How many people know about The Elders? Not science fiction, they are a non-governmental organisation of global thought leaders. Oddly enough, I’ve met a couple of them. We spoke in social pleasantries rather than of their vision which ‘is of a world where people live in peace, conscious of their common humanity and their shared responsibilities for each other, for the planet and for future generations’. Our meeting was the day Lia was being conferred with an honorary doctorate by Dublin University. As her plus one, I was able to enjoy a meal among the honourees, their plus ones and the university principals. And in my own alma mater, something neither my adult imagination let alone my student version was ever capable of imagining.[Read more…] about Giants, Elders and Bosons
I tried to read some files from a back-up drive yesterday. Dated 1992 and 1991, they were created with MS Word V1 and 2 using Windows 3 (true but a numerical series joke in memory of Lotus 123). The files are available to me because I kept moving them through time from device to device and continent to continent until I switched from Windows to a TimeMachine in an Airport on a windowsill.
I got some text from one of the files and realised that it only gave up its text because it was different – remember Word Perfect? We kept WP up for as long as we could but together with spreadsheet software Quattro Pro, it went the way of DOS. Meanwhile, Lia had bought a Brother hybrid word-processor for her teaching and first novel, a compromise because personal computers cost a month’s gross salary back then. It was hugely important to her. A massive affirmation of the importance of her work.[Read more…] about File Death and Nesting
We’ve been enjoying our own kefir pretty much every day since a friend gave some grains to Lia. Counter Kefir thrives in the kitchen. We use it exclusively in our morning granola. Hers greened with spirulina, them both riddled with cran-, blue- and goji berries as a health-maintaining minimum of supplements we add. There was a time that we’d buy kefir or other probiotics to use for breakfast but having our own is much more satisfying.
So, I wondered, how old is our kefir? How long has it been going? So I asked the donor.[Read more…] about Kefir Ezra
We should have been in Milton Keynes today had we been able to walk towards Rome. We could be there this day next year assuming travel restrictions can be lifted within the coming year. Remembering that pandemic means everywhere, I wonder if it’s just a maybe that I’ll walk by Milton Keynes and visit the National Museum of Computing in nearby Bletchley in 2021. Or will it be 2022?
I opened last year’s diary earlier and found a note about homelessness from this day last year. Consequently, we’re at home wondering what happened to the homeless? I recall that Shelter estimated there were over 300,000 homeless people in the UK in 2018. A very recent BBC radio interview covered a few of the challenges faced by those housing the homeless in the pandemic. There are many reasons that people end up homeless, among them addictions, mental illness and sociopathy. All of these surface as challenges to the authorities trying to house and protect people who have become accustomed to life on our streets. I think there has been a mis-step in helping the homeless in this crisis, creating an unintended consequence. The facilitating bureaucracy in the UK seemed to adapt an off-the-shelf approach from criminal justice, an isolation as punishment rather than rehabilitation. The homeless protection plan seems focussed on reducing the spread of disease by the homeless rather than directly looking after the needs of the homeless themselves. The addicted continue to shoot-up. The sociopaths ignore social distancing. The depressed can and do defenestrate. This does not augur well for what happens after the pandemic to those homeless now rehoused. It’ll rate as an opportunity missed at a time when there is effectively unlimited money available to address the underlying issues rather than simply concentrating them into hotels and the like. This is a world wide problem.[Read more…] about Should Could Maybe
My friend Peter from FabHappy recently posted to Life in the Right Direction about the TED talk from 2006 by Larry Brilliant. Here at home, we watched the talk earlier and were surprised by much of what we saw. If you’ve not see it and don’t work in the field of global medicine, you will be amazed by the simple message: early detection, early response.
I commented on his post. ‘Cheap air travel may be a thing of the past. Imagine how Europe would cope if just 1% of the people living in China and India decided to take a European package holiday in 2021. Tourism may be the biggest class of business casualty.’ Maybe. Maybe not. It’s a possible consequence we’ve been discussing here at home, on sundowner social video calls with friends and family we’ve not otherwise seen for last the 29 days of curfew. Changes to global tourism was something Peter Frankopan mentioned in The New Silk Road (2018), the arrival of newly wealthy middle class tourists from Asia – that was before Covid.[Read more…] about Early Detection, Early Response
I lost my posting nerve today. The loss of confidence happened after the thought that the leaders of our nations have a duty of care. That thought took me to a keyboard to tap out my idea that leadership requires a set of standards by which leadership performance can be assessed. Perhaps we need an international body, I thought. Tentatively, I wondered if the International Bill of Human Rights might have the teeth. And then I began to seriously worry that I have no self-appointed right to express unqualified personal opinions in such a public forum as an online journal. My musings might constitute noise. Or misinformation. Considered dangerous by some perhaps. Danger is relative. Could something as simple as an E at the end of your name mark you as a Catholic? A English friend of mine thinks it could one day. “No matter now” he said, “because Catholicism is being tolerated”. But we know pograms happen. And like it or not, it’s complacency that enables them. A read of Antonio Tabucchi’s novel Pereira Maintains is a very instructive what-if.[Read more…] about Nerves