Topic: United Kingdom
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Andrews and Arnold is xkcd 806-compliant (2010)
Andrews & Arnold Ltd (also known as AAISP) is an Internet service provider based in Bracknell in the United Kingdom founded in 1997 and launched in 1998, primarily serving businesses and "technical" home users.
In 2009 the company was judged the best niche provider in the Thinkbroadband Customer Service Awards, based on customer ratings and again in 2010.
The company's owner, Adrian Kennard (RevK), stated in a blog post that as of October 2010 the company is "xkcd/806" compliant, referring to xkcd comic number 806. This means that technical support callers who say the code word "shibboleet" will be transferred to a technical support representative who knows at least two programming languages, and presumably can offer more useful advice than a standard tech support script.
Andrews & Arnold provides IPv6 to all customers, for no additional charge.
Andrews & Arnold provides optional bonded multiple-link internet access. This allows multiple links to be used together to vastly increase speed and reliability. Special routers distribute individual IP packets between the available links in such a way that even one single download or upload operation will benefit fully from multiple speed, and it is not necessary to have several users, several running programs or computers to gain the speed benefit. Links can be of different types, each needs only to be a pipe that can carry IP packets. Multiple links can either be used together all the time, or some can be brought up as a back up if other links fail, so-called 'failover', or a combination of the two approaches can be set up.
Andrews & Arnold are strong advocates of not censoring Internet connections. Adrian Kennard has several blog posts discussing why Internet censorship as discussed in the UK is not workable, providing background for AAISP's decision.
- "Andrews and Arnold is xkcd 806-compliant (2010)" | 2014-07-03 | 85 Upvotes 27 Comments
The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted between 38 and 45 minutes, marking it as the shortest recorded war in history. The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed, who was more favourable to British interests, as sultan. In accordance with a treaty signed in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultanate was that the candidate obtain the permission of the British consul, and Khalid had not fulfilled this requirement. The British considered this a casus belli and sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace.
The ultimatum expired at 09:00 East Africa Time (EAT) on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines and sailors, and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area. The Royal Navy contingent were under the command of Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson and the pro-Anglo Zanzibaris were commanded by Brigadier-General Lloyd Mathews of the Zanzibar army (who was also the First Minister of Zanzibar). Around 2,800 Zanzibaris defended the palace; most were recruited from the civilian population, but they also included the sultan's palace guard and several hundred of his servants and slaves. The defenders had several artillery pieces and machine guns, which were set in front of the palace sighted at the British ships. A bombardment, opened at 09:02, set the palace on fire and disabled the defending artillery. A small naval action took place, with the British sinking the Zanzibari royal yacht HHS Glasgow and two smaller vessels. Some shots were also fired ineffectually at the pro-British Zanzibari troops as they approached the palace. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40.
The sultan's forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured. Sultan Khalid received asylum in the German consulate before escaping to German East Africa (in the mainland part of present Tanzania). The British quickly placed Sultan Hamud in power at the head of a puppet government. The war marked the end of the Zanzibar Sultanate as a sovereign state and the start of a period of heavy British influence.
- "Anglo-Zanzibar War" | 2016-05-10 | 19 Upvotes 10 Comments
The Jakarta Incident, or Rebooting 747 Engines In Flight
British Airways Flight 9, sometimes referred to by its callsign Speedbird 9 or as the Jakarta incident, was a scheduled British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Auckland, with stops in Bombay, Kuala Lumpur, Perth, and Melbourne.
On 24 June 1982, the route was flown by the City of Edinburgh, a Boeing 747-200. The aircraft flew into a cloud of volcanic ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung (approximately 110 miles (180 km) south-east of Jakarta, Indonesia), resulting in the failure of all four engines. The reason for the failure was not immediately apparent to the crew or air traffic control. The aircraft was diverted to Jakarta in the hope that enough engines could be restarted to allow it to land there. The aircraft glided out of the ash cloud, and all engines were restarted (although one failed again soon after), allowing the aircraft to land safely at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta.
The crew members of the accident segment had boarded the aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, while many of the passengers had been aboard since the flight began in London.
- "The Jakarta Incident, or Rebooting 747 Engines In Flight" | 2010-04-17 | 52 Upvotes 14 Comments
Echelon (signals intelligence)
ECHELON, originally a secret government code name, is a surveillance program (signals intelligence/SIGINT collection and analysis network) operated by the United States with the aid of four other signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, also known as the Five Eyes.
Created in the late 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, the ECHELON project became formally established in 1971.
By the end of the 20th century, the system referred to as "ECHELON" had evolved beyond its military and diplomatic origins into "a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications" (mass surveillance and industrial espionage).
