Remote work is what a lot of people now want to make work

Interesting Twitter thread by Chris Herd about remote working:

I’ve spoken to 1,500+ people about remote work in the last 9 months

A few predictions of what is likely to emerge before 2030

I’ll believe it all as and when I see it. I will continue to believe that personal meet-ups still count for a lot, and get a lot of information communicated. Historically, this is why cities exist. Suburbs have long existed. I suspect Herd is describing a new sort of suburb, but not the end of the urb.

Clearly, a lot of people want to make this stuff work.

My architecture email feeds are telling me that new building in London, and most definitely new office building in London, has stopped dead. It’s all house conversions and trivia about would-be luxury shops.

Meanwhile, if the above quoted bits are anything to go by, the war against the full stop continues

One for the “You Are Here” collection

Nowadays, cameras can tell you exactly where you were when you took a photo, as well as exactly when you took it. But I can’t be doing with all that. I prefer taking photos like this one as I do my out-and-abouting, that say, as this one does, “You Are Here”:

And that one says it in French. Excellent.

We’re in the Pompidou Centre in Paris, in the bitterly cold February of 2012. Even remembering how cold that visit was makes me shudder now. But the Pompidou Centre itself was warm enough, and the views in it and from it were most diverting.

I have quite a few Paris postings here now, but have yet to transfer any of the postings from the old blog that I did about that earlier 2012 trip . My favourite, from a more recent and much warmer visit, featured my all time favourite food photo.

Life at the top of the slope

I am about to journey to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, at the far end of the Fulham Road, to get two distinct sets of X-rays done. Chest, and hip. I have been coughing a lot. And I have pains in and around the arse, back, right leg, and nearby spots. It kind of moves around. “Pain in the arse” is now yet another of those hitherto innocuous phrases which have become filled with meaning in recent weeks. Not the actual orifice itself, you understand, just the bones – or is it the muscles? – in that general area. “Old fart” and “under the weather” are other common phrases that have both, for a while now, made a lot more sense than they did when I was younger.

I am at the top end of the slope, at the far end of which is: death. My body is just beginning seriously to disintegrate. Two years ago, I could stride about London for hour after hour, or babble away on the telephone without a care. Now, not so much. The majority of the efforts of the National Health Service seem to be devoted to looking after the likes of me, softening the blows of ever older age, and thereby prolonging it.

I am hoping that this first serious clutch of discomforts will be curable, or at least treatable after a fashion, to the point where I’ll be able to walk and talk more fluently than I do now. But I do not now assume this.

Only a small risk of getting rabies

Michael Jennings:

Oh, those glorious days of the past when I could be bitten by dogs in beautiful places with glorious mountains, churches, food and wine, with only a small risk of getting rabies. I miss those days so much.


The top bit of Alderney looks like a conductor

Yes. Did you know, that the top bit of Alderney, the northern most Channel Island, looks like a conductor. With a baton.

Photo on the right there, photoed by me from the plane back to London from Brittany, in July 2007. Now suitably rotated and cropped.

It would seem that a lot of people don’t know that. I can find no other references to this on the Internet, but cannot believe that I am the only one to have noticed this important musico-geographical fact.

Did you also know that the French for a conductor’s baton is “baguette”? That may be quite wrong, but I do recall hearing this somewhere, from someone. And it would seem that there may be some truth in this notion.

Really go places!

Another taxi, another advert, saying this:


Unless this happens:

Same photo, photoed in the summer of 2017 outside the Royal Albert Hall, but with the bigger picture included.

2020? Really going places is not something being much encouraged.

Cars as giant electric skateboards

We are enterting a period during which there is maximum confusion concerning the future of vehicles, what they’ll be, how they’ll look, and so forth. It’s rather like the confusion that reigned around 1900 about what exactly an automobile was, and would look like. And of all the things I’ve recently seen that bear on the next phase in powered vehicle history, this is probably the one that grabbed my attention in the most grabby way:

Because electric motors are now delivering the same punch for a fraction of the volume, weight and all round fuss of the petrol engine, it has, it would appear, become possible to think of road vehicles as being formed of two distinct and separable elements, the vehicle itself, and its load. Look at those things. They’re basically the bottom bit of an electric scooter, with the wheels doubled up for stability, and made big enough to replace old school cars.

Suddenly, in the constantly promised but never quite delivered world of the robot cars of the future, we get a glimpse of how those robots might actually end up looking, and how they might function.

I note with pleasure that Ree, one of the companies apparently busiest in this area, is based in Israel, the state of Israel being one of my favourite states.

The article to which I just linked, and where I found the above photo, talks only of permanently bolting the top onto these sorts of bottoms, if you’ll pardon the expression. But why does the load have to be permanently attached? The load can now become a separate object of robotised transport. Which makes all kinds of transport fun and games possible. You don’t get into your car in the morning, to travel to Timbuktu. You get into your pod, made of super-lightweight super-materials. And your pod then gets automatically taken to Timbuktu. By container ship, plane, train or automobile of this newly flattened sort, depending on how much of rush you are in and which forms of transport happen to be the cheapest at that moment.

Presumably, they have thought of making a lorry-stroke-electric-skateboard of this sort that can have a shipping container loaded onto it. It would be very odd if they haven’t.

Those are just first thoughts, and could be all wrong. Because rule number one of these transport upheavals is: Nobody Really Knows. Please friends and commenters, tell me of any related developments of this sort that you learn about.

Michael Jennings London photos

I have done a lot less photo-wandering of late than I would have liked, so I have kept meaning to post a Michael Jennings London photo here, to fill that gap here. But, I’ve never quite got around to doing this. Time to correct that, with a gallery of some of his recent photos, as already shown by Michael, one at a time, on Facebook:

The same circumstances that have had me staying at home more than usual have caused Michael to be staying in London more than usual.

All of the above were photoed, I believe, with a mobile phone, during the late afternoon or evening, that being an interesting time of day for light, especially when natural light and artificial light are about even in strength. (Is that why it’s called “evening”? Could be.) This also accounts for the predominantly sepia colouring that one normally associates with nostalgia-prompting photos of times long gone.

Will there be nostalgia for Lockdown, if and when it ever ends? Probably yes, on the same principle that some people, for accidental reasons, remember WW2 with some fondness, in among all the grief and stress. Many will remember liking the peace and quiet, even as they realise that it could not be allowed to last. Michael himself has spoken to me of the cleanness of the air. Not least because it allows photoing to be better.

Blue mountains in the far distance

Here is a panoramic photo by 6k, of a striking local (to him) scene. Panoramic presumably means that he photoed a big spread of photos and then some cunning computer programme stitched them together into what you now see:

Like 6k says, wow. That’s my 1000 thingies across version, but the original is massively bigger. From it I picked out these very distant mountains, and even they had to be shrunk to fit here properly:

Thereby making the already horizontalised even more horizontalised. And in this case I’m horizontalising with an actual horizon.

I assume that these very distant mountains are blue for the same sort of reason that the sky is blue, which is that between us and it there is lots of space for blue light to wander into the picture, because blue light does that, more than other sorts of light. It must also help that in the foreground of the picture there is lots of yellow and orange, like one of those photos of an indoor scene at night, artificially lit, which turns the grey outdoors that you see through the window into bright blue, which it really isn’t when you look at it.

I sense also that this illusion is relevant. It shows how our eyes adjust when scanning the same thing but in a setting that changes, in a way we just can’t stop ourselves doing. Which cameras don’t do. It takes software to do that.

So, we don’t see those mountains as blue when we home in them, but when a camera doesn’t home in on them, but is being very hi-res and we merely crop out the distant mountains, they’re blue.

Good vapour trail – evil vapour trail – hybrid vapour trail

This posting began several evenings ago as a quota photo post, with this pretty little scene being the beginning and the end of it:

But then I again got thinking about how significant it is that, typically, vapour trails look at they do above, but do not look like this, below:

That evil vapour trail (there’s another dimmer one further away) is made dark and evil by a line of cloud in the distance, in the evening, allowing the sun to continue lighting up the sky, but throwing a huge shadow over the vapour trail itself. This combination of circumstances, with everything all lined up just so, is rather rare.

Finally, here’s a fun photo, where the shadow from the evening cloud doesn’t engulf all of the vapour trail, merely some of it:

I know I keep banging on about how air travel wouldn’t be so popular if vapour trails typically didn’t look so pretty, but I really think this is true.

Equally significant is that the nastiest internal combustion engine pollution is now invisible. Just about all the actual smoke, certainly in London (where all of the above photos were photoed), has been done away with. If you do see smoke in London, chances are something’s on fire, in an undeliberate way.