Monthly Archives: November 2016

Why do I bother writing to my MP?

I’ve written to my MP, the Conservative Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) quite a few times in the last few years, on many different subjects. (I use the “Write to Them” site.)


And to give him credit, I have nearly always received a reply — in the post, printed on nice, heavy parchment-style paper.

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On “On “On Monday I placed two apples””

In November 2016, an anonymous critic wrote a sustained analysis of Andrew Rilstone’s now classic essay “On Monday I placed two apples“. The critique was published without a title, and is referred to for convenience as On “On Monday I placed two apples”.

I was fortunate enough to receive in the post a pamphlet containing this analysis, from an anonymous sender. It is itself a fascinating piece of work. The author appears to have had unprecedented access to Rilstone, allowing him or her a level of insight into the creative process not previously seen in other critical appraisals.


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** Reminder ** Biometrics Registration

Just got this email from our boys’ school

Dear Parent

Just a gentle reminder to return the reply slips for the Biometrics registration as soon as possible please.

I understand that 6th form believe they do not need to register. This is not the case, all pupils need to return their slips and register.

The registration days will be held in the Sports Hall on Friday 2 December and Friday 9 December and further information on times etc. will come from form tutors in due course.

Thank you for your co-operation.

[Name redacted]
Finance Manager


What Trump did right

In the spirit of reconciliation, I thought it would be good to say something positive about Donald Trump. So here goes.

Trump, and Trump alone, had the strategic insight to realise how right Michael Gove was in the run-up to the Brexit vote when he argued that people “have had enough of experts”. Seeing the result of that vote, Trump alone had the courage to run with Gove’s observation to its obvious conclusion, that people have had enough of facts.

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They walk among us

There are many, many reasons for rational, humane people to be dismayed at the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. I won’t rehearse them all in any detail — the horrible lesson that outright lying wins elections, the normalisation of racism, the appalling role-model he presents, the very real threat that he’ll start a nuclear war just because he can, and so much more.


But none of that is what dismays me most.

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 15

[See also previous and subsequent posts in this series.]

The Martian — Andy Weir (for the second time)

I read this not long ago; but having seen the film in the mean time, I was keen to re-read it. (As I own the paperback, I cheerfully pirated a copy for my Kindle. How do you like them apples?)


I’m glad I did. Even though I knew what was going to happen at every stage, I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did before. I relish the brutal technicality of Mark Watney’s struggle to survive a year and a half on Mars alone, and I enjoy the leavening of humour, often at the most unexpected points.

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How do people manage JavaScripts projects that contain multiple NPM packages?

With my Index Data colleagues, I am working on “Stripes”, a UI toolkit for the in-progress library services platform FOLIO. Because it runs in the browser, the Stripes code pretty much has to be JavaScript, and because it’s a non-trivial bit of work, it brings in multiple modules from elsewhere — something that is traditionally done using NPM, the Node Package Manager, which is what we too are using.


But Stripes is made up of several NPM packages: stripes-core, stripes-connect, and so on. And they use each other. In particular (let’s make things simple by picking a single example), stripes-core uses stripes-connect.

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American presidents through the ages


“I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.” — George Washington, 1st president. Continue reading

Trump and Hillary, they’re as bad as each other

Well, America, it’s make your mind up time.


And what a heartbreakingly difficult choice it is!

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Brief thoughts on Doctor Strange

I’ve never found Doctor Strange a particularly interesting character, but I was keen to see the eponymous movie for the two obvious reasons — Benedict Cumberbatch and the film’s role as part of the MCU.


I am glad I did. Continue reading