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Over to you!

What’s on your mind today?

Em says:
16 July 2021

Anyone else have any particular views (other than panic) as HM Government is about to launch the next and possibly final round of “Jeopardy” on Monday?

To me, this looks almost exactly like the scenario last Christmas, except there is no expiry date. Infections are spiking rapidly, but the Government had already promised something to the pubs and public before they knew they could deliver. We have had over six months now of paying for the last mistake, just so Boris, Matt and others didn’t lose face. We now know at least one of those wasn’t worth saving from their political fate.

From what I hear, the Track and Trace system is now sending out so many isolation alerts that businesses and social care services are finding it hard to function, like the darkest days of a winter flu epidemic.

Some, like the self-employed, are deleting the App, so they don’t get caught and have to stop work for 10 days. Others are being nudged by their employers to do the same. We are personally aware of three cases of Covid-19 in our village in the last two weeks, compared to none in the last 18 months.

Whilst we can all go around maskless from Monday, it looks like we may have to exchange that for a brown paper bag, so we can pretent that everything is still OK as we try to go about our daily lives.

P.S. You may have notices a lot of posts from me recently. Get used to it. It’s one of the symptoms of being in Covid-19 isolation for 10 days.

Em says:
16 July 2021

Maybe that is one Convo that should never be deleted Jon. Future historians could find it an invaluable contemporary record of the collective mood during the Great Covid-19 Pandemic (1999 – ?)

Sorry to hear you had to isolate – and hope it was solely precautionary without development in you or anyone in your circle.

I blame pressure from the media as every time I watch a news programme, they only seem to interview people who are adamant restrictions should be lifted. There is no shortage of pub landlords and ‘experts’ who only think of themselves and couldn’t give a monkeys for those with underlying health problems.

No doubt the media will soon switch to NHS workers and ‘experts’ to point out the folly of coming out of lockdown too soon.

Hedging their bets will always be a popular approach. Let’s urge people to go drinking and holiday abroad – life as they would like it – but then, up our sleeve, we can have ready the criticism of the government when it goes wrong.

We can only hope that the extent of the vaccinations limits the severity of the inevitable extra infections and keeps most people alive and out of hospital.

Em says:
16 July 2021

Thanks Roger, it was my son – who had his second AZ in April – who lab-tested positive. The rest of us were fortunate enough to avoid it through careful hygiene, a supply of FFP2 masks and segregated living zones. Fortunately, we have a large enough house to spread out.

But this is one of the reasons I don’t believe the country is ready for all restrictions to be lifted, particularly as infections are doubling. I especially resented being confined to barracks as some sort of half-cocked risk mitigation, so Euro 2020 fans could behave like idiots. How is this supporting essential businesses and services?

I would describe myself as a liberal, but I am even beginning to question whether NHS hospital patients who have declined the vaccination for personal beliefs, should now receive free priority medical care. I think this is the first time in the history of the NHS, where a preventative medicine to control a serious illness has been so widely available and distributed on such a massive scale, so there is really no excuse.

A long-time friend has just died of cancer, who perhaps didn’t get all the care and treatment that would have prolonged his life, due to the Covid-19 . Maybe I am being unreasonable? It is sometimes argued that self-harmers like smokers and drinkers deserve free treatment because they contributed to the NHS in taxes. But what do anti-vaxers contribute?

Hope you get through it soon Em and sorry to hear about your friend. I know it is not easy dealing with terminal illnesses at this time.

I agree with you on football fans. Their actions do rather show what a large majority of the population will do if masks in public places are not mandatory.

Equally wrong is the Olympics going ahead with athletes arriving and departing from all corners of the globe. I think I heard there were 375 UK people in Japan who will be returning to all corners of the UK. Absolute madness.

You’re not being unreasonable, Em. I had the same thought myself and expressed it a few minutes previously [https://conversation.which.co.uk/community/off-topic-lobby-3/#comment-1632431].

It saddens me that society, rather than government, has not set a strong enough example that it is everyone’s civic duty to protect themselves and others from a rampaging disease.

I can understand some forms of conscientious objection but not this one. If there is a medical reason that’s different, but then isolation would be ordered.

It’s hard to believe that a lot of people have become a year older over the last twelve months. It’s time their behaviour caught up.

The NHS is there for everyone, whether or not they contribute to their illness or injury. I hope it stays that way, not just for the patient but also for their family. However, I sympathise to some degree with the view that, when treatment is rationed, those more “deserving” should be prioritised, but that would, in practice, leave many never receiving treatment (unless they pay, of course). So no to that in my view.

I have the same view on those who are anti-injections, just as those who have travelled abroad, ignored social distancing, masks. Maybe they do not deserve treatment as much as those who have been jabbed but in a compassionate country they cannot be abandoned.

The reward for being vaccinated is you are unlikely, it seems, to suffer severe disease. Those who are anti-jabs are more likely to die, be hospitalised, suffer severe after effects.

I hope your son has no long symptoms – and that the short ones are not debilitating. Clearlyu all the right things have been done preemptively – so it would be rotten luck in the extreme if there wasn’t a full and comparatively speedy recovery.

Em – I hope you and your family get through this unscathed. Apart from the worry it can be a great inconvenience having to self-isolate.

A friend who has been extremely careful about keeping his distance from others made a silly mistake. Although he had been keeping away from others, he left his mobile phone in a rucksack near to a group of people and thanks to the NHS app was warned that he had been close to someone that had tested positive. As a consequence, he and his wife have had to self-isolate.

Em says:
16 July 2021

Thank you all for your good wishes. My son has fully recovered, and returned to work on Tuesday. He is a strong lad and not prone to illness, so it was a double surprise to catch it now, although we were all warned from Stage 3 trials that AZ is only around 67% effective in stopping the spread of infection.

Thought for today

Unease, anxiety, tension, stress. worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.

@Beryl, I would add uncertainty to your list, something we must learn to cope with.
What is certain is weeding my raspberry patch is going to be tricky, but the sun is shining so I have no excuse – unless another comment demands a reply……….

Malcom, if uncertainty is unacceptable to you it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable (it is how it is), it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity, enabling you to make rational decisions on how to deal with any situation that arises. Focusing on the present moment is key to dealing with uncertainty.

I will continue to protect myself against this third wave of covid-19, irrespective of the latest government advice, since I remain in the high risk vulnerable group. This is one occasion when self-interest is perfectly justifiable as you are indirectly protecting others at the same time. Keep us posted on your enforced isolation EM and stay present.

It’s a beautiful day here in my neck of the woods, and a few fresh raspberries would be well worth the effort of pulling up a few weeds to gain access to them Malcolm 🙂

You haven’t seen the weeds, Beryl!

I hope most people will take precautions even though legal restrictions have been removed. Those who don’t may not have paid much, or any, heed to the legal restrictions anyway – self isolation, testing, social distancing, travel, – and have no doubt contributed substantially to the spread of Covid.

