-- Business blog now available --

A quick note to say that I've set up my Business blog, to be able to speak with a clear voice on both personal and work issues (i.e. by having separate blogs).

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Potential next posts

Rather than keeping it all up in my head, I thought I'd share the list of things I'm thinking of blogging about:
  • Experimenting with Identity
  • Reform think tank articles:
    • "Last Outposts" article exec summary
    • Crowd sourcing in politics - over-coming asymmetric information
  • Psychology experiments - Zimbardo and Milgram
  • Choosing ads
  • Innovation
    • Open Innovation, Beacons, crowd-sourcing / customer innovation
  • Bunny Lucas
  • Baron D'Erlanger
  • Evercrack
    • Sociology of online interactions
    • MBA project
  • Santa Fe Institute
    • Increasing returns
  • Virtual Worlds / Metaverses
  • My Tobii
  • Another of Bill Thompson's ideas - technology is controlled by the younger, to the chagrin of the "adults"
Comments welcome - a small experiment in peer production... ;-)

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Morpeth War Memorial

My Mum was born and brought up in Morpeth, a market town in Northumberland, and a centre for Northumbrian culture and dialect.

I was there the other evening, as Caroline and I had been invited to a drinks party which, coincidentally, was just round the corner from my Granny's house.

It was on the way home from the party whilst I was driving through Morpeth, that I had the idea of writing this post.

To come at the same end from a different angle, for two years I was a member of the Bristol University Royal Naval Unit, whilst I studied Psychology for my undergraduate degree.

Bristol URNU is a fine organisation, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time going to sea aboard HMS Dasher, learning about things nautical, and generally broadening my horizons.

The relevance to this post was that one of my proudest moments was dressing up in full Midshipman's regalia and taking part in the Bristol Remembrance Sunday Parade.

I feel strongly that the continuing sacrifice of our Armed Services is worthy of both celebration and veneration, and it saddens me that we're constantly hearing reports about how they are being let down.

So, with all that in mind, it was uplifting to see that the Morpeth War Memorial was properly lit, cared for, and clearly visible from the road.

It made me feel that there are still Authorities out there who take the memories of our War Dead seriously and that, by their example, others will take the whole thing as seriously as I believe we all should. :-)

Mountain Biking in Kielder

I love Mountain Biking.

I like the exploring, the fresh air, the exercise, the fun and sometimes scary bits of it!

I ride a Merlin Malt 2.

I tend to ride out from our back door, and ride round the local bridleways (aka cross-country or XC), or else keep myself fit by riding our quiet country lanes.

Last year I was able to complete the Merida Marathon in Penrith, and also a race in Kielder Forest.

Sometimes however, it's great to take advantage of some purpose built MTB facilities, such as those across the South of Scotland - aka the 7 Stanes.

In the North East, we're lucky because a voluntary group -- the http://www.kieldertrailreavers.com/ have cut a number of MTB-specific tracks through the forest in various levels of difficulty.

The best way to describe the experience is that it's like a rollercoaster - except that one has to do the cycle up to the top, and then have the skill and courage to negotiate the bumps and swerves on the way down! This is usually known as "Downhill".

Whilst I'm at it, a nod to the North East Freeride Association for their work at Chopwell Woods and the petrifying downhill course they've built in the Forest near High Spen.

A shout also to Alan Capper of Kent Design who's been merciful when telling others of a mishap I had at Newcastleton (part of the 7 Stanes).

"Motherland" - photos of Russia

I saw a link to this book by Simon C Roberts on the BBC News website.

I can't find the exact link right now, but the photos featured by the Beeb were fascinating, and concentrated on life in the winter around the Russian city of Murmansk (although the book covers the whole of the Country).

The photos tell a story of life where the Sun is but a glow on the horizon even at midday during Winter, where temperatures are life threatening, and the latent ecological damage from the abandoned materiel of war is a disaster in the making.

However, have a look for yourself and make up your own mind.

"How mushrooms will save the world"

I used to live in London, and spent a fair bit of time on the Tube, travelling to and from work.

Before Blogs, RSS and blog readers were invented, I used my Palm V with AvantGo software to download and read articles for these journeys.

One of my favourite sources was http://www.salon.com/; one of the most interesting articles was this one about Paul Stamets, and his drive to bring mushrooms --and fungi in general-- to a wider audience.

The article contained (amongst other things) a fascinating vignette about how Paul had used a strain of fungi to clear up a brownfield site contaminated with oil.

It's taken me about 10 years to do so, but I've finally placed an order with http://www.fungi.com/, which is run by Paul's company. Thanks to Christian Olsen for his help with the order, which was:
  • Fungi to help the vegetables grow in our veggie patch;
  • Fungi to help my Brother experiment with how they might help him improve the yield of his apple trees (he's a keen cider maker);
  • "Plug spawn" which goes into holes that you drill in wooden logs, and gives a harvest of edible mushrooms; and
  • Mycelium Running, Stamets' condensed answer to the challenge in the title.
So, inspired by this article, I now need to find the time to get my head around all this and work out what small contribution I can make in the countryside of Northumberland!

More on this anon, I hope ;-)