The New Machine

In Times of the Technoculture, my old boss Frank Webster argued that current info society trends in the capitalist economy are largely the logical extension of trends that have been around more or less since the birth of capitalism. Specifically, Taylorism brought scientific management to the workplace, with surveillance and discipline hand in hand; but there were full on plans (through an organisation of engineers and capitalists called ‘The New Machine’) to take those advances in efficiency into the realms of politics and society where a (positive) form of...

Students take aim at the ‘Never Ha...

Today’s protests will be mainly read as anger at the hike in student fees resulting from the government’s massive withdrawal of funding from higher education. Very important issues, to be sure. But the issue at stake is broader, even, than the debate over whether higher education is a public good. Refusal to pay for higher education is just one part of an ongoing, broad-ranging assualt on future generations by those currently in positions of power. Lord Young’s panned comments that people had ‘never had it so good’ is revealing, not just of...

Reading Notes: Johnson’s Interface...

Johnson, Steven. 1997. Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way we Create and Communicate. Basic Books. [NB These are notes to self, they become pretty ungrammatical towards the end!] This interesting and erudite book starts from the position that the collision of technology and culture is nothing new, but that with the increased pace of technological change the collision has become more obvious. That is, new media have always intersected with cultural change but major innovations have lasted for millenia (cave painting), centuries (printing) or decades...

The ‘Big Society’ Needs Soci...

Jesse Norman MP was on last week’s Politics Weekly podcast at the Guardian talking about his new book on The Big Society (Indy review). He said that the Conservatives weren’t trying simply to shrink the state in order to replace it with the market, but instead wanted to harness and ‘unimaginable reserves of social energy’ to do good. This energy apparently exists in institutions outside of the state and the market: ‘the local church, the local school or even Manchester Football Club; the things that give people purpose and meaning’....

Start/Stop LAMP in Ubuntu 10.4

I occasionally want a local web server on my netbook for fiddling around, but don’t want it running on start up. So, using the following steps I removed it from the start up list and created a launcher button to start and stop apache and mysql. 1. Remove from startup list: $sudo update-rc.d apache remove $gksu gedit /etc/init/mysql.conf In your text editor look for the lines with start up information and comment them out by adding a hash at the beginning of each line. 2. Write simple start script $gksu gedit /usr/local/bin/lampstart In your text editor paste the...

Update on ECHR ruling on Terrorism Act s...

While ECHR’s judgment as described below seemed pretty final, the Labour government still attempted a final appeal – asking for the case to be heard in the ‘Grand Chamber’ (i.e. throwing another few ECHR judges in to the pot). They didn’t have any new arguments or grounds for appeal though and so today I heard that the ECHR has refused the government request. Labour were probably trying to kick it into the long grass until after the election, knowing that it would soon be somebody else’s problem. The judgment should hopefully ensure that the shiny new coalition...

Exploring hyperlink networks with Issue ...

Paper at: Workshop on method(s): challenges of on-line research. Abstract: This presentation will introduce Issue Crawler software as a methodological tool for examining hyperlink networks. The software identifies sets of websites with dense connections around particular issues. Generated data allows the use of social network analysis techniques to understand the structure of the web. The talk will identify some of the methodological issues raised by the tool and also present some data from a recent study of anti-war websites. Some of this work has been published as...

We fought the law… and won!

The European Court of Human Rights today issued its judgement on the case that Penny Quinton and I have been taking against the government over section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They have agreed that this piece of legislation offends against Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and does not contain sufficient safeguards for members of the public. [1] The case stems from events in September 2003, when Penny and I were independently subject to stop and search under the Terrorism Act. We’d both been attending protests at the DSEi arms fair, myself...