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Topics - xasop

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1
Philosophy, Religion & Society / The workings of European democracy
« on: June 17, 2021, 08:14:14 PM »
I've never looked very deeply into the workings of the EU, as someone who is ineligible to vote in European elections. The system of numerous institutions spread across three different cities always seemed a bit daunting. However, I am almost certainly going to be eligible to vote in 2024, so I decided it is time to educate myself so I can decide who to vote for in a few years.

For those of you who are not European, and our British residents who still do not understand what they opted out of, I will provide a brief summary here. The EU is composed of seven institutions; of these, this discussion will be limited to the four that comprise the legislature and executive, as these are the ones voters can most directly influence. The other three — the judiciary, the central bank and the auditing body — are a topic for another time.

Despite much propaganda thrown around regarding the supposedly undemocratic nature of the EU, it strongly resembles most Western democracies in its structure. Where appropriate, comparisons will be drawn between EU institutions and the institutions of other democracies.
  • The European Parliament (EP) is comparable to the lower houses of many bicameral parliaments around the world, such as the House of Commons in the UK, or the House of Representatives in the USA. It is elected directly by eligible voters in each member state, although the exact criteria for voting eligibility vary by state, with an election held every 5 years. As the only institution directly elected by the people, this will be discussed in more detail below.
  • The European Council (EUCO) and the Council of the European Union (Council) are, taken together, somewhat analogous to the upper houses of many parliaments, such as the Senate in the Netherlands or (somewhat more loosely) the USA. (A comparison with the House of Lords in the UK would be too strained, given how undemocratic the British system is.) The purposes of these institutions are to represent member states, rather than representing the people directly. The EUCO is comprised of the heads of government of each member state, and the Council rotates its membership according to the topic under consideration — for example, when the Council is convened on environmental issues, it will be composed of the Ministers for the Environment of each member state.
  • The European Commission (EC) is the executive of the EU. It consists of 27 members, one from each member state, who are appointed through a process involving both the EUCO and the EP. One difference between the EC and the executives of most other democracies is that the EC need not be elected from within the ranks of the EP, but since the EC cannot be formed without the approval of the EP and it relies on the EP's continued support to do its work, it is no less democratic. The current President of the European Commission, analogous to the prime minister in most democracies, is Ursula von der Leyen.
I will now go into some further detail on the EP, as this is the most directly relevant institution to voters. Rather than the familiar party-based approach, the EP is organised into groups, which are groups of members (MEPs) with similar ideologies. This arrangement, as opposed to organising MEPs by the state they represent, facilitates cooperation between the representatives of different member states with similar political views. Generally, each group will be composed of the elected representatives of ideologically related European political parties, although there are exceptions where different members of a party have joined with different groups. European parties, in turn, are formed from cooperation between national parties of member states with similar ideologies.

This idea may be easier to grasp with an example. The largest group in the current EP is the European People's Party Group (EPP Group), made up of the eponymous European People's Party (EPP), along with some representatives from the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM). In turn, the EPP is made up of various national parties, including:
  • Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands (CDU) in Germany,
  • Partido Popular (PP) in Spain,
  • Platforma Obywatelska (PO) in Poland,
  • Νέα Δημοκρατία (ND) in Greece,
  • Fine Gael (FG) in Ireland, and
  • Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA) in the Netherlands, among many others.
So, if a German voter were to cast a vote for the CDU in an EP election, that would translate into a vote for the EPP, and their representative would ultimately sit as part of the EPP Group. Groups in the EP will generally have a leader who speaks for them in plenary sessions, as in this session from last year, where each group presents its response to President von der Leyen's proposed funding to recover from the pandemic.

This system results in some odd incongruences. For instance, I would not support either of the major parties (Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael) in Irish national elections (assuming that I were eligible to vote), but so far I like the Renew Europe (Renew) group, in which Fianna Fáil participates. Conversely, I like some of Partij voor de Dieren's positions in the Netherlands, but they have chosen to align themselves with the group The Left in the European Parliament (GUE/NGL), which is too left-wing for my taste, so I would not vote for them in a European election.

In order to facilitate clear communication between people of differing backgrounds, and to minimise the misunderstandings that come with language barriers, MEPs are permitted to speak in any of the EU's 24 official languages. A team of expert interpreters translates all statements into 23 of these in real time (Irish is presently excluded due to the difficulty in finding qualified interpreters), so that all MEPs can understand each other, and all European citizens can understand each session. EP sessions are available to watch, live or recorded, online in any of the 23 EU languages other than Irish.

