Sunday, July 28, 2013

RIP Mick Farren

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Mick Farren, anarchist, Deviant and science fiction writer died last night after collapsing on stage at a festival where he was performing with his band, the Deviants.  It's more or less where he came in, so I'm sure it's where he would have wanted to go out, just not so soon.

RIP, Mick my friend, and condolences to your family.


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Dangerous Minds' blog writer Richard Metzger with a longer tribute to Mick

Ultimate classic rock obit



Friday, July 26, 2013

That thing in particular

You're all familiar with the cat who doesn't care?

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Well, apparently it's a meme. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Soylent Green turns out to be... human excrement

University of Sheffield news:

The future of farming: GM crops on organic farms fertilised by human excrement

Further analysis by scientists at the University of Sheffield found that the UK’s available soil has just 100 seasons of nutrients left in it. Professor Tony Ryan has been looking at the possibility of using human excrement as a fertiliser, he said: “Phosphorous and nitrogen are limiting nutrients both of which are found in human waste which the scientists believe could be used more efficiently. People produce 1.5 tonnes of faeces and urine each year (400 kg of solid and 1100 litres of liquid); this could provide 20 kg of elemental PNK fertiliser and grow 200 kg of cereal. A human resource we cannot afford to waste anymore."
I must admit I thought this had been abandoned, not because it's icky, but because of the accumulation of heavy metals in human excrement? Maybe they've figured out how to separate the lead and mercury (and sell it separately)?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Morse Code update

Morse Code has changed since I was a kid. It used to be dit dit dah, dit dit and all that.

Not sure why mypostcodefinder thinks this is Morse code, as I ended up in the weird part of the net by accident, as always.

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Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Paul Kossoff: Long Way Down To The Top

A taste of Paul Kossoff - one of the greatest guitarists I've ever heard, and sadly no longer with us.  (Live at Croydon Fairfield Halls 1975.)



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jack White: Not Fade Away / Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

Jack White jumped out of the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store at SXSW, march 16th 2011, to introduce a guest, and on the way play Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away for the attendant crowd.

Uploaded by John Abele.



He was introducing Seasick Steve, so for the interested among you, here's the full gig, including Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground:



Guest post by our air crash correspondent Shirley U. Jest


I think we've all heard by now that a TV station, KTVU channel 2, broadcast fake names of the pilots in the recent Asiana plane crash.



The fake names were:

Sum Ting Wong
Wi Tu Lo
Ho Lee Fuk
Bang Ding Ow

The names were apparently 'verified' with the NTSB - by a summer intern, who I gather is unlikely to be offered a permanent job.

There's been much debate on whether this is racist, or unfeeling, or both: For what it's worth, I think it's always funny to hear someone being pranked into saying something dumb. Years of hearing Moe yell, "I need Amanda Huggenkiss!" and Bart chuckling in the background, or any other of the giant list.  I've even made prank phone calls myself. (In my defense, I was twelve at the time.)

Even Language Log got into the act, debating mostly whether the words making up the names could possibly exist in Korean. (The answer, as pretty much everyone who knows any Koreans can tell, is no.)

Apparently Asiana plans to sue the TV company - a daft move, I think, as they did 'fact check' in their own little way. I personally feel that if Asiana want people to respect their pilots, the pictures of a crashed plane with gaping holes and fire damage all over it didn't help at all. Giggling over someone punk'd into saying Ho Lee Fuk on TV isn't the worst thing that's happened in this incident.

However, interestingly enough, the same TV station was caught by what seems to be a similar prank before. In July 2008, the station interviewed local area man Mike Litoris.  The video has been taken down now, but there's a screenshot here, and a write up by SF Gate here.


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No one's been able to prove Mike doesn't exist, so if you're reading this Mike, no offence!


Edit to add: Looks like KTVU is sending in DMCAs to have the video taken off YouTube - the first copy that I had here disappeared within a couple of hours. I've put another copy in the post. If it goes away again, let me know in comments and I'll find another one. I have it saved to my hard drive if they manage to chase it off YouTube entirely. May I remind KTVU about the Streisand Effect

Edit on 07/23 - more DMCA takedowns. Boing boing has picked this up, as has techdirt

Techdirt notes that the reasons given have nothing to do with copyright, so it's a misuse of the DMCA. 
First things first. If you're not taking it down for copyright reasons, then why the hell are you using the DMCA takedown system? Noah H. Webster, it's got "COPYRIGHT" right in the frickin' name! Wouldn't a polite note to the YouTube account holders stating the above accomplish the same thing (i.e., a minimal level of compliance)? 
As for the arguing it should be removed because "most people have seen it," I don't even know where to go with that. Continuing to show the video isn't "offensive." Only the original act is. Pretending this has something to do with making amends for an earlier error is just kind of sad, especially when the station manager tries to drag viewers into his Shame Circle with "thoughtless repetition of the video by others." 
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 I do still have a copy of the video on my hard drive, obvs, and can put it up as necessary.

Monday, July 15, 2013

No Nun Underdog Lord

I can't control my squee at this London Tube Map variant with all the station names as anagrams.

I lived in London for twelve years, and the names of the Tube stops are ingrained in my brain. Even so, I can hardly work out four or five of the puzzles, because they're so darn good, and because station names are so bizarre.  I mean Tottenham Hale sounds like an anagram already, as does about 50% of the map.

It's worth clicking on the original to get the "hover over" answers, as I doubt anybody could solve it by themselves, plus it's huge, whereas I can only put a 7" by 7" slice here.

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Edit to add: Jesus H, it's hard to keep up with the innertubes. I've relinked to the Wayback Machine, as the webpage I originally linked to went down. If the link breaks again, let me know in comments. Ta.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dead Weather - Jack drags Alison off stage

I've mentioned this before but I think this is a slightly more clear video.  Alison Mosshart keeps her wine-glass upright under even the most pressing circumstances.

Edit: Oh, deleted already. Well here's another one.

Oppressive Cyberpunk Dystopia News


Yesterday, the annual reminder about our cyberpunk reality was tweeted:
"Yearly reminder: unless you're over 60, you weren't promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go."

Well, it's not strictly true - I'm under sixty, and I was definitely promised a flying car.  The process isn't going well, though:

But the oppressive cyberpunk dystopia was definitely part of my upbringing as well, and I'm pleased(?) to confirm that it is, indeed, working out fine.

First, there's this:
Bolivia has accused European countries of an "act of aggression" for refusing to allow its presidential jet into their airspace, amid suggestions US fugitive Edward Snowden was on board.
Bolivia said France, Italy, Spain and Portugal had blocked the plane.
President Evo Morales was flying back to Bolivia from Moscow when the plane was forced to stop in Vienna.
Yes, somehow I'm managing to live in a world where an elected head of state's plane can be forced down and the president held against his will in a foreign country because the US is searching for someone who is at worst a petty criminal who stole some PowerPoint presentations and at best may even be a hero. A HEAD OF STATE'S PLANE WAS FORCED DOWN. This is serious. This didn't used to happen.


serious cat photo: serious cat serious_cat.jpg

The man they were searching for, who stole the PowerPoints, says the US is spying on everyone's email, phone records and internet activities. I think we all already knew about that particular grim cyberpunk dystopia. Hardly a surprise.

But then, we also learn that the US is photographing the outside of all our mail, so they can trace all our anthrax letters. As a lawyer of my acquaintance says, this isn't a surprise either. It is, after all, the US mail. If you hand an item to the government to handle, it's hardly a shocker that they'll keep records of it.

And it's not so much cyberpunk as steampunk, copying the front of snail mail packets, is it?


But this is cyberpunk.
Advances in DNA technology have allowed investigators to link longtime suspect Albert DeSalvo to the last of the 1960s slayings attributed to the Boston Strangler, a prosecutor said Thursday. 
... authorities were able to extract DNA from a preserved semen sample that was found on [the] body. 
Officers were then assigned to follow members of the DeSalvo family and retrieved a water bottle that one of them discarded. 
"That water bottle was tested and the match came back," Davis said.
Run that by me again?
Officers were then assigned to follow members of the DeSalvo family and retrieved a water bottle that one of them discarded.
The DNA produced a "familial match" with DeSalvo 
So officers followed some innocent family members of a long-dead murderer, took a piece of trash they'd discarded that had some of their skin cells on (from saliva on a water bottle neck), and performed a DNA match against a piece of evidence preserved in a forensic case. Is that even legal? It's trash they left behind, so I guess it isn't a search and seizure. Can you be forced to incriminate a family member in this way? Who knows.

It's not admissible as evidence, of course, as there's no chain-of-custody from the sample being taken to the lab result being issued. That's why they're planning to exhume the corpse of the ex-murderer to check his actual DNA.

But, jeez, that's cyberpunk all right.


Longtime Boston Strangler suspect Albert DeSalvo's DNA tied to 1964 slaying, prosecutor says - CBS News, July 11th.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Theremin city - Led Zeppelin, Whole Lotta Love and Black Dog in 1975 at Nassau

Following on from a recent post, here is the soundboard version of Whole Lotta Love followed by Black Dog  from the bootleg King's of the Stone Age - recorded at Nassau Coliseum 1975-02-13.

This one was upload by Tim Tirelli, more power to him.  When it ends, it leads directly in to the one I posted a couple of days ago.




This is a CD-ready bootleg. It's such good quality you wouldn't be surprised to see it in a boxed set. It takes me back.

Dead Weather at the Roxy -Will There Be Enough Water?

I miss this band.



At least I was there that day.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

This modern world part 99

A year ago, in April 2012, it seemed the whole world simultaneously erupted into tutting about women who had nasogastric feeding tubes fitted and a slurry containing less than 800 calories a day fed continuously through them, in order for them to shed a few pounds and fit into their wedding dresses. It was one of those moments when the world united against women and their silly fads. "But nasogastric feeding tubes kind of hurt, " said the entire planet. "Nonsense," replied the women. "Minor nuisance. It's totally fucking worth it."

Here's a representative article, with a video showing how much it doesn't hurt. Controversial feeding tube diet reaches UK - Sky News.
Dr Shidrawi threads a narrow tube through a KEN patient's nose, down their throat to their stomach. A pump drip feeds a protein liquid through the tube day and night. The regular feeding fools the stomach into feeling full.
In America the extreme diet is being used by brides hoping to fit into a smaller dress and look slimmer in their wedding photos.
Now fast forward to this week.  Mos Def, otherwise known as Yasiin Bey, makes a video attempting to show why nasogastric feeding of prisoners is torture. It's actually difficult to watch - he screams and struggles and begs. Who knew he was such a good actor.

One of the comments on the YouTube video says, "Mos Def just proved he has a vagina."  See above for how the actual vagina-bearers cope.

Not that this video has any bearing on the actual force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, of course. I'm sure that hurts like hell, though the problem with the prisoners in Guantanamo starts way before the force-feeding, way before the hunger strike, and way back to before Obama broke his promise to close the jail - all the way back to how the hell the US ended up with a special off-shore prison for people who haven't been convicted of a crime in the first place.  But I don't think Yasiin Bey is helping as much as he thinks he is.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Led Zeppelin at Nassau Coliseum 1975-02-13

Led Zeppelin in their mid-seventies heyday: Empress Valley Supreme Disk have a super-deluxe bootleg out which includes a soundboard recording of Led Zeppelin playing Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on 02/13/75. (An audience recording has been available previously, but is not well-loved.)

This show includes Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and the Faces guesting on guitar on the encore, Communication Breakdown.

No, I haven't bought this expensive strictly-limited 9-CD set, which goes by the name The King's of the Stone Age [sic] but I have heard Communication Breakdown, and it's EPIC. Not biased or anything, but I think Jimmy Page wins the jam...and listening to John Bonham and John Paul Jones break out the funk for a chunk of it is irresistible in itself.

Some kind soul by the name of Jim Sirigos has put it up on YouTube for us. (If it gets taken down, let me know and I'll find somewhere to put an MP3 of it instead.)



Update: Here's Whole Lotta Love, as well.

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