jm + history   101

how King Cormac predicted Arguing On The Internet
From <a href='http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/cormac3.html'>The Wisdom of King Cormac</a>:

"O Cormac, grandson of Conn", said Carbery, "What is the worst pleading and arguing?" "Not hard to tell", said Cormac. "Contending against knowledge, contending without proofs, taking refuge in bad language, a stiff delivery, a muttering speech, hair-splitting, uncertain proofs, despising books, turning against custom, shifting one's pleading, inciting the mob, blowing one's own trumpet, shouting at the top of one's voice."
internet  arguing  history  ireland  king-cormac  hair-splitting  shouting  reddit 
12 days ago by jm
To "patch" software comes from a physical patch applied to paper tape
hmason: TIL that the phrase software "patch" is from a physical patch applied to Mark 1 paper tape to modify the program.


It's amazing how a term like that can become so divorced from its original meaning so effectively. History!
history  computing  software  patch  paper-tape  patching  bugs 
14 days ago by jm
UK psyops created N. Irish Satanic Panic during the Troubles - Boing Boing
During the 1970s, when Northern Ireland was gripped by near-civil-war, British military intelligence staged the evidence of "black masses" in order to create a Satanism panic among the "superstitious" Irish to discredit the paramilitaries.

The secret history of imaginary Irish Satanism is documented in Black Magic and Bogeymen: Fear, Rumour and Popular Belief in the North of Ireland 1972-74, a new book from Sheffield University's Richard Jenkins, who interviewed Captain Colin Wallace, the former head of British Army "black operations" for Northern Ireland.
northern-ireland  1970s  the-troubles  ireland  uvf  ira  history  black-magic  satanism  weird  fear  mi5 
15 days ago by jm
'In 1976 I discovered Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable tragedy' | World news | The Observer
An interview with the scientist who was part of the team which discovered the Ebola virus in 1976:
Other samples from the nun, who had since died, arrived from Kinshasa. When we were just about able to begin examining the virus under an electron microscope, the World Health Organisation instructed us to send all of our samples to a high-security lab in England. But my boss at the time wanted to bring our work to conclusion no matter what. He grabbed a vial containing virus material to examine it, but his hand was shaking and he dropped it on a colleague's foot. The vial shattered. My only thought was: "Oh, shit!" We immediately disinfected everything, and luckily our colleague was wearing thick leather shoes. Nothing happened to any of us.
ebola  epidemiology  health  africa  labs  history  medicine 
20 days ago by jm
Confessions of a former internet troll - Vox
I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren't any halfway decent troll's idea of a good time — even the then-malicious would've found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible — it wasn't, not really — but because it was calmer and the rage wasn't there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they're threatening some Redditor's self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.
vox  trolls  blogging  gamergate  4chan  weev  history  teenagers 
26 days ago by jm
#5045 (epoll_reactor::update_timeout() uses incorrect interrupter if TIMERFD is not available) – Boost C++ Libraries
ah, memories. This is the bug that caused me to have to run a fleet-wide upgrade across the EC2 substrate. Thanks, boost::asio!
bugs  network-monitoring  boost  boost-asio  memories  history 
6 weeks ago by jm
'The very first release of Gmail simply used spamassassin on the backend'
Excellent. Confirming what I'd heard from a few other sources, too ;)

This is a well-written history of the anti-spam war so far, from Mike Hearn, writing with the Google/Gmail point of view:

Brief note about my background, to establish credentials: I worked at
Google for about 7.5 years. For about 4.5 of those I worked on the Gmail
abuse team, which is very tightly linked with the spam team (they use the
same software, share the same on-call rotations etc).


Reading this kind of stuff is awesome for me, since it's a nice picture of a fun problem to work on -- the Gmail team took the right ideas about how to fight spam, and scaled them up to the 10s-of-millions DAU mark. Nicely done.

The second half is some interesting musings on end-to-end encrypted communications and how it would deal with spam. Worth a read...
gmail  google  spam  anti-spam  filtering  spamassassin  history 
7 weeks ago by jm
Wiki Loves Monuments

Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo contest, organised by Wikimedia [...]. This year, the Wikimedia Ireland Community are running the competition for the very first time in Ireland. The contest is inspired by the successful 2010 pilot in the Netherlands which resulted in 12,500 freely licensed images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. It has grown substantially since its inception; in 2013 369,589 photographs were submitted by 11,943 participants from over 50 countries. Cultural heritage is an important part of the knowledge that Wikipedia collects and disseminates. An image is worth a thousand words, in any language and local enthusiasts can (re)discover the cultural, historical, or scientific significance of their neighbourhood. The Irish contest, focussing on Ireland’s national monuments, runs from August 23 - September 30. Follow our step-by-step guide to find out how you can take part.
wikipedia  wikimedia  images  monuments  history  ireland  contests  creative-commons  licensing 
8 weeks ago by jm
The dark truth about modern Ireland its media don't talk about
Sinead O'Shea writing for the Guardian:
The economy has been built on cronyism, group-think, the double talk of absurdly low corporate tax rates and light touch regulation, the cult of the leader, an over reliance on "strong" international forces. These were the factors that caused the Celtic Tiger to collapse.

This has had consequences for all. It's the same for the system of shame and sexual repression. The impact has not been restricted to its most obvious victims. Ireland is not just a bad place to be a woman or an immigrant, it's a bad place to be in any way "different." As a result, sadly, it's a bad place to be anyone at all.
ireland  history  women  celtic-tiger  industrial-schools  immigration  sinead-o-shea  tuam  abortion  pregnancy 
june 2014 by jm
Bletchley Park Trust erects "Berlin Wall" to cut off on-site computer history museum - Boing Boing
The Bletchley Park trust have erected a fence, nicknamed "The Berlin Wall," between their well-funded museum and its poorer on-site neighbour, the UK National Museum of Computing, which houses the hand-built replica of the codebreaking Colossus computer. The trust received an £8m lottery-funded grant and set about shitcanning long-serving volunteers, cutting off the computer history museum, and generally behaving like greedy jerks, systematically alienating long-term supporters. Oh, and there was that Snowden business.


WTF. Stupid antics.
bletchley-park  history  wankers  uk  museums  computing 
may 2014 by jm
Composition of crystals
One of the photos taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, around the turn of the century from the NLI collection
ireland  history  science  chemistry  crystals  t-h-mason  photos 
may 2014 by jm
Cell Development
One of the photos taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, around the turn of the century from the NLI collection
ireland  history  science  biology  t-h-mason  photos 
may 2014 by jm
Published image: 'An Irish Village'.
'Cart, man/woman; 2 men and boy serving beer outside, + sign 'Rich King Spirits'. Ragged attire' - One of the photos taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, around the turn of the century from the NLI collection
ireland  history  poverty  t-h-mason  photos 
may 2014 by jm
Holdings: Guinness's Brewery Dublin
'Guinness's Brewery Dublin. Malt House, malt on floor; sign' - One of the photos taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, around the turn of the century from the NLI collection
nli  ireland  photos  t-h-mason  history  dublin  guinness  maltings  beer 
may 2014 by jm
They called it "big iron" for a reason: the Cray Motor-Generator Unit
I think the deal with the Motor-Generator Unit was that the Cray 1 needed not just enormous amounts of power (over a hundred kilowatts!), but also very stable power. So it ran from a huge electric generator connected directly to a huge electric motor, the motor running from dirty grid power and the generator, in turn, feeding the computer's own multi-voltage PSU. The Cray 1 itself weighed a mere 2.4 tonnes, but all this support stuff added several more tonnes.


via RobS.
via:rob-synnott  cray  history  big-iron  motors  power  electricity  generators 
april 2014 by jm
Rope-core memory
as used in the Apollo guidance computer systems -- hand-woven by "little old ladies". Amazing
core-memory  memory  rope-core  guidance  apollo  space  nasa  history  1960s  via:hn 
april 2014 by jm
Search Results - (Author:Thomas H Mason)
Photographs taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, in the National Library of Ireland's newly-digitized online collection
family  thomas-h-mason  history  ireland  photography  archive  nli 
april 2014 by jm
Scarfolk Council
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." For more information please reread.
scarfolk  1970s  england  history  funny  humour  public-information  pagan  morbid 
april 2014 by jm
VERY high resolution scans of original Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 charts
the Apollo 11 ALO and LM Descent Monitoring charts are tidied up and downloadable
apollo  space  history  memorabilia  images  scans  science  nasa 
april 2014 by jm
Irish NewsDiffs
Tracking Irish News Stories Over Time;
Irish NewsDiffs archives changes in articles after publication.
Currently, we track rte.ie and irishtimes.com.
rte  irish-times  diffing  diffs  changes  tracking  newspapers  news  ireland  history 
april 2014 by jm
How Gmail Happened: The Inside Story of Its Launch 10 Years Ago Today
the inside story of the great work done by Paul Buchheit, Kevin Fox, and Sanjeev Singh to reinvent email in 2004
history  gmail  email  smtp  mua  paul-buchheit  kevin-fox  launches  google  web 
april 2014 by jm
How the Irish helped weave the web
Nice Irish Times article on the first 3 web servers in Ireland -- including the one I set up at Iona Technologies. 21 years ago!
history  ireland  tech  web  internet  www  james-casey  peter-flynn  irish-times  iona-technologies 
march 2014 by jm
Freeload
fantastic piece of C=64 history -- the "Ocean fast loader" by Paul Hughes, which allowed Commodore 64 games to load from tape at 4000 baud, far faster than the built-in system implementation, and with graphics and music at the same time
ocean-loader  tapes  c=64  commodore-64  history  1980s  freeload  paul-hughes 
march 2014 by jm
James Casey writes about working at CERN
I am very heartened by Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock’s recent announcement of a review of the costs and benefits of Ireland’s membership of international research organisations including CERN. I disagreed with the conclusion of the last review which suggested that costs outweighed the benefits to Ireland. I think it was an extreme oversight not to be a part of the engineering phase of the Collider during the period 1998-2008 – but it’s not too late.
CERN will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2014. There is no public scientific institution its equal in terms of the scale and complexity of problems being analysed and solved. No longer excluding young Irish people from being a part of this, from learning and growing from it, can only help Ireland.


