Archive for November, 2002

Monday, November 25th, 2002

So, Winston Churchill has been voted the Greatest Briton.

I am frankly astonished that Shakespeare, Newton and possibly Darwin did not lead it.
They are the only three in the list whose achievements stand on the world stage and have remained important, useful, and fundamental for centuries.

Perhaps the measure of greatness was skewed by the categories. I do not consider 'Compassion' a valid metric of greatness. Compassion. Is that what made Britain great? No. Legacy is the most important category here, followed by Genius. Leadership and Bravery, while admirable qualities, are subject to being in the right place at the right time – which certainly was the case for Churchill.

It is also ridiculous to rate them on a 1 to 9 scale. It's simply not a wide enough scale to rate them effectively. I am supposed to believe that Diana's legacy is even one ninth of Shakespeare's, Newton's, Darwin's legacy? It's just not possible to put them on the scale together.

Here's my top ten.

1. Shakespeare, who moulded English, Britain's single greatest asset and export, and whose communication of the human condition remains relevant today. As Jonson said, “Not of an age, but for all time!”.

2. Newton, who put Mathematics into Science. His contribution cannot be underestimated.

3. Darwin, who had possibly the most important idea anyone has ever had. The idea of evolution through natural selection.

4. Brunel. The Victorians were the greatest engineers this country has known, and Brunel was the greatest of them. An astounding legacy of civil engineering that has lasted for a century and more.

5. Elizabeth I. Good Queen Bess gave her name to an age. An age of art, science, exploration, and a great age for Britain. She had no small part in that.

6, 7, 8, 9. Churchill, Lennon, Cromwell, Nelson were great, but definitely in the bottom half of the table.

10. Diana. Should not have been in the top ten, really. How will she be remembered in 300 years? Well, William III was king 300 years ago. Exactly.

Monday, November 18th, 2002

Saw Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets this weekend. The late showing on Saturday night so no little kids in the cinema.

Verdict: good. Main characters noticeably better at acting. And more grown up (surprise). Jason Isaacs very good as Lucius Malfoy. Good to see more of Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood) who stood out as good from 1st movie (although minor role). Would not recommend the movie in cinemas to kids under 8 – quite scary in places.

Thursday, November 14th, 2002

Today was one of those days when what I was meaning to do didn't get done because other things kept on getting in the way. (What do you mean, every day's like that?) Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive. I did get some documentation done. More thinking, more writing, less coding needed, for now.

Must remember to pick up my email at home and validate this livejournal. Tonight's my night off.

Tuesday, November 12th, 2002

Put shoes back on. Not bad. Will keep them on to dry out.

Tuesday, November 12th, 2002

First, hi to Orenda SilverCougar who introduced me to this :)

This morning Guildford was a lake. Literally, in places. My route to the station is a mile-and-a-quarter-ish walk down a road which has a _lot_ of opportunities for passing cars to hit me with huge gobs of water. I arrived at work basically soaked from the waist down.

Fiddled with the air con units a bit and got some heat to come out, so I spent the morning drying out. My shoes will take all day though. This time of year is just the worst for weather. Wind, rain, and the leaves decaying everywhere. Oh well, I still have 2 weeks of holiday to take this year – maybe I can shut myself away until the rain stops. :)

Off to a meeting now.