Freedom of choice?

20110330 Smiling windows 150x150 Freedom of choice?

The question of free will is one that has been done to death by others and more eloquently than I ever could, but most articles I have read often delve into abstract philosophy.  I do like abstract thinking, but as a practical man I tend to think of the issue in terms of physics and tangible concepts.

Newtonian physics is governed by laws.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction: cause and effect.  This is the nature of a deterministic universe and my job as a Structural Engineer is based entirely on this premise.

Every decision you make is … Click to read more

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Five a day

20110326 Building eating greens 150x150 Five a day

I have had a block of garlic butter in my fridge for a month or so, which I originally bought to go with a nice steak.  I think it might have been a rib eye steak, but it could equally well have been anything else.  You see, I don’t know much about steak except that I like it rare and that it can be quite expensive.  It’s one of those things I want to learn more about but never seem to get round to.  Cooking is something I don’t have much time for but when I do I find it … Click to read more

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How long’s a piece of string?

20110320 Catenary window smile chippenham station 150x150 How longs a piece of string?

“In a few moments time this train will be calling at Bristol Temple Meads, where this service will terminate.  Bristol Temple Meads your final station stop.  All change please, all change.”

This is a second most familiar announcement to those regularly travelling on the Great Western Railway line between London and Bristol, the most familiar being, “We’re sorry that the 1709 First Great Western service to Bristol Temple Meads is delayed by approximately 23 minutes”.  Public transport.  We loves it.

This is a photograph of Chippenham station.  There is currently a Portakabin situated near the front gate with an LV … Click to read more

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There was a crooked man

20110220 Crooked man letterbox face 150x150 There was a crooked manI was out with some great people yesterday and learned some Makaton, would you believe.  I say learned, but I didn’t.  I was subjected to a lot of it, but hey, I have a tendency to talk with my hands a lot myself; it’s a continental thing, apparently…  But I never knew there was a word for my “dialect” of made up sign language amongst Makaton “speakers”.  Apparently it is termed “Mockaton”.  Years ago (back in the 80s), when I “were” a nipper, I watched some school television programme about sign language.  For reasons I don’t understand (Is there a … Click to read more

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Welcome aboard the train of thought

20110210 Unhappy Refuse Compactor 150x150 Welcome aboard the train of thoughtIt’s been a fairly long time since I last posted.  Apologies, I’ve been very busy at work and in my private life.  Busy is always a poor excuse people use when they can’t be bothered and I have to confess that I am guilty of it myself from time to time, though not on this occasion.  Have I really been too busy to post an update?  Have I really been too busy to reply to that email that I flagged last week?  Was she really too busy to reply to my text back in November?

When it comes to writing, … Click to read more

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When’s a beam not a beam? When it’s a metaphor…

20101109 Pub Beam Strap Gagged Man 300x225 Whens a beam not a beam?  When its a metaphor...Pubs can be nice places to meet friends over food and drink and be merry. Some of the old timber beams can be interesting and they add character to an old pub. Look more closely at one of the supporting brackets, however, and there is something more sinister going on. A man has been gagged and is suffering in silence – in silence, for he cannot speak. Down below are people having fun. Some may be aware of his existence, others may not. In a way it is a metaphor for the divide between the “haves” and “have-nots” or the … Click to read more

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Thekla

20101031 Thekla Numerous Faces 300x225 TheklaEver been to the Thekla in Bristol? Have you ever noticed the faces with their mouths open on the top deck? The Thekla is an interesting concept and it’s a very popular venue. I have been in there a few times and it has always been absolutely rammed. The club nights are not really my scene but it’s worth going for the experience. Funnily enough, I never knew they did gigs in there until recently, when I saw The Bluetones were playing there. Sadly I had missed it by several months. I used to love The Bluetones – and still … Click to read more

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Blue’s the new grey

20101031 Psychopathic Robots in Bristol City Centre 300x225 Blues the new greyAnyone familiar with the centre of Bristol will undoubtedly have noticed the new Radisson Blu Hotel in what used to be the Bristol & West Building Society offices. I once read some architectural spiel somewhere about the cladding, that it was clad in varying shades of blue to make it blend in with the sky, so as not to be as intrusive. To be honest, when it had the exposed aggregate concrete finish for years, it stood out like a sore thumb and no-one cared… In any case, with the weather we get in this country (i.e. grey skies), making … Click to read more

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Hyperbole?

20101030 Abstract Building Catenary 225x300 Hyperbole?I was walking through Castle Park in Bristol City Centre the other day and looked at the Finzels Reach development, which they seem to have been building forever. As a Structural Engineer I do take an interest in buildings, particularly in their unfinished state and took a moment to look at the temporary works keeping up the existing facade. I spotted the adjacent building and noticed a smiling face formed by two windows making eyes, with a cable forming a smiling mouth. I do like a hyperbolic cosine… Geek? No, chic!… Click to read more

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Pharmacy in the sky

20100917 Bottelinos Bedminster 300x225 Pharmacy in the sky I was on my way to Asda the other day and and looked up at the sky and noticed the tower of Bottelino’s Italian restaurant looking down at me. The slightly open round window makes it look like he’s got his mouth open, exposing his tongue. In the Netherlands they have stone or wooden figures with their mouths open outside pharmacies. They are called gapers. It kind of reminded me of that. Maybe it’s the entrance to a big pharmacy in the sky.… Click to read more

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