RETRO DISCO HI-NRG: KLF - The White Room (Album) 1991 ...
The Album sleeve, for The KLF, The White Room (1991)


The KLF was founded in London, England in 1987 by Scottish – but South Africa born – Bill Drummond (1953 – , aka King Boy D) and English Jimmy Cauty (1956 – , aka Rockman Rock). They began by releasing hip hop-inspired and sample-heavy records. Like many musicians of the 20th century that I appreciate, Bill Drummond was educated at a third class art institution, the University of Northampton, Art and Design Academy.

An art school education allows people to develop themselves as personas with particular characteristics. In this case, it allowed the KLF to adopt the philosophy presented in The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975). Often regarded as a cult success, it was written by Robert Shea (1933 – 1994) and Robert Anton Wilson (1932 – 2007). It could be described as a satirical, postmodern, science fiction–influenced adventure with drug-, sex-, and magic-laden components, heavily dependent on conspiracies, both real and imagined.

Should one want to appreciate the KLF in terms of content, there is only one significant album: The White Room (1991), initially recorded in 1989. There are four important tracks: 1) What Time is Love; 3) 3 a.m. Eternal; 5) Last Train to Trancentral; and, 9) Justified and Ancient. Don’t bother just listening to the music, watch the videos, for it is the videos that put the music in context. The videos are not a musical performance. They are theatre.

Drummond and Cauty also practised guerrilla communication, “illegal but effective use of graffiti on billboards and public buildings [in which] the original meaning of the advert would be totally subverted”. Another part of this guerrilla communication involved the alleged burning of £1 million in a hut on Jura, Scotland.

John Higgs (1971 -) writes in The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds (2013) that: A simplified description of their partnership would portray Cauty as the musician and Drummond as the strategist, but this view doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. All of the products of their partnership, whether musical or otherwise, came out of mutual agreement. Cauty is just as capable of burning stuff as Drummond…. Cauty is practical and above all curious, quick to get his hands dirty, experiment and see what happens. He is a catalyst.

My own personal interest in the KLF, apart from their theatrical performance, is their instrumentation. The instruments that appear on stage (or in videos) are not necessarily the instruments that are used to produce the music, they are props.

Early KLF music was performed using an Apple II computer equipped with a Greengate DS3 sampler peripheral card, and a Roland TR-808 drum machine. Later, an Akai S900 sampler and Atari ST computers were used.

Singles in 1990–1992 were mixed by Mark “Spike” Stent (1965 – ) using a Solid State Logic (SSL) automated mixing desk. SSL is referenced in the subtitle of 3 a.m. Eternal (Live at the S.S.L.).

Later, an Oberheim OB-8 analogue synthesiser was used. Drummond sometimes plays a Gibson ES-330 semi-acoustic guitar, and Cauty plays an uspecified electric guitar. A Roland TB-303 bassline and Roland TR-909 drum machine are also used.

Some of the musicians involved on the four highlighted tracks.

What Time is Love Backing Vocals [“Mu Mu’s”] Katie Kisson, P.P. Arnold; [“Ooohs”] Cressida, Lindz. E. Love; Keyboards [303 Acid Factor] Major Malfunktion; [808’s & 909’s] Manda Beatmaster; Mixed by Stent; Performer [Breaks] Lenny Dee, Tony Thorpe; Rap Isaac Bello; Vocals [“I Wanna See You Sweat”] Wanda Dee; Written by Drummond, I. Bello, Cauty, L. McFarland.

3 A.M. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L.) Backing Vocals: Ian Richardson, Micky Wilson; [“Are You Ready?”], [“Here We Go”] Ashanti; [“KLF Aha Aha”] P.P. Arnold; Clarinet: Duy Khiem; Keyboards, Backing Vocals: Nick Coler; Mixed by Stent; Performer [Breaks] Tony Thorpe; Rap Ricardo; Vocals Maxine Harvey; Written by Drummond, Cauty, R. Lyte.

