2013 — 17 May: Friday

Having heard a chap who's come over from Canada to try to warn Europeans that oil from tar sands and shale is certainly not "the same as" good old-fashioned clean oil from the golden sands of the peaceful Middle East1 or the North Sea (if any remains) not least because of the amount of extra carbon dioxide it produces2 — let alone the utter devastation all too clearly visible from the helicopter in Peter Mettler's film "Petropolis", which ...

offers an unparalleled view of the world's largest industrial, capital
and energy project. Canada's tar sands are an oil reserve the size of
England. Extracting the crude oil called bitumen from underneath
unspoiled wilderness requires a massive industrialized effort with far-
reaching impacts on the land, air, water, and climate. It's an extraordinary
spectacle, whose scope can only be understood from far above. In a
hypnotic flight of image and sound, one machine's perspective upon the
choreography of others, suggests a dehumanized world where petroleum's
power is supreme.

... and then hear him thanked and promptly displaced by a story about a footballer who's hanging up his boots (and golden balls?) at the advanced age of 38 is quite enough to send me fleeing to the calmer climes of BBC Radio 3...

Perhaps I should embark on an environmental career?

Perhaps not...

... as, with exquisitely ironic timing, my last batch of (oil-based) CaseLogic folders has just been delivered, allowing me to discard my last batch of (oil-based) plastic CD jewel cases :-)

Breakfast, methinks. And another (non oil-based) cuppa.

Saints preserve us

Leaving aside the unworthy thought that the latest Pope has already created more saints in a single day than can comfortably dance on the head of a pin, there's a Californian company called Prismatic that "aggregates and ranks content from across the Web on the basis of text analysis, user preferences, social-network-related popularity, and big-data analytics". This apparently means it's better able to tell the world what merits said world's fleeting attention...

We might happily agree — so long as we concur with the implied judgment that what is most popular on the internet at any given time is what is most worth reading. Aficionados of listicles, spats between technology theorists, and cat-based modes of pageview trolling do not perhaps constitute the entire global reading audience.

Steven Poole in Aeon

I'm not even going to ask.

I can well imagine...

... Christa's reaction to a leaflet just pushed through the door and now stashed in the recycle pile. It's from an outfit trading as "fox & sons" who'd like me to use them to sell my house. This is not the same "fox & sons" via whom we bought our house in 1981. But — given the sequential nature of estate agents' trading practices, parasitically turning over the same set of properties (once every seven years on average) and collecting their £200 every time they pass "Go" — I'm amused to learn this lot are "Sequence (UK) Limited".

Say what?

I was vastly unamused to read (for the second time in three months) that the European Court of Human Rights endorsed, in 2000, the opinion that "doctors have no duty to give parents of a child who died as a result of their negligence a truthful account of the circumstances of the death, nor even to refrain from deliberately falsifying records." In earlier times, I believe the Chinese had a habit of burying doctors alongside the corpses of their patients. Even if the doctors were still alive. Can we not seek a middle ground?

Happily, Eileen was sufficiently recovered by this afternoon for Roger to invite me over for tea and biccies, over which (as we often do) we managed to set the world to rights once again. Though I can't help noticing it never seems to remain right-side-up (as it were) for very long... He showed me the National Geographic app he'd bought for Eileen's iPad; I shall take a peek at the Android store to see if there's an equivalent for my Asus Tablet.

Just tell me...

... why, when I cycle through the inputs3 on my pre-amp to get from "DAB" to "CD" (passing "HDMI1" and "HDMI2" en route) the thrice damned Gods of HDCP wipe out my various Win8Pro application window thumbnails displayable when I hover the mouse pointer over the PC's Taskbar icons even though the Kuro Plasma TV (aka, desktop screen #3) isn't even switched on?

Some fatuous idiot sat down and programmed it to do that??? Ineffable! Technology convergence in the living room? It'll never happen :-)

Nice to see...

... my venerable chum John from my ICL Beaumont days in the 1970s has retained his sense of humour:

Nursing Home test

Fan fiction

I mentioned a radio programme I'd caught last Sunday — When Harry Potter met Frodo: the strange world of fan fiction. Well, I've just enjoyed one of the better-written commercial examples of the genre that Mr Postie dropped off this morning a little after Mr DPD Express had lugged in the next batch of CaseLogic folders:

Darcy viewpoint

Nothing strange in my opinion. In fact very enjoyably told, though not as amusing as the original.



1  I'm making that bit up.
2  For the dangers of which the planet Venus seems very likely to provide a splendid example on our back doorstep even though all too many of the primitive ape-descended lifeforms hereabouts apparently cling to the odd belief that the Earth is the centre of the Universe and the pinpoints of light in the celestial sphere are angels' tears, or some such nonsense.
3  To give myself a rest from some tedious Tippett on the Beeb by playing some Marianne Faithfull from a CD.