Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Flame - yet again.

I'm not obsessed by the Olympic flame, torch or whatever. I'm not that fused by the Olympics per se - although I look forward to being able to see certain athletic events. However, since the flame is going to be lit in the Olympic stadium today and since I have been blogging recently (29th May and 17th June) about the flame going out and about what counts as the continuity of a flame, here are a couple of videos I happened upon.

It appears that the Olympic flame has gone out at least once while it has been in this country ... and, as you will see, to much consternation - almost, one might say, panic.

What I did not realise was that it went out almost as soon as it was first lit back in Greece earlier this year. (Only an expression of 'mild panic' then though.)

With that - let the games commence. (Surely, I've nothing more to say on the subject. At least, I hope I haven't - but who know what the next couple of weeks may bring. Who would have though that people could get so upset by flags.)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Who is Exploiting (or being Exploited by) Whom?

The question of the exploitation of women, particularly in the media, is raised from time to time. Is the way in which they are portrayed degrading? This question sometimes goes hand-in-hand with that of 'who is exploiting whom?' (Or, as I have put it here 'Who is Exploiting (or being Exploited by) Whom?') Are men manipulating women for their own ends or is it really the women who are manipulating men for their own ends? While there are some clear and undeniable cases of exploitation, the question is not always simple and can, in certain cases, seem intractable. For example, in the so-called 'Feminist Sex Wars', carefully considered but opposing views on pornography were contested in equal measure.
If those 'exploiting' and those being 'exploited' have different but complementary objectives (albeit unconscious), it is not simply a question of members of one sex exploiting or being exploited by the other. If there are men who want women to look at and there are women who want to be looked at, surely both are using (call it exploiting and being exploited, if you wish) the other simultaneously for their own personal ends.
Dolly Parton once said that 'it takes a lot of money to look this cheap'. Certainly a great deal of effort can be expended trying to attract the attention of others. (Not to mention a lot of money on cameras to make a record that attention!) Consider the picture of Annie Sprinkle (below) that I used in a talk I once gave at the University of Cambridge in 2003. She certainly calls into question the simplicity of the exploiter/exploited question.
(NB I wrote this a few weeks ago, but noticed that 23rd July is Annie Sprinkle's birthday. So, I left posting this until today for no other reason than it would coincide.)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Apostrophe Crime

Apostrophe crime (essentially any misuse of the apostrophe) is quite common. What is more, it is a fiendishly insidious thing. Those who know how to use apostrophes correctly can easily spot the crime whereas those who do not know how to use apostrophes correctly cannot and do not even realise that it is occurring. One way of making it more widely known may be to draw attention to it humorously.

Apostrophe Crime

Friday, 13 July 2012



Sometimes there is nothing worth saying but people talk anyway. Sometimes there are things worth hearing but nobody listens.

Found while tidying my iPod

Some thoughts (which may or may not mean anything) from a variety of sources:

  • The child is to the adult as the philosopher is to the mind of God.
  • We fit ourselves to the hours of the day. Instead, we should fit the hours of the day to ourselves.
  • One needs time for those happy accidents (and inspirations) to occur.
  • "The idea of the uncompromising thinker who follows his [own] genius caring nothing for the approval of the world seems, perhaps, just a romantic fantasy. But is it just possible that the new idealist of our own age is out there perfecting a comprehensive system raging in the dark? Maybe it is you. Maybe you're out there my doppelgänger. Take your time". (Transcribed from the Radio 4 programme 'The Romantic Road'.)
  • "A snail is God's word in the shape of a shell." (Gregory Normington on Radio 3's 'The Verb'.)
  • "Blessed be the inquisitive of the Lord." (Gregory Normington on Radio 3's 'The Verb'.)
  • HBK FiNN has a CD entitled 'Light in the Shade of Darkness'. (This struck me as an interesting title. What is also interesting is the way in which he often uses capital letters, except when it comes to the letter 'i'. So it's 'LiGHT iN THE SHADE OF DARKNESS'.)
  • Dyslexia as social and existential alienation. (I'm dyslexic and I don't know what this might mean. I include it because it is intriguing.)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Another BarCode - 9

This is a 'Data Matrix (ISO 16022)'.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

((Still) Not Responding)

Upon reflection, I've realised that the guy who wrote the error message to which I previously referred was being rather astute. Although it is a Windows error message, it is not necessarily Windows that gets the blame. At least, not in some people's minds. The 'Not Responding' message comes up most often in the title bar next to the programme name. The message, in effect, implies that 'this programme is not responding' - which, I suppose, technically it is. The implication is that it is the programme that is at fault. Perhaps that programme is not quite good enough to be running perfectly under Windows. However, with so many different programmes from so many different software companies giving much the same message, it is unlikely that that is really the case. Rather, it is Windows that is causing these programmes not to respond; it is Windows' fault more than the programme itself.

The message should perhaps read: 'Windows is not allowing this programme to respond because it is doing something else and so preventing you from getting on with what you want to be doing'.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Euro 2012 Final: Sunday 1st July – War in Peace?

Today is the final of Euro 2012. Will Spain win or will it be Italy? As in the World Cup, teams representing different nations are pitted against each other. This is also the case for other team sports as will be seen during the Olympic Games in a few weeks. All manner of teams chosen chosen to represent countries. This, it seems, is a rather tribal – even primitive – approach to modern sport. What is it that perpetuates this type of inter-nation rivalry even during times of peace? Why is it that a nation has got to beat another at sport?

When I was a boy, I once read a newspaper report of a football match that had been played the night before between teams representing the English football league and the Scottish football league [See also]. Players of any nationality were selected to represent the league in which they played – not their country. In the history of this match, Scots have played for the English league against the Scottish league and vice versa. Not to mention those who have played who were neither English nor Scottish.

Sadly, this match is no longer played. I often wonder why more matches – even whole tournaments – are not played on this basis though. It is often said that the English Premier League is the best in the world. However, we have no way of knowing if this is true, unless the best players in that league – regardless of nationality – are chosen to play against players representing the best in other leagues. (What we do know for sure is that, irrespective of whether the English Premier League is the best in the world or not, the English national team is nowhere near the best in the world.)

Pitting league against league does not have the nationalistic or jingoistic overtones that arise when nation plays against nation. This would be more in keeping with peace than war. We cannot tell for sure how the supporters would behave but I suspect that there would be fewer grounds for violence, hooliganism or racism when nationalistic feelings are excluded.