As long-time readers will know, I’ve been singing folk songs in pubs and clubs for a couple of years now. It’s great fun, and I highly recommend it: anyone who can strum a couple of chords and hold a tune really ought to look out what folk cubs are in their area and give it it a go.
But although I’ve built up a repertoire of more than fifty songs now, they’re all covers. (11 Beatles songs, if anyone’s interested; five Dar Williams, three Paul Simon, two traditional, two each by Richard Shindell, Joni Mitchell, Frank Sinatra, Deep Purple and Crosby, Stills and Nash. All the rest are singletons.)
So my dirty little secret is that I’ve never written a song of my own. And in fact, on reviewing what I’ve written on here before about music, I see at least three different occasions when I’ve lamented this.
[A quick break from the Heavy Metal Timeline series. We’ll get right back to that after this announcement.]
I am no kind of athlete. Even as a kid, I was a slow runner. I loved football, but I was never a good player. Humiliatingly, I could never think quickly on the pitch, to spot the pass others miss — the one thing I might legitimately have expected to be good at.
And now I’m 46 years old, I weigh 104 kg, I have a BMI of 31.3 which makes me clinically obese, and my job is the most sedentary imaginable: I walk the five meters from my bed to my desk every morning and spend all day sitting in front of a computer.
That means that if I can run 5 km, so can you!
I just had this discussion with my Index Data colleagues, and though the conclusion was worth writing up here. My boss, Sebastian Hammer, asked “So what is librarianship about in the 201Xs ?”
I gave three answers: one smart-alec, one practical, and one philosophical.
I absolutely loathe Capchas, those stupid type-in-the-distorted-word puzzles that so many blogs challenge you with before they deign to accept your comment. My feeling is that if the site owner feels that strongly about keeping me out, then they can just manage without my wit and wisdom, thank you.
But this one, which I was challenged with just now, really took the cake:
Not acceptable, world!
[This is cross-posted from my other blog, Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week. I never cross-post: this is, as far as I remember, literally the first time I have done it. But this issue is so important and so urgent that I am making an exception. Please, please: sign the petition, upvote the Reddit and Hacker News submissions, blog about it, tweet about it, tell your friends.]
Good news! If you want to read research that was funded by the U.S. National Instututes of Health (NIH), you can. Their public access policy means that papers published on their dime become universally accessible in PubMed Central.
If you’re wondering why it’s been so quiet around here recently …
I’ve been working on a new site, which I and two colleagues will be maintaining, and which I think is potentially the most important thing I’ve ever done. It’s called Who Needs Access? You Need Access!, and you can read it at http://whoneedsaccess.org/
We have a problem: the majority of the research that our governments fund is not available to most people. Continue reading
20th January may seem a strange day to make a New Year’s resolution, but it’s not so much a resolution as a gradually growing realisation of what I want out of the year. Now that I’ve figured it out, I thought I might as well share it here.
When kids are growing up, adults decide what they’re going to do. And not only do we make better choices for kids than they would make for themselves, we make better choices for them than we do for ourselves. Here’s what kids do:
- Learn things (in school)
- Play sports (also in school, if not elsewhere)
- Sing and play instruments (e.g. school concerts)
- Draw and paint
- Write stories
(They also play video games and watch TV, but let’s ignore those for now because those are things that adults also do plenty of.)
All those things are fun. Adults choose them for kids because they know that they’ll enjoy themselves, that they’ll develop their creativity, that they’ll be healthy. Then having set our kids off on that trajectory, we slump in front of our computers for eight or twelve hours every day.
In 2012, I’m going to do those things, too. Why should kids have all the fun?