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Comment Re:Passing the buck? (Score 1) 120

And when you argue that "That's a long way from it being used to deny a criminal electricy (sic)" you're overlooking the obvious - meter tampering is and of itself, as is theft of electricity.

I'm not overlooking the obvious. They cut off the electricity when the electricity use itself is either wired dangerously, or itself being stolen. There is a definite correlation between grow-ops stealing electricty, and of violating all building codes when runnign their lighting wiring.

But that is a long way from cutting off power that is wired safely to code, that is being paid for properly, simply because it is being used in support of a criminal enterprise.

Comment Re:£35 to sell (expenses only), ~£900 (Score 1) 58

The UK has a nontrivial donor shortage for a reason; but I suspect that their handling charges aren't actually all that exorbitant.

Unless you are just running some back alley turkey baster clinic, the expectation is that you will get a full medical history on the donors(both to avoid unpleasant heritable conditions and to keep STIs out of the system); do QA on the donations for sperm count, motility, absence of malformation; tests for any STIs; and finally prepare for cryopreservation until somebody wants the stuff.

It's not as cutting edge as it used to be, so there is probably heavier use of cheap lab techs and automation rather than MDs and PhDs doing bench work; but rigorous handling of biological material for administration to human patients isn't inexpensive.

Comment This is bullshit. (Score 1) 58

I realize that 'apps' are the future and all; but "a sperm bank is now an app" is pure nonsense. A sperm bank took their existing search tools, as provided on the only-for-old-people-and-desktops "web" and wrapped it in an interface more suitable for finger painting. I'm pretty sure that their big cryogenic storage facility didn't migrate to the cloud at the same time. Why is this even a story?

Comment Re:Will their implementation allow tracking? (Score 2) 54

When banks implement blockchains, will their version allow tracking of all the individuals involved in the whole chain?

Of course it will. They want to use a blockchain for maintaining an efficient high-speed ledger of all bank-to-bank transactions. When you do a funds transfer from, for your account to an account at another bank, they'll write an entry to the block chain and both parties will be able to validate the time at which the transaction occurred. Having an unforgeable ledger is the entire point of the system that they're proposing.

Comment Re:Best selling computer? (Score 1) 228

I'm surprised that it was that few. I remember seeing them for £50 in Argos about a decade after they were first released. They were incredibly popular as games machines and a load of shops had a row of C64 game tapes for around 50p each (NES games were around £10, if I remember correctly, at the same time).

Comment Re:A Lot of Effort to Bury the Lede (Score 1) 106

There's no vast left- or right-wing media conspiracy. There's a small number of owners of the mainstream press, and they will not print anything that directly contradicts the interests of these owners. This has no allegiance to any political party or ideology other than a desire for certain individuals to increase their personal power.

Various governments have allowed mergers and acquisitions among news companies until there's very little independent press. Most countries don't want to regulate press freedom too heavily (for good reason - there's a very fine line between regulating truth in journalism and forcing propaganda and it's incredibly easy for the former to slip into the latter), so we're left with the majority of the population being informed by untrustworthy sources.

Comment Re:Pretty shocking (Score 1) 108

I find the map pretty surprising. Zoom in on the UK, and most of England is yellow (11-15 g/m3), but Reading (dense traffic, industrial areas, lots of diesel trains passing through) is green (<10), yet completely surrounded by yellow areas. I'd probably be inclined to trust the point samples, but their averaging between them looks like it's nonsense. The middle of Wales is pretty green, but with squares of yellow. The green makes sense (it's basically a big space full of hills and sheep), but the yellow doesn't seem to correspond with any human habitation or industry.

Comment Re: don't get your hope up (Score 1) 247

Indeed. Under the Consumer Rights Act and the earlier Sale of Goods Act, you are entitled to a refund for a variety of reasons. Any claims made by the seller that influenced your decision and are false gives you grounds for a refund (or a replacement with a version that meets these requirements). I had the battery on an Apple laptop fail after the warranty expired, but because of the SoGA they replaced it without quibble: their website claimed that it would retain 80% of its charge after 300 discharge cycles and the system monitor showed that it was retaining about 15% of its charge after about 120 complete cycles.

Comment Re:What exactly are they doing with it? (Score 4, Insightful) 54

It's a distributed trust network, right? Why would banks that survive on trust want that distributed?

Well there's two parts to it, one is the "chain" property where like git's commits it's not possible to edit one transaction later and have it go unnoticed. You can run independent background audits that confirm that this blockchain state corresponds to these transactions and account balances. It's a lot more difficult than adding one fraudulent transaction by itself, like that somebody deposited cash in your account when they never did. Obviously if you can add "genuine" transaction to the chain that's different, but they can be validated in the process.

The other part is inter-bank transactions where it's essential that everybody agrees on the state of affairs. I wouldn't use the "proof of work" but rather signatures of trusted parties, one party one vote. If 100 banks get an inter-bank ledger, 98 of 100 agree on the block chain all the alarms should go off in the last two banks. With signing and countersigning it's pretty hard to go back on anything as 100 banks have digitially signed that they saw your bank digitally sign that this block chain is correct. Because it's harder than you think to find one trusted master to rule them all, both domestically and internationally. Everybody wants to do their own verification which is exactly what block chains provides.

Comment Re:Passing the buck? (Score 1) 120

Both links aren't really about shutting down power to curtail illegal activity, per se. Both struck me as more safety related -- in the first they mention illegally bypassed meters (theft of electricty) as well as the status of the buildings being unsafe for human habitation etc (due to mold, humidity, and dangerous wiring etc... ) The power was NOT cut because generic illegal activity had taken place ... it was cut because the wiring situation there was a hazard.

Likewise, the 2nd article, the main reason the power was off was the wiring around the electrical box needed to corrected and repaired. The grow-up allegation was incidental -- the electricy would have been shut off even the meter replacement guy had been invited in for tea and given a tour of the place. The root issue was the unsafe wiring. He couldn't legally attach the meter and turn the power back on until the wiring was corrected.

So, thank you for the links, but I don't feel they've really demonstrated anything except that the power will be cut off if the wiring has been illegally tampered with and/or is a hazard. That's a long way from it being used to deny a criminal electricy as part of a curb on his ability to commit a crime.

Comment Re:Passing the buck? (Score 2) 120

They are, for better or worse, more materially related to your illegal business.

And that's i guess where you are trying to 'draw the line' between peripherally or incidentally related and 'materially' related. But i don't think it's a very clear line -- perhaps snowclearing my driveway is on one side and fedex actually carrying packages for me is on the other?

But without both, my milk isn't going anywhere; so who's to say that the snow clearing isn't material?

As for the vendor selling me cows and milking isn't that like arguing the gun store is somehow responsible for what people do with them?

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