We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Calling a spade a spade

While some minorities become popular political causes, other minorities are on the receiving end of negative political populism. Politically correct campaigners will loudly support the “good minorities” such as GLBT or immigrant groups, but they are equally loud in their condemnation of the “wrong minorities”. This seems to indicate that we are not becoming more tolerant… we are simply switching our bigotry on to other areas.

- John Humphreys

Read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern: every class is unfit to govern.

- Lord Acton

Headline of the year

There are few headlines I have enjoyed more, ever. Sadly, owing to BBC Online’s disreputable habit of invisibly editing stories, this one has lost its original title, which was:

Deadly cucumbers claim more lives

What’s glorious in this story is not just that incongruity, not amusing if you or people you know suffer organ-failure owing to an infected salad vegetable; it is the way the world stubbornly refuses to adopt superstitious man-made categories of what’s safe and wholesome. The cucumbers were deadly because they were organic.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, which although it is an American holiday, is relevant to anyone anywhere who has had friends or relatives serve their country and perhaps make the ultimate sacrifice.

The father of a woman friend personalizes it for me: he served with the Marines and went ashore on Iwo Jima. He was there when the flag went up. Some days later he was wounded and evacuated. He fortunately lived through the war despite serving in such terrible battles for otherwise someone very close to me would not have been born.

It is difficult to honor such people enough. They were the ordinary men who did extraordinary things when called upon to do so.

Samizdata quote of the day

A moderate Muslim has not understood Islam.

- Sam Solomon, twenty five minutes into a remarkable video interview of him by Ezra Levant.

Solomon, who was raised a Muslim but is now a Christian, explains, in particular, just what is so explosive about the threat to Islam of Christianity. Built into Islam, says Solomon, is a huge bundle of falsehood about what Christianity actually says. Simply learning about Christianity by reading the Bible, whether you accept in or not, will automatically undermine your Muslim faith.

First Commercial Quantum Computer

All that I know so far is here. There are a lot of possible different problems one can imagine a large defense contractor attacking with a quantum computer but any thing I say will be a wild guess.

What matters is…. they are here and we have begun computing across parallel universes if one believes that particular interpretation of quantum strangeness.

Arthur C. Clarke and I have something in common

Clarke never got round to patenting the idea of a geostationary communications satellite.

Years and years and years ago when it was first reported to me that there were many lascivious moving images on the internet I thought, personally I would prefer to spend hours and hours watching cute furry animals. Maybe, I thought, I could set up a “web site” containing short video excerpts of animals, particularly juveniles, behaving in an appealing manner.

It seems someone else has already done this.

What did you never get round to patenting?

An accurate appraisal of “Vince” Cable

The Business Secretary, and member of the Liberal Democrat Party, Vincent Cable, likes to let us know he supposedly predicted the recent credit crunch (I am not sure he did, actually), and still manages to be presented as a sage voice on current affairs. Never mind that many of his views are nonsense.

Anyway, the Daily Mash satirical website has nailed him.

Samizdata quote of the day

The Internet threatens their power and perks. That’s far more important than problems that merely threaten the world’s wellbeing.

- Instapundit comments on a piece called As world burns, G8 leaders fiddle … with the Internet. Seriously?

Indeed. Ignore the messages. Silence the messenger.

Besides which, it’s asking a lot to expect the people who caused the problems, and whose first attempts to solve the problems multiplied the problems, to solve the problems.

Martin Kettle, ever-helpful to those in power

To argue for controls over the internet may not be cool, but it’s right

Investigating Chris Huhne is disproportionate

Samizdata mistranslation of the day

“Robbers perform surgery on God inside this domain (or stately home).”

- Antoine Clarke’s translation (see the comments) of the French bit of a multilingual sign warning against thieves, that I recently photoed in the Brick Lane part of London.

Usually we like to joke about how the foreigners get English wrong. So, it’s good to notice when we get one of their languages wrong.

Down Mexico way

This item about Mexico, via the ChicagoBoyz group weblog, is shocking. The scale of violence in Mexico – largely centred on the drugs trade – is rising rapidly. It ought, really, to be the top security issue for the United States. It is hard to justify actions in the MidEast with this sort of crap happening just across the border.

The war on drugs is proving an even bigger disaster than libertarians typically state.