Archive for November, 2014

American political institutions (2): how the constitution was written

November 20th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

This autumn, I am doing a six week (five session) evening class at London’s City Lit on the subject of “American Political Institutions” and our lecturer is Malcolm Malcolmson. The second of our lectures looked at how the US Constitution had come about and why it distributes power as it does. Following the American War […]

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Have you ever been to an unconference?

November 20th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I’m a non-executive Board member of the Tinder Foundation which promotes digital inclusion in the UK. This week, the organisation had its annual conference in the BT Headquarters in London which I attended. But the evening before it had an unconference in the London offices of Google which I also attended. It was my first […]

Posted in My life & thoughts | Comments (2)

It’s World Toilet Day – and that’s no joke

November 19th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Did you know? 2.5 billion people – around one in three of the world’s population – don’t have a safe, clean, private toilet. Around 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation – that’s almost 1,400 children a day. Every year, around 60 million children are born into homes […]

Posted in Environment, Uncategorized, World current affairs | Comments (0)

A review of the novel “Gone Girl”

November 18th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Some weeks ago, I saw the film “Gone Girl” directed by David Fincher and I reviewed it here. I was so impressed by the movie that I wanted to read the novel on which it was based that was written by Gillian Flynn who also penned the screenplay for the film. I’ve now finished it, […]

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Was it actually the Russians who won the space race?

November 17th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I recently watched a BBC4 television documentary on the space race between the USSR and the USA which so captivated my teenage years. It presented a different angle, arguing that in effect it was the Russians (since the the Soviets are now history) who have won the space race. All the early space achievements were […]

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Word of the day: encomium

November 16th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

The word means ‘a formal expression of high praise’. I came across the word this weekend when I attended a course on the Danish conquest of England and we were introduced to “The Encomium Of Queen Emma”.

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The Danish conquest of England in the 9th-11th centuries

November 16th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I have signed up for a number of short courses this autumn and next spring in an effort to keep my brain active and dementia at bay. I always learn new things and enjoy sharing some of my learnings on the web. So this weekend I was back at the City Lit in Central London […]

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Two possible familial scenarios for the White House in 2016

November 14th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Hillary Clinton looks very likely to be the Democratic candidate in the US Presidential election of 2016. If she runs and wins (and I hope she does on both counts), then the recent occupancy of the White House will look like this: Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton. There is serious discussion about the possibility of Jeb Bush seeking the […]

Posted in American current affairs | Comments (2)

Word of the day: vexillology

November 14th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Vexillology is the scientific study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum (“flag”) and the Greek suffix -logia (“study”). I think that most of us, to one extent or another, are something of a vexillologist.

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Rosetta: a space mission in its own way as technically brilliant as putting a man on the moon

November 13th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I’m really excited by the Rosetta mission and stunned by the technical achievement of putting Philae onto a comet. Here are some mission facts: Philae lander Travelled 6.4 billion km (four billion miles) to reach the comet Journey took 10 years Planning for the journey began 25 years ago Comet 67P More than four billion […]

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