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Comment: just read other sci-fi authors (Score 1) 576

I thought Iain M Banks had a rather cute description of an alien fleet arriving in Consider Phleabas

1. the first "ships" arriving at high speed go straight past and drop drones to scan and gather intelligence. If we're smart enough we might detect that. Although, reasonably large asteroids zip past us all the time and we only notice them at the last minute. if you were a war faring civilisation then using asteroids or dressing up your "ships" to look like asteroids would probably be a good move.

2. Once intelligence has been received and analysed, the main "fleet" then power up to decelerate, from an Earth position would look like lots of blue "stars" of light in the night sky getting gradually brighter for a few days/weeks/months (delete as applicable).

3. err

4. alien profit

Comment: Re:UK Post Office already does this (Score 4, Informative) 33

by rapiddescent (#48819909) Attached to: First Crowdsourced, Open Data Address List Launches In the UK

The commercial arm of the Royal Mail (not PostOffice Ltd) own the intellectual property of the PAF (Postal Address File) that has a strict data structure of how to store an address for verification purposes. See the PAF Digest PDF for a full 200 page specification of how to write a postal address.

important for orgs that process addresses and how to process data items like a "double dependent locality" and so on. many big UK companies totally fuck up addresses even though this is specified.

The main problem with this is that the Royal Mail was privitised so this publically funded data source has now been commercialised and the IPR owned by a company thanks to the tories.

Comment: Re:But *are* there enough eyes? (Score 5, Interesting) 255

one of the issues is that there are indeed *more eyes* but they are incentivised to look for exploits and sell them to the bug-buyers rather than report or fix them. I did a hands up poll (buyer beware) at our local OWASP chapter and over half had sold a bug to such an organisation. pretty shocking.

certainly, one of the first moderately important bugs I found, I was daft and got in touch with the software vendor and then faced legal action from them which luckily they saw sense and dropped. So many people nowadays just can't be bothered with that problem and can make a fast and low risk buck by selling the 0-day.

Comment: Re:decentralisation of energy supply (Score 1) 235

by rapiddescent (#48478247) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

You've got it backwards. Decentralisation is pretty well the holy grail of grid stability. When things go down you are left with a hole instead of losing half the grid.

totally agree - it's pretty amazing how the investment in the decentralised grid is coming along. However, my point is that Scotland has had to invest massively in the grid to support the new renewable energy production facilities. Scotland is not quite there yet - but hopefully in a couple of years the renewable energy will all be switched on and we'll get to a much higher percentage without affecting "quiet day stability" or energy prices.

Comment: decentralisation of energy supply (Score 4, Informative) 235

by rapiddescent (#48478051) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

One of the biggest challenges on Scotland has been the decentralisation of energy supply. The grid (high voltage power lines) was built to connect power stations that were usually less than 30 miles from cities and then smaller grid segments out to the less densely populated areas such as the highlands & islands.

The challenge Scotland now faces is that a large amount of renewable energy is being produced in the highlands and islands and coastal projects resulting in power having to be shipped "the other way" through the grid. So Scotland has had an enormous new power line from Beauly in the north to Denny in central region to help. The scandal is that a lot of Scotland's renewable energy is idle or switched off because there is not enough capacity in the grid to use it until the new line comes on board. Nearly every loch in Argyll has some kind of hydro power generation capabuility but it is switched off (except Cruachan)

The new wave power production systems are fabulous, especially the inter-connected wavenet squid system.

Comment: Re:I do this - but with multiple 3G contracts (Score 1) 107

by rapiddescent (#48186047) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

I forgot to mention that using an antenna (usually via a CRC9 connector port) doubles the bandwidth in most cases. I have a mag mount antenna for vehicles, a square directorional and a simple little plastic antenna that I use most of the time. A yagi directional would be even better. Antenna's make all the difference with 3G/4G connections (aka "Mobile Internet" in the UK)

Comment: I do this - but with multiple 4G contracts (Score 3, Informative) 107

by rapiddescent (#48185097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

Your Mileage Will Vary depending on where you are located; but I use 4G and 3G connections here in Scotland and in other parts of Europe and I never use WiFi hotspots.

1. Everything Everywhere Kite (a Huawei mifi device that looks like an iphone 4s)

2: unlocked Huawei E3276 with an external antenna

3: backup USB Huawei E353 devices (also with a CRC9 antenna connector)

All work with my Linux distro (Fedora) natively. So my EE contract allows VOIP (in plain) but the O2 contract does not. So I also have a bunch of SIM cards that also helps if I am in a zone with poor coverage for a particular operator. Maxes out at about 50 Mbs in good 4G areas but bear in mind that the latency is often a lot higher (10x) than copper connections and will make VOIP a bit laggier than you'd expect, even with a high bandwidth connection.

Comment: Lego and politics (Score 1) 252

by rapiddescent (#48109677) Attached to: Lego Ends Shell Partnership Under Greenpeace Pressure

Lego got pissed off at the UK treasury who had used Lego minifigures as part of the UK campaign against Scotland's independence from the UK, see Scottish independence: Lego dropped from Treasury Buzzfeed

Lego, at the time, said they were politically neutral and would not allow their brand to be associated with any political stance.

