Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Brian Micklethwait on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
Carolyn Mohr on The ups and downs of English
Michael Jennings on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
priscila on The ups and downs of English
Simon Gibbs on Wedding photography (4): Preparations
6000 on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Darren on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Michael Jennings on Wedding photography (2): Signs
MarkR on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
MNB Achari on Google Nexus 4 photos
Most recent entries
- Cats without tails are not scary
- Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
- Wedding photography (4): Preparations
- Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
- Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
- Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
- Rothko Toast
- Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
- And another posting from my smartphone
- Posted from my new smartphone
- Google Nexus 4 photos
- Wedding photography (2): Signs
- Wedding photography (1): The superbness of the weather
- A Fleet Street lunch
- So painters also used to “take” pictures
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Boatang & Demetriou
Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
China Law Blog
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Coffee & Complexity
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Deleted by tomorrow
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Laissez Faire Books
Last of the Few
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
More Than Mind Games
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Nation of Shopkeepers
Never Trust a Hippy
Non Diet Weight Loss
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
Police Inspector Blog
Private Sector Development blog
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Setting The World To Rights
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
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Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Technology Liberation Front
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the blog of dave cole
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we make money not art
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This and that
Category archive: Russia
And the first thing I photoed yesterday was newspaper headlines, about Britain’s Envy-of-the-World NHS. Those first three were literally the first three snaps I took yesterday, and the last one was photoed later, at London Bridge Station, more about which later, I hope.
Read, and be amazed:
I honestly cannot remember a day when Britain’s NHS has ever, ever had a worst press than it had yesterday. (The same stories had been all over the telly on Wednesday evening also.)
I hope to write at greater length at Samizdata about these dramas, connecting it to my Alpha Graphs stuff, but promise nothing
The basic idea being that a nationalised industry collapses not when it merely starts deteriorating, but only when it is deteriorating so fast that a switch to the free market, although horrible, would be no worse even in the short run. And of course massively better in the long run. But it’s the short run that matters because it is during that short run that you or your elderly loved one dies, through being left out in a corridor or some such horror.
Libertarians are prone to assume that things like the NHS are untouchable, merely because people continue to swear by them when they are getting only somewhat worse. Brainwashed fools! They will never see sense! But they are seeing sense. And then suddenly, to the amazement of libertarians, they do suddenly see sense. Actually, just a bit more sense, along with the sense they had already been seeing.
See also: collapse of the USSR.
The NHS has a bit of a way to go before it folds, because people are still at the stage, as you can tell from these headlines, of thinking that sacking the Boss and installing a New Boss would turn things around. But, any year now ...
When you want to write a big old piece about Something Important, it’s not a bad idea for a blogger to rip out a little piece about it in the meantime, in a single figure number of minutes. That at least gets the meme out there and gives it a chance to propagate, even if a bigger piece at Samizdata would do that better.
Whenever, of a Friday, I go looking for cat news, there is always plenty.
Pride of place today goes to the news that the New York shooter loved his two cats. But, it is now argued, by some different scientists to the scientists who argued the opposite, that he can’t have caught brain cancer from his cats, because that doesn’t happen. Good to know. But, you might be driven by your cats to commit suicide. How about murder?
On the other hand, Cats that pester for food could be suffering from psychological condition. Yes. They’re cats.
News of a cat that is making itself useful: Cat opens new excavator plant in Texas. That must have been something to see. What did the cat say? Did it just chuck a champagne bottle against the side of the excavator plant? Is there video of this?
Next up, the encouraging news that M12 Cat 6A connector system delivers signal integrity up to 10Gbps.
And, in Israel, new born and very rare (apparently) sand kittens, like this one:
I actually don’t think the one on the right is very good. The cat connection is imposed, not explained.
Here’s another of those horizontal slices I like to do. It’s from one of these photos:
Which was one of the things linked to in the latest of David Thompson’s Friday ephemera.
See also these awesome frogs, which really are awesome. The harlequin tree frog, which looks like some kind of liquorice based sweet, has a mouth whose inside is blue. Frog number 6, not named for some reason, is entirely blue, but that looks comparatively normal.
The reed frog, on the other hand, in its extreme decorative implausibility, reminds me of this hippo.
One of the pleasures of blogging is that you learn about new and interesting blogs from comments on existing blogs. From a comment on this posting which I recently did for Transport Blog, I learned of this blog, which is something to do with some kind of broadcasting venture. Not sure what kind of broadcasting venture. More research is needed on that.
Judging by the blogroll, I should have alerted myself to this blog long ago. And the fact that whoever did this posting found these posters via David Thompson’s blog (one of my favourites), and found them interesting, suggests that he and I are even more on the same wavelength, aesthetically and culturally as well as merely politically.
I’ve spent most of my blogging time this weekend editing an interview I did earlier in the week. But I’m glad I found time to read this, which was, however many minutes or hours ago it was, then linked to by Instapundit and is now being read everywhere that the truth about the evilness of those who tried to excuse the horrors unleashed by Marxism is understood. I.e. not in most parts of most Anglo-Saxon universities. In places where thinking straight about things is the rule.
The internet is changing everything. The rules about what can be said and read have changed. Changed so much, I believe, that it is taking time for everyone, wise and foolish, good and bad, to realise it. New methods of communication are always like this, if my reading about earlier communicational dramas is anything to go by.
The important thing is to go for the morals of the Marxists. They were and are not just wrong as in mistaken. They were and are wrong as in wicked. Not least, they were wicked because of how persistently they bashed on with their mistakenness.
Pejman Yousefzadeh quotes David Pryce-Jones:
A mystery peculiar to the twentieth century is that intellectuals were eager to endorse the terror and mass-murder which characterized Soviet rule, at one and the same time abdicating humane feelings and all sense of responsibility towards others, and of course perverting the pursuit of truth. The man who sets dogs on concentration camp victims or fires his revolver into the back of their necks is evidently a brute; the intellectual who devises justifications for the brutality is harder to deal with, and far more sinister in the long run. Apologizing for the Soviet Union, such intellectuals licensed and ratified unprecedented crime and tyranny, to degrade and confuse all standards of humanity and morality. Hobsbawm is an outstanding example of the type.
Says Yousefzadeh himself, concerning something said by somebody called Paul J. Cella, who promptly thanks Yousefzadeh for the link!
Writing on Eagleton’s mash note to Hobsbawm and Marxism, Paul Cella says that Eagleton’s essay “shines with a palpable warmth.” No, it doesn’t. Rather, it misleads with a palpable malice; a malice shown to facts, to the intelligence of readers, to history, and to all of those who suffered at the hands of the Marxist cause.
This claim that Eagleton’s essay “shines with palpable warmth” is the one bit in Cella’s piece that Yousefzadeh disagrees with, and this bit by Yousefzadeh is the one bit in his piece that I disagree with. Can an article not shine with a palpable warmth and mislead with a palpable malice? Can warmth not be switched on, to mislead? Surely yes.
Lucky I followed the link to the Cella piece, or I would have had him tagged as just another cretinous apologist for Marxism. He is no such thing.
There is no political cause comparable to Communism in at least this respect - it allows respectable men to endorse mass butchery, connive at sedition, falsify scholarship, and still live to be revered by the very sort of men and women who would surely perish, had that “radiant tomorrow actually been created.”
But the point surely is that there was no “radiant tomorrow”. There was only a nightmare of terror and mass murder. And there was no “very sort of men and women” who were particularly singled out by the nightmare for terror and death. Everyone was in the firing line. Seriously, Stalin used to instruct his murderers to murder people literally at random, just to make this very point, that nobody was safe.
Details. What matters is that now we are arguing about the details of how evil Marxism was, and about the details of what exactly are the right words and phrases we should use when denouncing it and its evil apologists. As Samizdata‘s Perry de Havilland would say, the metacontext has changed.
I particularly like this, from Instapundit:
Oh, my mistake. I thought, somehow, that Hobsbawm had died. Oh, well - all the more reason to speak ill of him now, then.
It’s is at English Russia, so I looked at it ...
… and assumed that it is just a rectangle of blocks put there for some idiot reason, which has gone a bit wrong, USSR style. Some of the blocks have sunk a bit. A few have been stolen. But there it still sits, because nobody can be bothered either to fix it or to remove it. Then, I got it.
I still prefer my Mac one, but that might not make such a cool sculpture.
English Russia is worth visiting, if not daily then at least fairly regularly. My latest visit took me to this collection of Russian construction cock-ups. However, my favourite of these pictures, on the right here, is not so much a cock-up as a case of, I would say, inspired improvisation, in the form of a new twist on the ball and chain method of demolition. And since the object of the exercise is to knock something down rather than build anything, who can doubt that the story will end in this mission at least being entirely accomplished, with absolutely no snigger-worthy defects lingering on? Epic fail? Surely not in this case.
Sorry about the temporary violence done by this posting to the one below. I can only tell how these sorts of postings are looking by posting them.
A comment by James Waterton on this, deserves to be a blog posting in its own right:
A former colleague of mine was one of those exceedingly cerebral Russian science/maths boffins. He would teach maths in English for four months of the year to rich Chinese high school grads destined to study in the West. Then for the remaining 8 months of the year, he’d burn through the money he earned working on whatever mad scientist projects he could dream up. An extremely intelligent but also mild-mannered and courteous gentleman.
I had a number of chats with this man, and once sounded him out regarding his political views. He told me that his ideal political system was one where the more educated and intelligent you could prove yourself to be, the more votes you would receive in an election. Furthermore, access to public office would be made easier based on the same criteria. I remember finding this amusing. It seems obvious to me that out of all the countries that have been ill-served by extremely intelligent people (and there are many), Russia would have to have suffered the most under the yoke of the super smart who thought they were so intelligent that they had the right to tell those who they saw as less intelligent how to live.
The irony that this borderline genius still wasn’t smart enough to heed the abundantly clear lesson from his country’s past, and would, in his ‘perfect world’, introduce something similar, was not lost on me. Clearly people like this should be kept as far away from the levers of power as possible.
And now it is.
Soviet space leftovers
The cats from out of town that cleared out the rats during the siege of Leningrad
Unravelling the puzzle – and making it into a movie
David Farrer photos
They aren’t complete idiots all the time
“Who are you going to sell it to if we don’t buy it?”
I’d be cheering
Outstanding and numerous aerial photos of St Petersburg
Sounding like a different country
Celebrating a victory
Meltdown in Russia … and New Zealand
Russian weirdness for the Anglos
Friends of Slava
Billion Monkeys photo their own demo!
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
Shame you can’t do this kind of thing here
New Moscow road bridge
Other people’s photos (4): Kitten on man’s head