Blog posts August 29 - September 4

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Values: 10 words. (September 4)

A lot of people who read this blog will probably have to write 'values' some time. They'll have to summarise a corporate philosophy or organisational culture in a few, hopefully memorable words.

There isn't a lot of good advice out there about how to do this. So I'm going to collect examples, good and bad, and then, one day distill them into some advice. Here\s a good example (of some bad values), this ten word summary of Republicanism: "...a ten-word philosophy: Strong Defense, Free Markets, Lower Taxes, Smaller Government, Family Values."

Ha. I seem to have written this before. In 2013.

Naming satellites (September 3)

Naming, as we know, is hard. This little bit from Andrew Blum's The Weather Machine is a useful reminder of how to do it. It describes a soil moisture-measuring weather satellite that was originally given the rather heroic name Hydros (the god of the waters). Soon, however, it instead became known as SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) because...

"...“We wanted it to be extremely clear just in the name, so when the folks at NASA headquarters are sitting in a closed room making decisions, there’s no question that it’s active and passive, and that it measures soil moisture.”"

ParkLit (September 2)

I've come to love Regent's Park during lockdown. It's been a garden and a jogging spot and a place to meet friends. (And Friends). And so I've been noticing it popping up in literature and books and stuff and I thought I'd catalogue those references here.

Nice little project, I thought.

Except someone's already created an absolutely brilliant bibliography of Regent's Park Literature and Music.

They don't have this lovely little bit from Alan Bennett's diaries


"1 April: Almost out of piety and a respect for tradition I filch a couple of branches from the base of a balsam poplar on the north side of Regent’s Park. The buds are hardly open and thus are briefly heavily scented. Now in a glass on the sitting-room mantelpiece they bring a flavour to the room as they have done every spring for the last forty years."

Naming things (September 1)

Demented roosters (August 31)

A magnificent collection of roadside photos - all now public domain.

Including this splendid poem.

Let the marketing begin (August 30)

It turns out that my book is available for pre-order in various places.

I've learned from various podcasts that pre-orders are very important so please consider doing so. Then, in November, when it comes out, you'll get a lovely surprise - a gift from Past You.

WARNING: I cannot yet recommend the ebook version, I've not seen that yet so I'm not sure what it'll be like. The actual book is obviously magnificent because my trite and banal words have been elevated to the condition of art by Stef's design.

Notes from the deli: 1 or 2 (August 29)

"Should we be killing birds with stones at all?"


ALSO, in case you’re interested, the latest version of this went out today.