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: Video

Thursday June 16 2016

All over the British bit of the internet, opinion mongers and trivia mongers are struck dumb by … this, the murder of a young woman, with a husband and two young children, who happened also to be a Member of Parliament.

Saying anything else, about anything else, is – and for once the word is apt – inappropriate.  It feels inappropriate to me, anyway.  So, we all say, pretty much, nothing, unless we know something that is relevant, like if we once met her or knew her or something, which of course I did not.

Obliged to comment, my comment would be: what she said.  She being a wife and mother herself.

I also think that this posting, at a website usually distinguished by its willingness to be wondrously inappropriate, was good.  It’s video of a most eloquent speech that Jo Cox gave in the House of Commons.  It’s good that, nowadays, more and more people can be remembered in this sort of way, saying and doing the sorts of things they said and did best.

Friday June 10 2016

As I understand it, the big reason why miniature helicopters work is because modern computer magic can control all the propellers and stop them crashing.  Proper big helicopter piloting is notoriously skilful.  Now, a tiny little robot can fly a tiny little helicopter, all by itself.  But, first generation consumer drones are going to look very foolish to later drone-flaunters, because so big, and because they are just so clunky and dangerous.

This looks much more of a serious prospect, especially for indoors:

image

If that does an Enrique Iglesias to you, it will do you far less damage and do itself far less damage, not least because humans are less liable to beat it to death after it attacks them.

Regular commenter here Michael Jennings is fond of enthusing about the miraculous advances in materials technology we’ve been having lately.  I bet this gizmo is a fine example, especially those propeller covers.  If they’re too heavy, they sink (literally) the entire idea.

I wonder how noisy it is.

Not very, if this quicky engadget youtube review is anything to go by:

You wait a decade for videos at BMdotcom, and now two come along at once.

LATER: 6k drone blues.  Maybe cancel “Lily”, and get the above?

Monday June 06 2016

For years I have wondered how to put videos done by others at this blog.  My problem has always been that they were too big.  560 pixels wide instead of 500 pixels, which is the width here.  This evening, I thought I observed that “Brexit: The Movie”, as shown at Bishop Hill, was the exact same width as stuff at my blog.  So, I rootled around in the source code for the Bishop’s posting of Brexit, and dug up what seemed to be the relevant bit.  It turned out I was wrong about the width.  It was 560, same as it always seems to be, But having got this far I tried just changing the bit in the code where it said “560” to “500”, and that seemed to work.  The video seemed to get a bit smaller.  (I changed 500 to 300 just to be sure I wasn’t imagining it.) I did some more sums, which told me to change 315 to 280, and here it is, 500 pixels wide, fingers crossed:

There is some kind of EUro-metaphor or EUro-moral buried in this story, concerning believing that a straight-jacket was actually tighter and more rigid than it really was, but I’m too tired to be bothering about that.

Tomorrow, I will watch it.

Monday May 16 2016

Today I attended Deirdre McCloskey’s talk for the Adam Smith Institute.  I know what you’re thinking.  Okay, okay, photos, as per usual.  But: What did she say? Fine.  Go here, and you can find out.  What I can find no link to is any information about the event – when, where, and so on.  It’s all now gone.  Maybe it was never there in the first place.

But the Man from the Adam Smith Institute told me to send in some of my snaps, and these are the ones I sent them:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

McCloskey’s basic point was what is rapidly becoming the libertarian orthodoxy, to the effect that (a) the world started getting humungously rich in or around 1780 (Yaron Brook‘s preferred date for this is 1776 (to coincide with America starting and Smith’s Wealth of Nation’s getting published)), and (b) we did this.  Our enemies tried to stop us and they failed.  We know how to make poor people rich, and we’ve been doing it ever since.  Our enemies only know how to make rich people less rich and poor people more poor.  Bastards.

My recent favourite example of enrichment is a very tiny one offered at today’s talk by McCloskey, which is that you can now use your smartphone as a mirror.  Better yet, McCloskey said, before the talk she was giving, she spotted Steve Baker MP doing this exact thing with his smartphone, while perfecting his appearance prior to doing his MP socialising bit.

The reason I particularly like this is that I just recently learned about this trick myself, when I saw someone doing it, and took a photo of it:

If you photo someone looking in a mirror, they can see their face, but you can’t.  (Unless it’s a crap movie, in which case the audience sees the face and the person with the face doesn’t.  I know.  Ridiculous.  But this is truly what often happens.) But, if you photo someone using their smartphone as a mirror, both you and they can see their face.

Thus:

image

McCloskey’s point was that enrichment doesn’t only come in the form of more money, but also in the form of the ever more amazing things that you can buy with your money.  Like a phone that is also a NASA circa 1968 supercomputer.  And a face mirror.

Finally, here are a couple more photography-related photos.  On the left is the official photographer for the McCloskey talk:

imageimageimage

And on the right there is a photo which I also took at the venue for the McCloskey talk, which I will not name, because the people in charge of this place might then learn of this blog posting and see this picture and then who the hell knows what might happen?  Are you wondering what I am talking about?  Click on the picture and work it out.  I only realised what I had photoed after I had got home.

Sunday March 27 2016

Or: Spoughts thoughts?  You choose.

Sport (spought) has been good to me of late.  Last summer, England won the Ashes.  My local cricket team, Surrey, got promoted to division one, and also got to the final of the fifty overs county knock-out tournament.  England then defeated South Africa in South Africa.  England (a different England but still England) won the Six Nations rugby Grand Slam.  And now (back to cricket again) England have got to the last four of the twenty overs slog competition, alongside the Windies, India and New Zealand.  Few expect England to win this.  But then, few expected England to get to the last four.  No South Africa (beaten amazingly by England).  No Australia (beaten today by India (aka Virat Kholi)).  No Pakistan or Sri Lanka.  But: England still involved.

Concerning the Grand Slam, the best thing about it was England winning all its games, but otherwise it was … a bit crap.  The recently concluded World Cup, in which England did rather less well loomed too large over it.  The World Cup featured no Six Nations sides in its last four, and when watching our local lads stressing and straining against each other you couldn’t help (a) thinking that the Southern Hemispherians would murder them, and (b) that a lot of the best Six Nations players seemed to be Southern Hemispherians themselves.  I mean, what kind of rugby world are we living in when the most threatening French back is called Scott Spedding and was born in Krugersdorp, South Africa?

The Six Nations was worth it just to hear Jonathan Davies, a man whose commentating I have had reason to criticise in the past, say that a certain game is “crucial”, and that Wales have “matured”:

curry-yoosh-ull

mat-yoo-ard

As for the twenty-twenty slogfest now in full slog, well, I have been rooting for England (England’s best batsman being a bloke called Root), but also for Afghanistan.  You might think that as a devout anti-Islamist, which I definitely am, I would be rooting for the Muslim teams to lose.  But actually, I think sport is one of the leading antidotes to Islamo-nuttery, and it is my understanding that the Islamo-nutters regard sport and sports-nuttery not as an expression of Islamo-nuttery, but rather, as a threat to it.  Sports nuttery ultimately causes fellowship with the infidels rather than hatred of them, underneath all the youthful antagonisms which it does indeed inflame.  It’s hard not to get pally with people when you play or follow games with them and against them, especially as you get older, and remember previous hostilities with fondness rather than anger.

So, in short: go Afghanistan!  The Afghanistan twenty-twenty cricket team, I mean.  Afghanistan gave England a hell of a fright and nearly beat them.  And yesterday, they actually did beat the West Indies, even though it didn’t count for so much because the Windies had already got through to the semis and the Afghans would be going home now no matter what.  But, even so, beating the Windies was a big deal, and the cricket world will have noticed, big time.

Here is Cricinfo, at the moment of Afghan triumph:

image

I love it when a T20 game really boils up, and they put “dot ball” in bold letters, the way they usually only write “OUT” and “FOUR” and “SIX” and “dropped”, or, as in this case, “an amazing, brave, brilliant running catch!”

And soon after that climax to the game, came this:

image

Chris Gayle is quite a character.  Having scored a brilliant century against England that won the Windies that match and put England in the position of having to win everything from then on, his commitment to the West Indian cause is not in doubt, as it might have been had he celebrated like this with the Afghans without having done any other notable things in this tournament.  He has quarrelled with West Indian cricket bureaucrats over the years, and has definitely seemed to have like playing for the Bangalore Royal Challengers more than for the West Indies.

His demeanour after today’s Afghan game is in sharp contrast to his lordly impassivity after taking the wicket of David Miller of South Africa, which reduced South Africa to 47-5, a predicament from which they failed to recover

image

One of the delights of virtually following this tournament is that it has been possible to watch little videos of dramatic moments, like the one of Gayle taking this wicket and then not celebrating very much.  The graphic additions to this posting are merely screen captures.  Clicking on them accomplishes nothing.  But if you go to the original commentary from which I took my graphics, you can click on the little black video prompts, and get a little video of the drama just described.

Also: Happy Easter.

Thursday March 03 2016

As soon as I did that first posting this morning, about blogging early, I was freed from any obligation – self-imposed, but still an obligation – to blog any more today.  At which point the idea of putting more up here, today, became fun, rather than any sort of chore.  Hence the next posting, the one immediately below this one.

This one is here mostly so I can have postings called “Blog early” and “Blog often” up here on the same day.

Earlier this evening I attended a Libertarian Home meeting, addressed by Tim Evans.

One definite improvement over previous LH meetings in the same venue is that on the blackboard behind the speaker, it said his name, rather than the names of lots of things you can eat.

So, behind Tim Evans, underneath where it says “Specials” it also, this evening, said “Tim Evans”:

image

Better.  In particular, better than this:

image

The speaker in that picture was Allum Bokhari, last August, and that picture of him is most unflattering.  Alas, this is the picture I took that night that best shows all that food.  Go here to see Allum Bokhari looking better, even if he is wearing headphones.  To hear him also, talking about the “censorship” (if that’s what it is) of the social media, by the social media.

So, the video of Tim Evans talking will look better, in this particular respect, than did earlier videos, of LH speakers in front of that blackboard.  You build an ideological movement one step at a time.  This was a small step, but a definite step.  Nice one.

Sadly, I am not so confident about the likely sound quality of any video that transpires.  Tim has a way of talking rather quietly when in a smallish room such as this one is, but the hinges of the door to the room had no such inhibitions and were squeaking something terrible, every time anyone came in or out, as happened quite often.  We shall see, and we shall hear.  Hope I’m wrong about that.

Thursday February 11 2016

And I do mean eagles.  Yes, it’s more fun and games from dezeen:

London’s Metropolitan Police force is considering using trained eagles to grab drones from the sky following a rise in unmanned aircraft crime ...

Next step, the drones will start shooting at the eagles.

However:

Jemima Parry-Jones, director of the International Centre of Birds of Prey in Gloucestershire, told the BBC she thinks the idea is a “gimmick”.

Well, yes.  Some journo with nothing to write asked the Met about if they’d use eagles, and the Met said yes they’d consider it.  Which they no doubt did, for about five minutes.  I mean, if you were an eagle, would you want to fly towards a thing with propellers?  But where would fun come from if nobody could ever suggest gimmicks?

The story does throw interesting light on the fear provoked by drones, and, I think, on the reluctance of regular British people actually to want to buy these contraptions.  I noted the arrival of drones in the shops, but they have not, as it were, taken off.  Not in London anyway.  They are strictly specialist devices, to enable the controllers of large bits of land, mostly out in the countryside, to control the land better and more cheaply.

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.

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