IMX586 stacked CMOS image sensor (and more Samsung overheating)

The Daily Mail has the story:

Sony has revealed a radical new sensor chip that could dramatically improve your smartphone pictures.

Called the ‘IMX586 stacked CMOS image sensor’ it boasts 48 megapixels, yet measures just 8mm diagonally.

It is set to come to phones later this year, and could even appear in the next iPhone.

The rise of smartphone photography continues.

The Daily Mail had this story about a week ago, actually, but creativity news is not like regular news, and a week’s delay doesn’t really matter. Such developments happen slowly, and putting a date to them can be difficult. Unlike with regular news of the sort that newspapers clear their front pages to proclaim, which usually involves disaster erupting at a very particular moment. As for this gizmo, will it actually happen “later this year”? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it, or something a lot like it, will happen in a few months time.

In other smartphone news, I have been looking, not very determinedly, for a smartphone with a big screen. One of the contenders is the Samsung Galaxy S9+. But in my experience, Samsung screens overheat. So I googled “samsung s9+ overheating” and immediately got a result. Apparently, Samsung are still presiding over overheating screens. I do not understand how such absurd behaviour can be to their advantage. Not all such screens overheat. Clearly, such nonsense is fixable. So why don’t they fix it?

Progress progresses, but not all capitalists are necessarily anything to do with the progress process.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Richtigen Moment Klick

An osprey dives for a fish near Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Says Peter Schramm:

… hier hat es im richtigen Moment Klick gemacht …

Which sounds about richtigen.

Thank you Mike Fagan.

In the Twittered version of this photo, the claws of the Osprey at the bottom of the photo are chopped off. The result looks like some kind of medieval sculpted gargoyle with big ears and sunken.

Originally posted at
Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Two good jokes – and a mystery (and a sign (and a cartoon dance))

Two things got my attention just now on Twitter, both, I think, very funny. I didn’t actually LOL. But I did smile.

First up, this quote:

It is always bittersweet when your relatives bid you fond farewell as you leave for Edinburgh, and only you know how much you are about to defame them for comedic gain.

And next up, this cartoon:

The latter of these two jollities goes way back, and I suspect that the script and the visuals were done by different people. But the first one is bang up to date, and I am hence able to direct you to who originated it, which I like to do.

This, on the other hand, baffles me:

I recognise financial commentator and funny man Dominic Frisby, on the left there. But why do Frisby’s shoes have lightbulbs in them? Who is that other bloke, and why are the two of them waving their fingers like that? Why are they sitting in the eyes of a giant skull? Also, what on earth does this have to do with Brexit? What is it that Remainers have said about such a scene as this, to the effect that it couldn’t happen, or would happen less? Are the above two gents, like the provider of the quote above, in Edinburgh, for the Festival? And have the Remainers said that the Edinburgh Festival this year would be a flop? Yes, that must be it.

LATER: Just noticed where it says in the cartoon. So I guess that’s where that started.



Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Recovering with McFarlane

I am now (a) recovering from last night’s meeting, (b) feeling pleased that my recording of it came out quite good, and (c) I am now watching a video of Alan McFarlane talking about the Anglosphere.. As I concoct this posting, I can hear McFarlane talking. Which works well, because the visuals made his early points, but not later ones. This is the first time I have seen him in action, seen what he looks like.

(c), and things like (c) is/are the reason/s why I joined Twitter. If you are on Twitter, but all it does is communicate to you a world of screaming idiots, you are not, unless a world of screaming idiots is what you want, doing Twitter right.

There is lots of extraneous noise in the Alan McFarlane video. There is far less on the recording I made last night. But all that matters, in each case, is what is being said. If what you are being told is good then you can tolerate any amount of extraneous aural clutter. If it is not good, then audio-perfection makes no difference.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A Jordan Peterson evening

I have just finished hosting my latest last Friday meeting. It seemed to me to go very well, despite, and arguably because of, the low turnout. The fewer people show up at a meeting, the more subtle the conversation can be. Each question can get really answered.

Tamiris Loureiro was the speaker. Unusually, she actually spoke for a shorter time than she had in mind to. Usually what happens is that a speaker assembles twenty things they want to say, and gets through about three or four of them, and speaks for twenty minutes longer than they had in mind to. She raced through hers in about twenty minutes, which left lots of time for comments and questions from the rest of us.

Her subject was Jordan Peterson. She described to him as “The Good Libertarian”, which proved interestingly provocative. Peterson spans a lot of political territory between conservative and libertarian, including classical liberalism, classical liberal being what he calls himself. Paradoxically, said Tamiris, a lot of Paterson’s political impact comes from the fact that he approaches most of the problems he tackles in a non-political way. He urges us all to take personal responsibility for our lives, rather than palming our problems off on governments. Which of course is what libertarians recommend.

What did I learn from the evening? Some of what I learned came from finally getting stuck into 12 Rules for Life, by way of preparation. I had been put off from actually reading this book by the fear that I had heard it all, in the various videos and interviews of Peterson’s that I have already heard. I feared being bored. Oh me of little faith. I really enjoyed reading it.

One of the many things about Peterson that strikes me, as I found myself saying at this evening’s meeting, is that he has a very interesting “talent stack”, to use a phrase that Scott Adams likes to use to describe successful people. Peterson has a range of intellectual skills, from digging deep into ancient religious texts and coming up with non-trivial interpretations, to being an experienced councillor of troubled people, to being interviewed on television without losing his rag (think of the Cathy Newman interview), to jousting belligerently on Twitter with the worst of them. He is a self-publicist of considerable talent, and he has deeper stuff that will stand up to being publicised. It comes, I surmise, from his belief that a man’s got to take on the most responsibility he can carry. He needs to reach as many people as he can with his redemptive messages. He shouldn’t be too modest. He should put himself about as much as he can contrive.

