Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NADYA TOLOKNO RIOT on my Instagram


NADYA TOLOKNO RIOT - we made this portrait a few months ago after i finished interviewing Nadya for a film project i am currently working on. I shared an image made with the iPod then, but I didn't get the film processed and scanned til a few weeks later. I think this is one of my favorite portraits I've made in a long time. Incredible on camera interview and made some film photographs after, as i said when i posted the insta-iPod photo, let's take some lessons from this incredible woman @NadyaRiot who has already fought back against Putin and Dump. Look around on line for her lessons learned. NO this photo was not really made in Red Square, it was actually in Echo Park, section of Los Angeles ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜บ๐Ÿ˜ผ๐Ÿ˜ธ#PussyRiot #Punk #Badass #photography #FILM #PORTRAIT #35mmFILM #Art #inspiration #inspired #fightforyourright #Renaissance #classicforms #light #riotforyourrighttofight #feminism #PublicEnemy #FuckYouHero #MyRules #SpeakUp #SpeakOut #RiseUp #StandUp #DoWhatYouCan #theIdealist #2017 ๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰ The year punk broke again - the year Hip Hop gets real again (head start thanks to ATCQ) - and that new skaters will care more about their riding than their bullshit boutique fashion brands. ✊๐Ÿฝ✌๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿฝ

A post shared by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Show Me Your Soul: The Soul Train Years

from Dangerous Minds:

Show Me Your Soul: The Soul Train Years is a 2013 documentary produced for French television by filmmaker Pascal Forneri (who also directed the critically-acclaimed 2010 documentary Gainsbourg & his Girls). It uses wonderful rare footage, archival photographs, and brand new interviews to take the very first in-depth look at the history of Soul Train. Forneri not only highlights the amazing soul and R&B artists who performed on the program over its 35 year, 1,100 episode run, but also the real stars of the show: the in-studio dancers who would set the standard for future generations of contemporary urban dance.

Several recurring Soul Train dancers are spotlighted in this documentary who provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the show came together. Most of the dancers were not professionally trained, they would spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets to fly themselves out to Hollywood from cities all over the U.S. to be on the show. Those determined few who didn’t make the cut at the audition would sneak themselves onto the studio lot by any means necessary: including one dancer who got onto the set by hiding himself in the trunk of a car. As the show’s popularity in American households increased, so did the dancer’s popularity: week after week they’d try to outdo one another. First by their dance moves which became more and more wild, then by their fashion choices. Some dancers were so eager to get in front of the camera that they started bringing in props (a man known as “Mr. X” became famous for his dance routine that included a large, oversized toothbrush). Dancers began getting recognized on the streets of their home cities as if they were veritable celebrities.

Visionary host Don Cornelius always stated that Soul Train was a home for soul artists regardless of their race, and featured a long list of white artists who appealed to black audiences: Gino Vannelli, David Bowie, Beastie Boys, Elton John, Teena Marie, Hall & Oates, Pet Shop Boys, and Spandau Ballet were amongst the many white artists who appeared on the program over the years. As music trends slowly began to change, Don Cornelius struggled to keep Soul Train true to his original vision. When disco went mainstream, Cornelius made sure the show focused on only the most soulful disco artists that were being played on the radio. When rap music went commercial, however, Cornelius could not hide his contempt for the genre and made it very clear from the beginning that he wouldn’t get behind hip hop. Forneri documents this well, showing footage of Cornelius hanging his head in disgust following a performance by Public Enemy. As he slowly approaches Chuck D. and Flavor Fav for an interview he begins with a very long pause, and then exclaims, “That was frightening.” In the middle of a Kurtis Blow interview, Cornelius awkwardly admits on television “It’s so much fun, I mean, it doesn’t make sense to old guys like me. I don’t understand why they love it so much but that ain’t my job is it? My job is to deal with it and we’re dealing with it,” which was followed by uncomfortable laughter from the studio audience.

Show Me Your Soul: The Soul Train Years is currently up on YouTube in its entirety. If you don’t understand French then you’ll just have to enjoy the amazing footage. Peace, love, and soul!

Monday, March 27, 2017

School of Life Monday:
How to Enrich a Country: Free Trade or Protectionism?


What is the best way to make a country rich? Should you adopt a policy of free trade? Or is protectionism and economic nationalism the better way? We explore the history and theory of one of the central questions of economics and politics.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Classic Ian for your Sunday

This clip comes from the Minor Threat video put out by Dischord, classic Ian at probably 18 or 19 years old. The edit is interesting to see all the questions up front, and hear all his answers after.

Be inspired by this kid.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

HOW TO LIE IN 14 STEPS:
THE WIKIHOW GUIDE TO DISHONESTY


from Dangerous Minds:






















Writing for Esquire in 1969, Gore Vidal laid bare a “demagogic strategy” William F. Buckley used to befuddle opponents: 
If one is lying, accuse others of lying. On television this sort of thing is enormously effective in demoralizing the innocent and well-mannered who, acting in good faith, do not lie or make personal insults. Buckley has made many honorable men look dishonest fools by his demagoguery, and by the time they recover from his first assault and are ready to retaliate, the program is over.
Why is this effective? Because the thought of lying in public, where a judge, policeman or journalist might hear, gives good citizens the cold sweats. The mere accusation unleashes the bad conscience of the regular taxpayer and snaps his mind neatly in half. Did I fail to give a full and accurate account? Am I guilty of an act of omission, if not commission? Could I have used a more charitable adjective? Perhaps I did mischaracterize certain of my honorable friend’s views, etc.





















We at Dangerous Minds don’t believe the strategies and tactics of dishonesty should be the preserve of the rich, the powerful, and the stupid, and few other “content providers” will tell you the score. While the New York Times may report on “How to Improve Your Productivity at Work,” the Gray Lady is unlikely to teach you how to play fast and loose with the facts. Less reputable outlets than ours will lie to you, which can be instructive, but they will do nothing deliberately to wise you up.
That’s why, until they start teaching us how to do our own surgeries, WikiHow’s lying clinic is likely to remain their most useful public service.  
I won’t list all of their 14 steps to falsehood, but here are some of the basics. Rehearsal is a key part of the technique. Repetition gives purchase to the most absurd, self-contradictory assertion. There are a few body language tips:
Be sure not to rub your face too much, sway back and forth, or shrug your shoulders a lot. Keep your arms down at your sides rather than folding them across your chest. Don’t blink more often than normal or turn your body away from the person. All of these are signs that you are lying.
(But what if you want people to believe you’re lying? It would be interesting to try all of these gestures at once while scrupulously telling the truth, as an experiment.)



Another pro tip from WikiHow: lie before you have to. Take the initiative. I think this means you run into the living room with icing in your nostrils and scream “I did not eat the cake that is not missing!”
The Community Q&A covers likely eventualities: “What if the person has found evidence?” “Is covering up your bad deed with a less significant bad deed a good strategy?” “If I need to, how do I force tears?” 
This last question is misguided. Just tell the sucker you’re crying.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Angelica Kitchen
over 40 years in business closing doors, April 7th.

Angelica's has been a staple in the vegan world for as long as I can remember, and I have always enjoyed this place. The original ORGANIC VEGAN restaurant known the world over. I've met people there who have become best friends, countless business meals, when there was no other place like it, to it becoming imitated ruthlessly. Leslie (the owner) did a great thing for the world and set an example ethically on how the food business can be run. Kudos.

I will go a few more times before they close. For some reason tonight my Dragon Bowl seemed a little better than ever. I'm already missing the place...

A surprise to all, even the current staff, until the opening yesterday.


The Sign was just put out this afternoon.


The takeout where so many cool folks have worked, and countless times I have eaten at the counter, met new friends, and freaks I hope never to run into again. I gotta admit I always had some pitty for the staff having to deal with all the OG picky health nuts, WAAAAAY worse than me ;-)


get their COOK BOOK HERE.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party

from The Guardian:
f you look at the numbers, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America – and it’s not even close. Yet bizarrely, the Democratic party – out of power across the country and increasingly irrelevant – still refuses to embrace him and his message. It’s increasingly clear they do so at their own peril.

A new Fox News poll out this week shows Sanders has a +28 net favorability rating among the US population, dwarfing all other elected politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. And he’s even more popular among the vaunted “independents”, where he is at a mind boggling +41.

