Saturday, June 04, 2005

I got this skype spam today:
[3:42:05 PM] Cheryl Clinton & Lee Williams says:
If you would like more information regarding a top UK/NL networking opportunity and is live on t.v email me I will forward you the relevant information.
Feel free to ring their bell whenever you like.
posted by Irdial , 6:28 PM Þ 

Every so often something stupid you did in the past that you have overlooked comes to bite you in the ass.
In the case of today, it was realizing that I had accidentally deleted my PGP Keys file months ago.
Ohhhh shiiiiiiiiiit.
Looks like it's time for another PGP-party (and a new key).

update: GPG Keys managed to find it... I don't know how, but they were there upon reinstall. Interesting. False alarm. Maybe this is a lesson to always back keys up where I know I can find them.
posted by Barrie , 12:19 AM Þ 
Friday, June 03, 2005
posted by Irdial , 11:41 PM Þ 
posted by captain davros , 10:23 PM Þ 

bill drummond

This appears to be part of his "how to be an artist" series, when he did this in Leeds a while back he basically gave the lowdown on how he reacted to his success post-KLF culminating in deciding one sleepless night to divide a photo of a Richard Long piece into 10,000 pieces, at the end you can contribute to the next part of his plan by buying randomly selected bits of the photo for the eqv. of $1 which he cuts out for you. He also played a very lovely 7" with a guitar piece on it when he was setting up and describedd other doings that he's currently doing.
posted by meau meau , 3:49 PM Þ 

Along with 50$ to spare, Jason Scott of 3 DVD exhaustive documentary about the history of BBS looks amazing. I wish a library near me could garner a copy, even better, it's in creative commons, so the 50$ could go elsewhere.
posted by telle goode , 3:15 PM Þ 

A must-listen. I'm in love.

Stephan Mathieu: The Sad Mac

Why is Mathieu's Mac sad? Because the Saarbrücken composer, house-husband, and university lecturer spends less time in front of his computer screen and more playing with his children and tending his garden. Bedeviled by hardware problems during the past three years, Mathieu waves 'Goodbye DSP-Magic' on The Sad Mac as he simplifies his working methods to their bare minimum (two applications—Tom Erbe's Soundhack and Akira Rabelais' Argeïphontes Lyre—supplemented by basic editing techniques) and uses field recordings, Macintosh system sounds ('the death chimes,' start-up noises), and recordings of musicians playing traditional instruments (harpsichord, violin, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, cello plus Mathieu himself on drums, piano, hammered dulcimer, and pump organ) for source material. Recorded between 2001 and 2004, the album marries the more hermetic digital processing approach used on recordings like 2002's Full Swing Edits with the relatively more 'natural' field dimension of the recent On Tape. What results is an expansive and affecting collection of what Fällt's Christopher Murphy deems 'pharmacological music' that consolidates the strengths of Mathieu's other releases into a single evocative work.

posted by Barrie , 4:43 AM Þ 

On page 8 and 9 of the June 1st edition of MCN there is an article about 15 people who had the category 'A' section of their motorcycle licences deleted when they either changed address or changed their paper driving licence to a photo card licence.

This is a very important story, not only because it shows how government agencies cannot run simple databases, but it demonstrates the sort of attitude the ID agency will adopt if everyone in the UK is compelled to be entered into a 'National Identity Register'.

The DVLA erased the motocycle 'entitlement' of an unknown number of riders, and had these responses to give when MCN questioned them about the mistakes:

MCN: Have you lost acategories from licences?
DVLA: The agency has no knowledge of any data loss occuring since its operations began in 1972, through instances such as the fire alluded to in your article (MCN, April 27)

MCN: Is it possible a category could have been deleted?
DVLA: When the driving records were converted from the local authorities to DVLA in the early '70s, the details from some 18 million old-style 'red-book' licences were transferred to the DVLA database. Due to the scale and complexity of hte excersise inevitably some errors were made which could have resulted ini the driver's entitlement being incorrectly recorded.

MCN: Are victims of errors entitled to compensation?
DVLA: If, during the course of any such investigations concerning incorrectly held data, it is established that the agency has been responsible for an error, then we consider any claims fo rcompensation.

MCN: Will the DVLA reinstate a category on a licence?
DVLA: If valid evidence of incorrectly held data is recieved from the data subjecte, the agency will, as a matter of course, take all steps to ensure that an individual's record is updated, and, if appropriate, issue revised documentation.

