DISS Migration from Windows Live Spaces to WordPress

This post marks the migration of “Dave’s Imaginary Sound Space” previously found at http://soundblog.spaces.live.com/ to it’s new WordPress home, here at https://imaginarysoundspace.wordpress.com/

All blog posts from the original Windows Live Space are now archived here, however the extensive link-lists are not supported by the automated migration process and are only accessible via the original link. Eventually all of DISS will vanish by March of 2011 when Microsoft will disable access to the Live Spaces blogging platform completely.

Original announcements regarding the new Live Spaces/Wordpress partnership and related details can be found via: The Windows Blog and WordPress Blog


Legendary Radio DJ Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman Dies Aged 79

Alan "Fluff" Freeman the veteran disc jockey and popular radio personality has died aged 79. Best known for presenting the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show and Pick of the Pops, his characteristic style and quirky catchphrases made him one of the UK’s top DJs. Fellow broadcaster, the late John Peel once said he was ‘the greatest out-and-out disc jockey of them all’.

I remember many Saturday afternoons spent listening to Fluff’s BBC Radio show from 2pm-6pm during the 70’s. It was an eagerly anticipated source of rock album tracks that was voted top radio show in the NME Pop Polls for 1974, 75 and 76. The choice of music was progressive and adventurous, showcasing new releases by artists such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, Camel and Caravan. The show opened with ELP’s "Welcome Back My Friends…" and his colourful, lively approach was instantly recognizable, delivering a fast paced mix of wisecracks and classical music jingles.

Towards the end of his career he brought his enthusiastic style to classical music broadcasting at Radio 2. In 1996 he received the Music Industry Trusts’ Award for his outstanding contribution to the British music industry and was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) in 1998.

He died peacefully at home in Twickenham yesterday, after a long illness. He’ll be sadly missed.

Audio Clips of Alan and his Jingles


    What if The Beatles had used Creative Commons Licenses?

    A collection of news and views across The Beatles universe, in no particular order; from politics to parody, paradigm to paradox.

    Blue Meanies Spotted in Japan

    I read the news today oh boy… About an old man arrested for performing Beatles songs on his harmonica:

    A 73-year-old bar manager who illegally performed copyrighted tunes by the Beatles and other artists on the harmonica was arrested Thursday on suspicion of violating the Copyright Law, police said. More on this story at the Mutantfrog Travelogue.

    And though the news was rather sad… I feel fine ’cause Mr Martin made a mashup with a Beatles thing called "Love".

    Love is all you need

    Original Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his son Giles have spent the last two years remixing the Fab Four’s music at Abbey Road Studios. The Love album combines previously separate songs into a 1.5 hour musical medley, mixed and available in 5.1 surround sound. Love samples 130 songs to create 27 musical pieces. The songs are mixed into a soundscape where the lyrics and instrumentation from one song merge with the next. The project was commissioned for the Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show of the same name that is currently showing in Las Vegas. The show by the world-famous circus troupe is a lavish biographical interpretation of The Beatles story, written and directed by Dominic Champagne and performed in a theater production costing around $150 million. It’s the first time Apple Corps Ltd. has partnered in a joint venture, permission for the production being granted from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison (the latter two representing John Lennon and George Harrison, respectively).

    When I’m Sixty-Four

    Earlier this year on June 18, Paul McCartney turned 64 years of age. According to The Sunday Times Rich List, Sir Paul is Britain’s second richest music industry millionaire, thought to be worth around $825m. Former Zomba Records owner Clive Calder is the first, with an estimated fortune of £1,300m (Britney Spears and ‘N Sync). In an ironic twist to the famous Beatles’ song lyrics of "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m Sixty-Four ", he separated from his wife, Heather Mills McCartney just one month before his 64th birthday. There’s a French tribute site called When I’m 64, where you can listen to different renditions of the popular song.

    I recall Cherie Blair performing her own rendition of the song for her husband Tony during a diplomatic mission to China in July, 2003.

    Moments earlier the prime minister had faced a hostile grilling from students at Tsinghua University over the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly and the war in Iraq. (BBC) – Details can be found at Wikipedia David Kelly.

    Media copies of Cherie’s performance are widely available on the Internet but in her case I assume no copyright laws have been broken (fair use?). The Blairs are lawyers and know all about avoiding illegalities before any spin is put on the record. Perhaps Tony could have reciprocated such overt signs of affection by singing My Cherie Amour.

    Mrs Blair wasn’t the only one contemplating a career move at the time. Alastair Campbell, "Prime Minister’s Director of Communications and Strategy" aka chief ‘spin-doctor’ resigned his position on 29 August 2003. There’s a movie about political spin-doctoring called Spin that you can watch on Google Video. Can you feel the sting of nostalgia yet? Can you see the Real Me, doctor?

    The UK Hall of Fame

    Last night I watched the UK Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony on TV. Musicians of all nationalities are honoured for their lifetime achievements in music. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown was given the role of inducting the legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, now eighty years of age, into the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately Brown’s rise to the podium took an unexpected turn, as members of the audience began to boo and heckle him. Although he bulldozed on with the introduction, the damage was done and the stalled PR exercise descended into the classic, spiraling nose-dive maneuver, so dreaded by politicians, known as negative spin. Given John Lennon was an anti-war activist who wrote the song "Give Peace a Chance", was it ever going to be any different? Did Brown really expect to blag a room full of Bon Jovi fans? Isn’t that Tony’s job? God only knows.

    The Mashup Hall of Fame

    Which brings me to Brian Wilson, who was also inducted into the hall of fame, this time by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd who were inducted in 2005 by Pete Townshend of The Who, previously inducted by Ray Davies of The Kinks who were inducted by footballer Geoff Hurst!

    The Beatles were to cite Wilson’s work as a major influence and according to Paul McCartney, the Beach BoysPet Sounds album inspired the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Indeed The Beatles and many of their British peers had drawn heavily upon the musical ideas coming out of America during the 1950’s and 60’s. You can find out more about their early influences and listen to the oldest known recordings at Before They Were Beatles: The Quarrymen. Bye the way, Paul McCartney owns the publishing rights to Buddy Holly’s music  and the Beatles covered his songs (see MPL Communications). 

    Sadly this freedom does not extend to Clayton Counts and his Beachles creation Sgt. Petsound’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. His treatment by EMI lawyers has been more along the lines of the Spanish Inquisition. Clayton joins the ‘most wanted’ list of other ‘outlaws’ hounded by EMI in the Mashup Hall of Fame, including Danger Mouse (Grey Album) and dj BC (Beastles). For more info on mashups and sampling see the following:


    Remember kids, (all you need is cash) to ask for permission before using copyrighted music.

    Copyright Life Extension

    Sticking with intellectual property and copyright issues, lets move on to information published on the BPI website. The BPI = the British record industry’s trade association = RIAA.

    Firstly: Gowers Review

    "In December last year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked Andrew Gowers, formerly the Editor of the Financial Times, to launch a review into the UK’s intellectual property framework – deadline for submission of evidence was Friday 21 April 2006.  The BPI, the UK record companies’ trade association, submitted written and oral evidence."

    And this recent statement: ‘British consumers demand fair play on copyright for British musicians’.

    "New research shows a majority of British consumers support the record industry’s battle for extended copyright protection for UK artists.

    62 per cent of those polled agreed that UK artists should be protected for the same number of years as their American counterparts, by extending the term of copyright for sound recordings from its current 50 years to 95 years."

    Peter Jamieson, chairman of the BPI, says:

    “We are hugely encouraged that the majority of British consumers agree with us that UK musicians should receive as much copyright protection as their US counterparts.” 

    "Our unique and internationally renowned industry would use a term extension to continue to invest heavily in the creative economy for future generations and consolidate the rights and works of our cultural ambassadors.”

    If this was a Monty Python sketch it might be funny, however, No Rock&Roll Fun has some interesting thoughts on the fiasco that makes the BPI poll sound more like Cash for Questions or Cash for Peerages rather than a mandate from the British public.

    Although the BPI prefer to give the impression of a record industry that’s an organized and unified whole, in reality it’s not. It’s a competitive and chaotic market with hundreds of record labels, publishers, artists, management, etc, fighting for a piece of the cake, who frequently disagree and constantly negotiate. Many deals are fought out aggressively on the back of ownership rights and disputes like the current American case of Universal vs MySpace. Take a look at the legal issues and copyright lawsuits littering the landscape, it’s not a pretty picture. Former Clash and Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner, lifts the lid on the music business in a recent interview for The Register – Big labels are f*cked, and DRM is dead.

    Contrary to what many copyright holders would have us believe, the notion that artists always get paid and treated fairly is unrealistic. For example The Beatles are currently suing EMI, who hold the rights to The Beatles sound recordings in perpetuity, for £30 million in missing royalties, and here’s more: Beatles to sue over royalty claim. It’s quite common for money get lost in a highly complex financial system.

    For us lesser mortals, how many people working in the record industry will have adequate pensions in retirement? How expensive and risky is it for musicians to audit a record label’s accounts? How can artists disagree with their ‘bosses’ in a variable price system and survive the ‘bargain bucket’? How many artists and consumers know about the Sony rootkit? How much damage is being done by the Sample Trolls? For many people in the music business it’s like working in a bubble that’s about to burst.  

    An extension on traditional copyright will effect all types of sound recordings and would potentially lock the recordings out of common culture. How? Instead of being abundantly available in the public domain they will remain restricted, privately owned and therefor scarce. Anyone wishing to use the material runs into problems trying to get permission from the copyright holder/s. In a world of limitless circumstances, the difficult process of finding the copyright owner becomes prohibitive and the creative incentive is lost. Where would Walt Disney be without the ability to draw upon the public domain?

    Bear in mind some works that are already in the public domain may become re-copyrighted. In the UK, over 40 years of copyright free music will be forced back into private hands. Due to copyright infringement, what was once plentiful may suddenly vanish including, websites with movies, audio and MIDI files, guitar tabs, lyrics, photos, etc. Most songs are owned by businesses and not the original composer/lyricist, so any financial benefits to copyright extension are not necessarily passed on to descendants.

    Support the Open Rights Group



    The Open Rights Group is an organization based in the UK raising awareness of digital rights issues. Release The Music is a campaign focusing on how the music industry is lobbying to change the duration of copyright on sound recordings from 50 years to 95 years. It provides information about intellectual property rights and the debate surrounding copyright extension. In particular I recommend listening to the audio files of Jonathan Zittrain’s excellent overview of what intellectual property and copyright is, and the recent public debate chaired by representatives for and against copyright extension. If you want to Get Involved you can support Release The Music by signing the online petition or blogging to raise awareness.

    As this is a public ownership issue that affects everyone, opposition to the record industry’s stance is useful for stimulating public debate. It’s important to listen to the arguments both for and against copyright extension. If key people in the record industry believe public perception to be irrelevant this could have serious consequences for record labels in the future. A recent IPSOS European blog survey of 5000 people reveals a quarter of Europeans trust blogs. Negative spin impacts buying habits to the degree that "39 million people have not bought a product or service in the past because of comments read on the Internet from other customers or private individuals". The large growth in social media means issues of trust will become increasingly crucial to economic success in the future.

    See also:

    MySpace or Your Space?

    The problem the record industry has is one of poor public perception. In the real world, what counts is what people feel and believe but much of what we’ve been told in the past has turned out to be hype. The boundaries are dissolving and in the disintermediated era of New Media almost anyone can become an artist, label, publisher, distributor. In the real world, Grey Tuesday works and the unleashed dog is happiest when it’s wagging The Long Tail.

    Teenagers need friends, music, bands, lifestyle, and these things are readily available online, nothing will ever stop that type of impulse, just look at the rise of MySpace and YouTube. Telling kids not to download music illegally is about as effective as telling musicians not to sample other people’s recordings with a digital sampler. Reinforcing negative messages can be counter productive. In the presence of such tools we’re like the apes reacting to the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some see these tools as weapons of mass destruction but in reality it was the so called ‘illegal’ downloading of music that opened the flood gates to selling music online. Copyright was the barrier used to stem the tide of illegal file-sharing, DRM was the secret weapon and iTunes became the gatekeeper. The Beatles have yet to make their music available online, although it came to light in the Apple vs Apple court case, once The Beatles catalog has been digitally remastered it will happen. The absence of Beatles music online has likely encouraged illegal file-sharing of their music. 

    When Universal the world’s biggest music group goes up against the world’s most popular social network the outcome is sure to generate interest. Young people don’t really care about the business but the business relies on them and it’s dangerous for corporations to alienate their customers. Youngsters just want somewhere to hang-out, chat, evolve. That’s where MySpace is successful, it can bring the street corner into the home. It also provides a solution for parents and children of a certain, critical age, to engage; a social tool and common ground where parents can witness the way youths connect in the real world. MySpace hits precisely at the intersection of culture where parenting issues and teenagers converge. This is hot territory for advertisers, promoters and marketers. If you ever need to understand the phenomenon, watch a group of teenagers multitasking in a Web 2.0 social space (instant messaging, MySpace, etc). Young people instinctively get it, Rupert Murdoch and others have it, the record labels want part of it. This is the Day of The Longtail.

    What If?

    I wonder what The Beatles legacy would have been had they released music under Open Music licenses; a future-friendly, flexible system that protected the artist’s commercial/non-commercial rights but provided the opportunity for others to freely share and build upon their creations. It’s easy to imagine how the movie and soundtrack to our lives would be very different visually, audibly and musically; fueled by an open, abundant and sustainable reservoir of creative ideas. But can such a sytem ever really exist?

    In an imaginary copyleft world many of the things I’ve mentioned would not happen and the spin on world events would take another turn. The Beatles were arguably the most influential band of the twentieth century. Their iconic status and music reverberated throughout the chambers of society and culture globally; including the arts, business, technology, politics and religion. They were the first band to be globally transmitted on television, in front of an estimated 400 million people worldwide. Just like The Beatles and other bands of the time, musicians today are using the latest media technologies to promote their ideas. Of course the Internet and Creative Commons licenses didn’t exist back in the 1960’s…but they do now. Amen.

    As Alexander Graham Bell once said:

    "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."

    When it comes to intellectual property, controversy is never far away. Bell was generally accepted as the inventor of the telephone, having obtained the patent with financing from his American father-in-law on March 7, 1876. He managed to get the patent before other developers that were working along similar lines did at the time. However, a century later, on September 25, 2001, the US Congress declared by resolution that it was the Italian American, Antonio Meucci, that actually invented the telephone. That 95 year copyright extension rings a bell

    "Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it."
    John Lennon

    Assorted Beatles Booty

    Beatles on Film

    Beatles Parody Bands, Mashups and Spoofs

    ‘A Film, an Album, and a Lawsuit’ excerpt from BBC – h2g2 – The Rutles – the Band

    "At the time that All You Need is Cash and The Rutles were released, the rights to the Beatles’ back-catalogue were owned by publishing company ATV. Missing the point by several miles, the company sued the producers of the Rutles’ music for infringement of copyright. Rather than fighting the case, the decision was made to hand over half of the rights to the Rutles’ songs to ATV, instantly halving Innes’s income from his music. As a final insult, Innes was obliged to add the names of Lennon and McCartney or George Harrison to the writing credits on his songs."


    Free Culture and Copyleft Links


    Further Resources

    Mashup Bands, DJ’s and Song Cover Vesions

    Quick Links to Videos in this Post

    • When I’m Sixty-Four: Spin – A surreal expose of media-constructed reality. W.A.S.P. The Real Me – A cover of The Who song.
    • The UK Hall of Fame: Give Peace a Chance – John and Yoko at the Montreal bed in. "Elected" – a 1972 Top 10 UK hit for Alice Cooper.
    • The Mashup Hall of Fame: Monty Python – The Spanish Inquisition
    • Copyright Life Extension: "Encore" – A Beatles video mashup for the Grey Album.
    • MySpace or YourSpace?: The Long Tail Party and Day of the Longtail – promo videos for the book. Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport – documentary about the art of sampling and creating music.
    • What If?: Amen – "This fascinating, brilliant 20-minute video narrates the history of the "Amen Break," a six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969. This sample was used extensively in early hiphop and sample-based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and jungle music — a six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures. Nate Harrison’s 2004 video is a meditation on the ownership of culture, the nature of art and creativity, and the history of a remarkable music clip."

    Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    RIAA Forcing Closures of P2P File-Sharing Companies?

    On September 13th 2005 the RIAA sent letters to seven unnamed file-sharing companies. The letters state:
    "We demand that you immediately cease-and-desist from enabling and inducing the infringement of RIAA member sound recordings. If you wish to discuss pre-litigation resolution of these claims against you, please contact us immediately."
    BearShare, WinMX and LimeWire have been identified as recipients but there appears to be much confusion and speculation surrounding these events. Any moves made by P2P companies are immediately associated with the RIAA’s actions, as pointed out by Thomas Mennecke in this Slyck article: eDonkey Alive, Well, and Still In Business. 
    The RIAA has stepped up its actions against illegal file sharing following the landmark ruling in June by the US Supreme Court. The ruling states that p2p software makers can be held liable for the swapping of copyrighted files using their applications:
    "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement," Justice David Souter.
    A recent market study by CacheLogic shows eDonkey has taken over BitTorrent as the main carrier of file-sharing traffic, possibly due to large torrent directories closing down. (See Study Reveals Choice of File Formats Traversing P2P Networks  for further information).
    Meanwhile the RIAA has filed hundreds of lawsuits against alleged copyright violators, there have been more than 14,000 such lawsuits since September 2003.  Recording Industry vs The People is a blog devoted to the RIAA’s lawsuits of intimidation brought against ordinary working people.
    Related News Reports and News Search 
    Technorati Tags:        

    Major Terrorist Attack with Multiple Explosions in Central London

    Real-time report on events happening in London this morning.
    09:50 am The London Underground railway system is at a standstill this morning due to explosions at 5 stations. Stations and areas affected include Aldgate, Moorgate, Russell Square, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, Old Street, St Pancras, and Edgware Road. The explosions happened around 9.20am and were initially believed to be caused by a power surge.This is a major incident and there is absolute chaos in central london. Thousands of people are being evacuated by the police and there are multiple casualties. These are some of the busiest commuter hubs in London and the transport system is packed at this time. People are streaming out of stations covered in blood and soot, traffic in central London is at a standstill.
    The National Grid says there is no evidence of a power surge which means another cause may be responsible. 
    An eye witness claims at 9.50 a huge explosion ripped the top off of a bus at Russel Square, Upper Woburn Place, just outside the British Medical Association. This implies a bomb explosion above ground. By 10.30 am Russell Square is completely evacuated but there is a lot of activity going on with emergency services caring for survivors. The wreckage indicates the bomb was placed on the top deck at the rear of the bus. It’s highly unlikely anyone survived on the top of the bus.
    At 8.50 am eye witnesses are saying a bus driving towards Trafalger Square was bombed although this report is unconfirmed at the moment.
    The whole of the tube network has been suspended. Some trains are stuck in tunnels. The police and emergency services have responded quickly and hospitals are on full alert.
    Scotland Yard fears a series of terrorist attacks although this has not been confirmed. The Press Association reports three explosions on buses in central London.
    The City Police, the Metropolitan Police and the Transport police are involved along with the Fire Service and Ambulance service.
    If this is a terrorist attack it seems designed to cause maximum disruption to London, causing chaos in the transport system.
    10:40 sources are now saying there have been some fatalities.
    Another explosion has been heard at Tavistock Square at 10.50 am.
    Mobile phone networks are becoming jammed as people try to contact friends and families. Emergency services are being given priority. An emergency protocol called ACO (Access Control Overload) is in operation.
    At least 90 casualties are reported at Aldgate. Algate east station is being used to shelter casualties. The Royal London Hospital is nearby, the hospital helicopter is ferrying trauma specialists to various locations.
    This comes at a time when the leaders of the world are meeting at Gleneagles in Scotland for the G8 summit. London Mayor Ken Livingstone is rushing back from Singapore where it was announced yesterday London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic games. There was no police intelligence suggesting an imminent terrorist attack at this time and no warning.
    11.10 Transport for London has announced all undergound services have been suspended. The tube service will not resume today. Buses have been suspended in central London only. Services on the Docklands light Railway (DLR) are also suspended (resumed at 3:40). Mainline trains are still running. There is an air exclusion zone over central London.
    Eye witnesses are reporting severe casualties onboard trains and buses.
    Army personnel have been seen liasing with the police who are extremely stretched at the moment and the Isreali embassy has been taped off as a security measure. Civil contingency reports are in place with the army on the streets. British police and military forces have forty years experience of dealing with security alerts due to the IRA.
    11.20 am Police have confirmed at least six explosions including a bus.
    Due to the coordinated nature of the explosions, assessments point to a terrorist attack using explosive packages. There are comparisons being made to bus attacks in Isreal but it is thought unlikely that suicide bombers were involved.
    There are almost certainly still people trapped underground, bewildered survivors are walking the streets too frightened to board emergency bus services. 
    Traffic cameras show the roof of the Russel Square bus has been blown completely off, to the opposite side of the road. 
    Arab sources that monitor al-Qaeda activities have told the BBC that this looks like an al-Qaeda attack.
    11.35 Two poeple have died at Aldgate East.
    Survivors report being trapped on undergound trains in darkness and smoke for 30 minutes. There was mass communication failure with trains still leaving platforms after the initial explosions. People used their bare hands and umbrellas to smash windows on carriages in an effort to get oxygen, believing they were going to burn to death. There was screaming and hysteria and people were praying out loud. Passengers were too frightened to leave trains because of the electric rails. People have been seen lying injured and dead in carriages and on rails in the tunnels. The initial medical response came from first aiders in the vicinity at the time. 
    Emergency services are gradually gaining control, the London emergency plan is in place, sniffer dogs can be seen looking for further devices.
    12.05 The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, makes a statement condeming the terrorist attacks. He will leave the G8 summit to travel to London and return to Scotland in the evening to continue talks.
    12.10  Kings Cross station has a tunnel rescue operation in progress.
    Schools across London are making preparations for children to go home.
    Official police advice to Londoners: Remain where you are. Do not travel.
    Three double decker buses loaded with casualties have arrived at the Royal London Hospital.
    Police Update 12:45
    It appears three explosive devices were detonated on the London Underground and one device on a bus. Further explosions have not been ruled out. The level of security alert has been reasonably constant during the last few weeks.
    The Reuters online news service is having problems with the server load at this time.
    12:55 The British Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, makes a statement confirming four explosions.
    1:07 Joint statement from the G8 leaders expressing solidarity and determination to fight terrorism.
    1:28 Tony Blair leaves Gleneagles by helicopter for London.
    1:30 The American President George Bush gives a statement from Gleneagles expressing his condolences and asking for US citizens to be especially vigilant at this time.
    It is believed about 150 people have been seriously injured with many more walking wounded. The number of people killed is expected to reach double figures, the injured around 1000. People are still trapped in wreckage. Video images taken from mobiles phones at the scene are now being shown on Sky TV.
    I can hear the sound of emergency sirens around Canary Wharf at the moment, there appears to be another alert. People are stranded there due to the transport shutdown, they will have to use the riverboat service nearby. 
    02:20 the death toll estimated at around 45 with 7 believed to have died on the bus at Tavistock Square.
    Summary of events
    03:30 Police confirm at least 33 fatalities after blasts. No more people are trapped. There is no information about any arrests at this time. There is no suggestion of any chemical or biological threat.
    The first explosion occured on a train between Aldgate East and Liverpool Street (08:51; 7 fatalities), the second on a train between Russell Square and Kings Cross (08:56; 21 fatalities), the third on a train between Edgware Road and Paddington (09:17; 7 fatalities), the fourth on a bus at Tavistock Square (09:47; 2 fatalities).
    Hotlines Please only use these resources if you have a genuine emergency enquiry.
    • Emergency casualty hotline 0870 1566 344.
    • Australian citizens hotline 1800 002 214 website
    • U.S. citizens hotline +1 888 407 4747 (toll free)
    • Counter Terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.
    Police have found traces of explosives at two locations, as yet there has been no direct claim of responsibility. A group called al-Qaeda Europe is claiming responsibility on a website. Security services believe the website to be legitimate. Denmark and Italy are being warned by the group that they will be next.
    Over 100 ambulance vehicles and 250 staff attended the scenes. 40 fire engines and over 200 firefighters were involved.
    Latest news
    5:55 pm There is a security alert in Victoria station due to a suspect package onboard a bus, police are telling people to leave the area as quickly as possible.
    Fatalities stand at 49, more than 700 injured and there are a number of seriously ill people still in hospital. Injuries include burns, amputations, fractures, lacerations and smoke inhalation.
    Tens of Thousands of people are experiencing difficulties getting home this evening due to the major transport disruptions.
    Friday 8th July It’s now known that 13 people died on the bus. Total fatalities stand at 49.
    Saturday 9th July It would appear now that all three train bombs went off simultaneously at 08:50 am.
    Monday 11th July Total fatalities have increased to 52.
    News Resources

    The image below was taken by Adam Stacey. He was on the northern line just past Kings Cross. The train suddenly stopped and filled with smoke. People in the carriage smashed tube windows to get out and then were evacuated along the train tunnel. He’s suffering from smoke inhalation but fine otherwise. This image is distributed under a CC license and is from here.

    Bus Photo by Obi Felten

    NASA Deep Impact Comet Probe Mission Resources

    NASA comet probe "Impactor" successfully collided with Comet Tempel 1 at 1:52 a.m. EDT, creating the most spectaculer 4th of July fireworks display in American history. Deep Impact is the eighth mission in NASA’s Discovery Program, it aims to learn what a comet is made of and how it is put together.
    The Flyby spacecraft released the Impactor probe into the path of Comet Tempel 1 causing a collision at approximately 37,000 kph (23,000 mph). The "impactor", a 1-by-1-meter (39-by-39 inches) copper-fortified probe, travelled 431 million kilometers (268 million miles) to reach its destination. The one way voyage took six months.
    Telescopes around the world along with instruments onboard  "flyby" the mothership are observing the event. 100 plus observatories are co-ordinated in the largest operation of its kind. Images recorded onboard the impactor as it hurtled towards the comet revealed huge craters. Scientists will be able to compare these craters with the artificial one to learn more about Tempel 1. On Earth the first images were seen by telescopes in Hawaii, the best visible point of observation lasting for 24 hours. A gradual brightening of the comet image was observed with activity persisting after the impact. The crater is currently estimated to be around 100 meteres in diameter.
    Comet Origins and Composition
    Comet 9P/Tempel 1 was discovered on April 3, 1867 by Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel of Marseilles France while visually searching for comets. It is 9 miles across and 83 million miles away, orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt with an orbital period of 5.5 years. The comet’s orbit will have been moved by a few hundred meters in 20 years time.
    The material composition of the comet will tell us more about the origins of the solar system. Scientists believe comets are involved in the creation of planetary systems. Primitive materials from 4.6 billion years ago are preserved within comets including water, carbon dioxide and methane, the key components for life. The analysis of a cloud of rock and dust generated by the impact has begun. It will provide a glimpse beneath the surface of the comet, where material and debris from the solar system’s formation remain relatively unchanged. Energy lost as heat during the impact will be measured to determine the composition and strength of the comet. XMM-Newton has already detected  water on Tempel 1.
    Deep Impact Resources 
     Images and animations
    World News Reports 
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    The image below shows the initial ejecta that resulted when NASA’s Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1 at 10:52 p.m. Pacific time, July 3 (1:52 a.m. Eastern time, July 4). It was taken by the spacecraft’s high-resolution camera 13 seconds after impact. The image has been digitally processed to better show the comet’s nucleus.

    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

    Strikes And Bias At The BBC

    BBC technicians and journalists are staging a 24-hour strike today in protest of job cuts and restructuring. The strike is expected to cause disruption to TV, radio and online news services. Live broadcasts such as news programmes will be particularly affected and a Paris concert by Oasis that Radio 1 was planning to broadcast could also be hit.

    The publicly-funded corporation is cutting 3,780 jobs as part of a streamlining operation needed to save money for reinvestment in new types of digital media. The BBC’s 27,000 employees are being represented by three unions: Bectu, the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (5000), the National Union of Journalists (3500), and Amicus. More strikes are planned.

    Meanwhile, of interest to licence fee payers will be the claims by ex-BBC employee of 25 years Robin Aitkin. In his book, ‘Taking Sides: Bias at the BBC’, Aitkin accuses the BBC of institutionalised leftism and an agenda that colours the overall BBC output. If true the ‘tone’ of broadcasts could be having a profound effect on the public due to the BBC’s significant cultural power. Blithering Bunny has re-mediated It’s Not Easy Being a Tory at the BBC a story about Robin Aitkin by Damien Thompson, originally from the print edition of The Daily Telegraph, Saturday May 14th.

    The BBC website states about the licence fee:

    "The BBC is paid for directly through each household TV licence. This allows it to run a wide range of popular public services for everyone, free of adverts and independent of advertisers, shareholders or political interests. 98% of the UK population used the BBC every month in 2003/4.

    To watch TV in Britain the annual cost (set by the Government) is currently £126.50. A black and white TV licence is £42. There is no radio licence."

    As Melanie Phillips reinforces in her article Bias at the Beeb:

    "Fairness, impartiality and objectivity are the essence of public service broadcast journalism. This understanding is enshrined in the BBC’s charter and provides a key justification for the licence fee." Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail, 16 May 2005.

    Now what would happen if a million or so people went on strike and refused to pay the licence fee? Why not let people pay by subscription only? That way the public can choose what they want to pay for and the BBC can have political agendas.

    You can read more about these matters at the following sources: