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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: Civil liberties

Wednesday December 17 2014

When it’s finished, it will look, according to the picture on the outside of the site (which is an outdoor hard copy of the first picture here), like this:

image

Here is what it and its surroundings will look like from above.  My home can be found in that picture, this Thing being only a short walk away from it.

But, as of now, in contrast to the above simulations, it looks like this, which I think I somewhat prefer (what with all that lovely scaffolding):

image

Hang on.  Is that a Christmas tree I see up there (in among all that lovely scaffolding)?  Yes it is:

image

After I started taking photos of this Thing Under Construction, together with its Christmas tree, one of the men doing the constructing made “stop doing that” gestures.  I was standing on a public pavement.  They were building a small skyscraper with a Christmas tree on the side of it.  Did they think they could keep this secret, and impose martial law for a quarter of a mile around all this?  I just laughed out loud and carried on, and of course they did nothing about it.

Can you spot why “Sculpture” is included in the category list below?

Thursday December 11 2014

In October, I posted this, provoked by seeing a drone in a London shop window.  I said stuff like this:

Something tells me that this gadget is going to generate some contentious news stories about nightmare neighbours, privacy violations, and who knows what other fights and furores.

What might the paps do with such toys?  And how soon before two of these things crash into each other?

I should also then have read and linked to this piece, published by Wired in February.  Oh well.  I’m linking to it now.

Quote:

Sooner or later there will inevitably be a case when the privacy of a celebrity is invaded, a drone crashes and kills someone, or a householder takes the law into their own hands and shoots a drone down.

Quite aside from privacy issues, what sort of noise do these things make?  That alone could be really annoying.  (Although that link is also very good as a discussion of privacy issues.  Noise is only the start of their discussion.)

My guess?  These things will catch on, but at first only for niche markets, like photoing sports events, or, in general, photoing inside large privately owned places where the owner can make his own rules and others then just have to take them or leave them.  Pop concerts.  If they’re not too noisy, they might be good for that.

This is always how new technology first arrives.  Ever since personal computers the assumption has tended to be that the latest gizmo will immediately go personal, so to speak.  (Consider 3D printing.) But actually, personal use is, at any rate to begin with, rather a problem.  At first, the new gizmo finds little niche markets.  Only later, if at all, do things get personal.

Which is why, I think, the first two sightings I have made of photo drones have each been in shop windows, the first in the window of Maplins in the Strand (see the link above), and the most recent, shown below, in the window of Maplins in Tottenham Court Road:

image

And a creepy Christmas to you.  I guess this is the gadget of choice of “Secret Santa”.

Which reminds me.  Now is the time I start taking photos of signs saying “Merry Christmas” to stick up here instead of sending out Christmas cards.  Will I find a weirder “Merry Christmas” than that?  Quite possibly not.

I am looking forward to photoing one of these things out in the wild.

Saturday November 01 2014

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I attended two talks, both at lunchtime, at and arranged by the Adam Smith Institute.  No event links because information about the first talk has already vanished from the ASI website, and information about the second hasn’t yet but presumably soon will.

On Wednesday, Russ Roberts talked about how to do libertarianism.  I agreed with pretty much everything he said, having long ago written very similar things, in particular in this.  Guy Herbert talked, on Thursday, about the Human Rights Act 1998.  He is, with qualifications and hesitations, for it.  He told me afterwards that the text of his talk will be available on line very soon, so I’ll try to add a link later to this posting, at the bottom.  If I fail, perhaps a commenter could remind me.  (LATER: Actually, I’ll add the link to the text (as Samizdata) here.)

At the talk given by Russ Roberts I forgot to take any pictures.  But at the talk given by Guy Herbert yesterday, I remembered.  This was the right way round to remember and forget.  There are many fine pictures of Russ Roberts on line, far fewer of Guy Herbert.

Here is one of the better ones I took of Guy:

image

And here, on the left, is another one that I liked:

image image

On the right there is the explanation of the picture on the left.  I took it through the gap at the top of the empty chair in front of me.  No, I do not know who David Penfold is.  I’m guessing he is the David Penfold mentioned as something to do with this.

