The New Cathedral Door

In thinking it was time to start writing for my blog again, I have been digging through my thoughts folder, if you will permit a reification, and came across some musings from last year when I was listening to the Big Brother Watch podcasts. One episode in particular, Social Media Censorship and the Impact on Free Speech, presented some chilling changes which happened when we began our first spate of lockdowns as the Covid pandemic picked up in intensity....

May 22, 2021 · 7 min read · 1333 words

Jotting — Protect Duty

Lightbulb Moment The Government is committed to improving the safety and security of public venues, as outlined in its 2019 manifesto. This consultation considers how we can work together to develop proportionate security measures to improve public security. It also considers how those responsible for publicly accessible locations are ready and prepared to take appropriate action, were a terrorist attack to happen. Analysis As a historian I am deeply conscious of the inertia that government has exerted over the past half millennia....

May 18, 2021 · 2 min read · 240 words

Scribble, Scribble, Scribble

I think it was the George III who is reputed to have said to the great historian Edward Gibbon: “Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?” Apocryphal or not, the sentiment is the apologetic title of another great historian’s book: Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writings on Ice Cream, Obama, Churchill & My Mother by Simon Schama. It is a glorious read that, like all of his work, lives up to John Clive’s assertion: ‘historical wisdom only deserve[s] to endure if it ha[s] a proper quotient of wit, force and literary power’....

May 17, 2021 · 3 min read · 516 words

Jotting — WHO

Lightbulb Moment ON FRIDAY, APRIL 30, the WHO quietly updated a page on its website. In a section on how the coronavirus gets transmitted, the text now states that the virus can spread via aerosols as well as larger droplets. As Zeynep Tufekci noted in The New York Times, perhaps the biggest news of the pandemic passed with no news conference, no big declaration. If you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss....

May 16, 2021 · 1 min · 200 words

Hail, Lobster!

Buried as I am in books and journal articles, and abjuring the more mass appeal social networks as I do, much in popular culture passes me by. I don’t confess this with any sorrow, nor even much pride, it is just the case, to adopt that hideous phrase: ‘it is what it is’. As a rule, I find that which is meaningful tends to endure, and generally adopt a wait and see attitude to modern culture....

April 16, 2021 · 5 min read · 957 words

Bitcoin's Dirty Little Secrets: Political

Continuing from my recent essay, Bitcoin’s Dirty Little Secrets – Environmental, I thought I should give some space to the political dimenion of Bitcoins dirty little secrets. Since the white paper was first published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto, the central premise (pun intended) of Bitcoin has been that: A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution....

April 13, 2021 · 5 min read · 862 words

Bitcoin's Dirty Little Secrets: Environmental

It is with no small degree of interest that I have been watching Doug Belshaw’s latest side project unfold, extinction.fyi. I have long been concerned with the negative human impact on our environment and while I am some way off from thinking the world is on fire, it is clear that business as usual is going to leave a decidedly lessened planet for our children. For our children’s children, we may even bequeath an uninhabitable planet....

March 29, 2021 · 4 min read · 793 words

A Mastodon To Call My Own

I’ve been thinking for a while about my online services. It started, as so many of my recent online adventures have, with a post from Kev Quirk alerting me to his latest initiative: the 512k club. I have been interested in a greener and lighter world wide web for sometime, and have written about my attempts to improve the weight of this site. This initiative was right up my alley. But it also got me thinking about my online identities and where my services are hosted....

March 6, 2021 · 4 min read · 756 words

How I Publish — Back to the Future

In How I Publish – Version 3.0, I gave a short sketch of my online publishing efforts. In a nutshell, I started my blogging life on WordPress. When I embarked on the 100daystooffload challenge I used WriteAs. When seeking a more feature rich platform I tried GhostPro. But today is back to the future as I return to WordPress. Why The Platform Hopping? Part of the reason, as I outlined in Confessions of a Platform Junkie is that I love technology....

August 12, 2020 · 3 min read · 628 words

100 Days of Muse & Reason

Well, I have reached the end of the 100daystooffload.com challenge and the numbers are as follows: 100 posts in 100 Days 44,752 words 15 Major Topics Most prolific topics were: Technology (22 posts) Social Comment (22 posts) History (19 posts) Publishing (19 posts) Philosophy (14 posts) Most popular post (So this is how privacy dies…, 2,241 views) I began the challenge hoping it would improve my journaling habits and ability to write short form pieces....

August 10, 2020 · 2 min read · 299 words