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Comment Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (Score 1) 133

These unique creatures, spawn of the mother earth, must be protected at all cost! Their precious and dwindling acidic heavy metal environment is threatened by organised international cleanup and restoration societies! They must be stopped! We must act now, band together and join with me in our "Occupy Pit" protest.

Save the extremophiles now!

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 1) 301

Too long to read through all of this.
  I just want to make sure somebody posts the actual reason for spending the money installing these systems. A truly significant amount of staff time in a large shopping centre is taken up each day helping people find their cars. It's costly. In the main, there are two scenarios. Firstly, there are those who park regularly in the same area and then for some reason break their habit. These people usually head for centre management with a cry of "my car has been stolen!" They will insist that their car is gone and something has to be done! Sometimes you can jog their memory with questions such as "which door did you enter the store through" and "which shop did you visit first?" Too often you have all the security staff combing the car parks looking for the lost car. When finally their car is found for them, well if you expect them to be grateful, you'd often be out of luck.

The second type is the classic little old lady who simply can't remember where she parked and sometimes even if she came in a car at all. Usually they recover after a glass of water and a rest or sometimes a relative has to be called. It's a little sad but it happens every day.

There is another situation of course. Cars are often stolen from major shopping centres. In fact the numbers are so high that if you aren't in the know you'd probably be shocked. There are security cameras everywhere throughout your shopping mall now. They aren't a lot of use in preventing car theft. You just don't know where/when to look through the massive amount of information recorded. By storing licence plates temporarily into a searchable data base you are able to provide some useful timely assistance to a customer who has genuinely lost their car.

Shopping centres are not able, legally or otherwise, to connect your licence plate to your name or address or phone number or anything else in this country. Of course if you never lose your car, have never had it stolen, have no fear of having it stolen, you could just avoid using any place that has such a system. If you do lose your car at a shopping mall that doesn't have anything like this, please just quietly join the queue until somebody becomes available to help you find it. Please, no complaints.

Comment Re:Little difference? (Score 1) 839

This has become a somewhat inaccurate historical meme, but of course with some basis. The first British settlement in Australia was an expedition to build a military outpost not a penal colony. The plan was hurriedly conjured up to deny the French a strategic position in the Pacific. They knew from experience that to build a self sustaining outpost on the far side of the planet required large reserves of labour.

They used slaves.

African slavery had become unpopular. Transportation to the American Colonies had been a useful tool in law and order matters for nearly one and a half centuries as a way of softening the "bloody laws". It has been estimated that about 50,000 convicts were transported on one way tickets to the North American Colonies, especially New England. The Crown paid merchants to ship them privately. Some were sold as slaves on arrival. Those that weren't sold outright were still slaves, but were more or less characterised as indentured labour. Emancipation was supposed to be granted after 7 years. The OP is correct when he says "many of the early settlers were criminals of some sort". In North America, just as in Australia later, the vast majority of settlers were not convicts.

After independence it became more difficult and less useful to send convicts to North America. The military needed an outpost built in the South Pacific to forestall the French. British and Irish slaves were the only means available to do the job quickly and thoroughly.

Once Port Jackson had been established, limited free settlement was encouraged. This influx of free civilians was needed to expand agriculture and commerce so that the train of expensive supply convoys could be wound back. Early settlers were given convict slaves to assist in their farming and business ventures. At this time it was certain that there were two distinct classes of criminals being transported. Nobody wanted a murderer or horse buggerer for a stable boy.
Better to have a shonky accountant as a gardener and a prostitute as a house maid.

The reward for hard work and diligence was a promise of emancipation. When this eventually came it arrived without the right to hold land tenure and other basic freedoms. Free labour morphed to cheap labour. Private businessmen were "limited" eventually to a maximum of 70 slave labourers. Wealth was accumulated rapidly by those that used the system.

Getting the "criminals" away from the colony became a priority.

Two penal settlements were established. The young colony of New South Wales had already started transporting its convicts. They were sent to the remote and God forsaken Norfolk Island and to the misery that was Port Arthur in Tasmania. Convicts were not be used as settlers but rather as slaves where possible and if truly incorrigible, to be physically and mentally destroyed as far from the shores of New South Wales as possible. A further attempt was made to create a genuine penal colony on the mainland at Moreton Bay but that, along with all forms of transportation, became so opposed by the inrush of free settlers that it was suspended in 1840 and officially abolished 10 years later.

