Hiking With Cats

Hiking With Cats

Usually when we hear of people hiking with cats we think of them walking with the cat, or cats, on a leash. In a Pass Moi Les Jumelles (PAJU for short), we follow two guys who go for a walk with four cats. The report is funny because the cats, or some might even say kittens, are allowed to roam and explore with the human companions. They can leap across streams over and over. Occasionally they, the cats, fall into the water. 


It is refreshing and fun to see a report like this because it shows that cats can roam with humans, without harnesses and other equipment. They automatically follow the humans. 

Of course there is a flaw with walking with cats. They’re nocturnal, and sleep a lot. This means that you have to walk at a different rate than you would usually walk. At one point the two principle people decide to have a siesta in the middle of the day, because the cats are lazy and tired after playing so much the previous day. 

We see them walking with their cats on the back of their bags, in order to rest and recover. 

As I watched this short documentary I was led to believe that the person who filmed this loves cats. You can tell they love cats because they know what to expect, they know what cats will get up to and capture it. It’s a fun and pleasant documentary, especially if you understand french. The visuals are nice too. 

I enjoy the idea of hiking with cats, without leashes, of expecting them to stay around, rather than stray too far. I like the idea of them galivanting, exploring and playing on a linear walk. It is amusing to think of them sheltering in sleeping bags to keep warm. 

YouTube And Sensationalism

YouTube And Sensationalism

I love the medium of video and I have love having a choice of thousands, or even millions of videos to choose from. In effect my love of the medium of video should mean that I love YouTube. I don’t, because of sensationalism and clickbait. 

I have paid for YouTube prime twice now, to cut out all the adverts, and I love that. In theory plugins do the same thing, for free, and I did use plugins for years before finally deciding to spend money on YouTube Prime. 

The thing that paying for YouTube Prime can’t remove is the sensationalist headlines and clickbait titles. It also doesn’t remove the content creators with a million viewers saying “please like and subscribe” ten seconds into a video. It doesn’t cut out of them saying “with my half a million viewers” and other grating phrases. 

The second thing I don’t like is having videos with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of views recommended. I want to find the smaller content creators that are sharing video for pleasure, rather than as a job. I want to use YouTube on a human rather than a broadcast scale. If I want to be an anonymous statistic I can watch mainstream media content. 

By showing content with hundreds of thousands or even millions of views it feels like an enormous amount of content is being ignored and silenced. We are seeing what the algorithms think everyone wants to see, rather than what individuals want to see. 

A content creator camps in interesting places with a diversity of equipment. It’s interesting until you notice that the content has a million or more views, for what would be considered junk, or a waste of time in other scenarios. 

It feels like a positive feedback loop. Popular content gets promoted so people watch it, and because people watch it it gets promoted even more. When I refresh YouTube today I get 6 videos, where I used to see 20 videos. The most popular content is forced upon us, making it even more popular. It feels like we’re being compelled to watch certain content, rather than free to choose. 

And Finally

I come from a time when we browsed the web. We had 20-30 articles and bits of news on a single page and we chose which content we wanted to view. Today browsing has been replaced by algorithm driven recommendations, so we are forced to see sensationalist, populist content, rather than something that is unique and interesting. We need to revert to browsing again. I don’t want recommendations. I want choice. I want to feel that I am not being forced to see content that an algorithm chose for me. I get fatigue, with YouTube today. 

World Television

World Television

Now that I know that I can treat Netflix as an international film festival I do. Last night I watched the first episode of Crash Landing on You. A South Korean film about a woman CEO who goes for a parapente flight, gets caught in a storm, and dropped in North Korea. 


The premise of this television show is interesting because it’s based on a true incident with a South Korean celebrity, but also because this is something we think about much less, especially in Europe, since most borders ceased to be watched. 

In my own lifetime borders between France, Switzerland and other countries have been closed down for the most part. We can walk between countries without ever showing our passports. I often drive from Switzerland to Spain without showing a passport. It’s nice. Europe is a village. 

That’s where Crash Landing on You is so interesting. It shows us a completely different culture, one where borders still exist. If you’re in the US or other countries, where borders still hold importance then the cultural interest is diminished. 

I watch the content in Korean, with English subtitles that are sometimes displayed too briefly in some cases. They need to rethink the reading time of subtitles. 

It’s great that Netflix actively encourages people to search for content by original language, but also that if we choose to watch Korean, French, or other language content, that it shows associated content. It’s a way of making Netflix more international, more multicultural, and more inclusive. 

Until I found this feature I felt that Netflix was to US centric and that the content on offer was of no interest to me, for the most part. 

Now that view has changed, as I have a wealth of new content to watch. 

Netflix – Browse By Language

Netflix – Browse By Language

Recently Netflix added a Browse by Language option which means that you can browse for content by original language. Yesterday I saw that I can browse for content in French, Italian, Polish,, Korean, German and many more languages. I could list more but that’s dull. Instead I want to focus on the opportunities it opens up. 

With YouTube, Apple Films and other platforms you can search for films but they are either in French, German or Italian in Switzerland and it’s hard to find content that is in its original language. 

For English speaking YouTube creators they always say with “frogspawn VPN you can pretend you’re in country A to watch content from there” etc. This does appeal to me in rare situations. What appeals more is the freedom to search for French, Italian or Korean content. By watching a film made in French, Italian, Korean or any other language you are entering a different culture. 

One of my favourite films, when I watched 90 films in the span of 9 months or so was that I saw films I would not otherwise see. Brotherhood, the Korean film is excellent. I also really enjoyed Hong Kong martial arts films. 

It is for this reason that last night I watched the King’s Affection, episode 1.


With Netflix and Amazon Prime it is was to get stuck watching US and UK content without thinking of watching content in other languages. Netflix has now made it possible to explore the world of film and television, on an international, cross-cultural scale. You have thirty two languages to choose from. Now you see why I didn’t list them all earlier. 

Last night Netflix removed Young Sheldon from Netflix Switzerland so I was angry. I cancelled my subscription until I noticed the browse by language feature, and then Netflix became as rich and diverse as a film festival. By selecting Russian, Romanian, Telugu or another language you travel through space and time to other cultures, other values, and different ways of seeing the world. 

I had skimmed over Netflix France and noticed that they had a lot of extreme sports content. 


And Finally

Film and Television is a great way to discover new languages, new cultures, and new ways of seeing the world. By making Netflix more international they are helping to bring more people into contact with more cultures. This is good. 

Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Sometimes when you go for a walk you spend time watching birds. In the video below you see a flock of gulls flocking around a tractor as it prepares the field for a crop. You see hundred of gulls wait for the tractor to open up the ground and then they rush in to find some snacks. I think they’re happy with worms, insects and small rodents. Anyone that thinks that vegetarianism doesn’t result in hundreds of animal deaths is wrong. These birds love to explore behind tractors.

A tractor and Gulls

Rewriting Books For Political Correctness

As a child I read Roald Dahl and I enjoyed the books. These were some of the first books I read. Recently the English decided to re-write books. According to sources they replaced “boys and girls” with children, “mothers and fathers” with parents and more. They replaced words like “fat” and more. Someone thinks that fat is worse than enormous.

In the age of Brexit and more we should not be rewriting old books. We should have fought against ideas like Brexit, against ideas that are xenophobic in nature. We should also work to de-stigmatise topics and identities, rather than make them neutral, or neuter the conversation. Every one of us goes through life being teased or attacked for what we are.

A few years ago I read plenty of James Bond books and I found some passages and ideas questionable, but rather than request for changes to be made I thought, “plenty of people would hate to read these books today. I am certain that people would like to re-write James Bond books, but I see the language as historic artefact. I see it as a step back in time, a time capsule.

The aim shouldn’t be to change what was written decades or generations ago. We should ensure that modern values are instilled in human beings, rather than books. Remember, Brexit and related spreading of hate are the real issue. I don’t want to go further down this thread.

I think that society, rather than editing old books, should remember to teach people about history and context. I was disgusted to find that people I went to university with did not study 20th Century history. People who have not studied 20th century are vulnerable to make the same mistakes in the 21st Century. Look at Brexit, Trump, and the rise of the Far Right. Historical context would do a lot more to advance society, than rewriting old books, in the current social context. Brexit England does not represent 21st Century values. Brexit normalised xenophobia.

And Finally

A book is a book. If the ideas within are old fashioned or redundant we do not need to finish it. We can dump it and read something else. We can get through school without reading books in full. When I liked books I read them in their entirety, but when I tried to read Jane Austen I gave up. I struggled with Willian Faulkner. I enjoyed all Roald Dahl books as a child.


Moving Sugar Beet

For a few weeks you see piles of sugar beet at one end, or another of fields. They stay that way for a while, until it rains for some reason. When it rains those piles of beet are loaded into hundreds of tractor trailer loads and transported to the train yard. The closest to Nyon is in Eysins.

A tractor lifting a trailer to unload sugar beet into a machine to load train wagons.

During this time you see two things. Tractors going back and forth from the fields to the loading yard all day long filled with sugar beet and muddy roads. I don’t know whether they wait for the rain to clean the sugar beets before moving them, or if the wagons just happen to be free when the rain falls. In either case the roads around this train stop are covered in mud. It’s dangerous for scooters and bikes at this time of year.

Sometimes you see six to eight tractors with their loads parked with a sheet of paper with “25m3” or some other reading. Apparently the farmers drive their tractors to be unloaded and seem to leave them there either because it’s lunchtime, or because they are waiting for the train or loaders to get more wagons ready.

It would be interesting to pick up one or two sugar beets that fell by the side of the road during transport and try to process the beets to make sugar.

I walk almost every day, and by walking I see the seasonal changes in fields, and the different stages of different plants. We can all get in cars, drive for an hour, and walk for an hour but I prefer to walk locally, to see local seasonal changes, and to avoid spending money on petrol. I also like to reduce my carbon footprint, by driving less.

That’s it for now.

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YouTube and the Million Follower type

I used to really like YouTube. It was a place where normal people could share videos of their normal lives, for normal people to enjoy, and to discover organically. Today YouTube is a way of forcing people to watch adverts before watching content that has been seen half a million to a million times by people with a million subscribers who keep saying “i have a million subscribers” and showing off. This makes most YouTube content unpleasant.

Don’t boast about your audience, or about your community. Give me good quality video content that I want to keep watching. Give me content, not boasting about how you got awards, got a big audience etc. I am not on YouTube to flatter your ego. I am on YouTube to watch content that is interesting as I eat dinner. If you don’t fill this niche then I can slide towards another content creator, or video network.

Content viewing, at this point in the pandemic has become hard. If the content is about friends and family then this is a long distant memory, in the middle of the pandemic, with no hope of an end.

Documentaries would be fun, if they weren’t edited by a hyperactive bumblebee. If I watch a documentary, speak, give me information, and don’t sensationalise it. If you do I will tune out within minutes, or even seconds in some cases.

I would watch films but either modern story writing makes them so dull that I lose interest within a few minutes, or they make me long for pre-pandemic, or post pandemic life.

Content is not made for single people living in solitude during a pandemic but it should. Good documentaries, good films, good series.

I enjoyed watching people play computer games for a while, but then eventually I grew tired of the content. I felt that at least one or two people were playing towards a stereotype, rather than being genuine, Eventually I stopped watching.

I often listen to audible books as I cook. Recently I thought about listening to audiobooks as I ate, or even in the evening, rather than watch video content. The beauty of audio books is that they’re 3-20hours long. Find a good book and you will be entertained for a week to 20 days.

Recently I have been listening to Louis L’amour books and I find them fun. They’re not the genre I used to listen to. I am in the right frame of mind. I like these books because they’re light, easy reading. They’re not like Gulag, or other books. It’s a trip back in time to frontier America, when bison were plentiful, land was being taken away by the Whites, and more.

As I read Louis L’Amour I know that some topics may anger or frustrate people who feel that the writing is from another age, and it is. Listening to such books is a cultural trip to see what life was hypothetically like, and to explore a different genre. I usually read factual books.


Version Control, Engineering and Rocket Engines

Every Rocketdyne engine was fine tuned and perfected by hand, from plans, that were modified but not updated. This means that each engine was unique. It would take trial and error to build them again.

With GIT and other forms of version control the entire process could theoretically have been logged and preserved, not so, in this context. Interesting video.


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Perm 36 YouTube Video Visit

Last night I watched a video about a visit to Perm36 but it covered just the trip. The video below is far more complete and informative. I am currently reading Gulag by Anne Applebaum, rather than The Gulag Archipelago, like she mentions. I started reading it decades ago but never finished it. I read A day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch in a single day.


Reading Gulag, The Gulag Archipelago and other books helps give some context to what Soviet Russia was like. As I read Gulag by Applebaum I get the feeling that Soviet Russia was about enslaving people to make profit for some whilst everyone else suffers. From this perspective what the Soviet Union would morph into, at the end of the Soviet age would make more sense.

I recommend watching this video. It is informative.