I’m sitting outside our apartment at Podere Castellaccia, the evening sun still quite high as the maestrale warms the porch.
Our apartment is Grecale, the colder, northeast wind. Castellaccia is a fattoria and azienda vinicola; their olive oil is superb and at 5 Euro a bottle from the cellar door, why would you drink sangiovese from anywhere else?
Alfonzo’s father, Sinibalda, founded the establish Continue reading
By Spudgun67 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Everyone knows a little something about Rosalind Franklin, whose hundredth birthday it would be today. Some may have little sense of her beyond the belief that she was cheated out of a Nobel Prize by the dastardly actions of Maurice Wilkins at Kings London and, even more, by the cavalier attitude of Jim Watson aided and abetted by Francis Crick. B Continue reading
In the midst of the pandemic, it was time for me to plant my tomatoes. Being unwilling to visit local nurseries for obvious reasons, I did the next best thing and ordered 12 tomato plants online. The drawback was that the selection was limited, and the only plants available then were cherry tomato plants. Not a terrible thing.
Last year, I planted 7 plants adjacent to one area of the backup of my Continue reading
We live currently in a world of great and sometimes terrifying strangeness, where the rules and customs by which we have lived for so long have been turned upside down. Some people may be focussing on whether they need to don smart shirts and make-up on their Zoom calls (the media seems very hung up on our changing dress code in the virtual meeting world), and others whether ‘science’ is going to Continue reading
Comet NEOWISE has come but not yet gone. If there is no cloud cover for the next night or two, you might be able to catch its wispy presence low in the north-west before it fades from view.
Don\’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), to give this heavenly traveller its full name. It was only discovered on March 27 this year. There is no previous record of NEOWISE in hu Continue reading
My new best buds…
When I started out on this blog back in ’08 I made a passing observation about my age, having noticed I was increasingly lifting my glasses to read the date on my watch. Not long afterwards I upgraded to varifocals. Now I have another upgrade to report: I have acquired hearing aids.
It was not an easy transition. Continue reading
The latest in a long line of R&D strategy documents from the UK government reveals some promising evolution in its strategic thinking. But while it touches on a wide range of complex and interacting challenges, but the precise direction of travel is still unclear
It’s easy to be cynical – and hard to see past the immediate threats posed by the government’s multiple mishandling of the Covid-19 Continue reading
Recently, the Prime Minister announced an ‘apprentice guarantee’ saying ‘I think it’s going to be vital that we guarantee apprenticeships’. Sounds good. How should that be translated into practice? Certainly, at the moment apprentices are having a tough time of it under the conditions of the pandemic, with businesses going under and on-site learning massively disrupted if not impossible in Continue reading
At the start of our curriculum revision process three years ago I read many pedagogical articles about project-based learning. In addition to espousing the benefits and relating success stories, some of these articles detailed risks; difficulty in ensuring that all students are exposed to the key concepts, problems with adjusting to the learning style especially for first-generation college studen Continue reading
The lockdown might have flattened the curve of infection and death, but it has also flattened the curve and swell of life. Existence has shrunk to fit within four walls; life ‘outside’ has largely been compressed within the flat rectangles of my phone and computer screens.
You might think that, as an academic, I would revel in the life of the mind, the kind many of us now have to accept whether w Continue reading
We are poised on the edge.
As the world teeters between spring and summer, cloaked in lush green and bursting into flower, there is a sense that our pandemic lockdown is coming to an end. Not all at once, of course, and not anywhere close to normal, but it is happening.
Freedom: a secluded swimming hole on the River Darent, last week, just before diving in Continue reading
The pandemic is teaching each of us individually many things. Some may be things we might not want to know about ourselves: how resilient we are; how well we cope with four walls and a screen, perhaps with no other adult in sight; and how to stay optimistic in the face of global uncertainty. Other things may be more immediately useful. In that category I would certainly include mastering a range o Continue reading
Having written my last post titled “Preliminary lessons from a global pandemic” on March 8, before my self-imposed sequestration at home for the past 6 weeks, I find it too depressing to write a sequel on additional lessons. Much has been said about the complete failure of leadership in the US, and unfortunately, most of it is true. In fact, it’s often far worse than one could se Continue reading