Sulphur-crested cockatoos’ ability to pry open bins has spread across 44 suburbs in only two years

Straya.

Californian kingsnake!

I know, it sounds like a phrase you’d encounter in a political rant about California, dream to nightmare, blah blah.

Actually, it’s an actual type of snake.

Photoing Big Ben from pavement level

My day was spent recovering from a busy yesterday, trying not to get too hot in all the hotness, and then when I should have been saying profound things here I was watching the first Men’s Hundred Game, which was every bit as entertaining as yesterday’s game, again because it was a good game, and was again won by the Oval Invincibles, this time the men’s version.

So, a photo from the I Just Like It collection, photoed way back in 2007:

He’s photoing Big Ben, with the friend in the horizontally striped stockings in front of it, which means he has to be phptoing from pavement level.

I love the contortions we photoers get ourselves into to get the exact photo we want. It’s as if the process, being so easy, has to become complicated, or else where’s the creativity?

Landscape painters never used to behave like this. They just parked their easels in a comfortable spot for painting, and started painting.

Maybe it’s just that we photoers do this kind of thing because we can!

The first Hundred game on the telly

I watched the first Hundred Cricket game earlier this evening. It was a good game. But that was because it was a good game, not because it was a hundred balls each way, if you get my meaning. Also, it was a ladies game, and there were lots of lady cricketers I’d never seen in action on TV before. It was fun putting faces to names. Mid you, I had to follow it on Cricinfo to work out what was going on. This was not clear to me from the television, but then I’m an old white guy.

It’s as if they poured all their inventiveness and seriousness into making the Hundred a success. If the same stuff had been lavished on regular cricket, then the results might be just as good.

Much effort has gone into making the Hundred “inclusive”, the commentators talking about this a lot. Basically, this seemed to mean keeping fat white blokes of a certain age, on their own or with only their fat white bloke mates, out. They did this with having girlie singers singing girlie songs, and, one also suspects, giving special rates to families, especially if you family includes cute little girls.

Or, maybe they just had a special stand into which they herded all the fat white blokes, and then only showed the diverse bits of the crowd on the TV. Or then again, maybe all those lady cricketers put the fat blokes right off the whole thing.

I quite liked all this. No honking singing, such as fat white blokes do, and none of those stupid costumes.

However, I stand by my original complaints about the Hundred. Why do the people running English cricket think that the basic problem with cricket is that there are only three different versions of it, and there badly needs to be another, a lot like on the those original three, but different? It still makes no sense. They’re polishing a turd, quite skilfully, but it’s still a turd. Also, for English cricket to strike out on its own like this makes no sense. The Indians, who are now the centre of gravity of cricket, have made a huge success of T20 cricket, even though the format was first devised here. We should just be doing basic cricket as is better, not throwing all the toys out of the pram and starting again with another version of it that the foreigners will surely ignore.

None of the other big old sports behave remotely like this. They just do their regular game as well as they can.

The League of Nations builds itself a custom-built headquarters in Geneva

I have been reading The Mighty Continent by John Terraine, which is a history of Europe from 1900 to the 1970s when it was published, being a spin-off book from a TV show.

On page 145 of my 1974 paperback edition, Terraine describes yet another example of the tendency of an organisation to lose its way at the very moment it constructs its custom-built headquarters. In this case, it’s the League of Nations, which collapsed into impotence when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 and the League did nothing about this:

The organisation lingered on and, with a final irony, it was now that it assumed the outward shape that is generally associated with it. The Palace of Nations, begun in 1929, was finished in 1936, just in time to become a mausoleum. Here at last were the necessary offices, 700 of them, and the fitting conference rooms for the words that no longer meant anything. There was a floor of Finnish granite, walls and pillars faced with Swedish marble, enigmatic and forbidding murals, depicting Technical Progress, Medical Progress, Social Progress, the Abolition of War, and so on, by the Catalan artist Jose Maria Sert. Under their sombre painted sermons, the Assemblies still met a passed their resolutions; everyone was still very busy. But underneath it all the mainspring was broken.

This building, the Palais des Nations in Geneva, is now occupied by the UN, which has its own custom-built headquarters building in New York. This is also a very busy place.

A 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam

A new bridge! 3D printed! In Amsterdam:

I get emails from Google about 3D printing, and one of the prejudices I am acquiring about it is that it is at its best when finding better and cheaper ways to make rather small and very complicated components in small numbers, and when making other small and very complicated components possible which had previously not been possible. 3D printing’s most impressive achievements so far have been largely invisible to the naked eye.

However, architects and designers being architects and designers, 3D printing is also being used to make big objects, all in one go, like houses and … bridges, very visibly indeed.

This is being justified not on cost grounds, because there are as yet no cost benefits, but rather on the grounds of increased aesthetic possibilities.

Trouble is, I think this particular bridge is very ugly. There’s something disproportionate about it. It’s a huge palaver, just to have a footbridge. It’s like getting Frank Gehry to design your front door, or a dustbin, or a mowing machine. Like getting your outside toilet redone in Scottish Baronial. It’s just a little footbridge! It shouldn’t be drawing attention to itself in this absurdly grandiose fashion.

But, if I saw it in the flesh, so speak, maybe I’d get to like it.

Why we have narcissistic rich guys

I like this:

The job of billionaires is to live a better life, and while doing that pay for it to go from being an expensive luxury to a cheap and universal commonplace.

People moan about “trickle down” economics, often claiming that it doesn’t even happen. I only have to look at my flat screen TV, upon which I am now happily watching cricket, to know that this is wrong.

Shadow selfie out east

Haven’t been feeling my best today. So a photo from the I Just Like It File:

On the left is the photo I Just Like, photoed in June 2014, by the River, way out east, beyond the Barrier, near a sewage works. And on the right, for anyone who cares, enough context to give a decent clue about how this strange photo came about.

I actually think this photo looks better in the smaller version, because all the shadowy stuff is a bit out of focus.

Rider’s view of a horse with a red hat

A swan photo with a difference, and now a horse photo with a difference. Well, I like it:

A friend went riding in Windsor Park this afternoon. I grew up around there, and went to school in Windsor for a while.

Post box cosy with swan and cygnets

Posted by a friend on Facebook today:

Swans being so very elegant, I am only one of many who likes to photo them, and there’s nothing special about my swan photos, unless the swans are the wrong colour, that being a posting here that keeps on being visited from time to time. But these knitted swans are definitely swans with a difference.

The BBC has more.