Last Train To Trancentral (Live From The Lost Continent) Backing Vocals [“All Aboard, All Aboard”] Black Steel; [“Come On Boy D’ya Wanna Ride?”] Wanda Dee; [“KLF” & “Mu Mu”] P.P. Arnold; [“Lie Down On The Floor & Keep Calm”] John Dillinger; [“Woo Woo”] Emma Burnham; [Wild Yelps] Cressida; Keyboards Nick Coler; Mixed by Stent; Performer [Breaks] – Tony Thorpe; Rap [“This Is What KLF Is About…” & “Back To The Heavyweight Jam”] Ricardo; Written by Drummond, Cauty, L. McFarland, R. Lyte.

Justified and Ancient (Stand by the JAMs): Backing Vocals [Lead Chorus Vocals] – Maxine Harvey; Lead Vocals – Tammy Wynette; Mixed by Stent; Pedal Steel Guitar – Rusty Pence; Written by Drummond, Cauty.


One major criticism that can be levelled against many musicians today, is that they fail to clothe themselves with a consistent perspective/ world view. Rather, they jump back and forth without any apparent reason or explanation. Each track/ song is a universe unto itself. Listeners are expected, somehow, to migrate from song to song, which is more correctly a passage from world to world. Since the music of the KLF is encapsulated in its own world, there is an understandable transition between tracks. Beyond this, the music is concerned with ceremonies and journeys, which can be seen particularly well, with respect to a hero.

Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) deconstructs the monomyth in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949): A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons [= timely benefits] on his fellow man.


The blackness of the KLF is the chaos that envelops it. This chaos was documented by Andrew Harrison (1960s – ). Return of the KLF: ‘They were agents of chaos. Now the world they anticipated is here’ (2017-04-27). It was published, just as the inexplicable happened. The music of the KLF, possibly the Kopyright Liberation Front, was re-released.

Long before there was the KLF, even before The Illuminatus! Trilogy, the origins of this blackness can be found in Principia Discordia (1963), written by Malaclypse the Younger = Gregory Hill (1941 – 2000) and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst = Kerry Wendell Thornley (1938 – 1998). They invented Discordianism, variously referred to as a religion/ philosophy/ paradigm centered on Eris, a goddess of chaos.

Discordianism accepts that order and disorder are illusions, a product of the human nervous system that imposes itself on the universe. Neither order nor disorder is more real than the other. Many feel that Discordianism should be regarded as a parody of religion.

The role of the KLF was to operationalize discordianism. Operationalizing transforms a fuzzy concept into something understandable. It exemplifies the concept, and by doing so extends it into something real and, potentially, measurable.

The Black Room was also the name of a never-completed album intended to follow The White Room. First, it was to be hardcore-techno, then electro-metal, before a thrash-metal collaboration with Extreme Noise Terror emerged, then faded.


According to Stuart Semple (1980 – ), Blink is the darkest black, even darker than Vantablack. This is neither the time nor place to discuss the cultural nastiness that has emerged with these claims about blackness, but there is an article that attempts to explain them.

In the KLF universe, the equivalent of Blink is the video, Who Killed The KLF? (2021), made by Chris Atkins (1976 – ), who also provided insights into it in a Guardian article, Prison, lawsuits and a glovebox of fake cash: the film the KLF didn’t want you to see (2022-04-08). As many expected, £1 million burned in that hut on Jura, was all fake. In fact, almost everything about the KLF was fake.

Orange update 2022-12-22

Somehow, some five years before writing this update, Build a Fire was uploaded onto YouTube by A.M.V. @ MaxiMadridVideos. I managed to hear it for the first time, two days before writing this update.

Build a Fire constitutes a fifth track from the White Room album that can be classified as important, a euphemism referring to a musical track accompanied by a video. Build a Fire appears as track 7 on the unreleased Tunes from the White Room (TftWR, 1989) and the 1991 released North American album (WRNA). It is track 6 on the 1991 general album release (WRGR), and the 2021 Director’s Cut (WRDC).

