Marxists.org soon to be unreachable

It has just came to my attention that Marxists.org will be offline for a couple of weeks. A statement from the website:

In early November we came under sustained denial of service attack from Internet hosts in China attempting to exploit a misconfiguration in our server's operating system. The nature and origin of the attack, our previous history with the PRC, and the experience of others suggest that this maybe politically motivated and directed by the Chinese government.

[...]

As if that weren't bad enough, while attempting to make arrangements to buy a new server, we learned that our colocation facility will be closing on February 1, leaving MIA literally homeless.

[...]

The bottom line: there is a significant probability that we will not be able to find and deploy an acceptable solution in time to meet the February 1 lights-out date. This means that the MIA will be off the air. We will make every attempt to bridge the gap with the help of our dedicated mirror operators though we may need to stop serving some of our more "expensive" content such as MP3s and PDFs. There is also a chance that our ultimate solution may require us to make a long-term evaluation of the type of content we serve and make things like PDFs available via alternate distribution channels (e.g. BitTorrent). However, despite our recent litany of seemingly fatal problems, the MIA remains a strong organization with a wealth of content, committed to providing the premiere electronic library of Marxist writings. Despite the political, technical, or economic pressures, rest assured that we will find a way to keep these works available to the world.

Mirrors can be found at:

Asia
France
Germany
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
United States (East)
United States (South)

Windows Vista sales rank

Well here we are three days until Windows Vista becomes broadly available. So I thought I'd check out what the current retail prices are and I noticed that Windows Vista Ultimate was ranked at #29, much higher than I was expecting, so I checked out the best sellers list and found the others to be doing rather well.

The business launch already exceeded expectations, and the general launch looks solid judging on this.

From Amazon.co.uk:

#2 Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade).
#13 Windows Vista Ultimate (Upgrade).
#26 Windows Vista Home Premium.
#29 Windows Vista Ultimate.

All in the top thirty (Office was at the #1 spot), not bad at all. I'll see how it changes over the next week or so. I think its evidence enough that Windows Vista isn't another Windows ME (yes I'm looking at the FUD spreaders).

PlayStation 3 countdown gadget

I've just put together a countdown gadget for the European PlayStation 3 launch. Like my Wii countdown gadget.

PlayStation 3 countdown gadget for Windows Vista

Download it here (85KB). I've had an e-mailing from someone asking what a .gadget is. It's for the Windows Vista sidebar, otherwise its basically a zip file with some Java and HTML in.

SOHO's view of Comet McNaught

As I promised a few days back, here's a complete video of Comet McNaught passing through the LASCO camera on SOHO telescope.

You can really start to see the solar wind fan the tail out as it goes around the Sun, which is why images in the northern hemisphere, show a largely straight tail, yet ones in the southern hemisphere show a much more diffuse tail as the solar wind pushes the tail away from the Sun.

The reason it looks so over-exposed is because the LASCO camera is designed to look at the faint outer atmosphere of the Sun. Even the planet Mercury, shown in this footage to the lower left causes the pixels to bleed into each other creating horizontal lines. Comet McNaught is far too bright to be properly exposed.

You can find more information about SOHO on the SOHO website, or download the videos here.

Comet McNaught in the southern hemisphere

Comet McNaught has now moved into the twilight skies in the southern hemisphere, captured here in this photo by Noel Munford taken from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1)

So if you're lucky enough to live in the southern hemisphere go take a look at this comet. It'll be visible for a few weeks now after sunset in the western skies. It is fading, so go take a look as soon as you can.

300 years since the Act of Union

Today is the 300th anniversary of the ratification of the Act of Union of 1707; the acts were passed in both the English parliament and the Scottish Parliament, in both cases with large majorities. This basically did two things:

1) Create a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.

2) Dissolve both parliaments and create a new parliament of Great Britain.

Gordon Brown a few days ago used this to launch a counter-attack on the nationalists (like this guy), and rightfully so. He said there was now a dividing line in Britain which pitted "those of us who are prepared to support the shared values of the union" against "those who are prepared to play fast and loose with the union and put the whole future of the union at risk".

He also went on to say that having an English parliament would tear the union apart.

Of course Mr Opportunism himself, David Cameron used this as an attack, not just on that position but on the union itself and shows how far the Tories will go just to try and get a vote, even at the expense of destroying the country. They figure they can't win in a parliament of the whole union, and reckon they have a better chance if it's cut up so they just have to win English seats.

The trouble is New Labour went ahead with devolution which got us into this mess. The English nationalists use this as an excuse to get an English parliament and break up the union, or help their nationalist pals in Scotland to get Scotland out. They say why should Scottish MPs be able to vote exclusively on Scottish issues, yet the Scottish via the union parliament are able to vote on English issues.

It's gotten to the point where the English nationalists are saying Gordon Brown shouldn't be prime minister because he's Scottish and they've got their own parliament bla bla bla. Hate Brown for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

Anyway the solution to this is not the creation of an English parliament as the English nationalists would want.

It's to shut down the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, unify all the laws to apply across the land, separate the church from the state, unify the banks. Unify the football and other sports leagues (a lot of the nationalists do like football) and "national" teams, remove any legislation designed to promote division, such as the Welsh Language Act. Ban the use of St George's flag, the cross of St Andrew, the Red Dragon on public buildings. Discourage the use of England, Scotland and Wales when not used in a historic or geographic context. Perhaps even move parliament around the country every 2 or 3 terms too, after all we've got those new parliament buildings now, might as well use them for something after we wasted so much money on them.

Well over 70% of the population support the union, the lack of support for the two main political parties in the UK is just opening up the flood gates to all sorts of nationalists, and that needs to be addressed, perhaps Brown has the right strategy of over-inflating the ability of the nationalist elements in order to drum up resistance to their unrealistic nonsense.

Breaking up the union is nothing but looking backwards, whenever a union of nations breaks apart it is always a disaster for the people. We must look forward and create and develop new unions, with the rest of Europe, and eventually the rest of the world.

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