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

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Category archive: Other creatures

Wednesday January 16 2019

With thanks to Patrick Crozier‘s Twitter feed, this, posted by Steve Stewart-Williams.

He got it from Denny Borsboom, who says (at his Facebook page), this:

Different scientific models can have equivalent observational consequences. In statistics, this is known as statistical equivalence; in the philosophy of science, underdetermination of theory by data. This is often hard to explain and I know few good illustrations that go beyond Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit. This GIF is a really nice illustration - and beautiful too.

If I knew how to post a GIF here, I would.  But I couldn’t make that work.

For me, the the star with seven points is the most remarkable aspect of this.

Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit is presumably that creature that looks like both a duck and a rabbit, depending.

Friday January 11 2019

I was in the West End earlier this evening.  Not having done any blogging here today, and today being Friday, I kept my eyes open for something creaturely.

I spotted this, in the window of one of those very Old School shops, in Cecil Court:

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Ah, cigarette cards.  Never had them here before.  And I don’t think poultry have been featured here before either.

Click to get them a bit bigger.

Monday January 07 2019

I basically picked last night’s quota photo for alliterative reasons.  QUota.  QUantum.  As we bloggers say: heh.  No long essay was required to present that little joke, if joke it even was.

In the course of my search late last night for a suitable QP, I came across other photos which seemed suitable for showing here, but which demanded little essays to explain what it was that made them suitable.  And I was too knackered for that, having spent yesterday working on this talk for Christian Michel’s 5/20 soiree, and then in the evening giving the talk.

In particular, late last night, I encountered in my photo-archives this remarkable (I think) photo, which I took in Regent’s Park in March of 2012, as it was getting dark, when on my way back from taking photos on and from Primrose Hill:

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What I find remarkable about that photo is the contrast between how very red the reflection in the water of the lights on the BT Tower is, compared with how very un-red the actual lights themselves are, as photoed through the mere air.

You often get this with reflections.  In photos, I mean.  Your actual eyes make adjustments as they scan the scene.  What I would have seen, with my eyes, when photoing the above photo, is quite bright red lights on the tower, and a similarly bright reflection.

But my camera, on automatic, doesn’t think like this.  All my camera is concerned about is the overall balance.  It has to pick just one balance and apply it to everything.  And because a reflection is involved, it often ends up picking a balance where the actual view is very light and bright, but the reflection contains all the action.  I often do this-and-this-same-thing-relected photos with a glass window doing the reflecting.  And often what you get with that is a completely blank white sky, but then in the reflection you get all the distinctions between quite light and not so light, quite blue and not so blue, that you don’t get in the bit of the photo that is directly of the sky.

And that’s what surely happened with the above photo.  The redness got lost when we were just looking at the lights themselves.  But the water darkened and strengthened that same redness, and made it really red.

On the day, I was more interested in the birds swimming around on the water.  The next eight photos in that directory are of ducks and geese, and the final three are of a swan.  After that I called it a day, what daylight having ended.  I only really noticed this reflected redness thing last night.

Most Real Photographers have to have the skill of knowing at once when they’ve photoed a good photo, and why.  We unreal photoers can take our time.

Friday January 04 2019

Here.

Transport Blog is up again, but not being added to again.  I miss transport blogging.

More about the bloke whose Twitter feed I found this bit of video at here.

Or maybe that should be: How Twitter rots the brain.

Instapundit is a daily destination for me, and yesterday, there’s a posting about a piece at Quillette by Cathy Young about Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

So I read that, and am impressed.  Solzhenitsyn was a hero of mine when I was at school and university, and like Young, I was puzzled by his subsequent opposition to Western liberalism and fondness for Russian nationalism, along with all the nasty baggage that is liable to bring with it, like anti-Semitism.

At the bottom of the Cathy Young article is the suggestion that I should consider following Cathy Young at Twitter.  I do so.  I scroll down, and soon find myself smiling at otter jokes, all the otter jokes being based on the fact that “otter” is only one letter away from “other”.  Significant otters.  In otter news.  (Yes, Happy New Year again.)

And: Why did the otters cross the road?  To get to the otter side.

This didn’t take long at all.

Friday December 28 2018

Samizdata Supremo Perry de Havilland likes hippos.  A rather disconcerting thing that happens to you from time to time if you are a Samizdata contributor is that if you do a posting, but forget to add categories to it, the default category that gets added automatically is: Hippos.

So, anyway, yes, Perry likes hippos, so a friend of his gave him a hippo for Christmas.  It was presented to him at Chateau Samizdata on Christmas Eve, where I was also present.

I photoed it:

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Trouble is, the hippo is all black, and my camera didn’t do very well.  (The above result reminded me of this Samizdata posting that I did last year, about a very black sort of black.)

I tried lots of photo-editing, but I’m not sure that this was really much of an improvement:

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But yes, this really is also a bottle opener.  (I’m pretty sure it’s this one.) The friend who got it told me beforehand that it was a bottle opener also.  Would Perry really want it, if the bottle opener turned out not to work very well.  I said: if it’s a hippo, Perry will want it.

Friday December 21 2018

The book.  The movie.

And the label:

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Another Facebook “friend” (also an actual friend) found this, in another part of Facebook.

I don’t know the answer.  Let’s ask this guy.

Indeed:

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NASA took the photos, but it was Sean Doran and Brian Swift who spotted the dolphin and “visual artist and citizen scientist” Doran then Tweeted it.

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I’m guessing that this dolphin is not a permanent fixture, but an accident of cloud formation.  I’m guessing it will soon be gone.  But what do I know?  About dolphins.  On Jupiter.  Or anywhere.

See also, these two galaxies, which resemble a penguin looking after its egg.

Ridiculous:

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Octopus shorts.  Photoed by me in the Kings Road.

Not so ridiculous and just a little bit sublime:

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It’s this shop, in the Fulham Road, a few hours later.

Sublime:

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Sublime compared to the Octopus Shorts anyway.  If Jeff Koons did that, it would change hands for millions.

Not photoed by me.  A friend featured that photo at her Facebook site recently, she having photoed it.  My friend says that this unicorn is something to do with fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital, despite not being close to that Hospital.  More the Gloucester Road area.  But even given all that information Google could tell me nothing about it.

I’m guessing that, what with unicorns being very big business, this unicorn, even if it is on the www, is buried under a million other unicorny images and products and general nonsense, which have all paid Google to put them first.  Such is the internet.  If you aren’t paying, you’re the product.

Friday December 14 2018

Two creature-related BMdotcom-Friday-friendly images from the Niagara of Trivia and Abuse that is Twitter, to feast your eyes, and your brain, on.

The first is American:

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Which I encountered here.  I miss Transport Blog.

And the second is Anglo-Canadian:

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The Canadian being Jordan Peterson, and the Anglo being a Fox, and what’s more a Fox with an animal tattoo on his arm.

Friday December 07 2018

You know how it is.  You go hunting, in your voluminous photo-archives, for a favourite recent photo, and damn it, you can’t for the life of you find it.  But you find other nice photos, and you stick them up on your blog instead.  We’ve all been there.

But today I did the opposite of that.  I went looking for some nice photos to stick up here, and discovered a very favourite photo, which I had previously searched for without success.

This photo was photoed outside Westminster Abbey and looking up Victoria Street.  You can surely see why I like it.

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Number one, it’s a statue.  I like statues, because I do, and in particular because they tend not to be mass produced, which means they immediately tell you where you are.  You are next to this statue.  There it is.  You can’t be anywhere else.  Knowing where you are is, I think, greatly to be preferred to not knowing where you are.  But even worse is when by the nature of the objects around you, you cannot learn where you are, because all the objects in your vicinity can tell you is that you could be anywhere.

And, number two reason why I like this photo is that behind the statue, and with the most prominent bit of it clearly lined up to be directly behind the statue but safely above it, there is roof clutter.  Not roof clutter that is uniquely voluminous, but still pretty good.  And mistily lit, in such a way that the building upon whose roof the clutter is cluttered does not upstage the statue by rendering it invisible.

The greenery on the right and the building bottom right I am less keen on, but they are, I hope you agree, not too annoying.  To the left, there was some somewhat more annoying stuff, which meant that the cropping on the left isn’t ideal.  But all-in-all, I like it a lot.

The statue is this one.  And the building behind it is called, at any rate by people trying to sell you office space in it, is called Windsor House.  I know it as that quite Big Thing next to the Albert.

This being Friday, is there a Cats or Other Creatures connection?  Well, yes: cats.  Big cats.  Four lions which are to be seen at the bottom of the column upon which the bloke scratching his back with a backscratcher is perched.  These lions do not appear in my photo, but there are there, at the bottom of the statue.

Also, the bloke on the top who seems to be scratching his back with a backscratcher is actually St George, and he has a dragon under his feet, which he is getting ready to clobber with a sword.

Monday December 03 2018

October 21st of this year was a good photoday for me.  There was this, and then this.  Now let me show you nine chimney pot photos, taken on that same day:

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The first four were photoed in the vicinity of South Kesington tube station.  Then I tubed myself to the West End, which is where the rest of these photos were photoed.

I think my favourite is the fifth, or perhaps 3.2, depending on how you prefer your numbering to be done.  But I like them all, or I’d not have shown them to you.

The final one, 9 or 3.3, was taken from the inside of the top of Foyles.

I’ve called this “chimney pots” because all these photos have that in common.  But there are many other kinds of roof clutter also on show.  I rejected including “roof clutter” in the title, because although most chimney pot arrays do indeed beome very cluttered, as in randomly varied and chaotic, that cannot be said of photo 4, aka 2.1.

The satellite dish in 1.3, aka 3, looks, to a casual observer, aka me when I first encountered it in the directory (not when I actually photoed I), the moon.

Which I like.  And I also like it when there are chimney shadows, as in 1.1 (1), and 5 (2.2).  And there are other sorts of shadows in 6 (2.3).

Plus there’s a crane (7 (3.1)). and a pigeon (9 (3.3)).  But, not any scaffolding that I can see.

Friday November 30 2018

On the eleventh day of this month, which was the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, I showed a little clutch of Remembrance photos, taken by me outside Westminster Abbey on November 10th.

Here, just before the month of November 2018 ends, are a few more photos taken at that same time:

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These photos all focus – literally focus - on individual regiments and their circular signs.  My angle, today being a Friday, is how such enterprises often characterise themselves as animals, or use animals to remember where they had done military service.  Here we see two leopards, a sphinx (sphynx?), and a deer.

Click on each square above to get the bigger originals, with more poppies, and more crucifixes.

Friday November 23 2018

So, Friday, and something about cats, or dogs, or other creatures.  Dogs, as it turns out.

I took the following two photos a month or two ago, when rootling around in East London in the District Line DLR sort of area, where the City of London is busy turning into Docklands.  And I am pretty that this first photo was intended, in my mind, to be of the notices in the foreground:

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But then I noticed the background.  Was that a lorry?  On top of a building?  For no reason?  With no obvious way back down?

Yes it was:

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Not an entirely clear photo, and it was also getting dark which didn’t help.  But trust me, there was no easy way up, or down, for this vehicle.  A lot of trouble was gone to, by someone.  But, why?

No, I don’t know either.  But sometimes mysteries are the funnest things to photo.

Thursday November 22 2018

Following yesterday’s very generic, touristy photos of the Albert Memorial (although some of them did involve a breast implant), here is a much more temporary photo, of the sort most tourists wouldn’t bother with:

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You obviously see what I did there, lining up what looks like a big, all-seeing eye with a clutch of security cameras, cameras made all the scarier by having anti-pigeon spikes on them.

And what, I wondered when I encountered this in my archive, and you are wondering now, is the provenance of that big eye?

Turns out, it was this:

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So, not actually a photo about and advert for the Total Surveillance Society.  It merely looked like that.

However, just two minutes later, from the same spot of the same electronic billboard, I took this photo:

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So as you can see, the Total Surveillance Society was definitely on my mind.  Terrorism, the blanket excuse for everyone to be spying on everyone else.  The two minute gap tells me that I saw this message, realised it was relevant, but it then vanished and I had to wait for it to come around again.  Well done me.

According to the title of the directory, and some of the other photos, I was with a very close friend.  A very close and very patient friend, it would seem.  Hanging about waiting for a photo to recur is the sort of reason I usually photo-walk alone.

I took these photos in Charing Cross railway station on April Fool’s Day 2009.  I would have posted them at the time, but in their original full-sized form, they unleashed a hurricane of messy interference patterns.  But just now, when I reduced one of them to the sort of sizes I use for here, those interference patterns went away.  I thought that these patterns had been on the screen I was photoing.  But they were merely on my screen, when I looked at my photos.  And then, when I resized all the photos, it all, like I said, went away.  Better late than never.