Investigating this Spanish YouTube channel more closely, I find there is yet another KLF video that is even more difficult to describe. It is titled, No More Tears, and lasts 8m18s. Accompanying the video are two songs. Song #1 = From North Druid to Atlanta. North Druid is a mountain about 13 km north of Atlanta, Georgia. It can be found using this title, as track #6 on Come Down Dawn: Brooklyn to Mexico City 1990, Original duration: 9m50s. This work is a 2021 reissue of the studio album Chill Out (1990) released to streaming services on 2021-02-04 under their alias The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. This was the second in a series of six official compilations Samplecity thru Trancentral. Content on Chill Out/ Come Down Dawn originates from a 43-hour road trip in 1990, from the Reverend Doctor Wade’s tabernacle in Brooklyn to the Mesoamerican Pyramids near Mexico City in a 1968 Ford Galaxie, a repurposed American police car. The authenticity of this statement can be doubted, when one is presented with a Spanish, rather than North American, landscape.

On Chill Out (1990), this track is listed as track #8, 3 a.m. Somewhere Out of Beaumont. It lasts 3m36s.

Song #2 is, No More Tears, appearing as track #6 on TftWR, #9 on WRNA, #8 on WRGR, and #8 on WRDC. It does not appear on Chill Out or on Come Down Dawn.

While truthiness may not be the KLF’s strong point, the British monthly magazine, Record Collector, compared The KLF’s production method to that of established electronic musicians: “While electronic dinosaurs like Jean Michel Jarre [(1948 – ), noted for a series of works, all titled Oxygen] and Klaus Schulze [(1947-2022), member of Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and The Cosmic Jokers, before starting a solo career] were walling themselves in with banks and banks of synthesizers, computers and electronic gadgetry, the KLF were doing the opposite—making a crafted work like Chill Out with the bare necessities of musical survival.”

A.M.V. describes Build a Fire as: Filmed Sierra Nevada de España. An instrumental version of the unreleased original 1989 soundtrack version of Build A Fire. Restored & Dedicated To Our Ancient Friend John Milne. Unreleased Recording.

A.M.V.’s cryptic notes for No More Tears read: Intro: North Druid Hills to Atlanta – KLF (1991) Lyricist: Bill Drummond (1991) Composer: Bill Drummond Lyricist: Jimmy Cauty Composer: Jimmy Cauty Unreleased Recording NOT FOR SALE OR RESALE Matrix/Runout: SAMP 1684 AB(SAME ON B SIDE)Provided to YouTube by Domino North Druid Hills to Atlanta · The KLF · The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu Come Down Dawn ℗ KLF Communications Matrix/runout (A-side runout): 656674-1 1 02 P1991 Matrix/runout (B-side runout): 656674-1 2 01 P1991 Producer: The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu Mixer: The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu Music Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Music Publisher: Warner Chappell Music Lyricist: Bill Drummond Composer: Bill Drummond Lyricist: Jimmy Cauty Composer: Jimmy Cauty #KLF#BillDrummond#JimmyCauty.

I refer to this update as orange, reflecting the burning fire in the first video, and the sunrise/ sunset content in the second video.

For now, orange could be just a temporary pause of the KLF time machine. If nothing else, the KLF are unpredictable. Graduates of third-rate art schools have one advantage over those attending more illustrious institutions, nobody expects anything of them!

Surfing Day

On 2022-02-11 = 11 February 2022, Maya Reis Gabeira broke her own record for riding the largest wave surfed – unlimited (female). The wave had a confirmed height of 22.4 m = 73.5 feet at the Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge event in Praia do Norte, Portugal. Photo: Guniness World Records.

Today, 2023-06-17 = 17 June 2023, is the 30th anniversary of the International Surfing Day. It is held annually on the third Saturday of June. It is yet another unofficial holiday, that some environmentally conscious, sports-centered fanatics find worthy of celebrating because of an interest in surfing as a sport, as a lifestyle, as a musical genre, or simply as a manifestation of the sustainability of ocean resources. The day is the spiritual successor of World Surf Day, started by the Usenet newsgroup alt.surfing in 1993.

