My comment on the Six Nations so far

I am hopeless at drawing, as you can see.

But having been watching the Six Nations rugby tournament for the last few weeks, and having in particular been listening to the various television commentators, I feel the need to offer you all this attempt at a cartoon.

Anyone who wants to copy this, or indeed copy it and improve the graphics, is most welcome. I am surely not the first to have thought of this particular observation.

(There was a bit of fiddling about with the presentation of this, on account of my software not actually showing me exactly how a posting like this will look. Sorry about that.)

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

UPS drones and drone vans

Another drone application hovers into view:

Yes, it’s UPS:

“This is really a vision for the future for us,” UPS senior vice president for engineering and sustainability, Mark Wallace, said in an interview with Business Insider.

The drone will work as a mechanized helper for the driver, reducing the number of miles a driver will need to drive. According to Wallace, UPS can save $50 million a year if everyone of its drivers reduces the length of their delivery routes by one mile.

UPS sees several potential usage cases for its autonomous drones. This ranges from inventory control at warehouses to the delivery of urgent packages such as medical supplies. However, this latest test is geared towards the company’s  operations in rural areas where drivers have to cover vast distances between delivery points.

But all this is still some way off:

Currently, the technology [is] still in the testing phase and UPS doesn’t have an exact timeline for its introduction into service, Wallace said.

Timeline being the twenty first century way of saying: time. See also learning curve (learning); learning experience (fuck-up); etc.

I once had a job delivering number plates, in a white van, all over Britain. Much of it was lots of unassembled number plate components in big heavy boxes, to big suppliers, which we delivered direct. And the rest of the job was one-off finished number plates to motorbike shops, which the other drivers often used to deliver by posting them. I always went there direct, because I enjoyed the drive, but either way the economics of those one-off number plates was ridiculous. A drone to do the final thirty miles or so would have been most handy, if it could have been organised. (A digital camera would have been very nice also. But alas, I had to wait a quarter of a century for that.)

The serious point: drones are useful tools for running big and visible and trustable (because so easily embarrassable and controlable) businesses, for example the big and very visible enterprise that provided this. Drones are, basically, tools for workers rather that toys for funsters. They may supply fun, but they will mostly be operated by workers.

In London anyway. Things may be different out in the wilds of the countryside. But even taking photos out in the wilds of Yorkshire involves – I bet – getting some kind of permit. If not, it soon will. Because there will be complaints, and drones are highly visible.

Also audible, yes? Anyone know how noisy drones tend to be? 6K? How noisy is your drone?

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The outdoor map next to the Twelvetrees Crescent Bridge over the River Lea

I like London’s (England’s?) long, thin, very vertical, outdoor maps. Whenever I am out and about photoing, I photo them:

There’s nothing like a photo of a map with “You are here” on it, to tell you exactly where you were. That’s where I was, early on, on the day I later took these pictures.

Seriously, it is often quite difficult to work out exactly where I was when I look through the products of one of my photographic perambulations. This kind of snap turns it from difficult to obvious.

Especially if you can actually see the bit where it says “You are here”, like this:

I’ve recently been on several expeditions to this intriguing part of London, with its convoluted waterways. Maps are nice, but there’s no substitute for actually being there. With a camera.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Guess what this is

I’ve been meaning to post this image here for some time:

Guess what it is. If in doubt, look at the categories list below. Then go here, to confirm what you must surely have worked out.

Many have described the event at which this happened as historic, but not because of this. But I reckon what you see in the above picture is what historians will end up being most impressed by, about this event, because it was a very public manifestation of a very impressive sort of technology, which is going to have a very big future.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Shopping Trolley Spiral beside the River Lea

Yesterday I told you about a photo I took on January 20th of this year. Earlier that day I had journeyed to Bromley-By-Bow tube station, then walked south along the River Lea, and ended my wanderings at Star Lane Station. It was a great day for photoing, and I especially enjoyed photoing this witty sculpture:

But who did it? This evening I realised that I seemed to recall Mick Hartley having something to say about this, and so it proved.

It’s by Abigail Fallis, and it is called DNA DL90. Well, I say that’s what it’s called. That’s what Abigail Fallis called it, but I bet nobody else calls it that. I bet what most people call it is more like: Shopping Trolley Spiral. I’m guessing further that Abigail Fallis regards her sculpture as some kind of critique of late capitalist consumerism. But such ArtGrumbling need not stop the rest of us thoroughly enjoying the thing, and also continuing to relish our trips to the supermarket, there to sample the delights of early capitalism. Because you see, Abigail, capitalism is just getting started.

Yes. I was right. Says Hartley:

It is, says Fallis, a symbol of modern society’s consumer culture, which has now become entwined in our genetic make-up. They can’t help themselves, can they, these artists?

The usual bitch about Artsists is that they are predictable, and indeed they are. But this was something else again. I literally predicted this, before I read it. How predictable is that? Very, very.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog