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Comment Re:Colossus (Score 2) 209

A great film, and one of the few that manages to seriously consider the advent of a real AI yet avoid the "Mad Computer" trope that usually comes with that. Worthy of a link at the very least.

On the other hand, he may be one of the worlds greatest minds, but I truly wish Hawking would stop spouting off on subjects so well-removed from his area of expertise. He's about as well-suited to lecture on artificial intelligence as he is to be the next host of The Great British Bake-Off.

Comment Re: The FOIA is not broken (Score 1) 116

Once again Yes, Minister shows itself to be a frighteningly accurate look at how government works:

Sir Humphrey: Minister I have something to say to you which you may not like to hear.
Jim: Why should today be any different?
Sir Humphrey: Minister, the traditional allocation of executive responsibilities has always been so determined as to liberate the Ministerial incumbent from the administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial functions to those whose experience and qualifications have better formed them for the performance of such humble offices, thereby releasing their political overlords for the more onerous duties and profound deliberations which are the inevitable concomitant of their exalted position.
Jim: Now, whatever made you think I wouldn't want to hear that?
Sir Humphrey: Well I thought it might upset you.
Jim: How could it, I didn't understand a single word. Humphrey for God's sake, for once in your life put it into plain English.
Sir Humphrey: If you insist. You are not here to run this Department.
Jim: I beg your pardon.
Sir Humphrey: You are not here to run this Department.
Jim: I think I am. The people think I am too!
Sir Humphrey: With respect Minister you are... they are wrong.
Jim: And who does run this Department?
Sir Humphrey: I do.

Comment Re:The way to do it (Score 4, Informative) 222

Also, chip+pin does nothing to help with online sales, or any sales where they simply choose not to use a chip+pin transaction. Someone can copy down your card number and expiration date and make transactions.

If you RTFS* you'd see that the card number isn't what changes, it's the CVV2 code on the back of the card. For a long time you've needed these three digits for any "customer not present" transactions (phone or online orders), so just writing down the card number isn't nearly as big a risk as it was in the past.

What this new card does makes it very difficult to do are CNP transactions without having the card physically present; scammers could copy the details but they'd only be good for an hour at most, and most merchants would be wary of dispatching goods to somewhere other than the billing address at least for the first time they're provided with that card's details.

*Easily forgiven when the headline gets it wrong too.

Comment Re:What w@nker thought this was a good idea?? (Score 1) 65

Here the childs welfare is paramount, so men who are not even the father, and the child is a result of adultery, can be forced to pay child support, while the actual father does not. Kooky stuff.

Actually that's how it works in the UK too, estranged lesbian couples notwithstanding. If you're the biological father of a child or you've officially adopted them you have to pay child support, even if the child was conceived out of wedlock. That includes adultery, one night stands etc.

It's not unheard of for a man to raise a child as his own from birth without having any legal obligation to pay child support if he and the mother were to separate. If one were to take a rather callous view one could argue that a man shouldn't have an obligation to support a child he wasn't responsible for bringing into the world. A family court might order differently but that's the way the official child support scheme works in the UK and I fancy that such an order would be on shaky legal ground. (In the UK child support is handled by either the courts or a separate government agency; from what I've heard only the family courts deal with it in the US.)

In the assisted fertilisation example you gave the donor would not have to pay as they aren't legally the child's parent, unless the "donation" was made the old-fashioned way.

Comment Re:Network consumption is consumption (Score 2) 229

A 100 megabit network can only move 100 megabits in a second, so a person moving 100 mbps is consuming the entire network.

This is where your analogy falls down; that never happens.

Look at it this way:
The Oreo factory can only make n Oreos a day.
The Oreo company will let you take one cookie a day for a buck a month.
The Oreo company makes that agreement with >>n people.
Some people actually do take one cookie every day, and the Oreo company declares that they should pay more than a buck.

This in itself doesn't have to be a dick move; all the Oreo company need do is be honest about how many cookies one can really take. The alternative is to follow the All-You-Can-Eat buffets' example: suck it up and build a bigger Oreo factory.

ISPs need to stop advertising capped connections as "unlimited", "infinite" or the like. The problem is that the people who do transfer enough to find themselves on the ISP's shit list are too few in number to achieve more than "*Subject to a Fair Usage Policy that we won't show you." in 8pt text at the bottom of the billboard.

Comment Re:3COM robots are 3-laws safe! (Score 1) 68

How would those laws be applied to military robots designed to kill? Replace "human being" with with "American"?

They wouldn't be, obviously. Robots don't have to obey the three laws unless we build them that way.

From Alistair Reynolds:
She snapped her attention back to the snake. “Are you Asimov-compliant?”

“No,” the robot said, with a sting of indignation.

Comment Re:Clearly a hoax (Score 1) 77

Yeah, free dental care up to the age of 18, plus free dental care to those who can't afford it after that, and free dental care to those over 65.

Emphasis mine. Even if you can afford it dentistry is heavily subsidised. I went to have a wisdom tooth removed but found out there was an abscess there. It took three trips in all with some x-rays thrown in for good measure but I still only ended up paying £50-something for the extraction and £7-something for the antibiotics. I can't even imagine how much that would have cost in the US, even with insurance.

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