I attempted to read a short, online history of surfing. It was problematic. Apparently, somewhere in Polynesia there is a cave where, in the 12th century, someone painted a person on a surfboard. The location was not specified. It could be anywhere, but I suspect it exists only in the imagination of the writer. By the year given, the Polynesians had colonized Hawaii (AD 900), Rapa Nui = Easter Island (AD 900) as well as Aotearoa = New Zealand (AD 1200), if one is not too concerned about the difference between 12th century and AD 1200. Polynesia consists of about 300 – 310 000 square kilometers of land, of which New Zealand contributes 270 000 square kilometers. It is surrounded by vast quantities of ocean. How much? I have not been able to determine that metric.

If one traces the linguistic origins of Polynesia far enough back in time, one ends up in Taiwan.

An orthographic projection of Polynesia, surfing’s traditional place of origin. Source: David Eccles, 2008.

Despite various forms of evidence (linguistic, historic as well as genetic), some pseudo-scientists want to invent their own histories. Such is the case with Thor Heyerdahl (1914 – 2002). He proposed, in the mid-20th century, that the Polynesians had migrated in two waves: one by Native Americans from the northwest coast of Canada by large whale-hunting dugouts; and the other from South America on balsa-log rafts. The Kon-Tiki expedition set out to prove the possibility.

The history of Polynesia is not the same as the history of surfing. Today is not Polynesia day, but surfing day. The list below contains some names of individuals associated with surfing culture in its various forms.

Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (1890 – 1968): enthusiastic surfer, who also founded the multiracial Hui Nalu Club (Club of Waves) at Waikīkī Beach.

Hugh Bradner (1915 – 2008): inventor of the neoprene wetsuit, which revolutionized surfing (and scuba diving).

William Asher (1921 – 2012): director of Beach Party (1963), a film that shows antropologist Robert Orville Sutwell (Bob Cummings, 1910 – 1990) secretly studying the wild mating habits of Southern California teenagers who hang out at the beach and speak in strange surfing-jargon.

Dick Dale (born, Richard Anthony Monsour; 1937 – 2019): guitarist, who composed the ultimate surf song, Misirlou (1962).

Bruce Brown ( 1937 – 2017): American documentary film director, known as an early pioneer of the surf film, who made The Endless Summer (1964).

Rennie Ellis (1940 – 2003): Australian surf photographer, photo agency and gallery owner and publisher of 17 photography books.

Annette Funicello (1942 – 2013): actress, mouseketeer, particularly appreciated for her role as Dee Dee in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965).

William Finnegan (1952 – ): author of Barbarian Days: A Surfing LIfe (2015), often described as a memoir of an obsession.

Joni Sternbach (1953 – ): large-format camera photographer using early photographic processes, including tintype and collodion. She takes an ethnographic approach to produce in situ portraits of women surfers and surf culture. Many of these were published in Surfland (2009).

Selema Masekela (1971 – ): enthusiastic promoter of AfroSurf (2021) a book with 200 photos, 50 essays, surfer profiles, thought pieces, poems, playlists, illustrations, ephemera, recipes, and a mini comic, intended to capture the diversity and character of the African surf. The book’s author is stated as Mami Wata, which could refer to 1) a central African water spirit; 2) a 2023 film by C. J. Fiery Obasi, about that water spirit; 3) a South African surf supply company.

Maya Reis Gabeira (1987 – ): Brazilian big wave surfer, with a world record for having surfed a 22.4 m (73 ft) high wave in Nazaré, Portugal on 2022-02-11 = 11 February 2022, the biggest wave ever surfed by a woman.

Carissa Moore (1992 – ): Hawaiian American Olympian, world champion surfer and activist.

My own interest in surfing relates to surf photography and surf culture.

Democracy Tax

This hand-held device, complete with a photo of a smiling San Francisco resident, is a Taiwanese designed, but Chinese made, Asus Zenfone 9. It was purchased in 2022-09 to replace a Chinese designed and made Xiaomi Pocophone F1 purchased in 2018-12. It is an attempt to purchase products where more of the added value originates in democratic countries.

I use the expression, democracy tax to indicate a willingness to pay more for goods and services that are made in democratically governed countries, as opposed to paying less for equivalent goods from countries that are more autocratic. Despite its shortcomings, I generally use the latest Democracy Index, as provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), to determine a country’s relative placement.

The countries where I have the greatest emotional attachment had the following rankings on the first EIU Democracy Index, made in 2006: Norway (4), Canada (9), Ireland (11) and USA (17), listed in ranked order. In 2021, the ranks were: Norway (1), Ireland (7), Canada (12) and USA (26). Our nuclear family of two parents and two adult children are all citizens of Canada. My wife and children are citizens of Ireland. All but one child are citizens and residents of Norway. That one child lives in USA, along with numerous other relatives.

Countries where I also have some emotional attachment include other Nordic countries (ranked 1, 2, 5 & 6 in 2006, but 3 – 6 in 2021). This ranking pattern of 2006 followed by 2021 continues below. In addition, I attempt to support other democratic countries economically, where this is possible. These countries include many members of the European Union and Switzerland (10 – 9). In Latin America I am especially impressed with Uruguay (27 – 13) and Costa Rica (25 – 20). In Austral-Asia, New Zealand (11 – 2), Taiwan (32 – 8), Australia (8 – 9), South Korea (31 – 16) and Japan (20 – 17) are to be praised. In sub-Saharan Africa, I attempt to give theoretical support to Mauritius (25 – 19). Yes, Mauritius and Costa Rica were tied in 2006, as were Ireland and New Zealand.

Ranking for some of the larger European Union countries: Germany (13 – 15), France (24 – 22), and Italy (34 -31).

If countries should be mentioned where I feel an emotional detachment, not because of the people themselves, but because of their political systems: United Kingdom (23 – 18) for leaving the European Union, Russia (102 – 124) for its invasion of Ukraine, and China (138 – 148) for its oppression of Hong Kong, and threats against Taiwan. Note, figures presented were from 2021 before the latest, 2022-02-24, Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Since the Russian invasion, I have attempted to prioritize purchases from the most democratic countries, and to avoid the least democratic.

A democracy tax is voluntary. In many cases, there are few if no choices available. Such is the case in Norway about food stuffs. Many of these are produced by agricultural cooperatives in Norway. Unfortunately, Norway is incapable of supplying all of its nutritional needs. So products are imported into Norway by the major grocery wholesalers. Admittedly, in some areas it is easier to exercise one’s ability to choose where something is made, than others. Below are examples of attempting to pay the democracy tax on a big-ticket item, and smaller-ticket items often related, specifically, to computing in its various forms.

Big-ticket items

Our first application of the democracy tax was with respect to ordering a new electric vehicle. We decided to exclude cars from China, but to consider cars from France, Germany, Italy and South Korea. A Volkswagen ID.Buzz was ordered on 2022-05-23, and delivered on 2023-02-13.

There are cheaper EVs than the Buzz. There is also conjecture that next year’s EV will be cheaper this this year’s. Yet, as old people we felt we could not put off buying a new vehicle indefinitely. Similarly, it was announced that features we might appreciate would be coming after the initial release. These included four-wheel drive, and removable rear seats. We decided we could live without them, and accept something simple.

Smaller-ticket items

The residential charger we installed for our EV cost about 5% of the cost of the EV itself. It is possible to save money buying a charger from a less democratic part of the world. However, with about 2/3 of the price related to installation, this would not save much money. We opted to buy one that was made in Norway, the Easee Home. We also opted to increase the length of wiring needed so that we could park the car as we have done for the past thirty-four years.

We decided to buy Asus Zenfone 9 hand-held devices (cell phones), with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB of storage. Asus equipment is typically designed in Taiwan, but made in China. These were purchased in 2022-09 to replace a Chinese designed and made Xiaomi Pocophone F1 purchased in 2018-12. Because hand-held devices control so much of a vehicle’s functions, we decided we wanted to have phones purchased before the arrival of our new EV, even though the Pocophones probably could have lasted an additional year or two. One irritation with the Pocophones was the almost continuous request for tracking permissions, that had been previously denied. While the Zenfones cost over twice the price of the Pocophones, they still cost less than equivalent phones that our children buy. In the eight months of ownership, we have not had a single tracking request.

There are two types of keyboards, ANSI – used in USA, and ISO – used mainly in Europe.

I use ISO, not ANSI. Yet, when I bought a laptop in 2019, I had not thought about that important fact, and ended up buying an Asus Vivobook with an ANSI keyboard. That choice was regretted almost every day. Thus, when Trish’s machine was over seven years old, I allowed myself the luxury of buying us both new laptops, with ISO keyboards, despite the fact that my laptop was only three years old.

Originally, I expected to buy Asus Zenbooks, like Trish’s older machine. However, it appears that Asus is only offering ANSI keyboards with their laptop machines. We ended up with Acer Swift 3 machines, which – because of their inferior screen technology – cost considerably less than a Zenbook. Both Asus and Acer machines are typically designed in Taiwan, but made in China.

I also use a desktop machine, in addition to a laptop. This requires the use of additional equipment. For a long time I avoided buying an ergonomic mouse and keyboard, despite their advantages. Most are expensive, and I didn’t think they were worth the price, despite an official diagnosis of osteoarthritis in a large number of joints in my hands. By 2021, I had changed my mind, transitioning from a Logitech M535 mouse and a K380 keyboard to a more ergonomic Logitech MX Vertical mouse and a K860 Ergo keyboard. Because of vision issues, I also purchased a better monitor/ screen/ display made by AOC. Logitech is a Swiss company. AOC is a Taiwanese company.

Not all of our capital expenditures are related to computing. More recently, the local yarn shop closed down. Patricia decided that she could afford to buy about five years worth of supplies, at half price. Here, she was able to purchase Norwegian brands. Yet, one wants to ask how much of these use Norwegian wool exclusively?

For some months I have been concerned about the inability to adjust my Ryobi mitre saw to compensate for cutting deviations I experienced. My solution was to buy a smaller, but more accurate Bosch mitre saw that will meet my needs. Previously, I had replaced a Scheppach table saw with a Bosch table saw, and am considering just one further replacement, a Coop brand track saw with yet another Bosch model. I have discovered that Bosch provides the product quality I need and appreciate. I also discovered that these products are made in China.

Reducing the democracy tax

There are ways to reduce the democracy tax. With retirement at the end of 2016, 2017-01-01 marked the beginning of a new era, with a (partial) set of new values. Our pensions were set at 60% of our final employment earnings. Since then they have been reduced by 0.75% per year. For us, there have never been any issues about living within our means. We have managed to save money every year of our retirement. We are not overspending, in terms of our income. However, I did look at ways in which I could save additional money without affecting the quality of our lives.

One of the things I did not want to do was to focus on buying sale items at sale prices. The easiest way to save money on something, is to avoid buying it.

Used equipment

Another way to reduce the democracy tax is to buy used items. Yet, sometimes one spends money and gets little in return. One of the first used items I purchased in my retirement was a Logitech K380 keyboard, on 2020-01-06. This keyboard was my favourite, so I wanted to make sure I had a duplicate in case it wore out. It hasn’t and it probably won’t so this was an unnecessary purchase. The only advantage in purchasing it, is that my two offspring can both inherit one.

A kitchen is not just a place for food storage and preparation, it is also a natural place for the accumulation of nutritional and food preparation information. I bought a used Asus All-in-One (AiO) computer on 2020-10-12 to become the interface for this information. In addition, it could act as a room control unit in the kitchen. One can never be completely certain how technology will be received. The kitchen is designed with an extra 2.5 meters of usable desk/ table top for food preparation purposes. I am intending to use less than 0.5 meters of counter space for the computer, yielding a net gain of 2 meters.

Starting with the pandemic in 2020, and continuing until today, it is no longer possible to buy everything off the shelf. There are major delays. In 2023, instead of buying new Raspberry Pi boards for projects, I am buying used Acer Revo desktop machines, with a minimum of 4 GB RAM, and a 120 GB SSD. Currently, I have 2 x RL70, 1 x RL85 and 1 x RN66 models, and hope to conclude my purchasing spree with a 1 x RN76 model, sometime later this year. These are cheaper, and adequate for all my needs. I have decided to buy one piece of kit a month, for a maximum of NOK 1 000.

The RL70 units are intended to work as combined controllers for both a greenhouse and a weather station. Once the hardware is built the two units will be given away. The software will be kept, and the details published, so that others will be able to use the insights (and code) developed.

