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Comment: Re:Seriously, an iphone? (Score 1) 133

by RockDoctor (#47439087) Attached to: Chinese State Media Declares iPhone a Threat To National Security
You're conflating "phone" and "smartphone". They are different things.

People can phone me and send well-crafted packets as much as they want, but they won't be able to turn on my phone's WiFi, accelerometer or GPS because the hardware doesn't exist. And I can answer work emails any time that I want to - by going home and logging into my computer and thence into the mail server. Which suits me fine - I don't want to answer work-email when I'm on leave.

Comment: Re:"Don't Worry, it's only 400k volts" (Score 1) 159

by RockDoctor (#47439045) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

We've already reached the breakeven point where a suicide bomber can kill more people standing in the incoming security line of the airport than he'd kill bringing down a plane

Was there ever a time when that wasn't the case? Typical numbers queuing at my local airport (where I start or end intercontinental, but thankfully not American, flights on a monthly basis) are around a hundred, and the maximum size plane they can service is about 150~170. Since not all planes run full, it's probably always been more efficient to trigger the bomb when approaching the X-ray machines. (BTW, I think the radiation shielding in the X-ray machines will likely double up as blast containment. That's how I'd design one, anyway.)

Thinking to larger airports ... yeah, easily a plane load of people in most scanning areas, except at 3 in the morning. I seriously suspect that the security check has always been a viable detonation point. The only thing doing the plane adds is visceral terror of surviving the bomb to experience the free fall. Briefly.

Comment: Re:Origin of life? (Score 1) 152

by RockDoctor (#47436041) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus
All of those questions are definitely on the table.

After the Human Genome was published, I wondered why the fuck Craig Venter went off on his boat to do shotgun PCR on random buckets of seawater. Though this work isn't directly related to that, it's marking Venter's decision to forgo the complexities of culturing organisms as being a truly inspired insight. (And I'm not even a biologist! I deal with dead things and I can see the importance of this choice.)

Comment: Re:What is life? What is a virus? (Score 1) 152

by RockDoctor (#47435935) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

If life started with a giant virus, and viruses reproduce by infecting living creatures... wence life?

"Whence." Your spelling checker needs switching on.

That is one of the discussions elaborated in TFA : did viruses initially need life forms to replicate on? Or did they force the development of modern life forms. Or ... was there an earlier form of organism, distinctly different from modern cells (post-3.5Ga ago) and modern viruses (also post-3.5Ga ago) which held an intermediate position between modern cells and modern viruses?

One interpretation (NOT undisputed) is that giant mimiviruses could fill that position, and have genes old enough for the hypothesised split.

There doesn't appear to be a consensus. Which is normal for cutting-edge research.

Comment: Attraction? (Score 1) 265

the sort of spectacular, over-the-top attraction Dubai is known for.

"Spectacular", yes. "Over-the-top", certainly.


It's in fucking Dubai. That in itself makes it as attractive as a dose of syphilis.

(OK,I'll admit to having had to work in that area - there are a few nice people in the working classes, but most of the locals and ex-pats are a bunch of bastards.)

+ - UK government to rush in emergency surveillance laws-> 2

Submitted by beaker_72
beaker_72 (1845996) writes "The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Original article. (Score 1) 2

by RockDoctor (#47423359) Attached to: UK government to rush in emergency surveillance laws
The original message from Tom Watson is at

Sounds indeed like they're up to something.

Tom Watson is an enemy of powerful people. "According to the Sun newspaper, Watson is a fundamentalist zealot who denounces any deviation from socialism. MP and author of a book on corruption by NewsCorp."

If the Sun hate you, as well as the rest of Murdoch's Empire of Evil, then you must be doing something right.

Did I get FP?

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.