Saturday, March 26, 2005

I am in Seattle this weekend, touring the city. A very wet rainy city. I am in the Seattle Public Library right now, and have already blasted through a roll of 36. Koolhaus has done a fantastic job, the building is incredible. I wish I had chose colour film now, because the colour shifts between spaces are clever. Stainless steel hallways to the elevators that open lime green. Computer stations all black with orange accents. Fantastic. Projections and surprising industrial textures. Loving it! However, there is a very wet dog sitting under the table next to me, a huge Samoid, who let her in here?

Going to the Experience Music Project tomorrow, which I hear is great fun. I will report back.
posted by mary13 , 8:41 PM Þ 

Today's mural musing:

Gay? I'm not even happy

Don't know why I'm seeing so many... probably because I know I'm leaving soon. One more week of freedom in Hackney before I start my job in York. We will have moved completely by the end of April. Saw some friends today, and I know we'll miss them like a brother and sister. That's the hardest part of moving.

And, ta mm.
posted by Alun , 8:24 PM Þ 

Got passed this in an email today, and passing it on to you...

Over the Limit

...though I think most of you would be familiar with this already.
posted by captain davros , 11:47 AM Þ 

It was so good to be out there and there's a real feeling of nature waking up
*cries* Unlike here, where everything was going alright until it had to dump two day's worth of snow on us and get cold again. Spring won't be here for a few weeks! Though I do see some lilly bushes along the side of the house trying valiantly to sprout. All these stories of England in bloom just makes me want to be over there again! What a great countryside.
I just had a very bad day printing a lithograph stone. Anyone who's worked with stones know that such a day is worse than most bad days. So, I solace myself with a chai latte and "crushing loneliness." How productive will tomorrow be?!!

Has anyone here heard M.I.A? Very good!!!
posted by Barrie , 6:55 AM Þ 
Friday, March 25, 2005

Dear Dr K, thanks for your advice.

It being a day off today I decided to get out as you suggested and biked over to my mum's house along some back-streets and it was a *great* English spring day - people out fishing, walking, cycling, tending allotments and many impromptu football matches happening on playing fields and so on. It was so good to be out there and there's a real feeling of nature waking up - blossoms and bees and frogs and things like that, so ta for the encouragement as I feel a lot better for it.

I also did a cyanotype today after your earlier posting - here be CD's CD in a plastic sleeve

posted by captain davros , 9:47 PM Þ 

A long walk in the country air, feeling Spring springing.
Followed by a couple of pints of good ale.
Take your camera.

Today, even a long walk through Dalston and Islington has done it for me!

Without the ale, a nice cup of tea whilst listening to blackbird's evensong (at the moment, around 4-6pm) always lifts the heart.

Otherwise, you're left with making a substantial and very satisfying noise on your favourite guitar. Make sure you sing along.
posted by Alun , 2:11 PM Þ 

What's a solution to feeling blue? I don't want to have a crap*y easter! n.b. I don't imbibe so booooze/etc. isn't going to help...
posted by captain davros , 2:02 PM Þ 

Of course, when Bush/Blair et al refer to faith and morality they refer to the particular faiths [or parts of a faith] they like, or those with whom they would like to increase their political power.

I've just finished reading Francis Wheen's 'How mumbo-jumbo conquered the world' and he points out, for the last 25 years nearly all front runners for position of US president and UK prime minister, espoused religious views to win the backing of the religious vote. Even Thatcher claimed all her policies were based on Christian teachings.

Really enjoyable read. If anyone wants to read this copy then email me [] a safe address to send it to and Ill pop it in the post in return for a book you found enjoyable, which I will either pass on or pass back.

In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds - Charles MacKay.

Still haven't got an ipod. (my god, just when will I get with the 21st century??) but with podzilla opening up recording facilites on it (upto 96Khz), I might buy one just for that instead of fumbling with (comparatively) time-limited minidiscs as I do currently.
posted by chriszanf , 12:45 AM Þ 
Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Iranian Threat: The Bomb or the Euro?

By Dr. Elias Akleh

03/24/05 "AMIN"
- - Iran does not pose a threat to the United State because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to "terrorists organizations" as the American administration is claiming, but in its attempt to re-shape the global economical system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petroeuro system. Such conversion is looked upon as a flagrant declaration of economical war against the US that would flatten the revenues of the American corporations and eventually might cause an economic collapse.

In June of 2004 Iran declared its intention of setting up an international oil exchange (a bourse) denominated in the Euro currency. Many oil-producing as well as oil-consuming countries had expressed their welcome to such petroeuro bourse. The Iranian reports had stated that this bourse may start its trade with the beginning of 2006. Naturally such an oil bourse would compete against London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), as well as against the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both owned by American corporations.

Oil consuming countries have no choice but use the American Dollar to purchase their oil, since the Dollar has been so far the global standard monetary fund for oil exchange. This necessitates these countries to keep the Dollar in their central banks as their reserve fund, thus strengthening the American economy. But if Iran — followed by the other oil-producing countries — offered to accept the Euro as another choice for oil exchange the American economy would suffer a real crisis. We could witness this crisis at the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006 when oil investors would have the choice to pay $57 a barrel of oil at the American (NYMEX) and at London’s (IPE), or pay 37 Euros a barrel at the Iranian oil bourse. Such choice would reduce trade volumes at both the Dollar-dependent (NYMEX) and the (IPE).

Many countries had studied the conversion from the ever weakening petrodollar to the gradually strengthening petroeuro system. The de-valuation of the Dollar was caused by the American economy shying away from manufacturing local products — except those of the military -, by outsourcing the American jobs to the cheaper third world countries and depending only on the general service sector, and by the huge cost of two major wars that are still going on. Foreign investors started withdrawing their money from the shaky American market causing further devaluation of the Dollar. [...]
posted by Irdial , 11:57 PM Þ 

flickr done something strange to my cropping, came from this pdf


Data transfer via skin (Register).
Just need the brain tags and voila - downloadable thoughts via a handshake, meep!
posted by meau meau , 3:33 PM Þ 

America No. 1?

America by the numbers

by Michael Ventura

02/03/05 "ICH" - - No concept lies more firmly embedded in our national character than the notion that the USA is "No. 1," "the greatest." Our broadcast media are, in essence, continuous advertisements for the brand name "America Is No. 1." Any office seeker saying otherwise would be committing political suicide. In fact, anyone saying otherwise will be labeled "un-American." We're an "empire," ain't we? Sure we are. An empire without a manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is ineradicable. We're No. 1. Well...this is the country you really live in:

  • The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
  • The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
  • Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).
  • "The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).
  • Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!
  • "The European Union leads the U.S. in...the number of science and engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D) expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).
  • "Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).
  • Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation. The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004).
  • Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28 percent last year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China. Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56 percent, Indians 51 percent, South Koreans 28 percent (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004). We're not the place to be anymore.
  • The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.
  • "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.
  • Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)
  • "U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream, p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood poverty.
  • Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).
  • The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
  • Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
  • The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).
  • "Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.
  • "Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500 rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies" (The European Dream, p.66). "In a recent survey of the world's 50 best companies, conducted by Global Finance, all but one were European" (The European Dream, p.69).
  • "Fourteen of the 20 largest commercial banks in the world today are European.... In the chemical industry, the European company BASF is the world's leader, and three of the top six players are European. In engineering and construction, three of the top five companies are European.... The two others are Japanese. Not a single American engineering and construction company is included among the world's top nine competitors. In food and consumer products, Nestlé and Unilever, two European giants, rank first and second, respectively, in the world. In the food and drugstore retail trade, two European companies...are first and second, and European companies make up five of the top ten. Only four U.S. companies are on the list" (The European Dream, p.68).
  • The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005).
  • U.S. employers eliminated 1 million jobs in 2004 (The Week, Jan. 14, 2005).
  • Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; 1.8 million--one in five--unemployed workers are jobless for more than six months (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).
  • Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. (That's why we talk nice to them.) "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.
  • Sometime in the next 10 years Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest beef producer. (Hear that, you poor deluded cowboys?) As a result, while we bear record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion trade surplus (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
  • As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
  • Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004). That's more than a third. Way more. If more than a third of Iraqis don't show for their election, no country in the world will think that election legitimate.
  • One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004).
  • "Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (The European Dream, p.28).
  • "Nearly one out of four Americans [believe] that using violence to get what they want is acceptable" (The European Dream, p.32).
  • Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, according to a PEW Poll (Associated Press, Aug. 19, 2004).
  • "Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).
  • "The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by the [Bush] administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever" (USA Today, Nov. 17, 2004).

No. 1? In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10 anymore. Not even close.

The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion.

Reprinted from the Austin Chronicle.
posted by Irdial , 1:51 PM Þ 

a very Heath-Robinson press

Flickr us a pic!
I built a small press for sarah once, and made some pretty cool paper with various vegataion additives.

Thanks for the links. I guess it was obvious... but I wanted to be sure and my own googling was crap. Still no idea what "Not" means though. (Not rough, not smooth?)

