Is Google turning Evil?

I sent Google Books an email:

"Does google books offer texts from Project Gutenberg yet?

Last time I checked the book I was looking for was offered in six different versions, each offering snippets only, but the Gutenberg version didn't appear on the list.


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As far as I can tell their answer is that Google books is there to defend the interests of 'their' publishers (This seems to mean those who pay them commission) even if it means they provide a worse service to searchers.

Is this the start of a slippery slope? Will the rest of their search products go the same way with money buying preference in the search results?


Technical doubletalk

The building I'm working on will pump water around it to each tenant to cool their air-conditioning systems then dump the heat to rooftop dry air coolers or to water pipes buried in the foundations below the building and I've been writing up the description of exactly how each bit operates.

We have had discussions with all the parties and agreed a strategy but there was a nagging doubt in my mind.

Finally yesterday I worked out why what we had all agreed to wouldn't actually work and what we should be doing instead - how to regulate the Dry Air Coolers to match the Condenser Water cooling load and how to regulate the flow to the plate heat exchangers to match the load for a variable flow primary system.

Yay me.
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The Battle of Lewisham 13 August 1977

I just came across this bit of local history yesterday:

The National Front (NF) (the right wing racist party) had done well in a Lewisham local council election in 1977 and they decided to march through Lewisham with their St Georges flags flying on 13 August. The moderate opposition organised a mass rally to oppose them and block them from entering Lewisham Town centre. The more radical anti-racists decided to attack the NF as they assembled in New Cross.

Clifton Rise is where the NF marchers planned to assemble and it was here they were ambushed. This is just up the road from us, about 50 yards from our front door.

The Police rallied and pushed back the Anti racists so the march could proceed. The march had to be rerouted through the back streets and there was no way they could reach the Lewisham town centre. The police ended the march in a car park behind the railway station and herded the marchers onto trains.

I graduated from University in 1977 and in August 1977 I would have just started work in Whetstone, near Leicester, designing nuclear power stations.

I don't remember this incident specifically though I do remember Anti Racism being a big thing. The best was an event organised by Leicester Council with all the folk dance troupes in the city. Each troupe did a couple of dances. Most started with a show piece then followed with a dance everyone could join in on. Most of the people there were with one of the dance troupes so they were in costume. Irish, Scottish, Morris, various East European and Indian groups.

I had got a ticket at the folk club I frequented in those days, where there were lots of lefties. It was magical when each troupe did their 'all join in' dance to see all these other folks, each in a different costume joining in to share and dance together.

Any time Any place

Telynor posted about this and I've been thinking about all day.

If I had a time machine and could go anywhere in history, where would I go?

Here's what I came up with:
+ Cross Asia with Marco Polo
+ See Jim Larkin and Constance Markiewicz address the workers of Dublin in the Dublin lockout
+ See Lola Montez in San Francisco
+ Help Wren build St Paul's after the fire of London
+ Sit in a tavern in Deptford with Shakespeare and Marlowe
+ Watch St Brendan land on the shore of America
+ Meet CuChulain when he visits the Court of Queen Maeve

Niger delta blues

2 years ago I spent a fortnight in the Niger delta Region of Nigeria.(See my posts for august 2006

This is one of the major oil producing regions of the world so it should be prosperous and yet it was crumbling and desperate. The newspapers there were full of stories of corrupt pastors.

I worked in Mozambique 1981 to 1984 with a civil war rumbling in the countryside and a far poorer state than Nigeria and yet in Mozambique there was hope that we might improve things. Nigeria was far more depressing.

I just came across an article which explained a little of the relationship between the politicians, witchdoctors and pastors of the Niger delta and how these are blocking change there - My Witchdoctor stole my Election Donations. Every time I buy petrol it affects what happens there. I just wish I knew what I could do to help change things a little bit for the better.
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