* Posts by EvilDrSmith

309 posts • joined 30 Jan 2018

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Dell won't ship energy-hungry PCs to California and five other US states due to power regulations

EvilDrSmith

Re: @Flywheel

The Earth's climate is naturally dynamic, and with quite extreme natural variations. The assumption that any climate change that is occurring or is assumed to be occurring now is solely due to Human activity is somewhat hubristic. Ultimately, Humans are unimportant little blobs of mostly carbon crawling around the planet's surface (no offence to those who have a belief in a chosen deity that they think says otherwise).

That said, Humans have been affecting the environment and hence the climate for probably our entire existence. I believe the current explanation for the formation of the Sahara desert is natural (wobble of the Earth or some such about 6000 years ago), but that local grazing practices have contributed towards it's expansion (and that was long before industrialisation and the widespread use of fossil fuels).

Humans created the dust bowl in the US in the 1930's, and the Soviet's were responsible for the drying up of the Aral Sea.

It is recognised that building large dams affects the environment/micro-climate of the area they are built in.

In inventing agriculture, we, as a species, have completely changed much of the planet's landscape, with corresponding changes to moisture (evaporation) and drainage patterns, etc. In domesticating various plant and animal species we have also, through selective breeding, been undertaking genetic engineering for several thousand years, creating whole new breeds, and eliminating natural traits from various species.

The entire UK landscape of Green and Pleasant Land that we now tend to look on as something to be protected because it's 'nature' is in practice a human created environment, resulting from large scale deforestation.

There are a number of good reasons to reduce our use of 'fossil fuels', and one of them may be that their use causes climate change and that climate change is a bad thing and has to be stopped. But I note that quite recently, the BBC deleted from their website on climate change a section on 'benefits of climate change', under pressure from a self-selected band of 'climate defenders' (who, I suspect, are often motivated more by baser politics than true concern for the environment).

It should be of great concern to anyone that believes in evidence-based decision making, who considers facts and reason to be the foundation of discussion and identification of technical solutions, that contrary opinions have to be silenced, contrary evidence has to be suppressed.

Humans have, throughout our existence, modified environment (and climate), sometimes accidentally/ignorantly/stupidly, often times deliberately, intelligently, and for our benefit.

The current 'climate emergency' has been too heavily politicised and monetarised. Sadly, it makes any debate as to what is actually the best course of action impossible, too many people have views that are too entrenched / self serving.

Malaysian Police crush crypto-mining kit to punish electricity thieves

EvilDrSmith
Joke

I dunno, they didn't say that the miners were still in them at the time...

Less flippantly, if the miners were stealing enough electricity to cause power cuts, the houses may have had some 'interesting' wiring or other features that made them fundamentally unsafe (as far as residential properties go), and it was thus easier/cheaper/safer to demolish them rather than try to make them safe.

Western Approaches Museum: WRENs, wargames, and victory in the Atlantic

EvilDrSmith

Re: a quote from American journalist David Fairbanks White, …

A fair point to make (have an upvote).

The 'Britain alone' concept does appear to date back to 1940 though (there's a fairly well known cartoon by Lowe, who was in fact a New Zealander).

So I think there was possibly an acceptance (initially) that 'Britain Alone' meant not just Britain but also Dominions and Empire.

70 years of changing attitudes to Empire have I suspect changed how we as a society talk about it and what it achieved, and resulted in some simplifications. Hence, 'Britain alone' does nowadays tend to be viewed to mean just Britain.

This point does actually tie in nicely with the article that's triggered it. The resources available to Britain (ie. all the Empire+Dominions, plus all the neutrals that Britain can trade with but the Germans can't because of the British blockade on Germany) meant that Germany had no chance of winning a long war, unless they can somehow cut that trade network (which in fact they never came close to, not withstanding that it was a long and hard fight).

EvilDrSmith

Re: Book recommendation

It's a good / interesting book, that does challenge the 'standard' narrative that 'everyone knows'. But then, in my (limited) experience, when it comes to history, the stuff that 'everyone knows' is often less than accurate.

O'Brien's argument (Spoilers!) really comes down to 'production mattered', and when the Axis are losing more war material through mismanagement of production/bombing/losses during delivery than they are at the front in actual battle, the battles themselves are not the critical feature of the war.

EvilDrSmith

Re: a quote from American journalist David Fairbanks White, …

Surface displacement of a U-boat varies (a lot) according to mark, but is typically perhaps around the 1000ton mark.

German production of the Tiger 1 (weight ~50t) was a tad under 1350. (not a typo, One thousand three hundred and forty-something).

So 50 tanks/U-boat would be optimistic, but purely on a mass of material basis, 20 (Tiger 1) to 40 (Panzer 3) - so the the basic idea holds true.

Most coffee-table-TV programmes on Blitzkrieg tend to give the impression that the German army was composed entirely of panzers and infantry riding around in armoured half tracks ('Hanomags' to those of us of a certain age and with memories of Airfix).

In reality, the German army marched everywhere. 90% of it's numerical strength was foot-infantry, moving long distance by train, then getting out and walking, with heavy weapons and supply wagons drawn by horses.

Despite this, the German army in 1941 and 1942 had the mobility to out manoeuvre the Soviet Army, killing 100,000s and capturing millions (literally) of POWs.

In 1944 and 1945. the Soviet army is doing the same back to the Germans, and this is when the bulk of the German Army losses occur.

The simple view is to look at the casualties suffered by the German army, note that the majority was on the Eastern Front, and jump to a conclusion.

If you look at when in the war the casualties occurred, and try to understand why, for example, the German Blitzkrieg worked in 1941 and 1942 but couldn't be repeated in 1944/45, whereas the Soviet deep operational plans (which were basically blitzkrieg in Russian) failed in 1941/42, but worked so well in 1944/45, it becomes clear that it actually isn't that clear.

German fuel supplies were crippled because of actions from the west; German airpower was destroyed in the west (look up 'operation point blank'). German transport infrastructure was destroyed from the west. This all acted to destroy the German army's mobility in 1944/45.

Did Germany lose the war because the German army was defeated in the East, or was the German army defeated in the East because Germany had lost the war?

After 15 years and $500m, the US Navy decides it doesn't need shipboard railguns after all

EvilDrSmith

Re: Sharks

As I understand it, the temperature at the point of the laser is sufficient that whatever the surface, it chars almost instantaneously, so paint or mirrors don't work (outside of games of Paranoia).

EvilDrSmith

Re: Sharks

Dragonfire has been in development since 2017. Seems to be progressing adequately

The world has a plastics shortage, and PC makers may be responding with a little greenwashing

EvilDrSmith

Re: The world has plenty of plastic

I think a fair bit of ocean plastic is discarded/lost fishing gear (floats etc).

Added to that there is stuff off ships (partly rubbish chucked overboard, partly lost deck cargo/ containers that have been washed over-board)

Added to that, plastic tends to degrade very slowly, and while we might not have been dumping stuff in the ocean for decades, stuff that old can still be around

Wish you could play tabletop Dungeons & Dragons but have no friends? Solasta: Crown of the Magister offers a solution

EvilDrSmith

Re: Friends ≥ null program

Yup - we've discovered that skype (text only) works well. You can set up one-to-one chats, for those situations where the party inconsiderately split's up into ones, drop in images, etc. Pre-prepared text can be cut-and-pasted.

Not the same as face-to-face, but easier for those with family commitments, and means that what would have been travel time to get to the venue is now game time, so we get 3 to 4 hours a week, rather than 2-3 hours every fortnight.

EvilDrSmith

Re: Friends ≥ null program

Yup, board games in particular seem to be trendy, somehow (even to the extent of having a Family Guy episode make reference to them).

I know of a couple of board game cafes, plus several board game/rpg/wargame shops that offer game tables.

UK urged to choo-choo-choose hydrogen-powered trains in pursuit of carbon-neutral economic growth

EvilDrSmith

Re: No all electric

I'm reasonably sure that third rail sections in the old Southern Region area have line speeds in excess of 100mph, though the point about 'oomph' (should that be '00 mph'?) may still be correct.

However, while third rail may be easier to trespass onto, if someone is on the third rail, it's casualty rescue, if they get zapped by the O/H wires, it's body recovery.

Third rail is also mechanically/structurally simpler and less intrusive: just a big hunk of rail on an insulated pot every 4th sleeper or so, plus some chunky connecting cables (when they're not stolen during power isolations).

O/H requires gantries (posts and arms, sticking up higher than the train, thus also foundations to keep the standing upright), the cables themselves, the tensioning mechanism, etc

EvilDrSmith

Re: My thoughts

"That said is someone fitting 3rd rail to the highland lines? "

Intriguing if they are. Third rail has generally been limited to the south because, as I understand it, it doesn't work well in snow (i.e. once settled snow reaches the level of the rail).

Treaty of Roam finally in ashes: O2 cracks, joins rivals, adds data roaming charges for heavy users in EU

EvilDrSmith

Re: If it's not on the side of a bus...

The message on the side of the bus was a trap.

The message on the side of the bus was carefully worded to encourage the remain campaign to talk about it /complain about it, and in doing so make the leave campaign's point that the UK was a net contributor to the EU (i.e. that the UK sent the EU lots of money).

Had the bus said £280 million (Gross contribution less rebate = what the UK actually sent to the EU), the bus would have faded from peoples' minds in a few days.

Instead, the remain campaign (helpfully, from the leave campaign's point of view) reminded everyone day in and day out that the UK sent the EU lots of money.

I wonder how many people that complain about the bus actually saw one, in real life (and also, which version: there were in fact at least two variants of the message). And yet, thanks to the remain campaign / remain supporters, we all know about the bus and can visualise it and are quite sure we saw loads of them.

US Navy starts an earthquake to see how its newest carrier withstands combat conditions

EvilDrSmith

Russian's provide stress test for Royal Navy ship

Apparently, the Russian Air Force has just provided a similar test for the RN's Type 45 destroyer.

From 'Forces Net' (14;20 23/06), Russian Foreign ministry claim that they fired warning shots and dropped 4 bombs ahead of a RN destroyer to warn it off entering Russian waters.

RN deny it happened, and state that they were in Ukrainian territorial waters.

Hopefully, the next test isn't of Defender's anti-aircraft missiles.

Gov.UK taskforce publishes post-Brexit wish-list: 'TIGRR' pounces on GDPR, metric measures

EvilDrSmith

Re: Imperial measures...

"Clearly we need to ban those new-fangled so-called standardised metric shipping containers too."

Would that be the ISO 20ft containers, or the 40 foot?

UK spends £36m on 18 little 'bullet-proof' boats to protect Royal Navy assets

EvilDrSmith

Re: No sign of armament

Erm, the (armed) Barracuda referred to was in another poster's link, it's not what has been ordered from Marine Specialist Technology.

What's been ordered are Police Patrol Craft. No reference to any fixed weaponry in the press release on the Gov.uk press release page.

EvilDrSmith

Re: No sign of armament

The appear to be police boats for routine patrolling, and warding off lost/thoughtless civilian sailors, plus civil protests, which are generally unarmed.

They would also likely be the first defence against terrorists. In that situation they have whatever guns the crew and passengers carry, which is likely going to be on par with whatever weapons they are facing in the hands of the terrorists (and which is presumably the thought in providing bullet resistant materials on the boat).

Given that they will be routinely deployed in harbours, which tend to have lots of people all over the place, firing off heavy calibre machine guns or light automatic cannon might be somewhat counter-productive (every bullet or shell has to land somewhere, and they won't all hit the target).

The Eigiau Dam Disaster: Deluges and deceit at the dawn of hydroelectric power

EvilDrSmith

Good Article!

Not the last dam failure in the UK, though - though might be the last with fatalities.

Defra / the Environment Agency have published a lessons from Historical dam incidents document:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/290812/scho0811buba-e-e.pdf

Which is quite an interesting read, if you like this sort of thing.

Prez Biden narrowly escapes cicada assassination attempt, hunkers down in Cornwall

EvilDrSmith

Just send for the Scooby Gang... they know how to deal with a Cicada Bug Monster

(Mystery Inc, Season 1 episode 13, for those not getting the high class cultural reference)

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

EvilDrSmith
Joke

Re: Wyoming

Not if it all goes horribly wrong

Who gave dusty Soviet-era spacecraft that unwanted lick of paint? It was an idiot, with a spraycan, in Baikonur

EvilDrSmith

Re: Soviet tech..

Without digging out any references...

I think that BA proved that although Concorde was noisier than contemporary airliners 'at source', it had a steeper climb out, so that the actual noise level experienced by people living and working around the airport was no worse (and actually better in some cases).

However, the US authorities kindly took their time in considering this argument, by which time a lot of potential orders for Concorde had been cancelled.

Also (again, from memory, not checking the references), one of the particularly clever bits on Concorde were the engine air intakes, that gave it a significant boost in thrust.

Some very clever engineering in Concorde.

