A House of Lords speech defending women and defending the English language

This bit of video, lasting just under ten minutes, which I recently came upon here, is surely likely to get a lot more attention than it’s got so far:

I like it because it is suffused with the very courtesy (a House of Lords feature) that he is asking for in the debate about trans rights. I am of the opinion that upholding trans rights should not be done by undermining the rights of women, as is the Noble Lord, Lord Hunt, or Philip Hunt as was. I am also of the opinion that Twitter mob bullying of anyone by anyone is to be deplored.

Will this speech prove to be a game-changer? I fear that this is a game that it will take more than one speech to change. But this speech is certainly, to use another common phrase of praise, a step in the right direction.

I’ve not looked at my Twitter feed since I watched this speech a few minutes ago, but I expect this to get many mentions there. If not, I just might break my Twitter silence. But like I say, I would be amazed if that were to be necessary.

LATER: Claire Fox, also in the House of Lords. says similar things, and tweets the videos.

Being offensive is not an offence and a public falsehood about the content of the law from a police force is worse than mere confusion

This:

I, and many others, found this sign very offensive. Which means that it was “being offensive” and it broke its own rule. Some of those many others complained and Merseyside Police retreated:

Merseyside Police said it “apologises for any confusion this may have caused,” adding “hate crime is an offence and will not be tolerated”.

Any confusion? These people are there to uphold the law. The law as it actually is. How about apologising for making a very public, very clear and very false statement about the content of that law?

At least they got a very public kicking on social media.

A ball point pen for eight pence!

Here are two more photos photoed with my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone:

I came upon these pens while seeking something else, as you do. I then took these photos because what I was seeing reminded me of a conversation I recently had with Michael Jennings about why the cameras in things like my Samsung Galaxy Something mobile phone are so good. He said that when you are ordering up the cameras for a production run of mobile phones like mine, or for an iPhone or some such thing (Michael J has the latest iPhone (with which he now takes photos like these)) you’re talking about ordering a billion of the things, literally. When you are working on that sort of scale, then the economies of scale really start to kick in. A camera which would have cost five times what the mere phone costs now, if you sold it only to photographers, now costs only a dozen or two quid for my phone, or a couple of hundred for the latest iPhone. He’s not wrong.

Research and development for dedicated cameras has pretty much stopped about five years ago. All the effort now goes into making mobile phone cameras into miracle machines, and that’s really starting to be visible in the results.

I remember thinking, when digital cameras first arrived, that in the long run, cameras would have no reason to look like old school cameras, of the sort that had film in them. But at first they all did, because that was what people felt comfortable with. But now, that long run is starting to arrive. Cameras now consist only of a screen, and what is more a screen that can do a hundred other things besides photo photos.

And the above photos illustrate this same economies-of-scale which can fund mega-research-into-making-them-even-cheaper principle in action down at the bottom of the market, where they thrash out ball point pens by the billion. One pound for a dozen of them! Like I say in the title of this, that’s hardly more than eight pence a pen. And that’s after all the transport costs and retail mark-ups and goodness knows what else have also been paid. Amazing.

Shame they can’t make food and heating and rent that cheap. The one thing that never seems to get any cheaper nowadays is energy, aka the essentials of life. Are we due another human transformation, to go beside this one, when energy gets miraculously cheaper? Nuclear? Fusion? Bring it on.

That previous kink, I recently read in one of Anton Howes‘s pieces, was maybe made to seem more abrupt than it really was by the fact that there came a moment when they finally worked out how to extract and distribute energy on a serious scale, but energy remained quite expensive, hence the sudden kink upwards in the numbers. Actually, life had been getting better for some time, and didn’t suddenly get a hundred times better, merely about three or four times times every few decades.