This is all fairly new to me and I am still getting a handle on how it all fits together, but this is as good a summary as I can give of what I have encountered so far. As for the reason I began looking into this, my own views seem to fit somewhere in between the groups Renew and Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA), and the EP sessions I have watched so far seem to confirm this. I'm going to keep watching EP sessions and try to get to know the system a bit better so I can make an informed choice in a few years.

2
Philosophy, Religion & Society / Irish reunification
« on: May 30, 2021, 08:32:35 PM »
There have been renewed calls for a referendum on Irish unity following Britain's recent self-immolation. Until recently, broaching the subject at all would have been utterly futile, but the introduction of the Irish Sea border is starting to change that, as Euronews reports.

While the appetite for unification may not yet be hungry enough to push for constitutional change, there is a growing urgency at least in increasing cross-border cooperation, given the two countries' shared geography and history.

A working group has produced a report on the matter with some recommendations, according to the Irish Sun.

The final report by the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland states: “It would be highly unwise for referendums to be called without a clear plan for the processes of decision-making that would follow.

“Such a plan would need to be agreed by the governments, working closely with the full range of actors in Northern Ireland, across the island of Ireland, and in the UK.”

So there is some work to be done, but headway is being made, which is nice to see. Given the obstacles, we probably won't see a referendum take place this year, but it seems within the realm of possibility to happen within the next couple of years.

3
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2021-04-18
« on: April 15, 2021, 02:45:44 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about 15 minutes on 2021-04-18, between 09:00 and 09:30 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
April 18, 2021, 09:00:00 AM


We will be updating to the latest version of SMF at this time, as well as incorporating some fixes for issues raised in the Suggestions & Concerns forum.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

4
Technology & Information / Custom keyboard layouts in X11
« on: April 03, 2021, 12:53:52 AM »
As a student of the Irish language, I wanted a way to enter a sineadh fada without using the XCompose method that has served me so well up to this point. The reasons are efficiency and accuracy: XCompose requires three keystrokes to input é, as opposed to two for a keyboard layout with AltGr+e; and this has the knock-on effect of making mistakes commonplace, such as pressing the keys in the wrong order and getting *iománáiocht instead of iománaíocht.

Unfortunately, the standard Irish keyboard layout is based on the terminally crippled UK layout, which means that it has (among other things) @, ", #, ~ and a few other symbols in the wrong places. Therefore, I took it upon myself to learn how to write my own xkb symbols file to create an ANSI-based Irish keyboard layout.

This turned out to be quite straightforward. The main annoyance is that if you make a mistake, X gives you no information whatsoever except that your symbols file has a mistake somewhere in it. But with a little trial and error, it's easy to get something that works well.

And so, behold! My new keyboard layout. I simply inherited the us(basic) layout I was already using (I don't want any of my existing usage to change), and added some new characters as combinations with AltGr. Each key has four symbols associated with it, corresponding to the key on its own, with Shift, with AltGr and with AltGr+Shift, respectively. NoSymbol means not to change the existing behaviour, which is why I used it everywhere that AltGr is not involved.

Code: [Select]
xkb_symbols "basic" {
    include "us(basic)"

    name[Group1]= "Irish (ANSI)";

    // Euro on 5 key
    key <AE05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,  EuroSign,       cent ] };

    // Q row
    key <AD03> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    eacute,     Eacute ] };
    key <AD04> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, 0x100027C,   NoSymbol ] };
                                       // long r
    key <AD05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, tabovedot,  Tabovedot ] };
    key <AD07> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    uacute,     Uacute ] };
    key <AD08> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    iacute,     Iacute ] };
    key <AD09> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    oacute,     Oacute ] };
    key <AD10> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, pabovedot,  Pabovedot ] };

    // A row
    key <AC01> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    aacute,     Aacute ] };
    key <AC02> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, sabovedot,  Sabovedot ] };
    key <AC03> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, dabovedot,  Dabovedot ] };
    key <AC04> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, fabovedot,  Fabovedot ] };
    key <AC05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, gabovedot,  Gabovedot ] };

    // Z row
    key <AB01> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, 0x100017F,  0x1001E9B ] };
                                       // long s, long s dot
    key <AB03> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, cabovedot,  Cabovedot ] };
    key <AB05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, babovedot,  Babovedot ] };
    key <AB07> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, mabovedot,  Mabovedot ] };

    include "level3(ralt_switch)"
};

5
Suggestions & Concerns / Allow markdown for post formatting
« on: June 30, 2020, 01:47:29 AM »
Markdown is much easier to write than BBcode, being little more than structured plain text. It would be nice if we could use it to format posts.

