The Blog

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

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

[from: Google+ Posts]

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.
 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 ...

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

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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.

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.

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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.
 The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s »
The 100 Best Albums Of The 1970s

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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
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Bruce Sterling's Austin, Texas, SXSW keynote speech from 2014. "The future is about old people, in big cities, afraid of the sky."

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.
 '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.

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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.
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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 ( 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. ;)
 Orphan Black »
Official website for BBC America's series

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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.

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, 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 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!

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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.

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Electronic music, released on cassette labels, from Novosibirsk.
 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

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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.

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...

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Now this is interesting. Small (and quite cheap) daughter boards for IPod Classics that let you run CF Flash, SDXC cards and mSATA SSDs. This (for a price!) will let you build a solid state 1TB iPod Classic!

Hidden away in there is the gotcha for owners of the iPod Classic 6g/6.5g with the 80gb thin and 160gb thick. These used an unusual CE-ATA interface but this is just the ribbon cable. You can get and fit a very cheap alternate ribbon cable designed for the 5g, 5.5g and 7g iPods. This then let's you use the ATA disks. It's unconfirmed but it looks like this would let you fit the fat 240Gb disk in a 6.5g 160 iPod. The catch here is that the thin 80Gb and 160Gb fat iPod will only address 128Gb unless it's a hard drive. So while >128Gb hard drives may be possible, >128Gb solid state drives are not. You can however step round this limitation by using Rockbox to replace the firmware.

So while there are some new upgrade options, it still looks like you need to start with the very last 7g classic with the v2.0.5 firmware. None of this is cheap in terms of the storage. And you may still have to switch to Rockbox because even if the firmware will accept use of the disk space it may still bork at the quantity of tracks and metadata.
 Tarkan's BORED »
Tarkan's BORED : Welcome to the notice bored.

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#WeLoveTheNHS  Don't let them destroy it. And pay attention to NHS promises in the coming UK election.
 Labour and Tories refuse to commit to doctors' £8bn NHS funding plea »
Alliance of senior doctors warn that future of health service will be at risk without extra £8bn a year, with the Lib Dems the only party to make any such pledge

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So farewell then, Zero the Hero.

Proud to have seen you perform at 
- Hammersmith Palais
- Watchfield Festival
- Glastonbury Festival (Twice)
- Cambridge Corn Exchange
- And numerous times in my head.

You Never Blow Your Trip Forever.
 RIP: Daevid Allen, founder of Gong | Music News | Etc | Tiny Mix Tapes »
From The Guardian:
Daevid Allen, the leader of the legendary prog-jazz eccentrics Gong, has died aged 77. The news was confirmed on the Facebook page of Allen’s son, Orlando Monday Allen.
Last month, Allen announced he had been given six months to live, after cancer for which he had previously been treated had spread to his lung. “I am not interested in endless surgical operations and in fact it has come as a relief to know that the end is in...

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Louis Gray on the end of Friendfeed

One of the amazing things about FF was that you could stand in the full stream and watch snippets of the global conversation float past every 5 seconds or so.

It's also reminded me about a long standing FAQ about G+. The Profile.About.Links YASN-Roll really ought to grab the content and feeds from those links and present them somehow. Not by auto-generating posts but perhaps filling another tab on the profile. It's still a missing piece in the Apps puzzle to aggregate all the posts and all the comments and conversations across all the platforms. The Buzz problem (and FF problem) was the potential for spammy abuse. So the answer is to make it private to the profile pages so you only get to see it if you specifically go and look.

The other challenge is that when FF was built everybody, but everybody, produced RSS/Atom feeds so there was generally something to pick up and aggregate. But then location apps like Foursquare stopped doing it. And shortly after, the major platforms stopped as well, requiring authentication, went to custom formats and generally stopped playing ball. In some ways, FF was the peak of the Web 2.0 dream of open common formats before the tide rolled back.
 FriendFeed's Closure Another Painful Loss from a Vibrant Era of Social Media »
Amidst all the Apple watch hoopla today, FriendFeed's blog announced the long-ignored social networking pioneer was finally going to be taken out back behind Facebook's brilliant new campus and be put down for good. With the ...

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Well that's a bit sad.
 Facebook is killing off FriendFeed on April 9 »
Remember when Facebook bought FriendFeed back in 2009? Amidst the mania of Apple Watch news, the platform today announced it's shutting down.

The reason, as you might expect, is ...

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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by post-modernism,
starving, hysterical, bearded,
dragging themselves through the Hackney streets at dawn
looking for just one more tune.
Angelheaded hipsters,
burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the blacked-out sub in the machinery of the night.

My god; It's full of stars.
[from: Google+ Posts]

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