I’ve always been fascinated by colour and believed that men and women see colours differently. So I was both interested – and not surprised to see what researchers have found on the subject. It proves that men and women not only prefer different colours, they also see more hues of colour than men. Men, on the other hand, prefer shades. Perhaps it goes back to our ancestors, where women were more attuned to gathering different types of fruit and men were looking for subtle shadows of beasts behind a bush. Who knows? Makes you think, though!
By the way, my favourite colour is blue! But I was surprised that no men liked purple! It was my favourite colour once as a teenager. Before I turned to red – and eventually to blue. I wonder if others have changed their preferences through their lives?
Oh, and just for fun, why not put down your favourite colour in the comments box below – and we’ll see if the research is borne out by those who read the blog.
Last Thursday, I had a meeting with a business colleague. We had only met once before – but somehow the energy felt really good between us. Conversation flowed. Ideas bubbled to the surface. Creative spirit abounded.
During the conversation, it became apparent that I had talked in our previous meeting about intuition. I had forgotten this – but it is something I have recently become very interested in. In summary, it’s the idea that the world is far too “mental” and that many have lost touch with their intuitive guidance system – based around the heart. I’m also a strong believer in the idea that everything is connected.
And so it was, just by chance (as happens when browsing the internet) I came across this video below:
I don’t know too much about the organisation behind the video – but just love the overall theme, messages and visuals. It somehow helps us to remember things we have forgotten or lost – so we can get back into the life-force and remember who we are.
Sit back and enjoy!
Today, the Parish of Goudhurst and Kilndown in rural Kent (which is where we live) came one step closer to achieving what most others in the UK have access to…..
It wasn’t fresh water. That has been flowing freely from boreholes and the local reservoir at Bewl Water for quite a while.
It wasn’t gas. Goudhurst used to have gas – but the Gas Works blew up in the 1948 – a few weeks before all gas works were nationalized. Coincidence or dodgy insurance claims, no one quite knows.
It wasn’t electricity. That has been delivered to all of the Parish since about 2006 when the folk in Bedgebury Forest came onto the Grid.
It wasn’t being connected to the mains sewage. Our house still has a septic tank at the bottom of the garden.
What it was that we came one step closer to getting half of the Parish – perhaps more – onto Superfast Broadband.
The next stage of the scheme is due to go live next week – in time for the end of June go-live for four of the cabinets in the village to be fibred-up to Superfast Broadband. And the spectacle today was watching the fibre being blown down the plastic ducts that have been laid under all the key roads in the village.
The event went off without an audience – large or small. Simply two engineers diligently waiting whilst the meter showed how far the end of the fibre had been blown. The fibre wrapped over the right arm to give it control as it entered the plastic duct pipe.
Looking forward to the fibre being lit next week. Come on, light my fibre – or something like that!
As we come to the end of the summer break, for most of us, school, university or work starts afresh. I say, for most because, like with all generalisations, there are always those who break the rule. An increasing number of friends seem to be moving into “retirement” or “semi-retirement” – breaking the pattern of a life-time by taking more time off. Two of my children are starting University – a break from the long years of study at school to the less structured, more fun time at Uni.
And the little word “break” got me thinking. It seems to have so many meanings. It runs to many definitions in the dictionary – both as a verb and as a noun. It can be:
- destructive (as in – “break a glass”)
- illegal (as in “breaking the speed limit”)
- liberating (as in “break out of old patterns”)
- exciting (as in “breaking news”)
- disappointing (as in “break my heart”)
- the point of profit (as in “break-even”)
- time to eat (as in “breakfast”)
- very confusing for someone not fluent in English (as in “break a leg”)
For such a little word, it has so many different subtle meanings and so many different ways to combine itself with other words to mean so many different things!
Yet, with all of this, I always see the start of September as the opportunity to break from the past and focus on the future. For some reason, even more so than with Christmas or Easter. Perhaps we are all subconsciously programmed by the school year – whether as students, former students or parents. Yet there are those who will always break the mould and find other beginnings and endings in their year and not agree with me.
Great word “break”.
Last month, one quiet Sunday evening, I was driving into Tunbridge Wells. My normal route had roadworks, so I had to carry a bit further on – and passed one of those small yellow boxes in a 30mph speed limit zone. I was doing 38 mph. I got flashed by the camera and a week later, got a notice from the Police to say I had been done for speeding.
I was given two options by the Kent Police. Pay a fine of £60 and get three points on my licence. Or pay £85 and go on a speed awareness course. I had heard positive things about the latter – and so decided to go for the course as it would keep my licence clean.
And so it was, last Friday afternoon, I sat for four and a half hours in a small hotel conference room listening to two lecturers about the highway code, reaction times and the laws of physics.
Having filled-out a brief questionnaire at the start on what I thought the meaning of various road-signs were, it became apparent that I probably thought I knew a lot more than I actually did! I worked out that I hadn’t actually been tested on the highway code since taking my driving test in 1978! A sobering thought.
The turning point came for me when I was told that 38mph is the speed at which, if you are a pedestrian and you are hit by an oncoming car, you will almost certainly die. Until then, I though it was a bit daft being done for speeding for so little over the speed limit. After that point, it made me sober-up. Added to that, it became clear that the speed limit is just that – a speed limit – not a “got away with it again” sign. Just because half the population or more see it is the latter, the course was designed to get you into thinking sensibly.
We saw several very effective videos and learnt about reaction times and stopping distances. Reaction times are when, as a driver, you are in control and have choices. Stopping distance is the bit where you have decided to stop your pile of metal careering into something – and, here, the laws of physics and the speed you are traveling is the main defining factor as to whether or not you will succeed in stopping in your desired distance.
The stopping distances are in the highway code (a copy of which we were given for our £85) – see diagram below:
These are distances a car travels, over the time it takes for you to bring the vehicle to a full stop. These distances are for a well maintained car, with good brakes and tyres, an alert driver, and a dry road, in daylight. We were told that if you are going at 70 mph down a motorway in good conditions the combined thinking distance plus stopping distance is about 96 metres or 24 car lengths.
What was not on the diagram was the fact that if you are going 80 mph down a motorway in similar conditions, you will still be going 38mph after 24 car lengths. Spooky how that 38mph keeps coming up! Oh, and if you are going 100mph down the motorway (who hasn’t, at some stage, gone for a “burn”even if just to see what it feels like?) – then you will still be going at 70mph after 24 car lengths!
So, at the end of this speed awareness course, I came away quite humbled. On my way home from the course, I felt like a learner driver again. A lot more aware of traffic signs – and – oh, yes – those lamp-posts which mean that you are in a 30mph zone – even if there are no signs. I never knew that – or if I did learn it once, I had forgotten the fact.
So, if you get the chance to pay a fine and get 3 points on your licence – or go for a slightly more expensive Speed Awareness Course, then I’d definitely go for the latter. You will learn a lot – and hopefully become a safer driver. Most importantly, I really did learn that you’re never too old to learn!
This week three events happened that highlighted to me that the way that the world owns, controls and governs the 7bn people on the planet is under extreme pressure. Yet signs that the new world is responding in sensible and more conscious ways are encouraging.
As the old-world sovereign-states governments try to balance their own budgets and wrestle with their own, unique, local problems, multinational companies increasingly put two fingers up to them to avoid paying corporation tax. Apple is a good example which, this week, apparently saved over $9bn in tax with a “bond manouever”. If you were Tim Cook, you’d probably have done the same. Yet the countries that need the tax revenue to help get themselves out of the debt that they have are being out-manouevered by the multinational tax avoidance network that serve the corporate giants that belong to no country and are accountable to, well, their shareholders, of course. Big companies seem to get it all their own way.
In the middle east, even after all the investigations over the justification of the Gulf War and whether or not Saddam Hussein did or did not have weapons of mass destruction, we are fed confusing news that civilians are being sprayed with nerve gas in Syria – and that West military intervention is, once again, becoming more intellectually justifiable. Soil samples have degraded and there is not enough evidence for going to war. So we have to wait.
Yet there are interesting counter-pressures. As a beekeeper, I have been keenly following developments on the EU which, this week, voted for a two-year restrictions on the nerve-agent pesticides (called neonicotinoids) blamed for the dramatic decline global bee populations. The EU decided on a narrow majority of 15/27 votes. The UK was one of eight countries that voted against the ban in spite of a petition signed by 300,000 people presented to Downing Street last week by fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett. The Independent has also campaigned to save Britain’s bee population. The British government’s choice to vote against the ban was based on the fact that “there was not enough evidence” that bees were being affected – and that the samples in various tests had been contaminated. The uncanny similarity between degraded soil samples from Syria and contaminated samples that voided tests for the bees made me think: how convenient! How convenient it is for a government or a leader to ignore evidence when “tests are inconclusive” or when the “evidence is not clear”. No decision is better than a decision that you could be held accountable for!
However, we beekeepers must thank the internet protest networks – led by Avaaz.org – who managed to get enough support in countries (other than the UK) to swing the vote against the vested interests of Bayer and others who have, until now dominated the decisions taken in our food chain – from the seeds we plant, the agricultural methods we adopt through to the quality of foods we eat.
The bees have a short respite and Avaaz is now pursuing the real Dark Lord in the battle for Mother Earth. Go on. Vote. It can only help a growing wave of public opinion to counter the madness of global corporate arrogance that they are accountable to no one.
I believe that there is hope for us all with this new type of democracy emerging. The vote to ban neonicotinoids was a turning point for me. It would appear that these online campaigns really are starting to get policy makers in multinationals to think again and change their minds. They have a new body that they need to recognise – and a protest can come from nowhere and expose issues is uncontrollable ways. PR companies and even newspapers are becoming less and less effective in this new world of informed internet politics and political activism. Even governments must be encouraged as it gives them a new reason to act, not just sit on the fence because “there is no evidence”. After all, most of them want to get voted back into power.
Interested to know what you think – please do leave a comment below.
The ability to seek and identify structures, patterns and designs below the apparent surface of experience is the secret to success in communication, relationships, accelerated learning, languages, and many other things besides.
Someone asked me the other day why I chose to call myself a designer, rather than a consultant and I told them the story of the Tinsmith. The story originally came from an order of the Sufi’s called the Naqshbandi Order. Naqushbandi quite literally means “designer”.
“Once upon a time in a city far far away in a time long gone, a tinsmith was falsely accused of a crime he had not committed. Being poor and without any powerful friends to influence the judge, he was imprisoned.
He was given a wish before being sent to the cells and he asked that he be allowed to receive a rug which should be woven by his wife. In due course, the rug was made and delivered to the prison. Upon receiving the rug, the tinsmith prostrated himself upon the rug, day after day, to say his prayers.
After some time, he said to his jailers: “I am poor and without hope and you are wretchedly paid. But I am a tinsmith. Bring me some tin and tools to work with and I shall make small artifacts which you can sell in the market – and we will both benefit.”
The guards agreed to this and presently they and the tinsmith were both making a profit from which they bought food and comforts for themselves.
Then, one day, when the guards awoke to find that the cell door was open and the tinsmith was gone. Some spoke of magic or perhaps a miracle because no prison in this kingdom had ever been escaped from.
Many years later, a convicted thief confessed to the crime that the tinsmith had been accused of. As a result, the tinsmith was pardoned and two weeks later the tinsmith and his family reappeared in the city. The governor of the province heard of the tinsmith’s return and summoned him to his palace.
The governor asked the tinsmith what magic he had used to make such an impossible escape.
The tinsmith replied “My wife is a weaver. She designs rugs, mats and carpets. She weaves patterns into the wefts and warps of her fabric.”
“By design, she found the man who had made the locks of the cell door and got it from him, by design.”
“She wove the design into the rug at the spot where my head touched in prayer five times a day. I am a metal-worker and this design looked to me like the inside of a lock. But I lacked the materials to make a key, so I made a business proposition to the guards, by design. I then used the materials that the guards provided me to make many small artifacts, including a key that would unlock the cell door.”
So, by design, I escaped.”
“We are all born with a brain”, said the tinsmith. “When we begin to understand the patterns and structures of our thinking, we can start to liberate ourselves from the enslavement of our limitations.”
Story adapted from the book: Sufis: The People of the Path: The Royal Way by Osho – Chapter 5 – Design within Design
Picture from Museum of London
As we leave 2012, there are many things we may remember which, for those that live in the UK, can be summed up as a year of broken records:
- The driest spring for 100 years followed by the wettest 9 months since records began
- The summer Olympic and Paralympic games that smashed many World, Olympic and Paralympic records
- The Diamond Jubilee celebrations with cheery faces, street parties and that magnificent pageant on the Thames. (Although the Queen did not break the record as the longest-serving British Monarch – she is in good health to take the record from Queen Victoria in three years time with 64 years on the throne).
- The “broken record” of economic doom, debt mountains, fiscal cliffs, war, murder, hunger etc. etc.
- …..and what should not be forgotten – our own personal records – whatever they might have been.
As we enter 2013, it is the time of year where we look back and look forward. Remember and try to stretch our minds to a New Year.
If there is one thing that I will remember, above all else, it was the power of the “Games Makers”.
Through economic gloom and despondency and the ever sharper and more graphic accounts of murder and mayhem around the world, the Games Makers surely showed us how to make a difference. Whatever is going on in the world, each individual can volunteer to create their own, brighter future. A powerful message for me from 2012 that I was not expecting to receive!
I hope all readers have an extraordinarily successful New Year and the best of luck with breaking your own records in 2013!
This evening I attended a fascinating talk given by our local history society on a local colony of artists who lived in Cranbrook, Kent, England in the 19th Century. Their art can now fetch well over £100,000 a piece. Below is one of the typical paintings – that could number an estimated 1,500 – though only 300 have been catalogued by the local historian giving the talk.
What was interesting is that so little is known about the colony locally – and that many paintings were bought by industrial entrepreneurs from the Midlands and North of England. It is only because of the interest of a few local folk that some of the pieces have found their way back to the local museum and local collections.
The Naughty Boy by George Bernard O’Neill
The reason I was there was that local history society recently asked me to design a simple, low-cost website for them. The chairman, secretary and other committee members are now adding content to the site – and it was from a discussion with the archivist did it suddenly hit me how differently people think about putting information onto the web.
The archivist is an ex-librarian. For her, everything can be classified and should be put into order as part of a logical taxonomy. Already the categories on the site are developing into several layers. She reflected on the fact that, perhaps there were now too many layers for some categories. It reminded me of my early days of (IDMS) database programming (before relational databases), when you had to put data into classes and categories. I had a simple rule then that more than three layers was too many. It still somehow holds true today.
On describing this blog (where the categories are simply a relational tag that you clump ideas together with), she became nervous. The way that her librarian-mind worked was that each book, each chapter, each page, each idea had, somehow to be classified in a single tree. The idea that each idea, or article could be classified by several different classes – and that you leave it up to the search engine to work out how to get you there was a difficult one for her to feel good about.
It was a similar lack of familiarity or unease that I have, perhaps, with those who Tweet. Sure, I tweet a bit. Occasionally. Once every so often. When I am feeling I have a gap, or when I have a slot at the conference when I want to broadcast something interesting. But I am by no means a regular member of the Twitterati. Tweeting somehow gets in the way of the flow of life. You become an observer or a journalist rather than living in the moment. I respect those who tweet regularly – but, for me, it is too high a frequency to engage in all the time. I suppose others will leave an historically-interesting pheromone path of phrases and words for others to analyse in the future. Like writing a daily journal. But that life is not for me. I prefer blogging one a week (or once every six weeks when I am busy – as has been the case recently).
And so it is was with the Victorian artists in the Cranbrook colony. They left no diaries. No documentation of their progress. They lived and worked and played and painted in the moment – by all accounts to make a living first and then to enjoy life. Some were richer than others – but all of them exhibited at the Royal Academy year-after-year and were successful in their own ways. Yet now, 150 years on, we know very little about them.
At the end of the talk, someone reflected that the mid 19th century countryside existence in rural Kent perhaps harked-back to the pre-industrial, less smoky, less satanic mills existence of England that had been lost in the North to the industrial revolution – which is why so many of the paintings went North. Who knows. There are no tweets, no blogs, no journals or otherwise to confirm or deny such theories.
Just the paintings themselves – which hold a fascinating set of visual cascading stories, moral values and pure artistry that are contained in the outputs from this unique colony of artists that lived so close to where I now live. Art for Art sake, Money for Godsake. 10cc (now on a brilliant tour of the UK) said it all. It was the same then as it is now!
Funny about the word colony. It is what they called the far-flung corners of the British Empire. As well as being the collective noun for a load of bees! There you go! The bees don’t tweet either. They buzz. A bit less now we are going into winter. Makes you think!
Picture from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranbrook_Colony