The Mississippi Basin

I have never seen this map before:

I sharpened it a bit, so that I could read, with my Getting Old eyesight, the smaller river names with a bit less difficulty.

It is map number 7 of these 45 maps. A Twitter posting last night, now way down in my feed, showed one of these maps.

My favourite piece of geography there is probably Chicago, where it seems that they have a river which flows into the Mississippi. Blog and learn.

Attached blurb:

You may have heard that the Mississippi River is mighty, but if you ever doubted it, just take a look at this map. You’ll see that an extraordinary number of the United States’ rivers and tributaries send water into the Mighty Miss.

Quite so.

I love the names. Milk. Yazoo. Republican. Canadian (nowhere near Canada). Powder. Smoky. In general, I love the names of American places and geographical features. They seem impossibly exotic compared to the names of places in England. (But I’m sure that, for quite a few Americans, it must work the other way around.)

England has no big rivers. The Thames would hardly merit a name on the above map. I recall that one of my better pieces for Samizdata was about how the application of steam power to river transport entirely passed us Brits by. We went straight from stationary steam engines in coal mines to steam engines on locomotives. Unlike America. Yes, here.

On this day

Madsen Pirie:

May 1st could be remembered for many things. It was on this day in 1707 that the Act of Union joining England and Wales with Scotland took effect, creating the United Kingdom. It was also on May 1st that the first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued, creating the UK popular mail service that was used so skillfully to disseminate leaflets by the Anti Corn-Law League.

It was also the date in 1851 that Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition, to demonstrate the UK’s achievements to the world, and to sell them. Another great opening on the day was in 1931, when the Empire State Building was dedicated in New York. So iconic was it that it featured two years later in the classic movie, King Kong.

To all of the above can be added that May 1st 2019 was the day that Brian Micklethwait’s New Blog was loosed upon the world. That’s certainly how I’m going to remember May 1st, from now on.

Pirie goes on to discuss how Mayday, in Britain, means celebrating workers, and the amount of revolutionary mischief they can be persuaded to inflict upon the world.

I prefer my version of this date. Although, I also liked what Pirie went on to say about the contrast between when the dates celebrating Labour happen in Britain and in America. It’s the difference, he says, between hope and experience, between failure and success, between socialism and capitalism.

A musical metaphor is developed

In this blog posting, someone called Judge Ellis is quoted saying, somewhere in America, some time recently or not so recently, in connection with something Trump-related, this:

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud – what you really care about is what information Mr Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.

“This vernacular to ‘sing’ is what prosecutors use. What you’ve got to be careful of is that they may not only sing, they may compose.”

Good expression. Never heard it before, although it must have been around for decades.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A very responsible turkey

ABC News reports, with video:

This very responsible turkey halted traffic on a two-lane road in New Hampshire until the entire flock was able to cross.

Via Roz the Crime Fiction Writer, who says:

He has the exact demeanour of our old school lollipop lady.

Pigeons and foxes aren’t the only ones who have adapted to human civilisation.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

New Big Thin Things in New York

A friend has put this photo that he photoed on Facebook:

If he objects to me using it, I’ll take it down, but I doubt he will.

It illustrates two things.

(1) The arrival of a new kind of skyscraper, the Very Thin Big Thing.

(2) How much less of a nuisance trees are, photographically speaking, when not smothered in stupid leaves. As it is, that photo is a fine addition to the Winter Tree With Big Thing Behind It photo-genre, which is a photo-genre I like a lot. With leaves, it would be significantly duller.

Here is a Guardian piece which explains why these Big Thin Things are now happening in New York. I now intend, although I promise nothing, to do a Samizdata piece in which I expand upon this circumstance. Clue: the provisional title of this piece is “Law and liberty in New York”. The point being that clear law says exactly what you may not do, but by so doing, it also says exactly – exactly – what you may do. Unlike in Britain with its insane “planning permission” system, where you just have to hope that some random assemblage of local tyrants doesn’t take against the plan you’ve been working on for months, and where there’s now no way beforehand of guessing what these tyrants will decide. In New York, if you follow the rules, you know you are allowed to build it. Result: well, New York.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One Park Drive

Recently I paid a visit to Docklands. The Big Things there add up to a quite impressive cluster, but are, on the whole, individually, unlike quite a few of those in The City, rather characterless and bland.

There is, however, an exception. This:

It’s One Park Drive, now nearing completion.

Here are a few more photos of it that I photoed:

Circular in plan. Its surface changes from one effect to another as you move up or down. Next to a stretch of water. I’m guessing they were thinking of these two towers in Chicago.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Books and a telegram

I just posted something at Samizdata about a talk I’ll be doing for Christian Michel this coming Sunday, i.e. January 6th. A rerun of this, basically, but with my thinking somewhat further advanced.

In the course of my homework for this posting, and for the talk itself, I came across these two rather fine images, which nicely illustrate the two history dates loom large in my story, the invention of the printing press …:

… and the invention of the electric telegraph:

I found these images here, and here.

Note how all the books are German. A major impact of printing being nationalism.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Creature comforts

Two creature-related BMdotcom-Friday-friendly images from the Niagara of Trivia and Abuse that is Twitter, to feast your eyes, and your brain, on.

The first is American:

Which I encountered here. I miss Transport Blog.

And the second is Anglo-Canadian:

The Canadian being Jordan Peterson, and the Anglo being a Fox, and what’s more a Fox with an animal tattoo on his arm.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog