Though I have yet to go to an actual race, and I’m disparagingly called an ‘armchair fan,’ there’s no doubt I love Formula One. It’s wicked and splendid and wonderful and I’ll argue until the cows come home for my right to watch it. However, this just released picture of the 2012 Caterham CT01 is making my hard on for the sport wilt. Fast.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything with less beautiful lines in my life. Once upon a time I had a Skoda, and it was gorgeous in comparison.
Whatever the rules are that meant a designer had to design the car above need to be changed. Now, if not sooner. Now, before I (and a lot of other F1 fans with eyesight) give up F1 for International Tiddlywinks. Please?
I get excited about the strangest things, but this … this is just the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Watch it and be amazed, too!
I’ll bet you watch it more than once! 🙂
In other news:
SOPA/PIPA Blackout Day
It seems the SOPA/PIPA blackout, led by Wikipedia yesterday, was successful. Eight U.S. lawmakers – including two of the co-sponsors – have withdrawn their support. The event caused Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to make his first tweet in three years – which linked to this.
The BBC’s yearly Stargazing Live had an amazing success when one of its viewers discovered a planet. The program, which ran for three nights, asked viewers to join www.planethunters.org which uses data gathered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and gets people to spot anomalies that their computers missed.* And so Chris Holmes from Peterborough did! I watched the program for two of the three nights and it really was riveting viewing.
* Humans are better at pattern recognition than computers. It’s nice to know there’s something we can do that’s better than computers. 😉
Captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia is in deep, deep doo doo, and appears to be heading for crucifixion. Admittedly, from what I’ve read and seen on the news, crucifixion might be warranted. But I thought we worked under ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Yes, he seems to be an abject coward who fled the scene. But is he really? The recording of the ‘conversation’ between Schettino and the coastguard is pretty damning. Still, time will tell. At present Schettino is under house arrest for possible multiple manslaughter.
The captain’s supposed cowardice brought back memories of a joke that did the rounds at school: ‘did you know an Italian tank has one forward gear and five reverse?’ Boom boom! or rather Glug glug!
Finally, if you use dropbox – and who in their right minds doesn’t use this wondrous sanity saving thing – then this article is well worth perusing: The best apps for your dropbox.
The likelihood that this blog has any real voice is ludicrous, but still, even those without clout MUST make it known that they’re against the U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation. If they pass it will be the beginning of the end of the internet as we know it. If they pass and I say anything contentious, I could vanish. Oh, not me, but this site. And I’m hardly evil!
I used to work in film. In film you have, HAVE, to make early call times, and by early I’m not kidding. Then, I used to get up at 03:00 or, with a late lie in, 04:00. Of course it was season dependant and sometimes it was later and sometimes earlier.
Then I moved out of London and gave film work up. Don’t ask me why as I have no idea. Stupidity, probably.
So it was that this morning that I had to get up and be out of the house by 07:00. Not early I have to admit, but for me it was like the crack of sparrows; like ‘bloody hell this is early how am I going to cope?’ I did cope and I did sort out a friend’s email; I got driven home and my body, seriously unimpressed, crashed.
I was cleaning my netbook earlier. It was making these weird noises as if it was choking, and on taking it apart I found the fan was full of dust and muck. So I cleaned it and then looked at it. Really looked at it. And I went off on a reverie.
Pretty much all I do, all I think and all I create is contained on the hard drive in the picture above. And it suddenly struck me as how remarkable that was, and how fast it’s happened. How incredibly fast.
Take music. When I first got into music there was tape. To record anything of worth you HAD to rent a recording studio, and the equipment therein cost a small fortune – literally. Tracks were laid down on damn great reels of expensive two inch tape and mastered onto reels of quarter inch tape … and there was tape hiss. Oh, if you had another small fortune you could remove most of it, but never all. Hiss was part and parcel of recording, then.
Computers took a while to infiltrate. But the incredible thing was that the programs you used were elegant and tiny. They had to be because RAM was finite, and again, cost an arm and a leg.
Now, any idiot with a laptop can record an album. Without tape hiss. Without tape. Now programs are huge and bloated because elegant code doesn’t matter anymore – RAM is cheap.
Then: longhand delivered for someone to type out. Edit it with red pen and re-type. Rinse and repeat. To become a writer you really had to want to write!
Now: open up program of choice and off you go. A gazillion websites inflate ‘writers’ egos. Some even make it. NaNoWriMo (I’ll say no more).
Then: actual film stock. Twenty four or thirty six shots on a roll. Develop and print in a darkroom.
Now: digital. Snap as many as you want because you’re bound to find one good, usable shot. If not, photoshop it. Bing bang boom, done and dusted. Deliver the ‘product’ by email. No more messengers on motorbikes.
Then: actual film and cameras and crews, etc.
Now: digital cameras and storage. Make a documentary during lunch; a feature film over the weekend. Edit at home (oh, and write the music too, if you fancy it).
Those bits and bobs stuck to the motherboard behind the hard drive in the photo above are enablers. Art is no longer precious or special. Art is everymans and everyman is an artist.
This blog wouldn’t be here without my baby netbook. Neither would my music be available all over the world, or Midnight Dude, the book I wrote a story for and typeset.
I wouldn’t know the wonderful (albeit virtual) people and friends I’ve met on-line, and I wouldn’t have websites to visit and loiter away my life on….
It was at this point my reverie ended. I looked at the cat as I put the back cover on and fumbled with its screws. Percy’s real. He’s not an avatar. Neither is he a trainable toy that follows me around the house meowling until, in a fit of pique, I remove the batteries.
I look out of the window. The garden fence I fixed this morning is still standing. Its real, not virtual. As am I, for my sins. But with the rate of change; with the rate of human invention, for how long? How long will it be until I’m just a virtual plaything? How long before the real and the virtual blur so much it becomes impossible to tell the difference?
Without a shadow of a doubt computers have changed our lives; my life. But is it really for the better, or should the Luddites rise again before it is too late?
I read a poem today about the loss of a friend during the Vietnam war. It was beautifully written, and dredged up a memory, a very strong memory, of when I was seven.
My father has business in America and Canada and decided to take my mother and me along. It was the late sixties and Vietnam was a very delicate subject in the U.S.. I, of course, only wanted one thing: a Johnny Seven OMA (that’s one man army for those not in the know). I wanted one, I wanted one, I wanted one! I also knew how to play my parents; it was the one subject I excelled in.
We ended up at ‘Swartz‘ on fifth avenue. It’s gone, now, but back then they called themselves ‘the best toyshop in the world’. It was a huge shop, but no Johnny Sevens in sight. We traipsed from floor to floor and I was getting close to the point of hysteria when my father finally decided to enquire at the counter. Quietly, we were told they had them in stock, but because of Vietnam they were kept hidden under the counter.
I was told off for shooting guests in the hotel corridors. Later that week we went to stay at a friends house in the country, somewhere in upper New York. I had a splendid time – probably being a brat. I ran around pretending to kill people, while kids not much older than I was were actually doing it for real. But I was seven, war was exciting, and it didn’t seem perverse. Pretense is all very well, but I now thank the gods I wasn’t born ten years earlier and in the U.S.A..
The second world war and other wars will inevitably follow…. Then, one day, the only idea of the horror of warfare will come from those playing video games. Already they have taken over from kids roaming the streets with gun shaped bits of wood howling “Peow, peow, peow!” and falling over pretending to be dead. Maybe it’s a good thing, too.