MCN: Does the DVLA accept responsibility?
DVLA: The agency always emphasises the need for the driver to examine thier licence and to bring any discrepancy to its attention.

I'm not making this up. The above is typed directly from the MCN article. "We have never lost any data since the system went live". Astonishing. These Kafkaesque responses are chilling enough, but when you consider what is being planned right now for the entire country, they should turn your blood to ice.

In the '70s, the administration of driving licences was centralized. All the data from driving licences was collected into one huge database. This is what is being proposed right now; that data on everyone in the UK is to be collected into a central database. Everyone is going to be forced to purchase what will essentially be a licence to exist in the UK.

You can be sure that there will be many mistakes as this work is done. We are talking about registering at least three times the number of people, and counting the fingerprints, eye scans and photos, names and addresses and other data, at least 10 times more data for each person, not taking into account the other fields that will be included in the database. This will be a monumental screw up, and as we can see, if you are the unlucky one who, say, changes his address or loses her card, your data will be corrupted, and the onus is on YOU to prove that your record is incorrect. You will recieve a frosty, Kafka-like response, most probably in the shape of a form letter, since they will have hundreds of thousands of problems like this, and you will have to hire a lawyer to intercede on your behalf to fix it. During this time, you may have access to your bank account and everything else that you need to live, denied to you. You may even get the present of having a criminal conviction inccorectly entered onto your record.

This will not be a one time registration problem either. Your biometric scan will change over time, meaning that you will have to re-register regularly to make sure your data relates to you. This means that for example if you have to re-register every 5 years instead of 10, the opportunities for your record to be corrupted double as they are scanning you twice as often. This is great news for the companies that are providing this 'service' under contract to the government, they double the amount of money they would have made had the re-registration stayed at a ten year interval.

It's obvious to anyone with a single brain cell that this idea of a National Identity Register, and ID cards is a huge mistake. It should be even more clear now that the attitude of the agency that will be in charge of this operation will be inhuman, inflexible and nasty. You will be guilty before proven innocent. They will deny that they are capable of error. Your life will be severly disrupted, and you will have no recourse in the law. Notice how the DVLA has no procedure in place to alter your licence should they make a mistake - this is because they believe themselvs to be infallible, just as the NIR agency will believe themselvs to be.

You must on no account register in this system, should the legislation pass. Millions of refusniks will make the system useless. If you do it, you transfer authority to the system, make it stronger, and compel others to do the same, until there is no corner unpainted.

In case you are interested, and of course you are, since you read BLOGDIAL, I found out about this when picking up a take away meal; someone left her copy of MCN on the table where I was waiting...I flicked through it and saw the article that prompted this post.

What a life!
posted by Irdial , 12:31 AM Þ 
posted by Irdial , 12:24 AM Þ 
Thursday, June 02, 2005

I realised that in the previous post it sounds like I am blaming Americans for our problems. I do blame America but not entirely - it is also the fault of certain bad Canadians for playing "lap dog." Is Stephen Harper a corgi? Definitely. A particularily yappy, annoying one.
posted by Barrie , 10:27 PM Þ 

Dosanjh hints at Harper role in tape tampering

Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh hinted Thursday that he believes Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's office was involved in tampering with tapes made by a B.C. member of Parliament during discussions about switching sides in the House of Commons.

"The leader of the Opposition had the tapes for 14 days," Dosanjh said of contentious secret recordings made by Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal. "What were they doing with them?"

On some of the tapes released this week – two weeks after Grewal first released excerpts – Dosanjh and Grewal can be heard talking in Punjabi about what future Grewal might face with the Liberals.

The health minister told reporters Thursday that "in at least two places, conversations had been spliced in" that had been taken out of context to make him look worse.

Dosanjh said two "independent experts" had confirmed that the tapes had been doctored, but gave no other details.

About 90 minutes of taped conversations were released early this week, though Grewal had said he recorded up to four hours of talks with Dosanjh and Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff, Tim Murphy.

Approached by reporters on Parliament Hill later Thursday, Grewal denied the tapes had been altered before refusing to answer any more questions on the grounds that the RCMP were looking into the matter.

Grewal has said the Liberals came courting him, offering him inducements to switch parties in an effort to keep Martin's minority government alive.

