Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Thursday June 28 2012
Wednesday June 27 2012

I just attached this comment to a Samizdata posting about Bjorn Lomborg.  I don’t want to forget about it, so it also goes here.

My prejudice about Lomborg (which is why I have not studied his thoughts in much depth) is that he doesn’t understand the argument he says he is in.

In particular, he doesn’t grasp that the essence of the Climate argument concerns whether or not there is going to be a Climate Catastrophe.  If there is, then all Lomborg’s chat about merely improving the lives of the poor is just fiddling while Rome awaits incineration.

But if the evidence for a forthcoming catastrophe is no better now than at any other time during human history, then Lomborg’s arguments make sense, as do all other arguments about merely improving things.  Economics, business, capitalism, etc. all make sense, and there is no excuse for global collectivism, because it only makes things worse.  The only excuse for global collectivism is in preventing a global catastrophe that is otherwise unpreventable.

Which is why the global catastrophe was fabricated.  The whole point of the Catastrophic bit in Catastrophic AGW is to render economics, business, capitalism etc (Lomborgism you might say), pointless.

And Lomborg has spent his life ignoring that bit of the argument, that bit being the bit that matters by far the most.

As it happens, the Catastrophists are now losing (on the science), which is why they are switching back to gibbering on about “sustainability”, or even more ridiculously, shortages of this or that.  In short, they are moving back to the territory where Lomborg and all the rest of us will defeat them with ease, again.  But Lomborg himself has contributed nothing to this intellectual victory.  He has merely confused things somewhat, by implying that this is all about regular economics.  It is not.  It is about whether regular economics now applies to the world, or not.

I would be interested to know if commenters who know Lomborg’s writings better than I do think that these are accurate prejudices.

Monday June 25 2012

Emails are now being exchanged about having a Transport Blog dinner, here:

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… which is on the top of a multi-story car park near Peckham Rye railway station.

It seems like this won’t happen for a month or so, but I shan’t be waiting that long to visit this enticing spot, which seems to be a sort of sixties brutalist version of this.

Designed, the little cafe bit on the top that is, by two ladies called Paloma and Lettice, at whose website I also found (scroll sideways a bit) this lascivious image:

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Click on that to get it considerably bigger.

I wonder if Paloma (Gormley) is any relation to Anthony (Gormley).  Yes.  Daughter.

Sunday June 24 2012

Photographed just a few minutes ago, when I popped out for some milk:

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It’s that time of the evening.

As usual, my camera saw more than I did.

Incoming from Jackie D (I particularly like this):

I want to live here!

Here being here:

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Incoming from Michael J (I particularly like this):

It’s Mumbai though. They will only ever finish half of it, and there will be a slum in the location where they want to build the second swimming pool that they cannot do anything about.

In a way, this would be good. In China, the slum would be demolished and the people living in it would be relocated 3000 miles into the middle of the desert at gunpoint. So there are different ways of doing it.

Incoming from Michael J:

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This is right in the middle of Malabar Hill, the poshest address in Mumbai and some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Everything in India is next to everything else.

Incoming from Michael J:

image

Not a great photo, alas, but there is a sign at the entrance to the slum saying that this is in fact a co-op. housing society (proposed). The nearby rich residents have clearly decided that the slum should be demolished and replaced with something nicer and less unsightly for the residents to live in and to make the neighbourhood prettier. But this being India, it remains forever proposed.

A sane way of dealing with this situation would be to give the residents of the slum legal title to where they live. They could then sell it to developers, and use the money from it to build themselves palatial houses elsewhere. Everyone would then be better off.

Unfortunately, Indian bureaucracy is too stultifying for this to happen, and in addition Mumbai itself is too corrupt for it to happen in a fair way. Even if it could happen legally, gangsters would find a way to steal the money.

Micklethwait’s Law number about seven states that if you want to cheer yourself up about your own country, ignore your own country and look instead at all the others.

Saturday June 23 2012

Here.

LATER: In the same way this was.

Friday June 22 2012

I walked around the Whitechapel Wapping part of London on Wednesday, journeying back along the river from Tower Bridge to London Bridge.  I and landed a rich crop of photos. Including this, and this, and many, many more, including, just as one little for instance, this:

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That’s the top of one of the towers of Tower Bridge, lined up with the top of the Shard.

I do love it when London’s Big Things line up with each other.

LATER: So much so that here are some more Things aligned:

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That’s the upper bits of HMS Sheffield Belfast, the Twin Towers of Cannon Street Station, and in the distance, the BT Tower.

Here’s the same stuff, differently aligned, with all the towers together, and more of HMS Sheffield Belfast.

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I’ve never got around to actually going on board HMS Sheffield Belfast, which you apparently can do.  Patrick Crozier told me yesterday that it’s not worth it.

The first of these three snaps is big enough already.  Click on either of the last two to get them bigger.

Friday June 15 2012

Another posting is well overdue here, so here is one, which will please my reader.  And yes, it’s about a New Thing in London, even now nearing completion in Victoria Street, which is conveniently near where I live:

imageimage

Despite appearance to the contrary, that’s actually two separate pictures.  On the left, how the Thing looks on a dull day.  On the right, how it looks on a sunny day.  Yet both pictures look blue.  Everything not indoors looks blue, in digital photographs, unless there is actual blue stuff around.  Click to get each of those pictures four times as big.

So now I’d better say something about this new building.

Or, I could just photograph what they have already said about it, in a shiny sign on the fence at the bottom, next to the pavement, and stick that up:

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Click to get that twice as big.

And look, there’s a website, with lots of pictures of it, including this aerial view.  It’s the blue one to the right.

And on the right of it, as we look down, is a tiny pub, which will now be even more dwarfed by modernity than it was before.

Sunday June 10 2012

I have quite a collection of pictures of people holding more than one camera, but in all cases, until now, they are actually using a maximum of just one of them.  The others all hang down on straps.  I have never, until now, seen someone actually using two cameras at the same time like this, one in each hand, presumably her camera, and the camera of (one of) the person(s) she is photoing:

image

Some of the earliest pictures I took of digital photographers are starting to be seriously interesting, on account of the antiquity of the cameras.  I used to think I was photoing photographers, and I was and I am, but I was and am also photographing cameras.

Which is another reason I like the above photograph.  The cameras have come out well enough to be easily recognisable and identifiable.  In ten years time, those cameras will be antiques also, and this picture will have become even more interesting.

I also like, as an added incidental, that you can see exactly what the lady is photographing.  The Wheel.  You can see it reflected in her glasses. Further plus, they’re dark glasses, which makes her that little bit less identifiable, by such things as robot face recognisers, and therefore me that little bit less bothered about showing her here.

Saturday June 09 2012
Thursday June 07 2012

Today being Friday, and hence a potential Feline Friday, I couldn’t possibly ignore this:

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And not just a cat.  A photographically flattenable cat, with propellers attached.

6000 explains, here.

Today saw one of the stranger days of cricket I can ever recall, at Horsham in Sussex.  Yesterday Surrey had a terrible day.  First Surrey were shot out for 124, and then Sussex in reply got to 80 with only one wicket down.  The only fly in the sweet smelling Sussex ointment being that they lost their second wicket just before the close, and resumed this morning on 81 for 2.

By the end of today, after just 6 overs, Sussex were 90 for 6, having lost a further 4 wickets for 9 runs.  So including the wicket they lost last night, they lost 5 wickets for 10 runs.  And then the rest of today was rained off.

Surrey’s position, then, went from frightful to promising, in about half an hour.  Match scorecard here.

Trouble is, Surrey have recent history of (a) having a shocker in the first innings, then (b) coming strongly back into the game, but then (c) narrowly losing.  At the start of the season, some were picking them as possible County Championship winners.  Now, with just the one win so far and a top order that has never looked so fragile, it looks like they will be lucky to remain in Div 1.

Their basic problem is that Ramprakash is not Ramprakash any more.

More cricket-related thoughts from me here.

Friday June 01 2012

So how about another Feline Friday:

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Photoed by me this afternoon, next to Westminster Abbey.

Thursday May 31 2012

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.

imageimage

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.