Monday, November 12, 2007


Drove down to Brighton –it’s only a 2 hour drive, but that’s the longest drive I’ve ever done – in the new car (never driven an automatic before). Pouring with rain. George screams all the way. He obviously likes cars as much as I do. It gets dark. The weather gets worse. Suddenly the driver-side windscreen wiper breaks. I can’t see anything.

We pull in and fail to fix it. Lisa takes over the driving despite not being supposed to drive so soon after the cesarian… however, she’s much more experienced than me and we can’t fix the wiper, so we reckon it’s best.

We have dinner in the hotel restaurant and do manage to keep George quiet while we eat. The staff coo over him – a taster of what will happen tomorrow!

The conference

Lisa’s attending an Occupational Therapist housing conference. Officially she’s off work until April, but I think it’s good for her to have a day of something other than the baby, so I’m looking after George.

We go down to the foyer in the morning and George is descended on by the Occupational therapists who are waiting to sign in… the sight of a two week old baby turns them to mush.

The deputy chairwoman suggests that I take the AGM so she can spend some more time cuddling George.

I resolve to take him out for a walk before the other 150 OTs appear.

I spend the morning walking around Brighton listening to a podcast on robots… that’s not totally random. I’m adding to my list of projects by planning to make a documentary (or more likely a three part series) on the state of robotics and artificial intelligence. It’s a subject that fascinates me and there’s so much going on with implications that most people aren’t even aware of.

My current idea is to make 3 50 minute episodes about robot bodies, robot intelligence and the connections between robots and humans. Should be fun, but Going to Gliese is the priority one right now.

One of the podcasts is about a competition for robot cars held last year – teams managed to convert a car to drive an 130km desert course entirely on its own.

Apparently this year’s task is to drive a course in an urban area.
This will be great for the documentary and would have been very useful last night…

Sir Paul Condon seems to be hanging on as the head of the metropolitan Police in London. This amazes me after his force has been found guilty of allowing a guy to be shot six times by officers who thought he was a terrorist and further that the head of the force has been criticized for deliberately obstructing the enquiry.

This is gross incompetence followed by high level corruption and yet he’s still in place.
I think the problem may be that the force was convicted using health and safety legislation and the media has so ridiculed and demonized health and safety as the ultimate in petty rulemaking over the past few years that now when a breach leads to somebody’s death, the ruling isn’t taken as a serious one.

However, this wasn’t an accident – it was a series of mistakes which were either the fault of individual officers or of the system underwhich they were operating.
Today, nothing seems to have materially changed which would avoid this happening again.


driving again – down to my parents to introduce George to my brother and grandmother. I’m getting much more comfortable with the car and with driving long distances. Automatics are great – what with that and the GPS, I hardly even need to be here. George is getting used to the car too and sleeps most of the way there and back.
Andrew and Grace meet George – it’s lovely. They’re both delighted although Andrew isn’t sure about holding him. He’s very careful.

No comments: