Thursday, 21 September 2017

Leonardo's millions

This story is interesting in an odd kind of way.

Leonardo DiCaprio announced Tuesday that his eco-focused foundation has given more than $20 million this year in fresh grants to more than 100 organizations around the world.

From lion recovery and mangrove restoration to the defense of indigenous rights and better access to affordable solar energy, the actor announced the grants ahead of his appearance at a climate change conference at Yale University.

He planned to use the appearance to urge more immediate steps to reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources.

I used to dismiss the guy as a hypocritical, virtue-signalling plonker but he seems to believe too. No doubt the money could be better spent but he is not an ungenerous hypocritical, virtue-signalling plonker.

The Beast of Bolsover on the EU

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Big badges

It isn't only the cars, but car badges seem to grow bigger and bigger as the years roll by. There is no mistaking a Mercedes in the rear-view mirror, with a badge big enough to adorn a truck only a few years ago. As most cars are little more than boxes on wheels I suppose manufacturers have an increasing need to distinguish their brand. 

Does it work though? Not for me, I prefer something more discreet, but times change so there must be some advantage to big badges. 

I wonder if car badges will continue to grow? Perhaps manufacturers will come up with some kind of holographic effect where the badge seems much bigger than it really is. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

One is but an insect


As today is Samuel Johnson's birthday, here are a few Johnson quotes still suited to our own times.

My dear friend, clear your mind of cant.

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

The world is like a grand staircase, some are going up and some are going down.

A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Stop Saying Things That Make You Weak

I’ve been thinking along these lines for years and would be surprised if it is an uncommon idea. We prefer harmony to disharmony and go too far in our pursuit of it. Whether Jordan Peterson is right to suggest that that this is a weakness and something can be done about it I’m not so sure, but that’s a weakness too.

Maybe somebody has to promote harmony but forceful, abrasive and assertive are better for the career and for clarity - I think most of us know that. We are also familiar with the less desirable consequences so harmony is genuinely important.

Yet political correctness is a pervasive and forceful invitation to be weak. The implied threat is that if we don’t accept its strictures then we risk being even weaker as an outcast. It is far from being a new technique so maybe Peterson is right.

No - Peterson is right.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


Not so long ago we found ourselves on holiday with poor WiFi. Good enough to use the iPad for scanning headlines but not worth firing up the laptop. No matter. Headlines are familiar enough anyway - barely worth scanning apart from a residual interest in major stories and a fading desire to keep tabs on the memes of the day.

Scanning the headlines is rather like shopping in a supermarket. Ignoring isles of salty snacks, sugary drinks, confectionery and prepared food becomes a habit. So much so that one doesn’t notice just how much junk there is in the average supermarket - 

- average? 

No not average - they are all like that. Selling the average is what supermarkets do. So it is with media headlines – barely worth a second glance and this is what struck me as I browsed the headlines on the iPad. 

The world is a wonderful place. There is an infinite variety of fascination out there, so much so that ten lifetimes would not be enough to do it justice. That’s not what we see in the headlines. We see the equivalent of supermarket isles full of salty snacks, sugary drinks, confectionery and prepared food. We see the junk which sells but doesn’t inform. We see the junk which isn’t even good for us, the garbage we might shun if it were not for our ingrained laziness, our perennial habit of taking what is offered rather than seeking out the best that is available - 

- no that’s not it – not quite. 

Media headlines have begun to seem infantile. They were always strident, over-dramatic, misleading and simplistic, but the desperate hunt for clicks has reached another level as they say. Infantile feels new to me and it feels like a trend. Not particularly new because we have seen this level of reporting for quite some time. It’s back to the supermarket isles, back to the infantile consumption, back to the isles of confectionery.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The price of cars


As a child I remember seeing two of these in a car showroom window. I always wanted one in a vague, yearning for the moon sense.