This poll is not just an aberration. Look at this Huffington Post chart that has tracked Sanders’ favorability rating over time, ever since he gained national prominence in 2015 when he started running for the Democratic nomination. The more people got to know him, they more they liked him – the exact opposite of what his critics said would happen when he was running against Clinton.

One would think with numbers like that, Democratic politicians would be falling all over themselves to be associated with Sanders, especially considering the party as a whole is more unpopular than the Republicans and even Donald Trump right now. Yet instead of embracing his message, the establishment wing of the party continues to resist him at almost every turn, and they seem insistent that they don’t have to change their ways to gain back the support of huge swaths of the country.

Politico ran a story just this week featuring Democratic officials fretting over the fact that Sanders supporters may upend their efforts to retake governorships in southern states by insisting those candidates adopt Sanders’ populist policies – seemingly oblivious to the fact that Sanders plays well in some of those states too.

Sanders’ effect on Trump voters can be seen in a gripping town hall this week that MSNBC’s Chris Hayes hosted with him in West Virginia – often referred to as “Trump country” – where the crowd ended up giving him a rousing ovation after he talked about healthcare being a right of all people and that we are the only industrialized nation in the world who doesn’t provide healthcare as a right to all its people.

But hand wringing by Democratic officials over 2018 candidates is really just the latest example: the establishment wing of the party aggressively ran another opponent against Keith Ellison, Sanders’ choice to run the Democratic National Committee, seemingly with the primary motivation to keep the party away from Sanders’ influence.

They’ve steadfastly refused to take giant corporations head on in the public sphere and wouldn’t even return to an Obama-era rule that banned lobbyist money from funding the DNC that was rescinded last year. And despite the broad popularity of the government guaranteeing health care for everyone, they still have not made any push for a Medicare-for-all plan that Sanders has long called for as a rebuttal to Republicans’ attempt to dismantle Obamacare.

Democrats seem more than happy to put all the blame of the 2016 election on a combination of Russia and James Comey and have engaged in almost zero introspection on the root causes of the larger reality: they are also out of power in not the presidency, but both also houses of Congress, governorships and state houses across the country as well.

As Politico reported on the Democrats’ post-Trump strategy in February, “Democratic aides say they will eventually shift to a positive economic message that Rust Belt Democrats can run on”. However: “For now, aides say, the focus is on slaying the giant and proving to the voters who sent Trump into the White House why his policies will fail.”

In other words, they’re doubling down on the exact same failing strategy that Clinton used in the final months of the campaign. Sanders himself put it this way in his usual blunt style in an interview with New York magazine this week – when asked about whether the Democrats can adapt to the political reality, he said: “There are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”

In the long term, change may be coming for Democrats whether they like it or not. Sanders loyalists are quietly attempting to take over many local Democratic party positions around the country. While Ellison lost the race for the DNC chair, it was incredibly close – closer than Sanders came to beating Clinton. And Sanders’ supporters are already organizing primary challenges to incumbent Democrats who aren’t sufficiently opposing Trump.

One thing’s for sure: Democrats who refuse to change do so at their peril.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Impeach The Mother Fucker Already


cool badge some one gave me yesterday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Jay Adams - The Early Years - Photos by Kent Sherwood
Captions by Jay - Released Today!




This is a book of photographs of the legend as a boy, taken by his stepfather Kent Sherwood. Kent was my first and only hourly wage employer when I worked at the Z-Flex shack in Venice one summer as a teenager. These images are some rare, early moments of Jay, his friends, family, and his lifestyle, most taken before anyone like Craig Stecyk or myself made pictures of him.



Jay was the personification of all the DogTown stories that Stecyk wrote, and all the DogTown photos that I took: all we were trying to do was capture Jay Adams’ essence. He was the life- long wild child, and he was incredibly great at the same time. Kent’s pictures of Jay are an advance peek, the test pressing— or the “demo” version—of the man Jay would become.


Kent Sherwood at his beach rental

Jay was a living legend . . . and a crazy friend . . . and now that he’s gone, we only have the memories. And for you all who didn’t know him personally I am happy that we have the photographs to share. I suspect his legend will live on gloriously.



