The Blog


23 Jul 2015

Maybe my memory is going (it is!) but something quite strange happened on the BBC news last night. There was a report about Tony Blair's speech telling the Labour party that lurching to the left would make them unelectable. This was followed by a whole series of young Blairites (who didn't look old enough to actually remember the birth of New Labour) spouting the same line. Then we cut to Jeremy Corbyn describing how Blair destroyed the Labour party and involved us in the "disastrous and illegal Iraq war".

It seems like a long time since a major UK politician has described the Iraq war as "Disastrous and Illegal".

Blair's suddenly looking old, but he looks just as driven and criminally insane as ever. And this unshakable belief in a New Labour that is a lite-clone of the Tories is increasingly bizarre. It's not enough to have failed to learn anything from the last 20 years, he apparently wants to keep pulling the Labour party to the right and into a lacklustre place where it's indistinguishable from, and provides no real opposition to, the Tories. In which case, why vote for them?

It feels like this struggle for the soul of the Labour party might easily produce another split like the one where the SDP broke away. Perhaps this time it will be the Left that leaves and gets absorbed elsewhere rather the the Centre-right.
[from: Google+ Posts]

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21 Jul 2015

A couple of good posts here about the state of Labour in the UK.

http://chocolateandvodka.com/2015/07/21/labours-already-dead-but-who-killed-them/

http://simonnricketts.tumblr.com/post/124334692582/youre-already-dead

Labour's dead now and we probably have to suffer the full 13 years of Tory mis-rule.  So it's time for Labour to remember what it's actually about and to pull the Overton Window[1] to the left. They need to find some spine and create an opposition party that’s actually in opposition to the Tories.  Maybe real Left Socialism is unelectable in this part of the election cycle. But that doesn't mean the reasons for it and need for it have disappeared.

The Farage/Trump deal seems to be recognising that it doesn't matter if you get elected or not, if you can say what others dare not say and so pull the conversation your way. The Left should understand that they can play that game as well.

Meanwhile it's the SNP that are standing for 20th century, mixed social-democracy in the UK not Labour. If the current Tories are Blair-Lite[2], then current Labour is Blair-Lite-Lite. To the point where there's nothing there at all.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window
[2]Cameron vs Brown was described as Blair-Lite vs Thatcher-Lite
 Labour’s already dead, but who killed them? — Chocolate and Vodka »
Journalist Simon Ricketts wrote an excellent piece about Labour in which he argues that because there’s no real way that Labour can win the next election, they need to get a hold of the narrative and own it. They need to

[from: Google+ Posts]

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07 Jul 2015

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/uk-government-backed-scientific-model-flags-risk-of-civilisation-s-collapse-by-2040-4d121e455997

For the first time, then, we know that in private, British and US government agencies are taking seriously longstanding scientific data showing that a business-as-usual trajectory will likely lead to civilisational collapse within a few decades - generating multiple near-term global disruptions along the way. 
The question that remains is: what we are going to do about it?

What's interesting here is an attempt to update the Limits to Growth models with current data and fine tuning the parameter set. LtoG was broadly correct but we can improve it.

With a US election cycle coming up that's likely to set US policy for 8 years, and with the Uk election cycle just started, the question is what are they going to do about this? How will it inform policy? 
Some times it feels like the politicians approach is to build a defensible bunker for them and their friends. Maintain business as usual for as long as possible but put civil control mechanisms in place to try and contain the resulting chaos.

Too cynical?

[from: Google+ Posts]

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29 Jun 2015

My first public post in G+. 8 July 2011, a week or so after the launch.
https://plus.google.com/+JulianBond23/posts/1qBXL7B367V

I've been searching for something in G+ that let's me see all the posts I've commented on. I can't find it yet.

4 years later. There's still no way of getting a list of all the posts you've commented on.
 I've been searching for something in G+ that let's me see all the posts I've… »
I've been searching for something in G+ that let's me see all the posts I've commented on. I can't find it yet.

In the process I discovered a whole set… - Julian Bond - Google+

[from: Google+ Posts]

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27 Jun 2015

The dubstep pioneers talking about how it happened.

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/an-oral-history-of-dubstep-vice-lauren-martin-610/page/0
vs
http://energyflashbysimonreynolds.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/dubstep-in-hindsight.html

Well it's History now.... 15 years since its earliest dawn-glimmers....seven years or so since it got hijacked  / "went down the wrong path"  - leaving the faithful bereft, making them disperse, or launch the postdubstep era

---

If you're interested, that oral history is well worth reading. 
 The VICE Oral History of Dubstep | VICE | United Kingdom »
The story of a genre, as told by some of its most pivotal players.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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The Essential Guide to Cyberpunk
http://io9.com/the-essential-cyberpunk-reading-list-1714180001

It's not a bad starting point and you could do worse than read everything any of those authors have ever written. Or just start with Mirrorshades and follow the links to each author. But also these books and everything by these people as well.

Paul Di Filippo - Ribofunk
Lucius Shephard - Life During Wartime
Michael Swanwick - Vacuum Flowers
Mink Mole - Alligator Alley
Jeff Noon - Needle in the Groove
Walter Jon Williams - Hardwired
Ken Macleod - The Execution Channel
Jack Womack - Random Acts of Senseless Violence
Samuel Delaney - Dhalgren
Ian McDonald - The Dervish House
Misha - Red Spider White Web
Martin Bax - The Hospital Ship
Paolo Bacigalupi - The Windup Girl
St. Jude (R.U.Sirius, Mondo2000) - Cyberpunk handbook : the real cyberpunk fakebook

http://www.librarything.com/tag/cyberpunk

Back in the 80s and 90s I read everything cyberpunk I could find. My tastes veered off though towards Slipstream and the sort of cross breed between Cyberpunk, Slipstream, Magical Realism and the late 60s New worlds crew like JG Ballard. Part of the reason for that is that the writing is generally better. It's a common criticism of early books by new SciFi authors that the writing is often terrible even while the ideas are interesting.

What's a bit sad is how much of that stuff is getting really hard to find now, long since out of print and pulped. Anyone got a copy of Lewis Shiner - Deserted Cities of the Heart?
 The Essential Cyberpunk Reading List »
It’s now been over three decades since cyberpunk first exploded, and in that time we’ve seen gorgeous movies, read fascinating books, and seen dozens of offshoots like steampunk (and my new favorite, deco punk) develop. Here are the 21 cyberpunk books you absolutely must read.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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18 Jun 2015

It's 200 years since Sean Bean saved the day at Waterloo. He was younger then.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120111/
 Sharpe's Waterloo (TV Movie 1997) »
Directed by Tom Clegg. With Sean Bean, Daragh O'Malley, Abigail Cruttenden, Alexis Denisof. Based on the novel by Bernard Cornwell, "Sharpe's Waterloo" brings maverick Britis...

[from: Google+ Posts]

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17 Jun 2015

Today's surprising mini-beast in the garden. A Rose Chafer beetle. Approx 20mm. Ware, Hertfordshire, UK.

http://www.uksafari.com/rosechafers.htm

[from: Google+ Posts]

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It may look like big picture planning but actually it's just emergent behaviour from the Hive Mind.

So which Ant Hive in the Hive Super-Collective gave the nuclear launch controls to a Google autonomous car? It's probably OK because the only accidents the robot cars ever have is when they're rear-ended by cars driven by humans. 

http://xkcd.com/1539/
http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/05/google-self-driving-car-report/
 xkcd: Planning »
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors). BTC 1FhCLQK2ZXtCUQDtG98p6fVH7S6mxAsEey ...

[from: Google+ Posts]

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12 Jun 2015

30 years this month since the Battle of the Beanfield. 1 June 1985.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jun/12/ukcrime.tonythompson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beanfield
 Twenty years after, mystery still clouds Battle of the Beanfield »
This month marks the 20th anniversary of what has become known as the Battle of the Beanfield. 537 Travellers were arrested - the most arrests to take place on any single day since the Second World War.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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10 Jun 2015

Instead of repurposing shipping containers, repurpose a whole tanker into a popup village. It's a rather fanciful answer to the question of what happens to old oil tankers when global geopolitics and peak oil means they're no longer needed. 

http://www.nextnature.net/2015/06/from-discarded-mega-oil-tanker-to-village/comment-page-1

They'll need to allow for sea level rise when burning the old contents of the ships results in global warming.

I still have a Loompanics book on the shelves called "Free Space" exploring strategies for living space outside traditional nation state jurisdictions. One possibility was taking old tankers, loading them with soil and then scuttling them on one of the Pacific Atolls that lies just beneath the waves to make an instant island. The idea above feels remarkably like this. Then there's the abandoned aircraft carrier arcology from Snowcrash. 

The big problems with all these ideas is the cost of moving the abandoned ship. And the scrap value of the metal. Getting and maintaining control is not going to be cheap.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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08 Jun 2015

One of those, "My god you can't be serious, how could you leave out XXXXX" articles. Anything entitled "The 100 best albums of " is bound to be rubbish. But I'm surprised by just how much of this I've never heard or even heard of, but also how many real but little known gold'n'nuggetz they included.

http://www.factmag.com/2014/07/14/the-100-best-albums-of-the-1970s/101/
 The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s »
The 100 Best Albums Of The 1970s

[from: Google+ Posts]

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05 Jun 2015

Friday Night cocktail: The Passenger

Refreshingly long for a humid early summer evening after a day of thunder storms.

45ml Adnams Copper House Gin (or any good dry London Gin)
15ml Chase Elderflower Liqueur (or St. Germain)
15ml Fresh Lime Juice
Build in an ice filled Collins glass,
Top off with San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa (NOT Tango!),
Mint garnish

But mostly, San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa is good stuff that's improved with a  bit of Gin!

