Silencing the many voices

I am in the habit of opening windows, each window with lots of open tabs, and of leaving them all open. Pocket (thank you again 6k) has been a life saver, because I can now close a tab and still have a record of it. But even then, I still tend to have a lot of tabs open, so much so that every now and again, Google seizes up and has to be restarted. At which point I get the magic option, if I’m lucky, to “restore” all the windows and tabs I had open when the seizure struck. Well, I want these tabs open, or why would they all be open? So, I duly restore.

At which point, if my loudspeakers have not been silenced, there begins a babble of voices, caused by several tabs immediately starting to talk. I’d paused them, but when they get restored, they forget about being paused. Or something. (If I perfectly understood all this, I probably wouldn’t have a problem.) The problem being, there are so many tabs open that I find it very hard to track down all these babbling voices. Recently, I have been switching my discretionary attention from television to things like YouTube and podcasts of various sorts. That has made all this far worse.

Now, as I type this into BMNBdotcom, I have managed to find and to silence all but one of these voices, but that one voice is persisting. I can’t find it. Until I do, the only way to silence it will be to silence everything. So I can’t listen to any other sound my computer is capable of producing, without this voice talking over the top of it.

My search continues. I’m not expecting any answers, but I would love it if some passing commenter could solve this for me.

Some podcasting numbers

On Thursday, I did a little posting on Samizdata, flagging up the conversation that Patrick Crozier and I recorded on the subject of the Falklands War. I’ve already mentioned this conversation a couple of times here, but I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned any of them over there, on my version of the mass media. There has so far been only one comment on this Samizdata posting (way below the Samizdata average (but a very informative one comment)), but I think I detect a very slight and non-coincidental uptick in our listener numbers. These have gone from pretty much non-existent, to infinitesimally tiny. Which is a significant improvement, I think.

All of which means that I now want to record the number of downloads there have so far been for each of these conversations that Patrick and I have done, as of now, so that I can see if these numbers continue to rise, and so that I am prevented from deceiving myself about how much they go up by, if they do. Here’s the state of play, in reverse order of recording: The Falklands War (28); The First Wold War: what happened next? (15); Christianity (13); Brexit (18); Why the West won the Cold War (12); History (11); Transport (19); The importance of being number three (11); Trump (19); Diversity (13); Television 7 (7), 6 (9), 5 (9), 4 (7), 3 (7), 2 (8), 1 (10); The First World War (26).

I know, these are ridiculously small numbers. But so what? We both like having these conversations. Think of it not as any sort of business, where the number and satisfaction of consumers is what makes it worthwhile. See it as Patrick and me enhancing our social life by having a more disciplined conversation than if we had just banged on in a pub for an hour, and what’s more a conversation where we can be sure of exactly what we earlier said, should we want to be. My feeling is, from where I sit, that we’re not just chatting, we’re learning. Learning things, with our homework and from each other, and also we are doing that particular kind of learning that consists of arranging things inside our heads, so that they make more sense than they might if we didn’t record what we said. And if a few others find that they like listening to our conversations, so much the better.

Patrick Crozier and I talk about the Falklands War

As earlier noted, Patrick Crozier and I recently recorded a conversation about the Falklands War, involving both what we each remembered about it from when we lived through it (early in 1982), and what we have learned about it since, which was not a lot in my case but a bit.

It was a strange conversation, because we basically talked only about what happened and what we remembered, and almost nothing about what the war “proved” or “demonstrated”, about life generally or about the libertarianism that we are both supporters of in other contexts. The questions we began with were: What was it? What happened? How did events unfold? And that’s what we talked about. There were a few ruminations about the difference between a country which had fought several recent wars and another country which had not, and what that meant in terms of the differences between the people fighting each other. That difference being a major reason why Britain won. But even that was strictly to try to explain events, rather than to get all grand and philosophical and what it all meant.

What Patrick felt and what I felt at the time, about the rights and wrongs of it, were rather different. He was gung-ho and very clear. The Argies stole the islands and we should get them back, and do whatever that took. I was rather baffled and wanted Britain to win more because losing would be so terrible. Not least politically. Because, as we speculated, it would have been hard for Thatcher to have survived as PM if there had been a British military and naval catastrophe down there in the South Atlantic. (The South Atlantic being where, as so many Brits of my sort were rather unsure about at the time, the Falkland Islands are to be found.) There nearly was a catastrophe. Luck played a scarily big part, far bigger than we were told at the time.

Well, if you want to hear what we said about this strange war, and are not expecting any bigger lessons beyond a small and rather meandering history lesson, here is where to go.

The miscalculations of the Tiggers

Way back in the Spring of last year, when the Brexit battle was still raging away in Parliament and when Theresa May was still the Prime Minister, Patrick Crozier and I did a podcast o this subject. A point that Patrick made very strongly was how the Remainers, presented with the opportunity of BRINO (Brexit in name only), instead were busily engaged in snatching defeat from the jaws of only somewhat modified victory. Since then, the Remainers carried right on doing this.

As Guido Fawkes explained gleefully in a posting a few days ago about the most visible and organised of the Remainers. These “Tiggers”, as Guido calls them, continued to trash any possibility of BRINO. And then they all got ejected from Parliament, leaving the field clear for actual Brexit, or something a lot like it, to proceed.

