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

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Category archive: Links

Thursday August 24 2017

For quite a while now, I have had links open to two short stories that I wrote in the nineties.  These were my attempts at “Libertarian Fictions”.  I was prodded into reading them again by the experience of writing a summary of a Marc Sidwell talk, in favour of us creating more libertarian fictions.

I called my two stories Those Who Can Do, and The Lion’s Share.

These were, I now realise, very bad titles, especially in the age of the internet, then still in the future of course.  Google either of those titles, without my name, and those stories will be totally buried under a ton of other irrelevance, including, I dare say, quite a few other short stories with identical titles, chosen by other equally inexperienced short story writers.

In contrast, last night I went to a show written and acted by a friend of mine.  This was called Madam Bovary’s Communist After-Party.  Never mind if this was a good show.  It was and is, very, but that’s not my point here.  Nor is it relevant to the point of this posting that if you follow that link, you will get to an amazingly good photo of my friend, done by a young Real Photographer lady who is on the up-and-uo, which I may have sold quite a few extra tickets.  No, my point here is: that’s a very good title.  Google “Madam Bovary’s Communist After-Party”, with those exact words in that exact order, and all hits will be relevant.

So, my stories needed – and now need – to be called things more like The Public Goodness of a Struggling Writer, and How Starshine McKane Tried to Kill Everyone.

Thursday August 17 2017

World’s first autonomous cargo ship to set sail in 2018

This kind of echoes my guess, several years ago now, that robot lorries are a better immediate bet than robot cars, because lorries do lots of quantifiable work to which only slight improvements will make a big difference, and because motorways are highly controlled places.  Ships do lots of quantifiable work, and the sea is also, nowadays (after centuries of it being the ultimate arena of anarchy), a highly controlled place.

And maybe they could make such a ship out of:

Unsinkable aluminum foam

Then there’s this:

NASA’s Next Great X-Plane Will Try to Revolutionize Electric Flight

Although you just know, from that “try to”, that (although you never know (and I actually don’t know at all)) they won’t.  But, they’ll learn lots of little stuff.  Most tech seems to be the gradual accumulation of relatively small improvements, which, when they add them up, as they do from time to time, over time, add up to one of those revolutions.

Such as all the revolutions which are now happening or which are about to happen because: 

Oil and Gas Innovation Goes Well Beyond Fracking

This is an article which quotes gobs from another article which is behind a paywall, which is helpful and frustrating at the same time.  I have no problem with people charging for internet stuff, but there is not a lot of point in linking to it from a blog.

But the basic message is that the plunge in the price of energy that the Americans have recently contrived didn’t just happen because of the Big Thing that is fracking.  It also consisted, and continues to consist, of lots of smaller innovations, of the sort that those electric airplane guys will be finding out while failing to revolutionise electric airplanes, and then passing on to their fellow techies.

Quote:

There are three trends driving the new energy revolution: smarter management of complex systems, more sophisticated data analytics, and automation. The first trend has allowed companies to become much more efficient while drilling for oil and gas in ever more complex geological environments … Simpler, standardized designs make drilling and production platforms easier to replicate, less expensive, and less likely to suffer costly delays and over-runs in construction. […]

Oil companies … have begun to use complex algorithms to analyze massive amounts of data, making it easier for them to find oil and gas and to manage production … The industry has also begun to use data analytics for “predictive maintenance,” reducing unplanned downtime by analyzing historical data to predict equipment failures before they happen. […]

Soon, intelligent automated systems will enable remote drilling, controlled almost entirely by a handful of high-tech workers in onshore data rooms hundreds of miles away … In the future, automation, along with better data analytics, will make it easier to manage the variation in supplies that comes from using renewable sources such as wind and solar energy and more complex, decentralized grids. It can also make the grid more reliable.

That being from the stuff behind the paywall, quoted at the other end of the above link.

Several years ago now, I had a Last Friday talk saying pretty much exactly this.  This talk happened just after the price of energy had halved, but before most of the rest of the world had realised.

There are, as always, a lot or things wrong with the world just now.  But stagnant technology is not one of these things.

