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Work: I've been in libraries since 2006; among other things, I spent a year as the at the British Library, wandering around and telling people how nice the internet was, and another five years in . I now mostly do and .

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I'm a Scottish librarian working in London; primarily what I write about here is my and work.

The biggest chunk of that is the project - trying to build a rich dataset of historic parliamentarians, and figure out what interesting things it can tell us.

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Our @anyaso may be taking a well-earned vacation, but that doesn't stop us churning out more notes from a hit and miss week

An odd question: are there any stats on rates of ability to type over time? I feel like it must be out there (presumably would have soared after about the 1990s) but can't put my finger on it.

Always impressed by the fact I can sit in my flat and get a live report on how interesting the Arsenal game is by listening to the stadium from a full kilometre away. feels like it shouldn't be quite as effective as that!

1951 travel guide for visiting (west) Germany: passports straightforward, breakfast light, tea doubtful, politics is fine but don't mention the weather

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Ben Myers: Statement on Generative AI

"**Technology is not neutral.** Leveraging and normalizing generative AI is not a neutral act."

"Instead, I'd offer an alternative mental model: generative AIs are tools, devised and deployed by corporations to operate at scale, laundering content the corporations generally do not own with the active intention of reducing the need for, and the value of, human labor. Whether machine learning is like human learning is irrelevant to the real-world impact of its use."

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Remember how a couple of years ago, there were crypto enthusiasts trying to say that artists, photographers and other creatives who didn’t get into minting NFTs would be missing out? Yeah, let’s see how that worked out.

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After a break of a couple of weeks my jobs newsletter has returned. It is simply a list of data vacanciers in nonprofits that caught my eye

The other delightful detail is that apparently some MPs were so unlikely that they hadn't bothered printing cards. Then they ran out of people who hadn't resigned yet, so someone was getting a marker to write in the last-minute options...

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Really struck by this picture of the 2022 cabinet reshuffle board (via - I remember back in 2017 people were saying "finally having those standard photos will be interesting, bet they'll get used everywhere", and turns out: yes, yes they did.

(I think I remember spotting them in a photo of someone's briefing book at PMQs as well?)

Today's WP discovery is the (now defunct) British and Irish Communist Organisation, who seem to have generated their policy platforms by throwing darts at a wall - pro-nuclear Marxist unionists who were in favour of both the Falklands War and the Khmer Rouge.

This is the sort of thing that makes the Spiked lot almost seem coherent

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Apparently middle age has well and truly caught up with me: am reading Trollope. Seems like leadership contests have not changed much since 1867.

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In that same election, 73,000 people in Conservative-held seats spoiled their ballots.

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Just worked this out: to transform the 2019 election into a Conservative loss in the smallest possible way (one seat less than everyone else put together) would have taken approx 45-52,000 voters changing their minds - depends how you handle the NI seats.

I mean, I can't imagine a hypothetical grand coalition of Labour, SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid, and the Greens (Green?) would have been particularly stable, but it probably couldn't have been more chaotic than the Truss month was.

In theory I think Frederick Hervey (1730-1803), might also fall in this group: he succeeded as Earl of Bristol in 1779 when he was already Bishop of Derry. Irish bishops were later made members of the Westminister Lords in 1801 on a rota basis, but I am not clear how they were chosen or who they were.

(As it happens he seems to have spent most of his later life on the Continent so the matter is a bit academic, but...)

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Today's constitutional oddity: the clergyman Robert Eden (1799-1870) succeeded his brother as Baron Eden in 1849 and got a seat in the House of Lords. So far, so straightforward.

But Eden became Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1854 and stayed there until 1869, by which time he was presumably senior enough to have a seat as a Lord Spiritual. Which one won?

(this is a footnote hunting for a solution, I guess)

Better scan needed but very pleased with this: near-infrared photography! IR sensitive film with a 720nm filter on the lens to cut out almost all visible light (there's a tiny bit of deep red left to focus by)

Second image is a normal phone shot at the same time, desaturated into B/W. Note the differences in the trees especially.

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