Can the Internet be archived?

Seven years later, Britain’s Conservative Party scrubbed from its Web site ten years’ worth of Tory speeches, including that one. Last year, BuzzFeed deleted more than four thousand of its staff writers’ early posts, apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider.

.. For the law and for the courts, link rot and content drift, which are collectively known as “reference rot,” have been disastrous. In providing evidence, legal scholars, lawyers, and judges often cite Web pages in their footnotes; they expect that evidence to remain where they found it as their proof, the way that evidence on paper—in court records and books and law journals—remains where they found it, in libraries and courthouses.

.. According to a 2014 study conducted at Harvard Law School, “more than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review and other journals, and 50% of the URLs within United States Supreme Court opinions, do not link to the originally cited information.”

.. One feature of WAIS was a time axis; it provided for archiving through version control. (Wikipedia has version control; from any page, you can click on a tab that says “View History” to see all earlier versions of that page.)

.. Tim Berners-Lee, an English computer scientist, proposed a hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to link pages on what he called the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee toyed with the idea of a time axis for his protocol, too. One reason it was never developed was the preference for the most up-to-date information: a bias against obsolescence. But the chief reason was the premium placed on ease of use. “We were so young then, and the Web was so young,” Berners-Lee told me. “I was trying to get it to go. Preservation was not a priority. But we’re getting older now.”

In Need of Xandau: 20 key findings about CIA interrogations does a lot of quoting of the senate documents.  They could use a better way of quoting these collections in context.

Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs listing 20 key findings. Click a statement below for a summary of the findings:


W3: The Group That Rules the Web

When the Web was brand new, many computer-savvy people despised it—compared to other hypertext-publishing systems, it was a primitive technology. For example, you could link from your Web page to any other page, but you couldn’t know when someone linked to your Web page. Nor did the Web allow you to edit pages in your browser. To élite hypertext thinkers and programmers, these were serious flaws.

.. “Technology standardization is commercial diplomacy,” wrote Stephen R. Walli, the senior director of platform engineering at Corbis Images and a veteran of many such efforts, in a paper on the subject, “and the purpose of individual players (as with all diplomats) is to expand one’s area of economic influence while defending sovereign territory.” Or, as Charles F. Goldfarb—who co-created a forerunner to HTML called Standard Generalized Markup Language, in 1974—once delicately put it, on an e-mail list: “Multi-year projects in a highly political arena with changing personnel contributes to a loss of focus.” Which is to say: standards, like laws, emerge from fundamental conflict.

.. The automatic validator is an encoded belief system. Not every Web site offers valid HTML, just as not every Catholic eschews pre-marital sex.

.. Using EmotionML, this is how you would indicate a pleasure value of 0.5:

<emotion dimension-set=””><dimension name=”pleasure” value=”0.5″/></emotion>

Roget Invented the Thesaurus at Age 73

Being nuts, it turns out, was in his blood: His grandmother was mentally unstable, his mother was nearly psychotic and his sister and daughter had suffered severe mental breakdowns. As if that wasn’t enough, his father and wife died young, and one time his uncle slit his throat in front of him. Peter was actually the sane one in the family, or as it was known to people who weren’t in his family, “still crazier than a shit house rat.”

 .. The only thing that seemed to calm him was making lists, a somewhat creepy hobby he’d had since childhood. When he retired from medicine at 61, he realized he might as well spend all day making one huge, all-encompassing list of all the things ever — so that’s exactly what he did.


The Success:


Twelve years later, at age 73, Peter Roget published his giant list of words as a book, Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases … otherwise known as “the thesaurus.”


Simple explanation of counterpoint?


In music, counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are interdependent harmonically (polyphony) yet independent in rhythm and contour.

.. Counterpoint, in simple terms, is a technique for creating “good” harmony with independent voices (independent on contour & rhythm). Another way of looking at it is: Counterpoint is a technique for playing various independent voices without messing up the harmony.

.. All it means is that is that both voices add up to some kind of harmony (think of chords although they don’t have to be), while the the musical lines themselves don’t sound or feel alike. These voices can also typically each be perceived as a different melody.

There is a much simpler way to say what counterpoint is which is “The study of how to make two voices independent within the context of harmony.”

.. If you want good examples of how counterpoint can be used listen to some fugues and inventions.

 Youtube example: Fugue

How to start your novel: Non-linearity

Screw continuity and linearity

Just because your are writing a particular plot line or a character’s perspective doesn’t mean you need to continue writing the same. If you have hit a mental block on this plot line, just start writing another thread which interests you.

This is the only way you can keep writing without burning yourself out. Keep jumping from one thread to another unless you are in a groove and churning out pages after pages in this particular thread.

Why we are all standing on the shoulders of tech’s giants

But I worry that for most people PLATO is one of those parts of our shared history that we seem to be losing. We’ve mostly forgotten that it was PLATO that inspired Ted Nelson to write his pair of books Computer Lib and Dream Machines that led to his work on the failed Xanadu hypertext project that helped inspire Tim Berners-Lee’s work that gave us today’s World Wide Web.

.. How can we protect that history, in an industry that seems to reinvent itself every decade or so? We can support the work of organisations such as the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, or the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park in the UK.

.. It’s a fun read, full of laugh-out-loud anecdotes and cute stories (did you know the cover over the power switch on a rack of computers is called a Molly Guard, after the two year old daughter of an early mainframe operator who managed to shut down a major research centre with a flick of her finger?).