Paul Renault’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Apr 12th, 2014 @ 4:23am

    Kaolite-eating a mystery?

    It used to be one of the two main ingredients in Kaopectate. It helps relieve mild diarrhea, and likely helps deal with some toxins. Kaolin-eating, in smallish quantities, is not pica.

    A local well-stocked bulk- and strange-food store sells 120g bags of 'Pure Kauw' imported from Ghana - along with the usual fufu, akyeke, ognono, and egusi. Y'know, your basic everyday foods.

    Observant Africans and South Americans may have watched parrots eating it, and found it helpful.
    See here:

  • Apr 11th, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    It's really difficult to really delete data from Flash RAM.

    I hope they undeleted the images and then printed them out so they could include them in their court filings.


  • Apr 3rd, 2014 @ 4:52am

    I like Newegg's stance on patent trolls.

    It's giving them some of the best advertising not-paying-money can buy!

    /Yeah, I know, it sometimes costs them more.

    //but they get my business because of it.

  • Mar 20th, 2014 @ 4:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The difference...

    Me, what I'm dying to see is a comment thread where five or six commentators, all of whom are called 'Anonymous Coward', get into very heated, name-calling, passive-aggressive, and fact-free argument thread and then the whole thread collapses into a smoky pile of ash when one of the many 'Cowards' realizes he was unwittingly arguing with himself.

    I'd pay money to see that, I really would.

    /I'd pay even more money if, instead of measles infecting Upper Manhattan, the measles were actually infecting Upper Class Manhattan instead.

  • Mar 11th, 2014 @ 4:39am


    For us Canucks, it's blaming our overly polite attitudes.

    In Quebec, they don't sing Happy Birthday, but rather a reworked version of Gens du Pays, with words along the lines of "My dear ____, it's your turn to let yourself talk about love".

  • Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 3:48am

    Bandwidth caps? What's that?

    Mind you, 1080p is plenty fine for me.

  • Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 3:45am

    Marinated snotwinkles? Bring 'em on!

    Just the thing with a good lager.

    At least, they're not American, ahem, 'cheese'.

  • Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 3:39am

    OK, so there is/was s a Canadian tax on blank media..

    ..but Canada has near-(?)zero cases where a person was bankrupted from legal fees by bogus extortion from organizations like the RIAA.

    In Canada, I can legally decrypt and back up my DVDs. Et tu?

  • Feb 17th, 2014 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re:

    I spotted that too, but at least it wasn't something like 95% per 8.

  • Feb 14th, 2014 @ 11:10am

    Not the first time this has happened.

    Obviously. And it's not just American spies fingering suspects on flimsy grounds, which even a cursory investigation would prove them to be non-existent grounds.

    Ahmad El-Maati was arrested at the US/Canada border in August 2001 with a map of Canadian government buildings in the truck he was assigned by his employer.

    He was interviewed by US Border officials then and later, after 9/11, by CSIS. After some time, frustrated by the on-going-nowhere police investigation, El-Maati returned to Syria to sort out some personal affairs.

    Upon arriving in Syria, he was picked up by Syrian police and tortured into making a confession that he had been a part of a terrorism plot. The plot, via other torture-generated confessions implicated two fellow Syrian-Canadians, Maher Arar and Abdullah Almalki, who were then arrested and tortured.

    He later retracted this confession.

    From a The Globe & Mail article, four years later: "The Globe and Mail has learned that the map -- scrawled numbers and all -- was in fact produced and distributed by the Canadian federal government. It is simply a site map, given out to help visitors to Tunney's Pasture, a sprawling complex of government buildings in Ottawa, find their way around."

    It took four years before it was finally acknowledged that the suspicious map was not suspicious after all.

    In late January 2007, following the findings and recommendations of Canadian Federal investigation, the government officially apologized in Parliament and compensated Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, and Maher Arar.

    In an April 2009 interview with the CBC's Neil MacDonald, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that it is the opinion of those who have reviewed Arar's case that "his status should not now be changed." After pointing out Canada's finding, she clarified this, saying "his status at least for admission to the United States purposes should not be changed."


  • Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:14am

    I, for one, am very happy with my no-data-caps Canadian ISP

    Bell/Aliant (a phone/ISP/TV provider in Atlantic Canada - that's Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) is my ISP.

    Bell/Aliant is almost, but not quite, Bell Canada. When I moved here, some fifteen years ago, it was "NBTel", which became 'Aliant' a few years later when the four provinces' phone companies merged as one.

    I found their customer service and technical support excellent, well-informed, and friendly. It was a refreshing change from the years I had spend dealing with Bell Canada when I lived in Montreal. (I mean, fer chrissakes, Bell!, you only sell TWO products: phone service and phones. Would it kill you to actually know something about those products?)

    One of my basic strategies in life is that you must punish bad behaviour, and more importantly, you must reward good behaviour.

    In the case of Internet service, I do this by not only looking at the price, when deciding who will supply me. I consider my ISP's worthiness based on data-transfer rates, reliability, how 'vanilla' my service is, tech support, and the company's general policies, especially with regards to privacy and freedom for me.

    I had an Bell/Aliant fiber optic connection installed here about five years ago - still do. At the time, I had ordered the lowest data-transfer rate available - 15Mbs each way. Since then, my data transfer rate has been automatically increased to 50down/30up, so as to keep pace with what they offer, without changing my monthly charges.

    Just before the fiber optic connection was installed, I had an illuminating broad-ranging phone conversation with a customer support supervisor at Aliant (then, just about to become 'Bell/Aliant'). I asked her whether I could expect the stellar Aliant customer service to continue or whether Aliant would adopt Bell's rather poor/un-informed service standars. She replied: "You know, we had the exact same conversation in the office amongst ourselve, yesterday." I can report that their tech support is still outstanding. They understand that they are part of the community. What a novel concept!

    At another conversation, a few months later, with a customer-support supervisor, I explained that I was trying to parse out their data caps' rules, with vague sentences gleaned from their web pages. After a few minutes, she flat-out told me: "We don't have data caps! In fact, our equipment doesn't monitor usage. This was our old policy when we were was just 'Aliant'. This was written in into the merger agreement when Bell Canada bought us out. Go ahead and stream Netflix 24 hours a day. We don't care. Actually, we've discovered that 'no caps' is the best advertising we've ever had."

    I do get a 'vanilla' Internet connection: I can set up any Internet-facing server I want. Aliant only blocks some three ports or so (for users' security). I can set up a mail server, a web server, FTP, whatever - even a newsfeed. And I don't have to ask permission. Included in the monthly rate, I have access to a full newsfeed.

    Bell/Aliant, originally a phone company, carries the 'vestiges' of being a common-carrier. Its natural reflex is to be concerned about customers' privacy.

    It's possible that some other provider can supply me with lower-priced Internet service; service hobbled with deep-packet inspection, usage caps, all/most ports below 1024 blocked, etc, etc, etc. Sorry, not interested.

    I like to support vendors who do things right - they have my business.

  • Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Aren't they already the NSA of science? since day one?

    They sure seem to benefit from government largesse and obeisance, like the NSA does.

  • Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    The Puck and the Bigmouth already exist

    The former, as a PVC flange (if you don't like the industrial look, paint it); the latter, as a...piece of plastic - y'know, like an old cut-up place mat or something. (Y'know, the reuse part of 'refuse, reuse, recycle'?)

  • Jan 9th, 2014 @ 5:07am

    Re: The problem with government run healthcare

    "In Canada, it is in the 50% range.
    Citation needed!

    ...oh, almost forgot, Anonymous (can I call you Anonymous? Or do you prefer Mr. Coward?)...Bullshit!
    Quoting The Unique Cancer By Rita Banach, B.Sc., DCS, President, Thyroid Cancer Canada
    "Although only 21% of new thyroid cancer patients are male, women have an overall five-year survival ratio of 99% whereas it drops to a 94% cure rate in men(4)"

    And if you don't believe Canadian sources:
    "Available studies suggest that health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States, but differences are not consistent."

    If there's one way that politicians in Canada can ensure that they won't ever get elected, it's to announce that they'll do away with Medicare.

  • Jan 8th, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Nope, not 'Internal Affairs'.. should be called 'Internal Internal Affairs'.

    Or 'Our Internal Affairs'. The emphasis should be mandated by law.

  • Jan 8th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: /s

    But not quite as good as 00000000.

  • Jan 6th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Re: Nice comparison of apples, oranges, and random rocks.

    The point is, and apparently it needs to be repeated much more often that the lie that police work is dangerous, that they NOT in harm's way.

    /FSM forbid that you actually pay attention to the stats, eh?

  • Jan 6th, 2014 @ 4:20am

    Now is a good time to educate cops and the public.

    (This is handy, I'm able to copy'n'paste a comment I made on another blog...)
    Whenever I come across a list of the most dangerous jobs, 'police officer' never ever cracks the top ten.

    The next time you hear someone yammering on about cops 'putting their life on the line, every day', you need to speak up and point out that farmers, construction workers, loggers, fishers, and even drivers/sales workers have far more dangerous than what cops do.

    The argument, really a lie, that what cops do for a living is dangerous is used to justify all sorts of bad behaviour and bad policies by the law enforcement system. I'd be willing to wager that as many people die from shoveling snow as policemen die from being killed in the line of duty.

    This baseless argument's repeated use is used to justify isolating the police officers from their community. The cops are told, repeatedly, to only way to treat the non-police public is as a danger, something that can only be dealt with by the business end of a gun, a taser, or by overwhelming police presence.

    (This argument is also promoted by the arms industry, so they can benefit from increased law-enforcement budgets. Think of this, while you're being billy-clubbed, maced, or tasered, that your wallet is also being emptied by that cop.)

    This isolation creates an 'us vs them' world view - a world view that engenders strategies and tactics which have proved so brutal, so unnecessary, and, ultimately, so counter-productive in war zones.

    The cops are told, over and over, to treat the non-police public as dangerous, a something that should only be dealt with with the business end of a gun.

    When I posted the above-pasted snippet of comment, it was replied to with "but, but, but what cops do is sooo dangerous, they have to dealt with drug-addled crazy people!".

    Jeepers, what part of "The statistics prove that being a police officer isn't dangerous" don't they understand?

  • Dec 24th, 2013 @ 4:13am

    Re: OK, let me Godwin this thread right now...:

    Oops. (Me too, I'll blame the cold.) To continue:

    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē Rubio said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Josef) Dietrich said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Alberto) Villar said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Jo„o Augusto) da Rosa said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Manuel) Contreras said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Josť Lůpez) Rega said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Marco) Mancini said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Billy) Joya said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Efrain Rios) Montt said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Hermann) Georing said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē (Teymur) Bakhtiar said."
    "..I donít see anything out of policy,Ē ...

  • Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    OK, let me Godwin this thread right now...:

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