Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Invitation to connect on LinkedIn

From Robin Hawkins
Student at Cardiff University
Cardiff, United Kingdom

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

- Robin

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Friday, April 8, 2011


I made these crisps in the microwave. There will be more where this came from.

I once fixed a broken blackberry with sellotape and vodka. True story.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Minimum Wage

We have a minimum wage to reflect the fact that nobody's time is worth less than a certain amount per hour. Why shouldn't there be a maximum wage, based on the most a person could feasibly acheive or need to be compensated for their time?

What got me thinking about it was this story:

What do you have to do to <i>deserve</i> £4k an hour???
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Top 10 things which don't involve hacking your own arm off

Ellen and I have just got in from watching Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. It was clever, engaging and utterly harrowing, at least from the the point where protagonist Aron realises that there's only one way out of his predicament. I feel emotionally exhausted. I keep grabbing my arm to make sure it's still there.

With this in mind, Ellen and I felt inspired to create an antidote to phantom stump syndrome. Here is our list of the Top 10 Things Which Don't Involve Hacking Your Own Arm Off.
  1. Stroking a cat. This activity can be done with one or two arms, reduces 127 Hours-induced stress and definitely does not involve chopping one of your arms off.
  2. Eating ice-cream. The "iron-y" taste of blood dripping oozily into your ice-cream certainly won't improve the flavour, therefore it's not recommended to indulge in this activity if you are or have been, cutting your arm off.
  3. Playing the guitar. Not only does playing the guitar not require you to amputate a hand, it actually becomes exponentially more difficult with every one you lack. Facing the music in a life-or-death situation might mean giving it up in the long run.
  4. Cuddling. It's a scientific fact that cuddling is stress-relieving. You know what isn't stress-relieving? Hacking your own arm off. I rest my case.
  5. Drinking alcohol. This has the added benefit of helping you to forget amputation and general trauma-inducing based-on-a-true-story movie gore. It helped me to delete certain scenes of Irreversible from my memory, I damn well hope it works now!
  6. Listening to Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son". While the after-effects of having hacked off your own arm won't directly impede your enjoyment of this wonderful song (apart from the drowsiness, nausea and inability to pump both fists in the air), why not just enjoy it with both arms intact - it's better!
  7. Man-flu. Acting was invented by sniffly cavemen who really didn't fancy taking out a mammoth that day. It is to them we owe Hollywood, the works of Shakespeare and Premiership football. Lying in bed with lemsip and Call of Duty whilst seriously entertaining the notion that you have ebola is not only secretly quite fun, but also does not involve CRACKING YOUR ARM BONES AND HACKING, HACKING HACKING THROUGH THE MUSCLES, NERVES AND SINEW..
  8. Wearing a cwtchy dressing gown. Fluffy, snuggly dressing gowns are brilliant for lazy bed days, mooching about the house, and making your loved one breakfast in on a weekend morning. They happen to have 2 sleeves, I don't think it's necessary to say that this is because you don't need to have amputated your own arm to wear one. So don't.
  9. Typing a blog. Type. Kinda satisfying, no? Pleasing clicks, the cathartic process of laying out your thoughts and pinch your arm. DO IT. Hurts, doesn't it? Well, I'd bet my right arm that's nothing on doing surgery with a penknife.
  10. Pretty much everything. That's right. Pretty much everything is better than cutting slowly through the flesh, bone and other gubbins which make up an arm, in order to remove it from your body. Included in this almost all-encompassing statement are: being bitten by a duck, eating yogurt past it's "best by" date, and slipping over in front of children who'll point and laugh.
By Rob and Ellen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The "n" word

For a group to take a word that was used to oppress them and make it their own is an empowering act. It shows pride, unity, and a shared sense of identity. Perhaps this can re-enforce segregation, but every time it happens it redresses the balance of power between groups, at least symbolically.

As a middle-class white guy who doesn't really know any black guys, the only "n" word I have any right to talk about is NERD. I am one, and I'm damned proud to fly under that banner. Nerd used to mean someone socially awkward with strange hobbies..combining that with body odour and bad dress sense meant that spending time in their company was social suicide. Admittedly, the way I'm painting this is a little bit schoolyard, but it's not untrue. Many people who would call themselves nerds still need a wash and brush-up, but for a while now society has understood that there is a lot more beyond that.

Being a nerd is about being able to define yourself by more than how much you can drink and how many women you can sleep with. More than the TV programs you watch or the clothes you wear. That doesn't mean you have to forsake those things - nerds are the new renaissance men. Interested, nay, obsessed by everything, they - we - reach a point of no longer caring about what anyone thinks of them, because there are a million things worth caring about more. Seeing the beauty in an elegantly written computer program, or understanding the physics of a sunset gives you another set of eyes through which to see the world. Even playing World of Warcraft has to beat watching Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps of an evening. Wanting to know more or do more than anyone can teach you is the genius of human kind and it is the dark force responsible expanding humanity itself. By striving to improve yourself, you better everyone.

Obsession is a part of being a nerd. When I get a new hobby horse - be it Esperanto and languages, computers and programming or learning a new instrument, I will glaze the eyes and chew the ears of my family, girlfriend and friends until one of them tells me to shut up about it. I can't help it. When I fall in love with something, I want to share the joy, and maybe even make the love affair a menage à trois. I have to ride the initial wave of enthusiasm as far as I can to make the thing worthwhile, and obsession is a tool for doing this.

If obsession were the key element of nerdiness, there would be a lot more people being called nerds. Take, for example, every serious sports fan I have ever met. I don't care about sport. What interests me more are the feats of memory that can be performed by your average football enthusiast. My dad, for example, can remember not only the results of matches that happened 20 years ago, but who scored the goals and in which order! I'd bet money he couldn't memorise the order of a shuffled deck of cards, though..why one thing and not the other? Obsession.

He's far from alone in being able to do this. I'm not saying it's a bad thing (on the contrary, it's an astonishing thing, and whatever makes him happy is cool with me), but it seems rather like revving a powerful engine while it's in neutral - it ain't really going to get anyone anywhere, and I think that's the difference. It's the desire to add to a thing, be a part of it, and to better yourself by contributing to that thing.

I have barely started to walk the road to Nerdvana (I wish I could claim that as my own phrase), but I'm definitely on I talking bollocks? Possibly. It's around 2AM and I'm blogging because I can't sleep. I'm pretty much behind all these pro-nerd sentiments, but this could well be complete tosh. Oh well, sorry to put the disclaimer at the end!

To finish up, I want to remind you that the most powerful people in the world are nerds, and google knows where you live. Respect the nerds.
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