Seen in the News

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Big Kev
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Re: Seen in the News

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The media are good at winding up the 'great unwashed',
it doesn't take much, just drop the odd word here and there. Covid, face coverings, Boris...
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Re: Seen in the News

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As a fully paid up member of 'The Great Unwashed' I have to agree with you. In a comparison of risk I'd say cycling seven miles was less risky than jogging in the local park.
However my point wasn't about the danger as much as the chance of giving the wrong message to the public. The two ladies travelled five miles and were nabbed Johnson does seven miles and is within the law. That's what confuses the Great Unwashed and causes the head lines. All right, the ladies were later let off the fine but that doesn't alter the fact that in their case five miles unleashed the law, seven didn't for Johnson.
They should also bear in mind that whether they like it or not, there is such a thing as the Cummings Barnard Castle Effect.
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Re: Seen in the News

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I wonder how far they'll get with this before the witnesses all get `removed' one way or another?
`'Ndrangheta group: Italy braces for biggest mafia trial in decades' LINK
`Hundreds of alleged members of Italy's most powerful mafia group are set to face justice in the country's biggest organised crime trial in decades. The 355 suspected mobsters and corrupt officials were charged following a long inquiry into the 'Ndrangheta group. More than 900 witnesses are expected to give evidence, and the charge sheet includes murder, drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering. The trial begins on Wednesday and is expected to last more than two years. It will take place in a specially modified building in the southern region of Calabria, which is at the heart of 'Ndrangheta territory..'.
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Re: Seen in the News

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They could do better that you think Peter. Attitudes have changed in the last twenty years and they could surprise us. One thing is certain, they are still trying!
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As I understand it, this system is operated by the Canadian company CGI Group on behalf of the UK Home Office.
`Technical issue resolved after '150,000 police records lost'' LINK
`The government is assessing the impact of a "technical issue" that led to 150,000 records being deleted from police databases. The error, first reported in the Times, saw data including fingerprint, DNA and arrest histories wiped after being accidentally flagged for deletion. The Home Office said the lost entries related to people who were arrested and then released without further action. But Labour said it presented "huge dangers" for public safety..'.
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Re: Seen in the News

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I remember a case at work where we had to keep duplicate paper records in two separate fireproof locations. Come the day we got a new store manager. "What's these" he says kicking a box. "No idea, never seen anyone ask for them" says new recruit who had worked there one week. "Well dump them". Final cost £30,000 for microfilmed duplicates. Ignorance is bliss.
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Re: Seen in the News

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Johnson promoting education for girls and attacking Japanese whaling. The hand of his new Special Adviser, Carrie?
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Re: Seen in the News

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Here's the story of the Capitol riots from those at the centre of it and seriously out-numbered...
`Capitol riots: Police describe a 'medieval battle'' LINK
`Police officers who were targeted by a pro-Trump mob have been speaking out about the "medieval battle" that unfolded on the steps of the Capitol and inside the halls of American democracy last week. Police faced off against rioters equipped with clubs, shields, pitchforks, firearms, and metal poles stripped from seating set up for next week's inauguration. Here's what we've learned from their interviews with US media..'.
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Re: Seen in the News

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Good link demonstrating mob violence. Why no pic of the non-white officer hailed as a hero in the chamber?
Ban 'Bear Mace'! (Unless you are in the woods.)
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Re: Seen in the News

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I saw a report that the Washington State Police checking cars entering the city from out of state in the run up to the inauguration. They found one good old boy with an assault rifle a handgun, three hand grenades and a scoped hunting rifle. "From my dead hands", yeah right.
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At the time of the Capitol riot home-made pipe bombs were found at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees in DC.
`It was around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday when U.S. Capitol Police and agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to the Republican National Committee’s office after a pipe bomb was found outside. About 30 minutes later, as the agents and bomb technicians were still investigating at the RNC, another call came in for a second, similar explosive device found at the Democratic National Committee headquarters nearby.

`The two explosive devices were very similar, and both were about a foot long with end caps and wiring that appeared to be attached to a timer, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators are still examining the devices and their components to determine the specific compounds inside the pipe bombs, but they both appeared to contain an unknown powder and some metal, the officials said.' Associated Press
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Ian, was that the same jerk who had a fake ID and 500 rounds of ammo?
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Re: Seen in the News

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Not sure but probably, I took more notice of the the amount and selection of armoury rather than the ordnance. I would assume he would have had the rounds to match the firepower. Total bloody madness that folk can wander around in a so called democracy with assault rifles. You kind of expect seeing that in unstable African countries and the Middle East, but this is supposedly a peaceful leading democratic country. Maybe they are due for another Civil War.
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More about guns in the US. The NRA has decided it's not appreciated enough in NY and is moving to Texas...
`NRA files for bankruptcy and seeks to incorporate in Texas' Guardian
`The National Rifle Association announced on Friday it has filed for bankruptcy. The nation’s most politically influential gun-rights group will now seek to incorporate in Texas instead of New York. The announcement made on the NRA’s website came months after the New York state attorney general sued the organization over claims top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures. The coronavirus pandemic has also upended the NRA, which last year laid off dozens of employees, cancelled its national convention and scuttled fundraising..'.
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Re: Seen in the News

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NRA. couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of jerks. Two things I always have in mind when thinking about extreme views in America; first is the man who lectured me on the importance of assessing fields of fire when buying a new house. The second is THIS clip of the NRA at its best....
My second news item is a no-show. I get very worried at the way the latest decisions in the Mother and Baby homes cases in Ireland are being swept under the carpet. Why are we not hearing cries of outrage and demands that heads should roll. The same applies in the reports from the Commission on Child Abuse. See THIS Daily Mail report on the Irish massacre of the innocents and ask yourself who has been brought to account. It's a disgrace.
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Guns in the US...I've just seen the director of the FBI saying he keeps guns at his home to protect himself and family from Trump supporters.