For example, here's some BBcode:

Code: [Select]
[size=1.4em][b]Heading[/b][/size]

I like [b]bold[/b] and [i]italic[/i] and also [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1p5eNOsl7I]links[/url].

[size=1.2em][b]Subheading[/b][/size]

[list]
[li]Do you like green eggs and ham?[/li]
[li]I do not like them, Sam I Am.[/li]
[/list]

[code]
#include <stdio.h>
int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    printf("Write in C\n");
}
[­/code]

[tex]\mathrm{e}^{\mathrm{i\pi}} + 1 = 0[/tex]

Now here's the same thing, written in markdown using pandoc's inline LaTeX extension:

Code: [Select]
# Heading

I like **bold** and *italic* and also [links](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1p5eNOsl7I).

## Subheading

* Do you like green eggs and ham?
* I do not like them, Sam I Am.

```
#include <stdio.h>
int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    printf("Write in C\n");
}
```

$\mathrm{e}^{\mathrm{i\pi}} + 1 = 0$

As you can see, the markdown version is much easier to read and edit in its raw form.

However, I don't want to switch between markdown and BBcode. BBcode can do some more complex things that don't suit the simplicity of markdown, and so they should both be available, and it should be possible to combine them. This will be tricky with SMF's awful BBcode parser, but I believe the benefits should be worthwhile.

6
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2020-06-28
« on: June 26, 2020, 02:46:16 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for up to an hour on 2020-06-28, between 09:00 and 10:00 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is
June 28, 2020, 09:00:00 AM to June 28, 2020, 10:00:00 AM.


We will be addressing some outstanding issues resulting from the previous maintenance window at this time.

7
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2020-06-13
« on: June 06, 2020, 06:03:28 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for up to 2 hours on 2020-06-13, between 08:00 and 10:00 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is
June 13, 2020, 08:00:00 AM to June 13, 2020, 10:00:00 AM.


The server will be upgraded to a new stable release of its operating system. This introduces the risk that problems will arise afterwards. If you notice any, please create a thread in Suggestions & Concerns so that we can deal with it. Thank you.

8
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2020-05-31
« on: May 28, 2020, 09:45:54 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about 5 minutes on 2020-05-31, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
May 31, 2020, 09:00:00 AM


We will be updating to the latest version of SMF at this time. Due to changes in SMF, this will require everyone to log in again the first time they visit the forum after the update.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

9
Technology & Information / OpenBSD 6.7
« on: May 24, 2020, 05:57:36 AM »
OpenBSD 6.7 was released this week. See the full release announcement for the (many, many) improvements made. Aside from the usual incremental progress, the main ones I'm interested in are the adoption of FFS2 as the default filesystem on most platforms, and extra hardware support, particularly for newer Intel Wi-Fi chips and the Pinebook Pro.

I decided to throw a fresh install of 6.7 on my Pine A64+ board. Here's the dmesg:

Code: [Select]
OpenBSD 6.7 (GENERIC.MP) #1: Sat May 16 15:59:24 MDT 2020
    root@syspatch-67-arm64.openbsd.org:/usr/src/sys/arch/arm64/compile/GENERIC.MP
real mem  = 2015719424 (1922MB)
avail mem = 1923706880 (1834MB)
mainbus0 at root: Pine64+
cpu0 at mainbus0 mpidr 0: ARM Cortex-A53 r0p4
cpu0: 32KB 64b/line 2-way L1 VIPT I-cache, 32KB 64b/line 4-way L1 D-cache
cpu0: 512KB 64b/line 16-way L2 cache
efi0 at mainbus0: UEFI 2.8
efi0: Das U-Boot rev 0x20200100
apm0 at mainbus0
psci0 at mainbus0: PSCI 1.1, SMCCC 1.1
"display-engine" at mainbus0 not configured
"osc24M_clk" at mainbus0 not configured
"osc32k_clk" at mainbus0 not configured
"internal-osc-clk" at mainbus0 not configured
"sound_spdif" at mainbus0 not configured
"spdif-out" at mainbus0 not configured
agtimer0 at mainbus0: tick rate 24000 KHz
simplebus0 at mainbus0: "soc"
sxisyscon0 at simplebus0
sxisid0 at simplebus0
sxiccmu0 at simplebus0
sxipio0 at simplebus0: 103 pins
ampintc0 at simplebus0 nirq 224, ncpu 4 ipi: 0, 1: "interrupt-controller"
sxirtc0 at simplebus0
sxiccmu1 at simplebus0
sxipio1 at simplebus0: 13 pins
sxirsb0 at simplebus0
axppmic0 at sxirsb0 addr 0x3a3: AXP803
"de2" at simplebus0 not configured
"dma-controller" at simplebus0 not configured
"lcd-controller" at simplebus0 not configured
"lcd-controller" at simplebus0 not configured
sximmc0 at simplebus0
sdmmc0 at sximmc0: 4-bit, sd high-speed, mmc high-speed, dma
"usb" at simplebus0 not configured
"phy" at simplebus0 not configured
ehci0 at simplebus0
usb0 at ehci0: USB revision 2.0
uhub0 at usb0 configuration 1 interface 0 "Generic EHCI root hub" rev 2.00/1.00 addr 1
ohci0 at simplebus0: version 1.0
ehci1 at simplebus0
usb1 at ehci1: USB revision 2.0
uhub1 at usb1 configuration 1 interface 0 "Generic EHCI root hub" rev 2.00/1.00 addr 1
ohci1 at simplebus0: version 1.0
com0 at simplebus0sxiccmu_ccu_reset: 0x0000002e
: ns16550, no working fifo
com0: console
sxitwi0 at simplebus0
iic0 at sxitwi0
dwxe0 at simplebus0: address 69:69:69:69:69:69
rgephy0 at dwxe0 phy 1: RTL8169S/8110S/8211 PHY, rev. 5
"hdmi" at simplebus0 not configured
"hdmi-phy" at simplebus0 not configured
"interrupt-controller" at simplebus0 not configured
sxidog0 at simplebus0
gpio0 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio1 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio2 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio3 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio4 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio5 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio6 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio7 at sxipio0: 32 pins
gpio8 at sxipio1: 32 pins
usb2 at ohci0: USB revision 1.0
uhub2 at usb2 configuration 1 interface 0 "Generic OHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
usb3 at ohci1: USB revision 1.0
uhub3 at usb3 configuration 1 interface 0 "Generic OHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
"hdmi-connector" at mainbus0 not configured
"binman" at mainbus0 not configured
cpu1 at mainbus0 mpidr 1: ARM Cortex-A53 r0p4
cpu1: 32KB 64b/line 2-way L1 VIPT I-cache, 32KB 64b/line 4-way L1 D-cache
cpu1: 512KB 64b/line 16-way L2 cache
cpu2 at mainbus0 mpidr 2: ARM Cortex-A53 r0p4
cpu2: 32KB 64b/line 2-way L1 VIPT I-cache, 32KB 64b/line 4-way L1 D-cache
cpu2: 512KB 64b/line 16-way L2 cache
cpu3 at mainbus0 mpidr 3: ARM Cortex-A53 r0p4
cpu3: 32KB 64b/line 2-way L1 VIPT I-cache, 32KB 64b/line 4-way L1 D-cache
cpu3: 512KB 64b/line 16-way L2 cache
scsibus0 at sdmmc0: 2 targets, initiator 0
sd0 at scsibus0 targ 1 lun 0: <SD/MMC, SL16G, 0080> removable
sd0: 15193MB, 512 bytes/sector, 31116288 sectors
vscsi0 at root
scsibus1 at vscsi0: 256 targets
softraid0 at root
scsibus2 at softraid0: 256 targets
bootfile: sd0a:/bsd
boot device: sd0
root on sd0a (d366cdda941f826a.a) swap on sd0b dump on sd0b
WARNING: bad clock chip time
WARNING: CHECK AND RESET THE DATE!

10
Technology & Information / Post your XCompose file
« on: May 02, 2020, 07:15:40 PM »
Code: [Select]
include "%L"


## Emoji

<Multi_key> <1> <0> <0> : "💯" # 100
<Multi_key> <o> <k> : "👌" # ok hand
<Multi_key> <p> <o> <o> : "💩" # pile of poo


## IPA

### Letters

<Multi_key> <a> <a> : "ɑ" # open back unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <a> <o> : "ɒ" # open back rounded vowel
<Multi_key> <B> <B> : "ʙ" # bilabial trill
<Multi_key> <B> <b> : "β" # voiced bilabial fricative
<Multi_key> <E> <E> : "ɛ" # open-mid front unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <E> <a> : "ɜ" # open-mid central unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <e> <a> : "ɐ" # near-open central unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <e> <i> : "ɘ" # close-mid central unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <e> <o> : "ɤ" # close-mid back unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <G> <G> : "ɢ" # voiced uvular stop
<Multi_key> <g> <h> : "ɣ" # voiced velar fricative
<Multi_key> <g> <i> : "ɟ" # voiced palatal stop
<Multi_key> <g> <n> : "ɲ" # palatal nasal
<Multi_key> <h> <g> : "ɦ" # breathy-voiced glottal fricative
<Multi_key> <I> <I> : "ɪ" # near-close near-front unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <l> <l> : "ɫ" # velarised alveolar lateral approximant
<Multi_key> <m> <g> : "ɱ" # labiodental nasal
<Multi_key> <N> <N> : "ɴ" # uvular nasal
<Multi_key> <o> <c> : "ɔ" # open-mid back rounded vowel
<Multi_key> <r> <d> : "ɾ" # alveolar flap
<Multi_key> <R> <R> : "ʀ" # uvular trill
<Multi_key> <R> <r> : "ʁ" # voiced uvular fricative
<Multi_key> <r> <r> : "ɹ" # alveolar approximant
<Multi_key> <s> <h> : "ʃ" # voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant
<Multi_key> <T> <h> : "θ" # voiceless dental fricative
<Multi_key> <u> <o> : "ʊ" # near-close near-back rounded vowel
<Multi_key> <v> <v> : "ʌ" # open-mid back unrounded vowel
<Multi_key> <v> <w> : "ʋ" # labiodental approximant
<Multi_key> <w> <h> : "ʍ" # voiceless labiovelar fricative
<Multi_key> <X> <X> : "χ" # voiceless uvular fricative
<Multi_key> <Y> <Y> : "ʏ" # near-close near-front rounded vowel
<Multi_key> <z> <h> : "ʒ" # voiced palato-alveolar sibilant
<Multi_key> <question> <h> : "ʔ" # glottal stop

### Spacing diacritics

<Multi_key> <g> <g> : "ˠ" # velarised
<Multi_key> <h> <h> : "ʰ" # aspirated
<Multi_key> <j> <j> : "ʲ" # palatalised
<Multi_key> <w> <w> : "ʷ" # labialised

### Combining diacritics

<Multi_key> <bracketleft> <bracketleft> : "̩" # syllabic
<Multi_key> <braceleft> <braceleft> : "̍" # syllabic above
<Multi_key> <bracketright> <bracketright> : "̯" # non-syllabic
<Multi_key> <braceright> <braceright> : "̑" # non-syllabic above
<Multi_key> <d> <n> : "̪" # dental
<Multi_key> <h> <period> : "̥" # voiceless

### Suprasegmentals

<Multi_key> <colon> <colon> : "ː" # long
<Multi_key> <apostrophe> <apostrophe> : "ˈ" # primary stress
<Multi_key> <comma> <comma> : "ˌ" # secondary stress

As you can see, I've been accumulating quite a lot of IPA key combinations. This is helpful for unambiguously representing pronunciation across a variety of different languages. The logic for which combinations produce which letters isn't always consistent, but it makes sense to me (it's usually based on the orthographies of languages I have already learnt, or else visual similarity to the IPA letter).

11
Arts & Entertainment / xasop reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« on: April 13, 2020, 12:31:51 AM »
Zappa had a number of good shows in the Netherlands over the years, culminating in the famous "rehearsal" concert in Rotterdam in 1988, in which Ed Mann rehearses the percussion lick from Dickie's Such an Asshole live on stage (as heard on Make a Jazz Noise Here). However, I have not heard most of them, so in this thread I will listen to each one throughout his career and review it here.

This will be markedly different from my previous threads reviewing individual tours, as this thread will span many different tours with many different bands across his entire career.

Unfortunately, no Dutch concerts between 1971 and 1976 have recordings available, and so—in order to avoid the omission of a seminal part of Zappa touring history—I will be substituting the shows for several tours with adjacent ones from neighbouring countries (the UK in 1972, Belgium in 1973-74). After all, Brussels is an enclave within Flanders, which everyone knows belongs rightfully to the Dutch.

