Ten years ago I began
the olduse.net exhibit,
spooling out Usenet history in real time with a 30 year delay.
My archive has reached its end, and ten years is
more than long enough to keep running something you cobbled together
overnight way back when. So, this is the end for olduse.net.
The site will continue running for another week or so, to give you time to
read the last posts. Find the very last one, if you can!
The source code used to run it, and the content of the website have
themselves been archived up for posterity at
The Internet Archive.
Sometime in 2022, a spammer will purchase the domain, but not find it to be
of much value.
The Utzoo archives that underlay it have currently sadly
been censored off the Internet
by someone. This will be unsuccessful; by now they have spread and many
copies will live on.
I told a lie ten years ago.
You can post to olduse.net, but it won't show up for at least 30 years.
Actually, those posts drop right now! Here are the followups
to 30-year-old Usenet posts that I've accumulated over the past decade.
Mike replied in 2011 to JPM's post in 1981 on fa.arms-d
"Re: CBS Reports"
A greeting from the future:
I actually watched this yesterday (2011-06-10) after reading about it here.
Christian Brandt replied in 2011 to schrieb phyllis's post in 1981 on the "comments" newsgroup
"Re: thank you rrg"
Funny, it will be four years until you post the first subnet post i
ever read and another eight years until my own first subnet post shows up.
So many good books, so little reading time.
Jairus Banaji A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism
Steven Brust The Baron of Magister Valley (sff)
Micaiah Johnson The Space Between Worlds (sff)
Ian McDonald Luna: New Moon (sff)
Elizabeth Moon Trading in Danger (sff)
Tamsyn Muir Harrow the Ninth (sff)
Suzanne Palmer Finder (sff)
Kit Rocha Beyond Shame (sff)
Kit Rocha Beyond Control (sff)
Kit Rocha Beyond Pain (sff)
Arundhati Roy Azadi (nonfiction)
Jeff VanderMeer Authority (sff)
Jeff VanderMeer Acceptance (sff)
K.B. Wagers Behind the Throne (sff)
Jarrett Walker Human Transit (nonfiction)
I took advantage of a few sales to get books I know I'm going to want to
read eventually for a buck or two.
I recently read Disability Visibility, which opens with a piece by Harriet McBryde Johnson about debating Peter Singer. When I got my first reading for my first class and saw it was Peter Singer, I was dismayed because of his (heinous) stances in disability. I assumed All Animals Are Equal was one of Singer s pieces about animal rights. While I agree with many of the principles Singer discusses around animal rights, I feel as though his work on this front is significantly diminished by his work around disability. To put it simply, I can t take Peter Singer seriously.
Because of this I had a lot of trouble reading All Animals Are Equal and taking it in good faith. I judged everything from his arguments to his writing harshly. While I don t disagree with his basic point (all animals have rights) I disagree with how he made the point and the argument supporting it.
One of the things I was told to ask when reading any philosophy paper is What is the argument? or What are they trying to convince you of? In this case, you could frame the answer as: Animals have some of) the same rights people do. I think it would be more accurate though to frame it as All animals (including humans) have (some of) the same rights or even Humans are as equally worthy of consideration as animals are.
I think when we usually talk about animal rights, we do it from a perspective of wanting to elevate animals to human status. From one perspective, I don t like this approach because I feel as though it turns the framing of rights as something you deserve or earn, privileges you get for being good enough. The point about rights is that they are inherent you get them because they are.
The valuable thing I got out of All Animals Are Equal is that rights are not universal. When we talk about things like abortion, for example, we talk about the right to have an abortion. Singer asks whether people who cannot get pregnant have the right to an abortion? What he doesn t dig into is that the right to an abortion is really just an extension of bodily autonomy turning one facet of bodily autonomy into the legal right to have a medical procedure. I think this is worth thinking about more turning high level human rights into the mundane rights, and acknowledging that not everyone can or needs them.
Adelheid Luise "Adele" Spitzeder ([ a dl ha t a de l p t tse d ]; 9 February 1832 27 or 28 October 1895), also known by her stage name Adele Vio, was a German actress, folk singer, and con artist. Initially a promising young actress, Spitzeder became a well-known private banker in 19th-century Munich when her theatrical success dwindled. Running what was possibly the first recorded Ponzi scheme, she offered large returns on investments by continually using the money of new investors to pay back the previous ones. At the height of her success, contemporary sources considered her the wealthiest woman in Bavaria.
Anne Bonny (possibly 1697 possibly April 1782) was an Irish pirate operating in the Caribbean, and one of the most famous female pirates of all time. The little that is known of her life comes largely from Captain Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates.
Mary Read (1685 28 April 1721), also known as Mark Read, was an English pirate. She and Anne Bonny are two of the most famed female pirates of all time, and among the few women known to have been convicted of piracy during the early 18th century, at the height of the "Golden Age of Piracy".
While piracy was predominantly a male occupation, a minority of pirates were women. On many ships, women (as well as young boys) were prohibited by the ship's contract, which all crew members were required to sign. :303
I was gonna use this blog post to share about the migrant worker woes as there has been multiple stories doing the rounds. For e.g. a story which caught the idea of few people but most of us, i.e. middle-class people are so much into our own thing that we care a fig leaf about what happens to migrants. This should not be a story coming from a humane society but it seems India is no different than any other country of the world and in not a good way. Allow me to share
Or for those who don t like youtube, here s an alternative link
Now the above two editorial shares two stories, one of Trump retaliatory threat to India in the Q&A of the journalist. In fact, Trump has upped the ante on visa sanctions as India buckled so easily under pressure.
There have been other stories doing the rounds how people who have illnesses who need HCQ in India are either dying or are close to death because of unavailability of HCQ in the medicine shop. There have been reports in Pune as well as South Mumbai (one of the poshest localities in Mumbai/Bombay) that medicine shops are running empty or emptier. There have been so many stories on that, with reporters going to shops and asking owners of the medicine shops and shop-owners being clueless.
I think the best article which vividly describes the Government of India (GOI) response to the pandemic is the free-to-read article shared by Arundhati Roy in Financial Times. It has reduced so much of my work or sharing that it s unbelievable. And she has shared it with pictures and all so I can share other aspects of how the pandemic has been affecting India and bringing the worst out in the Government in its our of need. In fact, not surprisingly though, apparently there was also a pro-Israel similar thing which happened in Africa too . As India has too few friends now globally, hence it decided to give a free pass to them.
Government of India, news agencies and paid News
One of the attempts the state tried to do, although very late IMHO is that it tried to reach out to the opposition i.e. Congress party and the others. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, who is the Congress president asked that the Government should not run any of its ads on private television channels for a period of two years. There had been plenty of articles, both by medianama and others who have alleged that at least from the last 6 odd years, Government ads. comprise of almost 50-60% advertising budget of a channel advertising budget. This has been discussed also in medianama s roundtable on online content which happened few months back. While an edited version is out there on YT, this was full two day s event which happened across two different cities.
or the alternative to youtube
It was as if the roundtable discussions were not enough, Mrs. Gandhi clarion call was answered by News Broadcaster s Association (NBA) and this is what they had to say
To put it simply, NBA deplored the suggestion by Mrs. Gandhi and even called the economy in recession and all they had were the Government s own advertising budget to justify their existence. The statements in themselves are highly pregnant and reveal both the relationship that the media, print or mainstream news channels have with the Government of India. Now if you see that, doesn t it make sense that media always slants the story from the Government s perspective rather than remaining neutral. If my bread basket were on the onus of me siding with the Govt. that is what most sane persons would do, otherwise they would resign and leave which many reporters who had a conscience did.
Interestingly enough, the NBA statement didn t just end there but also used the word recession , this is the term that Government of India (GOI) hates and has in turn has been maintaining the word, terminology slowdown . While from a layman s perspective the two terms may seem to be similar, if India has indeed been in recession then the tools and the decisions that should have been taken by GOI should have been much different than what they took. Interestingly, enough GOI has refrained from saying anything on the matter which only reveals their own interests in the matter. Also if an association head is making the statement, it is more than likely that he consulted a lawyer or two and used application of mind while drafting the response. In other words, or put more simply, this was a very carefully drafted letter because they know that tomorrow the opposition party may come into power so they don t want to upset the power dynamics too much.
Privacy issues arising due to the Pandemic
On the same Financial Times, two stories which dealt with the possible privacy violations due to the Pandemic have been doing the rounds. The first one, by Yuval Noah Harari is more exploratory by nature and makes some very good points without going far too deep into specific instances of recent times but rather goes into history and past instances where Governments have used the pandemics to exert more control over their populace and drive their agenda. I especially liked the last few lines which he shared in his op-ed
Even if the current administration eventually changes tack and comes up with a global plan of action, few would follow a leader who never takes responsibility, who never admits mistakes, and who routinely takes all the credit for himself while leaving all the blame to others. Yuval Noah Harari . The whole statement could right fit onto the American President which he was talking about while at the same time, fits right into the current Indian Prime Minister, Boris Johnson of UK and perhaps Jair Bolsanaro of Brazil. All these three-four individuals have in common is that most of them belong to right-wing and hence cater only to the rich industrialist s agenda. While I don t know about Jair Bolsanaro much, at least three out of four had to turn to socialism and had to give some bailout packages to the public at large, even though continuing to undermine their own actions. More on this probably a bit down the line.
The second story shared by Nic Fildes and Javier Espinoza who broke the story of various surveillance attempts and the privacy concerns that people have. Even the Indian PMO has asked this data and because there was no protest by the civil society, a token protest was done by COAI (Cellular Operator Association of India) but beyond that nothing, I am guessing because the civil society didn t make much noise as everybody is busy with their own concerns of safety and things going on, it s possible that such data may have gone to the Government. There is not much new here that people who had been working on the privacy issues know, it s just how easy Governments are finding to do it. The part of informed consent is really a misnomer . Governments lie all the time, for e.g. in the UK, did the leave party and people take informed consent, no they pushed their own agenda. This is and will be similar in many countries of the world.
False Socialism by RW parties
In at least the three countries I have observing, simply due to available time, that lot of false promises are being made by our leaders and more often than not, the bailouts will be given to already rich industrialists. An op-ed by Vivek Kaul, who initially went by his handle which means somebody who is educated but unemployed. While Vivek has been one-man army in revealing most of the Government s mischiefs especially as fudging numbers are concerned among other things, there have been others too. As far as the US is concerned, an e-zine called free press (literally) has been sharing Trump s hollowness and proclamations for U.S. . Far more interestingly, I found New York times investigated and found a cache of e-mails starting from early January, which they are calling Red Dawn . The cache is undeniable proof that medical personnel in the U.S. were very much concerned since January 2020 but it was only after other countries started lock-down that U.S. had to follow suit. I am sure Indian medical professionals may have done similar mail exchanges but we will never know as the Indian media isn t independent enough.
Domestic violence and Patriarchy
There have been numerous reports of domestic violence against women going up, in fact two prominentpublications have shared pieces about how domestic violence has gone up in India since the lockdown but the mainstream press is busy with its own tropes, the reasons already stated above. In fact, interestingly enough, most women can t wear loose fitting clothes inside the house because of the near ones being there 24 7 . This was being shared as India is going through summer where heat waves are common and most families do not have access to A/C s and rely on either a fan or just ventilation to help them out. I can t write more about this as simply I m not a woman so I haven t had to face the pressures that they have to every day. Interestingly though, there was a piece shared by arre. Interestingly, also arre whose content I have shared a few times on my blog has gone from light, funny to be much darker and more serious tone. Whether this is due to the times we live in is something that a social scientist or a social anthropologist may look into in the times to come.
One of the good things though, there hasn t been any grid failures as no industrial activity is happening (at all). In fact SEB s (State Electricity Boards) has shown a de-growth in electricity uptake as no industrial activity has been taken. While they haven t reduced any prices (which they ideally should have) as everybody is suffering.
Loot and price rise
Again, don t think it is an Indian issue but perhaps may be the same globally. Because of broken supply chains, there are both real and artificial shortages happening which is leading to reasonable and unreasonable price hikes in the market. Fresh veggies which were normally between INR 10/- to INR 20/- for 250 gm have reached INR 40/- 50/- and even above. Many of the things that we have to become depend upon are not there anymore. The shortage of plastic bottles being case in point.
This and many others like these pictures have been shared on social media but it seems the Government is busy doing something else. The only thing we know for sure is that the lock-down period is only gonna increase, no word about PPE s (Personal Protection Equipment) or face masks or anything else. While India has ordered some, those orders are being diverted to US or EU. In fact, many doctors who have asked for the same have been arrested, sacked or suspended for asking such inconvenient questions, although whether in BJP ruled states or otherwise. In fact, the Centre has suspended MPLADS funds , members of parliament get funds which they can use to provide relief work or whatever they think the money is best to spend upon.
Conditions of Labor in the Pandemic
Another sort of depressing story has been how the Supreme Court CJI Justice SA Bobde has made statements and refrained from playing any role in directing the Center to provide relief to the daily wage laborers. In fact, Mr. Bobde made statements such as why they need salaries if they are getting food. This was shared by barandbench, a site curated by lawyers and reporters alike. Both livelaw as well as barandbench have worked to enhance people s awareness about the legal happenings in our High Courts and Supreme Court. And while sadly, they cannot cover all, they at least do attempt to cover a bit of what s hot atm.
The Chief Justice who draws a salary of INR 250,000 per month besides other perks is perhaps unaware or doesn t care about fate of millions of casual workers, 400 460 million workers who will face abject poverty and by extension even if there are 4 members of the family so probably 1.2 billion people will fall below the poverty line. Three, four major sectors are going to be severely impacted, namely Agriculture, Construction and then MSME (Micro, small and medium enterprises) which cover everything from autos, industrial components, FMCG, electronics, you name it, it s done by the MSME sector. We know that the Rabi crop, even though it was gonna be a bumper crop this year will rot away in the fields. Even the Kharif crop whose window for sowing is at the most 2-3 weeks will not be able to get it done in time. In fact, with the extended lockdown of another 21 days, people will probably return home after 2 months by which time they would have nothing to do there as well as here in the cities. Another good report was done by the wire, the mainstream media has already left the station.
Ministry of Public Health
There was an article penned by Dr. Edmond Fernandes which he published last year. The low salary along with the complexities that Indian doctors are and may face in the near future are just mind-boggling.
Losses have already started pouring in. Just today Air Deccan has ceased all its operations. I had loved Mr. Gopinath s airline which was started in the early 2000 s. While I won t bore you with the history, most of it can be seen from simplify Deccan . This I believe is just the start and it s only after the few months after the lock-down has been lifted would we really know the true extent of losses everywhere. And the more lenghthier the lockdown, the more difficult it would be businesses to ramp back. People have already diagnosed at the very least 15-20 sectors of the economy which would be hit and another similar or more number of sectors which will have first and second-order of losses and ramp-downs. While some guesses are being made, many are wildly optimistic and many are wildly pessimistic, as shared we would only know the results when the lockdown is opened up.
Predictions for the future
While things are very much in the air, some predictions can be made or rationally deduced. For instance, investments made in automation and IT would remain and perhaps even accelerate a little. Logistics models would need to be re-worked and maybe, just maybe there would be talk and action in making local supply chains a bit more robust. Financing is going to be a huge issue for at least 6 months to a year. Infrastructure projects which require huge amount of cash upfront will either have to be re-worked or delayed, how they will affect projects like Pune Metro and other such projects only time will tell.
Raghuram Rajan was recently asked if he would come back and let bygones be bygones. Raghuram in his own roundabout way said no. He is right now with Chicago Booth doing the work that he always love. Why would he leave that and be right in the middle of the messes other people have made. He probably gets more money, more freedom and probably has a class full of potential future economists.
Immigration Control, Conferences and thought experiment
There are so many clueless people out there, who don t know why it takes so long for any visa to be processed. From what little I know, it is to verify who you say you are and you have valid reason to enter the country. The people from home ministry verify credentials, as well as probably check with lists of known criminals and their networks world-wide. They probably have programs for such scenarios and are part and parcel of their everyday work. The same applies to immigration control at Airports. there has been a huge gap at immigration counters and the numbers of passengers who were flying internationally to and fro from India. While in India, we call them as Ministry of Home Affairs, in U.S. it s Department of Homeland security, other countries using similar jargons.
Now even before this pandemic happened, the number of people who are supposed to do border control and check people was way less and there have been scenes of Air rage especially in Indian airports after people came after a long-distance flight.
Now there are couple of thought experiments, just day before yesterday scientists discovered six new coronaviruses in bats and scientists in Iceland found 40 odd mutations of the virus on people. Now are countries going to ban people from Iceland as in time the icelandic people probably would have anti-bodies on all the forty odd mutations. Now if and when they come in contact onto others who have not, what would happen ? And this is not specifically about one space or ethnicity or whatever, microbes and viruses have been longer on earth than we have. In our greed we have made viruses resistant to antibiotics. While Mr. Trump says as he discovered it today, this has been known to the medical fraternity since tht 1950 s. CDC s own chart shows it. We cannot live in fear of a virus, the only way we can beat it is by understanding it and using science. Jon Cohen shared some of the incredible ways science is looking to beat this thing
or as again an alternative to youtube
One of the most troubling question is how the differently-abled communities which don t have media coverage at the best of times, haven t had any media coverage at all during the pandemic. What are their stories and what they are experiencing ? How are they coping ? Are there anyways we could help each other ? By not having those stories, we perhaps have left them more vulnerable than we intend. And what does that speak about us, as people or as a community or a society ?
While there is not a lot to be positive about, one interesting project I came about is openbreath.tech . This is an idea, venture started by IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) , IUCAA (Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics). They are collaborating with octogeneraian Capt (Retd) Rustom Barucha from Barucha Instrumentation and Control, besides IndoGenius, New Delhi, and King s College, London. The first two institutes are from my home town, Pune. While I don t know much of the specifics of this idea other than that there is an existing Barucha ventilator which they hope to open-source and make it easier for people to produce their own. While I have more questions than answers at this point, this is something hopefully to watch out for in the coming days and weeks.
The other jolly bit of good news has come from Punjab where after several decades, people in Northern Punjab are finally able to see the Himalayas or the Himalayan mountain range.
There you have it, What I have covered is barely scratching the surface. As a large section of the media only focuses on one narrative, other stories and narratives are lost. Be safe, till later.
Today I d like to post a few updates about COVID-19 which I have gathered from credible sources, as well as some advice also gathered from credible sources.
Coronavirus causes health impacts requiring hospitalization in a significant percentage of all adult age groups.
Coronavirus also can cause no symptoms at all in many, especially children.
Be serious about social distancing.
COVID-19 is serious for young adults too
According to this report based on a CDC analysis, between 14% and 20% of people aged 20 to 44 require hospitalization due to COVID-19. That s enough to be taken seriously. See also this CNN story.
Act as if you are a carrier because you may be infected and not even know it, even children
Information on this is somewhat preliminary, but it is certainly known that a certain set of cases is asymptomatic. This article discusses manifestations in children, while this summary of a summary (note: not original research) suggests that 17.9% of people may not even know they are infected.
How serious is this? Serious.
This excellent article by Daniel W. Johnson, MD, is a very good read. Among the points it makes:
Anyone that says it s no big deal is wrong.
If we treat this like WWI or WWII and everyone does the right things, we will be harmed but OK. If many but not all people do the right things, we ll be like Italy. If we blow it off, our health care system and life as we know it will be crippled.
If we don t seriously work to flatten the curve, many lives will be needlessly lost
I m going to just copy Dr. Johnson s advice here:
You and your kids should stay home. This includes not going to church, not going to the gym, not going anywhere.
Do not travel for enjoyment until this is done. Do not travel for work unless your work truly requires it.
Avoid groups of people. Not just crowds, groups. Just be around your immediate family. I think kids should just play with siblings at this point no play dates, etc.
When you must leave your home (to get groceries, to go to work), maintain a distance of six feet from people. REALLY stay away from people with a cough or who look sick.
When you do get groceries, etc., buy twice as much as you normally do so that you can go to the store half as often. Use hand sanitizer immediately after your transaction, and immediately after you unload the groceries.
I m not saying people should not go to work. Just don t leave the house for anything unnecessary, and if you can work from home, do it.
Everyone on this email, besides Mom and Dad, are at low risk for severe disease if/when they contract COVID-19. While this is great, that is not the main point. When young, well people fail to do social distancing and hygiene, they pick up the virus and transmit it to older people who are at higher risk for critical illness or death. So everyone needs to stay home. Even young people.
Tell every person over 60, and every person with significant medical conditions, to avoid being around people. Please do not have your kids visit their grandparents if you can avoid it. FaceTime them.
Our nation is the strongest one in the world. We have been through other extreme challenges and succeeded many times before. We WILL return to normal life. Please take these measures now to flatten the curve, so that we can avoid catastrophe.
I d also add that many supermarkets offer delivery or pickup options that allow you to get your groceries without entering the store. Some are also offering to let older people shop an hour before the store opens to the general public. These could help you minimize your exposure.
Other helpful links
Here is a Reddit megathread with state-specific unemployment resources.
Scammers are already trying to prey on people. Here are some important tips to avoid being a victim.
Although there are varying opinions, some are recommending avoiding ibuprofen when treating COVID-19.
Bill Gates had some useful advice. Here s a summary emphasizing the need for good testing.
Your friends and colleagues are talking about something called Bayes s
Theorem or Bayes s Rule, or something called Bayesian reasoning. They
sound really enthusiastic about it, too, so you google and find a web page
about Bayes s Theorem and... It s this equation. That s all. Just one
equation. The page you found gives a definition of it, but it doesn t say
what it is, or why it s useful, or why your friends would be interested in
it. It looks like this random statistics thing. Why does a mathematical
concept generate this strange enthusiasm in its students? What is the
so-called Bayesian Revolution now sweeping through the sciences, which
claims to subsume even the experimental method itself as a special case?
What is the secret that the adherents of Bayes know? What is the light
that they have seen? Soon you will know. Soon you will be one of us.
While there are a few existing online explanations of Bayes s Theorem, my
experience with trying to introduce people to Bayesian reasoning is that
the existing online explanations are too abstract. Bayesian reasoning is
very counterintuitive. People do not employ Bayesian reasoning
intuitively, find it very difficult to learn Bayesian reasoning when
tutored, and rapidly forget Bayesian methods once the tutoring is over.
This holds equally true for novice students and highly trained
professionals in a field. Bayesian reasoning is apparently one of those
things which, like quantum mechanics or the Wason Selection Test, is
inherently difficult for humans to grasp with our built-in mental
faculties. Or so they claim. Here you will find an attempt to offer an
intuitive explanation of Bayesian reasoning an excruciatingly gentle
introduction that invokes all the human ways of grasping numbers, from
natural frequencies to spatial visualization. The intent is to convey, not
abstract rules for manipulating numbers, but what the numbers mean, and
why the rules are what they are (and cannot possibly be anything else).
When you are finished reading this, you will see Bayesian problems in your
BBC Radio 4's long-running "Thought for the Day" has been in the news this
week, as several presenters for the Today Programme have criticised the segment
in an interview with Radio Times magazine.
One facet of the criticism was whether the BBC should be broadcasting three
minutes of religious content daily when more than half of the population are
I'm an atheist and in my day-to-day life I have almost zero interaction with
people of faith, certainly none where faith is a topic of conversation. However
when I was an undergrad at Durham, I was a member of St John's
College which has a
Christian/Anglican/Evangelical heritage, and I met a lot of religious friends
during my time there.
What I find a little disturbing about the lack of faithful people in my
day-to-day life, compared to then, is how it shines a light on how disjoint our
society is. This has become even more apparent with the advent of the "filter
bubble" and how irreconcilable factions are around topics like Brexit, Trump,
For these reasons I appreciate Thought for the Day and hearing voices from
communities that I normally have little to do with. I can agree with the
complaints about the lack of diversity, and I particularly enjoy hearing Thoughts
from Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and such.
Another criticism levelled against the segment was that it can be "preachy". I
haven't found that myself. I get the impression that most of the monologues are
carefully constructed to be as unpreaching as possible. I can usually appreciate
the ethical content of the talks, without having to buy into the faith aspect.
Interestingly the current principal of St John's College, David Wilkinson, has
written his own response to the interview for the Radio
My parents were cleaning out a bunch of books they didn't want, so I
grabbed some of the ones that looked interesting. A rather wide variety
of random stuff. Also, a few more snap purchases on the Kindle even
though I've not been actually finishing books recently. (I do have two
finished and waiting for me to write reviews, at least.) Who knows when,
if ever, I'll read these.
Mark Ames Going Postal (nonfiction)
Catherine Asaro The Misted Cliffs (sff)
Ambrose Bierce The Complete Short Stores of Ambrose Bierce
E. William Brown Perilous Waif (sff)
Joseph Campbell A Hero with a Thousand Faces (nonfiction)
Jacqueline Carey Miranda and Caliban (sff)
Noam Chomsky 9-11 (nonfiction)
Noam Chomsky The Common Good (nonfiction)
Robert X. Cringely Accidental Empires (nonfiction)
Neil Gaiman American Gods (sff)
Neil Gaiman Norse Mythology (sff)
Stephen Gillet World Building (nonfiction)
Donald Harstad Eleven Days (mystery)
Donald Harstad Known Dead (mystery)
Donald Harstad The Big Thaw (mystery)
James Hilton Lost Horizon (mainstream)
Spencer Johnson The Precious Present (nonfiction)
Michael Lerner The Politics of Meaning (nonfiction)
C.S. Lewis The Joyful Christian (nonfiction)
Grigori Medredev The Truth about Chernobyl (nonfiction)
Tom Nadeu Seven Lean Years (nonfiction)
Barak Obama The Audacity of Hope (nonfiction)
Ed Regis Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition
Fred Saberhagen Berserker: Blue Death (sff)
Al Sarrantonio (ed.) Redshift (sff anthology)
John Scalzi Fuzzy Nation (sff)
John Scalzi The End of All Things (sff)
Kristine Smith Rules of Conflict (sff)
Henry David Thoreau Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
Alan W. Watts The Book (nonfiction)
Peter Whybrow A Mood Apart (nonfiction)
I've already read (and reviewed) American Gods, but didn't own a
copy of it, and that seemed like a good book to have a copy of.