The RN models will probably be used as a Windows machine for those programs that fail to operate properly using Linux Wine. Wine is often called a compatibility layer, rather than an emulator. It often works, but sometimes it doesn’t, meaning that it is appropriate to install and use Windows. The programs that fail to work were first developed when Windows XP was the most common operating system. I have a working copy of this that can be installed. In addition, I have a working copy of Windows 7, should it be needed. In both cases, the computer will be operated without any connection to the internet.

The RN76 will probably run a library program, and a slide digitization program. The RN66 will probably run a CNC machine in the workshop. Note: the workshop is being transitioned away from being a place to support building construction, to a fabrication centre. The first step was to replace the Ryobi EMS254L mitre saw, with a Tesaker CNC milling machine. A smaller Bosch GCM 8SJL mitre saw has been purchased that can be used on location.

In 2023-05, I discovered that Logitech was making at least some of its Nordic keyboards with an ANSI configuration. I found this disturbing. Thus, I decided to buy yet another Logitech ISO keyboard, this time as a Logitech MX keys mini in pink. This was purchased used at approximately half the price of a new equivalent keyboard. I will remind readers that pink was often regarded as a male colour in the 19th century, and even in the 20th century up to the 1920s.

I then read that Logitech would be making an improved version the MX mouse Anywhere 3 to be called the 3S. While this offered technical improvements, it would be more expensive. I decided to buy one using the old technology. It is not always necessary to have the best quality, everywhere. Indeed, I have no intention of using this MX keyboard and mouse immediately. Rather, they are reserve solutions should my current Logitech ergonomic keyboard (K860) and mouse (MX vertical) wear out, or otherwise fail.

A Logitech MX keys Mini keyboard in pink, with an ISO Nordic configuration.


One of the reasons I prefer to make things myself, is that I prefer the simpler look that my projects provide. I prefer the handmade to the elegant.


Even dreams should be downsized. For the past twenty years I have imagined myself using a computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine. It is useful to make all sorts of things. The question is, how big should its bed be? The standard answer is 1 250 x 2 500 mm, which will accommodate 48″ x 96″ sheets of plywood, or their slightly small metric equivalents. Sometimes, the standard answer is not the best answer, for three reasons. First, the mill may be larger than required to make interesting products. Second, it may be too expensive, relative to the benefits it provides. Third, it may not turn out to be as useful as one imagines. Fortunately, a professional CNC machinist in Inderøy had decided to get rid of his student project, a Tesaker CNC milling machine, because he had purchased something larger. So, I was able to acquire this at a fraction of the price of a larger machine. Of course it only has a working surface of 300 x 500 mm, which is more than adequate.


My workshop is a converted single car garage, about 3 x 6 meters with a small annex originally used to store firewood, providing about 20 square meters of space. There are times when I think that it would be better if it were twice the size. As an auxiliary workshop to complement building construction, it has been adequate. It will also be adequate for the manufacturing of smaller objects. But it cannot be both simultaneously. I have had to learn to accept that fact.

This is the situation through much of life. One has to accept that one is born at a particular time in a particular place. Throughout one’s childhood, one’s abilities to make decisions are restricted, notably by parents and teachers. Increasingly, one is able to take greater control over one’s own life, but that control is not total. Various institutions, authorities and other people want a say in what happens, and can exhort pressures to enforce it.

An aspirational digression

Some of the issues involved in a democracy tax, and globalization more generally, can be discovered by looking at the Ever Given, the container ship that decided to shut down the Suez canal from 2021-03-23 to 2021-03-29, but remained within the canal system until 2021-07-07, when it was released after agreeing to pay an estimated US$ 600 million in compensation to the canal authorities. With a displacement of almost 266 Gg, a length of almost 400 m, a beam of almost 60 m, and a draught somewhere between 14.5 (design) and 16 (maximum) m it is Suezmax size, indicating that its dimensions are the largest capable of transiting the Suez Canal in a laden condition. The ship was one of 13 Imabari 20 000 container ships designed and built by Imabari Shipbuilding of Japan, and owned by its subsidiary Shoei Kisen Kaisha. The vessel is registered in Panama, has technical management by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement of Germany, is time chartered and operated by Evergreen Marine of Taiwan. The ship was sailing with an Indian crew of 25, led by Krishnan Kanthavel, from the container port at Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia to Rotterdam in the Netherlands with Felixstowe in England, the next port of call.

