Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Michael Jennings on Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Brian Micklethwait on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
Carolyn Mohr on The ups and downs of English
Michael Jennings on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
priscila on The ups and downs of English
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
Most recent entries
- Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
- Cats without tails are not scary
- Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
- 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
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
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Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
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Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
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Counting Cats in Zanzibar
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we make money not art
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Category archive: Social Media
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.
In particular, the pollsters do not have to know. I think the polls have, all along, been wrong about this election, wronger than ever before. The polls are not being told what people have been, are, and will be thinking. The polls were wrong when they said Obama was walking it. They are wrong now that they are saying it’s close. They will be wrong when they say Romney will just about win, as they soon will. But on the day, in the real poll, Obama is going to be slaughtered. Romney will win all the “battleground” states and several which are not now even thought to be in contention.
What polls tell you is not what the result will be. They tell you what the pollsters think the result will be. How do they know what they know? Same way I do. They guess. (In this respect, poll results remind me of economic models.) Okay that isn’t entirely true. I myself factor in what the polls say when I make my guesses. But the polls are sufficiently wrong to be very wrong indeed, for an event that can be bent into a completely different shape by single figure percentage point errors.
[LATER: Actually, I think I got the first two sentences of the paragraph above wrong. It should read: “What polls tell you is not what voters are thinking. They tell you what the pollsters think the voters are thinking”. What I actually put is indeed “not entirely true”. This explains, I think, and as my original version does not, why pollsters don’t get the result right, but do get right the direction in which opinion is heading at any particular moment, which, as I introspect, I have been letting them tell me about. Because they do get that right. The misleading samples of people that the pollsters each talk to include a few who change their minds, and the pollsters do pick up on this. So, now, the pollsters are getting right that opinion is flowing steadily away from Obama and towards Romney. But at no stage in this process did, or do, or will they register how bad things were, and are, and will be, for Obama. End of LATER.]
We shall see, etc.
Romney’s final burst of adverts will have further impact. Obama’s adverts have accomplished little. They said Romney isn’t likable, is a right wing nutjob, etc. Debate One negated this message. They said something about “Big Bird”. Ridiculous. But that doesn’t prove that adverts accomplish nothing, by their nature. Just as in the debates, and unlike Obama, Romney (and Ryan) have plenty of persuasive things that they want to say.
In a comment on this, I noted that the TV Umpire lady in the Vice President debate did Biden no favours by allowing him to behave so very badly. Had she told him early on to stop his giggling and interrupting, Biden might well have won that debate. But give TV Umpire lady her due, she did at least interrupt Ryan, whenever his speeches were starting to sound too eloquent.
But Romney’s adverts can correct that, by saying everything Team Romney now wants to say, and which the mainstream media have until now stopped them saying by less expensive means. And, they can use the exact words which will work best.
Plus, Team Romney will have, I believe, another two debates worth of Obama waffle to use, like they have already used Biden’s laughing.
Like Jim Bennett said:
John, let me suggest that the criteria for victory are changing. The debate no longer ends when the debaters walk off stage. And now it no longer ends when the TV spinners have, like cuckoos, laid their eggs and flown away. There is now the long, long reverberation in social media, where the basic debate footage serves as raw material for mash-ups and parodies and treatments for the rest of the election cycle and beyond. And Biden’s performance, which won him some tactical advantage in the debate, has set him up as the target for rich satire and a way that Ryan’s conventional performance didn’t and cannot do. His performance is comic gold, and although within hard-core Dem/left circles he will be celebrated as the warrior, everywhere else, and especially for basically apolitical young YouTube viewers, he will be the jackass supreme. I suspect that by Election Day, the various parodic videos will have had a larger viewership than the debate itself. By this criterion, the tactic was a massive miscalculation.
If the same thing happens to Obama, between now and the election (I believe it will), he really will be slaughtered.
But … we shall see.
LATER: Mitt Romney in a landslide.
So I read this blog posting and wondered if the super dramatic picture of a heron taking flight from a telegraph pole is a 6000 picture, of if he just stole it from somewhere. So I looked in his flickr collection (which I recommend a good browse through), and there it was. Which made sense, because there was no link to anywhere else.
The bird on the right is a sugarbird, which flies through the air, or so it would appear, not by flapping its wings, but simply by having a very long tail. Presumably its wing is pointing directly at us, and is consequently hard to make out.
To everyone except cricket fans, WWW means the “world wide web” (yawn), but to us true believers it spells hat trick, three consecutive wickets in three consecutive balls. Which was what Stuart Broad got this afternoon against India, in among a couple of other Ws.
Antoine tW . . | . 1 . . 4 1 | . . W W W . | . Wittered that I must have been all excited, but actually I missed it. I was out in the sunshine. I only clocked it, on my laptop, when I stopped in at Marie’s Cafe in Lower Marsh for some of her delicious chicken and cashew nuts with rice, after visiting Gramex (also in Lower Marsh) to stock up on cheap classical CDs.
By then, England were already batting, and it was nearly the close. There had already been another W (Cook – having a rotten series (12, 1, 2, 5 so far) – cricket eh? funny old game), but mercifully there were no more.
I said in this, a couple of days ago, that if India hit back hard after their Lord’s disappointment, this has the makings of the best series here since 2005, and behold, India have hit back. England will have to bat very well tomorrow.
While in Lower Marsh, I took this artistic snap. Well, I like it:
And what with all the sunshine and all the great cricket (Surrey also won in a very close finish - earlier on in that game, Ramprakash was given out for “obstructing the field”, which happens in proper cricket about once a decade if that, and which I heard on the internet radio commentary just before I left home) and the great CDs I’d bought, I was in a really good mood. So instead of just getting the bus home, I strolled across Westminster Bridge like it was 2005 and took photos of people taking photos. Here are my favourites of those snaps:
When I got home and got to see the test match highlights on the telly, I discovered that the middle W of Stuart Broad’s hat trick should never have been given. Harbhajan Singh clearly hit it before it struck his pad, yet the umpire gave him out LBW. Still, the Indians would insist on not having techno-reviews, so they kind of deserve it. Hard on Harbhajan though.
Talking of techno-reviews, everyone is trashing Hot Spot, which is the one that shows if the ball has struck the edge of the bat, sometimes. What the players are saying is that sometimes, the ball does strike the edge of the bat, but doesn’t show up on Hot Spot, especially now that the batsmen all put Vaseline on their bats, in order to confuse Hot Spot.
However, correct me if I am wrong, fellow cricket fans, but this merely means that Hot Spot shouldn’t over-rule an umpire’s on-the-pitch opinion that the batsman did snick it. If Hot Spot says he did snick it, but the umpire says not, then Hot Spot is still right. Right? So, Hot Spot is still some use, and should not be totally got rid of. The rule should be: If the umpire says you’re out and Hot Spot says not out, you’re out. If the umpire says not out and Hot Spot says out, you’re out. Only if they are unanimous that you are not out, are you not out. You say that that is hard on the batsmen? I say it would serve the bastards right for putting Vaseline on their bats.
I think I understand, but can someone (Alec?) explain it all, just so I’m sure.
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.
As was revealed in the previous posting, today I had lunch out with somebody. That somebody was Alex Singleton, and on our way to dine we passed this Pimlico shop with its window full of mirrors:
Alex has started an enterprise called Alex Singleton Associates. At present he is busy organising a master class on how to get good coverage from newspapers and social media. Since Alex was until very recently a journalist for the Daily Telegraph, and since one of the other speakers is Guido Fawkes, who knows all there is to be known about new media, blogging, twittering and such like, it is bound to be good value to anyone shrewd enough to attend this event. A snip at £150, provided you book a little bit early (otherwise £199), and provided that you intend to apply what you learn to something which is potentially profitable.
Seriously, if you are running the kind of enterprise which is big enough to need such stuff but not big enough to be able to carry it on the payroll full-time or buy it from a PR monster with a huge name and bills to match, why not give this a try?
One of Alex’s particular strengths is talking and writing about tech products like software packages, in language that non-technical people, i.e. most of the likely users of such stuff, can understand. Here, for instance, is a piece he wrote last year about a slimmed-down version of Photoshop. Pieces like this get lots of hits, from people who might be put-off by excessive geek-speak. Only geeks can produce such wonders, but once they have, they can maybe use a little help from someone like Alex saying what they are offering.
Yes, Alex did pay for lunch, as cynical old you probably guessed by now. But there was no deal that I would write this.
If I thought Alex’s enterprise was a probable waste of space, I would not have told you I thought that. I just wouldn’t have told you about it at all.
Anyway, it was the photo that got me started.
Normally I avoid using the the words “London Eye” to describe the Wheel. It’s not an eye, or if it is an eye is a very peculiar one which rotates, and although the eye has evolved numerous times in nature, the wheel never has (which seems to me to be a powerful argument against Intelligent Design (but I digress)), and certainly never in combination with a big collection of eyes arranged in a circle.
But, rootling through Flickr, having typed in “from london eye” (because I am afraid the name has well and truly stuck), I came across this great snap by Damien Laidler, taken on December 28th, 2007:
That whatever-it-is at the bottom on the right is the only blemish. Maybe a slice off the bottom of the picture? Not sure. Pity about that. Otherwise, brilliant. Taken in the morning. It’s taken through glass, from one of the Eye pods (ho ho), so cut Mr Laidler a little slack on the detail/focussing/precision front.
Until this picture, the only Eye shadows I’ve seen have been the ones it casts in the evening on the buildings nearby. These can sometimes be quite dramatic (I took a few goodish shots like this last night), but I don’t want to draw any attention away from the above photo by, in this posting, by showing any other lesser Eye shadows.
The big lump at the far end of the spiky bridge is Charing Cross railway station, or to be more exact, a big pile of offices, on top of Charing Cross railway station. And the tall and thin tower behind it is the Telecom Tower, or the BT Tower, or whatever they are calling it this decade. I remember it as the GPO (as in General Post Office) Tower.
I just stuck up an all very sane and sensible SQotD about the banking industry, so I’ll put this pearl of wisdom on a closely related matter here. Ready? Here we go:
You can’t watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” these days without thinking how much sense Mr. Potter is making about irresponsible lending.
Originally here. I found it here. Frank J Fleming, for those who don’t know, is the senior blogger here, and is a genius. And oh look, I just found the above twitterlet in a list of similar stuff in an IMAO blog posting, much of it about nuking things. Nuke the oil leak, says FJF. Well, to be more exact, he wants Obama to nuke the oil leak. But, maybe this is because FJF actually wants Obama to be disliked. For him, this would be a win win. A nuclear explosion and Obama being disliked.
Because, the transition from regular city to giant hole is just too abrupt, and also maybe because the lighting looks different between the city and the hole:
Not Photoshop, sadly.
And they found it at the Guatemalan Government Flickr site. And the Guatemalan Government isn’t going to make up a story like that, just for a laugh, now is it?
It swallowed up an entire three story building. A defective sewage pipe apparently.
Count your blessings.
I work for a non-profit called Community Health Charities of Illinois www.healthcharities.org/illinois. We are putting an event together and came across your picture on Google and just love it. Is it possible for us to use your picture for the event that we are planning? Our theme is “bridging” the gap between employees and health charities. When you have a moment please let me know your thoughts and feel free to call me if that is easier for you. Again it is a beautiful picture and thank you for your time.
Here’s the picture in question:
But, it isn’t my picture. As I often do here, I used someone else’s picture. I, as it were, merely borrowed it. Fully acknowledging the actual photographer, and linking to the original on Flickr, but, I readily concede, without having asked the permission of “spudart”, the photographer in question. For some, that failure to ask permission, but just to go ahead and show it here was crossing some kind of line. For me the line that matters would have been crossed had I in any way suggested that I had myself taken this picture. Me taking unearned credit for this picture would have crossed the line. Me now allowing Community Health Charities of Illinois to think that I rather than spudart had taken this picture would be crossing that line again.
If spudart resents me borrowing his picture like this, then I will take it down. Take it down twice, now. But why would spudart object? Community Health Charities of Illinois only encountered this picture because I borrowed it. They searched for Chicago bridge pictures with Google, but not on Flickr. If spudart wants to be known as a great photographer, of the bridges of the city of Chicago and of lots of other things, then I helped, and am happy to have done so. (Also: miaow, miaow and again miaow, making this another Feline Friday.)
And oh look, I’ve just (re)noticed that spudart commented on that original posting, thus:
Thanks for linking to one of my photos. I’ve been meaning to do a complete series of the bridges in Chicago. This is certainly one of my favorites.
So clearly the above excellent photo will remain here. Twice.
As my friend Perry de Havilland often likes to say: one man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing.
Last night on the telly news I spied a rather impressive floating crane in action, the one being used to rescue that South Korean ship that the South Korean government is, for now, carefully not accusing the North Koreans of having sunk.
I went looking for pictures. I found nothing that was as impressive as what I saw on telly, but I did find this:
... which I have of course thinned out vertically, as is my wont here. I was at first delighted to learn that this photo was at the Flickr site of the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, no less. I had visions of some Admiral constantly breaking off from his regular duties, of deciding where to point his ships and what they must do, to take snaps of the men under his command. Yes, yes, in a moment Lieutenant, just let me do this rather nice shot of these men with ropes, with the sun behind them. And again. Lovely. Carry on, gentlemen. Now, you were saying ...
But it would seem, not. The above photo was taken by Lt. Cmdr. Denver Applehans.
This seems to be the Fleet Commander’s site in name only, as in, presumably, someone responsible to the Fleet Commander receives photos from lots of different guys, and okays them for inclusion. All the photos I’ve looked at are described as “US Navy photos”, and many of them as having been taken by this or that “Mass Commmunication Specialist”. Does that mean a full time photographer?
Far as I can see the BBC don’t do podcasts. They just make their radio programming available to time shift. This is fine but it’s not podcasting. Podcasting has an emotional tug that most radio doesn’t. I have this discussion/argument all the time with radio friends like Trevor Dann of the Radio Academy. They think radio does most of this stuff and I don’t think it does. Radio is organised to minimise the likelihood of people changing the channels. Radio is push. Podcasts are pull. At the exact moment you worry your podcast is getting too obscure or self-indulgent or detailed, it’s probably just finding its groove. Face it. If you wanted a balanced diet there are no end of places to get it. Podcasts shouldn’t be trying to be professional and polished. I can’t abide podcasts that begin with a menu that tells us what’s coming up. What’s the point of that? It’s more likely to make you change your mind about listening to it than persevere. I also hate the feeling that people are reading from scripts. I wince when I hear journalists trying to crack the same kind of jokes that look OK in print. We don’t need any of that print or radio or TV baggage. Podcasts are punk rock. They’re the first thing that comes into your head. They’re an evening down the pub. They blitz the divisions between the speaker, the thought and the personality. They have little use for conventional professionalism. They’re so direct they’re hardly media at all.
I copied and pasted this because I like it, but thinking about it some more, I realise that Hepworth is just right enough to be seriously, because rather persuasively and attractively, wrong.
This is like those articles circa 2002 about blogging, which defined blogging in far too much detail - it’s about this long, it’s about this, it sounds like this, in this kind of style, and so on. All of which blinded those who took such articles seriously to the true potential of blogging, which was that, potentially, along with a few more tweaks and widgets like Twitter, it could swallow “Fleet Street” whole, and several other ancient and venerable institutions besides, such as party politics, old school advertising, and several more yet to be identified. To put it another way, those early observers of blogging, many of them bloggers themselves, made the mistake of imagining that all that blogging was ever going to be was BrianMicklethwaitDotCom. Me in pyjamas, opining about this, and that, and kittens, and stealing all the real content from elsewhere apart from the occasional pretty photo of nothing very much.
Remember when the journos said blogging would only ever be, basically, verbal masturbation plus kitten pictures. Now: Climategate. Now: the Tea Party movement. What next? Not just more kittens, that’s for damn sure.
In other words, while trying to be completely open-minded, Hepworth is actually an old media pro telling himself and the rest of us that podcasting is amateur hour, and won’t ever be any more than that. It most definitely is amateur hour, if what you are is an amateur, and you want to have your hour. I am, and I do. And like Hepworth, I despise the banalities of lowest-common-denominator broadcasting, and idiot podcasters who imitate this bullshit. My particular aversion is shoving muzak on the front of people talking. But podcasting is so much more than than a mere trip to the pub. “Podcasting”, by which I mean everything that anyone can do with a sound file, is the next version of radio itself. Amateur, that is to say, only in the economics of most of it. The biggest and best “podcasters”, like the very best of the bloggers now, will turn out to be so blazingly professional (as in very good) that they will put the average BBC wonk to shame.
Snapped by me earlier this evening, outside Embankment tube station:
So, the Evening Standard is still doing headline billboards, in a few places, if not in nearly so many as before it went free. If you click on the October 20th picture, you’ll see that same guy, in the same spot.
The above headline about Google refers to this story, and looking back at that Samizdata posting I see that Google also featured in one of those billboards, the one I snapped on March 19th of last year. That story was about the privacy worries associated with Google photo-ing every street in the world.
2009 culminated, in London, in a huge flood of adverts for Google’s Chrome operating system. One of the Oxford Circus platforms that I photoed on December 30th had nothing but Google adverts:
It’s an irony that one of the biggest forces in the world undermining the use of adverts in dull old meatspace should now be making such lavish use of that same space. I guess you could say they drove the price down, and then took the deal themselves.
Am I imagining it, or was 2009 the year that Google went from huge to the top spot in their line of business, overtaking Microsoft? They certainly seem to be attracting a lot more attention now than ever before, both with their own adverts and – surely not coincidentally – in the form of increased media coverage of their every other move, triumph or quarrel. There is that big China thing, still boiling away, and I vaguely remember some spat they got involved in in Australia, which sounds a lot like the row in Italy referred to above.
My Guru, my Mr Man who Does For Me, computerwise, thinks that Google are absolutely not to be trusted, and are best avoided. They know everything about everyone, and the rewards for them behaving badly with all that knowledge can only grow and grow.
That rather fits with my prejudice, which says that the virtues that any person or thing most volubly aspires to tend to be the ones he or it feels that he or it lacks. And the virtue that Google aspires to is the daddy of them all, virtue itself. Don’t, Google says to itself, not caring at all who overhears, be evil. This tells us that Google is sorely tempted to be just that. The way things are playing out in China just now does look decidedly evil.
But I could just be babbling there. Comments anyone? Does Google now rule the (computing) world? And if it does, is that good, or bad, or what?
Wait two months for a Brian Micklethwait Dot Com recorded conversation, and then two come along on the same day, although actually these two were recorded over a month apart.
This one with Antoine, recorded on Tuesday of this week, describes the electoral earthquake that was the victory of Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley in the “special election” they had there, and how the Republicans have now caught up with the Democrats when it comes to applying blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc., to the winning of such elections.
How does this affect US politics in the months and years to come? And what can we in Britain, in particular we libertarians, learn from all this?
We managed to keep it down to below half an hour this time. Enjoy.