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August 2006

Number 50

By Dave Snowden  ·  August 31, 2006  ·  Trivia

This is the 50th entry since I started this blog and I was going to attempt something significant. However I decided instead to highly commend Jasper Fforde’s latest book The Fourth Bear which I am currently reading as my non-academic feed.
Small Image Fforde comes in a long tradition of British humour that stretches from Swift and includes current authors such as Pratchett and Holt. His first series whose heroine is Thursday Next posits a future Britain in which Wales is a Stalinist state, cheese is contraband and the Crimean War is a...

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7 things about a complex system to ponder

By Dave Snowden  ·  August 31, 2006  ·  Musings

On the ACT-KM list serve someone made a comment to the effect that we should not give up trying to predict a complex system. I just posted a reply which I repeat here. It needs more work but I offer it for comment:
Words can mean many things in the context. However I think its worth a quick refresher on this
1 - complex systems can not be predicted, they are non-causal (taking cause in its normal Newtonian sense) in nature they evolve and the same thing will not happen again twice, we can predict aspects of the system and...

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Monatomic gold and alien powers

By Dave Snowden  ·  August 30, 2006  ·  Trivia

A long time ago, back in the 60’s I got interesting in flying saucers probably because in early pre-teenage they seemed more accessible than girls. We founded a society at school and camped overnight on the top of Welsh hills to observe the arrival of the aliens. I was catering officer of the first expedition and made the mistake of stocking up for a long weekend on baked beans and bread alone. This had the one advantage of making sure that there were no shortage of volunteers to leave the tent for their watch: the air was...

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Standards & a trip on the Lego lake (with crocodiles)

By Dave Snowden  ·  August 30, 2006  ·  Polemic

Patrick Lamb’s article on the certification wars continues to attract some comments and reminded me of a side panel that went on at the time relating to standards, ISO etc. etc. Basically there were three attempts that I know of none of which have actually set a standard, two of which were useful.

In the UK the BSI set up a committee which produced a worthy document. A consultancy firm had originally sponsored it and got their name and logo on the front cover (one can imagine the motivation) but there was some diversity...

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to be freed from superstition

By Dave Snowden  ·  August 29, 2006  ·  Reflections

I’m sitting here with a can of Tiger trying to get away from emails and skype conversations to do some serious writing. I am listening to Boulez’s Bayreuth Ring Cycle which for me is the most powerful and driven version of the modern era with the best Brunhilde of all time in Dame Gwynneth Jones. My other favorite (and I have eight versions at the current count) is in complete contrast; a wonderfully balanced and more evolutionary performance produced in the same period under the baton of the greatest Wagnerian of all time...

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