Skip to main content
On Aristogeiton and Harmodius

I’m off to see the movie, Troy, this evening. I couldn’t resist it after seeing Brad Pitt interviewed on the subject, his intellectual grasp of classical history and personal research into the subject putting me to shame. For one, I could never have condensed the Iliad into four letters, a cool story. Brilliant!



For one, I was bought up on the Iliad and the Odyssey and progressed to Herodotus, Xenephon and Thucydides by the time I was twelve. I was fascinated by ancient history and once upon a time, even had a place to study Ancient History, Prehistory and Archaeology at Sheffield University. Things didn’t quite work out as I had planned, mostly because during my Ancient History ‘A’ Level paper, I didn’t read the instructions properly. ‘Answer two questions from section A and two questions from section B’.

Carried away by seeing my favourite topic, Alcibiades and the Athenian expedition to Sicily in the fifth century BC, I answered four questions from a single section and only realised what I had done when I re-read the paper after the exam. I still managed a ‘C’ grade pass on two questions the examiners accepted out of four, which might have earned me an ‘A’ grade if had followed instructions. That was however, the end of my archaeology ambitions and I had to go back to night school to make-up my grades for the following year, which found me heading towards a career in teaching and finally the world of IT, after a rather convoluted journey via Saudi Arabia. Julie Hagstrom where are you I wonder?

A strangely grey and humid day, as we sit on the dead side of an occluded front which brings the traditional British Bank Holiday rain with it. I had planned to go with my wife to Walsingham in Norfolk; dropping into the nearest airfield, a sixty minute run from the Kent coast but the forecast was very ‘iffy’ for Norfolk. Instead, I wandered over to Rochester, filled-up with fuel and an English breakfast and have the aircraft sitting ready to go somewhere if the weather improves between now and Monday, which looks unlikely.



Tuesday, I’m scheduled to pick-up some clients from Liverpool and run them back here to Margate. There’s very little chance they could get here by train, with the railway lines-up for the next nine days, so air seems to be the only option, however, the forecast for next week is not encouraging.

Comments

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…