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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: Video

Tuesday December 15 2015

Today I spent my blogging/libertarian time transcribing a talk given by Syed Kamall MEP to Libertarian Home, back on June 4th of this year.  The following very early bit from this talk, which was no more, on the night, than the self-deprecating self-introduction, convinced me that transcribing the whole thing, even though it will also be available to view on video, might be worthwhile.

Having joined the Conservative Party in 1987, I actually stood for my first election in 1994, in the London Borough of Lambeth.  As you can imagine, I lost.  A year later, I had my first post-doctoral job at Bath, and they asked me to stand, and I lost, in some local elections.  In 2000, the Greater London Council was formed, and I stood in the GLA elections for the first time.  And I lost.  This is going somewhere, I promise you. [laughter]

In 2001, I stood in that well-known Conservative stronghold of West Ham, and thought I could defy history.  And I nearly did.  I think I lost by about fifteen thousand votes. [laughter] And then – a year later, no, when was it? - in 2004, I stood in the European elections, and I was fourth on the list, and we got three Members of the European Parliament in London.  So therefore I lost, but a year later another MEP became a MP, … she became a Member of Parliament and, thanks to the list system, I moved up.

So, you can summarise my political career up to that date as: stood five times, lost five times, and ended up as an MEP.  I know my Party is supposed to be against Proportional Representation, but I’ve done all right out of it, thank you very much.

There is an old cliché that goes: it matters not who won or lost, but how you played the game.  I only know this because it was mocked in Beyond The Fringe, but in times gone by people took this sort of thing very seriously.  Well, the case of Syed Kamall illustrates that there are circumstances when this cliché can literally be true.  Because you see, the secret of Syed Kamall’s success, is that he lost all these contest so very gracefully and sportingly.  That way, everyone in his Party liked him, and he levitated.

There is also the fact that, in politics, it is probably unwise to win any of your early elections, because then you have to hang around and actually do a rather insignificant job, instead of moving on to a bigger and better contest, and winning that.

Friday December 04 2015

Last Tuesday I attended the A(dam) S(mith) I(nstitute) Xmas Party, to which I had been looking forward.  Sadly, when I got there (and this is nothing whatsoever at all to do with the quality of the ASI Xmas Party) I found that I was in a decidedly anti-social mood.  Grumpy Old Men are not a cliché for nothing.

But before making my gracelessly early exit, I did manage to strike up a conversation with a young woman fresh out of studying the history of media censorship, at Cambridge.  This, she said, “could not be a more libertarian subject”.  True.  Good.  More and more libertarians seem to be emerging from universities these days, in considerable part thanks to the ASI.

Me carrying a camera caused her to mention that she too was keen on photography.  I asked her what is the best photo you’ve ever taken?  And she said, tapping away at her iPhone: probably one of these.  Definitely a cat person.  I reckoned it a bit too uncouth to be photoing her, but I did photo her iPhone, which is also good when the light is a bit dodgy, as it was that evening.

image image image

I also bumped into Anton Howes, and him I did snap (talking to a bloke who looked like Seth Rogen) because he is already a definite public figure not to say rising star of libertarianism:

image

Later, I cursed myself for not remembering to ask Anton how his expedition to the USA had gone.  But, as I keep having to remind myself, this is the twenty first century.  You can look things like this up.  And sure enough, at Anton’s Twitter Feed, I found this ("U can now watch my presentation (of thesis for the very first time!) at Columbia’s Center for Capitalism & Society: ..."), which takes you straight to this, the second this being the video of him in action.  I just watched it.  Excellent.  And recommended to all who want to know how the world got from almost universal penury to something rapidly becoming almost universal creature comfort, in which all can have, if they wish, cat pictures on their iPhones.

Wednesday November 25 2015

Last night I did a posting at Samizdata about Milo Yiannopoulos.

Until today, when I dug him up on YouTube, I didn’t even know what nationality this guy is.  American would have been my guess, but basically I didn’t know, although I did learn yesterday what he looks like.  But for me he was basically a name, that I couldn’t spell.

Turns out he’s British.  Very British.  Who knew?  Everybody except me, presumably.  Blog and learn. 

I asked for the opinions of Samizdata commentariat, and got some.  I don’t know why, but I expected more variety in these responses, more doubts, more reservations.  Actually, the Samizdata commentariat has, so far, been uniformly approving of this guy.

Now I’m listening to him babble away, and it turns out that, being a libertarian and an atheist, I’m “touchy” - meaning oversensitive about being criticised - times two.  As a libertarian I’m obsessed with marijuana and with computer hacking.  (Actually: No, times two.) As an atheist, well, it turns out I dress stupidly.  (Yes.  True.) He does love to wind people up, which he does by saying slightly untrue and quite funny things.  He’s like that classic old Fleet Street type, the Opinionated Female Columnist, whose job is to overgeneralise in ways that are quite popular and pile up the readers, and to make the Outraged Classes really really outraged, and who eventually gets … old.

I’m starting to think he may soon be a bit of a has been.  But, at least he now is.

I think the article that I linked to from Samizdata may have been a peak.  It is truly brilliant.

What I do like is his interest in the tactics of how to spread ideas, how to win arguments, how to be able to make arguments despite the efforts of people who want nothing except to shut him up, by saying things that shut them up.

Sunday November 15 2015

This is a hastily drawn illustration of a characteristic urban phenomenon of the late twentieth century, namely: the Meaningless Triangle:

image

The blue lines are the edges, aka the curbs, of two city streets, which, for reasons lost in history, meet each other at an angle.

The black lines are are piece of Modern Movement type Modern Architecture, circa 1970, made of grey concrete, with big, boring windows.  Something like an office block or a department store.  The Meaningless Triangles are the pink bits.

In the days of Modern Movement type Modernism, architects were obsessed with making everything rectangular, which explains that jagged, saw-like edge to the big Modern Movement type building, at the bottom of my diagram.  In order for the building to be in line with one of the streets, it has to be at an angle to the other street, because the streets are not themselves at right angles.

So, why not just have wall to the building that are not at right angles?  This is what is done now.  Why not then?

There are many reasons.  One is that doing this kind of thing, in the days before computers, was a bit difficult.  But more fundamentally, right angles were, you know, Modern.  Only the despised higgledy-piggledy Past had walls at crazy angles.

More fundamentally, Modern Movement architecture was not so much about building a mere building, as about building a small fragment of a potentially infinite urban grid.  In a perfect world, the Modern Movement type building would not stop at the boundaries of the site.  It would instead stride madly off in all four directions, covering the whole earth in a single rectangular grid.  You think that’s mad?  Sure it’s mad.  But this was how these people thought, in those days.  They really did publish schemes to cover the entire world with just the one new building, and smash all the others.

The boundaries of the site were an affront to the building.  The building did not end gracefully and decorously at the boundary, and then show a polite face to the world.  No.  It merely stopped, as gracelessly and rudely as possible, and in a manner which threatened to go bashing on, just as soon as a socialist upheaval (preferably worldwide) could clear all the higgledy-piggledy crap of the past out of the way.  In a perfect world, there would be no boundaries, no property rights.  No arbitrary lines where one bit of “property” stops and another bit starts.  Oh no.  All would be owned by the People in Common, and our architect is the instrument of the People in Common, and supplies them all, all I say, with a new and infinitely huge new building.

I know, insane.  Don’t blame me.  I’m just telling you what these lunatics were thinking.

Luckily, the higgledy-piggledy old world kept these maniacs under control.  They had to stop their damn buildings at the edge of the site.  If they had tried to bash on beyond the site, they’d have been arrested.  But, they could make the ragged edge of the building look as ragged and ugly as they liked, and they did.

Hence all the Meaningless Triangles.

If you want to hear me talking about the above, go to this video, of me giving a talk about Modern Architecture, and start watching at 41 minutes.

What got me blogging about Meaningless Triangles was that I recently, in the course of wandering through my photo-archives, came across this photo:

image

What we see there is a very meaningful building, built to fill in a Meaningless Triangle.  As I recall, this is a few dozen yards from the entrance to Kensington High Street Tube station.  Yes, I just found the Caffe Nero in Wrights Lane, near that very tube station.  That’s the one.  I took my photo of it in 2010.

Friday October 09 2015

Later on, in Richmond, still beside the river, but upstream, practically in the country, I espied a cat.  Here is the context, and the cat:

image
image
image

In other cat-related news, 6k did a cat-related posting for me to link to last Friday.  He mentioned me in the first line, and then showed one of my photos, but I only realised that there was cattery later in the posting too late for last Friday so I had to wait a week.  He went on to mention that video of that giant white fluffy Goodie stroke James Bond villain kitten attacking the BT Tower.  Said 6k:

Yes. Kittens were huge (literally) in popular culture, even before the internet was around.

Very true.

And if Brian reads this before the end of the day, he’s got a lovely Feline Friday tie-in opportunity with his post from yesterday.

Better a week late than never.  (There is also a cat connection in this posting, which is about the head of another sort of big cat.)

6k is taking a bit of a break, or so he says.  I’ll still keep checking in, just to see.  “For personal reasons”.  Ah yes, there are lot of those about, rampaging the earth, closing blogs and generally causing havoc.  Me, I try to avoid having personal reasons.

Another favourite blogger of mine features more cattery here, in the form of East End high end graffiti.

Tuesday August 18 2015

6k writes about a Fairly epic disaster video:

Cranes and bridges. I know who’ll like this one…

That would be me.

But it’s not a happy crane and bridge video. It’s a bit of a disaster…

So I watched the video, and then read 6k’s commentary underneath it, in that order.  6k’s commentary described my sentiments exactly:

Look, because of the title of this post and the title of the video, you know that things aren’t going to end well. But it’s the way things happen almost in slow motion and the lack of any sort of discernible panic that makes this so entertaining.

So slo-mo was it that I checked that the people moving about as this was happening were moving at a realistic speed.  They were.  Which meant that the cranes really did descend this slowly.  It was almost like when the Twin Towers collapsed, in that way if in no other way.

I’m not good at putting up videos here, so you’ll have to follow the link at the very top of this to watch this video.  However, this disaster having been videoed at the time, there was no way the www was not going to supply follow-up stills of the resulting wreckage, and here is an aerial snap that I quickly found, which tells that story very well:

image

Click on that picture to get it bigger.  Follow the link above if you want to see where I found it.

I’m guessing (only guessing mind) that the fact that the cranes were on a boat may have been the straw that caused the camels to fall over onto those houses.

Commenter number one there spells it out, and he says that the water aspect of things was more like a bale of straw:

There is an example of this exact situation in the maritime crane operation safety textbooks. Obviously, they didn’t read those.

Here’s a quick list of safety violations:

1) None of the vehicles were secured on the decks

2) Barges stability was not ensured in any way

3) The cargo was not stabilized from swinging & windage by lines

It’s easy to sneer about how hindsight is easy, blah blah.  But this guy sounds like he might have been able to stop this, had he been directly involved.

Friday August 14 2015

That’s not my punctuation.  That’s their punctuation:

image

This is sort of a wedding photo, in the sense that I took it just before the wedding of Ayumi and Richard, last Saturday, just outside the Church, where there is a market.

There was nobody manning this particular stall, selling miniature pub signs.  And I have a rule about signs that say No Photos, or for that matter No Photo’s.  That rule is: I take a photo of all such signs that I encounter.  Their rule: No Photos.  My rule: Photo of their rule.

I’m guessing that what they mean by a photo is a carefully composed photo of just one of these signs, so I don’t believe that, in the unlikely event that they find out about me posting this photo here, they’ll care.  Besides which, maybe they have discovered that if they exhibit all their signs for sale, and stick “Sorry! No Photo’s!” in among them, they get free publicity from photographers like me.

I didn’t really compose the shot.  I just grabbed it, on my way into the wedding.  But I do like how it says “Queen Vic” and then “England”, right at the top.  And, top left: “London”.

This had to go up today, because as you can see, cats are involved.  And my rule about sometimes having stuff here about cats on Fridays has mutated in my head into a rule that says that I may only mention cats on Fridays, otherwise they’d overrun the entire blog.

Speaking of cats, I also recommend this video, which I found when I visited, after long absence, Norman Lebrecht’s site, this morning.

And see also: Fossils reveal felines drove 40 species of canines to extinction after arriving in North America.

And: An actual exhibition about cats and the internet, just opened in New York.

Here (thank you Instapundit) are twelve photos of the destruction that just hit the Chinese city of Tianjin.

This one (number 9) is among the most vivid:

image

What (I think) makes this such a remarkable image is that, by showing how totally the cars have all been wrecked, the nature of what hit them is, as it were, permanently recorded, the way it might not have been registered by mere empty ground.  And because they are cars rather than buildings, each one a regular and very small distance from the ground, every ruined car is clearly visible, the way wrecked buildings might not have been.  It’s as if each car is a fire-sensitive cell, like digital cameras have inside them for nailing down light.

Fireball.  Nothing else could have done that.

However much the government of China and its various offshoots and local manifestations might have wanted to keep this amazing event under wraps, modern media, including digital photography, still and video, meant that they had no chance.

