Obscurata

This page is a collection of things I find interesting, mostly unrelated to the law. Sometimes I write to indulge this geekery; those pieces I collect on my Porterfolio page.

Encrypt. Use an email service which provides end-to-end encryption! Here area few (free) options:

Protonmail (Swiss)
Tutanota (German)
Whiteout (German)

Rainfan? Try NXSYS, Bernard Greenberg’s “labor of love”, the most (the only?) accurate and comprehensive simulator of the NYC Subway’s signals and interlocking.

Visit IRFCA, devoted to India’s vast and intricately diverse rail network, which hosts reams of information on the history, operations, network, and equipment of Indian Railways, as well as a huge media gallery. Learn how to start and stop locomotives, understand whistle codes, or read historical extracts.

Maritime affairs enthusiasts, ahoy! Read Henry Piddington’s fascinating 23 Memoirs on the Law of Storms in the Indian seas, from 1839 to 1854, all published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Piddington, an East Indiaman and proto-meteorologist who coined the word ‘cyclone’, also wrote Conversations about Hurricanes for the Use of Plain Sailors (1855).

Interested in communications technologies? To understand why the Indian state historically and still seeks total dominance of communications, read Charles C. Adley’s illuminating account, The Story of the Telegraph in India (1866), which describes the self-indulgent mood of India’s colonial establishment at the laying down of the first telegraph line between Calcutta and Delhi, on the eve of the Great Rebellion of 1857:

[T]he Governor-General of India was elated; ambition was appeased; another of the many brilliant visions of a glorious rule were realized; another achievement was added to the long roll of beneficent conquests which history would twine with lustre…, and the Telegraph was inaugurated amid the joyous congratulations of rulers and the triumphant paeans of an empire. [But] the panorama changes. The stirring poetry of enthusiasm fell dead. The transient splendour of a too rapid and volatile triumph dissolved away. The ray of glory which burst upon the picture and lighted it up with dazzling brilliancy…was quickly o’erclouded and disappeared.

Why?

When the mutinies broke out in 1857…[t]he line beyond Allahabad was destroyed…, and the entire district between Allahabad and Delhi was in [rebel] hands. Communications between Calcutta and the seats of Government at Bombay and Madras was completely cut off…

Poetry lovers left bereft by The Wondering Minstrels‘ abandonment, do you want to collaborate to create a successor? Contact me if you would like to.

Avgeeks and planespotters are a remarkably well-informed lot who undoubtedly know of these treasures already. Track thousands of flights on Flightradar and Flightaware while listening to their ATC communications on LiveATC. Read this mega-thread of (sometimes offensive) ATC humour on PPRuNe (incidentally, the best place to get unvarnished aviation news).

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