Posts

Showing posts from 2018

The bootstrapping myth


My Kindle clippings are a huge great mess of things: information I want to keep, scraps of prose that make me weep, and words I’ve learnt and quickly forgotten. Among my clippings is a quote I added long ago that reads: “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

You may recognise it as a line from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I didn’t especially enjoy the book, but this line resonated with me. It offered a deep-reaching comfort; an assurance that if I wanted something badly enough and worked hard enough, then karma, serendipity or some mysterious alchemy would help me in securing it.

Something happened at the mall the other day

I knew I’d have to write two versions of this post: the first, a stormy tirade and the second, a more sober analysis of what happened at the mall the other day.

Before I start, I should say that I have seen and experienced much aggression at the hands of men. As a teenager, I had an iron thrown at me by my addict brother. I’ve had my head banged against a radiator and witnessed countless rages, replete with smashed plates and broken furniture.

Let's stop lying about class diversity


My most embarrassing work-related mistake happened not long after graduation. While working on a presentation with eminent epidemiologist Professor Nicholas Wald, I paused on an image of H Pylori, “a bug that lives in the stomach,” he said. I noted its arthropodal shape and sharp pincers and, thinking it was an insect, asked what size it grew to. Professor Wald looked bemused. “It’s not a real bug,” he said. “It’s bacterial.”

Is this thing on?

I recently read an interesting article called I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore and it resonated strongly.

I’ve done the exact same thing as the author of the article: sat at my desk and stared at the blank address bar of my web browser, wanting to waste time but not knowing how to do it. Like him, I’ve ended up at a news site, which is why I laughed at the following line.