Archive for March, 2009

Skys wide open

Sunday, March 29th, 2009 by Strep Throat

That which is seen …. if you have the right equipment.

That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen

If you have the right equipment.

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Michelle Bachmann misunderstands the Dollar

Saturday, March 28th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

A member of Congress is warning the Obama administration to keep its hands off the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s international currency.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., has introduced a resolution that would bar the U.S. from recognizing any other currency than the dollar as its reserve currency.

Her action comes in response to suggestions from China, Russia and the United Nations that another currency be explored. Even U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has admitted he would be open to the idea, although he quickly backtracked when the stock market plunged on his announcement.

“During a Financial Services Committee hearing, I asked Secretary Geithner if he would denounce efforts to move towards a global currency and he answered unequivocally that he would,” Bachmann said. “And President Obama gave the nation the same assurances. But just a day later, Secretary Geithner has left the option on the table. I want to know which it is. The American people deserve to know.”

Although Title 31, Sec. 5103 USC prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., the president has the power to engage foreign governments in treaties, and the president is principally responsible for the interpretations and implementation of those treaties according to the Constitution, according to the congresswoman.

As a result, legislation prohibiting the president and Treasury Department from issuing or agreeing that the U.S. will adopt an international currency would need to come in the form of a Constitutional Amendment differentiating a treaty used to implement an international currency in the U.S. from other types of treaty agreements, she said.

“If we give up the dollar as our standard, and co-mingle the value of the dollar with the value of coinage in Zimbabwe, that dilutes our money supply. We lose control over our economy. And economic liberty is inextricably entwined with political liberty. Once you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom,” Bachmann told the Glenn Beck program on the Fox News Channel today.

Her proposal, H.J.R. 41, isn’t complicated:

It is titled: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit the president from entering into a treaty or other international agreement that would provide for the United States to adopt as legal tender in the United States a currency issued by an entity other than the United States ”

Already with several dozen sponsors, it states:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:”

It would add to the Constitution:

The president may not enter into a treaty or other international agreement that would provide for the United States to adopt as legal tender in the United States a currency issued by an entity other than the United States.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest voice to endorse an “alternative” to the dollar was the head of a U.N. expert panel discussing solutions to the financial crisis.

“The president may not enter into a treaty or other international agreement that would provide for the United States to adopt as legal tender in the United States a currency issued by an entity other than the United States.”

[...]

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=93086

Incredible.

These people can smell that something is wrong, but are not sure what it is. They feel that they have to protect ‘their currency’, but they are not sure what it is that they need to do.

This amendment, as tabled, would actually outlaw the Dollar as it exists today.

The Federal Reserve is not ‘the United States’; it is a private bank. That means that ‘US Dollars’ are not issued by the United States, but by an entity other than the United States.

If this amendment is added to the Constitution, the US Dollar, AKA Federal Reserve Notes, will instantly cease being legal tender.

Interesting.

Are these people smarter than they appear to be, and are they trying to kill the Federal Reserve and its worthless fiat currency by a checkmate maneuver?

I doubt it.

It is more likely that they do not understand the nature of the money in their pockets; I would bet that Michelle Bachmann doesn’t know anything about the dollar, the Federal Reserve, fiat currency, commodity money, or anything about any of the real issues behind the problem at the center of what she is clumsily trying to address.

Until you understand the nature of money and currencies, it is impossible to draft legislation (or in this case, REMOVE LEGISLATION) that will permanently fix the problem.

FAIL.

Gardasil or Chop?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The company that sells Gardasil is engaged in a propaganda push to peddle their poison to BOYS as well as girls.

It seems however, that there is another, less expensive, less dangerous way to prevent HPV infections spreading from males to females:

Circumcision reduces risk of herpes and HPV infection

Men who are circumcised are less likely to get sexually transmitted infections such as genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), but not syphilis, according to a study of adult African men published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The finding adds to the evidence that there are health benefits to circumcision. It was already known that circumcision can reduce the risk of penile cancer, a relatively rare disease. In a previous study, the same research team found that adult circumcision could reduce the risk of HIV infection.

Efforts to increase the practice of male circumcision in areas with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, including Africa, could have a tremendous benefit, say the study’s authors. Genital herpes has been associated with an increased risk of HIV, and HPV can cause genital warts as well as a higher risk of anal, cervical (in women), and penile cancers.

In the United States, infant circumcision is declining. About 64 percent of American male infants were circumcised in 1995, down from more than 90 percent in the 1970s. Rates tend to be higher in whites (81percent) than in blacks (65 percent) or Hispanics (54 percent).

Some opponents say the removal of the foreskin is an unnecessary surgical procedure that may reduce sexual sensitivity in adulthood. In Jewish and Muslim cultures, young or infant boys are routinely circumcised for religious reasons. Circumcision rates have traditionally been higher in the U.S. than in Europe, but the American Academy of Pediatrics currently says that the medical benefits are insufficient to recommend circumcision for all baby boys.

In the new study, a research team at the Rakai Health Sciences Program in Uganda — in collaboration with researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and Makerere University in Uganda — conducted two clinical trials involving 3,393 uncircumcised men ages 15 to 49. All the men were negative for HIV and genital herpes (also known as herpes simplex virus type 2); a subgroup of men also tested negative for HPV.

Roughly half of the men underwent medically supervised circumcision at the start of the trial, while the other half were circumcised two years later.

Overall, circumcision reduced the men’s risk of genital herpes by 28 percent (10.3 percent of uncircumcised men developed genital herpes compared with 7.8 percent of circumcised men) and HPV infection by 35 percent (27.8 percent of uncircumcised men were infected with HPV compared with 18 percent of circumcised men). Circumcision did not, however, protect against syphilis. (About 2 percent of men in both groups contracted syphilis.)

Study coauthor Thomas C. Quinn, M.D., professor of global health at Johns Hopkins University, says that choosing circumcision, whether it’s the parents of an infant or an adult male for himself, is and should remain an individual decision.

“But the critics need to really look at the benefits versus the risks,” he adds. “By now a large body of evidence has shown that the health benefits clearly outweigh the minor risk associated with the surgery. In our study, we didn’t see any adverse effects or mutilation. We’re recommending supervised, safe, sterile environments — not circumcision out in an open field with rusty instruments.”

[...]

Roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults have had at least one HPV infection, according to an editorial by Matthew R. Golden, M.D., and Judith N. Wasserheit, M.D., both of the University of Washington. Although vaccines against some of the most dangerous HPV strains have been approved for girls ages 13 to 26, the vaccines are expensive and routine Pap tests are still necessary to pick up cervical cancers.

Golden and Wasserheit note that “rates of circumcision are declining and are lowest among black and Hispanic patients, groups in whom rates of HIV, herpes, and cervical cancer are disproportionately high.” Medicaid, which insures many low-income patients in these populations, does not pay for routine infant circumcision in 16 states.

[...]

CNN

And there you have it. Chop is cheaper than Gardasil.

I wonder how many chops you would be able to purchase with the cost of a full round of Gardakill?

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM—–CHOP!

Other BLOGDIAL posts on Guardakil

Daniel Hannan: Your New Hero

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

So wrong, for so long

Monday, March 9th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The Oxford Libertarian Society is hosting a talk:

Thursday, 12th March – 8pm – Christ Church (Lecture Room 1)

DOUGLAS CARSWELL MP – ‘The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain’

Conservative Member of Parliament for Harwich and Clacton since 2005, Douglas Carswell is one of the leading advocates for limited government in Westminister. As a contributor to ‘Direct Democracy: an Agenda for a New Model Party’ and author of ‘The Localist Papers,’ he established himself as amongst the vanguard of the highly effective localist movement within the Conservative Party. He strongly favours the devolution of most functions of government to the local level, and greater participatory democracy through referendums and citizens’ intitiatves. He will speak about a book he has recently coauthored with Daniel Hannan MEP, ‘The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain,’ a set of policy proposals to radically change the role of the central government in a single legislative session. Amongst the key ideas proposed are health savings accounts, school vouchers, and elected sheriffs. He blogs at http://www.talkcarswell.com, and the book can be downloaded from http://www.renew-britain.com.

As long time readers of BLOGDIAL will know, we believe that the only purpose of legislative bodies in the 21st century should be to remove legislation from the statute books. Now it seems that some more people are starting to wake up.

Sadly, this particular group is still completely deluded.

From Douglas Carswell’s blog:

Sir Paul Judge is setting up a new “open source” political party – which aims to make great use of the internet and direct democracy.
He seems to have grasped that the internet will remove barriers to entry in politics as surely as it has done already in business and commerce. In order to retain market share, the big, established political parties are going to have to either adapt – or lose out.

[...]

http://www.talkcarswell.com/show.aspx?id=521

‘Direct Democracy’. Can you imagine what that would be like? Imagine the mobile phone generation being able to decide how you can or cannot live? The generation that cannot even speak in complete sentences, thanks to a device that has created a new form of english. Chicken nugget eaters voting by text message on wether or not foi gras should be eaten or not.

This is just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

What makes people free are concrete rights, not access to voting. Democracy IS turkeys voting to outlaw Christmas. Democracy IS three wolves and two sheep voting on what is for dinner. Spreading it into the hands of every uneducated, ignorant moron with a mobile phone is absolute insanity. It is the technical perfection of mob rule; ‘mobocracy’…or ‘mobileocracy’ or ‘txtrcsy’…you get the idea.

Even if increasing democracy were a good idea, we all know that all voting should take place only on paper, and should never be done electronically. There have been recent scandals about this, as you may recall.

In any case, here is the last part of the article in The Times by Sir Paul Judge. The emphasis is mine:

[...]

Everybody knows that the system is broken, everyone agrees that reform is required. However turkeys do not vote for Christmas. It seems that if we want to change the system we have to change the turkeys.

On Monday 16th March, we shall be launching the Jury Team – an organisation that will run a web-based Open Primary to let anyone put themselves forward as a candidate. If they win the popular vote, conducted using mobile phones, they will be selected to head the list of candidates we are putting up for the European Parliamentary elections in June.

Other than prohibiting our platform from being used by extremists, we will demand of our candidates only that they support our principles of good governance. Beyond that, they are free to vote on issues unburdened by any party whip.

With the newspapers filled with stories of sleaze and corruption and with political apathy spiraling, we are in the midst of a perfect storm. The European Parliamentary elections offer the electorate the opportunity to show that there is an appetite for change and a longing for British politics to be cleaned up by people selected from the general population, rather than from the political class. We shall then build on this for the general election. All we need is your support.

You can make a difference by going to www.juryteam.org.

[...]

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5864626.ece

Any system that can exclude people because they are ‘extremists’ is broken by definition. There is no such thing as an ‘extremist’, and in a free country, where conduct between people is based on rights, it doesn’t matter what you or your neighbor believes; as long as you do not cause harm to anyone, you can believe and do what you like in a free country.

That means you can publish whatever you like, smoke whatever you like, drink whatever you like and so on and so on. None of these people are awake enough to grasp this. Furthermore, when they talk about ‘our platform’ they give the game away completely. They will be using ‘their’ platform to make sure that only their points of view are expressed; of course, its their right since they own the platform, but the guiding principle is all wrong, and trying to create something to fix a problem should not be made from the same problems that it is trying to fix. You cannot say that ‘anyone can put themselves forward as a candidate’ when in fact, there will be a vetting process to weed out ‘extremists’. This is called ‘FAIL’.

The problem with everything the way it is is that it is owned by one group that exploits other groups by force. They create the contexts, the definitions (like ‘extremist’ or ‘the five outcomes’ or ‘the social contract’) make the rules and everyone is expected to obey. Truly Open Source Politics would accept all ideas and all candidates as equal, and then allow the market (the electorate) to decide which ideas and candidates have merit.

These computer illiterate people have seized on the idea of Open Source software, and are trying to squeeze their increasingly discredited careers into the new paradigm. It is not going to work. They do not even know where to start, as can be seen by how they price their ‘plan’. See below.

Of course, we know that this cannot work because democracy is mob rule and a form of tyranny, so even if this project was open to all ideas, it is fundamentally flawed and a part of the problem.

This is something that cannot be tweaked, adjusted, fixed or set right. The best you can do, if you want to keep the present system in anything like the shape it is currently in, is to pare it down to almost nothing. Other than that, with all the laws, regulations, controls and bureaucratic infrastructure intact, all schemes like an ‘Open Source Political Party’ are failures precisely because they are political parties that dovetail into and amplify the present mess.

And now, from the Renew Britain site:

Britain is heading in the wrong direction. The Plan shows how to put our country on the right track. Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell show how a future government could actually shift powers back, from Brussels to Westminster, from Whitehall to town halls, from the state to the citizens. Their plan aims to restore honour and meaning to the ballot box. It would disperse power among communities, through localism and through referendums. Things do not have to be as they are. The Plan shows how we can change our country for the better.

[...]

http://www.renew-britain.com

Point of order m’lud; the book is for sale at £10. The download is on sale for £5. These people need to read this book. Going ‘Open Source’ means giving away the source of the idea so that other people can copy it without restriction. You utterly FAIL!@!@

Britain has been heading in the wrong direction for generations. This plan cannot put britain on the right track, because they want to shift an immoral power from one group to another group. In order to put Britain on the right track, the train and the rails need to be dismantled completely. Even if the plan could work, these people are doing everything they can to prevent people from reading it, by charging for a download of a digital copy.

But I digress…

Moving power from Brussels to Westminster leaves Westminster with power. FAIL.
Moving power from Whitehall to town halls leaves town halls with power. FAIL.
Moving power from the state to citizens leaves the citizens with power. FAIL.
Restoring meaning to the ballot box means empowering the dictatorial electorate. FAIL.
Dispersing power amongst communities puts power in the hands of back burner vigilantes. FAIL.
Referendums are mob rule, otherwise known as tyranny. FAIL.

Things do not have to be as they are. This is the only thing we agree with. Everything is going to change, like it or not, and the shape it is going to take will be not what the ruling elite want:

A silent $1 trillion “Run on Britain” by foreign investors was revealed yesterday in the latest statistical releases from the Bank of England. The external liabilities of banks operating in the UK – that is monies held in the UK on behalf of foreign investors – fell by $1 trillion (£700bn) between the spring and the end of 2008, representing a huge loss of funds and of confidence in the City of London.

[...]

The Independent

People are quitting the over legislated, super socialist, police state Britain, and they will not be bringing their money or their businesses back. Not only have New Labour / Tory Britain cut out the heart of the city with their sour grapes attack on Non Domiciled people but the pound, being printed into hyperinflation is being run away from like the plague has legs and is chasing investors.

In the end, the only people who will be left in the UK will be those who cannot afford to leave, those too fat to leave and the delusional politicians scrambling around with crazy ideas of how to rule over this impoverished, dumbed down, hopeless and trapped population.

Britain will become the next Portugal.

What a pity.

‘Why Cd Was a Con’, or ‘I told you so’

Friday, March 6th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Way back in 1992, we wrote the following piece, printed it on 12″ square pieces of card and shipped it with thousands of 12″ singles:

What is the essence of digital recording/reproduction?
Digital recording systems work on the principal of turning a signal into a series of binary numbers, which are then stored for reproduction. This system of encoding averages the input signal to minimize the amount of data generated. It was believed that 44,100 samples per second was a high enough resolution to sufficiently encode any music signal without the listener being able to detect the inevitable degradation.

