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: How the mind works

Monday November 24 2014

A common complaint about modern architecture is that it is “faceless”.  Tending not to feature single separate windows, but rather showing a bland expanse of featureless outsideness to the world, modernistical buildings do not allow the viewing human to see what the viewing human always wants to see, faces, turning the windows into eyes, doors into mouths, and so forth.

But there is no problem with seeing faces in this building, in Rome, because someone has painted twenty seven faces on it, with the windows being – what else? - eyes:

The pieces utilizes nearly 50 windows to create the mouths and eyes of some 27 bizarre faces all vying for attention.

image

Although, I see that two of the windows there are mouths.

It all looks a bit graffitiish to me, although as this lady says, this is “artful, thoughtful graffiti”. (In other words the kind of thing that favourite-blogger-of-mine Mick Hartley likes to photo.) And I think it’s a bit of a shame to do this to an old building, rather than to a new one.  But if the alternative is for this old building to just continue crumbling, then this is surely better.  I’m sure it is already a tourist attraction.  It would definitely attract me.

But, I look forward to the day when buildings like this one get decked out with lots of different colours (that being another Mick Hartley photo).

Wednesday November 19 2014

From time to time I like to stick bits from books up here, usually quite short, but sometimes quite long.

With the short bits, there is no legal or moral problem.  Fair use, etc.  But with the longer bits, there might be a problem.  Here’s how I operate.  I put up whatever bit it is that I think deserves to be made much of, on the clear understanding that it might disappear at any moment.  Because, if anyone associated with the book I have got my chosen bit from complains and says please remove it, I will do so, immediately.

Many might think that such persons would be being rather silly.  I mean, what better way could there be to reach potential readers of the entire book in question than for readers of a blog, and a blog written by someone who already likes the book, to get to read a relatively small chunk of it?  Win-win, surely.  Because of course, I only put up big chunks of writing if I approve of what the chunks say.

But what if a publisher is trying to insist on the principle, that copyright damn well means what it says?  Such a publisher might want to proclaim, and to be seen to proclaim, a no-tolerance attitude to the copying of bigger than small bits of any its books.  Even if that particular book might be assisted by this particular recycled chunk being here, the larger principle might feel far more significant to the publisher.  That principle being: If we allow this, where will it then stop?

And I get that.  As I say, if any publisher or author did complain, for these kinds of reasons or for any other, then I would get it, and the bit from the book in question would at once vanish from this blog.  So far, I’ve had no such complaints.  Which could just be because they reckon this blog to be too insignificant to be worth risking a fight with.  They wouldn’t have a fight, but they might have a rule about letting sleeping puppies, like this one, lie.

Whatever.  All I am saying here is that if I put up a big bit of a book, and anyone connected to that big bit cries foul, then the big bit will immediately vanish from here, with no grumbling, or worse, self-righteous campaigning, attempts to mobilise other bloggers, etc. etc.

Think of all this as an example of Rule Utilitarianism.  And I am myself a Rule Utilitarian.  My libertarian beliefs are not the absurd claim that libertarianism is inscribed into the very physical fabric of the universe, an inherent fact of life itself, which we humans either recognise or fail to recognise, but which are there anyway.  Tell that to the spider I just squashed into the pavement on my way home to write this.  No, I like libertarianism because it works.  Libertarianism is a set of basically fairly simply rules which all we humans either choose to live by or choose not to live by.  If we choose to live by these rules, life is good, happy, comfortable and it gets better and better.  If we don’t live by such rules, life goes to shit and stays there.

And here comes the Rule Utilitarian bit.  Even if this particular bit of thieving, by the government or just by some bod like you or me, is very insignificant, and even if what the government or the bod like you or me wants to spend its or his or her ill-gotten gains on is wonderful, absolutely wonderful, my rule says: No.  Not allowed.  Don’t get into complicated discussions about just how little thieving is too little to be bothering about, or just how noble a noble project has to be for it to be noble enough to be financed by a spot of thieving, because that way lies the slippery slope we are now on, where the government gobbles up at least half of everything, to very little benefit for anyone other than itself.  Stick to the rule.  No thieving, no matter how petty its scale or how noble its supposed object.

So, I get Rule Utilitarianism.  And if any publisher decides to inflict his Rule Utilitarianism, in the manner described above, upon me, I would get that, and act accordingly.

What got me wanting to spell all this out is that I have recently been reading Dominic Frisby’s excellent Bitcoin book, and I find myself wanting to put bits of it up here, quite longish bits.  And in general, having just followed the link at the top of this and read some of them, I feel that postings of this sort are among the better things that I do here, and I want to do more of them.  But, to all of the bits from books that will follow, I want to attach the above mentioned caveat about how the verbiage that follows may vanish without warning, and a link to this posting is the way to summarise what is going on in my head without me banging on for however many paragraphs there are here.

Monday November 17 2014

This morning I did a rather negative would-be posting about some Art, Art which had at first rather appealed to me but which, upon further consideration, I decided I did not much like or admire.

But then I realised that my rule for stuff that other people are doing with their own time and money and others are buying and enjoying with their own money and time is for me just to walk away.  Why moan?  The world is full of stuff I don’t much care for.  So long as I don’t get taxed to pay for it, or made to pay attention to it against my will, what on earth is the point of me seeking it out and bitching about it?

For me, this is one of the great benefits that has been brought about by the internet.  In the age of the mass media, you had this whole tribe of professional hacks who, day after day, week after week, were made to pay attention to things which quite often they would rather not have been paying attention to.  Inevitably, an air of irritation, even hatred, entered the souls and writings of these people.  The subtext, and often the text, was: I wouldn’t have picked this in the first place.  Only the Culture vultures who really were allowed to pick whatever cultural prey they were inclined to descend upon were able to communicate genuine pleasure, because they were the only Culture vultures who truly felt pleasure.  The rest of Culture writing was a mixture of grudging reportage and grumbling, with the occasional cheer when some hack found himself not clock watching, not trying to think of what the hell nice things he could say about something he considered nasty, or worse, just … shrug.

But now a tidal wave of amateurs has crashed into the culture-writing game and it has become, well, a game.  It has become fun. We bloggers and twitterers pick on stuff we like, and say: hey, this is cool, this is fun, this is good, this is something I really enjoyed immersing myself in.  Maybe you’ll like it too.  Commenters and other twitterers then say things like: well, I prefer this, or this, or that or that.  If, on the other hand, you said you didn’t like something or other, the response from other www-chatterers is, not unnaturally, just to say: well then why the rude word do you waste your time moaning about it?  Walk away.  If what you are moaning about is some Big Thing, heavily promoted, made much of, that everyone else seems to be paying attention to, fair enough, you are warning the rest of us off it.  But if it is just some little thing you found on the internet and you don’t like it, so rude-word-ing what?

For as long as there was just the one big Culture, that the media people agreed or had to agree was It, then all who wanted to be Cultural had to pay attention to that Culture, whether they liked It or not.  It was their duty, just as it was the duty of professional Culture-writers to write about It, to pay attention to It.  There was an air of joylessness and obligation about It all, like a queue in a passport office.

Favourite-blogger-of-mine Mick Hartley has written from time to time about the way that Art is now turning into fairground entertainment, often implying that this is a bad thing.  I also notice this when I visit London’s South Bank Arts enclave, which now has a much more “visitor attraction” feel to it than it used to have.  Hartley does do quite a lot of moaning, but mostly the Cultural stuff he does now is drawing attention to something he likes, thinks deserves to be more noticed, more enjoyed, more celebrated.  His posting today is a perfect example of this.  It’s not Art, it’s street art.  Street art is fun, it appeals to people, and it is also where a lot of the official Art action is now, because the Artists know that these street people are upstaging them.

Political money is now tighter than it was a decade and more ago, and if the Arts fraternity want yet more money, they must try appealing to their audiences rather than baffling them or insulting them.  They must now try to give pleasure, the way they tended not to in the twentieth century.

But there is more than economics going on here.  After all, there is still a hell of a lot of Official Money being competed for.  There is still a great big Culture out there, still being paid for, if not enjoyed.  No, the other difference is that there is also that damned internet out there, where regular punters get to say what they really think about it all.  If they are being got at by Culture, they can now get back at it, by saying: bollocks, and: I prefer this, or this, or that or that.  It’s a different world.

And you’ll never know what it was I just moaning about.  I will instead look for other things, that I actually like.

The sort of place I will be looking will be at places like Colossal, which, by the way, is where I found the thing that I liked at first but then didn’t like, that got me started on all this.  I don’t like everything at Colossal by any means.  But I like a lot of it.

Or, maybe this is really a posting that is not really about Art as such, more about getting old, as so many postings here are.  As you get old, you stop worrying about what Art is, if you are one of those people who ever did worry.  You just stop paying attention to Art, as in: Where Art Is Going.  It will go where it goes, and you go where you want to go.  It’s not the world getting happier.  It’s not Art getting more fun.  It’s just you.  It’s just me.

Ah blogging.  You can change your mind in mid posting, or even right at the end if you feel inclined.  What’s that you say?  You disapprove.  I must make up my mind.  Must I?  I tell you what, you go away and read something else, something you’d prefer.  This was just a bit of fun, and for you it wasn’t.  Forget about it.

Sunday November 16 2014

Something a lot of people don’t get about rather small and incremental improvements is that even if they don’t mean anything to you (by which I mean to them) they can definitely mean something to someone, and potentially a great deal, and to quite a lot of someones.  My understanding of economics is that this is one of the most basic ideas embodied in it.  (The notion even has its own intellectual revolution: the Marginal Revolution.)

A price increase of around fifty pence for something costing, say, thirty quid may not seem much, and it may not change your behaviour.  But for some people this will be the proverbial straw that changes a light bulb to parsnips, the difference that makes all the difference.

Consider these slightly new, slightly snazzier trains, that have been announced by Eurostar, to replace their existing trains, next year.  Their front ends, so we are now being told, will look like this:

image

The Evening Standard (where I found all these pictures) tells us that these new trains will slash the journey time from London to Paris, but it neglects to reveal by how much.  Google google.  Here we go.  The Daily Mail supplies the answer to this obvious question.  It turns out that the journey time from London to Paris will be “slashed” (their word too) by … fifteen minutes.

But this posting is not (see above) a rant about how little difference this will make to most people.  It is a rant about how much difference it will make to some people.  For some people this fifteen minute reduction will make the difference between being able to go to Paris in the morning, get the job done, and then return to London that same day in time to read a story to a daughter.  Or … not.  Connections just missed will turn into connections just made, and fifteen minutes (doubled for the two journeys) will stretch out into something more like two hours.

Not for most people.  Just for some people.  And when you consider how many people might or might not choose to use Eurostar, depending on considerations like the above, that “some” people turns out to be really quite a lot of people.

In short, fifteen minutes does make a difference.

Or consider another small improvement that these new trains will involve, this time an improvement measured not in minutes but in inches.

Here is how the new trains will look on the inside:

image

Now that may not seem very interesting.  But it interests me greatly.  It’s been a while since I travelled on Eurostar, but my abiding memory is of how small and cramped and dreary the interior of the carriage was.  For such a supposedly twenty first century experience, the whole thing had a very twentieth century feel to it, in a bad way.  The above picture immediately makes me think that these new trains will be a significantly more spacious and less soul-destroying experience than the old ones, the old ones that I will still be partaking of when I journey to France and back, just after Christmas.

Judging by this photo ...:

image

… it would appear that they have done to the design of the Eurostar what they have also been doing to some of the trains in the London Underground.  These new London tube trains now bulge outwards, over the platforms.  Not by much, but by just a bit, just enough to make a real difference to the inside.

A few days ago, I overheard a conversation between some out-of-towners who were enthusing about the new and wider tube trains that were recently introduced on London’s Circle Line.  They were rhapsodising.  It was like listening to the scripted pseudo-public babbling away on a TV advert, so delighted were these truly regular members of the public about the new train that they and I were travelling on.  And I agree with them.  Whenever a train that I am awaiting emerges from its tunnel and reveals itself to be one of these new and slightly wider trains, my spirits are lifted.

And that was just inside a tube train.  When it comes to Eurostar, we are talking about two hours.  Two hours stuck in a dreary little tube, or in a rather less dreary, rather less constricted sort of tube.  That is quite a difference.  I can easily imagine, when some future decision about a cross-Channel journey presents itself to me, that these extra few inches ("cramped" is all about inches) could be the difference that will be all the difference, to me.  At the very least, I will try to give the new carriages at least one try, when they do finally appear.

Saturday November 15 2014

Classic photo of photoers (which I found here):

image

It’s the new see through walkway at the top of Tower Bridge.  All the reportage concentrates on what you can see looking down through it.  But when I visit, I am going to check out what you can see photoing through it from below.  Which will have the added benefit of being far cheaper.

Zoom lenses are rather good these days.

And guess what, I actually want other people to have the same idea, so I can photo them photoing upwards also.

Wednesday November 12 2014

I like this kind of thing, this particular thing being the back entrance to a hotel in the vicinity of one of my local tube stations, St James’s Park, photoed by me earlier this evening:

image

Looking at the photos that others like to take - even characters in tv adverts for goodness sakes - I don’t think I’m the only one who likes such things as this.  We are talking totally conventional aesthetics here.  The cutting edge of aesthetics, as practised by people half my age who do aesthetics for a living or who try to, has presumably gone to other places entirely.

(Part of) what I like about this is that this composition was not actually composed.  It looks so artful, but it absolutely is not.  It is all rectangles because that is the most convenient shape for the back entrance of a hotel to be, not because its designer had been immersing himself in the work of Piet Mondrian.  And the piper are where they are, not because the pipist who did them is a sculptor manqué, but because that is where they need to be, to do what they do.

(The earlier versions of “piper” in the previous paragraph were, first: pipemonger; and then: pipist.  There already is a word for a person who pipes, but I didn’t want to waste those earlier efforts.)

One of the problems of big arrays of Poppies is that, like at funerals, you feel a certain pressure to adopt the proper tone of solemnity, like you being solemn is going to stop the First World War having happened, or something.  No, really, I do get it.  It’s very sad, what with all those soldiers having died, and what with lots of the people present perhaps remembering particular departed loved ones.  You probably shouldn’t be enjoying yourself too obviously.

And in particular, you probably shouldn’t be doing this.  But, you do it anyway:

image image
image image

But maybe that is just me, being a bit grumpy, and using my grumpiness as an excuse to violate the privacy of strangers who really weren’t doing anything very wrong.  Nobody else seemed to have any problem with these selfie takers.  The feeling seemed to be: This Thing means, to you, whatever you decide it means to you.  If what it means to you is a chance for you to take a smiling selfie with lots of bright red in the background, well, okay.  And I think I agree.

I certainly had fun photoing these people.

Tuesday November 11 2014

Doing photography makes me happy, both as something for me to do and as something for me to photo others doing.  Before digital photography, I had the usual dislike felt by people of my nationality and with my approximate level of upbringing and education for crowds of tourists, barging their way around my city, bumping into me and making me feel insignificant, like they owned the place which of course they sort of did and sort of do.  The Masses were bad enough as a mere idea, but actually seeing them, Massed, made it even worse.

Tourism, I used to tell myself, unthinkingly, is not “real”.  But tourism is every bit as real as an Amazonian rainforest, just as affluent suburbs are as real as inner city sink estates.  And ever since I discovered the joy of photoing these crowds of tourists, tourists taking photos, photos of my city and of each other, and of themselves, I have deliberately mingled with these crowds, which basically means that I have become a tourist myself, in London, the city where I live.  A state of silly and unthinking grumpiness has been replaced by a far more thoughtful and philosophically elevated state of happiness and smugness.  Happiness and smugness are also just as real as misery, and my happiness and smugness is all the happier and smugger because provoked by the exact same things as I had formerly been making myself miserable about.

Crowds like those pictured below, in other words, are just as real as the events that all those red Poppies that everyone has come to see hark back to.  One of the many remarkable things about these Poppies is the huge - truly enormous – scale not just of the Poppies themselves, but of the crowds of people who have journeyed to the Tower of London to look at them.  Here are a couple of my better Poppies crowd shots:

image image

My single most unforgettable Poppies Crowds Moment did not happen to me when I was actually there being a part of one of these crowds, but in a tube station in some other nearby part of central London, the weekend before last.  I was on an escalator, and an intercom voice started saying that if I intended visiting the Tower of London to see The Poppies (I didn’t – not that day), then I should definitely consider using another tube station besides Tower tube station, because Tower tube station was jam packed or words to that effect.  I should go instead, said the voice, to another nearby tube station (the voice offered several suggested alternatives) and walk from there, from only a little bit further away.  That’s how big the crowds have been.  And instead of snarling with silly rage at that announcement, I instead said to myself: I must remember to put that on my blog.  Which has been another source of great happiness to me, and would have been even if I had not got stuck into photography.

The Poppies (2): The crowds
Photographed flatness that doesn’t look flat
The Poppies (1): What they look like
Early tries by my guys
A cat book and a feline front page
Loadshedding?
Why I am a point-and-shoot photographer rather than a Real Photographer
Pavarotti could not read music (very well)
The uniqueness of our microbiome
MDL and DPD delivered what they promised but were wrong about me having to be there to sign for it
The death of email?
MicheldeMontaigne.fr
Only with a computer
Halloween buckets
How Bill Bryson on white and black paint helps to explain the Modern Movement in Architecture
An old story about colour perception
BMdotcom quote of the day from 6k about crazy kids
Is it practise or practice?  (And: would perfect communication actually be perfect?)
Another facade being carefully preserved
Blog down
Breaking my Samizdata silence
Sign with sarcastic sneer quotes
On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
On the unappealingness of classical music on the internet
A speculation about why Great Conductors carry on for so long
It turns out that lightning speed is immensely useful
Out and about in the sunshine
On not letting either God or (the other) God do everything
Postrel goes for Gray
Bond car
Out from under the weather
Smaller Old Thing in front of Big New Things
A Sunday ramble
Palestra
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
Football comment
ASI Boat Trip 5: Individuals
Why you are wrong
OpenOffice Writer default resetting nightmares
The colour of sound - I now get this because I just experienced it!
Robyn Vinter is wrong about Google Glass
What to call the sneerquote Salesforce /sneerquote tower? (plus a quite profound tangent)
Why aren’t people happier about amazing new stuff?
Hartley waterlily
Will England get lucky?
A Real Photographer does a shadow selfie
Chinos?
How much does it cost to power up a mobile phone?
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom quota quote of the day
Me and the first cranes at London Gateway last September
Shell Building looking good (and why it’s okay to say you like a picture that you yourself took)
Bag Man
Pictures of soon-to-be-built London Big Things
Happiness is a wallet that I didn’t lose after all
Premier League soccer news
A global temperature graph that seems to fit the recent facts
Sorry for the outage last night
Two bits of hospitality trivia
Finally working out what I liked about those Gormley Men
Green screen blue screen
Amusing cats versus important people
Another strange artificial landscape
England ahead of the game in Rome - but in the end not by enough
Remembering another Christian name (and flagging up another talk)
JK Rowling describes two rich girls
Christopher Seaman on conducting
Under Blackfriars Bridge
Blue wind
Me trying to tell Norman Foster and Richard Rogers apart
Colour photography
Zooming in on that approaching bus
