* Posts by Russell Sakne

46 posts • joined 16 Feb 2007

Plastic bag campaign falls apart at the seams

Russell Sakne


"Once they start charging you 10p for a bag you soon develop the habit of having one or two stuffed in your jacket pocket. It's not the money, it's the spite that does it."

That's the same spite that causes me to be amused by using Morrisons bags at Sainsbury's and vice versa.

Suicide bomb swoop bags Musharraf's merry men

Russell Sakne

Pakistan Intelligence Services

Are widely considered allies of the Pashtun forces in the South of Afghanistan. Maybe these guys are on a watch list of that sort of agent provocateur.

At the Toyshop of Doom

Russell Sakne


Hear! Hear!

Love guns. Hate the Arms Industry... Exporting weapons has so many times led to them being used against the exporter or their allies, and when the exports are thinly-veiled Government subsidies to our munitions industry, then I'd rather they stopped the exports and just paid BAe to produce stuff for us to use.

Genghis Khan didn't much like gays

Russell Sakne

Greeks and Romans

The Greeks (notably Spartans and Thebans) used the bonds of man-to-man love as a lever to inspire esprit-de-corps and unit cohesion. The Romans made sodomy *within the legion* a capital offense (though it wasn't illegal in civilian life).

London man coughs to 172mph Porsche jaunt

Russell Sakne

Come on...

Come now. 172 is just silly. I'm a firm believer that the current speeding laws and enforcement are a perversion of the intent of the lawmakers when they were written, but 172 (275kmh) on that piece of road is well over the top. There's about 2km of dual carriageway with a roundabout at one end and standard 3-digit A-road at the other. If he was doing that speed at the beginning of it and didn't have to stop it'd take all of 30s.


It was lunchtime. The idiot took an unacceptable risk and has been banned from driving. He will almost certainly go to jail and be levied a stiff fine.

Clarins' electromagnetic-blocking cream ad blocked

Russell Sakne


While oxidation doesn't require oxygen, oxygen is, naturally enough, an oxidising agent. Particularly because I don't believe they'd be allowed to sell some sort of oxygen-bubble foam without warnigns about flammability the "oxygen" must be some sort of compound which is at best inert and not going to supply free oxygen to the skin or at worst a generator of oxygen free radicals...

Petrol latte for Kiwis in dairy biofuel push

Russell Sakne

Bovine carbon footprint

The CO2 cows and their gut bacteria exhale is not a net pollutant, since int comes from recently-fixed carbon. the methane they produce could be considered an issue.

One other way Anchor can reduce their carbon footprint would be to use the ethanol themselves to power their industry. Saves transporting it about.

Brit spooks: Yanks are frightful cowboys

Russell Sakne

Torture? Necessary?

Hey, Voshkin. Just for your information, torture really doesn't work. It tends to get the answers the torturer wants to hear, rather than the truth.

Oh, and Blackley, you troll, "moral high ground" does exist. It might be shorthand for "being allowed to wear pretty much what I like, read, write and say pretty much what I like (including worshipping or not according to my conscience), being unafraid of the authorities, generally, and having some say in how my country is run," or some lengthier treatise on liberty and liberalism. We start throwing away Habeas Corpus and the right to trial by jury, and we're crawling back to the Stone Age. Bear in mind that all the changes to the criminal justice system are more likely to have a direct effect on you than anything a terrorist does.

It's a shame you gung-ho lackwits don't pay more attention to some really sharp Americans: the Founding Fathers.

El Reg lobs iPhone at Genius Bar

Russell Sakne

Why did he buy it?

Because he's a journalist who wanted to review it and didn't get onto a free-preview list. So please stop bashing the guy for having bought it in the first place.

'Suspicious looking' man hauled off translatlantic flight

Russell Sakne


"I'm personally more frightened of crossing the u.s. border than I am of some suicide bomber or WMD,s from some 3rd world country."

Darntootin'. I'm more scared of the misuse of power by those who hold records of my every action than I am of terrorists. Brain-free judgements about what you can say and think curtail my freedom. Knee-jerk tabloid politics criminalises those who are different without making the slightest dent in actual offenses prevented.