Analogue encoding systems work by taking the musical information as it is and turning it directly into mechanical movements ~as in the case of vinyl or directly into magnetic modulations (as found on tape) which in the replay stage do not have to be decoded or mathematically reconstructed. There is no trickery involved; what you hear is what you had.

Reductionism
The scientific community has, over the past 10 years, slowly come to the startling revelation, that there are many systems in nature that cannot be broken down or reduced to a set of simple component parts. This realization has overturned the prevailing paradigm of nature which as ruled for the last 200 years. T he death of reductionism has direct implications for the field of audio, and confirms what everybody has been feeling and saying in private for some time about digital music systems; the resolution obtained at 44.1khz is not high enough to reproduce music properly.

The resolution of analogue systems however, depends on the quality of the materials and components used in the audio chain; in the case of vinyl, the resolution goes down to the molecular level. It is millions of times more sensitive than any digital system that has ever been manufactured.

Upgradability
Because digital systems irretrievably reduce the input musical signal to a series of numbers that is insufficient to encode all of the music, there is a limit to how much you can upgrade your reproduction system (hi fi) to obtain a better sound. No matter how much money you spend, the original musical signal can never be retrieved belong the fidelity at which the encoding took place. With analogue recording however, the amount which you can gain is enormous. I he molecular resolution of analogue tape and vinyl facilitate this upward mobility, and even if you don’t choose to upgrade your equipment, the quality of the signal is still preserved in your recordings, if you should ever desire to take advantage of it. Digital denies you this potential.

What’s happening in the studios: engineers reactions
Studio engineers are consistently confirming that digital systems do not measure up under close scrutiny. At a world famous audio mastering facility which specializes in the preparation of lacquers and PQ encoded tapes for CD production, the verdict has been that digital must be treated with extreme caution. At this facility, the production of masters is carried out from many different sources; DAT, Sony PCM 701, analogue tape @ 15ips and 30ips, 1630 U-Matic and Cassette. The Monitoring systems that this studio employs are among the finest in the world, custom built and calibrated by hand by an audio genius. Constant exposure to different kinds of music, heard through an exceptional reproduction system, from different source tapes, has given these engineers the experience to be able to judge audio. Here is the testimony of one of their senior engineers. . .

“There appears to be an unquestioning attitude to digital audio. It is generally and wrongly accepted that digital recorders provide a true to original sound, however there are many variables that can drastically alter the audio signal and there is a widespread ignorance to the various permutations. On the simplest level, one finds that comparable DAT players of different makes have markedly different sounds. The variety of digital interfaces also gives rise to further differences. The idea that a digital copy is an exact copy of the original music is simply not correct. One can look at all of the variables and reach a good compromise but manufacturers still have a long way to go. There is also a growing feeling that the digital sound is conditioning people to accepting the digital sound as the TRUE sound whereas in reality digital systems impart a texture to the sound which is invariably 'restricted' and 'stifled' as opposed to 'open' and 'breathing'. Sound engineers seem to be subconsciously working around the problem, working towards a compromise that 'sounds good on digital'.”

The analogue infrastructure
The knowledge gained in the manufacture and operation of analogue recording systems is invaluable and irreplaceable. Research and development into further improving the near perfect world of analogue audio reproduction has virtually stopped, due to the destructive influence of digital. It is not only the patents and designs that must be carried into the future, but also the personal expert knowledge of engineers, gained over many years, which must survive; knowledge which can never be replaced once lost – the knowledge of what quality to expect from the best possible analogue reproduction system.

Analogue computing
Digital computing is only an evolutionary step in the development of computers. There exists today, the working components of a new type of analogue computer which will revolutionize computing, and make digital computing obsolete. With the establishment of analogue computing, all tasks that are now being handled by digital computers will be switched to analogue computers, including the recording and reproduction of music. Much experience has been gained in the field of optical discs. High density optical discs will, without doubt, be a major resource for data storage and retrieval when analogue computers come on line. I he advantages of optical disc storage (when the disadvantages of digital encoding are stripped away) are many; durability, pitch stability, low distortion and track numbering to name a few. When these advantages are combined with the perfection of analogue encoding, we will have a system of playback and recording with a quality beyond all expectations. Such a system however will be of no use to anyone if the analogue infrastructure has been dismantled, and there is no one left who knows first hand what real, true to life audio sounds like.

The mass destruction of masters
For the moment, digital is here with us, and a terrible price is being paid. l he entire history of recorded sound and music is being systematically ‘saved’ into digital formats . . . at 44.1 khz. This disaster is taking place because of the life span of recording tape; the glues that have been used to bind the magnetic material to the flexible substrate of most recording tape have been found to be decomposing, putting at risk most of the master tapes that have been recorded in the last 50 years. In what seemed like a sensible move, all of these master tapes have been scheduled for saving to digital; (also, conveniently, this ties in with the re-releasing of the back catalogues of most record companies onto CD) I. What nobody bothered to tell these companies, is that digital sounds like shit; and so, thinking that they have permanently saved their masters, the record companies are THROWING AWAY their original analogue master tapes. . . to save space. When the penny drops it w ill be too late. All of~our favorite music will be lost forever in a quanitized quagmire of brittle, cold, shitty sound, and for no good reason, because analogue machines could just as easily be used to preserve decomposing masters.

