Thoughts

The Prognostic Acrostic

 

Comic books and climate change

While I’m the wrong kind of geek to be a real fan of superheroes and comic books, I find something healthy and hope-giving in some of their central tenets: that your differences are your strength; that great deeds are best done in secret, without public acclaim; that people are more than their outward appearance.  I don’t read comic books […]

Trains and a unifying theory. Not of, but for, us

France’s TGV – Train à Grande Vitesse or high-speed train – certainly lives up to its name, but at 320km/h or it’s still about three billion times slower than the speed of light.  But as it’s faster and greener than driving and waaaaay greener than flying we’ll forgive it, I think.  In November last year Sam and I […]

Externalities: Bees, Weetbix, and racism

I’d never thought that I’d be able to write about bees, fluid dynamics, money, and mass terrorism in the same blog post before.  It seems I can still surprise myself. When using mathematics to study how fluids move, we often use little tricks to make our lives easier.  We sometimes assume that there’s a point […]

Sorry guys, but this IS us

I woke up this morning to missed calls and messages from my sister.  Anyone living abroad knows that messages arriving in the middle of the night do not usually contain good news, and this time was no exception. I read headlines about “Massacre at the Mosques”, “Christchurch Shooting!”, “Nine dead”,  then “27 dead”.  Then facebook […]

Bye bye Bluebottle

Grief is a complicated garment.  With many different intertwining threads, patches, and sometimes pom-poms, the final grief-quilt in which we wrap ourselves is unique to the loved one – the who – but also related to a reason – the why.  Reason – why – is not to be confused with cause – the how […]

How hope in the future will destroy the world

When I buy a new bottle of shampoo it seems like the hardest thing in the world to continue with the current one until it’s gone before trying out the new.  Sure, I’ll finish it sometime, but just not this time.  Same with bottles of mayonnaise or tomato sauce.  And tins of interesting tea, especially […]

Contagion, Corrievorrie, and Amandine

Though we’re all familiar with the delicate balancing act required to manage a corriedoo without becoming a corriemuchloch, or, upon being confronted with a corriemoillie situation recall times we’ve chosen instead of corrievorrie to implement corriecravie, or worse, a reverse kind of corriearklet, let me share with you a little piece of advice. Don’t. Corrievorrie – […]

The power of red

You’re walking along the road after work on a rainy Tuesday evening.  It’s cold, but not cold enough to be exciting, and just dull enough to be entirely nondescript and unremarkable.  It is, after all, a Tuesday.  In a shop window you see a red dress and though you’re perhaps not a dressy kind of […]

Perspective

Throughout all of human history we’ve struggled to define “good”.  What is “good”?  What is “right”?  Who will decide?  Can it be achieved?  By all?  What happens if not?  You get the idea.  I want to talk about a variation on this theme which has been bugging me for a while: perspective. A limited perspective […]

The library of my life

This is more of a personal post than my previous ones, but as writing helps me get my head in order – and at present my head is sorely lacking in order – I’m exploiting this space for my own benefit.  You have been warned.  I am coming to the end of a chapter.  Finishing the […]

Untitled

A memory jar brims full with trickled days / and hours and moments gathered there to hold /  in precious weight until their overflow / into the broad and endless river. / The river holds those breaths which can’t be held / and cools the burning limbs which can’t be felt. / It bathes the eyes of […]

Knowing ourselves: Frogs, snails and star-stuff

Ancient philosophers, medieval poets, Renaissance playwrights, Keanu Reeves, and the vast multiplicity of internet self-help gurus agree: Σαυτὸν γνοὺς καὶ πάντα γνώσει τὰ τῶν θεῶν τε καὶ τοῦ κόσμου μυστήρια.  Or, know yourself and a bunch of other stuff – mostly good – will follow. What am I, what are you, what are we? As […]

It (should be) better to receive

Apparently Christmas is coming soon (and by soon, I mean less than three months away), so our thoughts turn towards gifts, trees, decorations, food, and family.  There are lessons to be learned from trees certainly, decorations possibly, food undoubtedly and family regularly, but it’s the gifts and giving that I want to talk about here. […]

The problem of the teacher

My friends are turning 40.  Every few days, a childhood friend, a school buddy, someone I’ve known more than half my lifetime, pops up on my facebook-birthday-reminder-calendar with this large and round-numbered anniversary of their birth.  The impact of technology has meant that I’m able to stay in contact – distant, sure, but contact nonetheless […]

The oxymoron of Natural Justice

There’s nothing natural about justice.  As animals, we moved beyond survival of the fittest individuals to survival of the fittest communities a long time ago.  We have a pack, a tribe.  We understood the need to protect those in our immediate vicinity in order to form those strong communities and thereby ensure our own survival.  […]

Potential, or, Being Full of It.

I hate this idea.  Potential, and the idea that it’s something of which we are all full.  That success means tapping into it, and the conclusion follows that a lack of success (however you define it) is at worst laziness, or at best ignorance of Potential-Tapping techniques.  The idea that the most insidious emotion of […]

Aliases, movies, bread and truth

Aliasing is a phenomenon you’re probably most familiar with in old movies, where the wagon wheels appeared to go backwards, or perhaps you’ve seen the stunning artwork of John Edmark and his BLOOM creations. Perhaps now you’re being hypnotised by the video and can read no further, but that’s ok.  I can wait. The phenomenon of […]

Politics, economics, and the second law of thermodynamics

We had some old friends to stay for a few days, and this morning one put milk into my hot coffee.  I forgave her now as it serves nicely as an example.  Imagine a cup of hot, beautifully black coffee and some cold, beautifully creamy milk.  One is hot, one is cold, and together – […]

Trier c’est Valoriser … ou pas?

Tuesday today, rubbish day.  Along the side of the road are the taxed landfill rubbish bags, bold letters reading Trier c’est Valoriser, literally, “sorting is valuing”, or if you sort your recycling from your landfill stuff, you’re a great human being.  A good sort (see what I did there?)  I wondered, on my way down the […]

Communication

I can appreciate what I think is the intention* behind the illustration – where there is a very limited amount of information (the figure on the ground), each person’s perspective influences what they see, which in turn influences their opinion.  In this isolated cartoon world, neither can be more correct than the other, and, in […]

Being born slowly

Living is being born slowly: it would be a little too easy if we could borrow ready-made souls.

For you

Have you ever read the description on the side of a shampoo bottle? For Dry Hair.  For Tired and Lacklustre Hair.  For Greasy Hair.  For Limp Hair.   Really?  I don’t want shampoo that gives me dry, tired, lacklustre, greasy or limp hair … and I’m fairly sure no-one else does either.  So why do they […]

Garden of weedin’

I feel like I spend a lot of time weeding.  A lot.  Four days a week, four hours a day.  And during the weeding I have a lot of time to think, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most of these thoughts are about weeds.  I have my favourites, I have my not-so-favourites, and I […]

Resonance

Two years ago last week we had put an offer in to buy a piece of land (not the one in the picture).  Our offer was behind another one, but all indications were that that previous one would expire.  So we were waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting to hear the outcome.  I’d fallen in love […]