Sunday, 23 February 2014

Work it out with a pencil

This quote, which I found attributed to Isaac Asimow (1920-1992), sums up something I heard over tea in an academic staff room many years ago. We had been discussing how the university was allocating £200 to each member of staff for use in their research. Somebody noted that that provided mathematicians with a lot more, in terms of pencils, than it offered laboratory-based researchers.

"Why is it that you physicists always require so much expensive equipment? Now the Department of Mathematics requires nothing but money for paper, pencils, and erasers...and the Department of Philosophy is better still. It doesn't even ask for erasers."

...and what was he trying to say about philosophers?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Banality of Everything

Hannah Arendt introduced the notion of 'the banality of evil'. Her idea was that evil deeds were not preformed by fanatical wicked individuals but by ordinary people going with the flow. One way of observing the how banal people can be and how 'with the flow' they can go is by looking critcally at...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Dorothea - Elfyn Lewis

I came across the work of the Welsh artist Elfyn Lewis some time ago at the gallery in Theatr Clwyd. I was fascinated by the intricacies and complexities within the images made by the way the paint has been moved to form the piece.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Too close to the sun?

Sadly, it has been some years since I was last in Vienna. When there I was somewhat bemused by one of the bars at the airport - a bar I understand to be still there. Why call a bar in an airport the Ikarus Bar? With all the connotations with falling from the sky, I would have thought Icarus to be the last person with whom one would want to be associated before getting on an aeroplane. (And I say this not as a superstitious person.)