The proper place for CD
CDs are very useful, just as cassettes are useful; they have a place in the audio chain, and should be used and sold; BUT NOT TO THE EXCLUSION OF ANY OTHER FORMAT, and certainly not to the exclusion of vinyl, which is the best mass produced reproduction carrier ever made.

Who’s in control?
You have to wonder how this sham has continued for so long, and of course, we all know who is behind this insane state of affairs. The audio equipment manufacturers have realized that if they design and manufacture the hardware i.e. CD players, mini-disc, l)CC, they must control the manufacture of the software I music) to ensure that their investment in time and R&D pays off. Sony learned this the hard way, with the failure of Betamax; it failed because there was no software available to watch; they tried to push the system, licensing movies from film companies at huge cost, but it was too late. NOW Sony owns Columbia Pictures, and every picture they have ever made, so if they want to launch any type of new hardware to play movies, the availability of software will be no problem, no matter how good or bad the system is; they can even release films on reels of spaghetti if they want to. Sony also own CBS records and the CBS back catalogue. Phillips own Phonogram and A&M. This is a terrible situation, not only because the production of music is in the hands of a small number of giant companies that are also the exclusive manufacturers of all audio equipment, but because these companies are deaf to sound quality, due to their need to launch more and more new playback formats. Mixed with the profits to be made from re releasing hijacked back catalogues, the resulting brew is poisonous; companies that profit from reissuing old music again and again into a never ending stream of different and inferior devices to a public addicted to electronic novelty. GOD SAVE US ALL.

It’s not too late
Most of the engineers and companies involved in the production of analogue recording systems still exist and are working. If we stop the digital disease now, music and sound in all of its intricacy will be saved for everyone. Keep buying turntables and vinyl records. Keep buying cassettes. Boycott any release that is on CD only for no good reason. Make sure that the labels you buy from are not controlled by the manufacturers of music systems. It is the only way we are going to save sound.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLIC SERVICE INFORMATION DEPARTMENT OF IRDIAL-DISCS

Now, in 2009, we read in The Times, the following…lets go through it together shall we?

Young music fans deaf to iPod’s limitations

Many people complain that pop music was better in the good old days. Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen are poor substitutes for the Beatles and Bob Dylan, the argument goes.

Older fans also insist that songs heard through iPods just don’t rock as they used to, compared with the clarity of CDs and the crackling charm of vinyl.

Research has shown, however, that today’s iPod generation prefers the tinnier and flatter sound of digital music, just as previous generations preferred the grainier sounds of vinyl. Computers have made music so easy to obtain that the young no longer appreciate high fidelity, it seems.

This is nonsense. Young people no longer appreciating high fidelity has nothing to do with the ease of getting a hold of music. They do not appreciate high fidelity for the reasons I outlined in 1992.

The theory has been developed by Jonathan Berger, Professor of Music at Stanford University, California. For the past eight years his students have taken part in an experiment in which they listen to songs in a variety of different forms, including MP3s, a standard format for digital music. “I found not only that MP3s were not thought of as low quality, but over time there was a rise in preference for MP3s,” Professor Berger said.

He suggests that iPods may have changed our perception of music, and that as young people become increasingly familiar with the sound of digital tracks the more they grow to like it.

False. ‘Our’ perception has not changed; the human ear is the same as it has been for generations. What has been changed are what young people are used to; they have been inured to the sound of garbage masquerading as music. They think that music IS what comes out of ear-buds.

He compared the phenomenon to the continued preference of some people for music from vinyl records heard through a gramophone. “Some people prefer that needle noise — the noise of little dust particles that create noise in the grooves,” he said.

No one has EVER preferred the noise of dust particles. Clearly this man has no idea of why vinyl and analogue are superior to compressed digital. Noise is something you sometimes have to put up with in order to hear music, which is what you get from a properly operating turntable and amplification system. It is important not to conflate the faults of vinyl playback and nostalgia for the facts about those high fidelity systems. They were and are good because of how they work and the audio chain, not because of their faults, which is why

“I think there’s a sense of warmth and comfort in that.”

is total nonsense. The quality of analogue reproduction is not an illusion; it is real and the emotional response you get from music that is played back correctly is your response to the music, which is being relayed to you faithfully.

Music producers complain that the “compression” of some digital music means that the sound quality is poorer than with CDs and other types of recording. Professor Berger says that the digitising process leaves music with a “sizzle” or a metallic sound.

First of all, music producers and mastering studios started compressing tracks so that when they are replayed over the radio they sound louder and more exiting. Tracks that were not compressed in this way sounded weak and not exiting next to those that had been pumped up, and so there has been a loudness war going on in pop music for a very long time. The only thing that has changed are the tools being used to do the compressing; now everyone uses ProTools to get this job done.

That is one sort of compression.

The OTHER type of compression is the Procrustean Bed type, which all young people are now suffering. As was said in that article from Sterophile, not only are we being subjected to sound that is destroyed by being sampled at 44.1khz in multiple passes from the multitrack down, but then these mangled, sterile tracks are then data reduced by the MP3 algorithms that reduce the file sizes to one tenth their original size, in lossy formats that sound nothing like music.

Some people say that the loss of fidelity is worth the trade off; there is more access to music than ever, it now costs nothing to listen to everything, and you get it the instant you want it.

