Tuesday, 30 October 2012

"When I use a word"

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

mapgie.co.uk - Blog

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Empty Lives

I work near my father's office and sometimes I pop round and visit him for a for a quick catch-up. The other day I found myself telling him that I would be available between 13:00 and 13:15, 16:30 and 16:45 and after 17:15, and then apologised for having such full days.

My father replied with:

Full days are better than empty lives:

Thanks, dad!

mapgie.co.uk - Blog

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Formal logic is a beautiful thing. In it, you can use an assumption to start a proof, but the conclusion must stand on its own, without relying on the assumption.

With the academic and professional path I have taken, it becomes second nature to collate evidence of everything you may one day hope to rely on, taking the names of everyone you speak to and getting everything in writing.
Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. - Hitchens

mapgie.co.uk - Blog

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Seamus Heaney: being a poet is like being a footballer

I once had the chance to meet Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, who was asked how he feels about the way people interpret his poems. He had already told us how his metaphor of a pen being "snug as a gun" was taken to have a range of deep political meanings and strike a comparison between those that fight and those who do not, but do what they can; when really he just liked the metaphor. His reply to the student's question was that writing poetry was like a football match(!): during the game players run around and do what they know how to do, and afterwards everyone else gets to watch the replays and over-analyse.

mapgie.co.uk - Blog