Monthly Archives: September 2013



I took the day off on 23 September for TEDxAlbertopolis. Following a leisurely snack lunch at South Kensington and a flying visit to the Cast Gallery in the Victoria and Albert, I headed up Exhibition Road to the Albert Hall.

The first TEDx event ever held at the Royal Albert Hall, TEDxAlbertopolis will be an afternoon of inspiring, thought-provoking and entertaining talks exploring how art and science fit together in the modern world.

In sum, I was disappointed. Live, TED talks lose the intimacy of watching a close-up video and the audience was mainly very young and in groups – lots of six formers and exchange students from Albertopolis campuses. And I made the mistake of going on my own; so no enlightening conversations for me.

The schedule was as follows:

Session 1 – Seeing Things Differently


  • Deirdre Murphy – The Industrious Boy
  • Julia Lohmann – The Power of Seaweed
  • Max Barclay – Beetles: Pinning Down the Secrets of Life
  • Nicholas McCarthy – Sole Determination

BREAK 15:00-15:45 – Activity spaces

Session 2 – Making Things Happen


  • Jess Thom – Tourette’s Syndrome: The Alchemy of Chaos
  • David Braben – Rules Can Be Beautiful
  • Hannah Redler – We Do Not Know: Uncertainty, Art and Science
  • John Halpern – Dances With Words
  • Andrew Shoben – The Vanishing Music Box

BREAK 17:15-18:00 – Activity spaces

Session 3 – Shaking Things Up


  • Sally Davies – The Drugs Don’t Work
  • Ryan Francois – Planet Swing: The Real Harlem Globetrotters
  • Kieran Long – Collecting the present
  • Roland Lamb – From the Organ to the Organic: How to be Human in a Digital World

The talks I loved were about making your way against the odds: Nicholas McCarthy, who was born with only a left hand, yet plays the piano to a very high standard; and Jessica Thom who has Tourette’s Syndrome.

The Albertopolis TEDx talks are available online.


How to love oneself physically and mentally

  1. keep good company. don’t hang out with negative, bitchy, judgemental assholes (or…don’t hang out with them toomuch. sometimes you gotta, especailly if they’re family).
  2. don’t do too many drugs or drink too much. (do shit, but everything in moderation.)
  3. floss
  4. hydrate
  5. unplug. we’re all too fucking plugged in, including me. put your phone in a drawer the next time you’re hanging out with someone. it feels amazing.
  6. yoga, mediation, or any kind of mindfulness practice is gold. it keeps me sane, at least. i don’t think i’d be here, where i am, without those things.
  7. i’ve been doing this one lately and finding it incredibly handy…occasionally look around, or wake up, and ask: “how can i be helpful” instead of “what do i want”. it re-focuses you.
  8. don’t take shit too seriously. everything changes.
  9. remember every so often that you’re going to die. sounds weird, but it helps. lastly….
  10. don’t watch stupid television, and especially stay away from advertising. it rots your time and your brain and your soul.

The inimitable Amanda Palmer shares her advice on life in answering a college freshman’s question about how to love oneself physically and mentally – fantastic addition to this archive of essential advice on life at Explore.

A más velocidad semáforo en rojo

Driving in Cantabria, Northern Spain, and the the annoyance of my family, I was really taken with the signage and speed control system used on some C roads.

A más velocidad semáforo en rojo

A más velocidad semáforo en rojo

In advance of a pueblo or barrrio, you approach a sign like above, warning you to slow to 50  km/h.  Further along the road there’s a traffic light – usually suspended over the road. If you’re exceeding 50  km/h, you’ll find it red or turning green at the last minute.

It seemed to be reasonably effective – most drivers slowed and we only saw a few people go through  a red light. But no doubt it’s expensive infrastructure.  I couldn’t find any data about the system.

Presenting tip

Smile, look at the audience, and keep quiet for two seconds. It’ll slow you down and create the impression that you are relaxed and in control.

The audience will feel more comfortable, leading you to be relaxed in control. Now start talking.

says TJ Walker, Media Training Worldwide.