George Orwell: Politics and the English Language #

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

Turbulence #

To understand turbulence we need the intuitive perspective of art.

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Violence

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.

—Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known, Chapter 6.

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Sandstorm: Personal Cloud Sandbox #

Because you should own your data. The project is led by ex-Google-engineer Kenton Varda and is currently crowdfunding.

GitHub for Academics #

Though originally developed as a way to share and merge software code, any types of files can be part of a GitHub repository, making it a great collaborative tool for academics, finds Kris Shaffer. Since any open-licensed project can be hosted on GitHub for free, it can function as a publishing platform, a peer-review system, a learning management tool, and a locus for intra- and inter-institutional collaboration.

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Dillinger Markdown Editor

Dillinger is yet another free, open source option for text editing happiness. This one’s good. Uses Marked which makes it fast. And even has support for Markdown tables syntax!

I have it running at write.hypertexthero.com after doing the following:

  1. Install Node.
  2. Setup a website, domain and application.
  3. Install Dillinger from the GitHub repository
  4. Install forever so it keeps running.
  5. Edit ~/home/<myusername>/webapps/write/dillinger/app.js and make sure my assigned port number from step 2 above is entered in the following line:

    app.set('port', process.env.PORT || #####); //  port assigned by webfaction app
    
  6. Started the application with:

    forever start -a /home/hth/webapps/write/dillinger/app.js
    

It should ideally be:

forever start -a -l forever.log -o /home/hth/logs/user/out.log -e /home/hth/logs/user/logs/err.log --minUptime=5000 --spinSleepTime=2000 /home/hth/webapps/write/dillinger/app.js

…but this fails for some reason — looking into it.

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Markx: Markdown Editor for Scientific Writing #

Another option for text editing happiness.

Noto: Typeface for All Languages #

Like Gentium.

Albert Einstein Institution #

Advancing freedom through nonviolent action.

Stop The Transatlantic Trade Investor Partnership #

European citizens against a global ban on left-wing politics.

George Monbiot:

The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago(2). But I left out the most important issue: the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

Steve Jobs Next to the IBM Logotype #

Reminds me of a friend of mine.

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Connect to Raspberry Pi From an iMac

  1. Install Raspbian OS image into SD card
  2. Slide SD Card into Raspberry Pi, then connect an ethernet cable from the Pi to your router and connect a power cable to the Pi (in my case the power cable is also connected to a USB port in the router for power)
  3. Install nmap on Mac to find out IP address of Pi on network and then SSH into the Pi:

    1. brew install nmap
    2. sudo nmap -sn 192.168.1.0/24

      Starting Nmap 6.40 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2014-07-15 19:27 CEST
      Nmap scan report for 192.168.1.1
      Host is up (0.0021s latency).
      MAC Address: 78:6A:89:42:7A:76 (Unknown)
      Nmap scan report for 192.168.1.3
      Host is up (0.092s latency).
      MAC Address: 00:88:65:3F:94:A8 (Apple)
      Nmap scan report for 192.168.1.4
      Host is up (0.0035s latency).
      MAC Address: B8:27:EB:69:DC:41 (Raspberry Pi Foundation)
      Nmap scan report for 192.168.1.11
      Host is up.
      Nmap done: 256 IP addresses (4 hosts up) scanned in 3.44 seconds
      
  4. ssh -X pi@192.168.1.4

  5. Setup VNC server on the Pi
    1. apt-get install tightvncserver
    2. vncserver
    3. vncserver :1
  6. And on the iMac.
  7. And from any device with a terminal in the same network, including an iPhone with an application such as Prompt: ssh -X pi@192.168.1.4

To be expanded with more details.

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Osservatorio Sulla Censura Di Internet in Italia #

List of censored websites in Italy.

SQlite: Small, Fast, Reliable #

My favorite thing about SQlite is that it is just one file. Need to do a quick backup? Drag and drop.

Alegreya #

Very nice free typeface designed by Juan Pablo del Peral found via the Patoline website’s source code. See it also at Font Squirrel.

The Videogame That Maps The Galaxy #

SteveWilds’ in the comments of The New Yorker’s article:

@jmr You can also explore this reconstructed galaxy in David Braben’s game. In fact the first and biggest player group in the game will be the First Great Expedition, whose goal is to travel as far into the simulation as possible, mapping and recording their discoveries as they go, as virtual scientific endeavour.

No other computer game has given people the opportunity to do this, let alone in a theoretically accurate simulation of this scale.

Can’t wait for Elite: Dangerous! I bought the Premium Beta this past weekend, so expect more about it here shortly.

Why Should We Support the Idea of an Unconditional Basic Income #

It’s kind of curious isn’t it? Here we are worrying people will work less if we guarantee a basic income, and the reality of the situation is that people are presently working too much, and it is costing all of us. Combine this with the fact there’s 3 people seeking every 1 available job, and the obvious solution is that we actually want people to be able to choose to work less, to free up more positions for those seeking jobs who are currently being excluded from the labor market.

Plus, the very ability of people to not need a job, makes it that much harder for employers to exploit employees with insufficient wages and poor working conditions. The ability to actually say “No”, means the empowerment of labor on an individual level — no unions required.

Simply put, basic income makes work actually pay.

So why should you support unconditional basic income? Why should you have supported the abolition of slavery back in the late 19th century? Why should you have supported the right for people other than rich white men to vote? Why should you have supported our landing on the Moon? Why should you have supported the ending of the Vietnam war, or the beginning of LBJ’s war on poverty?

Because you want to make our world a better place. That’s why.

Education and World Peace #

Beliefs, ideologies and organized religions are setting us against our neighbours; there is conflict, not only among different societies, but among groups within the same society. We must realize that as long as we identify ourselves with a country, as long as we cling to security, as long as we are conditioned by dogmas, there will be strife and misery both within ourselves and in the world.

Then there is the whole question of patriotism. When do we feel patriotic? It is obviously not an everyday emotion. But we are sedulously encouraged to be patriotic through school-books, through newspapers and other channels of propaganda, which stimulate racial egotism by praising national heroes and telling us that our own country and way of life are better than others. This patriotic spirit feeds our vanity from childhood to old age.

The constantly repeated assertion that we belong to a certain political or religious group, that we are of this nation or of that, flatters our little egos, puffs them out like sails, until we are ready to kill or be killed for our country, race or ideology. It is all so stupid and unnatural. Surely, human beings are more important than national and ideological boundaries.

The separative spirit of nationalism is spreading like fire all over the world. Patriotism is cultivated and cleverly exploited by those who are seeking further expansion, wider powers, greater enrichment; and each one of us takes part in this process, for we also desire these things. Conquering other lands and other people provides new markets for goods as well as for political and religious ideologies.

One must look at all these expressions of violence and antagonism with an unprejudiced mind, that is, with a mind that does not identify itself with any country, race or ideology, but tries to find out what is true. There is great joy in seeing a thing clearly without being influenced by the notions and instructions of others, whether they be the government, the specialists or the very learned. Once we really see that patriotism is a hindrance to human happiness, we do not have to struggle against this false emotion in ourselves, it has gone from us forever.”

—Jiddu Krishnamurti in Education and the Significance of Life.

Universal Basic Income as the Foundation of Freedom #

A basic income gives people the freedom to turn down unattractive work and to start cooperative ventures that are more rewarding, in the sense of more pleasant but also more in line with the goals people have set for their lives.

Migration and Human Rights #

Found P.a.p.-Blog while researching in preparation to ask Muhammad Yunus some questions today. From the about page:

I blog about human rights – including political and economic rights such as the right to participate in government (democracy being a subset of human rights) and the right not to suffer poverty – from the perspective of politics, art, philosophy (hence p.a.p.), law, economics, statistics, psychology etc.

Sympathy for the Luddites #

Paul Krugman on Basic Income.

Freddie King - Live in Europe 1973–4 #
The Endless River #

New Pink Floyd album this October.

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Supervisord Configuration at Webfaction

Problem: Your server machine crashes and your website running under an application server such as Gunicorn goes down. The app server needs to be restarted.

Solution: Use supervisord to monitor your application server process and restart it if it dies.

  1. Install supervisord:

    pip install supervisor
    
  2. Put the follosing in ~/etc/supervisord.conf (includes examples for hypertexthero.com and Food News):

    [unix_http_server]
    file=/home/hth/tmp/supervisor.sock
    
    [supervisord]
    logfile=/home/hth/logs/user/supervisord.log
    logfile_maxbytes=25MB
    logfile_backups=10
    loglevel=info
    pidfile=/home/hth/etc/supervisord.pid
    
    [rpcinterface:supervisor]
    supervisor.rpcinterface_factory = supervisor.rpcinterface:make_main_rpcinterface
    
    [supervisorctl]
    serverurl=unix:///home/hth/tmp/supervisor.sock
    
    [include]
    files = /home/hth/webapps/hypertexthero/hypertexthero-env/hth/hth/conf/supervisor.ini /home/hth/webapps/foodnews/fn-env/fn/supervisor.ini
    
