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Comment: Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (Score 1) 489

by locofungus (#47926997) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

The UK general election will be 7th May 2015. The government that agreed to this vote almost certainly won't be the government that is negotiating.

No party is going to stand on a policy of "We're going to give your taxpayer money to this new independent Scotland because the last government agreed to the vote." They're going to stand on the "we're going to save as much money as possible for you and stop these handouts to Scotland."

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 617

by locofungus (#47910113) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

This might a good "negative" feedback mechanism that reduces overall infrared absorption

Unfortunately not. it's night in the Antarctic so the Antarctic sea ice has negligible effect on the albedo of the planet, melting out each year (almost) completely.

Arctic sea ice is significant for planetary albedo because millions of square km (still) survive though the peak sunlight summer months.

Comment: Re:You Fail at Quotations (Score 4, Insightful) 617

by locofungus (#47910065) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

Since 9/15 is also the day of lowest ice cover in the Arctic, how does this year's minimum compare with history?

It's one of the lowest in history but not the lowest. It's very close to tieing with last year.

Sea-ice volume appears (it's harder to measure reliably although it's more significant that area or extent) to be up on last year which in turn was up on the previous year. That might be a good sign for Arctic ice feedbacks or it might not - 2-3 years is far too short a time to separate signal from noise. Volume is still exceptionally low compared to the historical record.

Comment: Re:Question... -- ? (Score 5, Interesting) 215

by locofungus (#47332621) Attached to: Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix

Back in the (iirc) bsd 4.2 days, su was a suid shell script - at least on the machines I was using at the time.

Setup a symlink to su called -i

$ -i
# rm -- -i
#

There was a security bug handling suid shell scripts where the user was changed and then the #! interpreter was run, i.e. /bin/sh -i

and you got an interactive root shell :-)

Was very informative when the 'script kiddies' (although I don't recall that term existing in those days) had symlinks called -i in their home directory that they didn't know how to delete ;-)

Comment: Re:So when will the taxi drivers start protesting? (Score 4, Interesting) 583

by locofungus (#47109053) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

and we wouldn't have to worry about being late so much because of traffic jams

I'd expect there to be far more traffic jams because no longer is there an incentive not to let your car drive into the city.

Can't find a parking space - just leave your car driving around. Intelligent cars would actually seek out traffic jams so as to minimize fuel use.

Almost at your destination and crawling along. Get out and walk the last bit and let your car get there in its own time.

Stuck in traffic jam, get out, pop to the newsagent catch up with the car and get back in again.

For the more proactive, stick your Brompton in the back and let the car drive most of the way to the city. Once it starts getting snarled up in traffic, hop out, cycle the rest of the way and let the car do the rest of the journey on its own ready for when you want to leave.

Time it right, and the car will arrive just as you're ready to load your shopping (and bike) back into the car. Hopefully, these automatic cars won't block the roads for the drivers trying to leave the city so the route out will be fast, unlike human drivers who block junctions all the time.

Comment: Re:Motion from the outside not counted. (Score 1) 122

by locofungus (#47057083) Attached to: Even In the Wild Mice Run In Wheels

There was a pet shop - I think this was in the North East of England but I cannot remember why I would have been in a pet shop so maybe not - that had a cage of chipmunks.

Two of them (always the same two) would get onto a wheel side by side and then run like mad.

One was slightly faster/had more stamina than the other one and eventually the other one couldn't keep up at which point it just held on and got a ride "over the top". The wheel would then come to a standstill and then they'd start all over again.

Was hysterically funny and I remember watching them for ages.

Comment: Re:CO2 and climate: my take (Score 1) 323

by locofungus (#47048897) Attached to: Rising Sea Level Could Put East Coast Nuclear Plants At Risk

Yes, of course. Which says that we need to use a longer interval to get a significant trend.

I'm not sure what the point you're trying to make is. If the signal is sufficiently noisy it's easy to find intervals with almost any desired trend, they just won't be significant.

The last 17 years are consistent with the long term trend which is, itself, statistically significant (and positive). Over the last 17 years the trend is (probably - I haven't actually done the calculation) not significant but it's still positive.

Comment: Re:CO2 and climate: my take (Score 1) 323

by locofungus (#47044865) Attached to: Rising Sea Level Could Put East Coast Nuclear Plants At Risk

I don't know why I bother but:

I took the GISS monthly data from May 1997 to April 2014. Spreadsheet gives me a slope of 0.001828 - or approximately 0.02C per year or 0.2C per decade.

This might not be significant, I can't be bothered to do any more, but to say there has been no rise in temperature is disingenuous at best and an outright lie at worst.

The strongest (negative) statement that can honestly be made would be that "there might not have been a statistically significant increase in warming over the last 17 years."

Comment: Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (Score 1) 278

by locofungus (#47044151) Attached to: The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

There are two problems here. First, why should search engines not enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers?

You're asking the wrong question.

First - why should search engines be exempt from the data control regulations that other people who compile databases of personal information are obliged to follow?

The court has ruled that what Google is doing is _legal_. That is huge! Everybody else has to get a licence from the data controller, has to provide all the information they hold on a person in a readily accessible form[1] for a small (capped) fee and has to delete information on request.

[1] When a subject access request is made, the company has to go through and remove all the personal information relating to other people - so Google could not just point to their search engine.

Google (search engines) only have to comply with the last of these. I've not read the judgement, so I'm not sure why search engines were given a free pass on the other items (although I agree with it)

Comment: Re:Mario Costeja González (Score 1) 199

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooosh.

This is a canard. Nobody in his right mind, even on this site, contends that free speech ought to allow one to break laws.

Google is breaking the law in Europe. The European court didn't make a new law, the European court merely ruled that *EXISTING* laws require google to delete the information when requested.

QED.

Comment: Re:Sanity check (Score 2) 197

by locofungus (#46991037) Attached to: 7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated

In Europe, it's common for people who travel frequently abroad to have a sim for a local provider in each country they visit.

On some bits of the south coast of England, some people get better (or only) reception from France. They have a sim for France which they put in their phone when they're at home and a UK sim for when they're out to avoid accidental roaming charges when at home.

Comment: Re:Mario Costeja González (Score 3, Informative) 199

The EU does cherish freedom of speech. But it also cherishes the privacy of the individual.

The US - based on comments on this site - appears to have decided that freedom of speech trumps everything else. You can lie, cheat, shout fire in a crowded theatre, call in fake bomb scares, basically anything at all because it's all "freedom of speech."

The EU takes a much more nuanced view. Sometimes there's an overwhelming reason why freedom of speech should trump privacy. Sometimes privacy should trump freedom of speech, and sometimes it's a grey area that has to be litigated through the courts.

In this particular case, the court hasn't ruled that the information has to disappear - all they've ruled is that google (and presumably other search engines) need to give people the right to remove search results about themselves.

Most things are "allowed to be forgotten" in most circumstances. So, for example, most employers aren't allowed to ask "have you ever been made bankrupt?" although I think they can ask "are you an undischarged bankrupt". Google is allowing employers to sidestep the protective regulations that were built into bankruptcy law before the internet existed. The EU is now merely trying to reinstate them.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce

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