Photoing and communicating the devastation of Tianjin
A blast from the photographic past
Zorb football
Lots of photos of the camera man
Moving speaker – unmoving listeners, video holder and books
You can tell that drones have arrived because now they are being turned into a sport
Bloody Enrique Iglesias drone drama
“The temptation to pre-order one of these is almost unbearable …”
Not squash
Aerobots
Pete Comley talking about inflation on Friday February 27th
Peter Thiel on striking a balance between optimism and pessimism and on how failure is overrated
Photo-drones fighting in the Ukraine and a photo-drone above the new Apple headquarters building
Anthrozoology
Fun
BMdotcom (mathematical (and sporting)) quote of the day
Santa’s tired helpers
Sign blocked by surveillance camera
My digital photos on his TV
Quota bird
Why aren’t people happier about amazing new stuff?
Emmanuel Todd talking in English (about how the Euro is doomed)
Go Chef
I see cats
Frank Turner on playing in an arena
Amusing cats versus important people
Detlev Schlichter talking about Von Mises (and being videoed)
Ashes Lag recovery continues
Blue wind
Bits of music at non-musical blogs
The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night on the impact of digital photography
Aiden Gregg meeting photos
Quota crane and quota plane
Quota videos
Sidwell (and me) on selfies
Richard Stallman on software patents
Quite a morning
Phablet news
Funniest run out ever?
Doing libertarian business at the Libertarian Home social
Kissa yrittää mennä laatikkoon
American election talk
“No one has to know!”
Don’t vote Democrat!
Pat Caddell on mainstream media bias
Mon chat se tient debout tout seul
Flat cat
There’s a Communist in the White House
Like a crisp packet being popped
Space launch monster
NFL fans and their name-and-number shirts in Trafalgar Square on Saturday
Jarrod Kimber on biased cricket commentators
Go Gary Johnson!
The Jobs difference
Davies and de Bruyn get promotion for Surrey
I think I may have found my final camera
How to immobilise a cat
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
Adam Curtis skewered
Lion steals camera
Friday link dump
Three videos from the USA that I recently watched
From a strange airplane propeller to the strange strings of a double bass
What camera is best for doing short videos about architecture?
Thoughts on England not just keeping the Ashes but winning the series 3-1 (with asterisks)
St Valentine’s Day talk by me on architecture
Poetry
The Green alliance
From pop to purrfume
Another ephemeron for David Thompson?
Cat defeats alligators
Nice try
Guerrilla webfare
Greenies make a video saying: “We’re a bunch of vile greenie-nazis!”
The long and short of conversation - Hitchens on YouTube
Woody Allen on media lies and on not learning as he gets older
A serious disappointment
Steve Davies lecture - photoing and videoing the lecture - post-lecture chat
IPL on ITV4!
Alfie the cat answers the Elmlea challenge
Quick video work by the Oxford libertarians
Chimpcam
My local Blockbuster Video just closed
A cat lands on its feet
Going global
American video
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
Quotes dump
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
More recorded cricket chat and some further Oval hindsights
My confusion about free banking
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
Toys and big toys
Embedded video
Kevid Dowd video now up and watchable
Don’t blame banking
SwivelCam
Parliament photoed by a bus!
SDXC
Further thoughts on Karajan’s conducting
Watching Karajan
My Oxford talk on Google video – or summarised by a friendly blogger
“This is fun!”
“It’s only a parable!”
I’d be cheering
Freedom of information
Ting Tings on Ross
Man regrows finger
Toshiba’s violin playing robot
Not very ephemeral
Moore versus Stossel on Cuban medical care
Cat stuff on Tuesday?
The qualitative difference made by quantity
It’s the decline of old-school advertising that’s really hurting old-school journalism
Gadget question
From 100 to 1 in movie quotes and Gordon is a moron
Not actually all that dramatically
I listened to both of them at the same time!
Breaking the Left’s stranglehold on the moving image
YouTube - Internet Explorer - Firefox
Christopher Hitchens on the Rushdie knighthood
Girly songs
When members of parliament attack
Very small screen – high resolution
Cats can be taught!
“You will struggle to ever see a better caught and bowled than that!”
That Rooney goal
Telly on computers
Billion Monkeys and people waving blue things!
Pro-am music video
Me on the intertelly tonight
Heifetz on YouTube
How I became a One Minute Crap Manager
Me on 18 Doughty Street tonight
Foreigners on film