Progress – plus ca change (, plus c’est la meme chose?)

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe pessimistic French saying may make sense at some deep philosophical level, but certainly not in the field of technology. I’m a fan of the quirky website WaitButWhy. Although I don’t always agree with the main author’s conclusions his posts are always thought-provoking, and he obviously does a lot of research. A recent post about the Artificial Intelligence Revolution caught my attention even before it got onto its main subject, by illustrating Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns. Continue reading

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Software standards and the NHS

nhsLast week I attended an open debate at the British Computer Society (BCS) in London, which was a discussion on Personalised Health & Care 2020 (PH&C 2020). This is a “framework for action” produced by the NHS National Information Board. It runs in parallel with the NHS Five Year Forward View (which contains a commitment to exploit the information revolution). Continue reading

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Greek tragedy

greek-flagI don’t agree with everything I hear from Alexis Tsipras, but it’s hard to argue with a word of the following quote:

“In 2010, the Greek state ceased to be able to service its debt. Continue reading

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Cycling to the stars

Proxima_Centauri,_our_nearest_neighbourReading an interesting but in some ways rather silly interview with Elon Musk, about Space X and his plan to colonise Mars, I was stopped in my tracks by his reported assertion that “you could cycle to the nearest star in a few hundred thousand years”.  That didn’t sound right and a few moments’ mental arithmetic brought me to the conclusion – since checked more carefully – that he was off by a couple of orders of magnitude. Continue reading

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Creativity and AI

Brain - origin_544928According to folklore, good things (and bad things) tend to come in threes. I was reminded of this last week, when I read three things that all served to reinforce a particular idea. Continue reading

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British values?

pepe mullerSeveral times in recent days I’ve heard media debates about “British values”, with no-one really able to come up with a ready definition of what these may be.  Recent World Cup coverage has featured some really good examples.  The pivotal incident in Germany’s 4-0 defeat of Portugal came when Thomas Muller collapsed as if he’d been pole-axed when Pepe waved an arm in his face.  Continue reading

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UKIP irony

The growing number of UKIP voters are often casually dismissed as racists or xenophobes. Many are simply resisting the sovereignty over this country of a federal Europe that is largely the creation of a Franco-German axis.  How ironic that the fuss over UKIP’s recent election successes has been played out while we commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

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“Your tax dollars at work”

If government ministers are trying to figure out where to make more public spending cuts, they could apparently do worse than start with the Cabinet Office.  Surely it can be no part of its function to commission and publish a “how to” on organising and running voluntary and community events? This guide is nothing more than the wheel re-invented, and I’m willing to bet it didn’t come cheap. Continue reading

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Is God dying? – Scientific American

atheismI enjoyed reading this article about the decline of religion and the rise of the ‘nones’, which I thought was very sensible.  However, much as I like to hear that religiosity is declining in the Western world there are a couple of things that worry me, both of which are related. Continue reading

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Mission Accomplished!

IMG_0793_medal_buck_houseMany thanks to all who supported me in this endeavour.  My fundraising page will remain open for a while yet, so if you feel moved to contribute, do please go ahead!

My main mission, of course, was to raise funds for the Cardiomyopathy Association (CMA) and I’m happy to say that the running total (including Gift Aid) stands at £626, with a trickle of donations still coming in.  Continue reading

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Jo Rowsell

miss_joanna_rowsell_mbeThis item, about the participation of Jo Rowsell MBE (world record holder and Team GB Olympic Gold medallist) puts me firmly in my place.  She’s never ridden as far as 100 miles before, but expects to do it in five hours.  I’ll be amazed if she doesn’t.  My target is a rather more stately eight hours…

Meanwhile, I rather hope I can steam past Boris.  All you can say about his effort is “Chapeaux!”Boris

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Almost ready

IMG_0838 croppedThis Sunday’s Wiggle Super Series sportive, the Magnificat, starts from Newbury racecourse and is the last organised ride I’ll be doing before the big one in August.  While the 81-mile standard course is still roughly twenty short of the August event, I believe it is quite hilly so it should be very good preparation.  I’m now lighter than I’ve ever been since I was at school, so I should be able to get up and over the hills without too much trouble.  The route is a southerly loop, which comes down through Hurstbourne Tarrant, Weyhill and Stockbridge to Winchester and so it will feel a bit weird turning round and heading all the way back up to Newbury via Whitchurch and Kingsclere, instead of heading on home.  I hope the northerly wind has dropped by then anyway.

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The Long One

wiggle-super-series-the-long-one-sportiveThis Saturday’s Wiggle Super Series event, The Long One, starts from Fontwell Racecourse.  The course has just been published and my reading of the map is that those – like me – doing the 81-mile Standard course will only get one feed station.  The 46-mile Short route won’t get one at all (although those doing the Epic 124-miles will get three).  Most unusual – it’s certainly going to feel like a long ride, especially as the profile looks like this:

TheLongOne2013-profile

At least the last five miles are mostly downhill!

[Post event note: thankfully, the organisers turned out to have entered one of the feed-station locations incorrectly on the map so all went well in the end.]

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MRI – result!

IMG_0838Yesterday, I received the result of my recent cardiac MRI.  It seems that little has changed since the last one in 2008, and that’s a great relief.  If it had shown increased scarring (fibrosis) then that would have suggested that my fitness regime was only succeeding at the expense  of damaging my heart muscle. Continue reading

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Engineering, or black art?

Halloween (Dark Arts)A fellow member of the BCS Elite LinkedIn group posted that The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is proposing some changes to official statistics that involve re-classifying IT & Telecoms as ‘creative’ alongside the following six creative industry sectors: advertising and marketing; architecture; design; film & TV; publishing; music and the arts.

There is a consultation, which closes on Friday, 14th June, to which I have already submitted the following: Continue reading

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New Forest Spring, and Bournemouth Sportives

Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive 2013Two sportives in eight days wouldn’t be my normal schedule, but the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive was rained off back in April and rescheduled for 1st June.  I was already booked on the Wiggle Bournemouth event the following Sunday, 9th June, hence the mileage overload. Continue reading

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I’ve joined the weight weenies

featherWeight and headwinds are the cyclist’s two greatest enemies.  It’s hard to do anything about the latter but the weight weenies will go to any lengths to try to overcome the former. Continue reading

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Simple arithmetic

abacusIn a large branch of a major store chain the other day, I handed over a 10% discount voucher.  The cashier didn’t know how to handle it and called the floor manager, a young man in his late twenties.  To my astonishment, he had to go and find a calculator.  Why did we bother moving to decimal currency? Continue reading

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Getting checked out

Not unnaturally, the CMA wanted to be sure that I was OK to do the Ride London 100 given that I’m not only one of their supporters but also a cardiomyopathy patient. Continue reading

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Cardiomyopathy

CMAAt the age of 42, a company in the US for which I was doing some work decided to take out Key Man Insurance on my life.  Part of the application routine in the US is an EKG (ECG to us in the UK) and I remember a paramedic coming to the office near DC and fixing electrodes to my chest while I lay on the boardroom table. Continue reading

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