End of social media finally coming 

Twitter shows its Google influence by marketing crap at every opportunity and Facebook has very little space to grow. As Silicon Valley and it’s alternatives in other countries keep churning out meaningless technologies in exchange for selling personal data that was never agreed to, their market will continue to decline.

Hopefully that will also bring an end to commercialising politicians and the appallingly large amounts of money that is spent on them.

lavender final final update

It’s been a really busy weekend, busiest they have had since the project started. We ran out of lavender bread, meringues, biscuits, soap (not edible) which hasn’t happened before.

Earliest visitors on Saturday:

So lovely to see people of all ages coming in, bringing picnics and sitting amongst the flowers and bees. Some children rolling around on the uneven slopes of the field, others really pleased to be allowed to roam around with a pair of little scissors and choose then cut their own lavender.

The scent of cut lavender was wafting around everywhere, people all seemed really relaxed. 

Price guide – this worked this year:

Quite a few people never picked lavender before so we do little demos – depending on what they want to do with it. One girl who had never done before was picking for her wedding next weekend, she loved the scent.

Our volunteers were great, one guy turned up, wrote a sign for a bucket that said field replanting fund (which is correct) and took lots of donations. Another person came to pick lavender but said they wanted to volunteer and jumped in immediately. At one point we had a little queue for the bundle tying (it can take a while to sort and some people want smaller bundles out a large bundle they picked) and having never volunteered, she picked up some string and scissors, went tying bundles along the queue which sped everything up.

Another volunteer was a great guy from LA who was in London for a wedding and saw publicity for the weekend, he also just jumped straight in. Another couple from near South Africa got stuck into the harvesting and they had a huge amount for distilling in no time.

I had a US friend and young daughter from Belgium visit today and she had a grand tour with a bonus lavender distillery special where they distilled and filtered the first oil from today. She really liked Mayfield (who doesn’t) but preferred our field – there’s something about being able to wander in the sun and pick your own that’s different – even in a what is a large shared allotment! 

Found this in the back of one of the sheds which tells the story briefly including great rehabilitation for some local prisoners:

Supporting learning tech research at University of Roehampton update

The issue: 

At a Life Sciences away-afternoon we were looking at learning technology assessment research from another university. Staff are enthusiastic about pilots and experiments but they already have challenging teaching and research commitments.

What we’re doing:

I met with our academic lead and deputy head of Life Sciences and proposed development of a research ‘facility’ to make it easy for staff in either Psychology or Life Sciences to start research by easily – in stages (fluid where possible)

1. Finding out who has done what already and what works /doesn’t in different contexts.

2. Easily working out whether this should be run informally or via a research bid either internally / externally.

3. Reviewing a 1 page (e.g. table/matrix/flowchart) to review research design and choice of methods – based on their existing research practices and what they think is relevant from stage 1.

4. Easily delivering the research

5. Easily publishing and disseminating research outputs for peer / public review. 

To do this they need to know learning technology journals, conferences and impact factors. For external bids they will need to know how to deliver stage 5 at stage 2.

Also met with Life Sciences and Psychology research facilitators to gather their input for stage 2 and further discussion soon. Also meeting with additional psychology & social sciences specialists hopefully to look at qualitative research methods for Stage 3 where applicable

Stage 1 – at the moment building a gigantic TOC of multiple learning technology & related journals of articles since 2000. This will not include article direct/deep hyperlinks (journal only) and for now, will be in csv format so staff can either put into their own data analytic tools or search within the csv as needed. This will complement any literature searches they prefer to do through university and external library resources. Provisional deadline end of November.

Meeting with statistics and research methods staff to design Stage 3, provisional deadline end of Aug.

Stage 4 – proposed that we learn from learning technologies experiments this autumn (which are outside of this project) to evolve this stage.

Stage 5 – depending on output of stage 2 and existing university approaches.

I will share the TOC & other outputs with my team and publically then we will see if it does the job or not.

Commute Survival 1: Book recommendations

And a joke from a friend – the train ‘wife’ of the guards on Southern trains – the female automated announcement service “Welcome to the….the next stop is…you are in carriage x of x” 

Apparently she is known in the trade as Sonya because she gets on ya nerves! 

So whilst the rest of the world goes on holiday, two books

1. How to read Water – Tristan Gooley

About 1/3rd of the way through, absolutely delightful.

2. On the Origin of Tepees – Jonnie Hughes, not started yet.

Russia #4 Dr Marcus Papadopolous, Icarus film (not related)

This is a really good summary of Russia – US relations by Dr Papadopolous in a presentation to the House of Lords

The Icarus film was at London Sundance recently. I haven’t seen it but it appears on twitter that like with many views on Russia, people see what’s comfortable for them to see so have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Based on Imdb description and two reviews (one favourable, one not) it appears that the viewer will be asked to make several assumptions:

1. That the filmmaker  who doesn’t have extensive documentary experience, apparently decided to try and dope himself and apparently decided  Rodchenkov was an ideal person to speak to.

2. That the Russian government was oblivious to his contact with Rodchenkov.

3. That the Russian government was not aware or capable of stopping him helping Rodchenkov leave Russia.

I will see the film probably eventually but as per previous post on documentaries. The camera never lies? 

I am far more sceptical these days especially after so-called White Helmets ‘documentaries’. 

Rodchenkov never lies? 

It’s possible the documentary has some truth but it’s also possible it is telling a story that is not based on fact. 

Water sanitation intro video published by IIT Madras

Doing some homework so that I will ask my SME less questions for the People’s Uni ooc and keep things flowing in next meeting – probably late August.

In the video Professor Venkobachar briefly mentions John Snow and his work mapping cholera to water usage. There is a continuing series of events organised by the John Snow Society including the Pumphandle lectures and LSHTM organise free walks

Aside – if you’re ever in York, the All Saints Church where his parents are buried is one of the few places where you can see figures with spectacles in early stained glass windows.



Fight training day tomorrow 

Had a good chat with Master Worsfold today – I’m making really good progress but due to injuries & only sparring once a week if that, am still way off the pace. May fight tomorrow but will see. It’s great to be even having it as a possibility.

Decision time looming for veteran competition in British Nationals in Sept which is probably too soon in which case there are other options in the autumn including British Army taekwondo championships where civilians can fight army taekwondo fighters. Oh yes! 

So I’m not ready to grow up yet 😉 

It’s Time To Raise the Level of Public Debate about Syria

This is an excellent measured blogpost, it’s about time that Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and others were treated with respect and given an outlet which Professor Hayward is trying to do

Tim Hayward

These past six months I have been getting to know the inter-media. They’re not formally part of mainstream, and they’re not very social, so I call them inter-media. They are like the maintenance team for the mainstream. To explain this, I’ll first say how I came to meet them.

The context of these encounters is writing posts on Syria. Doing so, I rely entirely on what others say. But the fact that we hear directly contradictory narratives provides a rare opportunity to test whose tale is the truer. Lies, whatever some bluffers and braggers may think, are infinitely harder to sustain, over time, than is the truth.[1]

The impulse to write about Syria originated at a very specific moment, even if my curiosity had been piqued earlier by the Netflix White Helmets: Where are the fighters that are holding off the combined military might of Syria and…

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Systema and no techniques

If you have done Japanese or Korean grappling arts then you seem to have an easier time of it in the early days of learning.

Currently Master Worsfold’s words of wisdom hold – “I’ve been learning tai chi and teaching it for over 30 years and I still don’t understand it.”

There are no formal techniques or drills of movements like other martial arts classes, so there isn’t a classical frame of reference but it’s probably something in videos /manuals. Will start afresh in London in September probably.

This fits neatly with the Tao te Ching – tao is nothing, do nothing. And yet it’s not nothing or you will end up on the ground with broken limbs. There are systema principles of relaxation to learn, don’t know how similar to Chi Kung..

It’s a good class, good atmosphere. It’s ok to make an idiot of yourself and the usual black belt fall from grace humility ego wrestling to manage.