Farce repeating itself as farce

This is rather good:

Seriously, I remember back at Essex University in the early 1970s how the Lenin-with-hair tendency thought that the answer to every problem in the world then was to occupy something, fill it with rubbish and then bugger off and plan their next stupid occupation. They were tossers then, and they, their children and their grandchildren are tossers now. Farce repeating itself as farce.

It’s no surprise that I think it good, because I wrote it and posted it on Samizdata, in October 2011, in connection with the Occupy Movement. This was long enough ago for me to have completely forgotten having posted it. But I thought it good at the time, or I’d not have posted it. Everyone thinks what they post is good, or they should. I mean, if you don’t think that what you have just posted is good, why the hell did you post it?

I came across this when trying to find out how many mentions I have made on Samizdata about my time at Essex University, and in particular if I had ever told the story of how the student politicians wanted to give us Drama Society geeks a small grant, so that they could then take a large amount of credit for everything we had been doing. It seems that this story is yet to be told. I hope to tell it soon, but promise nothing. Short summary: we refused the grant.

Bollocks can also be spelt Bollox

I note with pleasure and gratitude that BMNBdotcom has made it into David Thompson’s latest list of ephemera, because of an earlier little posting here concerning bollocks.

Some while after doing that posting I came across this Sun front page photo, taken the day after the last General Election:

I would have included that in the earlier posting if I’d remembered having photoed it. But today’s also a good day for it, because Friday is my day for animal kingdom related postings. Woof.

Another creature related ephemeron (?) in DT’s list concerns the eagles at the top of the Chrysler Building.

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.

I actually did the “simultaneous sip” …

… before watching what Scott Adams has to say about the Democratic Debate that happened in Las Vegas last night. This is the first time I have done this. This only happened because I happened to have a recently assembled cup of coffee on my desk. My simultaneous sip felt nice.

By all accounts I’ve read so far (in my bubble), the actual debate itself was a Motorway Pile-up of epic proportions. I’m guessing Adams will be saying pretty much that.

Trouble is, I have to be out soon, and will have to hold off watching this until I get back. But the point of the simultaneous sip is that this interruption now really hurts. I don’t think this interruption would have hurt, had it not been for me actually doing the simultaneous sip. Me doing the simultaneous sip is like the difference between something being merely on, and me truly tuning in to it.

The Chinese government shoots itself in the social media

Glenn Reynolds, writing about the Chinese government’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak:

The Chinese government continues to censor news and social media. This not only keeps the rest of the world from knowing what’s going on, it also makes it harder for the government itself to keep track of what’s really happening, as opposed to what underlings are reporting to their superiors.

Interesting way of looking at social media, I think. What this is saying is that the government in the world that is most keen on mass surveillance has totally crapped all over the world’s greatest ever system of mass surveillance, and rendered it useless for that purpose. Ironic, when you think about it.

Remember to photo the ordinary things

This is great advice:

Wallsend in 1963 by Colin Jones. If you are a young photographer who is just starting out remember to photograph the ordinary things in life, eventually time will make them extraordinary.

Got this from my Twitter feed. Twitter is not only bile and stupidity. It depends who you are following. I follow some photoers. That they typically have different political opinions to me is, for me, a feature rather than a bug, because I see into other political minds.

But the good news is …

Bloomberg reports that A $1 Billion Solar Plant Was Obsolete Before It Ever Went Online.

The US taxpayer faces an eye-watering bill. Which is very bad. But the interesting thing to me is why it was obsolete:

By the time the plant opened in 2015, the increased efficiency of cheap solar panels had already surpassed its technology, and today it’s obsolete — the latest panels can pump out power at a fraction of the cost for decades with just an occasional hosing-down.

I am not a close student of solar power, but to my uneducated eye this sounds like very good news. The savings that this rapid solar tech progress will yield will surely be worth far more than whatever the US government wasted (by being too impatient and/or corrupt) on this particular slice of pork.

There’s a graph in the Bloomberg piece which says that the “Cost of Solar Technology in $ Per Megawatt-Hour” has fallen from around $350 in 2009 to around $50 in 2019. Which sounds like quite a drop. I had heard rumours about how solar power is getting cheaper, but I had not realised how rapid this improvement had been. And, I’m guessing, will go on being.

New and overdue category here: “Energy”.

Soleimani etc.

In connection with the death of Qasem Soleimani, Mick Hartley posts this picture [photo credit: AFP]:

Plenty of Middle Easterners are now, it seems, rejoicing.

In another posting, Hartley quotes Gerard Baker of The Times saying:

… But this wasn’t simply a case of retributive justice. This was no Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who were all essentially busted flushes when they met justice. Soleimani was the mastermind of a vast programme of slaughter, enslavement and repression that was continuing across the Middle East until the day he died. …

Meanwhile the Daily Mail offers this characteristically terse headline:

‘Death to liars!’ Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime and demand the Ayatollah RESIGN after country’s military admits it shot down passenger plane full of its own citizens

But no, I too had never heard of Soleimani until Trump had him killed.