October 17th, 2004

Illuminati

But do you need it?

In conversation with green_amber and Yonmei, I mentioned that I'd rather give up sex than broadband (or books), which led on to Yonmei suggesting a poll.....

Give each of the following a different score - 5 for the one you want to keep most, 1 for the one you could live without the easiest...

Chocolate

Mean: 2.14 Median: 2 Std. Dev 1.20
1
24(36.4%)
2
24(36.4%)
3
8(12.1%)
4
5(7.6%)
5
5(7.6%)

Sex

Mean: 4.05 Median: 4.5 Std. Dev 1.16
1
3(4.5%)
2
4(6.1%)
3
13(19.7%)
4
13(19.7%)
5
33(50.0%)

Broadband

Mean: 3.47 Median: 4 Std. Dev 1.13
1
4(6.1%)
2
10(15.2%)
3
15(22.7%)
4
25(37.9%)
5
12(18.2%)

TV

Mean: 1.82 Median: 2 Std. Dev 1.01
1
32(49.2%)
2
19(29.2%)
3
10(15.4%)
4
2(3.1%)
5
2(3.1%)

Books

Mean: 4.03 Median: 4 Std. Dev 0.98
1
1(1.5%)
2
3(4.5%)
3
16(24.2%)
4
19(28.8%)
5
27(40.9%)
Illuminati

Sigh

Should you have filled out the previous quiz incorrectly (for instance, like weetanya you might have rated two entries both as 5), you can click on one of the View Answer links and then on 'Fill Out Poll).  Or you can not bother.  It's only a poll.

People do occasionally say things that lead me to assume they don't know it's possible to change their answers to a quiz...
  • Current Music
    jeffrey_snover_2004_monad_explained
Illuminati

More Music reviews

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Sleepytime(Spirit is a Bone).  Aaah, prog rock, you gotta love it.  This was actually rather good, but still sounds a lot like more recent Queensryche.

Lorenzo Arruga Dave Lombardo - preludio allaprna amara.  A harpsichordist, floutist, soprano, and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo play some Vivaldi.  It isn't, actually that odd - the whole thing works quite well except when the drum solo kicks in.  The rest of the time the drum counterpoints the rest of the music very nicely and gives it a bit of an edge.  It's also inspired me to play some Apocalyptica, another point in it's favour.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - singing in Islamic Qawalli style, with tradition instruments backing him.  Interesting, but not terribly gripping.  His voice is good, but doesn't seem amazing to me.  Interestingly, a collaboration with Peter Gabriel (Taboo) on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack worked much hetter for me.  Possibly I just need to give it a few more listens and see if it grabs me more.

Ulali - Mother.  Native American chanting.  Actually rather hypnotic.  I'm tempted to pick up some more of this.

Balkan: Mysterious Voices Of Bulgaria - Gospodi Pomiluj.  Balkan chanting.  Even better.  Great atmospheric chanting with deep background singing.  More of this too.  Cheers to darkoshi for both of the above.

More on Tuesday, when I'm next at home.
  • Current Music
    01_Balkan_GospodiPomiluj
Illuminati

FutureTech

Students build truck powered by own solar panels. here

True, it only generates enough power to travel a couple of miles a day, but it's a darn good start.  Especially for a student project.
  • Current Music
    01_Balkan_GospodiPomiluj
Illuminati

Why I'm against P2P legislation

I know many people who are against the current copyright legislation and its recent expansion. The RIAA, BPI, MPAA, FAST and many other representative organisations have been furiously lobbying for draconian regulations to protect their interests and prevent ordinary people from copying movies, music, software, etc. Like many others I view this as a bad thing. Unlike many others, my reasons for doing so are largely technical.

I don't actually give a damn if people are forced to buy music. I don't like the system particularly, but if there was uncrackable encryption tomorrow I wouldn't cry into my cornflakes. I pay £10 a month for my Napster subscription as it is, and I don't object to paying money to those people who made the music possible in the first place. It's not a perfect system, but it actually seemed to work pretty well until the turn of the century.

The reason I object is that copying files is too damn easy. Writing a P2P file-copying program is trivial for anyone with a decent knowledge of how the internet works. One program listens for incoming connections, another opens a connection and sends a stream of data, while the first one writes that data to a new file. Ta-da! File sent. You _cannot_ stop people writing trivially simple file-sharing software without crippling computers to the point where they are not worth having.

It's the equivalent of outlawing trees because pointy sticks can be used to hurt people - the damage done in attempting to prevent the spread of pointy sticks _vastly_ outweighs the amount of harm caused by pointy-stick wielders. Outlawing nuclear missiles is easy - producing them takes so much effort that preventing their creation is a comprehensible task. Preventing the creation of software that's trivially simple is just not possible without taking away people's computers and replacing them with games consoles.

Unless you want to live in a world where people don't have access to flexible computers, because they might do something bad with them, you won't support these laws either. And you'll realise that these laws aren't just wrong, they're downright silly - no more plausible than banning people from thinking about sex, and likely to have as much effect.
Illuminati

What I learned from Auschwitz

Great essay here on the lessons that can be learned.

It is not enough merely to remember the past; one must remember the truth, analyze it, derive rules from it and desire to act. But this is not what we usually do. Most of our remembering, in fact, does the opposite: it is a preparatory step for the final ejection of the truth from public consciousness. This style of remembering is similar to the process by which an oyster creates a pearl by coating an impurity. The movie Schindler's List is an example of this kind of remembering; it sends you from the theater hopeful and relieved, feeling that the Holocaust has been handled: a hero has arisen to handle the Holocaust. In so doing, it tells the wrong story. The main themes of the Holocaust were not rescue or hope but despair and murder. Of all the books I have read on Auschwitz, none mention Oskar Schindler or relate the episode shown in the movie of his rescue of the "Schindlerjuden" from Auschwitz. Instead, most agree that there was no rescue from Auschwitz. According to Hannah Arendt in Eichmann in Jerusalem, Adolf Eichmann testified that even he could not rescue a "favorite" Jew from Auschwitz.

How do you remember a truth that will cause clinical depression? A truth that will cause a man or woman who "receives facts reasonably" to want to die? You steel yourself and remember it, that's all. The only hope you can derive from such a truth, clearly seen, is the resolve to act differently and to do your small part to make the world different than it is.