Comment: bathtub curve applies (Score 2) 602

by rapiddescent (#48002015) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

I replaced 50x GU10 50W bulbs for 3W LED equivalents (no longer available) that were more expensive (slightly warmer light). Here in Scotland, energy prices are more than the USA - so the initial investment of 50 bulbs cost 20x as much as the GU10's burt due to the lower wattage (3W vs 50W) would pay back in 2 years (which they have) from lower overall electricity prices.

However, we've had a lot of failures. So far over 10% of the 50 have failed - usually blowing the main house fuse when they went. So the porblem at the moment is there is no way to assess the failure rate for LED household bulbs. This is having quite an impact on the payback period for the bulbs. .

Comment: Re: The over-65's swung it for No (Score 1) 474

by rapiddescent (#47950895) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

There are currently riots by loyalists in the centre of Glasgow - which are being downplayed as "rivalry" by the bbc even though there are very few unionists or nationalists there. Just search twitter for "george square" for photos and on the scene twitterers to get the real picture.

Loyalists were supportive of the union (the orange order is registered with the electoral commission as a supporter of no) and are rioting because they won the vote. They are basically thugs with some ties to football and irish loyalism.

Scotland is a very dark place now.

People at work were crying today. The older retired baby boomer generation sold us out.

Comment: Re:The over-65's swung it for No (Score 4, Interesting) 474

by rapiddescent (#47946163) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

oh no, I would never say my vote was more important, nor indeed that I am somehow more correct than my fellow Scot. The points I was making were:

There has been a well documented bias in the media. Even the media here agree with that. There has been a huge discussion here in Scotland about the role of social media in this referendum, not unlike Tunisia, Egypt and so on. Politicians have said that things were out of control as both campaigns became alive oin social media. The pro-Yes media (aparty from one sunday paper) were online and largely funded by indigogo public funding campaigns.

This was the first poll we've had in living memory that has not had an exit poll; Lord Ashcroft's poll whilst not perfect is the closest we have to understand the voting demographic.

I ws making the correlation (not causation) link that over-65's were also the least connected in society. I admit I was also a bit rude about the over-65's.

Since I last posted, the pledge from the parties behind the No campaign for more devolution powers have already fallen apart. A lot of people voted no because they were promised a more federalised UK

Comment: The over-65's swung it for No (Score 4, Interesting) 474

by rapiddescent (#47945307) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

As a Scot living through the referendum, it has been a sea of optimism and YES flags and events. Many people, including myself woke up this morning very disappointed but also wondering how did this happen:

One of the biggest revelations was that The over-65's swung it for No whilst all age groups from 16 to 55 voted for independence. one of the key elements of the YES campaign is that none of the media TV channels or daily newspapers supported independence and so Scots could only get information from the internet. Twitter, websites such as Bella Caledonia, Wings over Scotland have been on the only places to find real information that hadn't been skewed heavily in favour of the No campaign.

The over-65's are the least internet connected and the most trustworthy of the BBC, even though the BBC has been accused of bias in an academic study from a survey of their entire news output over a 6 month period.

Also, the over-65's have the shortest time stake in this. plus have had the trappings of gold plated pensions that the generation behind them cannot look forward to. It's a disgusting state of affairs and as a Scot I am embarrassed for my country.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 3) 494

by rapiddescent (#47927621) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

google "weebluebook"

I don't claim to have the answers (see book above),

1: The 2016 in/out referendum for the entire UK (depending on tomorrows referendum outcome) to leave/stay in the EU is so much more important. Scots (according to polls) prefer the EU. the centre right politics more prevalent in England are less affectionate to the EU.

2: There are 3 sterlingisation methods described in the Scotland Future book. There are two types of pegging; but the downside for the UK with sterlingisation is that Scotland would not be liable for any share of the UK accumulated debt. Many are seeing the "We will use Sterling" as a game play tactic to force George Osbourne into a corner. The Treasure have already confirmed that the debt belongs to the UK and only the UK. This would leave Scotland with a new currency but with tremendous assets and no liabilities. Many Yesser Scots prefer this - but many in finance would prefer to see a shared currency and for Scotland to continue to be responsible for debt, a shared currency is cheaper to do business in.

The Euro is off the cards because you have to be in the ERM for 2 years with your own free-standing currency. remember when the Uk tried that before?

3: I don't know

4: Citizenship is covered in the Scotland Future book. It's the individuals choice to up until your grand children to have UK, Scots or both. My grand kids will be Scottish only citizens.

5: there are no border controls in the rest of Europe, or on the Irish border, not sure why this is a being played as a big issue. If there are controls, it will probably be on the English side only. Whilst driving in Ireland I had been in Ireland for a few miles before I realised I was on the south side of the border (a road sign had the speed limit in km/h)

"Take that, you hostile sons-of-bitches!" -- James Coburn, in the finale of _The_President's_Analyst_