I suppose the one precaution that was never a legal requirement, but that could have the greatest impact, is compulsory vaccination. Hopefully, those who accepted being jabbed will help protect those who did not.

Our garden has turned into a jungle over the last week or so.

Likewise. Everything seems to have gone berserk.

We have two Leycesteria shrubs at the front that have quadrupled in size and a Pyracantha that has doubled in height almost as I watched. The Mahonia has run rampant and a large Fern has taken over the border shutting out the light and air to smaller plants. Mind you, at last the Pittosporum looks magnificent and the Callicarpa is gratifyingly effulgent this year. Everything else is blooming generously so we can’t complain.

I shall certainly continue to be cautious. All the current restrictions should be enough to let us get on with a relatively normal life -do the shopping, gardening, visit people in moderation and get tradesmen in to do jobs. To ease them further, as of the 19th July, seems unnecessary. I do appreciate that the leisure industry is being hamstrung by some of the measures and they will be happy to increase trade further. For me, two jabs does not preclude a hospital visit and that is enough to keep me away from crowds and close contact when ever possible. I just hope others think the same and the NHS is not swamped once more. This would mean that vaccination is not the complete remedy to keep the virus in check and, in time, unless new versions are developed, it will become less effective and we will be back to where we started. The battle is not yet over.

I am with you on this, Vynor. I shall not be changing my behaviour just because the restrictions are being lifted from next Monday. We are not bursting with pent-up demand to do something or go somewhere we have been prevented from enjoying over the last couple of years. It’s not really a long time, is it, in the overall scheme of things?

In fact, we are not looking forward to going into shops again now we have become used to buying on-line, and, although I miss some social activities, I have somehow gone off going to the pub or out for a meal, specially while there is a certain degree of madness in action.

I question whether Covid cases should still command priority in the NHS now that everyone has had their chance to be double vaccinated. Yes, more sufferers might die, but what about the other patients who have had their operations or treatment suspended ad infinitum? There will be a toll there too.

Like John I am not planning to make any changes for the time being. I have not been into a pub though I have had drinks outside and even a meal. I’m still relying on click & collect for food. I have met up outdoors with friends. I spent four days, unplanned, in a Scottish hospital but I had my own room and plenty of ventilation.

I don’t know anyone waiting for an operation but the figures are worrying and cancer will not wait.

I think the government is aiming for herd immunity! Not sure which species Boris was mistaking us for when he decided to open all the gates and let them all loose 🙂

I was – for nostalgic reasons – searching back in Computer Tech Talk that flashed through my brain. I have these hot flashes occasionally. Duncan added a comment I wanted to reread regarding LAN security.

To my horror I note his comments – everywhere – have been Mongerised – and even his name rehandled. A few of his gems are available on Wayback, but sadly not the one I was after. Oh well!

It seems that Duncan asked for all his posts to be removed when he left the site. Good to see data protection in action.

I am not sure Duncan isn’t with us from time to time . . . I hope he is alright.

Duncan could be controversial but also extremely helpful and I miss his contributions.

Like many others on the internet, tried really hard to help other people.

The problem I find that is that some folk will happily give advice on subjects where they have little or no first hand knowledge or experience. This also applies to a lot of “meddling professors” called in by the media. OK, they are usually very smart individuals and outstanding in their fields, but this can lead to overconfidence when put on the spot. I once witnessed the linear motor expert Professor Eric Laithwaite make an idiot of himself as an after dinner speaker. He also did that very publicly when he incorrectly asserted that gyroscopes violated Newton’s Laws of Mechanics.

Highly specialised experts can come a cropper, I agree. But a problem exists because many people believe that simply having a PhD means you’re expert at everything whereas, in reality, a PhD means your expertise is very focussed and usually only on a very small area.

I hope he is well too. He acted as a carer for his disabled wife. I enjoyed his technical contributions.

To my horror I note his comments – everywhere – have been Mongerised

For those unaware, the verb “To Monger” refers to a one-time extremely knowledgeable and helpful member of the original Which? subscribers’ forum, which started in 1995. Sadly, one day he disappeared, along with every contribution he’d ever made. It was rumoured he’d had some sort of falling-out with someone (I have no idea whom) but the net result was that the forum lost one of its most skilled and helpful members.

And all his past documented wisdom. In that case I’m pretty sure he wrote a script to seek out each and every contribution and expunge them one by one.

I agree, many highly regarded PhD’s we see on national TV are very knowledgeable in their preferred specialist subject, but remain a little short sighted when it comes to generalised matters relating to the big picture. This is when team involvement is more productive, where each individual makes a contribution, and others learn from each individual input.

I have learned a lot from the Convo and enjoy engaging with the intellectual dialogue and exchanges, although it’s inclined to get a little vehement at times, common sense usually prevails when a little humour is introduced.

Fits my definition of a specialist… Someone who knows more and more about less and less until eventually s/he knows everything about nothing.

Philosophical advice always welcome Roger 🙂

Thought for today

“The secret of happiness you see, is not found in seeking more, but developing the capacity to enjoy less.”


Now how could we apply this to help deal with the problem of consumerism?

I think that is essentially something that needs to be learned or applied at an early age. Happiness derived from consumerism is transient, but everlasting happiness, or piece of mind, emanates from within, which I think Socrates relates to.

Modern philosophy is more focused on staying in the here and now, because it’s always now. Once that fundamental principle is applied, solutions to events happening in the present will come from within, beyond the confines of the conditioned, and very often troubled mind. Staying close to the natural world, the environment, wildlife, flora and fauna, can be very therapeutic during difficult times and direct ones focus away from the constant publicity and advertising pressure now dominating every form of media, persuading us to buy, buy, and keep on buying, when wants, eventually over time, become the norm, and needs, although necessary and essential, are things to enjoy less.

The problem of consumerism has its roots in events happening in the past and events that could, or may happen in the future, neither of which exist only as a distant memory or as a concept in the mind. Staying present, in appreciation of the wonders of the natural world, the universe, creation and the life you have been given is the key to true happiness and piece of mind.

I should be interested to know the difference between true happiness and any other kind of happiness. I wouldn’t feel particularly happy if shackled incessantly to the present for satisfaction, and I derive much happiness from considering the past and contemplating the future. Having future concepts in the mind is quite an enjoyable state. Most of the past is way outside my memory [except in the form of learning history] so imagination plays an important part. If true happiness has to be absolute and defined, and not open to the possibility of alteration, then that strikes me as being a limitation on our experiences.

I can understand that some people’s ‘within’ is bigger than others’, and that there would be merit in developing everyone’s ‘within’ to provide optimum happiness. I am not yet ready, however, to accept that transient happiness is in some way deficient or of inferior quality to everlasting happiness, largely because I find the concept of ‘everlasting’ difficult to come to terms with in the human state. I like the imprecise nature of abstract concepts like ‘happiness’ and the fact that our moods and reactions continuously condition them.

