The story of the Web began in 1989 at a European particle physics laboratory called CERN. Hundreds of the world's smartest scientists were putting together huge experiments to hunt for new particles. They worked in teams; each scientist would build one little part — a circuit board or a piece of software. Then they'd put it all together. Tim Berners-Lee was working at the lab as a computer scientist, and he noticed a growing problem: Files from one computer rarely worked on another because researchers were coding information in different formats for different operating systems. "So, in fact, often you just had to go into the corridor and buy [the other guy] a coffee to find out how things worked," Berners-Lee says.Pure nonsense. All sorts of data were being moved around the (mostly academic) internet in 1975. Compuserve began online operations in 1978, and offered pretty much everything you can get on the Web now. It was severely limited by slow modems at the start, so big files like videos were wildly impractical but not impossible. You could download a one-minute video in MIME form if you were willing to tie up your phone line exclusively for a couple of days. Berners-Lee contributed a protocol that removed the 'proprietary-ness' of Compuserve and opened the Web to a wider variety of computers, but didn't really add any functionality. Fast data transfer is what added the functionality.
Iran's electoral watchdog has barred moderate ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from standing in a June 14 presidential election, the interior ministry said on Tuesday. Eight candidates won approval to stand -- five conservatives close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as two moderate conservatives and a reformist, according to AFP. Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, a close but controversial aide to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was also omitted from the list, AFP reported.Hmm. I thought Persia was a one-man dictatorship, with "swivel-eyed loon" Ahmadinejad as the unquestioned Maximum Leader. Then how come his chosen successor was eliminated from running for office? How come he has to petition the election agency, with no real hope of winning? That would never happen here in Free And Fair And Democratic America. Our Maximum Leader's chosen successor is never eliminated. Anyone chosen by one of Goldman's two "parties" automatically becomes president, whether he's qualified or not. Our Maximum Leader is absolutely Free to choose his successor! Hooray for Freedom!
Oklahoma City suspended a programme to subsidise safe rooms "due to insufficient federal funding" while the destroyed city of Moore put its plans on hold as it struggled through the process of applying for money. The Safe Room Rebate Programme is designed to allow families to apply for thousands of dollars to construct shelters in which to seek refuge during severe weather. It is funded through federal dollars made available when the president makes a major disaster declaration for a badly-damaged area. Authorities in both Moore and Oklahoma City said that the relatively few disaster declarations [since 1999] meant there was little money available to help families build shelters.Still not a good excuse. Builders and owners from the '30s to the '50s somehow managed to add cellars without being subsidized. These new houses obviously have lots of unnecessary square footage and fancy features. Could have included a safe room or cellar by eliminating the three-story Great Room or the 50-foot Florentine Marble Plasma TV.
The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an Associated Press investigation has found. More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin. Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.Of course these facts have been known and discussed for many years among lovers of facts, but they've never been touched by the national media before. When AP starts treating Obama with the same contempt they formerly reserved for Repooflicans, you know the romance is over! When AP sounds like James Delingpole or Art Robinson ... or me! ... , you know the world has turned upside down. And all because of a few phone-hacks.
The worldwide financial and economic crisis seems to highlight the distortions and above all the gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption. Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have begun a throw away culture. This tendency is seen on the level of individuals and whole societies; and it is being promoted! In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules. Moreover, indebtedness and credit distance countries from their real economy and citizens from their real buying power. Added to this, as if it were needed, is widespread corruption and selfish fiscal evasion which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The will to power and of possession has become limitless. Concealed behind this attitude is a rejection of ethics, a rejection of God. Ethics, like solidarity, is a nuisance! It is regarded as counterproductive: as something too human, because it relativizes money and power; as a threat, because it rejects manipulation and subjection of people: because ethics leads to God, who is situated outside the categories of the market. These financiers, economists and politicians consider God to be unmanageable, even dangerous, because he calls man to his full realization and to independence from any kind of slavery.Perfect diagnosis. Not much on the prescription side yet. We await more details....
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.