Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Simon Gibbs on Wedding photography (4): Preparations
6000 on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Darren on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Michael Jennings on Wedding photography (2): Signs
MarkR on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
MNB Achari on Google Nexus 4 photos
MNB Achari on The ups and downs of English
Robert Hale on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
Laurence Sheldon on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Bryn Braughton on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Most recent entries
- Wedding photography (4): Preparations
- Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
- Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
- Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
- Rothko Toast
- Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
- And another posting from my smartphone
- Posted from my new smartphone
- Google Nexus 4 photos
- Wedding photography (2): Signs
- Wedding photography (1): The superbness of the weather
- A Fleet Street lunch
- So painters also used to “take” pictures
- Funniest run out ever?
- Shadow photography
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Category archive: Quote unquote
I greatly enjoyed the documentary about Richard Feynman shown on BBC2 TV last night, having already greatly enjoyed the docu-drama about the Feynman Challenger investigation.
Last night’s documentary contained the following particularly choice piece of dialogue:
“Why is your van covered in Feynman Diagrams?”
“Because we’re the Feynmans.”
There is a picture of the Feynmans, next to their van, which I found here, where the picture is slightly bigger.
Does this van still exist, with all the Feynman Diagrams on it? I hope so.
As has already been reported here, I have been reading Pride and Prejudice on my Google Nexus 4 ultra-mobile computer-with-phone. And, in Chapter X of this book, I read this:
My highlighted version of that last sentence being:
“As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not attempt to have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”
So, in Jane Austen time, painters “took” pictures.
I thought that was only photographers. There does seem, does there not?, to be something peculiarly apt about a photographer “taking” a picture. After all, you could only “take” a picture with one click of a mechanical button, as I just did of my Google Nexus 4 with my Panasonic Lumix FZ150, if the picture was in some basic sense already there for the taking, in its entirety. “Take” gets across the difference between photoing someone and painting a portrait of them, by which I mean “making” a portrait.
Perhaps this “take” usage, to describe portrait painting, declined when the painters stopped claiming to produce what we now call photographic likenesses, and, under the competitive influence of actual photography, began to “make” pictures of people, the whole point ofand the whole justification of which was that a mere camera could absolutely not “take” such pictures. Such paintings are made, not taken. To accuse a painter of “taking” a picture would be to accuse him of adding nothing.
No. North Korea is not socialism betrayed. It is socialism done.
Which everyone here knows, but it is worth repeating.
Commenting on that, Perry de Havilland said:
That North Korea is ‘late socialism’ is a meme worth spreading.
Indeed it is.
Various people have been nagging me (a bit) about getting into Twitter, which things like this suit well. It reminds me (a bit) of when people got contemptuously angry (a bit) because I still didn’t have an email address.
Ripple: me quoting Madsen Pirie, here.
Another ripple: the ASI quoting me, here.
The ASI seems happy, despite the delay.
LATER: Madsen Pirie quoting me, here.
Nothing like bright sun, from the side, through a Venetian blind, to tell me that my computer screen could use a bit of dusting:
What the anti FR …
i.e. anti fractional reserve banking …
… position argued by Rothbard and some of his supporters claims is that all such contracts are fraudulent, and so should be banned. If so, all insurance contracts should be banned as well, since if all the insured houses happen to burn down in the same year the insurance company won’t have the money to pay off on them.
I’ve never encountered that argument before. (Which shows how much attention I’e been paying to all this ...)
I intend to make it a Samizdata Quote of the Day. But for the time being, let it be a mere BrianMicklethwaitDotCom Quote of the Day, because I don’t want to separate out this idea from the comment thread in which it appears, and cause commenters to go to two separate places. When the thread has expired, then I will post it, and this is me reminding myself to do that.
Separating this notion out here won’t affect anything, especially during this summer relaxation period that I am now indulging in, and which, by the way, I think I will continue for another month. It is working well.
I find it interesting that a bunch of impeccably free market supporting individuals can’t agree about things like this. Which I think is one of the big reasons to have markets. Let the market decide about FR banking, rather than the law.
Tim Cavanaugh, in a dissection of a muddled Keynesian rant by a son of muddled Keynesian J. K. Galbraith:
… facts matter even when you’re ranting.
Cavanaugh’s piece ends thus:
I’m just glad to see the economic quacks are starting to fight among themselves.
And they are. So Cavanaugh has his own facts right.
Yesterday I walked over to Parliament to be part of the Rally Against Debt. I went because I feared it would be tiny, and because I hoped it might be huge.
In the event it was neither. The turnout was in the low hundreds, rather than the mere dozens I had feared or the thousands that I had, thinking about it now, hoped for. Photo it all close up and you could make it look quite big. Step back fifty yards, and it was cut down to its true size.
I’ll probably be doing a Samizdata posting about it along these lines, Real Soon Now. In the meantime, what with signs being a current preoccupation here, here are some of the signs as I managed to photo.
These big clutches of photos probably don’t work that well, judging by the comments, but I think this clutch may be different, because each little square gets the message across. You don’t have to click at all, to get the point, in fact you can get forty points without doing anything except running your eyes over it all.
I was impressed by how many hand-done signs there were.
Should I have been?
Are these signs merely of amateurism, and as such do they mean little?
Or do hand-done signs signify depth of feeling? And do they therefore count for more than the mass produced sort of signs, which by the way were also present in large numbers.
The one about the Che T-shirts was off message, as were several other signs that I spotted but did not include here. I include the Che sign because I really like it.
Bloggers, borrow at will. No need to mention me. The message is the thing, and anyway, it was the sign-makers who did the real work.
Many other photographers were also present.
Is quoting yourself allowed? It is if you are me, here:
The state of the world is now such that, if you want to be optimistic about your own country, don’t whatever you do look at your own country. Look at all the others.
I do want to be an optimist, today and every day. Happy Easter everybody.
Think about it: What’s the best way to make sure there is only goodwill out there towards Muslims?
That’s right: Kill all the bad Muslims.
It’s the way that he combines hate-the-hateful speech with everyone-live-in-harmony speech that makes it so funny, right speak with left speak. Reminds me of that great speech for the defence in Animal House.
This evening I attended the ASI blogger bash, and one of the speakers, Harry Cole, said something along the lines of: Lefties are better at comedy than the Right.. Which I suspect is a lot truer of Britain than it is of the USA. Closely related to that observation is that in Britain, as was also discussed, we are years away from anything resembling a British version of the Tea Party. The British Right, in other words, is not in tune with the Zeitgeist, or even any major slab of the Zeitgeist, the way the USA Right is in the USA. And even there, it may just be a temporary consequence of the Obama phenomenon,, which is a huge attempt to turn the USA into something entirely different. Europe, basically. When that attempt gets switched off, whenever that happens, the Tea Party may die with it. By which I mean either go home or else turn entirely into dull old regular politics.
LATER: Further illustration of the same proposition. When Cleese was funny, he was, if not Left, then at least anti-Right. Now that he’s not funny, he’s Right.
I don’t call anyone “Doctor” unless they can write me a prescription for drugs.
Quite right. Found in a piece denouncing “Doctor” Krugman, who is only a doctor in the sense that he doctors his numbers.
Not that there should be any such thing as “prescription drugs”, but that’s a different argument.
From commenter Aynsley Kellow (at 9.29 am), on this at Bishop Hill:
Confession time: I wrote an essay for Raser on how we could dismantle the military-industrial complex. I suggested that we needed a new mission to occupy all those physicists and mathematicians employed on missiles and the space program, and suggested that environmental protection would provide sufficient complexity, challenge and (importantly) employment. Be careful of what you wish for, I guess.
Even if no-one deliberately unleashed such a plan, might this be a part of what is happening? Otherwise about-to-be-unemployed geeks (i.e. the rather less bright variety) suffering from post Cold War downsizing?
It’s buried in the middle of the latest Samizdata piece by Natalie Solent:
State protection is better than state persecution as cancer is better than a knife in the ribs.
When, this morning, I heard that Tim Evans was resigning as the President of the Libertarian Alliance, I thought: things might, just might, get silly. Accordingly, in a mood of pessimism, I straight away downloaded .pdf files of all my LA published pieces. Just in case. Just in case the LA website got caught in any crossfire that might materialise, and just in case my own stash of these files proves inaccessible, for instance as a result of it being on antiquated format disks which prove to be hard or expensive or even impossible to get at.
Soon, I will probably download all the other publications, by everyone else also. Again, just in case. It helps that I now have a computer with a hard disk the size of one of the smaller English counties.
I think it highly unlikely that this will prove to have been of any value. But it will make me feel a tiny bit happier.
But, while doing the beginnings of this, I did discover one very nice thing, which is that the version of Adobe Acrobat that I now have running on my new supercomputer enables me, and presumably everyone else, to copy and past text from within LA publications. I don’t just mean the boring html ones, I mean the pretty ones, the ones I designed. I did not know I could do this. I am very happy about it.
This means that my long held but long postponed ambition to convert every LA publication, or at any rate quite a lot of LA publications, into alternative not so pretty HTML versions, can now be forgotten about. Hurrah. How to solve a problem. Wait. Keep on waiting. Eventually, it may go away.
The bad news is that I still have to remove carriage returns from the end of each line of text, if copying stuff into something like this blog. But that is a small price to pay for such a great leep forward.
I will celebrate by copying and pasting a bit from something I wrote in 1997, about Charles Murray:
A key insight into Murray’s thought processes is to be found in his second and least publicly discussed book, In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988). He tells of how he worked for two years in the Peace Corps in the villages of Thailand, and how, to his consternation, he encountered hostility from the citizenry of the villages. How come? He was giving them money, bestowing bounty upon them. Well, yes, but his projects never seemed to get anywhere, and he was also screwing around with the local power structure, turning a local community, with an elaborate system of personal status based on how much you contributed to local welfare, into a mere aggregation of welfare supplicants. The village elders didn’t like it, and Murray came around to agreeing with them.
If you put the government in charge of doing all the things formerly done by the local community, then say goodbye to the local community. Community becomes a mere word, for a bunch of people who exist and sleep near to each other, in the same dormitory so to speak, but who no longer have any meaningful social relationships with each. And it is in these kinds of relationships, says Murray, that most people find their deepest pleasures in life. Most people don’t become supermodels or vice-presidents of major corporations, and make a stack of money so huge that they can just buy their way out of their demoralised and degenerating localities. Most people find their places in the world by being good sons and daughters, good parents, good neighbours and good local citizens. Even corporate vice-presidents often wish when they get older that they’d paid more attention to family and friends and neighbours, and less to getting ahead at work. Murray’s libertarianism is the claim that citizenship should stop being a nationalised industry.
The laugh out loud test is a good one. It flags up something that really should be passed on to anyone who has not heard it. And I just laughed out loud, at this:
Every organisation behaves as if it is run by secret agents of its opponents.
Actually, it makes perfect sense, not in the sense that every organisation is run badly, but in the sense that everyone tries to run their organisation in such a way as to strengthen their own position, including secret agents of its opponents if that’s what they also are. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to spot real infiltration, and so easy to imagine it when it is not happening. It looks so like business as usual.
I must have read this piece about Conquest when it first came out. But one of the small joys of memory loss (along with the bigger miseries) is that you get to laugh at old jokes as if for the first time.
LATER: Another LOL here.