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Letters The US government has decided to hang on to control of the net's root servers. Not an entirely unanticipated move, but one that will, as they say, have repercussions. Lots of cross Americans immediately wrote to us to explain why we should be pleased that Uncle Sam is still in charge:

The US created the internet. Next thing you'll be telling book publishers to take Charles Dickens name off of his books. The US is the US. The government of the USA isn't required to think globally. It's job is to protect and serve the US. In doing so we work hard at building a global economy and strengthening local economies, such as in Iraq, but in the end these are US interests. It benefits us to benefit others. That doesn't mean that we should release our ownership of our own assets.

Keith


So what?

So the root servers stay in US control. News flash: they've been in US control from the beginning! BIGGER news flash: they WORK! RELIABLY!!

Talk about blowing something completely out of proportion; you've taken a pimple and represented it as an active volcano!

So the server that says "all requests for .uk go this way" and "all .com requests go that way". BIG FREAKIN' DEAL. It's not as if the US Gov is going to shut down .uk requests on a whimsey.

Besides, you'd rather give control over (completely) to the CF that is ICANN?? Yeah, you'd be doing us all a favor.

Vince


Bush did not annex the internet. In case you and many others have forgotten..the US invented the internet..technically it is ours. We frankly do nat HAVE to allow nayone else on it. It has grown worldwide due to our goodwill in letting the world use it for free. Let's keep these facts in mind before more senseless headlines like this appear.

William


I would like to strenuously object to the biased, anti-American tone of your article titled "Bush administration annexes internet." The article abandons any pretense of journalistic objectivity.

Larry

Well, you would say that, wouldn't you...?


Once again, we are accused of hugging trees for our reasonably neutral coverage of Indymedia's server seizure. Or, maybe we shopped 'em to the old bill. Tch tch tch, What are we to do?

Why why why does The Register consistently support those irresponsible sods at indymedia..... They should be locked up with Geldof for insitement to riot... I suppose you will be there in Scotland at the G8 smashing up a McDonalds or scaring small children... Get a life, you friggin tree huggers......... If any of those soap dodgers damage my 4x4 im gonna runn them down... Enviromentalism is just an excuse for hippies to sit on their arses all day moanin about capitalism.....

THEY HAVE DAMAGED A TRAIN FULL OF CARS. I WORK FOR A CAR COMPANY AND IF THEY HAVE DAMAGED CARS THEN THEY DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I CAME DOWN THE REGISTER AND STARTED SMASHING UP YOUR OFFICE..........

Michael

We should point our facilities are well defended by trained vultures. (More on them later).


Right I get it. So a dissaffected member of El Reg, seeking revenge or other such motive, posts ambiguious, veiled threats and then, here's the good part, calls the old bill and informs them of what he's 'read' and further suggests that they can catch him by seizing the servers and digging up ip addresses. Good idea, now where's that list of UK proxy servers?

Ian


Men behaving badly are to blame for a huge surge in spyware infections, according to a survey. Naturally some of you think this is because we women are all home tending the house/garden/knitting/milkman rather than using those funny computery things in actual offices. Everyone else blames Bill Gates:

Before men are taken out into the street and shot for spreading spyware and viruses, I demand to know if the study considered other reasons why men might show up as the main culprits.

How many men use computers regularly? I'd hypothesis that a man spends far more time staring at the electron gun than his female counterpart, who is still culturaly expected to do all the child rearing and housework.

Are there variations in pattern with jobs? It is accepted fact that there are more men in higher managerial and executive positions than women. These tend to be the positions which involve recieving information from goodness knows where and ... doing whatever it is fat cats do.

Jeffrey


Half right. I blame one man for the spyware surge.

Bill Gates.

Microsoft could kill off 90% of the viruses and spyware with a few simple changes to Internet Explorer. Just split it down the middle, a sandboxed version for the web that has no active content support, and a visually and functionally separate application that provides the hooks for active content... but that application controls what files and (when necessary) websites are visible, so there's no common tool that's used for "trusted" applications and for untrustable websites.

I expected Microsoft to do this in 1997, when the first email worms hit.

Then when the DoJ really started to go after them, I figured it would give them the perfect excuse to secure the program.

But no, they have just kept screwing up year after year after year, and there's no good reason for it. It's all down to ego.

One man's ego.

THAT's who you should be placing the blame on.

Peter


The Ofcom report on BT was published yesterday, and didn't it just make for fascinating reading. To many of its conclusions, you said: "No shit, Sherlock!"

