Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Category archive: Other creatures

Friday February 08 2019

When I was a kid, “Air Forces Memorial” meant this building which looks out over Runnymede, and which was only a walk away from where we lived.

But there are, of course, several RAF Memorials in London, and here is a photo I often try to take but seldom do very well with, of the eagle which perches on this memorial:

image

This eagle usually comes out blurry, with only the trees behind coming out well.  All that reflected light off the gold of the eagle seems to frazzle the brain of my camera.  But not on the Monday before last.

The above photo was taken from the other side of the river, with maximum zoom.  Swivel to the left a bit and you see this even more famous item, which is now, as already noted, smothered in scaffolding:

image

I especially like the pile of staircases on the left of the scaffolding.

Friday February 01 2019

This is definitely my favourite Other creatures story of recent months. Months because this was reported on before Christmas, and I’ve only just got around to mentioning it here.

Parrot used Amazon Alexa to order items while his owner was away:

So far Rocco the African Grey, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, U.K., has demanded treats such as strawberries, watermelon, raisins, broccoli and ice cream.

He has also ordered a kite, light bulbs and even a kettle.

Rocco likes to dance too and tells the voice-activated device to play favorite tunes. Sometimes they are slow numbers, but he generally prefers rock.

Where is voice recognition when you need it?

Alexa needs a setting, for junior members of a household, for whom she is allowed to play musical requests, but from whom she is not allowed to take purchase orders.

You’d think that with lots of kids in the world, many causing havoc, Alexa would be able to make the necessary distinctions.  But it sure is entertaining when she doesn’t.

Wednesday January 16 2019

With thanks to Patrick Crozier‘s Twitter feed, this, posted by Steve Stewart-Williams.

He got it from Denny Borsboom, who says (at his Facebook page), this:

Different scientific models can have equivalent observational consequences. In statistics, this is known as statistical equivalence; in the philosophy of science, underdetermination of theory by data. This is often hard to explain and I know few good illustrations that go beyond Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit. This GIF is a really nice illustration - and beautiful too.

If I knew how to post a GIF here, I would.  But I couldn’t make that work.

For me, the the star with seven points is the most remarkable aspect of this.

Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit is presumably that creature that looks like both a duck and a rabbit, depending.

Friday January 11 2019

I was in the West End earlier this evening.  Not having done any blogging here today, and today being Friday, I kept my eyes open for something creaturely.

I spotted this, in the window of one of those very Old School shops, in Cecil Court:

image

Ah, cigarette cards.  Never had them here before.  And I don’t think poultry have been featured here before either.

Click to get them a bit bigger.

Monday January 07 2019

I basically picked last night’s quota photo for alliterative reasons.  QUota.  QUantum.  As we bloggers say: heh.  No long essay was required to present that little joke, if joke it even was.

In the course of my search late last night for a suitable QP, I came across other photos which seemed suitable for showing here, but which demanded little essays to explain what it was that made them suitable.  And I was too knackered for that, having spent yesterday working on this talk for Christian Michel’s 5/20 soiree, and then in the evening giving the talk.

In particular, late last night, I encountered in my photo-archives this remarkable (I think) photo, which I took in Regent’s Park in March of 2012, as it was getting dark, when on my way back from taking photos on and from Primrose Hill:

image

What I find remarkable about that photo is the contrast between how very red the reflection in the water of the lights on the BT Tower is, compared with how very un-red the actual lights themselves are, as photoed through the mere air.

You often get this with reflections.  In photos, I mean.  Your actual eyes make adjustments as they scan the scene.  What I would have seen, with my eyes, when photoing the above photo, is quite bright red lights on the tower, and a similarly bright reflection.

But my camera, on automatic, doesn’t think like this.  All my camera is concerned about is the overall balance.  It has to pick just one balance and apply it to everything.  And because a reflection is involved, it often ends up picking a balance where the actual view is very light and bright, but the reflection contains all the action.  I often do this-and-this-same-thing-relected photos with a glass window doing the reflecting.  And often what you get with that is a completely blank white sky, but then in the reflection you get all the distinctions between quite light and not so light, quite blue and not so blue, that you don’t get in the bit of the photo that is directly of the sky.

And that’s what surely happened with the above photo.  The redness got lost when we were just looking at the lights themselves.  But the water darkened and strengthened that same redness, and made it really red.

On the day, I was more interested in the birds swimming around on the water.  The next eight photos in that directory are of ducks and geese, and the final three are of a swan.  After that I called it a day, what daylight having ended.  I only really noticed this reflected redness thing last night.

Most Real Photographers have to have the skill of knowing at once when they’ve photoed a good photo, and why.  We unreal photoers can take our time.

Friday January 04 2019

Here.

Transport Blog is up again, but not being added to again.  I miss transport blogging.

More about the bloke whose Twitter feed I found this bit of video at here.

Or maybe that should be: How Twitter rots the brain.

Instapundit is a daily destination for me, and yesterday, there’s a posting about a piece at Quillette by Cathy Young about Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

So I read that, and am impressed.  Solzhenitsyn was a hero of mine when I was at school and university, and like Young, I was puzzled by his subsequent opposition to Western liberalism and fondness for Russian nationalism, along with all the nasty baggage that is liable to bring with it, like anti-Semitism.

At the bottom of the Cathy Young article is the suggestion that I should consider following Cathy Young at Twitter.  I do so.  I scroll down, and soon find myself smiling at otter jokes, all the otter jokes being based on the fact that “otter” is only one letter away from “other”.  Significant otters.  In otter news.  (Yes, Happy New Year again.)

And: Why did the otters cross the road?  To get to the otter side.

This didn’t take long at all.

Friday December 28 2018

Samizdata Supremo Perry de Havilland likes hippos.  A rather disconcerting thing that happens to you from time to time if you are a Samizdata contributor is that if you do a posting, but forget to add categories to it, the default category that gets added automatically is: Hippos.

So, anyway, yes, Perry likes hippos, so a friend of his gave him a hippo for Christmas.  It was presented to him at Chateau Samizdata on Christmas Eve, where I was also present.

I photoed it:

image

Trouble is, the hippo is all black, and my camera didn’t do very well.  (The above result reminded me of this Samizdata posting that I did last year, about a very black sort of black.)

I tried lots of photo-editing, but I’m not sure that this was really much of an improvement:

image

But yes, this really is also a bottle opener.  (I’m pretty sure it’s this one.) The friend who got it told me beforehand that it was a bottle opener also.  Would Perry really want it, if the bottle opener turned out not to work very well.  I said: if it’s a hippo, Perry will want it.

Hippo bottle opener
Forget those electric sheep
Dolphin on Jupiter
From ridiculous to sublime
Creature comforts
Statue with roof clutter
Chimney pots and blue sky
Regimental Remembrance
Lorry on roof
Total Surveillance photos
Albert Memorial photos
Eyes on its ears
Birds on a girder
Horses being useful to humans
Roz is now being quoted
A halo for a blind dog
The performing horses of Warwick Castle (2): After the show
How photo-collating reminded me of some (other) good modified cliché photos
The performing horses of Warwick Castle: Nice legs – shame about the faces
Rob Fisher on the meaning of Facebook
Confirmation that The Peak is a one-off rather than a two-off
I am the product - Canada goose isn’t a big bird any more
Photoing The Wheel from Tottenham Court Road
Lines of birds over Rye
The Great Pagoda of Kew Gardens – and its dragons
A noisy anteater
A concrete pump?
Driverless vehicles with faces and driverless vehicles to sleep on
Do they know it’s them?
Steven Pinker Galapagos photos of weird and wonderful creatures
Richtigen Moment Klick
Cats - Dogs - Hitler - and Surrey don’t win
Elephants in Sloane Square
Creature contrast in the City
How London and its many creatures are evolving and should evolve some more
Wardour Street dragon
Angel Bear outside the Gare du Nord
The men but not the luggage - and a round of golf
Trafalgar Square lions
I need a link dump
Fox in SW1
Heron out west
Robot dog apocalypse
A picture of a not missing cat and the link to the story
Hippo with lid
Cheetaroo
Not the usual end to the Six Nations
Quota taxi covered in quota red flamingos
The Devil’s Dice in Piccadilly
Wartime Encryption for Pigeons
Blurring the face of the Big Prawn
Barn owl in winter
My new FZ150
But they didn’t mean this thing to look like a penis
What kind of car is this?  Answer: A Charger and a Bee
Copycat (and copydog)
A Mickey Mouse posting
Quota creative misquote
Merry Christmas - Happy New Year - 50 percent off
Belated Christmas greetings
Pigs don’t pig out
I like Prince Albert’s backing
Merry Christmas … and …?
BMdotcom insult of the day from Bette Davis (or from Legend)
Googling for new planets
A big panda (with stars in its eyes) at Victoria Station
Monument dwarfed by Walkie-Talkie
Naughty old adverts in The Star
Cranes and horses
The face of a seagull
Stop your dog pulling on his leash – make your dog pull you
Quota hippo
Mick Hartley on Hadid’s new Antwerp Port House
Hippos
Jordan Peterson on why zebras look the way they do
IKEA launches first range of furniture for cats and dogs
Nobody owns the paintings in the Leake Street Tunnel
Horse spotted in Putney this afternoon
Eight
Surrey Docks Farm
While England were winning the World Cup I was photoing adolescent swans
Dogs in boots
This story will run and run
Art is strange
Huge lion carved out of a huge tree
Luxury
Battersea Park bird
Fish in Orchard Place
And in Other creatures news …
New River Walk
If Pugs could fly
Cruelty to a fake animal – kindness to a fake animal
Shopping Trolley Spiral beside the River Lea
Making blue by copying tarantulas
Up early – blogging early – elephant sculptures
Always?
Fantastic Beasts has an alcove in W.H. Smith all to itself
Alice Robb on how cats look like babies
Packaging that is too good
Creatures of outer London
A dogs and cats building
The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home light show
The internet is for telling me what’s on the telly
Batman consults his smartphone
Snake on a car
More birds on a TV aerial
Union Jacks having fun
Pigeons on a TV aerial
Pink van with roller-blading fox
Deliveroo V sign
Eltham horses (and a dog (I think))
A very good meeting - and a quota horse with quota cart
Street dogs
French animals from GodDaughter 2
Bird – and bird close up
A pig and two dogs