Ubuntu bleg


Vista. God, it sucks. And it’s installed on my second laptop.

I heart my Macbook dearly, but if it dies within the next year or so I’m not sure I can really afford to replace it straight away (this is not that improbable a scenario, sadly, even though it’s only 2 years old: in the last 6 months I’ve had to replace first the battery and then the hard drive, and now the screen has started to flicker periodically. Great OS, maybe not such great hardware).

So I’ve installed Linux Ubuntu on the other machine, so that in the event of the Macbook meltdown, I’ll have a machine that won’t entirely destroy my will to live. (At the very least, the desktop wallpaper image is fecking gorgeous.)

But of course this means a lot to learn (starting with getting wifi to work, dammit). So are there any beginners’ Ubuntu tutorials and resources that people can recommend from personal experience?

IHR postgrad seminars and History Lab


Ed has asked me to give the IHR Postgraduate Seminars (in London) and History Lab a bit of a plug. Ed is hoping to use the History Lab blog in association with the Seminars this year, to post reports and hold discussions of each paper. This sounds like a Good Thing to me.

I hadn’t really heard of the History Lab before, but it’s intended as a ‘network for postgraduate students and new researchers in history and related disciplines’, with membership free to any postgraduate student enrolled on an MA, MRes, MPhil or PhD.

The autumn programme for the seminars is below.

16 October Brian Casey (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Matt Harris: a forgotten Irish revolutionary

30 October Rob Dale (QMUL)
‘Rats’: Bureaucracy and corruption in post-war Leningrad through the eyes of demobilised soldiers (1944-1950)

13 November Oren Margolis (Jesus College, Oxford)
King René, Janus Pannonius, and the politics of cultural transmission in Renaissance Italy

27 November Iain Sharpe (IHR)
An Edwardian party funding scandal? Cecil Rhodes and the Liberal party

11 December Rosie Macarthur (Northampton)
Unnecessary wants? Luxury goods and the Hanbury family of Kelmarsh, 1720-1845

All seminars start at 5.30pm and take place in the Low Countries Room of the IHR (Senate House), 3rd Floor. (They finish, naturally, in a nearby pub at some subsequent point in time.)

My kind of letter writer


The Department of Puritans Health has just come up with its official nine types of heavy drinker, blah blah blah.

From the Graun letters page today, spotting the remarkable similarities between their document and Richard Allestree’s 1659 The Whole Duty of Man, which identified the motives of “the multitudes of drunkards we have in the world”:

2008: “‘Border dependents’ regard the pub as a home from home”. 1659: Too obvious a point to need mentioning, since “an alehouse” was often a room in a neighbour’s home. 2008: “‘Community drinkers’ are motivated by the need to belong”. 1659: “Good-fellowship: one man drinks to keep another company at it”. 2008: “‘Re-bonding drinkers’ are driven by a need to keep in touch with people who are close to them”. 1659: “A second end of drinking is said to be the maintaining of friendship and kindness amongst men”. 2008: “‘Hedonistic drinkers’ crave stimulation and want to abandon control”. 1659: “A third end of drinking is said to be the chearing their spirits, making them merry and jolly”.

2008: “‘De-stress drinkers’ use alcohol to regain control of life and calm down”; “‘Depressed drinkers’ crave comfort, safety and security”. 1659: “A fourth end is said to be the putting away of cares”. 2008: “‘Boredom drinkers’ consume alcohol to pass the time”. 1659: “A fifth end is said to be the passing away of time”. 2008: “‘Conformist drinkers’ are driven by the need to belong”. 1659: “A sixth end is said to be the preventing of that reproach … cast on those that will in this be stricter than their neighbours”.

In 1659 Allestree has no direct parallel with today’s final category, “Macho drinkers”, but in 1660 the Royalists would be back, bringing libertines with them …

A toast or three is due to Kate Loveman, the author of the letter, methinks (ah hah: the culprit, if I’m not much mistaken).

Some links for Sunday


One day I will write one of them proper post thingies…

Hubris and Hermeneutics
  Janice Liedl muses on the problems of ‘seeing the past on its own terms’

Interchange: The Promise of Digital History
  a recent conversation in JAH between historians considering the progress and future of digital history (seems to be open access… or perhaps not)

Bad Science: Don’t let facts spoil a good story
  Ben Goldacre on the misrepresentation of academic research by journalists. sometimes you just think, we're doomed…

Misery Loves Democrats
  pigs 'n' lipstick 'n' stuff

The Wonderbra ad and strict new advertising guidelines
  Charlie Brooker: "Only one thing for it: we're all going to have masturbate our way back to sanity together. Right, readers? Three … two … one … go!"

A few calls


1. CFP: Reading Conference in Early Modern Studies 2009

The next annual meeting of the Reading conference on early modern studies will be held on 6-8 July 2009, with an informal theme of ‘Authority and Authorities’. “The Reading conferences are as broadly based as possible, reflecting the most interesting developments in current research. Accordingly we welcome proposals for either complete sessions or individual papers from scholars in any discipline or any area of early modern studies, including Atlantic, European and imperial perspectives…” (Full details at the link.)

2. Guest bloggers wanted

Brandon Watson is looking for guest bloggers at his early modern history of philosophy blog Houyhnhnm Land; not necessarily history of philosophy specialists – “the posts have to be on some facet of early modern thought (or approaches thereto), but just about anything falling under that label would work. I’d love, for instance, to get historians of all kinds, literary scholars, and the like adding their two cents; I’d also love specialists from outside the early modern period looking at how later periods viewed the early modern period or how earlier periods prepared for it; and so forth.”

3. Carnivalesque and History Carnival hosts needed

I really, urgently need History Carnival hosts for November and December (1st of the month). Please email me as soon as possible if you could do one of these: sharon@earlymodernweb.org.uk.

A host is also needed for the November ancient/medieval edition Carnivalesque (same email address will do, or carnivalesque@earlymodernweb.org.uk).

Both carnivals will also need hosts next year, so if you’re too busy in the immediate future but might like to take one on later, get in touch.