Get The Book on crazy sale at Amazon Now. (click here)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

SKATEBOARDING HALL of FAME 2017 inductees announced


I'm happy to report that the Hall of Fame is back on track this year, after the debacle last year taking credibility away the entire institution, I honestly can say in my humble opinion everyone this year well deserves to be inducted!

from the Skateboarding Hall of Fame:
Enjoy a night of fun, friends and great memories as we honor the skateboarders, industry pioneers and icons that have left an indelible imprint on the history of skateboarding and our culture.

The 8th Annual Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Icon Awards Ceremony presented by House of Vans will be held at the City National Grove of Anaheim, California on May 12, 2017.


2017 Inductees

1960s: Bob Mohr

1970s Era 1: Gregg Weaver and Russ Howell

1970s Era 2: Shogo Kubo

1980s Era 1: Mike McGill

1980s Era 2: Eric Dressen

1990s: Daewon Song

Female: Kim Cespedes and Vicki Vickers



Icons: Thrasher Magazine, Sonja Catalona, and Jim Phillips



Event Schedule

4:30 PM GATES OPEN - VIP HAPPY HOUR

6:00 PM VIP MEET AND GREET

6:15 PM VIP DINNER

6:30 PM GENERAL ADMISSION

7:30 PM SKATEBOARDING HALL OF FAME CEREMONY

10:00 PM LIVE DJ

11:00 PM BARS CLOSE

12:00 PM VENUE CLOSE

All proceeds benefit the not-for-profit efforts of the International Skateboarding Hall of Fame and the Go Skateboarding Foundation.

The Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Icon Awards Ceremony is a production of the International Association of Skateboard Companies’ Go Skateboarding Foundation under license from the International Skateboarding Hall of Fame™.

*Ticket purchases HERE for the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Icon Awards Ceremony.

I made photos of some of the inductees back in the 70's, here's some choice pic's:


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Long Read:
'London Bridge is down': the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death

from The Guardian:

by Sam Knight

She is venerated around the world. She has outlasted 12 US presidents. She stands for stability and order. But her kingdom is in turmoil, and her subjects are in denial that her reign will ever end. That’s why the palace has a plan.
In the plans that exist for the death of the Queen – and there are many versions, held by Buckingham Palace, the government and the BBC – most envisage that she will die after a short illness. Her family and doctors will be there. When the Queen Mother passed away on the afternoon of Easter Saturday, in 2002, at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, she had time to telephone friends to say goodbye, and to give away some of her horses. In these last hours, the Queen’s senior doctor, a gastroenterologist named Professor Huw Thomas, will be in charge. He will look after his patient, control access to her room and consider what information should be made public. The bond between sovereign and subjects is a strange and mostly unknowable thing. A nation’s life becomes a person’s, and then the string must break.

There will be bulletins from the palace – not many, but enough. “The Queen is suffering from great physical prostration, accompanied by symptoms which cause much anxiety,” announced Sir James Reid, Queen Victoria’s physician, two days before her death in 1901. “The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30pm on the night of 20 January 1936. Not long afterwards, Dawson injected the king with 750mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine – enough to kill him twice over – in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing presses of the Times, which rolled at midnight.

Her eyes will be closed and Charles will be king. His siblings will kiss his hands. The first official to deal with the news will be Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, a former diplomat who was given a second knighthood in 2014, in part for planning her succession.

Geidt will contact the prime minister. The last time a British monarch died, 65 years ago, the demise of George VI was conveyed in a code word, “Hyde Park Corner”, to Buckingham Palace, to prevent switchboard operators from finding out. For Elizabeth II, the plan for what happens next is known as “London Bridge.” The prime minister will be woken, if she is not already awake, and civil servants will say “London Bridge is down” on secure lines. From the Foreign Office’s Global Response Centre, at an undisclosed location in the capital, the news will go out to the 15 governments outside the UK where the Queen is also the head of state, and the 36 other nations of the Commonwealth for whom she has served as a symbolic figurehead – a face familiar in dreams and the untidy drawings of a billion schoolchildren – since the dawn of the atomic age.

For a time, she will be gone without our knowing it. The information will travel like the compressional wave ahead of an earthquake, detectable only by special equipment. Governors general, ambassadors and prime ministers will learn first. Cupboards will be opened in search of black armbands, three-and-a-quarter inches wide, to be worn on the left arm.

The rest of us will find out more quickly than before. On 6 February 1952, George VI was found by his valet at Sandringham at 7.30am. The BBC did not broadcast the news until 11.15am, almost four hours later. When Princess Diana died at 4am local time at the Pitiรฉ-Salpรชtriรจre hospital in Paris on 31 August 1997, journalists accompanying the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, on a visit to the Philippines knew within 15 minutes. For many years the BBC was told about royal deaths first, but its monopoly on broadcasting to the empire has gone now. When the Queen dies, the announcement will go out as a newsflash to the Press Association and the rest of the world’s media simultaneously. At the same instant, a footman in mourning clothes will emerge from a door at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged notice to the gates. While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single page, showing the same text on a dark background.

Screens will glow. There will be tweets. At the BBC, the “radio alert transmission system” (Rats), will be activated – a cold war-era alarm designed to withstand an attack on the nation’s infrastructure. Rats, which is also sometimes referred to as “royal about to snuff it”, is a near mythical part of the intricate architecture of ritual and rehearsals for the death of major royal personalities that the BBC has maintained since the 1930s. Most staff have only ever seen it work in tests; many have never seen it work at all. “Whenever there is a strange noise in the newsroom, someone always asks, ‘Is that the Rats?’ Because we don’t know what it sounds like,” one regional reporter told me.

All news organisations will scramble to get films on air and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the deputy editor has a list of prepared stories pinned to his wall. The Times is said to have 11 days of coverage ready to go. At Sky News and ITN, which for years rehearsed the death of the Queen substituting the name “Mrs Robinson”, calls will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to speak exclusively on those channels. “I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely enlarged trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this,” one told me.

For people stuck in traffic, or with Heart FM on in the background, there will only be the subtlest of indications, at first, that something is going on. Britain’s commercial radio stations have a network of blue “obit lights”, which is tested once a week and supposed to light up in the event of a national catastrophe. When the news breaks, these lights will start flashing, to alert DJs to switch to the news in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every station, down to hospital radio, has prepared music lists made up of “Mood 2” (sad) or “Mood 1” (saddest) songs to reach for in times of sudden mourning. “If you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the TV on,” wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011. “Something terrible has just happened.”

Having plans in place for the death of leading royals is a practice that makes some journalists uncomfortable. “There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others,” one former Today programme producer complained to me. For 30 years, BBC news teams were hauled to work on quiet Sunday mornings to perform mock storylines about the Queen Mother choking on a fishbone. There was once a scenario about Princess Diana dying in a car crash on the M4.

These well-laid plans have not always helped. In 2002, when the Queen Mother died, the obit lights didn’t come on because someone failed to push the button down properly. On the BBC, Peter Sissons, the veteran anchor, was criticised for wearing a maroon tie. Sissons was the victim of a BBC policy change, issued after the September 11 attacks, to moderate its coverage and reduce the number of “category one” royals eligible for the full obituary procedure. The last words in Sissons’s ear before going on air were: “Don’t go overboard. She’s a very old woman who had to go some time.”

But there will be no extemporising with the Queen. The newsreaders will wear black suits and black ties. Category one was made for her. Programmes will stop. Networks will merge. BBC 1, 2 and 4 will be interrupted and revert silently to their respective idents – an exercise class in a village hall, a swan waiting on a pond – before coming together for the news. Listeners to Radio 4 and Radio 5 live will hear a specific formulation of words, “This is the BBC from London,” which, intentionally or not, will summon a spirit of national emergency.

The main reason for rehearsals is to have words that are roughly approximate to the moment. “It is with the greatest sorrow that we make the following announcement,” said John Snagge, the BBC presenter who informed the world of the death of George VI. (The news was repeated seven times, every 15 minutes, and then the BBC went silent for five hours). According to one former head of BBC news, a very similar set of words will be used for the Queen. The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he explained. People become upset, and contemplate the unthinkable oddness of her absence. “She is the only monarch that most of us have ever known,” he said. The royal standard will appear on the screen. The national anthem will play. You will remember where you were.

When people think of a contemporary royal death in Britain, they think, inescapably, of Diana. The passing of the Queen will be monumental by comparison. It may not be as nakedly emotional, but its reach will be wider, and its implications more dramatic. “It will be quite fundamental,” as one former courtier told me.

