Vite illustri

Padre padrone

Pare che James Murdoch - che ieri è stato promesso COO di News Corp - non sia esattamente felice di lasciare Londra per New York.

His relocation surprised several people close to him, however, who said that he had given no indication of wanting such a move, and that his family preferred living in London, where he has two children at school and one younger child. His American-born wife, Kathryn, is also said by two people who know her well to be an Anglophile. Another person who has known News Corp and the family for several years added that Rupert Murdoch had a record of asking his children to move around the world at short notice. He said: “It’s like working for a big investment bank or the Foreign Office. You move, or you’re out.”

Financial Times (che però fa parte di un gruppo rivale)


Morte di un mito

Se ne è andato Paul Baran, una delle persone che hanno teorizzato l'architettura della Rete. Contrariamente ad altri - gli scienziati dell'ARPA  che erano più interessati a condividere una risorsa scarsa come la capacità di calcolo dei primi computer grazie ai collegamenti a distanza - lui, che non lavorava per l'ARPA, ma per la RAND corporation, era affascinato dall'idea di una rete di comunicazione capace - grazie alla sua struttura - di continuare a funzionare in condizioni di emergenza.E' proprio grazie a una lettura ingenua dei suoi lavori teorici che si è diffusa l'idea della nascita di Internet legata a problemi  militari di comando e controllo in caso di conflitto nucleare.

Baran was working at the famed RAND corporation on a “survivable” communications system in the early 1960s when he thought up one of its core concepts: breaking up a single message into smaller pieces, having them travel different, unpredictable paths to their destination, and only then putting them back together. It’s called packet switching and it’s how everything still gets gets to your e-mail inbox. The need to create a resilient network was considered critical in the early days of the Cold War, when fears of a nuclear attack on military command and control systems were especially ripe. Baran and others postulated that with near infinite redundancy on how a message could get from here to there, such a network could not be effectively destroyed — and was thus a credible deterrent to even trying.

Wired


Addio al papà dei libertarian

David F. Nolan, il   fondatore del Libertarian Party, è morto qualche giorno faRobert Poole lo ricorda su Reason.

After graduation, Dave went into the advertising business in Denver, and it was in Denver that he introduced what will be his two legacy contributions to the cause of liberty: the Nolan Chart and the Libertarian Party. Dave introduced the former in a January 1971 article in The Individualist, the magazine of the Society for Individual Liberty (and an early competitor of Reason magazine). The basic idea was to discredit the typical left-to-right political spectrum as leaving no room for the libertarian position. Instead of a straight line, engineer Dave introduced a two-dimensional chart, with economic freedom on one axis and individual liberty on the other. The chart made it easy to see how liberals, conservatives, populists, and libertarians compared, and was a true breakthrough that reshaped political analysis, polling, and news reporting, helping to introduce “libertarian” as a distinct political position. As is generally well-known, Dave and some friends created the Libertarian Party in his Denver living room in 1971, in disgusted reaction to President Richard Nixon’s imposition of wage and price controls.

Los Angeles Times, Reason


Ask not

E' morto Theodore Sorensen, l'uomo che diede il tono a alcuni dei discorsi più belli di JFK.

Mr. Sorensen said he suspected the headline on his obituary would read: "Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy Speechwriter," misspelling his name and misjudging his work. "I was never just a speechwriter," he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2007. He was best known for working with Mr. Kennedy on passages of soaring rhetoric, including the 1961 inaugural address proclaiming that "the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans" and challenging citizens: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Mr. Sorensen drew on the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and the words of Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill as he helped hone and polish that speech.

New York Times


To Hell and Back

Un magnifico articolo  di Richard Stayton su Dennis Hopper. Duro e cattivo come i suoi personaggi.


During his childhood in the 1940s, the military notified the Hoppers that Dennis' father had been killed in the Pacific; after V-J Day, his father returned from the dead — the death notice had been a cover as he served as a spy. "Now wouldn't that make you a paranoiac?" Dennis asked rhetorically.

Los Angeles Times

Il gigante della Pennsylvania

Ieri è morto John Murtha, il deputato democratico della Pennsylvania con maggior anzianità in Campidoglio  che - con un durissimo discorso - chiese nel 2005 il ritiro delle truppe USA dall'Iraq. Murtha, un roccioso ex marine,  era molto vicino a Nancy Pelosi ed era considerato una vecchia volpe della politica. Ora ci sarà bisogno di un'elezione suppletiva - probabilmente a metà maggio - e c'è un problema in più per i democratici (il distretto di Murtha votò per McCain nel 2008 pur avendo votato per Kerry nel 2004). 


The Caucus (New York Times)