Category Archives: Uncategorized

Heat on the Tube

25062008045The heat on the tube and the introduction of fans to keep people more comfortable was a little news blip yesterday. Annie had of course covered it a few weeks ago and I meant to comment at the time, but y’know… didn’t.

The issue that doesn’t seem to have come up at all is how much the temperature on the tube is currently being raised by the new batch of illuminated advertising pitches. I might try to find one of those flat thermometers to see just what the surface temperature is, but in the meantime just laying my hand on one (or my back, actually, when busking) proves to me that it’s quite a lot warmer than a paper poster :) This goes for the animated doodads that line several escalators.

So how many of these screens are there now? I am not a physicist, so does anyone want to help me work out the effect a single screen might have on the ambient temperature? What is the cumulative effect of all the screens in one station, how about across the 24 stations that are getting them? And are CBS Outdoor, who are responsible for their installation, made any effort to counter the effects? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to be shouting about this if they were? And I’m not a green extremist, but what effect have these screens had on the tube’s carbon footprint as a whole – how much electricity is being used to run them?

It was again – Interesting ’08

21062008043Tired and very happy after a lovely day at Interesting ’08 – thought I’d try blogging it quickly this time – it’s that kind of a day.

As I spent much of the day helping Russell to be slightly less worried, finding things for all the helpful people to do, filling up the water boiler and wondering about including audience participation in my slot I’m afraid I missed some of the startling, stimulating and assorted wonderful displays of interestingness. But…

Roo kicked off beautifully with some great historical images from that geek classic – Lego

Something about Horses and their blind spots. (Dave funkypancake picked up on “horse” later too while struggling against dead air)

I next tuned in to Collyn saying how she was bored with reality and expected more ferns and snails.

Not sure what happened then but next thing I knew, Dan Raven-Ellison was bigging up Geography and kicking History in the balls and then Michael Johnson was segueing from Django to Freddie Green to Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix to Jimmy Page and so on and so on with much pedalling and magical slide changing.

so Azeroth is about 16 12km in diameter and very, very dense according to James Wallis’s endearingly obsessive calculations – also something about chucking some bird off a tower and seeing how long it took for her to fall.

Phil Gyford reminded me of what fun mask work was, but also how difficult it is.

I think I caught some bits of Matt Dent’s lovely work on coin designs – I’m glad I met him at the sign-up table and got to tell him personally anyway.

Matt Webb told a lovely story about a South American mirror telegraph that might have been an hallucination, I really wished it hadn’t been, I like the idea of local physics.

Andrew Webb must have been next thanks to the matt-matt-webb-walkingshaw doo-dah. Oh yes – food – it’s all over the country, allegedly, and farmers are saying get *on* moi land!

Andrew Walkingshaw talked about having lots of names (like cats do) and uniqueness and ambiguity

Andrew Dick finally found how to get to sleep after years of insomnia – audio books of bad thrillers – not too exciting or interesting but also not too dull – also apparently the effect doesn’t properly kick in until you’re listening for the 2nd or 3rd time.

I bet Jenny Owen’s Churchill impression is even better when she has a cigar in her mouth – she gave us a bundle of interesting titbits about the great man though my blood sugar was plummeting as we got close to lunchtime.

To close the morning, Matt Irvine Brown displayed excellent headmaster skills getting 35 people to play the recorder – I qik’d it but it’s probably even more painful to watch on a mobile phone video than it was to witness in the flesh.

Then after lunch that fat baldy bloke from last year made us listen to him sing to a (very) small guitar and then made a mountain out of some molehills – other people will cover this slot better than me.

Simon & Curtis James & Ken Hollings did some weird thing about suburbia set to a radiophonics jam session.

Anna Pickard on why biscuits, flanges and gussets are funny.

Younghee Jung talked toilets – unfortunately this is when I managed to get to the toilet for the first time myself, so I had empirical experience, but I missed out on her theory.

James Bridle got me thinking about wine and evolution and talking about booze without talking about drunkenness.

Kim Plowright- oh god, Kim, I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention.

James Houston showed us why he just got a first class degree.

Jim Le Fevre wowed the hall with his live zoetrope demo – at the start Jim asked if he could bring his equipment in which included a turntable, so naturally I was expecting something audio but it was decidedly more visual – Jim, I’d love you to meet Steve Lawson – @solobasssteve – you could make great stuff together

Gavin Starks – all I remember is dodecahedrons and something about music from n-dimensional hypercubes

Joel Gethin Lewis tries to get people in the moment, talking about something untranslateable into English from Welsh

Was George Oats talking about flickr or was that Kim? I think that’s when I popped out to get some more milk.

Lea Becker I’d have like to see and hear more about drawing from her. I’m not sure about the taxonomy of drawing approaches…

Leisa Riechelt is clearly a lovely mummy and reminded me of how interesting your first small person can be. The young man in question had a domain named after him before his name was on a birth certificate. Excellent.

I agree with Max Gadney that we will see some serious re-appraisal of the second world war the further we get from it.

Lots of lovely lovely lovely people in the audience – Tuttlers, Headshifters, Interesting07’ers to many to mention individually but lots are mentioned here.

So yeah, it was, again and I’m sure it ever will be.

Being right

I find it very productive to sometimes think “What if I’m completely wrong about this?” You know, “What if this tightly-held, well-evidenced belief is actually not true?” Even if it does turn out to be true, it can be an illuminating exercise to consider what the world would be like or what our experience of the world might be or what decisions we might make differently IF it weren’t the case. It goes as well for global situations “What if the world isn’t actually flat even though that’s how my senses perceive it?” as well as the more personal: “What if it weren’t true that everyone hates me?”

An equally productive development of this rhetorical exercise is to ask “what if, rather than believing that everything about this situation is wrong, what if everything were just right?” In effect this is asking “What if I’m wrong about everything in my life going wrong?”

That’s what I was writing about yesterday. “What if the innovation edge conference was actually perfect in every way?” What does that tell me, what can I learn about it, what might I do differently myself as a result of experiencing it and experiencing my discomfort?

So today, as I begin another day with No Fixed Abode and seeing other people’s fear and insecurity when I explain to them what’s happening and being tempted to fall into that spiral of panic and busy work that I well know makes for little progress, today, I ask myself “What if I’m wrong that not having a permanent place to live is the worst possible situation to be in?” “What if it’s absolutely right and perfect that I’m flat-sitting for a friend?” What might I do in response to that, how would I think and act, what might it mean about me? And why might I have brought myself to this place?

And as I reflect on all that, a paradox becomes clear to me. This week I have had the recurring feeling of being safe and at home – *wherever* I am. I was in Epsom yesterday and went to the Post Office and walked along the High Street and it was all lovely and suburban and I thought “Oh yes, this is home, perhaps this is where I should live all the time” and then this morning I was in Pimlico and walking around the gardens of St George’s Square and had *exactly* the same feeling.

From which I take that it was in order to fully appreciate that I really belong here, wherever “here” is, to fully understand that I’m at home wherever I am and that my physical location is purely a matter of choice, that I had to bring myself to this experience of “homelessness”.

So, phew! Having gotten that out of my system, I think I’ll choose a period of greater stability :)

The Dead & Alive Ladybird Club




feb 08 063

Originally uploaded by Lloyd Davis

My flat has lately become a meeting place for the above mentioned society. I don’t really know what to do except to let them out the window when I see them alive and collect and photograph them for posterity when I find them dead.

I suspect though that it’s the toasty warm of central heating that’s keeping them going and once they get outside they freeze and perish anyway.

At least it’s not cockroaches.

LEON




coffee one – leon

Originally uploaded by russelldavies

They are lovely. I wish there was one in the West End as expansive as this one in Spitalfields. I tried the new one in (upper) Regent Street today and it was lovely with predictably lovely staff but I really wanted to spread out a bit and stretch my legs

The tight conditions though did have a good effect. I had to share a table with (gasp) a stranger and because I was in Leon and everybody’s so happy and friendly, we couldn’t help just talking as though we weren’t hardened London sociophobes after all. Y’know small talk about what a nice place it is and how good and healthy the food feels, nothing too deep, but a very odd experience for me in that part of W1.

Social Media Café as Platform

PolicyUnplugged 085At our first prototype meeting, I perceived a tension between the people who were interested in making a profitable business and those whose interest was solely in the community possibilities and opportunities for collaboration. I came away unsure of what legal structure would work best – a traditional shareholder-owned limited company or a non-profit company limited by guarantee. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then.

On the same occasion I said something along the lines of: “What I want to create is a platform that enables people to create value for themselves.”

The inspiration for this comes from the tech world – CP/M & MS-DOS, the IBM PC, the Internet, the Web, Amazon Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook – what they all have in common is that no matter how they get paid for or how they’re organised, or whether or not they make money for their inventors, they have also given other people the opportunity to create new relationships, markets and businesses that weren’t possible before (btw, I use big examples so that people will recognise what I’m talking not because I think our little project will be on that scale.)

I want everything we do to in some way support people doing cool stuff on their own. I don’t think we have to own *every*thing and I certainly don’t want to create a walled garden. We’ll get a lot more done by creating the conditions for people to

So turning back to the legal structure, the choice seems to come down to a limited company (or a partnership) which exists to create value for it’s shareholders (or partners) or a company limited by guarantee which exists to… well do whatever we decide it should do – I think it should serve the needs of people interested in Social Media in London – if that’s not too wooly (or too specific) – but I’m open to suggestion. There was broad agreement that limited by guarantee was the right route for us but the aim and purpose does need to be boiled down to something that expresses what we want and allows us (as a group) to do as much good as possible.

So if that is sorted, my mind then turns to the structure of this business. I’ve always talked about the three bits – café, learning, working. But that might not be all we want to do together – other ideas for services have come up in meetings too. Can we make the Tuttle Club our base platform? With no direct services except to facilitate cool stuff happening. Then the first cool thing it does (quickly) is to set up a Social Media Café or perhaps the café space, a learning space and a workspace could each be individual, but co-located businesses. And then it can do other things too as they arise. Or am I making it too complicated?

Let’s talk about this at the next prototype – but there are many who aren’t able to join us there so let’s do it in the google group as well.