“Real Artists Ship”

Colin Johnson’s blog

Archive for March, 2013

“You turn if you want to…”

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Interesting attempt by Labour to shift the use of the phrase “U-turn” in politics:

I’ve never really liked the aversion to “U-turns” in politics. I can see that we don’t want people flip-flopping between decisions, but too strong an aversion to changing your mind in light of changing situations and new evidence can leave politics very unagile and leaden. It would be great if politicians could say “in response to overwhelming public pressure / new evidence … / the shift towards … /etc. we have decided to …” without opening themselves to accusations of U-turning.

Making a Makerspace (1)

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Universities have lots of facilities for students that are not directly related to study. Some of these are functional or social spaces (e.g. cafés and bars), but some relate to a broader cultural and leisure activity that we expect students will be involved in. Examples include large facilities such as theatres, sports halls, dance studios and smaller facilities such as music practice rooms, photographic darkrooms and snooker tables (there is often a middle class bias towards the activities represented, but that is a topic for another time).

What processes do universities have for putting in new facilities of this kind? My impression is that the answer is none. If an activity was seen as important by someone at the time of foundation, then it has a facility; if not, it is very difficult to create a space for new activities. The exception to this is where a specific donation comes into the university earmarked for a specific facility.

An example of this that is current at my University is the campaign for a makerspace on the campus. This is the kind of thing that could not have existed fifty years ago when the University was being set up.

Should universities be more active in providing some standardised way of accepting requests for such facilities, and removing facilities that are less used?

Enormous (1)

Monday, March 11th, 2013

There were five pages of this…

The Mysteries of the Ready Meals Isle

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Who’s “Hot Ken” and what’s he doing in Asda?

"hot ken"

Error (1)

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Bizarre error message (from the Tesco web site):

Web form "Middle initials: G" Error message "not a valid letter"