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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Another, completely Re:Contracts (307 comments)

Standard contracts for routine purchases can't contain completely unexpected things in the fine print. If the contract said check-out is 9:30 in the morning, that would be surprising, but wouldn't be out of place. If it said that checking out later than 9:30 would automatically add a day to your billed visit, that would be completely unexpected, and the hotel would have trouble enforcing it unless it was in boldface and underlined so it couldn't be missed. There is a difference between a contract negotiated between lawyers, and something that the client has reason to expect is boilerplate standard. Isn't the legal term "an idiot in a hurry" or something similar? IANAL, but the Trading Standards office seems to think the contract was of questionable validity.

about a month ago
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Gridlock In Action: Retailers Demand New Regulations To Protect Consumers

Another, completely Re:Permission to be secure (127 comments)

And if your competitors have to do it also, then they can't undercut you with their simpler and cheaper (although less secure) systems.

about a month and a half ago
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Security Company Tries To Hide Flaws By Threatening Infringement Suit

Another, completely Re:Patent infringement (124 comments)

Explain claims like "Claim 8: Claim 3 in which module 12 is composed of steel and glass" or some such thing. If it were all or nothing, why would you break them out in the first place?

about 2 months ago
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Security Company Tries To Hide Flaws By Threatening Infringement Suit

Another, completely Re:If you can't do, sue! (124 comments)

They didn't threaten him for studying the algorithm, the note is about publishing code that implements their proprietary encryption algorithm. It seems more likely that they are worried about a competitor building compatible devices. If they allowed a freely published GPL implementation to be distributed without challenge, somebody might say that was implicitly approving of its distribution and therefore permitting compatible devices to be legally sold that interact with their proprietary system. I'm not sure whether that would hold up in court, but it would certainly drag out the proceedings.

From the letter, this isn't shooting the messenger so much as normal protection of a proprietary product. If somebody eventually convinces the public that it's insecure, they will deal with that later; maybe they will even have fixed their systems by then. The important thing for now is that whatever systems are out there are all genuinely from INSIDE Secure.

about 2 months ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Another, completely Re:Of course they're giving a 6-year transition (259 comments)

For a more typical example, Starbucks is still fresh in public memory. They sold a lot of coffee in the UK, but made no profit there because their income and expenses were the same, so no UK tax. On the other hand, their Swiss coffee bean distribution business was very profitable. You might say they were paying too much for the beans in order to artificially boost the profits of their Swiss company (low tax) at the expense of their UK company (high tax), but they say that if you want good beans, they cost money, and the high profitability of their bean distribution was because it was a slick, high-quality operation.

Obviously, that's over-simplifying but, even for this version, how do you fix it? For your Microsoft example, who decides how much would be a fair price for Dublin to pay the Redmond business, given that there is no chance of an open bidding process with the single supplier who also happens to own the Dublin company?

about 2 months ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Another, completely Re:Of course they're giving a 6-year transition (259 comments)

Taxes should always be paid where the revenue was generated

That's an argument for the U.S.A. closing loopholes that allow companies not to pay tax there. Higher taxes in Ireland won't change the amount of tax due in the U.S.A. It may encourage some companies to declare income differently, which may indirectly cause more tax to be paid in the U.S.A., but if you want the taxes paid where the money was earned, don't look at where it was sent; look at what allowed the companies to claim it wasn't domestic income in the first place.

about 2 months ago
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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Another, completely Re:Simple answer (942 comments)

It's not a question of who invented it, it's a matter of calculating 20% of £4 8/4.

about 3 months ago
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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Another, completely Re:Simple answer (942 comments)

If that system had been kept, what would have happened to the introduction of VAT?

about 3 months ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

Another, completely Re:I can't change my fingerprint (383 comments)

It's more likely that your biometric would just unlock a stick that you carry around with you. The stick would then use an internally-generated key to authenticate you to the remote site.

about 4 months ago
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John McAfee Airs His Beefs About Privacy In Def Con Surprise Talk

Another, completely Re:He wasn't thinking of Google... (124 comments)

Why not? I'm pretty sure it was my search engine of choice by some time in 1998. It was just better than Yahoo! (exclamation point is theirs, not mine). Not sure I ever remember liking Alta Vista. You couldn't trade shares in a company called Google, but something called Google was clearly gathering a lot of information and sorting it effectively.

about 4 months ago
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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

Another, completely Re:Not swarm, or SWARM, but Swarm (80 comments)

The Economist had an article a couple of weeks ago about a NASA-funded project.

Stone Aerospace named the penetrator VALKYRIE. This is not in reference to the Norse deity but rather because it needed “a frickin’ cool acronym”, Dr Stone says.

A refreshing dose of honesty.

about 5 months ago
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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

Another, completely Re:not North Pole drift (80 comments)

the north pole itself can only be moving in a southern direction if you think about it.

No, it's just a good hockey player, like you would expect of the north pole. As the Great One said, it skates "to where the pole will be." That's the real northerly direction.

about 5 months ago
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Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

Another, completely Re:but that's the problem with the turing test... (309 comments)

I don't think a chat bot was what Turing had in mind in any case. A bot that was intelligent enough to be able to LEARN and SPEAK well enough that another human couldn't tell the difference between it and another human is the point.

That's why it will be very hard to pass. In the '80s the trick was to ask anything about current affairs because the computer had no real access to information about the world. Now that we have the web, the trick will presumably be to spot someone who is too well-informed. The computer will need to learn how to pretend to know less than it does in order to fit in, which might actually be an appropriate final test to identify intelligence. Unfortunately.

Everything we see now is trying to win the letter of the turing test and ignoring the spirit. Turing's point was that if we can make it able to reason as well as we can we no longer have the right to deny it as intelligent life. Scripts that skip the reasoning and learning part and just try to con the judges are just attempts to cheat at the test.

Thanks for saying it. +1 Insightful.

about 6 months ago
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MIT Used Lobbying, Influence To Restore Nuclear Fusion Dream

Another, completely Re:Article doesn't go into details about quality (135 comments)

I think the general argument is that fusion shouldn't produce any dangerous waste at all. On that basis, I would expect the group you mention to be for it. I've heard that current test reactors produce byproducts that are dangerous, but that these are not strictly necessary for the power generation, so it might be possible to produce a reactor that emits only helium.

I guess that's part of the reason it needs further research.

about 6 months ago
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Bill Watterson (briefly) Returns To Comics

Another, completely Re:If only Bill Waterson inspired other cartoonist (119 comments)

Gary Trudeau kept Doonesbury going daily until last year. Now it's only weekly, but still great, and has been consistently great since the seventies. He only dropped the frequency to give time for his new main job writing for Alpha House.

about 6 months ago
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Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Another, completely Re:Professors poor in geography (688 comments)

Deserves a funny mod, although it would make the North American Free Trade Agreement less controversial.

about 7 months ago
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Heartbleed: Revenue Canada breached, 900 SINs leaked

Another, completely Why? (1 comments)

From the article:

Based on our analysis to date, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) of approximately 900 taxpayers were removed from CRA systems by someone exploiting the Heartbleed vulnerability.

What can you do with 900 Canadian SINs? Maybe use them to send convincing links to a false tax payment site, but anyone who clicks on an e-mail link to a payment site could probably have been fooled without the SIN.

about 8 months ago
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Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood

Another, completely Re:It's a trick (138 comments)

If I had points, I would vote you up. My pineal gland told me to. It also told me to pass the cheese dip, but I'm out of crackers.

about 9 months ago
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Estimate: Academic Labs 11 Times More Dangerous Than Industrial Counterparts

Another, completely DOW (153 comments)

On first reading, I thought that would be Department of Works or something. Since when is DOW capitalized? It's named after a person.

about 9 months ago

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