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Comment Re:Good. Better private than public. (Score 1) 244

Actually tax pays for things like the free healthcare in the UK, which whilst without the better outcomes in the US costs far less as a proportion of GDP. The rich are free to pay extra for better care in the UK so I do not understand why they want to take away the right of the poor to healthcare. Unless it is of course because they are evil.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 0) 365

I believe you have hit the actual nail on the head. Space is unbelievably big and it takes a long time to get around. A very long time. Humanity will never reach the nearest star. We do not live long enough to get there and we do not have the appearance of a civilization that will last long enough to develop the robots who could. Have you any idea how much a starship would cost that took less than 50,000 years to get to the nearest star and stop? To be fair I do not either but it must be on the order of magnitude of several decades worth of global wealth. Sorry kids there is no star trek in your future.

Submission + - Astronomers Discover the Most Powerful Aurora Ever Recorded (

Sepa Blackforesta writes: Astronomers have discovered the most powerful aurora ever recorded in an object beyond our solar system. The aurora is the first to be discovered around a brown dwarf, known as LSRJ 1835+3259 (LSRJ). Its 10,000 times more powerful than any previously seen, and also it’s not coming from a planet at all. This behemoth is coming from a low-mass star at the boundary between stars and brown dwarfs.

Submission + - Bill allows government to revoke Americans' passports without charges or trial (

schwit1 writes: A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would allow the government to restrict Americans' travel through the revocation of passports based upon mere suspicions of unscrupulous activity. This bill represents another dangerous step forward in the war on terror and the disintegration of American due process.

H.R. 237, the "FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) Passport Revocation Act of 2015," will allow the U.S. Secretary of State the unchecked authority to prohibit individuals from traveling internationally. According to the bill, the Secretary may unilaterally revoke (or refuse to issue) a passport from "any individual whom the Secretary has determined has aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped an organization the Secretary has designated as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189)."

The bill did not bother to define what the terms "aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped" actually mean, in legal terms. The power has been left open-ended so that it can mean whatever the secretary wants it to mean. Needless to say, a bill like this would be easily abused.

The travel restriction requires no presumption of innocence for the targeted individual; no explanation; no public presentation of evidence; no opportunity for a defense; no checks and balances on the power. The bill does not outline any appeals process for the targeted individual. The only stipulation is that the Secretary of State must issue a report to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs — "classified or unclassified." The bill does not state that either committee can reverse the secretary's decisions.

Comment Convenient threat (Score 2) 58

The Panopticon is inevitable given the existential threats of Daesh terrorists being groomed over the internet in our midst and the convenient truth that business has already owned peoples lives without protest. (With the exception of the hated European Union's attempts to limit it).

All we can hope for now is that oversight of the agencies given snooping powers can be created - allowing a few bought off judges to rubber stamp access to peoples data is nowhere good enough. Also to restrict access to agencies with publicly sanctioned specific agendas and well trained staff - currently there is nothing to stop low level local officials from free access to peoples data and the corruption that this will create (See US policing tactics to steal money from people stopped in their vehicles).

Theresa Mays party is fameous for its bad implementation of law so expect none of the above caveats to be implemented. They are well known as the party of Law and Order - which equates to laws written by the most vocal and insane right wing media.

Comment Re:Does it affect the Linux client? (Score 1) 225

Not unless it runs on a mobile phone. The whole of the tech industry is only interested in selling stuff to mobile users because the only growth industry is selling mobiles to developing countries. Linux is history because the fight for the desktop is over, all the money is in mobiles not desktops so screw desktops. Skype probably did not do any input checking because mobile users do not type in addresses, so who cares?

Comment The begining (Score 4, Insightful) 52

IANA theoretical physicist but...

In six months or so we will know whether there is anything absolutely extraordinary to be learned from the LHC. It is only a hope that new physics will be found at 13TeV. We spent the money to find the Higgs and found it, in the next year or so we will know a lot more about it but the hope is that something of interest to the general public may come out of the energy boost. I would not hold your breath though, so far we have only seen exactly what we expected to see. The next big thing may be to search for the gravitational waves from the big bang to settle the question of whether inflation started the universe. No one is funding it until at least 2035.

Sadly I really think we need to keep our fingers crossed that a mere doubling of energy in the LHC will find anything startling.

Unfortunately we probably need to spend at least as much money on a different experiment to find another amazing thing.

Having said that it is already a triumph to have discovered the Higgs scalar field - something that was only a theory until the LHC came along and now it is in the text books because of it.

You may find that like the moon landing, a tremendous leap forward is followed by 50 years of disappointment once the political will has died. (At least we have transparent aluminum AlN now) :-)

Comment Re:Complete article (Score 2) 442

I have done research on this topic and I think I will take my chances with the conclusions of the majority of the scientific community. Not the principle that if it is temporarily good for jobs then it is the right answer. The track record of going after the money and nothing else is littered with destroyed lives, Bhopal for example. I note that with freedom comes responsibility and I also note that the people who shout about it the most are the least likely to take any responsibility for anything.

You've been Berkeley'ed!