I think I'll be trying some Arches Aquarelle (Not and Hot) for more thought-out cyanotypes.
At the moment I only have a few 10x8 negatives, which means abstracts are a bit easier and varied for printing.
Have just bought a Mamiya C330f TLR though!
So 6x6cm contact printing coming soon...
posted by Alun , 1:39 PM Þ 
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hi Alun

A quick google led me to these pages...

but basically it's about the amount of heat used when getting the water out of the paper and how that affects the surface when it's dry.

I've been experimenting a lot with paper pulp of late. I built a very Heath-Robinson press to make blocks of paper with. Very messy and terrific fun...
posted by captain davros , 11:24 PM Þ 

What, in watercolour paper characteristic terms, is the technical meaning of the descrpitions 'cold-pressed', 'hot-pressed', 'NOT', and 'rough'?

OK, so the last one is easy.
posted by Alun , 8:51 PM Þ 

We physicists have accelerated particles in the vacuum chambers of expensive accelerators to speeds of 99.99 % of the speed of light. 11mps is absurd. Space is a very large vacuum chamber. These totally misleading comments rank on a par with Dr. Simon Newcombe’s claim in October, 1903, (2 months before the Wright Brothers first flight) that the only way man would fly would be with the help of a balloon. Dr. Bickerton in the 1920s proved “scientifically” that it would be impossible to provide enough energy to put anything into orbit. Dr. Campbell in 1941 “Scientifically” calculated that the required initial launch weight of a rocket able to get a man to the moon and back would be a million million tons. He was, because of his total ignorance about space flight, off by a factor of 300,000,000. All three were, like the SETI cultists, astronomers. With this track record, why believe any of their proclamations? I was involved more than 40 years ago in work on a fusion propulsion system able to eject particles having 10 million times as much energy per particle as in a chemical rocket. This of course was not presented. After all, I was just a promoter. [...]

Yes indeed; eating greasy food is very comforting for nervous people...or people who need a gig for life!
posted by Irdial , 8:20 PM Þ 

They punctured my yolk.
posted by captain davros , 7:38 PM Þ 

Cyanotype of our garden today, developed in London Spring sunshine pouring through our windows.
From the left: variegated ivy sprouting new leaves, above it a clematis flower, daffodil [dissected], new rose leaf, leaf and flowers and buds from a huge climbing, trailing, evergreen clematis that has so many flowers it looks like a snowdrift.

{apologies for the scan quality; bigger view available to friends on flickr}
posted by Alun , 4:05 PM Þ 

According to the Toady Programme, Andrew Marr (reporter) reckons Labour will actively campaign for ID Cards if(!) the current Bill runs out of time to be put into law. As the Great Chimp said "Bring it on". Anything to expose the stupidity of their scheme.
And then they plugged the new new order album.

A thought about the card and "identity theft", In terms of preventing credit fraud I don't see why the government should be involved in this anyway, it's not as if the government provides burglar alarms and insurance policies against 'real' theft, they only provide for the police to investigate the crime afterwards - the rest is left to the private sector (and it is voluntary) to have your alarms, insurance and door locks.
posted by meau meau , 10:55 AM Þ 

Japan 'set to free' Bobby Fischer
Japan has decided to allow former world chess champion Bobby Fischer to travel to Iceland, despite US requests for his extradition, Japanese media reported.

Japan's justice ministry made the decision after being shown documents proving Mr Fischer had been granted Icelandic citizenship, reports said.

The chess player has already been detained for eight months near Tokyo.

He is wanted in the US for breaking international sanctions by playing a match in Yugoslavia in 1992.

Ah yes, a triplet forms in the heart and then passes to the keyboard:

Iceland of justice
posted by Irdial , 10:36 AM Þ 
Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I loaded up a b/w film into my camera for the first time in 8 years last week, mainly taking throw away shots - I found an old roll that needs d
eveloping and need something to practice on, quite nervous about what I'll find on the old one or if I'll ruin it.

Got me this at weekend. Art-tastic! (Actually some of the tape is only art-verage).
posted by meau meau , 1:24 PM Þ 

[mm: fab]

Of course, when Bush/Blair et al refer to faith and morality they refer to the particular faiths [or parts of a faith] they like, or those with whom they would like to increase their political power.

The Taliban's moral compass was a duffer, pointing straight to hell.
Israel's moral compass is fixed to a tank's gun barrel, so that's OK.
The homophobic Christian right's moral compass is up their arse, a bit too much faith perhaps?
An atheist's faith in people is, well, just plain wrong!

Anyway, today I'm listening to LPs of Julian Bream playing John Dowland's lute music, and Lonesome Organist, and Burning Spear, and Roots Manuva.

All the while researching film developers and trying to decide between Ilford's Perceptol and ID11, Kodak's HC110, or Agfa Rodinal.

