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Category archive: Video

Tuesday March 25 2014

Because he is definitely some personal kind (is there any other kind?) of libertarian (he and this guy are mates from Eton), I have instructed Google to send me emails about popular entertainer Frank Turner whenever anything is said about or by him, which is quite often because he really is very popular.

Here’s an interview Turner recently did.  They asked him how it feels to play in an “arena”, i.e. a very, very big place.


It’s a funny thing because I think whenever anyone starts out playing music you have a bucket list, or a ceiling of achievement that you might think of … and I’m really not trying to sound like Mr CoolHipsterPunkRock here, but the biggest bands I went to see when I was a kid played The Astoria, maybe Brixton Academy.

But then, straight after that, comes this:

I’d never been to an arena show before I played one.

How cool is that?

Which just goes to show that a precondition for being cool is not trying to be.

Shame about that Libertarian Party (see the “this guy” link above).  That didn’t turn out quite so cool.

Friday March 21 2014

Scientific American:

The skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.

The bones come from a cemetery for the wealthy in Hierakonpolis, which served as the capital of Upper Egypt in the era before the pharaohs. The cemetery was the resting place not just for human bones, but also for animals, which perhaps were buried as part of religious rituals or sacrifices. Archaeologists searching the burial grounds have found everything from baboons to leopards to hippopotamuses.


Three policemen in Pakistan guarding the prime minister’s home have been suspended for negligence after a cat devoured one of the premier’s peacocks, it seems.

It seems?  Well, did it or did it not?


This Japanese gum commercial makes me wish I had a super fluffy gigantic cat to help navigate the horrors of public transportation and carry me around, avoiding traffic and other pedestrian suckers who don’t have adorable cat chauffeurs. Then I remember that if a cat that big existed, it would probably just maul me to death, ...


Why are there so many cats on the internet?

The problem is that they are asking the wrong question, which should not be “Why cats?” so much as “Why not dogs?” And the answer is that dogs are trying too hard. When a dog gets in a box or hides under the duvet or wears a funny hat, it is because he is desperately trying to impress you – longing for your validation and approval. When a cat does one of those things, it is because it felt like the right thing to do at the time. And it usually was. It is cool, and effortless, and devoid of any concern about what you might think about it. It is art for art’s sake.

This, at any rate, is one of the theories (of which there are an awful lot) about why content related to cats seems to gain so much traction online.

Maybe.  I guess that’s part of it.

The original reason for my Feline Friday cat chat is that cat chat on the internet, at first only at inconsequential blogs such as this one but now everywhere, illustrates that the number one impact of the internet is that there is now a new way to be amused, and cats are amusing.  The serious political impact of this is that with the internet it is easier to concentrate on what you consider amusing, and to ignore what people who consider themselves to be more important than you consider to be more important.  This really ticks them off.  Which is nice.  The internet puts politicians, for instance, in their proper place, on the sidelines.  Cats may or may not be important, depending on how mad you are, but they are amusing.

The willingness of the big old Mainstream Media to tell frequent cat stories, as they now show and do, illustrates that these organs have now accepted that they no longer control the news agenda.  If the people of the world decide that it is news that an angry 22-pound cat that trapped a family of three and prompted a frantic 911 call has been sent to an animal shelter, then news it is, and the big old media now accept this.

Tuesday March 11 2014

Earlier this evening Detlev Schlichter spoke to the Libertarian Alliance (London Tendency), on the subject of Ludwig Von Mises and his claim that economics is a body of knowledge based upon “A Priori” knowledge.

I attended and took photos:

image imageimage image

As you can see I was sitting just behind the video camera, and had fun lining this up with the object of its attentions.

The talk was good, as you will be able to hear when the video is up and viewable.

While sorting out the link to Libertarian Alliance (London Tendency) I discovered that Sean Gabb, leader of the Libertarian Alliance (South Coast Tendency), has recently given a couple of talks to the Libertarian Alliance (London Tendency).  I did not know this.  Interesting.

Tuesday March 04 2014

My Ashes Lag is really being taken care of, by the South Africa Australia cricket, which is in South Africa, God bless it.  It starts at Really Early am London time.  Crucially, it keeps on doing that.  You don’t cure Ashes lag with just one virtuous wake-up.  You have to string a bunch of them together.  Nothing like a really good test series that starts at Really Early am day after day to do that.  It’s just a pity the series is not a fiver rather than a mere threeer.

Australia are crushing South Africa in the third and final game, just as they did in the first game, and just as South Africa crushed them in the second.  And I sort of told you so:

Mitchell Johnson won the first game for Australia, then did nothing in the second, but I think I heard that the pitch for the third game will suit Johnson, so maybe it will be an Australia win.

Well, not really, I mostly sat on the fence.  But, at least I am not surprised.  South Africa are 71-4 in their second innings, with Amla out but AB de Villiers still there.  At tea they were 15-3.

I really hope they have lots more one-day games, and that at least some of them start good and early.

The other really good news, aside from the Ashes Lag thing, is that South African captain Graeme Smith has now retired from internatioanal cricket, and can now devote all his energies to getting Surrey back on their feet.

Rather annoyingly, what with me trying to get other stuff done, cricket remained interesting all day, with Pakistan chasing a vast Bangladesh score, in the Asia Cup, or something.  The highpoint of that was the innings of Shahid Afridi which began like this, the W at the start being the fall of the wicket that brought him in:

W 6 2 6 1 |6 2 . 6 6

35 in ten balls, in other words.  At the start of all that, Pakistan were in a seemingly hopeless position.  After those two overs, the chase was doable, and they duly did it, despite Afridi having a bad back which meant he couldn’t stretch out and avoid being run out, just after he’d raced to fifty.

Tomorrow, the decisive SA v Aus action is likely to come at the start, so that’s more good news on the Ashes Lag front.  If early wickets fall, especially that of de Villiers, that will be it.  If they don’t, and especially if de Villiers hangs around for a decent time, South Africa would have an outside chance of a draw.  But, I doubt it.  South Africa’s only real chance is if Johnson gets hurt early in the day, just like Steyn got hurt early on day one.

Monday March 03 2014

imageYesterday I did something that is often rather hard.  I photographed some wind.  Any idiot who can video (a category of idiot that does not really include me – although I hope to be changing that Real Soon Now) can video wind.  You video trees swaying.  Roof clutter swaying.  Things being blown around.  Whatever.  But how do you photo the wind?  Answer you photo its static dislocative (my word processor says that isn’t a word – it is now) effects.  But these effects are rather rare.  What you need is something like sails on boats, or some kind of urban substitute for sails on boats.  Yesterday, when on my way to Victoria Station, I encountered just such a substitute.

Once again (see this), I like the colour.  And once again, I note Mick Hartley’s fondness for colour.  For me, here, it is blue.  For him, most recently, it was yellow.

Did you detect a whiff of verbosity in the first paragraph above?  If so you would, I think, be right.  This is because I was writing verbiage to go next to a big vertical picture, verbiage that needs to be enough to prevent the picture impinging upon the previous posting.

The first two paragraphs of the above verbiage did not suffice to accomplish this task.  Hence these final five paragraphs.

And hence the fact that they are five paragraphs rather than one.

I was just making sure.

I can’t tell until I post it, whether this problem has been sorted, so I am now over-reacting.

Friday January 31 2014

I have my favourite bloggers.  Mick Hartley, 6k and David Thompson being my most regular visitees.  Two of these three (see those two links) often put up clips of their favourite bits of music, which I pretty much always ignore.  Often, when confronted by other people’s favourite musical snippets, I already have music playing, on my separate music box which is nothing to do with my computer and which therefore works when I most need it, which is when my computer is not working.

I tend not to do stick up bits of my favourite sort of music, which is classical.  Partly I’m lazy and am not very clever about putting up Youtube clips here.  But I could put up lots of links (one follows below) to classical stuff.  But, I tend not to.  There are enough reasons for people to strike this blog off their weekly-read list or whatever, without me putting them off even more with bits of classical music.

Now, first off, I have no problem with bloggers posting whatever they like.  Their gaff their rules.  I put whatever I like (as in like to put) here, and they can put whatever they like to put at their places.  But, am I the only one who almost always ignores music at other people’s blogs?  Most of us like lots of random bits of pop music, old and new.  In my case, there’s also a ton of classical classics I like a lot, and others also have their favourite genres that they know all about, adore some of and like a huge proportion of. 

I mention this because, entirely for my own selfish reasons, I particularly want to be able to remind myself of this clip of someone called Yulianna Avdeeva playing Chopin, particularly well to my ear.  And maybe that’s it.  Bloggers use their blogs as personal filing cabinets, just as I do.  They put up bits of music because they want always to be able to get hold of that bit quickly, and now they know they can.  The readers can just wait for the next posting, and pick up where they left off.  (That link, by the way, is to a bit of classical music at a blog that specialises in classical music.  Quite often I do play the clips she features, because her kind of music is my kind of music.  What I’m on about here is musical clips at blogs which are mostly about non-musical things.)

I think another point being made with these bits of music is the point I make with my occasional Friday cat blogging, which is that a lot of the appeal of blogging in particular and life in general is pure enjoyment.  And music, perhaps more than any other art, and especially when no words are involved or in the case of the more upbeat and silly pop tracks, is all about pure enjoyment.

By the way, when I started writing this, I thought that David Thompson also featured occasional pop snippets.  So I went looking for his latest pop snippet, but found that actually he does not do this, or not lately, hence no link to any music at his blog in the second sentence of this posting.  But I did find this talk, by Greg Lukianoff, about the growing menace of the I-Am-Offended industry on American campuses.  Quite long, but recommended.

SInce I started on this posting, Mick Hartley stuck up another pop clip.  Again, I have not listened, and probably won’t ever.

Tuesday January 21 2014

As I said in the previous post, my talk about digital photography at Christian Michel’s last night went well, in the sense of me feeling it went well, and it seeming to be well received.  I occasionally put my sheets of paper down and extemporised upon some point I was making, but mostly, this was it.  No links, no photos, no extras.  (They may come later, I hope, but I promise nothing.) Just the bare text that I read out, complete with all the errors of grammar and spelling, of fact and interpretation, that may or may not be present:

I have given several talks in this 6/20 series, but until now this has been because I have had both questions and answers to offer to the assembled throng.  I have had theses to present, clutches of facts to pass on.

This time I don’t know the answers.  I merely want to know the answers.  What is the impact of digital photography? What is it doing to us?  Since fixing this subject matter with Christian I have made, I think, some progress in arriving at answers, but only some.  Tonight I expect to make further progress.

Luckily, for my purposes, we have all been alive throughout the period of digital photography’s mass use, and have observed it in action, even if we may not always have wanted to.  Has anyone here not taken a digital photo?  Just as I thought.  (It actually says that here.  And this.)


I will start my remarks by quoting a remark made by an American whom I overheard about fifty years ago, on the Acropolis in Athens, the place where what is left of the Parthenon stands.  I was there trying to do some sketching, a skill I never got any good at but spent a few years attempting.  He was doing pictures with his seriously pre-digital camera.  As soon as he had finished photoing, he wanted to leave, presumably to get to his next photoing place.  But his family were enjoying the Acropolis in the morning sunshine.  Said he to his family: “Come one, come on!  We’ll look at it when we get home!”

This outburst captures a great deal about what people object to about digital photography, but it also reminds us that photography, by Everyman as opposed to by professionals, is nothing new.  Digital photography is partly just the intensification of a process that has been in place in our culture for well over a century.  But it is more than that.

Wednesday January 15 2014

Last Thursday evening I attended the Aiden Gregg talk to Libertarian Home at the Rose and Crown, about the psychological foundations of political beliefs, libertarian and otherwise.  I wrote most of a piece for Samizdata about this, but have yet to finish it and stick it up.  Anyway: incoming from Simon Gibbs, who organised the meeting, asking if I had any decent photos of the event to spread around.

I don’t know about decent.  The lighting in the Rose and Crown is a bit tricky.  Speakers tend to be lit most strongly from behind, and the picture frames behind the speaker can also be a problem.

Quite a few years ago now, I recorded an interview with my friend Bruce the Real Photographer, about how he does Real Photography.  I just had another listen, and seven minutes or so into that, Bruce talked about how getting the right background was about half the battle.  Next time I take photos in the Rose and Crown, maybe I will remember to try and find a spot where the background is less clashing than it was in snaps like these:

image image

These next two, after I had moved to a slightly different spot, are somewhat better:

image image

That meetings organiser Simon Gibbs on the left there, as we look.

Here is another from the same spot, but also featuring a bit of the audience:

image image

And on the right there, more audience.  But most of the throng was behind me and I neglected to photo in that direction.  The meeting was an enjoyable and boisterous affair, but my pictures do not really capture this.

The good news is that, as ever, Simon Gibbs had his video camera running:

image image

So, in due course, you’ll be able to watch and hear the talk, if you missed it last Thursday.  Just as you can now watch Aiden’s previous Libertarian Home performance.

When I have posted my Samizdata piece, with a lot more concerning what was actually said, I’ll link to it from here, just as I’ll be linking from there to here.

LATER: My Samizdata report.

Monday January 06 2014

Taken on Christmas Day:


What I like about the crane is that, in this photo, it looks rather sinister, more like a tower in a Nazi prison camp in a war film than a regular crane.  It’s the barbed wire square, about half way up that does it, I think.  Plus, the slightly spooky light.  It doesn’t look like actual getting dark light.  It looks like getting dark light in a movie.  Blue instead of grey, in other words.  Cameras turn everything blue if given any opportunity, unless they are black and white and nothing else allowed cameras.

Of course, this effect would be greatly enhanced if the plane was not so obviously a very post-WW2 jet.  It should be a plane like the one in the opening credits of Where Eagles Dare, one of my most favourite movie sequences, because of the visuals and because of Ron Goodwin’s music.  In my opinion, nothing else in this movie is as good as this opening.

See also this earlier photo here, also of a big crane and a small plane.  I found out about this earlier posting when I tried to load the above photo with the name “Crane+Plane”, but was told that this photo title was already taken.

Monday November 25 2013

Yes.  I spent my blogging time today fretting about the finishing of this.  So, no time to do much here.

But there’s an internet out there.

Here’s a very quick vid, of Kenneth Williams opining (which would be a good word for him to say) about specialisation.

And here’s a slightly longer bit of video, which is a snippet from one of my favourite science fiction movies.  An astronaut argues philosophy with a bomb.  I found it here.  And I do mean here.


Saturday November 23 2013

Marc Sidwell, who just happens to be my next Brian’s Last Friday speaker, certainly has a way with words:

Like the space in an Elizabethan court masque that the performers left for the courtiers themselves to step forward and take part, today everyone needs to work out how to create a stage on which the constellation of divas formerly known as the audience will strike their own pose.

That’s to be found under this headline:

The Long View: Bob Dylan and the selfie: The world’s now a stage and we’re all performing

And under this photo:


Are yes, selfies.  Says Sidwell, re this new word:

Even as I cling to my old-fashioned desire to take photographs of the things that I see, “selfie” – the new nickname for a photographic self-portrait – has been declared Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, following a 17,000 per cent increase in usage year-on-year.

I have been long been studying this phenomenon.  We may not have had the word “selfie” in 2007, but there were already many, many people doing selfies:


That being one of my all time favourites from my selfies archive.

LATER: Incoming from Michael Jennings:


Taken, says Michael, on a ferry between Greece and Albania in July.

Friday September 13 2013

Incoming from Rob Fisher:

This is long, but Stallman is a very clear and precise speaker, so there is much understanding to be had here.

This being a YouTube performance from 2005, lasting 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Big hair.

Monday August 12 2013

I’m watching and listening to the England v Australia test match at Chester-le-Street, and the first hour of the fourth day has been a cracker.  Stumps flying, a bouncer fended into the gully, and a flurry of boundaries from England as they try to set Australia a decent target.  As of now, England are 277 ahead.

There has been much discussion from the TMS commentators about how lots of wickets have fallen in the morning, this morning being no exception.  But, that being the case, tomorrow morning could be very important, which they have not been discussing.  If England can just stick around for another few overs, Australia won’t be able to chase down all these runs today, and will have to bat tomorrow morning.  That could be decisive.  The prospect of them having to bat tomorrow morning may cause them to hurry today, or at least be in two minds about whether they should hurry.

All that said, this series has an air of insignificance about it.  This is because there is an imbalance built into these two series, in England and then this winter in Australia.  Whoever wins in England has to do it again in Australia to keep the bragging rights for a decent length of time.  Whoever wins in Australia gets those bragging rights.  If England win in England but Australia then win in Australia, Australia end up the winners.

The only big deal about this series, following that Lord’s slaughter, was: could England make it 5-0 and avenge that earlier 5-0 thrashing that Flintoff’s team got handed in Australia a few years back?  Bragging rights from a 5-0 thrashing last for ever.  That’s the rule.  But England couldn’t win at Old Trafford, in fact only the weather stopped England losing.  So, no permanent bragging rights.

Bresnan out for a crucial 45, England 285 ahead with just one wicket left.  But hello.  A dropped catch in the deep.  Steve Smith.  He doesn’t usually drop anything.

Anderson now prodding away defensively.  It’s like England have worked out what I said about tomorrow morning even if the commentators haven’t twigged that.  That flurry of fours was great.  But dot balls are now very good too.  But, another four from Swann!  He now has 22.  And another!  A real one day four, where he stepped back to square leg and bashed it through the covers.  It’s the kind of game where every ball feels like a tiny change of balance in the match.  “That dropped chance has already cost nine runs.” Make that thirteen because there goes another four.  England 298 ahead.  Anderson caught behind!  Spin!  Good for Swann!  Australia need 299.  “A morning of fluctuating fortunes.” I’ll say.

Finally, they’re talking about the tomorrow morning effect, and the fact that Australia will be pushed to get all these runs without England having a second new ball.  Mornings have brought wickets in this game.  So have new balls.  What we need now is a couple of Aussie wickets in the twenty minutes between now and lunch.  There’s every chance of that.

No.  Australia 11-0 at lunch.

LATER: According to Simon Hughes, Keith Miller slept with Princess Margaret.

Thursday May 30 2013

One of the laws of life nowadays is that as soon as you buy your ideal gadget, an even more ideal version of it arrives, and you think, ooh, I wish I had waited and got that one instead.

Within weeks, or so it seemed, of me buying my Lumix Blah Blah 150, out pops the Lumix Blah Blah 200 which does everything the Lumix Blah Blah 150 does, but even more.  In that case the improvement was photoing in low light, which is something I like to do quite a lot when photoing speakers at meetings, indoors.

And now, I buy a Google Nexus 4 Smartphone, which is okay, in fact very okay.  But this looks even better, this being a Samsung Blah Blah, which is a smartphone, but with a substantially bigger screen.  The Google Nexus 4 is Google’s answer to the question: What is now a great Smartphone?  A smartphone being the size of regular Smartphone.  Samsung, on the other hand, asked the question: What is the maximum size of screen a Smartphone can reasonably have?  Which I think is a better question.

Here is a picture that shows the difference.  On the left is a regular Samsung smartphone, which is the exact same size as my Google Nexus 4.  On the right is the new Samsung Blah Blah, which is a smartphone, but bigger.


Although I can get typing done happily when I am out and about, I have to admit that a bigger screen would be better.  That way you get a smartphone and a tablet.  A “phablet”.

I first set eyes on this Samsung Phablet the night before last, when I attended a meeting also attended by a friend of mine who already had one, despite the fact that this particular phablet has yet to be launched in the UK.  He showed it to us.  I was impressed.  His was bigger than mine.

A recent piece about this Samsung Phablet (sorry – have forgotten where this was) said: Who the hell wants a smartphone this big?  Well, I do.  Better for typing, better for reading books, better for everything, and well within my geriatric weight limit.

The thing is, you want everything done when you are out and about with one machine.  What you (by which I mean I) do not want is to be lugging around a phone and a “tablet”, which is why tablets are a no-no for me, as yet, unless you go for something like this.  This Phablet changes that completely.

Despite me having missed this particular bus this time around, I really hope that this phablet formula catches on.  The good news for me is that the Samsung Phablet now costs around four hundred quid, and I paid only a bit over two hundred for my Google Nexus 4.  But with luck, phablets will soon be only two hundred quid, and I will be able to buy one with a total cost to me of buying a phablet now.  And of course the two hundred quid phablet in a year’s time will be a year better than the phablet is now.

And note this.  If Rob Fisher is right (I think he is) about what a good idea it is for all your computing to be done with the same little box of tricks, this phablet, being bigger than the smartphone, will accommodate more tricks.

To anyone who says, but talking into this gadget would be ridiculous, I reply: no, it would not.  I might look ridiculous to you, but I do not care what looks ridiculous to you, only what actually is – or, in this case, is not - ridiculous for me.

The same rule applies to taking pictures with a tablet.  Does this look silly to people to whom it looks silly?  Yes.  Does it make sense to those who now do this? Yes, perfect sense.  Get used to it.  Photoing with tablets is here to stay.  Ditto photoing with phablets, when people start doing that.

Here are a couple more pictures of smartphone-tablet-phablet related kit that I encountered while trying to learn more about the Samsung Phablet.  First, a gadget for combining a smartphone and a pair of binoculars:


This is not yet a thing you can buy.  Watch the video there and you will learn that so far this is just an idea, which is still at the stage of soliciting investment.

And here is a picture of a zoom lens that you can attach to a tablet.


This seems like a slightly better idea.  But what do I know?

The person writing the article with this picture at the top of it does the usual this-looks-ridiculous routine.  But personally (see above) I don’t think it is ridiculous.

I really hope I get to see someone doing this, and photo them myself, before cameras inside tablets get to be so good that you don’t need to shove more lenses on them from outside.

Saturday April 27 2013

Here.  I will, Real Soon Now, be submitting this for inclusion in David Thompson’s next collection of Friday Ephemera.