If one buys something and uses it regularly to aid or improve, then, maybe, it is justified. We would all get tired of cutting the lawn with a pair of clippers or a scythe. Various pots and pans make cooking that much simpler and easier to do. Consumerism is when one hankers after a luxury item because it tempts and is usually expensive and hard on the housekeeping budget. There is a balance to be struck on having things that matter and things that give enjoyment. I love my CD collection, though I now recognise that I will never be able to play some of the discs ever again. Should I have bought them then for the transitory pleasure they gave me? Similarly the books on my shelves give me pleasure to look at them, but most gather dust and are only to be read once. Consumerism is difficult to define, but is probably seen as an excess of everything. There is always an argument that we here can have things that some in other parts of the world have never even seen, let alone bought. Their life is one of survival and we are privileged to be able to live more comfortably. One can not go around feeling permanently guilty about the things we have. Sometimes, because these technologies have become part of our framework, we have to invest in them in order to live successfully, even though we might not choose to have them otherwise. The mobile phone keeps traders in touch with their customers, and we, in touch with families. We managed that pretty well when red phone boxes dotted round the streets, but now without the mobile we are without a contact point for others. Is this consumerism? Our car on the drive is something most of us have, is this consumerism? Where do we make the distinction between the useful and the extravagant? If consumerism drives us, then we are a profligate society and should look to change our ways. If we buy what we need ( a subjective concept that) and use it wisely, can we be satisfied that we are living sensibly? Is it totally wrong to gain pleasure from something we have saved up for, really wanted and will enjoy, even if it is not an essential adjunct to our lives? Psychologically, we are happy to own that luxury, it gives life a boost. Where does this trend end and consumerism begin?

In my simplistic analysis, consumerism starts when it is considered necessary to have the latest style of clothes or shoes [as an example] just because they are the latest and without further regard to the continued utility of the items replaced.

People who indulge these trends might say they will cascade their possessions down the social chain by donating them to a charity shop. That would indeed be a worthy act with many benefits, but why don’t they do it now while the ‘old’ jeans or sneakers are still more or less in fashion instead of waiting until they are so out of date they would cause embarrassment? Of course, they don’t want anybody else to be seen in such stylish apparel as they have recently been wearing!

I accept that I should practice what I preach more conscientiously since I am not averse from some wasteful and unnecessary expenditure myself, although I gave up trying to be fashionable many decades ago. We all have our weaknesses and mine are tools, equipment and practical resources. How many paintbrushes and screwdrivers does a chap need? I could stock an ironmongery and hardware store. . . . Some people think I have.

Consumerism partly stems from having disposable income – real or imagined. When we have bought the essentials – food, housing, energy, etc – what are we then to do with the money we have left over?

As for happiness, I cannot subscribe to the existence of permanent happiness. Happiness is in degrees. Many unexpected events can change your state permanently, such as the loss of a loved one.

If you have never experienced real joy, in the face of adversity, you have yet to experience true happiness, or piece of mind. If you have never experienced a situation when a problem arises and suddenly, quite out of the blue, a simple and undeniably obvious solutions appears, and you question its origin because you know it could never have come from your own mind, and its always the right answer, that is true happiness, and if you have never held the hand of a dying relative, and experienced the ultimate paradox of both unspeakable tragedy and simultaneous sheer joy, then you have yet to experience true happiness. If you have never looked at a beautiful flower, felt its petals or leaves and felt a deep connection to it as another living species with the same atoms and molecules as yourself, or looked through a telescope at night at the wonders of the universe, again made from the same atoms and molecules as you, you have never experienced true happiness or piece of mind. Sometimes it is necessary to ‘die’ before you die in order to experience true happiness.

Happiness derived from consumerism is never satisfied since, when the happiness wears off, as it inevitably does In time, you start thinking about the next object you want, which, if you can afford it, and your unfulfilled desire for constant happiness is again temporarily satisfied and, fuelled by media temptation and advertising pressure and ‘must haves’, in order to keep up with the Jones’s, you remain stuck in a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction and discontent, commonly labelled as consumerism.

That is the difference between true enduring happiness, piece of mind and joy, and the transient ‘happiness’ derived from consumerism.

Em says:
17 July 2021

Maybe we should all read “The Fable of The Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits” by Bernard Mandeville as homework. Then discuss.

While I accept that there is much to be enjoyed and appreciated emotionally by observing nature and interacting with people, you do have to separate the useful purchase from the sheer indulgent one if you wish to accuse the shopping public of consumerism. I mentioned my CD collection, certainly not essential for every day life, but something that makes an emotional impact. Some of them I can play along to adding a new dimension to their use. I have just bought three that I shall be using to learn with for an upcoming concert.
There is a difference between buying something to enjoy and cherish -short or long term – and buying something because the neighbour has one. The word consumerism suggests a profligate public but there is obviously a place in our lives for things as well as wonderous experiences and we have to strike a balance. Thus your last sentence is accepted with some slight caveat and the need to define consumerism as an evil and perhaps use something else to label the purchasing public with. The transience of the happiness depends on what is bought and how it is used.

What do the commenters suggest we use spare money for?

Give it to those less fortunate. My local store keeps a container next to the checkout for food bank donations.

Save some if it for rainy days but also use some of it for good purposes. That might include donations to help those less fortunate that oneself but could also include some nice but nonessential expenditure.

My Win7 PC has just had the BSOD (blue screen of death). 😭😭😭

I’m guessing it has overheated as I’ve opened up the case and noticed the distribution of white spray that will be escaped coolant – not the first time it has happened.

Now to find a Corsair H55 120mm that is no longer manufactured.

It looks as if you could get a secondhand one from eBay, Alfa. It might be worth the risk if you can find a UK seller. On the hottest day of the year so far, I understand how your CPU must feel.

I’m not sure a secondhand one is a good idea as they only have a lifespan of about 5 years and I am on my second one. Of the two on eBay, one looks past it, the other has the wrong heatsink.

I seem to have found one on the Indian equivalent of the Chinese Clarks shoes. They are currently selling MS Office Professional 2019 for £18.99 with a voucher for an extra 10% off.
electronix-e-shop or rather Tecsol Electronics PVT. Kaspersky rates the site as safe.

Reputable sites that no longer have it for sale have suggestions for alternatives so I will have to look into them.

Amazon EU still has a few (at least 5) new in stock.

Thanks Roger but how did you find that?

Amazon Germany has none in stock.

Just googled it – and then pretended to buy 5 (and it would have let me have them – so at least 5 in stock). [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corsair-W-9060028WW-Hydro-Liquid-Cooler/dp/B01FSMWFQG]

Thanks but that is an H45. The heatsink is square whereas mine is round with opposite edges squared off like this that is suggested by ebuyer as an alternative.

