Sunday, February 19, 2006

Back from my mid plane crisis

Tripe Soup has been out of action for a while as my imac g5 has been repaired. The whole midplane of the computer had to be replaced as it was suffering from bulging capacitors.
According to this Wikpedia article Capacitor Plague

The primary cause of these problems is industrial espionage gone wrong, with some Taiwanese electrolyte manufacturers using a stolen formula that was incomplete, and lacked ingredients needed to produce a stable capacitor.

It appears that the early Imac g5's are prone to overheating, so I will have to be cautious using this computer during heatwaves. Another amusing problem for imacs turned up in this Apple Discussion Board thread, ant lodged in screen.

While I was gone it seems Barista has moved to a new sight.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rogues Gallery

On the Subject of Railways and all things related, The British Transport Police have a small Rogues Gallery which contain some fascinating Mugshots. The scant details of their crimes and convictions are tinged with pathos and irony.

John Yates (above) who got six months with hard labour for stealing a parcel, was lucky he didn't get life for the worlds worst combover.

North West Railway Telephone Directory

A post by Boynton lead me to London and North western Railway Telephone Directory, 1915. Making a telephone call must have been stressful for Railway employees if these instructions are any guide.


Insert the telephone plug in jack. If busy back buzzer sounds a private message is passing on the line and the plug must be immediately withdrawn.

If when the telephone plug is inserted in the jack, the busy back buzzer does not sound, place receiver to ear, and if no conversation be heard, press button and speak to operator saying, "Are you there," "Is line engaged." If no reply is received replace receiver on hook and call Exchange on vibrator key. Do not wait for reply ring back, place receiver to ear , speak to operator in London and ask for office required and wait with receiver to ear until called party speaks, occasionally saying, "Are you there" to warn any party listening in that the line is engaged.


If Station required is one of the stations permanently connected to the trunk line the busy back buzzer will sound whilst the operator in London is calling the party asked for. Under these circumstances the busy back buzzer may be disregarded and the buzzing will cease when the operator has gained the attention of the party wanted.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary Photographer: Jake Dobkin at Bluejake Licensed under a Creative Commons License

This evening ABC Radios PM aired a Current Affairs Special on Eastern State Penitentiary a former American Prison that become a Model for hundreds of Prisons around the world, including Melbourne's Pentridge Prison.
Built in Philadelphia in 1829, the prison was seen as revolutionary as it introduced the idea of the Prison as a place of reform rather than punishment.

Philadelphia was influenced by the Quaker tradition, and the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons decided that the best way to encourage repentance was to isolate prisoners with labour, hence the term Penitentiary. So although Eastern State introduced amenities such as running water and central heating, its whole design was based on the notion of solitary confinement. The prison became world famous and about 300 copies of the prison were made worldwide.

Charles Dickens, one of the initial supporters of this new prison, changed his mind after visiting the prison, writing;

"I held this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body, and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear, therefore I the more denounce it as a secret punishment in which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay."

Eastern State did not abandon solitary confinement until 1913 and the prison finally closed in 1970.
The website for Eastern State Prison can be found here and a history of the prison here.

Nothing to do with Eastern State but these photographs of inmates of the Arkansas State Prison 1915-1937 found and printed by Bruce Jackson are powerfull images. There is no information about these nameless prisoners except their assigned prison number. The viewer is left to wonder at the stories that could be told about their situation.



Monday, January 02, 2006

competition in frightfulness

The UK Government National Archives have released the Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks from World War Two. These notes give a few brief snippets about the views of Churchill and his war cabinet to events of WWII.

Here are excerpts from a meeting on the 15th June 1942, discussing reprisals for German Massacre of a Czechoslovakian Village:
P.M. Conversation with Benes about possibility of reprisal for savage cruelties now being practiced by Germans in Czechoslovakia. Suggested wiping out German villages (3 for 1) by air attack. View of A.D. in C. Bomber Command. 100 bombers wd. be required. Low attack 2/3rds incendiaries. Bright moonlight wd. be reqrd. Objection & reasons shd. be announced aftwds. F.O. in favour. If thought worthwhile, give RAF discretion to fit it in when they can.

L.P.S. Is accuracy of report beyond doubt?

P.M. Germans announced.

S/S.Air. Disliked it. Diversion of effort fr. military objective. Risking aircraft & crews. Wd we not be led on to do it more & more – if Germans knew we wd. answer thus.

S/Doms. Doubt if it is useful to enter into competition in frightfulness with Germans.

H.O. Wd. like to consider – reprisals on English villages, where no shelter, & low scale a.r.p. Public wd. say “why did you draw this down on to us?”

C.A.S. If they came in low & not far inland they wd. run v. small risk.

F.O. Even so, there might be a deterrent element in this.

M/L. German responds to brute force & nothing else.

Bruce. It might lead to even greater atrocities in Czechoslovakia.

General view that it wd. be wise to think this over.

L.P. Danger is that it costs us something & them nothing. Against it.

General feeling of Cabinet – against doing this. (i.e. L.P., M/Inf., CO., H.O.)

PM My instinct is strongly the other way.

F.O. Strongest argument against – waste of a moonlight night. Bigger diversion than I had thought.

Churchill favoured the summary execution of Nazi leaders by Electric Chair at this meeting .
At another meeting there was a discussion of how to come to terms with the American policy of segregation to its 'coloured' troops.

The full versions of the transcripts can be downloaded from here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Country mourns the death of the Goanna

The Parrot has written an epitath for Kerry Packer that he justly deserves in this article in the Australian. Full of strange mixed metaphors;

A giant oak tree crashed in the Australian forest of great people with the passing of Kerry Packer.

Jones praises Packer for his generous, unselfish and inspiring spirit , and of course what Australian couldn't admire the heroic efforts of our richest citizen in attempting to avoid paying any income tax at all.

A more honest tribute, by AnonymousLefty, to Kerry can be found here

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

August Sander

A German Flickr contact Elizabeth alerted me to the work of August Sander who assigned himself to make a photographic portrait of the German people in the 1920's and 1930's.

Sander Documents a wide range of people found in German Society of the period, there are portraits of Nazis, Industrialists, well known Artists, Peasants, Blue collar workers and the marginalised as in the image below.

Children in a home for the Blind (Duren 1930)

The sensitive approach of Sanders portraiture gives an equal value to all of his subjects.

Fitter (Cologne 1928)

More can be found here and here.