I am a passenger
I stay under glass
I look through my window so bright
I see the stars come out tonight
I see the bright and hollow sky
Over the city's a rip in the sky
And everything looks good tonight
Singin la la la la la-la-la la
(c)Iggy Pop
[from: Google+ Posts]

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27 May 2015

Bruce Sterling's Austin, Texas, SXSW keynote speech from 2014. "The future is about old people, in big cities, afraid of the sky."
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/03/the-future-is-about-old-people-in-big-cities-afraid-of-the-sky/284459/

Bruce Sterling's post today on tumblr of Austin, Texas in 2015. Photos of a city, floods, menacing skies. You can't see the old people because they're all in cars.
http://brucesterling.tumblr.com/post/120005089208
 'The Future Is About Old People, in Big Cities, Afraid of the Sky' »
And four other intriguing things: when otters attack, the objects of brain interfaces, WWI diaries, and a digital model of a piano.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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22 May 2015

Gin & Germain
Today's Friday Night Cocktail is the Gin & Germain. Except that it's not St Germain. I've been given a bottle of Chase Elderflower liqueur which is a 20% Chase vodka and Elderflower concoction which is basically the same. The Gin is Adnam's Copper House from our trip last week to the Suffolk coast. So without further ado,

50ml Adnams Copper House Gin
25ml Chase Elderflower
75ml Fevertree tonic
Over Ice, Collins glass, Lime garnish.

It's really just a slightly sweeter G&T with some extra flavours but just the thing for a muggy evening that's an hour away from a downpour.

http://barnotes.co/recipes/gin-st-germaine
http://adnams.co.uk/spirits/our-spirits/distilled-gin/
http://williamschase.co.uk/collections/all-products/products/chase-rhubarb-liqueur-20
[from: Google+ Posts]

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04 Apr 2015

Orphan Black Series 3 is coming up with the rest of the world premiere in April 18. In the UK it used to be shown on BBC3, but their website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04210v9) says "no upcoming broadcasts" and the various commentary sites have no UK dates.

So how do I get to watch it in the UK? And preferably without the 3 day delay BBC3 used to have so I don't get spoilers. Inevitably, the BBC America site is region locked online viewing is prevented in the UK. There are sometimes ways round that as long as you don't get too creative with things like a Chromecast.

Why isn't BBC America available on things like Virgin Media? I guess it's the same reasons as why Sky Atlantic isn't available. ;)

http://www.bbcamerica.com/orphan-black/
 Orphan Black »
Official website for BBC America's series

[from: Google+ Posts]

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27 Mar 2015

Avast thah, me hearties!

Google have a new auto-proxy service that speeds up unencrypted web pages by compressing them on Google's proxy servers between the website and your device.
https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/2392284?p=data_saver_on&rd=1

This has an unintended but hilarious side effect. There's a bunch of websites that are blocked by UK ISPs for copyright issues. So if you go to, for instance, http://newalbumreleases.net/ you will normally be blocked by a Virgin Media/BT/TalkTalk warning message. But if you have Google's data saving Chrome extension installed it acts like a VPN and side steps the block.

Then there's https://thepiratebay.se/ They've sucessfully implemented an https:// scheme that also side steps the same UK ISP block.

For the moment, we're saved. But stand by to repel boarders!

[from: Google+ Posts]

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23 Mar 2015

I wonder if anyone appreciates how serious, how close and how inevitable this is. Are the answers really: "extremely", "24 months" and "totally"?

Bill Smith originally shared this post:
California is in the grip of a record drought tied to climate change. This water crisis holds the potential to collapse California’s economy if the state truly runs out of water. What an irony that the state most focused on global warming may be its first victim.
California anchors U.S. economy. It has the seventh largest economy in the world, approximately twice the size of Texas. California’s economy is so large and impacts so many other businesses that its potential collapse due to a water crisis will impact the pocketbooks of most Americans.

#California #Drought




 Climate Change Puts California Economy at Risk of Collapse »
California faces one more year of water supply -- a water crisis that holds the potential to collapse the state’s economy. What an irony that the state most focused on global warming may be its first catastrophic economic collapse victim.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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22 Mar 2015

Electronic music, released on cassette labels, from Novosibirsk.

http://calvertjournal.com/articles/show/3744/siberian-electronic-music-scene-klammlang-cassettes
 Breaking the ice: the independent cassette label putting Siberian electronica on the map »
A feature about the Klammklang label and the Siberian electronic music scene

[from: Google+ Posts]

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21 Mar 2015

If Europe is getting worried about immigrants from N Africa taking the perilous journey to Italy, there's an obvious solution. Make the countries of the southern and eastern mediterranean part of the EU.
https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/europe-defends-itself/

Note: I hate contentious (and non-contentious) blogs that don't allow comments. But then I don't allow comments on my own blog because I can't be bothered to moderate them.
 Europe Defends Itself »
German NWO-magazine and US State Department mouth piece der Spiegel hates to say it, but Europe seems to be getting serious about defending itself against the waves of invaders from the South. In t...

[from: Google+ Posts]

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