Ah yes – apologies. However, the two devices (H45 and H55) both appear to support the same chip installations. The 55 while discontinued is still shown on amazon dot com – so that page and the one I linked to side by side show the fixings.

Thanks for looking, time for my Waitrose ribs, so will have a look again tomorrow.

Today, my brain is in better working order and I have pieced together what I did last time this happened assisted by my previous posts.

What I called escaped coolant is more likely melted thermal paste blown around the inside of the case although I do know it was dripping months ago the hot weather might have just completed the melt-down.
Last time I could actually feel water under the radiator that appears to be dry this time.

Maybe I don’t need a new cooler and with a bit of luck just need to reseat the heatsink. Being hot and bothered is not the time to tackle these jobs so I just hope it cools down a bit soon.

Good old metal oxide thermal paste should not melt and will work up to 200°C, for example: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/thermal-grease/0554311/

Thanks, I have some somewhere if it still any good.
The H55 came ready pasted and the spec doesn’t say what temp it works up to.

I certainly often find that repasting and reseating coolers often fixes overheating problems.

In my experience, thermal paste is often not applied uniformly so doing the job properly could help. When we were discussing kettles recently I found an example of this when I took apart my Russell Hobbs kettle. My RS thermal paste must be about 30 years old (and says made in UK) but the code number has not changed.

Browsing through Which? News I found a slightly odd suggestion of what to look out or when buying a camping stove, in an article about camping equipment.

“Piezo ignition vs welding flame burners. Our testing found the burners using piezo ignition tend to be a little unreliable compared with the welding flame burners. We’d recommend having a match or lighter to hand as a backup.”

Maybe some bright spark could explain what is meant by a welding flame burner.

Em says:
18 July 2021

That is how a roofer makes his tea. But I assume Which? means a flint striker.

I’m not sure how you find a camping stove that has one, so maybe best to buy a separate flint striker from an outdoor supplies store. Then you can light the camp fire when you run out of gas or the stove becomes largely unreliable.

That’s what I guessed. Presumably some stoves have a built-in flint igniter near the burner, or maybe the author does a bit of oxygen-acetylene welding.

Thought for today

Your best teacher is your last mistake.

That’s more self-learning than teaching – unless your mistake is witnessed and someone says: “I told you so”. 🙁

I do quite a lot of of that but to myself Wavechange! But it’s also much easier to be wise after the event 🙂

I imagine you must have received much positive feedback from some of your ex students………where are they now for example?

I have had some interesting comments and one from a former PhD student was that I was ‘very demanding’. I think that was meant to be positive. I occasionally do a search for names I remember, and have just seen that a former student cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats four years ago. He lives in the next village and it is possible that our paths might cross in future.

Doesn’t it depend whether you learned anything from your mistakes?

Some people never learn alfa, as they.can always find someone else to blame for their mistakes. Avoid them at all cost!

An appropriate comment for the Scams Convo? 🙂

Blame in itself is not conclusive. It could be desperate or optimistic and possibly usually is.

To put this into context, maybe I should have emphasised the word “ALWAYS find someone else to blame”, which briefly means such people remain completely blameless, and devoid of any responsibility for anything that goes wrong in their lives. They do exist, but they suffer from delusions of grandeur, a way of escaping from reality. Best left to their delusions, unless you have masochistic tendencies!

You are correct in saying there is a positive healthy way to dominate and all school kids need to be made aware of this, and in particular children from homes where one parent dominates the other in a negative way. There is a fine line between dominance and control. You may find the following of interest:

regain.us – How To Become Dominant in a Relationshlp in a Healthy Way.

This looks interesting but I seem to have lost track of this thread. Have some previous comments gone missing or am I missing something?

Nothing missing John, just a little addendum added to my comment so I claim full responsibility for interrupting the thread, but whilst enjoying a nice slice of humble pie, I did learn quite a lot about the difference between positive and negative dominance.

I’m not keen on the idea of learning to be dominant, Beryl. Looking at couples I know, the happiest ones seem to thrive on mutual respect and not trying to do everything together.

Years ago I met up with a Dennis Dominator. It cost me a bit, which was probably fare, but it took me for a ride.

I once met Denise Dominatrix ……. but that’s not for here. 🙁

I agree wavechange, having seen enough dominance in relationships in my lifetime Of all those types of relationships I can think of the non-dominant partner was either subservient or bullied.

Thanks Beryl . . . but I still cannot find the comment to which your addendum relates.

I did look at the link you provided and was dismayed to see that it seemed to be almost entirely concerned with characterising the couple as diametric opposites — one dominant, the other submissive.

I am not sure that relationship difficulties are necessarily that simple in the majority of cases, although I accept that could be a form of analytical shorthand that counsellors would use. There are so many factors in a relationship and each party might have a range of strengths and weaknesses making overall for a balance of influence. Obviously there are relationships where a full dominance -v- subservience situation occurs, and, as Alfa says, an element of coercion will be involved, but I doubt if they are the majority. Perhaps counsellors rarely see the well-balanced, harmonious ones where give-&-take and no point-scoring is the order of the day.

I think the main theme of the article was to differentiate between demanding and dominant which was, one was positive and the other negative. There is however, a fine line between the two, and mutual respect and understanding was clearly featured in the article as the key to resolve problems in relationships, not just in close relationships but all general relationships. meaning everyone you happen to come into contact with on a daily basis.

Wavechange, in answer to my question about feedback from ex students wrote “I have had some interesting comments and one from a former PhD student was that I was ‘very demanding’, I think that was meant to be positive.”

I have never found Wavechange to be so. Maybe my question came across as intrusive, if it did, that certainly was not my intention.

John, alfa…….see my 14.08 comment.

Beryl – Your question was not intrusive, though my reply was rather cryptic. Yes I did receive plenty of positive feedback over the years. I did not get to know undergraduates well, partly because of the large number and because of the need to avoid favouritism.

It’s interesting to observe and learn how different minds interpret the same composition, but that all adds to the interest, intrigue and uniqueness of the human race, which no doubt must require a certain amount of patience and tolerance from the teaching profession.

I recall most of my teachers as being very controlling with little time for the individual, but I expect it’s less so now, with more emphasis on combining the academic with practical experience, not forgetting of course, the availability and added bonus of the cemputer and IT.

I remember some of my school teachers better than others. Most of them were friendly and helpful but our physics teacher was very intolerant and his nickname was the first name of a well known German dictator. 🙁 Looking back at our school website, it’s easy to find comments about this notorious teacher.

I managed to learn physics but better teaching made it a pleasure to learn chemistry, maths and biology.

We had a mathematics teacher with the same nickname on account of his black hair styling and moustache. It must have been deliberate because he would have been growing up during the 1930’s. He happened to be a very good teacher and a kind and considerate form master for our first year at grammar school.

I enjoyed physics and did reasonably well but got nowhere in chemistry. I think 5% was my best mark.

I couldn’t figure out trigonometry or anything more advanced so I abandoned mathematics as soon as possible after ‘O’ levels. Geometry was my favourite mathematical discipline and I remember it well to this day.

It’s easier if you look at trigonometry from a different angle.

At the age of 12 my history teacher told me that I was mediocre at history. At the time I mistook this as a compliment and in reality it probably was.

Thought for today

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tyre.

Not if you have BEV on runflats. Just a map of charging stations, a collection of leads, apps and cards, and an injection of patience.

…. a collection of leads, apps and cards, and an injection of patience.
The country infrastructure simply isn’t ready for long distance BEV. I’d love to be wrong but I can’t see it getting there unless and until there is a depleted-for-full swap arrangement taking less than 10-15 minutes for a ~250+ mile range.

Charging and battery technology as we know it is beyond that IMHO – too much physical stress on the battery even if the grid was up to shooting that much power at a time to a bank of thirsty cars. However, the development of charging a fluid (or more likely a fluid pair, one anionic and one cationic) in bulk and a means to pump out spent (re-usable) electrolytes and replenish with newly charged electrolyte(s) is theoretically possible. I have been ridiculed before for daring to suggest both the “beyond” and the “swap electrolyte” options before and have donned my cyber-raincoat in anticipation!

EVs are in their infancy. I image similar issues bedevilled early automobile drivers.

Swapping batteries seems akin to changing horses in those halcyon days of stagecoaches. It would require standardised fixings and battery packs and that would require regulation of some sort. The same as we should do with battery-operated appliances and tools if we really want to preserve resources.

I wonder where Toyota’s solid state battery technology is heading? https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Most-read-in-2020/Toyota-s-game-changing-solid-state-battery-en-route-for-2021-debut

BEVs are hardly in their infancy; we have had them in their current form for a good few years. And they had a previous life ……in 1884 when Thomas Parker built the first electric production car (above) in London that used his own high-capacity rechargeable batteries. ” . Not to speak of milk floats.

Broken fan belts (nowadays the fan is one thing that they are unlikely to drive) can usually be avoided by maintenance.

I had assumed that battery recharging stations would have a very large bank of industrial lead-acid batteries that can push a big charge into the EV’s batteries in a short period of time. Connected direct to the grid, they would recharge overnight or even be connected to a local renewable electricity supply.

Unlike Malcolm, I don’t go back to the days of stagecoaches changing the horses, but I do remember the days of steam railway locomotives that required vast amounts of water. Filling the tank en route with a hosepipe would have taken forever so lineside stations, goods yards and engine sheds would have a large elevated water tank with a very large diameter flexible pipe that could drop hundreds of gallons a minute into the tanks on the engine. The water reservoir would continuously fill up to ensure a full supply would be available whenever required. The same principle would apply to battery recharging.

As an ex-ostler I also remember the damage done to my industry when the iron horse was permitted by Acts of Parliament.

However…… the other way non-stopping trains could access water was from water troughs between the rails on level track, using a lowered scoop.

It has been suggested we string wires above motorways so that HGVs could be electrified. Apart from cost, and more practical issues like overtaking, breakdowns, we have a perfectly sensible way of moving goods in bulk using overhead wires, the railways. Time we put a properly integrated goods delivery system together based around electrified trunk rail routes and local distribution hubs.

HS2 could make up for lack of passengers when it is finally constructed (2040?) by taking goods to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. With a bit of imagination it might be possible to arrange intermediate depots.

“…..a very large diameter flexible pipe that could drop hundreds of gallons a minute into the tanks on the engine. The water reservoir would continuously fill up to ensure a full supply would be available whenever required. The same principle would apply to battery recharging.”

The problem is that batteries are unable to take the equivalent rate of charge. Your comparison overcomes the rate of delivery by having a huge store of energy with a near unlimited delivery rate in bursts. However, to continue the analogy, there is an irremovable bottleneck that limits the amount of water tender replenishment to 10 of gallons per minute per tender. You could have many tens of 2″ pipes each of which could charge (slowly) separate tenders without impacting one on the other – but still no help for the fast train needing 100s of gallons per minute.

I recently visited a house next to the main east coast line and while I was there, for about half an hour, there was probably one train every minute on the track. Several of these were twenty or more low-loaders, all pulled by diesel engines. Each unit could hold two containers but the trains had spaces for more than they carried. Electric trains did the passenger services -local and express. All were quite noisy. On that snapshot the freight service is being underused, but the trains themselves are running quite close to each other, one every five minutes or so. It would seem that they loaded what they could and got them going.

It is very easy to damage rechargeable batteries by charging them too fast and heat production is a major reason. Here is a non-technical article: https://www.theengineer.co.uk/study-fast-charging-evs/ Ideally the temperature of each cell would be monitored and the charge rate adjusted to control the maximum temperature but that does not happen, as far as I am aware.

It would be interesting to compare the life of batteries that are frequently charged on fast public chargers with those that are usually charged more slowly overnight on a home charger.

In time we will understand more about EV batteries and how to get the best from them.


Mine has two fans. A small one that probably blows directly onto the battery and a traditional one that runs at the front of the car via a motor rather than a fan belt. The small one seems to work (at times) when the battery is charging, but the big one comes on as well, especially if I begin a charge after a motorway journey.

“BEVs are hardly in their infancy; we have had them in their current form for a good few years. And they had a previous life ……in 1884 when Thomas Parker built the first electric production car (above) in London that used his own high-capacity rechargeable batteries. ” . Not to speak of milk floats.”

An interesting, if somewhat self-refuting observation. BEVs are very much in their infancy, with many being simply adaptations of existing vehicles. However, we haven’t had them in their existing form for any time at all, since every manufacturer is competing fiercely to devise improvements and modifications, and increase range as well as reduce weight. So their form and capability is in a constant state of flux.

Parker, of course, was a generalist and his lead-acid batteries were heavy and cumbersome requiring hours to re-charge.

The nascent BEV industry will develop rapidly, and in a rather short time we’ll see astonishing range and fast charging. What I find interesting is the move by the Middle East oil producing countries to lower prices and increase production, ostensibly to ‘save the world’s economy’. They must be starting to worry about the rapid shift towards BEVs.

Yes, but the question we should be addressing is the need for the present level of personal transport in the future and what we do to replace and supplement it – with what forms of “public” or “joint user” transport.
I would not put too much weight on Jackson and the milk floats.

Indeed, but it’s tricky to know if that’s really the thrust of the comments.

In a perfect world – my perfect world at any rate – monorails would provide all city transport, would run every five minutes, silently, and have stations situated in the buildings. They would dovetail with High Speed train stations and all deliveries to businesses would either be by train in the case of very large companies or by underground roads, so cities would be kept clear of engine noises and consequent gases.

No one would be allowed to have more than one car. That would be achieved by eye-watering levels of car tax for the second and subsequent vehicles. Petrol would be taxed to prohibitively high levels while diesel would be reserved for the armed forces.

But this isn’t going to happen. Not in under a hundred years, at any rate. I can’t conceive of any government under the current voting regime that would tale such steps unless and until we start to lose children in droves from air pollution.

Roger – I probably did not explain my analogy very well. My reference to “the reservoir” was intended to mean the permanent water towers at stations and goods yards – not to the water tanks on board or coupled to the locomotives.

The steam locomotives had very large tanks either in the tender [behind and underneath the coal] or alongside the firebox and boiler. The tanks would be filled up at the start of each day’s working diagram. Depending on the routes and amount of tractive effort required it would usually be necessary to replenish the water tanks once or twice during the day. For this purpose, while waiting at a station or in a goods yard, the fireman would add water from the water tower for a couple of minutes or so; this would supply enough water to keep the engine going for its duty. I don’t believe steam locomotives consumed hundreds of gallons of water a minute but they needed to replenish rapidly to avoid delays.

Malcolm mentioned the water troughs that were installed on level sections of track and allowed express locomotives to scoop up very large quantities of water that were impelled by the train’s speed into the tank in the tender. Another method of carrying sufficient water for non-stop long-distance journeys was to have a second tender immediately behind the first one attached to the locomotive. It was helpful to maintain a full water supply on the locomotive because the additional weight increased the engine’s tractive effort.

I got your analogy perfectly – take the huge top off the tender and give it two minutes’ worth of water almost filling it to the brim. I remember the huge pipe at the end of a platform at Dover station after the line had been electrified – and as a youngster remember wondering what the wheel valve at the bottom did (ooops!) – I ran away having found out what it did – and admired Niagara Falls as the station hand got fairly splashed who showed me that turning the valve the other way also worked to curtail my adventure.

A car battery cannot “take its huge top off” – the rate of charge replenishment is restricted by battery internals – the electrodes would vapourise if the tender water were poured in at that rate.

Coaling a steam engine is another analogy. In the olden days it was done by hand, baskets or shovels. Like getting petrol in cans from the chemists (remember those days?). A bit like a home charger. Then it was mechanised, better than high speed charging. And cars had pumped petrol. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tWhNs3vR4t0

It is claimed solid state batteries will be charged in 10-15 minutes. Not great if they work but an improvement. I still reckon the sensible solution, unless Roger’s electrolyte refill works, is to have standardised batteries and fixings that are exchanged.

An advert on TV for a BEV boasts of its fast charging – it can do “up to” 62 miles after 5 minutes charging. That is presumably “up to” 620 miles in 50 minutes – if it possibly had such a capacity. I can fill my car up with enough fuel to do 620 miles in around two and a half minutes, just 5% of the time this BEV takes. And imagine you are 2nd or 3rd in the queue.
Seems more development is needed?

I don’t think battery charging will ever be quick enough to satisfy demand. There will either have to be many more charging stations, which will disrupt the economics of electric motoring. or motor cars will have to become much more economical in the consumption of juice; more likely a combination of both.

For cars to become more frugal their specifications will have to be leaner with much less weight, lower speeds, fewer inessential drains on the power source, and a more sympathetic driving style. Perhaps the occupants will have to slim down too and cart less junk around.

Sorry, Vynor, but motorheads will be forced to adapt their ways!

Maybe we will learn to make shorter journeys, recognise how pointless it is to travel a long distance to work and make the return journey the same day, and be prepared to help address the environmental mess of our own creating.

Anyone prepared to lift a finger?

Devon doesn’t get any closer when I want a holiday.
However, decent public transport will reduce the need to use personal transport of any kind.

Residents in central England will have to forego holidays on the coast. I expect it will be a long time before the railways to the west country are electrified — if ever — and battery or hydrogen powered trains will not have the speed to give attractive journey times compared with today. So much will have to change.

Looking forward, the aim should be on reducing the number of traffic on the roads and planes in the air. China has recently launched its new maglev for commercial use.

youtube.com – Shanghai Maglev. Full Ride With Speedo.

We should concentrate investment on moving people around and into towns and cities using flexible public transport. Rail of any kind is expensive in capital, hugely disruptive, takes ages to plan and build and largely unnecessary. We do not need expensive new and inflexible infrastructure when we already have a network of roads that give access to everywhere we might want to go for relatively short distance travel; we just need the organised transport to achieve it.

We should be asking why we need to make so many journeys, particularly for many to get to and from work. Working partly from home will alleviate the huge commuting problem and give many a better quality of life, if they are able. For others, the reduced load on road and rail will improve their own travel. And the reduced need for central offices should make buildings available for conversion to residential use; reinvigorate our towns and cities and save building on green fields.

We have an opportunity to change the way we live, for our own benefit and that of future generations.

That’s fine as far as it goes, and the reasoning is also sound, we do need to reduce journeys and road use. Now, who is going to tell the Great British Public that their current journeys are unnecessary? Who is going to decide whether I can go somewhere when I want to -or not as the case maybe? How does one make public transport – get to station or hub, wait around, mix with others, worry about crowds, no seats and leaves on the line, limit the carrying capacity, get off and have to find a way to where ever – more attractive than it already is? If I have a car, do I really want to pay extra to go somewhere and have to find my way for the first and last part of any journey? Do I really want to forgo my own music, my desired heating and the comfort of soft seats and people I really want to chat to? How are we going to organise our new hair shirt existence, who can swan around as they wish and who has to obey the rules? These social issues need closer examination and an equable solution if they are to work. Of course we could be like China and Russia; just tell people what to do. It seems to work for them – currently.

Those are fair points, Vynor. It could take a few years to achieve the right conditions – let’s aim for 2030 or is that not soon enough?

The right environment needs to be created for this to evolve. I think reduced commuting could be a result of experience from Covid, both by employers and employees; conversion of city buildings could follow the reduced need for offices. But “policy” will be needed to put more employment near existing habitations and reduce work travel. Public transport will need more encompassing routes, be priced to make it an attractive option – but bear in mind for many it is already free (including for those well able to afford it).

I would not want to see this happen through edict, but to make certain choices attractive. It will take time, but encouragement and a forward-thinking strategy is required. Not as simple, though, as banning the sale of fossil fuelled cars, nor of gas for heating and cooking.

Agree with Malcolm. Some councils are more forward thinking than others in this regard. Garden cities – previously ahead of their time – may now be a sensible development. Demand-led transport is also right there to provide a good alternative in some cases to the car. Transition has begun, and needs to be cautiously continued without loss of momentum, but without causing a revolt too. I’m glad that’s not my job to orchestrate.

