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Category archive: Latin America

Friday August 17 2018

imageThis is the exactly kind of thing I joined Twitter to be informed of.  Pinker, it seems, is a Real Photographer, or at least Real enough for me not to know the difference.  I’m sure that The World has known about Pinker’s photoing for as long as he has been doing it, but The World did not include me, until a few days ago.

Also rather Real Photographer is that if you left-click on any of the photos here, you get a little dark rectangle with little blue writing in it saying this:

These photos are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

So I hope that the small and cropped repro that I have included here, of one of the more eye-catching of these photos, of something called a frigatebird, will not incur the ire of Pinker Inc., or whatever it is that might be irate.  If Pinker Inc. does demand the removal of even this little photo, that will happen straight away.

But if it does, no matter.  Follow the above links and feast your eyes and your mind on the weird and wonderful creatures of the Galapagos Islands.

Sunday May 31 2015

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

Truly, that’s a glorious headline.

Indeed it is:

Enrique Iglesias sliced his fingers on a drone during a concert

The drone was not hostile.  It was part of the show, as was Iglesias attempting to handle it.  It was just that it all went rather wrong:

“During the show a drone is used to get crowd shots and some nights Enrique grabs the drone to give the audience a point of view shot,” the statement read. “Something went wrong and he had an accident. He decided to go on and continued playing for 30 minutes while the bleeding continued throughout the show.”

Iglesias was semi-treated immediately after the accident.

Definitely a future trivia question in a pop quiz.  But the worst that could have resulted from this would have been a couple of missing Iglesian fingers.  This ("NY-bound plane nearly collides with drone, FAA says") could have ended far more grimly.

There will be many, many more drone dramas.  They are colossally useful, and accidents buzzing around begging to happen. 

Thursday April 30 2015

Another day another Dezeen posting, about some modernistical architecture, surrounded by The Wires:

image

But this time around, guess what.  Do I believe my eyes.  I must.  For what they are telling me is that, in among this posting’s accommpanying verbiage, is to be found … this:

The gridded monochrome glass facade that wraps around the upper levels was conceived as a contrast to the “chaotic” urban area and criss-crossing electrical wires that surround the site, and features one raised corner covered in dark-tinted glass.

Yes, those “criss-crossing electrical wires” are acknowledged to exist.  Amazing.

The Wires are mentioned, because the architects themselves mention them:

“The area where the building is set is highly chaotic in terms of architectural typologies, textures and colours, so it was therefore chosen to generate a building that would constitute itself as the order within the neighbourhood’s chaos,” explained the architects.

This is architect speak for:

We are going to build the exact same modernistical erection that we would have built had The Wires not been there.  Screw The Wires!  Yes, The Wires are there.  But we will build as if The Wires were not there.  The Wires have no power over us!  The Wires, we spit on you with our modernism!

That’s the spirit.  Unless it isn’t, and they actually only noticed The Wires after they had built the thing.

The point is, whether they see The Wires or they ignore The Wires, The Wires make no difference!

Tuesday January 27 2015

Lexington Green, here:

What if … ?

What would a history of the British Empire look like if it did not use the “rise and fall” metaphor?

What would that history look like if it examined not just the political framework or just the superficial gilt and glitter, or just the cruelty and crimes, but the deeper and more enduring substance?

What if someone wrote a history of the impact of the English speaking people and their institutions (political, financial, professional, commercial, military, technical, scientific, cultural), and the infinitely complex web of interconnections between them, as a continuous and unbroken story, with a past a present … and a future?

In other words, what if we were to read a history that did not see a rising British Empire followed by a falling Empire, then a rising American Empire which displaced it, but an organism which has taken on many forms over many centuries, and on many continents, but is nonetheless a single life?

What if we assume that the British Empire was not something that ended, but that the Anglosphere, of which the Empire was one expression, is something that has never stopped growing and evolving, and taking on new institutional forms?

What if it looked at the unremitting advance, the pitiless onslaught, universal insinuation, of the English speakers on the rest of the world, seizing big chunks of it (North America, Australia), sloshing up into many parts of it and receding again (India, Nigeria, Malaya), carving permanent marks in the cultural landscape they left behind, all the while getting wealthier and more powerful and pushing the frontiers of science and technology and all the other forms of material progress?

What if jet travel and the Internet have at last conquered the tyranny of distance which the Empire Federationists of a century ago dreamed that steam and telegraph cables would conquer? What if they were just a century too early?

What if linguistic and cultural commonalities are more important than mere geographical location in creating political unity in this newly shrunken world?

I recall musing along the same kind of lines myself, a while back.

The important thing is, this mustn’t be advertised first as a plan.  If that happens, then all the people who are against the Anglosphere, and who prefer places like Spain and Venezuela and Cuba and Hell, will use their ownership of the Mainstream Media to Put A Stop to the plan.  What needs to happen is for us to just do it, and then after about two decades of us having just done it, they’ll realise that it is a fate (as the Hellists will describe it) accompli.

Because, guess what, we probably are already doing it.

Sunday July 04 2010

The other day, and as always with other days it does not matter which other day, I was walking across a road junction on a green pedestrian light, and then nearly got driven into by a cyclist who was ignoring red lights, who then shouted at me for not getting out of his way.

All of which made we want to show you this:

image

Drunk drivers.  They do what you only want to do.

Tuesday June 15 2010

I’ve just been reminded of another reason why I support Israel, at Counting Cats.  Fidel Castro doesn’t, surprise surprise

The former communist leader published an article in local press in which he said, “The State of Israel’s hatred towards the Palestinians is such that it would not hesitate to send 1.5 million men, women and children to the crematoriums in which millions of Jews of all ages were killed.”

It really is time this lying, tyrannical old bastard died, isn’t it?  Sadly, it looks like being of natural causes and at a very advanced age.

I have long believed that if the only thing you know about something is that the Communists dislike it, then that is a seriously good reason for liking it.  And yes, that is yet another link back to me.  See below.

Friday March 07 2008

Antoine talked about the very real possibility of this a month ago:

It sounds like a suitably madcap finale to a zany political season: the “winner-takes-all” Puerto Rican primary. A small Caribbean island ends up annointing the Democratic candidate for president by virtue of its 63-delegate bloc, even though Puerto Ricans don’t get to vote in the general election.

Via this, and this.

Thursday March 06 2008

A lot of people seem to have been making noises like this lately:

… [T]he celebrations of Fidel Castro´s social achievements usually ignore that Cuba was highly developed before communism. Before 1959 Cuba had more doctors per capita than Britain, lower infant mortality than France and West Germany, more cars per capita than the Japanese and more television sets than West Europeans.

Did they all get it from Johan Norberg?  Or is he merely passing on what he too has recently been hearing?  Norberg supplies this link for those who want to know more.  Me, I’m already convinced that Communism was silly.

Tuesday January 29 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve visited this blog.  I particularly liked this bit of video dialog that I found there, between Michael Moore and John Stossel.  Moore takes a group of American sickos to Cuba, to get some of that superior Cuban medical treatment.

Moore: “I asked them to give us the same exact care they give their fellow Cuban citizens, no more, no less.  And that’s what they did.”

Stossel: “Do you really think that’s what they did?”

And yes, Cuba does indeed seem to have quite a low infant mortality rate, because any baby that looks like it will have problems gets aborted, and if it dies within only a few hours of being born, that doesn’t count.

There may have been a time in his ignorant youth when Moore really believed the kind of nonsense about Cuba that he serves up in Sicko (thanks for that link Garner), but I don’t think he believes it now.  He sounds to me like he’s just going through the motions.  I think he’s lucked into a gap in the market, for loony lefty drivel in the cinema fronted by a guy who looks like a regular Joe rather than a loony lefty, and he is now filling it, with very little concern for stuff like evidence or accurate quoting of his sources.  He’s changing no mind that matters, merely massaging the minds of mental defectives.  What he does now believe in is doing business.

Saturday December 01 2007

Having finally managed to write at some length about two-man teams, I am seeing the things I wrote about in that piece everywhere:

With the departure of Rangel there was really no one left with enough stature in Chavez’s cabinet to be able to say ‘no’ even occasionally.

There’s a referendum coming up, which asks “Am I your undisbuted boss for ever?” But it will do the Chav little good even if he wins.  If he does win it will merely be assumed that he used the powers he already has to fix the result in his favour.  But if he loses he will lose huge.

Friday October 26 2007

In response to this posting by Perry de Havilland on Wednesday, there was a voluminous comment thread.  In among it, jacob quoted this:

Cuba’s rulers promised individual liberty. Instead they denied their citizens basic rights that the free world takes for granted. In Cuba it is illegal to change jobs, to change houses, to travel abroad, and to read books or magazines without the express approval of the state. It is against the law for more than three Cubans to meet without permission. Neighborhood Watch programs do not look out for criminals. Instead, they monitor their fellow citizens - keeping track of neighbors’ comings and goings, who visits them, and what radio stations they listen to. The sense of community and the simple trust between human beings is gone.

That was President Bush talking, quoted also by Jay Nordlinger in among this.  The entire speech can be read here. Follow that link, and you learn that the next few paragraphs of the speech went thus:

Cuba’s rulers promised an era of economic advancement. Instead they brought generations of economic misery. Many of the cars on the street pre-date the revolution - and some Cubans rely on horse carts for transportation. Housing for many ordinary Cubans is in very poor condition, while the ruling class lives in mansions. Clinics for ordinary Cubans suffer from chronic shortages in medicine and equipment. Many Cubans are forced to turn to the black market to feed their families. There are long lines for basic necessities - reminiscent of the Soviet bread lines of the last century. Meanwhile, the regime offers fully stocked food stores to foreign tourists, diplomats and businessmen in communism’s version of apartheid.

Cuba’s rulers promised freedom of the press. Instead they closed down private newspapers and radio and television stations. They’ve jailed and beaten journalists, raided their homes, and seized their paper, ink and fax machines. One Cuban journalist asked foreigners who visited him for one thing: a pen. Another uses shoe polish as ink as a typewriter ribbon.

Cuba’s rulers promised, “absolute respect for human rights.” Instead they offered Cubans rat-infested prisons and a police state. Hundreds are serving long prison sentences for political offenses such as the crime of “dangerousness” - as defined by the regime. Others have been jailed for the crime of “peaceful sedition” - which means whatever Cuban authorities decide it means.

Good stuff.  I know, bad stuff really.  But you don’t always get politicians talking this bluntly and vividly about nastily governed countries, and when they do, that is indeed good.

There are some weird verbal and grammatical oddities, though.  “Shoe polish as ink as a typewriter ribbon”?  All that alcohol in his youth?  Maybe just a missprint.

Sunday October 14 2007

I know that all I was was another link in the chain, but even so, it’s fun when Instapundit links to something you (by which I mean I) posted.

What I like about the quote is that it combines (a) anti-communism and (b) the kind of twenty-first century switched-on-ness (Facebook) that makes it harder for evil anti-anti-communists (all anti-anti-communists are evil) to dismiss it as out-of-touch right wing huffing and puffing.

I was at Perry de Havilland’s home last night, just after the Insta-surge hit, and so he told me about it.  Otherwise, I’d probably have missed it, because Instapundit, for some reason, probably politics, is not the daily read for me now that it once was.  Maybe that will now change.

Friday October 05 2007

Brian Micklethwait’s Education Blog is nearing lift-off.  I just have to contrive a picture for the top, and Patrick has to recombobulate the contratractationaliser of one of the fonts, or some such font thing, and then it will be up and staggering.  Oh, and I also have to reconstitute the sidebar, which will take a while, so maybe don’t expect it ultra-soon.

Meanwhile, another BMEB type link to an engadget posting, this time about distance learning:

Recently, surgeons in Argentina were guided through a laparoscopic gastric sleeve procedure by a colleague some 5,400 miles away thanks to the InTouch Health RP-7 Remote Presence Robot. The five-foot, five-inch robot reportedly “displays the doctor’s face on a 15-inch screen and is guided by a joystick from a computerized ControlStation, emulating an on-site experience.”

So, good news for Argies whose laparoscopic gastric sleeves have become frayed.  I also love the phrase “Remote Presence Robot”.  Sounds like a sort of automated ghost.

Thursday September 27 2007

Stephen Green links back to this 2005 article about the abominable Che Guevara, of which these are the final paragraphs:

image

In the last few decades of the nineteenth century, Argentina had the second-highest growth rate in the world. By the 1890s, the real income of Argentine workers was greater than that of Swiss, German, and French workers. By 1928, that country had the twelfth-highest per capita GDP in the world. That achievement, which later generations would ruin, was in large measure due to Juan Bautista Alberdi.

Like Guevara, Alberdi liked to travel: he walked through the pampas and deserts from north to south at the age of fourteen, all the way to Buenos Aires. Like Guevara, Alberdi opposed a tyrant, Juan Manuel Rosas. Like Guevara, Alberdi got a chance to influence a revolutionary leader in power - Justo José de Urquiza, who toppled Rosas in 1852. And like Guevara, Alberdi represented the new government on world tours, and died abroad. But unlike the old and new darling of the left, Alberdi never killed a fly. His book, Bases y puntos de partida para la organización de la República Argentina, was the foundation of the Constitution of 1853 that limited government, opened trade, encouraged immigration, and secured property rights, thereby inaugurating a seventy-year period of astonishing prosperity. He did not meddle in the affairs of other nations, opposing his country’s war against Paraguay. His likeness does not adorn Mike Tyson’s abdomen.

Never heard of him, until today.  Don’t expect a Hollywood movie about this man any time soon.  (Another Guevara grovel is on its way.)

Tuesday June 05 2007

This Prospect piece is a good short read, containing much.

I was intrigued to read what I have long suspected, which is that the Castro regime wants the US embargo to continue.  The embargo props it up by starving it of foreign influence, ideas and general destabilisation, and the regime props up the embargo whenever it looks like collapsing:

In fact, the regime seems to act with zeal to ensure that the embargo continues. When it looks as if the US government might consider ending it, some heavy-handed Cuban act ensues that the status quo prevails. In 1996, when Clinton was keen to initiate rapprochement, the regime shot down two US planes manned by members of a Cuban exile group rescuing those escaping the island on rafts. When, in 2003, an influential cross-party lobby in the US seemed set to dismantle the embargo, the Cuban government promptly incarcerated 75 prisoners of conscience and executed three men who hijacked a tugboat with a view to getting to Miami.

The wonderful health service of Cuba is a Potemkin sham (why was Castro himself treated by foreigners?), and the people are dirt poor, bitterly regretting their current parlous state, yet, like all very poor people, fearing change.  The remnants of pre-Castro, fifties style – pre-revolutionary pop and fifties cars – scatter a nostalgic glitter upon the decaying ruins.  Tourism keeps it going.  A lot more tourism would probably finish it off.

And foreigners are still impressed:

When, back in London, I met people who believed in the Cuban alternative, I surprised myself by the vigour with which I rebuffed their arguments, pointing out how Cubans were barred from the smart hotels where they had stayed. Was my irritation a sign that I’d become right-wing (as they implied)? Or was this simply one-upmanship on my part - a way of rubbing in that they were just tourists, I had lived there. At other times, in the company of Castro critics, I would admit to my own ambiguous feelings and explain that I, too, had often been charmed and was sad at the prospect of that simple way of muddling through in Havana disappearing. You only need to go to Kingston, Jamaica to wish that you were back in a police state where you can roam the streets at night without fear.

Bolshevik Cuba’s last defence: tough on crime.  Too bad that the whole place is itself one gigantic item of stolen property.

And yes, Madam, you are becoming more “right-wing”.  Leaving the left always starts with accusations of rightism, hotly denied, but eventually, as the accusations become ever more vicious, reluctantly accepted.