Friday, May 25, 2007

The dangers of wi-fi

I didn't actually see the episode of Paranoia Panorama, but the discussion here and the helpful information here clarifies things.

Meanwhile, I wish I'd gone to a nursery that features performances by Bob Dylan

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Un-joined-up thinking

Apparently pregnant women need twice as much folic acid as everyone else. So now they are going to add it to flour so that all our bread is enriched with it. But do they not see?! This is only going to make it harder for pregnant women to get twice as much!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's only taken me 5 months...

...but I've finally got round to putting up some photos from the big day!!!

(I just included this one cos I think it's funny that everyone's photographing my brother moonwalking)

...but I've finally got round to putting up some photos from the big day!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Galileo? Galileo? Galileo? Galileo? Well maybe not quite...

...but still, for a poor boy from a poor family this looks like quite an achievement. I guess it explains why he's always modelled his hairstyle on Newton.

A Message from some US Troops...

The Dawkins Delusion?

A quote by Keith Ward in the Tablet:

So why can Professor Dawkins only see the bad in religion? Why is he incapable of making an objective, “scientific”, study of it, in all its diversity? Why is he unable to make distinctions between the many different forms of religious belief? I do not know the answer to these questions, but I do know this apostle of reason, when confronted with the word “faith”, suddenly becomes irrational, careless of truth, incapable of scholarly analysis. I really think it must be some sort of virus, and I wish my colleague a speedy recovery.

Also a very good article by Madeleine Bunting in the Guardian: No wonder atheists are angry: they seem ready to believe anything

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

General silliness...

Aishah Azmi, the support worker suspended from Headfield C of E school stated that she objected to removing her veil in the presence of male colleagues. When questioned by Peter Sissons on BBC news as to whether the school had known before her appointment that she would be wearing a veil, she replied that she wasn't aware whether or not they had known. She admitted that she hadn't volunteered the information. So she then found herself in great difficulty when she was asked how the male governor who had interviewed her had failed to be aware that she wore a veil.

On the other hand, "the World's Greatest Newspaper" the Daily Express leads today with the headline "Veils should be banned say 98%". Anyone brave enough to look any further discovers that the 98% refers to 98% of Daily Express Readers. So, very unsurprising after all, and hopefully wholly unrepresentative of the general population.

So, fat chance of a civilized debate.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fire Bible...

Apparently, (ie. according to Justin Taylor on the Reformation21 blog), this is not a mickey-take.

A Straw Man?

Andrew comments on the Labour Party's recent issues regarding veils here.

I myself think that whilst the turban and the skullcap are likewise 'visible statements of separation', what makes the veil different is that it practically implements that separation (which the others do not) in a potentially unhelpful way. If, as is often said, most communication is non-verbal, then much of this will be facial. And for one person to cover their face when in a conversation puts the other person at a disadvantage. As such, his point is valid.

I have heard neither Straw nor any of his Labour colleagues express a desire to legislate against the wearing of the veils, merely an admission that he finds it unhelpful and has expressed that view in his constituency surgeries. Living in a society with freedom of religion is a very good thing, but it is also good when politicians promote expression of responsibility with those freedoms.

I doubt if any muslim will significantly change their practise with regard to veils due to Mr Straw's statements. However, I don't think that they should be shielded from being politely made aware that such practise causes some of the people with whom they share a society (and this includes people such as Jack Straw who have promoted religious tolerance) difficulty.

I agree with Andrew's rejection of the argument about the wearing of the veil being a provocative act (this is not an argument I have personally heard espoused by Straw nor any of his colleagues in the mainstream parties). But the same judgment ought to be applied to Straw's comments (likewise Andrew has not himself used this as an argument against Straw) - people using Jack Straw's words as an excuse for religious hatred are responsible for their actions, and should be held responsible as such.

I am glad that we live in a multicultural society (although Andrew's classification of muslim cultures in Britain by their country of origin raises questions about the level at which a community or culture can, does and should acquire an identity), I am proud that we have freedom of religious expression (in contrast with many muslim states) and wish it to increase and be promoted. But this ought to go hand in hand with the freedom to encourage responsibility with those freedoms.

GTD Software picks...

Having talked below about the low-tech leaning of GTD, I can't omit to mention a couple of my favourite pieces of software. First off is GTDTiddlyWiki Plus, an adaption of Jeremy Ruston's brilliant TiddlyWiki. This is a client-side wiki with a GTD bent. The great thing about this is that you just save it on your machine (or a USB stick - it also has an upload plugin if you want to host it so it's always accessible wherever you are) and then get going.

For a more data-driven approach there's my app of choice, iCommit by Rainer Bernhardts. This is a hosted solution, so you're going to need an internet connection when you want to use it, but it has the advantage of a very intuitive interface and a comprehensive implementation of GTD.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Merlin Mann and David Allen's new podcast

Very excited about this. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done has teamed up with Merlin Mann of 43 Folders for a podcast called Productive Talk.

Allen's Getting Things Done is the most influential productivity method in decades and differs from many other methods by focussing on common-sense rather than over-prioritising. Mann has done much to popularise GTD, particularly amongst those of a geeky persuasion, through his website 43 folders and the invention of high-tech tools like the hipster PDA.

There's a few things that attract me to this method. It's about finding what works rather than making life even more complicated. And unlike many method, it suits the way my mind works. I've always liked the great Donald Knuth's explanation of the growth of computer science as a subject, and in a similar manner these ideas are tools I can relate to:

This is the true explanation of why computer science became a university department so fast all around the world. The reason is not that computers are important tools for mankind, or something like that. The reason is that there were these people out there who had this way of thinking that never had a home before. They get together, they can communicate high bandwidth to each other, the same kind of analogies are meaningful to them. All of a sudden they could come together and work much more efficiently, not in someone else’s territory that wasn’t for them.