Category Archives: social-media

Aasof on the deep reading brain


This week on Facebook: I have to go away and think about how we will develop as a species when global digitisation become prevalent. Does the book Fahrenheit 451 become a reality? Is there to be a new global history in which a new enlightenment, or age of reason, becomes a prominent feature of global digitisation? Perhaps, as the article posted last Sunday suggests, the effects of this new global digitised society will be profound¹. The two remaining  references suggest that deep reading²­·³ has become the necessary adjunct to an education that has changed since I was at school and deep reading was taken for granted. Read more of this post

Aasof on the death of social media!


This week on Facebook: I was quite surprised at the time that I have given over to posts on the social-media. In 2016 I wrote in A Hall of Mirrors that those advocates of digital freedom claimed to have clear missions about their defence of free speech or freedom of expression, any ethos of intent in their mission would seem to be lost in the public’s use of social-media. Read more of this post

Aasof on you and social-media


This week on Facebook: I am quite busy at the moment but as I intend to continue with the social-media next week, I thought the following video may interest some of you! Read more of this post

The Thunberg Effect


This week on Facebook: The suggestion that Greta Thunberg may not know of The Milankovitch Cycles and their effect on climate change, may be a good introduction to Milankovitch Cycles (given Thunberg’s popularity on the social-media). However, there are many others (including myself and probably Greta Thunberg) who had never heard of Milankovitch Cycles. An introduction to them led me to post on yet another issue related to climate change with the title  ‘The Thunberg Effect’. The subject of climate change is not something that I have paid a great deal of attention to, having always thought that politicians used the notion of climate change to promote political opportunism including their plans for economic growth.  An example of this is the carbon tax accounting, introduced by political public administration in a global scramble for economic growth.

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HS2 & ‘The Case’


This Week on Facebook: In last week’s post I included a comment by John Redwood with the title, Would you invest your money in HS2 that was (in general terms) opposed to its development. This week I am including  some alternative responses to the HS2. Although in general terms the cost of HS2 generates more article against the scheme than for it. The article associated with the image below gives the impression that the responses of the disgruntled, are not just those of the nimby. The case for or against HS2, is given in the included articles below and the references¹⋅²⋅³.

ICT solutions such as video and teleconferencing solutions have become an integral way to conduct business, but as we can see from the increasing demand for passenger journey, travel is still very important. Developing efficient transport links is important for economic growth, but of course HS2 is not the only solution to support this. (3)

Stop HS2 — click image

Kipper-Williams-on-HS2-009


1. HS2 — 12 arguments for and against: The first phase between London and Birmingham will open in 2026. A V-shaped second section will be added in 2033, going to Manchester and Leeds. The government says it expects 70% of jobs created to be outside London. A government-commissioned report by accountants KPMG suggests that the Midlands and north will benefit more than the capital.

2. HS2 to boost UK economy ‘by £15bn a year’ says report: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticised the scheme, saying: “So far, the Department [of Transport] has made decisions based on fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions which do not reflect real life.” The committee also said there was no evidence the line would help the growth of regional cities and would instead draw even more business to London. KPMG’s report to the department was commissioned by HS2 Ltd, which is a non-departmental public body wholly owned by the Department for Transport.

3. HS2 — can the technology meet expectations? The UK’s railway system is the oldest in the world and was established about 180 years ago. It is a mixed usage system, which means the track needs to serve three major purposes; long haul intercity journeys, short haul commuting journeys and freight. Intercity connections are very important, which is one reason the government chose to prioritise the service, but that squeezed the capacity around larger cities like London and Manchester.

4. Transport experts call for independent review of HS2 options: Alternatives to HS2 should be reconsidered, a group of travel experts have warned in a report saying the high-speed rail line could be five times as expensive as an equivalent railway in France.

5. Unlocking the benefits of HS2: Government policy is to build HS2, both phases one and two, and to improve regional rail connectivity through schemes like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Connect. To do one without the other is a foolhardy choice and does a great disservice to the country. Nowhere would feel the full benefits of HS2 if we see it as a binary choice between HS2 and other programmes to better connect our regions. The great towns and cities across the North and Midlands, from Bradford to Birmingham, need both.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
  • A link (url), which usually includes the title, are to an included source.
  • The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
  • A long read url* (when used below) is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online. 

¹HS2 Phase Two—Economic case advice for the Department for Transport (pdf): Risk analysis shows that the case for the Phase 2a increment is robust to a variety of potential changes to both scheme and cost assumptions. The majority of the sensitivities tested — including variations in construction costs, fares and GDP — provide over a two-thirds chance of the scheme providing medium, or higher, value for money.

²The Economics of High Speed 2 (pdf): Before spending more taxpayers’ money on this project, we believe that Government should answer the questions raised in this report. It needs to demonstrate that HS2 is the most effective way of achieving the declared objectives of the project and, if it is not, then the plan needs to change. The lengthy passage of the enabling legislation for the first phase of the construction provides an opportunity to examine the case for HS2. There should be no embarrassment in being prepared to revise the project: the objectives and cost are too important.

³Economic evaluation of the High Speed Rail (pdf): All over the world, governments of different political orientation are investing in high speed rail (HSR) infrastructure. In some countries the enthusiasm is more intense than in others. There is no a single pattern. UK and the US are now closer to building HSR infrastructure but until now they have been reluctant to give the definitive approval, and the money allocated to HSR has not gone beyond financing the cost of the evaluation of its economic and financial viability. Other countries, like France and Spain, have been keener on HSR than other European countries like Norway or Sweden, for example, whose governments are still studying whether this type of investment is socially worthy. Spain is a unique case because with much less traffic density than other countries (and much less congestion) in the conventional rail network, it is going to very soon be one of the first countries in the world measured in HSR kilometers.

Aasof: “You know how to whistle don’t you?”


This week on Facebook: My post last Sunday brought home the fact that I belong to the Pinocchio generation, that of the Walt Disney era but including Sabu and long before Disney’s Jungle Book. I now realised why my mum took me to the pictures so much during WWII, but that’s an anecdote for another time. Lauren Bacall belonged to my mum’s generation and the memories of the films she took me to see live on my mind. Excerpts from the films may be enhanced by references in the social media, but I now belong to a generation whose memories increasingly have little in common with my children and nothing in common with my grandchildren.

Why coming to see death’s naturalness should have caused belief in an afterlife to melt away, I am unsure, but it did. Diana Athill¹

Born in May 1939, on becoming an octogenarian I thought it an appropriate time on Facebook to at least mention the inevitability my demise. I know that some of you have already passed the octogenarian milestone — as had my mother-in-law, whom I told a story about in 2016 (encounter with the dying). I trust that demise never become millstone, like a dead albatross hung around the neck².

The following video by Peter Saul talking about dying was really enlightening and had a profoundly serious effect on my approach to the subject, increasingly so in my attitude towards others. Among the many articles that I found ‘Talking about death and dying’³ seems an appropriate adjunct to Peter Saul’s talk.

In the event that you became too sick to speak for yourself!
Who would you like to speak for you?

Peter Saul


1. “Memento more.” It’s time we reinvented death: (2012) As if we needed any reminder. While few of us know exactly when death will come, we all know that eventually it will. It’s usual to talk about death overshadowing life, and the passing of loved ones certainly casts a pall over the lives of those who remain behind. But contemplating our own deaths is one of the most powerful forces in our lives for both good and ill driving us to nurture relationships, become entrenched in our beliefs, and construct Ozymandian follies.

2. What Good Is Thinking About Death? (2015) But we’re not always actively thinking about it. When people are reminded of death, they employ a variety of strategies to cope—not all of which are as well-adjusted as Stoic gratitude. That many kinds of human behaviour stem from a fear of death is the basis of one of the most prominent theories in modern social psychology—terror-management theory.

3. What It’s Like to Learn You’re Going to Die: (2017) The shock of confronting your own mortality need not happen at that instant, Coyle notes. Maybe you look at yourself in the mirror and suddenly realize how skinny you are, or notice your clothes no longer fit well. “It’s not necessarily verbal; it’s not necessarily what other people are telling you,” Coyle says. “Your soul may be telling you, or other people’s eyes may be telling you.”

4. How to Recognise When Your Loved One Is Dying: (2018) Death is a personal journey which each individual approaches in their own unique way. Nothing is concrete, and nothing is set in stone. There are many paths one can take on this journey but all lead to the same destination. What happens in the journey of dying, beginning one to three months prior to death, during the last two weeks before death, and during the last few days of life? In this continuum, how can you know when your loved one is dying?

5. Let’s talk about the art of living and dying well: (2019) In a society that struggles to view any death as “good”, it is also an unmistakeable opportunity to share what at least constitutes a better death. Acceptance is foremost. Some of my most remarkable patients have accepted early that they have not been singled out by misfortune, that suffering in different shapes is the course of humanity.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular article (1-5).
  • Links reference a source and where necessary, those words that include a link in italics are intended to indicate its context.
  • A long read url* is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

¹It’s silly to be frightened of being dead (url*): Death is the inevitable end of an individual object’s existence – I don’t say “end of life” because it is a part of life. Everything begins, develops – if animal or vegetable, breeds – then fades away: everything, not just humans, animals, plants, but things which seem to us eternal, such as rocks. Mountains wear down from jagged peaks to flatness. Even planets decay. That natural process is death. Killing is the obscene intervention of violence, the violation which prevents a human being or any other animal from reaching death as it should be reached. Killing certainly did affect the minds of those exposed to the first world war. It shocked most of them into silence: many of the men who survived fighting in it never spoke of it, and I think it had the same effect on most of those the men returned to. It was too dreadful. They shut down on it.

²An introduction to death, dying and grief (url/OU Free Course): Explore interesting and challenging ideas around death, dying and grief. This free course, An introduction to death, dying and grief, invites you to think more deeply about death and dying and encourages you to think about it in different ways. This course will introduce you to different perspectives on death; ethical issues related to dying and end-of-life care; as well as expressions of grief. Please note that this course includes video about people talking personally about their experiences in relation to death and dying. If you have been affected by the issues in these videos, there are resources included in the course for further information and support.

³Talking about death and dying (url): It’s not always easy to know how to talk about dying. Awkwardness, embarrassment and fear means we tend to shy away from connecting with those who are dying or those who are grieving. But when we don’t talk about what matters it can increase feelings of isolation, loneliness and distress.

 

A Reprise for Sunday


This Sunday on Facebook: I offer a reprise from July 2018 as a link to next week posts in which there is a repeat of 2 songs. Those who may be fans of The Great American  Songbook like me (greatly influenced by my mother), may enjoy this Sunday’s reprise. I assure you that although next week’s offering also includes 5 (posted) videos, they are different, as is the theme of my post.

The following are extracts taken from my July 2018 of Aasof on The Great American Songbook and are about my 2 repeats next week, although both are by different artists and intended to add to my question next week: Are Lyricists Poets?

Unlike the instrumental piece composed by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke in 1947 with lyrics added in 1954 by Johnny Mercer. Midnight Sun became famous as a jazz standard and is certainly (currently) one of my favourites.

Begin The Beguine was written by Cole Porter for the Broadway show Jubilee  in 1935. Begin The Beguine has a set of lyrics that are hard to remember and a melody that is difficult to forget (at least the opening bars). It’s interesting that it was Artie Shaw’s instrumental version that was a big hit in 1938.

A Golden Shield and A Great Cannon


This week on Facebook: In researching ‘internet censorship’ the question of ‘control‘ is a word frequently used but I’m not convinced that it is correct. Control of the internet is simply the means to an end and it is the regulations a State applies to internet use that determines its use. In other words State control, through regulations backed by the law that the State applies as ‘rules’ to its use¹. Read more of this post

The Rule of Law, Remorse, Shamima Begum


This week on Facebook: Last year I posted ‘A law to cure!‘. The question that we continually seem face and perhaps should address is the need for new laws and changes to old ones. The English resort to the magna-carta as a source of their rights in Common Law and in response I posted Magna Carta: No longer law.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Oscar Wilde

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Compassion, Gershwin, & a quiz


24/2/2019 — Sunday on Facebook: I have been trying to write a post about compassion fatigue for some time now. The compassion fatigue I want to write about is not that experienced in the so-called helping professions who know as much about the limits of empathy as they do about its merits. Studies of oncology nurses, trauma workers and even marriage counsellors, among others, have documented a common “compassion fatigue” that seems directly related to the amount of emotion shared. What I wanted to write about is the compassion fatigue that we all experience when reports in the media makes us become compassionately numb. Read more of this post

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Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog

Oracle performance, Oracle statistics and VLDBs

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

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