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Comment Basic is good, but not enough (Score 4, Insightful) 270

Forty five years ago, I started with some BASIC. But the thing that really got me hooked was that I had a simple problem, that mattered to me, that needed solving.

The need to solve a problem, being presented with a tool simple enough to understand and some help to get started seems to me to be the true trigger that can start someone off down the programming track.

Submission + - UK Encryption Petition

gb7djk writes: A petition to the UK parliament has been started in an attempt to prevent the current government from attempting to ban or water down the use of strong encryption.

If you are a UK resident, please sign the petition here:

Comment Help me here: where does the "new" C14 come from? (Score 1) 108

Or alternatively: if it is not being "made" or acquired (from the Sun, nuclear tests or emissions etc) then, either way, it can be calibrated for. We know, pretty much, how much coal is being dug out of the ground and, indeed, pretty much which and volume of nucleotides that have been released. If we know this all then we can calibrate for this in the future. So what's the problem exactly?

Comment Look at the UK housing market (Score 3, Informative) 940

The answer to your question is that it can probably go a lot further than you think. Where is the incentive to build more houses when, by delaying or targeting more lucrative customers, you get more money for doing no extra work? No property company nor, crucially, any home owner will buck the market by selling cheap. There are no votes for municipalities in building enough houses which could then stabilise prices - made worse (in the US) by the likelihood of them being sued by anyone that thought they would lose out.

Welcome to a small taste of the "housing boom" in South East of England. If our experience is anything to go by, you have a very long way to go yet.

Comment Londoners' water has been through 7 others first (Score 1) 242

All UK sewage works purify their sewage enough so that it can be safely discharged into the nearest river. In truth, where else could they dump it?

It (apparently) is not a myth that by the time the Thames has got to London, the water extracted from, to turn into drinking water, it has already been through an average of seven other people. And, whilst there is a reverse osmosis plant on the Thames Estuary, it is only used during times of drought and then to turn brackish (salty) estuary water into drinking water. Normal water treatment plants use traditional methods such as sand and/or trickle beds + UV purification. Reverse Osmosis is otherwise waaaaaaay too expensive.

Comment in root? Am I missing something? (Score 4, Interesting) 215

Er.. most of the exploits are only possible if one is root and/or the directory is writable for some other user (e.g. leon in this case).

Since one is root, one can do anything anyway so why bother with all this misdirection? If someone leaves world writable directories lying around (especially without the sticky bit set), then they deserve everything they get. Or is this some kind of "trap the (completely) unwary sysadmin" wake up call? If I see some strange named file (especially if I know I didn't put it there) I would investigate very, very carefully what is going on. I can't be alone in this - surely?

How many Bavarian Illuminati does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Three: one to screw it in, and one to confuse the issue.