Archive for April, 2007

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Bike Trip to Waterperry Gardens

April 27, 2007

Dave and I like to take weekend cycling trips, so I bought a copy of Philip’s Cycle Tours Around Oxford at the Oxford Info Centre. The guide is concise, nicely laid out and filled with delightful-sounding rides, but whether we’ll be able to use it or not is another question. We knew we weren’t the typical fanatics that spend all their spare time in the saddle, but found very little info that fit our situation. After studying the listings more closely, we determined that most routes were too hard, too long, or required transport to the start (we don’t own a car here). Give us a few more weeks and we’d probably be in shape for the 25-plus mile rides, but how to get to them?

In the meantime, I did some googling to figure out an alternative, and scrolled through the “Rides from Oxford” tag on the Oxfordshire CTC web site, finally coming to a “leisurely” entry. This was to Waterperry Gardens, near Wheatley, where Dave had ridden before. The ride was only about 15 miles with a few hills but manageable. Waterperry and the vicinity is charming; we opted to just ogle the flowers in the garden shop rather than pay the £4.50 entrance fee to the gardens this early in the season.

 

Other highlights were seeing the yellow-stained fields up close and watching the spring lambs bleet and scamper about—too cute!

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Craft: and craftzine.com

April 26, 2007

My favorite blog right now is craftzine.com for the great articles, like a review of The Crafter Culture by Amy Spencer.

I first discovered Craft: in the basement of Blackwell’s, in the computer book section. This didn’t make sense at the time, until I noticed Craft: was an O’Reilly publication. I’d purchased a Javascript manual from them in the past, but evidently they publish titles in “digital culture,” why of course, and now I should be getting it, having tried to shuffle a little closer to that cutting edge of late.

My sweets is telling me it’s “TV time,” (meaning watch a dvd on a laptop, since we refused to purchase a TV license), and tonite it’s Boogie Nights (we watch our favorites over quite often since there’ not a great selection). So, adios for now.

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More of What I Like About the UK

April 25, 2007

More of What I Like About the UK:

That the BBC would host a program like the Reith Lectures (my last post).

In true democracies, dissent is not silenced.

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Jeffrey Sachs Delivers Inspiring Speech

April 25, 2007

I just listened to one of the Reith Lectures, held at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York. You can download the podcast or listen to it at

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2007/lecture3.shtml

There are also links to the text of previous lectures (recorded version is only available for the current lecture).

Jeffrey Sachs seemed to give the hopeful message that we have it in us to make peace (with?) in the world. He mentioned that human nature tends toward cooperation, but when threatened strikes out in fear of violence from a perceived adversary:

We are actually primed psychologically, and probably genetically, to cooperate, but only conditionally so. In a situation of low fear, each of us is prone to cooperate and to share — even with a stranger. Yet when that trust evaporates, each of us is primed to revert to conflict, lest we are bettered by the other. Game theorists call this strategy “Tit for Tat,” according to which we cooperate at the outset, but retaliate when cooperation breaks down. The risk, obviously, is an accident, in which cooperation collapses, and both sides get caught in a trap in which conflict becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In that all-too-real nightmare, we end up fighting because we fear that the other will fight. This fear is confirmed by fear itself. Wars occur despite the absence of any deeper causes.

He also pointed out the conflicts due to arise with the current shift of power between the U.S. (the “leading power”) , and China (the “rising power”), and how it parallels the relationship between Germany and the British Empire that led to WWI.

I found that part pretty sobering, but then what else has been the U.S. policy since at least the 50’s?

Especially moving was when Ted Sorensen, who co-wrote/wrote the famous “ask not what you can do for your country” speech, (43 years ago) was invited to speak from the audience and more about how the speech changed history.

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Yellow-painted fields surround Oxford

April 19, 2007

Our bus ride from Heathrow to Oxford was uneventful, until we received a most welcome gift from West Midlands Spring: the brilliant yellow (pure cadmium lemon!) fields of oilrapeseed oil rape in bloom. The concentration of color in large fields really does look poured on the landscape. This link has a photo of a similar field in Germany. I’ll have to share this post with my friends in Environmental Engineering at CU who work with biodiesel fuel.

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Medieval Modernity

April 12, 2007

I didn’t invent the phrase “Medieval Modernity”; I found it on a post at badaude.typepad.com. Christopher Whalen’s comment led me to domeheid

[I don’t think blogspot offers trackbacks; but I’m still trying to figure them out.]

I’m always seeking out combines like this, the juxtaposition or synthesis of old and new. My Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is sitting on my desk in Oxford, waiting for my return. It’s a crewel embroidery, heretofore undisclosed. I have high hopes for its capturing old/new + form and content. We’ll see.

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Dave is in the NYT today

April 10, 2007

Dave’s article on Psychosocial Treatments for Bipolar Depression got press today in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/health/psychology/10therapy.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=health&adxnnlx=1176233098-4lV0dkJfSYsGG7XYIZc2GA

You can read the article in the Archives of General Psychiatry:

http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/64/4/419