Or even switching to Rollei's new R3 film and developers.
posted by Alun , 12:40 PM Þ 

posted by meau meau , 12:18 PM Þ 

A man who repeatedly refused to intervene and prevent prisoners with extremely questionable convictions and/or severe mental health problems from being executed in barbaric, pre-meditated, state-condoned, politically-contrived, media events.....

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Awaiting the "What would Dubya do?" T-shirts. [The "bumper stickers" are already here]

The separation of church and state is curretnly a topic in british politics as well, with both Blair and Howardmaking church-friendly speeches, climbing over the world's poor, disenfranchised and dead to reach the all-important moral high-ground... implying along the way that only a religious person can possibly do real good and hold real values. "Only faith can provide society with a moral compass" being the blatant subtext. {"Religious faith of all denominations can provide society with a moral compass - a sense of what is right or wrong that doesn't shift in the winds of political expediency." Charles Kennedy} Scum. the older I get, the more I come to hate them and their truly contemptible behaviour.

Any faith is a personal choice, and as such does not belong in any public forum. The sooner faith is completely excised from public affairs the better. For example, the currently inflamed debate about abortion is driven by religious beliefs. Making a decision on this (or any) subject based on Christian values is not in the best interests of the entire population, and it must be remembered (and is too often forgotten) that it is the entire population which the political system exists to serve.

Unfortunately, it appears that Christian value-driven politics is exactly what is beginning to substantially appear in the UK. [It is an election year. It may also be more apparent than previous.] Multiple vociferous religious groups are putting pressure on the political process, and the lily-livered politicians are bending over and taking it. What's more, they are portraying this as A Good Thing, something Good Citizens should do.

Blair, Blair lying, Howard, Kennedy. Recent non-political tripe from all three.

The only sense I have heard came from Chief Rabbi Sachs, who insisted that faith and politics should be separated as much as possible and that this would be a benefit to society. Anglican C of E, Catholic, Sikh and Muslim representatives all insisted that religious beliefs must form a basis for political decision-making.
posted by Alun , 10:11 AM Þ 

The keyboard that God uses. This is why.
Get one to replace your overstylish, over-shitty, under-functional Apple USB keyboard. Laugh in the face of Apple's design department. DO IT!
posted by Barrie , 6:14 AM Þ 

Today out of desperation (and ability) I purchased a bottom-end Mac Mini. It is quite a lovely little machine, completely silent and unobtrusive. Pity my beige Samsung monitor looks like a big ugly brute next to it.
Let the blogging resume!
... well, maybe. I have one month left at school so will probably not be around much. It's scary that this is the very final leg of my bachelor's degree! And I'm pretty sure BLOGDIAL has been around for all of it. Whew. Take care everyone.

Also, I finally got a pair of these after what was probably a couple of years since Akin's original post about them. They are quite terrific.
posted by Barrie , 3:27 AM Þ 
Monday, March 21, 2005
posted by Alun , 6:18 PM Þ 

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I love Northerners.

Kew all day Saturday, in 20 degrees of spring sunshine. Woodpeckers pecking, a million crocuses blooming, and love in the air.
posted by Alun , 3:16 PM Þ 
Sunday, March 20, 2005
posted by Irdial , 10:14 PM Þ 

Self censorship. Way past pathetic. Beyond contemptible.

Imax 'shuns films on evolution'
Imax cinemas screen science films and blockbusters such as Robots
Several Imax cinemas in the US have refused to show films referring to the theory of evolution for fear of a religious backlash, it is reported.

Viewers at a US test screening judged films which contradicted religious descriptions of man's origins as "blasphemous", the New York Times said.

As a result science films were denied screenings in approximately 12 large-screen Imax cinemas.

Spokesmen for Imax cinemas in the UK were unavailable for comment.

posted by Alun , 5:30 PM Þ 

Picture: John Batten
Composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has hit the wrong note with police
The Queen's composer has ruffled feathers after police found the body of a swan at his home.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, was cautioned over the discovery of the remains of a protected species at his house in Orkney.

He said the bird died after hitting a power line. When police called at his home he offered them swan terrine.

Iraq war case 'fixed by Americans'

Press Association
Sunday March 20, 2005 11:43 AM

The head of MI6 told Prime Minister Tony Blair that the case for war against Iraq was being fixed by the Americans to suit the policy, a BBC documentary claims.

In a meeting chaired by Mr Blair in July 2003, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the Secret Intelligence Service, is on record as saying "the facts and the intelligence" were being "fixed around the policy" by the Bush Administration, according to the programme.

posted by Alun , 11:50 AM Þ 

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