Happy Birthday, Web!

Tim Berners Lee

The World Wide Web has many birthdays.

March 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee handed his boss a short document entitled Information Management: a Proposal, is one.

Christmas of the following year, when the Web was up and running on two computers, is another.

But perhaps the most important Web anniversary of all is 30 April 1993.

Thats the day that Cern put the web in the public domain, thereby ensuring that the world would have a single system for accessing the Internet, instead of a Microsoft Web, a Macintosh Web and who knows, perhaps even an Amstrad Web.
(Source: BBC News)

Happy Birthday, WEB! 😀

Wikipedia Featured Article: April 19, 2008 – Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She was lionized as a free-thinking “rebel woman” by admirers, and derided as an advocate of politically-motivated murder and violent revolution by her critics.
(Source: Wikipedia:Today’s featured article/April 19, 2008 – Wikipedia)

Please check out the rest of the article.

I, of course, am a fan.

Two Professions Replaced By Objects

Printer to printer

I was musing about the mutability of language. As a middle-aged man, I’m now old enough that the meanings of some words have changed in my lifetime. One is ‘printer.’

When I was a kid, a printer was a person (usually a man) who made prints. It was the same as being a blacksmith or doctor: if you needed something printing, you would take it to a printer.

Now, a printer is an object. It is a machine attached to a computer which renders physical hard copies. We print things at home now and this has become so routine, so mundane that we rarely stop to marvel at the process.

Watching Stephen Fry‘s program on Gutenberg, seeing his giddy wonder at printing out just one sheet of typeset print made me remember the decades before the personal computer revolution. If you wanted to print out a recipe or a personalised birthday card or some silly party invites or a picture of a jizzing cock… well, you went to a printer.

In a rather lovely way, the second person replaced by a machine is something I’ve already mentioned: a computer.

Computer to computer

This one is rather before my time:

Before [electronic] computers became commercially available, the term “computer”, in use from the mid 17th century, literally meant “one who computes”: a person performing mathematical calculations. Teams of people were frequently used to undertake long and often tedious calculations; the work was divided so that this could be done in parallel.
(Source: Wikipedia)

I only know about this original usage of ‘computer’ because I’m something of an Alan Turing obsessive and so I’ve read about Bletchley Park. That was a kind of lexical torch-passing: computer (person) to computer (machine).

I wonder what contemporary professions will be replaced by objects in the future? Doctor? Lawyer?

Musician? 😉

45 – A Tribute to Daniel Hansson

45 Tribute

In August 2007 Elektron CEO and co-founder Daniel Hansson passed away in an unfortunate auto accident. It is in large part his creative vision and eye for detail that have made Elektron’s products what they are today. The 45 Tribute pays homage to his creative genius and his philanthropic spirit. Artists from the Elektron community have taken their time and energy to contribute to this project freely in his honor.

All purchases of the 45 Tribute should be viewed as donations, as that’s what your purchase translates to. All proceeds collected from the 45 Tribute will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. So you pay $5.00 for 30 songs, and you get to be a philanthropist in the process! POW!

As if the 30 tracks, or contributing to World Wildlife Fund wasn’t enough to motivate you, Elektron is giving away one free SidStation! Everyone who purchases the 45 Tribute within the first 30 days will be automatically entered to win.

(Source: 45 – A Tribute to Daniel Hansson)

I’ve written previously about my love of the fantastic instruments Daniel Hansson helped create.

Daniel took the time and trouble to email me personally about my gigging in Sweden and other Elektron stuff. So, I was very shocked and saddened to hear that he’d died.

Please check out the compilation tribute album, linked above. It’s a fantastic collection of tracks for and amazingly low price and the proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund. It’s a great testament to how many musicians have benefited from Daniel’s innovation, passion and excellence.

Brown Frowns Upon Un-Elected Premiers – What?

GBrown

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told world leaders that “no-one thinks” Robert Mugabe won last month’s presidential election in Zimbabwe.

At a UN Security Council meeting, he said voters had “shown their commitment to democracy” and a “stolen election would not be an election at all”.
(Source: BBC News)

Ummm… remind me – when did we vote in Gordon Brown?

Whizzkid Outsmarts NASA (PS – Duck & Cover)

Whizzkid outsmarts NASA

NASA has been forced to check its math after a 13-year-old German boy wrote to tell them their calculations for the probability of an asteroid hitting earth were incorrect. Agency bosses had predicted a one-in-45,000 chance of an interstellar object bringing an end to life as we know it; that was until teen Nico Marquardt told them that the figure was closer to one in 450.
(Source: Gizmodo)

Ouch!

Congrats to Nico Marquardt for outwitting NASA. On the other hand, it’s perhaps best that we all cancel any plans for after 2036.

Maybe use that pension fund money a bit sooner, eh? 😀

UPDATE – April 18th
Looks like the kid may be wrong.

Awww, shame! 🙁

The Lie Of The Self

Ghost In The Machine

The time it takes for sensory input to travel along nerves and get processed by the brains means we’re always living in the past. Okay, no problem — we can live with a few lost milliseconds. But ten seconds? A new study shows that once our brains make a decision (like “push this button”) it takes that long for our conscious minds to become aware of it.
(Source: io9)

There. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Your brain does everything. The you that you consider you, merely invents reasons you did those things and stitches them into some kind of spurious narrative ten seconds after you actually did them.

Your notion of selfhood, the you that is you, is a rationalisation after the event. A fiction.

A lie.