The Carey and Brown were snap purchases, and I picked up a couple more
Scalzi books in a recent sale.
Out of 46,500,001 electorate 17,410,742 voted to leave, which is a mere 37.4% or just over a third. [source]. On my books this is not a clear expression of the UK wishes.
The reaction that the results have caused are devastating. The Scottish First Minister has announced plans for 2nd Scottish Independence referendum [source]. Londoners are filing petitions calling for Independent London [source, source]. The Prime Minister announced his resignation [source]. Things are not stable.
I do not believe that super majority of the electorate are in favor of leaving the EU. I don't even believe that those who voted to leave have considered the break up of the UK as the inevitable outcome of the leave vote. There are numerous videos on the internet about that, impossible to quantify or reliably cite, but for example this [source]
So What Now?
P R O T E S T
I urge everyone to start protesting the outcome of the mistake that happened last Thursday. 4th of July is a good symbolic date to show your discontent with the UK governemnt and a tiny minority who are about to cause the country to fall apart with no other benefits. Please stand up and make yourself heard.
There are 64,100,000 people living in the UK according to the World Bank, maybe the government should fear and listen to the unheard third. The current "majority" parliament was only elected by 24% of electorate.
It is time for people to actually take control, we can fix our parliament, we can stop austerity, we can prevent the break up of the UK, and we can stay in the EU. Over to you.
ps. How to elect next PM?
Electing next PM will be done within the Conservative Party, and that's kind of a bummer, given that the desperate state the country currently is in. It is not that hard to predict that Boris Johnson is a front-runner. If you wish to elect a different PM, I urge you to splash out 25 quid and register to be a member of the Conservative Party just for one year =) this way you will get a chance to directly elect the new Leader of the Conservative Party and thus the new Prime Minister. You can backdoor the Conservative election here.
Back in 2014, Mako ran a Boston Iron Blogger chapter, where you had to blog once a week, or you owed $5 into the pot. A while later, I ran it (along with Molly and Johns), and things were great.
When I moved to DC, I had already talked with Tom Lee and Eric Mill about running a DC Iron Blogger chapter, but it hasn t happened in the year and a half I ve been in DC.
This week, I make good on that, with a fantastic group set up at dc.iron-blogger.com; with more to come (I m sure!).
Looking forward to many parties and though provoking blog posts in my future. I m also quite pleased I ll be resuming my blogging. Hi, again, planet Debian!
Corrected a subtle bug in my django-staticfiles-dotd "staticfiles" library where the Content-Length HTTP header was calculated incorrectly in the presence of Unicode characters resulting in truncated output. (#2)
Various fixes to django-slack, a library to easily post messages to the Slack group-messaging utility from projects using the Django web development framework:
Don't require an explicit backend import when using the Celery task queue backend. (#41)
Actually generate and send messages asynchronously when using the Celery backend. (#44)
Fixed an issue in django-hipchat, a library to easily post messages to the Hipchat group-messaging utility from projects using the Django web development framework where the templates were not includes when installing via PyPI. (#1)
Created a quick-and-dirty tool to scrape a Squarespace blog and convert it to a PDF so I can read them on my Kindle e-reader. (tree)
Updated django-keyerror a library to post exceptions to the KeyError.com error tracking service to silence an AttributeError exception in some error-reporting edge-cases. (commit)
Suggested an improvement to the documentation for the upcoming Twitter Bootstrap version for the deprecated .hidden and .show CSS classes. (#19789)
Submitted a documentation update to the Ansible sever configuration tool's ufw firewall module. (commit)
In the last week of January, the project IT-Zukunft Schule (Logo EDV-Systeme GmbH and DAS-NETZWERKTEAM) had visitors from Norway: Klaus Ade Johnstad and Linnea Skogtvedt from LinuxAvdelingen  came by for exchanging insights, knowledge, technology, stories regarding IT services at school in Norway and Nothern Germany.
This was our schedule...
3pm Arrival of Klaus Ade and Linnea, meet up at LOGO with coffee and cake
4pm Planning the workshop, coming up with an agenda for the next two days (Klaus Ade, Andreas, Mike)
5pm Preparing OPSI demo sites (Mike, Linnea)
8pm Gr nkohl and Rotkohl and ... at Traum GmbH, Kiel (Klaus Ade, Linnea, Andreas, Mike)
8.30am more work on the OPSI demo site (Mike, Linnea)
after the release is before the release. or: long time no RC bug
after the jessie release I spent most of my Debian time on work
in the Debian Perl
Group. we tried to get down the list of new upstream releases (from over
500 to currently 379; unfortunately the CPAN never sleeps), we were &
still are busy preparing for the Perl
5.22 transition (e.g. we uploaded something between 300 & 400
packages to deal with Module::Build & CGI.pm being removed from perl
core; only team-maintained packages so far), & we had a pleasant &
in Barcelona in May. & I also tried to fix some of the RC bugs
in our packages which popped up over the previous months.
yesterday & today I finally found some time to help with the GCC 5 transition, mostly by making
QA or Non-Maintainer Uploads with patches that already were in the BTS.
a big thanks especially to the team at HP which provided a couple
& here's the list of RC bugs I've worked on in the last 3 months:
#752026 libpdl-stats-perl: "libpdl-stats-perl: FTBFS on arm*" upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
#755961 autounit: "FTBFS with clang instead of gcc" apply patch from Alexander <firstname.lastname@example.org>, QA upload
#755963 clearsilver: "FTBFS with clang instead of gcc" apply patch from Alexander <email@example.com>, upload to DELAYED/5
#777776 src:apron: "apron: ftbfs with GCC-5" tag as unreproducible
#777780 src:asmon: "asmon: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Martin Michlmayr, upload to DELAYED/5
#777783 src:atftp: "atftp: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Martin Michlmayr, upload to DELAYED/5
#777797 src:bbrun: "bbrun: ftbfs with GCC-5" add patch to build with "-std=gnu89", upload to DELAYED/5
#777806 src:booth: "booth: ftbfs with GCC-5" tag as unreproducible
#777808 src:bwm-ng: "bwm-ng: ftbfs with GCC-5" merge patch from Ubuntu, and build with "-std=gnu89", upload to DELAYED/5
#777831 src:deborphan: "deborphan: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Jakub Wilk, upload to DELAYED/5, then rescheduled to 0-day with maintainer's permission
#777835 src:dsbltesters: "dsbltesters: ftbfs with GCC-5" tag as unreproducible
#777853 src:flow-tools: "flow-tools: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Alexander Balderson, upload to DELAYED/5
#777880 src:gnac: "gnac: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Greg Pearson, upload to DELAYED/5
#777881 src:gngb: "gngb: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Greg Pearson, upload to DELAYED/5
#777895 src:haildb: "haildb: ftbfs with GCC-5" tag as unreproducible
#777902 src:hfsplus: "hfsplus: ftbfs with GCC-5" merge patch from Ubuntu, QA upload
#777903 src:hugs98: "hugs98: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Elizabeth J Dall, upload to DELAYED/5
#777965 src:libpam-chroot: "libpam-chroot: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Linn Crosetto, upload to DELAYED/5
#777975 src:libssh: "libssh: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Matthias Klose, upload to DELAYED/5
#778009 src:mknbi: "mknbi: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Matthias Klose, QA upload
#778020 src:mz: "mz: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Joshua Gadeken, upload to DELAYED/5
#778051 src:overgod: "overgod: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Nicholas Luedtke, upload to DELAYED/5
#778056 src:pads: "pads: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Andrew Patterson, upload to DELAYED/5
#778121 src:sks-ecc: "sks-ecc: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Brett Johnson, QA upload
#778129 src:squeak-plugins-scratch: "squeak-plugins-scratch: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Brett Johnson, upload to DELAYED/5
#778137 src:tabble: "tabble: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from David S. Roth, QA upload
#778146 src:tinyscheme: "tinyscheme: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Nicholas Luedtke, upload to DELAYED/5
#778148 src:trafficserver: "trafficserver: ftbfs with GCC-5" lower severity
#778151 src:tuxonice-userui: "tuxonice-userui: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Nicholas Luedtke, upload to DELAYED/5, later sponsor maintainer upload
#778152 src:uaputl: "uaputl: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Brett Johnson, upload to DELAYED/5
#778153 src:udftools: "udftools: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Jakub Wilk, upload to DELAYED/5
#778159 src:uswsusp: "uswsusp: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Andrew James, upload to DELAYED/5
#778167 src:weplab: "weplab: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Elizabeth J Dall, QA upload
#778171 src:wmmon: "wmmon: ftbfs with GCC-5" add patch to build with "-std=gnu89", upload to DELAYED/5
#778173 src:wmressel: "wmressel: ftbfs with GCC-5" apply patch from Elizabeth J Dall, upload to DELAYED/5
#780199 src:redhat-cluster: "redhat-cluster: FTBFS in unstable - error: conflicting types for 'int64_t'" apply patch from Michael Tautschnig, upload to DELAYED/2, then rescheduled by maintainer
#783899 liblog-any-perl: "liblog-any-perl, liblog-any-adapter-perl: File conflict when being installed together" add Breaks/Replaces/Provides (pkg-perl)
#784844 libmousex-getopt-perl: "libmousex-getopt-perl: FTBFS: test failures" upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
#785020 libmoosex-getopt-perl: "libmoosex-getopt-perl: FTBFS: test failures" upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
#785158 libnet-ssleay-perl: "libnet-ssleay-perl: FTBFS: Your vendor has not defined SSLeay macro LIBRESSL_VERSION_NUMBER" upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
#785229 sqitch: "sqitch: FTBFS: new warnings" upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
#785232 libdist-zilla-plugin-requiresexternal-perl: "libdist-zilla-plugin-requiresexternal-perl: FTBFS: More than one plan found in TAP output" make tests non-verbose (pkg-perl)
#785659 libdist-zilla-perl: "libdist-zilla-perl: FTBFS: t/plugins/testrelease.t failure" make tests non-verbose (pkg-perl)
#786447 libcgi-application-plugin-authentication-perl: "libcgi-application-plugin-authentication-perl FTBFS in unstable" add patch from Micah Gersten/Ubuntu (pkg-perl)
#786591 libtext-quoted-perl: "libtext-quoted-perl: broken by libtext-autoformat-perl changes" upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
Probably only of interest to California residents.
Time again for the general election voting. This is probably too late to
be helpful for a lot of people voting permanent absentee, but may as well
write this down anyway. (Hm, I apparently didn't do this in 2012.)
Proposition 1: YES. Now is one of the best times in
history to borrow money for infrastructure improvements, and our water
infrastructure in the state can certainly use it.
Proposition 2: YES. I have somewhat mixed feelings
about this, since I hate passing complex legislation like this via
proposition, but this already went through the legislature. It would be
dumb for the federal government, which can more easily borrow money, but
given how the finances of state governments work in the US, this sort of
rainy day fund is probably prudent. This one seems reasonably
well-designed, and the opposition is panic about a secondary effect on how
school reserves are managed that can be changed with later legislative
action and which is rather unconvincing.
Proposition 45: YES. I can't get very enthused about
yet more bandaids on top of our completely broken health care system, but
forcing insurance companies to justify rate increases results in some
public pressure against profit-taking by insurance companies. Single
payer is what we actually need, but this might be mildly helpful. Plus,
the argument against is more incoherent nonsense. So, I'm voting yes, but
I don't think it's important and I won't mind if it loses.
Proposition 46: NO. There are a lot of things that we
should do about preventable medical errors, starting with funding our
health care system properly, testing drugs properly, and investing in
proper inspections and medical licensing investigations. Drug testing
doctors is not among those things. This is a well-meaning but horrible
idea pushed by a victim's advocacy group that won't do anything to improve
our health care system. The fear-mongering of the opponents about
malpractice lawsuits is a bit much, but there are essentially no positive
Proposition 47: YES. Requires that misdemeanor crimes
actually be misdemeanors, rather than giving prosecutors discretion to
charge them as felonies if the person charged happens to be black-- er, I
mean, if the prosecutor doesn't like them for some reason. Obviously a
good idea on all fronts: stop over-charging crimes, stop giving
prosecutors discretion to choose the impact of laws on particular people
(since they rarely use it appropriately), and further try to decriminalize
our completely worthless "war on drugs."
Proposition 48: YES. I'm opposed to the Indian gaming
system in general, but this proposition appears to be a rather cynical
attempt to block new casino development by tribes that already have
casinos. My general feeling is that if we're going to have casinos, they
should generally be legal; the bizarre system where each casino is subject
to public approval seems designed to create political cronyism.
I'm not going to comment on the partisan offices, since no one interesting
survived the primaries. Across the board, it's basically the Democratic
incumbants against various Republicans. The state Republican party in
California is dominated by science denialists, Randian objectivists, and
people who think the solution to all problems is ensuring rich people
don't pay taxes, so it takes rather a lot to get me to vote for any of
them. At the moment, the Democrats are doing a reasonably good job
running the state, so while I'd vote for challengers from the left against
several of them, given the boring candidate slate, I'm just voting
Democrat down the line.
California has a system that requires voter approval for various state
judicial offices. In general, I don't agree with voter approval for
judges, since voters are rarely in a position to make reasonable choices
about justices. Since there's a Democratic administration in power at the
moment, these are probably the best judges that we're going to get (the
few I've heard of are good choices), and I don't think the yes/no approval
voting is useful anyway. So I'm voting to approve across the board.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson.
I'm not a huge fan of Torlakson, but Tuck is a Harvard MBA who ran charter
schools and then a school privatization initiative. Everyone always
claims that they want to reduce bureaucracy and empower teachers, but Tuck
has a past track record of trying to do so by taking public education
private, something that I am passionately opposed to. So Torlakson it is.
Measure B: YES. Increases the local hotel tax and uses
it for local infrastructure. I'm generally in favor of raising taxes, and
the amount certainly won't be significant in the ridiculous Palo Alto
hotel market. The arguments against feature one of my favorite stupid
right-wing talking points: the tax is unfair because it isn't earmarked to
benefit the people paying it.
Measure C: YES. Reasonable, small reform of the local
utility tax, opposed by the Libertarian Party and "taxpayer associations"
using an "all taxation is theft" argument. What's not to like?
Measure D: NO. Reduces the size of the city council for
no clear reason. The stated reasons are saving money (not credible given
how little money is involved) and making city meetings not take as long.
I'm going to need something better than that to vote for this.
Judge of the Superior Court, Office #24: Matthew
S. Harris. I'm making one exception for my normal rule against voting
for former prosecutors for judges because the incumbant, Diane Ritchie, is
apparently a train wreck. All it takes is a quick Google search to reveal
multiple news stories about strange behavior, clear conflicts of interest,
and other serious problems, including a rebuke by the local bar
association. Even if not all of that information is true, judges should
be above reproach, or at least farther above reproach than this.
Palo Alto City Council: I have an agenda here: I think housing
density is about the best thing that the local community could support.
Housing density enables better mass transit options, makes housing more
affordable and brings more housing under possible rent control, and simply
makes more sense given the cost of housing in the area. A lot of the city
council members run on low-density or anti-growth platforms; I vote
against those and for people who support development. And, of course,
I'll filter out candidates who believe stupid things, like claiming a
minimum wage is un-American (Seelam-Sea Reddy). The best seem to be
Greg Scharff, A.C. Johnston, Nancy Shepherd,
Cory Wolbach, and Wayne Douglass.
Palo Alto Unified School District: The Democratic party has
endorsed four out of the five candidates, so it probably doesn't matter
too much. Gina Dalma and Ken Dauber sound like the best
of the candidates to me, so I will probably vote for them.
Santa Clara Valley Water District #7: I voted for Brian
Schmidt last time, and I don't see a reason to change my mind. His
opponent is a Silicon Valley millionaire who is spending a surprisingly
large amount of money on this race and is involved with a business that
sells software to water boards, which raises some eyebrows.