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Most recent entries
- Mr Ed has some metaphorical fun
- A picture of a book about pictures
- To Tottenham (8): Zooming in on some Big Things
- Playing golf versus following cricket
- Quota bicycles
- Another Capital Golf car
- Battersea Power Station then and now and soon
- Timing shits instead of forcing them
- Lincoln Paine shifts the emphasis from land to water (with a very big book)
- Classic cars in Lower Marsh
- Stabat Mater at St Stephen’s Gloucester Road
- A selfie being taken a decade ago
- Gloucester Road with evening sun
- Lea River footbridge
- “Yeah, no …”
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Category archive: Transport
So far, I have only managed seven photo-postings about my expedition to the big old Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is now in the process of being turned into a bigger new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Tomorrow, Spurs play Chelsea in the semi finals of the FA Cup, and in honour of this confrontation, here is Tottenham posting number eight.
I made my way eastwards from the stadium, towards the park and then the canal beside which I hoped to walk south. But before I got there, I encountered this:
This footbridge is to be found next to the level crossing at the north end of Northumberland Park railway station. I climbed up on the footbridge and took this shot, looking south, of that railway station:
My main reason for showing this is to show you how far away the Big Things of the City are from this vantage point. This sort of circumstance being why God invented zoom lenses. Look what happened when I cranked up my zoom, on my trusty Panasonic Lumix FZ200.
What you see here is the miniscule portion of the above view that you see if you follow the railway lines straight to the horizon, and then shift a tiny bit to the left, just past that big spikey thing, to those tiny little things sticking up, just beyond the big spike and to its left, as we look:
And what we see is that those tiny things are the Big Things of the City of London. Gherkin. Cheesegrater. Shard. Plus intervening clutter of course.
Over to the far left of the station view photo you can also make out the towers of Docklands. But they aren’t that special to look at. If it weren’t for the pointy one, you’d hardly know how to spot them, because they’d just be a few anonymous lumps. What Docklands needs is a mega-skyscraper of a distinctive design. Maybe a thin tower, with a huge revolving restaurant at the top. Something along those lines. But I fear that the nearby presence of City Airport would make that impossible, for the time being anyway.
Last August, in Gabriel’s Wharf:
Really annoying day, making very little progress on about half a dozen different fronts.
I just spent about an hour working on today’s posting, but it got stuck, and complicated, as postings will. So here is a shiny car to fill today’s void, photoed this afternoon, in Mayfair:
It’s the younger, racier brother of this shiny car, which I encountered in 2015.
I still hate and fear golf.
Lincoln Paine is an admirably ambitious historian. Here is the first sentence (to be found on page 3 of my paperback (but still very big) edition) of the introduction of Paine’s very big book, The Sea and Civilization, which is 744 pages long and which I have just started reading:
I want to change the way you see the world. ...
Good, because I bought this book in order to do exactly that, change the way I see the world.
In the following specific way:
… Specifically, I want to change the way you see the world map by focusing your attention on the blues that shade 70 percent of the image before you, and letting the earth tones fade. ...
Hurrah for the internet. I went looking for a maritime history of the world and found this, which I might never have done if I had been relying on merely physical bookshops.
… This shift in emphasis from land to water makes many trends and patterns of world history stand out in ways they simply cannot otherwise. Before the development of the locomotive in the nineteenth century, culture, commerce, contagion, and conflict generally moved faster by sea than by land. The opening of sea routes sometimes resulted in immediate transformation, but more often it laid the groundwork for what was later mistaken for sudden change. ...
Here is an example of what you notice when you think like this. On page 7, we read this, about the USA:
A maritime perspective complicates our understanding of the “westward” expansion of the United States. California achieved statehood in 1851, two years after the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, when the territory was virtually unknown to Americans back east and the number of United States citizens on the Pacific coast numbered only a few thousand. Thanks to the extraordinary capacity of the American merchant marine of the day, tens of thousands of people reached San Francisco by ship, a mode of transportation that was faster, cheaper, and safer than the transcontinental journey, although the distance covered was more than four times longer. The United States conquered the interior of the continent - what are today known as the fly-over states, but at the time could aptly have been called the sail-around territories – in a pincer movement from both coasts, rather than by a one-way overland movement from the east.
On my TV I have just recently been watching Michael Portillo investigate that very “westward” expansion of the USA, with plenty of wagons and locomotives involved, but no mention at all of any ships. So I know exactly what Paine means.
Paine goes on to assert (on page 9) that there have been …:
… changes in the public perception of the maritime world, for the merchant marine and naval services no longer hold the attraction for people that they once did, when ocean liners and freighters crowded the piers of Manhattan, Hamburg, Sydney, and Hong Kong. At the start of the twenty-first century, ships and shipping lines are the warp and woof of globalization. Ships carry about 90 percent of world trade and the number of oceangoing ships has grown threefold in the past half century. But the nature of shipping has led to the relocation of cargo-handling facilities to places remote from traditional port cities, ...
In other words: out of sight, out of mind.
About that, I am not so sure. Maybe it’s more a matter of degree than he says. I guess I’m a bit different, in that I have been particularly noticing both what is happening to London’s old docks and waterways (they’re being prettied up for tourists like me and for the new gentry (really, mostly, just indoor and better paid proletarians) who now live next to them) and where London’s new mega-dock is now nearing completion, downstream. I am definitely not the only one who has noticed shipping containers. As Paine himself says, in his final chapter, containers are driving globalisation, and much of the globe has surely noticed. Indeed, this might be why Paine’s publishers judged the time to be right for the switch in focus that he argues for. On the other hand, I did have to go looking for this book. Nobody else brought it to my attention, spontaneously, as it were.
Talking of focus, my eyesight has now reached the stage of me only being able to read a book by holding it about two inches away from my face. Spactacles don’t do it for me any more. Usually this is fine. But this is a very big book, and it is going to be a very big struggle for me to read it. But I am determined to do all the struggling that I must.
Or, I might go to the internet again, and buy something like this contraption. If I do purchase such a reading aid, it will presumably be as cheap as it is because it recently crossed the world in a shipping container.
Late this afternoon, in Lower Marsh, I came across this classic oldie:
I see a lot of vintage cars in Lower Marsh? Why?
Finally, the penny dropped and I asked the Great Machine in the Sky. I typed in “vintage cars lower marsh” and immediately learned about this. Every month, the classic cars gather there:
We meet between 12:00 and 16:00 on the third Saturday of every month at the Lower Marsh Market – on Lower Marsh Street just behind Waterloo Station.
Yes, come to think of it, I always see them on a Saturday.
A friend, one who evidently drops by here from time to time, recently noted that I am spending a lot of time in East London. Indeed I am.
Given that what interests me is places that are changing, and all the cranes and commotion associated with all the change, and then what they finally turn into, this map, of London “skyscrapers” in the pipeline, explains why:
I found that map in this report.
The reason I say “skyscrapers”, instead of just saying skyscrapers, is because I doubt whether all these … “skyscrapers” will really be of the sky scraping sort. I suspect they’ll just be rather tall. More like tower “blocks”, I suspect, most of them. Or maybe something between a block and a true skyscraper. Well, we shall see.
More interesting, to me, is that obvious hot spot there, in Tower Hamlets. There is a London borough that is really living up to its name. Just now, Tower Hamlets is also famous for being a hot spot of local government corruption. There is a lot of news coverage of how former Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman was bullying people to vote for him, than there is concerning mere money grubbing. But you can’t help wondering if all those planning permissions were somehow a part of this story.
I remember, when I was a teenager, travelling through Croydon on a bike trip I was making around London, to get a ferry to Scandinavia. (Ah how I wish there had been digital cameras then!) And the thing was, Croydon was then a brand new tower cluster. I was amazed, as it came into view over the brow of a hill. It was the nearest thing I had ever then seen to Manhattan, in this then green and cautious land. And a year or two later, a whole bunch of Croydon councillors found themselves in jail. I remember thinking then that if crooked councillors are what it takes for a decent cluster of towers to get built, then I’m for it.
It stands to reason that planning permission is going to go to the highest (in both senses) bidder, from time to time.