Shouldn't the headline be "Ofcom highlights its own and Oftel's abject failure to adequately regulate the LLU market"? What's BT going to do other than restrict LLU - it's their job to protect their market... that's why national regulatory authorities exist... to regulate! Or maybe "Ofcom discovers that former monopoly behaves like former monopoly - shock"

Joe


Huh, BT? That's "British"Telecom, isn't it? How about "Partially British" Telecom? Yesterday I went for a bike ride into the country. I passed isolated cottages and farmhouses. Some of them were really out in the sticks only a few yards from the Old Sea Bank, just a short mud bath away from The Wash. Yet curiously, all of those dwellings were provided with electricity and all apparently with a phone line.

No one in their right mind would suggest that some hamlets in Britain today would be 'unviable' for the provision of electricity and a phone. But what about broadband? I cannot get broadband, yet I live on a brand-new housing development of forty dwellings barely 2 hours away from London. The local exchange does not support broadband. It is deemed 'unviable'.

Ben Verwayen gives interviews in which he extols the virtues of BT's broadband provision, yet he appears to think that not supplying dozens of homes with this increasingly necessary service, especially once the Government want all of us to communicate with it electronically, is perfectably acceptable.

Ours will not be an isolated case. There are doubtless many other small communities across Britain that are excluded from broadband despite the fabulous profits BT make every year. Why don't BT simply bite the bullet and equip *every* exchange as a matter of course? Are we Broadband Britain or just Partially Broadband Britain?

Mike


The ID card campaign marches boldly towards a wonderful future as the bill passes another round of voting in parliament. But the best bit is that Blair has a new killer app for the dodgy tech:

No-one seems to have picked up on the announcement made by Tony Blair on monday as he was trying desperately to drum up support for his stupid surveillance scheme.

"The ID card will form the basis of a way of making secure business transactions".

Which will of course mean that EVERYONE will need access to the technology used to verify the details held on the card. How else would we be able to check whether that spotty kid in Comet is authorised to sell you a new TV?

Yes, he did say "business transactions" even though it's supposed to be a "personal" ID card. To cope with this new (made up on the spot?) functionality, the card or the associated database will need employment and credit history

Of course, those of us in the IT industry know how much this will all cost. The careful wording of the announcement that "private companies will not be able to pay to access the data" rather than "the data will not be available to private companies" makes it clear that someone else will have to cover the cost of this. My bet is that WE will end up with a bill every time someone accesses OUR information - a TAX.

Andrew Alston


Probably best if we avoid commenting on this one too much. Suffice to say that researchers found out where the brain keeps its willy:

Hi Lester,

Hopefully without sounding too sad, this is very old news. Not the German research necessarily, but the positioning of the genitals on the brain homunculus. In a book by Ramachandran and Blakeslee called "Phantoms in the Brain" which was first published in the UK in 1998. It's a fascinating book, mainly about phantom limb syndrome (i.e. after amputation) but it also talks about the homunculus idea that you talk about. Yes, the genitals are found on the mind map just below the feet. In fact, Ramachandran quotes a patient of his who'd had a leg amputated who then said that when he had an orgasm he actually felt it in his missing foot!

The suggestion is that the brain can overlap areas in the homunculus and certainly does so when one bit isn't used - like when something is amputated. So, because of the way that the body is mapped on the brain strange things can happen. For example, if you get itching on a phantom arm, scratch your face and it might help. (unless, of course, you've lost both arms in which case, there's not much you can do). However, the proximity of the genitals and the feet on the mind map might explain foot fetishism. After all it's a well known thing whereas you don't get hand or shoulder or whatever fetishism anywhere near as much, do you?

Anyway, thanks for the article. What is a computer, anyway?

Alan


The end of the world is nigh. We're all going to be killed by a rogue cometary fragment from Tempel-1, after the US crashes a probe into it at any rate:

"We used to be afraid of comets. The dinosaurs should have been afraid of comets. Now it is the comet's turn to be afraid," Coates said.

I would be a lot more confident if that didn't sound like famous last words. How many times have we not heard it before? "It can't sink", "The odds are a million to one", "So remotely unlikely you can't compute the odds", and then the mustard hits the salad shooter.

I wouldn't be at all surprised it Temple1 turned around and did a Shoemaker-Levy 9 on us. The general population will go ape, but at least the scientists will have something to look forward to.

Jacoppo


Super calculators generated quite a bit of interest, and indeed, post for the post bag. Rather than trawl through it all, here is a representative sample of the argument from either side:

Great, another wonderful tool that will allow people to think even less. I admit the keying a mathematical expression on a simple calculator may not be all that easy for some people, but there is also the feasibility check afterwards. 4 times 5 cannot be equal to 1, whatever its sign is. That is where the brain is supposed to kick in and say "whoah, there's an error there" - and then you work a bit to find out what the error is.

We already have a big tendancy of putting too much faith in technology (biometrics against terrorism, anyone ?) and not enough in plain old thought process. I'm as lazy as the next guy, but digital watches, digital dashboards, digital everywhere and we have lost our sense of proportion.

When's the last time you asked someone what time it was and "quarter to" as an answer ? People just blindly read what their digital watch tells them.

No wonder kids have such trouble getting a grip on what an hour means in terms of the passing of time. Give me cars, flying ones preferably, or give me teletransportation. Give me robots to carry heavy stuff, and gobs of CPU power for more realistic virtual worlds.

But don't take away my ability to think for myself. Otherwise, the machines have already won.

Pascal.


Your article was quite intriguing, but seemed to paint powerful calculating devices in a negative light. Being a math person, my experience has been quite the opposite. It is my belief that powerful calculators (scientific, graphing, and whatever this monstrosity is considered) speed mathematical teaching on every level.

Consider just 25 years ago, an entry level calculus class would have spent a good portion of their semester learning how to approximate logarithms and roots because these calculations were non-trivial. Integrals were approximated using graphical methods (such as cutting out functions and weighing them on a scale) because series expansions often did not create useful answers.

Now, with calculators capable of these now-considered menial tasks, the curriculum is free to expand and consider more topics, such as differential equations, introductory analysis, infinite series. Advanced math students learn a good deal more now due to these devices.

I agree that these devices have the potential to trivialize a lot of mathematical testing, such as storing answer keys to tests and, and simply blowing SAT questions out of the water. But, for students truly pursuing these disciplines, they are indeed valuable.

Leo

Whereas now it is possible to get through an entire physics degree without ever knowing how to approximate a logarithm. Is that a good thing?


But now to the week's biggest story (in terms of reader response, anyway): the vulture-shaped crisp. Good to know what really matters, especially this close to the weekend, right?

What's some one from Ireland doing eating Walkers? When they have the finest crisp in the world? namely, tayto. that's a bigger story.

Noel


I don't claim to be any kind of expert in the field of miraculous images on heated cereal-based foodstuffs, but it was my impression that the "Virgin Mary Grill Cheese" pre-dated the "Christ on Toast" by as much as a decade.

However, the third of this toasted trinity was surely the Michael Jackson pop-up that apparently predicted the celebrity's acquittal, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4114248.stm Your Vulchie Munchie should therefore rank fourth, but would still be worth a few grand on e-bay if only the little blighter hadn't scoffed it.

Interesting, however, to note the evolution of the Vulture logo. I can't help feeling that "Fraser from Teddington" got unfairly treated, since even though his effort looked awful, it did embody the essential character of the vulture, which the current version retains.

Andrew


Hey, don't people have anything better to do with their time and food then to search for shapes vaguely resembling different things ?? Just eat your damn food and be quiet, peop ... oh, look .... i can see michael jackson in a piece of cheese. Can you see it too ? He's half turned, he's blinking and his nose fell of.

Caseta

PS: I bet I know how Bush choked on a pretzel. It was a Clinton look-a-like pretzel. Watch out George, those democrats will stop at nothing.


about your vulture logo, whose origins you seem not to remember exactly, here's almost all the details to know about it.

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae. (Old World vulture). Scientific Name: Necrosyrtes monachus. Common Names: Hooded Vulture. Conservation Status: Common. that site has also pictures of it, among which are very nice side view ones at a very nice paper print resolution. :)

this is a very good one, almost exactly your logo.

Cheers,

Adrian


"Our current vulture made its debut in August 1998. It was designed by Jim Morgan at Third Wave, a design agency in Birmingham. Apparently, it is a representation of the smallest African vulture - who's[sic] name we forget."

I looked it up - his name is "Keith".

Name witheld


"Apparently, it is a representation of the smallest African vulture - who's name we forget." I think you'll find the vulture's name is Dave. Yes, fairly odd for a breed of bird, but vultures are notorious for their seemingly harmless names.

Steve


I'm sure you've already got a squillion copies of this very link, but the name of your vulture is apparently "hooded" (see http://www.lairweb.org.nz/vulture/hooded.html) Just to add a little, the largest and smallest vultures are both african, the "new world" vultures apparently being less varied. The largest is the "black" or "cinereous" (meaning "ashen") vulture...

HTH Cheers & God bless Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny


Reg logo? It's the Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus). Mainly found in Western Africa and likes to live with humans and cattle cos it likes the detritus both leave behind. Kind of apt...

Peter


So, now you know. Enjoy your weekend, Vulture lovers. ®

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