Monday, December 10, 2018

Wisdom of the crowd

My favourite (and geographically closest) local brewery Siren Craft Brew has been busy raising money over the last couple of months. They've been using a groovy new mechanism for generating capital called "crowdfunding". Crowdfunding is when (via a web-platform) you raise money via lots of small investments from many (often thousands) people rather than through one large single investment through a bank or venture capital company (as is usual) Often there are other benefits to investing via crowdfunding, namely discounts on products and other investor perks. In all other respects crowdfunding is the same as any other kind of investment, i.e. a percentage of the shares of the company are sold in order to raise money for investing in projects that usually entail a company growing through buying new production capacity or expanding into new markets.

Siren have been very successful in their raise (which is closed now) They aimed to get £750,000 to build a canning plant and expand capacity but in the end managed to get £1.25 million. The extra cash will go towards further capacity and QA improvements and also an expansion of their retail/bar outlets, hopefully local  to the Thames Valley but also potentially in London. I wish them luck!

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Sticks and stones

Generally I'd say that people should lighten up about swearing, words without context are just vibrations of air molecules.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Friday Smirk

OK, so, if we're allowed to have TV series as well as movies then the obvious choice would be "Breaking Bad" but if we're insisting on movie titles only then I offer, "The Great Escape" or at a pinch "The Silence of the Lambs".. oh despicable me!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Never more united

Interesting poll. If accurate shows just how unpopular the decision to leave the EU now is and how amazingly unanimous the feeling across the country. I wonder how many years it will take for the Brexiters to die off (sufficiently) and for the younger voters left dealing with decline to wrench control back and legislate us onto a more rational path. Our challenge will then be starting again from scratch with the EU, mind you, we may well find that Europe doesn't want us back, and who can blame them! By then our economy will probably be bumping along at the bottom of the G20 along with Argentina and Turkey.


I've been trying to up my exercise/activity rate this last year or so and to help I've taken to walking every lunchtime around the vicinity of my office. I usually do around 5 km fairly briskly (although that was a struggle during the heatwave in the Summer!) and to measure progress I've been wearing an Apple watch to give me timings and distance etc. Today I broke my personal best for a 5 kilometre walk, clocking in at an average of 9 minutes and 58 seconds per kilometre, previously I've always been over the ten minute mark. This is pleasing! Being a bit of a metrics geek I do like it when progress can be measured tangibly!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Christmas Spirit

Saw this photo, instantly sympathised with these retail victims...

Tuesday Titter

Like the prayers of Jews visiting the Wailing wall in Jerusalem, much of the debate regarding the existence of God is indistinguishable from "talking to brick wall"..

God doesn't play ... anything?

I see that the famous letter about "God" by Albert Einstein is up for sale and expected to clear a million bucks (at least) for it's owner. In this letter Einstein talks about his lack of belief in the normal Abrahamic notions of God as a real, tangible being that is capable of impinging on and affecting our reality,  he also expresses a view that the Bible is no more than "legend". Whilst not new  (atheists have existed as long as there have been theists), novel or in anyway unique these ideas and views do clarify a lie that religious apologists have been attempting to exploit for many years and it's driven by their aspiration of credibility by association. 

Famously Einstein once said (in relation to quantum uncertainty as described by theories of quantum mechanics) that "God doesn't play dice" meaning that he found it unbelievable that the physical laws of our universe should be such that uncertainty or probability lies at the core of everything rather than more comforting Newtonian absolutes. This phrase has subsequently been regurgitated ad-nausea by religious apologists of all stripes (out of context) as a "proof" that the smartest man ever (subjective) believed in their particular deity, their aim being transparently to gain credibility (by authority) for their unsubstantiated beliefs. This letter shows the true (and much more credible) beliefs of a 20th century scientist of the calibre of Einstein, it shows him (at least at the time of writing this note) to be an atheist or perhaps a deist and certainly not a card-carrying theist.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Happy teams

Here's an interesting story about "hugging". Nothing wrong with a good hug you might think but it would seem that Ted Baker founder and boss, Ray Kelvin, hasn't yet learnt that literally anything no matter how "good", when made compulsory, becomes a source of resentment and rebellion. Ray insists that people working in his company adopt a culture of forced "hugging" whenever they meet, I've known many clueless management types over the years who think that this kind of thing is a good idea. They make the fundamental mistake of thinking that everyone is cut from the same cloth as them, and will be excited and motivated by the same things. It's a bit like making it mandatory for everyone to wear fancy dress or attend the Christmas party (or both) when many would rather stick red hot knitting needles in their eyes. Ultimately this kind of mandating of emotions, i.e. "you will be happy today", fails miserably! Different things motivate different people in different ways and the sooner the management types learn this and how to leverage the individual rather than some convenient (but bogus) identity like gender, employee or race etc., the sooner they'll have happier teams.

Update: It would seem that complaints by many of the workers at Ted Baker have nudged the management there to launch an investigation, let's hope they realise the folly of this ridiculous culture and start treating people like grown-ups rather than children.