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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Saturday June 16 2007

You know how you accumulate lots of interesting links to interesting things, which you intend to blog about at length, Real Soon Now, but know you probably never will.  The answer is to do one of those lots-of-links postings, with links and nothing much else.  I am in that state now, and such lots-of-links postings are quite popular, so here goes, in no particular order.

Skimming machines on sale on eBay.  I love a good gadget, but is there any honest use for this one?

Jonathan Agnew says, as do many others, that there’s now too much Test Match Cricket:

Test cricket simply isn’t ‘special’ any more. It has been a weekly event so far this summer and I wonder what Test Match Special would have been called had it started now, rather than 50 years ago?

So presumably Agnew is happy today.

Jackie D emails to say that I might like this, this being a gadget for wireless gadget charging.  I hate to be a grump (lie), but: no.  It’s another thing to learn.  (Like Facebook.) I now know how to charge my gadgets.  For me the wires are a nuisance but no more.  One of many Micklethwait’s laws of technology and of life: do not unleash solutions upon circumstance which are not a problem.

Jackie D again:

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a celebrity haircut as I am about Katie Holmes’s bob.

Michael J emails noting that this Sony Ericsson gadget accepts SD cards (winner of the small(ish) storage card battle of the gauges), as well as the loser Sony Memory Sticks (which Sony still insists on using in all its digital cameras).  “They seem to be losing their religion,” says Michael.  About bloody time too.  Presumably Ericsson took Sony off to a quiet corner of the playground and beat the crap out of him until Sony agreed to have SD cards as well.  Instead presumably comes next.

Talking of battles of the gauges, how’s the great HD DVD versus Blu-ray battle going?  Somebody tell me who’s going to win, so that I can write it up here.  I support HD DVD, because Blu-ray is Sony, yah boo his.  His Gatesness says a plague on both your houses.  By plague he means a mega-hard-disc and getting it over the internet, instead of keeping lots of discs.  Can’t see that happening myself.

Patrick Crozier muses upon the Black Dad Phenomenon, if that’s what it is.  Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, the Williams sisters, and now Lewis Hamilton.

The Transport Blog surge continues.  May 21st to June 4th: no postings.  June 5th to now: too many to be exact but about fourteen.  Did you know that Alex Singleton is a communist?  Apparently so.

Bishop Hill recycles this Orwell quote, in among lots of other good recent stuff:

The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom. That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage, is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.

How times change.  Workers have no guns, and totalitarian states now do no great things.  The Chinese are bastards, yes, but they have prosperity because they have stopped trying to totalitarianise it.

I also like this Bishop Hill quote of the day, which he makes look a lot prettier:

The global temperature record is not a record in the true sense, but a theory of what the record would look like if it had been measured properly.

Norman Lebrecht reports on the Royal Festival Hall’s recent accoustic refurbishment.  Basically, it’s much better, if still not in the same class as the Vienna Musikvereinsaal or the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, or for that matter Symphony Hall Birmingham.  Love the name of the acoustics expert who did it: Larry Kierkegaard.  Reminds me of a person invented by Peter Simple called Barry Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

This piece about physics (which I already mentioned here) continues to be noted and quoted.

The phrase “cargo-cult capitalism” definitely deserves a separate posting to itself, if only because of the alliteration, but just in case I never get around to doing that here or anywhere else, scroll down here, and you’ll encounter it.  Money quote:

Companies that were once part of nationalised industries but are now private tend to be run according to a set of principles that I call “cargo-cult capitalism”. Just like the cargo cults who build things that look like runways in the belief that these will bring planes bearing bounteous wonders, the managers of these organisations have seen private companies doing things and making profit, but have no conception of the underlying structure that informs their actions.

Lost of juicey stuff earlier about a train balls-up.  Not like it is in France.  (Julian Taylor is also a communist, it would seem.  Transport Bloggers?)

Recent and much overdue addition to my blogroll: The Freeway to Serfdom.  Jay Jardine here notes this delightful quote from an ancient news story on the subject of mobile phones in Africa, and how they use phone airtime as currency:

The big fear among Africa’s central banks is that internationally-recognized card brands would allow locals to bypass exchange controls.

That was written in 2003.  I wonder what happened with that.

Nearly finally, an extraordinary quote from way back in January, which is to be found in the blog written by Ken MacLeod, the noted SF author, The Early Days of a Better Nation, here.

On January 3, 1793, the first Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Short, the American ambassador to Paris, who had criticized the early excesses of the French Revolution. Praising the insurrection, he asked whether “ever such a prize” had been “won with so little innocent blood?” His “own affections,” Jefferson added, “have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam and an Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than as it now is.”

Bloody hell. Give me liberty and give me death!

And finally finally, something feline, what with this being Friday.

Lost in France:

image

Jackie D again.