Also, spot my name in lights ;)
ireland  cern  science  europe  eu  sean-sherlock  james-casey  www  web  history 
march 2014 by jm
GCHQ slide claiming that they DDoS'd anonymous' IRC servers
Mikko Hypponen: "This makes British Government the only Western government known to have launched DDoS attacks."
ddos  history  security  gchq  dos  anonymous  irc  hacking 
february 2014 by jm
James Friend | PCE.js - Classic Mac OS in the Browser
This is a demo of PCE's classic Macintosh emulation, running System 7.0.1 with MacPaint, MacDraw, and Kid Pix. If you want to try out more apps and games see this demo.


Incredible. I remember using this version of MacPaint!
javascript  browser  emulation  mac  macos  macpaint  macdraw  claris  kid-pix  history  desktop  pce 
january 2014 by jm
Operation War Diary
Crowdsourcing transcription of some WWI artifacts: 'The story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War is waiting to be discovered in 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries. We need your help to reveal the stories of those who fought in the global conflict that shaped the world we live in today.'

(via Luke)
via:luke  war  history  war-diaries  wwi  uk  britain 
january 2014 by jm
Little-known Apollo 10 incident
'Apollo 10 had a little known incident in flight as evidenced by this transcript.' http://pic.twitter.com/NCZy7OdxDU
poo  turds  space  spaceflight  funny  history  apollo-10  apollo  accidents 
january 2014 by jm
Who Made That Nigerian Scam? - NYTimes.com
The history behind the 419 advance-fee fraud scam.
According to Robert Whitaker, a historian at the University of Texas, an earlier version of the con, known as the Spanish Swindle or the Spanish Prisoner trick, plagued Britain throughout the 19th century.
nigerian-scam  419  aff  scams  spam  fraud  history 
january 2014 by jm
Numeronyms
ie. "i18n", "a11y" etc.
According to Tex Texin, the first numeronym [..] was "S12n", the electronic mail account name given to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) employee Jan Scherpenhuizen by a system administrator because his surname was too long to be an account name. By 1985, colleagues who found Jan's name unpronounceable often referred to him verbally as "S12n". The use of such numeronyms became part of DEC corporate culture.[1]
numbers  names  etymology  numeronyms  history  dec  i18n  a11y  l10n  s12n 
december 2013 by jm
British Library uploads one million public domain images to the net for remix and reuse - Boing Boing
this is excellent!
The British Library has uploaded one million public domain scans from 17th-19th century books to Flickr! They're embarking on an ambitious programme to crowdsource novel uses and navigation tools for the huge corpus. Already, the manifest of image descriptions is available through Github. This is a remarkable, public spirited, archival project, and the British Library is to be loudly applauded for it!
british-library  libraries  public-domain  art  graphics  images  history  19th-century  17th-century  18th-century  books  crowdsourcing  via:boingboing  github 
december 2013 by jm
Newegg trial: Crypto legend takes the stand, goes for knockout patent punch | Ars Technica

"We've heard a good bit in this courtroom about public key encryption," said Albright. "Are you familiar with that?

"Yes, I am," said Diffie, in what surely qualified as the biggest understatement of the trial.

"And how is it that you're familiar with public key encryption?"

"I invented it."


(via burritojustice)
crypto  tech  security  patents  swpats  pki  whitfield-diffie  history  east-texas  newegg  patent-trolls 
november 2013 by jm
Tintin And The Copyright Sharks - Falkvinge on Infopolicy
A rather sordid tale of IP acquisition and exploitation, from the sounds of it
tintin  moulinsart  belgium  history  herge  ip  copyright  royalties  rick-falkvinge 
november 2013 by jm
3D-Print Your Own 20-Million-Year-Old Fossils
When I get my hands on a 3-D printer, this will be high up my list of things to fabricate: a replica of a 20-million year old hominid skull.
With over 40 digitized fossils in their collection, you can explore 3D renders of fossils representing prehistoric animals, human ancestors, and even ancient tools. Captured using Autodesk software, an SLR camera, and often the original specimen (rather than a cast replica), these renderings bring us closer than most will ever get to holding ancient artifacts. And if you've got an additive manufacturing device at your disposal, you can even download Sketchfab plans to generate your own.
3d-printing  fossils  africa  history  hominids  replication  fabrication  sketchfab 
november 2013 by jm
The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic
A book published during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur has a greater chance of being in print today than one published during the time of Reagan.
This is not a gently sloping downward curve. Publishers seem unwilling to sell their books on Amazon for more than a few years after their initial publication. The data suggest that publishing business models make books disappear fairly shortly after their publication and long before they are scheduled to fall into the public domain. Copyright law then deters their reappearance as long as they are owned. On the left side of the graph before 1920, the decline presents a more gentle time-sensitive downward sloping curve.
business  books  legal  copyright  law  public-domain  reading  history  publishers  amazon  papers 
september 2013 by jm
"The cricket bat that died for Ireland"
The bat had the misfortune of being on display in the shop front of Elvery’s store on O’Connell Street, then Sackville Street, during the Easter Rising. J.W. Elvery & Co. was Ireland’s oldest sports store, specialising in sporting goods and waterproofed wear, with branches in Dublin, Cork (Patrick Street) and London (Conduit Street). [...] Its location, about one block from the GPO, meant it was in the middle of the cross-fire and general destruction of the main street.
ireland  cricket  1916  history  easter-rising  crossfire  sports  elverys 
september 2013 by jm
Reversing Sinclair's amazing 1974 calculator hack - half the ROM of the HP-35
Amazing reverse engineering.
In a hotel room in Texas, Clive Sinclair had a big problem. He wanted to sell a cheap scientific calculator that would grab the market from expensive calculators such as the popular HP-35. Hewlett-Packard had taken two years, 20 engineers, and a million dollars to design the HP-35, which used 5 complex chips and sold for $395. Sinclair's partnership with calculator manufacturer Bowmar had gone nowhere. Now Texas Instruments offered him an inexpensive calculator chip that could barely do four-function math. Could he use this chip to build a $100 scientific calculator?
Texas Instruments' engineers said this was impossible - their chip only had 3 storage registers, no subroutine calls, and no storage for constants such as π. The ROM storage in the calculator held only 320 instructions, just enough for basic arithmetic. How could they possibly squeeze any scientific functions into this chip?

Fortunately Clive Sinclair, head of Sinclair Radionics, had a secret weapon - programming whiz and math PhD Nigel Searle. In a few days in Texas, they came up with new algorithms and wrote the code for the world's first single-chip scientific calculator, somehow programming sine, cosine, tangent, arcsine, arccos, arctan, log, and exponentiation into the chip. The engineers at Texas Instruments were amazed.

How did they do it? Up until now it's been a mystery. But through reverse engineering, I've determined the exact algorithms and implemented a simulator that runs the calculator's actual code. The reverse-engineered code along with my detailed comments is in the window below.
reversing  reverse-engineering  history  calculators  sinclair  ti  hp  chips  silicon  hacks 
august 2013 by jm
The 1940s origins of Whataboutery
The exchange is indicative of a rhetorical strategy known as 'whataboutism', which occurs when officials implicated in wrongdoing whip out a counter-example of a similar abuse from the accusing country, with the goal of undermining the legitimacy of the criticism itself. (In Latin, this rhetorical defense is called tu quoque, or "you, too.")
history  language  whataboutism  whataboutery  politics  1940s  russia  ussr 
august 2013 by jm
Extract from 1973 HM Treasury document concerning post-nuclear-attack responses
'Extract from 1973 HM Treasury document concerning post-nuclear-attack monetary policy' includes this amazing snippet:

[Contingency] ...(d) a total nuclear attack employing high power missiles which would destroy all but a small percentage of the UK population and almost all physical assets or civilised life. [...] As for (d), the money policy would of course be absurdly unrealistic for the few surviving administrators and politicians as they struggled to organise food and shelter for the tiny bands of surviving able-bodied and the probably larger number of sick and dying. Most of the other departments contingency planning might also be irrelevant in such a situation. Within a fairly short time the survivors would evacuate the UK and try to find some sort of life in less-effected countries (southern Ireland?).


Hey, at least they were considering these scenarios. (via Charlie Stross)
nuclear  attack  contingency  government  monetary  policy  uk  ireland  history  1960s  via:cstross  insane  fallout 
august 2013 by jm
Casalattico - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How wierd. Many of the well-known chippers in Ireland are run by families from the same comune in Italy.
In the late 19th and early 20th century a significant number of young people left Casalattico to work in Ireland, with many founding chip shops there. Most second, third and fourth generation Irish-Italians can trace their lineage back to the municipality, with names such as Magliocco, Fusco, Marconi, Borza, Macari, Rosato and Forte being the most common. Although the Forte family actually originates from the village of Mortale, renamed Mon Forte due to the achievements of the Forte family. It is believed that up to 8,000 Irish-Italians have ancestors from Casalattico. The village is home to an Irish festival every summer to celebrate the many families that moved from there to Ireland.


(via JK)
rome  lazio  italy  ireland  chip-shops  chippers  history  emigration  casalattico  work  irish-italians  via:jk 
may 2013 by jm
A Giorgio Moroder story
"Dear Mr Tilman, this is the only way I can help you. saluti, Giorgio Moroder". I love it -- someone call Tufte
graphics  giorgio-moroder  history  music  ilx  basslines  donna-summer  synths 
may 2013 by jm
memcached turns 10 years old
Well, apparently tomorrow, but close enough. Happy birthday to bradfitz' greatest creation and its wonderful slab allocator!
birthdays  code  via:alex-popescu  open-source  history  malloc  memory  caching  memcached 
may 2013 by jm
on the etymology of "Ketchup"
'the story of ketchup is a story of globalization and centuries of economic domination by a world superpower. But the superpower isn't America, and the century isn't ours. Ketchup's origins in the fermented sauces of China and Southeast Asia mean that those little plastic packets under the seat of your car are a direct result of Chinese and Asian domination of a single global world economy for most of the last millenium.'
ketchup  china  nam-pla  food  etymology  condiments  history  trade 
march 2013 by jm
TOSEC: Commodore C64 (2012-04-23) : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
A massive, 6.5GB collection of C64 history.
There are an astounding 134,000+ disk, cassette and documentation items in this Commodore 64 collection, including games, demos, cractros, and compilations.
commodore  c64  history  computing  software  demos  archive 
march 2013 by jm
A History Of Ireland In 100 Objects
Now free!
The Royal Irish Academy, the National Museum of Ireland, and The Irish Times are collaborating with the EU Presidency, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Adobe to bring you a gift of A History of Ireland in 100 objects ‘from the people of Ireland to the people of the world’ for St Patrick’s Day. It is available as an interactive app for Apple iPhone and iPad, for most Android tablets and on the Kindle Fire, from our website, as well as associated app stores. You can also experience the book on your computer, smartphone or eReader by clicking on the 'eBook' button below. The gift is free to download until the end of March. 
free  st-patricks-day  museum  ireland  history  objects  eu  apps  iphone  ipad  android  books  ebooks 
march 2013 by jm
Bunnie Huang's "Hacking the Xbox" now available as a free PDF
'No Starch Press and I have decided to release this free ebook version of Hacking the Xbox in honor of Aaron Swartz. As you read this book, I hope that you’ll be reminded of how important freedom is to the hacking community and that you’ll be inclined to support the causes that Aaron believed in.

I agreed to release this book for free in part because Aaron’s treatment by MIT is not unfamiliar to me. In this book, you will find the story of when I was an MIT graduate student, extracting security keys from the original Microsoft Xbox. You’ll also read about the crushing disappointment of receiving a letter from MIT legal repudiating any association with my work, effectively leaving me on my own to face Microsoft.

The difference was that the faculty of my lab, the AI laboratory, were outraged by this treatment. They openly defied MIT legal and vowed to publish my work as an official “AI Lab Memo,” thereby granting me greater negotiating leverage with Microsoft. Microsoft, mindful of the potential backlash from the court of public opinion over suing a legitimate academic researcher, came to a civil understanding with me over the issue.'

This is a classic text on hardware reverse-engineering and the freedom to tinker -- strongly recommended.
hacking  bunnie-huang  xbox  free  hardware  drm  freedom-to-tinker  books  reading  mit  microsoft  history 
march 2013 by jm
GitHub Archive
a project to record the public GitHub timeline, archive it, and make it easily accessible for further analysis. GitHub provides 18 event types, which range from new commits and fork events, to opening new tickets, commenting, and adding members to a project. The activity is aggregated in hourly [gzipped JSON] archives, which you can access with any HTTP client.
github  data  git  history  version-control  oss  archival 
march 2013 by jm
Literate Jenks Natural Breaks and How The Idea Of Code is Lost
A crazy amount of code archaeology to discover exactly an algorithm -- specifically 'Jenks natural breaks", works, after decades of cargo-cult copying (via Nelson):

'I spent a day reading the original text and decoding as much as possible of the code’s intention, so that I could write a ‘literate’ implementation. My definition of literate is highly descriptive variable names, detailed and narrative comments, and straightforward code with no hijinks.

So: yes, this isn’t the first implementation of Jenks in Javascript. And it took me several times longer to do things this way than to just get the code working.

But the sad and foreboding state of this algorithm’s existing implementations said that to think critically about this code, its result, and possibilities for improvement, we need at least one version that’s clear about what it’s doing.'
jenks-natural-breaks  algorithms  chloropleth  javascript  reverse-engineering  history  software  copyright  via:nelson 
february 2013 by jm
Slide Rule Calculations By Example
Harder than using a calculator, that's for sure
slide-rule  gadgets  tech  history  antiques  calculating 
february 2013 by jm
All polar bears descended from one Irish grizzly
'THE ARCTIC'S DWINDLING POPULATION of polar bears all descend from a single mamma brown bear which lived 20,000 to 50,000 years ago in present-day Ireland, new research suggests. DNA samples from the great white carnivores - taken from across their entire range in Russia, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Alaska - revealed that every individual's lineage could be traced back to this Irish forebear.' More than the average bear, I guess
animals  biology  science  dna  history  ireland  bears  polar-bears  grizzly-bears  via:ben 
january 2013 by jm
Ivan Beshoff, Last Survivor Of Mutiny on the Potemkin, founded Beshoffs
wow. there's a factoid! the "Beshoffs" chain of chippers in Dublin were founded by this historic figure, who died in 1987
factoids  beshoffs  chips  dublin  history  small-world  battleship-potemkin  russia 
january 2013 by jm
What happened to KHTML after Apple announced Safari
'There was a huge amount of excitement at the announcement that Safari would be using KHTML. At that time, it was almost a given that the OSS rendering engine was Gecko. KHTML was KDE's little engine that could. But nobody ever expected it to be picked up by other folks. One of the original parts of the KHTML-to-OS X port was KWQ (pronounced, "quack") that abstracted out the KDE API portions that were used in KHTML.
Folks were pretty ecstatic at first. It seemed very validating.
But that changed quickly. As Zack's post indicates, WebKit became a thing of unmergable code-drops. Even inside of the KDE community there became a split between the KHTML purists and the WebKit faction. They'd previously more or less all been KHTML developers, but post-WebKit there was something of a pragmatists vs. idealists split. Zack fell on the latter side of that (for understandable reasons: there was an existing community project, with its own set of values, and that was hijacked to a large extent by WebKit).
A few years later WebKit transformed itself into a more or less valid open source project (see webkit.org), but that didn't close the rift in the KDE community between the two, at that point rather divergent, rendering engines. There's still some remaining melancholy that stems from that initial hope and what could have potentially been, but wasn't.'
history  safari  open-source  code-drops  over-the-wall  webkit  khtml  kde  oss  apple 
january 2013 by jm
The Eire Markings
An attempt to catalogue some Emergency-era (ie. WWII) ground markings, used to notify US pilots that they were overflying the neutral Republic of Ireland
ireland  eire  history  wwii  the-emergency  war  geography  mapping 
december 2012 by jm
Linux nukes 386 support
"there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels anymore. Sniff."

Now *THAT* is backwards compatibility.
linux  backwards-compatibility  386  history  linus-torvalds 
december 2012 by jm
Back-up Tut and other decoy spatial antiquities
I like this idea -- a complete facsimile of King Tut's burial chamber. Bldgblog comments:
<p>
“On the 90th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, an “authorized facsimile of the burial chamber” has been created, complete “with sarcophagus, sarcophagus lid and the missing fragment from the south wall.” The resulting duplicate, created with the help of high-res cameras and lasers, is “an exact facsimile of the burial chamber,” one that is now “being sent to Cairo by The Ministry of Tourism of Egypt.” [...]
</p><p>
'Interestingly, we read that this was "done under a licence to the University of Basel," which implies the very real possibility that unlicensed duplicate rooms might also someday be produced—that is, pirate interiors ripped or printed from the original data set, like building-scale "physibles," a kind of infringed architecture of object torrents taking shape as inhabitable rooms.' [...]
</p><p>
'In their book Anachronic Renaissance, for instance, Alexander Nagel and Christopher Wood write of what they call a long "chain of effective substitutions" or "effective surrogates for lost originals" that nonetheless reached the value and status of an icon in medieval Europe. "[O]ne might know that [these objects] were fabricated in the present or in the recent past," Nagel and Wood write, "but at the same time value them and use them as if they were very old things." They call this seeing in "substitutional terms".'
</p>
via:new-aesthetic  bldgblog  archaeology  facsimiles  copying  king-tut  egypt  history  3d-printing  physibles 
december 2012 by jm
A map of Dublin from 1686
<p>via Come Here To Me -- 'The whole population of the county at the time was under 60,000. Ringsend, Merrion, Monkstown, Bullock and Dalkey on the Southside and Ballybough, Clontarf, Sutton and Hoath/Howth on the Northside are marked. Taken from the book Dublin: through space and time (2001).'</p><p>
Massive tracts of land were reclaimed since then, clearly -- the North bay comes all the way in to Ballybough!</p>
via:chtm  maps  dublin  ireland  history 
december 2012 by jm
Scoop! The inside story of the news website that saved the BBC
The Register's take on the early days of www.bbc.co.uk. Lots of politics, unsurprisingly.
Fifteen years ago this month the BBC launched its News Online website. Developed internally with a skeleton team, the web service rapidly became the face of the BBC on the internet, and its biggest success story – winning four successive BAFTA awards.
Remarkably, it operated at a third of the cost of rival commercial online news operations – unheard of in public-sector IT projects. Devised before there were really any content management systems, the technical architecture became a template for all major news systems, and one that’s still in use today. The team endured some furious internal politicking and sabotage to survive.
bbc  news  history  web  uk  the-register 
december 2012 by jm
The Rise And Fall Of The Obscure Music Download Blog: A Roundtable
One internet music "sharing" trend largely unnoticed by the powers that sue was the niche explosion of obscure music download blogs, lasting roughly from 2004-2008. Using free filesharing services like Rapidshare and Mediafire, and setting up sites on Blogspot and similar providers, these internet hubs stayed hidden in the open by catering to more discerning kleptomaniac audiophiles. Their specialty: parceling out ripped recordings — many of them copyrighted — from the more collectible and unknown corners of music's oddball, anomalous past.

While the RIAA was suing dead people for downloading Michael Jackson songs (and Madonna was using Soulseek to curse at teenagers), obscure music blogs racked up millions of hits, ripping and sharing 80s Japanese noise, 70s German prog, 60s San Francisco hippie freak-outs, 50s John Cage bootlegs, 30s gramophone oddities, Norwegian death metal, cold wave cassettes made by kids in their garages, and the like. It was the mid aughts, and the advent of digitization had inadvertently put the value of the music industry's "Top Ten" commercial product in peril. That same process transformed the value of old, collectible music as well. If one smart record collector was able to share the entire contents—music, artwork and all—of one vinyl LP on his blog, for free, and upload another item from his 1,000+ collection the next day, for weeks and years, and others like him did the same, competing with each other about who could upload the rarest and most sought-after record, and anyone who downloaded it could then share it again and again… Suddenly everyone in the world had the coolest record collection in the world; and soon, nobody in the world had the coolest record collection in the world.

Obscure music download blogs weren't shut down like Napster or Megaupload were (though they were indirectly affected by that crackdown); they just, mysteriously, seemed to burn out on their own sometime around 2008. While some are still around, their number represents only a fraction of that mid-00s heyday. Was this because obscure music blogs had overshared the underexposed and blown the whole thing into oblivion? Is the fact that a guy in Japan will no longer pay $500 on eBay for a first pressing of the No New York compilation because he can find it for free on the internet good for the world? Was the commodity-lost but the knowledge-gained an even exchange? To explore what was going on then, I assembled this email roundtable discussion between creators of some of the most popular blogs of the time: Eric Lumbleau of Mutant Sounds, Liam Elms of 8 Days in April, Frank of Systems of Romance and Brian Turner, Music Director of WFMU.


(via Loreana Rushe)
music  mp3  blogs  obscure  via-loreana-rushe  history  2000s 
november 2012 by jm
The trench talk that is now entrenched in the English language
'From cushy to crummy and blind spot to binge drink, a new study reveals the impact the First World War had on the English language and the words it introduced.' Incredible comments, too...
english  etymology  history  wwi  great-war  via:sinead-gleeson  words  language 
november 2012 by jm
Ingenious Dublin
Excellent stuff, by Mary Mulvihill:

Where in Dublin can you see a Victorian diving bell? What about the skeleton of Tommy, the prince’s elephant? The site of the world’s first earthquake experiment? Or the world’s sports pirate radio broadcast? Our new e-book Ingenious Dublin has all these fascinating stories and more. It is packed with information, places to visit, and lots of illustrations, and covers the city and county, from Skerries windmills to Ballybetagh’s fossil deer.'


EUR 4.99 for the Kindle e-book. I'll buy that!
kindle  reading  books  mary-mulvihill  science  facts  dublin  ireland  history 
october 2012 by jm
Weathering the Unexpected - ACM Queue
Failures happen, and resilience drills help organizations prepare for them.


Good write-up on Google's DiRT (Disaster Recovery Test) procedures, clearly based on Amazon's Gameday exercises. ;) See also http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2371297 for a moderated discussion including Jesse Robbins and John Allspaw
game-day  tests  disaster-recovery  dirt  exercises  history  amazon  google  etsy  resilience  acm 
september 2012 by jm
River Poddle underneath the city of Dublin's streets
Rarely-seen pictures of Dublin's underground river which runs beneath Dublin Castle. I wonder if these are what those blokes spotted entering the drains were up to
hidden-dublin  ireland  dublin  history  poddle  rivers  waterways  subterrainean 
september 2012 by jm
"In Which The Irish Invent Twitter in 1984"
A fascinating story of 1980s tech history -- 'The initial Text Tell PX-1000 was developed by Text Lite Ltd. in Ireland in the early 1980s, probably in 1983. It allowed people to create simple text messages and send them by phone anywhere in the world. It had a built-in memory that could hold up to 7400 characters. The firmware inside the PX-1000 was written by West-Tec Ltd. in Ireland, who were probably also the hardware manufacturers. [... A later version was] the Philips version of the PX-1000Cr, as it features advanced cryptographic capabilities. It was intended for small companies and journalists, and was also used by the Dutch Government. [...] it played an important role in the fight for Nelson Mandela's release from prison.'
nelson-mandela  ireland  history  crypto  texting  text-lite  1980s  philips 
august 2012 by jm
This park's life - The Irish Times - Thu, Jul 26, 2012
Great article about Dublin's Phoenix Park, Europe's largest enclosed urban park (more than twice the size of New York's Central Park, in fact). Now that I have two little kids, I've been spending a good portion of my weekends there -- it's a wonderful thing to have on our doorstep. Also:

The park even breeds celebrities. “The lion that roars at the start of the MGM movies. He’s a Dub. He was born in Dublin Zoo.”
phoenix-park  dublin  history  parks  deer  lion  kids 
july 2012 by jm
Universal properties of mythological networks - Abstract - EPL (Europhysics Letters) - IOPscience
Abstract:

As in statistical physics, the concept of universality plays an important, albeit qualitative, role in the field of comparative mythology. Here we apply statistical mechanical tools to analyse the networks underlying three iconic mythological narratives with a view to identifying common and distinguishing quantitative features. Of the three narratives, an Anglo-Saxon and a Greek text are mostly believed by antiquarians to be partly historically based while the third, an Irish epic [jm: "An Táin Bó Cúailnge", The Tain, to be specific], is often considered to be fictional. Here we use network analysis in an attempt to discriminate real from imaginary social networks and place mythological narratives on the spectrum between them. This suggests that the perceived artificiality of the Irish narrative can be traced back to anomalous features associated with six characters. Speculating that these are amalgams of several entities or proxies, renders the plausibility of the Irish text comparable to the others from a network-theoretic point of view.


Here's what the Irish Times said:

The society in the 1st century story of the Táin Bó Cúailnge looked artificial at first analysis of the networks between 404 characters in the story. However, the researchers found the society reflected real rather than fictional networks when the weakest links to six of the characters are removed.

These six characters included Medb, Queen of Connacht; Conchobor, King of Ulster and Cúchulainn. They were "similar to superheroes of the Marvel universe" and are "too superhuman" or too well-connected to be real, researchers said. The researchers suggest that each of these superhuman characters may be an amalgam of many which became fused and exaggerated as the story was passed down orally through generations.
networks  society  the-tain  epics  history  mythology  ireland  statistics  network-analysis  papers 
july 2012 by jm
Scram
noun: an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor. It has been defined as an acronym for "Safety Control Rod Axe Man", due to this story from Norman Hilberry: "When I showed up on the balcony on that December 2, 1942 afternoon [at the Chicago Pile, the world's first self-sustaining nuclear reactor], I was ushered to the balcony rail, handed a well sharpened fireman's ax and told, "if the safety rods fail to operate, cut that manila rope." The safety rods, needless to say, worked, the rope was not cut... I don't believe I have ever felt quite as foolish as I did then. ...I did not get the SCRAM [Safety Control Rod Axe Man] story until many years after the fact. Then one day one of my fellows who had been on Zinn's construction crew called me Mr. Scram."
scram  nuclear  reactor  history  etymology  words  shutdown  emergency  wikipedia  1942  science  acronyms 
june 2012 by jm
The story of St. Columba: A modern copyright battle in sixth century Ireland
a good summary of the roots of copyright, the Columcille "To every cow belongs its calf; to every book its copy" story (via TJ McIntyre)
columcille  copyright  history  ireland  columbanus  books 
june 2012 by jm
Nikola Tesla Wasn't God And Thomas Edison Wasn't The Devil
Correcting some egregious misconceptions about an Oatmeal comic regarding Tesla and Edison -- explaining some realities about invention, scientific progress, and the history of electricity. "I’d contend that nearly every invention in the engineering or sciences is an improvement on what has come before – such as Tesla’s improvements to alternating current. That’s what innovation is. It’s a social process that occurs in a social context. As Robert Heinlein once said, “When railroading time comes you can railroad -- but not before.” In other words, inventions are made in the context of scientific and engineering understanding. Individuals move things forward – some faster than others – but in the end, the most intelligent person in the world can’t invent the light bulb if the foundation isn’t there."
nikola-tesla  history  electricity  innovation  invention  progress  science  thomas-edison  the-oatmeal 
may 2012 by jm
The Walton Bridge petition
'IOP Ireland is campaigning to have the new bridge across the Liffey in Dublin at Marlborough Street named for ETS Walton – Ireland’s only physics Nobel prizewinner.'
nobel  physics  science  ireland  ernest-walton  scientists  history  naming  dublin  tcd 
may 2012 by jm
Videogames, the Shirt
great Berserk/Space Invaders mashup tee from drtofu. HUMANOID MUST NOT ESCAPE
berzerk  games  history  videogames  via:fp  tees  t-shirts 
april 2012 by jm
"A Rough Justice"
The poem, written by Sir Robert Watson-Watt, inventor of radar, on being pulled over for speeding by a radar-gun-wielding policeman. "Watson-Watt received a speeding ticket in Canada when he was 64 years old. In his autobiography, _The Pulse of Radar_, he describes the experience. His wife is in the car, and she tries to pull the "don't you know who you're giving a ticket to?" trick on the policeman. Of course he doesn't know Watson-Watt, nor, it turns out, does he even know what radar is (he only knows what his "electronic speedometer" reads out), and Watson-Watt receives a $12.50 (Canadian) dollar fine." (via Rob Manuel)
via:robmanuel  radar  technology  irony  robert-watson-watt  poetry  history 
march 2012 by jm
Photo Tampering throughout History
dating back to 1860: 'This nearly iconic portrait (in the form of a lithograph) of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is a composite of Lincoln’s head and the Southern politician John Calhoun’s body.' I had no idea of many of these
tampering  photos  pictures  images  photoshop  doctoring  history 
march 2012 by jm
Infovore » A Year of Links
'I thought it would be interesting to produce a kind of personal encylopedia: each volume cataloguing the links for a whole year. Given I first used Delicious in 2004, that makes for eight books to date.' Printed via Lulu, with a tag index. Really nifty ;)
books  archives  bookmarks  pinboard  delicious  links  personal  history  via:pinboard 
february 2012 by jm
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