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Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 1) 514

When we've grown a few humans with similar growing differences as we've done to this salmon, I'll start thinking the salmon is okay. Until then, forget it.

I know that humankind knows less than there is to learn. We have no idea if this salmon is safe or not - we don't know what makes a wild salmon safe (or not). All we can do is check for things we know are bad, and we really don't know very many bad things compared to how many there are (we can't even count them, to be honest). The fact you and I disagree on this general point suggests also that we can't agree what's 'bad' and what's not. In other words, we've got a long way to go in this area before we're "pretty knowledgeable".

Until the salmon can tell us it feels okay, it's physically okay and that it's pretty happy with its lot in life, we honestly have no way to know if it's the same as a non-GM salmon. At least a human can tell us what it's thinking and feeling, and can be compared to other humans. Thus, we stand a chance of finding out if the GM-human really is the same as a non-GM human. Even this doesn't tell you everything, but I'm pretty sure nature has a way of adapting or rejecting things that are too par "out of spec", and so asking how things are seems like a reasonable first step in lieu of a more "star trek tricorder scan" sort of solution.

Comment Re:Let's just skip right to 1984 (Score 1) 167

I just asked mine to tell me what use weakened encryption would be since France has already outlawed it and still missed these guys (as indeed did GCHQ and the Five Eyes nations). I went on to ask him to publish the same information the Bill calls for, but for his home, office and Parliament use of the Internet (I even said I'd install suitable equipment to collect the information if he didn't have it already). Anything less is hipocrisy ;-)

I know doing this does about jackshit most of the time. However, if we all do it then they at least have to reply to all our letters, which might slow them down a bit. Gotta give a +1 though, it really is a great resource.

Comment Re:Uk people, write to your MP (Score 1) 418

I plan to start out by saying (as someone above said) that you can't pass a law to make maths easier. Then I'll go on to explain the One Time Pad, and after s/he is bamboozled with all that, suggest that they should indeed pass a law to make maths easier because it'll make our kids achieve far greater things than the rest of the world and make the scrambling of conversations easier to unscramble. There's no need to make this a "snoopers charter" - just make it an Education Bill instead ;-)

Comment Re:the correct answer to that is (Score 1) 136

I agree, but RAC is like crack, and Oracle know it. FWIW, RAC is actually pretty good - esoteric, yes, but actually capable of an awful lot.

The thing about Oracle is that if you run single server, then you could conceivably migrate to Postres. You've got a world of dev work to do, but you could do it. Once single server starts puffing a bit and the sharp suited Oracle guys tell you RAC is your best option, the PHBs get involved. In fairness to them, they're faced with a big license fee to pay each year, or to pay more in dollars and lost dev time to convert to Postgres. Spending (say) 3-6 months engineering out of Oracle and onto Postgres is pretty career limiting if not done exactly right - not only have you got to convince the CxOs that it's the right way to go (which is hard), but you've got to hit your deadlines and Postgres *has* to give you headroom beyond the next 2-3 years at least (and you've got to push back on your feature delivery a bit). That's a hell of a personal risk to take as a PHB, and so it becomes much easier to spend a lot of someone else's money and buy RAC instead. The implementation costs are tiny in comparison, and you guarantee headroom for several more years at least.

Whilst I can understand all of this, what I can't understand is how anyone thinks Oracle isn't just going to turn up the thumb screws in years 2-3. I mean, once you've used RAC enough that you couldn't "just drop in postgres", then they know you've got months of dev work just to shard up your data, never mind actually use a different RDMS. As much as I think Oracle are arseholes, cranking up the license to a captive customer is pretty understandable. How on earth the CxOs can't see this up-front is beyond me - what the hell do they teach on MBA courses?

What I can't abide is the slight-of-hand stuff Oracle also does. The subtle changes to contract wording that mean you sign your contract renewal and are instantly in violation of your contract (which they only tell you about a few months later). That to me seems more like a protection racket, and surely must be illegal in a lot of jurisdictions. I wonder if customers can ask for assurances that they're license-compliant on day one of contract renewals? That wouldn't stop you having to pay, but at least you'd get some transparency while dealing with the contract, and would mean you could at least stay compliant until the next renewal.

So anyway, if you're about half-using an Oracle single server, then start looking at Postgres. That way you're always small to Oracle and not worth hassling too much, and you won't ever get into all this horrible stuff.

Comment Re:Cryptowall Solution? (Score 1) 217

The sketchy side of the internet (in part) supplies them with the tools of their trade. Given all the other sh*t these agencies have been up to, I wouldn't be surprised to find out they were in charge of some ransomware so that they could fund other extra-curricular activities (via suitable layers of third parties, of course).

Comment Re:Actually Walmart is a tech company, a pioneer (Score 2) 83

exactly as this thread shows, though, they have a perception problem. They may have arrived at having a cloud offering in the same was as Microsoft (ie. buy it in), but unlike Microsoft, to paraphrase a common expression, you can get fired for buying Wallmart.

That said, if Wallmart could offer Amazon's list of services at the sort of lower price most people perceive Wallmart as offering, then it could get some traction (at least from the smaller companies).

Comment Re:Nothing to worry about if you have nothing to h (Score 3, Insightful) 140

William Hague told us that the innocent have nothing to fear and that they're only collecting meta data etc. Successors to him have repeated that they work within a robust legal framework, must be necessary and proportionate, yadda yadda yadda.

Surely, with all these protections and assurances they can't be worried can they?

The thing that annoys me more than any of this story alone is that none of the Home Secretaries that spouted this utter bullshit will face any sort of recrimination. Tossers the lot of 'em*.

* Any MP that wants to convince me that they're not a tosser is welcome to explain themselves. I even invited my MP to demonstrate he wasn't a tosser, and all he could manage was a letter back to say he "worked very hard", thus re-inforcing my view of him.

Comment Another source? (Score 1) 169

Another source? Is this person(s) also in hiding in (of all places, Russia), or locked in a cell on their own for months at a time? I'd even settle for someone hiding out in a foreign embassy.

As a brainwashed media consumer, I can't think of a leak being even vaguely true unless the whistleblower is being actively hounded by the US authorities.

Comment Re:Why should? (Score 1) 397

I seriously doubt anyone would ever be able to sell an "autonomous" car that might, at literally any moment, at any speed, in any conditions hand control back to the human, for exactly the reasons you state. Who would want to buy such a thing?

A more likely outcome is that when something that can't be handed occurs, the car comes to a controlled stop (maybe quickly?), and then hands over control. FOr example, if the road is significantly different than expected (maybe a fallen tree, or subsidence or something). Or, perhaps just it meanders up to the farm track that's overgrown with weeds and says "the GPS says to go this way, but I can't figure it out - over to you buddy".

Of course, once the technology matures, then the frequency of human interventions will be so small that cars will be made without any human controls in them. The worst thing those cars will do is say "sorry, I can't get you to your destination - wanna go back home?".

Comment Re:Coke is good! (Score 1) 133

I'm inclined to agree until coke/beer/doughnut/pie abusers get diabetes (or in fact any other weight/health related issue). Then on it does become my problem because I pay taxes which go in part to fund our national health service. Thus, if people could avoid abusing foods, they'd avoid the health issues and would thus avoid overburdening the NHS and thus save me some tax.

Assuming you're an american, you're probably thinking this doesn't apply to you - but it does. There are no poor and impoverished health insurance companies. They only get rich by extracting money from their customers and by not paying it out when those customers claim. The more people have completely avoidable health problems, the more money they need to extract from their customers.

That said, I too enjoy the odd (diet/zero) coke. You know it's gotta be bad for you when it cures a hangover ;-)

Comment Re:Thinkpad T-series (Score 1) 237

I have a Thinkpad X121e (pick them up on ebay pretty cheaply these days) - it's run various Fedoras over the years very successfully. I've used the Windows pre-install a diminishingly small number of times, but have had more fundamental problems with it than with Linux (recently I had Windows 7 just refuse to boot at all - it said "fixing" for about 20 minutes and just gave up with no further options to proceed). These days windows is in a VM and so it's 100% linux - its been kicked about a fair bit over the years too - so far, touch-wood, so good though.

Comment Re:I've always said (Score 1) 241

And they didn't lose a single life in the process? No property was damaged? No 'consumables' (like weapons, chemicals, food etc) were used? Really?

Oh right - they did lose lives and property. So they lost, arguably less than the British though. We're back to the OP's point - war: everyone loses, it's just a question of how much.

Comment Re:Considering how fast Google ditched China (Score 1) 381

I seriously doubt the French will get anywhere with this.

However, hypothetically, if they did, then another option for Google would be to spin their European business off as a separate entity. Let's call that Foogle...

Foogle would 'buy' search data from Google, at huge cost. It would then employ people/machines to strip out the results that are supposed to be 'forgotten'. It would then run servers (as Google already does) here in Europe to serve those results up. Foogle would also 'rent' the domains like and have them redirect to, from whence they provide search results. Foogle acts as a third party agent to Google, so advertisers can go to them instead of Google for the services they want. Foogle either delivers those services locally via its own servers, or backs off the work to Google to get it done internationally. From a legal standpoint, Google now has no assets or people in Europe - it uses 'resellers' to do everything it needs. The French can go after Foogle all they like, and Foogle can (correctly) argue that it has removed links from all of its international services. The fact that a competing search engine (Google) has done something different is neither here nor there.

The fact is, if a numptie like me can figure a way around this law, you can bet your lunch Google will. As much as we like to think politicians are idiots, they're rarely this stupid. There's some other play going on here which we're not immediately privy to. It may be a simple as 'job justification', or they're manoeuvring for some other proposal that does what they actually want.

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce