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]

A BBC mention

We have a mention on the BBC web site in their weblog watch quoting this.
What ever next?

Weekend of Rock

Not only am I trying to cope with the steady flow of work related parties that have started to appear in my diary in the run up to Christmas, but I agreed to go out on Friday with Andrew Dodge to the Monster Magnet launch party at the Barfly in Camden, not that it takes much persuading when there is free beer and good music on the agenda. We were treated to a live set from Monster Magnet, and if you have ever been to the Barfly you will know it is not a big place, so it was a real treat considering they were playing the Forum the next day (and that’s a big place). As Andrew points out in his posting covering the same gig we were mixing with the likes of Kelly Osbourne and Die So Fluid , however what he does not mention is that he had the hots for Grog, their lead singer,

so we spent a large proportion of the night chatting to her, not that I was complaining until the next day when I discovered I had lost my voice.

The following night was spent at the Brixton Academy watching The Darkness play. Again I was with Andrew with the added value of Anna of leather catsuit fame from the bloggers party, although this time it was not planned as we had both got tickets separately. I have seen them live before, and they did not disappoint on a second viewing. Their mixture of Rock and Irony (give me a D… Give me an Arkness…) is refreshing in the current world of dance and manufactured pop music you hear on the radio all the time. On the way out we bumped into Nik who had arranged the Monster Magnet party and his voice was worse than mine. At least I was able to talk by Saturday evening!

Data by the truck load (2)

About a year ago I posted this wondering how much data there was in a truck. Dai Davies, director of Dante, has answered my question (via the BBC)

Before now the highest data transfer speed was achieved by putting the tapes in a van and driving them to where they need to be analysed. Delivery vans can carry lots of tapes at the same time which means that Europe’s roads have a relatively high bandwidth.
You can send a few hundred megabytes per second through DHL

I am still waiting for an answer to how many trucks there are though.

I love free markets

The Pentagon funded research agency DARPA are launching something called the Policy Analysis Market (PAM) which is in its own words…

    A Market in the Futures of the Middle East..

and will provide…
    insight into the interactions among Middle Eastern and U.S. interests and policy decisions.

This is done by letting you trade…
    on data indices that track economic health, civil stability, military disposition, and U.S. economic & military involvement in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey.

…as well as other contracts. There has been some opposition to the idea. Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota have urged the Pentagon to drop the idea stating that…
    The idea of a federal betting parlour on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it’s grotesque.

and …
    useless, offensive and unbelievably stupid.

Trading begins October 1st

Cut the Bull S**t

Do you want some software that is:

    A value-added, leverageable global knowledge repository.


    Repurposeable, leading edge thoughtware that delivers results-driven value.

Then go to Bullfighter where you can download it for free. It will look at your documents and warn you if you have started talking corporate speak.

You know you need a future-proof asset that seamlessly empowers your mission critical enterprise communications.

Second day of remembrance (2)

On this day in 1986 Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnick, Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Greg Jarvis, & Christa McAuliffe lost their lives in the Challenger space shuttle (STS 51-L).

Look here for an independant view on the reliability of the shuttle done by Richard Feynmen after the loss of the Challenger shuttle. I believe that he was asked to do this as part of the official investigation, but when it turned out to be so damning, they refused to use it in the report.

You thought you were paranoid?

It’s healthy to have a small amount of paranoia, but these guys have more than their fair share. Regrettably they no longer produce material but that said there is still nine years worth of the funniest (and sickest) cartoons I have ever run across to while away a lunch hour.

Shuttle Launch Web Cam

NASA have attached a web cam to the shuttle’s external fuel tank and will be transmitting during the launch on the 2nd of October. There is a link on this page that takes you to NASA television.

Flight director Phil Engelauf (as quoted on the BBC web site) said:

the video’s “wow factor” should be high.

My favourite music

The other night around Perry’s house after a few cans of beer and the usual chit chat I said that I was thinking of making a “my favourite music CD”. Perry is always trying to get me to post things on Samizdata, so he suggested that I come up with my list, post it on the blog and ask others to do the same. In some way this may give us an insight into the types of people that read this blog. I am not sure what we will get out of this, but it’s worth a go. So please feel free to post your lists as comments to this post. If we get enough, maybe a super list of the favourite music can be compiled.

Now I have put together tapes of my favourite music before, but they have always consisted of music that I was into at the time. What I wanted to do this time was put together a list of songs/tunes that I would take with me to a desert island if I was given the choice (desert island disc’s style). Now I have started to think about it, it is actually harder than you initially think. I had to make one or two rules for my self just to make things easier. I limited the number of songs to 15 (thats about what you can fit on a CD) mainly because I didn’t want to calculate the lengths of the songs and add them together to see if they would fit and the second rule was that you can only take one piece of music by any particular person.

When I was thinking about what to put on it, three tracks came straight to mind. These have always been favourites of mine since first hearing them, and have always been near the top of the pile of CD’s or records that get played, now all I have to do is get another 12 songs and I’m finished. I have been ill for the last week, so I have had plenty of time to contemplate what I was going to choose. The hardest thing to do was to not choose a song because it was a ‘classic’ song, you know the ones that always get chosen even if you don’t particularly like them, they just make you feel comfortable when you hear them. What I was looking for were songs that I really, really liked and could listen to for the next 10 years (or so). Also I do listen to a lot of music, and I have chosen not to put any of the new music I am listening to at the moment into my list. This is purely because it hasn’t survived the test of time yet, I like it now but may not like it in a years time. Anyway, less of my ramblings, here is my list of my most favourite music. If you don’t like my choices, I don’t care because it’s my list. Make one up and post it as a comment.

Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the waves
Golden Brown – the Stranglers
Norwegian Wood – The Beatles
This Woman’s Work – Kate Bush
Visions of You – Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart with Sinead O’Connor
Mr E’s Beautiful Blues – Eels
Night Boat to Cairo – Madness
Jangle of a Dogs Collar – Butthole Surfers
Ghost Town – The Specials
Sul-E-Stomp – Astralasia & Suns of Arqa
The Rhythm Divine – Yello with Shirley Bassey
59th Street Bridge Song – Simon and Garfunkel
Danse Macabre – Saint-Saens
Stop the Car (12” version) – The Woodentops
Big Noise from Winnetka – Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen

Happy Birthday

This week is the 21st birthday of the IBM 5150 also called the IBM PC. I know it wasn’t the first personnal computer, there are quite a few contenders for that title, but it was the first computer to call itself a PC. This wonderous machine cost $3,000 came with a massive 4.77Mhz 8088 Intel processor with 16 kilobytes (expandable to 64k) of memory and ran PC DOS 1.0 which was licenced from a man called Bill Gates.

Data by the truck load

I came across this small quote on the BBC website today and wondered if they had thought about what they had written.

The amount of data currently downloaded from the site every month, the centre says, would fill seven 12-metre (40-foot) articulated trucks.

I would love to know how they measure amounts of data by volume, in fact I would love to know how many trucks of data are moved around the internet every day, and the savings made by not having to pay for the fuel.

Profound quote of the day

Beyond its entertainment value, Baywatch has enriched and, in many cases, helped save lives. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue with a project which has has such a significance for so many.

– David Hasselhoff, Actor