Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/16/letters_1602/

Designing intelligent petitions too taxing for Brits

Welsh accent optional, look you

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Bootnotes, 16th February 2007 16:59 GMT

Letters Tony Blair has his finger on the button and is preparing to fire. Fortunately, there are no weapons of mass destruction, only emails of mass dissemination, as New Labour preps a reply to the 1.5 million people who don't want road tax priced by the mile:

Re: Blair ready to spam Britain ...and what will happen to the No. 10 systems when we all hit the "reply" button?


There are worse problems than an email being deleted as spam.

Suppose a million people wish to have a conversation with the government about road pricing. Can No. 10 deal with a million answers offering arguments against the crazy scheme?


Why not see how much support can be gathered for the notion of Tony writing all 1300000 spams by hand. I've come up with the suggested text for a petition on petitions.pm.gov...

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to write all the replies to the 1.3(4?)million people that have so far signed the anti-road tax petition by hand without the aid of a mail merge program

"We believe that in order to reduce any further harm to the country, Tony should be kept busy for the forseeable future by writing all 1.3million emails by hand. By calculation of approximately 3 minutes per email to 1,300,000 people, with an estimated 7 working hours per day in a 5 day week, this should keep him out of trouble for the next 1857 weeks."



Hmm.. If this system does come into effect, I'd love to know how they'll police it - my guess is to reference the cars odometer with that of the GPS/GALILEO based system... so what happens if the tracker breaks? What happens if you can't get a signal? Will I then not be allowed to drive my car as I can't be tracked?

GPS technology needs to cold/hot start by design. I've certainly found with current equipment that if I set off without allowing it to cold start properly, I often won't get a signal at all until I've stopped.. so will we have to sit around waiting for the system to track me each time I start my vehicle? Will I bollocks.

The alternative is to have tracking devices at the beginning/end of each road/slip road similar to the congestion charging cameras in London. If one is vandalised (And you know they will be..) then a whole day/week/however long worth of traffic will get away with a free trip down X road, whereas everyone else driving on 'unvandalised' roads will pay for themselves, and probably for the repairs on the vandalised camera.

So many posibilities to this idea, but none will work. The Government will realise this eventually (probably not before enough cash has been spent researching the idea to build another lane on a congested road?)


So Tony is planning on emailing us all to put us strain on his tracking, sorry pricing systems. Well I think that such effort on his part shouldn't go unoticed, how about we all reply to Tony. Then if the police want to find the secret email system they will just have to follow the smell of burning server...


A man loses his laptop, and his employer gets hit with a bill for almost a million quid. Reckon that puts him out of the running for employee of the month?

What actually happens to that £980,000 they are fined? Does it get shared between the 11,000,000 customers that have been affected by this or does it simply go into the pockets of the FSA?? Personally I would like to see the £11.23 credited to my account for the distress it is going to cause me.


Why, when ever a laptop goes missing, does it always contain several million customer records? You never see the headline "Bank employees laptop stolen containing his Tesco shopping list and his alphabetisised collection of midget porn"


£980,000 for 11 million accounts. So that's a fine of, err, 9p per customer? For a company that made £539M in profit last year? Well, I'm just glad I've never crossed the FSA. They must really petrify Nationwide.


Google can find anything you want., except a full alphabet:

You know, maybe those Google guys are more erudite than we thought!

A lookup in wikipedia finds that Barnabe Googe, a 16th century English poet, "is well-known in Australia for one line of poetry, I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die."


America's latest contribution to the poor regional accents hall of fame. For this Vulture's money, a mention should go to Leo DiCaprio and his continent-busting attempt at a South African accent, but that is another story:

It's not just films that have abysmal accents. Try, for example, Age of Empires II. Nice game, but the voice acting appears to have been done by whoever finished their bit of coding first. Or Myth III - in which "Connacht" (which, in previous instalments, had been pronounced in a properly Scots manner as "Balor") was repeatedly given a throat-clearing by the vocal "talent". Oh, for the days of Shakespeare's Captain Fluellen...


Oh you forgot my favourite "bad attempt at a foreign accent by an American actor" (That really should be an oscar catagory). Kevin Costner for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Where he basically just doesn't bother.


Kansas's revolving door policy of school science continues to spin and welcomes Darwinian evolution back into schools. Intelligent Design has to sit outside for a while and think about what it said:

First, we hear from God's PR man:

Quite frankly I am amazed that this is still getting press. My pastor is indeed quite amused with the theory of ID. I still do not understand how people cannot bring evolution into the fold of creationism. Put simply, God created man from dust (check out the bible), said dust in todays language is DNA.

