(Yes I know it’s not a film. It’s a book. By T E Lawrence. So sue me ….
It has been filmed though! One of the iconic movies of the Ed’s long-ago youth ….)
Cheering news from the Grauniad this week (and that’s not a sentence one gets to write very often). Researchers from the Uni of Edinburgh have analysed data from over 300,000 people (aged from 16 to 102), and found “significant genetic overlap between general cognitive function, reaction time, and many health variables including eyesight, hypertension, and longevity”. Specifically, people who were more intelligent were almost 30% more likely to have genes which might indicate they’d need to wear glasses (hurrah and huzzah — Ed) (who has needed glasses or contact lenses from the age of 3). They go on to point out lots of boring caveats about “this is merely correlation not causation” ect ect, but detail shmetail.
(Slightly) more seriously, there seems to be an awful lot of noise recently about cleverness/intelligence/knowledge ect ect, and about what’s the best way of learning and teaching it.
Our entire education system seems to be more and more driven by assessment and testing (Mr Gradgrind would be proud), and devoted almost entirely to the left side of the brain, which deals with (amongst other things) language, logic, and mathematical thinking, and very little to the right side (spatial reasoning, music, art, creativity, colour, sex ….). This tendency is exemplified by the worship of the IQ Test.
Equally important, though, is emotional intelligence. This also can be measured, to give you your EQ – and the good news is that, while it’s very difficult to increase your IQ once you’ve grown up, you can continue to increase your EQ throughout your life.
Wisdom, though is distinct from either kind of intelligence, though it’s often mistaken for the IQ kind. Brian O’Driscoll has come up with a nifty definition of the difference between the two – “knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad”.
What relevance does all this
guff erudite discussion have to the world of the business owner, I (don’t) hear you cry?
The Ed has now been at the helm of the good ship TAB Harrogate for nearly eight and a half years (gulp), and it’s more and more borne in upon him that there’s a really sharp divide in the business community between those who think (to put it politely) that they already have all the intellectual resources they need to succeed, and that they don’t need any advice – and those who realise that the wise person continues to develop and learn throughout life, and that the ability to get unbiased advice from other business leaders, who know what it feels like, is (as the MasterCard ads used to say) priceless.
Talking to the first group about TAB is a waste of time – but if you’re in the second group (and by definition, you must be, or you wouldn’t be reading the Bluffington Post hem hem), and you’re interested, you know where to come![shameless plug over]
Time to move on to some of the oddities in this week’s meejah –
• Lots of foodie stuff this week ….
• …. Ms Gwyneth Paltrow continues to add to the gaiety of nations, with increasingly bizarre recommendations on her website (Goop). Her latest idea is cockroach milk, which (according to researchers in India) is “a complete food with all essential amino acids”. There are certain logistical problems, though – not only does the cockroach die in the process of milk extraction (though this alone wouldn’t be a drawback, at least as far as the Ed is concerned), but (as Goop says) “as might be expected, the process of ‘milking’ a cockroach is precise and laborious” (it takes a thousand insects to produce 100 grams of milk) (who works out all this stuff?? Ed) ….
• …. as any gardener will tell you, the curse of Japanese Knotweed spreads ever wider, but there’ve been several people this week who advocate counter-attacking – by eating it (apparently it tastes a bit like rhubarb. And it’s free) ….
• …. in more dietary advice, boffins from Oxford Uni have come up with a stunning new suggestion for losing weight – give up meals entirely. Ms Nerys Astbury (in a presentation to the European Congress on Obesity) (presumably the lecture hall had wide seats) summed it up – “people are obese because they have a problem with food and you take food out of the equation” (apparently you do this for eight weeks and have a “total meal replacement” instead). Prof Susan Jebb (who led the study) is looking at whether it would be cost effective for the NHS to pay for people to use the plan, which “costs about £800 privately”. (Alternatively, you could adopt a healthier lifestyle …. Cynical Ed) ….
• …. Jinx, a rescue seal at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, in Gweek, has been eating so much fish recently that she’s put on three stone, so the staff are putting her on a diet (of rather less fish). Perhaps they should get in touch with Prof Jebb? ….
• …. supermarkets are experiencing rising levels of crime, with people using the self checkout counters to ring through goods (especially vegetables) under an assumed name (the veg’s, not the shoppers – please keep up). This has come to light after apparent massive increases in sales of carrots – it is thought that unprincipled persons (now known as Swipers – Seemingly Well-Intentioned Patrons Engaging in Routine Shoplifting) ring through carrots when they actually take the same weight of rather more expensive veg (such as avocado – see next item). Incredibly (to the Naïve Ed, at least) the teefs don’t think it’s “real” theft – either because “I’m paying something”, or because the supermarket is making a big profit anyway, or …. – but then, the Ed continues to be depressed by the 50+ phone calls he’s received (and is still receiving) from persons urging him to claim for whiplash injury after a very minor accident over five years ago, in which the Ed’s car was stationary and someone backed into it at 5mph ….
• …. the price of avocados in London is amongst the highest in the world — and if you’re
stupid trendy enough and live in the Smoke, you can shop at an increasing number of posh veg shops, and pay ten quid for a mango ….
• …. and a smooth link (is there any other kind in this august organ hem hem?) to the world of sport –
• …. Mr Chris Anderson has achieved his life’s ambition by winning the annual cheese rolling race (at Cooper’s Hill, in Gloucestershire) for the 22nd time (surpassing Mr Stephen Gyde’s previous record, of 21). He has now won 22 Double Gloucester cheeses (maybe he should start eating them? Just a thought), and revealed the secret of his success – “just run and try to stay on your feet”. Wise words indeed ….
• …. sheep races at Hoo Farm, near Telford, have been restarted, after vets decided that animal rights protests about the runners’ welfare were unfounded ….
• …. synchronised swimming is becoming more and more popular with men, leading to a campaign for them to be able to compete with women on the same footing (err? …. nah, leave it – Ed)
• …. Roy of the Rovers is to make a comeback after an absence of 17 years (hurrah). Older readers hem hem will remember the former Melchester Rovers star, whose career as a striker ended in 1993 (after [gulp] 39 years) when he had a foot amputated after a helicopter accident. He then took over as manager (with his son, Rocky, joining the team). Melchester were once a major force in English footy, but it appears that they’ve suffered a slump and are now in League Two (or the Fourth Division, as some of us still think of it – Dinosaur Ed). Rather confusingly, Roy is to join the team as a 16-year-old hot prospect. The new strip will follow the Rovers as they compete in the Caridad Cup, a charity tournament which pits them against their local rivals Tynecaster, and the Spanish teams Varagosa and Real Santana ….
• …. and the footy World Cup kicked off yesterday – no, not that one, but a “rebel” World Cup between members of Conifa – not an evergreen organisation (I’ll get me coat – Ed), but the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, a ragbag collection of “countries” who see themselves as independent states, such as Northern (= Turkish) Cyprus and Tibet (whose team have been blessed by the Dalai Lama). Other participants include Padania (the favourites), Cascadia, Abkhazia (the holders), Kabylia, Matabeleland, Karpatalya, and Székely Land. Oh, and Ellan Vannin (who have an unfair advantage ‘cos they’ve all got three legs ….). You already know, of course, hem hem where these places are, but just in case you can’t call them to mind, the answers are at the end of the post – and if you got them all right, maximum respect! The contest is being staged at non-league grounds around London ….
• …. and good news for Nottinghamshire village cricket (hurrah – Notts-born Ed) – Hoveringham CC (who play in South Nottinghamshre’s Division B, and who represent a village with just 359 inhabitants) have been struggling financially of late, but were “surprised and delighted” to learn that Mr Derek Wright, who died last October, aged 82, and who used to play for the club and was a member for 53 years, has left them more than £250,000 in his will. Mr W will have the pavilion named in his honour, and his ashes will be scattered on the square (thus, one assumes, helping the spinners)
• if you’ve got a Ford Capri hidden away in the garage, better check out its condition – they’re getting more valuable, and a 1987 model was sold recently for over £50,000
• you’ll be relieved to hear that if you work for Lloyd’s (the insurance guys, not the bank) you can now go to work without a tie
• John Lewis report that sales of robot mowers are up by 75% this year
• Arup has been commissioned by HMG to test and develop a system for a moveable kerb, enabling pavements (sidewalks if you’re reading this on the other side of the Pond) to be widened and narrowed at different times of day
• the 840 bus service (from Leeds to Whitby) has been voted Britain’s most scenic bus route (hurrah and huzzah – Tyke Ed)
• in rather depressing news, you can now buy a new app called Blinkist, which reduces books to a 15 minute “digest”. Wasn’t there something called Reader’s Digest that did this? ….
• …. and talking of nostalgia, a new study finds that 63% of Britons think that life was better when they were growing up (that’s because they weren’t paying any tax – Cynical Ed) but that they wouldn’t want to go back to the old days. In France there is “more cultural pessimism” than in Blighty, so it’s not all bad ….
• …. and some lucky bidder has bought Cutty Sark’s speedometer at auction, for a miserly £220. The 18 inch brass harpoon log (which was dragged alongside the vessel and recorded its speed) was given to Captain Richard Woodget when he retired after ten years in charge (so it’s a Woodget Gadget)
On to Columbo Corner, and two totally unrelated items.
1) Mr Robin Durrance pointed out (in a letter to the Times) that his local blackbird sings the Qui Sedes (from Bach’s Mass in B Minor — probably the finest choral work ever written) (the bird doesn’t sing the whole of it, sadly, but the first few notes) — whereupon Mr Andrew Fisher raised the question of whether that was the right way round — did JSB get the tune from his local blackbird? Be that as it may, why not indulge yourself by listening to it here (it starts with some superb cor anglais playing from Kurt Hausmann)
2) The Ed’s peaky little face lit up with genuine joy this week when he heard the news of the appointment of the Italian caretaker Prime Minister — only for his spirits to be dashed when he realised that the gentleman in question is Signor Cotarelli (some guy with central bank experience) rather than the anarchic desk officer from Inspector Montalbano — though come to think of it, maybe we won’t be able to tell the difference?
No post next week (annual Golffest, this year in Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall) so see you in a fortnight. You’ll cope.
Have a great weekend – and forza Padania ….
Cheers for now
Those footy teams —
• Padania is a district in Northern Italy
• Cascadia is a region which overlaps the US-Canadian border on the West coast
• Abhkazia is a disputed territory in Georgia (the Caucasus one, not the home of the Masters)
• Kabylia is a region of Algeria
• Matabeleland is in Northern Zimbabwe
• Karpatalya is a Hungarian minority population in Ukraine
• Székely Land is a region of Romania with a large Hungarian population
• and Ellan Vannin is the Isle of Man (in Manx)
I presently run three Boards –
Dark Blue (for people who run large businesses) – one spare seat
Light Blue (for people who run large businesses) — two spare seats
White Board (for people who run fast-growing businesses) — two spare seats
“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing” (Socrates)
“If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
“If I am a fool it is at least a doubting one; I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom” (Byron)
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you” (John Wooden)
“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying” (Oscar Wilde)
By Tom Morton, TAB Harrogate