Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
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- The outdoor map next to the Twelvetrees Crescent Bridge over the River Lea
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- Guess what this is
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- An important game and only a game
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- An old person television set
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This and that
When I have a longish spell of silence, such as the one that has just ended lasting ten days, my problem is that I keep thinking that another day won’t hurt, and that when I return, I must do so with a big bang, i.e. a brilliantly big or important posting. Which causes the spell of silence to prolong itself even more.
So instead, what I eventually do is just shove up any old thing, such as this photo, this one photo (easily done), which I recently took near the Houses of Parliament:
What I like is that I am so very obviously in it, in the form of my shadow.
This sort of picture explains why it is so very useful for me not to be using a viewfinder, but instead a twiddly screen such as all cameras I ever buy always have. They think I’m just looking at previous pictures, but I’m not. I’m taking my next picture. Of them. And using only one hand, which adds to the impression of me not taking a photo.
You see people taking pictures with smart phones more and more these days.
Me, here, on April 2nd:
On April 20th, two friends of mine are to be married, hopefully in the warm outdoors, and I hope to be taking photos of it, in the warm outdoors. They hope, as do I, that the cold will soon abate.
April 20th being this coming Saturday.
And, hey presto, here is the latest forecast for that day, from here today:
Every time I have here flagged up a forecast of cloudless weather, the weather has behaved exactly as prophesied. So, if the weather this Saturday is not superb, this will be a first.
Although, I’ve just realised that is for London. Where the wedding will actually be, out in the depths of the West Country somewhere, they say that there will be some clouds. But, still sunny, and no chance of rain. A few clouds are even nicer for photography than cloudless, in my experience, not least because you get a better sunset.
The IPL (twenty-twenty cricket) is so far proving to be one of the best yet. Just now, there was this, from Amit Mishra, this being his last over, to win it for Sunrisers Hyderabad against the Pune Warriors, by 11 runs:
1 W 1 W W W
When Mishra went in to bat, Hyderabad were 44-6. Mishra got 30 and Hyderabad struggled to 119-8, which never looked enough, until Mishra got stuck in, and Pune panicked, as in really panicked, even more than they had already been panicking. At one point Pune were 101-4, for heaven’s sakes, needing just 19 more runs. So, last six wickets for seven runs. In the end, it wasn’t even that close!
As I keep on saying, the English really should be allowed to get in on this.
At least Eoin Morgan (Eoin sounds like Owen) is doing okay. He is the nearest thing to an Englishman making any sort of impact in this tournament.
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.
I was at Wembley last Saturday, to see Wigan beat Millwall in the FA Cup semi. I am doing a longer posting on the crowd violence that happened during the second half, but will also be referring also to the architecture of the place. Hence me posting this picture here now:
The point being that the Arch, as seen from inside the stadium, is not that special. It only gets interesting photographically if something else happens in front of it, or beyond it, like if a helicopter were to crash into it or if behind it there was an eclipse of the moon, or in this case if there are balloons in the frame. The Arch’s purpose is to draw attention to the stadium from outside, and especially from afar, rather than to make much of a difference to the experience of actually being inside the place.
The Arch does make the process of approaching the stadium from Wembley Park tube more interesting than it would otherwise be. Here is a shot I took after the game, looking back at the stadium, in the wet and gloom of the evening:
Talking of shots like that, does anyone know how to get rid of that upwards perspective effect, in the programme I use (ArchSoft PhotoStudio 5.5)? I want to widen out the sky there, if you get my meaning. I want to make the buildings, on the left especially, go upwards rather than inwards. Any suggestions?
LATER: My favourite Wembley Arch picture.
My thanks to my next Last Friday speaker Rob Fisher, for the link to these photos:
My inclination is not to discuss the matter of supposed overcrowding, more to note that here we have more Art without Artists. Although perhaps photographer Michael Wolf would say he is an artist.
The idea of that category of photo is that here is a photo of something real, which resembles (reduces the thing to?) abstract art.
Were all those abstract modernists prophesying the inceasing rectangularity of regular life to come?
The speakers at the Liberty League Freedom Forum were an impressive lot. I intend, Real Soon Now, to be writing at greater length (at Samizdata) about what some of the speakers said. In this posting here, I will concentrate on shoving up photos.
Here are some snaps of just a few of the speakers in action:
Top left: Douglas Carswell; top middle: Terence Kealey; top right: Mark Littlewood.
Bottom left: Sam Bowman; bottom middle: J. P. Floru; bottom right: Randy Barnett.
I did not attend anything like all the sessions, not least because many of them were simultaneous. But we all crowded into the big hall to have lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and there were a couple of speeches there also, from Mark Littlewood on the Saturday, and from J. P. Floru on the Sunday, both of whom are shown above, doing their lunchtime talks.
Impressive though the line-up of speakers was, and hard as it often was to choose which speaker to listen to, the real star of the occasion, for me, was the audience that the Liberty League people had managed to assemble for this event. It would have been quite something for me to have listened to a succession of very good talks. It was something else again to be part of a 200-strong audience listening attentively to those same talks, most of them of less than half my age.
So, here are some crowd shots:
The more I study the world and its ways, the more importance I attach to the influence of gatherings like this one. Getting a couple of hundred of Britain’s most committed libertarians and free marketeers together over a weekend, and permanently connecting them with each other, will have network effects beyond calculation, especially when you consider how much easier it now is to do networking electronically.
So who put this event together? Well, I did some asking around, and three people kept getting mentioned:
Left: Anton Howes; centre: Christiana Hambro; right: Stephen Davies.
The latter two are both briefly biographised at the IEA website, and Anton Howes is likewise described on this list of Liberty Leaguers. Hannah Besford, Will Hamilton and James Lawson, also on that Liberty Leaguers list, also got several mentions, not least in the conference progamme (i.e. on page 2 of this), as having contributed importantly. Notoriously, when credit is to be shared among humans for their cooperative achievements, there are frequent mismatches between who gets given the credit and who did the actual work, so my best guess could be seriously off. Nevertheless, my best guess is that the three people pictured above were the prime movers (certainly among the prime movers), all three of them having decided independently that what the British free market/libertarian movement needs is a succession of gatherings like this one, wherever in the UK it makes sense to stage them. So, that is what they have been doing, this latest London event being merely the biggest of such events so far. There have been several others during the last few years, and it looks like there will be many more. I certainly hope so.
This morning, in bed, I pondered the extreme contrast in meaning of the expressions “settle up” and “settle down”. They are not opposites on the same scale, in the manner of “talk up” and “talk down”. They are two completely different expressions.
Having now woken up (again) and got up, I continue to ponder the ups and downs of the English language. What, if anything, might “woken down” mean?
“Fed up” means fed up, yet is seemingly unrelated to merely being fed. “Fed down” means very little, unless you are doing something like feeding a wire down a hole.
“Look down” is clear enough. But “look up” means three almost unrelated things. You can look at the ceiling. You can look up a word. And things can be looking up. In version one of this paragraph, look up only meant two things, but then I realised there was a third. Perhaps there are others.
“Kneel down” exists as an expression. “Kneel up” does not, but ought to, to describe that particular other sort of kneeling.
Out of doors in England, there are “downs”, but no “ups”. Often downs are further up than the regular landscape. The South Downs are hills, are they not?
How difficult it must be to be foreign, and to have to bone up on all this.
This is a test file. I am practising typing on my new Google Nexus 4, but would prefer a keyboard. A keyboard is on order.
lt is strange not using a mouse.
Now I will attempt to transfer this file to Dawkins.
What is this new device going to be christened?
Well, what I did was copy and paste the text, rather than transfer the entire file. Worked okay. Then I did further rewriting, which is far easier on Dawkins. But, I used the Dawkins mouse. Won’t have a mouse when on the move. Michael J says I’ll get used to not using a mouse, but that doesn’t now feel true. A mouse is far more precise than a stubby finger, surely.
The main thing I’ve done with the new GN4 (there does have to be a better name than that, doesn’t there?) is re-reading Pride and Prejudice, in an e-book copy that has quite a lot of mis-scannings in it, occasionally quite confusingly. You get what you pay for, I guess, and I didn’t pay anything for it.
So here are three more digital photographers digitally photographed by me on March 5th, to add to the ones in this photo-collection:
I chose those for all my usual kinds of reasons, to do with focusing and composition and suchlike, which is not major my purpose now.
What I have done is reduced the size of the little photos above, that you click on to get the real photos, from 166 pixels wide to 165 pixels wide, and shoved a small space in between. I’m hoping that 165 x 3 + 2 spaces won’t go beyond the 500 pixel limit, but only posting it will tell.
Which means that this posting is liable to be posted, and then reposted a few times, while I work out what works. I can’t tell from within my blogging software whether these new spaces and pictures sizes are a good fit, or if I’ll have (e.g.) to make the pictures a bit smaller.
It goes with saying (surely a more rational way of saying “it goes without saying”, if you immediately then say it) that I am a bit apologetic about this disruption. But in truth, not very apologetic.
The reason I am doing this is that I have now got my Google Nexus 4 supersmart mobile phone, and have been looking at how this blog looks on it.
Point one: obviously all the regular stuff on the left that you don’t read should be on the right. That may one day happen, and may not.
But the other thing is that when I do these little clutches of lots of little clickable photos, then on the GN4, just as on my computer, I get a small white space between each horizontal row of pictures and the next row down, but not between each picture, sideways. If you get my drift. And a much better arrangement would be to have spaces between each picture, if only to make the pictures easy to see as separate pictures, especially on something like the Google Nexus 4.
So now you know.
A BIT LATER: Too wide. The blurry digital photographer behind the focused leaves, who was supposed to be on the right, has moved himself to a new row below of his own creation. So now I will make the small pictures 164 pixels wide rather than 165. Isn’t this exciting? Well, probably not.
A BIT LATER STILL: Done.
British Summer Time began last Sunday, and I surely wasn’t the only Brit taken by surprise. According to our excellent and invariably accurate short range weather forecasters (the long range climate guessers are something else entirely), the current (bitterly) cold spell that we are enduring will only end around the middle of this month.
On April 20th, two friends of mine are to be married, hopefully in the warm outdoors, and I hope to be taking photos of it, in the warm outdoors. They hope, as do I, that the cold will soon abate. Fingers crossed. The weather is getting sunnier now, but is still amazingly cold. Coldest March Britain has had for over half a century, they are saying. It was several years ago now that they (i.e. the long range climate guessers) changed Global Warming to Climate Chaos. Wise move. Wiser would have been to shut the fuck up and let Western Civilisation (a) proceed without them fucking with it, and (b) deal with any climate dramas if and when.
Meanwhile, the cold has kept me from roaming London taking snaps during the last week or two. Instead I roam through my recent archives, looking for interesting snaps taken on warmer days.
Here are some more:
This time there are more of those commonplace things that look better in good photos, as I hope you think these somewhat are, than they do when you actually see them. That’s if you even do see them, as in notice them.
Besides which, a double decker bus advert may be pretty obvious stuff to a fellow Londoner. But what if you are one of those lost souls who lives outside London? Or worse, who has never even been to London? Or perhaps never even set eyes on a double decker bus? A double decker bus advert must seem, to such a person, almost unbearably exotic and glamorous.
Note, in the first picture, top left, reflections of these buildings.