Man Plus

I hope this is 'fair dealing' of this book cover.

It has a 50s feel to it. I like the descriptions of the protagonist's inner life. It seems incredible to us that such early machines could become conscious. However, he was on the right track...

Weighed and sifted

Atonement was a sublime book. Seeing the film afterwards was more enjoyable as a result.

Saturday lived up to my high expectations. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that in these two books the world that is described is very different from McEwan's background. I supposed all books are a rarefied distillation of some sort, but McEwan's are particularly subtle and well balanced.

Yes, balance is the word, everything's weighed and sifted.

Which cleverly brings me to yesterday's pancake cooking. I used a Delia Smith recipe, but my friend Jo stepped in and prepared the actual mixture, leaving me to do the fun part of, ahem, tossing. I feel a bit guilty for inviting people over and then getting them to do the cooking. It's not the first time it's happened.

Afterwards we watched Emma's DVD Stardust, a polished and surprisingly funny summer-blockbuster. Thank you Emma!


My dad's wife died on 9th February, two weeks ago now. At the funeral on the following Saturday, I was honoured to be asked to read Daisies by Andrew Young.


Software Patents: David Lammy

The latest on my mini-campaign against software patents: my MP, Andrew Murrison, wrote on my behalf to David Lammy, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property.

In his reply, David mentioned that the President of the European Patent Office has referred the question of software patents to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. David's team are planning a study into the economic impact of software patents, the results of which may be submitted to the Enlarged Board of Appeal.


Trance X 5

It doesn't arrive until about Thursday, but I bought a Giant Trance X 5 today. Don't ask me how much it was, it was extravagant, but now the die is cast. I needed to make my mind up because my brother needs his bike back next weekend. I'm excited!


The Big Red Dog

One of the dogs found a cardboard box, climbed in, and settled down to sleep! This was taken at my aunt's house in Kenya.


The Wealth of Nations Volume 1

Dave Andrews said to me one day, 'we should really read The Wealth Of Nations you know'. That was some time ago, and I've now just finished Volume 1.

The theory is pretty much as I thought it would be, but all of Smith's arguments are filled with historical detail that was entirely new to me.

As I listen today to the news of workers striking in protest at the free labour market of the EU, it's clear that Smith's ideas haven't convinced everybody. They have convinced me however, and I'm sure that an EU with a free labour market would be much richer than one with monopolies on labour.

I heard Lord Mandelson trying to make the case for free markets to John Humphreys, and he failed to answer John's straightforward questions.

The problem is that although with free markets society as a whole gets richer, the wealth isn't distributed evenly. Adam Smith describes what happens when the supply of labourers exceeds demand; they starve to death.

That's why I'm in favour of not taxing the poor. And indeed I'm in favour of a universal 'citizen's allowance', so that nobody goes hungry.

With free markets making society richer, and a citizen's allowance making sure nobody gets left behind, I think we can muddle through.

Now on to Volume 2...