Part of the effect will come from the overwhelming weight of things happening. The routine for modern royal funerals is more or less familiar (Diana’s was based on “Tay Bridge”, the plan for the Queen Mother’s). But the death of a British monarch, and the accession of a new head of state, is a ritual that is passing out of living memory: three of the Queen’s last four prime ministers were born after she came to the throne. When she dies, both houses of parliament will be recalled, people will go home from work early, and aircraft pilots will announce the news to their passengers. In the nine days that follow (in London Bridge planning documents, these are known as “D-day”, “D+1” and so on) there will be ritual proclamations, a four-nation tour by the new king, bowdlerised television programming, and a diplomatic assembling in London not seen since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.

More overwhelming than any of this, though, there will be an almighty psychological reckoning for the kingdom that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britain’s last living link with our former greatness – the nation’s id, its problematic self-regard – which is still defined by our victory in the second world war. One leading historian, who like most people I interviewed for this article declined to be named, stressed that the farewell for this country’s longest-serving monarch will be magnificent. “Oh, she will get everything,” he said. “We were all told that the funeral of Churchill was the requiem for Britain as a great power. But actually it will really be over when she goes.”

Unlike the US presidency, say, monarchies allow huge passages of time – a century, in some cases – to become entwined with an individual. The second Elizabethan age is likely to be remembered as a reign of uninterrupted national decline, and even, if she lives long enough and Scotland departs the union, as one of disintegration. Life and politics at the end of her rule will be unrecognisable from their grandeur and innocence at its beginning. “We don’t blame her for it,” Philip Ziegler, the historian and royal biographer, told me. “We have declined with her, so to speak.”

The obituary films will remind us what a different country she inherited. One piece of footage will be played again and again: from her 21st birthday, in 1947, when Princess Elizabeth was on holiday with her parents in Cape Town. She was 6,000 miles from home and comfortably within the pale of the British Empire. The princess sits at a table with a microphone. The shadow of a tree plays on her shoulder. The camera adjusts three or four times as she talks, and on each occasion, she twitches momentarily, betraying tiny flashes of aristocratic irritation. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,” she says, enunciating vowels and a conception of the world that have both vanished.

It is not unusual for a country to succumb to a state of denial as a long chapter in its history is about to end. When it became public that Queen Victoria was dying, at the age of 82, a widow for half her life, “astonished grief … swept the country”, wrote her biographer, Lytton Strachey. In the minds of her subjects, the queen’s mortality had become unimaginable; and with her demise, everything was suddenly at risk, placed in the hands of an elderly and untrusted heir, Edward VII. “The wild waters are upon us now,” wrote the American Henry James, who had moved to London 30 years before.

The parallels with the unease that we will feel at the death of Elizabeth II are obvious, but without the consolation of Britain’s status in 1901 as the world’s most successful country. “We have to have narratives for royal events,” the historian told me. “In the Victorian reign, everything got better and better, and bigger and bigger. We certainly can’t tell that story today.”

The result is an enormous objection to even thinking about – let alone talking or writing about – what will happen when the Queen dies. We avoid the subject as we avoid it in our own families. It seems like good manners, but it is also fear. The reporting for this article involved dozens of interviews with broadcasters, government officials, and departed palace staff, several of whom have worked on London Bridge directly. Almost all insisted on complete secrecy. “This meeting never happened,” I was told after one conversation in a gentleman’s club on Pall Mall. Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, has a policy of not commenting on funeral arrangements for members of the royal family.


Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy
Read more
And yet this taboo, like much to do with the monarchy, is not entirely rational, and masks a parallel reality. The next great rupture in Britain’s national life has, in fact, been planned to the minute. It involves matters of major public importance, will be paid for by us, and is definitely going to happen. According to the Office of National Statistics, a British woman who reaches the age of 91 – as the Queen will in April – has an average life expectancy of four years and three months. The Queen is approaching the end of her reign at a time of maximum disquiet about Britain’s place in the world, at a moment when internal political tensions are close to breaking her kingdom apart. Her death will also release its own destabilising forces: in the accession of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a new king who is already an old man; and in the future of the Commonwealth, an invention largely of her making. (The Queen’s title of “Head of the Commonwealth” is not hereditary.) Australia’s prime minister and leader of the opposition both want the country to become a republic.

Coping with the way these events fall is the next great challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to practise coronations and to persist – with the complicity of a willing public – in the magic of the whole enterprise. That is why the planning for the Queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath is so extensive. Succession is part of the job. It is an opportunity for order to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the contents of her coffin by 1875. The Queen Mother’s funeral was rehearsed for 22 years. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, prepared a winter and a summer menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queen’s exit plan. “It’s history,” as one of her courtiers said. It will be 10 days of sorrow and spectacle in which, rather like the dazzling mirror of the monarchy itself, we will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.

READ THE REST HERE and scroll down






Friday, March 17, 2017

Your old CD-ROMs are probably rotting

from Boing Boing:



In 2009, the Library of Congress commissioned a research report into the degradation ofCD-ROMs in storage as a way of assessing the integrity of the media in its collection: the news isn't pretty.

The standards for certifying a CD-ROM did not "place any requirement on the chemical or physical stability of the disc," so depending on the manufacturer and process, the discs you've put away on shelves may have wildly different material properties.

The study involved taking a trove of discarded/duplicate CD-ROMs from the LoC's collection and subjecting them to "accelerated aging" processes to see how many errors emerged as the media aged. Keeping discs dry and cool helped reduce error rates, but even so there's a lot of bitrot there.

One thing that's happened since this study is an acceleration in the plunging costs of online storage -- HDDs and SSDs -- and cloud services, which are all "live" media, regulated by microcontrollers that continuously poll their storage media for degradation, marking off sectors as bad when they turn and copying their data to still-good sectors before it becomes unreadable.

This is a major difference between today's state of affairs and the long, awkward adolescence of mass storage, when keeping all your data online was prohibitively expensive, which meant that some fraction of your archives would end up on offline/nearline media, from tapes to CDs to Zip and Jazz and floppy discs. All media is subject to entropy, but offline/nearline media is not easily hedged against the Second Law of Thermodynamics with measures like continuous scheduled offsite backups and continuous defect-scanning.
The results of this study show that individual CD-ROM life expectancies in a large collection such as that held by the Library of Congress can be expected to cover a wide range. In addition, the BLER degradation rate of individual discs will be dependant on the environmental conditions to which the disc is exposed. Selecting optimal conditions for temperature and relative humidity in facilities where compact discs are stored can be expected to have a significant impact on service life. 
Other factors not covered in this study, such as handling, labeling, and exposure to certain materials or chemicals, also affect service life and must be considered as part of a comprehensive approach to preserving digital information on compact disc media.
The test population selected for this experiment was extremely diverse; representing discs constructed using different materials, from different manufacturers and record labels. Although the selected discs covered a relatively limited period of manufacture the wide distribution of life expectancies demonstrates the effect of these varied construction parameters on disc life. 10% of the discs failed at an estimated life of less than 25 years, including 6 discs (5%) that failed too early to obtain meaningful data or a meaningful lifetime estimate. 23 discs (16%) had insufficient increase in errors during the test, and thus, had infinite lifetimes, by the standards of the ISO test method. These results illustrate why it is so difficult to make broad generalizations about the lifetime of optical media. 
The Library of Congress plans to conduct analyses of the material composition of selected discs from both this study and the on-going Natural Aging Study to look for trends in failure modes as they relate to the chemistry of the disc. An understanding of these failure modes can help in identifying discs that are prone to early failure so that the data can be transferred to more stable media before they reach end-of-life.
COMPACT DISC SERVICE LIFE: AN INVESTIGATION OF THE ESTIMATED SERVICE LIFE OF PRERECORDED COMPACT DISCS (CD-ROM) [Chandru J. Shahani, Michele H. Youket and Norman Weberg/Library of Congress]

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Amtrak vs. Snow




Thanks Boing Boing
An Amtrak train pulls into a station somewhere up east. The only problem? The tracks are already occupied by snow, piled a good six inches higher than the platform itself. Commuter Nick Colvin knows what's about to happen and has his iPhone set to record slow-mo footage, but as he writes, there was "a more spectacular arrival than expected."