Skip to main content

Perhaps Even Snow?

Bitterly cold here by the sea in Kent. I braved it long enough to run along the sea wall for a couple of miles with a wooly hat and gloves. Remembering back to digging snow holes in the Royal Marines in what seems a lifetime ago, I think I've become fonder of my creature comforts. For some reason the water hadn't warmed-up in the shower when I arrived home, so I had to brave a blast of cold water which also reminded me of Commando training, the water obstacles at CTC Lympstone in the Winter.

- Winter Funtime

You crawl through gravel-filled, half submerged pipes on your hands and knees and then have to dive, wearing full battle-dress, under a culvert. One PT instructor pushes you in and another grabs you underwater from the other side and pulls you out again. If it's really cold, you have to break the ice first.

There was one day, I recall, when we saw a video of a place called the Falklands. "Anyone want to volunteer? If you like fishing it's a good posting", out there in the middle of the South Atlantic. A few years later, some Argentinian salmon fisherman decided to visit Port Stanley 'en masse' but fortunately, I was in Saudi Arabia at the time.

Funny thing about this industry, several Royal Marines ended-up as IT journalists, Ian Murphy being one. It must be something to do with being heavily-armed, cold wet and miserable that drives one towards a career in information technology!


Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.

In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…