2015 Monthly Outdoor Sleeping: January

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Camp | No Comments

January was always going to be a tough gig. The problem is the long nights, or more specifically the late sunrises. With the January sun not rising until after 0800 hrs a midweek outdoor sleep would involve the unappealing prospect of  getting up in the dark to go to work. A weekend would involve the […]

Why open plan offices amplify existential angst

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Commentary, Productivity, Science | No Comments
Why open plan offices amplify existential angst

Ever get the uneasy feeling that your life might be sliding past in an undifferentiated grey mass? It probably is: the machinery of the brain conspires with the open plan office to make modern work an unsettling, unmemorable experience. The brain’s internal GPS and the grey fog of similarity I recently listened to Grandmaster of […]

Productivity hack: How to copy blocks of text from Kindle using Scanbot

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Productivity | 2 Comments
Productivity hack: How to copy blocks of text from Kindle using Scanbot

Ebooks. Look but don’t touch! Ebooks are great. The convenience of having searchable text with me at all times has even been enough to make me grudgingly buy kindle versions of books that I’d already bought in paper form. However ebooks are not without their frustrations. Despite having all that text on your screen you’re […]

Boris Johnson celebrates misemployment and rent-seeking

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Commentary, Podcast and Radio | No Comments
Boris Johnson celebrates misemployment and rent-seeking

Counting billionaires must be one of the Mayor of London’s most important responsibilities. Why else would Boris Johnson have raised the topic only twenty seconds into his interview with Stephen Dubner on the Freakonomics podcast? Johnson boasted that London is home to 72 billionaires, versus 43 in New York, 18 in Paris and 40 in […]

A watery future? Sea level will rise by 25 metres, eventually

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Climate, Earth | 2 Comments
A watery future? Sea level will rise by 25 metres, eventually

David Hume wrote in 1777 that “all inferences from experience suppose … that the future will resemble the past”.  This is a natural human tendency and a pretty good rule of thumb, but it has its limitations. Take the example of sea level. It has altered very little in the last 6,000 years, the period during […]

How to avoid withdrawal symptoms when your smartphone needs repaired

Posted by on Nov 22, 2014 in Technology | 2 Comments
How to avoid withdrawal symptoms when your smartphone needs repaired

It’s a very modern type of crisis – how on earth do you cope if you have to send your smartphone away for repair? It’s been preying on my mind ever since I got my first smartphone five years ago. What would I do if it broke, or I lost it, and I was deprived of […]

One sleep or two: is an unbroken 8 hours an unnatural aspiration?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Productivity | 3 Comments
One sleep or two:  is an unbroken 8 hours an unnatural aspiration?

The received wisdom nowadays is that getting 7 or 8 hours of quality sleep per night is vital if your want to maintain good health, but I don’t know many people that actually achieve this ideal. Personally I manage to spend around 7 hours in bed each night but this is only rarely a continuous, […]

A modern creative workflow

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Productivity | 9 Comments
A modern creative workflow

Jack Kerouac typed furiously on a continuous scroll in a benzedrine fuelled frenzy. Roald Dahl retreated to his shed, placed a board over his blanketed knees and started writing longhand.  Paul Theroux’s product was finished after he’d produced two handwritten drafts from his notebooks. My  own creative workflow comes across as rather convoluted and tech reliant when compared to […]

Countdown to midlife crisis Part 1: developing a time management obsession

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Productivity | 5 Comments
Countdown to midlife crisis Part 1: developing a time management obsession

With a significant birthday under 6 months away I have started making preparations for my mid-life crisis, or to use less alarmist language, my mid-life transformation. I can trace the roots of this transformation to about a year ago when  on holiday in Turkey. I got back into doing tai chi on a daily basis and on […]

Four Highest Cairngorms Hill Run

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in East Highlands, Run | One Comment
Four Highest Cairngorms Hill Run

“The more books we read, the sooner we perceive that the true function of the writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence . . . All excursions into journalism, broadcasting, propaganda and writing of films, however grandiose, are doomed to disappointment.” Cyril Connolly, from Nicholas Shakespeare’s biography […]