The Conservatives want an inquiry conducted on their allegation that the Liberals tried to buy Grewal's vote, and the Bloc Québécois have asked the RCMP to investigate the matter.

Dosanjh and other top Liberals have said Grewal made the first approach, demanding a cabinet position for himself and an ambassadorship or Senate appointment for his wife, fellow British Columbia Conservative MP Nina Grewal, in return for not voting against the Liberals on a key May 19 confidence motion.

Dosanjh also questioned what had happened to two hours of conversation between himself and Grewal at the health minister's home, which he said would show him repeatedly insisting that no promises of advancement could be made.

"I thought he was coming to talk to me about my own personal experience," said Dosanjh, a former New Democrat premier of British Columbia who switched to the federal Liberal party in April 2004, just before the last general election.

"He wanted to turn that into a bargaining session."

Basically the brunt of this story is that an opportunistic (as they all are) Conservative MP tried to jump ship to the Liberals for party favours (after the much publicized Stronach ship-jump), and after being shut down tried to turn the story around in an effort to be as economical as possible with their smarm. I don't know where it all starts but I do know the Liberals are fucking stupid for letting this story get to them!
If you have been paying attention to Canadian politics for the past year you will notice a very obvious trend. Stephen Harper and the "no-platform" Conservative party are the most opportunistic politicians in the country, lacking any form of integrity or tact. It is clear they are being coached by Republican party campaigners. All they have been doing is trying to smear as many people as possible. It's becoming obvious that the only motivation for the Conservatives is POWER, because with these constant opportunistic actions (and forming a coalition with the seperatist Bloc) there is no other conclusion that can be made. The spin machine is in high gear and is starting to smell.
What is amazing to me is that none of the other parties, including the threatened Liberal government, are raising any "holy-shits" about this. Why are people so wimpy when it comes to going up against Republican aggressiveness? It's so shallow that it's incredibly easy to expose. Just get up there and go "HEY! THESE PEOPLE ARE FULL OF SHIT. LOOK AT ALL THIS SHIT! I CAN BARELY SEE THERE IS SO MUCH." I'm sure they could word it just like that, too.
And people are so sedated by reality-tv bullshit and fake news stories that this sort of pathetic behaviour seems normal to them (perhaps in America but I won't tolerate it up here).

(another similarity b/w the conservatives and the republicans is their "allegiance" to the so-called "grassroots" while simultaneously stroking the boil-ridden cocks of big business - but you know this!)
posted by Barrie , 10:05 PM Þ 

They still own slaves When will they apologize for this? Americans should take the time read, digest, and if possible, attempt to refute The New American Slavery
posted by telle goode , 7:37 PM Þ 
Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I've been playing this lately. It's been keeping me amused for a while.
posted by chriszanf , 8:33 PM Þ 

Bush says Amnesty's criticism is 'absurd'

He lashes out at report on detainee treatment
By Finlay Lewis

June 1, 2005

Associated Press
President Bush has pledged to hold at least one major news conference a month during his second term.

President Bush said yesterday that it is "absurd" to compare the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay to the gulags run by the former Soviet Union.

The president's brusque dismissal of last week's critical report by Amnesty International came during a Rose Garden news conference in which Bush sought to counter speculation that he is losing his political clout.

Referring to Amnesty International's comparison of Guantanamo to a Soviet concentration camp, Bush declared, "It's just an absurd allegation." He said the government has investigated every complaint of abuse stemming from the arrest of thousands of detainees captured since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. [...]

The Amnesty International report accused the U.S. government of thumbing its nose "at the rule of law and human rights" by its treatment of detainees. It spotlighted what many foreign policy experts say is a major problem in the administration's efforts to repair America's tattered image in Muslim countries.

In addition to castigating the administration for its treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, the report also focused on conditions at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison and the "renditions" of suspects to countries that routinely use torture.

Referring to the report, Bush said, "It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on . . . allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to . . . not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report." [...]

Absurd ay? Lets find out.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Gulag (Russian: ГУЛАГ Sound listen, an abbreviation for Главное Управление Исправительно— Трудовых Лагерей, "Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-trudovykh Lagerey", "The Chief Directorate [or Administration] of Corrective Labour Camps")was the branch of the Soviet internal police and security service that operated the penal system of forced labour camps and associated detention and transit camps and prisons. While these camps housed criminals of all types, the Gulag system has become primarily known as a place for political prisoners and as a mechanism for repressing political opposition to the Soviet state. Though it imprisoned millions, the name became familiar in the West only with the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 1973 The Gulag Archipelago, which likened the scattered camps to a chain of islands. [...]

People in Camp X-Ray are for certain, political prisoners, arrested immorally so the bill fits in this respect.

In addition to the most common category of camps that practiced hard physical labour and prisons of various sorts, other forms also existed.

  • A unique form of Gulag camps called sharashka (шарашка, the goofing-off place) were in fact secret research laboratories, where the arrested and convicted scientists, some of them prominent, were anonymously developing new technologies, and also conducting basic research.
  • Psikhushka (психушка, the nut house), the forced medical treatment in psychiatric imprisonment was used, in lieu of camps, to isolate and break down political prisoners. This practice became much more common after the official dismantling of the Gulag system. See Vladimir Bukovsky, Pyotr Grigorenko.
  • Special camps or zones for children (Gulag jargon: "малолетки", maloletki, underaged), for disabled (in Spassk), and for mothers ("мамки", mamki) with babies. These categories were considered as not producing any useful outcome and often subjected to more abuse.
  • Camps for "wifes of traitors of Motherland" (there was a special category of repressed: "Traitor of Motherland Family Member" (ЧСИР, член семьи изменника Родины)).
  • Under the supervision of Lavrenty Beria who headed both NKVD and the Soviet Atom bomb program until his demise in 1953, thousands of zeks were used to mine uranium ore and prepare test facilities on Novaya Zemlya, Vaygach Island, Semipalatinsk, among other sites. Reports even state that Gulag prisoners were used in early nuclear tests (the first was conducted in Semipalatinsk in 1949) in decontaminating radioactive areas and nuclear submarines. [...]

Forced medical treatment to break down prisoners. That happens in 'Gitmo'. Check.

In the early days of Gulag the locations for the camps were chosen primarily for the ease of isolation of prisoners. Remote monasteries in particular were frequently reused as sites for new camps. The site on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea is one of the earliest and also most noteworthy, taking root soon after the Revolution in 1918. The colloquial name for the islands, "Solovki", entered the vernacular as a synonym for the labour camp in general. It was being presented to the world as an example of the new Soviet way of "re-education of class enemies" and reintegrating them through labour into the Soviet society. Initially the inmates, the significant part being Russian intelligentsia, enjoyed relative freedom (within the natural confinement of the islands). Local newspapers and magazines were edited and even some scientific research was carried out (e.g., a local botanical garden was maintained, unfortunately lost completely). Eventually it turned into an ordinary Gulag camp; in fact some historians maintain that Solovki was a pilot camp of this type. See Solovki for more detail. [...]

Camp X-Ray is on an island. It is remote from the continental usa. Just like the original Gulags.

Not all camps were fortified; in fact some in Siberia were marked only by posts. Escape was deterred by the harsh elements, as well as tracking dogs that were assigned to each camp. While during the 1920s and 1930s native tribes often aided escapees, many of the tribes were also victimized by escaped thieves. Tantalized by large rewards as well, they began aiding authorities in the capture of Gulag inmates. Camp guards were also given stern incentive to keep their inmates in line at all costs; if a prisoner escaped under a guard's watch, the guard would often be stripped of his uniform and become a Gulag inmate himself.

In some cases, teams of inmates were dropped to a new territory with a limited supply of resources and left to initiate a new camp or die. Sometimes it took a few attempts before the next wave of colonists could survive the elements. [...]

I put that last part in for the 'wow' factor.

It seems that there are more similarities than differences between the Camp X-Ray system and the Russian Gulag system. The USSR perfected its enemy removal system and put all its undesireables into it, and went to the logical conclusion of making those prisoners work. This is no doubt what the americans have on the agenda for future Camp X-Ray type installations. We know that they already have concentration camps set up inside the usa, we know that they are trying to set up an internal passport with the RealID act (no flying in the usa without showing your government ID, just like the Soviet era Russians had to put up with) - seeing as they are not afraid to use all the terrible methods of the worst countries in history, we can expect them to rollout the entire feature set of the Gulag system. They have so far not rejected any of the worst elements of those systems, and have even gone so far as to hire one of the managers that used to run 'security' in East Germany.

No. In this case, Amnesty is 100% correct to use the word 'Gulag' to describe Camp X-Ray.

posted by Irdial , 5:26 PM Þ 

Lord Snowdon, not suffering a fool gladly.

