Gay sheep face neutral net censorship plot

iPhone, uPhone, we all phone together

Someone told the W particle to lighten up. So it did, with implications for the elusive God particle. Heavy, man:

So the W particle has less mass than previously thought. I believe the loss occurred in the area of the gray matter.

Ross


A couple of years ago I went to an engineering forum focusing on FPGAs. Various people stood up and gave presentations on what they'd done with FPGAs, and these all had an air of being very proud of the fact they could handle gbytes/s, do quite a lot of sums, etc. etc. The last speaker was from CERN. He had a well deserved smugness given that where others had spoken of gbytes, he was talking terabytes, and where others used maybe 3 FPGAs, they were using thousands. There wasn't a category in FPGA top trumps that this system didn't win by many, many orders of magnitude.

The most impressive thing was the clock source. Most systems use a humble crystal oscillator soldered down in the corner of the board. This CERN system used a laser, a big one, for its clock and put a large amount of optical power down a big bundle of fiber optics to distribute the clock over the entire 27km long machine. It must count as the world's largest ever piece of synchronous electronics by a margin of several kilometers. Of course, given CERN's brilliant track record of turning their advances into something we all have in our homes, I expect to set one up in my back garden before the London olympics.

Cheers,

Matthew


Sod the potential risk of LEDs on roads prompting epileptic fits, you cry, what about the risk of letting people prone to such seizures behind the wheel:

I ask, should a person who is that sensitive and suffers from epilepsy really be allowed to drive on a road in a car at speeds up to 70MPH? Epileptic seizures can be caused by many thinigs, including nothing at all, and flashing lights.

On the roads there are possibly more flashing lights that anywhere else. Will we next investigate police, ambulance and fire engine lights, vehicle indicators, flashing bicycle rear lights, change the central reservation crash barriers so that they are solid and can't cause car's lights on the other side of the motorway to flash as they pass behind them, tunnel lights should now be ambient offering an overall lighting affect similar to your office so that as you drive through you do not experience that regular flash of light as your car passes under... the list goes on. If you are sensitive to strobing or flashing lights and know that you suffer from epilepsy, you should question whether you are safe on the roads - especially at night. I'd rather have high quality clearly visible cats eyes that epileptic drivers on the roads. Will my concerns be listened to by the highways agency and this nanny state that we live in?

Stuart


That's very interesting. I've been in correspondence with the Vehicle Certification Agency for nearly a year and a half on a similar issue - LED tail lights in new Peugeots (and more and more other cars recently).

These tail lights can disturb my vision very significantly as they seem to be set at a very low refresh rate. I have to admit that I'm pretty sensitive to flickering as I find it completely impossible to bear a monitor set at 60Hz while colleagues seem quite happy, so probably 95% of people wouldn't have a problem with these lights but that's a poor excuse for lax testing from the manufacturers.

So far, I've had very positive words from the VCA but no action has been taken and more and more of these devices are entering the roads.

Quite why an LCD array attached to a large battery and powerful alternator even _needs_ to flash is beyond me. I thought this was a power saving technique but there's surely no shortage of power on board a car? As usual, the car lobby sets the rules.

Jon


We used to have LED cat's eyes on the A590 leading into Barrow-in-Furness (of recent Thorntons fame) - until the local boy racers started using them to drive with their lights off, and regulalry exiting the highway via the nearest hedge.


Are epileptics even allowed to drive cars? Surely a fit (in this woman) could easily be triggered by headlights through crash railing posts or sunlight through evenly-spaced trees' trunks at the roadside ??

I'm not epileptic and I know how disconcerting and distracting pulsing light like this can be whilst driving. If this woman 'narrowly avoided a seizure' then surely her medication should be reviewed and she should stay away from flourescent lighting, nightclubs and TV's too?

However, I'm not a neurological consultant, what do I know.

Guy


This is either very unfortunate or complete scaremongering.

The peak sensitivity to flashing lights in photosensitive epilepsy is about 4 to 30Hz, way below the 100Hz produced by the LED cat's eyes. People who would be sensitive to 100Hz flashing lights would also be very sensitive to television and pretty much any form of artificial lighting as they operate at similar frequencies (50-100Hz) and this is quite rare.

They would be more at risk from the flashing effect produced from the sun shining between buildings and trees as they drive than this, so how has one anecdotal account of a "narrowly avoided seizure" stopped the installation of something that may well save many lives and serious injuries?

Martin


And it would be a shame to ignore the many (many) missives we have recieved on the subject of the moral rightness/wrongness of 'curing' a ram of homosexuality:

Good article, but ignores the simple fact that the more homosexuals there are, the better for others to pass on their genes. For that reason, homophobia is stupid. Curing homosexual sheep might be OK from a farmer's perspective, but to cure a person means that people like myself would have a smaller pool of women to choose from.

