Thursday, January 26, 2006

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Britons unconvinced on evolution: "More than half the British population does not accept the theory of evolution, according to a survey."


Thursday, January 19, 2006

With my imminent departure to China I have been thinking about my analogue/paper system (inspired by random reading on D*I*Y Planner). I think I have three major requirements for data capture in my daily life:
  • Next Action lists
  • Random thought/ideas capture (and working on those ideas)
  • Organising appointments and dates
For the past six months or so I've been using a HipsterPDA which has been brilliant for Next Actions and not bad for ideas capture. Essentially the cards are disposable notes to myself to do something or remember something and nothing quite beats that sense of liberation when you tear up a card and through it in the recycling bin. A hipster is better than a notebook for this because you can re-order and dispose of entries so easily. This has been backed up with a Moleskine notebook for journal entries and writing - a more permanent record of work and ideas that can then be transferred to a PC/Gmail/etc. (Which leads me to wonder if part of the paper revolution for me is a kind of shift into a different paradigm where digital is permanent and paper temporary).

But there are problems with it. Basically it eats cards so fast, which feels a bit wasteful but also means that I'm constantly running out so I end up sub-consciously rationing them and not capturing everything I want. Also the temporary nature of the system means that it's not so useful for contact information (which I generally keep in my phone or digital anyway) or other reference stuff. But the main gap is that I can't get a calendar working with it and this causes me problems. I've tried D*I*Y calendars, PocketMod, creating my own week planner on an index card and, while they've all worked for a time they've either ended up getting lost, or scrappy/ugly or required too much effort to create.

I'm considering a file-o-fax as that might give me some of the flexibility of the hipster with the clean-ness of the printed page but I think that it will be too clunky. At the moment the best bet is to stick with what I've got but:
  • Buy lots of index cards at a time - ideally about five packs.
  • Buy a small A6 diary for appointments which will barely increase the carry size of the whole package but give me the calendar I really need.
Also have had a look at some of the notebooks that Muji do as lightweight intermediate writing-capture tools for when a moleskine is just too damn big to carry. They are tiny but smart and at only 60p each it's cheap enough to buy a stack of them as well. A part of me wonders whether to simply replace the hipster with a couple of them but I guess I'll have to wait and see. I think I'd miss tearing them in half too much.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2006 — Page 11: "By transporting contagious flu patients into a series of tightly packed groups of susceptible individuals, personnel fostered transmission from people who were completely immobilized by their illness. Such conditions must have favored the predator-like variants of the influenza virus; these variants would have a competitive edge because they could ruthlessly exploit a person for their own replication and still get transmitted to large numbers of susceptible individuals.

These conditions have not recurred in human populations since then and, accordingly, we have never had any outbreaks of influenza viruses that have been anywhere near as harmful as those that emerged at the Western Front. So long as we do not allow such conditions to occur again we have little to fear from a reevolution of such a predatory virus."