Explicit content warning
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the remote control for my Quad 77 audio system. I will come back to that in a moment, but first of all, a word about hi-fi generally.
A while ago, I was walking my dog in the park, and chatting to someone who, until recently, was in the hi-fi business. He said that the business is now very largely dead, for two reasons.
First, pretty much everyone who wants a hi-fi system has already got one, and what is available on the market now is really no better than what they have already got. I challenged him about this: surely the quality of sound that one gets from the new generation of tiny speakers is pretty amazing, and he agreed that there had been significant improvements at the bottom of the market. But in terms of the best that is available, technology has really not moved on for 20 years or so.
Secondly, he remarked, young people are not interested in hi-fi. They have been brought up on lo-fi MP3 music and often feel rather uncomfortable with hi-fi. And what they stream from the internet is very lo-fi.
Now, if you are reading this, and you are a hi-fi nut, please do not reply to this saying that Continue reading
Happily, Sweden has just dropped its nonsensical rape charges against Julian Assange. JA should now be able to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
The Metropolitan Police say:
Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime. Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.
So, he still has to answer for jumping bail. But no more risk now, it seems, of being sent to Sweden, which has a terrible record of “extraordinary rendition” to the USA. Hopefully, there will be a decent street party for him when he comes out.
The end of a disgraceful chapter in Sweden’s history.
There will be no party, presumably, for his one-night stand Anna Continue reading
Donald Trump is obviously not entirely unintelligent. By the same token, not even his biggest fan could deny that he frequently says things that are, to put it kindly, maladroit.
But here is the thing. Every time he says something that makes us think, “Hey, that’s not right”, his political opponents come along and say something even worse. This week, for example, he said, “No politician in history, and I say this with great serious, has been treated worse or more unfairly”
It was a remark which demonstrates an extraordinarily distorted view of himself. And it prompted this picture on Facebook, showing Nelson Mandela behind bars, looking sad (as he would be) but with a wistful and tolerant half-smile. The implication, of course, is that Nelson Mandela was a politician who had been treated worse or more unfairly, and that it was really dumb of Donald Trump to forget it.
But Mandela was not sent to prison as a politician. He was sent to prison as a terrorist. We will probably never know quite how many people Mandela killed, either directly or indirectly. Some reports put it at about 200 deaths, and many others injured. Like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness (also mass murderers), he is one of these people for whom the past has, in some sense, been erased by their subsequent efforts towards peaceful resolution of broader conflicts. The families of all their victims are required to relinquish their anguish. And there is some sense in that, for Continue reading
It is Eurovision Song Contest time.
Now, how the hell would I know that? You might ask, since I live on the far side of the world.
The answer is digital radio, and in particular SBS4. Normally, this excellent digital radio station quite simply streams the BBC World Service. I listen to it often, both at home, and in the car (which, rather surprisingly, has a digital radio facility). Except this month. During May, the SBS4 stream to BBC World Service has been cut off, and instead replaced by endless Eurovision pap.
It is no surprise that Australia loves the Eurovision Song contest. After all, this is the land of Continue reading
Unhappily, I am going to have to admit that I was wrong about Brexit.
I and many others well informed about UK and European affairs, took the view that effect of Brexit on the UK would be relatively marginal. The EU is a relatively small proportion of the world market, and the UK is going to continue to trade with the EU in any event. Happily, the UK never joined the Euro, and so the problems that being yoked into that currency has caused countries like Greece were not going to affect the UK anyway.
We expected, of course, some whingeing from whichever side lost the referendum. If the country had voted to stay in the EU, there would have been some predictable moaning in the pub from the Brexiteers. And the lovies were hardly going to be happy with a vote to leave.
But what we wholly underestimated was the sheer volume and persistence of the moaning from the Europhiles. It is at a level that is causing real damage to Continue reading
The construction of my swimming pool is coming along nicely. Just in time for winter.
Could global warming be my saviour? One of the acid tests is the Antarctic Peninsular: the bit that sticks out furthest north from that chilly continent. According to Wikipedia:
The Antarctic Peninsula is a part of the world that is experiencing extraordinary warming
No such luck, however. So far this century, the peninsular has been stubbornly refusing the exhortations of Al Gore, Wikipedia et al to hurry up and melt. Instead, it has got colder by about a degree; see Jo Nova. Or if you want to, read the review of the paper itself which analyses the latest results.
Today was a Continue reading
Speculation reigns as to whether the UK will do a Brexit deal with the EU.
- There will be an early deal (or perhaps just a de facto stand-off) allowing EU citizens to remain in the UK and vice versa;
- There will not be any deal over the terms of Brexit; the UK will leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal. There are too many countries and interests wanting a slice of this or a slice of that, all with a veto;
- There will however be a trade deal between the UK and the EU either by March 2019 or shortly thereafter, with tariffs set at nil or near nil.
If this be right (time will tell) the Government stategy looks about right: the Mayflower stressing Continue reading
There must be, I guess, some sort of prize out there for the person in the world with the most chutzpah. How else to explain that Al Gore, the man responsible for the disgraceful An Inconvenient Truth, is up for a sequel!
For a few moments, An Inconvenient Truth looked to many people like a serious piece of work. But then people started fact-checking it. It is riddled with errors, and the internet is full of debunking analyses; see for example, The Daily Caller, The Blaze, NewsBusters, Natural News. More authoritatively, the High Court in London declared it seriously flawed as “not supported by current mainstream scientific consensus.” The Artic has nor melted, nor have the snows of Kilimanjaro, and extreme weather events are down, not up, with no runaway global warming.
Still, Gore has made himself a very rich man. His net asset value has gone up from about $1m to some $200m, having recently sold about half of his holding in Apple.
One of Gore’s rabbits has been Michael Mann, the inventor of the now-discredited “hockey stick” – the graph that attempted to hide the fact that it was hotter in Medieval times than today. Mann had a rough time this week in Continue reading
So. The Poison Pixie is upset.
She wants a second attempt at an independence referendum. The UK Government says, “No”. She complains that the UK Government is not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. So she could perhaps use some Scottish taxpayers’ money (there is precious little of that) for a non-binding “wildcat” ballot. But those in Scotland who disagree with her desire to bring financial ruin to Scotland would probably not participate. So such a wildcat ballot would be a farce, and then she would complain that the people of Scotland are not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. She could appeal to the EU, but the EU mave made clear that they are not interested in talking to her, so she would complain that the EU is not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. Continue reading
Ever since I was a child, when my father used to take me to the local motor racing tracks – Brands Hatch, Crystal Palace and Silverstone, I have had an interest in motor racing. My father had kept pretty much every copy of Motor Sport from about 1950 to 1961, and I read them avidly; there was a time when I could have told you which driver had won which Grand Prix during that period. I had a collection of model racing cars which I used to test around the bath, the shallow end of which was my personal Parabolica. And of course, my father bought me a Scalextric set; my first two cars were BRM and a Vanwall.
In those days, motor racing was quite stylish, quite unlike now when it has a distinctly yobbish characteristic.
One of the more annoying things is that Continue reading