Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Sunday July 31 2011

So Trott is injured, is he?

It will not have escaped the attention of the England selectors that two days ago, Ravi Bopara scored a really good, really big, hundred, for Essex against Leicester.  Immediately after he had scored it, Essex proceeded to bowl Leicester out for 34 and win the game by a mile with a day to spare.  Admittedly Leicester are particular terrible at the moment, but the wicket can’t have been exactly plumb, now can it?  Plus, Bopara can turn his arm over, much as Trott can.

Bell (currently 119 not out in England’s second innings at Trent Bridge) at three.  Bopara at six or five?

There have been a lot of injuries in, or affecting, this series.  Trott.  Swann has a bust hand.  Zaheer out on day one at Lord’s.  Tendulkar poorly during the Lord’s game.  Sehwag already out injured.  Gambir smacked on the elbow and out of it at Trent Bridge.  Tremlett out with a back strain, or whatever it was.

And now, just as I blog, Harbhajan is crocked and is going off.

David Friedman, no less, has added a comment to this thread, which included something which I like a lot, namely this:

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.

Saturday July 30 2011

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:

image

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:

imageimageimageimage

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.

Friday July 15 2011

The very first David Thompson ephemeron today is a link to a video which demonstrates how grabbing a cat by the skin on top of its neck, like mum used to do, stops it doing anything.  All the mobility from then on until the skin is let go of was supplied by mum, and the effect persists into adulthood.  I did not know that.

Thanks to human technology, you can do it without even being there.  How could I ignore that, merely because I am on a break?

I wonder, are there other videos of this being tried on other cats, and also working?  Or: not working?

Friday July 08 2011

So while I’m dropping by here, let me show you a picture that I took a couple of years ago:

image

So let me tell what is going on here, because if I didn’t, I believe you might be very confused.

I’m standing in Shaftesbury Avenue, photoing tourist crap through the window of a tourist crap shop, which is something I like to do.  I like the repetition of it when it’s all there lined up like soldiers (in this case very like soldiers), in the shop, and I like that I can enjoy a really quite large job lot of the crap without having paid for any of it.

It is a very sunny day, and it is mid afternoon, so the sunlight is extra bright.  It pours into Shaftesbury Avenue, lighting up the other side of Shaftesbury Avenue from where I am, and also lighting up a white City of Westminster garbage lorry.  I, however, am in the shade, but you can still tell it’s me, because of that characteristic thing that we digital photographers do with our trigger fingers.

All of that is reflected in the window.  The other side of Shaftesbury Avenue, the garbage lorry, all brightly lit so showing up very clearly in the window, and me, not lit, so only registering as a black silhouette.

Thanks to the black silhouette of me, we can, through it, as if through a me shaped window, see a bloke who just happened to be standing there.  He is not reflected.  We are simply looking at him, through the window.  Behind him is an internal wall in the shop.

The right part of the picture as we look at it is a bit of a muddle, but there you go, that’s how it came out of the camera.

So now you know.  A shop window.  It looks like a Photoshopped shop window.  But it isn’t.  That was really it.

I am fond of Fixed Quantity Of fallacies, and yes, I never miss a chance to link back to that because it is one of my best.  And yes, they usually are indeed fallacies.  Wealth (see above), happiness, misery, you name it, the chances are that someone has fallaciously assumed the fixed quantity of it, and upon that un-thought-through assumption has piled all manner of nonsensical policy impositions, up to and including the proposal to demolish civilisation as we know it.

However, the last few days have shoved in my face what I already knew but didn’t want to know, which is that I have something like a Fixed Quantity of Blogging in me, per few days I mean.  I seem only able to do so much.  As a result of switching off here (and this is not me switching on again - just me feeling like breaking this summer silence to say something that as David Hepworth puts it well, won’t go anywhere else) I have found myself doing rather more than usual for Samizdata, in the blogging time and general brain space that I now have available.

I suppose every writer has a rhythm, and particular rate at which he can finish things to his own satisfaction, just as every writer has a preferred sort of length at which to say things.  And there is no denying (however much I might want to) that me imposing upon myself the obligation to do stuff here, however irregularly, does reduce the number of my contributions to Samizdata.

It should not, but it does.  Analyse all this with a clock, and it is ridiculous.  A typical blog posting by me doesn’t take that long.  But, it is so.

She seems to have been thinking along similar lines.  Which is one of the big reasons why Samizdata has been better of late.