Archive for the ‘Zeitgeist’ Category

On the job

An interesting new article on the “job blocking” effect in UK museums and the arts. How it happens: A relatively mundane arts/heritage job attracts an overqualified person to do it, due to a small number of sector vacancies and vast oversupply of graduates. But the overqualified person soon announces they are leaving for a better […]


University libraries in the Midlands are now so noisy, they need expensive acoustically-damped HushPods.

The 2017 Arts Index – a broadly positive picture for the UK

Ahead of the Budget, the advocacy organization National Campaign for the Arts has its bi-annual report out, on the health of UK arts funding. The 2017 Arts Index has been updated with statistics from 2014/15 and 2015/16. Note that they’ve translated all their figures into “per person”, which means the ever-rising UK population will appear […]

Innovate UK

Innovate UK, in Birmingham. The event… “will explore themes such as robotics and urban planning and what this means for the individual, business and government. Other topics include artificial intelligence, smart cities, alternative food sources and space exploration.” 8th to 9th November 2017 at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, UK. NEC not looking […]

Pop off

I’m researching the 2018 gallery exhibitions. I’ve lost count of the number of galleries that block my Web browser’s view within micro-seconds of arrival, with their infernal marketing-spam pop-over layers. Any I have a few browser add-ons that try to stop such things. Between this and the pollution of the search results, how does anyone […]

Brexit, what Brexit?

Looking through Eventbrite in the West Midlands. Where are the local “Are you Ready for Brexit?” and “How to Get the Most From Brexit” and “Preparing for a Great Brexit” events? Businesses and universities seem to be still trundling along for a snooze at “European Funding Workshop: Part 23” etc.

Rural Staffordshire is not declining

It’s often rather casually assumed that rural places everywhere around the world are in deep decline, and I heard the same story again on a recent podcast. It’s an easy and slipshod elite metropolitical explanation for recent populist votes — “oh, those old rural yokels, in declining places, everyone leaves, only the dumb racists are […]

Secondhand bookshops, coming back?

Wormwoodania muses on The Rise of Secondhand Bookshops in Britain, and crunches the overall numbers with the aid of a 1984 Driff’s Guide and the current thebookguide. “So we can see that there are indeed more second-hand bookshops in the UK than there were thirty years ago, in fact about 25% more.” Interesting. Yes, given […]

PayPal gets political

PayPal has just changed the appearance of the pound symbol on UK accounts, to make it look much more like a Euro symbol. How horribly and needlessly political…

Nine days after Leave

Nine days on from the vote to Leave, I thought I’d try to sum up what has happened that actually matters: * The Vote. In the largest vote in British history, the people voted to leave the EU. The Leave results were in middle-class as well as working-class areas, deeply rural as well as urban […]

A film for today: “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”

If you want a good film to watch this Sunday, it’s “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007). I’ve just seen it again, and it’s an utterly perfect fit with this moment in history.

The Leave vote in the West Midlands: an infographic

Here’s my quick re-tabulation of the BBC local results, to show only the West Midlands. It demonstrates the ‘Leave’ vote surging across rural and metropolitan areas alike, in what was the biggest popular vote in British history. Of course, some are already trying to re-frame the narrative on the vote — feebly squeaking about voters […]

“O brave new world…”

“O brave new world, that has such people in it!” — Shakespeare, The Tempest.

We’re leaving the EU

Congratulations to every one of the much-mooted “… people who have not spoken yet”. You’ve spoken at last, and have voted for the generations who are coming. It’s 4.45am and the UK is leaving the EU.


A Coventry man has started a very promising service for remote recruitment and networking of bona fide African talent… “SkilledAfricans, a pan-continental social network that boasts 750,000 members, aims to […] “increase knowledge, and prove knowledge,” says CEO and co-founder Dr. Nicolas Bussard. The website and app — which launches this week — are designed […]

Breakthrough Starshot

The $100m Breakthrough Starshot plans to send light-sail powered space probes to Alpha Centauri, at 20% the speed of light. This major private project was announced yesterday by an all-star panel, including Stephen Hawking, Freeman Dyson, Mark Zuckerberg and others. The final cost seems likely to be around $12bn. Cosmos magazine covers the technical details, […]

Pet Shop Boys – Super

Super, there’s a new album from The Pet Shop Boys. Just released, and Super. Yes, the title is just… Super. 1. Happiness. 2. The Pop Kids. 3. Twenty-something. 4. Groovy. 5. The Dictator Decides. 6. Pazzo! 7. Inner Sanctum. 8. Undertow. 9. Sad Robot World. 10. Say It To Me. 11. Burn. 12. Into Thin […]

UK banks – no longer such pals with PayPal?

Are the UK banks no longer co-operating with PayPal like they once did? The message on transferring some PayPal balance to my bank is now: “Please allow 0-3 working days for processing.”, whereas previously the message was about how the transferred money might take up to three hours to appear in the bank account.

23rd June: better off out

So the EU Referendum date has been set, Thursday 23rd June, and the race is on. June is still a long way away, and I might change my mind by then. But, based on all that I’ve read so far, I think we’d be better off out of the EU. And that’s especially true for […]

Edge Question 2016 – in Kindle .mobi format

The annual Edge Question compilation is out today, asking 194 leading thinkers and do-ers: “What do you consider the most interesting recent [scientific] news, and what makes it important?” The combined answers run to the length of two novels. There’s no official ebook version, and Instapaper is going to choke on 133,000 words. So, as […]