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Showing posts from 2016

Thought of the day

[slideshare id=26535288&doc=egyptpsrstudent-130925071919-phpapp01] Egypt: Politics, Society, Religion de Lyricus I just had a thought come to me today about what Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party were saying about the three classes in British society, following on from my Pilgrim course on the Beatitudes where I think Jesus refers to Ancient Egyptian society in Matthew's Gospel when Christ had authority over the scribes in the temple making him at the top of the Egyptian society pyramid (you can Google it for a diagram): Corbyn must have been referring to the classes as those known by: 1) who have big established names/titles/property to go off (crips in US street slang, Upper class in informal British), 2) educations/qualifications/job titles/professions (bloods in US street slang, Middle Class in informal British) 3) medical diagnosis/convictions/notoriety/celebrity/personalities (vatos locos Mexican for crazy dudes in US street slang, Lower class in informal Briti

Advent Chicken

Advent Chicken Wash hands thoroughly before and after touching raw meat, as well as before and after cooking. "An army marches on its stomach!" - Napoleon Bonaparte Ingredients: Organic Free Range Chicken   cut into fillets/legs/thighs 600g One organic leek Half a dozen organic carrots A few organic apples Organic black peppercorns Organic tarragon A couple of organic cloves. 300g rice One organic red cabbage Organic cider vinegar Organic cardamom Organic vanilla essence Salt Olive oil Serves four people. Cooking and preparation time 45-50 minutes. Preheat oven to 200-220 degrees centigrade Wash apples and vegetables thoroughly, removing any dirt and prepare by peeling carrots, and removing outer layers from cabbage and leek and cutting off the ends of the leek. Placed chopped carrots and leek on the base of a baking tray, using tin foil to line the tray. Core apples and insert a clove into the hole then add to

Language of Probate

Notes by William Gaskell Colin Chapman is a former president of the Bath and Gloucester family history society. In the 16 th century Henry, Earl Stafford wrote in his will: “ of good and perfect mind and memory ”. Wills are biographies, giving reliable genealogical data and give family, local and social history – much like a Roman era gravestone! Wills deal with real estate whereas Testament deals with goods and chattels. Wills can be republished if Testament is invalidated. Similar documents include: ·          Letters of administration – Admons . ·          Inventory , from 1268-1750 rare afterwards. ·          Probate accounts – expenses run up by executors. ·          Law suits – contentious cases – sentences. ·          Bank of England – if Wills taxed. 1717-1850. From 1858 Temporal Courts of Probate would hear inheritance cases. Wills were kept in Somerset House in London from 1874 to 1999. Now in High Holburn. We can access them onli

What is light?

Light is pure energy, it is a massless ray of energy that travels at the constant speed of light through space. The wave particle duality of light comes about from light behaving like a particle when it is detected. Newton was the first to propose such a theory when he talked of corpuscles: From Google search by way of Wikipedia Of Newton’s Corpuscular Theory of Light (this predates Heisenberg’s Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory): Isaac Newton argued that the geometric nature of reflection and refraction of light could only be explained if light was made of particles, referred to as corpuscles, because waves do not tend to travel in straight lines. Newton sought to disprove Christiaan Huygens' theory that light was made of waves. So when light is detected it becomes quantised into discrete corpuscles known as photons. Each photon is the harmonic excitation of the wave, that is the full wavelength of the fundamental frequency, so both the positive and negativ

East is Red

MEAA at BRLSI Friday August 26 th 2016 7pm Mary Ginsberg former curator of Chinese Collection British Museum Notes by William Gaskell Red is auspicious colour of Chinese culture related to Imperial Chinese ceremony and secular Chinese festivals. Red is colour for fire: ritual sacrifice supported Emperor and state – red colour. Red was dynastic colour for Ming dynasty, surname Zhu meaning red. Red was official colour of honour. Emperor would officially wear yellow robes for ceremonial official engagements but we can see red coloured objects used for officials at court and appearing in other garments as a signifier. 1959 everyone lost the land they were given by the revolution to collectivisation, people lost privacy to communal living. Red dragon in calendar made it seem great. From 1960 Chairman Mao stepped down at head of state of China but remained Chairman of Politburo and the Communist Party. Red soldier painting was approved for posters. Red app

Mexico Through Our Eyes

Through Our Eyes Minister David N├íjera Embassy of Mexico, United Kingdom BRLSI 19 th July 2016 7:30pm Notes by William Gaskell Talk chaired by Dick Bateman and introduced by Steve Walter. Strong links with UK as Mexicans often thought of as “that Western guy”. They are Central American by ethnicity. UK first country to recognise independent Mexico. 450,000 illegal immigrants move to Mexico each year from central and south America, mostly on their way to the USA. Mexico is linked to the Philippines as both territories were managed from Mexico City by the Spanish. Also share culture with the Carribean. Trade partners are Brazil, Argentina, China, biggest partner is USA. Iconic cultural Mexican Mariachi music is also loved and just as popular in Columbia. El Chavo – little boy, an orphan living in a home is a well known and loved cultural figure by many people in Mexico. 400,000 US citizens staying illegally in Mexico, 5 times as many as in Canada. T

Stoicism and the Art of Self-Mastery

Stoicism and the Art of Self-Mastery Dr Kurt Lampe, University of Bristol, BRLSI, 5 th July 2016 Notes by William Gaskell Dr Kurt Lampe has a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Image of Eris Dippis who dumps his fortune overboard during a journey by ship as his shipmates seemed unsavoury, his idea was that he would rather destroy his wealth than for it to fall into the hands of the unsavoury shipmates – Zero Sum Game – Stoicism . Period of classical philosophy C280BC to 250AD. Stoa Poikile “Painted Colonnade” in Athens. Epicurean philosophers dissipate from their usual haunts and classical stoicism comes to an end. Modern Anglo-American neo stoicism B. Continental This is now a philosophic/therapeutic movement. It was considered to be pilfering ideas from Plato and Aristotle but since 1970 has come into its own. Stoic philosophy is full of metaphor: “freedom as opposite of slavery.” The internal conflict of decision making: “shouldn’t do it”

Why should we be interested in glass?

Why should we be interested in glass? Dr Anita Zeidler, Physics Department, University of Bath at BRLSI on 30 th June 2016. Convenor science group, John Davies. Notes by William Gaskell. Glass’ properties include: ·          Good heat shock resistance ·          Insulation of heat and electricity Making it good for cooking hobs. Glass formation: Slow cooling -> ordered pattern formation -> crystal Fast cooling (quenching) -> amorphous liquid structure frozen -> glass Glass is a solid with structure that resembles a liquid. Flint is actually a glass, which is why it could be chiselled into very sharp points for stone age arrowheads and blades. Glass is composed of silicon and oxygen: Si + O also perhaps B or P, Al, K, Ca, depending on the use. For example, in the nuclear industry glass with a high proportion of lead is used to improve the shielding effect from radiation. Gorilla glass made by etching or dipping surface of glass into a

Bath City Conference 2016

Bath City Conference 2016 Notes by William Gaskell at the Guildhall Bath on 1st of July. Speakers: Kate Rigby new Human Sustainability lecturer at Bath Spa. Jess organised the Green University Group lectures. Cheryl talked about mindset when approaching environment as PhD Student, I mentioned film Planetary to her. Fairness and Physics – Recarbonising the Environment Peter Harper, University of Bath. People now seriously want to live in the Utopian fashion. Ozone situation is improving whereas other macro-environmental aspects are deteriorating such as biosphere pollution and ocean acidity. Peter Harper thinks a rapid transition is going to happen soon unless there is a major transformation in how we do things as he assumes that developing countries in Asia will become as polluting as the West is currently. Zero Carbon Britain In this scenario Britain can control its emissions without changing the way we live. ·          60% lower air miles in air travel

Philosophy: The Evolution of Religion: Is It Adaptive to Believe that God Is On Your Side?

Philosophy: The Evolution of Religion: Is It Adaptive to Believe that God Is On Your Side? Dr Michael E Pryce of Brunel University London, Senior Lecturer in Psychology also School of Culture BRLSI 7 th June 2016 Notes by William Gaskell Religiosity more psychological, some sort of belief in a natural order. Adaption is a biological device that is Darwinian, natural selection etc. but not all traits we see in nature are adaptions for survival. Recommended texts: Darwin’s Cathedral God is Watching You - cultural views. Artist’s image: Jean D’Arc by Odilon Redon Over attributing agency to Universe – schizophrenia as people may think government out to get them personally or are personally communicating with extra-terrestrial beings. The question: “How would we do that?” may be a by-product. Link between religiosity and survival , massive correlation becomes apparent in older women. ·          Public social benefits of a community ·          Private ben

Brexit debate, should Britain leave the EU for the sake of ECHR?

I think the problem with this type of communication is that it relies on the out crowd being popular when in fact I felt convinced to vote to leave to EU because "they don't get it" and that is called abuse in Bristol and could get you arrested. Most Europeans have a poor education compared to the leading British schools as a result of their limited capacity to live well meaning that it is a technical form of slavery if they succeed in any way when someone from a more privileged backgrounds competes with them if the competition is not fair and equal. For example when it comes to sexual relations with their women. In sports referees have to enforce the rules of the game as well as the relative standing of the different teams in order for there to be a fair competition. Unfortunately, in Europe this does not happen so we should leave, but in the interests of world peace and investing in the future we should stay in the EU as it will get better for

