BUB is very proud of all the great work you’re going to do this week.
GOOD JOB EVERYBODY.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper would have been 107 today, and is being honored with a great Google Doodle. It’s quite literally impossible for us to imagine, as we sit here reading about her on the internet, but people used to use things like paper and pencils and chalk and slide rules to solve (and often not solve) complicated problems. Grace Hopper quite simply helped usher in the modern age, her impact, I think, is no less than the steam engine or the cotton gin.
Some awesome stuff she did: Grace Hopper developed first compiler, allowing computer calculations to move beyond simple arithmetic and into more complex problems. She also developed first standardized computer language, COBOL, which laid the groundwork for all the languages we use today.
One day she found a dead moth disrupting one of the electronic relays in the Mark 1 computer, and upon removing it (and fixing the computer), the term “debugging" was popularized (although the idea of computer "bugs" had been around before). Here’s her daily log from that day, with the offending moth taped to the page:
Beyond that, she was a charming scientific communicator, and she possessed a marvelous ability to make people, and mind you this was in a time when almost no one owned their own computer, truly appreciate both the importance and the complexity of computing technology.
She famously carried around a bundle of nanoseconds in her purse for illustrative purposes. Here she is charming the socks off of David Letterman, and giving him a nanosecond of his very own (don’t miss the picosecond joke, either) :
Hey BUB, that’s an unreasonable amount of cute.
- Two key points of focus for what’s happening at the moment: the privatisation of the student loan and a 13% pay cut in real wages to university staff.
- The privatisation of the loan is pretty similar to how mortgage debt is sold off: private companies buy the student debt for a fraction of its value and charge the student for the full amount. This impending sell-off represents a retrospective change in contract between students and the SLC (student loan company, a public organisation). It will basically mean bailiffs, retrospective addition of interest to the student loan, retrospective increases in fee repayments, and a lowering of the earnings at which you start repayments (£21,000 currently to something like £17k).
- The way the pay cuts have worked: the government basically offered a 1% increase in pay to university staff unions (lecturers, but also cleaners, maintenance, service staff, etc) which translates to a 13% cut in wages for various economic reasons. Meanwhile, the vice-chancellors of many universities have given themselves salary increases as well as bonuses. At my own university, Exeter, our vice-chancellor earns around £1million pounds a year with salary and bonuses together. He’s given himself a 13% increase in salary every single year since he became VC. As well as this, he has a chauffeur drive him everywhere, takes a huge entourage around the world all on first-class plane tickets, and owns two houses in Exeter (one is in the city which he rents out, and the other is this huge monstrosity on campus which the staff were telling me is paid for entirely by the university expenses, including all bills and tax). All of this is on university expenses and it’s the same story elsewhere. Students are paying for the bonuses of university management, not for the front-line service they receive from the staff.
- So the protests are basically part of student-worker campaign against privatisation, with staff running strikes and picket lines on the edges of campus initially and students taking mass direct action on the inside. One thing that separates this from previous student actions (such as tuition fees) is that there’s an overwhelming rejection of the NUS (the national union of students, which functions very much like a careerist trade union you find in most big workplaces). All actions have taken part outside of the NUS, with syndicalist student groups organising departmental assemblies covering staff and students in the same department. Perhaps more importantly, there’s an increased focus on the interests of staff and students being one and the same, and they are uniting against university management against corporatisation of the university.
What’s happened so far
- Tuesday was the date of the second university staff strike in 6 weeks. Spontaneously, student groups from around 9-10 universities (including London, Sheffield, Sussex, Birmingham, SOAS, Ulster, Edinburgh, Exeter, and others) carried occupations with various degrees of success in solidarity.
- Birmingham students had been occupying for about 3 weeks, so they just sort of carried on. Two or three of the occupiers had already been served charges of £10,000 each, with the university holding them personally responsible for all actions taken. Their occupation began with 150 students.
- Sheffield Autonomous Students (a new nationwide anarcho-syndicalist student initiative) occupied the tallest university building in the country overnight. Sheffield uni gained the legal powers to pull out an injunction within an hour on any student protest, and students must ask permission before taking part in any protest.
- Sussex autonomous students and other groups had been occupying for quite a long time as well. There, 5 students were suspended for taking part in the peaceful occupations, where no criminal damage was carried out. They have also been banned from campus. This news came yesterday, and resulted in a 500-person spontaneous demonstration made up of staff and students outside the occupied building.
- The one that’s currently making the headlines is the University of London. Initially, they had occupied the huge building at Goldsmiths college, which used to be a town hall and now houses the financial offices. They got dispersed on Tuesday, and then moved to Senate House, an even bigger eyesore at UCL. Ironically this was the day of the national ‘cops off campus’ demonstrations, and saw huge police brutality at the occupation. Outside the occupation, staff and students battled against police, who arrested journalists, confiscated and smashed student laptops and phones, and beat students. They even brought in the territorial support group, yknow, the ones that killed Ian Tomlinson.
- There has now been a national call from the Autonomous Students Network for a day of action next Wednesday on all university campuses against the universities basically using police to prevent any sort of outcry against the agenda of management and investors. Things are escalating incredibly quickly, and, with time to step back and organise over the Christmas break, the students and staff are only going to return in bigger numbers and more well-organised in time for the national week of action against fees and cuts in universities in February.
- shit’s kicking off we might see another May 1968 stay tuned
Remembering the unvarnished truth of Mandela’s words means refusing to let anybody sanitize his legacy. As the United States attempts to piggyback on Mandela’s revolutionary spirit, never forget that it was the CIA who helped jail him for 28 years. His sentiments toward our imperialist government reflect what our government remorselessly tries to keep we citizens from seeing, that indeed ”…the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like" regardless of who we harm in the process.
Here are a few more quotes we are unlikely to see in the mainstream press:
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."
It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”
"If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don’t ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers."
— Nelson Mandela (via shellyfayette)
for Ben Affleck & Mondo
24x36” 5 color screenprint
I saw The Town at a midnight opening showing at the Boston Common theatre, surrounded by drunk locals and townies who would cheer in rows every time one of their friends appeared on screen as an extra (about every 5 minutes) or the camera passed by their apartment or favorite Dunkin Donuts (any establishing shot). I heard beer bottles rolling down the aisles, people shouting at the screen in the thickest of Boston accents. It was one of my favorite theatre-going experiences, partially because it was not dissimilar from the countless games ive attended at Fenway Park. fun and unruly. this movie and the town it pseudo-represents has an energy thats just hard to describe, but is really fun to be immersed in. The third act reveal of the final heist resulted in a full theatre ROAR. yeah, its a goofy movie, but whatever man. nobody ever stood up in a showing of Blade Runner and screamed “THATS MY BOY DONNY. FUCK YEAH DONNY.” and thats why im stoked to have made this poster.
"It always seems impossible until its done."
, a South African politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before being elected President, Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, and the leader and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela went on to serve 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to the establishment of democracy in 1994. As President, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in South Africa.
R.I.P Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013)
Rest in power.
nocturne in black and gold, the falling rocket; james abbott mcneill whistler
Eighty years ago today, Prohibition ended. Time Inc. commemorates the occasion by revisiting its photos of speakeasies in the 1930s. The photos are a little more restrained and genteel than what I imagined speakeasies would be…they kind of look like modern day New York Sunday brunch, except with dressed-up people.
I love the originally-published intro to the photo essay (the photos were shot by Margaret Bourke-White), which describes why New York is way better than San Francisco and Chicago:
The speakeasy [FORTUNE told its readers, betraying a fair bit of patrician hauteur] has flowered successfully only in New York. In San Francisco it is dull and obscure; in Chicago, tough and noisy; in the South almost nonexistent. In most cities, drinking, like eating, is done at home or in the country club. In New York alone has the speakeasy become the instrument of a civilized social life, something between a pre-prohibition restaurant and a coeducational club. There are, therfore, in New York, speakeasies for every taste and purse… . The pictures on these pages present a fair cross-section of the reputable ones. They are probably the first pictures ever taken of speakeasies in action. They may be the last: no one can prophesy the future of these curious by-prodcuts of the post-War age if and when prohibition is repealed. If they survive it will be as restaurants with bars; locked doors will no longer spice the drinks. It is for a future that will want to know how New Yorkers of the ’20s lived that FORTUNE presents this portfolio of Margarte Bourke-White’s pictures.
My grandfather was twelve when Prohibition ended. His family, Irish immigrants, lived in New Haven, CT, and he took the train into NYC that day to visit his uncle who lived there. A lot of the bars were giving out free sandwiches to people who bought drinks, so my grandfather and his uncle went from bar to bar, where his uncle bought the drinks and my grandfather ate the sandwiches. He had a great time.
Kelly and Spencer Naked and Kissing
Spencer is trans and Australian, Kelly is queer and Hatian-American, they met in San Francisco and fell in love and got married and here they are today in their living room.
© Amos Mac
Thank you for a life that changed the world, sir.
Condolences to South Africans at home and abroad.