Monthly Archives: September 2014

For me, a wondrous history

oldmamsmallerAn amazing discovery. My sister, Rhiannon, who lives in Geneva, is a very determined person. If she sets her mind to something it gets done.
Athough we are next to each other in the Powell pecking order we have never been the best of friends. Or enemies. She has gone her way, I mine. Having said that she has my unbounded admiration and has been wonderfully kind to her younger relatives. So that is Rhiannon, sometimes called Nanw. But this picture is of my Mam and was taken August 17, 1918.

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What a load of bollocks

Monkeys1Torrent Freak  starts up a hare, possibly because it wants copy to fill its pages. And, as a result, some people who should know better, are worried.
TorrentFreak reads: Imagine an Internet in which every possible creative work uploaded results in a copyright claim – because it’s already been created. That’s the nightmare scenario being painted by a Russian company which says it has a plan to use copyright and trolling to free humans from ever having to create digital content again.
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Getting ready to fight cancer

cancer2So today I had another day at the hospital. I guess for most of the people in the hospital it was another day. For some  patients a day of, perhaps, further concern. For others  perhaps jubilation. For me it was a little of both. The hospital is the Prince of Wales in Sydney and I am being treated there for cancer of the throat. My first appointment was with Professor Robert Smee of the Department of Oncology.
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e-Book iffy history

bookqI am totally in disagreement with Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, who once said: ‘Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book.’ Such nonsense. Such total nonsense.
First to solve a small mystery.
Who wrote the first book on a computer?
It has just been brought to my attention — better late than never — that The Wire makes a claim that it happened when Jerry Pournelle wrote Oath of Fealty on a late 1970s Z-80 computer.
Total nonsense. Rubbish. And ruder words.

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Not much to report

nonews-296x300Before I was born, April 18, 1930, during what should have been a 6:30 pm radio news the BBC went slightly bonkers. A BBC presenter announced “Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news.” It had been apparently judged that nothing newsworthy had happened. It is very fully covered on the Internet.
Piano music was then played instead of the current affairs update for a couple of minutes, before normal scheduling resumed.
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Computer typography made it

gutenberg_1Fascinating to see how wrong we tend to be when forecasting the future. I can access back copies of many newspapers through the magic of computers and the truly helpful (I cannot emphasize this enough) librarians at the State Library of New South Wales.
One practical tip: If you want speedy access from your home computer choose times when students are asleep, drinking or engaging in other student-type activities. Then the data base is twice as fast. Perhaps faster.
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Michener: my South Pacific hero

1Bali Hai 2In a sense when I write about James Michener (which is not often)  I have to write about him in four parts. First as the fastest writer and the most dedicated writer I knew.
Second as  an amazing story-teller — more appropriate I think than author — who produced best-seller after best-seller. All well-researched and without error.
Third, as a friend playing frisbee in Tahiti — he was 17 years older — and beating me by such a margin it was an embarrassment .
And fourth,  finally, the dodgy business of The Drifters.
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Malkovich the Great

EinsteinJohn Malkovich is a genius you keep forgetting about. (Alright I keep forgetting about. Why should you be blamed?)
He is a great actor. He is not the greatest of actors in the world. Not in my opinion. But as second lead, in character roles he is frightening, believable, memorable, truly great. In this picture he not only depicts Einstein, he is Einstein. There is a phrase used by actors about getting into the skin of a character. Here is Malkovich showing how it is done.
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