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore Dr Kalyan Kundu BRLSI 9 th May 2016 Notes by William Gaskell Yesterday was Rabindranath’s 155 th birthday. He was from an aristocratic and progressive family in Bengal, the 14 th child of an incredibly gifted and creative household which including many leading members of their fields. At 17 he came to England in 1878 to study law but left with no professional qualification and no English wife! He had been tutored at home until that time. In 1915 Tagore was knighted by King George V but five years later he renounced his award in response to the British treatment of Indians, killings in Haryana and Punjab. Rabinosangeth is Tagore’s gift to his people, his poetry and music – he failed to make an impact with Western audiences. He was a champion of feminism and social justice. He propagated his views through art, poetry and plays – notably The Postman play was also performed in Germany and Czechoslovakia and in the Jewish ghetto in Poland. He

How many Earths?

Is the Earth Special? Dave Watham, director of an MSc in geoscience and petroleum geology at Royal Holloway, London. BRLSI 5 th May 2016 Notes by William Gaskell One question we must ask is how many worlds are there? As the Earth must be very odd. Probably as rare as a world made of gold with diamond dust rings. There is a likelihood that such worlds exist given the size of the universe and our Earth must be that rare, so we assume there would be at least a couple of Earths. We typically only see the hard rocks in nature as the softer rocks erode much more quickly. An example of this would be a granite rocky outcrop in the hills overlooking a river valley. Similarly, this affects what we see in the night sky, it is much easier to see a bright star such as Betelgeuse or object such as the Orion Nebula and Orion’s Belt than it is to see a dimmer start which may be more similar to our Sun. This is the Anthropic Principle – we only see things that are compatible with our l

Effective Altruism

It’s not quite Aldous Huxley or George Orwell. I think altruism is what the Dalai Lama perhaps aspires to; kindness, clarity and compassion. This is about humanity rather than about more abstract terms such as the value of money as a metric for happiness or altruism. When dealing with diagnostic labels in mental health, you have to decide whether money is in fact a factor is such a diagnosis or not, given your politics on what money is. Therefore, mental health should be more of a framework that enables those who chose to give up their freedom to live a healthy life, in safety and security within the system. People seek opportunity, therefore by providing such a framework and a decent introduction to a healthy life free of unhappiness is essential to providing a service that is altruistic. We can see this from the British government’s model of social care and welfare programmes, which have proven resilient to mass immigration, a changing demographic, leading to the disruption in

Single Photons

All you ever wanted to know about photons… Dr Peter Mosley, University of Bath (MA PhD Oxford) BRLSI 27th April 2016 19:00 Notes by William Gaskell This talk discusses how to make photons one at a time and the bespoke fibre technology, photonic crystal fibre pipeline developed in Bath. A photon is a fundamental excitation of the electromagnetic field. A beamsplitter is a half silvered mirror which has a 50% chance of either reflecting or transmitting a photon interacting with it. It divides the photon due to wave/particle duality but if we place detectors after the beamsplitter we would only detect a single photon arriving either after being transmitted or reflected. There is a random chance of the photon appearing at either detector in a 50% beamsplitter. Quantum Information can use this effect for a very high quality random number generator (for example in Monte Carlo simulations). Using a string of single photons as a key can more securely encrypt a signal and also

Complaints to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

I don't think complaining to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards will amount to anything as I would complain about the commissioner if she allowed a complaint from someone who is less able to communicate than me. Especially if he would tell people about his complaint to mislead them. My complaint against Ben Howlett MP for Bath was that he needed support in chasing up the issues I had raised with ministers directly as I wanted to meet directly with Amber Rudd, the energy minister, as I am a leading member of British society with an interest and expertise in the science, technology, economics and policy of energy, rather than being fobbed off by a letter from the Lord Bourne as I actually wanted to make billions of pounds from brokering a deal that worked. I don't think any British person who has been talking about nuclear power recently has a clue about the situation from the government's perspective anymore, which is sad given that some people are actually paid t

Astronomers Conference Bath

William Herschel Society and the Society for the History of Astronomy Conference at BRLSI, 02 nd April 2016 1       John Chuter on Somerset Astronomers – British Astronomical Association Names in development of astronomy in Somerset: Roger Bacon 12th-13th century John Pond 18th century Observatory at Westbury sub Mendip John George Hickley 1810-1889 Rector of Walton church, rectory now owned by Millfield School. Sent letter of invitation to astronomical scientific society to local Conservative MP. Rev Phillips 1868-1942 Had his own observatory on Headley and made some drawings of Jupiter. Reginald Waterfield Locally educated, early WHS member Harold Ridley Bequeathed £59,000 to BAA for fund in his name. From treasure trove of items: Record of total eclipse in Sweden in 1851. Sir John Hippisley 1804-1898 Another wealthy astronomer with an observatory at Stoneaston Park, whose image is similar to that of Sir John Naismith. He had a friendship with