The audience for the Russ Roberts talk was packed into the small room it was given in.  The Guy Herbert talk, in the same room, was less well attended, hence that empty chair in front of me.  But that’s because its subject matter was less of an ASI core concern.  It was about things outside the free market comfort zone.  Which is good.  That sends out a signal.  We don’t only operate inside our comfort zone.  There is a bigger, wider world out there.  We think about that also.

Friday January 31 2014

I have my favourite bloggers.  Mick Hartley, 6k and David Thompson being my most regular visitees.  Two of these three (see those two links) often put up clips of their favourite bits of music, which I pretty much always ignore.  Often, when confronted by other people’s favourite musical snippets, I already have music playing, on my separate music box which is nothing to do with my computer and which therefore works when I most need it, which is when my computer is not working.

I tend not to do stick up bits of my favourite sort of music, which is classical.  Partly I’m lazy and am not very clever about putting up Youtube clips here.  But I could put up lots of links (one follows below) to classical stuff.  But, I tend not to.  There are enough reasons for people to strike this blog off their weekly-read list or whatever, without me putting them off even more with bits of classical music.

Now, first off, I have no problem with bloggers posting whatever they like.  Their gaff their rules.  I put whatever I like (as in like to put) here, and they can put whatever they like to put at their places.  But, am I the only one who almost always ignores music at other people’s blogs?  Most of us like lots of random bits of pop music, old and new.  In my case, there’s also a ton of classical classics I like a lot, and others also have their favourite genres that they know all about, adore some of and like a huge proportion of. 

I mention this because, entirely for my own selfish reasons, I particularly want to be able to remind myself of this clip of someone called Yulianna Avdeeva playing Chopin, particularly well to my ear.  And maybe that’s it.  Bloggers use their blogs as personal filing cabinets, just as I do.  They put up bits of music because they want always to be able to get hold of that bit quickly, and now they know they can.  The readers can just wait for the next posting, and pick up where they left off.  (That link, by the way, is to a bit of classical music at a blog that specialises in classical music.  Quite often I do play the clips she features, because her kind of music is my kind of music.  What I’m on about here is musical clips at blogs which are mostly about non-musical things.)

I think another point being made with these bits of music is the point I make with my occasional Friday cat blogging, which is that a lot of the appeal of blogging in particular and life in general is pure enjoyment.  And music, perhaps more than any other art, and especially when no words are involved or in the case of the more upbeat and silly pop tracks, is all about pure enjoyment.

By the way, when I started writing this, I thought that David Thompson also featured occasional pop snippets.  So I went looking for his latest pop snippet, but found that actually he does not do this, or not lately, hence no link to any music at his blog in the second sentence of this posting.  But I did find this talk, by Greg Lukianoff, about the growing menace of the I-Am-Offended industry on American campuses.  Quite long, but recommended.

SInce I started on this posting, Mick Hartley stuck up another pop clip.  Again, I have not listened, and probably won’t ever.

Sunday June 26 2011

Indeed:

image

That’s a camera, as well as a pair of specs.

The basic reason they won’t ban digital photography in public places is that pretty soon, they won’t be able to see it happening.  (That and how such a ban would screw around with the tourist trade.)

And yes, I know, there’ll be all kinds of sneaky electronic trickery to detect photography, even when it’s invisible to the naked eye, but your basic plods, both public sector and the now equally ubiquitous private sector sort, just won’t see it happening.

Well, we’re soon going to find out.

Saturday May 21 2011

Indeed:

image

Photoed by me this afternoon, on the outside of Tate Modern.  Click to get slighly more of Tate Modern, but not very much more.  It used to be a power station.

Google google.  Here we go:

Leading British artists launched a campaign Wednesday calling for the release of prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained last month amid a major crackdown on dissent.

Damien Hirst and Indian-born Anish Kapoor were among those who joined a campaign launched by The Times newspaper demanding the release of Ai, penning messages of support which were printed on a double-page spread in the paper.