Next up, hearing if the recording I made – or tried to make – of the talk, and of the subsequent Q&A, is any good, as a recording I mean. I don’t usually record my meetings, but I recorded this one in order to make the event mean something if the only people present had been Tamiris and me, which for a couple of days earlier in the week looked like it might happen.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Complaining about the heat after complaining about the cold

Today’s weather:

Bloody hell. And I’m feeling it already.

Also, I just had an email from a Brazilian friend, who is doing a talk at my place tomorrow evening, and who has been suffering from the heat. It included this, about how she doesn’t like …:

… to complain about the heat after complaining so much about the cold …

But she does anyway, as do I.

Good to hear it from a Brazilian. Who probably came to live here partly because our weather doesn’t normally do this kind of thing. No doubt in Rio now, it is an equable 24 degrees C. Yes.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Silly sofa to advertise domestic television getting bigger and better

I like this, in an I wouldn’t actually want one sort of a way::

But it isn’t a serious piece of furniture. Nobody is actually going to buy one of these edifices. If that’s wrong, I look forward to learning about it and telling you about it, with more photos, of this 3 decker sofa in an actual home type home, instead of in something that looks like a city office.

The idea is, I assume, to flood the internet with the set of pictures of which the above is but one, of this cross between a sofa and a sports stadium, and thereby get people to link to stories like this one, which are about some kind of joint venture between BT (which stands for British Telecom) and EE (which stands for Esomething Esomething), involving being able to shove whatever television stuff you are receiving on your mobile phone onto your television. At no extra charge, blah blah, which always actually means at a definite extra charge. (EE probably began life meaning Extremely Expensive. Something to do with mobile internet connections, I think.)

For me, what this sofa-sports-stand is about is the fact that domestic television is getting steadily bigger and better, and cinemas and pubs are get steadily less attractive as places to watch … video. This is the trend that EE/BT are tuning into, to sell whatever it is they’re selling.

The key moment in this process was when big TVs started getting cheap.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Surrey’s hot streak continues

Mark Church, the Surrey commentator-in-chief, tweets the gory or glorious (according to taste) details of Surrey’s recent run of triumphs in the Country Championship:

Surrey’s 5 straight wins:

Innings and 17 runs
Innings and 58 runs
Innings and 89 runs
7 wickets
Innings and 183 runs

6 wins in total this season

Good numbers those 🏏🏏

Very good. No surprise, then, that Surrey are way out in front and are hot favourites to win the whole thing.

I’ve been following all these wins, the scores via Cricinfo, and if I want to hear the actual fall of wickets being described by normally taciturn men who suddenly start shouting, then through the BBC commentaries, the ones that Mark Church does.

If you follow a sports team, you will know both how deeply satisfying this Surrey hot streak has been for me, a Surrey supporter, and also how impossible it is for me to explain to someone who doesn’t share such sports fan feelings why it is so satisfying.

With four day county cricket, keeping track of the progress of a steamroller team, like Surrey have been this year, means tracking your team for twenty solid days, six hours each day, minus the days you miss because Surrey have already won inside three days, like they did today. Imagine following your football team doing that, winning for twenty solid days!

Follow that link, and you will learn that the guy who made the difference for Surrey today was South African pace monster Morne Morkel. The word is that people around the counties hate Surrey a bit less than usual just now, on account of so many of Surrey’s good players these days being proper county cricketers that they have nurtured in their Academy or whatever, rather than bought in from The World. But Morkel is a classic throw-money-at-the-problem answer to a problem, the problem being that Surrey needed a bowler like Morkel to make their bowling attack the complete steamroller than it now is.

Morkel wasn’t just the difference today. On the first morning of this game, when Notts were just one wicket down and were groping towards a position of batting adequacy, Morkel got two quick wickets, and Notts never recovered. Instead of Notts batting in the second half of the day when batting was easier, Surrey got to bat then. Yesterday morning, Surrey batted on and lost four wickets for not a lot, but this wasn’t enough for Notts to get back into the game. The Surrey tail didn’t so much wag as flail. Rikki Clarke, who started his career at Surrey and is now finishing it there, got a century batting at eight, Burns having already scored a century batting at one, and that was pretty much that.

Okay, your eyes glazed during that last paragraph, but you are now here. The point is: Surrey are now really good.

This metaphorical hot streak of Surrey’s has been a great comfort to me, in these literally very hot times.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The City Big Things looking like a model


Taken from the top of the Tate Modern Extension, about one month ago.

I think the reason it looks (to me) like a model is the way the river looks. That doesn’t look like water. It looks more like some hardboard painted the colour of the river, and then covered in transparent glue, to make it look like it’s water. Something like this is how modelers do it. So if it looks like this, it makes everything else look like it must be a model too.

It’s also something to do with the lighting of the entire scene, at that time of the evening when it doesn’t know if it’s daylight or evening. Magic hour, I believe, is what the movie people call this time.

I already very much like the latest City Big Thing, the Scalpel. Very recognisable, no matter how far away you are.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Uncluttered French train roofs

When I recently went to France, there was a rail strike on. I even took a picture of the strike, in the form of an electronic sign at St Pancras full of train cancellations:

But, what happened to this strike? Is it still going on? Or has it finished? If it has finished, who won?

I am none the wiser about the answers to these questions, but while seeking such answers, I came across this photo, of French trains, taken by someone looking down upon their roofs:

Not much roof clutter to be seen there. (See below. This is now a preoccupation of mine.) Does the clutter on top of these trains not even exist? Or, is it merely covered up? (More research is needed.)

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog