586 reputation
314
bio website owenblacker.wordpress.com
location London, United Kingdom
age 39
visits member for 2 years, 9 months
seen Jun 25 at 12:04

Technical lead at an ad agency and Umbraco Certified Developer. Director and trustee of mySociety and a director of the Open Rights Group, having sat on the Advisory Council since the organisation was created. Also an avid Wikipedian.


Chef de développement chez une agence de publicité, certifié en Umbraco. Administrateur de la société et de la RUP de mySociety et administrateur de la société de l'Open Rights Group, ayant membre du Conseil Consultatif depuis l'organisation fut créée. En plus, suis éditeur des Wikipédias. Je peux contribuer avec un niveau avancé de français, mais plutôt j'utilise l'anglais, ma langue maternelle.


Blog: owenblacker.wordpress.com
Twitter: @owenblacker
Facebook: owenblacker.uk
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Wikipedia: User:OwenBlacker


Feb
8
comment To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?
@kubanczyk You misunderstand me, I think. I don't mean to say that all American cultures were hunter-gatherers, merely that settled, agricultural cultures were more rare in the Americas (as Guns… explains). The settled, agricultural cultures you mention (and possibly a few others, but I can't think of any off-hand, as I'm a little tired) did indeed have food surpluses, metallurgy and other developed specialised-industries :o)
Aug
5
comment Why did Canada, Australia and New Zealand separate from UK?
Strictly speaking, the Dominions became independent of the UK in 1931 with the Statute of Westminster acknowledging their legislative competence and parity with the Imperial parliament.
Aug
5
comment What is the basic structure of British Politics?
To be pedantic, the monarch can decline to sign a Bill into law. But doing so would almost certainly bring us quite quickly to a republic; it was last done by Queen Anne, if I recall correctly
Aug
5
comment What would a Norseman in the early 11th century have worn as daily clothing?
@mgb You should add that as an answer :o)
Jun
1
comment What were the demographics and economics of South-East Asian islands around year 1400?
Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel covers some of this, at least with regard to the Malayan peninsula and the Indonesian and Papuan archipelago. I don't recall him mentioning the Philippines anything more than cursorily, but it would at least give you some of the starting points for researching further…
Apr
4
comment Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?
@T.E.D. Fair points that I'd overlooked. Thanks for reminding me :o)
Feb
28
comment Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?
@AndrewGrimm In the 1860s/1870s, the British Empire was near its peak, whereas the USA was still recovering from a civil war. I'd be very surprised if it had even occurred to anyone to consider American English, in much the same way that the opposite would probably be the case since World War II :)
Feb
27
comment literature about colonialism
I just stumbled across a book that might help here; I've edited my answer.
Feb
27
comment literature about colonialism
Of course. I totally forgot about Europe: A History. Definitely worth a read.
Feb
23
comment How long would it take to travel from England to western Africa in the late 1890's?
Wow. Great answer!
Feb
23
comment Why did Canada not join the American Revolution?
Great answer. Thank you. That's a lot of stuff I didn't know. American history has never been a strong point :o)
Feb
23
comment What aternative locations were considered for the United Nations?
@MichaelF: Before the UN, the USA was broadly disinterested in events outside the Americas. Certainly the USA was not "the lead in these organisations" before the UN. But the "United Nations" was a term first used to mean the Allies of WW2; it was only gradually that it was conceived to replace the moribund League of Nations (moribund partly because of US isolationism). The USA was, however, the most powerful of the Allies by war-end, which makes it much less surprising that the UN bureaucracy ended up in Manhattan. The League, of course, had been headquartered in Geneva.
Feb
22
comment Why are many African nations poor?
@LennartRegebro: We appear to be using different definitions of Socialism. Wikipedia would appear to agree with my terminology: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism#After_World_War_II. We're going to have to agree to disagree here.
Feb
22
comment Why wasn't the Republic of Ireland invaded (by either side) in WW2?
More on the close ties: during "The Emergency", German airmen in the Republic would end up in the Curragh, whereas Allied airmen would find their way across the border into Northern Ireland. Indeed the D-Day landings were decided by a weather report from Blacksod Bay, Co Mayo. See Irish neutrality during WW2 on Wikipedia and JP Duggan, Herr Hempel at the German Legation in Dublin 1937–1945, ISBN 0716527464 for more.
Feb
22
comment What language(s) were spoken within the Holy Roman Empire?
@Noldorin: Yes, that's a fair point, though the cities within areas of the Empire we now consider Slavic but founded during the Ostsiedlung tended to be quite Germanised, even if their hinterlands were still Slavic. But yes, I think I'm being more pedantic than is helpful :o)
Feb
22
comment Why are many African nations poor?
I would strongly disagree there. Whilst Scandinavia is more social-democrat than socialist, it's probably the best examples in Europe of socialism without that being a cypher for Leninism. That "socialism doesn't work" is very much ideology, not fact. That Leninist policies claiming to be socialist (regarded by the West as communist) don't work has indeed been proven by the Bolshevik experiment last century, but there are plenty of socialist policies that are still both definitely popular and that work -- better than neoliberal capitalism by some estimations. But this is not the place :o)
Feb
21
comment What language(s) were spoken within the Holy Roman Empire?
Wow. An excellent answer. To be slightly pedantic, there would have been little Polish in the area on the map (which was broadly Germanised until after WW2, and Poland-Lithuania was its own powerful state to the east of the Empire.) There were (and, to a lesser extent still are) a handful of West Slavic languages in what is now eastern Germany and western Poland. Whilst Switzerland was only nominally within the Empire by 1600, Romansh probably counts too.
Feb
21
comment To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?
I should caveat that it's also a massive oversimplification of Jared Diamond's book, which is well worth a read by anyone interested in why certain civilisations ended on the top of the pile and why Native Americans and sub-Saharan Africans are still substantially poorer than the Eurasian civilisations that colonised their lands.
Feb
21
comment To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?
Thank you. Trying to acquire reputation on these sites is something I find quite frustrating given my time constraints, particularly on sites where I'm pretty new (like this one). This happened to be something I know about that I noticed as I had time to kill last night ;o)
Feb
21
comment Why are many African nations poor?
I think Scandinavian nations would disagree that socialism prevents prosperity. Whilst the basis of this answer is fair and accurate, there is a definite ideology at work here. Wikipedia would not consider this NPOV :)