Tuesday August 15 2017

The idea of these O(ld) S(chool) B(logging) posts has been to rid my desktop of open windows, and I have been doing that.  But, perhaps because I have inevitably been opening more windows, my computer is still unpredictably pausing whenever it is asked to switch from one window to another.  So, my technology is letting me down.

But never mind, technology generally is leaping ahead, and here are a few links to stuff about 3D printing.

To start with, a link to an article about how 3D printing really is, now, finally, at last, going to find a use for itself, repetitively-but-with-variations, in the home.  Making toys.  But do kids these days go for Old School toys, that you keep in an Old School toy cupboard?  Surely all the action these days is on computer screens, screens that don’t, like my one at the moment, ever get stuck.  I say: 3D printers won’t make toys in the home, or not in any normal or sane homes.  There was only ever going to be one domestic toy associated with 3D printing, and that toy is the 3D printer itself.  That’s the toy.  For some crazy kid who is so fascinated by 3D printing that he wants to start doing it, and crucially, to start learning about it, now.  But, how much can you really learn about real 3D printing, by mucking about with a piece-of-crap “domestic” 3D printer?  Not a lot, I surmise.

The true impact of 3D printing is not turning out to be disruptive to Old School manufacturing.

The future of 3D Printing for the Supply Chain

3D printing is Quietly Thriving Without Mainstream Adoption

“Mainstream” adoption being people doing their own 3D printing at home.

Manufacturing continues to be done by Old School salaried boffins, working in well-funded projects for Old School manufacturing companies.  Each application is highly specialised, and has to be rigorously checked out to make sure that it works and is economical enough to roll out for real.  3D printing does not disrupt traditional supply chains and sales networks.  It makes use of these things and improves on them, additively, bit by bit, project by project, highly specialised printer by highly specialised printer.  It is additive manufacturing, in other words, in more ways than one.  It adds stuff together to make stuff, instead of sculpting stuff.  And it is itself adding to existing manufacturing arrangements.

All of which is pretty much what I said (or nearly said) in a Samizdata posting entitled 3D printing won’t be domesticated any time soon (but then again how it might), all of five years ago now.

Monday August 14 2017

I have not yet read and probably never will read James Damore’s internal memo that went external, about diversity policies within Google, the one that got him fired.  But just in case I do want to read it, here is the full text.

And here is a conversation between James Darmore and Jordan Peterson.  I haven’t watched all this either, but so far Peterson has been doing a lot of the talking.  But the fact that Damore doesn’t mouth off a lot actually reinforces the feeling that he’s a good guy, if somewhat naïve.

Samizdata has also had a lot of Google/Damore posts recently, here, here (lots of good stuff and links to good stuff in that one), here, here, and here.

Damore was naive, in particular, about what will get you fired.  Most people know that if you criticise your bosses and it gets out, they do not like it.  The better you do it and the more it gets out, the more they do not like it.  Damore did it pretty well and it got out a lot.

Normally, I’d say that Google wanting only employees with “googliness”, of whom Damore proved himself not to be one, would be reasonable.  But the trouble is, Google is in the business of making judgements about what opinions should and should not be allowed on the internet, encouraged, discouraged, and so on.  For that job, they need political diversity.  Unless, of course, they’ve decided to ignore the other half of America.

Which might make sense.  That other half of America is, in global terms, a rather unusual bunch of people.  As are the “other halfs” of all other countries.  The “cosmopolitans” of the world, insofar as they really are a single group, are the biggest and, crucially, the richest group of people in the world.  But what if actually, the two halves of America, and the two halves of everywhere else, each have more in common with one another than they do with all the other cosmopolitans?  Stay, as the saying goes, tuned.

My own hunch is that Google ignoring half of America will be bad for business.  I mean, even the cosmopolitan Americans will want, from time to time, to actually pay attention to the other half, to find out about how, for instance, the other half votes and might be persuaded to vote differently.  If Google’s googliness gradually stops helping them do that …?

DuckDuckGo.  I found that here, via here.

Sunday August 13 2017

Although: I promise nothing.