This posting of Guido’s is worth a read and a ponder, unless you were yourself a Remainer and can’t bear to think about it all. Thus is history made by the winners. And also bungled by the losers.

I found the picture there, on the right, by scrolling down here. A lot.

Another podcast I just listened to that was good

Here.

It’s Bryan Caplan (the guy who gave this lecture that I recently attended), talking to Darren Grimes of the IEA. Caplan disagrees with most voters, but in an ingratiating way. As he himself says towards the end of the conversation, if you have disagreeable things to say, say them agreeably and people will be more likely to listen.

LATER: Now, I’m listening to another interview. Scott Adams autobiographising. Terrific.

Anton Howes interviewed about his research

I spent my blogging time today concocting a posting about the opinions and discoveries of Anton Howes, and in particular this piece. My posting will be ready and up at Samizdata Real Soon Now. In the course of doing this I encountered this podcast which an American guy did with Howes. I’m now half way through this. So far: recommended.

That’s it for today.

Big Ben is having its scaffolding removed

Here’s a photo I took from just upstream of the Blackfriars Station entrance. It is of one of the many weird alignments you get, from the fact that the River Thames is not straight, but full of twists and turns.

Here we are, on the north side of the Thames, looking through the Wheel, which is on the south side of the Thames, past one of the rectanguloid lumps attached to or near to the National Theatre, also on the south side, towards … Big Ben. Big Ben on the north side. Big Ben smothered in scaffolding:

The reason I mention this photo now (aside from the fact that I like it) is that today, I learned from Guido Fawkes that this scaffolding has now started to disappear:

As was announced by Parliamentary Authorities last week, Elizabeth Tower has begun the prolonged process of shedding some of its cladding. To the palpable relief of tourists who have experienced years of photographic disappointment …

When Guido says “Elizabeth Tower”, he of course means Big Ben. And, also of course, I loved all the scaffolding around Big Ben, and have numerous photos of it taken from all sorts of different places and angles.

For the last year or two I have found myself connecting this scaffolding with the battle to accomplish Brexit. Time standing still, or some such thing. I had a sort of bet with myself that when the scaffolding came down, Brexit would finally happen. (I favour Brexit, having voted for it in the referendum.)

But now, it seems the scaffolding will be long gone before Brexit occurs, if it ever does. Although, on my television, they’re still advertising Brexit as going to happen at the end of this month. Maybe it will happen then, but what do I know?

Concerning these latest delays to Brexit, my favourite internet posting by far has been another one at Guido Fawkes, more recent than the one linked to above, concerning a malfunctioning advert.

For my more serious Brexit opinions, listen, if you can stand the idea, to this conversation between Patrick Crozier and me, which I reckon still makes pretty good sense. Although, if you’re a Remainer, you should probably give it a miss.

What have Patrick Crozier and I been doing right with our podcasts?

For quite some while now, ever since August (I think it must have been) 2017, when we talked about World War 1, Patrick Crozier and I have been doing a podcast every few weeks or so.

Here is where to find them all, that first one in the series about WW1 being
here.

But what has anyone besides us been making of these podcasts? That’s if anyone has actually been listening to them.

Anyone besides me. I find it very helpful to record interesting thoughts, and in particular big questions, in this “public” form. Questions like: Why did the rulers of Britain decide that Britain should plunge into World War 1, in the horribly destructive and self-destructive (as it turned out) way that they did? And why, having discovered how destructive the war was becoming, did all those engaged in it not put a stop to it? What the hell were they thinking? I want to remember such questions until I have something approximating to answers.

But that’s just me. I’m terrible at note-taking. Oh, I take notes, but later I can’t even read the damn things, let alone store them in a way that enables me to get back to them. On the other hand, I love to have places, in something resembling “public”, where I can shove notes, and where others can, at least in theory, help me improve on them and flesh them out, or correct them when they’re wrong. Instead of me just forgetting everything.

Once I know other people just might be noticing what I have said or written, I find I can pay attention to it also. Books, these are things I can remember that I own and keep worrying away at, not least because they have big words written on them which I can see on my walls. My own thoughts, scribbled on scraps of paper, forget about it. As in: I forget about it.

All of that being part of why I so like blogging, and also doing these podcasts with Patrick.

But that’s just me. That’s why I like listening to these podcasts. Why would anyone else want to listen to them? I don’t know, but I’d love if if someone else were to listen to some of these podcasts, like them, and then tell us why.

This was why I was so pleased when someone else recently did say they’d been listening to these podcasts, and say that he did like them.

In a comment thread attached to this First Official Posting here, and in among a lot of jibber-jabber about comment approval and RSS feeds and suchlike, “Rob” (and I know who that is) mentioned that if I and Michael Jennings (the man who set up and is still helping me with this new blog of mine) were ever to do any more podcasts, he, Rob, would listen to them. I replied that Patrick Crozier and I had been doing some podcasts. A bit of a while later, Rob said this:

I have listened to the croziervision podcasts and like them too.

Big moment. Our very first positive feedback. Someone who took no part in these conversations nevertheless liked listening to them.

My question to Rob, no disrespect at all intended, is: Why? What have we been doing right? I’d genuinely like to know. Because then we can tell other people why Rob liked listening to these podcasts, and a few further people might like the sound of them, and tune in also, and then like the actual sound of them. A comment on this from Rob might even accomplish this automatically.