When you are old you tend to assume that confusion is your fault even if actually it is not
When Open Symbol attacks!
Megan McArdle on success and failure
One new thing (an IPS screen) makes me want another new thing (also an IPS screen)
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
6k quota photo of sea
Will Kevin Pietersen now play lots of cricket for Surrey?
My 110 percent problem
England crush Australia and keep the Ashes
Big Thing news from New York and London - and a picture of climate alarmism losing
The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night
Making sense of digital photography
Digital photography as telepathy
Aiden Gregg meeting photos
Upside down photo
Happiness is still Gold Blend at only £3 instead of £4.50
Quota crane and quota plane
Nowadays a picture is no longer worth a thousand words
I’m not the only one who suffers from rightward lean
David Byrne on the constraints of artistic form
Ashes to ashes
Victor!
A quota thought that (luckily for me) went nowhere
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
On the insecurity of ObamaCare - and on the unwisdom of only punishing big and later
Crows nest made of coat hangers
A blog as a semi-dustbin
A photo of a photograph
Pain in the midriff
Heroes?
Simon Gibbs last night at the Rose and Crown
Rob Fisher on old things not looking old
Wedding photography - old and new
Alex on Quentin
Jamie Whyte on deferring gratification less as he gets older
Otherwise blogging (and a Burgess Park butterfly)
Cranes seen through Cardinal Place
Smaller is more legible – big is more fun
Twisted picture from Burgess Park (untwisted with Photoshop Elements)
Anton Howes at the Rose and Crown
Chain link fence reflected in a puddle
The next four Brian’s Last Fridays (including December 27)
Quotes from there
Stuart Broad has a kitten heel
Two favourite photos from September 5th
A free man
Morgan – Abbey reflected in Morgan – Abbey reflected in other cars
Bad and good in bad weather
Getting started a bit earlier
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
Chess set made of London’s Big Things
Australian selection inconsistency and getting the causal link the wrong way round
You can achieve everything you want if you’re unambitious enough
Strange artificial landscape
Perry Metzger on taking seriously the declared objectives of opponents
The Alex Singleton blog
Blank-faced tower – crazy hairdo
The Johnathan Pearce Samizdata gap
Should Broad have walked?
The right sentences but not necessarily in the right order
Samir Chopra on how match fixing turns cricket into not cricket
Phablet news
Cats without tails are not scary
Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
So painters also used to “take” pictures
Shadow photography
The ups and downs of English
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Crossrail grubbings
Art without Artists
The Qur’an is not science – science cannot be ignored
Cheap hippos are hard to find
Reflections on and in Westminster Tube Station
Bad times for the NHS
Domestic cats are destroying the planet
Is Samizdata in danger of becoming a photo-blog?
A (slightly delayed) Happy New Year
An earlier tablet photographer
Michael Jennings on why iPad photoing is not ridiculous
Steven Pinker’s description of The Enlightenment
American election talk
“No one has to know!”
Click to see the big picture
James Hamilton on self help and class
Malta Day procession
Meow
Doctor Theatre - here very briefly but now there
“I just came across this fascinating photo …”
Cricket ranking
Surrey might not be relegated after all
Untrue colours from Windows Photo Viewer
Black Katz
Hyde Park squirrel
It got my attention
Literally the light switch of leadership
There’s a Communist in the White House
Is Samizdata dying?
Shard even nearer to completion
Fate
Lighter blogging here but not none
Jarrod Kimber on biased cricket commentators
Go Gary Johnson!
Knowing it but not knowing it
A review of Detlev Schlichter’s new book (multiplied by 4)
The final Steve Jobs Thing will be a brand new custom-built Apple headquarters
Big Things and small things
Notes to self but not to you
Thrashing India
A board to stick Post-it notes on reminding me of all the things I hope to blog about
Less (here) is more (at Samizdata)
