Skip to main content

Breathe Deeply

Just through with our Saturday morning, informal cabinet meeting and I must remember to thank Reg Bell and our local BSAC branch 106 for inviting me over to give a talk on 'Technical Diving', one evening last week at their clubhouse opposite the Turner Contemporary gallery. They quite possible have one of the best Turner sunset views on the island!

It's been a few years since I dived semi-professionally through a specialist company I owned. Times have changed rapidly, as has the technology, since I  made a small contribution to 'kicking-off' the 'tech' diving industry in both this country and the States -with Michael Menduno's Tek 93 show in Orlando - and ironically, was once treated as Satan incarnate by the very same BSAC that somewhat reluctantly 'dived' into the 21st century; dragged along by the demand and interests of its members.

Many highly-skilled friends, like Rob Palmer,  actively involved in the pursuit of the same interest, never made it to my age. Back then, in the early and mid 1990's recreational diving with mixed gases was still considered somewhat exotic and carried a firm health warning. Much of the equipment, such as early re-breathers, was highly innovative and in the relatively early stages of development among the Florida deep wreck and cave-diving community through trail-blazing figures such as Capt Billy Deans at Key West, where I first started experimenting with Trimix - see magazine photo above.

The physiological  science behind the decompression tables required a considerable leap of faith at the time with computers starting to be used for the complex modelling involved. If you recall the movie 'The Abyss' and the topic of liquid breathing, I once wrote a magazine article on the subject which demonstrated through the available research at the time, that it was possible but that among other factors, because the liquid couldn't shift expired CO2 fast enough, the best one could really do was sit still through a very unpleasant experience.

The deepest I've seen a human being down to is 800 metres on an Oxygen /Hydrogen mixture and for that I had to go over to Marseilles where Comex were conducting the experiment using a  saturation diving bell. The poor volunteers would take almost a month to return to the surface!

Here in Thanet, with the Goodwin Sands so near, wreck exploration, archaeology and diving is at the leading edge with some exciting finds and equally exciting stories; almost enough to accept the invitation to come back in the water.



Remaining with the topic of speeches, it's obviously the season for it.  Broadstairs Rotary Club have invited me to sing for my dinner at the North Foreland Golf Club, I've a presentation to city CIOs on cyber crime and espionage at Quaglinos in Mayfair on Thursday morning and a disruptive Quantum computing 'wotsits' talk to give T-Mobile and Orange executives the following week. Somewhere among all this I've some flying to do as well and this afternoon's job is looking increasingly iffy in the strong winds.

As I write this I've another pilot trying to fly an RMT banner for union leader Bob Crowe over the annual Durham Miners rally but whether he's managed to get airborne is another matter.

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

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 Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…