Age-verification companies want £3m in 'damages'

I don't want to get into the debate about whether we should or shouldn't have a porn block, but I do want to say something about the age-verification software companies who want £3m in 'damages' because the government didn't go ahead with it.

Remember, it's the tax-payer who'll ultimately pay those damages.

As far as I'm aware, the government never commissioned these companies to come up with age-verification software, so I can't see how they've got any right to claim anything. If it turns out they were asked or commissioned to do this then of course they deserve payment, but nothing I've read indicates that.

It's the government's job to create new laws and repeal old ones and they can do that at will. If a bunch of companies jump the gun and spend money and resources developing something that's no longer needed then that's their own look-out as far as I'm concerned.

Apparently these companies have applied for a judicial review and I hope their application gets turned down.

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Make quantum decisions with the Universe Splitter app

The Universe Splitter app allows you to make quantum decisions, spawning new universes in the process. Some quantum background to this and a brief review of the app can be found herein.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood review — hard to rate

I watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood last night and this is my review of it. I enjoyed it but still have some reservations I can't quite put my finger on. That's probably me just being overly fussy though.

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Young, middle-aged and old

I was 55 last year and I don’t much like it. I have a body that’s a bit broken and I can easily pick up a back strain simply by getting out of bed. Sometimes I don’t even need to get out of bed. Sometimes I wake up with a back strain I somehow picked up overnight. Sleeping should be categorised as a dangerous sport.

Anyway, I was wondering when one stops being middle-aged and starts being old, so I did some research. I do of course have a vested interest here.

Wikipedia quotes a couple of dictionaries on the matter. The Oxford English Dictionary says that middle-age runs from 45-65. Merriam-Webster is a little more pessimistic and says it runs from 45-64. The entry in the Collins English Dictionary was clearly written by a pimply youth because it casts middle-age as 40-60. That was probably penned through a fog of marijuana smoke, though, so I’m simply going to ignore Collins’ take on the matter.

Back in 2018 YouGov had a poll about what people perceive as young, middle-aged and old. I’m not generally a fan of asking the people what they think but I quite like the outcome of this particular poll. The general consensus is that you are young up to the age of 29, middle-age starts at 48 and you’re not old until you’re 70.

The mathematicians amongst you will notice there’s a gap covering the ages of 30-47 when you’re in a sort of fermenting no man’s land. This implies the public see a fourth era of one’s life between youth and middle-age for which they have no name. Yiddle-aged, perhaps.

The bit I like, though, is that old-age doesn’t start until 70. The people are very wise indeed on this matter and I wouldn’t dream of ignoring them, so this is the definition I’m going with. Well, for another 10 years or so, that is. No doubt I’ll then be scrabbling around to find some obscure research stating that old-age doesn’t really start until you’re 80.

Ageing is a battle between mind and body. My head says I’m somewhere in my early 20s but my body says otherwise and it’s rather insistent on the matter.

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Royalty and Flybe

Royalty

I just don’t understand the furore about our Royal Family’s “emergency discussions about the Sussexes’ future”. I simply don’t care. They can do what they like. I’m not anti-royalist but I just don’t give a shit what they do and I’m staggered so many people in the country are that interested such that it’s the main news story on the BBC.

For what it’s worth, I’m in emergency discussions with my cat about the protocol she’s established for a second breakfast shortly after the first. It should be pointed out that I still remain second in line to throne of this house even if I decide to go and live in Canada. Bet that doesn’t make the front page of the BBC.

Flybe tight-lipped over collapse threat

The BBC is running an article suggesting Flybe is in trouble. If this is true and collapse is imminent (and it seems very likely) then Flybe are showing a shocking lack of morals by continuing to take bookings, whereupon they’ll leave people stranded in foreign parts and we, the taxpayers, will ultimately have to pay to repatriate them. If that happens then the CEO should do jail time. Surely it’s fraud if they know they’re going under and still take payments for flights they can’t honour.

Of course I’m only speculating on a speculative story.

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Cookie consents breach GDPR law

An article on TechCrunch takes a long look at how cookie consents are breaching EU privacy laws and how the cookie confirmation pop-ups are merely a hindrance to people.

I’ve talked about this here, here, here (the ‘Cooke Monsters’ bit) and even here to a certain extent.

All cookies except essential session cookies should be off by default. There should be no cookie confirmation pop-ups, just a website “settings” option where you can go in and switch cookies on if you choose to.

If a site doesn’t want you there if you won’t accept their tracking and advertising cookies then they should send you to a page telling you that. That page should just have the “settings” option and you can switch some cookies on if you choose to. Alternatively, you can simply choose not to visit that site.

