Waving on the platform

Look closely, I'm on the platform waving. Dave Andrews took this from the aquaduct.


Taft 2012

The publisher of Taft 2012 sent me a free review copy. It's the first time that's happened to me. They must have seen other book reviews here on my blog.

I've been boasting to my friends about this literary honour, but now the time has come to actually write the review I'm conscious that I'm no F. R. Leavis.

If a book can have a personality, it strikes me that the book has the same personality as its protagonist, genial and balanced. I wouldn't describe it as a feel-good book, but my mind turned to it when I was in need of some light, enjoyable intelligent sanity.

President Taft existed in our history, but Heller describes a parallel universe where Taft returns a century after his disappearance. The story then unfolds without any more preternatural events. At a time when US politics seems highly polarized, Taft has a broad appeal that taps into core American values. The book is written by an American, for Americans, but is very accessible to a British audience.

The publishers have linked the book to a website, which I confess I haven't examined in detail. I like the linear book format (either on paper or screen), and dislike non-linear, interactive experiences. I'm sure that's a shortcoming in me rather than anything else.

Would I have become a Tafty? Perhaps!


Persistence hunting and the Concorde fallacy

I read about persistence hunting a few months ago:
humans likely practiced persistence hunting, chasing a game animal during the heat of the day, making it run faster than it could maintain, tracking and flushing it if it tried to rest, and repeating the process until the animal literally overheated and collapsed.
 And while jogging this morning I wondered if persistence hunting could be the reason why only humans are subject to the Concorde fallacy. A persistence hunter might feel like giving up, but evolution would favour those that didn't. This trait may lead to the Concorde fallacy in other areas of life.

Old Physics Stuff

This is the box with all my old physics stuff in. A lot of wonderful books that I never properly understood. I wish I could spend some more time understanding it. I wasn't very good at physics, but could understand enough to find it interesting.

Looking back over the folder of work, I'm impressed that anyone (let alone me) could understand all the gobbledegook, and yet at one time I did understand things like solving Schroedinger's wave equation for a potential well.

I could never understand anything through lectures, I always preferred reading books. The lectures told you what was on the syllabus though. In the second year my friend Chris was a year ahead of me, and he gave me his notes on the second year and I didn't go to any lectures. I did well that year, better than the final year when I had to go to lectures!

Planning permission?

Here's another photo of the skip, taken on 20th of July. I've contacted the BANES Council about it, but they've said they can't do anything about it because it's on private land. I've asked them about planning permission, as it's permanently there. I'll let you know their reply.

Old top

Thought it was time to chuck this old thing out. Probably dates back to Roger's day.


Cost of BT broadband

When I moved to Bath I tried for ages to get TalkTalk to transfer their broadband to the new house. They were terrible, and just couldn't do it, so I moved to BT, who were excellent. Bill recently asked how much BT costs. I'm with the 10 GB per month option. I've gone over that a few times, and they charge you an extra £5. Anyway, here's what BT have taken out of my account:



Kant And The Bicycle

I was walking along the pavement, and someone was wheeling a bicycle in the opposite direction. I stepped onto the road so that we could pass, and he thanked me.

I wondered if he had applied Kant's test that if everybody rode bikes to work, would things work out okay? If so, I think he would have passed Kant's test, because there would be no cars on the road, and cycling would be fine and wouldn't interfere with pedestrians. However, a motorist applying Kant's test would also say that if everyone that rode a bike drove a car instead, then pedestrians would be able to walk along the pavement because cars (should) never go on the pavement.

I thought that there must be a better way to illustrate this flaw in Kant's thinking. Forget about bikes, how about this:

I'm driving on the left hand side of the road. If everyone drove on the left hand side of the road, all would be well, so according to Kant I'll carry on. Someone else is driving along on the right hand side of the road, and she reasons that if everyone else drove on the right hand side of the rode, all would be well. We crash, and thus refute that the Kantian approach works in all cases.


Archiving Box November 1989

Moving on to the next box. Here was the stuff I had to deal with:

I called it Deep Storage. It is all a bit embarrassing. Those black plastic rings used to be on the end of the cylindrical spotlights that used to be in my bedroom at Deverell Close. I removed them because they seemed to serve no purpose.

In the bottom right hand corner is my address book. I think it had about eight people in.

I used to play for the Bath Gladiators junior American football team. We used to train every Sunday. I think we only ever played one proper match. I can remember that match. It was a really hot day at the Bath rugby ground. A burger stand was set up. I was a wide receiver. I only had the ball thrown to me once, but I did catch it. Awesome!

The middle document is the list of skiing exercises that we had to do before going on the school trip to Aprica when I was nine.

I think the writing on the right was my mum teaching me French before my GCSE exam. I didn't really know much French until then, but she taught me for two or three hours, and I learnt more in that time than in several years of school lessons.

At school we had to write about a hobby or activity that we did in our spare time. I wrote about the Under 17s Car Club.

I think it was in the summer holidays between the 4th and 5th years at Dauntsey's that I did work experience at an architect's office, the Carter Hughes Partnership. I dressed smartly in a jacket and tie, and made cups of tea, picked up photos from the developers, ran off copies of architectural drawings from the ammonia copier machine.

On the right is the draft of a letter to send to a bank. It was humorously modified by my brother. It's worth zooming in to read it.

The bottom right booklet is a programme for the Elixir Of Love, an Opera in which I had a non-singing part. I played a soldier. We rehearsed at Bath Uni.

A leaflet from Lost In The Mix. The sort of thing that doesn't happen any more, now that the internet is here.

I seemed to be always lending money to my parents...

Draft of an article for the school magazine.

There's a photo of Roger, our dog. And there's me.

In the sixth form I interviewed the head teacher Mr Wetz. Here's how it appeared in the school magazine.

Draft of the interview:

A photo of me with a massively bouffant hair style, looking a bit like Kim Jong-Il.

More drafts for the comedy page of the sixth form magazine.

A to-do list from my work experience at Carter Hughes:

Phil's coaches was the minibus that took us to school in the sixth form. On the right is a list of cakes. It was one of my duties at Carter Hughes to buy cakes.

Dave's writing...worth zooming in!

I went with my dad to London to see the Career Analysts. A big event. In the break for lunch I met up with my dad and we had a meal at a restaurant. I remember having trout and the waiter came over with an enormous pepper mill. Delicious meal. The analyst asked me what I wanted from the job, and I said that I wanted to be content. She asked me if I had ever been content!

It must have been in the third or fourth year that my brother and I both got stereos. Doug went for one with detachable speakers and better sound quality. I went for one that had a double take deck so that you could copy and dub music etc.

In the sixth form I bought a Barbour jacket.



I've just done a Belbin assessment. Six people that I chose had to tick words that they associated with me:

Put into the Belbin roles and charted, they look like this: