Blog, Featured »

[22 Feb 2015 | Comments Off on The problem of expertise: The Brighton/English Touring Theatre production of Stoppard’s Arcadia | ]
The problem of expertise: The Brighton/English Touring Theatre production of Stoppard’s Arcadia

The play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard‘s links entropy and chaos theory, the history of english landscape gardens, romantic literature and idiocies of academia. I’ve always thought of it as Stoppard’s most successful “clever” play, the one that best combines the disparate material he is bringing together into a coherent whole. Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead feels more straightforward, more accessible, although I don’t doubt that many will feel that’s because I’m missing its depths.
In the Theatre Royal Brighton/English Touring Theatre production that just closed at the Theatre Royal in Bath the part of Thomasina was played by …

Blog »

[9 Jan 2015 | 3 Comments | ]

There’s an argument I often hear that brings me up short. Not so much short because I don’t have an answer but because I haven’t managed to wrap my head around where it comes from. It generally comes in one of two forms, either “You can’t possibly understand our world because you’re not an X” (where X is either “humanist”, “creative” or “social scientist”) or its close variant “You can’t possibly understand…because you’re a scientist”.
There are a couple of reasons why this is odd to me. The first is a …

Blog, Featured, Headline »

[22 Dec 2014 | 5 Comments | ]
Loss, time and money

For my holiday project I’m reading through my old blog posts and trying to track the conversations that they were part of. What is shocking, but not surprising with a little thought, is how many of my current ideas seem to spring into being almost whole in single posts. And just how old some of those posts are. At the some time there is plenty of misunderstanding and rank naivety in there as well.
The period from 2007-10 was clearly productive and febrile. The links out from my posts point to …

Blog, Featured »

[18 Nov 2014 | 5 Comments | ]
Data Capture for the Real World

Many efforts at building data infrastructures for the “average researcher” have been funded, designed and in some cases even built. Most of them have limited success. Part of the problem has always been building systems that solve problems that the “average researcher” doesn’t know that they have. Issues of curation and metadata are so far beyond the day to day issues that an experimental researcher is focussed on as to be incomprehensible. We clearly need better tools, but they need to be built to deal with the problems that researchers face. …

Blog, Featured, Headline »

[30 Jul 2014 | 2 Comments | ]
A Prison Dilemma

I am currently on holiday. You can tell this because I’m writing, reading and otherwise doing things that I regard as fun. In particular I’ve been catching up on some reading. I’ve been meaning to read Danah Boyd‘s It’s Complicated for some time (and you can see some of my first impressions in the previous post) but I had held off because I wanted to buy a copy.
That may seem a strange statement. Danah makes a copy of the book available on her website as a PDF (under a CC BY-NC license) …

Blog »

[23 Jul 2014 | 6 Comments | ]

I have a distinct tendency to see everything through the lens of what it means for research communities. I have just finally read Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated a book that focuses on how and why U.S. teenagers interact with and through social media. The book is well worth reading for the study itself, but I would argue it is more worth reading for the way it challenges many of the assumptions we make about how social interactions online and how they are mediated by technology.
The main thrust of Boyd’s argument is …