2015 — 7 April: Tuesday

A return1 to post-Easter normality and the full-on horror show that is a UK election campaign. (Link.) There's a reason that link is dead! Who wants to see Tony Bliar in full noxious flow? :-)


... how true is this?

It is difficult to recover from an attack on your character that appears in the cornerstone text of Western philosophy. Two millennia later, invisibility still suffered a reputation as a particularly insidious form of absolute power: morally toxic to whoever possessed it, physically hazardous to everyone else. In H. G. Wells' 1897 classic, "The Invisible Man," the title character dedicates his life to discovering the secret of invisibility — only to be driven mad by it and use it to launch a "Reign of Terror" against humanity.

Kathryn Schulz in New Yorker

Bet no-one saw that coming. I spotted another piece by this new staff writer. It hit closer to home, for recent, obvious reasons:

Today, "Why do we die?" is one of the fundamental questions of epidemiology, and we have developed a vast and macabre bureaucracy to answer it.
The atomic unit of that bureaucracy is the death certificate. Of all the ways we have ever devised to grapple with our mortality, it is the strangest, least elegiac, and by far the most ambitious...

Kathryn Schulz in New Yorker

The economics news editor...

... of one of our national TV networks has applied Marxist theory to Westeros:

So what Westeros needs is not an invasion of werewolves from the frozen north, but the arrival of a new kind of human being: they should be dressed in black, with white lace collars, stern faces and an aversion to sex and drink. In a word, Westeros needs capitalists — such as those who frown puritanically at us from Dutch portraits in the 17th century. And they should, as in the Dutch Republic and the English civil war, launch a revolution.

Paul Mason in Grauniad

"Thinning" indeed. A concept I'd not seen explicitly named until now, despite having read Niven's "The magic goes away" many years ago. These days, I've largely (though not entirely) given up on ever-fatter fantasy trilogies.

I'm completely baffled...

... by my current failure to get my local webserver back up and running. (This is precisely the same lighttpd code that runs flawlessly on my Raspbian Pi2 upstairs.) I want to run it for serving web pages from "localhost" on BlackBeast Mk III. I've tried uninstalling and re-installing it. I've tried it with and without the Linux firewall enabled. It won't even show the 'skeleton' default page that is currently sitting right where it "should" be in /var/www — Firefox just says:

lighttpd Oops

Grrr. Never mind; it's nearly time for my lunch date, and a glorious day out there.

Normal Postal Service...

... having now been restored after the disgraceful dog attack episode I've just picked up cheery news of a rise in my Tax Code which will help me pay for the double CD re-issue of "The Harvest Years" by Shirley and Dolly Collins. I heard enough during the recent blast of folk music across BBC 6Music that I went looking:

The Harvest Years CDs

The original albums and CDs are fetching outrageous prices, but this compilation neatly matches my wallet. It was also Auto-Ripped for me by the Amazon elves, which is how I discovered that when you access your Amazon Cloud music player from a Linux system (which I was doing purely to download the files for local playback) you can download no more than six tracks at a time. A bit tedious and, I would guess, down to technical laziness somewhere along the electric string.

I'm willing to bet Mr Bezos isn't running all his webservers on Microsoft code, so why the discrimination?

The problem...

... with the non-working installation of the lighttpd webserver turned out to be caused by "something malingering somewhere" that had been left over from (I assume) one of the many former incarnations. Removing, purging, and auto-cleaning restored it to its former state of health. Ever onward.


(I can recommend the steak and kidney pie in "The Cromwell Arms", by the way. That's the place that used to be "Casa Bodega" about seven years ago. On the edge of Romsey, heading out towards Salisbury.)

Long pause...

... during which I learn a much simpler way of mounting my NAS drives: put entries for them into the /etc/fstab file that's already used to mount my SSDs. For example:

# Samba shares for Synology Nas One (3TB white)
//   /NAS/NAS_ONE/Documents    cifs credentials=/home/david/.creds/NAS_ONE.creds,iocharset=utf8,sec=ntlm 0 0
# Samba shares for Synology Nas Two (4TB black)
//       /NAS/NAS_TWO/Music        cifs credentials=/home/david/.creds/NAS_TWO.creds,iocharset=utf8,sec=ntlm 0 0

The golden rule? Always create the mount point before attempting to use it — create the folder "Documents" in path /NAS/NAS_ONE first!



1  I muchly hope, starting with some fresh food supplies :-)