Latest Posts

  • Making things too complicated...

    A couple of years ago I thought I would be clever and get my blog so that I could publish things quickly from my phone.

    I did this in a way that in retrospect was quite complex and not as stable as I had hoped. Using an old server at home to check for markdown files in a certain dropbox folder which would then trigger the publishing process.

    It turns out this was a stupid idea because I haven’t been able to publish anything for a while because I disabled dropbox on that server.

    Anyway things should be working again, if this post turns up on the site.

    I am also all HTTPS now too ;-)

  • Through a Different Lens, a book of Stanley Kubrick’s photography

    There is much to admire in how Stanley Kubrick’s movies are constructed, but the director’s keen compositional eye is perhaps the most noticeable. Before becoming a filmmaker, Kubrick honed his observational skills as a photographer in NYC. Look magazine hired him when he was just 17 years old to fill the pages of the publication with photos of life in the city. A new book, Stanley Kubrick Photographs: Through a Different Lens, celebrates Kubrick’s photography, showcasing how that youthful talent would eventually translate into a great filmmaking career.

    Some great photos here.

  • Book Review: On her Majesty's Sercet Service

    At the point of completing this book it was my favourite Bond book so far, it is one of the best of the series along with Casino Royale and Thunderball.

    Great, simple and not too far fetched plot, a really enjoyable read.

    I really enjoyed the ski chase scene, but always had the back of my head Eddie Izzard’s comment about why there are no car chases in books1.

    If you only ever read one Bond book make sure it is this or one of the other greats…

    1. ‘There are no car chases in books, are there? (mimes reading from book) “He looked up in the mirror. Behind him, the man was driving. He looked in the mirror and then he was driving. Oh, they drove faster, faster, driving fast and looking in the mirror. The other guy was pulling a face and driving fast, and then there was a terrible crash.” Just doesn’t fucking work, does it?’ transcript

  • The Teen Brain “Shuts Down” When It Hears Mom’s Criticism | WIRED

    It will be a while yet until these problems are ones I have deal with,but an interesting finding non the less and helps me reflect on my teenage years…

    These caveats and cautions aside, the researchers conclude with the bold claim that their results offer clues to better parenting: “Parents may benefit from understanding that when they criticize their adolescents, adolescents may experience strong negative emotional reaction, may have difficulty cognitively controlling this emotion and may also find it challenging to understand the parent’s perspective or mental state.” I think we knew that, but now we know it neuroscientifically. Bonus.

  • The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science | Mother Jones

    Details of why people who believe things that go against the majority of proof cannot be persuaded by arguments based on facts.

    That undercuts the standard notion that the way to persuade people is via evidence and argument. In fact, head-on attempts to persuade can sometimes trigger a backfire effect, where people not only fail to change their minds when confronted with the facts—they may hold their wrong views more tenaciously than ever.

  • BBC - Future - The strange world inside cheese

    A really interesting short read, with all too tempting links for more information about what exactly cheese is and how it is made.

    In fact, talking about cheese is right up there with talking about wine – there’s a whole lexicon for professionals. In this 2001 paper, researchers tasted a panel of 240 Cheddars and devised a set of 27 words for describing Cheddar, including: catty, for describing a smell like tom-cat urine, and cowy, for a barnyard tang, along with nutty, brothy, and fruity.

    Would be nice to have the time and space to experiment how to make milk become cheese. Maybe in 20 years when I retire….

  • Book Review : The Son

    I have just finished reading The Son by Jo Nesbo and I wanted to publish a review mostly just to spread the word and get others to read it.

    I have read a lot of Jo Nesbo’s books before, mostly from the Harry Hole series, and have throughly enjoyed all of them.

    To give you the blurb from the book:

    Sonny is a model prisoner He listens to the confessions of other inmates at Oslo jail, and absolves them of their sins. Some people even whisper that Sonny is serving time for someone else: that he doesn’t just listen, he confesses to their crimes.
    Inspector Simon Kefas is a dedicated police officer Simon has worked for the Oslo police force for years. He’s just been assigned a new murder investigation and a new partner, all on the same day.
    Both of them knew Sonny’s father To Sonny he was the man he idolised, to Simon he was his best friend. Both were left devastated when his corruption was revealed.
    But neither of them knew the truth

    I was skeptical of a plot without my favourite Oslo detective, but as the book unfolded it was clear the plot would not have worked so well with Harry Hole. After so many journeys with Harry, the reader knows his flaws and guiding values well. So It was refreshing to follow a different, yet equally flawed detective, around the streets of Oslo instead, and be on edge about how he would push the investigation forward.

    Another thing that I noticed was that the translator for this book (Charlotte Barslund) was not the same one who translated the Harry Hole series (Don Bartlett). I have often wondered if Don’s translating might be an important part of why I enjoy Jo Nesbo books, and was interested to see if I would miss his work. I can say that I did not miss Don’s voice, and I was equally as gripped by this book, and at times even more so than with the Harry Hole books. The last 3rd of the book was completed in a 4.5 hour session as I could not put down the book and get the sleep I really needed yesterday.

    So please do get a copy you will not regret it.

    If you do, please get in contact and tell me your thoughts.

    Amazon Link

  • The disabled children locked up in cages - BBC News

    It was after these incidents that management of the centre decided that the staffing levels made it impossible to protect the children from harm. Their solution was to have the cages custom built for the residents. However the ombudsman’s report concluded that the cages and any practices employing long-term restraints “are clearly illegal and are in direct contradiction with the obligation for respect and protection of the human rights of the residents,” and he urged the Greek government to take immediate steps to rectify the situation. But after almost five years the only changes are superficial.

  • What Do You Do When You Think You Have a Murderer in the Family? | VICE | United Kingdom

    Bizarre story, that I can’t say I fully understand.

    But here’s the thing: You don’t want to believe your grandmother is poisoning you. You know that she loves you—there’s no doubt of that—and she’s so marvelously grandmotherly and charming. And you know that she would never want to poison you. So despite your better judgment, you eat the food until you’ve passed out so many times that you can’t keep doubting yourself. Eventually, we would arrive for holidays at Grandma’s with groceries and takeout, and she’d seem relieved that we wouldn’t let her touch our plates. By then, her eyesight was starting to go, so she wouldn’t notice the layer of crystalline powder atop that fancy lox she was giving you.

  • A Birth Story | Longreads Blog

    Put some time aside and have a good read of this long, funny and eye opening yet brutally honest account of one woman’s child birth experience.

    If there’s anything I’d take back from labor it would have been the fact that I let two people fish around in my vagina for their own benefit.

    I’d been “checked” before. This is what they call it. They want to “check you.” You means your cervix. You are your cervix. “Check” means stick a hand inside of “you”—your vagina—and measure how open your cervix is. They do this with their fingertips, because that is where we’re at with science in 2014: We use fingertips as a unit of measurement. Then you are pronounced whatever number of fingertips wide the gap in your cervix is. You are your cervix.

    “I’m a three,” means your cervix is dilated three fingertips. You get checked, typically, at your last few OB appointments. “I” had been found to be closed. Or “soft and closed” or “high and tight.” “Low and soft and closed.” It’s all fucking subjective, obviously, and also means almost nothing. You feel as if you are failing some made-up game you don’t want to be playing in the first place.