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It seems that big data, big media, and big energy have managed to accomplish by stealth what they failed to do the first time after much public outcry. Our government is set to introduce legislation to ban cyberbullying that will go far beyond that one purpose, and they’re also trying to sneak ACTA through the back door, as well as gut what few remaining environmental protections we have.
A few links for your education:
A friend pointed me to YouTube for a documentary called Nukes in Space – The Rainbow Bombs, about the high-altitude nuclear tests that the U.S. carried out in the 1960s. And listed in the side bar were a whole bunch more. I’ve only watched one of these so far, The Engines that Came in From the Cold – The Soviet Moon Program, and it’s great, with lots of information and footage I’ve never seen before.
Here’s a few more:
“At worst he personally ordered it done and chose the people who executed the plan. At the very least he fostered an attitude within the party, chose the managers of the people who committed these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any oversight, supervision, or leadership. In the end it doesn’t really matter where his actions or lack of them fall on that scale. He is the leader and a leader is responsible for the actions of the people he leads. If he had a right or honourable bone in his body he would admit that and resign immediately”.
If you have to document, or even worse, write sample code, you need to be able to check the code’s syntax. If you’re not a programmer, this can be a problem.
Sarah Maddox offers some tips for checking the syntax of Java source code. Having had to document Java APIs in the past, I think her tips make a lot of sense. She explains how to work from the command line and also how to use the Eclipse IDE, which is ubiquitous in Java programming shops.
The Java compiler (javac) is part of the developer toolkit that comes with (more)
Like most childen growing up in the 1950s, I watched the Disney show every Sunday evening. My favourite shows were those featuring the “World of Tomorrow” segments, and one of the best was “Mars and Beyond’, with a 50s vision of a trip to Mars inspired by Wernher von Bruan and art by Chesley Bonestell. You can watch it here on YouTube.(more)
Work is underway to cover the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, with a giant steel sarcophagus that should last for at least 100 years. The current concrete and steel covering is close to collapse, which could release vast amounts of radioactive dust into the atmosphere. It’s a huge engineering project – building an arched structure similar in size to Toronto’s Skydome and moving it over the reactor.
At 110m (360ft) tall, the structure could house the (more)
In When an Editor Matters, Rich Adin, who is a professional editor, looks at a review of book that points out failings that were clearly caused by insufficient or incompetent editing. It’s not a minor matter in a major biography – Jo Walton has raised similar complaints about the recent biography of Robert A. Heinlein. Many technical writers, myself included, work in groups where we don’t have the services of a professional editor and have to rely on peer edits. It’s something t (more)
If you’ve ever worked on a writing project that had to be translated, you know that translation can make your life a lot more complicated (at best) and pure hell (at worst). On Scriptorium’s blog, Bill Swallow offers some useful tips on avoiding problems in translation projects. Having worked on a couple myself, I can tell you that his advice is spot on and will make your life a lot easier if you follow it.
A “Frankenfile” is a term of endearment used to de (more)
Sad news for music fans. AOL is shutting down development of Winamp, the best music player ever. I’ve been using it ever since I first discovered MP3s sometime in the 1990s and will keep using it until it stops working, hopefully a long time from now. I don’t use the library or other fancy features, I just load music into it and play it. Winamp is easy on resources, unlike iTunes, which will bog down my i7 10GB PC and insists on trying to install Apple crap I don’t want every time it wants an update.
I’m not the only person who feels this way – read (more)
When I listen to music, the bass line is the first thing that I pick out. I love listening to the great rock bass players: Jack Cassady, Phil Lesh, John Entwhistle, John Paul Jones, and of course Paul McCartney. CDZA is a group of musicians who “create musical video experiments”. The Story of the Bass is their 9 minute history of the bass in music, from the 16th century to the 21st using 9 basses and 45 songs. It’s wonderful and I wish it could have been ev (more)
This is the 1963 version of a Twitter feed – the Associated Press news feed from the Kennedy assassination. It would have been coming to newspapers and TV and radio stations all over North America.
I can imagine what it must have been like in the newsrooms when that bulletin came through. I was working at CKCY-FM in the Soo the night of Apollo 1 fire – it was the only time I ever heard the three-bell bulletin alert from the teletype room – it was res (more)
I stumbled across something cool today. I was listening to a podcast about Google Books and how it was making research easier. I thought I’d search on our family name and home town and see what came up. One of the first hits was my very first publication – a letter to the editor in Analog in 1968. I’d written to John W. Campbell commenting on an editorial (I think) that mentioned Napoleon and cited some facts in favour of the “great man” theory of history. And Campbell published the letter with comment “The gentleman’s a historian …”.(more)
Microsoft Word is ubiquitous in most corporations and nowhere is that more true than for publishers. If you submit a manuscript electronically, or if you’re an author or copy-editor, you’ll almost certainly be working with a manuscript in Microsoft Word format. That may not make you very happy, especially if you’re an author like Charlie Stross, who uses another program (Scrivener, in Stross’ case) to write your books.
The simple answer is: Word is ubiquitous. For decades, just about every PC sold shipped with Windows and a demo version of Mi (more)
At tekcom, Adobe demonstrated FrameMaker XML Author, a light-weight XML authoring tool that will be part of FrameMaker 12. The only information I’ve been able to find on it is on Scriptorium’s blog.
In the upcoming release of FrameMaker 12 (source: Adobe):
There seems to be an epidemic of hypocrisy recently. Today we have admitted drug user Rob Ford, the (hopefully for not much longer) mayor of Toronto saying that City Council members should be tested for drug and alcohol abuse. But there’s even a better example, pointed out in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, from Prime Minister David Cameron, preaching austerity from a golden lectern.
At a state banquet for the new Lord Mayor on Monday, David Cameron gave a (more)
If you look at the programs for most major orchestras, you might think that the 20th century never existed. Programs are full of Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven. Occasionally you see a work by Stravinsky or Copland, but rarely anything newer than 1950, even by major composers like Philip Glass, Steve Reich, or John Adams.
Yet there’s a lot of great modern classical music out there and thanks to YouTube you can sample it to see if you like it. It turns out that the National’s Bryce Dessner is a classical composer and he’s put together a list of (more)
On July 19, the Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn’s shadow and spent 4 hours taking pictures of Saturn, now assembled into what may be the most incredible astronomical image I’ve ever seen. It is stunning. And if you look closely, you may see your home, a little blue dot just below the rings. Somewhere, Carl Sagan is smiling.
(Fair warning, the file linked on that page are big – but trust me, its worth it).
On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA’s Cassini spa (more)
If the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement currently being negotiated by the Canadian and U.S. governments gets approved, it will mean the end of national sovereignty. Basically, corporate interests will trump national policies. This is not good news.
Naked Capitalism takes a detailed look at what it will mean if the TPP gets passed. The article is written from a U.S. point of view, but it’s equally applicable to us here in Canada.