Where’s The Revolution?

In these turbulent political times, it’s the number one question being asked all over the world (aside from Cape Town, where it’s “Where’s The Rain?” and Barcelona where it’s “How on earth did the referee give that penalty?”).
It’s also the title of Depeche Mode’s new song:

The video, directed by Anton Corbijn, is waist-deep in symbolism and snapshots of recreated political history, Dave Gahan is the impassioned pseudo-dictator, wheeling his mighty soapbox around a monochromatic, dystopian, urban space and imploring his non-existent audience to rise up.

It’s powerful imagery.

On the actual music, much has been made of the production by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco fame, but he’s sensibly not tinkered too much with the traditional Depeche Mode sound. In fact, it sounds like they’ve hardly moved on from 1990’s Violator, but since that was a near perfect offering, there’s no problem with that.

The new album – Spirit – is out next week.

Still not raining

Look, we’ve covered this before.

We noted the city’s request for prayers here:

Why haven’t our religious leaders been praying for rain already? And if they have, where’s the evidence? Who’s withholding the damn rain anyway, and why?

And we added a touch of sarcasm here:

Tamboerskloof vicar Rev. Denise Woodhouse stated that she had been instructed by her senior clergy to hold off any specific reference to rain in her Sunday prayers “until April or May”.
When it was pointed out to her that this was rather convenient timing, given that that’s when the seasonal rains usually begin anyway, she replied, “Yes, isn’t God amazing?” and hurried off to help with pouring the tea at the Women’s Auxiliary meeting.

But the weird thing is that with just n days of water left, people are still genuinely suggesting that prayer is the answer to the current water crisis:

Exactly what do these people think is responsible for this crisis? The underlying cause of the lack of water is simply a lack of rain.

Given that we are advised to “put our faith in God as He is the only one who can save us from the catastrophe” (as He did just after that day of prayer about 30 years ago), I’m left wondering why He hasn’t done something about this already.

Is He really sitting up there in heaven, omnipotent, but waiting for us all to worship a bit harder before He sends any precipitation to Cape Town? Are the recent floods in Gauteng a sign that they prayed harder or better than we did, or is He just trolling?

Behold what I am capable of, just up the N1! Enough rain to fill their dams (and sweep innocent schoolchildren to their deaths), but no: you’re not having any until you get yourselves to church and beg for it. And, if you’ve already been to church and begged for it, then go again and beg a bit harder.

And then, when it does eventually rain, you will praise me for granting you watery salvation, conveniently overlooking all the times I ignored your repeated and increasingly desperate prayers over the past few months.

But that’s exactly what Ilze Müller and her kind will do: drowning (pun intended) in religious confirmation bias, defending the indefensible, brainwashed and blinkered.

Still, if I can get an afternoon off work on the strength of pretending to participate in their ludicrous charade, I’m obviously all for it.

Oh, Crystal Ball, Crystal Ball.

So sang Keane back in 2006.
Great song. Creepy video.

But that’s not what this post is about. It’s a reminder for me. Yes, whizzing through my Flickr photostream just now, I noted that I haven’t done enough crystal ball photography.

What with the Mavic appearing on the scene and life happening and stuff, I haven’t really got around to it, and I must.

Note to self. You know what.

No woman, no fly

The Mavic learning curve continues.

My wife was away this weekend, and I had big plans to take the kids out for a quick flight. However, the weather was weird on Sunday. Cloudy one minute, sunny the next; calm one minute, dangerously gusty immediately thereafter.

Not flying weather.

Still, that did give me the opportunity to use that title.
Silver linings, ne?

The purpose of the planned flight was to practice some videoing. The photography thing is coming along nicely, albeit slowly. But I look at other people’s Mavic videos and I want to be able to do that too. I did try a 4K video a couple of weeks ago, but my settings were all wrong and I ended up with a pretty much completely unuseable, 2 minute long, 1.8GB file.

Some reading up and a couple of helpful Youtube videos later, I adjusted the video settings and took the risk of popping Florence (for it is she) up to 50m or so to test them out.
Good news. The quality was excellent: clear and sharp. And “only” 150MB for a 30 second flight. So basically 5MB per second. I’m not sharing it here because it (the content, at least) is rubbish, but that’s not the point. Suddenly, there are a whole lot of opportunities open to me – the world is my whelk.

There will come a time (possibly) when videoing in 4K resolution is necessary/possible (the Mavic can do it, but my PC simply can’t handle it). In the meantime, 2.7K is far more manageable, and – to an amateur like me, at least – appears basically just as good [professional videographers fall to the floor in laughter].

Watch this space, because great* things are coming.

* terms and conditions apply. 

Canal Beagle

No, not a trip to our local waterway with the dog, a black bin liner and a couple of bricks.
El Canal Beagle  – The Beagle Channel – is a waterway right at the bottom of South America. It’s named after Charles Darwin’s vessel, which took this route between Argentina and Chile between 1826 and 1830.

Notable things about the Beagle Channel:
1. It’s got the infernal dog breed in its name.
2. It’s got a lighthouse:

3. There was a Beagle Conflict. This in itself is weirdly amusing, but – and how cool is this? – one of the major incidents in this conflict over a disputed border line occurred in 1958 – and involved three lighthouses.

Named the Snipe Incident after the uninhabitable rock which both sides claimed they owned [rolls eyes], it involved the Chileans building a lighthouse on the rock. The Argentinians quickly destroyed the Chilean lighthouse after it’s completion and replaced it with their own Argentinian lighthouse. This Argentinian lighthouse was removed by Chilean forces and taken to a nearby Chilean naval base. Those Chilean forces also reinstated the original Chilean lighthouse, the remains of which the Argentinians had thrown into the sea. The following day, the Argentines used heavy artillery to destroy that lighthouse (again), before placing some soldiers on the rock to claim sovereignty.

The ensuing military build-up was fortunately curtailed by a truce. The terms of this truce were that there should be no military personnel or lighthouses on the rock. So, exactly as it was before the three lighthouses and the mini invasion then.

Sabre-rattling deluxe.

Since a further treaty in 1984, there have been no disputes over this (now) Chilean territory. There is now a lighthouse (not the one pictured above – that’s the Phare Les Éclaireurs and definitely belongs to Argentina) on the Snipe islet.

Note: This post is about Beagle Lighthouses and has nothing to do with Lighthouse Beagles, who are responsible for promoting and developing the dreaded breed throughout Europe.