See ye soon for the first show!

12
Technology & Information / Axe-Parrett Canal
« on: April 05, 2020, 05:21:00 PM »
Currently, the two neighbouring EU states of France and Ireland must route ships around Land's End in Cornwall to transport goods without them leaving and re-entering the EU (and thus being subject to foreign taxation). This is clearly not ideal, but I have just the solution!

Within the county of Somerset, England, the River Parrett flows into the Bristol Channel through low-lying land via Bridgwater down from the town of Langport, where it reaches an elevation of about 10 metres. From there, its tributary the River Isle continues up to reach an elevation of 20 metres shortly before the town of Ilminster.

Meanwhile, in Devon, the River Axe flows into the English Channel at Axmouth, coming down (somewhat more steeply than the Parrett) from Axminster, where it is also at an elevation of about 20 metres.

Now, the Panama Canal has established an engineering precedent for passing heavy maritime loads through changes in elevation of up to 26 metres. Also, Ilminster and Axminster are separated by about 20 kilometres of relatively low land between two mountain ranges. The highest elevation in this section is about 100 metres, near the town of Chard, which lies in Somerset close to the border with Devon.

My proposal is this: Widen and deepen the Parrett, Isle and Axe rivers along this course to permit the passage of typical container ships. Then, construct a 20-kilometre canal in a new cutting between the towns of Ilminster and Axminster, to connect the two river systems. The pièce de résistance of this engineering project would be a short 1-kilometre tunnel under the highest point on the route, to avoid slicing the eastern half of Chard in two while permitting a typical 65 metres of air draft for passing ships.

Naturally, some additional work would be needed, for instance at Bridgwater where a new route around the town would be required to avoid the demolition of any existing low-level bridges, and to carry the M5 motorway over the route with enough clearance for container ships to pass. But these are all solvable problems with historical precedent.

Once this project is complete, passing ships will be subject to a nominal tariff rather than being treated as leaving and re-entering the EU, and thus avoid any taxation on their cargo. Maritime traffic between Cherbourg and Dublin will then be able to avoid the lengthy detour around Land's End, delivering economic benefits for the EU on par with Boris Johnson's proposed bridge to Northern Ireland.

For an illustration of the topography involved, see this topographic map of Devon.

13
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2020-02-09
« on: February 07, 2020, 09:26:30 AM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about 5 minutes on 2020-02-09, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
February 09, 2020, 09:00:00 AM


We will be updating to the latest version of SMF at this time. Due to changes in SMF, this will require everyone to log in again the first time they visit the forum after the update.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

14
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-10-26
« on: October 23, 2019, 08:55:44 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about 5 minutes on 2019-10-26, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
October 26, 2019, 09:00:00 AM


Some prepatory maintenance work is going to be carried out to facilitate future plans. This does not impact any existing services, but does require a reboot.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

15
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-10-20
« on: October 16, 2019, 08:28:12 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for up to 30 minutes on 2019-10-20, between 09:00 and 09:30 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
October 20, 2019, 09:00:00 AM


We are going to migrate the wiki to a new database system, the same one used by the forum. We are also going to be doing some database tuning to adjust it to the new server we migrated to last month.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

16
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-10-13
« on: October 10, 2019, 10:09:13 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about five minutes on 2019-10-13, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
October 13, 2019, 09:00:00 AM


The intent is to install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

17
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-09-12
« on: September 08, 2019, 03:34:23 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about five minutes on 2019-09-12, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
September 12, 2019, 09:00:00 AM


The server needs to be rebooted in order to complete the unblock for sending mail as described in the previous maintenance thread.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

18
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-09-07
« on: August 31, 2019, 11:19:35 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for up to an hour on 2019-09-07, between 09:00 and 10:00 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
September 07, 2019, 09:00:00 AM


The server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki is to be migrated to a new hosting provider at this time. No user-facing changes are expected.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

19
Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2019-08-11
« on: August 09, 2019, 11:28:19 AM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about five minutes on 2019-08-11, between 09:00 and 09:15 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
August 11, 2019, 09:00:00 AM


The intent is to install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

20
Status Notices / Emergency maintenance, 2019-06-18
« on: June 18, 2019, 04:29:40 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki went offline a moment ago for a couple of minutes.

This was to install a security patch to remedy the recent Linux kernel TCP vulnerabilities.

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