Some Thoughts Inspired by the Bragg Equation

Star gazing

As a small boy I desperately wanted a telescope. I loved looking at the stars and the Moon. Light pollution meant I could only rarely make out the Milky Way – when I did it just looked like light cloud – but I really wanted to see it in more detail. I’d also heard that the stars had different colours. These weren’t visible in the town I grew up in.

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My Battle With My Twitter Addiction Continues

Is there a way of keeping on Twitter without it taking too big a chunck of my life and my attention? I have tried going cold turkey a couple of times, but always came back to it. The basic problem with it is that it is too easy to engage with. You open the screen and straight away you can find a tweet to read. With a bit of searching you can find stuff you are interested in already predigested and ready to transfer directly from your phone to your brain. It is very much the information equivalent of a fast food burger. It has been optimised to give you what you want as quickly as possible with minimal effort on your part.

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Return the Marbles

I’m not a fan of the British Conservative Party on the whole. But most long established organisations have both good and bad in their history, and the Tories have had their moments that command respect. And certainly as a body of people they aren’t uniformly bad. It is unfortunate that right at the moment they seem to be fielding not so much their B team but more a group of chancers that would normally have been shown the door long ago.

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My Troubled Relationship With Twitter

I’ll tell you one thing that bores me rigid. It’s the Royal Family. I have a reasonably high level of respect for the Queen, who somehow seems to have managed to keep a level of sense in an insane position. But basically the whole notion of a monarch in the modern age is bonkers. You can’t buy into it without sharing the bonkersness. I avoid as far as a I can all of the stories in the media that attempt to turn an anachronism into a soap opera. I pity the people born into it who can’t escape it no matter what. Basically I want nothing to do with it.

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A Fluke Becomes History – Brexiters Earn an Undeserved Win

A news story today shows just how arbitrary much of history is. At the height of the Covid pandemic the UK government, suffering the worst death rate in Europe, gambled big on developing a vaccine quickly. This was very much something that suited the personality of the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson is notorious for a lack of attention to detail and for wanting to have his cake and eat it. A vaccine must have appeared to him to be a magic cure for his Covid problem.

Gambles sometimes pay off, and this one has given him some unexpected benefits. Not only did an effective vaccine get delivered in a very short time, the roll out also got off to a good start. In the meantime, the European Union’s similar programme didn’t come in so quickly. This meant that it was a double payout. It both countered the internal bungling of the day to day handling of the virus and allowed some points to be scored at the expense of the EU.

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Are My Political Opinions Stupid?

It’s easy to see the faults in other people’s political ideas. There has been a big uptick in simplistic philosophies lately. Trumpers believe in putting their state first, regardless of the international implications. Libertarians discount the benefits of the state’s activities. Brexiters think that getting rid of the influence of Brussels will make us freer. It isn’t hard to see the shortcomings of these viewpoints. They can be summed up in a few sentences and obviously are nowhere near adequate to the complexities, trade offs and downright cussedness of the real world.

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A Unique Archive of Radical Thought

You wait ages for an event of historic significance then you get two come along at once. The attempted coup in the Capitol last week will no doubt be discussed for years to come. At the moment we don’t have all the accounts we’d like to have, and no doubt more will be coming out for years to come. But there will be a lot of historical information available. While the actions and motivations of the key players, particularly Mr Trump himself, are the big part of the story we have a lot more to go on with this.

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Immigration Will Become Popular

I woke up to the news the South Korea’s population has fallen for the first time in its history. Wars and famines have been just as prevalent in the country’s history as anywhere else, but it turns out that demographics is the thing that really counts. An ageing population who choose to avoid having too many children is enough to bring down the population in a way that disease, starvation and conflict rarely succeed in doing.

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