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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

Wednesday November 15 2017

On Thursday November 23rd, the latest manifestation of The Ashes kicks off:

image

I took the above photo in the pedestrian tunnel that goes north from South Kensington tube towards the Royal Albert Hall, or in my case towards the Royal College of Music (where GodDaughter 2 was singing in a concert).

But look more closely.  This is not an advert for The Ashes themselves, an advert, that is to say, for the chance to watch or otherwise witness some actual cricket games.  No.  This is an advert for the means to play in a computerised cricket game.

The last licensed Ashes game was Ashes Cricket 2013. It was developed by Trickstar Games (also based in Melbourne, Australia) but was so irredeemably terrible it was comically cancelled after it had been released (it was quietly released on Steam in November 2013 but yanked down just four days later).

I knew nothing of this until now, even though I follow actual cricket very keenly.  The only computer game I ever play is Solitaire.  Blog and learn.

I wonder how the income earned from the sale of this computer game will compare with the income earned by the actual Ashes cricket games.  I’m guessing that, assuming they’ve now done a better job of it than was done in 2013, the comparison will be quite favourable. Although: Bairstow, Root, Ballance, Broad, Anderson and Cook will presumably be getting their slices of the computer game action.

Sunday November 12 2017

A few weeks ago, I watched and recorded a Shakespeare documentary series, in one episode of which Jeremy Irons talked about, and talked with others about, the two Henry IV plays.  And that got me watching two recorded DVDs that I had already made of these plays, the BBC “Hollow Crown” versions, with Irons as King Henry and Tom Hiddleston as the King’s son, Prince Hal.  While watching these, I realised how little I really knew these wonderful plays, and how much I was enjoying correcting that a little.

More recently, partly spurred on by what Trevor Nunn in that same documentary series had to say about it, I have been doing the same with The Tempest, this time making use of a DVD that I long ago purchased for next to nothing in a charity shop but had failed ever to watch.

By accident, when this DVD of The Tempest began, there were subtitles to be seen, and I realised that these written lines, far from getting in the way, only added to my enjoyment, so I left them on.  And, if subtitles were helping, why not the entire text?  Maybe I possess a copy of The Tempest, but if so I could not find it, so instead, I tried the internet, which quickly obliged.  My eyesight not being the best, I beefed up the magnification of the text until it was nearly as big as those subtitles.  So, I watched, I read subtitles, and I was able to see who was saying what, and what they were about to say.  And very gratifying it all was:

image

On the telly, on the left, David Dixon as Ariel and, on the right, Michael Hordern as Prospero, both very impressive.

And here, should you be curious, is the text they were enacting at that particular moment, as shown on the right of the above photo, but now blown up and photoshop-cloned into greater legibility:

image

I think the reason I found this redundancy-packed way of watching The Tempest so very satisfying is that with Shakespeare, the mere matter of what is going on is secondary to the far more significant matter of exactly what is being said, this latter often consisting of phrases and sentences which have bounced about in our culture for several centuries.  As ever more people have felt the need to recycle these snatches or chunks of verbiage, for their own sake, and because they illuminate so much else that has happened and is happening in the world, so these words have gathered ever more force and charismatic power.  As the apocryphal old lady said when leaving a performance of Hamlet: “Lovely.  So full of quotations.”

The thing is, Shakespeare’s characters don’t just do the things that they do, and say only what needs to be said to keep the plot rolling along.  They seek to find the universal meaning of their experiences, and being theatrical characters, they are able, having found the right words to describe these experiences, to pass on this knowledge to their audiences.  This is especially true of Hamlet, because central to Hamlet’s character is that he is constantly trying to pin down the meaning of life, in a series of what we would now call tweets, and consequently to be remembered after his death.

Prospero in The Tempest is not quite so desperate to be remembered, any more, we are told, than Shakespeare himself was.  In Prospero, as Trevor Nunn explained in his documentary about The Tempest, many hear Shakespeare saying goodbye to his career as a theatrical magician and returning to his provincial life of Middle English normality. But Shakespeare was Shakespeare.  He couldn’t help creating these supremely eloquent central characters.  Even when all they are doing is ordering room service, or in the case of Prospero doing something like passing on his latest instructions to Ariel, they all end up speaking Shakespeare, with words and phrases that beg to be remembered for ever.  These famous Shakespeare bits are rather like those favourite bits that we classical music fans all hear in the great works of the Western musical cannon.

So, a way of watching these plays that enables these great word-clusters to hang around for a while is just what you want.  (Especially if, like Prospero, you are getting old, and your short-term memory is not what it was.) It also helps being able to press the pause button from time to time, to enable you to savour these moments, to absorb their context, better than you could if just watching the one unpausable performance in front of you.  Although I agree, having a pause symbol on the furrowed brow of Prospero, as in my telly-photo above, is not ideal.

I am now browsing through my Shakespeare DVD collection, wondering which one to wallow in next.

Friday October 20 2017

Today, I was thinking, what with it being Friday: What can I put here about cats or other creatures that would be of interest?  But instead of looking for something along those lines, I was listening to a video conversation between Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia, about the sorry state of the humanities departments of American universities.  I can’t remember why or how, but I was.  And twenty four and a half minutes into this, I listened in astonishment as Peterson suddenly started talking, fascinatingly, about zebras.

Why do zebras look the way they do, so very black and and so very white, and so very stripey?

This has long puzzled me.  The arch enemy of the zebra is the lion, and the lions are impeccably camouflaged.  Their coats are the same colour as the veldt, or whatever it is that the zebras roam about on and that the lions hunt the zebras on, and so the zebras don’t see the lions coming.  But the zebras, with their garish black and white plumage, are nothing at all like the colour of the land they live on.  What gives?  Why the lurid and fantastically visible stripes?

Today I learned the answer to this question.

The answer is: When lions hunt zebras, they do this by deciding on just the one zebra that they are going to hunt, and they concentrate entirely on that one zebra.  Eventually, the chosen zebra is exhausted, and the lions catch it and kill it.

And how do zebras respond, evolutionarily speaking?  Answer: By becoming extremely hard to distinguish from each other.  Their very stripey stripes do exactly this.  The result of that is that although the lions try to hunt just the one zebra, thereby exhausting it and killing it, they instead keep getting confused about exactly which zebra is the one they are trying to hunt.  And the result of that is that instead of hunting one zebra to its death, they hunt half a dozen zebras, not to any of their deaths, and go home without their dinner.

Some scientists who were studying zebra plumage did what turned out to be a rather cruel experiment which proved this.  They squirted some colour onto one of the zebras in a zebra herd.  The lions, confident now that they would not be confused about which zebra they were hunting, proceeded to hunt that one marked zebra to its inevitable death.  Without such marking out, they couldn’t tell which zebra was which.  With such marking, hunting success followed, every time.  Every time, they chose the marked and hence easily distinguishable zebra.

I did not know this.

Peterson’s point was that American humanities professors are like this.  They all have totally crazy, yet totally similar, opinions.  That way, their enemies can’t fixate on one of them and destroy him.  Or something.  In this version of the zebra stripes story, Peterson is saying that people in general are like zebras.  But I really didn’t care about that.  It was the zebras and their stripes that interested me.

I love the internet.

Tuesday September 12 2017

Here.  Goodness knows what will happen to that link in future hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millenia.  But as of now it is working very nicely, and Surrey are having a great day.  Foakes has just hit four fours off four balls.

With its own built in commentary from Churchy and his pals, it still isn’t what you get from Sky or from national BBC, but it’s still good.  The main drawback is there’s only two cameras, one at each end.  It they hit a boundary, you just have to take their word for it about where it went and how fast.  But this sort of thing can only get better.  Hope it’s still happening tomorrow.

Scorecard of the game here.  Close of play day one: Surrey 398-3.  Sanga 85, Foakes 64.  Nice.

Ex-Surrey batters Davies and Sibley have also been in the runs, for Somerset and for Warks.  Also nice.

Off out very soon for dinner with friends, so that’s it here for today, and it makes my evening a lot better now that my duties here are done.  Have a good one yourself, unless you are a Yorkshire supporter.

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.

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.

Friday July 21 2017

Here.

LATER: And here.

Another Wonder Woman
Me elsewhere
Accidental movie
Animated tube maps
Spurs are in a hurry to get home again
Helen Szamuely’s funeral was today
“Yeah, no …”
Die Meistersinger was very good
Scott Adams tries to outwit the shadow banners with kitten-tweets
Cruelty to a fake animal – kindness to a fake animal
Fantastic Beasts has an alcove in W.H. Smith all to itself
Arthur Seldon Centenary photos
This cat faces a difficult next four years
The internet is for telling me what’s on the telly
Van – grey but very interesting
Pletnev plays Haydn and I own it!
A day in BMdotcom heaven (5): My belated photo-tribute to Kumar Sangakkara
An MP murdered
A better little drone
Brexit - the movie - here!
Deirdre McCloskey - The Great Enrichment – Using a smartphone as a mirror
Sports thorts
Blog often (this time about the sound and the vision of this evening’s Tim Evans talk to LH)
Legal eagles versus illegal drones?
Syed Kamall MEP wins by playing five and losing five
Cats on an iPhone and Anton Howes on video
Milo Yiannopoulos
Filling in a Meaningless Triangle near Kensington High Street tube
Richmond boat cat - giant video kitten - East End cat graffiti
Cranes and a bridge (but not in a good way)
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
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