• Travel

    At The Beach

    We made it to the beach for the first time yesterday. It’s still the middle of winter: Grandma Nene in black in the foreground, and Cassie and Alex (and Buffy) elsewhere in the picture. Alex commented that even in real life the city of Surfers Paradise looks like a bad…

  • General

    Groundlings?

    We were chatting about something on the weekend in the car and Cassie referred to the ‘nose-bleeds’. We had to explain to Sue and Alex that that meant the cheap seats way up high in the theatre – notionally so high that the thin air would cause nose-bleeds. Then Cassie…

  • Personal

    Patchiness

    I’m getting much better at that whole ‘not being on the computer on the weekend’ and ‘leaving work at work’ thing… with the result that blog posting is a bit less reliably day-by-day, a bit patchier. But it means my life is a bit more balanced, which is a Good…

  • General

    Abusing the Ellipsis

    I tend to do it all the time… oops, I did it again! I know I over-use those three little dots: “…” But they’re so darn handy! When I use them, what I mean them to mean is ‘there’s more to be said on this topic, but you and I…

  • Personal

    Meat Pusher

    As you may know, our younger daughter Alex is vegetarian, basically on ethical grounds: she loves animals, so how can she kill and eat them? We support her in that, even if it’s sometimes a hassle to cook separate meals… and it means we probably eat more vegetarian stuff than…

  • General

    ‘Quality’

    We’re currently undergoing an activity at our university – and it will soon be expanded to all Australian universities – whereby the attempt is made to measure not just the quantity of publications but the quality. Sounds like a good idea on the surface – just counting published papers was…

  • General

    60% Less Fat – and always has been

    Eating a Turkish Delight chocolate bar the other day, and that’s what was emblazoned on the wrapper. I’ve ranted before about fats and their approximate irrelevance in talking about candy, but this just seemed like grammatical nonsense… how can it be ‘less’ if it has always been the same? Following…

  • Philosophy

    Civilisation and Chunking

    Civilisation advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. – Alfred North Whitehead, 1911, Introduction to Mathematics Does that seem true1 to you? It seems odd at first glance, but in a sense the idea that civilisation can be defined as the…

  • Bike Stuff

    Back the $&%@# up!

    In terms of the whole defensive driving/riding thing (and I promise this is the last bike-related post for a while): if there’s one request I could make of drivers, it’s ‘please don’t tailgate me’ (or, perhaps more usually, expressed as in the title of this post!) Basically, power/weight ratios and…

  • Bike Stuff

    &#*@

    It’s interesting – I very rarely swear out loud, or when I’m talking to anyone. Not particularly because I think it’s evil and I’m going to hell, just because I’m aware of the value and power of words, and like to show a bit broader vocabulary than a half-dozen swear…

  • Poetry

    Limerick

    There’s a bit of a limerick thread going on on the William Gibson Board at the moment. Most of my contributions have related to particular things or people on the board, so they don’t stand alone very well, but I thought this one was kinda fun: The secret to limerick’s…

  • General

    180/360

    If we drive home from Brisbane via the freeway, there’s one point on our journey home where we approach a roundabout (traffic circle), go around it and come back, going the opposite direction on the same road we came in on. Sue said this meant we were ‘doing a 360’,…

  • Politics - Science Stuff - Teaching

    An Ethical Challenge

    I just came back from a meeting with a representative of a research group that works in the field of genetically modified crops. (I won’t say any more than that about the context because I don’t want to jeopardise anything.) They’re interested in working with us and bringing some funding…

  • General

    A Gift of Beauty

    Riding in to work this morning, I was just idling along in traffic, and there was a girl, maybe in her early 20s, waiting on a median strip to cross the road. The median was a green, grassy island with a jacaranda tree on it, and as she stepped across…

  • Teaching

    Teachers Can Teach Anything

    I go back and forward on the idea that someone who can teach can teach any content, as long as s/he can stay ahead of the kids in learning it. On one hand I think it should be so – both the prior experience of teaching (including all the knowledge…

  • Musings - Religion

    Forgiveness

    I love these words, from ‘Forgiveness Waltz’ by Jonathan Rundman: these are hard words to hear in a world where nothing is free and it’s hard to trust in a promise that sounds too good to believe but know that it’s true this is for you it’s so easy to…