So, I bought a bluetooth keyboard for my phone

A couple of years ago I contributed a chapter to a book, and despite my best intentions, and the best and kind attentions of my editor, I totally misunderstood the brief. In short, dear reader, I had to do it all again.

That would have been fine, once I’d gone through the three stages of writing grief (“It’s all their fault”, “It’s all my fault”, “I can’t do any better”). However, I was on holiday in Lyme Regis when the news came through on my phone. I was starting the reading for a textbook I was writing, and had in mind a largely ICT-free holiday of good old fashioned reading and noting. So, several thousand words to write, no laptop.

This led to me trying to write coherent things on my mobile, at the time a perfetly servicable samsung of some sort. Reading academic texts and editor’s notes on a phone is not really as hard as it sounds I told myself. I convinced myself that writing with only my thumbs couldn’t be that hard either.

I lasted two days. Then I went looking for an internet cafe, finding one in the Lyme Regis business support centre. This is a nice place, but a bit austere, on the edge of the town centre. In terms of the cost of parking, of the use of the cafe, and of my marriage at having ruined four days of our holiday I think I spent several times the value of the free copy of the book that I received almost a year later.

In the end I could see that my editor was right, I could do a better job. I learned to read the brief, and to read in between the lines of my feedback better. I also yearned from that moment on to own a cheap bluetooth keyboard that I could pack in a suitcase, just in case. Now I do own one, and by way of a test I used it to type this blog, which has no other purpose than to see if it works well.

In our Time episode 6 – The Brain and Consciousness

An interesting and good natured discussion between Steven Rose, Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group, Open University and
Dan Robinson, Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University. Covers the role of philosophy in scientific age, and the limits of language about the brain and the mind.

In Our Time Episode 5 – The City in the 20th Century

Peter Hall, Professor of Planning at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College, London, and Doreen Massey,  Professor of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University discuss what makes a city.  This is a really interesting episode, with some good discussion about the way that mixing of cultures and material surplus leads to cultural, scientific innovation. Also some good natured debate about the definition of a city.

In Our Time – Episode 4 Science in the 20th century

John Gribbin, Visiting Fellow in Astronomy, University of Sussex and consultant to New Scientist and Mary Midgley , moral philosopher and former Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Newcastle discuss the impact of science and whether science can give us all the answers we might seek about the universe. This one is a little confusing, and perhaps a little disjointed.

In Our Time Episode 3 – Science’s Revelations

Great episode in which geneticist Richard Dawkins and novelist Ian McEwan discuss the ways in which science and art contribute to each other. As a bonus this episode reminds us what excellently clear scientific explanation Dawkins is capable of.

In Our Time – Episode 2 Politics in the 20th Century

Brilliant fantasy dinner conversation between Alan Clark and Gore Vidal.  Especially fascinating to listen to in the aftermath of the resurgence of Russia and the Brexit vote.

Cycling for Leukaemia Care

Today I did a 110km training ride for this excellent cause: Podesta

I went on my own, because I missed yesterday’s training with the team.  I have to say this was absolutely the most horrible experience. I set off too quickly, and got into real difficulties in the headwind coming back from York.

The only thing making it even slightly bearable was knowing that some of my lovely friends might be able to make a donation (size irrelevant, it’s all good) to the charity Leukaemia Care.  This is a wonderful organisation that supports people with Leukaemia, and their families.  Please do send them some money if you can!

So, as Dad, Glen and I do the real event in July, we’ll be spurred on by the knowledge that we’ve raised some much needed funds for Leukaemia Care.

the harried autodidact

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