The tripping point here is where he created man in his own image, ( so ok, mabey God looks kinda like a primate, cause Jesus certainly wasn't a white guy with blonde hair and blue eyes), we honestly don't know and prolly never will know what God looks like till the day we die, so we can argue that one till were blue.

From here we can diversify some stuff. God is all knowing and ever-present/omniscient. Even still does that mean that he wants to diddle around with every bloody thing that's on the planet on a constant basis? Nooooooo, that's why he created stuff like ecosystems, and weather systems and other wonderful stuff that we still cannot explain satisfactorily to keep the bloody planet running.

Bringing this arguement back to evolution; God decided on this semi-automated way of having the critters he created change over time to help them adapt to their environment, otherwise he would be constantly bothered from his rugby and cricket matches on the telly and would have to have the angles program his vcr for him (yes....God's vcr does blink 12:00). This method is called evolution.

We know that evolution exists because we can prove that creatures change over time to better suit their environment and survive.

The main pissing point between "Evolutionists" and "Creationists" is the fact that 90+% of our DNA is extreemly close to other primates and mice are a second cousin (This remind you of a particular TV series?) This annoys the creationists becuase they do not have a solid thesis on how this can be, so they trash talk evolution as though it is only a theory. Evolution is a natural law. What is a theory is the evolution of mankind.

Regards, Glen

"The ID camp is very well organised: a day after the new standards were announced, the Intelligent Design Network presented the school board with a petition protesting the changes. It contained the signatures of almost 4,000 parents."

That's a lot of "X"s.


Hi there. As a faithful Reg reader who happens to live in Kansas (born and raised here, I might add), I think I'm qualified to address this.

Most people abroad may not know this, but Kansas has an elected school board. This means that every couple of years, The People of Kansas get to vote in whatever whackjob they like to fill positions. For the last few years, my great home state has been in the throes of trying to decide if it's going to be run by moderate or conservative Republicans.

In the last 8 years, the school board has changed hands accordingly. So when the bible-belt conservatives take over, the standards have excluded evolution (or at least downplayed them). And then when the moderates take over, they put it back in.

The fact of the matter is most teachers just keep teaching the same thing, so the students aren't hurt by all this. With all the pressure on testing performance incurred by NCLB (No Child Left Behind - don't even get me started), there's not a lot of time and effort put into flip-flopping on curriculum. Not to mention that it takes years for any curriculum change to take hold, anyway. And as many times as the standards have changed, as you noted, there's hardly been enough time for local school districts to enact a new science curriculum of any kind.

I just wanted to let you know that not all citizens of Kansas are bible-thumping, anti-science, ultra-conservative "nutters", like the rest of the world seems to think we are.

Disclaimer: I'm a registered Democrat, vote often as possible, believe Darwinian Evolution theory is good science, employed by a state (of Kansas) university, and my wife is a teacher.


What?! No mention of the flying spaghetti monster... Hang your head in shame Ms Sherriff! Oh and pray for his noodly forgiveness!



Exradia's technology may or may not protect you from EM fields, but it might just keep the lawyers at bay. Or not, of course:

"To date, there is no known case of a life being saved by the presence of life jackets on aircraft" Not quite true. Late last century (gotta love that phrase) a plane from an African airline was hijacked, with the hijackers insisting the plane be flown to Australia. Despite the pilot trying to make them understand that since the plane had only been fueled for a short in-Africa flight there was no way they would get anywhere near Australia, the hijackers would not desist.

Not surprisingly, the plane ran out of fuel over the ocean and had to ditch in the water (with foresight, the pilot had managed to divert the plane just far enough off course to have it ditch next to a holidy-resort island). Many of the plane's passengers were held afloat by their life-jackets long enough to be rescued.

As a rather sad side-note, subsequent investigation showed that just as many were killed by their life-jacket... in panic, and despite the urging of the flight-crew, these passengers inflated their life-jackets BEFORE exiting the plane - and thus found themselves trapped in a sinking airplane between the rising water and the lowering roof, their inflated jackets making movement near impossible.


But could the Exradia chip itself produce harmful radiation? Has it been proved safe itself? So the employer could be sued for 'inflicting unproven technology' on the hapless employee. Damned if you ad and damned if you don't. Either way, the lawyers win. Again.


Frankly, it sounds rather like something out of Catch-22. Somebody please run down to Joseph Heller's grave to check it for rotation.


That's all folks. ®