- "Echelon (signals intelligence)" | 2011-03-15 | 35 Upvotes 20 Comments
Freeman Dyson Has Died
Freeman John Dyson (15 December 1923 – 28 February 2020) was an English-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. He was professor emeritus in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a member of the Board of Visitors of Ralston College and a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Dyson originated several concepts that bear his name, such as Dyson's transform, a fundamental technique in additive number theory, which he developed as part of his proof of Mann's theorem; the Dyson tree, a hypothetical genetically-engineered plant capable of growing in a comet; the Dyson series, a perturbative series where each term is represented by Feynman diagrams; the Dyson sphere, a thought experiment that attempts to explain how a space-faring civilization would meet its energy requirements with a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output; and Dyson's eternal intelligence, a means by which an immortal society of intelligent beings in an open universe could escape the prospect of the heat death of the universe by extending subjective time to infinity while expending only a finite amount of energy.
Dyson believed global warming is caused merely by increased carbon dioxide but that some of the effects of this are favourable and not taken into account by climate scientists, such as increased agricultural yield. He was skeptical about the simulation models used to predict climate change, arguing that political efforts to reduce causes of climate change distract from other global problems that should take priority. He also signed the World Climate Declaration that there "is no Climate Emergency".
- "Freeman Dyson Has Died" | 2020-02-28 | 91 Upvotes 2 Comments
Imperial Airship Scheme
The British Imperial Airship Scheme was a 1920s project to improve communication between Britain and the distant countries of the British Empire by establishing air routes using airships. This led to the construction of two large and technically advanced airships, the R100 and the R101. The scheme was terminated in 1931 following the crash of R101 in October 1930 while attempting its first flight to India.
- "Imperial Airship Scheme" | 2017-03-13 | 40 Upvotes 19 Comments
Project Habakkuk, Britain's plan to build an aircraft carrier from ice
Project Habakkuk or Habbakuk (spelling varies) was a plan by the British during the Second World War to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of wood pulp and ice) for use against German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic, which were beyond the flight range of land-based planes at that time. The idea came from Geoffrey Pyke, who worked for Combined Operations Headquarters. After promising scale tests and the creation of a prototype on a lake (Patricia Lake, Jasper National Park) in Alberta, Canada, the project was shelved due to rising costs, added requirements, and the availability of longer-range aircraft and escort carriers which closed the Mid-Atlantic gap the project was intended to address.
- "Project Habakkuk, Britain's plan to build an aircraft carrier from ice" | 2019-01-13 | 13 Upvotes 1 Comments
Pykrete is a frozen ice alloy , originally made of approximately 14 percent sawdust or some other form of wood pulp (such as paper) and 86 percent ice by weight (6 to 1 by weight). During World War II, Geoffrey Pyke proposed it as a candidate material for a supersized aircraft carrier for the British Royal Navy. Pykrete features unusual properties, including a relatively slow melting rate due to its low thermal conductivity, as well as a vastly improved strength and toughness compared to ordinary ice. These physical properties can make the material comparable to concrete, as long as the material is kept frozen.
Pykrete is slightly more difficult to form than concrete, as it expands during the freezing process. However, it can be repaired and maintained using seawater as a raw material. The mixture can be moulded into any shape and frozen, and it will be tough and durable, as long as it is kept at or below freezing temperature. Resistance to gradual creep or sagging is improved by lowering the temperature further, to −15 °C (5 °F).
- "Pykrete" | 2015-07-07 | 114 Upvotes 41 Comments
Professor Ronald Coase has died aged 102
Ronald Harry Coase (; 29 December 1910 – 2 September 2013) was a British economist and author. He was the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School, where he arrived in 1964 and remained for the rest of his life. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991.
Coase, who believed economists should study real markets and not theoretical ones, established the case for the corporation as a means to pay the costs of operating a marketplace. Coase is best known for two articles in particular: "The Nature of the Firm" (1937), which introduces the concept of transaction costs to explain the nature and limits of firms; and "The Problem of Social Cost" (1960), which suggests that well-defined property rights could overcome the problems of externalities (see Coase theorem). Additionally, Coase's transaction costs approach is currently influential in modern organizational economics, where it was reintroduced by Oliver E. Williamson.
- "Professor Ronald Coase has died aged 102" | 2013-09-08 | 27 Upvotes 9 Comments
In economics, shrinkflation is the process of items shrinking in size or quantity, or even sometimes reformulating or reducing quality while their prices remain the same or increase. The word is a portmanteau of the words shrink and inflation. First usage of the term has been attributed to both Pippa Malmgren and Brian Domitrovic.
- "Shrinkflation" | 2022-09-10 | 19 Upvotes 3 Comments
- "Shrinkflation" | 2019-11-25 | 34 Upvotes 55 Comments