Saturday, June 12, 2004

Feds STILL unable to distinguish art from bioterrorism
Grand jury to convene June 15

Seven artists have been served subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury that will consider bioterrorism charges against a university professor whose art involves the use of simple biology equipment.

The subpoenas are the latest installment in a bizarre investigation in which members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force have mistaken an art project for a biological weapons laboratory (Background essay). While most observers have assumed that the Task Force would realize the absurd error of its initial investigation of Steve Kurtz, the subpoenas indicate that the feds have instead chosen to press their "case" against the baffled professor.
posted by chriszanf , 7:29 PM Þ 

That a musician would love music, and take it seriously, is predictable enough - but to have been at it this long, and never fallen into the trap of thinking your generation was the best, of listening for plagiarism instead of flair, of defensively finding fault or of simply getting a bit tired . . . it's brilliant, really. [...],11710,1236945,00.html

No "generation is the best", however there have been some generations that did in these terms "flair without plagiarism"; what everyone with ears is hearing in todays crap is plagiarism without flair, music without flair. People without flair.

Pretending that the world is what it is not is of no use to anyone, least of all to the idiots who persist in making garbage noises to the uncritical praise of LOOSERS LIKE YOU!

posted by Irdial , 5:47 PM Þ 
posted by Alison , 5:35 PM Þ 

posted by a hymn in g to nann , 12:59 PM Þ 
Friday, June 11, 2004

I think it was mary13 who posted this game last autumn or summer. I had plenty of fun solving the puzzles, and was excited when I came across this game designed by the same people. The new one is a game for the band The Polyphonic Spree.
posted by Josh Carr , 9:04 PM Þ 

Kid Carpet

Capt''ll love his tune 'Jump'!
posted by chriszanf , 8:57 PM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 6:40 PM Þ 
posted by chriszanf , 6:35 PM Þ

I've often considered visiting These Records, so now it looks like I'd better go tomorrow. Anyone else going?

Im not working tomorrow now and so might pop up to go and spend some of my hard earned money.

What time was you thinking of going?
posted by chriszanf , 6:35 PM Þ 

Have you ever been to the palace at Versailles?

These are the sounds that filled their hearts:
posted by Irdial , 6:01 PM Þ 

On or about the transit of venus 2k4, the 12,000th BLOGDIAL post was made.

and so was the 60th blogdial_banner.

And it is now commemorated.

posted by Irdial , 5:15 PM Þ 

Does anyone collect apparently pointless ephemera?

Old love-letters, tickets of all kinds, flyers and all my shoes (witch comes handy once in a while and I have to many)
posted by Alison , 1:54 PM Þ 

posted by captain davros , 1:26 PM Þ 

Operation Comfort

Our mission is to create a nationwide network of mental health providers and agencies to donate their services, free of charge, to family members who have a loved one serving in the Middle East.

Our sole purpose is to provide emotional and psychological support to military families, regardless of ethnic background, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, economic status, or political stance.

Operation Comfort will allow therapists the opportunity to be of service to a population in great need of support. At this time, the families of soldiers are a unique and diverse community, all struggling with similar concerns, anxieties, and life stressors. Operation Comfort is an inclusive organization of psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, and social workers, all of whom are donating their time and expertise to provide meaning, understanding, and comfort. Therapists and family members alike, are invited to participate in this collaborative effort to maintain community and connection in this time of uncertainty and heartache.

Which is very well meant I'm sure. I wonder if they'd set up a wing for distressed Iraqi families.
posted by meau meau , 12:42 PM Þ 

The u-turn that saved the Gipper

After Iran-contra, Reagan ditched the right and embraced Gorbachev

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday June 10, 2004
The Guardian

Ronald Reagan's presidency collapsed at the precise moment on November 25 1986 when he appeared without notice in the White House briefing room, introduced his attorney general, Edwin Meese, and instantly departed from the stage. Meese announced that funds raised by members of the national security council and others by selling arms to Iran had been used to aid the Nicaraguan contras. Anti-terrorism laws and congressional resolutions had been wilfully violated. Eventually 11 people were convicted of felonies. In less than a week, Reagan's approval rating plunged from 67% to 46%, the greatest and quickest decline ever for a president.

On December 17 1986, William Casey, the director of the CIA, was scheduled to testify before the Senate intelligence committee. But he collapsed into a coma, suffering from brain cancer, never to recover. Lt Col Oliver North, Casey's action officer on the NSC, explained to a select congressional investigation that Casey had been the mastermind in creating an "overseas entity ... self-financing, independent", that would conduct "US foreign policy" as a "stand-alone". Called "the Enterprise", it was the apotheosis of the Reagan doctrine, the waging of a global war for the rollback of communism.

The hardline secretary of defence, Caspar Weinberger, and his neoconservative underlings were summarily dismissed, the NSC purged. "Let Reagan be Reagan," had long been the cry of conservatives. Now they screamed that Reagan was either being held prisoner or had sold out.

In interviews with investigators, Reagan said he couldn't recall what had happened. But he retained his utopianism and idealism that had propelled him from leftwing liberal in Hollywood to rightwing man on horseback, switching ideologies but never his temperament.

At his first meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, Reagan had perplexed him by talking about how they might work together if there were an invasion of aliens from outer space. Reagan had got his idea from a 1951 science fiction movie in which an alien warns of earth's destruction if nuclear weapons are not abolished.

At the Reykjavik summit in October 1986, Reagan had agreed to eliminate all nuclear weapons (to the consternation of his advisers) until Gorbachev insisted that testing for the Star Wars missile defence shield be suspended. Two of Reagan's utopian dreams collided. But after the exposure of the Iran-contra scandal, Gorbachev dropped the objection to Star Wars. Instead, he crafted a practical arms reduction agreement, the intermediate nuclear forces treaty. And, despite opposition from conservatives, Reagan seized upon it.

With script in hand, Reagan was Reagan again. In September 1987, he addressed the United Nations general assembly: "I occasionally think how our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world." That December, Gorbachev came to the White House to sign the treaty. Then, in June 1988, Reagan went to Moscow, where he declared that "of course" the cold war was over and that his famous reference to the "evil empire" was from "another time."

Reagan did not bring about the downfall of the Soviet Union. But he lent support to the liberalising reform that hastened the end. In reaching out to Gorbachev, Reagan blithely discarded the rightwing faith that totalitarian communism was unchangeable and that only rollback, not containment and negotiation, would lead to its demise.

Reagan was acutely self-conscious about his about-face and on his trip to Moscow he explained it. "In the movie business actors often get what we call typecast," he said. "Well, politics is a little like that too. So I've had a lot of time and reason to think about my role." [...]

This is a great article from The Guardian.

As for My emphasis:
"The Enterprise"."The Project". "The Merchandise"
posted by Irdial , 12:12 PM Þ 

Torture Warrants: coming to a law enforcement agancy near you.

CapD, yes.
posted by Alun , 11:45 AM Þ 

Number 60.
There is a relationship between 60 and 12,000.
Is there not?

Come up with a 60th BLOGDIAL banner, to DELETE the present placeholder.

Or you suffer it, 1/60th of the loads.
posted by Irdial , 11:39 AM Þ 

I've often considered visiting These Records, so now it looks like I'd better go tomorrow. Anyone else going?
posted by captain davros , 11:37 AM Þ 

Advert in this week's Private Eye for a T-shirt that says:

"Let's just tell Blunkett we've got ID cards. He'll never know"

In other news, Chirac says something sensible, while Bush pisses in the wind.
...he gently decried George Bush's plan to reform Arab states with free elections, independent media and improved legal systems. Democracy was not a commodity that could be exported. It had to be an Arab model of democracy not a western one.

I can see The Monkey's point though.... free elections where you win even though you lose, and can get your relatives to stitch things up; independent media you can feed Bananas to force your opinions down a nation's throat; improved legal systems, preferably offshore, and preferably removing citizen's rights rather than defending them. I'm sure the Middle East can't wait.

Consider the case of the car dealer who promised a car for "1,000 bananas." Of course he meant $1,000, but when a customer came in with 1,000 bananas, the dealer refused to sell the car. The consumer sued the dealer, and was awarded $1,000 in compensatory damages (the value of the car). ... and $100,000 in punitive damages to punish the dealer for misrepresentation.

Blair bringing up the rear again...
posted by Alun , 10:51 AM Þ 

Site from which image was taken, translated by another seach engine.
posted by meau meau , 10:51 AM Þ 


The real problem is computer illiteracy. Let me show you why.

Google offers 1 gig of storage, which is more than 100 times the storage offered by Yahoo or Hotmail, or any Internet service providers that we know about.

Yahoo and Hotmail are providers of wemail; email you access from a browser. They are not "internet service providers". There are many internet service providers that offer more than a gigabyte of storage, but almost no webmail services that offer anywhere near a gigabyte of space just for your email.

In order to enter into a discussion about something, you ideally have to have at least a little knowledge about it. You have to be able to understand the detail. If you cannot, you cannot discuss it in any meaningful way.

After 180 days in the U.S., email messages lose their status as a protected communication under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and become just another database record.

This is bad law, and has nothing to do with Gmail. Gather together a group to remove this law from the american lawbooks; dont penalise business because of it.
Google's relationships with government officials in all of the dozens of countries where they operate are a mystery, because Google never makes any statements about this. But here's a clue: Google uses the term "governmental request" three times on their terms-of-use page for Gmail and once on their privacy page. Google's language means that all Gmail account holders have consented to allow Google to show any and all email in their Gmail accounts to any official from any government whatsoever, even when the request is informal or extralegal, at Google's sole discretion.

This is a problem with governments and not with Google. In fact, any ISP can be asked to reveal information about you in exactly the same way. Throughout Europe new dictats have been issued saying that ISP Data, including emails sent and recieved must be retained for inspection. In the UK, they are going to hold your email for 7 years. Once again, these are problems created by government, not by the providers of services, who would very much prefer not to have to spend time and money looking through your dirty underpants at the command of some beaurocrat. Fix the REAL problem, which is intrusive government. But of course, that is a HARD PROBLEM to face up to and solve. Its easy to attack Google, get millions of hits and become an anti-google celebrity. People who attack google are actually cowards without the guts to address the fundamental flaws in this.
Google has not even formally stated in their privacy policy that they will not keep a list of keywords scanned from incoming email, and associate these with the incoming email address in their database.

Dont send email to Gmail. Write some tools that automagically return all gmail email.
For example, their cookie with the unique ID in it, which expires in 2038, has been tracking all of the search terms you've ever used while searching their main index.
Delete it. Write a tool that deletes Googles cookie every minute. YOU control your computer not Google; act like you have at least a little understanding, and take control of what you do. You of course, could use another search engine...oh you didnt know? There ARE other search engines!
If Google builds a database of keywords associated with email addresses, the potential for abuse is staggering. Google could grow a database that spits out the email addresses of those who used those keywords. ...

Intelligence agencies would love to play with this information.

The fact that Google offers so much storage turns Gmail into something that is uniquely dangerous and creepy.
Everyone who knows anything about any of this knows that ECHELON is already doing this. They already have a database of email addresses indexed against keywords. Now, a private corporation wants to take advantage of the same techniques, and all of a sudden, its a big problem. ECHELON takes this information from you, and you get nothing but spied upon. Google does it, and hundreds of millions of people get enfranchised with a powerful tool. How stupid do you have to be to not see that it is ECHELON that is the real enemy, that it is ECHELON which is the unnacountable, illegal, immoral abomination that is invading your privacy, and the privacy of everyone with email? You would have to be very stupid or a computer illiterate, or a coward to not see this and face up to it. Gmail is not a problem. Governments out of control are the real and present danger to your privacy.
Inappropriate ad matching
Irrelevant. Unless you are the person buying the ad placements. You cannot on the one hand say that the scanning is entirely wrong, and in the next breath say that its bad because its innacurate. Either its bad or its good, full stop.

Esther Dyson, queen of the digerati, gets it wrong

"We're not going to have any choice but to send mail to people at Gmail just to function in the e-mail world," says Daniel Brandt, founder of the Web site.
That is a lie. You always have a choice. People who know better refuse to accept unencrypted email. Whats that I hear you say? Yes indeed, you can encrypt your email so that no one can read it while it is in transit to and from you. But you have to be one of the digerati to understand how it works :]
"And what guarantees do we have that all this won't end up on some bureaucrat's desk at some intelligence agency someday?"
Only a computer illiterate could say this. Governments can already do this without Gmail. Gmail doenst change anything at all, except to give people more useful webmail. Anyone who things that your email cant end up on a bureaucrat's desk doesnt know enough to enter this debate.
But those who support Gmail say such privacy concerns are not Google issues so much as constitutional ones, best addressed to Congress and law-enforcement agencies. "They've got a beef with the wrong person. The problem there is the FBI, not Google," says Dyson.
That is entirely correct. The digerati understand perfectly not only the issues of the technology involved, but also the legal aspects. They are smarter than you!
"And in the scheme of things, I'd rather have Google than my employer have access to my personal mail." -- Baltimore Sun, 20 May 2004
That is perfectly reasonable. You have to trust SOMEBODY if you want to be able to send email. You have to trust your postman and the postal service if you want to be able to send snail mail. This is what being alive in a group of people is about. The only way you can be in a position where you do not have to trust someone is when you live alone on an isolated island.

The point is this: Some two-thirds of all Google searches come in from outside the U.S., and Gmail will also have a global reach. We're not dealing with only the FBI (and yes, the same privacy advocates who oppose Gmail are dealing with the FBI), but potentially with hundreds of agencies in dozens of countries.

The real point is that cross border spying agreements were sealed before Gmail, and were inplimented in the form of ECHELON before any of these arguments were brought to your attention. Now that you know about them, you need to get off of the Gmail case and onto the much more difficult case of destroying ECHELON.

Google has no data retention policies,

Neither does ECHELON.

and never comments on their relationships with governments.

Neither does ECHELON.

The problem must be addressed at the source, which is Google.

no, it is ECHELON.

Elitist digerati do a disservice to the entire world when they assume such narrow points of view.

The digerati are the elite. It is a terrible burden to bear, especially when 90% of all the chatter (like gmail is too creepy) is so igmorant, impotent, pathetic and insufferably DULL.

It is a truely narrow point of view to see Gmail only as a tool to read peoples email and track their behaviour. It has been clearly demonstrated that ECHELON and the slew of new directives and laws about data retention are the real threat to peoples privacy. These laws will force google to be evil, whereas in a world where these laws did not exist, all webmail providers and ISPs could simply tell beaurocrats to fuck off when they recieved a request for information on a user without a properly issued warrant.

Gmail is too creepy is just a little too ignorant to be real. I suggest to you that it is a shill site created by M$ or someone connected to them, to try and destroy the viability of Gmail to give M$ time to ramp up the features of the utterly pathetic Hotmail, and forstall the mass exodus of users to a new, FAST, useful service, namely Gmail. This puts gmail is too is creepy into context, explains its existence and the very lame and PR-like name of this "protest" site.

Gmail will be launched. Gmail will change the face of webmail. Deal with it.

If you dont want some beaurocrat reading your email, defang your government. Its that simple.

Dand Brandt is behind "Public Information Research" He is the registrant of the domain:
Public Information Research
PO Box 680635
San Antonio, Texas 78268-0635
United States

Registered through:
Created on: 06-May-04
Expires on: 06-May-05
Last Updated on: 06-May-04

Administrative Contact:
Brandt, Daniel
Public Information Research
PO Box 680635
San Antonio, Texas 78268-0635
United States
2105093160 Fax -- 2105093161
Technical Contact:
Brandt, Daniel
Public Information Research
PO Box 680635
San Antonio, Texas 78268-0635
United States
2105093160 Fax -- 2105093161

Domain servers in listed order:

Here is his Nambebase Social Network Look at the people he is connected to. Astonishing.
posted by Irdial , 9:05 AM Þ 

It's OK to smoke dope, England fans told

Paul Kelso in Lisbon
Friday June 11, 2004
The Guardian

Portuguese police officers will turn a blind eye to England supporters who openly smoke cannabis during Euro 2004, having decided that a stoned crowd is easier to control than a drunk one.

Lisbon police confirmed yesterday that England fans will not be arrested for puffing on joints on the streets of the Portuguese capital, following a recommendation from the Dutch authorities responsible for policing the English during Euro 2000.

Four years ago England's match in Eindhoven, ironically against Portugal, passed off peacefully as many supporters took advantage of the Netherlands' liberal drugs laws. By contrast the game against Germany in the Belgian town of Charleroi was marred by violence, much of it fuelled by alcohol.

Portugal has similarly relaxed legislation to the Dutch and the authorities hope it will help them police the 50,000 supporters expected to arrive in the country in the next few days.

Possession of small amounts of cannabis is not illegal in Portugal but, technically, consumption is. However, having liaised with the Dutch, police will not act except in extreme circumstances.

Isabel Canelas, a spokeswoman for the Portuguese police, said cannabis would be a low priority during the tournament. "Everyone knows that here everyone can smoke. The police are doing another kind of job and their priorities are different.

"We won't be hiding behind doors waiting for someone to smoke a joint. We have to use common sense. If people are smoking but not kicking each other, not beating each other, and not making a problem, why on earth would an officer go and ask 'Is that cannabis?'

"If you are quietly smoking and a police officer is 10 metres away, what's the big risk in your behaviour? I'm not going to tap you on the shoulder and ask 'What are you smoking?' if you are posing no menace to others. Our priority is alcohol. [...],1563,1236261,00.html
posted by Irdial , 7:23 AM Þ 


News Update
Friday 11th June 2004



Pay attention everyone!

The These Records Retail Environment is at an end.
But that's not the end of us, it's just the end of a part of it...


Hello everybody,

We mentioned a while back that some property developers had bought 112 Brook Drive,
well last month (Despite them saying to us that they didn't want to do this and they wanted
an amicable agreement to the situation) they took us to court and filed for eviction.
We attended the hearing and presented our side but we lost the case.

What this means in fact is that we have to vacate 112 Brook Drive by a week today
(we have to vacate by 18th June). In order to remove all our stocks and files from
the building we estimate that we will have to close to the public by Tuesday 15th June.

So...this is the last call for the Retail shop, at least for the time being and certainly for
Brook Drive. We did all know that eventually the relentless march of the redevelopment
and reconfiguring of the environment spurred by the incessant and oh so compelling lure
of quick profits by those with the means to do so would eventually come our way.

London (and inevitably the rest of the country) becomes a less diverse, more regulated
and predictable environment by the sheer fact of capital enforcing itself. The greedy
opportunists will find their way though regardless of what anyone may be trying to
achieve as we have found out at first hand to our great cost.

An unfortunate addition to our situation is that we now have to pay in full (and by the
end of next week) all the subsequent rent our 'landlords' have been refusing 'till now,
plus their very weighty solicitors fees and the court costs leaving us with a daunting and
immediate bill of Ł4000.00 (plus).

Added to this we have substancial moving costs so we sincerely appeal that you our loyal
customers (beg beg) buy something from us NOW so we can weather this harsh situation
and move on to pastures fresh, continuing to offer a new and surprising selection of engaging,
stimulating products (and for the mail order customers packages that are difficult to open
but get to you in perfect condition). We have new product which we will tell you about
tomorrow or you can call us on the still operative telephone number. Shop visitors will find
a plethora of reduced price goodies to amaze and dribble over.

Saturday is declared the last real 'open' day for the Brook Drive shop before the
invevitability of packing, packing, packing and then moving...We will continue
but not in the form we've been previously known as. All those connected to the web
and on the mailing list will be informed of new phone, fax and physical addresses
as soon as they are 100% confirmed - in the meantime the email addresses remain
our primary and uninterupted mode of communication. New and very much more
up-to-date ways of buying from us on-line are currently in the works but mailorder
as it is will not be interupted in any way.

Also if anyone of genuinely enterprising spirit has some notion of organising a benefit
of some sort to assist us though this situation please get in touch - we can think of a lot
of people that would play but someone would need to take it on - book a venue, sort out
the details and artist liason et al - get in touch if you really are that person. serious offers only, please

Please try and make it down on Saturday if you can for a last visit, we will be more
than happy to receive visitors from opening time at 12.00 midday until closing time
(Probably around midnight in this instance). and oh, yes - bring a bottle of your
favourite poison if you are that way inclined. Everybody welcome.

Wishing you all you wish yourself and hope to see or hear from you soon.
Don't let the Bastards grind you down.
You will see a lot more of us despite all of the above...

The staff of These Records


tel: +44 (0)207 587 5349
fax: +44 (0)207 582 5278

London, England 11.06.2004
posted by THESE , 5:44 AM Þ 
posted by Ken , 4:43 AM Þ 

For a few minutes I thought that no, I don't collect any useless ephemera.
But I do! I went through my room to double check and I remembered my collection of hideous neckties. I hate wearing ties and it's very rare that I will wear one, and when I do it is definitely not one of the hideous ones. But collect them I do! There's something interesting about how fucking horrible they really are. Skinny 80's types with "futuristic" designs are my favourite, though gross 70's polyester behemoths are pretty cool too.
As far as mp3 players go... did anyone see the iRiver thing I posted a while back? I found it interesting because for one it plays OGGs, but more so is the fact that it has a 1.5GB hard drive - I have never really understood the need to have a giant 15GB hard drive in a player. 1.5 is a good size and cuts the price down. I was going to get one with my birthday money but I remembered that I need a subwoofer...
As far as g5s are concerned... doesn't the entry level (1.8gHz) seem like a really good deal?
posted by Barrie , 3:35 AM Þ 
posted by Ken , 1:02 AM Þ 
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Council opposes national ID cards

County councillors in Devon are opposing the introduction of national citizens' identity cards.

Councillor David Morrish put forward a motion to oppose the government's plan.

He claims the scheme would not give Devon any additional security from terrorist attacks, nor reduce anti-social behaviour.

Despite arguments that ID cards were similar to PIN numbers and could protect ethnic minorities, councillors voted by 20 to 13 to oppose the plan.

Mr Morrish also claims the scheme, estimated to cost Ł3 billion, would mean a further financial burden on the people of Devon and could undermine council policies.

He says there is no evidence the scheme would achieve its aims, adding that ID cards had not prevented the terrorist attack in Madrid in March.

It will cost a fortune and lead to another expensive IT fiasco
Cllr Brian Greenslade

"We are sleepwalking into the future and before we go any further, we'd better stop and look at the map." [...]

My emphasis.

Well well well. It looks like the impurification plans have not reached Devon. Pensioners in open revolt, Councillors voting to reject government dictat. Just in case you didnt know, the impurification measures have prooved to be 100% effective in Essex, where people believe that there is nothing wrong with creating a DNA database of everyone in the UK, they run around in spoilered Fords and think that living next to a motorway is preferable to living in a quiet location.

And Im not making that last bit up inaaaaaaaaat!

Oh my, check the third entry.
posted by Irdial , 8:39 PM Þ 

'caricature of a car'...classic!!

The French language is a beautiful thing, and in the hands of the literate, its a devastating instrument of great beauty.

My favourite phrase in this vein was the one used to describe the suggestion of the placing of the pyramid at the louvre by Im Pei. It was made by someone, and sadly, I cant find it online, but it went something like this (and I am paraphrasing very poorly
"This Egyptian symbol of death has no place in the heart of French culture"
The disdain in the actually spoken phrase was so perfectly transmitted, that even in translation it was almost like a musical phrase dancing into your ears.

The French are wonderful, complicated, vibrant and by God, they know how to eat!
posted by Irdial , 7:50 PM Þ 

Who has an MP3 player here?

Not yet. I think I will ask for one for my birthday, and I would really like to have an iPod, especially for skiing.

Does anyone collect apparently pointless ephemera?

No, not anymore. Well, maybe the odd rock or pinecone, but I try not to keep anything that is "pointless." I don't have the space, and I prefer functional items, or sentimental things, to fill my rooms. I do collect plants, but I think they are essential.
posted by mary13 , 6:50 PM Þ 

Paris Goes After SUVs
Wed Jun 9, 9:22 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) - Bulky four-by-fours could be banned from clogging up the chic streets of Paris after a top official in the capital's left-wing government described them as a polluting "caricature of a car" unsuited to city life.

An anti-sports utility vehicle (SUV) resolution passed by the city council could lead to a ban on the popular vehicles in about 18 months if it is included in an overall project to improve traffic flow in the city, Deputy Mayor Denis Baupin said Wednesday.

"You have to wonder why people want to drive around in SUVs," Baupin, a Greens party member, said on Europe 1 radio.

"We have no interest in having SUVs in the city. They're dangerous to others and take up too much space."

The city council voted Tuesday to urge Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe to consider banning SUVs, which have become popular in recent years and now make up about five percent of the French car market -- just below the western Europe average. [...]

Yahoo! News - Paris Goes After SUVs

'caricature of a car'...classic!!
posted by Ken , 4:29 PM Þ 

Yes. I have 7 scrapbooks of tickets (cinema, bus, train, plane), wrappers (sweets and so on) newspaper clippings and all sorts of other collagey things. And they only get up to 1996. Since then I have been "meaning to stick the rest in" and "the rest" is approximately 3 feet wide of shelf space filled with old A4 envelopes stuffed with more of the same. I throw a lot of things away so I do keep these purposefully.

I don't really know why I do this anymore. But I don't seem to be able to stop really.
posted by captain davros , 1:45 PM Þ 

Does anyone collect apparently pointless ephemera?
I don't mean not throwing things away, but actually collecting or choosing to keep things.

The closest I get is keeping cinema ticket stubs but that is probably too useful - in remembering what I've seen.
Downloaded webpages don't count.
posted by meau meau , 12:30 PM Þ 

Who has an MP3 player here? Hard disk or flash or whatever? I'm keen to know after falling into aquisition desire with the Jens of Sweden MP-130, esp as it supports OGG.

Do people use them a lot? Do you no longer make compilations for journeys or whatever if you have lots of music stored? I'm interested in how these devices might have changed the way we listen to music, which I know probably sounds a bit journalisty but it really fascinates me as a lifelong music fan, so please post away if you feel inspired.
posted by captain davros , 12:21 PM Þ 

EU countries to issue biometric passports by end 2005

In short:
EU interior ministers have agreed that within 18 months passports from EU citizens will contain one or two pieces of biometric data, a digitised face photo (compulsory) and a fingerprint (optional)...

This is despite Statewatch reporting that such a decision exceeds EU powers.

Balancing power to the US my arse.

The next ball to fall will be the UK government hastening introduction of ID database to 'comply with EU regulations'.

And they all rolled over and one fell out...
posted by meau meau , 10:58 AM Þ 

More opinion on the toture memo

...He noted that intent to engage in torture is a war crime.
It is only one of a series of similar documents revealed in the news media in recent weeks...

Impeach or extradite?


New G5s have a liquid cooling system - makes a G5 laptop seem unlikely. Also seems like we are reaching a limit on current processor performance ITRW.
posted by meau meau , 10:30 AM Þ 

posted by Mess Noone , 9:55 AM Þ 

György Ligeti and B. B. King Accept 2004 Polar Music Prize

Agence France-Presse - 26 May 2004

STOCKHOLM, May 24 (AFP) ? Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize was on Monday [24 May] presented to B. B. King for his contribution to the blues and to György Ligeti for his innovations in classical music. [...]

Ligeti, 81, was too weak to make the trip to Stockholm, so his secretary accepted the prize on his behalf for his role in expanding the frontiers of classical music.

Hungarian-born, like his famous forerunner and influence Béla Bartók, Ligeti helped breathe new life into a music form that peaked in the 19th century with the great symphonies, but then moved away from the mainstream ? making room for popular music forms like the blues, B. B. King's domain.

The Academy credited Ligeti with "stretching the boundaries of the musically conceivable, from mind-expanding sounds to new astounding processes, in a thoroughly personal style that embodies both inquisitiveness and imagination".

Often using traditional instruments in an unconventional way, Ligeti also sometimes shunned instruments altogether, writing pieces like a Symphonic Poem for 100 Metronomes, which in a live performance ends when the final tick has been heard.

In addition to the prize, King and Ligeti received a check for one million kronor (US$131,000; 110,000 euros) each. [...]
posted by Irdial , 6:56 AM Þ 
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
posted by Irdial , 8:10 PM Þ 

Have you noticed that you can no longer just drop an application into your application folder? You now have to "authenticate" before OSX allows you to drag an app there. Makes sense.

By the way, if you are running Mozilla on fully patched OSX, dont bother with RC3 it has some sort of performance "feature" that slows it down to molasses.
posted by Irdial , 7:08 PM Þ 

poken to people about Gurdjieff, I have never talked about dieting - though I have talked about diet.

Yes yes yes, but what have you said about diet?
posted by Irdial , 6:42 PM Þ 

diet, dieting... second hand information.

One straightened record.
posted by meau meau , 6:26 PM Þ 

Hello everybody - it has come to my attention that I have been misrepresented in the Blogdial scroll - though I do serve customers in These Records shop and have spoken to people about Gurdjieff, I have never talked about dieting - though I have talked about diet.
posted by the man from the bermuda triangle , 5:45 PM Þ 


posted by mary13 , 4:47 PM Þ 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General John Ashcroft has refused to release memos detailing U.S. torture policy as lawmakers accused him of trying to hide how the Bush administration has justified the abuse of prisoners.

Several U.S. senators demanded on Tuesday he release copies of memos obtained by newspapers that showed Ashcroft's Justice Department had offered justification to use torture of al Qaeda detainees if it were done in the name of national security.

The implication being that not only was abuse of prisoners tacitly accepted, but that the US government went into action fully expecting to use toture methods on captured people. An ingrained notion that contributes to the US lack of support for an International Law Court of Human Rights?

How long would it be before an ID database received a denial of service attack?
Could a D.O.S be targeted at checkpoints?
posted by meau meau , 3:45 PM Þ 

The Belgians have no problem with carrying an ID card. The French see nothing wrong in being guilty until proven innocent, and so on and so on. This fundamental mismatch means that a body that oversees all of these disperate groups can have unlimited power, because none of the member states have a consistent enough view on what a persons rights are to form a pan-European group to protect those rights.

Europe is hopelessly broken. But you know this.

The Danes trust authority so much they stand still when red-light (even in Sweden you're can walk, on your own responsibility), even though there is not a car in sight for miles...Danes too, like the French, see nothing wrong in being guilty until proven innocent...

posted by Alison , 2:17 PM Þ 

Quantum computing provides near-invulnerable encryption that cannot be eavesdropped upon. Encryption keys are sent via a pattern of single polarised photons and can be changed 100 times per second.

The method is also spy proof, since any third-party observation of the photons changes their properties.

BBN Technologies helped develop the initial backbone of the internet, Arpanet, and developed the first network email. The company is currently involved with developing quantum communications systems for satellites.
posted by meau meau , 1:31 PM Þ 

posted by captain davros , 12:20 PM Þ 

bought pj harvey's new album yesterday. let's say 'underwhelmed' at first listen, but i hope to be convinced


the man in the shop said 'have you heard this 7", it's only a quid'
'no' says i, 'but i'll try it. for a quid'

and it's lovely!

'it' is Scout Niblett's cover version of Uptown Top Rankin

and the best record label name i've seen in a while - secretly canadian

she has a lovely voice, and i just had to sing along and spoil it, didn't i?

No pop, no style, I'm strictly roots.
posted by Alun , 11:01 AM Þ 

Virtually every significant problem facing the American people today can be traced back to the policies and people that came from the Reagan administration. It is a laundry list of ills, woes and disasters that has all of us, once again, staring apocalypse in the eye.

How can this be? The television says Ronald Reagan was one of the most beloved Presidents of the 20th century. He won two national elections, the second by a margin so overwhelming that all future landslides will be judged by the high-water mark he achieved against Walter Mondale. How can a man so universally respected have played a hand in the evils which corrupt our days?

The answer lies in the reality of the corrupt society Abbey spoke of. Our corruption is the absolute triumph of image over reality, of flash over substance, of the pervasive need within most Americans to believe in a happy-face version of the nation they call home, and to spurn the reality of our estate as unpatriotic. Ronald Reagan was, and will always be, the undisputed heavyweight champion of salesmen in this regard.

Reagan was able, by virtue of his towering talents in this arena, to sell to the American people a flood of poisonous policies. He made Americans feel good about acting against their own best interests. He sold the American people a lemon, and they drive it to this day as if it was a Cadillac. It isn't the lies that kill us, but the myths, and Ronald Reagan was the greatest myth-maker we are ever likely to see. [...]

Like the song said; "Working for the bad guys"
posted by Irdial , 10:00 AM Þ 

In an extraordinary sealed case, the ACLU has challenged the FBI's unchecked authority to issue "National Security Letters" (NSLs), which demand sensitive customer records from Internet Service Providers and other businesses without judicial oversight. Before the Patriot Act, the FBI could use the NSL authority only against suspected terrorists and spies. Thanks to Section 505 of the Patriot Act, the FBI can now use NSLs to obtain information about anyone at all.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit under seal to avoid penalties for violating the NSL statute's broad gag provision, a provision that the ACLU is challenging on First Amendment grounds. While our challenge to the NSL provision was filed on April 6, it took nearly three weeks for the ACLU to reach an agreement with the government that allowed the disclosure of anything at all about the case.

A redacted version of the complaint is now publicly available, but many details about the case are still under seal. The ACLU believes that the public has a right to more information about the government's use of the Patriot Act and is committed to unsealing more information about the case as quickly as possible.

View a special feature about the case, including the redacted complaint. [...]

Even though America has gone to hell in a handbasket, it might still be able to right itself. Its built in mechanisms that allow legal challenges to bad law can fix problems like the Patriot Act, so that in the end, even if its after decades, the true center of gravity in the USA can be restored. Theoretically.

In the EU is there the right to legally challenge and overturn the endless stream of insane directives? Where is the right of this crucial type of legal challenge codified in the new constitution? For all countries in the EU, should there not be an "European Civil Liberties Union" to protect the rights of all Europeans?

The answer is, sadly, that such a group is impossible. First of all, even if it were to exist, there is no legal framework with which such a group could challenge and change EU law. Secondly, European citizens have vastly different ideas about what liberty is, and so it would be impossible to form an independent group with a consensus on almost any subject.

The Belgians have no problem with carrying an ID card. The French see nothing wrong in being guilty until proven innocent, and so on and so on. This fundamental mismatch means that a body that oversees all of these disperate groups can have unlimited power, because none of the member states have a consistent enough view on what a persons rights are to form a pan-European group to protect those rights.

Europe is hopelessly broken. But you know this.
posted by Irdial , 9:29 AM Þ 

Finally I am buying The Clonet Project

I want some clever person to have it after my death... Mostly I want it to give it away to somebody in the future, saying, YES this makes sence...

But today 2004 I am dissaponted:

Customers who shopped for this item also shopped for these (items):


Our Price: Ł8.99

Ohhhh Noooo

posted by Alison , 9:14 AM Þ 

It was a horrible day at work for me and pretty much everyone else. Everything got bungled up, messed up, slowed down. The equipment was cranky. In general a big clusterfuck.
So we all blamed Venus!
Of course if the same thing happens tomorrow...
posted by Barrie , 5:54 AM Þ 
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Welcome to The Album Club

A revolution in music retail, this new service offers the authoritative expertise of one of the world's leading record stores, conveniently providing the individual with a bespoke selection of fine albums to suit musical taste and listening preference.

A Britannia/Time Life music club for trendies? CD only? Nice idea, but whatever... Meanwhile adds SKAM to their roster, with lots more coming soon.
posted by alex_tea , 11:16 PM Þ 

Mr Thomas told the MPs: "This is beginning to represent a really significant sea change in the relationship between state and every individual in this country."

It was now clear the scheme was not just about identity cards but about a national identity register, he said.

"It is not just about citizens having a piece of plastic to identify themselves.

"It's about the amount, the nature of the information held about every citizen and how that's going to be used in a wide range of activities." [...] BBC

And so, what do you recomend people do to not be subject to this outrage? Someone has to join up the dots and say; "This we cannot and should not do. This we will not do. We will not obey this order. You are mistaken. You are dismissed."
posted by Irdial , 9:29 PM Þ 

Being Libran (Venusian), of course I am interested in her transit. And it has been a funny flowing day, right place, right time, and sunny! Hopefully I will be able to watch real-time in 2012.

BTW, finished me book, and now I am creeped out. I haven't read sci-fi in a while, perhaps it was a pat line, but damn disturbing all the same. Apocalyptic. I think I need to go play in the garden to get it off me.
posted by mary13 , 9:17 PM Þ 

That Ratatat mix album I was speaking about....
posted by alex_tea , 7:06 PM Þ 

Sometimes he has a talking monkey but it seems to be him on his own more often these days, unfortunately he seems to play mainly when I'm not around or miss the flyers. From his earlier performances s4t4n might have an ongoing role.

I think putting an s on your name should be backed up with more than one member.
posted by meau meau , 3:31 PM Þ 

there's next to no information about him online...

Does this mean that said band are one chap only? I can't decide if bands beginning with "The" should be allowed to have only one member. Still, I have just formed a new band with only one member in (me) and that begins with a "The".
posted by captain davros , 2:29 PM Þ 

I saw The Unpleasants again last night. Supporting Adam Pierce's band Mice Parade. TU play an unsettling yet delightful blend of player piano/organ grinder melodies with whorls of demonic fairground organ here and there - a bit like you'd expect on a film about evil goings on in suburbia, and there's next to no information about him online except he used to be in Hood.
posted by meau meau , 2:07 PM Þ 

This could be the start of a new food scare

Unidentified viral infection kills cow - virus destroys brain tissue - etc.

I just hope, like BSE, it won't be present in organically reared cattle.
posted by meau meau , 1:28 PM Þ 

That really was a spectacle; I wonder what the Astrologers predict for children born during the transit?
posted by Irdial , 1:16 PM Þ 

My alarm clock needs a function that checks for cloudiness and goes off at the normal time if it is cloudy, like today, until this afternoon I bet.
posted by meau meau , 10:23 AM Þ 

I can see Venus and two small sunspots; photos shortly. I am using a small telescope, projecting on to a piece of A4. To think, in the UK, a perfect day to see this...what are the odds?!
posted by Irdial , 9:57 AM Þ 

Just been looking at the transit of Venus. Nice! A tiny black dot on the disk of the sun. Like Venus is riding her bike around the sky and we can see her on a different route.
posted by captain davros , 9:43 AM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 6:21 AM Þ 

* Spoke in parliament 41 times in the last year ? 364th out of 657 MPs.
* Asked 149 written questions in the last year ? 95th out of 657 MPs.
* Replies to 82% of messages sent via within 14 days ? 146th out of 588 MPs.
* Has attended 57% of votes in parliament ? 520th out of 658 MPs. (From Public Whip)
* This MP hardly ever rebels against their party ? 250th out of 650 MPs. (From Public Whip)

my wife feeds this man on a regular basis ... he's a very enthusiastic and appreciative diner, but i have no idea about his politics ... has a thing about orchards, apparently
posted by a hymn in g to nann , 4:51 AM Þ 
Monday, June 07, 2004

McAfee founder returns with 'legal p2p radio'
By Tony Smith
Published Monday 7th June 2004 16:49 GMT

A former McAfee CEO appears to have found a way around the legal minefield hindering anyone attempting to enter the music sharing market: by a licence to webcast content.

Mercora is a P2P - "person to person", is how it defines the term - network that allows users to share songs without actually downloading them. It's an approach the company dubs "P2P radio".

The software allows users to share and catalogue digital photos, and provides instant messaging functionality too. But it's focus is sharing music. Essentially, it streams the music files on a user's hard drive out onto the Net. Other Mercora users can tune in and listen.

The company's reckons it's safe to do so because it has acquired a non-interactive digital audio webcasting licence as mandated by the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). "This license pertains to the digital performance rights of sound recordings and the associated reporting and royalty payments to SoundExchange (the independent non-profit organization that represents over 500 record companies and associated labels)," Mercora says.

"We have also obtained all US (and in some cases international) musical composition performance rights through our licenses with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC."

The upshot, it believes, is that "you (the end user) do not have to worry about... the reporting and royalty payments that are due to these various organizations". [...]

This is absolute nonsense. For the licence they have acquired to apply, each user must apply for a licence on an individual basis since when she allows her files to be streamed, she becomes the broadcaster.

Then of course there are the issues of broadcasting from one jurisdiction to another. Its a minefield.

They will be attacked almost instantly, or at the very least, they will have their licences revoked and the attacks will start on the people running this program.

Even if its later found to be OK to do this by some drunken judge somewhere, they will be litigated into oblivion like napster.

You cant use the Devil's tools to fight the Devil®.
posted by Irdial , 6:15 PM Þ 

posted by chriszanf , 6:08 PM Þ 

Favourite Fela tracks:

Water no get enemy
Original Sufferhead

Also check out some of Tony Allen's solo stuff -
No accomodation in Lagos
Psycho on da bus

Transit of Venus

I live 15 minutes on a bus from Greenwich, can be easily tempted with beer but cant skive off work. I was due to have the day off as they are doing a some sort of cooling system pressure test on the data redundancy centre we're building and no-one is allowed in but my boss decided that I could do something else on site tomorrow. Pfft!
posted by chriszanf , 5:22 PM Þ 
posted by Irdial , 4:40 PM Þ 

* Spoke in parliament 23 times in the last year ? 480th out of 657 MPs.
* Asked 5 written questions in the last year ? 485th out of 657 MPs.
* Replies to 52% of messages sent via within 14 days ? 386th out of 588 MPs.
* Has attended 42% of votes in parliament ? 623rd out of 658 MPs. (From Public Whip)
* This MP occasionally rebels against their party ? 142nd out of 650 MPs. (From Public Whip)

And as you have all seen, each MP has an RSS feed attached to it!

posted by Irdial , 4:20 PM Þ 

My MP, Oona King:

  • Spoke in parliament 29 times in the last year — 439th out of 657 MPs.

  • Asked 81 written questions in the last year — 167th out of 657 MPs.

  • Replies to 9% of messages sent via within 14 days — 570th out of 588 MPs.

  • Has attended 69% of votes in parliament — 345th out of 658 MPs. (From Public Whip)

  • This MP hardly ever rebels against their party — 377th out of 650 MPs. (From Public Whip)

posted by alex_tea , 1:46 PM Þ 

My MP...

Spoke in parliament 15 times in the last year ? 532nd out of 657 MPs.
Asked 87 written questions in the last year ? 156th out of 657 MPs.
Replies to 11% of messages sent via within 14 days ? 564th out of 588 MPs.
Has attended 68% of votes in parliament ? 371st out of 658 MPs. (From Public Whip)
This MP hardly ever rebels against their party ? 425th out of 650 MPs. (From Public Whip)

And it's the safest seat too. hmmph.
posted by meau meau , 1:39 PM Þ 

my personal fela faves are...

international thief thief (itt)
coffin for head of state
he miss road/monday morning in lagos

there are now 3 or 4 vinyl box sets with 6 LPs in each, plus booklet and photocards, of all the best fela stuff. any of these will please your soul for the rest of your life! You might see the odd unsold copy in Rough Trade or Selectadisc equivalents.
This is what the box cover looks like.

Old vinyl crops up quite often on ebay, and places like sounds of the universe might stock some.
posted by Alun , 1:33 PM Þ 

Coincidence... I downloaded a lot of Fela tracks this weekend. Hmm I might go and put Zombie on the record player right now.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I have Zombie on Vinyl and Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense on CD. I'd prefer stuff on Vinyl, just cos the artwork looks amazing. Well, not just because of that...

Has anyone heard the Red Hot & Riot tribute CD?
posted by alex_tea , 1:31 PM Þ 

His Grandfather was the first African to record in Europe, recording some religious songs for EMI in the 1920s
His band, Africa 70, featured the amazing drumming of Tony Allen
Liked to smoke marijuana, a lot
During the course of his prolific career he released 77 albums
Fela appeared in court 356 times and was imprisoned on three occasions. The Nigerian state was not his friend
He led his own political party, Movement of the People
Femi Kuti, Fela's son, is also an acclaimed saxophonist and band leader

Had a Fela sort of musical weekend. Listened to all 6 LPs in the Volume1 set one evening... long hot summer music... JJD, ITT, Open and Close, Gentleman...

Music is the weapon.

I was looking for images of Fela's wives, his queens, some of the most stunningly beautiful faces I've ever seen, but fould just the one above worth showing.
posted by Alun , 12:49 PM Þ 

This is a brilliant idea; "They Work For You" takes the Hansard and makes it commentable. It is also beautifully laid out, with the photographs of each MP next to their words.

MPs would be able to read the comments on what they have been saying in the house, and then get feedback of the public.

The only problem is, that they dont give a flying fuck about what the public thinks or wants. The new barrier to government paying attention to what the public wants is over two million people. We now know that any demonstration made up of a number less than a number that is higer than that will be ignored*. This means that any single issue that is reported in Hansard and which illicits less than two million comments will be completely ignored.

If we lived in a world that worked right, this tool would be a wonderful addition to the democratic process.


Of course, this could change things. You could get alerts on subjects you are interested in, and then blog them to spread corrections. Newspapers might use it to catch lying. It could alter the way people vote by the downstream effect these and other information routes take.

So really, it is a very worthwhile thing to create and participate in, because of the effect it will have on the population, and not the direct effect it will have on parliamentarians.

* if the number of demonstrators D is not greater than 2,000,000 nothing will happen. we know that if D = 2x106 nothing will happen.
posted by Irdial , 12:25 PM Þ 

The only Crowley I have read properly is his Autohagiography - more precisely the first half, after which it disappeared as silently as it arrived, it's something I mean to go back to, when there's nothing more diverting around. Definitely makes Will Self's earlier stuff (my idea of fun) more funny.

Just finished the Tale of Genji - a seriously dry and contrived translation by an academic and not a novelist. Now onto The Pillow Book and a little bit of Locke.
posted by meau meau , 12:21 PM Þ 

my sunday-dj-set at a tiny café downtown:

Junior Delahaye: Movie Show (Wackies)
Pete Rock: Back on the block ((BBE records)
Blackalicious: Green Light now begin (MCA)
Autchre: Play (WARP)
Mimi Majick: Mimis Utilities (Irdial)
Plaids remix of Tao: Riot in Lagos (Peacefrog)
Plaids remix of Dropshadow Disease: Fototienda (Peacefrog)
EEP:Hardhead (Irdial)
Curtis Mayfield: Show me love (BMI)
Mike Clarke: The Creeper (Third Ear)
Theo Parrish: Falling up (Third ear)
Inner Sanctum: Sin the man who hates himself (LA New school mix)
Stereolab: Margerine melodie (Duophonic)
Pet Shop Boys: Left to my own devices (EMI)
posted by Alison , 10:37 AM Þ 

summer books...

Well, not really summer books, but i just rerererereread hitchhikers guide to the galaxy series again, and "I am Legend" by Matheson, and have just dived into Moby Dick.

Not read any Crowley for nearly half my life. And that was Diary of a Drug Fiend, a beautiful edition supplied by my local library.
posted by Alun , 10:35 AM Þ 

Alex, I would go with you but I am too far away. Boo hoo!
posted by mary13 , 7:32 AM Þ 

Transformers...Spin on your head!

posted by Irdial , 7:09 AM Þ 

This image will automatically update.
posted by Irdial , 6:38 AM Þ 

Does anyone have any plans to watch the Transit of Venus? I fancy going to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich to watch it, maybe I'll take the morning off work. Not sure if I'd actually get up in time to get there for 6am though... Also I need to find a friend who can a: skive off work and b: gives a shit. Maybe some early morning beers will convince them!
posted by alex_tea , 12:28 AM Þ 
Sunday, June 06, 2004
posted by Ken , 10:58 PM Þ 

Goddamnit Akin! I really wanted to go to NotCon, but like I said, I dig into my pockets, all my cash is spent, so I dig deeper but still comin' up with lint...

Oh well... I did get some work done today, so it's not all bad.
posted by alex_tea , 10:40 PM Þ 

I did a presentation on P2PQ today at Notcon it went well enough, and the hall was 90% full.

Some interesting speakers there, and some proptotypical geeks, speaking fast, with accuracy, and that sort of subdued energy under control that geeks exude. I love it.

I met a most interesting and energetic PHD who spoke after me, who has all of his cards sorted correctly Ash Argent-Katwala is his name; had a very intesting conversation about his speciality, performance metrics, and bittorrent, and whats wrong with software clients in terms of usability.

He has some brilliant no brainer ideas about how clients can and should give you more feedback about where you are in a queue. Ill leave it to him to explain it all.

We also talked about how the BBC is integral to British Society™ and how we should all rally behind it; I agreed, and said further that if BBC Techology would start a software development group, I would gladly pay double licence fee.

They already have a video codec in development that is available, including the source - I am all for this, and for the expansion of these efforts so that the public can benefit from our licence fee. This is separate from the great news that they are going to eventually open up the archives so that everyone can watch programmes at leisure.

All in all, a refreshing experience - and the student bar has some really good beers on tap....beeeeeeeerrrrr....
posted by Irdial , 9:45 PM Þ 

Oryx and Crake. 1 hour 15 minutes, 102 pages. Coffee's ready now, must go!

I love a good summer book, don't you?
posted by mary13 , 7:42 PM Þ 

the BT thing is just.....

I have tried to design an image icon but cant seem to get it so its only a 'headshot'.
Working weekends, Long hours and early starts makes even the simplest of things hard! Getting to see some nice countryside surrounding Tunbridge Wells though. Must remember to take my camera in tomorrow and get some shots.
posted by chriszanf , 4:38 PM Þ 

E. Bauer : Being

[Thoughts on Being]

In this enlightened age, in our waking lives, we exist in a kind of twilight zone between consciousness and sleep. Avant-musicologist Guillermo Testi defines this state as "auto pilot." Fourth Way philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff suggested that we are, as yet, not a fully conscious species.

We eat without tasting, because we simply don?t have time. We travel to work without ever admiring the view. We talk without thinking ? our mouths work with minds all of their own. We don?t take too close a look at our lives because we choose not to, we?d rather not, we?re afraid of what we might find.

At times, we find our sleep-walking state disturbed by a momentary consciousness ? confrontations, unexpected situations, accidents, alarms? For some fleeting moment we find ourselves awake to our bodies, our environment [I have come to view my accident-prone, unpredictable life as a kind of blessing in this sense]. But this wakefulness soon passes, and we return once more to our sleep-walking state.

This momentary clarity is the consciousness we assume that we possess at all times. But we simply do not.

Take a moment to observe yourself now ? focus your attention on your body. Then balance your attention between your body [your senses, the sensations they are receiving ? scents, sights, sounds] and your immediate environment. You may find yourself unable to sustain this state for longer than a few seconds at a time.

With effort, these moments of consciousness can be expanded. For us, true consciousness requires this effort ? it must be earned in this way, it is not a right. But this effort brings great rewards. Senses long neglected reveal a wealth of delights. In a conscious, waking state we move as if through the gleaming, vivid world of film. We taste, we touch, we hear, a new world.

posted by meau meau , 4:19 PM Þ 

According to the Guardian, BT is blocking access to illegal pron websites. Before anyone goes beserk, remember these are the same people who tried to patent hyperlinking. The have not got half a clue between them. Read on:

British Telecom has taken the unprecedented step of blocking all illegal child pornography websites in a crackdown on abuse online. The decision by Britain's largest high-speed internet provider will lead to the first mass censorship of the web attempted in a Western democracy.

The move, previously thought to be at the limits of technical possibilities of the internet and prohibitively expensive, was given the personal backing of BT chairman Sir Christopher Bland at a board meeting last month after intense pressure from children's charities.

Known as Cleanfeed, the project has been developed in consultation with the Home Office and will go live by the end of the month, The Observer can reveal. Other major players in the internet market, such as Energis and Thus, which owns rival Demon Internet, are said to be preparing to block banned sites.

Subscribers to British Telecom's internet services such as BTYahoo and BTInternet who attempt to access illegal sites will receive an error message as if the page was unavailable. BT will register the number of attempts but will not be able to record details of those accessing the sites. [...]
The Guardian

That's just about the say that they wont be able to record who is watching what is just a lie. We all know that its possible to do this. Its the same sort of lie BT tells when they say that they cant block telemarketers. Of course the CAN block them they just WILL NOT because every time you pick up the phone, they make money. But I digress.

All these "measures" do is educate people about proxies, and make the illegal traffic dissapear. To stop that happening, you have to start to block proxy servers, and then you are well on your way down the slippery slope.

Also, none of these bad guys are going to be put out of circulation by this, they will still be out there, using IRC, Proxies, IM, Waste, and anything else thats out there to use.

I detest these animals as much as anyone else does (standard disclaimer) but it would make FAR MORE SENSE to use that traffic to round up these pigs rather than simply block the traffic. The net really is a net if these imbeciles had any idea of what that means.

Bowing down to pressure groups is an astonishing lapse of common sense on the part of BT, but once again, not very surprising.

Of course, next the music industry morons will produce a list of sites that they want blocked, and so will every other group with an axe to grind.

Can you imagine; you will have to route your traffic through RUSSIA in order to see the whole internet!

Who would have believed it?
posted by Irdial , 3:15 PM Þ 

Is anyone using Audioscrobbler?

I like their style Audioscrobbler plugins are all Open Source. We're not keeping the data to ourselves either: Anonymous Audioscrobbler listening data is released under a Creative Commons License. This license means anyone is free to download and experiment with the data, but may not use it for commercial purposes.
posted by alex_tea , 2:06 PM Þ 

the blue house looks nice. i like the idea:

how does this work? are you a store? are you a distro?

no, we are not really a store or a distro. we are a bunch of musicians and web geeks. this site is designed to be kind of like an Ebay for tiny indie labels and individuals who make unique items that might not fit into a 'regular' distribution model. when you buy something from thebluehouse, you are dealing directly with the person/people who made the item. and just to be clear, we aren't pocketing any of the money to buy fancy cat food for harriet (paypal does take a percentage though). we kind of play match-maker. does that make sense?

Check out the Ratatat Miss-E Elliot remix from their forthcoming mixtape on Audiodregs.

Soft Pink Truth (and Matmos, Leafcutter John, Wire DJs) at the Scala tonight. I would go but I am skint.

I want money to buy clothes, records, food, beer, iPods, bicycles, trainers, sunglasses, shorts, pimms, lunch, ice cream, fun, suncream. One day, when it's all too late.
posted by alex_tea , 1:12 PM Þ 
posted by meau meau , 9:27 AM Þ 

..but it's the modem of 56k-ness that never gets above 45.2

Has anyone ever achieved a dial-up rate of higher than 48.8k? Maybe they're using the same fake bytes as hard drive manufacturers use...
posted by alex_tea , 3:21 AM Þ 

Thank you to all the members of BLOGDIAL.

This is the 12,000th post on this Blog.

To commemorate reaching this milestone, I give you, the members of BLOGDIAL, a taste of Charles Baudelaire translated by Aleister Crowley

I have said it to you all in public and private, you are the best!


Those who know how to observe themselves, and who preserve the memory of their impressions, those who, like Hoffmann, have known how to construct their spiritual barometer, have sometimes had to note in the observatory of their mind find seasons, happy days, delicious minutes. There are days when man awakes with a young and vigorous genius. Though his eyelids be scarcely released from the slumber which sealed them, the exterior world shows itself to him with a powerful relief, a clearness of contour, and a richness of colour which are admirable. The moral world opens out its vast perspective, full of new clarities.

A man gratified by this happiness, unfortunately rare and transient, feels himself at once more an artist and more a just man; to say all in a word, a nobler being. But the most singular thing in this exceptional condition of the spirit and of the senses -- which I may without exaggeration call heavenly, if I compare it with the heavy shadows of common and daily existence -- is that it has not been created by any visible or easily definable cause. Is it the result of good hygiene and of a wise regimen? Such is the first explanation which suggests itself; but we are obliged to recognise that often this marvel, this prodigy, so to say, produces itself as if it were the effect of a superior and invisible power, of a power exterior to man, after a period of the abuse of his physical faculties. Shall we say that it is the reward of assiduous prayer and spiritual ardour? It is certain that a constant elevation of the desire, a tension of the spiritual forces in a heavenly direction, would be the most proper regimen for creating this moral health, so brilliant and so glorious. But what absurd law causes it to manifest itself (as it sometimes does) after shameful orgies of the imagination; after a sophistical abuse of reason, which is, to its straightforward and rational use, that which the tricks of dislocation which some acrobats have taught themselves to perform are to sane gymnastics? For this reason I prefer to consider this abnormal condition of the spirit as a true grace; as a magic mirror wherein man is invited to see himself at his best; that is to say, as that which he should be, and might be; a kind of angelic excitement; a rehabilitation of the most flattering type. A certain Spiritualist School, largely represented in England and America, even considers supernatural phenomena, such as the apparition of phantoms, ghosts, &c, as manifestations of the Divine Will, ever anxious to awaken in the spirit of man the memory of invisible truths.

Besides this charming and singular state, where all the forces are balanced; where the imagination, though enormously powerful, does not drag after it into perilous adventures the moral sense; when an exquisite sensibility is no longer tortured by sick nerves, those councillors-in-ordinary of crime or despair; this marvellous state, I say, has no prodromal symptoms. It is as unexpected as a ghost. It is a species of obsession, but of intermittent obsession; from which we should be able to draw, if we were but wise, the certainty of a nobler existence, and the hope of attaining to it by the daily exercise of our will. This sharpness of thought, this enthusiasm of the senses and of the spirit, must in every age have appeared to man as the chiefest of blessings; and for this reason, considering nothing but the immediate pleasure he has, without worrying himself as to whether he were violating the laws of his constitution, he has sought, in physical science, in pharmacy, in the grossest liquors, in the subtlest perfumes, in every climate and in every age, the means of fleeing, were it but for some hours only, his habitaculum of mire, and, as the author of "Lazare" says, "to carry Paradise at the first assault." Alas! the vices of man, full of horror as one must suppose them, contain the proof, even though it were nothing but their infinite expansion, of his hunger for the Infinite; only, it is a taste which often loses its way. One might take a proverbial metaphor, "All roads lead to Rome," and apply it to the moral world: all roads lead to reward or punishment; two forms of eternity. The mind of man is glutted with passion: he has, if I may use another familiar phrase, passion to burn. But this unhappy soul, whose natural depravity is equal to its sudden aptitude, paradoxical enough, for charity and the most arduous virtues, is full of paradoxes which allow him to turn to other purposes the overflow of this overmastering passion. He never imagines that he is selling himself wholesale: he forgets, in his infatuation, that he is matched against a player more cunning and more strong than he; and that the Spirit of Evil, though one give him but a hair, will not delay to carry off the whole head. This visible lord of visible nature -- I speak of man -- has, then, wished to create Paradise by chemistry, by fermented drinks; like a maniac who should replace solid furniture and real gardens by decorations painted on canvas and mounted on frames. It is in this degradation of the sense of the Infinite that lies, according to me, the reason of all guilty excesses; from the solitary and concentrated drunkenness of the man of letters, who, obliged to seek in opium an anodyne for a physical suffering, and having thus discovered a well of morbid pleasure, has made of it, little by little, his sole diet, and as it were the sum of his spiritual life; down to the most disgusting sot of the suburbs, who, his head full of flame and of glory, rolls ridiculously in the muck of the roads.

Among the drugs most efficient in creating what I call the artificial ideal, leaving on one side liquors, which rapidly excite gross frenzy and lay flat all spiritual force, and the perfumes, whose excessive use, while rendering more subtle man's imagination, wear out gradually his physical forces; the two most energetic substances, the most convenient and the most handy, are hashish and opium. The analysis of the mysterious effect and the diseased pleasures which these drugs beget, of the inevitable chastisement which results from their prolonged use, and finally the immortality necessarily employed in this pursuit of a false ideal, constitutes the subject of this study. [...]
posted by Irdial , 2:14 AM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 2:12 AM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 2:10 AM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 2:08 AM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 2:06 AM Þ 

me and some friends. we each made our own pics:


my lady

my roommate

mr. hodge
posted by Ken , 1:25 AM Þ 

...but it's the modem of 56k-ness that never gets above 45.2 (and sometimes goes as low as 33) which means I can't take as long as I'd like over it...
posted by captain davros , 12:56 AM Þ 

posted by alex_tea , 12:12 AM Þ 

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