"I've done a few optical things. That's one. "He passes me a trompe-l'oeil object - a glass ball. "You're holding it the wrong way," he says with a grin. "You're still holding it the wrong way." I turn it again. "Be inquisitive," he says.

Within seconds, the humour has turned to anger. " No! " he bawls. I ask him if it has been designed to make people feel stupid. "No, most people do it quicker than you. What is it?"

I tell him I can see the world upside down? "Now you're vereh stupid."

Please tell me, I say. I feel like an idiot.

"Well, it's a clock, isn't it?"

Why is it a clock? "Well you're incredibleh stupid."


posted by Alun , 3:07 PM Þ 

From the list of books, the description of number, 6. "Das Kapital":

"Marx theorized that the inevitable eventual outcome would be global proletarian revolution. He could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate."

Um, no one alive now sees 21st Century America as this.

But you know this.
posted by Irdial , 1:29 AM Þ 
posted by Claus Eggers , 1:05 AM Þ 
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

for No Identifiable Reason Christopher Hitchens has been on the radio in Blunkettian proportions recently, the cut of his jib is that to have opposed the invasion of Iraq is appeasement of Saddam's regime - however this conveniently ignores a substantial amount of the opposition to the invasion of Iraq was an opposition to powerful countries ignoring international law and treaties, the majority of the people at the time realised that to have countries invading other countries for no reason other than they have rich resources unlikeable leaders sets a dangerous precedent - a petard on which we may ourselves be hoist.

It was a brief realisation that 'the west is right in all it's hypocrisy' is not a sustainable attitude in any sense.
posted by meau meau , 12:00 PM Þ 
Monday, May 30, 2005

Are you curious hamster?


This pledge's permanent location:

"I will refuse to register for an ID card but only if 3,000,000 people will sign up."

— Stef

Deadline: 1st January 2007. 492 people have signed up, 2,999,508 more needed

posted by Alun , 3:48 PM Þ 

Writing in Arabic, Aziz says: 'We are totally isolated from the world. There are 13 other detainees here, but we have no meetings or telephone contacts wth our families. I have been accused unjustly, but to date no proper investigation has taken place. It is imperative that there is intervention into our dire situation and treatment. It is totally in contradiction to international law, the Geneva Convention and Iraqi law as we know it.'

The astonishing Observer says that these pleas are 'extraordinary'. Of course, if it was a british journalist being held without charge, these would suddenly not be 'extraordinary pleas' but 'cries for help' and the situation would be described as 'outrageous' and a 'flagrant violation of international law'.

The fair application of the Geneva conventions is not reserved for western journalists, niether is freedom of speech or any other right for that matter. The fact that they will not support Tariq Aziz proves that they are against the freedom and equality of all men, and reserve such 'priveledges' for their own hides.
posted by Irdial , 9:55 AM Þ 
Sunday, May 29, 2005

"Despite the memo’s disturbing and explosive revelations, there has been a virtual media blackout with some newspapers deliberately turning a blind eye to the Downing Street memo. Contact the media and ask them to do their job in reporting and investigating the information in the memo. Write a letter to the editor, call in to radio shows. It's time for the media to address real news."
And here is the fatal flaw of all campaigners against the war and corruption/conspiracy in western government. They still believe like the most naïve of children, that the public can be motivated by the media, and that somehow, scandal still matters.

Everyone should now understand completely that scandal, being caught out in a blantant lie, mass murder - none of these things, when exposed to the public via the media, can bring a polititian or government down.

The only way to stop the warmongering, mass murdering, criminal, immoral governments is to take a true action against them. 'Taking action' does not mean getting the media to report that a lie has been told; even if the media did report it widely, a single report, dozens of reports, would have no conssequences.

A true action entails a cutting off of the means to wage war and to govern. It means mass non cooperation with any illigitimate government. It means refusing to finance government until you get the government that you require, i.e., one that uses your money only for shools, hospitals, road maintenance and everything else you want and nothing that you don't want (war).

Anyone who calls for demonstrations, petitions, pleas to the media and any other 20th century style action is a part of the problem. Only one type of action is left, one last weapon; a cutting off of the sole reason why your enemies do what they do - money.
posted by Irdial , 3:53 PM Þ 
posted by chriszanf , 3:39 PM Þ

posted by Barrie , 8:50 AM Þ 

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