Vynor, fundamentally it’s all down to a collective consciousness, not totalitarianism. The following may explain the difference between the two.

”Social life derives from a duel source, the similarity of consciousness and the social division of labour. In the first case the individual is socialised because, in the absence of any real individuality, he is united with others with whom he shares a common likeness, becoming part of the same collective type; in the second case, because, while having an appearance and personal activity which distinguishes him from others, he is dependent on them to the extent that he is distinguished from them, and consequently upon the society which results from this combination.” (Durkheim [1893]2004:32

This is not the same as a totalitarian state where the powers that be dictate what people must do.

If you feel inclined to go a little deeper into the subject log onto:

youtube.com – Awakening Our Collective Consciousness/Colton Jones[TED]xLMSD

What do you mean “he shares a common likeness”? Who wrote that?! They obviously have absolutely no idea or even the slightest concept of anyone like me who are not remotely like others, i.e. not “one’o’th’pack” not just like all the rest, just like the previous, just like the next, etc. And not sharing the same standard interests and activities of the masses, that’s how socialist societies are isn’t it, where individuality is not allowed and everybody MUST be the same and all like the same standard things, like dogs, alcohol, and nightlife and rowdiness, and partying, and brutal frying HOT sun etc. There’s already far too much of that way of thinking here in Britain now where we’re all assumed, and expected to be virtually the same and all like the same standard lifestyle and the same standard stuff just like mass produced components rolling off a production line and all conforming to the same standards. Well I don’t, I can’t stand any rowdiness or nightlife or dogs or alcohol or hyper-insane brutal far too hot sun etc.

There’s a bit of verbiage here which muddies things a bit. The first part of this sentence makes sense if we all have similar ambitions. Of course, we share labour according to skill and ability. So far so good, although the similar ambition bit, in our diverse society, sometimes takes a little finding. We all have our special needs and wants. Hopefully most of these tie into the grand scheme of things, but different agendas make things interesting. Just look at the political scene and ask if we all agree with any faction therein.
Following on I lose Durkheim. I don’t understand his claim that we have no “real individuality”. I believe the UK is a multicultural mis- mash full of individuality. Sometimes we have common goals and sometimes these diverge. We might well be a collective type in some areas and quite different others. Thus one could argue that society is made up of like minded groups but these change depending on the topic and one like minded group would not be like minded in another area.
In the end, this complex sentence is a group of words, which any sensible person would break up into manageable chunks, with a few full stops to help the syntax and the comprehension. Durkheim lapses into rhetoric and his argument is lost in the process. I do accept that this is a quote and there might be clarity later, but I dislike the style and the way in which this theme is presented to us here.

Crusader, you have to be part of the collective consciousness of the human race in order to be able to distinguish yourself from the rest, and you have to depend on the rest in order to be distinguished from them. If there were no others, there would be no human race and no collective consciousness.

Most problems in the world are caused by the suppression of the collective consciousness when the self becomes the main focus of everything you say or do. We are all like ripples in a vast ocean, if there were no ocean there would be no ripples!

I hope that clarifies it for you and also Vynor!

I’m really sorry Beryl but you are making no sense to me at all. I can not follow your argument. You use the word “rest” are you talking about the animal kingdom? I also don’t understand what you mean by the “collective consciousness of the human race” We know what a human looks like and what it does and why it’s different from a feline or a bovine, but, so what? There is a food chain which we head, (unless we meet a lion in the jungle) and we depend on that chain for survival, but that’s just biology. I don’t feel any collective consciousness, I just feel like me and know I’m different from you and anyone else I happen to meet. “If there were no others there would be no human race” Why not? We are here aren’t we? I think I might translate collective consciousness into human conscience and would certainly agree that we need a good measure of that in our troubled world. Sorry to be obtuse, but I get sea sick in rough weather and prefer my ripples to be in my pond where I can control them. When a child I thought in concrete operational terms. Perhaps I still do and this is where we diverge.

No need for apologies Vynor, it’s really quite simple. Reference to ‘the rest’ was in reply to Crusaders comment. I am a little curious to know why you write such beautiful poetry and yet you couldn’t quite grasp the metaphorical meaning behind the significance of the ocean and its ripples, or why you compare human consciousness to animals who essentially rely on instinct for their own survival.

Quite simply, collective human consciousness is a term used to describe an inner awareness that we all belong to one interconnected human race, and that some people are more aware of this reality than others. Until all humanity come to terms with the importance of the connectedness in all society, anarchy, disorder, insurgence and unrest will continue.

The opposite of a collective consciousness could be described by the following:

Breaking news!
The earth revolves around the sun!
This may upset a few people who think it revolves around them.

It’s a nice fancy to believe “an inner awareness that we all belong to one interconnected human race” exists in any form, metaphorical or otherwise. Sadly, at our core we remain a complex life form which simply seeks to survive, often at any cost.

We’re slaves to our biological imperatives and genetic drives and the one thing that sets us apart as a species–the mind–is so often misused to abuse and destroy other members of the species I doubt there’s any legitimacy to our oft-made claim to be evolved.

This was your sunshine message for the day brought to you by we-make-everything.com.

Now that does make sense Beryl, although, as you almost admit, this sense of belonging is not universal. In political terms there is a huge divergence both internationally with different political systems and nationally with different political ideas and strategies. I doubt whether the Australian Aborigine has the same view of collective consciousness as his/her “neighbour” in a Sydney suburb. The Aborigine probably has a much greater spiritual connection with his environment and much less care about what is going on in China.
I also think that your analysis of the connectedness in all society needs some debate. At a very basic level, we all need food water and shelter, but as the world has evolved from something- something BC to the present day, “man” has spread, and in spreading has also changed culture while leaving the older culture behind to mature in a different way. Climate, geography and resources also play a very large part in how any particular human feels about him/her self and how much he/she cares about what is going on over the border elsewhere.
In our country, inequality breeds discontent for the have-nots and it needs more than a sense of belonging to the same society to change that. I fear that humanity as a collective term is misleading except in a very basic and biological way. Humanity as an emotive principle is very much needed and the more of us that can express this, the better. Here, I feel you and I converge!

To put all the negativity into perspective, it is the absence of collective consciousness that is the cause of all the problems portrayed by Ian and Vynor.

We have come a long way from Homo Neanderthals and technological advancement has put man into space and on the moon. The fact that I can type this comment and communicate it to many other contributors to Which? Conversation in a split second is quite amazing, but like so many other evolutionary advantages and advancements it is all taken for granted. It has taken the threat of nuclear annihilation to prevent WWIII and the end of all life on this beautiful blue planet.

More recently covid-19 has taken many lives and continues to do so, but due to the dedicated work of scientists and medical personnel with collective consciousness, more lives are now being saved, but because of the absence of collective consciousness in the people who refused to wear masks in public, the disease has taken the lives of many more.

Sadly, there is still a long way to go before the evolutionary process develops and unfurls collective consciousness to all humans, whose concepts and thoughts remain fixed and rooted by a conditioned mindset passed on to them by their fixed and established forebears.

If it hasn’t happened by now I see no reason to expect that it will. Technological advance is largely driven by building on experience rather than an evolving superior intellect, I would suggest.

Malcom, technological advancements, generally speaking, will render your children more intelligent than you, all down to evolutionary progress. However, the danger now is, how far our own AI evolutionary innovative inventions will take us before our brains start to develop a dependency on them. We are already seeing its effect on our physical bodies through continuing to eat the same amount and exercising less.

Building on experience is all part of the evolutionary process, but unfortunately through lack of collective consciousness some individuals will continue to pump toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and drive around in diesel fuelled vehicles, irrespective of the effect it has on the earths climate and gradually increasing world temperatures.

Is there evidence that children are more intelligent than their parents? Or, as technology evolves, do they know more about certain things? It seems to me there were plenty of very intelligent people in the past.

How would you deal with theses people who drive round in diesel cars? At the same time, how about those who go on cruise ships, fly on holiday, have private aircraft, helicopters, boats, commute to work, eat food flown in from far away, use cosmetics, and all those other activities that use resources and create pollution?

It depends how you define intelligence, but there is evidence that if your children have inherited your smart genes, add to that the advantage of IT, (that my generation never had) producing quick answers to questions at the tap of a computer key instead of ploughing through Encyclopaedia Brittanica for hours on end, plus, one assumes, the availability of healthier nutrition, all help towards the evolutionary development of the developing brain.

Scientific studies are forging ahead with inherited intelligence and, adding to that, knowledge which their forebears have bequeathed them, all these things play an important role in the evolutionary process. There’s always exceptions to the rule, and some children will miss out, but the opportunities are there for every child to grow and develop their inherited intelligence, but, perhaps more importantly, increasing a child’s collective conscious awareness will most certainly add to the greater good of all mankind.

Beryl says:Today 13:05
Malcom, technological advancements, generally speaking, will render your children more intelligent than you, all down to evolutionary progress.

Actually, all the evidence indicates that intelligence genetically tends towards the norm. So parents with learning difficulties might produce children with greater intelligence. Likewise, high achieving parents often produce children with far less ability.

Technology does not enhance intellect; in fact, all the evidence suggests the opposite. It allows for enhanced problem solving, of course, as I can discover Pi to the many-thousandth decimal point. But that is not a measure of my intelligence, merely my ability to manipulate technology. It’s this very dependence on technology that depresses the innate intelligence we possess, as we no longer need to worry about learning something.

The dangers arise when the individual, in attempting to seem intelligent, copies and pastes vast tracts of information without fully comprehending what those tracts are saying. This leads to the situation epitomised in Sheridan’s The Rivals by Mrs Malaprop.

We don’t, as yet, have a satisfactory definition of intelligence of course, but if we adopt the classical definition: the ability to solve problems, then it does seem to hold true.

In terms of evolution, all the evidence points to the fact that we’re not evolving intellectually; and we don’t really understand what produces an Einstein, a Hawking or any of the so-called geniuses we tend to admire. It’s far from simple with numerous factors such as environment, extended family, opportunity, happenstance, diet and luck at play. It’s more likely that our next evolutionary step will be to create AI that significantly exceeds our abilities. That’s a bit away, yet .

Ian, that reminds of the time I was overseeing the homework of a 15/16 year old GCSE student. They got an A for copying their material directly from the internet that went towards their final GCSE results. If I had handed in the same work when I was at school, I would have got a D and ‘Not your own work’, ‘spelling’ and ‘grammar’ scribbled across it.

Ploughing through encyclopedias to find information and rewriting it in your own words showed you had put effort into your homework, but perhaps more importantly, understood what you had written. You also found lots of other interesting bits and pieces in your travels.

I am not aware of what schools do to tackle the problem of copying information from websites but when I was teaching science at a university, students were required to provide references to their sources of information, within the text and not just appended as a bibliography. Any students who cited websites intended for the general public could be guaranteed of low marks. Our younger members of staff tended to be much better at spotting signs of plagiarism (unacknowledged copying of text or ideas).

Intelligence has nothing to do with being able to remember and regurgitate information. It’s worth reading up on cognitive skills.

The salient point being, the evolution of the human brain has produced the very technology we enjoy today. Your contribution to its continued evolution will be passed on to future generations through your children and their children, always adding a little more intellect and knowledge on the way. For how long remains a mystery, but evolution of human conscious awareness will undoubtedly ensure a more sustained and continuous unfolding evolutionary procedure. The alternative is somewhat disconcerting and daunting.

Wavechange, intelligence comes from the ability to clear the mind of all the mental ‘noise’ or constant overthinking, leaving a ‘space’ for obvious solutions to emerge.

A competent teacher, well versed in his/her particular subject should be able to detect plagiarism when it occurs.

Biological evolution is generally a slow process, though the ways that we think and act can be much faster.

Beryl wrote: “Wavechange, intelligence comes from the ability to clear the mind of all the mental ‘noise’ or constant overthinking, leaving a ‘space’ for obvious solutions to emerge.”

I cannot relate to that or offer any useful comment.

“A competent teacher, well versed in his/her particular subject should be able to detect plagiarism when it occurs.”

As far as I know, most universities and colleges screen students’ work for plagiarism using software, which is very effective and does not rely on the abilities of lecturers. I do not know if this is used in schools.

It seems to me that the philosophy of the power of collective consciousness is an idealistic theory that cannot be proved with our present understandings and is by no means assured, it serves, however, as a convenient tool for refuting or supporting various arguments relating to human development that are conducive to desirable states of human thought, activity and behaviour according to values popularly deemed to be beneficial. At the moment I remain unconvinced that there is an empirical basis for it, although espousing it is probably propitious.

Wavechange, regarding your first paragraph, I could never understand why my mother used to tell me to “stop looking and you will find it” when something went missing, which used to cause great upset at the time because it meant I was going to have to do without or settle for a substitute. It’s taken all of 70 years for me to realise that, first I need to accept the fact that I am going to have do without whatever is missing, albeit temporarily, or I am going to have to make do with a substitute.

I now understand the logic behind my mothers advice; that through acceptance, with a clear mind, free of all thought that causes frustration and anguish, soon helps me to remember where I have left the missing object. Clearing my mind of all thought creates a ‘space’ allowing innovative theories and creative ideas to emerge, and yes, very often answers to unsolved problems.

Regarding your final paragraph, it’s interesting to note the extent to which universities are resorting to, using computers to evaluate students misdeeds. Is this a tech too far?