`Chip-shortage 'crisis' halts car-company output' LINK
`Audi is having to slow production because of a computer-chip shortage it is calling a "crisis upon a crisis". Boss Markus Duesmann said it was now aiming to make 10,000 fewer cars in the first quarter of the year and putting more than 10,000 workers on furlough. Its parent company, Volkswagen, announced its own go-slow due to a lack of chips last week, alongside rivals such as Honda...'.
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Chip shortage. The Free Market at it's finest!
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Algorithms strike again. I've noticed this increasing among online retailers. You can view a product's web page then go back again an hour later and find the page at that address has been changed in various ways to entice you to buy. Pop ups saying `This is in someone's basket' or `Three people are viewing this now'. They're all claimed to be helping the customer but they're also very easy to use to nudge people in a particular direction.
`Online shoppers warned about hidden price rises' LINK
`Algorithms used by online marketplaces could lead to a rise in prices of goods and services, the UK’s competitions watchdog has warned. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating businesses which use technology on selling platforms. Shoppers could be "manipulated" into buying specific items, as search results favour certain brands, it said. Consumers may also be shown misleading messages on these websites, suggesting items are in short supply...The effect of algorithms can be difficult for shoppers to detect, the regulator warned, adding that websites could use “nudges” including the location of a “buy” button or generating “personalised pricing”. Online platforms might also have misleading messages which suggest a product is in short supply, the CMA added. Another issue it wants to scrutinise is how firms can use algorithms to manipulate online review scores..'.

Writing the above I remembered another scam we've discussed before - the Klarna type businesses and their `buy now, pay later' model which is now very common both online and on the High Street. The latest tweak to this is to offer you £XX off your purchase if pay by the Klarna type method. The regulators are looking at it (which doesn't give me any confidence!).
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Re: Seen in the News

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Tizer wrote: 19 Jan 2021, 09:55 `Chip-shortage 'crisis' halts car-company output' LINK
`Audi is having to slow production because of a computer-chip shortage it is calling a "crisis upon a crisis". Boss Markus Duesmann said it was now aiming to make 10,000 fewer cars in the first quarter of the year and putting more than 10,000 workers on furlough. Its parent company, Volkswagen, announced its own go-slow due to a lack of chips last week, alongside rivals such as Honda...'.
Reading the follow up at first I thought it was something to do with Potatoes. But apparently as car makers slowed down their orders, the chip makers switched to servicing other tech sectors. As to if your car NEEDS all that 'smart tech' I dont know, but given I presume there are airfields of stored unsold vehicles I really think its a way of balancing a reduction in demand as covid effects rumble on.
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Peter, the algorithms.... Remember my vinyl gloves on Amazon? I put in a search term and it came up with gloves but not the ones I wanted so I went after them in a different way and found what I wanted, basically the same gloves, same manufacturer, same quality, the only difference was that they were powdered. Oh, the other difference was that they were less than £8 instead of the £11 for the first offering. Just a coincidence or an algorithm nudging me towards a m ore expensive offering. I can do without help like that!
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This was a bad idea from the start...
`Smart motorways are dangerous, says Yorkshire police chief' LINK
`A police and crime commissioner (PCC) has written to the government to say smart motorways are "inherently unsafe and dangerous and should be abandoned". South Yorkshire PCC Dr Alan Billings wrote his open letter to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport. His comments come after a coroner found two men had been unlawfully killed on a "smart" section of the M1. The Department for Transport said "smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, the conventional ones". On 19 January coroner David Urpeth called for a review of the road schemes. Mr Urpeth said smart motorways without a hard shoulder carry "an ongoing risk of future deaths". He was speaking following the inquests for Jason Mercer, 44, from Rotherham and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, of Mansfield, who died when a lorry crashed into their vehicles near Sheffield on 7 June 2019..'.
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I have been saying this for years. It's not rocket science to appreciate that if you break down in a live lane with no refuge available and there is no automatic monitoring of the traffic flow, it is not likely to end well. Quite a few folk have died since the introduction. Still driving but I doubt if I will ever go an a motorway again, I myself am smarter than that!
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I can remember many years ago being stopped by a multiple collision at the Thelwall Viaduct in dense fog. I stopped on the hard shoulder but knew it wasn't safe because nobody could see it. I got out of the cab and climbed the embankment and sat there and listened to the mayhem.
If you are on a 'smart motorway' and are stopped get off the road and as far away as possible. Common sense. Big problem is of course a woman in a car with children......
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Re: Seen in the News

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A few years ago coming down the M6 in the dark. Not a smart motorway but the overhead gantry displayed 'Lane Closed ahead' nobody took any notice. The next gantry showed the same message again they still kept bowling along. Then the problem showed itself, a car transported had started to lose its load. Police in a panic trying to stop cars running into the back of it in spite of 3 miles of notice. The motorways may be smart but some drivers are stupid.
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Stanley wrote: 25 Jan 2021, 04:21 If you are on a 'smart motorway' and are stopped get off the road and as far away as possible.
I wouldn't fancy anyone's chances of getting to a safe area if they broke down in lane 4! Even the double barriers in the central reservation are being replaced with concrete walls.

The biggest problem is that when they were first thought of there was supposed to be automatic computerised monitoring and lane management as part of the deal. This has only been installed on one section of the M25. All the the others are running blind or relying on a human operative to spot a breakdown on a wall full of monitors, asses the situation and manually action the lane closures. Not easy in anything less than ideal conditions and in the few seconds that you actually have with the traffic moving at 70mph. In effect they have opened them before the safety component has been installed and lots of folk have died as a result. Someone should be held culpable for that decision.
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