How can I change the double inverted commas in openoffice.org writer from curved to straight-up?
How England have dropped catches yet still won matches
My personal Fixed Quantity of Blogging unfallacy
No fruit juice
Brainwave-controlled cat ears for humans created by Japanese Neurowear
When size matters
Meaning in sport
The Armstrong Gun
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom narcissistic self-quote of the day
The fluctuating fortunes of Praveen Kumar and the devastating impact of Lasith Malinga
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Quota choke?
Ireland beating England in Dublin
Subconscious cricket
Sportsmanship by us – bullying by them
Crushed cricket minnows - missable soccer goals - Ashton’s swallow diving
Wot inflationz?
From a strange airplane propeller to the strange strings of a double bass
Underestimating Paul Marks
A Spanish geography lesson
The free market encourages curiosity
Rain on a car
BM.com quote of the day
Cool sculpture
On pictures that don’t get any bigger when clicked and on the power of the tangential
Richard Dawkins on university debating games
Boxing Day morning at the MCG
The new mainframe
The Ashes: chickens and now a swallow
The Humpty Dumpty Learning Channel
How quickly the mood can change!
More blood to Australia
Cats only seem smart and dogs only seem dumb
Digger and chain
The Brusio spiral viaduct also looks like a toy train layout
Another ephemeron for David Thompson?
Talk at Christian Michel’s
The joy of error correction
Those cameras are getting cheaper
Why does a coffee lover not want coffee when he’s ill?
Paulina Porizkova gets older
James Waterton on a very smart very dumb Russian
Twenty ten twenty ten
Greenies make a video saying: “We’re a bunch of vile greenie-nazis!”
Real life toy trains
Toby Baxendale on what went wrong and what to do about it
A picture I want to remember
Anti-aircraft guns may not have killed many enemy airplanes but they did point them out
“An alternative definition of intelligence …”
The names people choose for their children are strange
Obama raises the price of tanning
Farnborough (3): On the photographic appeal of the Red Arrows
Snappy quote from Victor Davis Hanson that may or may not actually be true
Exploitation?
Peaceful time in war zone
On cricket and death
Choosing the best pictures by waiting a few days
Big box computers versus laptops
If they don’t want to be British Petroleum anymore they should stop calling themselves BP
Making those Big Statements one slice at a time
Making the effort
I love television
Muggins
Incoming from Molly Norris!
Molly Norris was just kidding!
Everybody draw Mohammed on May 20th!
Why my libertarianism has the look and feel of socialism
“Is this a case of us operant-conditioning them or them operant-conditioning us?”
You know where you are with a book - usually
Muralitharan and Hayden carry on doing badly
Green cat email mystery solved
Getting well soon
Watching IPL cricket beats watching England play rugby
One of the many signs of aging
Two bridges in Portugal
Why do pregnant women now do quite a lot of driving of their husbands?
The right to photograph
My sleep and luggage and bus and fluid travel hell
Andrew Hughes on making heroes of cricketers
Hasselblad hit by custom-built headquarters disease!
Yet more ramblings about Guesswhatgate
The angst of team blogging about stories like the CRU hack
Samizdata and Zimbabwe both on the up and up?
Frank McLynn: “Counterfactual history is the essence of history …”
Climbing aboard Samizdata
Graeme Swann - twitterer but no twit
Twitterings
Rude Ian Morbin should have a blog
Why I vote against AGW
Quotes dump
All your Quite Interesting questions answered
A muddle of wires
It’s now something at least once every two days
Llyr Williams and Llyr Williams play Bach
Green eyed monster devouring cat food
Ingrid Fliter has a problem with the piano
Busy day and busy night
Our shortening atten … ooh look!
Small photos that look like something else
Thinking thin at the top
Anti-politics versus (or just and) the heroic delusion
“. . . and the air froze . . .”
The Fixed Quantity of Advertising fallacy and the menace of targetted advertising
Redesigned Bishop
Unamazing photo of amazing road
MBA - necessary but insufficient
Reading Kasparov
The Rand revival - and some thoughts about Rand’s failure to understand architectural tradition
Brian Micklethwait’s Education Blog is now on indefinite hold
Truth is true
Dream magic that spoilt the magic
Rock faces
Rubbish
Nothing from me here today but something on Samizdata about cannabis
Advice to daily bloggers
Link to Samizdata piece about arguments from incredulity
The shadow of Shipman – and forgetting things
Star Wars mosque and rockets mosque
Cricketers don’t have to get along – they just have to turn up and play
Generational taste in furniture
Making the new look and feel like the old
On not seeing Schoenberg’s Variations for Orchestra
Do not read this if you prefer all epigrams about getting well to be tasteful
“… the idea is to remain ignorant of how dumb you look …”
Jesus above the keyboard instead of beyond it
The Official Story and the Most Confident Alternative
Thoughts concerning FDR’s warmongering nature
Watching Karajan
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
Wires
Another resizing test
Billion Monkey hits 40
Ruminating about politics and ideology
I need to get out less
“This is fun!”
The uses of Jesus
SDHC
Brought?
Not the same thing
Wonderwoman picked by Unsuperman
Profundity and silliness
Obama still won’t do nasty
Chivalry and the mad feminists
Mini-lit
Rock and roll will die very soon!
Will Wilkinson
North Carolina Billion Monkeys mad for Obama!
Keith Windschuttle on history - truth - Robert Hughes
On classical music voice addiction
Why I prefer to live in a failing neighbourhood
On the nature of the evolution argument
I’m not nearly grand enough to ignore this
Clarkson on Sarah Jessica Parker
Linkable Lefever
The Fat Man is not alone
Party pieces
Crackers
Pietersen not humbled
A poetic Hornby
Armed is less dangerous
The new Lowe look
I predict that Germany will win
Cisco – fuck off and die
Photos are better
Art is always a value judgement
Avoiding barbarism in the street
Bowled Harmison bowled Harmison
Is my brain failing, or not?
An impulse posting about procrastination
Ting Tings on Ross
The absurdly derided excellence of British weather forecasts
This is why I put stuff up here every day
Eusociality
You must enjoy reading!
The personal and the political
Head Men need to be a bit wrong in the head
A deeper voice
Paul Marks told us so
You tend to listen more carefully when something might go badly wrong
The return of Friday cat-blogging
Sounding like a different country
Pillocks
Fourth innings heroics
Professor Wenger
Lucky I don’t take cricket seriously
Democracy for sale – starting with football and beer
Inventions which start as toys
Another don’t-get-it-right-get-it-written Samizdata posting
Another cat!
Probably not right - but definitely written
The romance of new technology – or the drudgery of it
November 15th 2007 resolution - good enough is good enough
The A380 bulge
The drive to see smiles (and they have to be real)
“How much better …?”
Someone is displaying mutilated cats in San Antonio
Understanding is the booby prize exclamation mark
The Emperor Jones
Breaking blog silence
Nine points better than last time!
At the dogs
Dave Gorman sees faces!
Voluntary World 3: Transport Blog illustrates the Muggins principle
Internet problems solved
How compulsion deranges the spreading of ideas
A double cricket surprise
The idea that mental illness does not exist
So that’s how you pronounce Csikszentmihalyi
Words of wisdom from Brian Micklerthwit
Darrin M. McMahon and me and George Orwell on the pursuit of happiness
Cats can be taught!
Shadow and light near Tower Bridge
Glenn Gould on the hereafter
Alan Turing – dead earth and cold wires
Not what it looks like
An improbable England win in the Six Nations
Real world
How Stephen Hough took a nap during a piano concerto (that he was playing)
Indexed - blogrolled
Normblogging
But what is so evil about Powerpoint?
Not everything means anything
Everyone in the world is not like me
On letting career decisions make themselves
Geek girl I like your thinkings - are nice - I want have sex with it
Thoughts on the Age of Google
Blogging is filing for those who can’t
One click
Armando Iannucci on going to classical concerts - and me on not bothering
Strange reflection
Doh!
On China Law Blog and on the reinforcing of prejudices
The thief of time
What The Tyranny of The Facts said
This and that at 9.07am
Same greys!  Same colour!