The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'edinburgh'
In central Edinburgh, near the university, there is an establishment named the Forest Café. It's located in a large building which used to be a church, is run by volunteers, and has been running for a little over a decade, during which time it has hosted many events, gigs and exhibitions, offered studio space and grants to artists, put out books and records and generally acted as a hub to the creative elements in the Scottish capital. Apart from that, it is a very agreeable environment, with a vaguely Berlin-like feel and good food and drink; the vegan burritos in particular are highly recommended.
Now, alas, the Forest is under threat and needs help. The Edinburgh University Settlement, the charity which owns the building it's in, has gone bankrupt, and the building is to be sold.
As many of you will be aware, the Edinburgh arts scene has suffered a massive blow due to the bankruptcy of the EUS, the charitable organisation that owned the Roxy Art House and the church which the Forest currently resides in at 3 Bristo Place. The Roxy, which was under direct management of the EUS, has been shut down. The Forest building is up for sale.Chances are, whoever buys the building will redevelop it into a more commercially profitable facility, which means no more arts space. (Perhaps it'll become another upmarket art-themed hotel, like the Foundry in Shoreditch, or perhaps just a collection of premium retail space.) Unless, of course, the Forest buys the building, enabling it to keep functioning as an arts hub and community space in the Old Town of Edinburgh indefinitely. To do so, though, they'll need £500,000, which they don't have. As such, they're putting together a business plan and collecting donations on their web site:
This means 50 000 of our friends donating £10, or 5000 of our friends donating £100, or a variety of donations large and small combined with a number of fundraisers in Edinburgh and across the UK. This is not unfeasible: Forest has many friends. We've seen you at our parties and in our hot tub with feathers in your hair, we've put out your records, we drank with you at our gallery openings, and we once gave you that grant to fund your Phillipian film programme in Manila. If you’ve ever been to a free event here, or just like the idea of what we do, please donate whatever you can afford.
Currently, we're in the process of putting together a solid business plan to demonstrate how feasible this is. We're also setting up a Just Giving site which will include a graph which grows and grows as the fund does, and plan an open meeting for anyone who wants to get involved within the next couple of weeks. However, in the meantime with the desperate events which have taken place since the Roxy's closure, we wanted to get the word out as soon as possible and start the campaign.I have just sent in a donation, and encourage anyone who has been to the Forest, or indeed who supports the existence of autonomous art spaces of this sort, to do so as well.
More in news on railways of the future: there are plans in Scotland for building a 300mph Maglev rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow. The link would, in theory, cut travel times between the two Scottish cities to 15 minutes, effectively combining them into one conurbation. The proposal has received support from the head of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which operates public transport in greater Glasgow.
A Member of the Scottish Parliament is calling into an inquiry into allegations at traffic light controllers in Edinburgh and Glasgow are deliberately creating traffic mayhem to encourage people to use public transport, undoubtedly motivated by some extremist green agenda. There have been rumours of this sort of thing happening in London too; could Loony Left Red Ken be behind it?
- Parrot knows 950 words, has grammar, can coin phrases and shows evidence of a sense of humour. Which calls into question the accepted belief that parrots act as sound-recording devices. Mind you, the article also claims that the parrot has telepathic abilities, which makes it sound rather dubious. Perhaps the BBC News has been acquired by Pravda?
- FBI computer expert talks about (in)security:
American companies have tried to respond to the massive fraud being perpetrated online. One common preventive, adopted by most companies that sell products online, has been to refuse shipments outside of North America, or allow international shipping, except for Eastern Europe. Criminals have figured out a way around this, however. They hire folks to act as middlemen for them. Basically, these people get paid to sit at home, sign for packages from Dell, Amazon, and other companies, and then turn around and reship the packages to Russia, Belorussia, and Ukraine. You know those signs you see on telephone poles that read "Make money! Work at home!"? A lot of that "work" is actually laundering products for the Russian mob. Of course, anyone caught acting as a middleman denies knowledge of their employer: "I had no idea why I was shipping 25 Dell computers a day to Minsk! I just assumed they liked computers!"
Dave also had a great quotation for us: "If you're a bad guy and you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac." Basically, police and government agencies know what to do with seized Windows machines. They can recover whatever information they want, with tools that they've used countless times. The same holds true, but to a lesser degree, for Unix-based machines. But Macs evidently stymie most law enforcement personnel. They just don't know how to recover data on them. So what do they do? By and large, law enforcement personnel in American end up sending impounded Macs needing data recovery to the acknowledged North American Mac experts: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Evidently the Mounties have built up a knowledge and technique for Mac forensics that is second to none.
- The amazing story of three blind brothers who became Israel's most formidable phone phreaks, partly by dint of their acute senses of hearing:
Two hours into an afternoon-long interview with the Hebrew-speaking Badirs, my translator's lips lock. He shrugs and tells me that the Badirs have shifted into a secret code. Ramy later explains that as kids he and Muzher developed their own language - reordering letters in mathematically complex ways - after they discovered that other boys were snooping on their conversations.
Ramy, Muzher, and Shadde were arrested on a variety of charges relating to computer fraud in connection with their hacks of the radio station and Bency Levy's phone sex operation. Police took them from their home in wrist and leg cuffs, but even in custody, they could not help but show off by conversing in their secret language and announcing telephone numbers that were being keyed in by law enforcers.
- Warning: blogging can endanger your career, relationships or general wellbeing: (via FmH)
"The blogging community is terribly incestuous," Lapatine admits. "If the relationship doesn't go well, all your mutual friends will read about it. This," he adds, "is how a friend of mine learned that he had halitosis and was a bad dancer."
Some bloggers run into difficulties from seemingly mundane reports about their daily thoughts and activities. "As an Asian girl, I get weird Asian-fetish e-mails from people who read [my] site," says Lia Bulaong, the twentysomething Manhattan author of Cheesedip (she includes tame photographs of herself in everyday clothes). "Also, stalkers I had in college that I didn't know about have come out of the woodwork."
- The prognosis for the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide film looks somewhat dubious, what with Karey "Chicken Run" Kirkpatrick rewriting the script (undoubtedly crushing out anything that doesn't fit the standard Hollywood rules of characterisation and plot) and a rapper being cast as Ford Prefect. The thing about Trillian having been rewritten as a "brilliant scientist" also seems dubious. But you knew that already.
- A proposed Trainspotting-themed tour of Edinburgh has run into problems because the city has been cleaned up too much, with many of the locations in the novel and film no longer existing in any recognisable form (via Lev)
The blingerati arrive in Edinburgh for the MTV Europe music awards. Edinburgh? What the flaming hell were they thinking? You know what Scotland is full of, don't you? Pale people in anoraks who are into twee, shambling jangly indie-pop and such. You'd think that if they had to have the MTV music awards in Britain, they'd do so in Brighton (home of lagered-up big-beat dance parties) or the superclubs of Manchester or someplace. But not Scotland; otherwise they may as well hold next year's ones in Reykjavík or somewhere.
Fire guts Edinburgh city centre. Damn; I was there a while ago, and it was a very picturesque place, and will probably be rather hard to replace. I suppose that the winding, two-level streets would make firefighting somewhat more difficult.
I'm in Edinburgh right now; I'm posting this from a (somewhat expensive though centrally located) Internet café at Waverley Station, and won't be able to post photos until I'm back in London at least (within a week, most probably). There's a Human League song playing on the radio, which is somewhat unusual perhaps.
Edinburgh is a very impressive-looking place; more so than London, I'd say. It's built on the slopes of hills (around a castle of historic significance), and thus you have interesting things such as streets on different levels, entire streets going under other streets, buildings with two ground floors and lanes which are winding stone staircases. Which, as you can imagine, looks quite doovy.
A word of advice for visitors to Edinburgh: if you're keen on photography (or just nice views), go to Calton Hill. (Why doesn't every city have high hills with impressive neoclassical monuments in the centre?) If you're afraid of heights, ignore the preceding advice.
(Another word of advice: don't bother with those British Telecom Internet-enabled payphones. They're a nice idea, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. For one, the vandal-proof, payphone-style keyboards are impossible to type on at all comfortably, and the keys tend to behave somewhat erratically unless whacked with great determination. (And also the custom browsing software they use lacks certain amenities, such as, say, HTTP authentication. Haven't these people heard of Mozilla?))
Stranger than fiction: Norway bestows military honour on penguin. The penguin, named Nils Olav, resides in the Edinburgh Zoo and is the first penguin to hold rank in the Norwegian Army, and now holds the rank of honourable regimental sergeant major. (via Meg)