Apple 8GB iPhone components 'cost $220'

Russell Sakne

"Ludicrous Hype"

If you don't want to read about iThingies, just don't click on links to 'em. I'm no Apple fan, but I find the convolutions of their launches fascinating.

MEP plans EU build ban on cars faster than 100mph

Russell Sakne

Legislation to build fuel-efficient cars

If you bothered to read the responses you'd se cogent argument as to why top-limiting isn't any such thing.

Hippie-era CIA skulduggery report unveiled

Russell Sakne

Nothing to hide?

Do you have curtains? Does everyone where you work know your salary?

Do you know who will be in charge in a decade's time?

Do you trust who's in charge now to be 100% infallible?

"Nothing to hide = nothing to fear" is just woolly-minded optimism.

Sweaty spooks feel the heat as NSA runs short of juice

Russell Sakne

Why does the NSA have to do this or fund it?

It's not like they won't *use* more power capacity if the utility company builds it into the area. Maybe PEPCO doesn't think the Government will pay their bills.

UK foreign language teaching hits all-time low

Russell Sakne

Targets that don't help

Pass rates in exams are one way to dumb down the curricula for the exam environment as a whole. If languages exam pass rates are low, stop teaching the ones who won't pass so there aren't so many failures.

It costs too much after all to increase teaching standards and there are nowhere near enough language-trained primary teachers to start teaching foreign languages where it'll do the most good.

Space elevator business plan crashes to Earth

Russell Sakne

Trading regulations

They broke the rules, laws and regulations about selling stock, or that's the assertion by the regulatory body, as I read it. Nothing to do with making fraudulent claims. 85 investors only raised $117k? Nobody's betting very much of the farm on these guys producing some sort of licensable technology that might develop from the quest for a beanstalk, which is fair enough.

Pupils flog public school on eBay

Russell Sakne

If Mr Gombault is the English master...

...then he's certainly not an asset:

"...It has long prouded itself in trying (and failing) to match..."

Prouded: failing, indeed. Even the past participle use of "pride" is desperately clumsy. 4/10. Must do better.

Fancy a nuclear power station in your backyard?

Russell Sakne

Cooling towers

Why is a large, energy-wasting radiator a good thing in power generation? Surely that heat can be made to do useful work?

Premium-rate scams prompt licensing proposal

Russell Sakne

Still ripping people off

Heard a premuim phone competition invite yesterday "Please do not call after 8 as your vote will not count and you will still be charged." How hard is it to set the system to stop receiving calls at a set time? Is it technically possible to switch to a non-charged "Thanks for your call, but I'm afraid the lines are closed," message?

Pay-as-you-drive roads coming to the UK

Russell Sakne

Mass protests...

2 Million against the invasion of Iraq, and more converts since. The same number protesting against road pricing and ID cards each. If The Government doesn't recognise that this will translate to losses at the polls, then they deserve to be ousted.

London dirty-bomb tests start this weekend

Russell Sakne

Prosecute the media...

...for spreading panic. Is there any mileage in this? I suppose it's too hard to legislate for sanity given the abuses to which such legislation could be subject.

NASA blows whistle on Antarctic Y2K (+5) meltdown

Russell Sakne

Some petrochem lobby group spotted this and organised a response, neh?

'Nuff sed.

The climate change/global warming naysayers are just as guilty as the worst doom-mongers of picking their facts to suit their agenda. They especially like to pick on old "facts" that used to cast greater doubt on the theory that gobal temperatures are rising which have since been explained. They love abusing the process of scientific validation upon which most of the scientific progress we've actually made has been based.

US in The Long Good Friday remake outrage

Russell Sakne

So, the IRA-analogue will be...

...Al-Quaeda? Kicking off on the established Cuban/hispanic Mob? Or will it just be some humdrum gangster-v-gangster kibble?

'Gay or straight?' ruling looks bad for all US social networking sites

Russell Sakne

Regardless of the respect...

...in which the 9th circuit is held in the legal profession, isn't it just a bit strange that it's considered illegal for an accommodation finding service to apply the preferences of its clients? If a university accommodation office was to ignore the wishes of someone seeking to live with folk of the same sex, there are cases where they'd be sued for incompetence, and if they sent men round to properties where the current residents were all-female, I'm certain there would be a stink.

Surveillance state can't monitor itself, says US

Russell Sakne

Successive US administrations...

...refuse to learn the lessons of the past. They refuse to learn from the lessons other people have learned. Whether that's arrogance: "it won't be like that for us because we're special" or stupidity, it remains wilful ignorance.

MySpace users snowed in by new blizzard of spam

Russell Sakne


Surely there's a basic architecture problem when deleting posts (at system administrator level, no less) doesn't eradicate those posts from the group's view? And when MySpace can't change a programming oversight to actually be useful in the working environment...

Student expelled for high school Counter-Strike map

Russell Sakne

Blaming the cops

The police's job is not "responding to concerned citizens". It's to make sure the law is enforced. "Responding to concerned citizens" is one of the elements of doing that job, but "allaying their fears and making sane judgements about what to do about those concerns" is another. One which they patently failed to do by, as Silas says, stealing his decor.

You wave your biases, Mr Anonymous, by blaming multiculturalism.

Researchers, spooks favour satnav-based road pricing

Russell Sakne


At $15k, you can afford to buy a lot of miles on congested roads before you get a GPS simulator... and you'd have to be pretty concerned about maintaining your privacy. Still, I suppose a higher demand might produce a mass-market if the government don't make it a requirement to have a license to own one of these things legally.

The major problems with road pricing that might trip it up lie elsewhere, in the unpredictability of journey cost (who'd buy a train ticket if the price, paid upon arrival, could be double or triple the lowest quoted cost, and higher if the train were delayed?) and the billing, payment and enforcement burden. Road Tax and fuel tax are standardised charges easily collectable, and whatever road pricing scheme is used, the hauliers are going to squeal, so put the congestion charge on petrol tax. but be clear about what you're doing and abandon the road tax element.

The problem with doing that in a cost-neutral way is that the hauliers don't at the moment pay their fair share, and so will get lumbered with higher costs which, if the government has the balls to make 'em stick, will increase freight costs and therefore raise inflation as they're passed on to retail prices.

ID card will be needed to vote, says UK election watchdog

Russell Sakne


Surely if it's not compulsory to have a card, this measure disenfranchises those who choose not to have one. Thus ensuring that any electorate will vote for the ID card because they're the ones that already have it. Clever.

'Traffic Taliban' moots speed cameras in cats' eyes

Russell Sakne

How does he know?

53 lives in five years? How can he know? And is it really worth it? Speed limits and the offenses of speeding were framed when it was assumed that a human police officer would be in the loop, fully cognisant of conditions etc and able to exercise their discretion. No longer.

Survey: young Brits ready to embrace evoting

Russell Sakne

What would be the point...

...of voting in a system that couldn't be trusted to produce accurate numbers of votes and can't be verified by hand? Might as well just hail Brown as God-Emperor for Life and have done with any pretence of democracy.

E-voting will invalidate even the votes of those who cast paper ballots, since their contribution will be irrelevant. It's too high a cost for a wider electorate.

Iran 'eight years' from operational nuke

Russell Sakne

"...This talk about industrial scale enrichment is misleading..."

They (the Iranians) aren't talking about industrial-scale enrichment to weapons-grade. They're talking about large scale production of fuel-grade uranium, which only needs to be about 5% U235, not the 90% this article is frothing about. For one, they daren't talk openly and directly about aiming to produce nuclear warheads and all the official proclamations are about the right to pursue the nuclear power generation option.

Teachers demand Wi-Fi health investigation

Russell Sakne

It got front page coverage...

On the Independent on Sunday.

So it must be true.

It does show that teachers as a body are no better acquainted with either scientific method or notions of causality than any other sector of the population.

Wipe your arse less, suggests Sheryl Crow

Russell Sakne

Carbon sequestration

How does:

Grow trees -> make paper -> use paper -> bury paper -> replant tree

compare with

Boilwash cloth napkin -> rinse -> dry -> use -> repeat

in the environmental footprint stakes?

Chinese translation software blamed in racist sofa outrage

Russell Sakne


...*claim* to get offended too easily when the legal environment doesn't slap them down for frivolous claims. How's the litigation culture north of the border?

Scumbag malware authors exploit Virginia Tech tragedy

Russell Sakne


I always said ducks had a sinister side.

ISP ejects whistle-blowing student

Russell Sakne

The boy erred.

"One of the best ways to get security problems solved is by going public. Many of the top security researchers do it..."

But they don't publish the full information needed to exploit the vuln, do they? Just enough to prove it exists. He was wrong to provide the passwords; the full info should just have been sent to Be.

Facial recognition 'proven' as airport crowd filter

Russell Sakne

Over-reliance on the technology...

...is a worry. Not that false positives will be incarcerated on the say-so of an 85% system, but that vigilance by humans will decrease, leaving all the false negatives free to roam. Though, as now, known criminals will avoid highly-surveilled locations anyway, and it's the "first timers" who are actually dangerous.

P2P pinball lawyers say ignorance is no defence

Russell Sakne

Demanding money with menaces?

Surely this is illegal, or at least unethical. Law Society complaint, maybe? Or whatever the german equivalent is?

Mobile phone threat to honeybees

Russell Sakne

! bee != starvation

"...no more bees, no more plants get pollinated. No more plants, no more crops, no more food..."

No more pollination by bees. Wind pollination would still occur and pollination by other arthropods and vertebrates. Most of the staple food crops of the world are either grasses (wheat, barley, maize, rice etc) and therefore wind-pollinated, or don't propagate agriculturally through seed (plantains, potatoes).

Which is not to say that bee-death is a Good Thing.

Russell Sakne

Mobile? Cordless?

All a bit confusing. Are we talking about the deliberate radio waves from mobile phones and masks, or the accidental ones from any electrical appliance? "Mobile phone" usually implies a cellphone, not a cordless charging cradle. And is it the radio waves (for telephony) or the strong magnetic field (from the recharging circuitry) which is the suspected agent.

And where do bees get the money to buy cordless phones for their hives anyway?

Trio suspended for putting 'vagina' into Monologues

Russell Sakne

Read the statement before criticising.

"Suspended for mentioning a body part in the context of reading a play to a High School and older audience?"

No. Suspended for going back on their word and springing possibly inappropriate material un unsuspecting pre-teens.

Read the announcement. You're just as bad as you claim the Americans are, otherwise. Smug, self-righteous bigotted cynics.

South Korea to detail robot etiquette

Russell Sakne

Asimov his own fiercest critic

The major point of most of "I Robot" was that the "Three Laws" were so full of holes as to be largely useless, no matter how lovely they sounded at first statement. Define "human". Define "harm". Both somewhat tricky.

Jedi denounce UK sabre ban plan

Russell Sakne

I have no idea...

...where or when my iai-to (katana-shaped martial arts sword used to practice the art of iaido - blunt and probably just stamped out of mild steel then polished) was made, or by whom.

Crims will just start using machetes and axes (neither of which have a point and both of which are quite capable of killing), if they are deliberately seeking lethal weapons, and loonies will still be able to find potentially nastier weapons than a crap piece of metal that will bend on bone (give you a nasty bruise, possibly even cut you). And if antique weapons are exempt, you'll still get disturbed people running amok with them occasionally.

Hornet death squads menace France

Russell Sakne

Who's been stockpiling hornets then?

It's a "horde" when it's lots of people. Hoard when it's sequestered assets.

UN rebrands radiation

Russell Sakne

Colour blind

Red and black. Great contrast for high visibility. Especially at night or in a bunker somewhere or if the viewer happens to have impaired colour vision, as about 5% of the world's population do. Why aren't graphic designers taught about colour blindness?

Surely if it's meant as a warning for future humans, presumably after some technological interregnum, the trefoil can be dispensed with entirely, and the two-element sign placed only where there is a risk of death.


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