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Comment Alternatively (Score 1) 314

You could just stop buying cigarettes, sticking them in your face and setting fire to them. I quite smoking (when I had reached the point of craving a cigarette while actually smoking one) by asking myself a few questions: do you really want to give your consent and your money to an industry that slaughters its own customers in their millions? do you want to do something so evidently disgusting and stupid as paying a predatory corporation to poison you? do you want to look like an idiot? would you smoke if cigarettes had arsenic in them (nicotine is about 4x as poisonous)? who's in charge here? A tip for those who want to quit: choose a moment of maximum stress – first day back at work, middle of divorce, moving house.... The -– mild – distress from nicotine withdrawal gets lost in the noise.

Comment Re:Over a Petabyte of Pixelated Back-Yard Porn?? (Score 2) 39

ASAR, MERIS, AATSR, MWR, GOMOS, MIPAS, SCIAMACHY, DORIS, LRR ( - although only the first two gave anything that could be called an image. Maybe "integrated atmospheric water vapour column" sounds promising...

Comment Re:No problem (Score 1) 39

The shuttle couldn't reach its orbit, and if it could, the satellite was not designed to be worked on in orbit (unlike Hubble), and even if neither of those things were true, nobody would think it a good idea to spend around a billion dollars to try and fix a satellite 5 years past its design life span, with no idea what's wrong with it. Satellites die. Move on.

Comment Or even when they can't (Score 1) 193

New Scientist magazine has tried twice, to my knowledge, to restrict web access to the subscribers to their - very expensive - magazine. They did not even offer a web-only subscription. I wrote each time pointing out that this was foolish, and I would have been prepared to pay a reasonable (i.e. small) sum for access, but was fobbed off with a bit of corporate boilerplate. Each time the paywall lasted a few weeks before coming down.

Comment This is not about economics, or politics. (Score 2, Insightful) 2058

The responses here on /. point up what is wrong - not with Tennessee, or the USA, or libertarianism, but with human beings as a species. When you let a principle, right or wrong, trump your humanity you have lost the plot. It seems for most of the people on this site you can stand by and let your neighbour's house burn down because it makes sense politically, or economically, or administratively. And if his children had been in the house? The principle doesn't change. Never mind that libertarianism is just an infantile fantasy anyway. What kind of fireman will stand there and let this happen? A cowardly one. I don't care who pays, or how it's organized, or what the policy is: if your ideas are more important than your humanity, your ideas aren't worth shit.

Comment This would make more sense... (Score 1) 557

...if the EU were also ready to take responsibility for the additional costs, monetary and environmental, of their meddling. I use CFs where I can, but my house is full of dimmers which don't work with anything but incandescents. I'm also pretty sure that many of my CFs will be made obsolete by progress in LED lighting, which is even more efficient and environmentally benign.

I'm no free-market fundamentalist, but in this case the EU, rather than throwing its weight around passing ill thought-out legislation, could have waited for market forces and common sense to produce the desired result.

(Yes, I know: there's nothing rarer than common sense...)

Comment Re:Its a shame (Score 1) 122

If only it were that simple! But mere badness is no guarantee of success. For every Dan Brown there are thousands of talentless hacks slaving away in well-deserved obscurity. Gore Vidal put it neatly: "Shit has its own integrity."

I have written something better -- much better. Still waiting for my money.... I confess: I don't know how to connect with the semi-literate millions.

Comment I have my own ad-blocker (Score 1) 210

It's in my head. I simply don't see most ads, unless they're for something that interests me. Most ads are irrelevant to me: I have very little disposable income, so I'm not much good as a consumer, but show me a web - or magazine - page and then ask me afterwards what ads were on it and most of the time I couldn't tell you. It's like that psychology experiment in which a guy in a gorilla suit walks across the scene and nobody sees him. Aren't we all like that? Really intrusive ads - particularly anything using sound, or covering the page, have a negative effect: I will never buy their stuff even if I want it. I like Reader. I don't like web sites where the background is hundreds of little pictures of the self-important geek who made it.

Comment Re:Ha! (Score 2, Interesting) 177

I'm waiting to see what happens at New Scientist. They are only letting non-subscribers see 7 articles a month -- essentially nil, since it's a weekly magazine. It's really expensive, especially if you don't live in the UK. There's no web-only subscription (I wrote and asked: they recommended the digital version of the magazine but that doesn't seem to come with a subscription to the site...). Now, this is the second time they've tried this. I don't know how long the first one lasted: I went away and came back one day to find they'd given up on it. This time I'll be able to see when they quit because the protection is reeeeally easy to defeat and I'm using the site as much as I ever did.... I don't know what the answer is. The day pass that Salon used to use was fine with me: I didn't have to watch the ads, that were never for anything I'd want, in fact I never pay any attention at all to advertising, because I have very little disposable income.... But whatever the solution to paying for content is, it's not going to be an accountant or 'manager' who figures it out.

Comment Re:What is a code of conduct for? (Score 5, Insightful) 271

My own employers have an ethics code which is 33 pages of closely-spaced Maoist gibberish, most of which has nothing at all to do with the ethics of company, or managerial, behaviour and much of which is actually exhortations to blind obedience for employees. All corporations tend to authoritarianism, and these are the people who actually own the world, while blathering about freedom and democracy. The truth is that anyone employed by a large corporation spends most of their waking hours living in a totalitarian dictatorship - could this be what is wrong with Western Civilisation?

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