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]

Rob Fisher talking about Open Source Software

My next Last Friday of the Month speaker, this coming Friday (April 26) will be Samizdata’s own Rob Fisher, who has emailed me thus:

These are my notes for the ‘introduction’ section of my talk. I think this should give you a flavour of what to expect:

I am going to talk about open source software.

I am calling it “open source” but as we will see there are variations on that theme.

I will talk about the history because it tells us things about the motivations of the people who work on open source software.

I will also talk
…continue Rob Fisher talking about Open Source Software

Distributed defence


Dear Samizdata,

Defense Distributed, a libertarian student partnership, is announcing a project they’re calling the Wiki Weapon. This project’s goal is to test and prove a design for a completely printable, one-use ABS plastic .22 handgun, and to take that design from CAD and port it to a .STL file that will then be freely shared across all major file-sharing platforms to the world. DefDist is anticipating a world where 3D printing becomes much more economical and ubiquitous, and the Wiki Weapon will be one step in providing political and personal leverage to the peoples of that world. The
…continue Distributed defence

Speaking of progress …

3D printing with chocolate. More here.

Is this the killer app that 3D printing has been waiting for?

Great work, 3-D gun printers, but don’t rest on your laurels

Right, who laughed? I don’t know if it was the nameless Associated Press reporter who wrote this story, or the Guardian editor who decided to run it, but someone connected with the publication of this piece in the Graun of all places was enjoying themselves: “New York changes gun buyback after seller gets $21,000 for 3D-printed parts”

The seller, who identified himself by a pseudonym, said he traveled from West Virginia to a gun buyback on 27 August in Utica, New York, to take advantage of a loophole in the program – and to demonstrate that buybacks are futile
…continue Great work, 3-D gun printers, but don’t rest on your laurels

Book Review: Capitalism In America by Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge

Capitalism in America: A History. By Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge.

I recently read this book, published a few months ago, and it is written by a senior journalist who is political editor of the Economist, and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Given their respective occupations, I had a rough idea of their broad ideology (a general predisposition towards free markets, private property and limited government) and on the whole I enjoyed reading this book a great deal.

Their core thesis is that America has been as successful as it has been because it allows a great deal of
…continue Book Review: Capitalism In America by Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge

Set down these laws

The laws of ancient Rome were engraved onto Twelve Tables that were displayed in the forum for all to see. Cicero lamented that in his time the old tradition of memorizing them all had fallen into disuse.

The laws of ancient England were recorded on vellum. As are, it seems, the more voluminous laws of the modern United Kingdom. The Cabinet Office lamented that in our time this thousand year old tradition was about to fall into disuse, and offered to keep paying to continue a custom that those soulless modernizers in the House of Lords had wanted to
…continue Set down these laws

Has an armaments maker just saved the world with cheap water?

I have no idea if this (which I got to via Instapundit and then Walter Russell Mead) is for real, but it sure sounds good:

A defense contractor better known for building jet fighters and lethal missiles says it has found a way to slash the amount of energy needed to remove salt from seawater, potentially making it vastly cheaper to produce clean water at a time when scarcity has become a global security issue.

How does it work?

The process, officials and engineers at Lockheed Martin Corp say, would enable filter manufacturers to produce thin carbon membranes with regular
…continue Has an armaments maker just saved the world with cheap water?

The strange non-death of the book

I have been doing more chucking out of old paper today, mostly of old newspaper and magazine articles that were vaguely interesting, but not interesting enough to be worth the bother of keeping them for another decade and a half. My life having worked well enough without me having read any of them during the previous decade and a half, out they went. Demand for black plastic bags in the Pimlico area has definitely surged lately. I am that surge.

The irony is, however, that much of the space thus liberated is going to be used to store … books.
…continue The strange non-death of the book