On the other hand, it could just be that the whole of London wants lots of towers in that part of town. Greenwich is also heavily involved in that hot spot, and I am not aware of any above average degree of corruption there. Comments from people better informed about such things than I am would be very welcome.
Throughout my decades of living in London (about four of them so far) I have been feeling the centre of gravity o
This afternoon I checked out London Fields, hoping for views of Big Things. But the clearest Big Thing views I got from the trip were taken from London Fields Overground Station. This is because London Fields Overground Station is, to coin a phrase, overground. It’s at roof level rather than ground level. London Fields, on the other hand, is a collection of fields, with lots of trees everywhere.
Big Things were to be seen through the beginnings of the summer’s greenery-to-come, but only very dimly:
Actually, I have to admit that with those trees looking all springy and everything that’s quite a sweet looking photo. But on the whole, views of Big Things from higher up tend to be more varied and more interesting. You can include more interesting backgrounds and go looking for interesting alignments.
Whatever. From London Fields station I also immortalised this excellent clump of roof clutter:
I took other photos for reminding me of the shape of the building as a whole, and that meant that I and google maps were quickly able to learn that this is the tower in the middle of Pitcairn House. Follow that link, and you will see that Pitcairn House is two quite big slabs of housing, but because there are two curved roofs over most of it, with only the top of that tower being easy to get to, all the clutter has to be concentrated in that small spot.
Today, in the cloudless weather ordained by our omniscient short-term weather forecasters, I took a quite long walk beside the River Lea, out east. The clocks having just gone forward, there was suddenly a decent amount of daylight, so I took my time and just carried on walking, and now I am knackered. So, it’s quota photo time:
That was taken at Canning Town, where I was switching from the Underground to the Overground. It’s one of those I Just Like It photos, as in: I hope you like it too, but I realise it isn’t that remarkable.
There were no clouds in the sky, but there was something in the air. Mist? Pollution? Whatever it was, it had the effect of turning all distant objects from their usual appearance to a flatly uniform grey, like I’d pushed some kind of Photoshop button. Those are the Docklands Towers in the distance, looking flatly and uniformly grey. That one pointy tower makes the whole cluster recognisable. Increasingly, and as I think I am starting to say quite often here, I find myself valuing recognisability over mere beauty.
I don’t usually like it when street lamps get in the way. (Street lamps in London always get in the way, of every picture I ever try to take, or so it sometimes seems.) But I rather like the way these ones have come out. The nearer one frames the view rather nicely, and the more distant one poses in a dignified way, in a way that fits in well with the rectangular shapes in the gas-holder.
I totally trust the weather forecasters. I left my umbrella behind, and wore fewer clothes than ever before this year. And it worked. No rain, no cold. And not quite so knackered from carrying unnecessary garments. But still knackered. So that is all, and I wish you all a very good night.
I just sent out the mass email flagging up Chris Cooper’s talk on the Rise of Our Robot Overlords, chez moi, next Friday. I have asked his permission to reproduce his entire spiel. Meanwhile, here is how it begins, which I really like:
I’ve only recently realized the staggering implications of the project of AGI, or artificial general intelligence – the Holy Grail of present-day AI research. (I prefer to talk about AGIs, or AGI systems, rather than “robots”; “robot” has tin-man connotations that are part of the problem – they suggest the possibility of fraternization.) …
Which is why the talk is now officially entitled: “The Threat to Life and to Liberty of Artificial General Intelligence”.
These robots, whose pronouncements I have been following in recent days and weeks, don’t seem very fraternal:
They sound more like they’re artificial general intelligence.
Leake Street is that tunnel under the Waterloo approach tracks, filled with an ever-changing display of grafitti. And of photoers photoing it.
Presumably they were selling stuff like this.
I like it when my pictures include clocks, and that clock is a particular favourite of mine.
Whenever I encounter interesting vehicles, of which London possesses a great many, I try to photo them. Taxis with fun adverts. Diverting white vans. Crane lorries. That kind of thing.
In particular I like to photo ancient cars. And, I also like to photo modern cars which are styled to look like ancient cars, like this one:
This is the Mitsubishi Pajero Jr. Flying Pug. How do I know that? Because I also went round the back and took this photo:
Is a pug a non-feline creature? Sounds like a non-feline creature to me.
More about this eccentric vehicle here:
On sale for just three years between 1995 and 1998, it sold reasonably well and has been popular as a grey import. None of which explains what on Earth Mitsubishi was thinking when it devised this horror show, the special edition Flying Pug.
The Japanese have always loved old, British cars. Through the Nineties it was one of the biggest markets for the original Mini, but retro pastiches had become popular as well, led by the Nissan Micra-based Mitsuoka Viewt, which looked a bit like a miniature Jaguar Mark II.
Mitsubishi thought it would jump on the bandwagon. Out of all the cars it made, Mitsubishi decided the Pajero Jr would be the best platform. Ambitiously, the brochure said it had “the classic looks a London taxi.” In fact, it looked more like the absolutely gopping Triumph Mayflower.
The press thought it was ugly and the buying public agreed. Mitsubishi planned to build 1,000 Flying Pugs, but just 139 found homes. The deeply weird name can’t have helped, but Japanese-market cars are notorious for it; another special edition Pajero Jr was christened McTwist.
I agree that “Flying Pug” is a strange name. And I agree that the Flying Pug doesn’t look much like a London taxi. But it resembles the Triumph Mayflower even less.
I also do not agree that either the Flying Pug or the Triumph Mayflower are ugly. And they are definitely not, to my eye, “absolutely gopping”, or a “horrow show”. Each to his own.
But I do like the fact that I photoed a car of which there are only one hundred and thirty nine copies in existence.
Yesterday I did a Dezeen based posting here, and now I just did another. But when two thirds through doing it, I realised it would do just as well for Samizdata. All that needed adding was a bit of cringeing at the end to the effect that it could all be bollocks. (Everything here could be bollocks. That’s assumed.) So, Samizdata is where it went.
Are you one of my London libertarian friends. Don’t forget the talk I will be hosting at the end of this month (March 31) given by Chris Cooper, about our new robot overlords.
But I do. (Clue in the categories list.)
Click if you want slightly more context.
Photoed by me, earlier this evening, at Victoria Tube Station.
Another drone application hovers into view:
Yes, it’s UPS:
“This is really a vision for the future for us,” UPS senior vice president for engineering and sustainability, Mark Wallace, said in an interview with Business Insider.
The drone will work as a mechanized helper for the driver, reducing the number of miles a driver will need to drive. According to Wallace, UPS can save $50 million a year if everyone of its drivers reduces the length of their delivery routes by one mile.
UPS sees several potential usage cases for its autonomous drones. This ranges from inventory control at warehouses to the delivery of urgent packages such as medical supplies. However, this latest test is geared towards the company’s operations in rural areas where drivers have to cover vast distances between delivery points.
But all this is still some way off:
Currently, the technology [is] still in the testing phase and UPS doesn’t have an exact timeline for its introduction into service, Wallace said.
Timeline being the twenty first century way of saying: time. See also learning curve (learning); learning experience (fuck-up); etc.
I once had a job delivering number plates, in a white van, all over Britain. Much of it was lots of unassembled number plate components in big heavy boxes, to big suppliers, which we delivered direct. And the rest of the job was one-off finished number plates to motorbike shops, which the other drivers often used to deliver by posting them. I always went there direct, because I enjoyed the drive, but either way the economics of those one-off number plates was ridiculous. A drone to do the final thirty miles or so would have been most handy, if it could have been organised. (A digital camera would have been very nice also. But alas, I had to wait a quarter of a century for that.)
The serious point: drones are useful tools for running big and visible and trustable (because so easily embarrassable and controlable) businesses, for example the big and very visible enterprise that provided this. Drones are, basically, tools for workers rather that toys for funsters. They may supply fun, but they will mostly be operated by workers.
In London anyway. Things may be different out in the wilds of the countryside. But even taking photos out in the wilds of Yorkshire involves – I bet – getting some kind of permit. If not, it soon will. Because there will be complaints, and drones are highly visible.
Also audible, yes? Anyone know how noisy drones tend to be? 6K? How noisy is your drone?