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Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 556

A smartphone is now pretty close to being essential. An expensive one is not. My phone is now over 3 years old (and cost about £100 then) and still does everything I need it to. I'm on a pre-pay contract and typically spend about £1/month on it. I'll probably replace it soon, because it hasn't had security updates for a little while (I don't trust it with any important data, passwords, and so on, but people are increasingly using SMS for two-factor auth so that's starting to be an issue).

I quite often see students with far less disposable income than me spending £600 on a brand-new iPhone and then £10-20/month on a contract for it. This isn't a new phenomenon by any means, but a lot of people seem really bad at doing cost-benefit analyses.

Comment Re:Thank your parrents (Score 1) 556

This is how people you fight poverty. Maintain the family unit, help your children to become more successful than yourself.

I'd argue exactly the opposite. Parents are now one of the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK and this has increased wealth inequality: your parents' wealth is now a bigger indicator of whether you'll be able to afford a house than your personal income. If this continues, you'll see a greater divide between those born to well-off parents and those who weren't.

Comment Re:Keep XUL extensions silly. (Score 1) 252

Want to keep Firefox competitive, allow XUL extensions

Compartmentalised rendering or XUL, pick one. If you pick compartmentalisation, people complain that you've broken their plugins. If you pick XUL, people complain that a bug exploited in a one tab allowed an attacker to compromise your entire browser and get at all of the credentials that the browser can access.

and Windows XP,

So, you want an insecure browser running on an insecure (i.e. known vulnerabilities, being exploited in the wild, no patches available) OS?

Comment Re:Great! (Score 3, Informative) 711

There are a lot of proposals, but the fully costed ones I've seen for the UK set the UBI rate at about the same as the current tax-free earning allowance. They then raise each of the tax brackets' rates by a few percent, and introduce one extra one for people earning more than £100K/year. The last one I looked at would leave me about £1000/year worse off, but people on minimum wage jobs better off. It would also be likely to bring a lot of people back into part-time work, as they wouldn't face losing unemployment benefits if they worked a little bit (and would be paying tax on that income for every pound that they actually earned, though at a low rate). It seemed like a pretty good deal for me.

Comment Re:Science is Still Communicated by World of Mouth (Score 1) 73

There's some truth to the grandparent. There are enough papers published now that the ones that I'm most likely to read are ones where someone says 'this was an interesting paper, you should read it', rather than simply reading all of the ones published in relevant journals (on top of the pile of ones that I have to review).

Comment Re:Yes, but that's like (Score 1) 73

2) Running a journal is a lot of work for no extra pay

If you're doing online-only publication, it's not that much harder than being on the programme committee for a conference (actually, less so, because you don't have such hard deadlines) and academics are expected to do that for the good of the subject and for no extra pay.

- An academic who spent a large chunk of his Christmas holiday reviewing a big pile of papers for an ACM conference.

Comment Re:Pretentious (Score 1) 73

You stupid sonofabitch. Who do you think edits the journals?

Mostly? No one. If they were actually doing a reasonable job of copyediting, then I wouldn't have a problem with them. Instead, they'll let poor English through, but just to show that they're doing something worthwhile they'll make some gratuitous changes that alter the meaning. I saw a particularly amusing example of this where someone had cited some of our work and used an acronym. The editor had obviously searched for the acronym and expanded it without considering the context and inserted a blatantly incorrect expansion.

Comment Re:Come out ye Black and Tans (Score 1) 378

Yes, but all that old testament shit is superseded by (a) the Ten Commandments, which is supposed to be a direct order from god and categorically says thou shalt not kill, and thou shalt not commit adultery

Have you read the bible? The Ten Commandments are handed down in exodus, the second book. Immediately after it comes Leviticus, which lists a whole load of reasons why it's acceptable to kill someone (including as punishment for being raped). The remaining books are full of examples, for example Elijah (profit, direct representative of God on Earth) killing people for believing in a different god and the Hebrew God explicitly endorsing this behaviour.

(b) the teachings of Jesus, who is basically Communications From God 2: This Time, In Person, and who also said it's wrong to kill and that if someone smites you, you should turn the other cheek and let them smite that too

That's a better argument, though not one that seemed to stop any of the last two thousand years of crusades and so on in the name of Jesus.

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