Interestingly, the colonies themselves repeated the Port Jackson experiment at King George Sound in Western Australia in 1826 to prevent the French from claiming the western half of the continent. A military settlement supported by convict slave labour established the port of Albany, which later became a whaling centre. Western Australia was founded by a free settlement organisation but could not attract a sufficient labour force until gold was discovered in the 1890s. It petitioned Great Britain for convict labour and was eventually granted limited "supplies" for a period of about 18 years. The British Government insisted that they would only be sent under conditions where they would be freed after a relatively short period of "service".

The number of transportees to Australia was relatively high for such a short period. Higher than North America for certain. This was out of nation building necessity and to some extent greed. But a glimpse of context in numbers can be seen in that in the year 1852 alone, nearly 3 times as many free settlers arrived in Australia than the combined total of all convicts transported ever. More Americans emigrated to Australia than convicts.

Modern Australia was founded as a military outpost not a prison colony. The use of British subjects as slaves has been an embarrassment for governments and historians alike. It is generally more acceptable to refer to "convict years" than "slave years". There won't be a rush to illuminate the record.

Comment Re:What's so liberal about it? (Score 4, Interesting) 578

Ostriches aren't Australian, they're African. Omelettes can be made from emu eggs and I have tasted one. It really wasn't any different to one prepared from hen's eggs. It looked no different to this observer. Compare an emu egg to a hen's egg and they are quite different in size, colour and even texture internally and externally. The formula (recipe) however was just for a standard omelette that we would all recognise by sight instantly. Interestingly, it tasted like one prepared from hen's eggs as well. Couldn't tell the finished product apart.

Posix header files also look remarkably similar to this observer. If code is being written to a required formula so that it interacts correctly with other code (a standard) then there should be little surprise that it looks the same.

Egg analogies make me hungry.

Comment Re:Nice headline, but not the main issue (Score 1) 618

The US entered the European part of WW2 because Hitler declared war upon the USA.

You might be thinking of the sinking of the Lusitania in WW1. Even then it wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back as the incident happened in May 1915 and the USA entered that war nearly 2 years later in April 1917.

Comment Re:SCO is likely to win :-( (Score 3, Informative) 67

You missed out an important step.

SCO isn't SCO. Santa Cruz did the deal with Novell. Santa Cruz sold the Unix "business" to Caldera. When Santa Cruz changed their name to Tarantella, Caldera jumped in and changed its name to SCO (not Santa Cruz Operation, just SCO). Novell never signed anything over to SCO. SCO just pretends to be Santa Cruz when it benefits them.

Open Source

OpenBSD 4.7 Preorders Are Up 191 writes "The OpenBSD 4.7 pre-orders are up. That means the release is done, sent off to CD production, and snapshots will turn -current again. Order now and you more likely than not will have your CD set, T-shirt or other cool stuff before the official release date. You get the chance to support the most important free software project on the planet, and get your hands on some cool playables and wearables early. The release page is still being filled in, but the changelog has detailed information about the goodies in this release."

Comment Re:The answer is yes. (Score 1) 1093

I'm sure that I cannot be alone in being sceptical of the claims made by the loudest communicators on both (I concede there may be more than two) sides of the debate.

"Does the spirit of scientific scepticism really require that I remain forever open-minded to denialist humbug until it's shown to be wrong?

My answer to this has to be:

"I am equally sceptical of denialist and non-denialist humbug until it's shown to be not wrong".

Comment Re:A question (Score 1) 822

Honestly, for the life of me, I cannot think of a better definition of scientist than "sceptic". Recording observations and organising them in a logical sequence in order to disprove a theoretical construct used to be known as science when I was a lad. At the end of your writings, you listed chapters of all your inaccuracies and published with the humblest appeal: "I have failed to disprove this notion. Please review my data and model and assist me to disprove it. I am sceptical of the conclusions."

I admit openly that I am sceptical of everything I have read on climate. Should I report somewhere for a lynching?

Comment Re:Nagoya crash (Score 1) 911

Does simply ignoring the computer count as a manual override?

In November 1983, a Colombian jumbo jet enroute from Paris to Bogotà was making a scheduled stop in Madrid. Landing in the dark, the crew made a mistake with the instrument landing system, turned on to an incorrect track and flew into a hill. An analysis of the cockpit voice recorder revealed that some minutes before the crash, an audible ground proximity warning system had told the crew, "Pull up! Pull up!"
The pilot replied "Shut up, gringo."

Those were his last words. All 20 crew and 161 of the 172 passengers were killed.

Comment Re:a fool and his money are soon parted (Score 1) 138

The sprockets that drive the odometer and speedometer are typically nylon. They don't bear much load and are well lubricated. They can wear or fail in a number of different circumstances. I had one replaced with one that had a different tooth count. Gave me great fuel economy as I was driving around at about 10mph less than I thought I was.

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