John


This rehash of the Murdock (Times) sensationalization of an absurdly inaccurate PETA press release is crap. These guys have the clearly demonstrated the biological (not choice, not genetics) basis of sexual preference and have been hounded by the right wing homophobes for years because they undercut the rational for homophobia. Now the wack jobs at PETA, who care more about sheep than people, con Navrtalova into buying into their bullshit and pronouncing these folks sheep raping homophobes!! If it wasn't so dangerous and damaging, I'd laugh. Shame on you

The Bob


"The purpose behind these experiments is to "improve the productivity of herds" since "approximately one ram in 10 prefers to mount other rams rather than mate with ewes"."

Fair enough, because a gay ram is basically useless to a farmer. These days mutton, meat from a mature sheep, is virtually unseen in the butcher's shop or supermarket. The lamb we eat is from immature stock. Thus by the time a farmer discovers that his ram is homosexual it has a market value of nil if it isn't good breeding stock. Once "outed", the ram in question is quite likely to make an unceremonious exit from the world, with rearing costs written off by the farmer.

What will this new knowledge do for the farmer? Well that depends on the nature of ovine homosexuality, doesn't it? If it's genetic, artificially "straightening" the ram will bypass natural selection (which clearly favours the hetrosexual sheep), and the farmer is left with an even gayer herd who will need artificial "straightening" at cost to him (and profit to the biomedical industry). If homosexuality is environmental then this isn't a problem, but in the absence of any definitive answer to this question would any farmer want to risk devaluing his stock in this way?

So far, so controversial.

But what of the objections highlighted in the article?

To describe the expirement as "homophobic" strikes me as exceptionally short-sighted. Most rational people find it easier to reconcile themselves with a phenomenon for which there is an explanation than one for which there isn't -- this is one of the key principles of the modern scientific method. The discovery of the physiological mechanisms behind homosexuality would provide firm evidence that it is not a psychological illness, as some would claim.

But here's the most controversial point of all: in this age of choice, what of the numerous gay people today seeking a "cure"? Tatchell openly stands up for the rights of an individual to choose to have a sex-change operation to make their physical form match their internal sexuality, yet here he seeks to deny them the analogous right to choose to have their internal sexuality realigned to match their physical form. To me, that is nothing more than hypocrisy.

Anon


And finally, how do you like your internet access censored? By people who you know exist, or by a group of unappointed, unaccountable shadowy figures?

Ah, the infamous letter banning 133 newsgroups in the UK. Including a large number of gay and adult groups that could not be seen to have anything to do with child pornography. Yet, when pressed on this censorship of adult and gay material Stephen French would not comment. Why? Well, just look at the content of the letter where he states that this is just the beginning and mentions 'obscene' material. I switched ISPs at the time because Nildram immediately dropped all the gay newsgroups mentioned and when I asked why Adrian Mardlin said it was 'Easier to comply'. I suppose gay customers could just go to hell then? It's always easier to comply than to protect somebody's free speech and rights of association.

Andy


You write "[...] issues such as the IWF's accountability and the Home Office's desire for universal content blocking excite some controversy." No kidding! Adrian Mitchell of AAISP gets it entirely right when he says [...] "I can't see how any of the technical measures will stop one child from being abused – but it can provide a mechanism by which government can block content. It can expand as big as it likes once it's in place."

Vernon Coaker is already pushing the Government's plans to create a Thought Crime making it a criminal offence, punishable by three years in jail, simply to *possess* "extreme pornography" (something which seems to be defined according to what Mr Coaker doesn't like) just in case we might go out and do something nasty after viewing it, and he wants to block access to websites that host it.

This law will set an extremely dangerous precedent whereby the Nanny State can decide that "This isn't good for you" and forbid access (or threaten jail) for anyone who dares disagree. This is the sort of thing that China, Saudi Arabia and Iran (amongst others) are doing, should we really try to join such august company?

There is a petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website where people can sign up to object against these proposals at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Violent-Porn/ and more information about the "Dangerous Pictures Act" can be found at http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/ Cheers, Graham.


I am the Systems Architect for quite a large UK ISP. We implemented IWC content blocking for the grand sum of £800 plus about 4 days work for one person. It really is quite easy to implement using the open source Squid proxy server and a bit of thought.

The 800 quid was for a cheap DELL server. If we wanted to scale the solution up, we simply add more servers. Currently, we are at about 1-2% utilisation of the current server, because of the clever way in which we filter only traffic we know needs to be filtered. It's no big cost at all..

-- Leigh


" He [Robbins] adds: "I'm against censorship. I don't see us as a censorship body. We deal with illegal content and get it taken down where we can."

Sounds like spin to me.Defining content as illegal (rightly or wrongly) is surely censorship of that content. Therefore what they are doing is to implement that censorship. It looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Mr Robbins, you have a member of the anatidae family...

Jim


That's all folks, enjoy the weekend. ®

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