Also, my understanding is that BA operated Concorde at a profit right until its end-of-service (note: operated, so not covering the development costs, just measured against operational costs)

Man found dead inside model dinosaur after climbing in to retrieve phone

EvilDrSmith

Catalan perhaps? (Just a guess, I don't read Spanish or Catalan)

China says its first Mars rover Zhurong has landed on the Red Planet

EvilDrSmith
Joke

Re: Quality

To be fair, landing on Mars doesn't seem to have been too difficult.

GOOD landings on Mars, however....

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

EvilDrSmith

Good question and I don't know the answer.

Which is more likely to lead to a vaccine-resistant strain developing:

1. Concentrate vaccination in discrete areas, so as to suppress near-totally transmission in those areas (and thus presumably, minimising the risk of virus mutation in those areas), while the virus is largely free to spread (and mutate) elsewhere.

2: distribute vaccines more widely, but more thinly, so that virus transmission is reduced everywhere, but at a generally lower rate, and the virus potentially encounters more people that have been vaccinated but not developed immunity over a longer time period, so may have greater potential to mutate?

As I say, I've no idea which is correct. I've a suspicion that even the scientists couldn't say for sure.

EvilDrSmith

Thought I heard 47% reduction on the radio this morning, but that was probably one specific study with specific conditions.

Agreed, there is a reported reduction in the risk of infecting others.

But it's not a total elimination of the risk.

So we are still in 'statistically, you are less likely to..." territory, rather than "vaccination makes you safe, 100%".

EvilDrSmith

Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

The problem is they do not prove you are safe.

They prove you have been vaccinated.

That makes you a lower risk than someone unvaccinated, but not 100% safe.

But your comment proves one of the pitfalls - people will think that if you have the 'passport' you are safe, and likely will act with less caution.

EvilDrSmith

If I recall correctly, a bit before Easter, when vaccination rates were rising and we started getting some good (well, not-so-bad) weather, the authorities took to reminding us all that we still had to obey all the lock-down restrictions because vaccination does not provide 100% immunity.

That vaccinations are not 100% immunity is of course, 'the science', not just for COVID, but any vaccination.

So proof of vaccination is not proof that you do not have/cannot catch/cannot transmit COVID.

It might reasonably be argued that it's proof that you are less likely to have/catch/transmit COVID than someone that has not been vaccinated.

At which point, we have moved into statistics and percentages of population that are immune / herd immunity.

The authorities know how many people have been vaccinated. They know what percentage of vaccinated people are therefore immune to COVID (though of course, cannot readily distinguish the majority vaccinated and immune from the minority vaccinated but not immune). They can make whatever allowance the science says they should make for those people that are immune through having had COVID, or any other factor. They should therefore be able to establish what percentage of the population is immune, and therefore whether we have reached herd immunity levels.

If we have reached herd immunity, vaccine passports (which, remember, prove vaccine status not immunity status) are not needed for activities within the UK: we should be back to pre-COVID normality.

If we have not reached herd immunity, maybe we should just hang on in for a few more weeks until we have.

Vaccination passports for international travel are clearly a separate consideration.

EvilDrSmith

"It is expected that, if the app-based concept goes ahead, it will have no place in steps two and three of the UK's reopening "roadmap", which includes schools, non-essential retail, gyms, and nail salons"

Whose expectation is that?

My expectation is that if the app goes ahead, it will be used in as many locations as the authorities think they can get away with using it, for as long as they think they can get away with it.

We have never given census data to anyone – not even the spy agencies, says the UK's Office for National Statistics

EvilDrSmith

I doubt Google got much from me, I sent back the hard copy form by post.

And no, I didn't use the code to go online and request the form.

I got the letter - only, it was addressed to a house two doors down (so I did the Postman's job and delivered it to the correct address).

Never received the original letter to my address (presumably it went somewhere).

Got visited by Census ONS lady, got given form. Completed and returned by post.

At which point, I would gloat about the superior security of old-style hard copies only in protecting personal data.

Apart from the fact that I've now had three further visits from the ONS people saying they have no record of me completing the census, the last one being ~2 weeks after I returned the form.

Still, if Royal Mail can lose both the inbound letter and my return, that's a form of security, right?

Your hardware is end-of-life... and it's in space. Worry not, Anglo-Japanese sat to test new orbital cleanup method

EvilDrSmith

Re: We're going to need...

Would it be quick enough to catch all the debris?

What is the speed of a vacuum in a vacuum?

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

EvilDrSmith
Black Helicopters

Re: UK Law

>Milk Marketing Board = the shadowy organization behind all conspiracy

Exactly! They only want you to think it was disbanded about 20 years ago. Really, it's still there, and I can now reveal that..... What? Oh hang on, I think there's someone at the door. Just a.[,d csdc;jdnkm............

The Roaring Twenties: Future foreign policy will rely on rejuvenated 'cyber' sector, UK government claims

EvilDrSmith

Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

You follow "wear a mask" with "Seriously".

Hmm.

Biological warfare is generally viewed as a 2-edged sword, and I think the UK's attitude to it has been 'we're not going to try and have an offensive capability, but will maintain a defensive capability (i.e the medical capability to identify agents used and treat/cure the victims)' since the anthrax experiment back in WW2. But as such, the UK attitude to a biological attack is that it is a WMD and therefore the UK reserves the right to respond in kind (with WMD). The idea that a biological attack on UK triggers a nuclear response isn't actually new.

Deterrence works. To work, the ability to respond has to be sufficiently powerful to deter, and the attacker has to believe that the target's response is credible, so proportionate and that the target has the will to use force.

Deterrence worked in the Falkland's War of the late 1970's because the war didn't happen: the Argentinian threats and raised military state were countered by the deployment of Royal Navy assets, and the Argentinians backed down.

In 1982, the UK response was to announce the scrapping of the guardship and almost every asset it needed to liberate the islands. The Argentinian Junta did not believe the UK had the will to use force to defend its territory, so was not deterred.

In the 1960's Iraqi prepared to invade Kuwait. The UK govnt took the threat seriously and deployed a smallish military force to Kuwait. Insufficient to defend Kuwait on it's own, it demonstrated the resolve to deploy further military if needed. The Iraqi's backed down: they were deterred.

In 1990, the US Govt response to the same situation was to shrug it's shoulders. The Iraqis didn't believe that action would be used against them, so were not deterred (what value a battalion of US airborne flown into Kuwait City before the invasion, to make the Iraqi's realise that the US had the will to defend/liberate Kuwait?).

As for strengthening defences - well yes, obviously. You may have house insurance, but you still want to lock the back door.

EvilDrSmith

Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

>it is unlikely that you will get any real advanced warning

That implies that you think a state-level actor could and would launch a devastating attack on the UK without warning or any level of heightened tension (even Pearl Harbor was after rising tensions). That seems unlikely to me.

The more probable situation is rising tension between the UK and 'the other power', leading to the UK being on heightened alert for any form of aggression, That would include (hopefully) increased security on any area of vulnerability (e.g. "disconnecting power stations from the internet", as I think someone suggested, or more likely at least tightening access).

This would make such an attack less likely to exceed (the target is ready for...something) and more likely that the attacked be identified. The attacker now has to weight the consequences of such an attack.

Most nations / people won't even be considering launching a WMD-level attack against UK. The one's that are may not be too worried if the attack fails and/or they are identified.

If the attack fails, then the UK response is proportionate to the damage done and may even be just diplomatic (sanctions etc), which probably won't bother the attacker that much.

But if the attack succeeds (remember- WMD level attack..this is 10,000s or 100,000s or millions of UK citizens deliberately targeted), the attacker has to face the possibility that the UK responds with a nuclear strike.

And that doesn't need to be on a city: target the key military and fleet bases, the oil refineries, the nuclear power stations. Not without civilian casualties (which the UK would probably worry about more than whatever regime initiated the WMD exchange in the first place), but it undermines the power of the leadership. Which probably would worry whatever regime initiated the WMD exchange. Which makes starting it seem that much less attractive (deterrence).

EvilDrSmith

Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

>Remember the Cuban missle crisis,

No. Wasn't born then. I have heard of it. Caused by the Soviet leader being unhappy that the US president could nuke his holiday resort and wanting to be in a position to return the favour. Big international incident. Very dangerous situation. Resolved by talking, and mutual agreement to withdraw the relevant nuclear weapons (from Cuba and from Turkey). It's reasonable to posit that the US would not have pulled the nuke missiles from Turkey if the Soviets hadn't been ready to deploy nukes to Cuba. Which rather proves the point of strategic deterrence.

>Novichok?

Yup, do remember that one.

Small scale deployment of chemical warfare agent against a specific target in the UK that resulted in the death of a civilian (not actually the target), severe (life threatening) injury to others, and much localised disruption.

While it was a 'weapon of mass destruction', the nature of its use was countered by a proportionate response - a unified response from 'the liberal democracies' practically unheard off, including large scale expulsions of Soviet diplomatic personnel from multiple countries.

