GBR48 comments

Posted in: Thomas the Tank Engine See in context

I'm surprised Japan doesn't make more use of its steam/early rail heritage, running services on lines that would otherwise be closed down or on main lines.

The UK has over 200 heritage railways and they are hugely popular. If a shinkansen line could accommodate an '0 series' train, tickets would sell by the bucket load.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Johnson voices caution over next lockdown easing in England See in context

I think a 4 week delay is inevitable and we are being softened up for it. It will give the scientists time to see whether the vaccination coverage is preventing consequent deaths.

The 'winter surge' associates it with the season, but Covid spreads regardless of the seasons. Increases happen after lockdowns end and will continue to until enough people are vaccinated. Research from Brazil suggests that it requires 75% adults fully vaccinated to break the chain of deaths. There would still be residual Covid, but the level of damage would be comparable to other diseases that we live with.

Unvaccinated nations will remain a threat to everyone else. I've always considered Aussies to be tough folk. I'm amazed some on here are avoiding a vaccine when a whinging Pom such as myself has now had two AZ jabs.

We don't know yet whether Covid will peter out or will persist. Our response to it has to be flexible and sensible. If it will not go, but vaccines drive down the death rate to a point comparable with other diseases that we live with, we should simply live with it, but target all outbreaks just as we do with all 'notifiable' diseases.

I can remember a period of panic over HIV and another over New Variant CJD. Both still exist but we have come to terms with them. There is no reason to believe that we will not also come to terms with Covid.

Variants will naturally be replaced by next generation ones, particularly during surges, and may appear anywhere as the virus naturally mutates. A mutation that is first recognised in one country may simply appear in another in this manner, without a direct link.

Japan's low numbers may be the result of receiving an early generation variant that effectively vaccinated folk against more serious variants. Europe and the US may have been hit by a more dangerous, next generation variant. To look for the first appearance of Covid, we may need to look for a 'generation zero' form of the virus that was entirely asymptomatic and spread without causing any or very mild health issues. Or it may have kicked off as a serious problem in humans after passing from animals. Time and research may tell.

'If we scamper down a rabbit hole every time we see a new variant, we’re going to spend a long time huddled away, so I think we do need to get a bit of balance in the discussion and keep our eyes on the serious disease that we’re trying to prevent.' [Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and an advisor to the British government.]

He also pointed out the need to vaccinate everyone to stop future variants emerging. Developed world nations need to speed up the supply of vaccines to poor countries.

Wherever you are on the planet, get vaccinated as soon as you can.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: What event did you hate most in elementary school? Survey asks Japanese adults See in context

UK. Sports day and some PE, especially in the summer.

I actually enjoyed playing football, squash and tennis, came 3rd in the school long distance run and have exercised at home most of my life, but 'organised' sports, being herded through a boiling/freezing shower with a dozen other kids, and anything on grass in the summer was unpleasant. I had really bad hayfever before there were any decent antihistamines. Summer sports used to make my hayfever so bad I'd often lose school time after it. My eyes would puff up so badly I wouldn't be able to see, and I'd sneeze non-stop. Even now, on robust anti-H, I garden in the summer with a facemask on, and did so for years before Covid. Hayfever was also a problem with summer exams. I had to implement my own personal lockdown to be OK for them.

I think the kids who were regularly bullied lived in terror of PE lessons. The only thing worse for those kids than being bullied was probably being naked at the time.

Having gym equipment as a school option encourages kids to keep fit. Forcing them to be the worst kid on the team in something that they are rubbish at, destroys their self-confidence and puts them off for life.

I've never been a fan of hockey, having been accidentally whacked in the head rather hard during one session.

Squash was unusual as it was undertaken a mini-bus ride away and we were (uniquely in PE) a mixed group.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Ready to travel abroad again? Watch out for superbugs, study says See in context

Hopefully this is just misplaced opportunism. It makes it look like scientists are using health issues and biosecurity to shut down international travel by underhand means.

Humanity has been crossing borders for thousands of years. We won't stop now. If governments force us to, permanently, under scientific pretences as this, the majority, rather than a minority, will start to revise their opinion of Covid and they will turn on their politicians.

Politicians who lie to their citizens lose their mandate to govern. Disposing of them then becomes an ethical necessity. Scientists should not push their luck. They are not the most popular people in the world at the moment, as it is.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: U.S. state of Ohio sues to have Google declared a public utility See in context

-Google should be ... subject to government regulation.

It already is. That's why you see so few results on Google Search now, and why so many of them are completely random and useless. It is already 'regulated' by government, 'regulated' being a euphemism for 'censored'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Have an Echo device? Amazon may help itself to your Wi-Fi See in context

There are a load of really good reasons to implement permissive WiFi protocols universally, allowing a proportion of everyone's WiFi to be interactively accessible, in a sandboxed environment. This would start with public service issues like emergency alarms, IoT environmental sensors and the like, and could permit private services to apply for access.

Users would retain control with simple up-front options built into operating systems.

It would be one component option in the array of distributed and peer to peer networking technologies that can initiate a new wave of services, from WiFi based distributed networking to walkie talkie apps.

Not sure this is the best way to roll it out.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: Automakers face a threat to EV sales: Slow charging times See in context

They should have made the battery packs as slide-out replaceables.

Service stations could switch from selling petrol or diesel to swopping out batteries for fully charged ones.

That would be a little more of a task than switching a couple of AA cells, but with standardised batteries (and they really should have standardised batteries, because it has worked really well with small batteries for decades), it would be do-able.

Don't these industries ever plan ahead?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Preventing heat stroke is important, too, but without masks, more people will be deemed to have been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient, and that will lead to a school shutdown. Maintaining a balance is difficult. See in context

It's too hot for kids to exercise outdoors during the hottest weather. Switch to gym work, stay hydrated and turn up the air con. If covid is a concern, give the kids exercise routines as homework and they can do it solo in their home or back yard in the cooler evenings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: IATA warns of potential airport chaos See in context

-1.5 hours in travel processes.

I'm not sure that is true. Most of the time is spent waiting, not doing things. Doing more things in the waiting time wouldn't extend it.

You might queue for a few minutes to check in your baggage and to go through security, but most of the time you are just waiting for your flight to open and then waiting to get on the plane.

A few extra procedures wouldn't add anything to that. You'd just be doing them or in a queue for them instead of sitting waiting.

Arrivals always takes time, but checking a standardised vaccination notification, on paper, in a passport or on a smartphone, wouldn't add much more. Current delays are because staff numbers have been cut back during the pandemic and not increased when flights opened up again.

Covid testing can also be done during normal waiting time. The problem in airports is having the dedicated space to do it.

Paper based systems like passports are reliable. They work without batteries, don't require you to own up to date kit, and there is no software to crash.

There is no reason why an official barcode or even an adhesive chip cannot be inserted into your passport to deal with this.

A reliance on smartphones - the thing most people drop, lose or have stolen, is a bad idea.

Are Apple and Google lobbying for this on the sly?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Apple faces employee resistance in office return plan: report See in context

Apple is atypical. These folks get decent wages. Many have spacious American homes. That's not the same in other countries where homes are smaller and often ill-suited to homeworking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Global crackdown on organized crime after high-tech U.S.-Australia sting See in context

Generally beneficial that they target criminals rather than treat us all as potential criminals and try to spy on everyone. Much more efficient and effective too.

I wonder which VPN the LEAs are operating.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Do not come': Harris seeks 'hope at home' for Guatemalans See in context

Statue of Liberty: 'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.'

Trump: 'Do not come'

Harris: 'Do not come'.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: AI is taking over job hiring, but can it be racist? See in context

Bias is likely. Good machine learning tries to mimic human responses, so it will mimic their bias too. That means you don't really want 'AI', you want 'robotic' - Programmed behaviours that actively erase human bias. But even if you intervene and directly program the tech, rather than 'teaching' it from real world examples, it won't be up to the job. Tech cannot contextualise the data it takes in, the way an experienced human can.

I would not want any business of mine to rely on this sort of tech. HR is important and I would want the people to be doing the hiring to be really good at it. New hires are your firm's future. You'd have to be insane to rely on some third party bunch of algorithms over a good interviewer that you trust. All these companies are doing is shifting responsibility for bad decisions on to technology.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Nike commercial about gender inequality in Japan receives backlash online See in context

Leaving the comments section open and not censoring the abusive responses was clever. Impressive stuff.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Posted in: Why ransomware is so dangerous and hard to stop See in context

What next? A government fund for those who leave their front doors open when they go on holiday?

Don't put your key systems - public utilities etc - online.

Have proper, offline back-ups. That's your data and enough kit to operate it on in an emergency.

Air gap your intranet from the public internet.

Train your staff.

Your IT security is the most important part of your business, so pay more for it, and less to your golf-loving CEO, turn-up twice a year board and 'donations' to politicians. IT security is too often done on the cheap.

Better still, switch to systems that design out the problem. Don't store a cache of data on your system or run all of your data through your servers. Use distributed topologies that store users' data on their own systems in encrypted wallets.

If you can afford IT you can afford to secure it. If you rely on IT, you cannot afford to leave it insecure.

No insurance company should cover a company for ransomware without stress testing their IT. If it fails, you aren't covered.

Allowing legal take-downs of botnets is controversial because it legalises the private hacking of victims' computers. It will go wrong quickly. Instead of ransomware gangs taking down hospital systems, private hackers will be doing it as they target the systems of folk who have no idea that their tech, or the tech of their ISP/cloud provider is hosting a botnet. It already happens, but it is typically done by GAFA working with state agencies, so there is usually at least one competent person able to prevent unwise actions.

The easiest solution is for governments to engage with each other instead of behaving like angry four year olds.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan considers sending coronavirus vaccines to Vietnam: report See in context

-'boundless charity'? I'd like to think so, but I really doubt it.

Jgov: Well, we aren't using the AZ, so you could have some. Remind us again of your position on whaling, Huawei and Chinese investment...

After the initial 'shock and awe' governments are now exploiting Covid as much as they can.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Australia's Victoria state reports five new COVID-19 cases; Delta cluster grows See in context

The virus is constantly mutating. The same mutation may occur in different places at different times, randomly. Australia may have just been unlucky.

Lockdowns and other measures are an emergency option but are not a solution. Vaccination is the only (potential) solution. Australia needs to speed up its vaccination programme.

We are either going to get two years of this or are being gently transitioned into a permanent state of movement restrictions. Only time will tell.

Current rules tend to suggest the latter. The rich, powerful, politicians, sports stars and movie stars can fly, like in the early years of travel, but the rest of us are banned.

It wouldn't surprise me if each geopolitical bloc eventually gets its own variant of concern.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Nishimura says TPP to start talks on UK joining pact See in context

Brexit hammered my finances from the collapse in the value of sterling at the referencum. Costs have increased across the board, some suppliers no longer deliver to the UK and I've stopped exporting. Brexit was economic suicide. They are using Covid and unnecessarily extensive lockdowns to cover it up and the media is pandering to the government, not mentioning it. Lack of migrant labour is damaging what it left of some sectors. A bizarre attempt to internalise tourism by locking us all in the UK has resulted in an upsurge of anti-social behaviour in crowded tourist areas. The UK is an isolated economic train wreck run by clowns. Yet Johnson will just keep handing out borrowed cash and winning elections. Partly because the opposition have all but collapsed. Partly because a democratic nation is only as good as the quality of its electorate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. gov't finds no evidence aerial sightings were alien spacecraft: New York Times See in context

'Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buqtdpuZxvk

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Huawei rolls out its own operating system to smartphones See in context

@2020hindsights

Apple are a US corporate and obey US national security laws, with all that that entails.

As for privacy, I guess it depends upon whom you don't want to be tracked by.

Any system with a US OS is reasonably easy pickings for the NSA and by extension the governments of Western nations. That includes systems in China-allied nations. The USG's anti-Huawei crusade has undermined that highly useful 'access', speeding up the roll-out of a China-centric family of OSs that will be a bit harder for the NSA to productively explore, giving Chinese-allied users more privacy from Uncle Sam.

I'm sure NSA spooks would have much preferred everyone to still be using US-based systems.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Huawei rolls out its own operating system to smartphones See in context

Most people distrust GAFA as much as they do Beijing, and assume that their own government is spying on them.

Enforced use of Google apps is a memory hogging, endlessly updating pain on Android. Google services are available from any browser on any smartphone.

All the US have done is forced a competitor to innovate faster. It will be interesting to see how it works.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Platformers are sucking up user data, and analyzing and processing it in various ways we don't know about to turn it into products. Every move we make can be tracked 24/7 and the data analyzed. Eventually, our emotions and desires will be controlled based on this data, and our behavior changed. See in context

I think this is incorrect and unnecessary scaremongering.

Big data, like AI, vehicular autonomy and blockchain have all been wildly oversold.

We've had decades of GAFA scraping our data to better direct advertising at us, a service for which they charge. And yet the result is really quite poor. You would do better spending the money on a traditional, innovative and creative advertising campaign.

'AI' is not an artificial version of human intelligence. It's a bundle of algorithms. And it is still really quite bad at contextualisation. Computers are at their best when they behave logically, but the things that power human ability go beyond the logical. When this is attempted using machine learning, it doesn't always go so well. Even if the algorithms are well done, more closely matching human responses, they will copy human prejudices and be condemned.

Autonomy in vehicles may only ever be rudimentary, and blockchain is just a variant databasing system.

When tech does work well (such as the early years of Google Search, AV distribution, VPNs and distributed systems) it is likely to be banned, restricted or censored.

So don't fall for the spiel. Tech is not something to be scared of. And don't blame tech if it is used in a socially toxic way. That is the fault of those that are using it in that way. Nobody ever shut down the postal service because someone sent a poison pen letter, or banned cars because or RTAs. So why condemn tech simply because some use it unethically.

The level of manipulation possible with the internet is pretty much the same as it always was before the internet. Adverts may persuade us to try a new product, or not. Manipulated news/propaganda may reinforced our prejudices or be laughed at and dismissed. Liars will lie and gullible people will believe them.

The internet and GAFA are not game changers here. More of a concern is the increase in manipulation of news and in the restrictions placed on what we can and cannot do, offline and online. That has nothing to do with the internet, and everything to do with governments 'taking back control' from their own citizens. It is a political shift, not a technological one. That, we should all worry about, as it is progressively transforming Orwell's dystopia into reality.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Australian court upholds ban on most international travel See in context

Judiciary and executive are as one, like two happy turtle doves. The citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Australia have no wish or need to leave and are all happy. Five year plan working. Glorious Leader Morrison 100% popular in official polls. Will ride to summit of sacred mountain on unicorn to celebrate beating of virus.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Why do you think embassies in Japan are not offering vaccinations to their citizens? See in context

It would be understandable in the (very few) countries that are prioritising their own nationals over foreign nationals.

It might be diplomatically awkward in somewhere like Japan, which has just been really slow to vaccinate.

In Okinawa, the US could have offered to help out, vaccinating everyone in return for the hosting of the naval base, although I doubt any offer of assistance would have been acceptable to central government.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia's Victoria COVID-19 cluster swells to 51 See in context

Tracing and lockdowns are emergency measures, not an alternative to vaccination.

