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I saw this earlier (the copy reads: “Buy a special pack and we’ll grow a hedge in the British countryside) and muttered to myself:
“If you really want to grow a hedge in the countryside, why don’t you just go and do that, rather than making people pay for your poisonous and habit-forming liquor and then spending money trying to make them feel good about you by doing something entirely unconnected so that they’ll buy more.”
I get quite nauseously self-righteous around the middle of Sunday – it’s best to keep clear.
In the time it took to mutter (perhaps it was more of a grumble), I found myself in front of this little scene where someone had released their stomach contents, possibly as a consequence of ingesting too much of the above-mentioned liquor:
which made me think:
“No, Stella, actually, just forget the hedge shit, what I’d really like you to do is to go round personally on Saturday and Sunday mornings and clean up the puke that your product contributes to and then think a bit harder about whether printing the URL to DrinkAware on your posters is quite enough.”
I mean, really.
About 10 years ago when I got my first digital camera to play with at work, I considered a project documenting London’s streets. The idea was that you would stand on a street corner and take a picture in each direction, and then upload it to a database with some metadata so that we could build a rich visual map of London so that if you were headed to say a bar or restaurant you could find a picture of the local area so that when you popped up out of the tube, you’d have a better chance of finding what you wanted.
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t do it, mainly because devising instructions for how to take your photographs and constructing a metadata scheme that could accurately but simply describe any street corner in London proved way too complex. Plus the web was a very different kind of place – this was an information retrieval system, not a social one. Oh yeah and forget GPS, who was strong enough or rich enough to carry a GPS receiver around with them? Nonetheless, it would have been cool, right? I think the early podwalks had a similar inspiration.
Now the smart people at Google have caught up with my brilliant vision
And (nearly) everybody hates it.
In my opinion, Google Maps Streetview is just a rich enhancement to a map. I have used it to identify places I was going (in Paris, France and Austin, Texas) to get a feel for what sort of neighbourhood they were in and to understand better how I might walk there.
I don’t understand the privacy concerns that people have. Assuming you’ve been (un)lucky enough to be photographed by a car, what are the chances of anyone who knows you seeing it? And in the event that you (or some top-secret piece of your property) are snapped and you find out about it, then you can ask for it to be removed. This seems to me to be way beyond the power we have with CCTV in that 1. We can see it. and 2. We can get it removed. It’s ironic really that when a private company does it, we get to have a say, but when our democratically elected councils or government agencies do it, we don’t even have access.
What do you lose by having your home or car photographed? (mine isn’t there incidentally, they haven’t got beyond the A24 in Epsom) I’m not saying it’s nothing, just honestly trying to understand what it is.
Yes, I can imagine it leading to an imagined worse outcome of the BNP list leak last year, with the list “enhanced” with links to pictures of the outside of each member’s house. But the mashups there were pretty well regulated, once the first few had been done, people realised what a silly thing it was to do and what a dangerous precedent it was.
Before it came to the UK (and by the way, it’s only in selected cities), I’d used the Parisian and Texan versions to look at places I was just about to go to – working out how to walk there without having to cross 10 lanes of traffic etc.
I’ve also used it to look at places that I may never get to see, like parts of the Northern Territories in Australia (can’t remember how we ended up there…)
And it also works well for showing people places I’ve been and explaining something visual.
And as Russell points out, it’s good for the nostalgic – Places I used to live that are just the same and places I used to live that are very different.
I’m also interested in what’s not covered – No great views of Buckingham Palace for example and great chunks of the West End are missing including Oxford Street and Cavendish Sq.
Here’s something half-baked: In the UK, urinals in the gents (God, I can’t wait to be home and to stop having to ask for the mens room or restroom!) flush themselves on a timing mechanism so that (as long as it’s working) it gets washed out every few minutes. Here in the US, there are two types of flush that I’ve seen: a manual knob (as in the picture) or else an automatic one based on a sensor which causes it to flush when you walk away.
I don’t know what this says about our respective cultures, if anything at all, or what point you could use it to make, but I thought it might live in the analogy library until someone could work out how to use it for good or for evil.
And don’t get me started on the lack of soundproofing in the sit down loos or the ones that flush as soon as you stand up.
This is a public service request for Epsom & Ewell Borough Council and National Rail. This rat trap has come open behind the fence next to the footpath between the Ebbisham Centre and the Railway line. The bags with poison are marked as such, but that may not be obvious to smaller children or other animals who take a fancy to the pink sweetie-looking things in the bag.
How does this get sorted out, please?
UPDATE: So I tweeted about this and almost immediately got something back from Al Green saying to let the Network Rail helpline know. I misread this as the National Rail one, as I’m somehow unable to let go of the idea that it was their responsibility. I got something back from them quite quickly, saying, thanks, but it’s not our patch guv, talk to *Network* Rail. I left a message through their online form too and got a call from someone on Tuesday afternoon to say that they were sending someone along to have a look. Sure enough by Wednesday, all the traps had been removed. So now I’m looking forward to our little brown friends recolonizing, getting their yummy treats from Jimmy Spices bins and taking them back into the undergrowth to tuck in. So it seems to work, though it would have been quicker if I could learn to read properly.
At some point in the late seventies or early eighties, the BBC ran a comprehensive season of Ealing Comedies. It stands out as an important part of my adolescent television experience – which many would say explains a lot.
A favourite has always been Passport to Pimlico (1949) for the location shots of immediate post-war London as well as the plucky defiance of the residents of Miramont Gardens. What’s disappointing of course is that it’s actually filmed in Lambeth on the other side of the river rather than in Pimlico itself. Nonetheless it formed an important picture in my young mind of “that London”.
If you haven’t seen it, get it and take a look. Spoilers may well follow…
Watching again, this weekend, I noticed many motifs that echo what I’m thinking about a lot with respect to self-organisation and emergent behaviour, but in particular two examples of herd activity – firstly, the way in which the idea spreads through the community that they are Burgundians and therefore need no longer comply with the post-war austerity measures or indeed any English law they dislike and then later how the crowd gathered to witness the defeat and evacuation copy the kids who have come to throw provisions to their parents (the kids who got the idea from seeing the penguins fed at the zoo).
And I laughed out loud a lot too.
Just gave a chunk of my time on this planet to the Life Photo Archive.
Naturally, I can’t use an image here or everyone would do the same and then photographers wouldn’t get paid and then there’d never be any motivation for photographers to ever go out and capture the world.
/* breathe /*
I can’t believe that no-one at First Great Western thought about whether these power outlets were usable with the charger from one of the most popular mobile phone handsets, or any other one that isn’t a simple 3 point plug.
I hope they do the simple thing which is to turn them upside-down. BTW, this was in first class, I didn’t check, but the last time I was in standard class on a FGW train, they had the same problem on table seats, but the other seats had an outlet between non-table seats.