Meanwhile, things like absurdly good cameras and absurdly cheap ball point pens don’t show up in graphs of how much mere money everyone is chucking around. Which causes people in a country like mine to underestimate the improvements of recent decades. These have not taken the form of us all having tons more money. No. What has been changing is the stuff we can now buy with the same money. Like my latest (mobile phone) camera, and like ball point pens. Provided you have some cash left over after you have fed and housed yourself and kept yourself warm (not everyone does), then life has got lots more fun, given how many and how much better are the toys and times you can now buy for the same money.

Life has not improved much for those who have fun only when the fun they get is too expensive for most others to be able to indulge in. But that’s a thought for a different posting.

Engine issue

Via Instapundit, this:

Police in Broomfield stated on Twitter that they received reports of dropped debris in several neighborhoods …

One of the engines on a passing United Airlines plane exploded. The plane flew back to Denver and landed safely. Nobody was hurt either by falling debris or in the plane.

CNN reported that there was an engine issue. I’ll say. A Boeing 777 apparently.

Lots more social media photos, including passenger videos of what remained of the engine, at the other end of the “this” link above. No way anyone could pretend this didn’t happen.

Quite a story. The Guardian agrees.

Disorientated and consequently doomed penguin

Never seen this before:

I came across this in the twitter-comments on this tweet about Matt Ridley’s dog making a question mark in the snow. Which was good, but not so good as the disorientated penguin.

“With five thousand kilometres ahead of him, he’s heading towards certain death.”

Death. Can’t seem to avoid it.

Maybe dressage isn’t so crazy after all

The non-equestrianism-obsessed, which is most people, tend to regard the mostly Olympic sport of “dressage” as ridiculous.

But what this video tells me is that maybe dressage is not persuading horses to be not-horses. Rather is it persuading them to behave as they did when they were kids, or foals, or whatever horses are when they’re kids.

Came across this here. Blog and learn.

Transparent wood

Here:

As window material, it would be much more resistant to accidental breakage. The clear wood is lighter than glass, with better insulating properties, which is important because windows are a major source of heat loss in buildings. It also might take less energy to manufacture clear wood because there are no high temperatures involved.

Transparent wood could become an alternative to glass in energy efficient buildings, or perhaps coverings for solar panels in harsh environments. There could be no end of uses.

Remarkable. Thank you Scott Adams.

The hope of progress

Having recently received a life sentence of quite advanced lung cancer, I find myself noticing reports like this one entitled Ultra-precise lasers remove cancer cells without damaging nearby tissue. Cancer treatment is progressing fast, in all manner of directions, and I am now seeing stories of this sort every few days. Will it progress fast enough to prolong my life in a significant way? Knowing what I do of how long it takes for an innovation to go from a recent observation or discovery to a routine service, my guess now would be: not. But I can’t help hoping that it might.

In another context, I have described this sort of feeling as the torture of hope.

I came upon this above report at the Twitter feed of Steve Stewart-Williams. There being a lot more to that guy than cute animal videos.

Also from the SS-W TwF

Following on from all these creaturely links, how woodpeckers survive being woodpeckers?

Woodpeckers have incredibly long tongues. I did not know this.

More from the Steve Stewart-Williams Twitter feed

Yes I haven’t recently resorted to the SS-W TwF for a Friday Cats and Other Creatures posting. But in the small hours of last night I did two short postings, neither of which had anything to do with any Creatures and that needs putting right. So, here we go.

We’ll start with what sort of creature we humans are. It turns out we’re a type of fish.

Next up, well played that gazelle

Diver convinces a baby octopus to trade its plastic cup for a seashell.

An insufficiently anxious chicken.

Puppy cuddles duck.

The amazing diversity of big cats.

Some dogs making friends with the biggest cat there is.

Kangaroo fights look a lot like boxing matches except that, unlike human boxers, the kangaroos periodically rear back on their tails and kick their opponents with both feet.

Rat uses pencil to activate trap and get food.

The babe magnet that is also a giant billboard for predators.

Cats negotiating obstacle courses. It’s how the hind legs don’t hit anything either that impresses SS-W.

Finally, with me remembering this earlier posting here, a spider that is definitely confused by a mirror.