Also demonstrated that nation state actors can and will deploy weapons of mass destruction against civilian targets, and, perhaps more relevantly, with complete disregard form 'collateral damage' to civilian targets, proving that the potential threat of Nuclear/biological/chemical/radiological(/cyber?) mass destruction attack is credible: if chemical weapons will be deployed imprecisely to kill one person that is a personal annoyance to the president, how much further would they be prepared to go if the UK as a whole was blocking their aims?

EvilDrSmith

Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

So what would your solution be to the situation whereby the UK was threatened with being attacked by biological attack?

We're currently living through the effects of Covid - a relatively minor disease (relatively - compared to what might be used as a biological warfare agent). We have a death-with-covid figure well north of 100,000 (ok, all sorts of issues with that figure, but including those that died because of covid and those that died or will die because of the response to covid, the order of magnitude is probably about right). It's devastated the economy.

And that's a non-targeted 'attack' (no, I don't consider it an intentional act) using a minor disease.

The UK's nukes are referred to as the nuclear deterrent. That doesn't (just) mean a deterrent to other people's nukes, it means they are nukes, and they are owned by the UK to function as a deterrent.

They are also proportional - there is no expectation that they would deter terrorist attack or the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands, because there would be no valid target / they would be disproportionate. No one would believe the UK would use them in such a case, so they would not deter.

They deter strategic level attack. Originally: Nuclear, biological, chemical. Radiological crept into that list some years ago. As societies become more reliant on integrated IT throughout every aspect of life, there is a move to viewing 'cyber attacks' also as attacks by weapons of mass destruction. The quote says it itself "devastating cyber attack". Britain is a relatively warm place really, compared to some, but if the national grid was knocked off line for a week in the middle of winter, that could easily be tens of thousands of dead.

The UK's policy is to deter strategic attacks (inevitably meaning by state level actors) using the threat of nuclear retaliation.

It doesn't matter if the threat of attack is nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons or radiological 'dirty bombs', the UK response is that if you hit the UK with a mass-destruction attack, we have the capability and the will to respond on an equally devastating level.

So no, you are absolutely wrong.

When faced by threats, de-escalate, Talk, try to compromise, try to find a peaceful solution.

But retain the capability to defend yourself, and make it clear to any potential aggressor that they cannot attack you without consequences.

Boeing successfully flies unmanned autonomous military 'wingman' aircraft that may become pilot's buddy

EvilDrSmith

Re: Flying tonite!

The likely plan is that F35 (and anything else that's still flying that can be suitably upgraded and is expected to be around post 2030, so Typhoon, Rafale, F22, possibly Grypen) will be upgraded to operate with a small swarm of these (Given US defence spending: 3 to 5 per manned aeroplane; given UK defence spending: 3 to 5 manned aeroplanes per one of these).

One 'wing man' drone does the dangerous stuff, like using it's radar (and so giving away its position to all and sundry), others then act on the data, launching missiles at identified targets say, (which also increases the risk they are detected). The F35 (or whatever) acts as a 'control node' for their wingmen, passing data between them (if they can't do it themselves), passing data from the wingmen up the chain to the AWACS or to another F35 or to the navy or the army, and receiving data from back down the chain to re-task wingmen. The F35 also puts a man-in-the-loop to exploit opportunities that the wingman doesn't recognise or to stop them wondering off in an unanticipated manner

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands

EvilDrSmith

Re: ebay, Amazon - China products

>This suggests a recent change in the import regulations?

I think this is the new online consumer VAT regulations that came into force in the UK in January (which seem to be muddying what is a result of Brexit and what is due to the new tax regime).

Online market places (which I understand also includes individual suppliers if they don't use a market place) now have to register with the UK tax authorities and pay UK VAT on the goods they sell into the UK to the UK tax authorities (and thus the recipient does not - other than that it's included in the purchase price, of course). Seems to me that this makes life easier for the recipient in the UK (no more paying vat + handling charge at the post office), but is likely to see small (non-UK) businesses that don't want to sign up to a market place simply not selling into the UK.

This isn't just a UK idea - I think the UK version actually originated with the EU - they are introducing something that sounds to be similar in July, and I understand that a lot of nations already have something similar.

Planespotters’ weekends turn traumatic as engine pieces fall from the sky in the Netherlands and the US

EvilDrSmith

It's okay, as long as they are outside of the environment.

Web prank horror: Man shot dead while pretending to rob someone at knife-point for a YouTube video

EvilDrSmith

If you view 'self defence' selfishly, as just yourself, then yup, running should be the first thought (though as others have said, if your old-ish and they aren't, it's quite possible to conclude that you can't out-run your attackers, and therefore that running away is not a credible option).

But self defence, as I understand it, also applies to defence of others: so could the people the shooter was with out-run the attackers? What about the Mum and children that are just getting out of their car, and haven't even seen them?

The people with knives were an immediate threat to life to everyone in the area.

I think I would feel pretty shitty if I ran away and then heard that two knife-wielding lunatics had stabbed half a dozen people before the police turned up and dealt with them, if I had had the chance to stop them before any innocents got hurt.

A knife is a lethal weapon, If you threaten someone with a lethal weapon, then it's not unreasonable if you get a lethal response.

European Commission redacts AstraZeneca vaccine contract – but forgets to wipe the bookmarks tab

EvilDrSmith

Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

"The preference for adults now is to return"

After the performance of the EU this weekend, very unlikely.

EvilDrSmith

Re: Wow that

The UK is one of the leading (possibly THE leading) member of COVAX, the WHO body that's trying to ensure the roll out vaccines across the globe. As such, the UK is already committed to "develop a mechanism to enable countries with surplus doses to distribute them equitably".

Providing the UK's surplus doses to the EU might not be viewed globally as "equitable distribution".

I suspect any global reputational damage to the UK if it did supply the EU in this manner would be a lot less than the damage suffered by the EU for being seen to demand said vaccines in preference to them going to countries in say Africa or South America.

Hollywood drone pilot admits he crashed gizmo into cop chopper, triggering emergency landing

EvilDrSmith

Re: Helicopter danger

Well, before going onto the tracks, you need a Personal Track Safety certificate (or whatever the current equivalent is called - mine expired many, many years ago).

So that's a couple of days training, I guess (mine was). So every officer that's going onto the active railway line needs to give up two days' duty time to get their PTS, and they have to do that every 3 (?) years, to renew it.

It's not trivial.

(Incidentally, I suspect that a lot if not all British Transport Police are PTS trained, but there are only so many BTP officers available at any location, and they still have to cover their routine duties).

And how many police officers are you going to need to track down a trespasser? It's night, he or she doesn't want to be found, and can see your torch light, so will probably be trying to hide. If it's a single track line, closely fenced, that's fairly easy to search, but a lot of the UK's railway infrastructure shows its history, with extensive sidings, abandoned and partially overgrown track beds, lineside structures, etc.

Then there is the issue that a dozen police officers waving torches around will be distracting to the drivers of any trains that come through the area - they might be distracted and miss a signal, or mistake a flashing torch as a signal to stop.

In most parts of the UK, the railway, where it is electrified, is by overhead cable, so operating a drone, at night, becomes problematic (Don't operate the drone while standing somewhere unsafe, but you still have to be able to control the drone; don't crash it into the overhead line, or a signal post, or a train or let a train (moving at...? Could be 100mph+ depending on permissible line speed) hit your drone. (Though reports of trespassers on the line can shut down all services)

Or, stick a helicopter in the air, well clear of obstacles on the ground, using thermal imagery.

No hazard to the railway.

No impact on railway services.

Requires a pilot and officer in the helicopter and a couple of officers in a car on the ground. The whole area can be searched quickly (minutes not hours) so railway disruption is minimised (the trespasser is tracked down, or sufficient evidence that he or she is no longer on the tracks is obtained to call off the search and re-open the line).

Quicker, safer, (allowing for the time of the police officers and delays to the railway) probably cheaper, and with a better record of the search (record the camera image).

Appropriate use of technology.

Brexit freezes 81,000 UK-registered .eu domains – and you've all got three months to get them back

EvilDrSmith

Re: the Leave side campaigned on ideals and principles

"appeal to long-gone Empire, the yoke of the Eurocrats, erosion of "British values" (...), taking away British jobs (...). And, obviously, all those millions that go to waste in Brussels (...), while the world just can't wait to jump in bed with Free! Unshackled! Great! Britain!"

Ah, AC, I see that you agree fully with me, the Leave campaign was based on ideals and principles not (just) money.

It does appear though, that you may not have understood the campaign very well.

Most people I have discussed this with (whether they supported or opposed BREXIT) viewed the leave argument as an 'emotional' argument ('heart over head'), which is generally the opposite of a decision based on money.

The constant (and often insulting) criticism of Leave supporters in this forum invariably mocks them for their ideology (which is also often mis-represented), though depending on the issue being covered, claims of mis-understanding the financial costs are also made. This rather confirms that there is a general view of the leave campaign that it was not predominantly an argument over money (though not entirely divorced from the money issue, either)

My comment to which you respond was to note that the claim that 'leave won because they made a monetary-based argument' was inconsistent with the facts, though I did then note that the argument might perhaps be applied to the remain campaign losing because they chose to base their campaign on a financial argument.

I left it for those reading my comment to infer from that that perhaps if the remain campaign had also adopted a 'ideals and principles' approach ('heart over head'), they may have succeeded. It appears that was too subtle for you, so I apologise for not been more explicit in making that point.

EvilDrSmith

Re: Is it the EU Court of Justice that has jurisprudence?

SGJ - Thank you for the clarification.

So presumably, any alleged breach of a Regulation (if done by other than the national government) would be addressed by the national court (under the national law, taking due note of the EU regulation requirements) of where the alleged breach occurred?

Only if the regulation was breached by the government itself, or if the nation failed to enforce an EU regulation, would the EU itself be empowered to step in?

EvilDrSmith

Re: Is it the EU Court of Justice that has jurisprudence?

But what is 'EU law'? The EU make directives which then get enacted by the member countries into national law (at least, that is my understanding).

So any claim for breach of contract may be made in the English Courts, or the Scottish Courts or the Netherlands courts etc, in accordance with the laws applicable in the nation state of the court that clams jurisdiction (as is typically set down in the contract).

EvilDrSmith

Re: Not just money

Given the continued claims from remain supporters regarding the costs of leaving the EU, even before the referendum took place, and the subsequent mockery ( I think that's a fair choice of word) again from the Remain side directed at the Leave side in respect of claims of restoring sovereignty, claiming that Leave won because the British think the EU is only about money seems to have the argument backwards.

It is quite clear that the Leave argument was based heavily on ideals and concepts too, both as regards the future direction of the UK (where leave was seen as opening up positives), and the future direction of the EU (where the principles and ideals were seen, as you identify, as leading to a United Europe, which was not an end that was supported by the majority of the British population).

It could perhaps be argued that Leave won because the remain campaign presented the EU just in terms of money, while the Leave side campaigned on ideals and principles.

UK's NHS Digital hands £8m contract to lab data biz after trouble matching COVID-19 tests to health records

EvilDrSmith

Re: A Most Inconvenient Question for UKGBNI Governments to Answer

"and the first ever mRNA one to be unleashed on the public.. Which seems a tad risky, and there have already been possible adverse reactions, including some deaths."

I'm aware of their being some adverse reactions (seemingly a very small number, and consistent with most vaccines).

Can you substantiate the claim of "some deaths"? This being the internet, such statements tend to break out into the wild very easily, and should not be made lightly.

Marine archaeologists catch a break on the bottom of the Baltic Sea: A 75-year-old Enigma Machine

EvilDrSmith

Re: Old typewriter

Though if you have cracked an Enigma message regarding the assembly of a U-boat Wolfpack, you have to tell the convoys at sea to change course to avoid it (the Wolfpack) in some manner without the German's knowing or at least without the German's realising why you sent the message to change course

I seem to recall that the German's did actually break the code the British used for merchant convoys, or rather the codes - I think the British relied more on changing the code periodically to maintain security.

Robot drills hole on Moon, employs robot arm to clean up mess to bring home

EvilDrSmith

Re: sealed so tight it includes Lunar vacuum.

Does Moon Vacuum have a use in Chinese medicine?

Everything else seems to.

Spending Review: We spy a stray £60m – is that all you can spare to help 5G market recover from UK kicking out Huawei?

EvilDrSmith

Re: Remember the Brexit bus?

>Presumably UK.gov stopped making these payments after the referendum

Nope.

Payments would have continued until the UK left the EU (i.e. the start of this year) as a minimum.

I suspect the UK has continued to pay close to the full amount during the transition period too, but can't be bothered to check: though I think the monies paid do count towards the total due under the withdrawal agreement

The UK will then continue to pay a proportion of the previous amount, in accordance with the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

The last I remember, total payments under the withdrawal agreement were estimated at around £35 billion, the bulk of which I think get paid in the next couple of years.

So regardless how much money you think the UK sent to the EU, it's not going to significantly reduce for a couple of years

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