That’s how it should be. End of.

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Killer robots come in the shape of a ball

Samsung have recently been demonstrating something called Ballie, which is basically a ball that follows you around and controls your entire home.

Any ball that follows me around will be tripped over in short order, whereupon I’ll probably break my neck. Hence it’s a killer robot. It’s quite clever actually because we all expect killer robots to look like a T-800 and speak with an Austrian accent. Nobody expects an invasion of killer balls.

I dread to think what my cat would think of such a thing.

Anyway, watch the video and be either suitably impressed or extremely scared as you choose.

Update: You can't watch the video, sorry. Some buffoon has removed it from YouTube. It was very good, though.

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Hearing Direct HD500 hearing aid review

My hearing has been shot for many a decade now. For the most part I get by without a hearing aid but I recently purchased a Hearing Direct HD500 hearing aid. This is my review of that product.

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Astronomers discover a star travelling at 3.7 million MPH

Sorry to dash your hopes but when I say ‘star’, I mean the astronomical kind. Sadly, nobody has ejected Kanye West from Earth at that speed.

Astronomers have discovered a star travelling at 3,700,000 MPH (1,027 miles per second), which is about ten times faster than most stars move. They plotted its prior path and it appears to have come from the centre of the Milky Way, wherein lurks a supermassive black hole.

So how does a supermassive black hole eject a star when they’re best known for their insurmountable gravitational attraction?

Apparently it’s due to something called the Hills Mechanism, which sometimes kicks into action when a binary star system — consisting of two stars orbiting one another — gets close to a supermassive black hole.

If one of the stars in the binary system gets too close to the black hole, the ferocious gravity of the black hole will pull the star in. This takes energy away from the (three-body) system as a whole. However, thanks to the conservation of energy, the star that avoids the black hole will be given an energy equivalent to the infall velocity of the one that’s captured. The energy the surviving star receives is what results in its phenomenal speed.

The black hole ejected the star some 5 million years ago and it's travelling so fast it’ll escape our galaxy entirely within 100 million years. I look forward to seeing that happen. Astronomers have had a pretty good look at this star as it’s fairly close to us now, only 29,000 light years (174,000,000,000,000 miles) away.

With absolutely no sense of drama, astronomers have called the star S5-HVS1. It should have been called something like Ergomighty the Ejector or whatever.

Things like this make me realise how fragile our little planet is in the galactic scheme of things.

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Wordpress 5.3 critical error

After upgrading one of the sites I manage to Wordpress 5.3, I encountered our old friend the Critical Error. It has been a while since I've seen that one and I thought I'd jot down some notes about how to debug that error and get your site working again.

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Cookies and bum implants

Cookie monsters

I am massively fed up with having to confirm I'll accept cookies all the time. I visit a lot of tech sites and they seem to want confirmation at least weekly. I know by clicking the default Yes, Agree or Confirm I'm giving them permission to invade my privacy at will. For all I know they can now legally come to my house and stick their finger up my bottom. They're doing it wrong of course — the cookie stuff, not the finger-up-bottom stuff — they should implement the most restrictive data-sharing settings by default, but that's another matter. I've already given them access to my colorectal system so why do they need to ask again and again and again? And again.

Staying with bottoms

I read that someone called Sophie Elise is desperate to get rid of her bum implants. I know how she feels and I asked my GP the same thing.

“You don’t have implants,” she said, “you’ve just got a fat arse.”

I shan’t be going there again.

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Chepstow Real Ale and Cider Festival, October 2019

I went back to my old stomping ground in the weekend and attended the Chepstow Real Ale and Cider Festival. This is my brief review of the occasion.

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Today is World Egg Day

Eggs are excellent. There are very few meals that cannot be improved with the addition of an egg. To celebrate this day I present you with the The Order of Eggs, which are the best ways to enjoy an egg as determined by people.

  1. Fried
  2. Boiled
  3. Poached
  4. Scrambled

It is ironic that something as wonderful as an egg should come from something as creepy as a chicken. I am of course aware that other creatures lay eggs but it’s the humble hen’s egg that’s the most satisfying (also as determined by people).

Many US presidents have commented about eggs:

The egg is the ultimate creation in nature, I keep one in my hat at all times.” — George Washington.

I hope our constitution is like an egg; oval and eggy.” — Abraham Lincoln.

Leave my trousers alone and fry me an egg instead, Monica.” — Bill Clinton.

What’s an egg?” — Donald Trump.

One shocking fact is that every US president has said the word ‘egg’.

Happy World Egg Day, everyone. Go on, you know you want one.

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