Vaccinate. As many people as you can, as quickly as you can, starting with the most vulnerable. Australia, despite its size, has a relatively small population of 25m. Get on with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Are you in favor of vaccination passports for international travel? See in context

Assorted vaccinations have always been required for travel to various countries. It's not a new idea.

A vaccine passport is inevitable. It should allow those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons to be able to declare this and be accepted for travel as long as they test negative before the flight.

Travel insurance for medical costs should also now be a requirement.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: UK may require NHS workers to take COVID-19 vaccine See in context

It's not particularly contentious. Covid vaccinations for the general public in the UK are (quite rightly) voluntary (and take-up has been high). The stats suggest that hospitals and care homes have been the source of a considerable percentage of severe cases. It seems reasonable to expect that those who want to work in these professions have a Covid vaccination. So this is that rarest of beasts, a sensible Tory policy.

The opposition (what there is of it) are picking the wrong policy to attack, despite having so much Tory failure and corruption to pick from.

The worst was not mandating general mask use. It's still only required in shops and on public transport. In a pandemic! You'd think the British public would have enough sense to wear them of their own volition, without having to be told to. But no. They didn't and aren't. Either too ignorant, too lazy or too arrogant - take your pick. More than anything, that may explain the elevated death stats. That failure of government policy would have been worth going after, but the opposition supported the government and so are complicit in the consequent deaths, whilst the BBC never criticised it, having switched from being a public service broadcaster to being a well-behaved state broadcaster.

The 'recruitment crisis' in the NHS is due to endless Tory cuts, Brexit and the great Covid repatriation with borders being sealed. More than most employers, the NHS has always been dependent upon migrant workers. This was repeatedly flagged before Brexit. Nationalist policies have chased them away and now, like the remaining rump of the hospitality industry, there aren't enough staff.

The BBC are being obedient, not mentioning the B-word or the loss of migrant workers when covering the shortages of products and staff in various sectors. They are just citing 'supply chain issues' and Covid. If all else fails, they will probably blame China.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Sex workers, AV actresses tread lightly when searching for a spouse See in context

Given the judgmental tone of some of the comments on here, I guess all of these folks must have married virgins, as virgins and have both stayed loyal.

Does it really make a difference to you if your partner used to be paid after shaking the bed springs with previous partners, or not?

Paying for sex is like a PAYG phone contract - what you want, when you want it. Marriage is a subscription - some additional perks but a lock in, that can prove to be expensive.

Another difference is the sex. Pros are often very, very good at it. The rest of us are unlikely to be as good as we think we are. I wonder how many couples talk about that honestly?

Do folk fear losing a partner to one of their film star colleagues on the grounds of familiarity, shared interests or technical merit? Pros are generally expert at separating business and pleasure - much more than Hollywood sometimes suggests.

The STD issue may concern many, but I wonder how many folk begin a relationship with a hand-in-hand trip to the clap clinic for tests. And once in a relationship, do you just continue on trust?

Perhaps we just hang far too much baggage on the sexual component of our lives. That alone may be damaging to our 'mental hygiene'.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Posted in: Follow me See in context

In the UK local councils can set a limit on the number of dogs that can be walked at any one time. Four is the usual limit.

Four may be a handful if you encounter a Rottweiler that has slipped its lead, as my neighbour's used to. She was a playful, friendly dog, but having a fully grown Rotty bounding towards you barking her loud, throaty bark at the chance of making a new friend was too much for some folk. Those walking their (inevitably smaller) dogs didn't always respond well.

It's possible that the photojournalist asked him to remove his mask for the shot. If you are going to get snapped for your moment of fame, most of us would briefly oblige. Nice to see everyone else masked up. You see more masks littering the streets than on peoples' faces in the UK.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 male police officers, one female officer reprimanded after sex in koban, station See in context

I really must get a Line account.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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