Marble race

Tom Chivers:

This is weirdly engrossing.

I am off out soon, to spend an unpredictable fraction of this evening with GodDaughter2. So I need something up here before I go, so I don’t have to fret about it afterwards. Preferably, something weirdly engrossing. Job done.

Thank you to: Roberto Alonso González Lezcano.

I Love The Internet. (Does ILTI stand for this? (Either way, it does now. (And to hell with (this.)))

The voice of the Falklands War

This afternoon, Patrick Crozier and I recorded another of our podcasts. In due course, assuming the machine recording us didn’t misbehave, it should be showing up here.

Towards the end, during the “anything else we want to say” bit, we reminded ourselves of this amazing character:

For many Brits, Ian McDonald is the sight and the sound which will most vividly take us back to that bizarre time. Would the internet have anything to say about this unique bit-part player in recent British military history? Somewhat sadly, yes it did, in the form of obituaries. Ian McDonald died, in March 2019, one day before what would have been his 83rd birthday.

In the above video, which I found here, the news of the sinking of HMS Sheffield was imparted to Britain’s television viewers in the ponderous and funereal style that McDonald adopted no matter what news he was conveying.

As McDonald said later, this eccentric manner of speaking was deliberate:

“I knew right from the start there would be bad news as well as good news, which is why the delivery I chose was drained of all emotion with no adjectives, short and truthful. …”

Maybe short on paper, but it took an age for him to read it out. Nevertheless, it made a refreshing change from the bombastic and excitable style often adopted by other official spokesmen doing this sort of job, eager to talk up triumphs, but either saying nothing or telling lies about the inevitable setbacks. At the time, most of us trusted that McDonald was, as he said, telling the truth, even if not the whole truth.

Creature tweets

Lost of animal stuff on Twitter lately, as always, with much of the stuff I liked best involving dogs.

First, a dog’s unique way of getting past a gate.

Next, a reunion.

I looked up “cats and dogs” on Twitter, to see what epic confrontations would materialise, but instead found my way to #Dogandcat, which is full of dogs and cats getting along with one another, although some of the cats seem to be getting a bit irritated. Dogs, on the other hand … There’s just nothing they won’t do to oblige their humans. They’ll even like cats, if the humans tell them to.

I also learned of Dog and Cat, which is a TV show from the seventies about two humans called that. A young Kim Basinger is involved, presumably playing Cat. This never made it to England, first time around.

Moving away from dogs, horses are reminded not to overstep boundaries.

Next, because I know you’ve always had your doubts about this, ostriches:

… do not bury their heads in sand to hide from danger. They actually dig holes to bury their eggs and the myth came about from people seeing ostriches putting their heads in the holes to turn the eggs to ensure they are evenly heated.

Final full stop added there. Twitter is great for animal videos, but is ruining punctuation.

Finally, news from a fox. Well, actually a Fox:

A Twatter pile on I can deal with.

Extremely painful upper left molar, not so much.

Oh dear god, the agony.

Lots of suggested remedies follow. I trust the agony will abate soon.

The way this silo collapses …

Here. Says Peter Caddick-Adams, PhD, FRHistS, FRGS (to whom thanks for retweeting):

Ridiculously phallic …

Watch it, and see if you agree. I don’t think phalluses (sp?) collapse like that.

FRGS, I’ve just discovered, stands for Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. This costs, but you also have to be recommended, checked out, and everything. PC-A would have aced it, because he is an expert on battlefields, which can get very geographical.

Male seahorse delivering babies

Here. Amazing. I never knew this. At all.

Far too good to wait until next Friday. (Friday being my usual day for cats and other creatures stuff.)

I Twitter-follow Steve Stewart-Williams, and strongly recommend him as a followee. (Provided only that you agree with him (and me) that evolution is real and that doubting it is foolish, in which case he might make you angry.)

Or, to put the more general point the other way, if all you get from your Twitter feed is political bile and general nastiness, you’re not doing it right.

How mobile phones and headphones looked in Feb 2010

Today I went on a photo-walk in perfect weather and photoed over three hundred photos. But how to choose which ones to show? And how to choose when I just want to go to bed? I know, I’ll fob you off with some photos I photoed ten years ago, in February 2010.

All of them illustrate change. Photo 1 shows how mobile phones used to look, but not any more. Photo 4 shows how video cameras used to look, but not any more. Now they look like mobile phones, which would be because they now are mobile phones. Photo 3 shows a guy photoing, but that’s not the point, not least because we can’t even see his camera. The point is, what’s directly behind him. Nothing. Now, there is a hurricane of building in the blank bit on the horizon there.

Photo 2 shows something you seldom see now, or at any rate not out of doors, which is big old cover-your-ears headphones like that. Now, that guy probably puts tiny bobbles in his ears, with wires hanging down. You only wear something like that now if you want your ears to be a lot warmer than they’d otherwise be.

Laughing at the plague

TRIGGERnometry:

Last night on our live stream we made some jokes about the Corona Virus. Now some people are upset.

We would like to apologise sincerely to anyone who might have been given the impression by our comments that we care in any way about you being offended. We don’t. Have a nice day

I am offended by the lack of a full stop at the end of that. I think it was this:

The Corona Virus is so toxic it’s probably a Straight White Male.

This is a podcast, and now they are talking about tattoos, like they are both Theodore Dalrymple. They sound like two old geeezers. But they are young. Oh, now they just made a crack about someone designing a virus that only wipes out old people. That’s me told. I am offended.

Corona says:

Everyone stop fucking asking us about the virus.

Says commenter Alan:

It’s okay, they’re rebranding:

I find all this very, very offensive. And quite funny.

As I recall Dame Edna Everage once upon a time saying:

I’ve always had the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others.

Haven’t we all. No question mark there, because it’s not a question.

How big creatures assemble themselves

Speaking of animals, as I like to do of a Friday, how does Life get from little tiny single cell thingies to, you know, animals. Well, somewhat like this:

The little tiny cells don’t themselves get that much bigger. No. Instead they combine into cooperating flocks, like the fishes above.

To be clear, the above is not an actual creature evolving. What you see there is merely analogous to how bigger creatures assemble themselves from tiny little cells.

I continue to read this SS-W book. My problem is: I’m already persuaded of the truth of everything he says. But I am learning plenty, so will continue.

Sir Keith Park closer up

In an earlier posting here, I mentioned and included a photo of the statue of Sir Keith Park outside the Athenaeum. I like this statue, and I admire its subject. Here is another photo of that same statue, from closer up, that I photoed last October:

I am busy getting ready to give a talk about Modern Architecture this evening, so that’s probably it for today. Ancient Architecture, like that behind the above statue, will also be getting a mention. I am taking a book about Quinlan Terry with me, to wave at the audience, although I may forget to do this.

Different animals getting along with each other

My computer is misbehaving, added to which I have been busy doing other things. So just a couple of tweets for today, both concerning one of the things the internet really likes, namely: different brands of animals being nice to each other.

A monkey caresses some puppies. Although, a cynical commenter thinks maybe he’s just checking out how much meat they have on them. Fair to say, though, that the monkey looks like he’s doing just what humans, who mostly don’t have in mind to eat puppies, do with puppies.

A human and a dog play a game. The one where you have to remove a wooden piece from a tower, without knocking over the tower. The dog is very good at it. There seems no limit to what dogs will do to keep our attention and gain our approval.