The Plan began in my head as an exercise in cleansing my desktop of open windows, of the sort that are causing my computer to run out of memory, and to go back to behaving like a bad tempered human assistant rather than a new school computer, which is what it is when not overburdened with open windows.  “I thought you wanted me to do X.  Now you want me to focus on Y.  Give me time to change focus.  Or better still, stop doing this.  Grumble grumble.” That is what my computer would be saying, if it was the sort that ever said things.

What I will be doing is plonking down links to things , and then maybe, or maybe not, explaining a single figure percentage of the reason why these links interest me.  I will not say everything I have in mind to say about the things linked to, or indeed anything very substantial, merely something, or nothing.  Then, I will close the windows devoted to these links, and the idea is that the links from here will serve as substitutes for the open windows.  They probably won’t.  When I compile lists, I immediately forget everything on them, and when I do blog postings I immediately move on to something quite different.  So perhaps there will be no August 2017 Old School Blogging (2): This Interesting Little Subject.  But maybe there will.

I have already created another Word(clone) file entitled “August 2017 Old School Blogging (2)”, and have put those very words at the top of it, so as of now, it all looks quite promising.

Friday June 09 2017

I don’t go to Quotulatiousness every day, but I went there yesterday, and what did I find?  I found that this Samizdata piece of mine from 2015, was quotulated again.  The piece was about war and sport.  The earlier quotulation was from the sport bit.  Now he quotulates the war bit, which is how the piece begins.

I also told you here about the earlier quotulation.  Grander people than me have others to bang their drum for them, but if I don’t bang my own drum, nobody will.

Thursday May 18 2017

Funny how you learn things.  I get an email from the Adam Smith Institute, and in it (I don’t quite know why but there it was) was a link to this Guardian piece about Britain’s canal network.

This piece contains many interesting nuggets.  This, for instance:

One of the peculiar and completely unforeseeable benefits of a national canal network is that it means the Canal & River Trust owns a national towpath network, creating an uninterrupted channel of land between the major cities of London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – the perfect place to bury a network of electric and fibre-optic cables, and to install mobile phone masts. Much of the cable could even be delivered by barge. In total, there are 400 miles (650km) of fibre-optic cable buried under the towpaths that the Canal & River Trust looks after – and the money earned from this helps pay for the upkeep of the waterways.

Well, I don’t know about that “totally unforeseeable”.  But nevertheless: nice.

There are more boats on Britain’s canals, apparently, than at the height of the industrial revolution.  Which doesn’t surprise me because I knew about the huge upsurge in the leisure use of British canals, having myself become a tiny part of this upsurge myself, on foot, with my camera.  And this has often caused me to wonder, have any new canals been recently dug, to facilitate the to-ing and fro-ing of us new canalians?

Yes.  This one:

… in 2002, the Millennium Ribble link in Preston became the first new canal to be opened in Britain in more than 100 years. It joins the once-isolated Lancaster canal to the national network, as had been planned 200 years before.

I could have found this out, presumably, if I had just googled “new canal” or some such thing, at any time during the last decade and a half.

I tried googling for a “new canal”, in the “UK” of course, but couldn’t find my way to this or any other new canal in the UK, which surprised me.  And which means that if I had simply asked my question of google, I might not have been able to answer it.  So, thank you Adam Smith Institute for the link.

Better fifteen years late with this story than never. The Millennium Ribble link itself was first planned two centuries ago.  So that was also a case of better late than never.

Sunday May 14 2017

So I got to work, rather late in the day, on a posting about lots of photographers whom I photoed in Barcelona twelve years ago, but it was taking too long, so I dashed off another piece about targetted advertising.  But then I realised that this piece could just as well go up at Samizdata, so that’s where I put it.  And since I am now about to go to bed, this, about that, is your lot for today.

See also an earlier SQotD I did, using a photo I took recently in the Burlington Arcade

Me elsewhere (on targetted advertising)
Scott Adams tries to outwit the shadow banners with kitten-tweets
Punched in the face by comedy
Softening the brutalities of brutalism with colour
Men on Gherkin
Something there
A piece about people who are F4BF 4 Samizdata
Nothing (apart from this) here today
Some more lighthouses for 6k
Snake on a car
Coastline politics at Samizdata
How Brexit has unified the Conservative Party
Two bits for Samizdata and a weird bridge in Poole
Ambtious plans for driverless flying cars
Memo to self about not letting blog postings get out of hand inside my head …
Snohetta does zig zag roofs for competitive cities
Why I am a point-and-shoot photographer rather than a Real Photographer
Something at Samizdata
The River Thames carpet
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
Art has its uses – but where did it have its uses this time – and what is it?
“In order to comply with Google’s regulations …”
A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
When you are old you tend to assume that confusion is your fault even if actually it is not
Happy Old Year
Sperm Bike
The Heron Tower restaurant
I’ve just been quotulated
You can achieve everything you want if you’re unambitious enough
Emmanuel Todd links
Better a year late than never
On how being linked to enables you to tell your story as you wish and why long titles are good
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom has been seen elsewhere!
Dream and reality in Mumbai
Beware the Men In Orange!
Lighter blogging here but not none
Freedom Tower and Gary Johnson at Samizdata
Big Things and small things
Less (here) is more (at Samizdata)
How to immobilise a cat
Natalie Solent at Biased BBC
A Good Old Day at Samizdata
Friday link dump
Ireland beating England in Dublin
On the rise of Bishop Hill
Emmanuel Todd quoted and Instalanched
Transport redirect
Yet more redirection
More redirection
Mmmmmm … Asian skyscrapers!
Another link enema
A blog posting linking to a science article
St Matthew reinterpreted
Links to this and that
Ten thoughts about the Pakistan cricket corruption story
Farnborough redirect
Natalie links back
Making those Big Statements one slice at a time
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
Climategate and a blurry and artificially lit roundabout
Four recent bits by me at Samizdata
A great Johnathan Pearce Britain-can-dump-the-EU blog posting - and the value of informative titles
Link to a list of peer-reviewed papers supporting skepticism of “man-made” global warming
Climbing aboard Samizdata
Antoine Clarke talks about Facebook and Twitter – Guido and … Ian Geldard?
Environmental
Two Samizdata pieces
Quota posting
UK libertarian bloggers 2.0
Spelling Micklethwait wrong and Googling for Brian Micklethwaite
Hail Guido
At Samizdata: cricket - crime - Kevin Dowd quote
James Tyler’s speech at Policy Exchange
A question about double inverted commas in OpenOffice.org Writer
Unamazing photo of amazing road
TARP stuff - and a trip to Sheffield
Billion Monkeys liked photoing the nastiest poster!
Link to Samizdata piece about arguments from incredulity
More random links
Nothing today but link to Samizdata
Random links
Samizdata piece about caring for Mum
New addition to blogroll
Blogging elsewhere and talks elsewhere
Redirect to a piece on Samizdata about a camera
Will Wilkinson
Strange weather
I’m not nearly grand enough to ignore this
Linkable Lefever
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
Me elsewhere
Educating Small Boy and Smart Boy
Posting with Jesus at the far end of the Kings Road
The space between the buildings
I listened to both of them at the same time!
Links to me elsewhere – and a photo of Marc-Henri Glendening
Che Guevara was a murderer and your T-Shirt is not cool
An education link
A squinting cat and a master ephemerist
Links and guns
Further pictorial shallowness
At the dogs
Splog is the new splig
Lots of links
The double thank-you moment
White Man’s Poison?
“What you like learning about is probably what you like to do”
Cricket blogging by me elsewhere
Tall chess men and tall buildings in the evening
It’s only a Billion Monkeys if you count mobile phones (and then it’s far more)
Svensmark – for and against
Norman interested – Harry has some wildness in his genealogy
New York Times links - owned genes
Dissenting Muslims
Everyone in the world is not like me
Two photos elsewhere
Links I like
When everything is copyable
Samizdata cranks it out
Greatest hits – good idea
Foreigners on film
Classical music Natalie
Namesake
Chinamen playing cricket
Banana phone
Another Natalie
Car wreck Natalie
How links have weakened the mainstream media
Reading and writing for the www are the same
What is a squarry?
Housekeeping
A little networking
Links