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Comment Re:Just block the cookies.. (Score 1) 148

I had to give up on Firefox a few months ago because there are too many websites I need to access that force https but firefox refuses to let me see.

So I had to find a replacement for noscript and found uMatrix. Although it took about a week to really understand what it was doing and how to configure it it's fantastic on how configurable it is.

I've now removed firefox from my machines (although I believe uMatrix is available for firefox for anyone still using it)

Comment Re:No such thing (Score 1) 354

The answer is for ads to be sufficiently inobtrusive that the majority of users don't bother blocking ads.

The fundamental issue is a tragedy of the commons. Advertisers are fighting each other for the same eyeballs with more and more intrusive and processor and network demanding ads. The web is becoming almost unusable - especially on older hardware - unless you block ads.

The reason the majority of people have installed adblockers is because they want to use the internet, not because they want to block ads, stop tracking or anything else like that the typical slashdotter might care about.

While people NEED adblockers, people will be using them. If there's not a need then people won't use them any more.

Comment Re:If that were the actual spirit of the tax laws. (Score 1) 87

If that were the actual spirit of the tax laws... the letter would be different.

With GAAR in the UK that's no longer true.

Accordingly, it is essential to appreciate that, so far as the operation of the GAAR is concerned, Parliament has decisively rejected this [any legal arrangement is allowed] approach, and has imposed an overriding statutory limit on the extent to which taxpayers can go in trying to reduce their tax bill. That limit is reached when the arrangements put in place by the taxpayer to achieve that purpose go beyond anything which could reasonably be regarded as a reasonable course of action.

Comment Re:Unimportant. (Score 3, Informative) 74

The ECHR ruled over a decade ago that even prisoners have a right to vote.

No they didn't!

What they ruled is that you cannot have a blanket ban on prisoners being unable to vote.

I think this makes sense. A prisoner who is in prison for one day which just happens to be election day loses any say over their government for the next 1800 days. A prisoner going to prison one day earlier for one day would have all the rights to vote of someone who didn't go to prison.

The EHCR doesn't say which prisoners must be given the vote, just that it cannot be a blanket ban. IANAL but I think a case-by-case analysis that just happened to give no prisoners the vote would be legal.

It's similar to the rulings that you cannot have a life sentence without hope of parole. And for the handful of notorious prisoners which this applies to, each home secretary says "never be released on my watch" which is fine according to the ECHR, just that a government cannot (try to) bind future home secretaries to the same.

Comment Re:what (Score 2) 294

Source address: the device you don't trust.

And there's the problem. If you have multiple devices with privacy extensions then you cannot filter by source [IP] address.

On a home network it's usually trivial to filter by MAC address instead but once there are multiple routers before the egress firewall then that won't work.

Comment Re:what (Score 1) 294

Pretty much every device with IPv6 has privacy extensions by default. Many it cannot be turned off.

I'm struggling with the opposite problem - it's much harder to stop OUTBOUND connections using IPv6 from particular machines. INBOUND really isn't a problem as the only static IPv6 addresses you expose are those that you want people to use.

The vast majority of people don't selectively block outbound connections so it's a non-issue for them.

Comment Re:Well thats odd (Score 2) 114

I hardly ever use black cabs and I've never used uber but these are some things I'd think black cabs would win on:

1. They can use bus lanes.
2. They can stop on red routes to pick up and drop off. (I suspect that an uber car will do this too but it's technically not allowed and, if you're unlucky, your car will get waved on before you can get in or get out)
3. Black cabs can get to places that a mini-cab can't (mostly due to 1)
4. Black cab drivers have to know the city and their way around central London. This is particularly valuable if you're a) new to the city and might not know the old/new/official/unofficial name of your destination. An uber driver might know, a black cab driver will know and b) when the traffic totally snarls up which it does, the driver will know if this is normal and still the best route or it's abnormal and they should try another route instead.

I think it will be a shame if Uber causes black cabs to become extinct. I'm not sure that the black cab is that expensive (relative to minicabs) but I suspect sticking to the black cab regulations (turning circle, wheelchair access etc) probably put the cars at a significant disadvantage.

(I'm not sure how uber gets around the disabled access regulations. Does it guarantee a certain proportion of it's cars will be disabled accessible? Can you request a car suitable for a wheelchair?)

Comment Re:The dark matter between their ears (Score 5, Informative) 171

Remember, when the facts don't match your theory

Correct. The facts don't match the theory. Galaxies could not hang together the way they do if all they consist of is the things we've already observed in the laboratory unless we change the law of gravity [to something enormously more complex - c.f. epicycles] or postulate the existence of something that interacts gravitationally but doesn't interact with light.

too bad for the facts

I don't get this. Nobody is ignoring the facts. That's why we need to change things. Dark matter is the heliocentric solution. No dark matter is the epicyclic solution.

The [difference between facts and] theory is easily explained

Don't know about easily. There's been a lot of "dark matter" theories that have fallen due to one or more inconsistencies with known physics.

by an abundant (making up 96% of the universe),

Necessary otherwise we have to change the theory of gravity


If by invisible you mean doesn't interact with EM radiation then yes, this is required by the facts.


It's not undetectable. If it were undetectable then we wouldn't need it. It's very detectable - its gravity is what makes galaxies hang together. Its gravity is what allows gravitational lensing to happen where there isn't any (visible) matter to make it happen.


Definitely not magic. It has to agree with all the laws of physics. Conservation of momemtum, conservation of energy, speed of light etc.

"dark matter"

it's called dark matter because it doesn't interact with the EM spectrum. It neither emits EM radiation nor absorbs it.

that is everywhere and affects everything.

Actually, I think this is one of the great unknowns. Whether it's large numbers of light particles or smaller numbers of massive particles. Its primary interaction with the known universe is through gravity which yes, does affect everything, everywhere, at the speed of light.

Comment Re:I can hash fingerprints (Score 2) 242

Why not? I remember seeing an example of how to hash fingerprints something like 20 years ago. It may not work with the current fingerprint checking tools but it went something like this:

1. user (fingerprint owner) Generates a random image the size of the fingerprint image.
2. Add error correcting - e.g. an R-S code on the rows and columns
3. Hash this resulting data
4. XOR the image in 2 with the fingerprint.
5. Send 3 and 4 to the person who wants to verify the users fingerprint later.
(User might want to save a hash of 4 so that they can verify that when presented with this data again they can tell it hasn't been tampered with)

When the time comes to verify the fingerprint:

1. Verifier sends 4 above to the user
2. User XORs their fingerprint with 1
3. Apply error correcting to 2
4. Generate the hash from this data and send to verifier
5. Verifier compares with hash stored. aka password.

The challenges are related to detecting the rotation and position of the fingerprint when you don't save any data about the fingerprint itself. What you need is an algorithm that can consistently align a fingerprint by shifting and rotating a fingerprint when it's presented slightly differently.

There's also the challenge of getting the amount of error correcting correct. Too little and the random image recovery won't work. Too much and you'll start accepting fingerprints that are similar but different or allow brute force to recover the hash.

Comment Re:I can tolerate a really hot hottub (Score 3, Informative) 488

Those cities are currently, probably, about as bad as the Middle East when worst cases are considered and, currently, are not particularly close to "limit of survivability" levels.

Some bits of Northern India are currently amongst the "worst" areas. The ME is geographically close but currently not so bad as they're drier.

But if the ME gets wetter then the problems there could get worse to the point where it's impossible to survive without aircon.

35C wet bulb temperature is about the limit of survivability. You don't die instantly but unless you get somewhere cooler (lower wet bulb temperature, not necessarily absolute temperature) you will die.

Comment Re:The contriversial parts in brief. (Score 4, Insightful) 115

In other words, why track every member of the public to see if any of them view instead of just looking at subscribers to that site?

You've completely missed the point of why they want to do this.

They don't care at all about this data. What they care about is that GCHQ, MI6 etc can continue to capture everything in a dragnet (something that they claim was already allowed but was kept so secret that even most of the people in the organizations that were doing it didn't know it was happening.

They need a way to use that dragnet without admitting to actually capturing everything and possibly decrypting some of it. They'll use the records collected by the ISP to build a case against someone.

Once they get good at bulding cases that judges like they can use those skills to take the data from the ISPs to build a case against anyone they don't like for any reason.

Given the dozens of different domains that data is fetched from for any given page I suspect there's an almost unique fingerprint of connections for many webpages.

If this bill passes you will also no longer be able to trust things like the raspberry pi - in fact, any hardware made or assembled in the UK will be suspect.

Comment Re:It must be a biased study (Score 1) 319

Where did these people work before NASA? They need to be investigated.

It's OK. No need to worry. You can ignore this report. At least one of the authors has already been "investigated" and found to be wanting by the skeptic croud. He is one of the "alarmists" predicting that if the trend to 2007 continued then arctic sea ice could disappear in 2012.

He also, according to the skeptics, cherry-picks:


And, indeed, he's (obviously deliberately) done it again here: only using the data to 2008.

On a less facetious note, this could be good, bad, or make no difference to existing thoughts.

Good - some mechanism not considered is allowing substantial transfer of mass from the oceans to the interior of Antarctica. In the shorter term at least this could make sea level rise much less than currently anticipated over the next few centuries.

Bad - there's a much larger than believed loss of ice-mass from somewhere else and the current estimates of expected sea level rise will turn out to be severe underestimates when, e.g. the Greenland icesheet disintegrates and falls into the ocean.
(The only two mechanisms I can think of to account for the observed sealevel rise and the assumption that Antarctica didn't lose mass are much more loss from Greenland or thermal expansion. Excess energy going into heating of the oceans could account for the "pause" too)

Indifferent - there's a short-term mechanism that can temporarily move ice mass into interior Antarctica. This can occur over a decade or two before reestablishing longer term trends. This will add noise to the system and make it harder to estimate long term trends from shorter term data but doesn't significantly alter trends from longer terms.

Comment Re:Who took the decision to undertake the work? (Score 2) 169

From the press release from the HSE he wasn't working on live equipment.

He was given a work permit by the site operator to route some power but the route was through other equipment that had exposed live connections. The electrician made inadventent contact (with his forehead) with one of these exposed live connections.

Worse, the site operator was aware of this risk, and was aware that whether these exposed terminals were live or not was not under their control but they had a disregard for the risks when issuing the work permit. They got fined £100K for this. (The other company got fined nearly three times as much - presumably for leaving exposed live connections that could accidentally be touched and not marking the area as restricted/dangerous.)

Basically this seems to have been a mega screwup between the management of two companies working on the same site who appear to have had no way to safely coordinate work where the areas of responsibility overlapped.

Comment Re:The fine won't hurt the DC owners. (Score 1) 169

Someone made the call to have live circuits worked on, despite this being illegal.

In the UK - where this happened - it's not illegal to work on live circuits. The HSE has this in the FAQ:

When is it safe to work on live electrical equipment?

It is never absolutely safe to work on live electrical equipment. There are few circumstances where it is necessary to work live, and this must only be done after it has been determined that it is unreasonable for the work to be done dead. Even if working live can be justified, many precautions are needed to make sure that the risk is reduced 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. See: Electricity at work: Safe working practices for more details.

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