“Today The Times calls for the immediate release of the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei,” said the paper.

“So far international calls for his release have been ignored by the Chinese authorities.”

And I don’t suppose it helps much that the Times website now hides behind a paywall.

I wonder what the Chinese Government have done to Rupert Murdoch to make him permit a campaign like this.  I seem to recall him sucking up to China, so he could do telly there.  Indeed.  Has that deal gone sour?

Still, whatever the media machinations behind this campaign, I agree with it.  Release Ai Weiwei.

Friday February 25 2011

A while back I did a posting here about a big sign, covered in anal-retentive, litigation-phobic instructions about health and safety.

This posting now is basically a clutch of other signage photos I took that same day, on that same expedition.

Signs are extremely communicative of the kind of times you live in, of the kind of place you were at, of the kind of event you were at, of the kind of assumptions your world is flooded with.  Also, more than buildings, they change, and good photography homes in particularly on that which will not always there.  Signs also tell you the dumb facts about where you were, and what you were looking at, which are easily forgotten if all you have is pictures with random number names.  Signs give you google handles, the way imagery can’t, yet.

So, what I’m saying is, yes I know that most of these snaps that follow in this clutch of squares are pretty mundane, but I like them.  I hope that, if you click on squares that particularly intrigue you, you will also like what you see.

First, a sign saying where I was going and roughly where I was when I took these.  Like I say, some dumb facts.  Apologies for the blurriness of several of the snaps that follow, especially in this first one.  At the point I took this, I still thought that all I was doing with this map was taking a note for myself.  I still hadn’t realised that this was a whole new category of bloggableness, or I would have taken a bit more trouble.  But, it still tells the approximate story.

image

So now, the clutch of squares:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

When will signs start appearing saying that photography in public places is forbidden?  I suspect, actually: only a bit, in particular places.

One, cameras will soon be so small as to be undetectable.  People can already take photos with their all purpose mobile gizmos without any security goon being any the wiser, even if standing only a few yards away.  Soon, we will all be able to snap photos with the top buttons on our shirts, or from our hats.

And two, as soon as any such signs forbidding photo-ing do start to appear, in ways that are at all silly, they will be relentlessly snapped, internetted, and mocked.  Hey Big Brother, do you really think that we the people will accept a world in which only you are allowed to take photos in public?  In your dreams sunshine.

Comments telling me that this is already happening (preferably with links) would of course be especially welcome.

Sunday October 31 2010

Peter Tatchell is one of the great mentches (is that spelt right?) of the libertarian movement in its broadest and most inclusive sense.  He and the LA have long had a cordial if doctrinally a bit arms length relationship.  The overlap on civil liberties, freedom of speech, etc., is considerable and that’s what he’s talking about now, very eloquently.

This was originally called “Tatchell photo”, and I have tried to add a picture, but that looks like it will have to wait.  Maybe later.

image

Success.

Some very trenchant stuff at the end there about the superiority of superior cultures over inferior ones.

Tatchell
Scientology enthusiast is now Climate Change Minister
Voice and exit
Me taking pictures in a funny way while it’s still allowed
The right to photograph
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
Why I object to Madam Scotland and why I don’t
Snapping the police
Photoing the Police
The prevention threat
Edinburgh’s Billion Monkeys must be chivalrous!
Heroic Billion Monkey falsely arrested by cop whom he photoed breaking law to get to chip shop!
Even if people fake them the government still likes them
Armed is less dangerous
F1 athletics?
LAHTML
Chanelle and Ziggy - romance in the age of total surveillance
Alisher Usmanov is now better known for being nasty
Christopher Hitchens on the Rushdie knighthood
Will twentieth century aerial warfare be repeated by toys?
Islam is evil - and that’s me carrying on normally
Caught on camera
Unsweet birds of freedom
Watching them watching me
To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be dot dot dot controlled in everything
The Billion Monkeys of Australia will continue to photograph oil refineries
AngloAustria joins the blogroll
Last night’s talk