In the Suez canal, Kanthavel was nominally in charge, while the vessel was under the effective control of Egyptian pilots. Once the Ever Given arrived at its European ports, the estimated US$1 billion worth of goods onboard in up to 20 124 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) containers, would be shipped by ship, rail and truck to a large number of different countries located throughout the European Union, and its former member, the United Kingdom.

The transport of goods involves many corporate participants located in many divergent countries. It is difficult to know how fair any contracts are. For example, the captain of the container ship is responsible for all of its operations, even if the commands are given by pilots. It is difficult to know if the staff onboard a container ship are paid living wages, if taxes are being paid, if the environment is being respected. All we can guess, is that massive profits are being made, transporting goods from some distant point of origin to some other distant destination.

The same lack of detailed knowledge surrounds every item being transported on the ship.

During the pandemic, people have experienced that just-in-time inventory management is not compatible with the world’s current economic disruptions. A democracy tax involves a willingness to pay more to buy something made locally. How local, probably depends on the product. Our eggs and milk come from neighbouring farms, our new car from a slightly more distant European country, our computing equipment originates in an Asian democracy, but are manufactured in China.

People should not expect a market economy to last. It is dependent on having a surplus population that opt to compete with each other. Fertility rates indicate that most developed, democratic countries have fertility rates of about 1.5 births per woman, or lower. This means that countries will have to ensure that vital services, such as basic infrastructural needs, food, health care and education are met, before governments should encourage more competitive activities.

This may also mean that governments may be required to intervene in markets. In 1980s Norway, price controls were still in effect, but they were over by 1990. Some older people, and those with origins in other cultures may have experienced the benefits of rationing, or the detriments of extreme inflationary prices, possibly even famine, if countries chose not to implement rationing.

There is no need for prophetic gifts to understand that there will be limitations placed on market economies. If it has not already started, it will in the near future. In addition to the demographic issues noted in the previous paragraph, there are two other reasons for this. First, two years of supply issues has shown that people want to place restrictions on trade, they want to avoid price gouging, but are willing to pay fair prices. Second, globalization has not yet died, but it is being transported by ambulance to an economic hospital, where it will undergo tests to determine its economic viability.


Depending on size, either meters (m) or millimeters (mm) are most often used to specify product length/ width/ height without any further need to specify units. Mass is more difficult to specify. Depending on purpose, some people like: the stone = 14 pounds (lb) = ca. 6.35 kg; the long/ imperial hundredweight (cwt) = 8 stone = 112 lb = ca. 50.8 kg; the long ton = 20 cwt = 160 stone = 2 240 lb = ca. 1 016 kg; the short ton = 2 000 pounds = ca. 907.18 kg; or, the tonne = 1 000 kg = 2 204.6 lb = 1.102 short tons = 0.984 long tons. In the metric system, the kilogram is the base unit of mass. This is ideal in many circumstances, including measuring body mass.

When dealing with heavier objects beyond the range of the kg, there is the megagram (Mg) = 1 000 kg, commonly referred to as a metric tonne (t), which is approximately the same mass as a (non-metric) short ton. Ships are often specified by their tonnage: gross (GT)/ net (NT)/ dead-weight (DWT), or their displacement. Large ships can have their displacement expressed in gigagrams (Gg), which some people would recognize as being thousands of tons/ tonnes.

Americans should get the impression that they are encouraged to start/ continue using metric units! As a Canadian, I started using them in science classes in school starting in the early 1960s, but used them more systematically after 1970. In Norway, I had no option but to use them for almost everything. Exceptions: Boat lengths are measured in feet. Timber, width and thickness were measured in inches, but the Norwegian inch is longer than the imperial inch. It was used to compensate for the shrinkage timber/ lumber would experience between being cut and delivered to England.