unlikely in the extreme.

As for the different variants (which we must now refer to by Greek letter suffixes) overtaking each other: they won't do that unless there is some sort of selection pressure. Understanding what that pressure is is important.

If we ignore the death diagnoses in the registrations and instead compare rates of death for each subset of the population against the average for that subset, taking into account long term (10 year) trends and seasonal variations (eg what percentage of the population of females over 85 years of age died this week compared with the expected percentage of that subset) we can arrive at figures for 'excess' deaths for each subset of the population. For example, we should expect about 0.31% of males and 0.27% of females over the age of 85 to die in each week (the percentage is lower in the Summer weeks than in the Winter weeks and there are about twice as many females as males in the 85+ age group in England and Wales). The rates for excess deaths in the first wave of the epidemic in England and Wales shows a very close match to Gompertz curves for the 45-64, 65-74, 75-84 and 85+ age groups. There is almost no excess for the younger groups. The key point though is that the ratio between the excess death rates for these sub groups remains the same throughout. This does not hold from October onwards - different subsets show disproportionate increases compared with others - in other words the excess does not match a single cause epidemic from October onwards.

We can validate this analysis by looking at the data from the Winters of 2014-15 and 2017-18. Excess deaths data for 2014-15 (calculated as described above) shows almost perfect Gompertz curves for the more elderly age groups from late December 2014 to late March 2015. However, the excess deaths data for 2017-18 is chaotic. 2014-15 was a bad 'flu year but 2017-18 was a bad weather year in England and Wales.

Twanky

Not exponential

Firstly, does nobody else find it alarming that Dominic Cummings had retained a photograph of a whiteboard from a brainstorming session with the Prime Minister and others and just published it on Twitter?

There will be endless claims of who knew, or should have known, what and when; how they interpreted and/or should have interpreted it; what the actual facts were at various stages; and what subsequent interpretation of the facts reveals. From these we'll have multiple diverging opinions about what would have happened if only: <fill in whatever scenario springs to mind>. I'm certain that prevailing opinions about all of these will change over time. In 20 years Wikipedia (or whatever it evolves into) will still be torn over what actually happened and what was and should have been done about it.

I'm happy this process has started and I'm hoping it will include all the advisers (and former members) from SAGE and reveal any dissenting opinions. People are becoming more concerned about what should have been done than what will be done next. In other words they think it's over.

I like many others was engaged in curve-fitting available data from the first UK lockdown onwards. I was looking at data published by ONS (ie for England and Wales), by PHE and the data collated by the UK Government 'dashboard'. I would hope that advisers to the government and health services had quicker access to the data than we as members of the general public had.

To gain context I retrieved ONS weekly mortality data going back to 2010 and population estimates and projections. For added context I retrieved ONS annual main cause of death data (as reported on death certificates) via the NOMIS system going back to 2013. In addition I looked at ONS' excess winter mortality figures back to 1950 and compared that with annual death rates for the standard population subsets of male/female, age: <1, 1-14, 15-44, 45-64, 65-74, 75-84 and 85+.

The first wave of Covid-related deaths (as reported on death certificates) in England and Wales up to September follows a Gompertz curve (cumulative deaths). It is such an exact match as to be astonishing.

A general formula for a Gompertz curve is: a * EXP(-b * EXP(-c * time))

The ONS data up to 10 April 2020 (published 21 April) fits a Gompertz curve with the formula: 6.22E+04 * EXP(-1.23E+02 * EXP(-6.25E-02 * <day no>)) where <day no>=1 is 30 Jan 2020. For context 10 April 2020 would be <day no>=72 by which time ONS was reporting 15,785 deaths. The formula 'predicts' 62,200 deaths.

Even by plotting just the first thousand deaths (ie as at 23 March 2010, <day no>=54) it was obvious that we were not following an exponential curve.

The ONS data up to 4 September 2020 (published 15 September) fits a Gompertz curve with the formula: 5.17E+04 * EXP(-7.14E+01 * EXP(-5.66E-02 * <day no>)). ie it predicts 51,700 deaths. As I said above the fit is astonishingly close.

Rather interestingly the data from October onwards is chaotic and does not fit a Gompertz curve at all. I'm sure this will attract different interpretations but it's almost as if multiple different things were happening rather than a single-cause epidemic.

Twanky

Re: Seems consistent with my timeline

exponential growth. That explains it then.

Former IT manager from Essex pleads guilty to defrauding the NHS of £800k

Twanky

Re: Perhaps he should have had his sister own the companies......

Dunno how your family works, but if I tried to make my sister do something she didn't want to I'd be eating hospital food - not porridge.

Snowden was right, rules human rights court as it declares UK spy laws broke ECHR

Twanky

Re: Where are my human rights?

You signed them away when you agreed to their terms and conditions.

OK. maybe *you* didn't agree but they promise not to look at *your* data - just data about you. Yeah, right.

Indonesia’s national health insurance scheme leaks at least a million citizens' records

Twanky

Re: Every time I see a report like this

These are good points but I'm sure it would be possible to address both issues with proper database design. More or less instant access to an individual patient's records and aggregate only access to large chunks of data. I'm no expert on this and I guess that if the bad guys can take an entire backup and have inside information then all bets are off.

Twanky
Trollface

Is there any point...?

Did you forget where you put this? -->

Twanky
Flame

Meanwhile...

...elsewhere... a small island kingdom makes a terrible mistake: https://www.theregister.com/2021/05/17/nhs_data_market_access/

Hospitals cancel outpatient appointments as Irish health service struck by ransomware

Twanky
Flame

Re: Sanctions?

The situation has got so serious that the only solutions are incredibly uncomfortable: increased security costs, decreased convenience, even vetting employees.

It was always so serious:

Increased security costs? The costs of failure to secure IT are higher. If you're increasing security spending in response to attacks you have not been spending enough (on the right things).

Decreased convenience? Yes, if using IT properly is less convenient (and efficient) than paper then why the hell use it? Is it more 'convenient' to have to clear up the mess when IT goes wrong or allows confidential information to be stolen?

Vetting employees? Yes, checking whether the prospective employee is ignorant* is a good idea. Being selective about who you employ (or retain) is sensible.

* Ignorant in this context is intended to include CIOs who think that security is not part of their remit. (Me? Bitter? Not much.)

Building a national health system (or any other service that is worth building) on shonky IT is a disaster waiting to happen.

Namecheap hosted 25%+ of fake UK govt phishing sites last year – NCSC report

Twanky
WTF?

The NCSC report/warning on SMS spoofing is very disappointing. A spokesbod from OfCom also commented on This Sort of Thing recently (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56934517). NCSC and OfCom issue warnings that CLI information is unreliable but don't pursue the implications:

1. If the CLI on calls is unreliable then so is the CLI on SMS messages.

2. If an SMS message contains a link (eg for use on a pocket computer) then that too is not trustworthy and should not be followed.

3. If links in SMS messages are untrustworthy then surely government institutions and marketeers for reputable organisations should not send them (note me avoiding the difficult concept of reputable marketeers).

4. If *only* untrustworthy organisations/people send links in text messages then people might eventually learn not to follow them.

Instead we get some weak compromise message about not following links unless you were expecting them. In other words, it's probably OK as long as you trust the sender... (See point 1, above).

Even worse than this, many organisations send shortened/obfuscated links such as bit.ly redirects for no good reason. If it's a clickable link then why not show the full URL? If it's a unique link they want the receiver to type in to the browser on another computer then a code to be entered onto their branded page would be a far better option.

FFS! Concealing where a link is leading people should set off big red flashing warnings that it's not to be trusted.

Banks, retailers, tax authorities, government (all levels), political parties, healthcare etc etc should *not* be sending 'clickable' links in text (SMS and e-mail) messages.

Privacy activist Max Schrems on Microsoft's EU data move: It won't keep the NSA away

Twanky
Coffee/keyboard

Re: From what I gathered

Of those, I fear Google, Facebook and Instagram the most.

Escape.

Good: Water vapor signal detected for first time on distant planet. Bad: Er, we'll let one of the boffins explain

Twanky

Re: Hmm ...

You monster!

I mean. Coffee first thing in the morning?

Australia proposes teaching cyber-security to five-year-old kids

Twanky

Re: Online security and privacy 101

Well, yes. If the kids can't be bothered to use it as safely as possible then better to teach them how to do without it.

At the moment that's probably pissing into the wind but we've got to start somewhere, haven't we? It's either that or just surrender to the machine's mercy - and it hasn't got any.

Twanky
Flame

Good in parts

The idea of 8 year olds telling parents how to do things with technology is not new. A pity parents won't listen.

However, getting *anyone* (other than Reg readers, of course) to understand that having information about someone else is a privileged responsibility which should be carefully considered is seen as paranoid.

If you're entrusted with someone's secret you have been given a serious responsibility (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39241467). It used to be thought that the local 'gossip' was not to be trusted but was good for a laugh. Oh how we laughed.

How the hell did a whole worldwide industry grow up out of listening to and collating gossip?

Brit MPs and campaigners come together to oppose COVID status certificates as 'divisive and discriminatory'

Twanky
Coffee/keyboard

Re: inverse correlation

...precautions (restrictions but also vaccinations) taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 also suppressing the flu.

As far as I am aware the Covid-19 vaccines do not suppress or protect against influenza.

If we plot the mortality rates for England and Wales (percentage of people in each sex and age group who die in a year) over the long term we see a steady improvement over the years. In particular we see a dramatic improvement (especially among the under 1 year group) since 1947 (the inception of the NHS).

In 2000 the UK started offering influenza vaccines to all over 65s (previously it had been only offered to 'vulnerable' people). In 2000 the uptake of influenza vaccine among the over 65s was 65% and this has increased in the years since.

There is no observable improvement in annual mortality rates in any sex and age group associated with this intervention.

Please don't take my word for it. You can get the mortality data via the Human Mortality Database (HMD) at https://mortality.org/ (free registration required). I only looked at England & Wales data; many other countries' data is also available, so other public health interventions elsewhere could also be assessed.

Please don't think I'm an anti-vaxxer. I think the smallpox, polio, diphtheria, BCG, MMR and many, many other vaccines have been a huge success. I just don't think that a vaccine targeted at the elderly (ie people like *me*) is going to be particularly useful in delaying death.

Everyone dies eventually - it follows that everyone currently alive should be considered to be 'not dead yet'.

icon---> There is no escape.

Twanky

inverse correlation

this is observable in the inverse correlation between vaccination and mortality rates since mass vaccination started.

There must have been some effect other than vaccination in play when England and Wales mortality fell below normal levels from June-October 2020. It *may* be part of the reason that mortality has also been below normal levels since March 2021.

Infection to death lead time (for those who died of the bug in the UK) has been calculated/estimated as 23 days.

Twanky
Pirate

Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated...

...has to wear a GPS ankle monitor and is not allowed to leave home except for emergencies.

Well that's a relief. I thought you were going down the ...will be held down and vaccinated for their own good route.

Twanky

Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

To those who say it's their right to choose not to have it, I say it's also my right to be protected from such idiots.

'...my right to be protected...' = 'someone else must protect me'

'...their right to choose...' = 'they have made (or possibly 'taken' in this case) a decision'

If you are afraid of mass gatherings without a scheme of 'passports' then choose not to attend them. Some people are (probably foolishly) afraid of the vaccination. Why should they be forced to accept an under-tested* vaccine just so you can feel safe? Read up on the principle of consent as described in the UK government Green Book on Immunisation against infectious disease (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consent-the-green-book-chapter-2). Consent is one of the principles of the Nuremberg Code (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Code).

* The vaccines are *very* unlikely to be net harmful in my opinion. However, it is impossible for them to have completed 'normal' phase III clinical trials (not enough time) so authorisation to use them is known to be provisional/temporary. Personally, I've taken up the offer of the jab - if it turns out to be bad for people then hopefully we find that out before we damage the younger generations.

NASA comes up with COVID-19 infection detector that's out of this world – E-Nose built from space station gear

Twanky

Re: What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, you thought it was about Covid?

And there I was imagining it was about a dystopian future when (for example) you might be given a permit by your employer to explain to the police why you were travellling to work. Couldn't happen, of course.

Twanky
Big Brother

What could possibly go wrong?

E-Nose will be sensitive enough to be used in public places...

Yes, let's fill our public spaces with all the detectors we can envisage. What could possibly go wrong?

Citizen, Over here! You temperature seems high. Your medical papers please. Come on, I'm busy. Now please.

We detect an unusual chemical signature on your breath. Do you have authorization to be in here? When did you last renew your permit to be away from your home?

I want all your contacts details - refusal will be considered a breach of public safety regulations and will count against your citizenship score.

Signal app's Moxie says it's possible to sabotage Cellebrite's phone-probing tools with booby-trapped file

Twanky

Squid pro roe...

Signal's creator went on to say he'll disclose the holes he's found when Cellebrite discloses the vulnerabilities it exploits to forcibly unlock confiscated handhelds.

Wouldn't it be better if the Cellebrite system could be persuaded to blab what exploits it's using in trying to get into the device? I'd bet many of these toys are actually networked even if protocol says they shouldn't be.

Pigeon fanciers in a flap over Brexit quarantine flock-up, seek exemption from EU laws

Twanky

Re: Seriously?

More to the point what is the baseline data for these types of clot for those most likely to be badly affected by Covid-19 (the actual disease, not testing positive for the virus)?

If you're going to select one group (say, eligible for vaccination) then you should similarly select your comparison group (ie same age groups, pre-existing conditions).

As the vaccination programme moves to lower age groups the risks between vaccination/non-vaccination seem to become more comparable and people rightly become more cautious. I say seem to become more comparable because the whole bloody point is that nobody has (or has released) the data - so people have to guess.

Personally, I opted to accept the vaccine (AZ in my case) on the basis that if it's going to damage a statistically significant number of people then the sooner we find that out, the better. Preferably *before* they stick it in my grandchildren.

Zorin OS 16 beta claims largest built-in app library 'of any open source desktop ever'

Twanky

Re: Beware Zorin

I had a similar problem the other way around:

Dual boot (actually multi-boot) laptop with many partitions (some encrypted) on a single disk. A Windows 10 major update borked it for me. I guess the poor thing didn't understand what all the partitions were for and decided it knew best.

It took me the best part of day before I gave up on rescuing it... and about 2 hours to reinstall everything except the Windows part on a new disk (user data backups are kind of important).

Google Sites blight: Over 100,000 web pages for business form searches overrun with backdoor RATs

Twanky
Coat

Re: The Web should be for content, not code

A stack of twenties under the mattress...

At least with the plastic notes we use now there's less risk of losing the money if you accidentally engage in money laundering.

icon: looking for that twenty I thought I had.

Twanky
Holmes

Re: The Web should be for content, not code

by now we should all know that a lot of what's presented is not to be trusted.

I was musing on this the other day. We regularly get reports in the media of people being defrauded. We also get regular warnings to keep our personal data safe. We rarely seem to get anything that closes the loop between the two - or if we do, I've missed it.

It's all very well that '...we [Reg readers] should all know...' but most of my family roll their eyes or glaze over when I try to explain why it's a problem if F-Book has leaked their telephone number or whatever.

I get it that banks (for example) want people to trust their phone apps. It's a trade-off: fewer bank staff but a bit more fraud. Its not in their interest for people to realise that installing the bank app is a risk because the bank does not control what else is on their phone/pocket computer.

So, where are the engaging media stories that show how multiple bits of personal information gathered from their own or other people's 'social' media snippets, photos, discarded documents or whatever can be assembled into a weapon to be used against them? Or is it that these sorts of events are so much more rare than my paranoia has me believe?

Twanky

Re: The Web should be for content, not code

browser makers should be picking up on these malware techniques and blocking dodgy redirects and mismatches between reported and detected mime types on downloads.

But then you'll get the 'I won't use <browsername> - it doesn't work for so many sites that I use'

Satellite collision anticipated by EU space agency fails to materialize... for now at least

Twanky

1 in a millions happens all the time!

Nonsense! One in a million chances come up 9 times out of 10.

Yep, the 'Who owns Linux?' case is back from the dead

Twanky
Go

Re: To The Victor Goes The Spoils

...I'm betting any judge would be happy to give it to them [IBM] just to prevent another round of this nonsense.

But then IBM will own Linux - and that isn't going to end it at all.

Wi-Fi devices set to become object sensors by 2024 under planned 802.11bf standard

Twanky

Re: There are aspects to this sort intrusion not mentioned here.......

I'm sure a good lawyer could...

A what?

Scottish National Party members found among list of names signed up to rival Alba Party after website whoopsie

Twanky

Re: It gets worse

I'm left feeling that Alba and the SNP are actually colluding,

Well, that's single issue politics for you...

Whatever 'normal' is, global CEOs don't expect to see it return before 2022 and are ploughing funds into security

Twanky

Re: The world has gone mad

Frank Fisher:

'...minor infectious disease...'

'...blip in deaths - of the very old...'

'qui bono?'

Doctor Syntax:

'...people like you...'

Jimmy2Cows:

'Yeah, because no one under 80 died from COVID, right? And all those 30-somethings, 20-somethings, children who died from it... they are fake news, didn't happen, right?.'

'...twats like you...'

'...spreading misinformation about the severity, infectiousness and mortality of this "minor" disease that enable it to continue spreading.'

'...without these [lockdowns] the death rates would have been way higher.'

'People with your attitude...'

Doctor Syntax:

'...twats are indeed spreading this crap.'

'...are the twats being used by somebody?'

'...real-world effects in that there are now reports that vaccine uptake is being affected by the nonsense* about the Oxford/A-Z vaccine...'

DS999:

'That "blip in deaths" Is only as small as it is due to the extreme measures that were undertaken.'

'...idiots like you...'

'People like you...'

---

Frank Fisher has used emotional and dismissive language about a sensitive subject. The 'blip in deaths' is not small and does not exclusively occur among the elderly. Oh yes, and it's 'Cui bono?' not 'qui bono?'.

Various people have been triggered to respond with personal insults and have raised 'straw man' arguments against what they assume to be Frank Fisher's position. He did not, for example, mention vaccines.

The following is my opinion based on some facts which I believe to be true (if the facts which underpin my opinion are proved to be wrong then I will need to consider changing my opinion).

1) It's a nasty disease that has killed a large number of people. That is to say that a large number of people who are dead would have been alive now if they had not caught the disease. However, the published numbers are unreliable in the extreme. For example, Case Fatality Rates (so far) calculated from WorldOMeters are:

China = 5.1%

UK = 2.9%

New Zealand = 1.0%

Singapore = 0.05%

Of course, we can't trust foreigners - so it must be *our* number that's true. I think the least unreliable numbers are all-cause mortality. Dead is dead; what someone died of is often an opinion.

2) The argument that things would have been worse (Jimmy2Cows and DS999) if extreme measures had not been taken is more-or-less untestable. The corresponding argument that 'people like you' are responsible for the extreme measures not working as well as had been hoped for is divisive and completely circular. There has been at least one study which has attempted to measure the degree of compliance with lockdown and similar restrictions (for example by using Google's mobility data) and look for corresponding effects in the rates of hospital admissions and deaths - I understand it has found little, if any, correspondence. The study is under review, as indeed it should be. If it is flawed then it must be challenged, not suppressed.

Imperial College issued a statement to the effect that 'We can show that interventions have been effective because our earlier predictions didn't happen'. Brilliant.

At this point I would like to thank Prof Ferguson for ably demonstrating that there are more important things in his life than following the lockdown rules. I wish I'd had the courage to be a bit more rebellious than taking more than an hour to walk the dog.

3) I believe that much press coverage has over-hyped the disease. This is not that unusual - press coverage usually over-hypes whatever is being reported. I don't think many media outlets will carry a story headlined 'I caught Coronvirus and got better' unless the subject of the story had so many other things going wrong with them it was a miracle they survived those. Anecdote: My mid-80's mother-in-law had a very minor stroke and was admitted to hospital last year. She tested negative for the bug on admission and positive a few days later. She did not notice any of the diagnostic symptoms in herself and was discharged to complete her isolation at home. It's not too surprising she didn't make the headline news.

4) I believe that many recent death diagnoses in the UK are more flawed than in previous years. Changes to procedures in death registration in the UK make comparing data from before and after the change less reliable (see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877302/guidance-for-doctors-completing-medical-certificates-of-cause-of-death-covid-19.pdf). I do not know if there have been comparable changes in other parts of the world.

5) I believe annual 'flu vaccinations are not very useful. I have observed no beneficial change in annual all-cause mortality for any subset of the population in England and Wales since the introduction of the 'flu jab for over 65s in the year 2000. There may be other data available from other countries. There *has* been an apparent smoothing out of excess Winter mortality (apart from Winters 2014/15 and 2017/18) from year 2000 but whole-year figures do not seem to be affected. Spreading the deaths over the whole year instead of clustered around the Winter months may have benefits for the NHS. I believe many other vaccinations are or have been very beneficial to the world. Smallpox and polio vaccinations are good examples.

6) I do not believe that the Coronavirus vaccines will prove to be harmful. However, their approvals for use have undoubtedly been rushed through. I think none have completed phase III trials. Being somewhat elderly, I was offered the jab early and held an internal debate on whether to accept it (AstraZeneca as it turned out). I decided that if it did turn out to be harmful then the sooner 'they' found that out (before putting it in my children or grandchildren) the better. Yes, I can confirm that the jab itself was painless. I either developed mild fever-like side-effects (similar to 'flu vaccinations I've had in the past) or I caught something during the outing to the clinic - I got better. Yes, I'll take the follow-up jab when it's due if stocks are available.

7) As with pharmaceutical interventions, I believe non-pharmaceutical interventions should be assessed for effectiveness and potential for harm *before* being deployed. The UK and many parts of the world had developed a 'play-book' for epidemic/pandemic planning which they apparently threw out at the first challenge. As some of my ex-colleagues used to say 'a good plan survives first contact with the enemy' and 'PPPPPP' - proper planning prevents piss-poor performance. It does not surprise me (now) that Wuhan was locked-down - I do think it likely that lockdown was in China's epidemic/pandemic response plan.

8) I do not think that lockdown and other less severe restrictions ('tiers' etc) have been effective. I initially found this surprising. Given that they have not been effective it seems bizarre in the extreme to keep trying them.

9) I do *not* believe that Bill Gates is attempting World Domination (again), or that the vaccines are made from aborted foetuses or that the Illuminati are attempting to microchip the population or that this is the first step in an alien invasion.

10) I am not surprised that business leaders are looking at their expensive office space and wondering just how much of it they really need. It goes to show that a hell of a lot of paper shuffling can be done just as well from people's homes. Its a hell of a shock to the property markets, facilities management and lunch provision businesses though.

Ministry of Defence tells contractors not to answer certain UK census questions over security fears

Twanky

some of the 'exciting' things...

To quote someone I once knew: 'We crept in, were beastly to them and then ran away again.'

British understatement at its best (or worst).

Twanky
Coat

Re: pretty damn sure that I won't be finding some additional person to stay overnight on Sunday.

immaculate conception

The dogma of the immaculate conception is about Mary's own conception not that of Jesus. WIYF

Twanky

Re: Without being too picky...

Would you trust the home office to provide data about the number of undocumented immigrants, needing social services / schools / hospitals in a given area - to the same government that would have to fund it ?

The simple answer is no.

However, I also do not think that the Census can provide sensibly accurate information in this regard.

What could possibly go wrong? Sublet your home broadband to strangers who totally won't commit crimes

Twanky
Holmes

...work computer...

...another individual posting to the thread claims to have aroused the ire of IT staff after installing Honeygain on a work computer.

Ire? Yup, that's one word for it.

(I wanted the slap-head, Sherlock and nuclear explosion icons all at once).

India on track for crewed space mission, says first test flight to launch in late 2021

Twanky

Re: Priorities

Hmmm. That arguement was used when the Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon.

Wow! the argument is that old?

I take your point but I can imagine a similar argument in various pharaoh's courts - should we build this or give the poor the money?

Money is only useful when it moves. If it's hoarded then it loses it's value as an aid to trade and exchange. Piles of gold may sound attractive (potential joke opportunity) but not particularly useful or comfortable.

The huge expense and logistical effort in building a pyramid kept many people employed for very many years.

Signal boost: Secure chat app is wobbly at the moment. Not surprising after gaining 30m+ users in a week, though

Twanky

Re: It's been obvious for days

There's a huge difference between "this is more 'secure' because FB can't track you so easily" and worrying about FSB (other TLAs are available) tracking you so easily.

If you want to use an easily accessible, secure messaging service that the 'authorities' can't routinely intercept then Whatsapp is probably fine. If you're worried about Facebook and the like tracking your every social interaction then anything else would be better. If you're hoping to frustrate state-level snooping then I doubt anything you can download from the Play Store is going to be a complete solution.

Twanky

Re: Never underestimate...

'...they’re practically ejaculating over themselves at this point

Seen it before many times, and will carry on seeing it well into the future.

Ergh. Mind bleach please.

Twanky

Who?

Signal has been recommended by big names in tech like Edward Snowden...

UK firm NOW: Pensions tells some customers a 'service partner' leaked their data all over 'public software forum'

Twanky
Facepalm

Re: What service provider?

erm. what's a database admin?

Backdoorer the Xplora: Kids' smartwatches can secretly take pics, record audio on command by encrypted texts

Twanky
Flame

Patch?

1) The device shipped with software which could make it act as a bugging device. The hardware was sufficiently capable to support this.

2) The device software was updated by the manufacturer to fully disable this functionality - apparently before any customer found out about it.

3) Trust us - of course we won't update your device again without letting you know.

4) Trust us - of course we've not introduced any new 'features' which could compromise your child's safety.

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