Why is the mind in the head? Because there, and only there, are hosts of possible connections to be formed as time and circumstance demand. Each new connection serves to set the stage for others yet to come and better fitted to adapt us to the world, for through the cortex pass the greatest inverse feedbacks whose function is the purposive life of the human intellect. The joy of creating ideals, new and eternal, in and of a world, old and temporal, robots have it not.

McCulloch, W. S. (1965). Embodiments of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Extending Humanity’s Universal Activities with Extra Terrestrial Flora and Fauna

A series of automated probes to search out planets with the atmospheric possibility of sustaining life, which are then seeded with microbes and… see what happens! Intriguing…


What sort of limits controls should be in place for an effort like this?! Obviously it would take millions of years to evolve, but what would be the appropriate mix of lifeforms, and how would they interact with whatever is there already, whether we know it exists or not?

Imagine a series of planets used to create supercultures:-

  • A planet where the fungi are in charge, allowed to roam and grow to their maximum extent like http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141114-the-biggest-organism-in-the-world
  • An ultra brewery planet, where the yeast run the show and compete to make the best real ale lakes – the trappist yeasts evolve the most complex Tripel fermentation processes, and the tactical nuclear penguin yeasts would increase their resistance to alcohol to develop the strongest of all brews. The temperance yeasts see alcohol as the environmental poison that will eventually end the world (a la CO2 here on earth) – Will they develop policies to minimise fermentation or to accept their boozey planet as a lost cause and send a series of automated probes to spray far off planets with yeast cells 😉
  • The ultimate forest planet, with the untamed evolution of trees – giant redwoods, baobabs and unchecked forest fires, droughts and glaciers to keep the whole thing balanced.

As the article points out, the opportunity is there for humanity to start to make Active contributions to the universe, building on millenia of our passive observations of space.

Its such a blend of science, biological engineering and science fiction and art, that I half wonder if this is an elaborate back plot for an old Star Trek series – giving a future Kirk a bunch of exotic worlds to explore – and maybe, just maybe, a great excuse for a new series of Red Dwarf 😀

Scalability and Efficiency by… De-Centralisation

A somewhat contraversial thought in recent times, but one that I think has merit and perhaps will see a resurgence as much human brain power is expended trying to understand the recent Brexit vote in the UK. People are beginning to understand that massive scale completely centralised systems actually don’t work – primarily, it seems, because they reach a scale where nobody actually cares about them! Now IMHO a centralised system can work, if it is sufficiently introspective – taking time to celebrate its efficiencies and understand and work on its failures, but the notion of centralisation does tend to work in the opposite direction.

Economy-of-Scale vs Economy-of-Flow

On Simplification in Software Design

Over reliance on a particular simplification in application design leads to an unhealthy monoculture, stifling innovation, increasing extinction potential and in many ways parallel to Ian Nairn’s ‘Outrage’ – an essay on Subtopia, a.k.a.  a tendency towards mono culture in architectural reality across Great Britain.


Overly zealous innovation in application design is disruptive, reducing the economy of scale of all applications in the set, and increasing the cost of ownership.

Some balance is clearly the answer but is there a particular balance that is most appropriate, given a particular organisational size?

Critical Care in Motorcycle Racing






“Cases from the Races” – presentation by Doctor John Hinds (R.I.P.) on critical care in motorcycle racing, with some unconventional interventions that work for his team in ultra-rapid response situations.

Renault Kangoo 1.2 16v – Random Cut Out Issue

Sage advice on common issues from luck3y8oy on Yahoo Answers

There are a number of things it could be, the first one is there maybe a fault on the throttle circuit, as that model of clio is fitted with a fly by wire system. This system suffers from wiring and component problems. The first thing the garage should do is a diagnostic test on the injection ecu, as this will hold any fault codes.

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Kangoo 1.2 16v – Background Info

According to Haynes, the Kangoo uses the 1.2 16v engine from the Clio…

Renault Kangoo 99 to 04 See manual number 3906 Renault Clio which covers – 1.9 litre diesel (not turbo) and 1.2 litre (8 valve only) petrol engines from 98 to June 01. The Renault Clio manual number 4168 covers – 1.5 litre dCi (NOT code K9K.712) diesel and 1.2 litre 8 & 16 valve petrol engines from June 01 to 04. 1.4 litre petrol versions are NOT covered

There are 2 possible variants of the 1.2 16v engine,  says edde on Cliosport.net:

  • CC | valve | car codes | man date | kW | cc | engine block code(s) | valve
  • 1.2 16V (BB05/CB05) 06/01 55 1149 D4F 712 16V
  • 1.2 16V (BB05/CB05) 06/01 55 1149 D4F 714 16V


EU, Russia and Chatham House

Through a paracetamol addled haze, I am watching Sir Andrew Wood (of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House) giving evidence to the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee regarding the EU and Russia.

On homogenisation of the force of application of EU law:

If you start to play by local rules, you will find out just how many local rules there are.

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The Day The Universe Changed

A quiet night in watching Brian Cox : Space, Time and Videotape on BBC Four – an evening of Science and Science Fiction programmes on Beeb Four, interspersed with short discussions between Brian Cox, Dr. Alice Roberts and Brian Blessed.

Having invested half an hour in The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity (1975), I’m halfway towards understanding what Colin was telling the BCS back in April about the influence of science fiction on the modern technologist.. There could also be some overlap towards the emerging discipline of user experience engineering (UX) there – the extra dimensional spaceship as an allegory of a desired user experience , simple, uncluttered, data minimalism, informationally rich…

The Day the Universe Changed – incredible! A massive range of topics, from the nature of belief, to the concept of reality, one’s ability to change it, the suggestion of a view of the internet enabled future as a kind of balanced anarchy.

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