Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Links

Friday June 09 2017

I don’t go to Quotulatiousness every day, but I went there yesterday, and what did I find?  I found that this Samizdata piece of mine from 2015, was quotulated again.  The piece was about war and sport.  The earlier quotulation was from the sport bit.  Now he quotulates the war bit, which is how the piece begins.

I also told you here about the earlier quotulation.  Grander people than me have others to bang their drum for them, but if I don’t bang my own drum, nobody will.

Thursday May 18 2017

Funny how you learn things.  I get an email from the Adam Smith Institute, and in it (I don’t quite know why but there it was) was a link to this Guardian piece about Britain’s canal network.

This piece contains many interesting nuggets.  This, for instance:

One of the peculiar and completely unforeseeable benefits of a national canal network is that it means the Canal & River Trust owns a national towpath network, creating an uninterrupted channel of land between the major cities of London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – the perfect place to bury a network of electric and fibre-optic cables, and to install mobile phone masts. Much of the cable could even be delivered by barge. In total, there are 400 miles (650km) of fibre-optic cable buried under the towpaths that the Canal & River Trust looks after – and the money earned from this helps pay for the upkeep of the waterways.

Well, I don’t know about that “totally unforeseeable”.  But nevertheless: nice.

There are more boats on Britain’s canals, apparently, than at the height of the industrial revolution.  Which doesn’t surprise me because I knew about the huge upsurge in the leisure use of British canals, having myself become a tiny part of this upsurge myself, on foot, with my camera.  And this has often caused me to wonder, have any new canals been recently dug, to facilitate the to-ing and fro-ing of us new canalians?

Yes.  This one:

… in 2002, the Millennium Ribble link in Preston became the first new canal to be opened in Britain in more than 100 years. It joins the once-isolated Lancaster canal to the national network, as had been planned 200 years before.

I could have found this out, presumably, if I had just googled “new canal” or some such thing, at any time during the last decade and a half.

I tried googling for a “new canal”, in the “UK” of course, but couldn’t find my way to this or any other new canal in the UK, which surprised me.  And which means that if I had simply asked my question of google, I might not have been able to answer it.  So, thank you Adam Smith Institute for the link.

Better fifteen years late with this story than never. The Millennium Ribble link itself was first planned two centuries ago.  So that was also a case of better late than never.

Sunday May 14 2017

So I got to work, rather late in the day, on a posting about lots of photographers whom I photoed in Barcelona twelve years ago, but it was taking too long, so I dashed off another piece about targetted advertising.  But then I realised that this piece could just as well go up at Samizdata, so that’s where I put it.  And since I am now about to go to bed, this, about that, is your lot for today.

See also an earlier SQotD I did, using a photo I took recently in the Burlington Arcade

Friday March 03 2017

I am reading everything at the Scott Adams blog just now, and I even watched/listened (new word needed for that) to all of this video.

Adams is being “shadow banned” by Twitter, as he notes in this posting:

As many others have documented, Twitter throttles back the tweets of people who hold political views they don’t like.

What “throttles back” means is that you can still read it, but nobody else can.  I think.

To outwit this shadow banning, Scott Adams has devised a cunning plan involving kittens, which I absolutely do not understand the details of, but which he mentions several times during the above-linked-to video ramble.  (It’s a good ramble, but a ramble.) Whenever he writes about things that Twitter’s censorship committee disapproves of him writing about (Trump and the climate debate being the two big ones at present), he tweets instead that he has done a piece about kittens.  This will alert his followers to a posting that Twitter wants crushed.  In order to shadow ban this, Twitter would have to shadow ban all kittens which would break the internet, and all humans also because they would be laughing so much.  Or something.  I don’t see why Twitter can’t just shadow ban Scott Adams whenever he mentions kittens, along with whenever he mentions Trump or mentions the climate debate.  But what do I know?

New word: outweet.

I always knew, when I started Friday-blogging about cats and kittens here, that this topic would become highly significant from time to time, on account (for instance) of politicians being jealous of all the attention that cats and kittens were getting.  (Prediction: at some point during the next thousand years or so, climate permitting, a cat or kitten will be elected President of the United States.)

But this particular Scott Adams kitten-tweeting circumstance I did not see coming.

Tuesday January 31 2017

Recently, word reached me, via his daughter, that one of the regular readers of this blog (such people apparently exist) – I’ll call him “Tony” (on account of his name being Tony) – was greatly entertained when he followed one of the links on the left, in one of my interminable lists of mostly obsolete internet destinations to Chase me, ladies, I’m in the cavalry.

I say greatly entertained.  The report was that Tony’s head exploded with fluids and splutters of all sort.  Basically, his face and mouth and throat all stopped functioning in their usual fashion and instead suffered a sort of biological combination of an earthquake and a meltdown and a volcanic eruption.

Following this report, I took another look at CMLIITC myself, and for a while, as I meandered through his archives, I was merely quite entertained.  But then I read this posting ...:

VIBRATING AB BELT CHANGED MY LIFE
I recently bought an All-Star Deluxe Ab Belt.  Three months ago I was a fat cunt. Now I’m a fat cunt with a vibrating belt.

… and the exact same thing started happening to me.  Until that moment I had not realised that I wasn’t fully well, but I found myself trying to laugh and cough at the same time, and the same disgusting fluids and substances started bursting out of my face as had burst from Tony’s face.

imageI think that, aside from its wit, it was the brevity of the posting that wrongfooted this.  Because of this brevity, the punch line sucker punched me in the face earlier than I had become used to and before I had in any way been able to surmise what it was going to be, as I surely would have been able to do if I had had longer to prepare my defence against it.  This is a regular comedic method, I think.

What Harry Hutton looks like now makes very good sense.

Friday January 27 2017

Friday is my day for cats and other creatures, but it is also David Thompson’s day for more substsantial collections of all this weird and wonderful on the internet, and one ephemeron (ephemeros? ephemerum?) in his collection today is this:

Brutalist colouring book.  Because concrete needs colour.

I followed that link.

Quote:

Brutalism lovers, sharpen your cold grey and warm grey pencils and add some colour to some great concrete constructions. First edition of 500 hundred copies. Each copy is numbered.

Ooh.  First edition.  Numbered copies.  Very arty.  Sign of the times?  I want it to be.

I have long thought that the brutalities of brutalism could use a bit of softening, and actually, a lot of softening.  With colour.  Bring it on.

Someone who agreed with me, from way back was, actually, would you believe?: Le Corbusier.  He was into bright colours to soften the brutalities of his brutalism, from the getgo.

(See also: these colourful kittens.  No softening needed there, but it was done anyway.)

Thursday January 26 2017

Recently, I have been posting (for example here and here and there) photos that I took quite a while back, of scenes that are now different or in some way ephemeral, that fact often being noted in the postings themselves.

Here is another such:

image

This photo, taken in November 2003, is ephemeral in two ways.

First, there are men at work on the top of the Gherkin there.  The photo is not technically that good, if only because the camera wasn’t that good, and neither was the light on that particular day.  But, click to get it twice as big, and you will surely agree that men is definitely what we do see there.  Never before that day had I seen men at work on the top of the Gherkin, unless you count before it was finished (buildings still being built being another rich source of ephemera), and never have I seen this since that day.  It may be that these guys were in fact finishing the Gherkin, in some way that I don’t know about.  Whatever, there they are.

And the second ephemeral thing about this photo is that it dates from the time when the Gherkin stood in something approximating to splendid isolation.  The same shot taken from the same spot today (outside Liverpool Street Station) would surely contain a Cheesegrater at the very least, and probably several other Big Things.

Thursday January 05 2017

Nothing here today, but something there.  Another case of starting something for here, but putting it there, as was this.

Spent my evening getting my colour printer back in business.  Took me five minutes to find the on/off switch.

Wednesday December 28 2016

Quite often, I settle down to write something for here, and end up with something which would go equally well at Samizdata.  Whenever I realise this, I tend to put whatever it is at Samizdata, and leave only the less political and more “trivial” (the “s because trivia is often not at all trivial) stuff for here.  Often, these are pieces that I would never have written had I not started out writing them for here.

Today I just did this again, in a piece about people who are F4BF (famous for being famous), and about the contribution that such persons make to the world.

The rest of today is set aside for more tidying up, so that may well be it, for here, for today.

Sunday December 11 2016

But something there.

Monday November 21 2016

For the last week or two or more, I have been unable to reach the 6k blog, which is one of my favourites.  I’ve been able to reach everything else I wanted to, but not 6k.  Odd.  My computer has been behaving strangely in recent weeks, so it’s almost certainly me rather than him.  Or maybe, as The Guru suggests, it might be my internet provider. Whatever the reason, it’s been a frustration and a worry.

But today, for no reason that I can think of, I clicked on 6k yet again, and back it came, like it had never been away.

To celebrate, here are some more lighthouses, something which 6k likes, and which in a more ignorant and casual way I do too:

image

That’s a crop from the middle of a hastily snatched shop-window shot, full of reflections and general confusion.  Memo to self.  Next time I visit my friends in Brittany: better lighthouse shots.  Of postcards, of toy lighthouses like these ones (I seem to recall entire walls of lighthouses in tourist crap shops), and of actual lighthouses.

image6k likes lighthouses so much that the little square graphic at the top of the window where his blog is windowed, or whatever is the word for that, is a red, white and blue square from a red and white lighthouse picture.

Friday October 21 2016

Friday was the day here for cats, but now I have widened it to all kinds of creatures, cats included.

This week, a snake!  On a vintage car!

I took these pictures in the square next to Quimper Cathedral, in the summer of 2008:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

The snake is most clearly to be seen in pictures 1.2, 2.1, 2.2 and 3.3.  I think it must be some sort of air intake, for the engine, or for something.  But what do I know?

Berliet seems to be an enterprise that makes lorries these days.  But if you scroll down through the images you get when you type “berliet” into google images, you start to see vintage cars, in among the more recent lorries.

If you scroll down at this site, you get to something that looks like the above vehicle.  And if it is the same vehicle, or something very similar, then it is a 1907 Berliet C2 Double-Phaeton, or something very similar.

There’s a number plate on the front of my Berliet, which says: 1909 VS 29.  I thought that might be a clue, rather than, you know, a number plate, so I tried “Berliet 1909 VS 29” with google images, and guess what I found.  A Berliet “Double Phaeton” at a car museum in Malaga.

I even found a photo of the car in question, with a ludicrously long internet address attached to it, which I now offer you, in the hope that it works

Well, the link does seem to work, but if it doesn’t, take my word for it.  Although this is not the same car as my one above, it is very similar.  So similar that the car in the Andalusian museum also has, just like my car has, attached to its side, with its mouth wide open, sucking in air, … a snake.  Weird.

Wednesday October 19 2016

Earlier today I stuck up a biggish piece at Samizdata entitled Thoughts on the politics of coastlines, about the age-old conflict between land powers and sea powers.

image

That’s the nearest thing I could quickly find in my photo-archives to a relevant picture, of a ship near London Gateway, which I paid several visits to, way back in 2013.  That’s as close as I’ve been to a British coast any time recently.

Thursday September 15 2016

Here.  The fourth of five postings at Samizdata today, so far.

Saturday January 23 2016

So today, I did two Samizdata postings: this and this.  And that was going to be it here, for today.

Except that just now I came across this bizarre bridge, in Poole, of all places:

image

Amusing Planet amuses again.