Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
- One of the main qualities of a politician here is to attend all the funerals in their constituency
- Some of the ministers that Ireland sends to the EU are so 2 faces they considered that Peter Mandleson was the only UK politician they could learn a trick from
- The population of the Irish Republic consider being corrupt a necessary attribute in a politician
- One representative said something along the lines of "who cares about a budget deficit when they are potholes in the road in Cork"
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Hotel I am staying in however had no hint of recession. In addition to paying guests, it also hosts xmas parties. I got up yesterday at 5.30am to get the ferry over. So I went to bed about 10pm. At 10.30pm I was woken by a Van Halan cross Gun & Roses covers band playing to one the the parties a few floors below. I wondered down to the reception and the guy said "you don't have your happy face on, let me put you in an other room now" before I even opened my mouth.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
- #twitterjoketrail where Paul Chambers tweeted a comment out of frustration to his soon to be girlfriend which resulted in his conviction until an obscure law.
- The locking up of Stephen Gough for walking in Scotland as nature intended.
- The death of Ian Tomlinson and subsequent lack of trial of the police man who can be seen to beat
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- They were far more interesting then the story their C.V.'s sold
- They really were not confortable in building short term transient social relationships (which is what an interview is). In fact my 4 & 6 years olds are better at it.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
- Lord Hereford's Knob. A hill which has been "on the list" for a while as I have driven past it 100's of times, but the rather daft Half Man Half Biscuit song has brought it to the fore.
- Mother Shipton Inn in Knaresbrough, North Yorkshire for a beer. Has Guy Fawkes Table inside.
- Winter Hill. I read blogs of lots of folk who use it as a training ground. Enough said.
- Star Inn in Dylife. I drove past it last week or so while proving my wife plus friend some bike training support. Highest pub in Wales and its like the moon up there. Also provides an excuse to explore the surrounding area which looks very interesting and dramatic.
- Giant's Causeway. With a large slab of my ancestry from northern Ireland, it is curious I have yet to find an excuse. Seen similar feature on the West coast of scotland, but this looks the best. Exercise the latent geologist in me.
- Knoydart. Very wet and very remote. 3 Munro's to do there. Access is a long walk in or by boat. Been on the bounds to the north and east, but not ventured in. Be great to stay in Inverie.
- St Kilda. A bit more of a trek and probably not the destination for a family holiday.
- Hebden Bridge. I hear vague references to it being posh and querky, but I don't understand them, so probably time to get informed.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Last month, someone I worked with over a number of years decided he did not want to continue in this world and ended his life.
I probably had not spoken to him for 6 months. We meet or spoke when work needs brought us together. There was always a warmth in our greeting and a laugh. Over the years he got some of the really hard accounts to manage and he had the vision to ask for the type of help I can offer. In 1998 he dealt with the only complaint by a customer against me where I offered to visit them on a saturday morning (at that time I worked mon-fri in Camberly in the Solution Centre, so it was not a matter of popping in) to have a look at a long running issue. He dealt with this curved ball with a mix of professionalism and "I have this idiot who has complained you offered to help them above and beyond and the clown has complained about it".
I have no insight into why he decided he did not want to go on and when I read an email about him I 1st thought "its a common name, there most be an other ...... ......". Sadly not.
So my answer to when a work colleague becomes is friend is when you look forward to your interaction with them and their company when the job brings you together. Sun Microsystems was a very rich place according to this definition.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
- We knew each other well
- Had a beer or two
- We got on well
- We both knew the other would take a joke
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Trotted along to the mid-Wales BCS sub branch A.G.M. and lecture last night. AGM was a formality and as such appropriately boring, but at least lasted only 10 minutes.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
We met with Amnesty International to discuss a number of their initiatives in relation to UK companies and how BlackRock engages on social, ethical and environmental matters, particularly human rights.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
"Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I'll come back and bloody haunt him."
Saturday, October 9, 2010
- Answer an email from an act asking if I could arrange a gig in the Aberystwyth area
- Go to the Druid and get Lewis the landlord to put the night in the diary
- Put some posters up the act sent me and get some other people to put some posters up
- Get some willing and capable hands to sort out the P.A. and the support act.
- Hassle some people to come along
- Email a Cambrian News journalist some details
- An open mind
- Attila the Stockbroker after 6 pints
- A few pints yourself
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Graphene – the perfect atomic lattice
A thin flake of ordinary carbon, just one atom thick, lies behind this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov have shown that carbon in such a flat form has exceptional properties that originate from the remarkable world of quantum physics.
Graphene is a form of carbon. As a material it is completely new – not only the thinnest ever but also the strongest. As a conductor of electricity it performs as well as copper. As a conductor of heat it outperforms all other known materials. It is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that not even helium, the smallest gas atom, can pass through it. Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again.
Geim and Novoselov extracted the graphene from a piece of graphite such as is found in ordinary pencils. Using regular adhesive tape they managed to obtain a flake of carbon with a thickness of just one atom. This at a time when many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable.
However, with graphene, physicists can now study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties. Graphene makes experiments possible that give new twists to the phenomena in quantum physics. Also a vast variety of practical applications now appear possible including the creation of new materials and the manufacture of innovative electronics. Graphene transistors are predicted to be substantially faster than today’s silicon transistors and result in more efficient computers.
Since it is practically transparent and a good conductor, graphene is suitable for producing transparent touch screens, light panels, and maybe even solar cells.
When mixed into plastics, graphene can turn them into conductors of electricity while making them more heat resistant and mechanically robust. This resilience can be utilised in new super strong materials, which are also thin, elastic and lightweight. In the future, satellites, airplanes, and cars could be manufactured out of the new composite materials.
This year’s Laureates have been working together for a long time now. Konstantin Novoselov, 36, first worked with Andre Geim, 51, as a PhD-student in the Netherlands. He subsequently followed Geim to the United Kingdom. Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia. Now they are both professors at the University of Manchester.
Playfulness is one of their hallmarks, one always learns something in the process and, who knows, you may even hit the jackpot. Like now when they, with graphene, write themselves into the annals of science.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Life does bring some curious and random requests my way. Recent among them was a email from a chap called John to organise a gig in the Aberystwyth area for his 30th anniversary tour. Suitably warned that I was far from a professional gig organiser, he is playing in the Druid Inn in Goginan on Thursday night (7th of October).
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I loved this review of Orbit's recent album Pieces in a Modern Style on iTunes by "The Illustrator".
If you ever want that feeling of being in a lift, in the comfort of your own home, then put your ipod on, get into a wardrobe and play this album.It was enough to put me off buying it for now, despite Optical Illusions being the background turn to having an out of mind few hours during the Highland Fling Race in 2009.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Some of the bands in no particular order which I think are worthy of mention
- The Strange World of Arthur Brown : probably the best act of the weekend for me. Made my life one step closer to complete. Far, far better than I expected. Beauty and theater in one stage, go see him. In no way is he a past it old bloke.
- Levellers : no idea after the 60th or so time I have seen them play. I enjoyed the set, even though it was tipping it down with rain.
- James : great act, very poor set list. Apart from the last 3 songs, very disappointing
- Ned's Atomic Dustbin : Like the music, knew none of the songs.
- The Alarm : class as ever
- The Wallers : again, my life is one step closer to complete
- Dreadzone : class as ever
- 3 Daft Monkeys : lots of new stuff which sounded very good.
- Interview by John Rob of Penny Rimbaud of Crass (or was it the other way round) who spend some time talking about Wally Hope. It was very interesting how Crass became his vehicle to get some element of revenge, but also to promote some of his ideals. It was very interesting to hear him talk about aspects of his life and ideals, how he has tried to live by them and the admission he has not been perfect. While I may not align myself with the Crass view of the world, some of its underlying principles were interesting and worth thinking on. Agree or disagree, its good to have something to stimulate examining your values and beliefs.
- Port Izzac's Fishermans Friends : very good for the 1st slot on a Sunday (2 under 5's and the need to run on a saterday morning very much limited beer consuption). Usual joke about sucking a fishermans friend, but they did some really good traditional sea based songs in a interesting style.
- The Wirzzels : 79 year old drummer, drum and bass verison of Combine Harvester in a saturaday afternoon slot. Very good value and good fun. I had seen them at Glastonbury about 10 years ago and they were seemed old then, so it was not a step towards my life being more complete, but it was fun to watch.
- Myra gave very good reports of Bellowhead and Seth Lakeman.
Rush, rush, rush. I was in Sweden the week before, Myra did just about all the packing and we ended up bringing the wrong set of tent poles. I was musing on how to sleep 2 adults and 2 children in a VW Transports and mentioned this to the chap parked next to us, who produced a tent out of his van which he kept as a spare and let us use it. That is what I will really remember about this festival, the really good nature and general kindness.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Communicating in your own language with others who 1st language is the same as your is always more efficient for the parties involved. I am in Sweden at the moment, working with people who's 1st language is not English. When I am out of the room, they all talk Swedish, when I return, it reverts back to English. No point flying in someone to solve your problems if they don't understand what you are talking about. It works well and this is an unwritten protocol which occurs across most countries for business.
I have to admit that during my 37 years living in Wales, the principle of being able to choose your language for a minority has been more important than the other parties who want or need to be part of the conversation understanding what is being said. I just zone out to it and go do something else. I have found a couple of instances this week where I have wondered into a conversation, my very gracious hosts have recognised my presence, made an apology for speaking Swedish and carried on in English. I had already zoned out and not even noticed, years of living in Wales made it an unconcious reaction.
Some may say I should learn to speak the language of my hosts. So in the last 14 years, I would have had to learn German, French, Spanish, Italian, Africance, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, American English (the hardest of all), Hungarian, Polish, Arabic, Czech, typically at a notice of less than 48 hours.
I am very positive about the Welsh language and I am making some progress in learning it. After spending a week in a culture where every effort is made to welcome visitors(short or long term), I do question if the cause of the Welsh language is being damaged by a minority being less accepting of the need of non Welsh speakers to be part of their conversation.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
- We can't know the long terms future of Wikipedia and its legacy can't be known in advance. Good or bad, we don't know yet.
- We can't know what impact the document leaking will have in aggregate
- Wikipedia's morals can only be judged right and wrong in reference to your ideology
- Duncan would be a fun chap to have a beer with
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
A foreign diplomat, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting.“Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?” he asks. The two Americans just stare at him.“Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?” he tries. The two continue to stare.“Parlare Italiano?” No response.“Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing.The diplomat drives off, extremely disgusted. The first American turns to the second and says, “You know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.”“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew four languages, and it didn’t do him any good.”
- Protest can be a very positive force - here is an example using Pink Floyd the Wall. Significant enough to get a segment on the Today Program.
- An very worrying example from 2 years ago of Police overuse of force against a serving soldier who it appears they mistook for someone else.
- I was in Newport waiting for a train 2 weeks ago and saw the Dragons being unloaded. I suspect I am not capable of understanding why the need to damage this objects exists, but it does. Newport centre is not the most upbeat of places and something like the Dragons does improve the feel.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The responsibility of the chief executive officer is to align the company, internally and externally, with their strategic vision. The core duty of a CEO is to facilitate business outside of the company while guiding employees and other executive officers towards a central objective. The size and sector of the company will dictate the secondary responsibilities.
- The employed head of a FTSE quoted company.
- The employed leader of a Regional Council. For Ceredigion, this is Bronwen Morgan
- The employed most senior executive director of a national or international charity. In the case of the Citizens Advice Bureau this is now Gillian Guy.
- no doubt there are other cases where the title is most appropriate.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This Plaid article discussing Elfyn Llwyd MP comes across as looking for something to complain about.
or a Eurofighter
I have no doubt at all that low flying aircraft can cause hearing loss in the passive bystander, but to imply (as the article does) that it is responsible for the hearing loss of a specific group of children, but leaving a little wriggle room, is just poor politics. Is this an example of using an issue to promote a wider cause? Maybe!
Commenting, Mr Llwyd said:
“We must have an urgent rethink of this situation. More jets than ever before are now being trained and in no way are the people of north and mid Wales being compensated for this.
“In my constituency, a high percentage of those living in Dinas Mawddwy and Llanuwchllyn who were children in primary schools there, now have problems with hearing.
“Research by German Professor Isling proved beyond doubt that when jets fly at low altitudes, it does indeed have a detrimental effect upon an individual’s hearing.
The strategy says the Assembly must aim at being an employer of choice and “be able to recruit and retain staff with the skills required to deliver best services”.
Friday, July 16, 2010
- The venue for next years Golf Rider cup
- The venue from which Andy Powell commandeered a golf bugger for a trip down the M4
- Robert Hayes from Microsoft
- Richard Hollis from Orthus
- RIchard Cox from the Spamhaus project
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
At the start I knew 1 thing about Bonds (or fixed interest) which is that I knew nothing about Bonds.
At the end of the day I learned quite a lot about Bonds, the most significant of which were
- If you play with fixed interest, you better have a solid grasp of macro-economics
- Forget shares, this is where the big children play
Raoul Moat is a very serious subject, but a short article about the possible below average size of Mr. Moat penis was an archetypal Sun article and suggests the editor needs to get a grip himself (or maybe he already has).
While on the surface it is a trivial article written on a rag, it does reinforce to me the concerns about the expanding media empire of the Sun's owner.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
- where the euro might go next
- what needs to be done to fix the current euro predicament
Very insightful. Here is the summary
The Eurozone’s life-threatening crisis in May 2010 was halted when Eurozone leaders and the ECB to strong measures in May. But these were palliatives not a cure.summary, there is a big hole in the EURO boat and it is in no single nations interest to fix it.
The crisis is not over, according to the dozen world-renowned economists whose views are contained in this eBook. The Eurozone rescue needs to be completed. More needs to be done.
The Eurozone ‘ship’ is holed below the waterline. The ECB actions are keeping it afloat for now, but this is accomplished by something akin to bailing the water as fast as it leaks in. European leaders must very soon find a way to fix the hole.
This eBook that gathers the thinking of a dozen world-class economists on what they need to do on banking-sector clean up, fiscal discipline, structural policies, and more.
Good idea to know have a understanding of the between monetary policy and fiscal policy before starting to read this ebook.
Monday, July 5, 2010
- Collective rationalisations of shared illusions generally believed.
- Crude, negative stereotypes of out-groups
- Shared belief in the group's inherent morality
- Illusions of invulnerability to a risky course of action
- Illusions of unanimity and suppression of personal doubts
- Subtle group pressure on dissenters
- Self-appointed mindguards who protect the group from thoughts that might damage their confidence
- Docility fostered by charismatic, previously successful leadership
- Free-floating conversations in group meetings
- Lack of standard risk analysis using methodical procedures
I am on a very multi-national conf call while writing this and making a real pain in the arse of myself by questioning some assumptions which are making some people quite uncomfortable. All I am doing is suggesting that a plan might fail :-) The more open I am about the ways it might fail the less chance it has of failing.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was Gotcha! And
the Lord Rupert said let there be a Royal Family, and let enormous
quantities of trivia and drivel be written about them, yea even unto
the point where a mentally subnormal yak couldn't possibly find it
interesting any more, and let babies be born unto this Royal Family,
and let the huge swathes of nauseating sludge written about them
surpass even that written about their parents, even though these
babies and their parents are about as interesting as a wet afternoon
on the terraces at Selhurst Park.
And the Lord Rupert said let there be soap operas, and let each
of these soap operas be so mind-numbingly moronic as to make a
wet afternoon at Selhurst Park seem a truly uplifting experience,
and let entire forests and the ecological balance of several continents
be destroyed in the endless vistas of retarded outpourings about
these unspeakable transmissions.
And let there be enormous breasts, and endless bonking, and
hours and days and weeks and months and years of chauvinistic
right-wing propaganda so that the brain-dead prats who like the
bonking and the soap operas and the breasts and the royal stories
get the politics as well.
And let any journalist who tries to stand up to the proprietor and
editor in the name of truth, and intelligence, and integrity, and
journalistic standards, be summarily dismissed, and cast forever
into a bottomless pit of decomposing chimpanzee smegma, and let
those journalists who suffer this fate rejoice at the great career move
they have just made.
And the Lord Rupert looked at his work, and even he saw that
it was a load of crap, but this was the enterprise culture and it sold
millions so it was good. And on the same basis he decided to take
over the television too, and the earth itself wept, and little robins
vomited, and cuddly furry animals threw themselves under trains,
and the whole thing was filmed by Sky Channel for a horror nature
programme, and the most awful thing of all was that this was just
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I have been using and teaching the process described in the pdf above for 12 years now. It has been life changing.
This and this are also worth a read. Reassuring that they involve Nuclear power plants and things going wrong!
For children to leave school without being fluent in these skills is a travesty and I ask myself why the various Secretary of State's for Education (or derivative there of) have not made getting fluent in this type of problem solving, core to the school 6th form curriculum. Answer I think is that few members of the political class see problem solving, decision making and risk management as important(do they want the great unwashed to be able to do it for themselves, a cynic might suggest so). Teachers don't see it is important as they don't have the business background.
I deal with people on a regular basis who have good degree's from Oxford and Cambridge being paid by banks at least 2x my salary, but when confronted by a set of problems, attack them with a complete lack of structure, rigour and direction which end up costing their company money and reputation.
Thank you Mr. Sun for training me to become a KT Programme Leader in 1998, it changed my life.