The random ramblings of Penny.

  • ‘On the Shelf’

    Flicking through my copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (a reprint of an early edition), I came across the definition of ‘On the Shelf’: On the Shelf.Passé, no longer popular, one of the “has-beens.” The reference is not to pawns laid on the shelf, but to books no longer read, and clothes no […]

  • Collecting ideas, cross-referencing thoughts

    Quite recently, I came across the Zettelkasten system, an analog note taking system developed by Niklas Luhmann. A précis of the system, is that if you make the right sort of references of what you read, and the right sort of notes, you can easily process thoughts from reading into books. I’ve also been reading […]

  • On that Taste and Smell thing

    From “Three Act Tragedy” by Agatha Christie, first published 1935 “Excellent,” approved Poirot. “There was something – ah, yes, your friend, Sir Bartholomew, he did not drink cocktails, but he did drink the port?” “Yes, he had a particular weakness for port.” “It seems odd to me that he did not taste anything unusual. Pure […]

  • Covid 19 oral evidence session in Parliament

    This morning the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee had an oral evidence session with various scientists and advisors about the UK’s response to the ongoing Covid 19 outbreak. While I imagine the oral transcript will be available pretty soon, here are the main points I took away from the session: 1) No […]

  • Me, on Newsnight

    I start talking about 6 minutes in.

  • Slow patchwork, 1970s style

    I’m currently reading “A Stitch in Time” by Penelope Lively. It’s a child’s book, and I’m not quite sure why I have it in the house: the story is completely unfamiliar, and the edition is too old to have belonged to one of my children. The book is about Maria, who is 11, an only […]

  • Solve Both Ways Up

    I came across this little puzzle on Twitter, which is rather fun: Thought I'd share this little algebraic curiosity that I was given by Tim Rowett yesterday, on the back of a business card. Solve for x…both ways up. — Rob Eastaway (@robeastaway) December 16, 2018 I was rather pleased that my answers were […]

  • The Bercow Arithmetic

    OK,  I didn’t read the Laura Cox report on “Bullying and Harassment of House of Commons Staff” when it was published last week, and to be honest I still haven’t read it now, just seen some of the commentary. But one thing that came out of it was the divide between Labour and Conservative MPs as […]

  • The Alex Salmond Show

    A week is a long time in politics, so they say. And in three weeks a lot can happen as well. Assuming there are no more changes to the schedule, by the time this comes out, I will have been broadcast on the Alex Salmond Show on Russia Today. If you missed it this morning, […]

  • HS2 Price Hike Brewing

    Even without the latest news  that some HS2 contracts are coming in up to 40% over their target price, a hike in the HS2 budget has been on the cards for a while – in fact this is an article I’ve been meaning to write for weeks. The first clue was an article in Construction News, in […]