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Building An Old Box

Today was the anniversary of Alan Mathison Turing publishing his paper, “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem“, which is one of the founding documents of IT. Along with Claude Elwood Shannon’s1937 masters thesis, A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits, you have the basis for the fundamental components of modern computers.

It was therefore highly appropriate to read that one of the more important of early computers has been resurrected: Code-cracking machine returned to life.

These were the machines that took the output generated by the Colossus, the true “code-cracker”, and used it to convert the encrypted messages into plain-text. Both the Colossus and the Tunny machines were created by engineers working for the telephone division of the Royal Mail.

May 28, 2011   4 Comments

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

The BBC notes that US musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron dies at 62. Juan Cole embedded his most well-known work: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

While he is addressing black issues in the piece, substitute liberals for blacks and you have the same problem of media invisibility. Just as the media selects “approved” black leaders, it selects a small group of “approved” political voices. Consider that a dozen Tea Party protestors show up anywhere and everyone is told about it, but tens of thousands of people can gather for a liberal cause and there is silence.

He was an oral poet. He continued what the “Beat poets” were doing, but the tradition goes back to the Greeks, and is found throughout the world. He wasn’t just a lyricist, although some of his poetry is musical, he also wrote poetry to be read and pondered in silence.

He has been called the “godfather of rap”, but rap is just a continuation of the same oral tradition, story telling in a rhyming pattern with accompaniment. The purpose is to make a point about the world the poet lives in.

May 28, 2011   Comments Off

Tropical Storm Songda – Day 7

Tropical Storm SongdaPosition: 31.5N 133.4E [ 9PM CDT 0300 UTC 1200 JST].
Movement: Northeast [045°] near 35 mph [56 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 65 mph [100 kph].
Wind Gusts: 80 mph [130 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 150 miles [240 km].

Currently about 565 miles [905 km] West-Southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

It has encountered very strong sheer from a ridge ahead of it, and is being disassembled.

The Ryukyus were very lucky given what Songda was capable of doing a little over a day ago. It had been the strongest tropical storm of 2011.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select "Hurricanes" for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

May 28, 2011   Comments Off