As far as I am concerned, its like being offered immortality, but with the price being you can never eat food or have sex ever again.

Not such a good bargain is it?

Producers complain that as modern listeners hear their songs through iPods and their computers, music has to become ever-louder to hold their attention.

Not so.

“Now there’s a constant race to be louder than other people’s records,” said Stephen Street, who has produced records for Blur, the Cranberries and Kaiser Chiefs. “What you are hearing is that everything is being squared off and is losing that level of depth and clarity. I’d hate to think that anything I’d slaved over in the studio is only going to be listened to on a bloody iPod.”

Sorry Stephen, but your productions will never be recorded or heard properly again.

Other musicians have said that compression robs a song of its emotional power by reducing the difference between the loudest and softest sounds. Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone magazine recently that modern albums “have sound all over them. There’s no definition of nothing, no vocal, no thing, just like — static.”

Completely correct Bob.

Ken Nelson, producer of Coldplay’s first two albums, said: “An example of overcompression is the last Green Day album. If you try listening to it from beginning to end it’s hard work. After three songs you need to put something on that’s been recorded in the 70s.”

You NEVER need to listen to a Green Day album. For ANY reason. No matter how it was recorded.

Rennie Pilgrem, a dance music producer, said that he mixed his tracks while listening to them through iPod headphones to cater to the less refined tastes of today’s youth. “To my ears iPods are not even as good quality as cassette tape,” he said. “But once someone gets used to that sound then they feel comfortable with it.”

Cassette is a great format, and if you used it carefully, you could produce some really fantastic sounding masters with it. One of our most popular tracks was mastered directly from cassette, without any attempt to reduce the nose. It rocks.

Advances in technology have often resulted in profound changes in the style of popular music. Music historians point to keyboards in the 18th century moving from the plucked string of the harpsichord to the hammered string of the piano. For the first time, composers could devise songs that got progressively louder from note to note, something that was impossible on a harpsichord.

And yet, the Goldberg Variations are mostly known and loved through piano performances today, not harpsichord, which is the correct instrument for that work. It is the music of the Goldberg Variations that is great; it can be played on any keyboard and evoke its emotions. This is a completely bogus analogy. What we are talking about is the reproduction of recorded music not the technology of instruments.

In the early 20th century, the cylinders on Thomas Edison’s phonograph could play recorded music for only four minutes at a time, something that listeners became used to. Today tracks are still generally about four minutes long.

The Times

Well, that was a typically uninformed piece. Still, it confirms what we predicted; that one day, there would be no one left who knows what music sounds like. That day has now come to pass.

If you have any interest in this subject at all, do read the Stereophile article. It really is a nightmarish proposition that you are living in right now, and a most prescient piece of writing.

And who knows what is next? No doubt someone somewhere is working on a brain cap device that will allow a computer to directly stimulate the auditory processing parts of the brain so that ‘sound’ never has to pass through your ears at all.

The fact of the matter is that recorded music is a phenomenon that is very recent, that has not existed for the majority of the history of man and it may even disappear altogether. One thing is for sure, it is not going to remain the same. What I maintain is that you should be aware of what things are, why they are good or bad, what their value is to you and so on. What I am against is someone dictating how things should be for their own interests and not in the interests of music or the people who love it, which is exactly what happened with CD. It was designed and pushed (on the back of lies) for the benefit of companies without any regard for music or the public.

Ex British PM Blair charged with Iraq war crimes

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

International criminal court issues warrant alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity

Xan Rice in Tikrit

The ex British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has been charged with war crimes over the conflict in Iraq, adding to the list of heads of state issued with an arrest warrant by the international criminal court (ICC).

The court, based in The Hague, upheld the request of the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to charge Blair with war crimes and crimes against humanity. More than 1,600,000 people have died and 4,000,000 displaced since 2003 in the country’s various regions.

Judges dismissed the prosecution’s most contentious charge of genocide. Prosecutors had alleged Blair tried to wipe out three non-Arab ethnic groups.

Within minutes of the announcement, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Bagdad, the Iraqi capital.

Gordon Brown, an aide to Blair, described the decision as “neo-colonialism … They do not want Iraq to become stable.”

The ICC spokeswoman, Laurence Blairon, said the indictment, drawn up by three judges, included five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape. The two counts of war crimes were for directing attacks on the civilian population and pillaging.

Blairon said Blair was criminally responsible as the head of state and commander of the British armed forces for the offences during a five-year counter-insurgency campaign against three armed groups in Iraq.

She said all states would be asked to execute the arrest warrant and if Sudan failed to cooperate the matter would be referred to the UN security council.

Human rights groups hailed the ICC decision to pursue Blair, who is accused of ordering mass murder, rape and torture in Iraq.

“This sends a strong signal that the international community no longer tolerates impunity for grave violations of human rights committed by people in positions of power,” said Tawanda Hondora, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Africa programme.

Britain does not recognise the ICC, and Blair yesterday said the court could “eat” the arrest warrant, which he described as a Al Quaeda plot to hinder Iraq’s development.

Despite his defiance, the court’s decision will raise immediate questions over his political future and he will find it difficult to travel abroad without the risk of arrest.

The case is by far the biggest and most controversial that the ICC, which started work as a permanent court in 2002, has taken on.

Blair, who is 55 and held power for 10 years, joins the likes of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor and the late Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who were indicted by special international tribunals while still in office.

Both were subsequently forced from power and put on trial in The Hague.

Few independent observers doubt Blair’s large share of responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq.

Moreno-Ocampo says the Iraq strategy of Blair caused 1,000,000 violent deaths, and alleges that Blair wanted to eliminate the Fur, Marsalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, whom he deemed supportive of the Al Quaeda.

“More than 30 witnesses will [testify] how he [Blair] managed to control everything, and we have strong evidence of his intention,” Moreno-Ocampo said yesterday.

But some Iraq experts were not convinced by the genocide charge, which is normally extremely difficult to prove. Equally contentious was the decision to pursue Blair while he still heads an international envoy to an unstable region.

The US, UK and France were not in favor of the arrest warrant, and fear it may push Iraq’s government away from reforms and ending the six-year conflict.

But Arab states and the African Union had pressed for a acceleration of the charges to allow Blair a final chance to atone for the Iraq conflict while not under duress.

Under the ICC statute, the United Nations can still pass a resolution to defer the prosecution for 12 months, but this seems unlikely given the stance of leading African powers.

Street protests against the ICC decision are expected in London, but the government has insisted there will be no impact on national policies.

Some observers fear, however, that Brown will crack down on opposition groups in the coming months if he feels his power is at stake, and that bailout plans to end the economic crisis could also be in peril.

The UN, aid agencies and western embassies have made emergency plans in case of violence against foreigners.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/04/omar-bashir-sudan-president-arrest

The Last Poets: Austrian Economists?!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

I first heard these words on an Album by ‘The Pop Group’, called For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder …. It is by The Last Poets, and it is called ‘E Pluribus Unum’.

Reading it again today, you could mistake the writers of these inspiring, insightful and brilliant words for a group of Austrian Economists:

Selfish desires are burning like fires
among those who hoard the gold
As they continue to keep the people asleep
and the truth from being told
Racism and greed keep the people in need
from getting what’s rightfully theirs
Cheating, stealing and double dealing
as they exploit the peoples fears

Now, Dow Jones owns the people’s homes
and all the surrounding land
Buying and selling their humble dwelling
in the name of the Master Plan

Cos paper money is like a bee without honey
with no stinger to back him up
and those who stole the people’s gold
are definitely corrupt

Credit cards, master charge, legacies of wills
real-estate, stocks and bonds on coupon paper bills

Now the US mints on paper prints, millions every day
and use the eagle as their symbol cos it’s a bird of prey

The laurels of peace and the arrows of wars
are clutched very tightly in the eagles claws
filled with greed and lust,
and on the back of the dollar bill,
is the words IN GOD WE TRUST

But the dollar bill is their only God
and they don’t even trust each other
for a few dollars more they’d start a war
to exploit some brother’s mother

Now ANNUIT means and endless amount stolen over the years
and COEPTIS means a new empire of vampire millionaires
And NOVUS is a Latin word meaning something new
an ORDO means a way of life chosen by a few
SECLORUM is a word that means to take from another
knowledge, wisdom and understanding stolen from the brother

Now there are thirteen layers of stone of the pyramid alone
an unfinished work of art
for thirty-three and a third is as high as a mason can go
without falling apart

Thirteen stars in the original flag!
Thirteen demons from the Devil’s bag!
Thirteen berries and thirteen leaves!
Thirteen colonies of land-grabbing thieves!
Thirteen arrows in the eagle’s claws!
Sixty-seven corporations wage the Devil’s wars!
Thirteen stripes on the eagle’s shield!
And these are the symbols on the US seal!

Now on the front of the dollar bill
to the right of Washington’s head
is a small seal in the shape of a wheel
with the secret that’s been left unsaid
The symbols in the middle represent the riddle
of the scales, the ruler and the key;
the square rule is a symbol
from the craft of masonry
The scales represent Libra
the balance of the seventh sign
They also represent the Just-Us
which you and I know is blind
The key unlocks the mysteries
of the secrets of the seal
So that only the Govern-u-men
would know what they reveal

The four words apart form the last parts of
the secrets of the seal
and tells how they fooled the people
into thinking paper money was real!

Now, THESAUR means the treasury
where they store the gold they stole
and AMER means to punish
like the slaves they bought and sold
Then SEPTENT means seven
like seventeen-seventy-six
when the thirteen devils gathered
to unleash their bag of tricks
The SIGEL means the images
they’ve created to fool the world
like the colors on Old Glory
the flag that they unfurled

Now the red was the color of the Indian man
White was the devil’s who stole the land
Blue was the eyes that hypnotized
with the tricks and traps they sprung
and even to this very same day
they all speak with forked tongue!

And so the power is in the hand of the ruling classes
playing god with the fate of all the masses
so the people don’t get any in the land of the plenty
'cause E PLURIBUS UNUM means 'One Out Of Many'

Modern liberty has found its voice…but not its balls

Sunday, March 1st, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

And it is only balls that will solve this problem.

Editorial
The Observer, Sunday 1 March 2009
Article history
It was never in a Labour manifesto that individual freedom should be surrendered in the interests of collective security. Nor was it written that society should submit itself to a blanket of surveillance by the state.