  3. Create a supervisor.ini file in each web application’s repository so we keep supervisor settings for the application in version control. Example:

    [program:hypertexthero.com]
    command=/home/hth/webapps/hypertexthero/hypertexthero-env/bin/python2.7 /home/hth/webapps/hypertexthero/hypertexthero-env/bin/gunicorn_django --daemon -b 127.0.0.1:23035 -w 2 --max-requests 500
    directory=/home/hth/webapps/hypertexthero/hypertexthero-env/hth/hth
    user=hth
    autostart=true
    autorestart=true
    redirect_stderr=True
    
  4. Start supervisord using its main configuration file:

    supervisord -c /home/hth/etc/supervisord.conf
    

If problem, see this.

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What Is It That Comes When Nationalism Goes? #

Krishnamurti: Obviously, intelligence. But I am afraid that is not the implication in this question. The implication is, what can be substituted for nationalism? Any substitution is an act which does not bring intelligence. If I leave one religion and join another, or leave one political party and later on join something else, this constant substitution indicates a state in which there is no intelligence.

How does nationalism go? Only by our understanding its full implications, by examining it, by being aware of its significance in outward and inward action. Outwardly it brings about divisions between people, classifications, wars and destruction, which is obvious to anyone who is observant. Inwardly, psychologically, this identification with the greater, with the country, with an idea, is obviously a form of self-expansion. Living in a little village or a big town or whatever it may be, I am nobody; but if I identify myself with the larger, with the country, if I call myself a Hindu, it flatters my vanity, it gives me gratification, prestige, a sense of well-being; and that identification with the larger, which is a psychological necessity for those who feel that self-expansion is essential, also creates conflict, strife, between people. Thus nationalism not only creates outward conflict but inward frustrations; when one understands nationalism, the whole process of nationalism, it falls away. The understanding of nationalism comes through intelligence, by carefully observing, by probing into the whole process of nationalism, patriotism. Out of that examination comes intelligence and then there is no substitution of something else for nationalism. The moment you substitute religion for national1sm, religion becomes another means of self-expansion, another source of psychological anxiety, a means of feeding oneself through a belief. Therefore any form of substitution, however noble, is a form of ignorance. It is like a man substituting chewing gum or betel nut or whatever it is for smoking, whereas if one really understands the whole problem of smoking, of habits, sensations, psychological demands and all the rest of it, then smoking drops away. You can understand only when there is a development of intelligence, when intelligence is functioning, and intelligence is not functioning when there is substitution. Substitution is merely a form of self-bribery, to tempt you not to do this but to do that. Nationalism, with its poison, with its misery and world strife, can disappear only when there is intelligence, and intelligence does not come merely by passing examinations and studying books. Intelligence comes into being when we understand problems as they arise. When there is understanding of the problem at its different levels, not only of the outward part but of its inward, psychological implications, then, in that process, intelligence comes into being. So when there is intelligence there is no substitution; and when there is intelligence, then nationalism, patriotism, which is a form of stupidity, disappears.

django-oauth-toolkit #

This is the sanest thing I’ve come across while researching Single Sign-On architectures for a set of applications. Will use it in a second prototype before making a decision (the first prototype used a CAS architecture which may be the preferred option as it is for a set of related websites at work).

Best Typefaces in Google Web Fonts #

Gentium is there, along with very nice quotations from Seneca to Nabokov. I really like the following from Stowe Boyd’s Postnormal era (using PT-Mono):

Authoritarian/Centralized → Egalitarian/Decentralized
Objective/Impartial → Subjective/Partial
Hierarchy → Network
Nuclear → neo-Tribal
Globalism/Growth → Localism/Steady-State
Nation/Province/City → Locale/Watershed/Region/World
Broadcast → Participative
Exploitative/Unsustainable → Restorative/Sustainable
Dogmatic/Orthodox → Enigmatic/Heterodox

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Happier People and Computers in BigOrgName

The following three suggestions should make people using computers happier in BigOrgName.

1. Use plain text format for all written text documents.

Because:

Sustainability. Plain text both ensures transparency and answers the standards of long-term preservation. MS Word may go the way of Word Perfect in the future, but plain text will always remain easy to read, catalog, mine, and transform. Furthermore, plain text enables easy and powerful versioning of the document, which is useful in collaboration and organizing drafts. Your plain text files will be accessible on cell phones, tablets, or, perhaps, on a low-powered terminal in some remote library. Plain text is backwards compatible and future-proof. Whatever software or hardware comes along next, it will be able to understand your plain text files.

Preference for human-readable formats. When writing in Word or Google Docs, what you see is not what you get. The .doc file contains hidden, automatically-generated formatting characters, creating an obfuscated typesetting layer that is difficult for the user to troubleshoot. Something as simple as pasting an image or text from the browser can have unpredictable effects on your document’s formatting.

Separation of form and content. Writing and formatting at the same time is distracting. The idea is to write first, and format later, as close as possible to the time of publication. A task like switching from Chicago to MLA formatting should be painless. Journal editors who want to save time on needless formatting and copy editing should be able to provide their authors with a formatting template which takes care of the typesetting minutia.

Support for the academic apparatus. The workflow needs to handle footnotes, figures, international characters, and bibliographies gracefully.

Platform independence. As the vectors of publication multiply, we need to be able to generate a multiplicity of formats including for slide projection, print, web, and mobile. Ideally, we would like to be able to generate the most common formats without breaking bibliographic dependencies. Our workflow needs to be portable as well–it would be nice to be able to copy a folder to a thumbdrive and know that it contains everything needed for publication. Writing in plain text means you can easily share, edit, and archive your documents in virtually any environment. For example, a syllabus written in Markdown can be saved as a PDF, printed as a handout, and converted into HTML for the web, all from the same file. Both web and print documents should be published from the same source and look similar, preserving the logical layout of the material.

And:

Although modern word processing programs can do some amazing things—adding charts, tables, and images, applying sophisticated formatting—there’s one thing they can’t do: Guarantee that the words I write today will be readable ten years from now.

That’s just one of the reasons I prefer to work in plain text: It’s timeless. My grandchildren will be able to read a text file I create today, long after anybody can remember what the heck a .docx file is.”

2. Use Markdown syntax in all written text documents.

Because:

It’s easy: the syntax is so simple you can barely call it “syntax.” If you can use an emoticon, you can write Markdown.

It’s fast: the simple formatting saves a significant amount of time over hand-crafted HTML tags, and is often faster than using a word processor or WYSIWYG editor. It speeds up the workflows of writers of all ilk, from bloggers to novelists.

It’s clean: Markdown translates quickly to perfectly formed HTML: no missing closing tags, no improperly nested tags, no blocks left without containers. You also get 100% less cruft than exporting HTML from Microsoft Word. There’s no styling inline, nothing that will otherwise break a site’s design or mess with the XSLT formatting for PDF output. In short, it’s foolproof.

It’s portable: your documents are cross-platform by nature. You can edit them in any text-capable application on any operating system. Transporting files requires no zipping or archiving, and the filesize is as small as it can possibly get.

It’s flexible: output your documents to a wide array of formats. Convert to HTML for posting on the web, rich text for sending emails or importing into a layout program for final arrangement or any number of other proprietary formats.

It fits any workflow: You can make Markdown work with any workflow. It can speed up just about any writing-related process with very little setup. It can also be scripted all to hell, if you want, because plain text is the most flexible of any format known to computer-kind.

A demo of Markdown is available here.

3. Make free, open source operating systems such as SUSE or Ubuntu Linux BigOrgName’s standard desktop system, but let people use the system they are comfortable with should they wish.

How much money does BigOrgName spend on software licencing? I don’t know the answer, but, for example, volume licenses for Microsoft Office cost somewhere between xxx and xxx USD per computer. Around xxxx computers in BigOrgName multipled by xxx USD per license equals xxx,xxx USD. Would this include extra licensing costs for alternate language packs? And how about the cost of anti-virus software licenses?

BigOrgName should also standardize on free, open source software such as LibreOffice, but still let people use the software they are comfortable with, should they wish.

Further thoughts:

  1. A defining characteristic of human beings is our ability to make and use tools. We should not be required to pay a corporation in order to use (and modify) our digital tools. I.e. For an international organization with a mandate affecting the whole world, paying for software support is a good use of money. Paying for software licenses is not. We already have the hardware — Linux would run very well in BigOrgNames’s current computers.
  2. The City of Munich has saved millions by going with open source (specifically Ubuntu Linux). See also this and this.
  3. A thought experiment: Paying a tomato company in order to grow genetically modified tomatos (with patented seeds that you cannot reproduce) rather than paying small farmers for their help in growing seeds which one can plant, grow and use freely.

In this second machine age hopefully we will be well-equipped to grow our own seeds, in our own soil, in our own gardens, without walls.

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Markdown Table Generator #

Useful.

Epoch Real-Time Charting Library #

The browser’s conversion to run-time continues.

About the Logbook

The Hypertexthero Logbook is a blog about web, design and simplicity. It includes links to other places on the internet that Hypertexthero finds interesting.