The Football Pitch

September 25, 2017

Posted just because I liked it, such an impressive and unusual photo.

From the Guardian:

This is Henningsvær, population 460, although during September the number of people on this remote speck of land off north-west Norway will swell to 5,000 as artists and visitors arrive for the Lofoten International Art Festival (Liaf), Norway’s longest-running arts biennial. Drawings, video and installations, on the theme of “Taste the future”, are on show in three former fish processing plants. The village football pitch – one of the most spectacularly located in the world – will also be used as a backdrop for one performance.

Liaf runs until 1 October.

Photograph: Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost/Getty Images

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How Reliable Are First Impressions?

August 22, 2017

From an interesting article in Ars Technica on how we can overestimate what we extract from first impressions:

Other people’s faces are thus more akin to mirrors reflecting our own biases than to windows revealing their owners’ inner lives; the first impressions we make of other people based on their faces say more about us than about them.

The article is a review of a recent book: Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions by Alexander Todorov (Princeton Uni Press, 2017):

We make up our minds about others after seeing their faces for a fraction of a second—and these snap judgments predict all kinds of important decisions. For example, politicians who simply look more competent are more likely to win elections. Yet the character judgments we make from faces are as inaccurate as they are irresistible; in most situations, we would guess more accurately if we ignored faces. So why do we put so much stock in these widely shared impressions? What is their purpose if they are completely unreliable? In this book, Alexander Todorov, one of the world’s leading researchers on the subject, answers these questions as he tells the story of the modern science of first impressions.


Handling Feedback

May 13, 2017

simple-jacket

I’m a big fan of cookery books, even though my level of expertise in that area is still rather low (although enthusiastic). There are a lot of things that are wrong with these books (I’m still rather vaguely thinking of writing one myself to correct these errors, if only for my own use). You can easily read about the common complaints (usually too many and/or difficult to find ingredients, loose practical instructions etc) in Amazon reviews (once you’ve excluded the gushing ones).

In one case (book given above), I was quite surprised to find that the author had taken the time to reply to these criticisms, which was quite unusual although delightful. It’s a pity this is not taken on board by more authors, it could be quite enlightening. In fact, whilst checking this post, it turns out that the author, Diana Henry, replies to quite a few comments, quite exceptional!

It’s illuminating comparing and contrasting the two viewpoints, with the answer (at least in my case) being to aim for somewhere in between (so the response of the author has certainly been worthwhile and helpful).

As an example, first a reader’s comment (an extract actually):

When the ingredients of a recipe go well into double figures – that’s not simple. When the ingredients include ‘nduja (that’s an actual ingredient and not a typo), sambal oelek, smoked almonds, black “venus” rice, fregola – that’s not simple. I’m not saying I won’t cook some of these dishes, but they won’t be for midweek meals for my family. And while I may consider around 40% of these recipes to be simple, there are probably less than ten that I would attempt to put on the table midweek.

There are dishes that I will cook, that I want to cook, but this is aspirational rather than inspirational cooking. Make sure you know what you’re buying, so it doesn’t end up another beautiful cookbook on your kitchen shelf that you never open.

and now the thoughtful reply (extracted, that follows the comment referenced above):

Dear Lesley,

I’m the author of Simple and I’m really sorry (especially as I am also the mother with plenty of fish fingers and ketchup on hand) that this book was a disappointment to you. I did write in the intro to the book that I think you need to have some unusual ingredients to make everyday food a bit more exciting…

You cite the sea bream with pomegranate and walnut stuffing. You just mix the ingredients for the fish, fill the cavity and put it in the oven. It’s one of the simplest dishes in the book…

There are no difficult techniques in this book at all – I am not a chef – but there are interesting ideas and combinations of flavours. You are clearly a cook – as you say there’s lots you want to make – but please try some dishes which seem more unusual. I think you’ll be surprised. Often they seem more complicated – because they’re unusual in some way – than they actually are…

Very best wishes,

Diana Henry


Santa’s On His Way

December 24, 2016

 

santa-on-bike-2

Spotted in a neighbour’s garden…and usually there’s an imaginatively dressed scarecrow in the summer!


Unconventional Time Management

July 24, 2016

Spotted on the internet whilst browsing/procrastinating:

How to stop time – kiss
How to travel in time – read
How to escape in time – music
How to feel time – write
How to release time – breathe


The Benefits of Being Disorderly

July 20, 2016

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” – AA Milne


Exploring London Through Photowalks

June 19, 2016

Portobello April 2016

A Shop in Portobello Road Market

Now that I have more free time, I’ve been wondering what new interesting activities I could start. One was getting to know the many parts of London quite well. I live near London and have visited hundreds of times of course, sometimes for meetings and other times for social reasons.

Regarding meetings, one interesting aspect has been going to various Knowledge Cafes that are organised by my friend David Gurteen (see here for context). They are held in a wide variety of venues including universities, business schools, government bodies and commercial companies (BT, Arup etc).

Apart from having interesting and illuminating conversations with people from different disciplines, it’s also been fascinating to see inside the buildings themselves and get a feel for the different atmospheres they generate.

Japanese Garden April 2016

The Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

As part of this I realised how little I really knew of London, except for the obvious places. So with various friends I’ve started doing photowalks in different areas, partly as a form of exploration and partly to improve my photography skills. The photos above and below were taken whilst exploring the attractive area around Holland Park in London.

Commonwealth April 2016

The Commonwealth Institute along Kensington High Street

There are some general, introductory tips on doing photowalks here.

In addition, this week I came across a very well made video that gives 23 creative tips for making photowalks that bit more interesting and imaginative, it’s well wroth a look:

If you have the time and interest, why not do something similar?