It was never announced as a political creed of the current government that trial by jury is an expensive inconvenience that modern democracies can, in certain circumstances, do without. Nor was it proclaimed that the principle of habeas corpus, that prohibits the crown from detaining a free individual without his or her knowing the charge, was redundant in the face of terrorist threats in the 21st century. And yet, one way or another, all of those views have been expressed in laws introduced by Labour since it came to power.

Whether by complacency, arrogance or cynical design, the government has erected an edifice of legal constraint to liberty that would suit the methods and aims of a despot.

That is not to say, of course, that we have become a police state, or that a slide to authoritarianism is inevitable. It is simply a matter of fact that basic freedoms, conceptions of the moral autonomy of the individual to act without impediment by the state, have been systematically disrespected. Vigilance and resistance to that process is an obligation that rests with every citizen in a democracy.

Crucial steps towards the fulfilment of that obligation were taken by the Convention on Modern Liberty yesterday. Hundreds of people, representing a spectrum of political affiliations and a wide plurality of opinions, gathered to express a single response to the erosion of civil liberties: enough! It is the message that Henry Porter, one of the convention leaders, has urgently conveyed from the pages of this newspaper many times.

Delegates included representatives from all major political parties, non-governmental organisations, local councils, media organisations, trade unions, and – most important – private citizens concerned about the vandalism to the constitutional order is being done in their name.

Until now the government has by and large scorned the civil liberties lobby, seeing it as a peripheral and largely irrelevant fetish of the chattering classes. That arrogant disregard for democratic principle has been uncovered. The call for liberty is rapidly migrating from the margins to the mainstream of politics, and it is time for the government to listen.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/01/civil-liberties-surveillance

FAIL FAIL FAIL.

Like we have been saying, all the conferences, meetings and articles have already been done. There is no need for any more that do not result in a concrete plan of action to finally and totally restore the liberties that have been stolen from the people of this once great Island.

Henry Porter and his cohorts now all feel very satisfied that they ‘pulled it off’. They think this is the start of a movement. If the only thing to come out of this is an unnamed editorial saying, “its time for the government to listen”, then they are doomed to fail.

Government must be TOLD.

This government does NOT LISTEN. You have had many MANY examples of this, from the nauseating government run petitions that are ignored, to the biggest ever demonstration of TWO MILLION PEOPLE against the immoral, illegal and disastrous invasion of Iraq, which was also completely ignored.

How many times do you people have to be ignored before you understand what it is that you are dealing with?

Let me help you.

The Guardian, if it is really serious, needs to organize its own civil disobedience campaign, where it makes a list of things that will not ever be obeyed, because they are in violation of their readers civil liberties.

  1. Absolute refusal to comply with any aspect of the ID Card scheme. This also means that all Guardian staff must also take the pledge to not comply with any of its measures also.
  2. All CCTV cameras that point into the street are to be removed by members of the public on sight. That includes all speed cameras.
  3. Any and all actions of the state derived from surveillance systems, that do not involve violent crime, are null and void, are to be disobeyed. That means (for example) you cannot be accused by the evidence of a CCTV camera, even if it is operated manually (automatically generated tickets), and also (for example) that if your council tries to prosecute you and used surveillance to ‘catch’ you, the whole case is null and void.

Do you get the picture?

Not only must all the technical apparatus be physically destroyed, but any action brought about by the police state should be null and void and unenforceable.

That is how you TAKE your liberty back.

I’m sure that you can insert your own measures into that list. No more fishing expeditions. No more mass surveillance. No more huge databases of personal information. This is a zero tolerance strategy. The state will cease to function if it is done, and everything that the population does will remain unaffected.

If you are not willing to do this, to have some balls, then NOTHING will ever change. If you are like Henry Porter and The Guardian, who are servants of the state in thought, word and action, then you may as well stop now and save yourself the bother. You will LOSE.

Finally, as we have said many times before. The root of all these problems is bad money. The Guardian cannot have it both ways. They cannot on the one hand be FOR the fiat currency fueled welfare warfare state and ALSO against the police state. The aspects are inseparable. Even the super socialist George Monbiot has had a Eureka moment where he suddenly seems to understand that the root of the problem is fiat currency, and that commodity money is a way out. When someone like Monbiot starts talking about Austrian Economics as being a good idea without knowing he is talking about Austrian Economics, you know we have reached a tipping point.

It’s up to everyone to push it right over the edge; to tip it over. That means taking some ballsy actions en masse, and not just talking about the problems, which we have all been doing for ages.

Finally Jack ‘Mass Murderer’ Straw says that Britain is not a police state, and if you do not like the government, you can always vote it out. Well, we all know how that works.

When, for example the BNP gets votes, democratically, everyone goes berserk, saying how they should be banned or at the very least controlled etc etc. On the other ‘extreme’ you have the LibDems who can never get into power, and even if they did, they would be an unmitigated disaster. That leaves them with two parties that are essentially interchangeable. Face the facts; democracy is hopelessly broken and can never be fixed. The only answer is a de fanged government that is so powerless that it doesn’t matter who is in charge; your rights trump everything they could possibly come up with.

If you do not face this fact, there will always be another Jack Straw or Tony Bliar on the horizon, waiting to destroy your money, take away your rights and sell the sovereignty of your country to foreigners for nothing.